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THE BUILDER MAGAZINE
volume 4 - number 8
THE ANCIENT MYSTERIES
BY BRO. R. PERRY BUSH, PAST GRAND CHAPLAIN, MASSACHUSETTS
FOR quite a number of years I have been a student of Freemasonry and it has been my aim to follow into the distant past the lines of causation by means of which our noble institution has been developed into its present form and influence. Steadily but surely the origin of the Craft has been pushed back amid the dim mists of farthest antiquity. Not that in those far-off times there was anything like the present organization or ritual, but that our genealogy includes the builders of the great cathedrals of Europe, those who gave glory to Rome and Athens, and even those who reared the wonderful temples at Karnac or heaved the pyramids above the sands of Cairo, is now the accepted belief.
With the advance of knowledge, the better and more complete understanding of the factors that go to make up our present civilization, and the constant bringing to light of facts that fol long ages were lost from human sight, it becomes morally certain that the roots of our modern Masonry may be traced not only to the reign of Solomon and the structure erected on Mt. Moriah, but far beyond that day and generation.
Within the last half century the archaeologists have pushed their investigations into almost every nook and corner of the world, and they have brought forth from the storehouses of the long ago a more complete record of the thoughts and deeds of those of ancient times than was ever before in the possession of mankind. Throughout the Peloponnesus and by the waters of the Nile and in the valleys of the Tigris and the Euphrates they have been digging in the earth and uncovering the story of man's development in ages long anterior to the Christian era. The discovery of the Rosetta stone, the laying hold upon the secret of the deciphering of the cuneiform inscriptions of Assyria; the finding of the laws of Hammurabi, these, with other helps that have been afforded, have led to a discarding of the conceptions previously entertained regarding the peoples of antiquity, and made it plain that we must reconstruct our theories of the far-off past. And it is abundantly evident that they of old time were wrestling with much the same problems that confront us at the present moment. And they were dealing--in their way--both with the practical protection of their welfare as workmen, and with the philosophy of life--the distinction between the body and the soul that tenants or is imprisoned in the flesh.
That the great multitudes of those of operative skill were banded together and that they hedged themselves about with secret means of identification, there is today no shadow of doubt, and that these were the progenitors of our modern lodges, and that we are their lineal descendants, in my judgment it is impossible reasonably to deny.
They who in this day write the history of Masonry are more and more inclined to look upon the 24th of June, 1717, as but a date when the transition from its operative to its speculative form was fully consummated. They are not content to start at that point and simply tell us what it since has been and done, but almost without exception they go back from that date to the stone Masons of the Middle Ages and through these to the Roman Corporations of Builders which had their origin under Numa Pompilius in the eighth century before Christ and try to connect these in some more or less definite way with the architects and builders of Egypt and Assyria and to show that we may justly claim that this is the attested line of our descent.
To this kind of work I have applied myself with much interest, but it is only the following of the history of what was in effect but an old time Knights of Labor. It is worth our while, in my estimation, for it is no small honor to be allied with an institution that spans so many centuries, and there is a certain justifiable pride in the great age of the Craft, but fundamentally I do not personally worship dust-begrimed antiquity, nor do I go into any temple of the long ago to find the idols at whose feet I lay my truest sacrifice. It does not necessarily recommend a thing to me to tell me that it is old. If I love it heartily, it is because within it is embodied a nobler song, a higher ideal, a more vital help and inspiration than I can find elsewhere.
So it is that in my study of Masonry I have not been satisfied simply to trace the fortunes of the workmen of various lands and ages, the signs and grips and words by which they communicated with each other, and the testimony that there is a line of relationship running back from our lodges to the days of the earliest Pharoahs, but I have found a keener interest in the revelation that is made of what is really deeper and more vital in those institutions of the past out of which our fraternity and its teachings have been developed.
Now it requires but a little investigation to show that one is amply repaid who applies himself to this more philosophical phase of study, and at every step it will grow upon us that Masonry is but a form and expression of that innate something in man which from the dawn of his evolution has led him to reach out toward the Eternal-not-ourselves and to strive to understand the meaning of what we may designate as death. And to him who contemplates it in this fashion it appears as of the same character as that other line of man's development which has been expressed in the building of temples and churches of worship.
As one delves into the history of the operative Masons he finds all through the ages, especially in the long ago, that when the novice was taken in charge to be initiated and instructed there was a double course which he was made to follow. On the one hand he was trained in the science of architecture: he was taught the laws of building and acquired skill in construction. There was another part of his training, however, which has not been so much emphasized, but which after all may be found to be most vital in the inheritance which has come down from those ancient brethren to us of the Masonic fraternity of today. I discover beyond a peradventure that in Palestine and in Greece and in Egypt, and I doubt not in other lands as well, to those of the Craft were imparted teachings concerning the Infinite Architect of the Universe and the destiny of the human soul. In the lecture of our third degree today we refer to our ancient brother, the great Pythagoras, and we exhibit the figure by which we afford the proof that the square described upon the hypothenuse of a right angle triangle is equal to the sum of the squares described upon the other two sides--which is purely mathematical. It is, however, far more interesting to me, and far more significant as regards what is most vital in Masonry, that Pythagoras saw resemblances to numbers of things, and held it to be true that one quality of numbers was Justice, another Soul, and Spirit, etc., and that he taught that it is by mathematical and scientific study that man looks into nature and finds things obeying the laws he has ascertained for himself in his own mind and that therefore the meaning of the Universe is revealed in the soul and not by the senses, and that if, thus rightly guided, we look within, we shall find the Eternal God. Moreover, he maintained that the soul element is not limited to bodily substance. It is not our personality, as he reasoned, but it belongs to infinity and cannot be annihilated. All of which shows plainly that the Pythagorean education was to lead to intercourse with God and that it held within it the teaching of immortality. Even here we find the heart of the system to be the reaching out after the answers to the deepest questioning of the mind of man and it is pertinent to observe that what Pythagoras thus taught in regard to these deeper or mystical revelations in their relation to the science of mathematics, is typical of what we find to have been a characteristic of Masonry in many lands.
Whether we consider it to be to our glory or to our shame, the men of all ages have been Mystics--they have either explicitly or implicitly recognized the essential relation of our nature to God and striven to adjust their lives accordingly.
Mysticism, so far as we have acquaintance with it, may be said to have had its birth in the Orient among the Brahmins, and it attributes to the human mind the ability to rise to an immediate intuition of God and thereby to a knowledge of all truth. This consummation is not to be obtained on the lower level of discursive reasoning, but an ecstatic state of the soul is a necessary condition for the contemplation of the absolute.
The Brahmin laid aside all that pertains to the world of sense and allowed God alone to work within him until in the transport of mind he became identified with the hidden deity--"the God greater than all gods and men." Transplanted to the West, this mysticism appears in the Neoplatonists and later in a Tauler and other Christian mystics, or in such a one as Eckhart, whose teachings called forth the anathema of the Vatican. To all these there is a realm above that of sensible things, but there is a faculty in man capable of attaining thereto and upon being introduced into that magical circle man becomes cognizant of the absolute and of his own undying nature.
It is true that many of the schemes evolved by these mystical dreamers are not altogether satisfactory to us today. The Brahmin, the Buddhist, and even Eckhart held that as all men have arisen from God so all desire to return to the divine being, and the final end of their activity is attained when, by the resignation of all individuality, they get back to the source from whence they came, the union with deity, the absorption into Nirvana--lost so far as our distinct personality is concerned by becoming once more a part of that from whence we came. But in all of this we see man wrestling with the same old problems of the Infinite Artificer of the universe and the destiny that waits us beyond the grave.
It is pertinent at this point of our study also to affirm that Plato is understood only in the light of the mysteries. The Neoplatonists credit him with a "secret doctrine," and they maintain that his teacher Socrates, put his hearers through an "initiation" whereby they found something within them they were not aware of possessing.
The place where these philosophers taught was filled with the spirit of the mystics, and Plato's dialogues mean more or less according to our spiritual condition. Truth or falsity is decided by something within which opposes the physical body and is not subject to its laws. Socrates approaches death as he would any other event. In the Phaedon, in which Plato records the last words of his master, there is but little argument for immortality, but there is the teaching that death is a release and it is folly to rebel against it.
Now the particular fact to which we here call attention as contributory to what we hope to make plain is that the popular religions of the Ancients did not give satisfaction to the minds and hearts of hosts of thinkers among them, and so there sprang up great groups of mystics everywhere who guarded their secrets by a priestly caste and by most solemn vows. There was a oneness of belief which runs like a golden thread through all the fabric of these old time organizations and which is not lost even when the votaries turn to shame and debauchery. To each of the mysteries there was a different god or hero, but always the same aim and purpose, the elevation of the initiated to the apprehension of God and immortality, and I shall endeavor to acquaint you with what one is able to learn concerning the methods employed by those of old time to enforce their lessons and to show that there is something more than a casual connection between these companies of worshippers and our Masonic fraternity.
The task is the more difficult because those who presented the mysteries hedged themselves about by such sacred vows of secrecy as most effectually held the initiated from revealing what was imparted to them and if there were in those days those who because of pique or with desire of personal gain, exposed the secrets, their works were somehow suppressed and have disappeared from history. There is enough, however, that has come down to us, to give us a very definite idea of what the mysteries were in substance and to show that almost without exception that most vital in each concerned the deity and the life beyond the grave.
We will therefore consider first the mysteries of Osiris and Isis, for the Egyptians are the most ancient people whose story is set before us in the annals of the past. Herodotus, the father of history, constantly alludes to these mysteries, but he always speaks with extreme caution, since it is evident that he had himself been initiated into the rites.
In the "Book of the Dead," that ancient collection of prayers and hymns supposed to aid the soul in its journey to Amenti, there is some aid to us, but in that work the myths are mostly taken for granted as being well known, and therefore are not enlarged upon. Most of our knowledge in this domain comes to us from Greece, to which country, in an altered form, the mysteries were transplanted, but it is sufficient to enable us to reconstruct the Osiriac myth which was, in a sense, the model for all the other systems.
Osiris was the greatest of the Egyptian heroes and he was by his devotees transformed from a mortal king to be an immortal god. It was he who introduced civilization among the dwellers of the Nile, and he went everywhere teaching the people agriculture and the arts. During his wanderings his brother Typhon, who was a rival for his throne, formed a conspiracy against him. He had a beautiful carved chest made, inlaid with gold, and he promised to give it to him whom it should fit when he should lie down in it. When Osiris tried it Typhon closed the lid and made it secure and had the chest thrown into the river where it floated along until cast ashore at Byblos, in Phoenicia.
Isis, the sister and also the wife of Osiris, overcome with grief, searched everywhere for the chest and at length found it, but Typhon again obtained possession of the body which he cut into foul teen parts and scattered about. Isis then searched for the fragments and wherever she found one she buried it, and that was the reason Egypt was so rich in the graves of Osiris. One part, that of propagation, Isis could not find, and so she consecrated a model thereof and the Phallus henceforth becomes associated with the mystic rites. Afterwards, Osiris was resurrected, returned from the region of shades, and was reunited with his consort.
This is the myth as nearly as we are able to recover it. It is certain beyond question that the priests of Osiris were monotheists and it may yet appear that it is to them rather than to the Hebrews that we owe the first definite teaching of the doctrine of the one and only God; while every mummy that they embalmed speaks to us of their belief in immortality. Even if we do not know much concerning the ceremonies of initiation as they took place in the land of the Pharaohs, there is abundant light thrown upon our study from the fact that these mysteries were transplanted to Greece somewhere about the fourteenth century before Christ, and to other lands a little later on, and here they assumed various forms, but all of them bearing resemblance to each other. Here, however, as in Egypt, there could be no greater crime than the betrayal of the secrets, as is attested by a host of the classic writers such as Pindar and Sophocles and Isocrates and Aeschylus (the last, because of what he put into one of his plays, being obliged to flee to the altar of Dionysus, where he escaped death only by legally proving that he had never been initiated). Nevertheless, from one source and another has come sufficient help to enable us to follow in detail the forms and ceremonies and the mystic teaching of those ancient peoples.
From earliest times there were secret cults and Mysteries in Greece. Every clan had its sacred locality and ceremonies, from which those of every other clan were excluded. Some of these rites were crude and some were of a lewd character, but all together they exerted a marvellous influence upon the people. Some of them were even dedicated to the worship of infernal Pluto and others to Demeter and Cora, but gradually, almost without exception, they took on the hope of a bright hereafter beyond the vale of death.
At the time when the Persian Empire arose on the ruins of other ancient monarchies it subjugated Lydia and the flourishing Greek colonies of Asia Minor. It was then that Greece issued out of its Middle Ages and Athens was enlarged by the incoming of new tribes, became the capital of Attica, and laid the foundation for its future greatness. One expression of its growing importance was the spread of the influence of its mysteries until what had been its special and particular cult, became dominant wherever the Greeks held sway. The mysteries of Eleusis exhibited the greatest attempt of Hellenic genius to construct a religion which would keep pace with the growth of thought and civilization in Greece. That they were related to the mysteries of Osiris and Isis we are well assured, but the method of their transmission from Egypt and the full process of their transformation into the elaborate system which prevailed at Eleusis we do not know.
It was my good fortune a few years ago to visit the scenes where those elaborate ceremonials took place. I followed the route of the pageants that went out from Athens and lingered at the many shrines at which the devotees paused to pay their tribute and wandered among the ruins of the great temple at Eleusis--which was the largest sacred edifice of those old Greeks-- begun, it is said, by Eurnolpus, the first priest of the cult, in 1356 B.C. Naturally, I endeavored to learn as much as possible concerning the ancient Greeks and to lay hold, if I could, upon what was really the heart of what they thought and the motive which prompted them to those spectacular exhibitions. And as it is from the rites of Eleusis that we derive the larger part of our knowledge of the mysteries in general, it will be my aim to give you a fairly adequate conception of what they were like.
In the first place, they were in honor of the goddess Demeter, the patroness of agriculture, and they dealt much with the procreative power of nature. Later they turned to the deeper problems of life and death and the great beyond. From the Homeric hymn to Demeter we learn that she was the daughter of Kronos and that she gave to Zeus a daughter, Persephone (or Cora.) One day when Cora was gathering flowers she was abducted by Pluto, the God of Hades, and with the consent of her father, Zeus, who was a brother of Pluto, she was carried to the infernal regions.
Demeter arrived too late to assist her daughter, but after searching for her for nine days and nights with torch in hand she learned from Helios (the sun) the name of her seducer and also that of his accomplice (Zeus). Incensed at her husband, she left Olympus and the gods, and disguised as an old woman she determined to scour the earth to find her daughter.
Arriving at Eleusis she was discovered by Keleos (the ruler of the realm) sitting upon a stone, in tears. He took pity upon her, and she entered his family as a nurse to the queen's son. Wishing to make the boy immortal, she annointed him by day with ambrosia and hid him by night in fire, but his mother discovered what was being done and, not understanding the import of it all, she was terrified and the boy was rescued by his sisters.
After that the bestowal of immortality was impossible and Demeter left the house, but she revealed herself to King Keleos and by her direction he built a temple that she might initiate the Eleusinians into her mysteries. To that temple Demeter retired, but her grief for the loss of her daughter was limitless and she vowed vengeance against gods and men. For a year she spread sterility over the earth. Zeus sought in vain to appease the wrath of Demeter and finally he sent Hermes to Pluto ordering him to restore Cora to her mother. This Pluto was obliged to do but before her departure he gave her secretly a sweet pip of a pomegranate which compelled her to return periodically to the nether world forevermore and henceforth she spent a third of the year there and two-thirds in the world above.
By the return of her daughter, the wrath of Demeter was appeased, but as she was ordered to return to Olympus, before doing so she called the princes of the realm together and initiated them into the rites which assured them of honor after death; and at Eleusis, the place of her sufferings, she founded the cult which should keep her faith in remembrance.
Now the meaning of this myth is quite apparent and it is often set forth in the Greek classics. It is that the soul originated from the immortal and it is led astray by what is transitory. It lives alternately above and below. It cannot abide permanently upon the heights of the divine. It is never-dying, but is doomed to recurring transformation by birth and death until it is reunited with the source from whence it sprung, and the temple service instituted by Demeter was to help establish its votaries as far as possible in the divine life.
This was the beginning of the mystic system at Eleusis which later developed to such proportions that it became a wonderful influence in the Grecian life and transcended all other similar rites in brilliancy of presentation. It was in great part a revival of the ancient established religion of the realm and this conduced to its adoption as the state religion, but it was reinforced by foreign elements, namely, the introduction of gods who did not inhabit Olympus and who had suffered and had found consolation.
These mysteries were supposed to enshrine a primitive revelation of divine truth, and it is maintained by Pindar and Sophocles and Plutarch (and their contemporaries and successors) that they exercised a healthy and saving effect upon their votaries, and although in the time of Diogenes they lost their religious character and became simply a splendid ceremony and under the Romans they degenerated to mere superstition, yet they endured with power for nearly a thousand years, coming to an end during the reign of Theodosius II. Let me as briefly as possible portray to you what took place and the significance of the rites as I interpret them.
Every device of painting and sculpture, of architecture and music and dancing, of gorgeous costumes and alternating darkness and dazzling light was called into being to make an impression upon the initiate, and he was taught that by what was to be imparted he was to have an advantage in the future world. The novitiate was subjected to a special preparation, his mind was wrought up to a breathless expectation, and he was disqualified if he had committed murder and had not made reparation therefor.
There were what were called the Lesser Mysteries, which were celebrated at Athens on the hill of Agra, near the Stadium, in the month of February, but these were but a preparation for the rites which were to follow. The novitiate was subjected to a most sacred vow of secrecy and was only admitted to the vestibule of the sanctuary of Demeter. He had to wait a year before he could advance to what was designated as the Greater Mysteries.
These Greater Mysteries occupied nine days in their presentation, from the fifteenth to the twenty third of September. Two months previous to that time heralds from the priestly families went forth to announce the coming of the celebration and a holy armistice was declared for those who were waging war, so that all might be free to travel in safety.
As the date set for the beginning of the ceremonies drew near the novitiate was subjected to a fast which lasted for nine days and then he was ready for initiation. We are told by many writers of the terror in the minds of those who were about to pass through the ordeal and it is often compared to the preparation for death.
On the fourteenth of the month, at full moon, the priests of Eleusis, headed by the hierophant (who was dressed to represent the governor of the universe), removed from their repository the Sacred Objects, and, followed by the populace, carried them in procession to Athens. All the Athenians went out to meet them, the youths from eighteen to twenty years of age formed a guard of honor around the sacred objects, and they were deposited at the foot of the Acropolis, the announcement of their arrival was solemnly made to the priestess of Pallas Athena, the tutelary goddess of Athens, and the high festival began.
The following morning the novitiates were taught that they could not participate unless their lives were clean and they could speak with intelligible voice. Next day, the sixteenth, was the feast of Purification when they bathed in the sea that their minds might be pure and undefiled. On the seventeenth was the sacrifice of Soteria, which was for the salvation of the Senate, the citizens of Athens, and their wives and children.
On the eighteenth there was a sacrifice in honor of Aesculapius, and the next morning the multitude started on the procession back to Eleusis. There were altars and shrines all along the way and a pause was made and offerings bestowed at each of these. It was night before the pilgrimage was completed, so that torches were lit. Everyone from Eleusis came out to meet the worshippers and they finished their journey with chanting and a wandering in the dark along the shores and plains in search of the lost daughter of Demeter.
The next twenty-four hours were spent in rest and in preparation for the great initiation which took place on the twenty-first and twenty-second of the month, and was representative of the lives of the deities by whom the mysteries were instituted and developed. All that could be accomplished by dazzling lights and gorgeous costumes and strange apparitions and wonderful voices and every possible spectacular device was called into operation to produce an impression upon the novitiates.
After their credentials were examined, they were crowned with myrtle and admitted to the mystical enclosure where a priest proposed certain questions to which the answers were to be returned in a set and particular form. Then they underwent further purification and were specially prepared by partaking of a sacred draught, after which they were allowed to kiss the holy treasures of the temple, and then they approached the supreme moment of their exaltation. From the profound darkness of the night they were suddenly ushered into the midst of transcendent and overpowering light. On every hand issued loud cries for help and laments of agony. Frightful noises came as from earth and heaven. Flames burst from the surrounding walls and were extinguished by invisible hands. The lightning flashed with blinding brilliance and peal after peal of thunder rent the air. The place shook and vibrated and whirled and strange and amazing objects appeared everywhere around. As they advanced there were flambeau bearers representing the Sun and near an altar was the Adorer symbolizing the Moon, and there was Mercury, the messenger of the gods, and a multitude of similar characters most gorgeously attired.
As the candidate approached, he saw a spacious habitation replete with glittering gems. Above him, the roof was resplendent with stars, and he was raised up into a place burning with fire. When they pleased those around him assumed the likeness of men, and when they desired they gleamed as gods and appeared or vanished at will. All around him the lightning hissed and flashed, terrestrial demons with every device to excite the human passions waited all along his path, and if he yielded he was plunged into an abyss of darkness and suffering.
All this was continued until the eighth day of the festival, when the ceremonies were completed and the candidates fully initiated, when they either remained to participate in the sports which followed or returned to Athens in somewhat the same spectacular way in which they had come, excepting that they no longer preserved a serious and solemn mien, but engaged in all sorts of chaffing and buffoonery.
Such were the famous Mysteries of Eleusis, in which, as is clearly to be seen, the legend of Osiris is transformed into that of Demeter, but with the same fundamental teaching of immortality and a reaching after a being behind and transcending the gods whom the people ignorantly worshipped and as Athens came in course of time to dominate Greece, her ceremonies served in a large measure as a pattern for others wherever the Greeks extended their influence.
Mackey tells us that the Dionysian mysteries were very old and that previous to the building of Solomon's temple the inhabitants of Attica had conquered Asia Minor and there they introduced these mysteries before they were corrupted by the Athenians, and in them was presented the death of the demigod Dionysus, the search for his body and his restoration to life. The same historian informs us that Hiram Abiff was initiated into these rites and that later his own death and resurrection were substituted in place of that of Dionysus.
There were also Mysteries of Mithras embellished by the wonderful teachings of Zoroaster and the contest between the hosts of Ahriman and those of Ormuzd. There were again the Samothracian and Orphic Mysteries which had their special characteristics, but all with the same underlying principles and teaching. There was something also of the same manifestation in our older scriptures where the Jews pictured Jehovah as dwelling in the thick darkness, and in the fact that they never voiced the sacred name of deity, and again in the New Testament in our book of Revelation.
In all ages, therefore, we find man instinctively erecting-altars, reaching out after God if haply he might and him and looking on beyond the grave to a life that is endless. And it were folly to think that Masonry has had its place through the long centuries and among such varied peoples without appropriating to itself something of what was so vital to mankind. Indeed the more I study its history, the more I am persuaded that what we have found to be the heart of the ancient mysteries was also the heart and soul of Masonry in days gone by, as it is, in my thought, in this day and generation.
Not that we in our fraternity are banded together as religious sect. Thank God we have no creed, but we meet strictly upon the level, and we ask of no man what church he attends or whether he remains outside them all. But on the threshold of our lodge rooms we do demand that those who would unite with us shall declare their faith in God, and except such is his conviction, none may pass through our ceremonies and sit with us in our circle of fraternity, and furthermore, he who does not learn from our third degree the lesson of immortality has not yet apprehended its true significance.
We are not only one with those who carved the sphinx and erected the statue of Memnon and with those who embellished the Acropolis with that series of temples that even in their ruin are the wonder and delight of all who look upon them, but we are also one with those who by what seem to us crude and often barbarous rites and ceremonies sought to impart to man an apprehension of deity and a surety that death is but an incident in an endless career.
We might, as Masons, cherish a just pride in an institution which reaches back through so many centuries of the long ago, even if we conceive of it as embodying only good fellowship and affording its members the means for travelling in foreign countries with the assurance of receiving a Master's pay. But this would place it in the same category with a thousand other gilds or trade unions which men have devised for their personal emolument, and to see no more than this in the work and teachings of the Craft would be to overlook what to me is our transcendent glory. To minister to our bodily comforts and our social enjoyment is assuredly a worthy mission, yet it needs but little apprehension of that which constitutes the real man--the deeper needs, the higher joys, the supreme longings of our race--to perceive that those who contribute to this nobler part of our nature are our truest benefactors.
And of such have been those who through the ages have gathered within the sacred circle of Freemasonry and radiated from its altar the inspiration that comes from the recognition of a Supreme Being and the certainty of immortality.
How far the Craft have been allied with those who in so many lands and ages rose above the popular religions there and then in vogue and laid hold upon the one God and the unending tomorrow we may not be arbitrary in affirming, but that our operative forebears, while imparting the knowledge of the science of architecture, held also among their secrets these same priceless convictions it is not difficult to substantiate.
And in my judgment it was not because of the working of blind chance that we find such to have been the case, but rather we may believe that Masonry is one of the ordained instruments by which the Infinite Artificer of the Universe is to transform the rough ashlar of barbarism into smooth and polished and completed manhood, it is one of the means by which we are to advance by regular and upright steps to the attainment of our individual perfection and that of our human race.
Mark ye, brethren, the destiny of nations and the secret of their downfall! It is written on every page of history ! They grew in wealth and power but they forgot the demands of righteousness and they forsook the altars of the Most High.
Today, as never before in the annals of time, the world is being devastated by war and cursed by a philosophy which is materialistic. The very foundations of society are threatened with overthrow. Our only hope is in God and in the dissemination of the spirit of brotherhood--the recognition of our obligations as members together of one great family.
Amid the turmoil and doubt and strife stands the fraternity of which we are a part, and within our lodges we are taught to live together in unity and to put our trust in one who is unconquerable, and by the light which gleams upon us when we are raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason we recognize the indestructibility of the human soul. Surely it is a privilege and an honor which is ours, but I would call it to your minds that it also imposes vital obligations. It may yet be proved that as Masons we are standing between mankind and its reversion to barbarism and it is possible that a greater and more glorious future than that of which we have ever dreamed awaits the Craft.
Everything depends upon the shaping of our organization and our discharge of the duty that devolves upon us. If the word I have voiced in this hour shall have waked in any of you who have listened so patiently a higher conception of the significance and mission of Masonry and a firmer fidelity to its demands I shall have been abundantly repaid for the effort that I have put forth in your behalf.
SPECULATIVE MASONRY IN THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY
BY BRO. OSSIAN LANG, GRAND HISTORIAN, GRAND LODGE OF NEW YORK
The birthyear of the present Grand Lodge period of Freemasonry is securely fixed. Of the time of establishment, between 1717 and 1723, we have only a few more or less unimportant data and next to nothing as regards reliable information explaining the momentous developments which must have taken place before "The Constitutions," the Magna Charta of modern Freemasonry, could be formulated and issued in printed form.
The reasons for the lack of reliable historical material concerning the status and activity of the Fraternity, before 1723, are simple enough. History recording is an after-thought. It arises when some degree of greatness, or at least the promise of greatness, is achieved. That is why Israelitic History began with David and Solomon. (1) That is why English history began with Alfred the Great. That is why Masonic history began with the Grand Mastership of John, Duke of Montagu, whose connection with the Fraternity aroused widespread interest in Freemasonry.
The publication of the Constitutions, in 1723, became a direct challenge to historians, and now began the questioning as to antecedents which has been going on ever since. Before the Grand Mastership of Montagu, there was nothing in the existence of the Fraternity in any way suggesting that this was destined to attain importance, let alone greatness. Of the lodges who united to form the premier Grand Lodge, only one evidenced real vitality. One soon became extinct. Another had to be reconstituted in 1723. A third retained only thirteen members between 1721 and 1723. There appeared to be no inducement to record history.
A suggestive side-light is thrown on existing conditions by a note in the autobiography of Dr. William Stukeley, F. R. S. (1687-1765), reading as follows:
"His curiosity led him to be initiated into the mysterys of Masonry, suspecting it to be the remains of the mysterys of the antients; when, with difficulty, a number sufficient were to be found in all London. After this, it became a public fashion, not only to spread over Brittain and Ireland, but all Europe."
Those of us who have experienced what it means to initiate candidates with barely enough brethren present to form a lodge, can sympathize with Brother Stukeley. The point of historical significance in his recital is that on January 6th, 1721, the date when he was "made a Freemason," it was only "with difficulty" that "a number sufficient was to be found in all London" to welcome him and two other distinguished Londoners into the Fraternity.
Another interesting item is the entry in Dr. Stukeley's diary, under date of December 27th, 1721, as follows:
"We met at the Fountain Tavern, Strand, and by the consent of the Grand Master present, Dr. Beal (D. G. M.) constituted a lodge there, where I was chose Master."
That throws light on many things. Taken together with other available stray bits of information, the entry suggests that "the verbal consent of the Grand Master, or his Deputy, was sufficient to authorize the formation of a lodge." We find, further, that the now required qualifications for elevation to the chair, were not known in 1721. Brother Stukeley had been a Mason for less than a year when he was "chose Master."
The presence of the Grand Master, John, Duke of Montagu, is worth noting. Dr. Stukeley and the Duke had both been elected Fellows of the Royal Society in 1717. Both belonged also to the "Gentlemen's Society" of Spaulding, a literary club, which counted among its members a number of men who won distinction in Freemasonry: Desaguliers, the Earl of Dalkeith, and Lord Coleraine, Grand Masters of the Grand Lodge of England, 1719, 1723, 1727; Joseph Ames, David Casley, Francis Drake (the latter serving as Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of All England, 1761-2); Martin Folkes, Sir Richard Manningham and Dr. Thomas Manningham; Sir Andrew Michael Ramsey, Knight of St. Lazarus, reputed founder of the Scottish Rite, became a member of this Society, in March, 1729.
The astonishing progress of Freemasonry, after the accession to the Grand Mastership of John, Duke of Montagu, may be readily understood when we take into account his zeal for the Fraternity and the eminent men who were glad to co-operate with him. The rapid rise to importance among the social organizations of the British metropolis may be regarded as the first real impetus to the study of the antecedents of the Fraternity. Each new edition of the Constitutions revealed evidences of serious efforts to arrive at a satisfactory explanation of origins.
There was no doubt then, as there is no doubt now, that the Fraternity had at one time been connected in some way with the craft gild of Masons. It was equally clear that the lodges which formed the premier Grand Lodge had been made up of "Accepted" Freemasons enjoying at one time membership in the Masons' Company of London, but forming a distinct division within that Company and having no direct interest in operative Masonry. The "Laws, Forms and usages" which the Fraternity had in common with the "Craft and Fellowship of Masons," were plausibly accounted for as having been derived from former gild connections. The differences were not explained so easily. It is here where the difficulty arose. The problem was how to account for the "curious secret brotherhood" of Accepted Freemasons, which was regarded as the true parent of the Fraternity. It has remained an open problem to this day. The task I have set myself for the present discussion is to suggest a solution as far as arguments in support of it may be presented in public print.
HINTS POINTING TO ROSICRUCIAN ORIGINS
Gould to whose faithful labors we shall ever be indebted for the gathering together of a vast amount of valuable material relating to the development of our Fraternity, found that there is practical unanimity among serious historians to the effect that "Freemasonry, as it emerged from the crucible in 1723, was the product of many evolutionary changes, consummated for the most part in the six years during which the craft had been ruled by a central authority." We shall agree to this, with one rather important reservation: The changes that were wrought, between 1717 and 1723, did not spring from a desire to create something altogether new, but rather to restore what was believed to have been the true character of the Fraternity in the past; hence an earlier order was assumed and served as a model for the "many evolutionary changes." The attitude of the restorers may be gathered from the "Defence of Masonry" appended to the printed Constitutions of 1734, from which I quote for our present purpose this passage:
"The system as taught in the regular lodges, may have some redundancies or defects, occasion'd by the ignorance or indolence of the old members. And indeed, considering through what obscurity and darkness the Mystery has been deliver'd down; the many centuries it has survived; the many countries and languages, and sects and parties, it has run through, we are rather to wonder it ever arriv'd to the present age without more imperfection. In short, I am apt to think that Masonry (as it is now explain'd) has in some circumstances declined from its original purity! It has run along in muddy streams, and, as it were, underground. But notwithstanding the great rust it may have contracted * * * there is (if I judge right) much of the old fabrick still remaining; the essential Pillars of the Building may be discover'd through the rubbish, tho' the superstructure be over-run with moss and ivy, and the stones by length of time be disjointed."
The scholarly brother who wrote this, had in mind a very definite idea of the derivation of Freemasonry. His very language, the italicized words, and the reference to "the essential Pillars of the Building," suggest to those familiar with these things, a fairly clear explanation he had elaborated for himself, as we shall see further on.
In connection with the cited extract from the "Defence of Masonry," I desire to invite your attention to the consideration of a newspaper item appearing in the London Daily Journal of September 5th, 1730: (2)
"It must be confessed that there is a Society abroad from whom the English Free-Masons (asham'd of their true Origin) have copied a few Ceremonies, and take great Pains to persuade the World that they are derived from them and are the same with them. These are called Rosicrucians * * *.
"On this Society have our Moderns endeavor'd to ingraft themselves, tho' they know nothing of their material Constitutions, and are acquainted only with some of their Signs of Probation and Entrance, inasmuch that 'tis but of late years (being better informed by some kind Rosicrucian) that they knew John the Evangelist to be their right Patron, having before kept for his Day that dedicated to John the Baptist."
Here we have in convenient form a summary of comments given currency by a number of contemporaneous critics of the Fraternity, chiefly dissatisfied old brethren wedded to the belief that Freemasonry was wholly derived from operative Masonry. By intimating that "our Moderns" were trying to "ingraft themselves" on the Society of Rosicrucians, they reveal a significant fact which is verified, though in veiled terms, by our quotation from the "Defence of Masonry." Bearing in mind that this "Defence" was published with the implied official sanction of the Grand Lodge, we must assume that the learned brethren who directed the inner affairs of the Fraternity, were convinced that the substance of Freemasonry was in nowise derived from operative Masonry, but that the "Mystery" had come down through the ages by way of quite a different channel. Since the suggestion is offered that the "Rosicrucians" were regarded as the true forebears, it will be worth our while to examine this question more closely. (3)
We shall have to take for granted certain matters discussed in my paper on "Medieval Craft Gilds and Freemasonry," published in THE BUILDER (November and December, 1917):
(1) The Constitutions, including "Laws, Forms and Usages," reveal former external connections of the forebears of the Fraternity with gilds of operative Masons.
(2) The "drooping" lodges which united, in 1717, to form the Grand Lodge of England were of an essentially convivial character, possessing certain "antient" ceremonies and modes of recognition and guarding "mysteries" of the origin and meaning of which the remnant of the earlier "secret brotherhood" were ignorant.
(3) The earlier London lodge or lodges of "Accepted" (Speculative) Masons had no continuous history, revealing its existence rather by sporadic revivals of "an old order."
(4) Degrees, symbolism and ritualistic peculiarities known as "Arts and Sciences," consisted of borrowings from several sources, the selection and elaboration being governed, in the first two decades of the Grand Lodge, by deliberate efforts of the organizers of the work to restore the "Original purity of the old fabrick."
(5) The spirit of Freemasonry is a growth from beginnings which may he traced with some degree of certainty to societies quite different from those which contributed Constitutions and suggestions for initiatory ceremonies.
ROSICRUCIANS OR ROSY CROSS ALCHEMISTS
Our present inquiry will deal largely with explanations of presumptions three, four and five, and more particularly with the so-called Rosicrucian origins of Freemasonry.
Extensive researches regarding Alchemists and their reputed successors in Rosicrucianism, covering a vast and largely unprofitable literature on the subject, have led me to formulate a few conclusions which I shall present more or less categorically. A fuller discussion would be too cruel a trial of the fraternal patience of the readers of THE BUILDER.
We shall probably never know for a certainty whether there ever was an organized Fraternity of the Rosy Cross. We do know there were reputed and professed Rosicrucians, particularly in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and there were also distinguished leaders of thought who stoutly defended the doctrines ascribed to the Fraternity and many reputable men who adopted the Rosicrucian symbolism, in an extensive array of books. There is furthermore abundant testimony to warrant the inference that there were in existence "invisible" or secret societies and lodges composed of men seeking honestly to give realization to the practice of the art or arts described in these books as characteristic of the mystic Brethren of the Rosy Cross. The absence of a recognized authoritative central body was in the course of events taken advantage of by impostors parading under the name of Rosicrucians who played upon the credulity of the public till the name sank into general disrepute.
The English and Scottish Rosicrucians who are the only ones to be taken into account for our purpose, were Christian Theosophists. Like their brethren on the European continent, they made much of Cabala, following chiefly the Alexandrinian Philo. Neo-Platonism or Neo-Pythagorism, the Old Testament and Christian theology also engaged their attention. They devoted themselves with fervor to the study of chemistry, physics, music, astronomy and mathematics (particularly geometry). Mystic, allegorical interpretation of the Scriptures was a characteristic trait. Their supreme object, however, to which all studies were subordinated, was the promotion of the welfare of humanity.
These Rosicrucians were the lineal descendants of the theosophic portion of the Alchemists who are sometimes called Hermetic Philosophers.
DERIVATION OF MASONIC SYMBOLS
Bearing in mind that Hermetics and the Rosy Cross fraternity are fundamentally the same, though they differ in name and somewhat in allegorical interpretation, let me now quote for you a letter by Albert Pike, addressed to the historian Gould, which contains this interesting reference to Hermetic symbols to be found in Freemasonry:
"I have been for some time collecting the old Hermetic and Alchemical works in order to find out what Masonry came into possession of from them. I have ascertained with certainty that the square and compasses, the triangle, the oblong square, the three Grand Masters, the idea embodied in the substitute word, the Sun, Moon and Master of the Lodge, and others were included in the number.
"The symbols that I have spoken of as Hermetic may have been borrowed by Hermeticism, but all the same it had them, and I do not know where they were used, outside of Hermeticism, until they appeared in Masonry.
"I think that the Philosophers, becoming Free Masons, introduced into Masonry its symbolism."
My own investigations have verified Albert Pike's conclusions. In fact, I would greatly extend the list of symbols, adding to them symbols which are to be found among the true Brethren of the Rosy Cross, with this result:
Purely Rosy Cross Symbols: (4) Jacob's ladder; rough and perfect Ashlar; Sun, Moon, and Master of the Lodge; flaming star; three Grand Masters; three columns; two pillars; circle between parallel lines; point within a circle; sacred delta (triangle); oblong; three, five and seven steps.
Symbols which the Operative Gild and Brethren of the Rosy Cross had in common: Square; compasses; level; plumb; trowel; bee-hive; horn of plenty; hour glass; cassia.
Purely Masonic: Three windows; twenty-four-inch gauge; gavel; trestle board; tesselated border.
The first and second lists might have been extended. We hope to have given enough, however, to suggest the indebtedness of Freemasonry to the Rosy Cross.
The choice of two explanations is offered. One is that implied in the quotation we have given from the London Daily Journal in 1730, which would have us conclude that "the English Free-Masons (asham'd of their true origin)" imported Rosy Cross symbols and ceremonials into the system of the Fraternity. The other is founded on the quoted passage from the "Defence," which tells in so many words that Freemasonry had come down the ages through the Fraternity of the Rosy Cross, that much had been lost on the way which the Grand Lodge of England sought to restore in its proper place. In other words, following the former allegation, the Grand Lodge adopted the Brethren of the Rosy Cross as forefathers; following the latter declaration, the Brethren of the Rosy Cross were the true forebears.
There is no reason for assuming that the Alchemists were the originators of the symbols referred to in the foregoing list. In fact, I am sure these symbols were borrowed from an older source.
FLUDD AND FRISIUS
We agreed to confine our attention chiefly to the theosophic Alchemists of England and Scotland. Let us limit the range still further by disregarding the older Alchemists and taking note only of the representative leaders of the later (if not the last) of the "True Brethren of the Rosy Cross." (5) Here we have an abundance of first hand information in the several treatises in defense of the mystic Fraternity by that renowned English physician and philosopher, Robert Fludd, and in the "Summum Bonum" (The Supreme Good), a Latin dissertation by a Scottish friend of Fludd's, who wrote under the pseudonym of Joachimus Frisius (or Frizius).
The Century Dictionary gives this brief biographical notice of Robert Fludd, or Flud: "Born at Bearsted, Kent, 1574, died at London, Sept. 8th, 1637. An English physician and mystical philosopher. He wrote several treatises in defense of the fraternity of the 'Rosy Cross." Waite, who presents a more extensive biography in "The Real History of the Rosicrucians," adds this word of appreciation: "The central figure of Rosicrucian literature * * * is Robertus de Fluctibus, the great English mystical philosopher of the seventeenth century, a man of immense erudition, of exalted mind, and, to judge by his writings, of extreme personal sanctity." Fludd was one of the last, if not the last, of the giants of universal scholarship of whom there were many, before the days of specialization set in. He was a devout Christian and a staunch Protestant, basing his philosophy of the universe frankly on the Bible.
Of Joachimus Frisius, Frizius or Frize, whom we shall call Frisius, we know nothing, except that Fludd tells us he was a Scotchman and wrote his book partly in Scottish and partly in Latin. Fludd translated the Scottish portions into Latin, made a few slight changes in the text, and had the whole put into print, under the title of "Summum Bonum."
(To be continued)
(1) See "Early Hebrew History" by that distinguished authority on Old Testament literature, our R.'. W.'. Brother, the Rev. John Punnett Peters, Rector of St. Michael's Church, New York.
(2) As quoted by Gould who had access to the original.
(3) In Scotland, too, we find allusions to a connection between the Brethren of the Rosy Cross and Masonry; as for instance in a poem forming part of Adamson's "Muses Threnodie," published at Edinburgh, in 1638. There in singing the praises of the beauties of Perthshire, the poet says:
"For we be brethren of the Rosie Cross:
"We have the Mason word and second sight."
(4) Or Rosy Cross and Hermetic combined,-or Alchemist symbols.
(5) We exclude, of course, altogether the spurious Rosicrucianism which brought the name of the, Fraternity into disrepute by its grandiloquence and diletantism and the charlatanry and deliberate fraud carried on under its banner.
THE DAY OF PEACE
When will peace come ?
When the lips of "patriots" are dumb
Throughout the world;
When the pure white flag of humankind
Shall be unfurled.
When will war die ?
When from every land beneath the sky
"Laws" shall have passed,
And the higher, truer Law of Love
Shall bind men fast.
- T.C. Clark.
THE MYSTIC ART
What is the mystic Art ?
Just a blending, that is all
And so moulded to a test
That it is the Truth at call
To the heart who craves the guest;
Just a passport to the realm
Of the blest discovery,
Just a system at the helm
O'er life's trackless mystery.
What is the mystic Art ?
Just a measure made to meet
Soulfulness upon the way,
Just a something thrumming sweet
Heartstrings tuned to Masonry;
Just a something that invites
To the social cheer the best,
Just a welcome that unites
In a higher moral quest.
What is the mystic Art ?
Just a home where there is naught
But a benediction heard,
Where no ear has ever caught
Aught that's not a restful word;
Just the needful for the heart,
Just ideals for the mind,
Just a blend of soul-made Art
That they both so love to find.
What is the mystic Art ?
Something that to mem'ry clings
More and more as years roll by,
Something that to manhood brings
Treasures gold can never buy,
Something that with cobwebs weave
Cables that for aye unite,
Something that in trials leave
Friendships glowing yet more bright.
What is the mystic Art?
There's no answer satisfies,
Not e'en what we all can say
That 'tis something that supplies
Something needed on the way.
Wonder tis, this alchemy
Of the Art that writes so plain
Does not interline the way
To the secret we would gain!
- Bro. L. B. Mitchell, Michigan.
Fling open thy window as morning
Unfolds from the darkness of night,
And mark how the vine, in its climbing
Is seeking the kiss of the light.
Fling open thy heart to the glowing
Of love rising out of the gloom
The world by the warmth of its brooding
Will burst like a garden in bloom.
Fling open thy vision to childhood
That bursts like a sun from the sea,
And mark how, in growing to manhood,
Is life like a rose to the bee.
Unfetter thy spirit exulting
When darkness and storms disappear
Its pinions, at evening returning,
Some garland most surely will bear.
Though home be a roof that is humble,
Thy slumber on pallets of grass,
All nature will greet thee at dawning
And children will smile as ye pass.
- James T. Duncan.
FURTHER NOTES ON THE COMACINE MASTERS
BY BRO. W. RAVENSCROFT, ENGLAND
IN order to trace a few of the leading features in which the architecture of the East as well as other allied arts affected the work of the Comacines, it will be desirable to give a very short description of the larger type of church these Masters would build. It would consist of a basilican ground plan (Fig. 3b) * having nave and side aisles, the nave being divided from the aisles by rows of columns or piers, the latter sometimes with, sometimes without, capitals, and semi-circular arches generally without mouldings and springing directly from the capitals where such occur. Some of these capitals would be elaborately carved, others of the cushion shape we find in our own Norman work. Clerestory windows would occur above these arches, and the covering of the nave would consist of a flat pitched roof of timber construction. Beyond the nave, generally eastward, would come the presbytery having aisles in continuation of those on either side of the nave, and each, as well as the presbytery, ending in a semi-circular apse. The presbytery would in many cases have the space for the choir enclosed with a low screen and would frequently be raised several steps, having beneath it, approached by steps, a crypt. With the exception of the nave, the various parts of the edifice would be sometimes vaulted with simple crossvaulting.
The High Altar would be a little away from the central apse and placed under a baldachino.
One, sometimes two, campanili would rise either from a presbytery aisle or from the west end of one of the nave aisles or in other instances detached or nearly so.
The baptistery in most instances would be a separate building near by and generally octagonal in plan, with or without a small apse on one side. . * Shown on page 199, THE BUILDER, July.
Architectural details, other than those already mentioned, would consist chiefly in the small roundarched windows deeply recessed from the outside; small, and in some instances large circular windows; little openings in gables in the form of a Greek Cross; doorways semi-circular headed, generally having a lintol and tympanum, some very plain, others more or less enriched with columns and mouldings on arches; corbel tables under eaves and running up gables; pilaster strips at angles, some having semi-circular columns on their faces. these being also found on external walls independently of pilaster strips, a kind of dentil ornament, used sometimes as a string course with corbel tabling beneath and sometimes under eaves and then, as ornament, the interlaced endless knot, nearly always in Italy composed of three strands.
Decoration internally would consist of sculpture in capitals and other details, and of fresco painting and decorated stucco, sometimes in low relief. The Comacine lion is a later product, but this description above outlined would fairly well apply to a church of the eleventh or twelfth century.
Better illustration there cannot be than is to be found in the Church of S. Abbondio at Como, and the Baptistery at Lenno (Figs. 6 and 7). The Duomo at Modena also, originally designed as we have already seen, by Master Lanfrancus, contains practically all the chief characteristics of Comacine work. In the earlier work of the Comacines ornament is sparingly used and the striking feature of such work is its dignified solemnity.
Sig. Monneret de Villard, in a booklet entitled "I. Monumenti del Lago di Como," (Milan), claims for the Comacine Masters peculiarities in their work other than those already indicated in these notes, and, differing from Merzario, holds that it is not a matter of indifference as to whether the term "Lombard" or "Comacine" be used in describing their work seeing there are features of both schools so distinctive as to render any such indifference misleading. Doubtless both were offshoots or descendants of the Roman Collegia, but all the same he considers they were separate offshoots.
Of course there were many features common to both, and on the other hand it must not be supposed that even essential differences were in every case rigidly maintained. Indeed, indications are not wanting that the Comacine was the parent of the Lombard school.
The two outstanding features of difference according to Sig. Monneret between the Comacine school and that which he designates as the Lombard or Milanese school, arose out of material and construction.
Not having stone or marble the latter used tera cotta, (in which one supposes may be included brick,) while the other used stone and marble.
This doubtless was a difference which would be broken down in many instances; probably, however, rather in the more frequent use of stone and marble than of terra cotta and the use of the vault appears to have been a feature in the Milanese work of which the Comacine Masters were somewhat shy.
The vault in its larger development involved its consideration even in the laying in of foundations and the planning of the building seeing it necessitated buttresses, piers and their contrivances to meet its thrust.
So the Comacines, except perhaps in apses, crypts and sometimes isles, preferred the flat roof treatment with the beams and a direct downward thrust, and having no projections in the form of buttresses beyond the very flat pilasters already described in these pages.
They are also supposed to have preferred elaborately carved capitals to the plain cushion capitals resembling our Norman ones, but that they did also use these there is plenty of evidence. The interlaced patterns of the Comacines Sig. Monneret considers to be the more elaborate type, and he attributes to them the curious figures of animals, birds, etc.
Whether he is on sure ground here is certainly doubtful, but the Eastern influence on Comacine work might, in part, account for this, if his opinion is correct.
One other point of difference between the two schools appears to be that while the Lombard or Milanese covered the ends of their nave and the aisles with a facade, unbroken and as a single front, the Comacines, when they planned naves and aisles, marked in some way in the facade, either by pilaster strips or more generally by raising the central portion, the fact that behind it such existed, which in general the Milanese did not.
Let us now see how in some respects the architecture of the Comacines was affected by the East, and the first point must necessarily be the influence of the Greek plan and of the dome, so characteristically Byzantine. The Greek plan which in its simplest form would consist of nave, presbytery and transepts, of approximately equal lengths, and having a dome over the crossing, was sometimes used by the Comacines, but not very often, and it must not be forgotten that the suggestion of the dome would come from Rome quite as well as from Byzantium, seeing that when Constantine attracted skilled Craftsmen to his new capital, the Pantheon at Rome had been for centuries in their view, and thus the dome was not a new thing to them first seen in the East.
That this particular influence over the Comacines was but partial is clear from the small number of their churches built on Greek plan with domes and the great preponderance of those built on basilican lines with or without campanili.
Professor Baldwin Brown says (From Schola to Cathedral, p. 135):
"In the West the tower originating in early Christian times becomes, under the hand of the medieval builders, the feature wherein resides especially that romantic aspiring character of Christian architecture which finds its most perfect outcome in Gothic while the dome is the favourite form of the builders of the Eastern Church."
Of the influence of the Byzantine dome, however, a singularly interesting example is found in the Duomo at Ancona.
As described by one of the clergy on the spot, the original church was Byzantine, but basilican in form, the altar being at the west end (the present west transept) and the entrance being from the east end (the present east transept.) That church dated from A.D. 500. In 1150 A.D. the church was turned into a Greek Cross and the altar placed in the new choir, which was in the north. Then it was that the dome was formed with the shafts supporting the same and also the nave running south.
The extension of the choir which was "renovated" in 1733 unduly lengthens the head of the Cross, and while this is evidently eighteenth century work as regards the interior, externally it appears to be that of the twelfth century.
The priest who gave this information described the two styles of work as Byzantine and Lombardic. Now, if the dome were pure Byzantine, one would look for the pedentives (small angle arches springing from the cardinal faces of a building square on plain and bringing thus the square to an octagon, as better suited for a circular or octagonal dome) by means of which circular domes were imposed on square spaces, characteristic of that work. But instead of this we have angle shafts and arcading filling out the space left between a square and a circle at each corner until the shape of the dome is perfectly circular (see frontispiece), all in Comacine work. It would be interesting to trace in other instances how far the Comacines got over this difficulty thus rather than in the correct Byzantine manner.
The influence of Byzantine art on Comacine carving needs to be seen and felt and varies so much as to elude description, but careful examination will not fail to detect that influence when it exists.
And in this connection a good example of a real Byzantine capital, side by side with Comacine work, is to be found in the Duomo at Ancona where one or two of the capitals in the older part of the church still stand and look as fresh and strong as they did many centuries since (Fig. 8), and which are unmistakably Byzantine.
The omission of the entablature between columns and arches may not be peculiar to Comacine work, but in Byzantine construction there frequently appears a sort of second abacus imposed on the real one and acting as a kind of remembrance of the entablature which, in pure Comacine work, is absent. S. Vitale, S. Apollinare Nuovo and S. Apollinare in Classe, Ravenna, afford good examples of this super abacus.
Of the interlaced knot-work used as sculptured decoration it is unnecessary to add to what has already been written with regard to it, but while in its full development it is claimed as a distinguishing feature of Comacine work, it may be pointed out that in its simpler form it may have a Greek as well as a Roman origin. Its development was widespread throughout Italy, chiefly of three-stranded work, and in Rome in the Forum, the Castle of S. Angelo and many a church, especially that of S. Sabina, the fragments remaining are numerous.
But there is one form of this work which is so peculiar as to call for remark. It consists in the unsatisfactory practice of carving a knot in the shafts of columns. This treatment as carried out at Wurzburg has already been noticed, but its appearance in various parts of Italy suggests that at least the same motive operated in each case. What that motive was it is impossible to say--it may have been a sort of Gild mark, or it may have had a symbolic signification, which is more probable. At any rate it is to be found in the Broletto at Como, at S. Michaele Lucca, where four columns are thus treated, on the west front of Sta. Maria della Pieve at Arezzo,* at Valcamonica, and doubtless many other places in Italy and elsewhere.
In Didrons Christian Iconography, vol. I, pp. 387 and 389, will be found two illustrations of Greek crosses, each in a frame, having supported columns twisted in this manner and dated respectively "first ages" and "eleventh century"; this suggests certainly a Greek origin for this distinctly Comacine detail.
It is very unconstructional in design, making the column to appear as if it were composed of two parts with a kind of slip-knot in the center. It can only be done in the case of clustered columns of two or more shafts and does not appear where great weight has to be carried.
The use of the small Greek Cross in gables and other parts has already been shown to be of Byzantine origin.
(To be continued)
* See Fig. 9, September Issue.
There are no points of the compass on the chart of true patriotism. --Robert C. Winthrop.
SYMBOLISM OF THE THREE DEGREES
PART I--THE SYMBOLISM OF THE ENTERED APPRENTICE DEGREE
IT is first necessary that we should understand the scope of my subject. First, be it understood, I attempt to exhaust no topic upon which I touch, but only to stimulate the interest and curiosity of my readers to pursue the subject further for themselves. Under the term "symbolism" I include also the legends and allegories of Masonry, though properly speaking they are not symbols. Yet they are all so closely interwoven and so employed for the same or like purposes they can scarcely be treated separately.
General Albert Pike, that great Freemason and philosopher, says that "to translate the symbols (of Freemasonry) into the trivial and commonplace is the blundering of mediocrity."
That there has been some blundering of this kind on the part of our Monitor makers must be apparent to any serious and intelligent student of Masonry.
Difficult as it is to assign adequate meaning to some of our Masonic symbols, it is equally difficult, when once started, to know where to stop. Says a distinguished British Freemason, Brother W. H. Rylands:
"Symbolism is always a difficult affair as everyone knows or at least ought to know. When once fairly launched on the subject, it often becomes an avalanche or torrent which may carry one away into the open sea or more than empty space. On few questions has more rubbish been written than that of symbols and symbolism, it is a happy hunting ground for those, who guided by no sort of system or rule, ruled only by their own sweet will, love to allow their fancies and imaginations to run wild. Interpretations are given which have no other foundation than the disordered brain of the writer, and, when proof or anything approaching a definite statement is required, symbols are confused with metaphors and we are involved in a further maze of follies and wilder fancies."
Thus I am to steer our bark between the Scylla of Brother Pike and the Charybdis of Brother Rylands; without, therefore, descending to the common-place on the one hand or soaring away from the plane of common sense on the other, I hope to be able to say something of interest concerning the symbolism of the First degree.
A symbol is a visible representation of some object or thing, real or imagined, employed to convey a certain idea. Some times there is an apparent connection between the symbol and the thought represented, but more often the association seems to be entirely arbitrary. The earliest forms of symbolism of which we know were the ancient hieroglyphical systems of writing. We may indeed say that symbolism is but a form of writing; in fact, the earliest and for hundreds, and perhaps even thousands of years, the only form of writing known to the human race. It prevailed among every ancient people of whom we have any definite knowledge.
The learned Dr. William Stukeley, of England, the author of many antiquarian works, said truly that the "wisdom of all the ancients that is come down to our hands is symbolic."
This ancient form of writing, now generally fallen into disuse, Masonry has to some extent at least perpetuated and employs in recording her precepts and impressing them upon her votaries.
Another ancient and favorite method of teaching still employed by Masons is that of the allegory. The allegory is a figure of speech, that is to say, a departure from the direct and simple mode of speaking, and the employment, for the sake of illustration or emphasis, of a fancied resemblance between one object or thing and another.
If we say of a man, as we often uncharitably do, "He is an ass," this is a metaphor. If we say of him as Carlisle did of Wordsworth, "He looks like a horse," this is a simile. An extended simile with the comparative form and words left out, in which the real subject is never directly mentioned but left to be inferred, is called an allegory. The most famous example of the allegory in literature is Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress."
One desirous of entering into the real spirit of these ancient methods of imparting instruction should read Bacon's "Wisdom of the Ancients," and particularly the preface to that remarkable book. He shows that nearly all the complex and to us absurd tales of Grecian mythology were but parts of a great system for inculcating natural, moral and religious truths by means of the allegory. What more grotesque and revolting, we may ask, than the myth of Pan ?
"He is portrayed by the ancients," to quote Bacon, "in this guise: on his head a pair of horns that reach to heaven; his body rough and hairy, his beard long and shabby; his shape biformed, above like a man, and below like a beast, his feet like goats hoofs; and he bore these ensigns of his jurisdiction, to-wit, in his left hand a pipe of seven reeds, and in his right a sheephook, or a staff crooked at the upper end, and his mantle made of a leopard's skin."
Yet under the master touch of Lord Bacon this incongruous creature, half man and half goat, is shown to be a beautiful and apt symbol of all nature.
Approaching that branch of symbolism which at present concerns us, Masonic Symbolism, it may be asserted in the broadest terms that the Mason who knows nothing of our symbolism knows little of Freemasonry. He may be able to repeat every line of the ritual without an error, and yet, if he does not understand the meaning of the ceremonies, the signs, the words, the emblems and the figures, he is an ignoramus Masonically. It is distressing to witness how much time and labor is spent in memorizing "the work"; and how little in ascertaining what it all means.
Far be it from me to under-rate the importance of letter perfection in rendering our ritual. In no other way can the symbolism of our emblems, ceremonies, traditions, and allegories be accurately preserved, but I do maintain that, if we are never to understand their meanings, it is useless to preserve them. The two go hand in hand; without either the beauty and symmetry of the Masonic temple is destroyed.
It is in its symbols and allegories that Freemasonry surpasses all other societies. If any of them now teach by these methods it is because they have slavishly imitated Freemasonry.
The great Mason and scholar, Brother Albert Pike, said:
"The symbolism of Masonry is the soul of Masonry. Every symbol of a lodge is a religious teacher, the mute teacher also of morals and philosophy. It is in its ancient symbols and in the knowledge of their true meanings that the preeminence of Freemasonry over all other orders consists. In other respects. some of them may compete with it, rival it, perhaps even except it; but by its symbols it will reign without a peer when it learns again what its symbols mean, and that each is the embodiment of some great, old, rare truth."
In our Masonic studies the moment we forget that the whole and every part of Freemasonry is symbolic or allegoric, the same instant we begin to grope in the dark. Its ceremonies, signs, tokens, words and lectures at once become meaningless or trivial. The study of no other aspect of Freemasonry is more important, yet I believe the study of no aspect of it has been so much neglected. Brother Robert F. Gould, of England, our foremost Masonic historian, declares it is the "one great and pressing duty of Freemasons." Brother Albert Pike, no doubt the greatest philosopher produced by our fraternity, declared as we have seen that symbolism is the soul of Masonry.
We are told in our Monitors that "every emblem, character and figure depicted in the lodge has a moral and useful meaning and forcibly inculcates the practice of virtue." The same may with equal truth be said of our every ceremony, sign, token, legend, and allegory. If this be true, it must follow that to be ignorant of Masonic symbolism is to be ignorant of Masonry.
In the ceremonies of making a Mason, however, we do not attempt to do more than to indicate the pathway to Masonic knowledge, to lay the foundation for the Masonic edifice; the brother must pursue the journey or complete the structure for himself by reading and reflection.
There must be somewhere in Freemasonry a consistent plan running entirely through it by which all that is genuine in it may be rationally explained. It can not be that a miscellaneous collection of rules, customs, symbols and moral precepts, however valuable in and of themselves, thrown together without order or design, could have attracted the attention among intelligent men that Freemasonry has done in all ages in which it is known. Surely unity must somewhere exist in the great variety which we find in the Masonic system.
A little study will reveal to us that the great, vital, underlying idea, sought to be inculcated by the several degrees considered collectively and which runs entirely through the system, is to give an allegorical or symbolical representation of human existence, not only here but hereafter, and to point the way which leads to the greatest good both in this life and in the life to come. Our ceremonies and symbols, while beautiful and impressive in and of themselves incidentally teaching valuable lessons of religion, morality and industry, all cluster around and contribute to this central idea. But it is only when we reflect upon them in relation to this sublime allegory of human life that we are enabled to comprehend them in the fullness of their beauty and grandeur. The Masonic student, therefore, who has never caught this conception of his subject has failed to grasp Freemasonry in its most instructive and important aspect.
Endeavor, therefore, to get clearly in your minds the point I emphasize and which I shall attempt to demonstrate, namely, that every sign, every symbol and every ceremony in the First degree, in addition to any primary signification it may have, is also designed to illustrate allegorically some moral phase of human existence. I have dwelt at length on this thought because I believe that it is not otherwise possible adequately to explain any part of the Masonic system.
Initiation is now as it has been for countless ages, employed as a symbol of the birth and endless development of the human mind and soul. The Entered Apprentice degree represents birth and the preparatory stage of life, or in other words, youth; the Fellow Craft represents the constructive stage, or manhood; the Master Mason represents the reflecting stage, or old age, death, the resurrection, and the everlasting life. This explanation of the three degrees is briefly given in our lecture on the Three Steps delineated on the Master's Carpet.
Is it true that the lodge symbolically represents the world? I might say to begin that some have thought the word "lodge" derived from the Sanskrit word "loga," meaning the world. However this may be, our monitors tell us that the form of a lodge is an "oblong square" from East to West and between North and South, from earth to heaven and from surface to center. This of course, if it means anything, can mean nothing less than the entire known habitable earth and Masonic scholars universally so interpret it. This meaning was more manifest at the period when Freemasonry is supposed to have had its origin, for the then known world living around the shores of the Mediterranean sea was literally of the form of an "oblong square." One doubting this may consult any map of the ancient world.
Dudley, in his Naology, says that the idea that the earth was a level surface and of a square form may be justly supposed to have prevailed generally in the early ages of the world. It is certain that down to a comparatively recent date it was believed that beyond a certain limit northward life was impossible because of the darkness and cold, and likewise that beyond a certain limit southward it was impossible because of the blinding glare and intense heat of the sun. It was even supposed that in the farthest South the earth was yet molten. The biblical idea was that the earth was square. Isaiah (xi, 12) speaks of gathering "the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth," and in the Apocalypse (xx, 9) in the vision of "four angels standing on the four corners of the earth."
So thoroughly grounded were these beliefs that in ancient times the "square," now the recognized symbol of the lodge, was the recognized symbol of the earth, as the circle was of the sun. In this antiquated expression "oblong square," we therefore have not only an apt description of the ancient world and evidence that the lodge is symbolical thereof, (1) but also a remarkable evidence of the great age of Freemasonry. It tends strongly to date our institution back to the time when the human mind conceived the earth to be a plane surface and was ignorant of its spherical character.
Likewise the lodge, which is sometimes defined as "the place where Masons work," symbolizes the world or the place where all men work. Again, its covering is said to be a cloudy canopy or starry decked heaven, a description that could have not the slightest application to anything else but the world.
If the lodge symbolizes the world and the Mason symbolizes man, it follows that initiation must symbolize the introduction of the individual into the world, or the birth of the child. It was so regarded in the ancient systems of initiation and is now so understood by Masonic scholars everywhere. It is the least important view to consider it merely as the method of admitting one to membership in a Society.
The preparation of the candidate and the plight in which he is admitted an Entered Apprentice strikingly typifies the helpless, destitute, blind and ignorant condition of the newly born babe. But initiation means more than this; by all the authorities it is agreed to be a symbolical representation of the process by which not only the child had been brought into existence and educated into a scholarly and refined man but that by which the race has been brought out of savagery and barbarism into civilization. D....., neither n..... nor c ....., b...... nor s......, w..... c...... t....., fittingly typifies the barbaric, not to say savage, state in which man originally moved when he knew not the use of metals and out of which he has been brought to his present condition. It is precisely this that has led to the application of the term "barbarians" to the uninitiated. On this point I quote Brother Albert Pike, again; he says:
"In that preparation of the candidate which symbolizes the condition of the Aryan race especially in its infancy, he is deprived of all m ...... and m......, because their use was not known to the earliest men; that he is n ....... nor c ...... represents the condition of the race when there were no manufacturers and the fabrics of the loom were unknown, when men dressed in the skins of animals, and, when the heat made these a burden, were hardly clothed at all. That he is b....... represents their blindness of ignorance, even of the most useful arts, and although of divine truths; and that in which the number 3 appears, the c..... t......... three times around the ..... the bonds in which they were held of their sensual appetites, their passions that were their masters, anger, revenge, hatred, and all the evil kindred of these; and their superstitious fears."
A little study and reflection will show that every Masonic symbol has an apt application not only to the moral and intellectual life history of the individual but also to that of the race considered collectively. Biologists tell us that this parallel between the individual and the race holds good in the material realm and that in the physical growth and development of every child from the moment of its conception till it is a fully grown man, there is epitomized the history of the evolutionary development of the race through all the ages that have passed. However this may be, it is certain that an exact parallel does exist between the moral and intellectual growth of the child and the process which history indicates the race as a whole has passed through.
One of the things first noticed in the Entered Apprentice degree and continued throughout all the degrees is the employment of the tools of the operative Mason, as emblems of moralalities. This peculiarity of Freemasonry is well known even outsiders.
Brother George Fleming Moore, editor of the New Age and Sovereign Grand Commander, A. and A. S. Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, declares that it is clear that the ancient Chinese philosophers used our present Masonic symbols "in almost precisely same sense in which they are used by us in modern Freemasonry." (2)
The tools with which men labor are not inappropriate for use as moral symbols, they are neither humble nor trivial. They are worthy emblems of the highest and noblest virtues. Tools have performed an astonishing part in civilizing and enlightening mankind. They are one of the few things that distinctly mark man as immeasurably superior to the other animals. Some scientists have even contended that it is alone man's ability to fashion and use tools that has raised him above the level of the brute creation. But radical as this view must be, it can not be denied by any thoughtful man that the use of tools has been one of the chief instrumentalities in all human progress, not only material but mental and spiritual. Without tools we could not till the soil, or work the mines, or reduce the metal; we could enjoy only the rudest shelters; and all the creations of art which appeal to our spiritual natures would be impossible. The very stages of human advancement are named from the character of the tools that were employed during them; thus, the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, the Iron Age.
Scientists suppose the first great achievement of man in his progress from savagery to civilization to have been the development of articulate speech; the second, the discovery of the uses of fire; the third, they believe to have been the invention of a tool, namely, the bow and arrow. Pottery, another class of utensils, they hold to have been the fourth; the domestication of animals, the fifth; and the discovery of the manufacture and use of iron, the sixth. The seventh was the art of writing which also involved the use of a tool. Thus we see that four of the epoch making strides of savage and barbaric man had to do with the use of tools.
With civilized man, the case has been even more striking. His first four great discoveries or inventions were gun-powder, the mariner's compass, the manufacture of paper, and the printing press. The fifth was the demonstration by Copernicus (1530) that the earth revolved on an axis and that the sun did not daily make a circuit around her. The next in order was the steam engine and machines for weaving and spinning. Lastly, we may name machines for generating and utilizing the boundless possibilities of electricity. We might also mention in this connection the gasoline engine. We will not count the flying machine whose value as a civilizing agent is yet to be demonstrated. Thus we see of civilized man, according to the highest authories, seven of his eight great and distinctive achievements have been the invention and use of new tools. And it must be remembered that the eighth, the discovery of Copernicus, was rendered possible only through the use of another tool. To the Palmist the heavens declared the glory of God's handiwork, but a thousand times more solemnly and impressively do they now disclose it through the medium of the telescope. It was nothing less than an inspiration that prompted our ancient brethren to symbolize the tools with which they produced those creations of art and architecture whose sight causes our breasts to heave with the highest emotions of which we are capable.
Professor Henry Smith Williams, (3) after pointing out the many material advantages involved in the use of tools, says that we must not "overlook the aesthetic influence of edged implements."
And then what must be said of the tools that make our music? If there is a glimpse of heaven obtainable on earth, it is in the wonderful art made possible through our marvelous musical instruments.
How our various working tools acquired the particular symbolical meanings we now attach to them we know not. In some instances we know that they have borne them for ages.
At any rate, it is with peculiar fitness that the material tools, which contribute so essentially to the building and the beautifying of the material structure, should be made to symbolize those virtues which are so essential to the building and beautifying of human character, that moral and spiritual building not reared with hands.
MODESTY OF TRUE CHARACTER
We are told that in the building of Solomon's Temple there was not heard the sound of any tool of iron. It is a well authenticated historical fact that the Jews, not to mention other ancient peoples, believed that an iron tool was polluting to an altar to Deity. Hence, in the days of Moses, the laws prescribed that in erecting an altar of stone to Jehovah no iron tool should be employed upon it. The work of erecting the Temple, therefore, went on noiselessly but with speed and perfection.
This tradition, besides being borne out by the known facts of Hebrew history, has a beautiful symbolism. It is this: the erection and adornment of the moral and spiritual temple in which we are engaged, that of human character, and of which Solomon's was typical, is not characterized by the clang of noisy tools. About true character building there is nothing of bluster and show; it is a silent, noiseless process. It is the emptiest tub that makes the greatest noise. Whenever you see the front pages of the newspapers constantly filled with the interviews of some man or when you see him constantly struggling to get into the lime-light, you may rest assured that back of it all is not the highest type of character. It is certain that there is present vanity; it is probable that there is back of it selfishness and a sinister purpose. Beware of the self-advertiser and "head-liner." The greatest characters in the world's history have been men of modesty; their deeds, not their words, have silently spoken for them.
The candidate is early introduced to the Cable-Tow. We have seen that his introduction into the E.A. lodge is symbolical of birth. Among the Hindus, the Brahmans wear a sacred cord symbolizing the second birth which they profess. The Cable-Tow thus has in Masonry what we might term its primary allusion. It has, however, a deeper symbolism. The word is not found in most of our dictionaries; it is characteristically Masonic. Its obvious literal meaning is the cable or cord by which something is towed or drawn. Hence with the greatest aptness it represents those forces and influences which have conducted not only the individual, but the human race out of a condition of ignorance and darkness into one of light and knowledge. With symbolical meanings of this kind the cord seems to have been employed in many, if not all, of the ancient systems of initiation. The explanation of this paraphernalia given in our lecture is its least important meaning.
It is very true that the plucking off of one's shoes is an ancient Israelitish custom adopted among Masons. It was employed among the Jews as a pledge of fidelity of one man to another. Such is the symbolism of it in the Entered Apprentice degree. It has another meaning with which we are not concerned here, but which is brought out in the Master's degree.
A certain ceremony, the candidate is told, was intended to signify to him that "at a time when he could neither foresee nor prevent danger he was in the hands of a true and trusty friend in whose fidelity he could with safety confide." This has a literal meaning very applicable to the candidate's then condition, but if we regard the candidate as we should, as man pursuing the journey of life, the symbolical signification of this ceremony becomes truly profound. We all grope in the dark from the moment we are born till we are laid upon the bier. The candidate is no more oblivious to his way than is every man in this life to what is before him. In our moments of apparently greatest security we often to our astonishment find that we are in the very presence of death. The sinking of the Titanic or the Lusitania was but one of thousands of proofs of this truth. The winds, the lightnings, the floods and the fires destroy us without warning. With all our boasted wisdom and foresight we can not see an inch into the future. But every man is in the hands of a true and trusty friend in whose fidelity he can with safety confide. He needs but do his part to the best he knows and may then rest confident that our All-Father will take care of the results in a manner befitting an all wise and all loving Creator.
In eastern countries (and formerly in western countries) the inferior approaches the superior, the servant the Master, the subject the sovereign, in an abased or groveling manner, oftentimes with the face averted as though it were insolence to look directly upon the august presence. Not so in Masonry; the candidate is taught to approach the East, with his face to the front, walking erect as a man should walk. This attitude is one of the characteristics that distinguish man from the other animals. A few can feebly imitate it, but only on occasion and then haltingly. Nothing adds more to a man's self-respect and strength of character than to walk erect, holding the head well up and looking the world and every man squarely in the face., You may experience a feeling of sorrow or sympathy for the man who appears before you with a cringing or abject bearing, but with this feeling there is mingled contempt. This idea we have turned into a terse though vulgar apothegm, "Hold your head up if you die hard." We promptly suspect the integrity of the man who can not look us squarely in the eye.
Freemasonry teaches that all men are and of right ought to be free; that, therefore, no man should abase or humiliate himself before another. But this manly, erect attitude which the candidate is taught to assume has the same symbolism as the plumb. It teaches that we should always walk upright in our several stations before God and man.
The Bible is one of the Great Lights, one of the Furniture, and rests upon the top of the Two Parallel Lines. No lodge should be opened without its presence. Still it is but a symbol; it represents divine truth in every form, whether in the form of the written word, or in that referred to by the psalmist when he says:
"The Heavens declare the glory of God; And the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, And night unto night showeth knowledge." --Ps. 19, 1.
But the shadow must not be mistaken for the substance. There is nothing sacred or holy in the mere book. It is only ordinary paper, leather, and ink. Its workmanship may be much inferior to that of other books. It is what it typifies that renders it sacred to us. Any other book having the same signification would do just as well. For this reason the Hebrew Mason may with perfect propriety use the Old Testament alone, or the Mohammedan may, as has been done, employ the Koran in his lodge. In fact that book should be used which to the individual in question most fully represents divine truth.
We are told that the lambskin or white leather apron, the badge of a Mason, is "more ancient than the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle, more honorable than the Star and Garter." This sounds a little bombastic, we must admit, yet it is literally true. The order of the Golden Fleece, which is here referred to, had its origin in A.D. 1429; the Roman Eagle, which was Rome's ensign of imperial power, became distinctively such, according to Pliny, no earlier than the second consulship of Gaius Marius or about 105 years B.C. On the other hand, it is certain that the apron was worn as a badge of honor or sanctity more than a thousand years before Christ. The Garter is confessedly the most illustrious order of Knighthood in England, and is historically identified with the chivalry of the Middle Ages. But for this very reason, it like all the other orders of chivalric knighthood, was, as has been said by high authority, George Gordon Coulton, (4) "hampered by the limitations of medieval society." Edward A. Freeman, the great English historian, who has perhaps most nearly defined the spirit and influence of knighthood, says:
"The chivalrous spirit is above all things a class spirit. The good knight is bound to endless fantastic courtesies towards men and still more towards women of a certain rank; he may treat all below that rank with any degree of scorn and cruelty. The spirit of chivalry implies the arbitrary choice of one or two virtues to be practised in such an exaggerated degree as to become vices, while the ordinary laws of right and wrong are forgotten. The false code of honor supplants the laws of the commonwealth the law of God and the eternal principles. Chivalry again in its military aspect not only encourages the love of war for its own sake without regard to the cause for which war is waged, it encourages also an extravagant regard for a fantastic show of personal daring which can not in any way advance the siege or campaign which is going on. Chivalry in short is in morals very much what feudalism is in law. Each substitutes purely personal obligations devised in the interests of an exclusive class, for the more homely duties of an honest man and a good citizen." (5)
This view presents knighthood as the very antithesis of Freemasonry.
F. W. Cornish presents a somewhat brighter picture of knighthood but says, "Against these (virtues) may be set the vices of pride, ostentation, love of bloodshed, contempt of inferiors, and loose manners."
But whether we take the one or the other view, Freeman or Cornish, chivalry will not bear comparison with Freemasonry in the nobility of its principles. Let us set against the pictures of Freeman and Cornish the things which Freemasonry stands for. It is in theory at least a vast school urging the study of the liberal arts and sciences which tend to broaden, strengthen and enlighten the mind. But it is much more than this; it is a great society of friends and brothers teaching by precept, and let us hope by example, all those mental and moral virtues which make and adorn character and prepare us to enjoy the blessings not only of this life but of that which is to come. Let me enumerate some of the things that are taught and by ceremonies peculiar to Freemasonry, are impressed upon the minds and hearts of its initiates. A belief in Deity; the service of God; gratitude for his blessings; reverence and adoration for his holy name; veneration for his word; the duty and efficacy of prayer; the invocation of his aid in every laudable undertaking; faith in Him; hope in immortality; charity to all mankind; the relief of the distressed, particularly the brethren and their families; the cultivation of brotherly love and the protection of the good name of a brother and that of his family and the sanctity of his female relatives; the adornment of the mind and heart; purity of life and rectitude of conduct; the curbing of our desires and passions; living in conformity to the "Great Books" of Nature and Revelation; the practice of temperance, fortitude, prudence and justice; the cultivation of habits of patience and perseverance; the eschewing of profanity; love for and loyalty to country; devotion and fidelity to trust; the beauty of holiness; the maintenance of secrecy; the observance of caution; the recognization of real merit; the contemplation of wisdom; admiration for strength of body and character; the love of the beautiful in nature and art; the observance of the Sabbath; the promotion of peace and unity of the brethren; the preservation of liberty of thought, conscience, speech and action; equality before God and the law; the cultivation of habits of industry; the certainty of retributive justice; the brevity and uncertainty of this life; the contemplation of death; the resurrection of the body and life everlasting after death to those who love God and his creatures and observe his laws. All of these and others I am not privileged to mention here are taught every candidate and are impressed upon his mind by peculiar ceremonies which constitute a part of the secret arcana of the lodge.
Do you say that all these things may be learned elsewhere with equal thoroughness and equal ease, and that Masonry is therefore, a useless institution?
I maintain not. The fact that the institution has lived and flourished for so long a period and that it is today more powerful in its influence and more general in its dissemination than ever before proves not. It approaches the mind and heart from a direction that enables it to reach and grapple many men whom no other influence can reach, while at the same time it doubles and multiplies many times the power for good of those whom other influences do reach.
Is it, therefore, any exaggeration to say that Freemasonry is more ancient than the Golden Fleece and more honorable than the Star and Garter, or any other order that can be conferred upon its initiate by king, prince, or potentate ?
DEFINITION OF LODGE
We are told that a lodge is a certain number of Masons duly assembled with the Holy Bible, square and compasses. These three properties should indeed always be present but to the existence of a lodge in its highest sense it is more necessary that there should be present what they symbolize, namely: Truth, Virtue and Self-restraint. Without these there may be the semblance of but no real lodge. Bible, square and compasses should be displayed in every opened lodge, not chiefly for their own sake but for what they represent.
HIGH HILLS AND LOW VALES
We are told that our ancient brethren usually held their lodges on high hills or in low vales. This allusion to this antiquated custom is another hoary lock upon the brow of our symbolism. The explanation given is a very simple and practical one, namely: because they better lent themselves to purposes of secrecy. But there is another and deeper reason. Whatever may be the explanation, it is clear that from the remotest times hills and valleys have been peculiarly venerated by mankind. On the "High Places" the Jews and their neighbors worshipped God; the glens and dales our imagination has populated with the charming "Little People," the sprites and fairies of mythology and our nursery tales. The beauty spots of earth are where mountains and valleys succeed each other in greatest profusion. These are they that in all ages have testified to the majesty and glory of God and stirred our imaginations and inspired our poets. (6)
WISDOM, STRENGTH AND BEAUTY
We are told in our Monitors that our institution is supported by three great pillars, Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, because there should be wisdom to contrive, strength to support, and beauty to adorn all great and important undertakings. The lodge whose members are characterized by wisdom to plan with judgment, strength to resist evil tendencies and influences, and by the beauty of brotherly love and charity is sure to prosper. Nothing more is needed to give it success. Truly may it be said that these three attributes support our institution and with equal truth may it be said that they support all other institutions and creations.
Infinite wisdom planned and formed this universe, omnipotent strength hurls the sun, the earth, the moon, the stars through space at speeds we can not conceive, and yet holds each in its accustomed orbit with such inerrancy that astronomers can now calculate the position of each thousands of years hence, while a beauty which poets have for ages in vain attempted to express completes the work. In short, wisdom, strength and beauty sum up the universe in three words.
Wisdom, strength and beauty make a perfect building. There must be wisdom to plan and execute; this gives to the structure convenience and utility. There must be strength to support; this gives to the building firmness and durability. There must be beauty to adorn; this gives that which pleases and appeals to man's moral and aesthetic taste. There may be wisdom and strength but without beauty the result is, as has been truly observed, mere construction or at most a piece of engineering. It may be admirable, even wonderful, but without beauty it is not architecture. There may be beauty, but if there is not wisdom of plan and execution and strength to resist the processes of decay the result is a disappointment. Who, that visited the Chicago Exposition in 1893 and viewed that dream of beauty, was not saddened by the thought that there was no strength there? These three essential elements of architecture, Vitruvius, the noted architect who flourished shortly before Christ, enumerates as Firmitas, Utilitas, Venustas, which is to say stability, utility and beauty. (7)
So of man. Wisdom, Strength and Beauty make a perfect man. How often have we said with a sigh "that is a beautiful woman," or "that man is a beautiful character, but there is neither wisdom nor strength." This beauty may be so great as to be lovely or be even admirable but there is not perfection.
On the other hand, how sad, how inexpressibly sad, when we behold a man with a great mind and a great body and yet no beauty of character; a soul in which there is selfishness instead of sympathy, cruelty instead of kindness, hate and bitterness instead of love and charity. When to beauty of heart and person and character you add wisdom to plan and strength to execute, weighing down all evil opposition, we have what may truly be called "the noblest work of God." Nothing can be added to wisdom, strength and beauty in either a building or in a man, unless it be more wisdom, more strength and greater beauty.
Wisdom and Beauty early become subjects of philosophical study and disquisition. Among the Greeks, "Wisdom" was regarded as the knowledge of the cause and origin of things; among the Jews, it was regarded as knowing how to live in order to get the greatest possible good out of this life. Neither Greek nor Hebrew philosophy seems to have concerned itself greatly about a future life. This subject was productive among the Jews of the "Book of Wisdom," which has been pronounced by Dr. Crawford H. Toy, as "the most brilliant production of preChristian Hebrew philosophical thought." The Greeks boasted a vast body of "Wisdom literature," as it is called. So, Beauty gave rise to a body of philosophical thought called Aesthetics. The earliest writers on this subject, as on so many others, were Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Socrates thought it resolvable into the useful and as not existing independently of a percipient mind. Plato took the contrary view on each point. Aristotle made great advance on both and defined certain essential elements of beauty which have since been generally accepted. All agree that the purest of our pleasures arise from the contemplation of the beautiful and that the effect is chastening and elevating. Freemasonry combines this philosophy with both the Greek and the Hebrew ideas of Wisdom, as a topic worthy of philosophical study. With us, as we shall see in the third degree, the conception of Wisdom is extended beyond what either the Greek or Hebrews understood it and embraces the search for knowledge of the future.
Strength was greatly prized by the Jews, as well as the Greeks and Romans, and among them was regarded as one of the attributes of Deity. Both Samuel and Joel acclaim Jehovah as the Strength of Israel. Job (xii, 13) declares "With him is wisdom and strength," while David (Ps. xcvi, 6) sings "Strength and beauty are in his sanctuary." But the Preacher (Ec. ix, 16) with a truer appreciation declares that "wisdom is better than strength." Examples could be multiplied indefinitely from the old Bible of the high esteem in which the Jews held these three Masonic qualities.
THE COVERING OF THE LODGE
The covering of the lodge is said to be a clouded canopy or starry-decked heaven. The appropriateness of this symbol is striking when we regard the lodge as emblematic of the world, for such is literally at all times the covering of the earth. Equally true, in the literal sense, was this description when lodges were held in the open air, as we are assured and as seems probable they were. In the earliest temples erected by man for the worship of God there was no loof, the only covering being the sky. As to them also this description holds good. This fact may give additional point and meaning to the statement that our lodges extend from earth to heaven. Later when temples were covered and our lodges began to be held in closed rooms it was customary to decorate the ceiling with a blue canopy spangled with stars. This starry-decked heaven, when now exhibited in our lodge rooms, either on the ceiling or on our charts, or master's carpets, is obviously reminiscent of the real canopy of heaven with which anciently our lodges were in fact covered, and is symbolical of that abode of the blessed which is universally regarded as located in the sky. (8)
THE ORNAMENTS OF THE LODGE
The ornaments of the lodge are the Mosaic pavement, the indented tessel and the blazing star; that is to say its floor, the margin thereof, and the stars with which its ceiling are or should be decorated. Does this symbolism hold good when applied to the earth? It does most perfectly. To the beholder the visible part of the earth appears as surface, horizon and sky. The surface of the earth, if viewed from above chequered with fields and forests, mountains and plains, hills and valleys, land and waters, would be found to look very much like a pavement of Mosaic work. A few miles up it would seem almost as delicate. The horizon, that mysterious region that separates land and sky, earth and heaven, where the heavenly bodies appear and disappear, with its inexpressible charms and numberless beauties, has in all ages been a source of mystery and inspiration to the poets. It is fitly typified by the splendid borders which surround the floors of some of our most magnificent buildings and which is fabled to have surrounded the floor of Solomon's Temple, while the firmament above studded with stars by night and the blazing sun by day complete the ornamental scheme of the earth. The surface, the horizon, the firmament embrace all of visible beauty of Nature there is, and they have never yet been exhausted by poet, painter or singer.
THE THREE GREAT LIGHTS
If we read discerningly the explanation given of these in our lectures and ceremonies we must perceive that they symbolize, respectively: (1) The Bible, the word of God, not merely that disclosed in his revealed word, but including, also the knowledge which we acquire from the great book of Nature; (2) the square typifies the rule of right conduct, and (3) the compasses is an emblem of that self-restraint which enables us on all occasions to act according to this rule of right. Beyond a perfect knowledge of God's word and therefore of the rule of right living nothing is needed to make the perfect man except a perfect self-restraint.
THE THREE LESSER LIGHTS
Equally appropriate is the symbolism of the Three Lesser Lights. It was literally true to our ancient operative brethren that from the Sun and Moon they obtained all that natural light which rendered possible those great architectural creations, some of which still remain as perpetual sources of wonder and delight. But all this skill must have quickly perished from the earth had not the Master communicated to the Apprentice from generation to generation the mental illumination which kept alive the knowledge of architecture. Thus literally were the Sun, Moon and Worshipful Master lights to our ancient operative brethren. But as a knowledge of architecture is less than knowledge of God; as the correct rule of building is less than the correct rule of living; as the restraints imposed upon the structure is less important than the restraint imposed upon one's self, so are the Sun, Moon and Worshipful Master less important lights than are the Bible, square and compasses, when rightly understood.
To the untutored mind the sun was the most striking object in nature. His daily march across the heavens must to those, who did not know that his motion was only apparent, have been far more impressive than to us. Add to these his enlightening and fructifying influences, which must have been apparent to man even in his rudest stages of development, and we are not surprised that the orb of day became in all countries an object of worship. The point of his daily appearance, the East; his station at the mid-day hour, the South; the quarter of his disappearance at night, the West, could not fail to become objects of special significances. He seemed to shun the North, whence it became in popular opinion a place of darkness. It is obvious that conceptions like these belong to the past age and yet they contribute to the completion of that allegory of the world and human life which we know as Freemasonry.
Of scarcely less interest to man in all ages have been the Moon and the stars; little less striking and even more beautiful are they. The glorious orbs of day and night have not yet lost their power to stir thoughts of divinity in the human mind, as witness Joseph Addison's beautiful words:
"The spacious firmament on high
With all the blue ethereal sky
And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their Great Original proclaim.
The unwearied sun from day to day,
Does his Creator's power display
And publishes to every land,
The work of an almighty hand.
Soon as the evening shades prevail
The moon takes up the wondrous tale
And nightly, to the listening earth,
Repeats the story of her birth;
While all the stars that round her burn
And all the planets in their turn
Confirm the tidings as they roll
And spread the truth from pole to pole.
What though in solemn silence all
Move round the dark terrestrial ball ?
What though no real voice nor sound
Amid the radiant orbs be found?
In reason's ear they all rejoice
And utter forth a glorious voice;
Forever singing as they shine
The hand that made us is divine."
There are said to be three lights in the lodge, one in the South, one in the West, and one in the East. There is said to be none in the North and that hence it is called a place of darkness. Applied to our ordinary lodge rooms this is meaningless, but applied to the world, as the ancients knew it, and of which as we have seen, the lodge is emblematic, it has a charming symbolism. It alludes to the fact that to persons living in the northern hemisphere, (where all the civilized people of antiquity dwelt,) the Sun each day appears in the East, ascends to the zenith in the South where he seems to become stationary for a short space, and thence descends and disappears in the West. The East, South and West seem, therefore, to be his stations; he never attains the North. The ancients supposed the South to be a region of intense heat and blinding light and the extreme North to be a region of perpetual darkness. We have in this symbol, therefore, a reflection of these primeval conceptions of mankind concerning the world.
SITUATION OF THE LODGE
The situation of lodges due east and west is not at all peculiar to Freemasonry. In ancient times the custom was well nigh universal to locate sacred edifices east and west. This is why the Tabernacle and Solomon's Temple were so situated. This old idea of orientation, as it is called, is practically lost except among Masons. We preserve it in theory even though necessity often compels us to depart from it in practice. The parallel between the lodge and the world holds good here as elsewhere. As the lodge is or should be situated east and west, so in ancient times was the world. The "oblong square" which made up the ancient world had its greatest length east and west.
The ladder is, of course, a familiar implement to the builder. It was in constant use by our ancient operative brethren. In a system where working tools are made to symbolize moral properties, it could scarcely happen otherwise than that the ladder would be made to typify the power or means by which man is lifted or attains to a higher state of existence. It was employed always with the same meaning in the Ancient Mysteries and was a familiar symbol of salvation long before Jacob in his vision saw it extending from earth to heaven. We, as did the ancients, ascribe to it seven rungs, symbolical with us of the four cardinal and the three theological virtues by which it was supposed a man was prepared for and elevated to the higher state.
The cardinal virtues mean simply the pre-eminent or principal virtues. They were declared by Socrates and Plato 400 years before Christ, as they are by us today, to be Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice. This list has been criticized as being arbitrary, as not covering the entire field, and as overlapping each other. In the light of the broadening influence of modern ethical and religious ideas the justice of these criticisms must be conceded. But reflection will disclose to us that these four virtues cover a surprisingly large part of the moral realm of human life.
Temperance means moderation not only in drink but in diet, not only in diet but in action, not only in action but in speech, not only in speech but in thought, not only in thought but in feeling.
Fortitude implies, it is true, a physical bravery that leads one to resist insult or attack with force, but more especially that moral courage that enables one at the risk of incurring the sneers of others, to refrain from a resort to violence except where the necessity is imperative. When, however, this necessity arises it is not deterred by pain or circumstance be it ever so appalling or threatening.
Prudence as the critics have pointed out, enters to some extent into the last named virtue. It signifies also to meet every situation, however dangerous or difficult, with common sense and reason. It is a virtue which is lacking in a surprising large proportion of the human race.
Little need be added to what is said of the virtue of Justice in our monitors. It is truly the "very cement and support of civil society." This conception of justice evidences a distinct advance by mankind. To be able and willing to mete out exact justice to every one, even one's self, in every relation of life, in thought, word and action, very nearly sums up the total of all possible human virtue. In a system of moral philosophy, such as Plato's (as distinguished from a religious philosophy such as we now have,) justice very nearly covers the whole field. (9)
What a multitude of evils and mistakes the full possession and practice of these virtues would enable us to avoid!
But with the birth and development of theology the Platonic scheme seemed and doubtless was incomplete. It took little or no account of those higher speculative virtues which we class as religious. There was absent from it the conception of that charity or love which has entered so largely into modern sociological thoughts and movements. The later philosophical and religious teachers, therefore, added to the cardinal virtues what they termed the theological virtues, namely, Faith, Hope and Charity. These three were believed to include anything omitted from the other four, and together were supposed to cover the entire field of the moral thought and conduct of man.
CHALK, CHARCOAL, AND CLAY
We are told that Entered Apprentices should serve their Masters with Freedom, Fervency and Zeal; with freedom, in that it should be done freely and without constraint as becomes a free man, not grudgingly and hesitatingly as characterizes the slave; with fervency and zeal, these terms are synonymous, one is from the Latin ferveo, to boil, while the other is from the -- Greek zeo, meaning the same. I have been unable to find that chalk, charcoal or clay, anciently bore any symbolic significations. It must, however, be admitted that chalk is a fitting symbol of freedom, charcoal of fervency, and earth of zeal.
NORTH EAST CORNER
From the most ancient times it has been the custom of builders to lay with ceremonies the corner-stone of important edifices. As it was a custom of the ancients to orient their temples, that is to make them face the east, so for some similar reason it was their custom to lay the corner-stone in the northeast corner. Why this particular part of the structure was chosen has been the subject of much speculation. Some have attributed it to the fact that the rising sun sheds its beams more-directly upon this corner of a building situated due east and west than upon either of the other corners. But many have supposed (and no doubt truly) that a symbolical reason existed for this custom. This also has given rise to further speculation and as a specimen I introduce this interesting conjecture by General Albert Pike:
"The apprentice represents the Aryan race in its original home on the highlands of Pamir, in the north of that Asia termed Orient, at the angle whence, upon two great lines of emigration south and west, they flowed forth in successive waves to conquer and colonize the world."
As speculative Masonry gradually developed from operative Masonry, it preserved this ceremony of laying the corner-stone, because of the moral and religious symbolism which seems always to have pertained to it. With the operative it was a serious part of the actual process of building; with us its chief value lies in its symbolical significations.
As placing the newly made Entered Apprentice in the northeast corner of the lodge marks the completion of his initiation, so it symbolizes the completion of the preparatory period of life and his readiness to enter upon its serious labors and business. The admonition there given him is, that having made proper moral preparation for life, his future activities should be kept in accord with the teaching and training he had received in his youth.
This, my brethren, briefly reviews the symbolical teachings of the ceremonies of initiation. As said at the outset I have barely touched upon them. Any one of them would be sufficient of itself to occupy a whole evening. I could easily consume another hour talking to you about the symbolical teachings of the Entered Apprentice lesson without exhausting it. Let me illustrate with a single question and answer and I am done.
"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 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 are you 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 formulas.
(1) Univ. Cyc. Rome, vol. X.
(2) New Age, vol. XVII, p. 283.
(3) Enc. Brit., vol. VI, p. 404.
(4) Enc. Brit., vol. XV, p. 858.
(5) Norman Conquest, vol. V, p. 482.
(6) A.Q.C., vol. III, p. 21- U. M. L., Part II, p. 66; Orientation Temples, p. 6.
(7) Enc. Brit., vol. II, p. 370.
(8) Morals and Dogma, pp. 235, 365; Mackey's Symbolism, pp. 102, 117; Hamlin's His. of Arch., p. 26; Steinbrenner, p. 150.
(9) Enc. Brit., vol. V, p. 324; Ibid, vol. 9, p. 813.
Let me do my work from day to day,
In field or forest, at the desk or loom,
In roaring market-place or tranquil room;
Let me but find it in my heart to say,
When vagrant wishes beckon me astray,
"This is my work--my blessing, not my doom;
"Of all who live, I am the one by whom
"This work can best be done in the right way."
Then shall I see it not too great, nor small,
To suit my spirit and to prove my powers;
Then shall I cheerful greet the laboring hours,
And cheerful turn when the long shadows fall
At eventide, to play and love and rest,
Because I know for me my work is best.
--Henry Van Dyke.
Knowledge is proud that he has learn'd so much;
Wisdom is humble that he knows no more.
LOUISIANA RELIEF LODGE NO. 1
ITS HISTORY AND PURPOSE
NY BRO. JOHN A. DAVILLA, GRAND SECRETARY, LOUISIANA
THE Fraternity of Louisiana pride themselves on the possession not only of the oldest Masonic Relief Board in the United states, but also on the fact that it is the only Relief Body in the world operated and known as a lodge.
During the year 1851, in answer to the call of the Master of one of the lodges of the city of New Orleans, representatives from six others met and organized a Board of Relief, the call stating that the purpose was "to do away with the present defective system" which we presume to mean, the handling of Masonic Relief by the Masters without consultation with each other, which no doubt was objectionable as it exposed them to imposition.
The Relief Board operated until the year 1854, when it applied to the Grand Lodge of Louisiana for a Charter, which was granted on the first of July of that year.
The general character of the organization is best shown from the following extracts from Article II, Chapter III of the General Regulations, together with edicts in explanation:
"The Charter granted to Louisiana Relief Lodge, and issued on the 1st of July, 1854, is hereby perpetuated and is to continue so long as two constituent lodges located in New Orleans shall desire to retain it. The members of said lodge shall consist of its officers who may be selected from its constituents at large, Past Masters and the Masters and Wardens in office (or their proxies) of such lodges as shall hold membership in the same.
"The officers of this lodge and their duties shall correspond, so far as may be, with the regulations for the government of the constituent lodges. The lodge may more particularly prescribe the duties of its officers and members and make such other regulations as it may deem necessary to better accomplish the ends of its creation.
"It shall remain invested with all the property, rights, credits, effects and revenues, of whatsoever nature, which it now possesses, and have the power to receive donations, and to raise means for its support and maintenance, and to invest or expend the same in any manner it may deem best and most conducive to the accomplishment of the ends of its creation, and under such regulations as itself shall determine.
"Said lodge shall have no right to confer degrees, nor to representatives in the Grand Lodge, nor shall it be required to pay any dues, fees or charges to this Grand Lodge. It shall annually make return of its officers and members and the lodges they represent, and report to the Grand Lodge, at each Annual Grand Communication, a synopsis of all its transactions during the year, and such other matters as it shall deem of interest to the Grand Lodge and to Freemasonry generally."
The Louisiana Relief Lodge No. 1, is to all intents and purposes, a regular lodge; that is, its Master, when installed, is the legal Master of a legal lodge, and has all the rights and privileges as such, and all the powers which the warrant of constitution gives him.
Resolved, that the W. Master of Louisiana Relief Lodge No. 1, has, and possesses, all the rights and privileges of the Master of any regular lodge, except that of voting in the Grand Lodge, and the restriction expressly stated in the charter of that lodge, and in Article II, Chapter III of the General Regulations; and he and the Past Master of that lodge are entitled to all the courtesies of Masters and Past Masters of other lodges.
Resolved, that the R. W. Grand Lecturers, in their travels through the state in the discharge of their duties, are hereby directed to call the attention of the constituent lodges throughout the state to the grand and good work being done by Louisiana Relief Lodge No. 1, to the end that voluntary contributions may be made to the said lodge by the different lodges and brethren so disposed.
Resolved, that the W. M. of Louisiana Relief Lodge No. 1, be and is hereby authorized to solicit contributions by circular or otherwise from any and all constituent lodges of this jurisdiction, and that the charter of said Louisiana Relief Lodge be perpetuated in any event.
The only natural presumption for the adoption of lodge formation instead of the Board system is that for years the south had been subject to annual visitation of Yellow Fever and Asiatic Cholera and the necessity for centralizing authority in order to secure action speedily was obligatory in order to secure best results. During these periods of amiction, vast sums of money in the shape of contributions came from other cities for the care of epidemic victims and in order to handle these to better advantage, a Charter for Louisiana Relief Lodge was secured from the State legislature so that the lodge is not only a creature of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana but is also a corporate body under the State Laws.
The Masonic brethren of Louisiana, from their experience, are now wedded to the lodge idea, but not only for the initial reason that it centralizes responsibility and authority, but also because the lodge in itself has all the inherent rights of a regular lodge, except the power to confer degrees and the right to representatives in the Grand Lodge. The Master of the lodge manages all of its affairs in the interim between its quarterly meetings and with the assistance of the Secretary, handles all cases of relief without consultation with anyone. No restrictions whatever are placed upon his acts, he only making a report to these meetings held at quarterly intervals. We find that we are in this way able to accomplish more and in less time than would be possible under Board formation.
In case of the death of a sojourning Mason we are not placed to the necessity of calling upon one of the city lodges to perform the ceremony but conduct it ourselves, and it is a matter of pride for us to say that services of this nature held under our auspices are as largely attended as those of the regular lodges.
Several years ago we added an employment bureau to our work. This has since been in successful operation and has accomplished a great amount of good.
The lodge is supported by subscriptions from the Grand Lodge and Grand Chapter of Louisiana and from the individual lodges and other Masonic bodies of the city and state. Its membership plan being the same as that of the Grand Lodge, we always have a majority with experience in the work. Our official staff is very seldom changed, the lodge chosing to rather retain in office those who have shown proficiency in the handling of its affairs. As we have no Masonic Home in the state of Louisiana, we are the administrators of the Relief Fund of the Grand Master. In explanation, we can state that in view of the fact that we have only about thirty beneficiaries, this Grand Lodge has deemed it the wisest policy to administer assistance to them at their own homes or those of friends who might be willing to care for them. Our Relief Lodge acts as the intermediary for the Grand Master, conducts the investigations when application is made and sees that the remittance checks are placed promptly each month.
The lodge has for years been a member of the Masonic Relief Association of the United states and Canada, surrendering its active participation only when the Grand Lodge assumed its position in that regard several years ago.
We are glad to place the above brief historical resume before the members of the National Masonic Research Society as we are eager that the world should know something about this peculiar Masonic Institution regarding whose existence and work Louisiana Masonry feels so justly proud.
BIRTH, MARRIAGE AND DEATH RITES
To the Greeks and to many primitive peoples the rites of birth, marriage and death were for the most part family rites needing little or no social emphasis. But the rite which concerned the whole tribe, the essence of which was entrance into the tribe, was the rite of initiation at puberty. This all-important fact is oddly and significantly enshrined in the Greek language. The general Greek word for rite was telete. It was applied to all mysteries, and sometimes to marriages and funerals. But it has nothing to do with death. It comes from a root meaning "to grow up." The word telete means rite of growing up, becoming complete. It meant at first maturity, then rite of maturity, then by a natural extension any rite of initiation that was mysterious. The rites of puberty were in their essence mysterious, because they consisted in initiation into the sanctities of the tribe, the things 'which society sanctioned and protected, excluding the uninitiated, whether they were young boys, women, or members of other tribes. Then, by contagion, the mystery notion spread to other rites. --Jane Ellen Harlison, in "Ancient Art and Ritual."
The heart is wiser than the intellect. --J. Holland.
(Suggested by the Sphynx before the House of the Temple at Washington, D. C.)
BY BRO. H.L. HAYWOOD, IOWA
Thou living shape within the lifeless stone,
Thou warden of the eldest mysteries,
What knowledge hides within thy level eyes,
What hidden wisdom do thy secrets own?
What are the ancient Words that thou hast known?
Afar, afar thy mother Egypt lies
Yet seems the shadow of her mystic skies
To fall on thee where thou dost stand alone.
A woman's face above a lion's shape!
Is this thy answer to our questionings?
Is this that Word that we have lost the while?
Is this the clue whereby our hearts escape ?
Or is it Nature's snarl to human things,
"I keep a claw beneath my woman's smile?"
* * *
There is a claw beneath that woman's smile
Yet still above the talons thou dost look,
Gazing, perchance, on ways we men forsook
Ere thou didst learn to dream beside the Nile,
And ere we entered on this long exile.
Ah, Keeper of the Lore in Wisdom's Book,
Reveal in Nature what our hearts mistook
For craft of hate. for cunning craft of guile!
"The old Lost Word is hid within the stone,
Is written in the midnight's starry screeds,
Is tangled round the roots within the sod.
I gaze afar into the dim unknown:
Gaze thou into thy spirit's inmost deeds
And thou shalt find the Word that speaks of God!"
When Springtime awakens the roses,
And crowns them with pearls of dew,
The loveliest rose in her garden,
Is calling, beloved, for you, -
Is calling, -
E'er calling, -
And calling, -
The voices are calling for you.
When Summer is sweeping the meadows,
And bells, at eve, herald the hour,
The harvest moon, beaming in heaven,
Is calling for you, in the bower, -
Is calling, -
E'er calling, -
And calling, -
The voices are calling for you.
When Autumn is painting the wildwood,
And twilight is hovering near,
The voice of the stream, to the ocean,
Is calling for you, my dear, -
Is calling, -
E'er calling, -
And calling, -
The voices are calling for you.
When Winter is frosting the window,
And stars fall, in crystalline gleams,
A face, in the glow of the firelight,
Is calling for you, in its dreams.
Is calling, -
E'er calling, -
And calling, -
The voices are calling for you.
- James T. Duncan.
MASONRY IN PUBLlC BUT NOT ON PARADE
I AM writing these words at the very beginning of the vacation season; they will appear in print about the time when many will be coming home from their rest period of the summer. During this occasion of lull the lodges have few if any meetings. Degrees are no longer conferred and the ceremonial machinery halts. But Masonry moves on.
Everywhere one sees the badge of the Craft. "Brother" is often on the lip. "Companion," "Sir Knight," "Noble," and the others,how pleasant they sound to the ear.
What care I if some do hold that "Sir Knight" is an anachronism or worse. That the two terms are illogical when united, that either is correct but both when put together are improper - all of which we may admit is goodly reasoning. But these long-established phrases have the rich permanence of age, the sage flavor of antiquity, and well you all know, my brethren, how that does charm a Mason's ear.
Only the other day in fine old Philadelphia a school girl sat next to me just when I was trying to puzzle out on the "Subway" just what stop I should choose to connect with Broad Street Station. On the girl's coat was pinned a "Shrine" button and to the inquiry I made of her I got the prompt reply: "No, I'm not a member, but Dad belongs to Lu Lu Temple."
"Some Temple," said I, and forthwith we were acquainted I had found a guide. My only regret was that the journey was so short.
Thus over the land there is the fellowship of Masonry alive among men. How many a sorrow it sweetens, and shortens the miles, comforts the weary, sustains the failing, uplifts the fallen. If only for its introductions what a worthwhile help it has been manyfold. What precious friendships have been mine by its gentle ministry!
Let me not in the gratitude for intimate friendships overlook these delightful acquaintances that have now and then emerged from out the hosts of mankind. There comes easily to mind the conductor who sat with me late one night when mine eyes were sleep-proof. He quietly and unobtrusively made up his report beside me. His watch charm started my conversation and he soon proved to be a competent Craftsman, a Past Master of his Lodge and a Past High Priest of his Chapter. He long had made a study of the "Apron" and was strong on its symbolism and was equipped with more than one lecture. One, in rhyme, particularly touched my fancy. It was different from any other that ever came my way. Ever since I have regretted that I did not ask for a copy.
I really think that some of these fugitive efforts in "Apron Lectures" deserve to be gathered and I hope that a good brother willing to do this for the general benefit will undertake the task awaiting him.
A word of warning is not out of place here. Every person wearing a Masonic emblem is not thereby a Mason nor entitled to recognition by the fraternity. I am surprised at the readiness to assume and accept as an unquestioned truth that wearing a badge is conclusive evidence that the wearer is everything that is superficially indicated by the button, pin or charm. At best, all that can off-hand be assumed is that such proof(?) is only presumptive and further inquiry is wise. To make a complete examination is also out of the question in a public place even if one had the best of excuses for making it at all. For me there is but one place, the lodge, and but one authority, the Master, for going into the matter in detail of examining the right of a person to claim membership. Caution is ever and always advisable with all strangers, and it is never unwise to be circumspect even with those accepted as Masons by others whom you know to be in good standing.
You may think this excessively prudent but I have known cases where men long believed to be Masons have been incapable of establishing the assertion as a fact.
Neither is every Mason in good standing capable of proving the truth of another person's claims to bonafide membership. This is very unfortunate but unquestionable. Maybe the initiation didn't leave a complete impression for keeps. Maybe the ceremony didn't take the first time and, like vaccination, a second operation is necessary. Maybe a second initiation wouldn't do harm to any of us. R. I. Clegg.
THE MORALITY OF THE LOST WORD
With a measure of light and a measure of shade,
The world of old by the Word was made;
By the shade and light was the Word conceal'd,
And the Word in flesh to the world reveal'd
Is by outward sense and its forms obscured;
The spirit within is the long lost Word,
Besought by the world of the soul in pain
Through a world of words which are void and vain.
O never while shadow and light are blended
Shall the world's Word-Quest or its woe be ended,
And never the world of its wounds made whole
Till the Word made flesh be the Word made soul!
- By Bro. Arthur Edward Waite, England.
WHAT YOU LOVE
The things that are natural are the only things you love,
Just think it over a bit and it will the saying prove;
There is nothing about yourself that is not of nature's own
And nature CANNOT LOVE what is not by it, made known.
- Bro T. R Mitchell Michigan.
EDITED BY BRO. H. L. HAYWOOD
The object of this Department is to acquaint our readers with time-tried Masonic books not always familiar; with the best Masonic literature now being published; and with such non-Masonic books as may especially appeal to Masons. The Library Editor will be very glad to render any possible assistance to studious individuals or to Study Clubs and Lodges, either through this Department or by personal correspondence; if you wish to learn something concerning any book,what is its nature, what is its value, or how it may be obtained - be free to ask him. If you have read a book which you think is worth a renew write us about it; if you desire to purchase a book - any book - we will help you get it, with no charge for the service. Make this your Department of Literary Consultation.
FREEMASONRY IN "LEAVES OF GRASS"
THE body of Masonry is to be found in our visible organization, but the spirit of it is to be found everywhere. Thousands of poets, prophets, and seers are never so eloquent or convincing as when they are giving voice to that which is the spirit and genius of our Fraternity, albeit they may be unaware of the identity of that which they say. Among the poet-prophets of our land none has proclaimed brotherhood, democracy and liberty, the ancient Masonic teachings, with more power than has Walt Whitman; his volume, "The Leaves of Grass," in which his poetic work is embodied, is a veritable Masonic chant from beginning to end, and it is surprising that he has not found a place of equal favor with Robert Burns. The latter was a member of the craft; he was a singer of brief and simple songs; Whitman was never a member, and his poems are usually long and somewhat difficult to read; if this be the reason, it is unfortunate that we have permitted it to cause us to lose sight of the godlike utterances of brotherhood which are to be found in "Leaves of Grass." That book is badly in need of a Masonic appraisal and appreciation for it is doubtful if any other American has ever written a volume which is more alive with Freemasonry.
Whitman was born on Long Island in 1819, ten years after the birth of Lincoln, with whom he has so much in common. When five years of age he moved with his family to Brooklyn, then a suburban village, where the lad attended public school for a time, after which he found a position in a law office. It was while here that he became initiated into the world of books. He was a healthy, outdoor boy, much given to long solitary walks, and characterized by a certain placidity and calmness of spirit which he had probably inherited from his Dutch and Quaker ancestry. Oftentimes he would slip away for a day or two to the Long Island beach where he would walk along the shore reading Homer or Shakespeare aloud to himself, the oceanic surges keeping time with the chant of the mighty songs. Commonplace in appearance, and not at all precocious, he was all the while nourishing a youth sublime.
After a time he undertook school teaching and then journalism; the latter occupation took him as far as New Orleans. When he returned to Brooklyn he assisted his father in building cheap frame dwellings for laboring men. All this time he was storing up impressions and memories and quietly growing to the full stature of his mind. Then came that which it is impossible to describe or explain - his spiritual transformation, his new birth, his growth into the cosmic consciousness. He himself has described this in his poem, "The Prayer of Columbus,” a poem that is as great as the experience of which it tells. From then on Whitman determined that he would undertake to write a new kind of book, a book in which the average American like himself could be completely expressed, body as well as mind. "I undertook," he afterwards wrote, "to articulate and faithfully express in literary or poetic form and uncompromisingly, my own physical emotion, moral, intellectual, and esthetical Personality."
The writing of "Leaves of Grass" went on slowly for Whitman was by nature leisurely and cautious, but it went on steadily elren while he was engaged with his carpentering work. During those years he would pause now and then to draw out of his pocket an old envelope or scrap of paper, and write a few lines; other thoughts would come to him during his solitary walks, or while riding on an omnibus in New York City, or while sitting in a crowded theatre. After these writings had accumulated to book size he set the type with his own hand and thus issued the first edition of "Leaves of Grass" in a thin, unostentatious volume. It attracted no attention until Ralph Waldo Emerson chanced upon it and discovered that here was a new prophet speaking: "Tell our Americans abroad to come home," wrote Emerson in an enthusiastic letter, "unto us a Man is born."
While writing "Leaves of Grass" Whitman determined to put his whole self in, body, sex, nature and all; this was such a new thing in that day that many who read the book which the gentle and puritan Emerson had so highly praised were terribly scandalized. A storm of criticism broke over the book which would have absolutely destroyed any volume less filled with vitality. As for Whitman himself, when the hurricane broke over his head, he went off quietly for a few days on Petonic Sound, thought it all over from first to last, and returned more determined than ever to go on with his poetic enterprise.
But it happened that his enterprise was interrupted, or at least deflected, by the Civil War. At first he was undecided what should be his own course with regard to the war but before long he received word that his brother had been wounded so he set off to take care of him; in this wise he came to enter into that career of nursing which was so noble, so Christ-like. He had no official appointment; he drew no salary; but he spent all his time among the sick and wounded, reading to them, writing letters for them, taking them little articles of food, or soldier's comforts, and helping them die. He combined, in a marvelous fashion, all the strength of a man with the gentleness of a woman. But he himself was not to escape the ravages of war: he suffered a case of blood infection and of fever which afterwards paralyzed him and almost made him an invalid for life.
Meanwhile he persevered with his poetical work, and not many years elapsed before he came to be recognized for his true worth as a great and original literary genius. Many famous men found him out in the little house in Camden, New Jersey, where he went to live, and his name was carried across to Europe, where his book was warmly welcomed by Tennyson, Swinburne, Dowden, and other literati. He died in Camden in 1892.
But even after he had gone it did not seem that he was dead; he had so entirely succeeded in putting himself into his book that he continued to live on. He himself had said of "Leaves of Grass":
"Comerado, this is no book;
Who touches this, touches a man."
"Leaves of Grass" is somewhat difficult to read at first, especially to those who have read only the measured and rhymed verse of such poets as Tennyson and Lowell; almost none of it is in rhyme; neither is it in measured blank verse; indeed it is difficult, if not impossible, to describe it at all, so far as its form is concerned. Perhaps one could say that it is more like the Psalms, in style, than any other familiar writing. Its sentences ebb and flow like the waves of the sea, they ale irregular, spontaneous, instinctive, yet underneath them all is a vast rhythm, like that which one hears when waves break over the shore.
Some readers, especially at first, before they have discovered the author's purpose, are offended by his apparent egotism; he starts his longest poem by saying, "I celebrate myself," and he gives it his own name. But he goes on to say, "What I assume, you shall assume.
"In all people I see myself - none more and not one a barleycorn less:
And the good or bad I say of myself I say of them."
It is not of Walt Whitman as a private individual that he speaks, but Walt Whitman as a representative, average American. In reading it one should do as he did while taking the obligations; he should put his own name in the place of the Master's; when so read the apparent egotism vanishes, and he finds that "Leaves of Grass" is the most democratic book in the world.
The Democracy of it is its heart, and herein lies its appeal to Masons. Ask yourself if the following is not almost a complete statement of the aims and ideals of our Fraternity:
"I speak the pass-word primeval, I give the sign of Democracy:
By God, I will accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpart of on the same terms."
"I dreamed in a dream I saw a city invincible to the attacks of the whole of the rest of the earth:
"I dreamed that was the new City of Friends; nothing was greater there than the quality of robust love - it led the rest."
In his great prose work, "Democratic Vistas," he puts his Gospel into different form:
"This is what you shall do; love the earth and sun, and animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your labor and income to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men; go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and mothers of families, read these leaves (his own poems) in the open air, every season of every year of your life; re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, and dismiss whatever insults your oven soul."
Whitman appeared at the time when the ache of modernity was first troubling our souls, when it seemed that the individual was dwindling and the world was becoming more and more. Industrialism had come to reduce thousands to the status of a cog in a machine; democracy, with its leveling tendencies, seemed to make each of us into a mere drop in a measureless ocean; science, by pushing time back to inconceivable distances, and by unveiling the awful, the incredible size of creation had shriveled the individual up to nothingness. In the presence of such a universe we seemed to become mere infants crying in the night, in the awful cosmic night, with no language but a cry.
At this juncture Whitman came to us to say, though not in these precise words: Does the infinitude of the universe crush you? Learn that your own soul is just as infinite; stand up and confront it, you are just as eternal as it is. You have a vastness within which balances with it. Indeed, all of its suns and systems, all of the slow gradual upheavings of its long geologic ages, all the vast and gradual evolution of its forces, what has all this been for if not to produce you? You are its child; fear not, you yourself are a universe. Or, better still, hear him in his own words in that magnificent psalmodic chant which is one of the greatest utterances in his or any other book:
"I am an acme of things accomplished, and I am an encloser of things to be.
My feet strike an apex of the apices of the stairs;
On every step bunches of ages, and larger bunches between the steps;
All below duly travelled, and still I mount and mount.
Rise after rise bow the phantoms behind me;
Afar down I see the first huge Nothing - I know I was even there;
I waited unseen and always, and slept through the lethargic mist,
And took my time, and took no hurt from the fetid carbon.
Long I was hugged close, long and long.
Intense have been the preparations for me,
Faithful and friendly the arms that have helped me.
Cycles ferried my cradle, rowing and rowing like cheerful boatmen;
For room to me stars kept aside in their own rings;
They sent influences to look after what was to hold me.
Before I was born out of my mother, generations guided me;
My embryo has never been torpid - nothing could overlay it.
For it the nebula cohered to an orb,
The long slow strata piled to rest it on,
Vast vegetables gave it sustenance,
Monstrous sauroids transported it in their mouths, and deposited it with care.
All forces have been steadily employed to complete and delight me.
Now on this spot I stand with my robust Soul."
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A MINE OF MASONIC MATERIAL
Freemasonry is perennially fascinating because one never comes to the end of it; through its history, its ritualism, its symbolisms, etc., it opens out into one field after another until one is fain to believe that he who would know all there is to be known about Freemasonry would have to know all there is to be known about the whole world. But this which is the fascination of the subject is also the despair of the student; in the nature of things so vast a subject will not be adequately covered by its own literature. As many books as there are on Freemasonry they treat but a small fraction of Masonic themes; for this reason the student is driven to other departments of literature in order to gather materials that bear upon the countless aspects of our Fraternity, its history, evolution, and genius.
Of all literature outside specifically Masonic literature the most valuable, at least to the student, is perhaps to be found in the various encyclopedias and in such encyclopedic works on folk lore, ancient customs, old social conditions, and so on, as he will find in the works of Frazer, Westermarck, Tyler, and Sir John Lubbock, to name but a few. The Encyclopedia Britannica contains many articles of special interest to Masons; so also does the Dictionary of Biography.
But among all these reference works it is doubtful if the Masonic reader will find any that contain so many treatises of worth as in Hasting's Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics. Dr. Hastings is a great editor and this is his greatest work. It covers all religions, superstitions, all moral codes and ideas, and nearly everything else that has any relationship to religion or ethics at all. Thus far only nine volumes have been completed; when the whole is finished the bulk of the work will be almost equal to that of the Brittanica.
Most of the articles are signed and everyone of any importance at all is followed by a bibliography, itself an almost invaluable feature. Where a subject is large it is divided among several specialists, thus insuring authoritativeness; and nearly all the articles stick to facts and leave the reader to fashion his own theories.
The Masonic student will find scores of articles which throw light on his own subjects; among these, three or four are worthy of special mention:
The essay on "Circumambulation" is contributed by our veteran Masonic scholar, Count Goblet D'AIviella: into four columns of fine print he has crowded about everything that there is to be known on this subject, so that those who would know whence we have derived our own custom of circumambulation ("walking around") and what it means, will find all they desire in ten minute's reading.
The article on "Foundation,” covering more than six pages and written by Sidney Hartland, contains a wealth of information concerning old builder's customs: Brother Speth's little book on "Builder's Rites" does not contain so much information. This study is of special value because it offers us the clue to the probable origin of the Hiram Abif legend.
The article on "Freemasonry" is by the Masonic encyclopaedist, E.L. Hawkins; it condenses into three pages the complete story of our Order. Study Club members, who haven't time for long histories, would find this a god-send.
The treatise on "Initiation" is a marvel of completeness; it is divided into eight parts, each of which is contributed by a specialist in that particular field; Count D'Alviella, again, is one of these authors.. The sub-heads are as follows: "Introductory and Primitive"; "Buddhist"; "Greek"; "Hindu"; "Jewish"; "Roman"; "Tibetan." A reader's only regret will be that a section has not been devoted to Egyptian initiation.
Hasting's Encyclopcedia of Religion and Ethics is published by Scribner's at $7.00 per volume; it may be purchased on the installment plan at $3.00 per month. Masonic Lodges would find it a valuable adjunct to their library.
ST. PAUL'S PSALM OF LOVE
(I Cor. XIII)
BY WILLIAM VINCENT BYARS
Had I not love, although my voice bade men and angels all rejoice, with harmonies of heaven above, it were in vain, alas but cymbal's sound of tinkling brass, and naught my gain - and naught my gain - had I not love.
Though I were fain of mysteries and prophecies, and though I knew all secrecies of earth below and heaven above; and even although my faith should prove mighty to move yon mountain's mass, it were in vain, had I not love.
And even although, with glad desire, my goods I give that starving men may take and live; though at the stake in flame of fire, I die for the Redeemer's name, and have not love, it were but shame.
He in whose mind the Heavenly Love its home doth make, will suffer long and still be kind, for Lovers dear sake.
Love vaunteth not, for in its heart no vanity of pride hath part.
It moveth all to courtesy; it doth not seek its own; it is not angered easily; it loveth not iniquity; it loves the truth alone.
All things it bears; it has all faith; all hopes it shares, nor doth it fail when railing tongues assail it.
Love does not fail, but prophecies and all the lore of tongues shall cease; and knowledge, too, shall be no more.
In this brief day, we know in part, but when we perfect grow in heart, our partial knowledge will not last, but pass away.
In infant's swaddling bands confined, I had the infant's tongue and mind, but now no more am I beguiled by fancies that could please the child.
Though still we see all things that pass, darkly as in a wizard's glass, yet when we gain heaven's perfect grace, we shall see all things, face to face.
For here below, small is the part I e'er can know of God's great All; but there on high, before God's throne, there I, - even I also, - shall know as I am known.
And now remain Faith, Hope and Love, - these three, the greatest of God's train. And greatest of the three is love.
THE QUESTION BOX
THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another; but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are open to all members of the Society at all times. Questions of any nature on Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our members, particularly those connected with Lodges or Study Clubs which are following our "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study." When requested, questions will be answered promptly by mail before publication in this department.
THE SAINTS JOHN
I find in Mackey's Encyclopedia under the subject of "Lodge of St. John," this explanation:
"The Masonic tradition is that the primitive or mother lodge was held at Jerusalem, and dedicated to St. John - first the Baptist, then the Evangelist, and finally to both."
I would like to inquire if there is not a little inconsistency in this statement. If it means the traditional lodge, which King Solomon installed, then the above assertion would not be true for the building of the Temple antedated the birth of the Saints by approximately a thousand years. If it means a lodge formed after the life time of the Saints, it would be at a period of more than five hundred years after the total destruction of the Temple, and at a time when a Masonic lodge could not be held at Jerusalem, whether traditional or actual.
These statements are made with a knowledge that the wording of Mackey's Encyclopedia does not correspond verbatim with our ritual. A little enlightenment on this difference would be greatly appreciated. N.D.Y., New York.
Mackey very frequently calls his account of Lodge of St. John, "traditional"; in other words, he does not offer it as verified history but as so much rumor. As you say, the story is most inconsistent and there is not a Masonic scholar now living who accepts such an account of the origin of the custom of speaking of our lodges as having been dedicated to St. John. Where, and when, and by whom that custom came to be nobody knows, albeit many have put forward guesses. It is a mystery that the early Freemasons did not dedicate their lodges to St. Thomas who was the patron saint of architecture. In medieval times it seems that many Freemason lodges were really dedicated to "The Four Crowned Martyrs," or "Quatuor Coronati," and a recital of the legend of these four old Masons is given in a few of the Old Charges. Hughan, than whom there is no better authority in such matters, says that prior to 1717 there was no connection with the two Saints John; after that date the Freemasons fell into the habit of holding their Grand Lodge meetings on either or both of the St. John festivals, John the Baptist on June 24th, John the Evangelist on December 27th, and that it was in this way that our Fraternity came to be connected with these two names. This, as was said above, is more or less of a guess and we must live in hope that some future scholar will turn up a bit of evidence to explain the matter to our satisfaction. H.L.H.
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JEWEL OF THE THIRTY-SECOND DEGREE
On page 63 of the February issue of THE BUILDER you describe the jewel of the thirty-second degree as being a Teutonic cross of gold, with a green wreath encircling the numerals XXXII in gold. To the term Teutonic I take issue. My contention is that this cross, (as well as all crosses), is a symbol used in heraldry, and the cross you quote as Teutonic should be termed "cross potent," as in John Grand, Manual of Heraldry. Am I correct? G.H.R., Minn.
The jewel of the degree of The Sublime Prince of the Royal Secret, commonly called the thirty-second degree, is a Teutonic cross. It is thus described because, from the twelfth century on, it was used by the secret society known as the Teutonic Order. (On this Order see Ency. Brit.) "Cross potent" is nothing but an heraldic term to describe any device in which two crosses intersect each other, and there are a number of crosses which might be so described. The crux ansata and the swastika, not to mention the Christian cross, were long in vogue before heraldry was heard of. H.L.H.
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THE TEMPLAR DEGREES AND THE SCOTTISH RITE
Will you kindly enlighten us as to the following:
1. Can a Knight Templar become a thirty-third degree Mason without having taken the preceding degrees of the Scottish Rite?
2. What is the difference between the Templar degrees and the Scottish Rite?
3. Can a Scottish Rite Mason become a Shriner without taking the Templar degrees, or vice versa?
1. No. The thirty-third degree is a Scottish Rite degree and has nothing to do with a Commandery degree of the York Rite.
2. They are entirely different and a full explanation cannot be given without going into the ritual which, of course, cannot be done here. We can simply say that they are as different as though conferred by two different orders and practically they are, except that each one is a branch of Masonry. The Temple degree is Christian in character and requires allegiance to the Christian religion, and by many is claimed not to be a Masonic degree at all. Some claim that none of the Templar degrees are Masonic and that the organization is one whose applicants, according to its own regulations, must have received the Royal Arch degree in the York Rite. We might say that one important difference between the two Rites is that in the so-called York Rite the three symbolic degrees are supreme and are not subject to authority of any higher degree, and in fact the various bodies of Symbolic Masonry, Capitular Masonry, Cryptic Masonry and the Commandery are each self-governing and entirely independent bodies, although each of the so-called higher bodies are higher only in the sense that they require their applicants to belong to one or more of the other bodies.
In Scottish Rite Masonry all the degrees, from the Entered Apprentice to the thirty-second, inclusive, are governed by the active members of the thirty-third degree. However, where York Rite Masonry is established in North America, the Scottish Rite relinquishes any claim to authority over the first three degrees in favor of the Grand Lodges of the several jurisdictions.
3. Yes. The Shrine is not a Masonic degree at all, but according to its laws its members must be either Knights Templar or thirty-second degree Masons. C.C.H.
THE USE AND ABUSE OF THE BLACKBALL
This is a subject that undoubtedly has been discussed in your valuable paper many times but being one of your recent subscribers I have seen nothing relative to the question. However it is one that is of interest to every conscientious Mason, and one that he is constantly being called upon to consider, and I believe the more light that is thrown upon it, the more qualified we will all be to deal with it in a just and intelligent manner.
I dare say that every Mason has had the experience of going away from a lodge meeting feeling that perhaps an injustice had been done to some unfortunate petitioner, and then again we have been made to feel ashamed because of the fact that someone totally unworthy has abused the confidence we have reposed in him. Either of these conditions is deplorable and in many cases could be avoided if at the time of balloting, calm, cool and unbiased judgment had been employed.
Masonry is religious but not a religion, and is peculiar inasmuch as its followers do not go out into the highways and byways in search of men, their souls to save.
The material used in the building of King Solomon's temple was prepared and made ready before it was brought to the temple, and so it is with our candidates, we receive none knowingly into our order who are not moral and upright before God and of good reputation before the world.
Therefore it seems to me the point to be considered when balloting on the name of a petitioner is whether or not the material presented at our altar for the first time, the rough ashlar, so to speak, is of such a quality and texture that when the finished product is passed on to the Chief Architect for final inspection, we shall have something of which we may justly feel proud; or will our efforts prove in vain and we find ourselves in possession of a piece of work for which vie will constantly be making excuses. Perfection on earth has never yet been attained; allowances must be made and have been made or many of us would not be wearing the lambskin today; it therefore behooves every Mason in making a decision to judge with candor, admonish with friendship and reprehend with justice.
A recent case will show how a stone rejected by the builders can become one of the principal supports. The ballot was found dark and the sentiment of the lodge was that an injustice had been done. The matter was taken to the Grand Lodge and permission granted for a new ballot which was found clear, the brother being now a true, faithful worker.
Another instance where a certain faction ruled and practically owned a lodge. By careful manipulation this condition was finally broken up and a new set of officers elected. For one year thereafter that lodge did not confer a single degree, and it was the boast of some that it never would. But in due time the narrow-minded either died off or were convinced of the error of their ways and today the lodge is a flourishing one.
In determining the qualifications of a candidate no particular set of rules can be adopted, but I believe he should have a clear conception of the duties he owes to God, his country, his neighbor and himself.
In his duties to God will he measure up to the ancient usages and customs and landmarks of the craft? In his duties to his country is he a law abiding citizen, true to the government in which he lives? In his duties to his neighbor will he live up to the fraternal ties that bind us together; especially does his past deportment warrant us in believing that he will obey the 9th tie of the M.M. oath? In his duties to himself, is he honest with himself, is he moderate in all things; if not he can't be expected to be with others.
Consideration of these points will eliminate much poor timber and a great deal of mere drift-wood.
Albert M. Cope, Wisconsin.
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NEW YORK MASONIC PUBLICATIONS WANTED
I am trying to complete for the Library of the Yonkers Masonic Temple the set of publications relating to Freemasonry in New York State and would appreciate any assistance you can give me toward obtaining missing publications. I have obtained quite a number of publications by purchasing personally from the Library of the Supreme Council of the 33rd Degree in Washington and a number by donation, as the Yonkers Masonic Temple unfortunately, has no funds available for this purpose.
We lack the following, which we are very anxious to obtain:
1. All Proceedings of the Regular Grand Lodge, from June 5, 1816, to June 24, 1821, and other publications.
2. Proceedings from June, 1824, to June, 1839.
3. Proceedings December 6, 1843, to June 8, 1844.
4. Constitutions, edition of 1837 (83 pp.), St. John's Grand Lodge of New York.
5. Constitutions, (regular) Grand Lodge of New York 1845, editions of 1852 and 1854.
6. Constitutions of 1854, edition of 1866.
7. Constitutions of 1873, editions of 1875 and 1877. (The above Constitutions are all 8vo.)
8. Constitutions, (regular) Grand Lodge of New York 1854, editions of 1860, 1861, 1864, 1867, (12mo.).
9. Constitutions of 1873, editions of 1873, 1877, 1879, (12mo.).
10. Constitutions of 1885, 1899, 1907, January, 1909, (12mo.).
11. Statement of receipts and expenditures of the Grand Lodge of New York, 1806 to 1819, (77 pp.).
12. Circular letter Grand Lodge addressed to the several lodges of New York, 1823, printed by Bellamy, (66 pp.).
13. List of expulsions and suspensions communicated by foreign Grand Lodges, 1823, printed by Bellamy, (50 pp.).
14. Plan for raising $50,000 for a Freemason's Hall, 1824, printed by Grattan, (7 pp.).
Any other available New York publications would be of interest.
D. D. Berolzheimer, 17 Battery Place,
New York, N. Y.
(If any of the members of the Society are in a position to help Brother Berolzheimer secure any of the above listed publications they will please communicate direct with him at the address given.)
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PROCEEDINGS OF NORTH CAROLINA WANTED
I am endeavoring to secure as complete a set as possible of the Proceedings of the Masonic Grand Bodies of North Carolina for our local Masonic Library and it occurred to me that you might have duplicate copies of some of the old Proceedings that we might be able to get at a nominal cost. We can obtain some of them from our Grand Bodies but in many instances their supply has become exhausted.
Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of North Carolina for 1898 and the years prior to 1896.
Proceedings of the Grand Chapter of North Carolina prior to 1903.
Proceedings of the Grand Council of North Carolina prior to 1915.
Proceedings of the Grand Commandery of North Carolina prior to 1906.
Proceedings of the Grand Encampment for 1874.
Early history of North Carolina and Tennessee Masonry.
R.L. Chandler, Secretary and Recorder,
Southern Pines, N. C.
(If any of our members can be of assistance in locating any of the above publications for Brother Chandler it is suggested that they communicate with him direct.)
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FURTHER INFORMATION CONCERNING LAFAYETTE
Brother Sachse has made a valuable contribution to the June number of THE BUILDER concerning Lafayette. One might gain the impression, however, from his article that practically all of Lafayette's Masonic affiliations were with Pennsylvania. Such, however, is not the case. Lafayette visited Masonic bodies in many places. A few of them to which I have been able to make instant reference follow:
On March 16, 1825, he visited South Carolina Encampment, No. 1, Knights Templar. - V Mackey's History 1374.
On October 30, 1824, he and his son visited Richmond-Randolph Lodge, No. 19, at Richmond, Virginia. They were elected Honorary Members and signed the register.
- Callahan's Washington 262.
On October 16, 1824, he received and responded to an address from the Lodges in Alexandria, Virginia, and on February 21, 1826, visited them by appointment.
- Callahan's Washington 305-308.
Alexandria-Washington Lodge possesses a life-size painting of him in Masonic regalia painted by Hurdle of Alexandria in
- Callahan's Washington 316.
On June 8, 1824, the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire made Lafayette an Honorary Past Grand Master and made preparations for his reception. I have not at hand information as to the actual date of the reception.
One of the most magnificent affairs in his honor during his visit to this country was the Masonic dinner given by the Grand Lodge of New York at Washington Hall. The full account of this gala event was reprinted in I Nickerson's N.E. Freemason 476-480, including the addresses and toasts and General Lafayette's reply.
On December 8, 1824, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts appointed a committee of seven, five of whom were then past or future Grand Masters of Massachusetts, "to make arrangements for expression of gratitude and affection to our III. Bro. Lafayette."
On June 17,1825, the officers of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts assembled for the purpose of laying the corner stone of Bunker Hill Monument, M. W. John Abbott, Grand Master. At 8:15 a.m. the Committee of the Grand Lodge presented Bro. Lafayette in Grand Lodge, at which there were present delegations from the Grand Lodges of Connecticut, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and New Jersey, the Grand Encampment of Rhode Island and Massachusetts and the Grand Royal Arch Chapters of Massachusetts and Maine. After addresses and introductions, Bro. Lafayette retired to join the civil procession.
The events of this day have an interest not only because of the visit of Bro. Lafayette but because of the magnificent ceremonies of laying the corner stone of Bunker Hill Monument. The Grand Lodge record of this event is as follows:
At 9 o'clock the M. W. Grand Master made known the request of the Bunker Hill Monument Association, that he would lay the Corner stone of the contemplated Monument in Ancient Masonic form. That in consequence thereof he had caused the Officers of the Grand Lodge to be called together, to assist him in performing that duty; and that he had invited the presiding Officers of the Grand Institutions in New England, to be present with their Officers. The Grand Master directed the Grand Marshal to form a procession to repair to the Common, there to join the civil procession, and proceed to Bunker Hill in Charlestown.
The Master Masons having assembled at Faneuil Hall, the Royal Arch Masons at Concert Hall, and the Knights Templars at the Armory and refreshment Hall, the Grand Marshal assisted by R. W. Bro. William Ingalls, and Samuel L. Knapp, on horseback with twelve other Deputy Marshals on foot, formed a grand Masonic procession, in the following order:
Two Grand Pursuivants
Junior and Senior Wardens
(Past Masters Banner)
Grand Royal Arch Chapters of Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island
Grand Encampment of Vermont, Rhode Island & Massachusetts Presiding Masters
(Presiding Masters Banner)
Revd. Clergy of Fraternity
Grand Lodges of Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Connecticut
Two Grand Stewards with White Rods
Banner of the order of Architecture/Silver Vessel with Wine/ Globe
Grand Lodge Banner/ Golden Vessel with Corn/Principal Architect with Square Levil & Plumb
Banner of the Implements of the Craft/Silver Vessel with Oil/ Globe
Square Levil & Plumb
District Deputy Grand Masters
Grand Rec. Secretary, Grand Treasurer, Grand Cor. Secretary
Grand Chaplain, Bible, Square and Compasses, Grand Chaplain Past Grand Wardens
Past Grand Masters
Three Burning Tapers
Sen. G. Warden Deputy G. Master Jun. G. Warden
Sen. G. Deacon Grand Master Jun. G. Deacon
Grand Sword Bearer
Two Grand Stewards
A number of Master Mason Lodges having provided themselves with appropriate banners, the Master Masons were arranged in Divisions corresponding with the number of banners which were placed in the intervals. A large proportion of Master Masons were clothed with plain white aprons, white gloves, and blue sashes.
The Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Maine appeared in full costume with Elegant banners. The Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Massachusetts was organized in ample form, and appeared with their elegant banner and flanking banners. A number of Chapters under the Grand Chapter of Massachusetts several of which were provided with appropriate banners were arranged under the Grand Chapter. All of the Royal Arch Masons were arranged in procession under R. W. Bro. Roulstone their Marshal. The Knights Templars appeared under the command of R. W. Bro. Henry Fowle, Dep. Grand Master of Knights Templars. They were in full dress and displayed the banners of Knights Templars, and Knights of the Red Cross.
Sir Knights with lances preceded being on the points of their lances white pennants, on which were painted the names of the six New England States. A front and rear guard, and also guards to the banners were armed with lances. All the Knights Templars were arranged in procession under R. W. Bro. William J. Whipple their Marshal. The Masonic procession being formed in the foregoing order proceded to the Common, where a general procession was formed as follows:
The Grand Lodge of Massachusetts
Survivors of Bunker Hill Battle in Open Carriages
The President of Bunker Hill Monument Association Chaplains
Directors and Officers of the Bunker Hill Monument Association
The President of the United States in a Carriage
General LaFayette in a Carriage
Officers of the Revolutionary Army
His Excellency the Governor of Massachusetts
Lieutenant Governor and Council
The Hon. the Senate, and the House of Representatives
Secretary and Treasurer
Governors of Other States in the Union
Heads of Departments of the United States
Senators and Representatives of the United States
Judges of Supreme Court of U. S. and State Courts
Presidents of Colleges and Clergy
Officers of U. S. Army
Officers of U. S. Navy
Officers of Militia
Members of the Association
The procession then moved to Charlestown, and having arrived at the Square, on which it was intended to erect the Monument the whole was enclosed by the troops. Near the place intended for the Corner Stone was erected by the Fraternity a lofty triumphal arch on which was inscribed the following, "The Arts pay homage to Valor." Through this Arch the whole body of Masons passed and took up a position on the right of the Square, the Grand Lodge in front. The President of the Bunker Hill Association then requested the Grand Master to proceed and lay the corner stone. The Grand Master accompanied by the Deputy Grand Master, Grand Wardens, Grand Treasurer, and Secretaries, Grand Chaplain, and Past Grand Masters, and attended by the Grand Marshal, advanced to the place intended where the President of the Association, and R. W. Bro. LaFayette met them.
The Grand Marshal by direction of the Grand Master, commanded silence to be observed during the ceremonies. The working tools were presented to the Grand Master who applied them to the stone, and passed them to R. W. Bro. LaFayette, and the President of the Association who severally applied them, and then the Grand Master declared it to be "well formed true & trusty." The Stone was then raised, and the Grand Chaplain repeated the following: "May the Grand Architect of the Universe grant a blessing on this foundation stone which we have laid, and by his providence enable us to finish this and all our works with skill and success. Glory be to God in the highest."
(Response by the Brethren.)
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.
The Grand Treasurer then placed under the Stone a silver plate on which was engraved the name of the Grand Master, the names of the Officers of the Association, the time and occasion of laying stone, &c. The three vessels containing Corn, Wine, and Oil, were presented to the Grand Master who poured their contents in succession on the stone and said "May the all bounteous Author of nature bless the inhabitants of this place with all the necessaries, conveniences, and comforts of life, assist in the erection and completing of this building, protect the workmen against every accident, and long preserve this structure from decay. And grant to us all in needful supply the Corn of nourishment, the Wine of refreshment, and the Oil of joy."
He then struck the Stone thrice with his mallet and the Honors of Masonry were given. The Grand Master delivered the working tools to Bro. Alexander Parris the Master Workman, instructing him with the superintendence and direction of the work.
The fraternity then moved to seats prepared on the North side of the Hill in front of which was erected an Extensive semicircular building open in front, in the centre of which the Grand Master, the President of the Association, and its Officers were accommodated. An Oration was pronounced by the President of the Association. A procession was then formed which proceeded to an Extensive range of tables, where refreshments were prepared.
The Grand Lodge was closed without form.
On June 9, 1875, Bro. Francis C. Whiston of Boston presented to the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts the Masonic Apron worn by Bro. Lafayette on the above occasion June 17, 1825, accompanied by the autograph remarks made by Daniel Webster and Lafayette at the banquet which followed when Bro. Whiston acted as toastmaster.
Bro. Whiston's remarks upon this occasion were as follows:
Most Worshipful Grand Master:-
By your kind indulgence I am here to-day to perform a most grateful duty. Fifty years ago it was my privilege and very great pleasure to be numbered with that countless throng assembled on Bunker Hill, to witness the laying of the cornerstone of that noble monument erected to commemorate the brave deeds of that invincible band of heroes and patriots, who, upon that very hill fifty years before, made the first formidable armed resistance to British oppression, and by their valor and indomitable courage taught an arrogant and insolent foe a lesson more lasting than the granite column which transmits to posterity the remembrance of a day never to be forgotten in the history of our beloved country; and always certainly to be remembered by all good Masons, for there our most worthy Grand Master, the illustrious statesman patriot, and soldier, Joseph Warren, offered his precious young fife, a sacrifice upon the altar of his country's liberties. Assembled there upon that occasion were the surviving heroes of our Revolution, conspicuous among whom, stood the dignified form of the Marquis de Lafayette, the early and devoted friend of Washington. At the close of the ceremony and after the delivery of the magnificent oration by Daniel Webster, the Masonic portion of the assembly unclothed, preparatory to proceeding to what was more properly known as Bunker Hill, where a sumptuous dinner was partaken of by several thousand persons. As my position, as one of the marshals of the day, gave me the opportunity of being near the person of General Lafayette, I received from him, in that graceful, bland, and affable manner so peculiar to himself, the Masonic apron he had worn during the ceremonies of the day, and which I have faithfully preserved as a valuable memento of that great man, and the interesting and important event it serves to call to remembrance. But, as I shall, in all human probability, soon reach the end of my mortal journey, and be compelled to leave the care of this precious relic in other hands, it occurred to me that I could find no safer, or more appropriate place of deposit than the archives of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and will, therefore, Most Worshipful Grand Master, with your permission, commit it to your custody, that it may be placed with your other valuable mementos and records. And I have thought it appropriate, and that it might be acceptable to the Grand Lodge, were I to associate with the apron worn by Lafayette, and commit to the same sacred depository, the toasts and the remarks connected therewith, offered at the dinner table, by the President and orator of the day, Daniel Webster, and by General Lafayette, the most distinguished guest of the occasion, each in the handwriting of their respective authors, and which were handed me, as toastmaster, on that occasion, at the time of their delivery, by these distinguished gentlemen.
The following are copies of the toasts referred to by Brother Whiston:-
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE ASSOCIATlON
The President said he rose to propose a toast in behalf of the Directors of the Association. Probably he was already anticipated in the name which he should mention. It was well known that the distinguished personage near him, from the time when he first became acquainted with the object of the Association, had taken much interest in it, and had expressed an intention to be present at the ceremony of laying the cornerstone. This purpose he had kindly remembered through the long course of his visits to the several States. It was not at all necessary to say - indeed it could not be said - how much his presence had added to the interest and pleasure of the occasion. He should proceed at once to the grateful duty which the Directors had enjoined on him, and propose to the company "Health and long life to General Lafayette."
General Lafayette rose and expressed himself in the following words:-
Gentlemen: - I will not longer trespass on your time than to thank you, in the name of my revolutionary companions in arms and myself, for the testimonies of esteem and affection, I may say, of filial affection, which have been bestowed upon us on the memorable celebration of this anniversary day; and to offer our fervent prayers for the preservation of that republican freedom equality, and self-government, that blessed union between the States of the Confederacy for which we have fought and bled and on which rest the hopes of mankind. Permit me to propose the following sentiment:-
"Bunker Hill, and the holy resistance to oppression which has already enfranchised the American hemisphere, the next half century jubilee's toast shall be: to enfranchised Europe."
R.W. Past Grand Master, John T. Heard, moved the acceptance of the apron and papers, with the thanks of the Grand Lodge to Brother Whiston, in the words following:,
REMARKS OF R. W. JOHN T. HEARD, ON THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE LAFAYETTE APRON
I claim the pleasure of moving that this priceless gift be heartily received by us, and our warmest thanks be presented to the donor of it.
Though a school-boy, I remember vividly the two visits of Lafayette to Boston, one in 1824, the other in 1825. The first occurred on a beautiful morning in August. The enthusiasm of the people on his reception on Boston Neck knew no bounds. The entire avenue from Boston to Roxbury was lined with an excited multitude. The roar of cannon from Boston Common from "Dorchester Heights" and from other points, added to the excitement of the occasion. His person, as I recollect it, is faithfully represented by the portrait in the south-west corner of this hall. On the line of procession from Roxbury to the State House in Boston were displayed, as decorations, flags of every country, and triumphal arches were erected from point to point bearing appropriate mottoes. One of them I remember well; it was:
"We bow not the neck, we bend not the knee
But our hearts, Lafayette, we surrender to thee."
During the succeeding ten months, the "Nation's Guest ' as Lafayette was warmly characterized, visited nearly every important city in what was then the United States. His reception everywhere was a spontaneous outbreak of gratitude for one who had been a nation's helper in the time of a nation's need. It must be remembered that in those days the facilities we enjoy of traveling by railroad did not exist; hence it will appear that his extended journey required much time, and must have been toilsome, to one of his age, in no small degree.
In June, 1825, he returned to Boston for the purpose of assisting at the laying of the corner-stone of the Bunker Hill Monument. On the morning of the 17th June he visited the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, and was received by that Body in a manner becoming his distinguished character as a Mason and public man.
Of course, I shall never forget the occasion of laying the cornerstone of that memorial. The day was warm and pleasant enabling thousands upon thousands to witness the ceremonies. To me, the Masonic portion of the pageant won my admiration though, perhaps, I felt a little of awe as I beheld it.
The toast of Lafayette, which has been read, I remember distinctly. It made at the time an impression upon my mind which has never been effaced. At one time, in 1848, I thought that the prediction in it was to be fully realized. Politics in Europe then seemed to point to "enfranchised Europe"; but the half century has passed without its realization. Doubtless there has been a preparation within the last fifty years among the masses for republican forms of government, but the form is, with one exception, still wanting.
Again, Most Worshipful, I move the thanks of this Grand Lodge, as I have proposed.
The motion was seconded by R.W. William S. Gardner, and passed by unanimous vote.
At the same meeting there was presented the Apron of our Ill. Past Grand Master, Major General Joseph Warren, which was worn by our late Bro. Captain Josiah Sturgis at the laying of the cornerstone of the Washington Monument at the National Capital. This is another story, but both Aprons may be seen by any Brother who desires, on exhibition in the Library of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in Boston.
On October 9, 1834, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts paid elaborate funeral honors to the memory of Bro. Lafayette.
Melvin M. Johnson, P.G.M., Mass.
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