Note:  This material was scanned into text files for the sole purpose of convenient electronic research. This material is NOT intended as a reproduction of the original volumes. However close the material is to becoming a reproduced work, it should ONLY be regarded as a textual reference.  Scanned at Phoenixmasonry by Ralph W. Omholt, PM in June 2007.

THE COLLECTED "PRESTONIAN LECTURES"

1925-1960

(Volume One)

 


 

THE COLLECTED PRESTONIAN LECTURES

1925-1960

(Volume One)

 

Edited by Harry Carr

 

LONDON

LEWIS Masonic

 

Quatuor Coronati Lodge

 

First published in collected form in England in 1965

by

Quatuor Coronati Lodge No 2076

 

This edition published in 1984 by

 

LEWIS MASONIC, Terminal House, Shepperton, Middlesex members of the

IAN ALLAN GROUP

 

Published by kind permission of

The Board of General Purposes of the United Grand Lodge of England

 

Printed in Great Britain by

Butler & Tanner Ltd, Frome and London

 

ISBN 0 85318 141 1

 

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data

 

The Collected Prestonian Lectures 1925-1960 Second edition

 

1. Freemasons

1.         Carr, Harry, 1900-1983 366'.1 HS-395

  

CONTENTS

 

 

Page

List of Illustrations      viii

List of Abbreviated References      Viii

Introduction    ix

Index . 481

1927   Brother William Preston: an Illustration of the Man, his Methods

and his Work                         Gordon P. G. Hills .   1

 

1925   The Development of the Trigradal System             Lionel Vibert .            31       

1926 The Evolution ofthe SecondDegree              Lionel Vibert .            47

1928 Masonic Teachers oftheEighteenth Century                        Dr. John Stokes        63

1929 The Antiquity of our Masonic Legends                     Roderick H. Baxter   95

1930   The Seven LiberalArtsandSciences                       H. T. Cart de Lafontaine       121

1931   Medieval Master Masons and their Secrets          Rev. Canon W. W.   

                                                                                                Covey-Crump            141    

1933 The Old Charges in Eighteenth century Masonry                Rev. Herbert Poole .            155

1934 The Art, Craft, Science,or `Mistery' of Masonry                   F. C. C. M. Fighiera  183

1935 Freemasonry and Contemplative Art                        Walter J. Bunney       195    

1936 Freemasonry, Ritual and Ceremonial                       Lewis Edwards         213

1937 The Inwardness of Masonic Symbolism in the Three Degrees                 Rev. Joseph Johnson           229

1938 The Mason Word                                                        Douglas Knoop         243

1939 Veiled in Allegory and Illustrated by Symbols          G. E. W. Bridge         265

1940-6 Lectures suspended during the War years                      

1947 The Grand Lodge south, of the River Trent Gilbert Y. Johnson     283

1948   The Deluge                                                                Fred L. Pick   297

1949   Our Oldest Lodge                                                     Col. C. C. Adams      317

1950   Lodes of Instruction, their Origin                 

and Development                              W. Ivor Grantham      331

1952   `Free' in `Freemason', and the Idea

of Freedom through six Centuries                                       Bernard E. Jones      363

           

          

            viii CONTENTS                    

            1953 What is Freemasonry?           G. S. Shepherd Jones          377

            1954 The Freemason's Education Bruce W. Oliver         385

            1955 The Fellowship of Knowledge           John R. Rylands        399

            1956 The Making of a Mason          George S. Draffen .  413

            1957 The Transition from Operative to                  

            Speculative Masonry            Harry Carr .    421

            1958 The Years of Development    Norman Rogers         439

            1959 The Medieval Organization of                       

            Freemasons' Lodges (Some notes                       

            on Medieval Freemasonry)  Rev. Canonj. S. Purvis .        453

            1960 The Growth of Freemasonry in                     

            England and Wales since 1717      Sydney Pope .           471

 


 

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

 

 

William Preston, as P.M. of the Lodge of Antiquity           Frontispiece Page Thomas Ruddiman, Grammarian and Scholar (1674 - 1757)   3

Robert Edward, 9th Lord Petre, Grand Master (Modems) 1772 - 1776            7

James Heseltine, Grand Secretary (Modems) 1769 - 1784.       10

John, 2nd Duke of Montagu, the first Noble Grand Master, 1721           49

William Preston as a young man     62

William Hutchinson, 1732 - 1814, Author of The Spirit of Masonry         73

Diagram: the right-angled triangle  .           147

           the 47th Proposition of Euclid         .           149

           the Tetractys, or the Shem Hamphoresh    .           152

Two Sections of the Fortitude MS. of the Old Charges, .c. 1750            173

Nineteenth century Tracing Boards and Symbols 268

Graphs: the Growth of Freemasonry in England and Wales, since 1717           474

 

 

LIST OF ABBREVIATED REFERENCES

 

 

A.Q.C.            Ars Quatuor Coronatorum. Transactions of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge.

B. of C.           Book of Constitutions.

I.M.A.  Installed Masters Association.

M.A.M.R. Manchester Association for Masonic Research. Misc. Lat. Miscellanea Latomorum.

Q.C.A.            Quatuor Coronatorum Antigrapha. Masonic Reprints of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge.

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

EXTRACT FROM THE GRAND LODGE PROCEEDINGS FOR DECEMBER 5TH, 1923.

 

In the year 1818, Bro. William Preston, a very active Freemason at the end of the eighteenth and beginning of the nineteenth centuries, bequeathed 300 3 per cent. Consolidated Bank Annuities, the interest of which was to be applied "to some well‑informed Mason to deliver annually a Lecture on the First, Second, or Third Degree of the Order of Masonry according to the system practised in the Lodge of Antiquity" during his Mastership. For a number of years the terms of this bequest were acted upon, but for a long period no such Lecture has been delivered, and the Fund has gradually accumulated, and is now vested in the M.W. the Pro. Grand Master, the Rt. Hon. Lord Ampthill, and W. Bro. Sir Kynaston Studd, P.G.D., as trustees. The Board has had under consideration for some period the desirability of framing a scheme which would enable the Fund to be used to the best advantage; and, in consultation with the Trustees who have given their assent, has now adopted such a scheme, which is given in full in Appendix A [See below], and will be put into operation when the sanction of Grand Lodge has been received.

 

The Grand Lodge sanction was duly given and the "scheme for the administration of the Prestonian fund" appeared in the Proceedings as follows APPENDIX A SCHEME FOR ADMINISTRATION OF THE PRESTONIAN FUND

 

1. The Board of General Purposes shall be invited each year to nominate two Brethren of learning and responsibility from whom the Trustees shall appoint the Prestonian Lecturer for the year with power for the Board to subdelegate their power of nomination to the Library, Art, and Publications Committee of the Board, or such other Committee as they think fit.

 

2. The remuneration of the Lecturer so appointed shall be 5. 5s. Od. for each Lecture delivered by him together with travelling expenses, if any, not exceeding 1. 5s. Od., the number of Lectures delivered each year being determined by the income of the fund and the expenses incurred in the way of Lectures and administration.

 

3. The Lectures shall be delivered in accordance with the terms of the Trust.

 

x          THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES

 

One at least of the Lectures each year shall be delivered in London under the auspices of one or more London Lodges. The nomination of Lodges under whose auspices the Prestonian Lecture shall be delivered shall rest with the Trustees, but with power for one or more Lodges to prefer requests through the Grand Secretary for the Prestonian Lecture to be delivered at a meeting of such Lodge or combined meeting of such Lodges.

 

4. Having regard to the fact that Bro. William Preston was a member of the Lodge of Antiquity and the original Lectures were delivered under the aegis of that Lodge, it is suggested that the first nomination of a Lodge to arrange for the delivery of the Lecture shall be in favour of the Lodge of Antiquity should that Lodge so desire.

 

5. Lodges under whose auspices the Prestonian Lecture may be delivered shall be responsible for all the expenses attending the delivery of such Lecture except the Lecturer's Fee.

 

6. Requests for the delivery of the Prestonian Lecture in Provincial Lodges will be considered by the Trustees who may consult the Board as to the granting or refusal of such consent.

 

7. Requests from Provincial Lodges shall be made through Provincial Grand Secretaries to the Grand Secretary, and such requests, if granted, will be granted subject to the requesting Provinces making themselves responsible for the provision of a suitable hall in which the Lecture can be delivered, and for the Lecturer's travelling expenses beyond the sum of 1 5s. Od., and if the Lecturer cannot reasonably get back to his place of abode on the same day, the requesting Province must pay his Hotel expenses or make other proper provision for his accommodation.

 

8. Provincial Grand Secretaries, in the case of Lectures delivered in the Province, and Secretaries of Lodges under whose auspices the Lecture may be delivered in London, shall report to the Trustees through the Grand Secretary the number in attendance at the Lecture, the manner in which the Lecture was received, and generally as to the proceedings thereat.

 

9. Master Masons, subscribing members of Lodges, may attend the Lectures, and a fee not exceeding 2s. may be charged for their admission for the purpose of covering expenses.

 

Thus, after a lapse of some sixty years the Prestonian Lectures were revived, in their new form, and, with the exception of the War period (19401946), a Prestonian Lecturer has been appointed by the Grand Lodge regularly each year.

 

It is interesting to see that neither of those two extracts announcing the revival of the Prestonian Lectures made any mention of the principal change that had been effected under the revival, a change which is here

 

INTRODUCTION       xi

 

referred to as their new form. The importance of the new form is that the Lecturer is now permitted to choose his own subject and, apart from certain limitations inherent in the work, he really has a free choice.

 

Nowadays the official announcement of the appointment of the Prestonian Lecturer usually carries an additional paragraph which lends great weight to the appointment: The Board desires to emphasize the importance of these the only Lectures held under the authority of the Grand Lodge. It is, therefore, hoped that applications for the privilege of having one of these official Lectures will be made only by Lodges which are prepared to afford facilities for all Freemasons in their area, as well as their own members, to participate and thus ensure an attendance worthy of the occasion.

 

The Prestonian Lecturer has to deliver three "Official" Lectures to Lodges applying for that honour. The "Official" deliveries are usually allocated to one selected Lodge in London and two in the provinces. In addition to these three, the Lecturer generally delivers the same lecture, unofficially, to other Lodges all over the country, and it is customary for printed copies of the Lecture to be sold‑in vast numbers‑for the benefit of one of the Masonic charities selected by the author.

 

The Prestonian Lectures have the unique distinction, as noted above, that they are the only Lectures given "with the authority of the Grand Lodge". There are also two unusual financial aspects attaching to them. Firstly, that the Lecturer is paid for his services, though the modest fee is not nearly so important as the honour of the appointment.

 

Secondly, the Lodges which are honoured with the Official deliveries of the Lectures are expected to take special measures for assembling a large audience and, for that reason, they are permitted‑on that occasion onlyto make a small nominal charge for admission.

 

Of necessity the Lectures are given orally to different kinds of Masonic audience (ranging from ordinary Lodges to Study Circles and prominent Research Lodges). The subjects are usually popular and simple themes, or at least capable of being expressed in clear and uncomplicated language. In three cases within the period covered by this volume (1924‑1960) the Lectures dealt mainly with esoteric matters‑always of the highest interest to the listeners‑but the nature of their contents prevented them from being printed and they are necessarily omitted from this collection. They are:     1924   W.Bro. Capt. C. W. Firebrace,        The First Degree           P.G.D.            1932   W.Bro. J. Heron Lepper,      The Evolution of Masonic     P.G.D. Ritual in England in                  the Eighteenth Century 1951           W.Bro. H. W. Chetwin,          Variations in Masonic             P.A.G.D.C. Ceremonial xii   THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES

 

Despite unavoidable limitations and omissions, the range and scope of the twenty‑six lectures reproduced here is a very ample justification for this unique publication, and the Committee of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076, takes this opportunity of expressing its thanks to the Board of General Purposes for their kind permission to proceed with the work.

 

The prime reason for a collected edition was because the vast majority of the lectures are out of print. Practically all of them have been published in successive years (usually at the Prestonian Lecturer's expense‑for private circulation) and most of them have appeared at intervals in the Transactions of some of the research Lodges and study groups where the lectures were delivered. In nearly every case, however, the lectures were out of print within a year or two, and even when they are preserved in the printed Transactions, they are only accessible in the larger Masonic Libraries. Yet there is a steady demand for them, both from students working on particular subjects, and for Lodges and study circles who need this kind of material for their research and education programmes. It is hoped, therefore, that the collected edition will prove a valuable aid in every field of Masonic study as well as a stimulus to further work.

 

Our collection therefore comprises all the Prestonian Lectures from 1925‑1960, inclusive, and the only omissions are those noted above. The choice of the terminal date 1960 was governed partly by the size of the prospective volume, but also because each of the Prestonian Lectures after 1960 has been published in the Transactions of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, and they are, therefore, readily accessible to students.

 

Treatment of the Texts. The lectures are reproduced here in order of their dates but with one major exception. For the first lecture in the book, we have selected "Brother William Preston: An Illustration of the Man, his Methods and his Work", by Bro. G. P. G. Hills who was the Prestonian Lecturer for 1927. The reasons for this arrangement are twofold. First, because Bro. Hills' lecture was the only one which dealt solely with the life and work of the founder of the Prestonian Lectures, and it has remained to this day by far the best over‑all study of the man and his work, thereby forming a particularly apt introduction to the whole collection.

 

The second reason was a purely practical one. Throughout the years it became the custom for the Prestonian Lecturers‑whatever their choice of subject ‑to preface their Papers with a biographical sketch of William Preston. Of necessity they all covered the same ground, in more or less detail, and to have reproduced all this repetitive material twenty times or more throughout the book would have been both extravagant and monotonous. By placing Bro. Hills' comprehensive study at the beginning of the book it became possible to eliminate all the biographical Prefaces, and that has been done in every case, except where the Preston references form an integral part of the lecture itself.

 

 INTRODUCTION      Xiii

 

Other editorial emendations may be listed very briefly. Some of the lectures which ran to two or more printings, have appeared with minor variations in the texts. In all cases we have used editorial discretion, but we reproduce only such versions as are known to have been used as Prestonian Lectures. Mis‑spellings and errors of punctuation have been corrected; the excessive use of initial capitals has been curbed; quotations, often carelessly copied or printed, have been checked wherever practicable and corrected where necessary. Charts or diagrams appearing in the original texts have been reproduced exactly, and the Frontispiece and several illustrations have been added which did not appear in the original Papers.

 

In a few instances (e.g. Bro. L. Vibert's Lecture for 1926) certain brief portions of the text were unsuitable for printing; in such cases the lectures were recast by their authors for the purpose of their first publication, and our reproduction has followed those texts.

 

The statements, theories and opinions expressed in the lectures are of course those of the authors, and wherever possible, the versions used for this publication have been prepared and corrected by them.

 

Most of the eminent writers honoured by Grand Lodge appointment as Prestonian Lecturers have been, and are, Brethren who have distinguished themselves in all branches of Masonic activity, and whose Masonic ranks and titles might easily fill several lines of print. In most cases we have quoted only the principal ranks given on the original prints of their lectures. Many of the lecturers were, and are, Past Masters of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge (either before or after their year as Prestonian Lecturer), and in the majority of cases that title alone has been used in conjunction with the holder's Rank. ‑ The collection as a whole, and the individual Lectures, are copyright. All precautions have been taken to obtain permission of the Lecturers (or their heirs) for this publication, and the help which the Quatuor Coronati Lodge has received in this respect from all concerned, is here gratefully acknowledged. All the Lectures are freely available to Lodges, study groups and individual Brethren for use as Lectures to regular Masonic bodies, but reproduction in print‑either in whole or in part may not be undertaken without proper permission.

 

H. CARR.

 

London, October, 1965.


 

 

 

BROTHER WILLIAM PRESTON: AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE MAN, HIS METHODS AND HIS WORK (THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1927)

 

BRO. GORDON P. G. HILLS P.M.

Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076; P.A.G.Supt. Works Librarian to Grand Lodge

 

 

 

Let me preface my address by an illustration of Brother Preston's character: At the most hopeless hour of his Masonic career, when, as a consequence of his championship of the immemorial rights of the Lodge of Antiquity, Brother Preston had been expelled by Grand Lodge, yet all the same he wrote: "To the institution of Masonry, I shall ever bear a warm and unfeigned attachment; I know its value, and I am convinced of its utility. To the Society of Free Masons I profess myself a true and stedfast friend." Ten years later came a reinstatement equally honourable to all parties concerned, and when at last after many more years happily devoted to the service of the Craft that useful life was closed, it was found that Brother Preston had left handsome legacies as pledges of his lasting attachment to the institution, including the foundation of the Prestonian Lectureship, in perpetuation of which I have the honour to address you this evening.

 

So Brethren I now claim your attention whilst I endeavour to outline within the limits of a lecture, what the personality of Brother William Preston means for the Craft by an attempt to illustrate the Man, his Methods, and his Work.

 

Our chief sources of information are Brother Preston's own writings, and the biographical notes of that sincere friend and admirer, Brother Stephen Jones, from both of which sources I shall quote at length.

 

We have besides much information made readily accessible in two handsome volumes of history of the Lodge of Antiquity, in which Brother Capt. Firebrace has furnished a worthy sequel to Brother Rylands' labours. To researches bearing on the subject by Brothers Hextall and Wonnacott,

 

2          THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES

 

both now lost to us as all Masonic students must deplore, I feel special obligation. To Brother Songhurst, whose ever ready help enabled me to borrow so many rare volumes from our Quatuor Coronati Library, and to my colleague Brother Makins, who so readily helped me to the treasures of the Grand Lodge Library, I am also much indebted and grateful thanks must be offered.

 

William Preston was born at Edinburgh on July 20th, 1742 (O.S.), the second son and only surviving child of William Preston, Writer to the Signet, in practice in that City. The father, blessed with the advantage of a liberal education, a good Greek and Latin scholar, and credited by his friends with some poetical facility, had attained a recognized position in his profession. As one might expect, special care was devoted to the education of the son. We are told that "in order to improve his memory (a faculty which has been of infinite advantage to him through life) the boy was taught when only in his fourth year, some lines of Anacreon in the original Greek, which he was encouraged to recite for the amusement of his father's friends, when the novelty of this performance was enhanced by the fact that it did not imply that the young genius understood with what wonderful accuracy he uttered." At the early age of six young Preston is said to have made such progress in his English education as enabled him to be entered at the Edinburgh High School, where he made considerable progress in the Latin tongue. Thence he proceeded to College and was taught the rudiments of Greek.

 

Whilst at the University his studious habits and aptitude attracted the attention of Mr. Thomas Ruddiman, then looked upon as Scotland's representative scholar, who owing to blindness needed an assistant in his work, and he left College to take up the duties of an amanuensis to this gentleman, to whose guardianship he was consigned on the‑death of his father in 1751. The loss of considerable property in Edinburgh through the mismanagement of Trustees, and becoming involved in difficulties through his attachment to friends who had espoused the Stuart Cause in 1745, brought about reverses of fortune and ill‑health which led to the death of the elder William Preston. Ruddiman, too, had similar political leanings, but he satisfactorily weathered the stress of that crisis.

 

Young Preston was apprenticed to his patron's brother, Walter Ruddiman, partner in their printing firm in Edinburgh, but spent the greater part of his term of articles in assisting Mr. Thomas Ruddiman. This was a great advantage and extension of his educational opportunities, as he was employed in reading to the blind scholar, transcribing works not yet complete and correcting those in the press. These occupations prevented him from making great proficiency in the practical branch of his calling, but after Mr. Ruddiman's death he went into the office and worked as a compositor for about twelve months, during which time he finished a neat Latin edition of Thomas i Kempis (in 18mo), and an edition of Ruddiman's standard work, the Rudiments of the Latin Tongue, whilst his literary abilities were further

 

4          THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES

 

exhibited in a catalogue which he prepared of his friend's library under the title Bibliotheca Romana.

 

Thus equipped by birth and education William Preston proceeded to London in 1760 furnished with letters of recommendation and introduction from his master and other friends to those who would be likely to help him to start a career in the southern metropolis. Here good fortune attended him, for on presenting his credentials to his compatriot Mr. William Strahan, the King's Printer, he promptly found employment in that printing firm, a connection maintained to the end of his life. Dr. Johnson, who maintained a cordial friendship with Strahan, said that his was the best printing house in London.

 

A biographical note in the Freemason's Magazine, March, 1795, refers to him thus: "The uninterrupted health and happiness which accompanied him for half a century in the capital, proves honesty to be the best policy, temperance the greatest luxury, and the essential duties of life its most agreeable amusement." Soon after Preston's arrival in London, a number of Masonic Brethren from Edinburgh desired to found a Lodge under a Constitution from the Grand Lodge of Scotland. They were informed that this could not be done, as it would be an infringement of the rights of the English Grand Lodge, but the petitioners were referred to the Antients' Grand Lodge in London. This body granted the Brethren a dispensation to meet as a Lodge, and William Preston was their second initiate, probably at a Meeting on April 20th, 1763, held at the White Hart in the Strand, when the Lodge was formally constituted by the Grand Officers and became No. 111 on the roll of the Antients. Brother Preston and some other members, dissatisfied with the status of their governing body, soon became members of a Lodge meeting at the Talbot Inn, in the Strand, under the other Grand Lodge of England, and prevailed on their friends of No. 111 of the Antients to transfer their allegiance to the older Grand Lodge. So, under the Grand Mastership of Lord Blaney and for a second time, on November 15th, 1764, the Lodge was constituted in ample form as No. 325 "the Caledonian Lodge", under which name it flourishes as No. 134 on the roll of Grand Lodge to this day.

 

Brother Stephen Jones tells us that circumstances combined to lead Brother Preston to turn his attention to the Masonic Lectures; and explains how, to arrive at the depths of the Science, short of which he did not mean to stop, he spared neither pains nor expense. "Wherever instruction could be acquired, thither he directed his course, and with the advantage of a retentive memory, and an extensive Masonic connection, added to a diligent literary research, he so far succeeded in his purpose as to become a competent Master of the subject. To increase the knowledge he had acquired, he solicited the company and conversation of the most experienced Masons from foreign

 

BROTHER WILLIAM PRESTON  5 

 

countries, and in the course of a literary correspondence with the Fraternity at home and abroad, made such progress in the Mysteries of the Art, as to become very useful in the connections he had formed. He has frequently been heard to say that, in the ardour of his enquiries he has explored the abodes of poverty and wretchedness, and, when it might have been least expected, acquired very valuable scraps of information. The poor Brother in return, we are assured, had no cause to think his time or talents ill bestowed".

 

Brother Preston used to meet with his friends once or twice a week, in order to illustrate his version of the lectures; on which occasions objections were started, and explanations given for the purpose of mutual improvement. At last, with the assistance of some zealous friends, he was enabled to arrange and digest to his satisfaction the whole of the First Lecture.

 

Arrived at this stage in 1772 he organized a Gala Meeting in order to submit the work to the approbation of the Grand Officers and leaders of the Craft. An Oration which he delivered on this occasion was so well received that he determined to print it, and with a description of the proceedings and other matter this formed the first edition of his Illustrations of Masonry, which was published the same year. Encouraged by the successful reception of this first venture our Brother proceeded with his plans to complete the Lectures for the three Degrees.

 

Having accomplished this, proposals were issued for their delivery as public Lectures to the Craft, which took place at the Mitre Tavern, Fleet Street, during 1774. In further support of these revised workings a pamphlet was issued, entitled "Private Lectures on Masonry by William Preston", giving an account of the Three Lectures which, very slightly elaborated, formed the leading matter of the Second Edition of the Illustrations of Masonry published the next year (1775). Meanwhile in this prospectus, through the medium of the preliminary remarks addressed to the Encouragers and Promoters of Free Masonry, he presented his ideals and objects to the following effect: "No Society ever subsisted which was raised on a better principle or more solid foundation than Free‑Masonry ... It is indeed true, that in some Lodges the WORK of MASONRY is much neglected, and little or no regard shown to the fundamental principles of the Society; arising partly from the inexperience and partly from the inability of those Brethren who have the honour to preside over them ... Thus MEN of LETTERS have been discouraged from pursuing a study which might otherwise have proved of public utility; by giving sanction to the Society, and employing their genius in the elucidation of Mysteries, the greatest Monarchs have not been ashamed to countenance.

 

As the neglect is owing, in a great measure to a want of method, which a little application might easily remedy, Brother Preston is

 

5 6       THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES

 

induced to offer his assistance to ALL REGULAR MASONS desirous of making a progress in the Art ... If Brother Preston succeeds in his expectations of giving his Brethren a just idea of Masonry, or promoting an uniformity in the Lodges under the English Constitution, he will be perfectly happy in the attempt he has made, and will spare no pains faithfully to fulfil his engagements with every gentleman who is inclined to encourage his design".

 

Annexed were the following CONDITIONS.

 

I. Every Degree to consist of Twelve Courses.

 

II. One guinea to be paid on admission into every Degree.

 

III. Any Brother not perfect in any one Degree at the expiration of the Twelve Courses, shall have the privilege of attending six more, without any additional expence.

 

IV. Books of the Courses will be given to every Brother at the com mencement of his instructions.

 

V. Instructions will be given Three times a week at an appointed hour.

 

I have already explained that Brother Preston's book Illustrations of Masonry took its rise from the Grand Gala Performance of the First Lecture on May 21st, 1772.

 

The first edition of the book differs very considerably from its many successors and is now a very rare volume. The title page bears the following lines by Dr. Blacklock: The Man whose mind on virtue bent Pursues some greatly good intent, With undiverted aim; Serene beholds the angry croud Nor can their clamours fierce and loud, His stubborn honor tame.

 

The quotation is wonderfully apt under the circumstances for already, as Preston himself wrote, the methods adopted had excited in some "an absolute dislike" of what they considered as innovations, and in others "a jealousy" which the principles of Masonry ought to have checked.

 

The volume bore the imprimatur of Grand Lodge over the signatures of the Grand Master Lord Petre, Deputy Grand Master, Wardens and Secretary.

 

In the Preface it is explained that the first design was only to publish the Oration delivered at the Gala, but the entertainment being to be annually repeated, certain particulars were put on record to serve as a precedent for future exhibitions of the same kind. The plan being thus extended beyond the bounds of a pamphlet, Preston explains: "I resolved to select some of the best

 

8          THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES

 

pieces on the subject I could find; and to annex a few commentaries to answer the end in view. To this was added an Appendix containing many articles never before published, compiled from the most authentic records, and the best authorities I could procure".

 

The Second Edition of the Illustrations of Masonry appeared in 1775, again with the imprimatur of the Grand Master and his Officers.

 

In this Edition the particulars of the proceedings at the Grand Gala in 1772 "are entirely omitted to make room for more useful matter", so runs the preface, and from being denominated an "entertainment to be annually repeated", it is put aside "as it was a temporary affair".

 

The book now commences with "A vindication of Masonry including a Demonstration of its Excellency", which in later editions came to be headed "The Excellency of Masonry displayed"; then follow "Remarks on Masonry including an Illustration of the Lectures", and a great deal of fresh matter especially under the heading of "History of Masonry in England", which carries it from the days of the Druids to the reigning G.M. Lord Petre. Special stress was laid on the Hall building project in which Brother Preston took great interest. Contrary to the usage of Masonic publications of those days, no songs except those sung at the Gala accompanied the First Edition, but "as the description of that performance was now omitted several others which are usually sung in the course of the ceremonies were explained in this Work".

 

In the form thus arrived at Brother Preston's book achieved its success, and did a great work for the Craft by bringing together scattered matter in a harmonious whole and making it generally available and, by presenting the institution in a dignified and worthy manner, rendered it acceptable even to those who were not members of the Society. There is no doubt it did much to raise the general estimation of Freemasonry, and whilst we must differ from some of its presentments. of history and theory, many useful lessons are inculcated equally applicable to our days. There remains, too, above all an engaging enthusiasm, a genuine love for the order and the Brethren and the spirit pervading it, which is at the very roots of our institution and must ever insure among Masons an affectionate feeling of gratitude to our worthy Brother for his labours.

 

The book ran through twelve English editions during its author's lifetime, and then, under the editorship of Brother Stephen Jones and finally of Dr. Oliver, reached the seventeenth English issue in 1861. There were published also from 1776 onwards German translations, American re‑issues (1801, etc.) and a Dutch translation as late as 1848, but no French edition seems to have been called for. In the English Craft it was frequently given to initiates, and became an almost indispensable Lodge possession, ranking only after the V.S.L. and the Book of Constitutions. Old copies evidence by their well thumbed condition their constant use for reading the ancient charges at the opening and closing of the Lodge.

 

BROTHER WILLIAM PRESTON 9

 

During the Grand Mastership of the Duke of Beaufort (1767‑1771) Brother Preston was employed by the Grand Secretary to assist in arranging the general Regulations of the Craft, and in revising the foreign and country correspondence. This led later on to his being appointed Assistant or Deputy Grand Secretary at a salary of 20 per annum under Brother Heseltine in 1769. This post did not amount to Grand Office, but Preston's name was associated with those of the Grand Officers as "Printer to the Society"; all the same, he carried on the chief part of the Secretarial correspondence, entered Minutes, attended Committees, completed and corrected the Calendars with the History of Remarkable Occurrences, and prepared an Historical Appendix to the Book of Constitutions as issued in 1776. All this work gave him access to special sources of information which he was able to turn to good account in historical matter introduced in the later editions of his Illustrations.

 

Brother Preston took an active part in proceedings as a member of the Hall Committee of Grand Lodge, and to this period belong his subscriptions of 20 to the Hall Fund and the like amount to the Masonic Charity for Girls.

 

He resigned his Secretarial appointment at Christmas, 1777.

 

Outside the Craft, Brother Preston prospered in his business as a printer and corrector of the press in connection with Mr. William Strahan's firm, on whose death in 1785 he became recipient of an annuity of 30 for life and took the position of chief reader and superintendent to the son, Mr. Andrew Strahan, who succeeded to the business. That his literary capacity was considerable is clear. We are told: "His critical skill as a corrector of the press led literary men to submit to the correction of style: and such was the success of William Preston in the construction of language, that the most distinguished among them honoured him with their friendship as presentation copies in his library including such names as Robertson, Hume, Gibbon, Johnson and Blair bore testimony".

 

Within the craft, as we have seen, Brother Preston had now reached an honoured, or what he would have called a `truly respectable' position, and was known by his various activities to a wide circle as the Order then existed. He attended various Lodges of Instruction to propagate his system. He had already been Master of several Lodges when circumstances, which we must consider in some detail, led him to the Chair of the Lodge of Antiquity.

 

Among those taking a leading part in assisting Brother Preston at his Gala Performance of the First Degree Lecture in 1772 was Brother John Bottomley, Master of the Grand Stewards Lodge at that time, who was Master of the Lodge of Antiquity from 1771 to 1774, when attendance was very poor and the Lodge in flagging condition. Another member was Brother John Noorthouck, who joining in 1771, was Senior Warden from 1772 to 1774. Brother Bottomley's membership dated back to 1768.

 

BROTHER WILLIAM PRESTON

 

Brother Noorthouck, the son of a well known London bookseller of Dutch origin, was in a very similar walk of life to Brother Preston, in fact, like him largely in the employment of the Strahans, and a few years later to be the recipient of an annuity of 20 on the elder Strahan's death, when 30 a year was left to "my present Overseer" William Preston.

 

These two Brethren, Bottomley and Noorthouck, conceived the idea of introducing Brother Preston into the Lodge of Antiquity to retrieve its fortunes by his activities and zeal.

 

Brother Preston appears already to have attended a Meeting of the Lodge of Antiquity in February, 1772, as a visitor hailing from the Lodge of Prosperity, when on March 2nd, 1774, he was proposed as a joining Member. He was duly elected a Member on June 1st, when he was not, however, present, and so was not, as often stated, elected a member and the Master of the Lodge on the same day. It was at the following Meeting of Antiquity on June the 15th that he made his first attendance as a Member and was honoured by election to the Chair.

 

Under Preston's Mastership the prosperity of the Lodge was rapidly restored. He was greatly impressed with the importance of his position as Master of the first Lodge under the English Constitution and threw himself heart and soul into the work in what he conceived to be the best interests of the Lodge. He studied its past records and tried to establish a position by which the fullest prerogatives of a Lodge acting by immemorial constitution might be preserved intact under its allegiance to Grand Lodge. Unfortunately, the activities of this new member did not meet with the approbation of the very men who had been responsible for his introduction, and when the discontent of their party within and without the Lodge had developed into an attack upon Brother Preston, we find Brother Noorthouck writing to complain that "Brother Preston after being not only admitted but honour'd with the Master's Chair, crouded in such a succession of young masons, as totally transferred all the power of the Lodge to him and his new acquaintance and enabled him to keep possession of the Master's Chair for three years and a half ... During this time Bror. Preston kept up private weekly meetings of these young Brethren, under the name of a Lodge of Instruction, in which meetings, he occasionally as your memorialists have been informed propagated matters of peculiar original powers residing in their Lodge, exempt from the authority of the Grand Lodge, pretensions of which your Memorialists and the other Old Members of the Lodge never before entertain'd any idea . . ." It strikes one as less than generous that Brother Preston should be blamed for holding the Mastership during a period of three and a half happy and prosperous years when his predecessor, Brother Bottomley, had occupied the Chair for an exactly similar period under the depressed circumstances then

 

12        THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES

 

prevailing in the Lodge. Brother Noorthouck's version of the proceedings speaks for itself, and it is amusing to note that he evidently did not attend the Lodge of Instruction as its procedure was only hearsay to him and his friends. That the lectures were not to his taste may be clearly illustrated from his letter to the Master, Brother Preston's successor, at this crisis, in which he wrote: "I am but a dull and awkward schoolboy in my responses, but nevertheless I claim some LITTLE acquaintance with the PRINCIPLES of the Order: and these reach beyond the meer catechisms, which require only a disengaged mind with a retentive memory".

 

Evidently Brother Preston's working of the lectures and powers of memory annoyed Brother Noorthouck.

 

At a Meeting in October, 1776, Preston received the thanks of the Lodge because he had maintained the precedence of the Lodge of Antiquity No. 1 at a Lodge he had visited, where it had been challenged by a member of the Stewards Lodge, then No. 60. Brother Bottomley's opinion as a P.G.Stwd. does not appear.

 

We can gather, then, there was a current of dissension inside and outside the Lodge waiting only for an opportunity to get vent. The pretext arose when some of the Brethren of the Lodge went to St. Dunstan's Church, Fleet Street, to celebrate St. John's Day, December 27th, 1777, by hearing a sermon by their Chaplain. They put on their Masonic Clothing in the Vestry and sat together in the same pew; one, at any rate, Preston by his own account, arrived late, and put on his Masonic Clothing when he had entered the reserved pew. It was only a few steps across the street to the quarters of the Lodge at the Mitre Tavern, as the Church then projected into the road considerably to the South of its present position, and so, after the service, the Master queried should they take off their clothing or wear it across to the tavern ? Preston tells us that he said, "I should certainly, I was not ashamed of it, I was then invested and should not divest myself till the business of the day was finished ... We accordingly returned to the tavern in jewels and clothing as representatives of the Lodge, preceded by the Beadles but without any formal procession as Masons".

 

Brothers Noorthouck and Bottomley were not present, but they and their friends alleged that the proceedings constituted a public procession of Masons in their Clothing, and made this the subject of complaint to Grand Lodge. Unfortunately, Brother Preston attempted to justify what at the worst was a mere error of judgment by pleading inherent rights peculiar to the Lodge of Antiquity. I must not now attempt to set out the history of what followed; to do it adequately and to do justice to all concerned makes a long story and by no means a pleasant one, and has quite as much to do with the history of the Lodge, in whose records it may be followed, as with our Brother. It is with Brother Preston that we are now dealing, and to put the matter briefly I would say that there is no room for doubt that he was very hardly and unfairly treated. It was for his championship of the Lodge rights, as he   

 

BROTHER WILLIAM PRESTON    13

 

conceived them, that he suffered; for himself he had no consideration, he was simply determined that he would not be a party to betraying the trust of those immemorial privileges. All the same, his theory was incompatible with allegiance to the Grand Lodge, as the sequel clearly demonstrated.

 

Procedure and forms were strained against Preston and his supporters, and at last, on January 29th, 1779, they were expelled by Grand Lodge. Yet worse was to follow, for by their action in carrying on the Lodge independently and in alliance with the Grand Lodge of All England at York, and yet further by forming themselves into a new Grand Lodge for England South of the River Trent, the offenders seemed to have put themselves hopelessly beyond any chance of future reconciliation.

 

The two parties of the Lodge of Antiquity pursued their several ways, and Brother Preston summed up his version of the affair in a pamphlet dated June 3rd, 1778, and entitled, "State of Facts", in which, despite his recent harsh treatment, occur those memorable words which I quoted at the commencement of my lecture: "To the institution of Masonry, I shall ever bear a warm and unfeigned attachment. I know its value and I am convinced of its utility. To the Society of Free Masons I profess myself a true and stedfast friend".

 

In his statement Brother Preston claims to have introduced as many as three hundred initiates into the Order, and proceeds: "I have been employed upwards of fourteen years in establishing a system for the honour of the Society, in the course of which I have consulted the best authors, ancient and modem. I have now in my possession extracts from above two thousand volumes on the subject. These I intend to arrange under the title Adversaria, and publish under sanction, with a few cursory observations; but the present dispute I believe has effectually baffled my intention". Another "work I have long had in contemplation" was "A Digest of all the laws which have subsisted since the establishment of the Grand Lodge". A very unfriendly pamphlet on the other side, Masonic Anecdotes of little Solomon: a Caution to the Fraternity, appeared about 1788.

 

Our Brother took part in the activities of his section of the Lodge of Antiquity and in the brief existence of the newly constituted Grand Lodge for the South, yet evidently the turn of affairs had come as a heavy blow and disappointment. In fact, at one time he even determined to bid "a complete Adieu to the Society". Hence we find that he had not attended the Lodge for over a year when on October l7th,1781, his resignation was tendered, and in other respects his Masonic activities were in abeyance, so that, as his biographer quaintly comments, he was enabled "to direct his attention to his other literary pursuits which may fairly be supposed to have contributed more to the advantage of his fortune".

 

14

 

Meanwhile, the Lodge got into very low water, but at length the earnest entreaties of his friends and doubtless the warm interest he had felt in the Lodge prevailed on him to rejoin. This was on October 23rd, 1786, and for a second time Antiquity was revived by the accession of Brother Preston to its ranks.

 

This renewed interest in the Craft led to the organization of a special scheme by which Brother Preston determined to propagate his System of Lectures ‑ the so‑called "revival" of the Antient and Venerable Order of Harodim, which was, in effect, a dignified Lodge of Instruction to render his Lectures, inaugurated by a Meeting at the Mitre Tavern, Fleet Street, on January 4th, 1787.

 

The Lodge of Antiquity adhering to the Grand Lodge passed through its vicissitudes, but when, at a Meeting on December 2nd, 1789, we find Brother Preston attending as a visitor, a happy ending to the division was in view, for Preston and his friends, having made an apology to Grand Lodge "signifying their concern that through misrepresentation they should have incurred the displeasure of Grand Lodge ... to the Laws of which they were ready to conform", had only a month since been reinstated and restored to their privileges in Masonry, as Preston himself acknowledged, "in the most handsome manner". Following this, in November, 1790, the reunion of the two Sections of the Lodge of Antiquity was most auspiciously accomplished.

 

In our survey of Brother Preston's career to this point we have reviewed some of his work and touched upon many of his methods in general, but I will now consider a little further in detail what is recorded of his own presentation of the lectures and their matter.

 

From his own account of the manner in which the first Lecture was rendered at the Grand Gala in 1772 we can see that he spared no trouble to make the ceremony as impressive as he could, and the musical accessories both vocal and instrumental‑are particularly worthy of attention. The first edition of the Illustrations gives full particulars with a plan of the room which indicates besides the ceremonial arrangements an ample table accommodation for the liquid refreshment wherewith the toasts were duly honoured.

 

The Lodge was opened in due form by command of the G.M. in the Chair, Brother Preston officiating as Master.

 

The S.W. rehearsed the Antient Charges on the Management of the Craft in Working and then read Laws for the Government of the Craft, followed by the Toast.

 

THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES

 

Brother Preston delivered his Oration, thus laying the foundation stone of his future Illustrations of Masonry.

 

Toast. The GRAND MASTER‑flourish with Horns.

 

The Six Sections of the first Lecture were then rehearsed accompanied by songs and duets and instrumental music with the appropriate toasts.

 

"The King and the Craft", which was honoured by a "Flourish of Horns".

 

BROTHER WILLIAM PRESTON 15 At the Close of Section VI., The Charge on the Behaviour of Masons was rehearsed by Brother Preston, and then came the Toast. May the cardinal virtues with the grand principles of Masonry always distinguish us; may we be happy to meet, happy to part, and happy to meet again, followed by the Entered Apprentice's Song, the first verse, altered to a rather more dignified form for the occasion: Come let us prepare, We brothers that are Assembled on noble occasion: Let's be happy and sing, For Life is a Spring To a Free and an Accepted Mason.

 

Then, Brother Preston records, "the Grand Master in the Chair expressed his great approbation of the regularity of the whole proceedings." "The Lodge was closed and the Grand Officers preceded by the Stewards for the occasion, and attended by several respectable personages adjourned to supper, an elegant entertainment being provided at the expense of the Stewards, and the evening was concluded with the greatest joy and festivity". There was, of course, no novelty in Lectures or the use of catechism, which in days before books were available had been the only means for imparting general instruction in the Arts and Sciences. The old methods by which the Speculative or theoretical side of the Craft had been taught, survived in the Lodge "Work", though, as the exposures demonstrate, much degenerated and fast approaching a mere residuum of tests and catch words. There were also addresses, charges, eulogies such as were connected with the names of Bros. Oakley, Martin Clare, Dunckerley, Edmondes, Wellins Calcott and many others. Lectures on Architecture and Geometry, Science and other interesting subjects, were given in Lodges in which there were members of intellectual attainments.

 

The prevalence of such customs is confirmed by strictures of the pugnacious Grand Secretary of the Antients in his Ahiman Rezon (1764) at this date, where he complains that, amongst the degenerate Modems, the old custom of studying Geometry in the Lodge was likely to give way to the use over proper materials of a good knife and fork in the hands of a dextrous brother, and the use of the globes might be taught and explained, amongst the degenerate Modems, as clearly and briefly upon two bottles as upon Mr. Senex's globes of 28 inches diameter.

 

The Minutes of the Lodge of Antiquity from 1756 onwards record Lectures in various Degrees as when (1757) "The Master gave an Extraordinary joyous lecture" or (1762) when "The R.W.M. was pleased to favour 16        THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES us with a Noble Lecture in the Third Degree" or that of the First (1763) "was given in a most Excellent & Explicit manner", which might be paralleled by extracts from many other old Minute Books.

 

Brother Preston did not invent lectures, but he carried on the old traditions, endeavouring to correct, refine and amplify the old workings, welding together lectures, addresses, eulogies, in a complete system according to his method.

 

The Minutes of the Lodge of Antiquity record a performance of the Lecture of the Third Degree with musical accompaniments on a scale similar to the setting of the first Lecture. In this case, however, Brother Preston officiated as Chief Ruler and was supported by his S. and J. Wardens as Senior and Junior Rulers.

 

To Brethren who have not studied the subject the names of the leading Officers may suggest a further step beyond the Third Degree, but in the ancient working as carried on by the Lodge of Antiquity and exemplified at the Lodge of Promulgation and by its propaganda, so soon as the Brethren have proved themselves Craftsmen the principal officers become for that, and for the higher Degree, a Chief Ruler and Senior and Junior Assistant Rulers instead of Master and Wardens. These usages disappeared under the workings of the Lodge of Reconciliation.

 

This is the only record of this elaborated ceremony being worked that occurs in the Minutes of Antiquity.

 

Neither Brother Bottomley nor Brother Noorthouck were present.

 

It was when, encouraged by his friends, Brother Preston determined to resume his Masonic activity that his Lectures received the full elaboration of their setting in the Harodim Chapter method. Our Brother is said to have "revived" the Antient and Venerable Order of Harodim, that is of Harods or Rulers, but we have yet to determine its origin, possibly the ceremony of being "made free from Harodim", still nominally in existence, may point to a source, but I must leave that issue aside for the present, nor can I dwell upon the details of its organization, which are set out in full detail in the Plan and Regulations of the Grand Order of Harodim printed in 1791. It was described by an ardent supporter as an "institution which certainly claims respect and deserves encouragement; inasmuch as, while it preserves all the ancient purity of the Science, it refines the vehicle by which it is conveyed to the ear; as a diamond is not less a diamond but is enhanced in its value, by being polished".

 

The Harodim Chapter died out about 1801, having served its purpose as a means of propagating Brother Preston's version of the Lectures which at that period were regularly worked in the Lodge of Instruction attached to the Lodge of Antiquity and illustrated at the Lodge Meetings.

 

It remains for me briefly to outline what these famous lectures were. Preston's own Lectures necessarily cover very much the ground of those with which we are familiar today, but there is a good deal of difference in BROTHER WILLIAM PRESTON    17 Thus we define the friendly salutations we intrust amongst Masons, and thus we demonstrate this truth‑That from the eyes of Masons the beauties of Heaven are never screened.

 

Clause 5 defines the key which opens our Treasures and which every faithful Brother bears with him.

 

SECTION II. in six Clauses carries the Initiate from preparation to the end of the Obligation:‑ the verbiage and the order of the matter, and there are besides considerable portions which have no exact counterparts today.

 

The First Lecture consists of Six Sections, the Second of Four, and the Third Lecture is prolonged to no less than Twelve Sections. Each Section is further sub‑divided into Clauses.

 

The three Lectures are each of them prefaced by preliminary dissertations‑paragraphs which were published in the Illustrations and which appear in print in connection with workings of the lectures in vogue today.

 

After such introduction the first lecture starts in the usual method of question and answer, and we are taught: That a Mason is never too wise to leam‑that the wise seek knowledge and more travel to find it from West to East.

 

The Master is placed in the East.

 

Because it ever has been, and continues to be, and always shall be the situation of the Master when he. acts in that capacity.

 

"Why is he placed there?" and further questions elicit: Because Man was there created in the Image of his Maker; there also knowledge and learning originated, and there the arts and Sciences began to flourish . . . Other men may gain knowledge by chance or accident but Masons must acquire it, otherwise they cannot obtain preferment ... the best use is made by Masons because the knowledge they have acquired they will improve to the best advantage, and thence once improved they will evidently dispense it for the general good.

 

Clauses 2, 3 and 4 deal with familar matter and the last enlarges on the symbolism of the Sun at its various stations The J.W. "placed in the South at high 12 invites the Brethren to the cool shade, there to enjoy rest and refreshment." In the West the Third Grand Natural Object is "still the Sun in a scene equally pleasing setting in the West, closing the day, and lulling as it were all nature to repose".

 

The Senior Warden renders to every brother the just reward of his merit to enable him to enjoy a comfortable repose, the best effects of honest industry when they are properly applied.

 

Each Clause ends with a summary such as is appended to this: 18      THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES Thus we demonstrate our regular possession of the invaluable and inestimable secrets of Freemasonry and the advantages to be derived from the faithful observance of them.

 

SECTION III. in six Clauses continues the Ceremony. In Clause 3: The Ancient Clothing of a Mason is described as white gloves and white leather apron, the first denoting Purity and the second Innocence, both considered as the badge of Innocence and the bond of Friendship.

 

In the next Clause the advantage of laying a foundation stone is explained: That should the ravages of time or violence destroy the whole superstructure, this stone when discovered will prove that such building did exist, the name of its founder, and the purpose of its being erected.

 

How can this apply to the N.E. comer? Because should the influence of virtue cease to operate amidst the corruption of men and the depravity of manners, the original principles which were impressed on his mind on that spot, will never be obliterated, but will guard him from the dangers of infection and preserve his heart untainted in the general corruption of the world. Clauses 5 and 6 traverse the Master's address to the Candidate and the Charge: Masons live to improve and improve to enjoy. Thus the admiration which is excited by the display of talents and virtues is a pleasing sensation; curiosity is gratified by marking the steps of fortune; the views of men are enlarged by tracing the effects of conduct and the heart is meliorated when it contemplates the principles whence good actions proceed.

 

In SECTION IV.

 

Clause 1 refers to the methods of the Egyptians, the great lights. In Clause 2, the form of the Lodge, a parallelogram, is explained.

 

Clauses 3, 4 and 5 deal with the Site, the situation of the building and its construction, the covering of the building and its supports, leading up to the description of the Mystical Ladder in Clause 6.

 

In SECTION V.

 

The first three Clauses explain the internal omaments, the furniture and jewels, the fourth the Dedication of the Lodge, and the two final divisions exemplify matter in the nature of charges.

 

In SECTION VI.

 

Clause 1, we learn that we meet on the level and part on the square, and where to find a brother.

 

BROTHER WILLIAM PRESTON 19 Clauses 2, 3 and 4 deal with Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, the Cardinal Virtues, and in the final Clause, Day, Night and the Wind in Freemasonry are considered.

 

The dissertations on Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth which appeared in the Illustrations are familiar to workers of the lectures today.

 

We are taught with regard to the Master that: The Master should be hailed with homage and respect as Master of the Art, clothed in Royal Robes of blue purple and scarlet, that by this testimony he might display his skill and talent before the world ... With becoming grace he would receive all this ... but the Lodge no sooner formed than he would lay all aside for the Badge of Innocence and Friendship.

 

THE SECOND LECTURE is divided into FOUR SECTIONS.

 

The Five Clauses of the First SECTION deal with the Fellow Craft's progress from his preparation till his charge at the S.E. comer of the Lodge. In the Second SECTION, Clause 1 treats of the number of Degrees, the establishment of the Order, qualifications and service.

 

. In the Second Clause "we define the lodge held and the number of which it was originally composed", and some interesting points arise: The Lodge in the 1st degree is said to be assembled because there is an assembly of all the degrees of the order virtually represented.

 

The Lodge in the 2nd degree is said to be held because only a deputation from the General Lodge can be authorized to hold such a Lodge, and no Entered Apprentice is there permitted to assemble.

 

Five are necessary to hold a F.C. Lodge, three M.Ms. and two F.Cs. who represent all the absentees of the 2nd and 3rd Degrees and allude to the division of the Science into five branches and the five years employed in learning the rudiments of these Sciences, which was the time fixed to constitute a F.C.; there is also an allusion to the five senses (seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting) for they are the channels by which external objects are obtained and like signs in the natural language, have the same significance in all climates, and in all nations.

 

The Master's place is in the East where he denotes that Wisdom, represented by the column having the light in the East, which was before all things and is over all the works of the Creation.

 

Clause 3 deals with Geometry.

 

Clause 4 with The Rise of the Orders [of Architecture]. and the concluding Clause exemplifies the "Five Senses".

 

The THIRD SECTION includes five Clauses devoted to: 1. Classes at the Temple.

 

20        THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES 2. Periods of labour and division of Time.

 

3. The two great pillars.

 

4. The staircase and foundation of the system.

 

5. The Sacred Symbol at the centre of the Lodge.

 

The FOURTH SECTION is intended to exemplify the Sciences as symbolized in the Temple; and the five Clauses illustrate: 1. The general description of the Temple.

 

2. The Temple religiously considered.

 

3. The Temple morally considered.

 

4. The Temple scientifically considered leading up to the origin of the present establishment at its building.

 

Several of these Sections contain a large amount of unfamiliar matter which only quotation at large could do justice to.

 

The THIRD LECTURE according to Brother Preston's 2nd Edition of the Illustrations consisted of Twelve Sections. Later on its matter seems to have been re‑arranged so as to be comprised under seven Sections. The length of the lecture is to be accounted for by the inclusion of the Installation Ceremony, Consecration of a Lodge and public functions beyond the Legendary History and actual ceremonies of the Degree.

 

The Working is very ceremonious and slow in development; the main headings must suffice for our present purpose. An introductory Section is succeeded by THE SECOND SECTION, which contains a History of the Order, in seven Clauses, of a very speculative character: 1. History of the corruption of Mankind.

 

2. Progress of the Institution to remedy or prevent that corruption.

 

3. Remedies adapted to each of those evils.

 

4. What types were adopted to teach the nature of our Soul.

 

5. How (the) System of Society was purified at the building of the Temple.

 

6. Organization of the Society at the building of the Temple.

 

7. Explains how the System has been adulterated since that period.

 

In SECTIONS III. and IV., each of seven Clauses, the History of the Degree is set forth in a method which, while it considerably lengthens the recital, does not materially add to the information.

 

SECTION V., in seven Clauses, again deals with the Mystery of the Third Degree, the Lodge, Ornaments, Tracing Board, Steps, Circumambulations, fall and raising.

 

BROTHER WILLIAM PRESTON    21 SECTION VI. treats of the Government of the Society in the Constitution and Consecration of a new Lodge, explanation of the jewels, and Installation of Masters.

 

SECTION VII. relates to public Ceremonies, the Laying of a Foundation Stone, Dedication of a Masonic Hall, Burial Service of a Mason, with the conclusion of the History of the Third Degree.

 

And now, with a few more words about our Brother himself, I must bring my remarks to a close.

 

Brother Preston was for many years Editor of the London Chronicle, and, as has been mentioned, since 1804 a partner in the firm he had served so well. It was said that he might be designated a "pioneer in literature", having conducted through the Press of the house of Strahan some of the most celebrated works of the eighteenth century writers. He certainly was a pioneer in his Masonic work.

 

An excellent Portrait of Brother Preston in the prime of life was painted by Samuel Drummond and engraved more than once. It appeared in the Freemasons' Magazine of 1795 to illustrate the biographical note by Brother Stephen Jones. This engraving omits the Past Master's jewel of 1778 which appeared in the original; it shows a fine intellectual face with a determined mouth. Another portrait in crayons, which hung in his parlour at the time of his death, depicts him a little softened by time, with a very happy expression, and there is yet another oil painting by Drummond, of which engravings were published‑a very pleasant picture of his later days‑showing him as an old gentleman full of vigour and alertness, of which engravings appeared in the European Magazine, 1811, and in subsequent editions of the Illustrations of Masonry. The originals in the last two cases are in the possession of the Lodge of Antiquity at Freemasons' Hall.

 

The Lodge also has there a plaster bust founded on a death mask, taken two days after death by Giannelli, of Snow Hill, under the supervision of Brother Sir F. C. Daniel.

 

Brother Preston's later years in Masonry were bound up with the history of Antiquity which he served so diligently until ill‑health limited his powers. From 1790 he was annually elected Deputy Master, except when another took his place on account of illness in 1802 and 1807, and when in 1809 the Duke of Sussex accepted the Mastership he appointed him his Deputy Master. It was in 1813 that William Preston, Citizen and Stationer, made his Will, when his Masonic bequests of 500 Consols to the Girls' School, the same amount to the General Charity Fund, and 300 to found the Presto 'an Lectureship, showed him, as he had professed, the true and steadfast friend of the Craft to the end of his life.

 

His last attendance at the Lodge of Antiquity was at the Installation Meeting, January 17th, 1816.

 

22        THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES After an illness of nearly five years Brother Preston passed away at his residence, No. 3 Dean Street, Fetter Lane, on April 1st, 1818. The funeral took place at St. Paul's Cathedral, where he was buried on April 10th. An appreciative notice in the Gentleman's Magazine ends by describing the funeral as "of the most handsome description ... In consequence of the rain the Female Orphans belonging to the Freemasons' Charity in St. George's Fields were not able to follow in procession but mustered at the Church under the care of the Treasurer ... and returned to the house of the deceased where they partook of wine and cake".

 

Let us close with a quotation from a letter which the M.W.G.M. of those days, H.R.H. The Duke of Sussex, addressed to the Lodge of Antiquity in 1813, conveying an appreciation of Brother Preston and a commendation of his example equally applicable for us today: "Long has the Lodge of Antiquity been remarkable for its zeal in Masonry, and greatly is that Lodge and the Craft indebted to the diligence and example of my worthy Brother your Past Master Preston, whose name must be dear to every admirer and well wisher of our ancient Order. I have therefore only to recommend your following his steps, when I may anticipate the most glorious Result".

 

APPENDIX A DETAILS OF THE RENDERINGS OF THE FIRST AND THIRD LECTURES.

 

As regards the First Lecture we have the account of the occasion several times referred to of the "Grand Gala in honour of Free Masonry held at the Crown and Anchor Tavern ... on Tuesday the 21st Day of May 1772" fully set out in the First Edition of the Illustrations with a plan of the room, which we may take as situated East and West, which was arranged as follows An oblong room, nearly twice its width in length had a passage way reserved across the West and entered at the South West corner of the room; two L. or square‑shaped tables ranged with their long arms parallel to the Western portions of the North and South walls, and their shorter lengths running across and only leaving room at the centre for a passage way between the ends of the tables‑"The Grand Entrance for the Procession" to the Lodge enclosure. At these tables the rank and file of the Brethren were seated on both sides of the boards. At the further end of the Hall in the East sat the Grand Master "on a Throne, elevated 1' Foot," his Deputy and the Past Grand Master to his left and right with two seats beyond on either side for Past Grand Officers. Opposite the three principal Chairs was "a rich carpet" on which stood "the Pedestal, with the Furniture, Regalia, etc., on a crimson velvet cushion with Gold Tassels".

 

On either side about in a line with the Pedestal approaching the centre archwise were the Grand Wardens' Chairs supported in each case by six seats, BROTHER WILLIAM PRESTON 23 three on either hand for "Respectable Personages". Further Westward the walls were lined with a table on each side North and South with six seats at each for the Stewards for the Gala distinguished by their white rods. The centre of the floor space was occupied by the Lodge‑the Lodge Board‑the Master of the Lodge sitting at the centre of the end furthest from the Grand Master‑the West end apparently‑and two Assistants at either of the sides North and South. The East end of the Lodge Board was unoccupied, but along the South side were placed "The Three Great Lights properly elevated", one at the centre and the others at the angles of the Board, South East and South West.

 

To minister to creature comforts, tables were provided in front of the Wardens and their supporters, and there were stands before the three chief seats specified to be covered like the various tables already mentioned with green baize; there were two side tables "properly furnished" in the North Fast and South East comers of the room, and an enclosure described, "Repository for Wine", occupied the North West comer opposite the entrance. A gallery for Musicians was placed at the South East of the room.

 

The Lodge was opened in due form by command of the Grand Master in the Chair, Brother W. Preston as W.M., Bros. Gliddon and Pugh as S. and J. Wardens.

 

The Senior Warden rehearsed the Antient Charges on the Management of the Craft in working.

 

Masons employ themselves honestly on working days, live creditably on holydays; and the times appointed by the law of the land, as confirmed by custom are carefully observed; seven clauses which the ten clauses today in our Book of Constitutions elaborate with additions.

 

The Senior Warden then read: Laws for the Government of the Lodge. You are to salute one another in a cautious mannerNo private Committees are to be allowed.

 

These Laws are to be strictly observed [and so on.] Amen. So mote it be.

 

Clauses represented under "Behaviour" in our present version of the Antient Charges.

 

Toast. The King and the CraftFlourish with Horns. Brother Preston delivered his Oration, thus laying the foundation stone of his future Illustrations of Masonry. Toast. The Grand Master Flourish with Horns.

 

24        THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES Ode, sung by three Brethren accompanied with the instruments Wake the lute and quiv'ring strings, Mystic truths Urania brings; This was succeeded by the Toast. The Deputy Grand Master and the Grand Wardens.

 

The six SECTIONS of the FIRST LECTURE were then rehearsed accompanied by vocal and instrumental music with the appropriate toasts.

 

SECTION I.

 

Song (duet) Hail Masonry Divine Glory of ages thine Long may'st thou reign, etc. Toast. All Masons, both ancient and young, Who govern their passions and bridle their tongue.

 

SECTION II.

 

Solemn Air Toast. The heart that conceals, and the tongue that never reveals any of the Secrets of Masonry.

 

SECTION III.

 

Anthem.

 

Grant us Kind Heav'n what we request In Memory let us be blest, etc.

 

Toast. All Masons who honour the Order by conforming to its rules.

 

SECTION IV.

 

Trio. Clarionets and Bassoon.

 

Toast. May we arrive at the summit of Masonry, and may the just never fail of their reward.

 

SECTION V.

 

Song.

 

Arise and blow thy trumpet Fame! Free Masonry aloud proclaim, To realms and worlds unknown, etc.

 

Toast. To the memory of the Holy Lodge of St. John.

 

SECTION VI.

 

Air (sprightly).

 

The Charge on the Behaviour of Masons was rehearsed by Brother Preston, leading up to the final toast "May the Cardinal Virtues, etc.," as recorded in my lecture.

 

During Brother Preston's Mastership of Antiquity in 1777 it was decided "that a Chapter of the Order should be held," and the Minutes record as follows: BROTHER WILLIAM PRESTON 25 Lodge opened in the Third Degree in an adjacent Room. Procession entered the Lodge Room, and the usual ceremonies being observed, the Three Rulers were seated. A piece of Music was then performed, and the 12 Assistants entered in procession, and after repairing to their stations the Chapter was opened in solemn form. Bro. Barker then rehearsed the Second Section. A piece of Music was then performed by the instruments. Brother Preston then rehearsed the Third Section. An Ode on Masonry was then sung by three voices. Bro. Hill rehearsed the 4th Section, after which a piece of solemn music was performed. Bro. Brearley rehearsed the 5th Section, and the funeral procession was formed during which a solemn dirge was played and this ceremony concluded with a Grand Chorus. Bro. Berkley rehearsed the 6th Section, after which an anthem was sung. Bro. Preston then rehearsed the 7th Section, after a song in honour of masonry, accompanied by the instruments, was sung. The Chapter was then closed with the usual solemnity, and the Rulers and twelve Assistants made the procession round the Lodge, and then withdrew to an adjacent Room where the Masters' Lodge was closed in due form.

 

APPENDIX B THE ORDER OF HARODIM.

 

A copy of the advertisement of the inauguration of the Order of Harodim preserved in the Grand Lodge Library is as follows: PLAN of the ANTIENT and VENERABLE ORDER of HARODIM To be INSTITUTED at the MITRE‑TAVERN, FLEET‑STREET Under the GENERAL DIRECTION of BROTHER WILLIAM PRESTON PAST MASTER of the LODGE OF ANTIQUITY Acting by IMMEMORIAL CONSTITUTION.

 

This Order is to be under the management of a Chief Ruler and two Assistants, with a Council of twelve Companions to be elected annually, on the Festival of St. John the Evangelist.

 

26        THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES The Order to be composed of five Classes: First Class     First Degree Second Class         l           Second Degree Third Class            i           to include Masons     Third Degree Fourth Class            in the   Master of Arts Fifth Class    Royal Arch Each Class to be under the direction of skilful Companions, selected from Brethren of established reputation in the Literary, Moral, and Philosophical World.

 

The first Meeting to be on Thursday, the 4th of.7anuary, 1787, at Six in the Evening when a preliminary Lecture will be delivered by Bro. Preston; after which the Meetings to be regularly continued every Thursday during the Months of January, February, March, April, October, November, and December, at Seven in the Evening, in a private Room engaged for that purpose, at the Mitre‑Tavern.

 

As Bro. PRESTON'S intention is to promote the general good purposes of Masonry throughout the World, on the Genuine, Original, and Constitutional Principles of that truly Antient and Honourable Institution without interfering with the Government of the Society either at home or abroad; and, if possible, to unite all Classes of his Brethren in one universal System, he flatters himself his Plan will be approved: And as nothing can tend more effectually to promote the intended design, than the proper application of such sums of Money as may be received on the admission of Brethren into the Separate Classes of the Order, Brother PRESTON engages that all such Sums, with the surplus of Accounts that may be settled by the Council, shall be deposited in the hands of an eminent Banker in the City of London, to be at the disposal of the General Meeting on the Festival of St. John the Evangelist, for the relief of poor and distressed Companions of the Order; and that the proceedings of the different Weekly Meetings, with the Names of the Companions as they are Enrolled, and the State of the Accounts, shall be regularly printed and distributed among the Members on the first Thursday of every Month, for which each Member shall pay one Shilling annually.

 

SUCH Brethren as are willing to encourage the Plan, and to be enrolled as Companions of this Venerable Order, are requested to favour Brother PRESTON with their Names, Professions, and Places of Residence, at his house, No. 3, DEAN‑STREET, Fetter‑Lane; or inclosed in a Letter, addressed to Mr. THOMAS CHAPMAN, Secretary to the Committee of the ORDER OF HARODIM, at the Mitre‑Tavern, Fleet‑Street, where the Committee Meet every Thursday, from Seven to Nine in the Evening; and if the said Brethren are approved by the Committee, they shall be enrolled, on paying Half‑a‑Crown, which will entitle them to attend all future Meetings in the First Class, free of Expence, and to rank as Companions of the Order for Life.

 

BROTHER WILLIAM PRESTON 27 When the reunion of the two bodies claiming the title of the Lodge of Antiquity had been happily accomplished, the Harodim Lodge was warranted by Grand Lodge on March 25th, 1790, designed by the petitioners to enable the Chapter to preserve a correspondence with Grand Lodge and to authorize it to practise the rites of Masonry under the auspices of this Lodge.

 

The Plan and Regulations of the Grand Order of Harodim printed in 1791 supply full particulars of its constitution and relationship with the Lodge.

 

We are told: The Order of Harodim is totally independent being established on its own basis; and as a Chapter, is no otherwise connected with the Society of Free Masons, than by having its members selected from that Fraternity. The Mysteries of the Order are peculiar to the Institution itself, while the Lectures of the Chapter include every branch of the Masonic System, and represent the Art of Masonry in a finished and complete form.

 

There are different classes in the Order, and particular Lectures restricted to each. The Lectures are divided into Sections, and the Sections into Clauses. The Sections are assigned to Companions in each Class who are denominated Sectionists; who distribute the Clauses of their respective Sections to Companions who are then denominated Clause‑holders. Such Companions as by assiduity become possessed of all the Sections in the Lecture, are called Lecturers ... In the case of death, sickness, or nonresidence in London, of any Lecturer, Sectionist or Clause‑holder, a Companion is immediately appointed to fill up the vacancy. Thus the Lectures are always complete; and once in every month during the Session they are regularly delivered in open Chapter.

 

The Chapter was composed of a Grand Patron, who must be a Nobleman, and two Vice‑Patrons; a Chief Ruler or Harod and two Assistants; a General Director; a Council of Twelve Respectable Companions (who must all be Master Masons); Six Assistant Council; two Examiners; an unlimited number of Lecturers, Sectionists, Clause‑holders and private Companions; Fifteen Honorary Members; an Organist; a Robe‑Keeper; and one or more janitors. The Acting Grand Officers of Grand Lodge and the Principal of the Grand Royal Arch Chapter for the time being were always to rank as Honorary Patrons upon proper application for that purpose. The Treasurer and Secretary who were also to hold the same offices in the Harodim Lodge were elected from the Members of the Assistant Council.

 

Candidates for the Chapter must be Free and Accepted, that is Entered Apprentice Masons, their further advancement could be effected by the Chapter in conjunction with the Lodge.

 

28        THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES The Companions were divided into Five Classes:Free and Accepted Masons, Fellow‑Craft Masons, Master Masons, Masters and Past Members of Lodges, and Royal Arch Masons.

 

Subscriptions and fees are all set out in great detail, as are the duties of the Officers. The Bye‑laws of the Harodim Lodge really placed the Lodge under the control of the Chapter; the initiation fee was 5‑5‑0, the joining fee 1‑1‑0, all subscriptions to be paid in to the Chapter Fund, and the Jewels and Furniture were vested in the Chief Harod and Assistant Rulers for the time.

 

The Order of Procession going to and returning from the Chapter Room was laid down as follows: Janitor robed.

 

Two Stewards, with rods.

 

Clause‑holders, Sectionists and Lecturers each grade two and two with rods.

 

Two Examiners robed.

 

Past Council.

 

Past Chief Harods.

 

General Director, robed and covered.

 

Present Council, robed, with gilt rods; Juniors first ranking according to Initiation.

 

Treasurer and Secretary in surplices and scarfs. Two Assistant Rulers, robed and covered. Chief Harod, robed and covered. Two Vice Patrons, with batoons. Grand Patron with the Ensign of Office. Assistant Council with Rods.

 

There seems to have been great difficulty in making the Harodim Chapter and Lodge pay their way. In 1792 the Harodim Lodge united with Antiquity bringing an acquisition of new members, whilst the members of that ancient Lodge were welcomed as bringing to the Chapter a further membership of "those trained and educated on the Old System on which the Harodim Lectures are founded". In 1793 the Harodim Lodge Constitution was surrendered and Antiquity passed resolutions to sanction and support the Chapter.

 

BROTHER WILLIAM PRESTON 29 Brother Stephen Jones, to whom reference has been made, was a prominent member of the Harodim Chapter and Lodge who joined the Lodge of Antiquity at this time. He had originally been attracted to Freemasonry by studying Brother Preston's Illustrations; by his marriage with Mrs. Preston's niece he became a family connection. Later on he was Master of Antiquity and became the first Prestonian Lecturer.

 

The prosperous days of the Chapter seem to have culminated about 1795, when Lord Macdonald presided as Grand Patron, supported by Bros. James Heseltine, William Birch, John Spottiswoode, and William Meyrick as Vice‑Patrons.

 

It is pleasant to note that this list of supporters includes Brother Heseltine, no longer estranged, and Brother Noorthouck's reconciliation with Preston is evidenced by his Ode "performed at every meeting of the Grand Chapter of Harodim", which appears in the later editions of the Illustrations.

 

On August 7th, 1793, when the Chapter of Harodim celebrated the annual feast at Grove House, Camberwell, under the presidency of Brother Meyrick, Most Excellent Chief Harod, the Freemasons' Magazine tell us, in the words of Brother Stephen Jones From a discovery being made in the course of the entertainment that it was the natal day of Brother William Preston, who was present, and whom the Companions revere as the renovator and chief supporter of this ancient Order, a glow of sentiment was awakened in the minds of the company that burst forth in a transport of fraternal congratulation which must be highly gratifying to him, and certainly did honour to their own feelings as brethren and disciples of a great master in the art.

 

Schemes were proposed and tried to promote the working of the Chapter under the auspices of the Lodge of Antiquity, but financial difficulties seem to have baffled all endeavours. In 1799 Vice‑Patron Preston "according to his own proposition and engagement....... gave a draft for the entire sum of 32‑19‑1" to meet that deficiency. In 1800 the Lodge of Instruction which had been in abeyance for two years resumed its meetings weekly, and Minute Books are extant showing that it was meeting as late as February, 1836. The latest record appearing in the Lodge of Antiquity Minutes seems to be in October, 1801, and about this time the Chapter evidently dissolved. "As a means of spreading a knowledge of Preston's Lectures", comments Brother Capt. Firebrace, "it had served its purpose. These were now worked in the Lodge of Instruction, and one or more Sections were regularly illustrated at the Lodge Meetings".

 

In the European Magazine for 1811 there is a reference to the public Meetings of the Harodim Chapter which "were" held at Freemasons' Hall, and the writer proceeds 30     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES "We say were held because from circumstances as difficult as unnecessary to account for, the Chapters of this Order have for some time ceased to be convened; though they certainly placed the moral and Scientific Lectures of Masonry in a most pleasing and advantageous light".

 

APPENDIX C SYLLABUS BOOKS, ETC.

 

We first hear of the publication of something in the nature of a Syllabus of the Lectures in the prospectus for Private Lectures about 1774. Such "books of the courses" were distributed and in use, but at the present time the Syllabus books of the Prestonian Lectures, of which a good many copies are extant, are, though pre‑Union, of a much later date. It is the case with several copies in the Grand Lodge Library, Quatuor Coronati Library, and a copy in my possession, that they go no further as regards printed matter, than the end of the first Lecture of the Third Degree. A later edition on paper dating 1831 is equally disappointing.

 

These Manuals indicate the details of Opening, Closing, Calling Off and On, and the questions and procedure of the Lectures, and are interleaved with blank sheets on which the owners have made pencil or other notes of the working chiefly of a very fragmentary kind. My remarks are chiefly based on a copy which was in use by my grandfather (Brother T. J. Pettigrew) when S.W. of the Lodge of Antiquity in 1821, and a later edition which was in the hands of Brother Burckhardt of that Lodge in 1833, now at Grand Lodge, which gives most of the working in full and some further particulars of the Third Degree from the same sources.

 

An aid to the Lectures was published by Brother Preston, entitled: "The Pocket Manual or Freemasons' Guide to the Science of Freemasonry, containing a Syllabus of the Lectures and a Particular Detail of the subjects treated in each Section, with Many interesting Remarks".

 

Part I. The First Lecture, was published in 1790.

 

Part II. The Second Lecture in 1792.

 

Copies of Parts I and II are extant, but I have not so far heard of a copy of Part III.

 

THE FIRST DEGREE (THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1924) Bro. Capt. C. W. FIREBRACE, P.G.D., dealt exclusively with ritual matters and was never printed. It is therefore omitted from this collection.

 

THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE TRIGRADAL SYSTEM (THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1925) by BRO. LIONEL VIBERT, P.A.G.D.C. P.M., Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076, London The Three Degrees, as we have them in the Craft today, are a development at the hands of speculative craftsmen of a Gild system which consisted originally, as far as we can ascertain, of a simple oath of admission for the apprentice, a lad in his teens, and a formal ceremony of admission to full membership, with possibly a secret rite associated with the mastership. By the days of Grand Lodge this had come to be a system of two degrees only, the Acceptance and the Master's Part. In, or just before 1725 the Acceptance was divided up to form the E.A. and F.C. degrees, and by 1730 the trigradal system was definitely established. But the form of working which we practise today cannot be said to have come into existence until after the ritual had been agreed on by the Lodge of Reconciliation. That ritual was rehearsed at the Especial Meeting of Grand Lodge, held on the 20th May, 1816, but it is probably the case that the L. of R. did not arrange a set form of words for the whole of each ceremony and did not intend to do so.

 

It was not till 1838 that Claret published his first ritual‑his name was first appended to the edition of 1840‑he having been present at two meetings of the L. of R. as a visitor acting as candidate. He was P.M. of Lodges 12 and 228, and the work appeared in successive editions till 1866. The most that can be claimed for it is that it represents the form into which the working had settled down by this time in Claret's own Lodges. For all practical purposes it is our present‑day working, as taught in the Lodges of Instruction, and the statement that the system as we have it today is the system as agreed on after the Union of the two Grand Lodges is after all sufficiently accurate for most people, for we are pretty safe in assuming that such modifications as were introduced after the L. of R. had ceased to function were all addressed to matters of detail; but there were subsequent modifications, and the claims put forward today to an absolutely exact knowledge of the ceremonies as they were rehearsed in 1816 were not unfairly described by Bro. Hextall, is A.Q.C. in 1910, as illusory, for the very reason that in 1816 they were not stabilised in their entirety.

 

31 32  THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES And it should be clearly understood that the Ritual as rehearsed in 1816, with or without later modifications, was not by any means universally adopted, and it is not universal under the United Grand Lodge today. It was not enjoined by G.L., although the contrary is frequently asserted. At the present time the two leading schools of Instruction differ in their version of the Obligations, while in the Provinces the phraseology is often still further departed from, and was probably never adopted verbatim, nor was it taken that it was intended to be so adopted. Variations in the opening ceremonies exist in many Provinces which are of considerable interest, as a wording is often preserved which is to be found in mid‑eighteenth century exposures, and has clearly been maintained unaltered from pre‑Union days. The phrase of the official record of the meeting of G.L. in June, 1816, when the final result of the labours of the L. of R. was dealt with, is that the several ceremonies recommended are with two alterations approved and confirmed; not by any means enjoined. The L. of R. were strongly opposed to any part of them being reduced to writing and an attempt to do so by a certain Bro. L. Thompson was visited with severe censure. And the Craft as such was by no means unanimous in approval. Certain brethren declared that the L. of R. had not done what they were directed to do by the articles of Union, and had altered all the ceremonies and language of Masonry and not left one sentence standing. And while this is no doubt the language of controversy, it is clear, if pre‑Union exposures are at all to be relied on, that the ceremonies were not merely recast but were substantially varied in material particulars; and the phraseology used by the members of the L. of R. themselves certainly suggests that they considered they had been given a free hand with regard to the material at their disposal.

 

It was in 1730 that Samuel Prichard published his Masonry Dissected, the first occasion when the Third Degree purported to be exposed; and this was the commencement of a whole series of these exposures, many of which were reprinted over and over again in edition after edition. It would be misleading to accept these publications at their face value; but we can avail ourselves of them as affording some indication of what may have been the practice of the Lodges of the period, correcting them by our own experience. We have then, in Masonry Dissected, first published in 1730, Jachin & Boaz 1762, Hiram 1764, Shibboleth 1765, and Tubal Kain 1777, a series in which, except for certain changes in the Third Degree, the text is preserved, almost verbatim from 1730 right up to just before the Union, and it purports to be the working of the Grand Lodge of the Moderns. Jachin & Boaz also specifies certain points in which the Antients and Modems differ, and gives the Antient working as well. Another exposure, Three DistinctKnocks, first published in 1760, expressly claims to give the Antient ritual, but is practically identical with Jachin & Boaz, except with regard to the words of the two first degrees and the prayers used by the Antients. These two also give an Installation Obligation, with a word and grip for the Master; the Wardens THE TRIGRADAL SYSTEM    33 take the Obligation but are not given the word and grip. It is generally understood that this ceremony was practised by the Antients but neglected by the Modems.

 

Other alleged exposures are translations from the French, such as Solomon in all his Glory, and yet others are manifestly mere catchpenny productions of no validity, such as the Master Key to All Freemasonry of 1760. All these need not detain us.

 

But with this body of evidence in our possession we can gather a very good idea of the practice in both Grand Lodges before the Union, and we can appreciate that what then took place was more than a mere reconciliation of two systems not in themselves really very dissimilar, as far as the Craft degrees were concerned.

 

It would be outside the scope of this lecture to enlarge on the changes then made, but I shall very briefly summarise the actual developments that took place in the ceremonies as disclosed by a comparison of the exposures from Prichard in 1730 to Claret in post‑Union times, only referring however to the most conspicuous of these modifications. And while the changes themselves are manifest enough, it is in respect of most of them not possible to suggest with any approach to accuracy the dates at which they were effected.

 

The brethren originally sat round a table with the Master at one end and both Wardens at the other. The South was occupied by a Senior Entered Apprentice. During the century the junior Warden moved to the S. and Deacons were introduced; after the Union the table disappears and the I.P.M. is recognised and given a share in the opening. The candidate, who previously passed outside the brethren seated at the table, now passes round in front of them. The Opening in the First Degree is modified as the officers change their positions, but the essentials are there in 1730 except that there is no prayer. Until towards the end of the century there seems to be no special opening for the other degrees. The First Degree Obligation is all along closely similar to the present one, the penalty being identical; but there is no reference to the more effective penalty originally. The ceremony is, however, far shorter because much that we now introduce by way of charges or addresses was imparted by way of question and answer in lectures. The Antients had a prayer for the can., but it is quite different from what we are today familiar with. The method of advancing as usually described is much simpler, and this applies to all three degrees; but a passage in the preface to the first edition of Ahiman Rezon suggests that the Moderns had something more resembling what we are today familiar with. The exposures, however, have no indication of this. Prichard mentions two Names, and refers to both as being communicated in the First Degree, the second alone being used in the F.C. The Modems reversed them while the Antients retained this order, and at the Union their practice was maintained, with one word only for each degree. The can. was originally restored to light in the midst of a circle of swords. This, which is Irish 34         THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES working today, is still preserved in some Provinces, but was eliminated from‑the ritual as recommended after the Union. The working tools of the First Degree are the same but only one, the 24 inch gauge, is moralised in the exposures. There is no reference to W.T. in the other degrees, but they almost certainly were known and were in all probability moralised in extempore addresses.

 

In the Second Degree there appears originally to have been no distinct obligation and when it does come in it includes some provisions that now form part of that in the Third. But there was an addition to the ceremony in that the newly made F.C. re‑entered the Lodge to receive his wages, which he did from the Senior Warden between the Pillars after having passed a test. The earlier rituals also include a set of verses on the letter G., and other indications that part of the working may have originally been in rhyme. The earliest account of the penalty gives it as we have it.

 

The changes that took place in the Third Degree both before and at the Union are much more considerable. It does not appear that prior to the Union the Lodge was darkened; indeed there is direct evidence to the con trary in the various plates which show the ceremony in progress with the candles all lit. The original narrative as we have it described the F.C. discovering the Master decently buried in a handsome grave. It is not till Hiram and, `. & B. that he is found in a mangled condition, etc. Then the blows given by the first two villians were originally reminiscent of the penalties of the first two degrees, while the whole narrative was different in many particulars. The obligation, as given in Hiram, has the chastity point, but not the f.p.o.f. These are found, however, in another connection in the ceremony from the very first. A phrase which I may designate by the letters MACH is the first given; then we get the other form with the remark that Mach is the more general. From this time onwards according as the exposure is A. or M. it gives one phrase or the other as the more usual, but always mentions both. In this respect our system today is a manifest compromise. We tell the can. that one is the A. and the other the M. working. It is clear that in this particular point neither G.L. would give way, and the only solution of the difficulty was to carry forward into the combined system the workings of both G.L. But in other respects what appears to have happened was that the G.L. of the Modems gave in on all points where their ceremonies differed from those of the Antients and the sister Grand Lodges (Wonnacott, A.Q.C., xxiii, 261).

 

The only distinction in the 18th century as regards the apron was apparently that the edging for Grand Officers was blue. The apron itself was plain, but from about 1760 the custom came in of decorating it with any designs the owner fancied. The Master Mason may have worn it with the flap down, as we do today; the E.A. and F.C. keeping the flap up, buttoned to the waistcoat, the E.A. further turning up one comer. The tassels are not earlier than 1814; the rosettes with us are later still, but may THE TRIGRADAL SYSTEM 35 have been adopted in Germany in the 18th century; they seem to represent original buttonholes for the turned‑up corners (Hills, in Som. Master Trans. 1916, Masonic Clothing).

 

If then we compare the system as disclosed in 1730 with the system as recommended by the Lodge of Reconciliation in 1816, we find that the changes that have been introduced are that the form of the Lodge is altered and the way in which it is officered; that the opening formerly only used for the First Degree is now required, with appropriate modifications, in all; that the clothing has become more elaborate and eventually the aprons of the degrees and of the Past Masters are discriminated; and that there has been a certain amount of transference of ritual matter from lectures to the actual degree ceremony. The First Degree is not otherwise materially changed; the Second is deprived of the incident of the receipt of wages by the new Fellow‑Craft, but now has its own obligation; and in the Third the narrative has been considerably re‑written and the signs would also seem to have been added to, as the only ones given in pre‑Union editions of jachin & Boaz are the grip, p.s. and Grand and Royal. The pass‑words are now introduced between the degrees; they were hitherto part of them. But these are in every case changes of detail only. Substantially the system of 1730 is the system today; that is to say, we still have the trigradal arrangement of that period, the Third Degree of which was concerned with the Hiramic Legend. We must now take our enquiry back a further stage and endeavour to ascertain how that threefold system itself came into existence and what was the source of the materials of which it was constructed.

 

A consideration of the phraseology used by Anderson in Regulation XIII, and by the G.L. two years later, when they repealed the rule there laid down as to the Master's Part, makes it certain that when Anderson drew up the Regulations of 1723 there were only two degrees. There was the admission or acceptance, which made the candidate an apprentice, or as the phrase now became, Entered Apprentice. There was a further degree, the Master's Part, which conferred on the candidate the rank of Fellow and Master. In order to qualify to be a Master of a Lodge the brother had to be "among the Fellow Craft". Of the nature of this further degree in 1723 we have no evidence; the disclosure that was printed in the Flying Post in that year merely refers to the further degree, by the title entered Fellow, and says that the two test questions are: to an E.A., "Have you been in the Kitchen?" and to the E.F., "Have you been in the Hall?" These are not framed like test questions, since a simple affirmative is a sufficient answer to either, nor can they be said to give us much information.

 

It is equally certain that by February, 1725, there were three degrees being worked. We have it definitely on record than an Association which called itself Philo‑Musicae et Architecturae Societas was founded on February 36   THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES 18th, 1725, by eight persons, masons, four of whom are recorded in the minute‑book as having been regularly passed Masters in the Lodge at the Queen's Head in Hollis Street. And, the record goes on: "Before we founded this Society a Lodge was held, consisting of Masters sufficient for that purpose, in order to pass Charles Cotton, Esqr., Mr. Papillon Ball, and Mr. Thomas Marshall, Fellow Crafts."      Here are three degrees clearly indicated. What then is the history of the period in which this momentous change took place ?          The part of it that is material to our enquiry can be reconstructed with some degree of certainty.

 

In 1721 Grand Master Payne read over in Grand Lodge a new set of Articles to be observed. The text of these has not come down to us; what we have in their place is the Regulations propounded by Anderson in 1723, which are admittedly a revision of them and also contain additional matter. But we can form a fairly clear idea of the problem for which Payne was legislating. We know that after a period of no particular distinction and no great increase in numbers the Craft suddenly leapt into popularity and the inevitable result was that the Four Lodges which at this time, with an undetermined number of unattached brethren (St. John's Masons as they were called), alone constituted Grand Lodge, could not absorb the people who now clamoured for admission. The question then arose whether it was possible to form new Lodges. To us this is no problem at all; we see it done every week. But it was in 1721 an entirely new departure on the part of G.L.; we must recognise that it was quite definitely an arguable matter with much to be said on the side of the Old Lodges. It is, however, quite clear that from the meeting of June, 1721, G.L. recognised the necessity for new Lodges and legislated for them. We know the dates of most of those that were now constituted. But the power to form new lodges was narrowly restricted. It was the prerogative of G.L. alone, and each had to be constituted by the G.M., if not in person then by a formally authorised deputy. The fact of its having been constituted was notified to all the other lodges, its first Master having been approved by the G.M., and installed by him on the occasion of the constitution.

 

And it would seem that that was not the only way in which G.L. kept control over the new accessions. The Master had to be among the Fellows. G.L. now directed that the degree of Fellow and Master could be conferred in G.L. alone. This perhaps did not matter as far as the new Lodges were concerned. It meant in practice that G.L. retained in its own hands all the patronage, since it could if it chose prevent any particular brother in a new Lodge becoming qualified for the Chair. But even if the Degree itself was only now invented, the rule operated to infringe the privileges of the old Lodges. And it was the law of the Craft for at all events four years. We have no record of G.L. actually conferring the degree; but that proves nothing. But we can, I think, appreciate that in any case the old Lodges would be by no means in sympathy with this piece of legislation. Now it is THE TRIGRADAL SYSTEM 37 just while the law stands thus that we find a new degree comes into existence, and it comes in between the Acceptance or Admission and the Master's Part. Moreover it is, as a consideration of it today at once shows us, not in any way connected with the Third Degree of a later date, but is in every way complementary to the First Degree, the original Admission. In the 1723 exposure the candidate is made to say: "An enterd mason I have been, ‑ and ‑ I have seen," while the Grand Mystery of Freemasons discovered, of 1724, speaks of the first of two names as the Universal Word. Prichard's account of these has already been referred to. Tubal Kain repeats it in 1777. So that it would seem that the new degree appropriated one word of two, both of which had originally been given to the candidate in the admission ceremony, and that this usage persisted for half a century and more.

 

The rule as to the new Lodge being constituted by the G.M. or his Deputy was soon found unworkable. The Craft expanded in a way that its rulers had not foreseen, and when there were Lodges coming into existence at Bath, Bristol, Norwich, Chichester, Caermarthen, Portsmouth, and Congleton in Cheshire, as was the case in 1724, the directions as to Constitution had necessarily to be modified. The business of constituting new Lodges was now entrusted to deputations and the Brn. selected were usually local members of the G.L. But with regard to the rule that restricted the conferring of the Master's Part, G.L. took an entirely different course. Instead of delegating its powers in this respect also, which is what we would have expected, it repealed the legislation absolutely on 27th November, 1725. By so doing it purported to restore to all Lodges, new and old alike, the privilege that had been the rule before 1721, that namely of selecting their own Masters. But the concession was an empty one, for while the law still was that the Master must be among the Fellow‑Craft, that was now complied with by his having taken the new intermediate degree that went by that name. The Third Degree, as it can now be styled, was in fact all but superfluous. It conferred some amount of dignity no doubt, but while not now necessary for the mastership of the private Lodge, it was not as yet a pre‑requisite for any post in Grand Lodge, and indeed ran no small risk of passing entirely out of existence. In 1730 we read: "There is not one Mason in an Hundred that will be at the Expence to pass the Master's Part."         We have here, I suggest, the key to the reason for the introduction of the Fellow Craft Degree.

 

At a later date we meet with a constructive degree, introduced to give brethren the qualification then required for the R.A. In exactly the same way, I submit, the genesis of the Fellow Craft degree was that it was a con structive degree, introduced to enable the Private Lodges to give their own members the necessary qualification for their Master's Chair; without involving a recourse to G.L. The qualification was that he was to be among the Fellow‑Craft; this is the phrase of Anderson in 1723, at a date when no such degree was in existence. The law of the day was that the Master's 38    THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES Part was only to be conferred in G.L. The solution of the difficulty is readily arrived at. We shall in our Lodges confer a chair degree, and we shall call it Fellow‑Craft, and in order to avoid any suggestion of trespassing on G.L.'s province we shall construct it exclusively from material available to us in the existing Acceptance, or associated with it. The degree itself complies absolutely with this description of what it was necessary it should consist of if it was to serve its purpose. It does not appear that originally it had so much as a separate obligation of its own. It was simply a chair degree arrived at by repeating the Entered Apprentice degree and emphasising one of the two words already associated with it, so that inevitably in a very short time each degree took exclusive possession of one of the two words. Other differences were introduced as time went on, but with regard to the names we still talk of their conjoint signification; we still re‑assemble the emblems which were in 1725 disrupted to suit the purposes of the Private Lodges of the period. And we can, I think, assume that there was not at this stage either in the Fellow Craft or in the Master's Part, now become the Third Degree, any introduction of entirely new material. Had there been any such innovation we may be quite certain not only that the old masons would have been up in arms, but that G.L. would have made it a pretext for condemning the new departure. There was apparently some discontent and we can see the reasons for it, but there was as yet no suggestion of any disunion, nor do we get any accusation of departing from old customs until G.L. itself changes the order of the words in the first two degrees after 1730.

 

In course of time the Second Degree gained in character and in incident. But it was long before the Third Degree arrived at the position that it now holds in the system. So late as 1752 it was not required as a step to any rank or promotion, for we find in that year that the first Prov. G.M. of Cornwall was installed, and the Brother who presided on the occasion was only a Fellow‑Craft. At the present day there is nowhere in the Book of Constitutions any direction that the Master of a Lodge or any holder of Grand Rank, except the Tyler and two other officers, shall be a Master Mason. For years, therefore, it was merely a luxury, but fortunately one that gradually became increasingly popular. What happened was that the degree was only conferred for special reasons at special Lodges of Masters summoned by the W.M. An ordinary Lodge had every right to confer the degree but it would only do so very occasionally. Not all the members took the degree. And as a necessary consequence in a number of Lodges they were unable to work the ceremony, and we find as early as 1738 eleven Lodges in London specifically described as Master's Lodges. This does not mean that they alone might work the degree; but it does imply that they specialised in it and apparently conferred it for the benefit of other Lodges who were not familiar with the working of it (Hughan, Origin of the English Rite, page 53). It is not till 1738 that we find the distinction made of speak ing of the admission to the Master's Part as raising. But in course of time the THE TRIGRADAL SYSTEM    39 Lodges generally took over the degree and by a natural process it became the rule to select the Master from the brethren with the higher qualification. Preston says: "From this class of the Order the Rulers of the Craft are selected," and exposures of the years just before the Union say in terms that the first qualification for the office of Master is that he be regularly and lawfully raised. This still suggests that he was only raised when it became a question of having the qualification, because Preston also remarks "The Third Class (i.e., M.M.) is restricted to a selected few," but we may, I think, take it that by the Union it was the usual practice to take the degree.

 

The course of development then, apart from any reasons for it, is that in 1721 G.L. recognised two degrees, an Acceptance and a Master's Part, and that from 1725 there were three, a new degree being dovetailed in. The Master's Part is the true predecessor of the Third Degree today. The 1723 exposure has the phrase: "I know the Master's Part full well, as honest Maughbin will you tell." The allusion is one we can still appreciate, and it involves the inference that the Master's Part was concerned with the Hiramic Legend. We are often told that both legend and degree were constructed in the early years of G.L., presumably therefore in or before 1721. But it is to me, at all events, difficult of acceptance that so drastic an innovation‑for such it would assuredly have been‑was not only permitted but was endorsed by the Antients when, in 1751, they came to restore the old systems and remove the alterations introduced by the Premier G.L. Not only do the minutes of Haughfoot and Kelso, of 1702, unmistakably indicate two degrees, but we have the records of the London Acception which show in 1635 members paying for admission, and making a second payment to become masters. I think we can assert unhesitatingly that the Master's Part, and therefore the Hiramic Legend, antedates the G.L. era. Let us therefore move the enquiry yet one more stage further back and endeavour to ascertain what can be said as to the Craft when the Lodge was still the workroom of a gild of working masons, engaged on some great cathedral or abbey of medieval England, and by what process it gathered together that wonderful accumulation of legend, symbolic morality and philosophy that was surely already part of the system when the first Grand Lodge assembled at the Apple Tree in Charles Street, Covent Garden.

 

The Gild which from the first inception of Gothic architecture kept the secrets of the construction of that art as its monopoly, must have always been distinct from. any other Craft Gild in three material points. In the first place the usual system was that in each large town there was for each Craft a permanent local Gild, a Gild independent of any other Gilds of the same Craft existing elsewhere in the country. But the work of the freemasons lay outside the towns and, moreover, they were never in any given locality more than the few years required to construct the particular work that 40     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES had brought them together there. Their organisation must therefore at a very early date have assumed the form of a single Fraternity for the whole Kingdom, with local associations in each locality in which Gothic building was in progress, and these bodies met in the workroom which from its very first appearance in the records is always styled the Lodge. And between Lodge and Lodge the brethren travelled, proving themselves by secret means of recognition; they also convened periodical meetings of the whole craft over large areas for the business of the Fraternity. All this organisation is quite unknown in any other trade in the country.

 

In the second place the Freemasons alone among Craft Gilds had not merely the consciousness of their own antiquity that would necessarily follow from the very fact that the cathedrals and abbeys built by their pre decessors centuries earlier were still there for all men to see, but they had given that feeling concrete form and possessed a regular history of the Order. This, when we first come across it, is to the effect that Masonry was founded in Egypt by Euclid the worthy clerk, that it came to England, and that there, after many years, Athelstan reformed it. In exactly the same way the corresponding association of the building crafts in France, the Compagnonnage, had their legend that Solomon founded their Craft at the Temple, that a certain Maitre Jacques brought them to France, and that a personage known as Pere Soubise organised them in that country.

 

In the third place, since all the artistic life of the community centred round its church, and all the learning was confined to the ecclesiastic and the monk, the art of the builder of Gothic was the one craft of the period which offered to intellectual men something worthy of investigation. We read accordingly, at a very early date, of persons who, having acquired some theoretical knowledge of the subject, came to the masons to study its practical applications, and these people are already in the 15th century called speculatives. When first they were admitted to be members of the craft we cannot say, but they seem to be suggested in the 13th century, and we can appreciate that they would make their appearance very early indeed in the history of the Gild. The very existence of our Freemasonry today depends on the circumstance that the Gild from its earliest days extended its privileges and communicated its secrets to men who were not masons by profession. The history of the Craft is the history of a body into which a continually increasing number of these speculative members gained admission. We have from the 13th to the 17th century, then, a working trade gild with its own legends and ceremonies, but to it is introduced an element which keeps it in touch with every new development in thought, every accession to knowledge in the country as it arises. And we can appreciate how the ceremonial, in the hands of this speculative element, would tend to take on a deeper and deeper symbolic, moral and philosophic character, and tend to lose its original direct connection with the affairs of a purely operative fraternity.

 

THE TRIGRADAL SYSTEM 41 We next have, from the time of James I or so, a profession that is moribund, but a society that keeps alive because of its non‑operative members, whose aims are now frankly philosophical and ethical, and all trace of actual contact with the trade of building is fast disappearing. It is this society which in 1716 forms the Grand Lodge and then tells us that Freemasonry, despite its external appearance and its terminology, is no longer a trade organisation, but purely and simply a system of morality.

 

Now, the various influences to which this Fraternity was subjected throughout its career, through its speculative members, have only to be stated, and it will at once be obvious that there must have been constantly at work an irresistible impulse towards accretion, the taking in of further symbols, the further elaboration of the ceremonies, the emphasising of what was eventually to become the principal function of the Fraternity, the teaching of moral duties and truths, to the entire disregard of technical knowledge or skill. We can review these influences very rapidly.

 

We begin with the Crusades, and we know that architects from Western Europe actually worked in Palestine, and the local knowledge they acquired had a marked influence on contemporary Gothic. Next we have the develop ment of the study of Hebrew and Hebrew literature that heralded the Renaissance; we have for a period that terminates in 1453 a constant intercourse with France and French building fraternities; we have during the days of the Hanseatic League a fairly constant intercourse with Flanders and Lower Germany, where the Vehmgerichte were still flourishing as late as the 16th century; we have next the first appearance of the Bible in English, which took place in 1535; we have from about 1614 onwards the individual philosophers who styled themselves Rosicrucians and Hermeticists, who were still to the fore in the next century and some of whom definitely were Freemasons; we have from 1685, the date of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Huguenot refugees from France; and finally we have right into the days of Grand Lodge itself the political and civil dissensions between the Jacobites and the Hanoverians. All through the centuries there are lesser influences also constantly at work, bringing us learning of one sort or another from Spain or Italy or the East; what wonder then that in our system today enthusiasts have traced analogies and claimed identities with every philosophy or religion ever known to civilization or before it.

 

And yet, while the results of the process are now before us in our Lodges, and the true historical explanation of it seems to be fairly clear, we cannot in fact date our first adoption of any single symbol or interpretation. We do not know in detail what was brought forward into G.L. by the Four Old Lodges and the old masons of 1717, and the two exposures that precede Prichard are so obviously fragmentary that nothing can be founded on them. But the general character of the Admission or Acceptance is fairly clear, and it is preserved in our First and Second Degrees today. They are concerned with the things of this world; the secret means of recognition 42           THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES are an essential part of them, as also the obligation taken in open Lodge; they teach secrecy, obedience, loyalty, and the duty of educating oneself. They moralise the ordinary working tools; their symbols are the two pillars, the porch or entrance, the winding stairway, the middle chamber, the stream of water, the rough and perfect ashlars, and the admission to light. Some of this suggests Rosicrucian ideas, but in some of it we seem to see a reminiscence of the very earliest craft lodge workroom. But it is all available, if not in that lodge room itself, at least in one or other of the sources of possible influence I have detailed. There is, however, one feature of the ceremonies which can hardly have found a place in the original Gild observances, and that is the penalties. They have their counterpart in actual treason and Admiralty Court punishments of the days of the Tudors and earlier; and the Vehmgerichte were a secret tribunal that did in fact hang and stab its victims.

 

The course of events seems to be that the operative Gild custom was to admit the apprentice by a simple oath, but to make the apprentice out of his indentures a freeman and full member of the Gild by a ceremony which included the imparting of the all‑important secret means of recognition, the conferring of the mark and a moral lecture, and concluding with a feast. The Speculatives made these two occasions into one; they would proceed at once on admission to full membership. They also elaborated the actual ceremony considerably, but it is hopeless now to attempt to dissect out what is in fact accretion due to speculative influence and what is genuine survival from the days of the first cathedral builders.

 

But in the Master's Part we are confronted with a ceremony of an entirely different character. We have in the first place a narrative, the story of the murder of the builder; in the second the teaching of a great religious truth, not one, however, that was at any time the special property of builders; and we also have an entirely distinct form of greeting, the f.p.o.f. It seems to be the case that legends of the murder of a builder, which are widespread in folklore, are to be explained as survivals or reminiscences of original completion sacrifices, sacrifices of a human being with the object of giving the newly completed edifice a soul or a protecting demon; and an individual so intimately connected with the building as its architect would be likely to be selected as peculiarly appropriate for such a sacrifice. It is probable that building communities generally have had such stories, and we find in fact that in France one has at a very early date crystallised into the narrative of the murder of Maitre Jacques, the Master who brought the craft itself from Palestine to France. The existence of similar legends in our own country is attested by stories such as that of the Roslyn Pillar. Palestine and K.S.T. did not form part of our original legend. But they had been adopted at all events by the 15th, and it would appear that during the 16th and 17th centuries the scribes who copied the various versions of our Old Charges THE TRIGRADAL SYSTEM  43 had scruples as to writing the name of Hiram the builder, and substituted Anon or Amon or the like for it.

 

As had been pointed out by Wor. Bro. Morris Rosenbaum, the double name Hiram Abif was found in the three first English Bibles of 1535 and the following years, but it disappeared from the Great Bible which superseded them in 1539. In 1723 it would, in the ordinary course, have been known only to Hebrew scholars. Yet it is clear that the craft was familiar with it in that year, and this appears to involve that it had come down as a tradition in the Lodges. Again the explanation we give of MACH is one that cannot be justified philologically; no Hebrew scholar would arrive at such an interpretation independently. But the word actually occurs in the Bible as the name of a captain of the host. Now to the Geneva Bible of 1580 there was appended a concordance in which the Hebrew names were explained, and in that we read that this word means, among other things, "the smiting of the builder". The only plausible interpretation of this fact seems to be that the compiler has met with this meaning in some circle to which he belonged, and inserted it on that ground regardless of the philological question. These various considerations make it difficult to avoid the conclusion that there was not merely a murder legend among the Craft in this country from a very early date, but that for two centuries at least it had been definitely a Hiramic Legend. And as such it was the peculiar property of the Masters; and the ceremonies connected with it, whatever they may have been, constituted the Master's Pan. Now, the culmination of the f.p.o.f.

 

is the whispering of certain words and they refer to the narrative. But they are today explained in a way that is obviously unsatisfactory. We raise the can. from a figurative tomb by their means, which is very well; but what we recite as the narrative is a manifest incongruity. Nevertheless it is in Prichard, so that the mistake, as I suppose we may call it, is one of long standing. Now the Compagnonnage have two elaborate forms of greeting very similar to each other and to our f.p.o.f., and in each, words are whispered. One is gone through between the compagnons at funerals. The true state of affairs appears to me to be that just as the Masters had a special ceremony of a distinct type, they also had an elaborate form of greeting and salutation, with which the newly made Master was received. The Fellow had his simple grip, part of the means of recognition, and we may be fairly certain that the various forms of it that we meet with today as we proceed in the Order, are but variations of late introduction. But the Masters used the f.p.o.f., an essential part of which was the communicating of certain words.

 

But what was the function of this special ceremony in pre‑Grand Lodge days ? By the Gild it was no doubt associated with the Master of the Work; and the Masters of the Gild were men of definite standing and authority. But the speculative Craft in the 17th century was in a different position. The language of Ashmole suggests that he was never more than a Fellow and took only one degree. But the phraseology of the Dublin 44        THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES Tripos of 1688 with its reference to being freemasonized the new way, is very suggestive of a special speculative ceremony, and this may have been a Master's Part. It would appear as though prior to 1721 there was very little occasion for the ceremony and little use made of it. Stukeley writes: "We had great difficulty to find members enough to perform the ceremony"; and this was in London on January 6th, 1721. He can hardly be referring to the ordinary acceptance. Moreover, it is to be noted that from an allusion in a MS. of 1714 we know that certain features of the ceremony were related to what is today our Installation. What appears to have happened is that in 1721, with the introduction of the hitherto undreamt of feature of new Lodges, Masters were necessarily required for them. The Master's Part accordingly became of great importance. The Installed Master was given certain portions of the working, but the Part itself was still the pre‑requisite for the holding of the office. There is undoubtedly a contemporary confusion in the terminology which it is not easy to unravel, but when in 1723 Anderson speaks of making Masters and Fellows only in Grand Lodge he is, as we have already seen, referring not to two degrees, but to the Master's Part alone.

 

We are now in a position to assess, at all events roughly, the material brought forward to the Grand Lodge which was to form the basis of all that is contained in our ceremonies today.

 

In the first place: A body of symbolism and teachings based on architecture, working tools, and other material emblems; representing an apprentice admission and the fellow admission of the operative craftsmen greatly elaborated, but fused into one ceremony of admission or Acceptance in the speculative period that preceded Grand Lodge. This was split up in 1725 to form our present First and Second Degrees, and their subsequent history and development has already been described. Parts of the operative material, such as the conferring the mark, were preserved in Scotland but laid aside in England.

 

Secondly: A murder legend of great antiquity associated at some date undetermined with K.S.T. and Hiram Abif; and a peculiar form of greeting including the whispering of words referring to the legend. Both these are restricted to Masters and they came forward as the Master's Part, but one small detail may have been detached from the ceremony in 1721 to meet the requirements of the new office of Installed Master. This Master's Part is our Third Degree today. But just when it took the actual form in which we now have it is not ascertainable; it underwent a process of modification to which I have already alluded, which continued right up to the time of the Lodge of Reconciliation.

 

In this analysis of our wonderful system I have, of necessity, proceeded from the known to the unknown, and much must unavoidably be, and remain, matter of hypothesis and opinion. I fully realise that my various hypothetical suggestions invite criticism; if they do not survive it will be because they do THE TRIGRADAL SYSTEM        45 not deserve to. But I shall be at one with my critics if I conclude in the words of that worthy old Master, to whose generous provision of more than a century ago, the very delivery of this lecture is due: "He who has studied our teachings in a regular progress from the commencement of the First to the conclusion of the Third degree must have amassed an ample store of knowledge, and will reflect with pleasure on the good effects of his past diligence and attention." THE EVOLUTION OF THE SECOND DEGREE (THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1926) by BRO. LIONEL VIBERT P.M. 2076, P.Dis. G. W. Madras (It will be understood that part of what was delivered in Lodge is unsuitable for printing, and has had to be recast for this publication) The condition of Freemasonry in England by the end of the 17th century appears to be that there were isolated bodies of Freemasons scattered over the country, survivals of a widespread system, derived from a craft that was now moribund, independent, but aware of one another's existence, and still looking upon themselves as all one Society. Dr. Robert Plot, writing in 1686, speaks of meetings held in the moorlands of Staffordshire, meetings which he tells us were in some places called Lodges, and though he does not specify any, he had clearly come in contact with definite bodies of Freemasons possessing old records; the custom, he says, is spread more or less all over the nation. And we have evidence of these associations at Warrington, Chester, York‑a body which appears to have met not only at York itself but at various places in the county‑and Alnwick; to which can be added with much probability Swalwell, in the county of Durham. In the south, outside London and Westminster, we have only one 17th century indication of the making of masons; the first Duke of Richmond was stated in 1732 to have admitted Edward Hall a mason at Chichester in or about 1696.

 

In London itself there is categorical evidence of one such body, namely that held in connection with the London Company of Masons, which was in existence before 1620; it was an inner circle of the Company, with its own officers, and was known as the Acception. But after 1676 there are no references to it in the Company records, and we hear of it only once more. It met at Masons Hall on 11th March, 1682, and Ashmole was a visitor and has left an entry of the incident in his diary. Then we read of a great convocation of Freemasons at St. Paul's on Monday, 18th May, 1691, but there is no indication of the particular body concerned. The only other evidence we have is that of tradition; Anderson in 1738 refers to seven 17th century lodges of which the meeting places were remembered. At the same time, the fact that such a Society existed was well known; it was understood to have secret ceremonies and means of recognition, to recruit its members from all ranks of society, and to look after poor and distressed brethren. And it 47 48      THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES would seem that, in London at all events, these associations, by a natural extension in meaning of the word used by them to describe their formal meetings, had in course of time come to speak of themselves as Lodges.

 

In 1716, four of the London and Westminster Lodges, bodies of whose previous history we know nothing, came together and organised themselves as one association. Almost certainly there were not merely individual masons but other lodges in London at the time who took no part in the movement. But exactly what their motive was or what objects they proposed to themselves is by no means clear. Anderson in 1738 speaks of the movement as the revival of the Grand Lodge neglected by Sir Christopher Wren. This is merely nonsense; the terms Grand Master and Grand Lodge had never before been used by the Fraternity. There was nothing political about the matter and nothing literary or philosophical. The actual membership of the society at the time, so far as the metropolis was concerned, can not unfairly be described as undistinguished. As it appears to me, originally they had in mind nothing more ambitious than that they should form a sort of unofficial City Company. The Society had ever since the disappearance of Gothic been gradually drifting apart from the actual trade. We still find the term freemason in the 17th century as a trade designation. But there is a midcentury enactment known as the New Articles, which reflects the feeling that the links between the operative and the speculative Freemason are weakening. The first of these New Articles directs that there can be no one accepted a mason unless there is present at the meeting a craftsman in the trade of freemason. We know nothing of the occasion when, or the authority by which, these New Articles were promulgated, or even if they were ever in force, but they can fairly be taken to indicate the direction in which their framers felt that the Society was tending to move if not regulated. In London, in 1716, it was thirty years and more since the Company had had any association with the Fraternity.

 

It continued to look after the concerns of the trade, but the non‑operative Freemasons were left to their own devices. In 1716, after a long period of unrest, the assurance of the Hanoverian succession brought about a restoration of confidence and a wonderful development of social and intellectual activity. It is just at this time that we find the Four Old Lodges come together; they proposed, as it seems to me, to give themselves in some sort the standing the trade derived from the Masons Company. The City Companies had their Masters and Wardens; the Freemasons already had these designations in the Lodges. They therefore hit on the expedient, a very natural one, of calling the officers of the new body Grand Master and Grand Wardens, and the body itself by analogy became a Grand Lodge. For the first few years there is nothing to show that it did more than meet annually for the Feast at which each year a Grand Master presided; whatever there was in the way of ritual continued to be carried out in the Lodges themselves.

 

EVOLUTION OF THE SECOND DEGREE          49 PLATE 4. John, 2nd Duke of Montagu The first Noble Grand Master, 1721 From a painting by Kneller, in 1709 50       THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES But by 1720 it had attracted the attention of antiquaries, and learned men, members of the Royal Society, and also of various persons of high social standing. In Ireland and Scotland lords and lairds were no strangers to the Craft and had been members of it long before Grand Lodge was invented. So also in England in the previous century it had included many of the landed gentry. But we are now considering, not the Craft in general, but its particular developments in London and Westminster, where between June, 1720, and June, 1721, there was a great increase in the numbers, so much so that for the Feast of 1721 special arrangements had to be made. The great feature of this Festival was that, in consequence of the recent accessions to the Order, the Craft was now, for the first time in its history, in a position to install as its Grand Master a peer of the realm.

 

In the 1756 edition of the Book of Constitutions, Entick, as editor, lays much stress on the benefits that accrued to the Craft by the influx of persons of social consideration, and he gives the credit of introducing them to Mr. George Payne, the outgoing Grand Master at this Feast. Mr. Payne had been Grand Master in 1718, which would not, however, seem to have been an eventful year. The Grand Master of 1719 was the Rev. J. T. Desaguliers, a learned and distinguished man, a member of the Royal Society. But in 1720 the Grand Master was once more Mr. George Payne, and this implies that as yet there was no one more distinguished to be selected. Stukeley was made a Mason at the Salutation Tavern on 6th January, 1721, as we learn from his autobiography. And he goes on to say that immediately after it took a run, and ran itself out of breath through the folly of its members. The phrase indicates almost the very month when the Craft emerged from obscurity. There are, however, good reasons for considering that the actual increase in numbers had still not brought the total membership of the new Grand Lodge up to more than 150 brethren. But even that number was far in excess of the capacity of the Goose and Gridiron, where the Feasts of previous years had been held.

 

But the necessity for greater accommodation was only part of the problem that was raised by the new accessions. Lodges that had hitherto held aloof may very well have now desired to come in, and individuals seeking admission would also be intending to join one or other of the Private Lodges. Now the very fact that all the Lodges of the period met at taverns would tend to make an individual membership of more than say 40 inconvenient to deal with, and we can understand that at the close of his second year of office as Grand Master, Payne must have realised the necessity of dealing with what was an entirely unforeseen state of affairs. That he did something we know, for Stukeley tells us that, at this Feast, Grand Master Payne read over a New Set of Articles to be observed. These have not come down to us, for, although in the 1723 Constitutions Anderson asserts that the Regulations he there gives were compiled first by Mr. George Payne and approved by the Grand Lodge at Stationer's Hall in June, 1721, he admits that he has EVOLUTION OF THE SECOND DEGREE 51 re‑drafted them, and it is impossible to say to what extent they were varied in the process. But we can see that they must needs have been directed to the problem of the rapid increase in the membership of the Craft, and a consideration of Anderson's Regulations, and of the history of the period will, as it seems to me, indicate very clearly just how that problem was dealt with.

 

The Grand Lodge was founded by four Lodges. The records disclose no further addition to that number till 11th July, 1721, with one possible exception, and only one. That is to say that until after this Feast of June, 1721, the Craft had no experience of new Lodges. It seems to be quite clear that Grand Master Payne not merely took steps to enable existing Lodges as yet outside Grand Lodge to come into the Society in its new form, but also made what must at the time have been looked upon as an entirely new departure, in that he decided to recognise and to legalise the formation of new Lodges. Once more we perceive an analogy with the City Companies. It had been their prerogative, in days gone by, to control their particular trades, and to prevent anyone not a freeman of a Company from following the trade controlled by that Company within the Bills of Mortality. Those days had for all practical purposes passed away. But Grand Lodge had originally assumed the same territorial jurisdiction, and Payne proposed that it should retain in its own hands, not indeed the admission to the Fraternity, but at all events the control of all bodies that had that privilege. All Lodges were to be registered in the Grand Master's Book. Payne, as it would appear, further proceeded to authorise the formation of new Lodges, and prescribed the way in which this was to be done. In Anderson's Reg. VIII. and in the Manner of Constituting a New Lodge, as he gives it, we can probably discern the gist of Payne's original directions.

 

A new Lodge could be formed at any time by any set or number of Masons. They might be actually members of an existing Lodge who proposed to swarm, in which case the G.M. was to be satisfied that the original Lodge had become too numerous, and he would then grant a dispensation. But otherwise the only requirement was the G.M.'s formal sanction to the Brethren's action in joining to form the new Lodge. It was then solemnly constituted by the Grand Master in person or by a Deputy, who, having approved of the Brother selected by the Lodge as their first W.M., proceeded to install him. The Lodge was then registered in the Grand Master's Book, its existence was notified to all the other Lodges, and it forthwith took its position in the Society.

 

It is important to realise that this was an entirely new departure, and we can appreciate that the Four Old Lodges, while willing, perhaps, to admit to the Society other Lodges already in existence in London and Westminster, might well argue that the deliberate formation of a Lodge as a new body was a thing unheard of in Masonry.

 

It introduced to the Craft a new conception of the Lodge itself. Originally the Lodge at an Abbey or Cathedral was merely the workroom of 52      THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES the freemasons engaged there; the individual in any locality was ipso facto associated with the Lodge attached to the building on which he was at work. That work being finished, the masons dispersed and that particular Lodge ceased to exist; but it must be noted as an exception to this statement that in a few of the larger foundations a permanent staff of masons was maintained with, of course, permanent quarters. The dispersing masons might migrate as a body, in which case they would abandon the Lodge at one place and proceed to form and occupy the Lodge at the next. The freemasons assembling to construct some new edifice would arrange their concerns in their time‑honoured manner; they would carry out their traditional ceremonies; they might be so fortunate as to possess their own manuscript of the ancient history and charges. And they would have a very definite consciousness of their membership of a Fraternity that extended throughout the Kingdom.

 

When the days of Gothic had passed away the Fraternity continued to meet. The various bodies preserved the term "Lodge" which they now applied to their meetings, and these they held at taverns, probably for the simple reason that, now that Lodge rooms had ceased to exist, it was only in taverns that they could find the accommodation they required for their ceremonial work. But they continued in existence only by virtue of the traditions that they were preserving; they were the direct descendants of actual associations of builders of an earlier day. The Swalwell Lodge affords a specific instance of the tradition of such a descent being preserved, and we have traces of similar traditions among the London Lodges themselves. The brethren did no doubt at times migrate from one tavern to another in a body; the individual association in the Fraternity had now assumed rather the form of a club. But the common tie that united the members of each such association was the fact that as a body they were preserving usages handed down to them from an immemorial antiquity. And the indications are that during the century there were many such associations which passed out of existence, leaving no trace. Those that did survive can have done little more than maintain their numbers. There can have been no swarming of surplus brethren from any of these bodies to form a new one; and in a Fraternity so circumstanced such a thing as a new Lodge could never have arisen.

 

The conditions of 1721 made it imperative that the newcomers, with no tradition behind them, for whom there was no room in the original associations, should be able to constitute themselves into Lodges, the officers of which were to be members of Grand Lodge on a level in every way, except the antiquity of their origin, with those of its founders. Anderson's phrase, "true Lodge", in the Fast Regulation indicates that by this time Grand Lodge had arrogated to itself the right to control the whole Fraternity in London and Westminster and was prepared to stigmatise as False Masons all who had not admitted its authority. Stukeley's phrase implies that Payne imposed his New Set of Articles on Grand Lodge by his own authority, and EVOLUTION OF THE SECOND DEGREE 53 while it is true that Anderson in 1723 speaks of their being compiled by him and approved by G.L., we may doubt if as yet G.L. had assumed any administrative functions. Indeed, there had been till now nothing to administer. But it would appear that Payne's legislation was at the time accepted.

 

Various detailed provisions in Anderson's Regulations suggest that Payne also legislated for the internal administration of his new Lodges. But on 25th November, 1723, it was agreed nem. con. in Grand Lodge that the Masters and Wardens of the several Lodges have power to regulate all things relating to Masonry at their Quarterly Meetings. To whatever extent this phrase "all things relating to Masonry" may have operated to annul Anderson's provisions, there was one very important restriction definitely in force at the time, which was unaffected by the resolution, and that was the enactment which Anderson includes in his Reg. XIII: "Apprentices must be admitted Masters and Fellow‑Craft only here, [i.e. in Grand Lodge] unless by a Dispensation." Before discussing this injunction it is necessary to clear up the ambiguity of its phraseology. At first sight two degrees beyond that of Apprentice appear to be referred to, because we are accustomed today to associate each of these terms with a distinct degree. But there is no doubt that only one degree is intended. We must note first the order of the words "Masters and Fellow‑Craft." Now the rule was formally repealed by Grand Lodge on 27th November, 1725, and the text of that resolution is A Motion being made that such part of the 13th Article of the Gen" Regulations relating to the Making of Mars only at a Quarterly Communication, may be repealed, And that the Mars of each Lodge with the Consent of his Wardens, And the Majority of the Brethren being Mars may make Mars at their Discretion.

 

Agreed, Nem. Con.

 

There can be no doubt that by this resolution the whole of the sentence in the Regulation was annulled. For if it were the case that it was annulled in respect of the Master's Degree, but left untouched in respect of the Fellow‑Craft, we would have the absurd position that Grand Lodge retained in its hands the intermediate degree, while restoring the higher one to the Lodges. Accordingly the position, at all events at the end of 1722, was that there were two degrees, the Apprentice and the degree that conferred the rank of Master and Fellow, and only the former could be given in the Private Lodges. The resolution of 1725 restored the original conditions; but the very fact that it was considered necessary to repeal the sentence in Reg. XIII. by this formal resolution shows that it was accepted as good law; it was none of Anderson's devising. Now, what was this degree? From the text of the Old Charges we can derive a certain amount of information as to the practice in the days of the Gild; and we have further 54   THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES the analogy of other Gilds to help us. We may safely assume that the apprentice, a lad of 14, was admitted with no more ceremony than an oath of loyalty, secrecy and obedience. The mason who was admitted to full membership was sworn to obedience to the Charges General and Special. These are laid on masons, Masters and Fellows, Masters separately, and Fellows separately, but the mason on admission is sworn to all alike. The distinction that they indicate between the Master and the Fellow is one purely of Gild standing; the Master is the Gild Master, entitled to take contracts, and employ the Craft, fellows and apprentices, on the work he is in charge of. There is no indication in the Charges of any secrets restricted to Masters; but this omission will assume its proper significance if we recollect that the reading of them was part of the business of admitting a mason as a fellow and full member of the Gild. Of the further ceremonies that now took place we know nothing; but we can see that they must have included the imparting of the secret means of recognition. The way in which the texts, from the very earliest of them, introduce references to two Pillars suggests that there was always some special significance attached to them, and from analogies in other Gilds we can hazard a guess that the Ashlars played their part in the ceremonies; but beyond that even surmise cannot safely go.

 

Now we can understand that a non‑operative member joining the Craft would not be called on to spend any time as an apprentice; he would proceed Fellow and full member of the Gild forthwith. His admission would, therefore, consist of one ceremony and no more. Nevertheless, in the London Acception, we have it clearly on record that in 1635 the members, for a further fee, might proceed Master. The standing of the Master in the Gild we can appreciate; but what was implied by the standing of Master in the speculative bodies of a later period such as the London Acception ? What distinction did the Society draw between Master and Fellow in London before the days of Grand Lodge ? It is difficult to discuss this with absolute freedom except in a Lodge of Installed Masters, but the conclusion I have come to provisionally is that the Master of this period was the predecessor of our Master in the Chair. It must be understood that the conception of the Installed Master is itself of late development. The Lodge as a workroom was presided over by a senior who might be either a Fellow or a Master; we see from the Fifth Special Charge that a Fellow can admit to masonry with the consent of six of his companions. The Master in the Gild was independent of the Lodge workroom, and Gild practice generally suggests that he had a right to attend meetings of his craft anywhere on proving his mastership. Possibly the Masters in the Gild were always a body apart from and above the Lodge and Fellows. They were men of great skill and recognised social status; it is by no means impossible that they had amongst themselves special customs and cherished traditions, to put it no higher, of great master builders of antiquity.

 

EVOLUTION OF THE SECOND DEGREE          SS But what became of these people and their customs when the Gild ceased to function? The body, who within the Lodge had preserved and developed the old usages, left the trade to go its own way and constituted associations of their own. The London Acception remained within the Company but had its own existence and made its own Masters. In just the same way, as it seems to me, the Fraternity generally maintained the distinction of an inner rank of Masters, superior to the ordinary membership. There is undoubtedly a confusion in the contemporary terminology which makes the question difficult to unravel, and which has led Bro. Poole to suggest, in a paper recently read in Q.C. Lodge, that there were two systems side by side, an operative and a speculative. The latter at all events took to calling the ordinary member an Accepted Mason. This nevertheless involved that he had taken the degree that in the Gild would have made him a Fellow, the degree associated with the Pillars. The 17th century Speculatives seem, on the other hand, to have associated the acceptance with apprentices, and then not unnaturally to have made a distinction between the accepted Mason or apprentice and the Fellow, who had been entrusted with the secrets of the original Master in the Gild. In Anderson's day the Apprentice is a full member of the Society. The further entrustment to the Fellow was known, quite appropriately, as the Master's Part. But by the days of Grand Lodge it had come to be described as giving the rank of Master and Fellow.

 

The function of these Masters we can gather from the 17th century New Articles, from which I have already quoted. The Lodge, that is to say the meeting, is incomplete without the presence of one. Here is just what we are in search of, the transitional stage between the Master in the Gild, who perhaps left the Lodge Fellows pretty much to their own devices, and the Master in the Chair of the modem Lodge, whose presence is essential to its working. The more loosely organised bodies of pre‑Grand Lodge days were in an intermediate condition. And it seems to be the case that this state of affairs continued well into the days of Grand Lodge itself. Anderson, in 1738, describing the original meeting of 1716, says: "having put into the Chair the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge) they constituted, etc." and again, in 1717: "Before Dinner the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge) in the Chair, etc." This is as much as to say the official who in those days took the place of what we now know as the Master of a Lodge. Not till we get to John, Duke of Montagu, do we have anyone designated as actually a Master of a Lodge, and that is at the Feast of 1721 itself. I hesitate to say that the Installed Master was unknown until Payne's New Set of Articles, but at all events the need for giving brethren the qualification was only created by the advent of new Lodges. Now the Master and Fellow was inherently an Installed Master; that is to say he was of the rank which entitled him to be in the Chair of a Lodge, or in the conditions of the preceding century he was the person without whom no Lodge could function. Accordingly we now see that a distinction is made. The Master in the Chair, 56        THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES a Master and Fellow by ancient practice, has, as Installed Master, a further ceremony, and secrets, and these are selected from the Master's Part, from which of course they are now eliminated. I cannot discuss this freely, as I have already said. But from a text of 1714 that has come down to us we have clear indications, that at that date, the Master's secrets included features that are today restricted to the Installed Master. The position after 1721, as I see it, appears to be that we have an Acceptance, the degree that was associated with the Pillars, that beyond that we have the Master's Part, which conferred the standing of Master and Fellow, and that the Installed Masters, persons who only came into prominence after new Lodges had arisen, have been given certain details eliminated from the Master's Part as their special portion. This is the condition of affairs that lies behind the phraseology of Anderson's Reg. XIII. The Masters and Fellows retain in their ceremony a special form of greeting which is still associated today, not with Mastership but with Fellowship, since it was not made over to the Installed Masters. They also have the Hiramic Legend, and words, or a word at all events, which by its meaning indicates that it is associated with that narrative. The rule of the Craft continued to be that no one could be Master of a Lodge unless he was of the rank of Master and Fellow; but beyond that the degree conferred no privilege; it did not, for instance, confer membership of Grand Lodge, and at the Annual Communication the youngest Apprentice was as much entitled to vote as the Grand Officers. An exposure of 1723 speaks of the two degrees as Enter'd Apprentice and Enter'd Fellow.

 

But when it became the law of the Craft that the degree which gave the Lodges persons qualified to be Masters in the Chair was only to be given in Grand Lodge, the privileges of the Private Lodges were seriously invaded. It meant in practice that the choice of their Masters by all Private Lodges was subject to the approval of the body of Masters, headed by the Grand Master, which constituted Grand Lodge at the time. Yet it was undoubtedly the law from 1723 to November, 1725, and if it was of Payne's devising‑as I think it must have been‑then it had been the law since June, 1721. New Lodges had no doubt to accept whatever Regulations were made for them, but Lodges of immemorial date and possessing the rights and customs that that implies may well have seen in the new enactment a serious innovation.

 

I should, perhaps, have pointed out that when in Reg. XIII. Anderson speaks of Masters and Fellow‑Craft, and everywhere else in the Book of Constitutions where he uses this term, he is applying a Scotticism hitherto unknown to the English fraternity, to the rank that in this country had always been, and still was being, called Fellow only.

 

What was Payne's motive?  It is possible that the conception of the Society as an unofficial City Company was in his mind, and in that case he would be keeping the selection of the freemen who were to be admitted to the Livery in the hands of what corresponded to the Court of Assistants.

 

EVOLUTION OF THE SECOND DEGREE          57 It may be remarked that the very fact that for the Feast of 1721 the Society was allowed the use of Stationer's Hall suggests that their aspirations were not resented by the citizens, and also that they were taken quite seriously and not by any means looked upon as a caricature of the Company system. However that may be, at this time no one dreamt that the Society was so soon to extend far beyond the limits of London and Westminster, and if new Lodges had not sprung up as they did all over the country, the rule might never have been abrogated. But in 1723 the Society had reached Greenwich and Richmond, and during 1724 Lodges were constituted so far afield as Bath, Bristol, Norwich, Chester and Caermarthen. The scheme of control was bound to break down. Even in town itself the Grand Master had already deputised his duty of constituting the new Lodges; and as far as this part of the system was concerned the difficulty was got over by an extension of the method of deputations; the business was in the Provinces delegated to local Brethren, who were constituted Dy. G.M. pro tempore. As a matter of fact the present law as to constituting a Lodge is the law as laid down by Anderson, and today Article No. 120 of our Book of Constitutions echoes the actual wording which introduced Wharton's "Manner of constituting. . .", in 1722.

 

But there was no delegation of the right to confer the higher degree, the degree necessary for every Installed Master, and in the nature of things there could not be any. The Grand Master might delegate personal functions; the Grand Lodge could not delegate duties entrusted to it as a body. Now the rule which related to these duties was not abrogated till November, 1725, but clearly it must long since have been a dead letter; no one would go about to form a Lodge in Caermarthen, for instance, if they had to send every Warden Elect up to London to be given his qualification. Can we discover just how it was that the rule had become of no effect ? I think we can.

 

By February, 1725, there was in existence a new degree, a degree intermediate between the Acceptance and the Master's Part, and it was known as the Fellow‑Craft; it had taken the term which we see used in Reg. XIII. for its title. Clearly if the law of the Craft is that the Master must be among the Fellows, or, as Anderson has it in the "Manner of constituting a New Lodge," among the Fellow‑Craft, a brother who has taken a degree called FellowCraft has qualified for the Master's Chair. In the Fourth Charge, Anderson repeats the rule; the Master must have acted as Warden; the Warden must be a Fellow‑Craft. The direction in Reg. XIII. is that the Apprentice must be admitted Master and Fellow‑Craft only in Grand Lodge, but the reference is to a degree the actual name of which was the Master's Part. Thus there is bad drafting and the law lent itself to evasion. Had Anderson said plainly that the Master in the Chair must have taken the Master's Part, he would have avoided all ambiguity. He would also in all probability have stated what Payne intended that the law should be. But the phrase was "among the 58      THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES Fellows," and this undoubtedly represented a tradition that was older far than either Anderson or Payne, a tradition that Payne was careful to preserve. The suggestion I have to make is that what happened was, that the Lodges, being confronted with an injunction that was not merely unworkable, but in the case of the Old Lodges a definite trespass on their immemorial usages, took advantage of the terminology of Anderson's Constitutions to substitute for compliance with the new rule a verbal conformity with the ancient law of the Craft, and thus recaptured for themselves the right to select their own Masters. They did what was done many years afterwards in the Royal Arch, they devised a Chair Degree. An examination of the degree itself and of such information as is given by contemporary exposures shows that its character accords singularly well with this hypothesis.

 

Our present three degrees are not constructed on a scheme A, B, C, that is to say we have not got a Fast Degree, a distinct Second, and yet another distinct Third. The two lower degrees are closely related, and it is the Third only that is distinct; it deals with a different set of ideas and deals with them in a different manner. The scheme is Ai, Aii, B. The First and Second Degrees have to be considered together to appreciate their symbolism, and indeed we still teach the conjoint signification of their principal symbols. Now, the contemporary exposures show us unmistakably that in 1723 the two degrees known were the Enter'd Apprentice and the Enter'd Fellow, and while the former had both the principal features of our present First and Second Degrees, the latter was concerned with matters which are unmistakably related to the subject of our present Third Degree. The distribution then, was A, now represented by Ai, Aii, two degrees, and B, now represented by the Third. In 1725 there comes another exposure and we still have two names, treated as part of the one degree, which today each have their own. In 1730 comes the first exposure of the three degrees, and even now both names are given in the First but in the Second one is repeated; the Degree has no special opening, nor even an Obligation of its own. All this is strongly suggestive surely of the origin that I propose for the degree. It was constructed by a re‑arrangement, which at first was hardly more than a repetition of the Acceptance. In Irish working the charity test today is in the Second Degree, not the Fast. (Vide Lepper, in a paper comparing the two rituals, read to Dublin Lodge of Research in 1915). The only plausible explanation of such a variation seems to be that this detail which was part of the original ceremony, was misplaced in Ireland when the degree material was divided up to form two ceremonies, and it therefore serves to confirm the fact of a division having taken place.

 

It would never have done to have incorporated in the new degree any material from the Master's Part, for that would have been to render the brethren liable to a charge of infringing the Regulation, and the monopoly of Grand Lodge. And what happened was that almost all through the century the degree, although technically a further degree, was given to the candidate EVOLUTION OF THE SECOND DEGREE 59 on the same night as he took his First. Lodge after Lodge shows us that this was the regular practice; and very often the individual went no further; he remained a Fellow‑Craft all his days. The very Constitutions themselves treat the two degrees as one. In the edition of 1767, Art. II. says that no Lodge shall ever make a Mason without due enquiry into his character; neither shall any Lodge be permitted to make and raise the same Brother at one and the same meeting without a dispensation. So that Grand Lodge itself in 1767 held that making a mason meant giving him at one time the double degree. Not till 1777 was it decided that the First and Second Degrees must be given on different evenings. The records of the Lodge of Antiquity have frequent references to dispensations obtained for giving all three degrees on one night. At a much later date the two degrees were still so definitely considered as parts of one ceremony that we actually get a combined Tracing Board, which is figured at p. 208 of Heiron's Ancient Freemasonry, and is there dated 1790. It was the Second Degree that was the qualification for the Master's Chair; and it still is, according to the Constitutions, although the ritual has come to impose the further requirement. The whole of the Installation ceremony, prior to the proceedings in the Bd. of I.M.'s, is taken in the Second Degree. Not till 1764 do we find it stated that the Masters are to be selected from the Brethren with the higher qualification.

 

Accordingly when in 1725 Grand Lodge allowed the rule of 1721 to be repealed they in fact restored to the Lodges what had become an empty privilege. They may well have realised that the restrictions now merely operated to discourage anyone from taking the Master's Part; and it did actually run no small risk of extinction. Only gradually did it attain to its present standing; for years it was almost in the position of a side degree, a luxury, not necessary for advancement in the Craft.

 

I have had the advantage of discussing this hypothesis of mine with several skilled brethren, who have made various criticisms and suggestions. It is important at the outset of any examination of it to guard against the error of looking on the transactions of 1725 as though we were dealing with the Craft as it is today when Grand Lodge is a distinct governing body. The Grand Lodge of the years up to 1725 and for some time after, was merely the Lodges themselves in Council, represented by their Masters and Wardens, and it would be quite fallacious to look on it as having at this time the authority that we associate with it today. For years there were lodges outside the Society. It is possible that all the apparatus of Anderson's Constitutions, while well adapted to impress new comers, who would not realise that the work was not official, would be taken less seriously by the older lodges, which knew the man and the genesis of his book. The G.L. Minutes show us that during all this period the authorities were troubled by the activities of what they called irregular or clandestine Lodges; the tendency to restore privileges and eliminate restrictions must have been very strong. It has been objected that if the Lodges were making their own masters in the fashion suggested, Grand 60            THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES Lodge had in its hands the obvious weapon of refusing to recognise them as belonging to it, and what was to prevent it taking this course? Well, the answer to this, as it seems to me, is that it must very early have been recognised that to confer the higher degree only at Quarterly Communication was impracticable; (we have, in fact, no record that it was ever done, but that proves nothing); but when the Craft extended to the Provinces the absurdity of the rule must have been patent to everyone. Actually they had found another means of maintaining the supply of qualified masters. And eventually, when the Lodges generally were giving, or getting for their brethren, the new degree, when they met in council as Grand Lodge, the question having been raised, they agreed without difficulty to repeal an obsolete enactment. It is quite likely that the rule had been ignored by general consent long before it was formally abrogated. But to set up the Grand Lodge in opposition to the Private Lodges in this way is to make the very error I have referred to, and to ignore the conditions of 1725.

 

Then, assuming that this device of an intermediate degree was in fact hit on by the Lodges, the question arises: which Lodges ? Was it an organised business ? In this connection it is significant that the first mention of the new degree occurs in connection, not with a Lodge, but with a musical society, founded in February, 1725, the members of which were to be Masons. At the meeting of May, 1725, Grand Lodge appears to have summoned certain members of the Society before it, but they never came. We find Payne visiting them in September; in November the Regulation is repealed; but in December Payne is writing to them accusing them of making masons irregularly‑letters which they ignore. And we hear no more of any interference with them. This suggests that the London Craft, rather than have an open breach with Payne, who was, after all, still a Grand Warden, put the new scheme in action in the first instance, not in Lodges the Officers of which were members of Grand Lodge, but in bodies not technically under its jurisdiction.

 

We must guard against assuming that the Lodges of the period practised a uniform ritual even in London itself. A great deal of the ceremony, right up to the Union, was in all probability left to be extemporised. Indeed, the Lodges did not all follow the same system as to the degrees themselves. The Lodge assembled at the Swan and Rummer, as late as 1729, has no reference in its minutes to the Second Degree, so that if it was worked it was regarded as not essentially separate from the degree that preceded it. And the early exposures are so obviously fragmentary that we can make no deductions as to matters to which they do not allude. Undoubtedly all through the century the whole apparatus of the ritual was being expanded, and to some extent re‑arranged. The Working Tools of the degree are mentioned in Prichard's exposure of 1730 as the movable jewels. They are, of course, the jewels of the three officers, and they are found on the first T.B. today. Early exposures mention penalties which today remind us of EVOLUTION OF THE SECOND DEGREE 61 all three degrees. It is generally stated that in consequence of the exposure of 1730, G.L. reversed the arrangement of the secrets as between the First and Second Degrees, but that the original order was restored at the Union. By the days of, if not at the hands of, the Lodge of Reconciliation the degree became a complete entity. But it never lost and still shows unmistakable signs of its original connection with the degree that now precedes it. As to the beauty of its symbolism there can be no question; but that the whole of this, as we now have it, formed part of the original Acceptance, I neither assert nor deny. For the present my suggestions are merely theories; I hope that they will, however, be considered worthy of critical examination at the hands of the Craft.

 

BROTHER WILLIAM PRESTON: AN ILLUSTRATION OF THE MAN, HIS METHODS AND HIS WORK (THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1927) by Bro. GORDON P. G. HILLS The Prestonian Lecture for 1927, under the above title, should have appeared in its proper rotation at this point, but, for reasons explained in the Introduction, it forms the first Lecture in our collection. Ed.

 

MASONIC TEACHERS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY (THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1928) BRO. JOHN STOKES P.G.D., Asst. Prov. G.M. of Yorkshire, West Riding SYNOPSIS Contemporaries of WILLIAM PRESToN‑Masonic Teachers of the Eighteenth Century.

 

Preston acknowledges his indebtedness to one brother only by name, but had doubtless been acquainted with most of the other writers of the period.

 

1. WELLINS CALCOTT‑A Candid Disquisition of the Principles and Practices of the Most Ancient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons‑"the first extended effort to illustrate philosophically the science of masonry".

 

A general outline of his teachings.

 

2. WILLIAM HuTCHINsoN‑The Spirit of Masonry remains to this day as the finest exposition of the inner and spiritual ideas underlying the symbolical design of the Craft. Brethren of any faith can appreciate the beauty and truth of this ideal as exemplified in his explanation of the Third Degree‑"Thus the Master Mason represents a man, under the Christian Doctrine, saved from the grave of iniquity and raised to the faith of salvation".

 

3. CAPTAIN GEORGE SMITH‑The Use and Abuse of Freemasonry is to a great extent based on the work of the previous writers, but is also interesting from the personality of Bro. Smith.

 

4. J. LADD‑‑The Science of Freemasonry Explained, is valuable for its various explanations of the characteristics of the ideal mason.

 

5. W. MEEsoN‑An Introduction to Free Masonry, is almost unknown. Meeson looks at Freemasonry from the moral aspect and by means of clever geometrical illustrations and deductions from the Working Tools brings out points which have been incorporated in the explanations given in the modem working.

 

The study of these writers shows the gradual development of the philosophical side of masonry and their ideas were largely used in the post 63 64 THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES union workings of the ritual. Many of their phrases persist to the present day.

 

[A biographical note on William Preston is omitted from our reprint‑Ed.] Contemporary with William Preston were other writers and lecturers on Masonic ritual and philosophy. None of them attained to the popularity which Preston enjoyed, a popularity due probably as much to his personality as to any intrinsic superiority.

 

The fact that so many similar works could be printed and circulated amongst such a limited public, or audience, affords ample evidence of the keenness and toughness of the Masonic fraternity towards the close of the eighteenth century. An examination of these books discovers many points of resemblance between them, not necessarily due to conscious copying but with great probability owing much to the similar conditions under which most of the authors were trained. Literary plagiarism was not then looked upon with the same disfavour as it is at the present time, so that a writer thought himself justified in using other writers' ideas and even their very words without mentioning the source from which they were derived. Preston says in the preface to the 1775 edition of his Illustrations, p. 10: "The principal articles are compiled from authentic records and the best authorities I could procure. I have not always particularly specified the different sources of my information; because the facts I have adduced are well known to the majority of the brethren who are conversant with the ancient practices of the Society. To my friends I am indebted for many extracts from old MSS. which tend to illustrate my subject, particularly to my worthy brother Captain George Smith, Inspector of the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, from whom I had the pleasure to receive many valuable annotations." The strong feature of Preston's work was that he brought order out of a somewhat chaotic method of looking at Masonry and put his notions into practice. His division of the ritual working into sections enabled the various officers to see at a glance where their part of the ceremony came in and was of material assistance in memorizing. Preston's labours made possible the revision of the ceremonial work and ritual carried into effect by Hemming after the Union.

 

Furthermore Preston, together with his contemporaries and followers, undoubtedly created the true speculative spirit and initiated the teachings which have borne such ample fruit. In this they were following the trend of the time which gives evidence of the urgent need and widespread desire for some further extension and instruction in the underlying principles of the Craft. Up to Preston's era the brethren had been nurtured almost entirely upon the very dry bones of ritual or upon utterly fallacious historical matter.

 

The lectures which were delivered and published by William Preston in the form of Illustrations of Masonry ran through at least nineteen editions, without reckoning several issues in the U.S.A. and translations MASONIC TEACHERS OF THE 18TH CENTURY 65 into German, Dutch, etc., and have probably been the most successful and widely read of any Masonic literature. Other writers, such as Oakley, Francis Drake and Martin Clare (for whom see the paper in A.Q.C., xxviii, by Bro. Wonnacott) had preceded him. The success of Preston stimulated many brethren to follow his example. It is hoped that a short account of some of the writings of Preston's contemporaries will prove an instructive commentary on Preston's own works.

 

Theceremonies of Initiation, Passing and Raising used in the 18th century differ very little in the essentials from the ceremonies of today. The brethren whose works we are about to discuss did, however, introduce some useful features which we still in great part retain. These were in all probability incorporated into the Ritual by the Lodge of Reconciliation which worked from 1813 to 1816. There is no doubt, also, that the Lodge of Reconciliation dealt with ceremonial questions as well as ritual. It is important to bear in mind the point that it is impossible to make any definite statement on this matter because the ritual for which Dr. Hemming was mainly responsible, or at any rate, for which he got the credit, was never written down. It was transmitted orally and is supposed to be the foundation of the work used by the Emulation and Stability Lodges of Instruction. Trained up fortunately in neither of them, it is not in my power to state which is the Simon Pure. The chief additions appear to have been certain parts which are not actually necessary, i.e. the respective degrees can be conferred without them‑such as the explanation of the working tools, the Charges (usually only the one in the first degree is given, which came from Ireland somewhere about 1725). All these can be given or omitted at the discretion of the Master.

 

In a similar way in 1827 a committee sat to revise and arrange the Installation Ritual. The Moderns had probably altogether dropped an Installation ceremony, though the Antients had certainly worked one. A good deal of the work of the Lodge of Reconciliation consisted in obligating Modems as Installed Masters.

 

It will be noticed that various phrases used by the writers of these books have been adopted with slight and unimportant modifications by the revisers of the ritual. It is advisable to remember, however, that some of the material may have been in use long before these brethren put it into print. Preston and the others, it is quite possible, only took what they found and expanded it or modified the language. In any case they deserve our grateful thanks.

 

The first work to come under consideration is Wellins Calcott's Candid Disquisition, the title page of which is as follows : A Candid Disquisition of the Principles and Practices of the Most Ancient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons; together with Some Strictures on the Origin, Nature, and Design of 66        THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES that Institution. Dedicated, by permission, to the Most Noble and most Worshipful Henry Duke of Beaufort, etc., etc., Grand Master. ... Ab ipso Ducit opes animumque ferro.

 

Hor. Od.* London: Printed for the Author by Brother James Dixwell, in St. Martin's Lane. A.L.5769. A.D.1769.

 

We react in the Introduction: If we duly consider Man, we shall find him a social being; and in effect, such is his nature, that he cannot well subsist alone: For out of society he could neither preserve life, display or perfect his faculties and talents, nor attain any real or solid happiness.

 

This reflects the teaching of that period, based on the writings of Hobbes in the Leviathan. On p. 7 he defines "the ancient institution of free and accepted Masons" as "an establishment founded on the benevolent intentions of extending and confirming mutual happiness, upon the best and truest principles of moral and social virtue". This definition being thus amplified on p. 13. "By this shall all men know that you belong to the brethren if your hearts glow with affection (not to masons alone but) to the whole race of mankind".

 

An account of the ancient professors of the royal art leads on to a description of the Tabernacle and Temple (p. 25).

 

Though the almighty and eternallEHOVAH has no occasion for a temple, or house to dwell in, for the heaven of heavens is not capable of containing His immensity, yet it was his divine will that a tabernacle should be erected for him ... after a pattern which the Lord himself had given.

 

(p. 29). Solomon likewise partitioned the fellow‑crafts into certain lodges, appointing to each, one to preside as a master, assisted by two others as guardians, that they might receive commands in a regular manner, take care of the tools and jewels, and be duly paid, fed, clothed, etc.

 

These necessary regulations being previously settled, to preserve that order and harmony which would be absolutely requisite among so great a number of men, in executing so large a work: He also took into consideration the future agreement and prosperity of the craft, and deliberated on the best means to secure them by a lasting cement. Now, brotherly love and immutable fidelity, presented themselves to his mind, as the most proper basis for an institution, whose aim " Horace, Odes. Lib. iv. 59‑60. "(through losses, through carnage Draws means and spirit from the steel itself)". Lonsdale and Lee's Translation. The Ode relates to Claudius Drusus Nero.

 

MASONIC TEACHERS OF THE 18TH CENTURY 67 and end should be to establish permanent unity among its members, and to render them a society, who, while they enjoyed the most perfect felicity, would be of considerable utility to mankind. And being desirous to transmit it under the ancient restrictions as a blessing to future ages, SOLOMON decreed, that whenever they should assemble in their lodges to discourse upon, and improve themselves in the arts and sciences; and whatever else should be deemed proper topics to encrease their knowledge, they should likewise instruct each other in secrecy and prudence, morality and good fellow‑ship; and for these purposes he established certain peculiar rules and customs to be invariably observed in their conversations, that their minds might be enriched by a perfect acquaintance with, and the practice of every moral, social and religious duty, lest while they were so highly honoured by being employed in raising a temple to the great JEHOVAH, they should neglect to secure to themselves an happy admittance into the celestial lodge, of which the temple was only to be a type.

 

Thus did our wise grand master contrive a plan by mechanical and practical allusions, to instruct the craftsmen in principles of the most sublime speculative philosophy, tending to the glory of GOD, and to secure to them temporal blessings here and eternal life hereafter; as well as to unite the speculative and operative masons, thereby forming a two‑fold advantage from the principles of Geometry and Architecture on the one part, and the precepts of wisdom and ethicks on the other.

 

(p. 31). The next circumstance which demanded Solomon's attention was the readiest and most effectual method of paying the wages of so vast a body of men, according to their respective degrees, without error or confusion, that nothing might be found among the masons of Sion, save harmony and peace. This was settled in a manner well known to all regularly made masons, and therefore is unnecessary, as also improper, to be mentioned here.

 

(p. 33). With respect to the METHOD which would be hereafter necessary for propagating the principles of the society, SOLOMON pursued the uniform and ancient custom, in regard to degrees of probation and injunctions to secrecy; which he himself had been obliged to comply with before he gained a perfection in the royal art, or even arrived at the summit of the sciences; therefore, tho' there were no apprentices employed in the building of the temple; yet as the craftsmen were all intended to be promoted to the degree of masters, after its dedication; and as these would secure a succession, by receiving apprentices who might themselves in due time also become master masons, it was determined that the gradations in the science should consist of three distinct degrees, to each of which should be adapted a particular distinguishing test, which test, together with the explication, was accordingly settled and communicated to 68          THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES the fraternity, previous to their dispersion, under a necessary and solemn injunction to secrecy; and they have been most cautiously preserved, and transmitted down to posterity by faithful brethren, ever since their emigration. Thus the center of union among freemasons was firmly fixed; their cabala regulated and established; and their principles directed to the excellent purposes of their original intention.

 

Chap. 2 gives an ideal account of Freemasonry, and we note the happy phrase that in its assemblies "'tis wisdom in good‑humour". We then come to an interesting topic.

 

(p. 38). . . . we shall proceed in taking some notice of the several accusations frequently brought against it.

 

And first; As none can venerate and esteem the fair sex more than free‑masons do, we cannot but reckon it a misfortune that the ladies should be offended at their non‑admission into this order; and the more so, as they no sooner learn with what moderation the masons comport themselves in their assemblies, but without knowing the reason why they are not admitted, they censure us with all the severity their delicate minds are capable of. This, we must beg leave to say, is intirely owing to mistaken prejudice, for a little reflection would convince them, that their not being received in this institution is not in the least singular. They stand in the same predicament with respect to the priesthood, and many other particular societies; the solemn assemblies of the ancients, the senates of Pagan, and the conclaves of papal Rome, all national senates and ecclesiastical synods, universities, and seminaries of learning, etc., etc., with which they might with equal propriety be offended.

 

If the learned brother had lived today he would have had to find some other excuse.

 

Freemasonry is defended with regard to its secrecy; its loyalty is affirmed; and: These topics [religious as well as political matters] are never suffered to be agitated; for it is a fundamental maxim of this institution to prohibit such disputes. The God of heaven, and the rulers of the earth, are by them inviolably respected. (p. 39).

 

The antiquity of swearing oaths is traced.

 

... supposing (for the sake of argument, but not granting) that one is required, as set forth by the adversaries of masonry; (Very ingenuous but rather specious).

 

(p. 42). If we examine the laws and regulations of free‑masonry, it will appear that the end and purport of it is truly laudable, being calculated to regulate our passions, to assist us in acquiring knowledge of the arts and sciences, and to promote morality and beneficence, MASONIC TEACHERS OF THE 18TH CENTURY    69 as well as to render conversation agreeable, innocent, and instructive; and so to influence our practice, as to make us useful to others, and happy in ourselves. With regard to the relation we have (as members) to society in general, it will appear equally evident from the said regulations, that a free‑mason is to be a peaceable subject, conforming cheerfully to the government under which he lives, is to pay a due deference to his superiors; and from his inferiors is to receive honour rather with reluctance that to extort it.

 

(p. 47). A voluntary oath is the more binding far being voluntary, because there is no stricter obligation that that we take willingly on ourselves. (Praelect, 4 Sec. 11).

 

(p. 52). The Druids in our own nation (who were the only priests among the ancient Britons) committed nothing to writing. And CAESAR observes that they had a head or chief, who exercised a sort of excommunication, attended with dreadful penalties on those, who either published or prophaned their mysteries. . . . The general practice and constant applause of the ancients, as well as the customs of the moderns, one would naturally imagine should be sufficient to justify masons against any charge of singularity or innovation on this account [i.e. secrecy];            for how can this be thought singular, or new, by any one who will but calmly allow himself the smallest time for reflection.

 

Do not all incorporated bodies amongst us, enjoy this liberty without impeachment or censure? an apprentice is bound to keep the secrets of his master; a freeman is obliged to consult the interest of his company, and not prostitute in common the mysteries of his profession; secret committees and privy councils are solemnly enjoined not to publish abroad their debates and resolutions. In courts martial the members are bound to secrecy; and in many cases for more effectual security an oath is administred.

 

(p. 54). Yet notwithstanding the mysteries of our profession are kept inviolable, none are excluded from a full knowledge of them, in due time and manner, upon proper application, and being found capable and worthy of the trust. To form other designs and expectations, is building on a sandy foundation, and will only serve to testify that like a rash man, their discretion is always out of the way when they have most occasion to make use of it.

 

(Chap. 3; p. 57). Perhaps it will be said that the moral and social principles we profess, are equally necessary to the support of every well regulated society; how then came masons to appropriate the merit of such principles to themselves?       I answer, they are not only deemed necessary, but taught and brought into practice in the lodge; they are familiarized to us by such a plain, pleasing and 70       THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES peculiar method, that they seem no longer lessons or rules, but become inherent principles in the breast of every free‑mason.

 

(Chap. 4; p. 60). The last accusation brought against free and accepted masons, which I shall take any notice of, is that they make use of hyerogliphic figures, parabolical and symbolical customs and ceremonies, secret words and signs, with different degrees of probation peculiar to themselves; these are also censured. . . . ORIGEN tells us (Origen Contra Celsum) "The Egyptian philosophers had sublime notions which they kept secret, and never discovered to the people, but under the vail of fables and allegories; also other eastern nations concealed secret mysteries under their religious ceremonies, a custom still retained by many of them." With regard to symbols, he says: (p. 65). Likewise the famous pillars before SOLOMON'S temple, were not placed there for ornament alone; their signification, use and mystical meanings are so well known to expert masons, that it would be both unnecessary, as it is improper for me to assign them here; neither are the reasons why they were made hollow known to any but those who are acquainted with the arcana of this society; tho' that circumstance so often occurs in scripture.

 

A long note follows on the heights, reconciling the various readings.

 

(p. 75). And as FREE‑MASONRY is in like manner a progressive science, not to be perfectly attained but by time, patience, and application, how necessary is it, that testimonies of proper qualifications should be required for the respective degrees, before the candidate can attain them; both in regard to science and morality; as the honour of the institution should always be a principal object in view to every free and accepted mason, who ought to be well instructed in the scientifick knowledge, and moral and social virtues peculiar to an inferior, e'er he will be admitted to the more sublime truths of the perfect and well qualified MASON.

 

As to the name Freemason, he says: (p. 76). . . . this did not arise merely from our skill in architecture, or the principles of building, but from a more comprehensive acquaintance and knowledge of the sublimest principles of philosophy and moral virtues.... Therefore the name of mason is not to be considered in the contracted implication of a builder of habitations, etc. But figuratively pursuant to the method of the ancient society on which this institution is founded; and taken in this sense, a mason is one who by gradual advances in the sublime truths and various arts and sciences which the principles and precepts of free‑masonry tend to inculcate and establish, is raised by regular courses to such a degree MASONIC TEACHERS OF THE 18TH CENTURY      71 of perfection as to be replete with happiness himself, and extensively beneficial to others.

 

As to the appendage free, that evidently owed its rise to the practice of the ancients, who never suffered the liberal arts and sciences to be taught to any but the free‑born.

 

Actually it is generally recognized today that this word "free" occurs in three different connotations. It may mean (1) not attached to a gild restricted to a certain definite locality; (2) free of his gild or Company; or (3) a freestone mason (macon de franche pierre), as distinguished from a rough mason.

 

In an Appendix he gives us (p. 79) the history of Free‑masonry in England from Athelstan; (p. 84) the Leland Locke MS. and the Notes; this has been copied by every later writer; (p. 94) a list of G.Ms. and Dy.G.Ms. from 1721, ending with the Duke of Beaufort, 1767; (p. 98) Deputations for Provincial Grand Masters were granted: 1726 To Sir Edward Mansell, Bart., for South Wales: Hugh Warburton, Esq., for North Wales.

 

1738 By the Marquis of Carnarvon, now Duke of Chandos, G.M. to William Horton, Esq., for the West Riding of the County of York.

 

1740 By the Earl of Kintore, G.M. to Edward Rooke, Esq., for the West Riding of the County of York, in the room of William Horton, Esq., deceased, and so on, the list ending on p. 103 with: "1767 J. J. de Vignoles, for foreign lodges where no provincial is appointed." On p. 104 is an Account of the establishment of the Present Grand Lodge of Scotland, with a list of G.M's. from 1736 to 1769. On p. 116 he prints a letter from Bro. James Galloway, dated Oct. 1, 1768, making a proposition of a plan for raising a fund to build a Masonic hall in London, thus bringing before the body of the craft the necessity for a central place of meeting, the erection of which was carried into effect by Lord Petre in 1775. This letter is referred to by Preston in his 1772 edition at p. 250. On p. 122 we have a description of the Banquetting Hall of the Lodge at Marseilles intituled the Lodge of St. John, another item that was copied by all Calcott's successors, but for no obvious reason. On p. 135 we begin a series of Charges, describing "The Duties of a Free‑mason," as delivered in the regular Lodges, "held under the Constitution of the Grand Master of England."     A few quotations will show that we owe some of our most familiar phrases today to these productions.

 

p. 141. On Charity. "It should therefore by no reason lessen the dignity and excellency of the royal craft, because it is our misfortune to have bad men among us, any more than the purity and holiness of the Christian religion should be doubted, because too many of the wicked and profligate approach the holy altar".

 

72        THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES p. 150. Such is the nature of our constitution that as some must of necessity rule and teach so others must of course learn to obey; humility therefore in both becomes an essential duty, for pride and ambition, like a worm at the root of the tree, will prey on the vitals of our peace, harmony and brotherly love.

 

On p. 157, a Charge by Wellins Calcott himself, which is curiously modern in style.

 

"Right Worshipful SIR. By the unanimous voice of the members of this lodge, you are elected to the mastership thereof for the ensuing half‑year.... What you have seen praise‑worthy in others, we doubt not you will imitate; and what you have seen defective, you will in yourself amend. [Now part of the address to the Wardens.] For a pattern of imitation, consider the great luminary of nature, which, rising in the east, regularly diffuses light and lustre to all within its circle. In like manner it is your province, with due decorum, to spread and communicate light and instruction to the brethren in the lodge". and (p. 163) ". . . nothing more contributes to the dissolutions of a lodge than too great a number of members indiscriminately made".

 

Finally, as a Postscript, we have a set of model Bye‑Laws, from which one may be quoted, as to visitors. "That every visiting brother being a member of a regular Lodge, shall pay on every visit Is. 6d., but if only of the lodge of St. John shall pay 2s." This phrase was used to describe either unattached brethren, or members of Lodges not under the jurisdiction of G.L.

 

Wellins Calcott was originally a bookseller (the D.N.B. says he was the son of a member of the Corporation of Shrewsbury), who blossomed out into an author. In 1756 he wrote a book entitled Thoughts Moral and Divine; 1st ed., London, 1756; 2nd, Birmingham, 1758; 3rd, Coventry, 1759; 4th, Manchester, 1761; 5th, Exeter, 1764. He was P.M. of the Lodge of Regularity, London (now No. 91), in 1755. He appears to have gone about as a lecturer on Masonic subjects and incidentally engaged in getting subscribers all over the country for the Candid Disquisition. Bro. Wonnacott's notes show him to be delivering lectures in 1761, at St. John's, Kilwinning, Haddington, and also at Edinburgh and Dumbarton; in 1762 at Norwich; in 1767 at St. Ives and Hereford; in 1776 at Oxford, etc. There was some trouble experienced by the Bristol subscribers in getting their copies, for details of which see p. 3 in the Report of the Quarterly Communication held at Freemasons Hall on Wednesday, April 11, 1781; and the printed circular in the Grand Lodge Library of date June 7, 1781. A curious circumstance arising out of this is that if this book was not in the hands of its subscribers until 1780 or later then possibly Hutchinson's Spirit of Masonry was in the field earlier, as that was published in 1775.

 

However this may be, Calcott deserves every credit for his book, which is the first work in which the philosophy of the craft is seriously considered, MASONIC TEACHERS OF THE 18TH CENTURY PLATE 6. William Hutchinson (1732‑1814), author of The Spirit of Masonry, first published in 1775 From the Title‑page to the 1802 edition (By kind permission of the Board of General Purposes) and in which a genuine attempt is made to co‑ordinate the various ceremonies. His work was that of a real pioneer and led the way to, and prescribed the manner of, most of the successors in this line. Many of the words and phrases used in his lectures were adopted by Hemming and made part of the ritual which we use today. Whether these expressions are due to Calcott or whether he took them out of some old working is immaterial; at any rate Calcott put them into print, and so ensured their continued existence in exact phraseology; for this service alone he merits our thanks and our remembrance.

 

We next come to Hutchinson and his work.

 

The Spirit of Masonry in Moral and Elucidatory Lectures; by Wm. Hutchinson, Master of the Barnard Castle Lodge of Concord. London: Printed for J. Wilkie, No. 71 in St. Paul's Churchyard, and W. Goldsmith, No. 24, Paternoster Row. MDCCLXXV.

 

73 74  THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES The work is dedicated to Lord Petre. It is perhaps the most noteworthy of all the treatises on Masonic philosophy; it is also noteworthy for its numerous scriptural quotations and for its copious use of capitals in the first edition.

 

William Hutchinson (1732‑1814) was a well‑known solicitor in Barnard Castle. He was the author of many valuable works on topographical subjects, the best of which is his History of Durham, published in 1785. His portrait appears as the frontispiece to Vol. VIII of Nichol's Literary Anecdotes. The Spirit of Masonry was published in 1775, and was re‑issued in 1796 and 1802, and re‑edited by Dr. Oliver in 1843. There is a frontispiece; a five‑pointed Star with interlaced Triangle with the letter G in the centre on a rayed background. The first edition has pp. 237, and appendix pp. 17. The Second Edition has as title page: The Spirit of Masonry [Star as in 1] in Moral and Elucidatory Lectures, By Wm. Hutchinson. The Second Edition. Carlisle: Printed by F. Jollie. MDCCXCV.

 

The signatures suggest a small quarto, but it is octavo in size. It has the sanction and the preface with verbal changes. The dedication is to Benevolence. The lectures are the same with constant small verbal modifications. After the glossary come "Remarks", then a list of lodges under the G.LL. of England and Scotland. The Third Edition has as title: The Spirit of Masonry. By Wm. Hutchinson. The Third Edition with additions. [A portrait. R. Scott Sculp.] Carlisle: Printed by F. Jollie, 1802.

 

There is no star, but a frontispiece, a plate of various masonic emblems. The printing and paper are much inferior to the first edition; the capitals are replaced by italics. The text is identical with the second edition. The sanction is retained but the dedication and preface are omitted. After the Lesson, this edition has a Short Defence. It ends with the Funeral and has the table of contents at the end; in the first edition it is at the beginning. There are 149 pages of text, and the pagination is continuous through the appendix which goes on to p. 359. The "I" of the first edition is replaced in the second and third by "we"; and the verbal alterations are usually trivial and not always for the better.

 

In the first Lecture, The Design, starting with Adam, the progress of Freemasonry is divided into three stages. (1) In the forming of this Society when mankind had experienced that from religion all civil ties and obli gations were compacted, and that thence proceeded all the bonds which could unite mankind in social intercourse. (2) is grounded on the Temple at Jerusalem which owns the probation of craftsmen. (3) The members of our Society at this day, in the third stage of masonry, confess themselves to be Christians.

 

MASONIC TEACHERS OF THE 18TH CENTURY His philology is rather weird, for he sees the origin of the word Mason in the French word Maison, which he says (p. 20) "signifies a family or particular race of people". It seems as if the name was compounded of MaQ‑1cuav=Quero salvum; and the title of Masonry is no more than a corruption of Me0ovpavew=Sum in Medio Coeli, etc. He then goes on to quote some Greek words apparently to carry on his idea of the derivation at any rate to his satisfaction, "which conjecture is strengthened by our symbols". As a result of this method of reasoning he comes ultimately to this conclusion: (p. 21). I am inclined to determine, that the appellation of MASON implies a member of a RELIGIOUS SECT, and a professed devotee of the Deity "WHO IS SEATED IN THE CENTRE OF HEAVEN".

 

Equally interesting, if not convincing, is his statement that: (p.21). . ..the Druids, when they committed anything to writing, used the Greek alphabet‑and I am bold to assert, the most perfect remains of the Druids' rites and ceremonies are preserved in the ceremonials of masons, that are to be found existing among mankind. ‑My brethren may be able to trace them with greater exactness than I am at liberty to explain to the public.

 

In this paragraph there is no doubt of his boldness, the only doubt is with regard to his accuracy. The Druids committed nothing to writing, every word of the ritual was committed to memory, and no record remains to show what these rituals were. It follows therefore that whilst our ceremonies may be an exact copy of those of the ancient Druids, nobody knows what those were and hence nobody knows if ours at all resemble them in any single point. I am afraid that some of these old writers have a lot to answer for.

 

Lecture II is on the Rites, Ceremonies and Institutions of the Ancients, and a similar criticism will apply to his disquisition on Basilides, the Essenes, and Gnostics. The ingenuity of his suppositions is worthy of the utmost praise, but so much ability might have been devoted to a better purpose. The lectures on the furniture of the Lodge show clearly the lodge symbolism of the period as also that on the Apparel and Jewels.

 

"The raiment which truly implies the innocence of the heart, is a badge more honourable than ever was devised by kings‑the Roman Eagle, with all the orders of knighthood, are inferior:‑they may be prostituted by the caprice of princes; but innocence is innate, and cannot be adopted". (p. 123).

 

75 (p. 153). As I before declared it to be my opinion, that this Society was never formed for, or of, a set of working architects or masons; but as a religious, social and charitable establishment, and 76         THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES never were embodied, or exhibited to the world as builders, save only under Moses, and at the Temple of Jerusalem, where with holy hands they executed those works of piety, as the patriarchs erected altars to the honor of the Divinity, for their sacrifices and religious offices; so I am persuaded, that the adoption of geometry by masons, or any emblem of that science, implies no more than a reverence for such device of the mind of man as should demonstrate the wisdom of the Almighty in his works, whereby the powers of Abrax are defined, and the system of the starry revolutions in the heavens determined.

 

He has a long note on Abrax, or Abraxas, which is a mystical name of God, the numerical value of which is 365, invented by a second century Gnostic called Basilides, and taken by the Gnostics as the principle from which was derived all their hierarchy of spirits and heavenly bodies. But the opinion here expressed is rather startling, though we are denied the source of his statement because he does not give any authority for this opinion, which obviously is a very pious one.

 

He certainly was not affected by the deistic tendency of his masonic successors, for his definition of a master mason is: "Thus the MASTER MASON represents a man under the christian doctrine, saved from the grave of iniquity, and raised to the faith of salvation". (p. 162).

 

The chapters on Charity and Brotherly Love reach a high standard of eloquence but introduce no controversial points. Lectures 13 and 14 contain a summing up of his ideas.

 

"Why the title of FREE is annexed to our society, or that of ACCEPTED, I hope I may be allowed to conjecture was derived from the crusades. There the volunteers entering into that service must be FREEMEN, born free, and not villains or under any vassalage; for it was not until long after the crusades, that vassalage and feudal services, together with the slavish tenures, were taken away.

 

They were entitled to the stile of ACCEPTED, under that PLENARY INDULGENCE which the pope published, for all who would confess their sins, and inlist in the enterprize of the holy war; whereby they were accepted and received into the bosom of the father of the church." This is distinctly original. As Gould has pointed out, there is no evidence for the Papal Bull so often asserted to exist. An Appendix contains the letter from the learned Mr. John Locke, and a few more extracts from the body of the work will be sufficient to give us an idea of the man and his teachings.

 

(p.115). ... furnished with unerring rules, whereby he shall form his conduct‑THE BOOK of his law is laid before him, that he may not MASONIC TEACHERS OF THE 18TH CENTURY 77 say through ignorance he erred; whatever the great ARCHITECT of the world hath dictated to mankind, as the mode in which he would be served, and the path in which he is to tread to obtain his approbation; whatever precepts he hath administred, and with whatever laws he hath inspired the sages of old, the same are faithfully comprized in THE BOOK OF THE LAW of MASONRY. That book, which is never closed in any lodge, reveals the duties which the great MASTER of all exacts from us‑open to every eye, comprehensible to every mind; then who shall say among us, that he knoweth not the acceptable service ? (p. 128). Pity and pain are sisters by sympathy.

 

(p. 148). . . . the letter G wherewith the lodges and the medals of masons are ornamented.... To apply its signification to the name of GOD only, is depriving it of part of its MASONIC import; although I have already shown that the symbols used in lodges are expressive of the Divinity's being the great object of Masonry, as architect of the world. This significant letter denotes GEOMETRY, which to artificers, is the science by which all their labours are calculated and formed; and to Masons contains the determination, definition, and proof of the order, beauty and wonderful wisdom of the power of God in his creation.

 

(p. 161). The acquisition of the doctrine of redemption is expressed in the typical character of Huramen (Hvpaliev ‑inveni) and by the application of that name with masons, it is implied, that we have discovered the knowledge of God and of his salvation, and have been redeemed from the death of sin, and the sepulchre of pollution and unrighteousness.

 

(p. 176). Assuredly the secrets revealed to us were for other uses than what relate to labouring up masses of stone; and our society, as it now stands, is an association on religious and charitable principles; which principles were instituted and arose upon the knowledge of God, and in the christian revelation.

 

(p. 221). . . . we have furnished our lodges with those striking objects, which should at once intimate to us the mightiness and wisdom of God, the instability of man, and the various vicissitudes in human life, and have set before our eyes preceptors of moral works; and to strengthen our faith we have enlightned our lodge with the emblem of the Trinity.

 

(p. 126). To walk uprightly before heaven and before men, neither inclining to the right or to the left, is the duty of a Masonneither becoming an Enthusiast or a persecutor in religion, nor bending towards innovation or infidelity.‑In civil government, 78 THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES firm in our allegiance, yet stedfast in our laws, liberties and constitution.‑In private life, yielding up every selfish propensity, inclining neither to avarice or injustice, to malice or revenge, to envy or contempt with mankind; but as the builder raises his column by the plane and perpendicular, so should the Mason carry himself towards the world.

 

(p. 233). . . . I have attempted to examine into the origin of our society and in many instances wand'ring without evidence, I have been left to probability in conjecture only.‑It doth not now seem material to us what our originals and predecessors were, if we occupy ourselves in the true SPIRIT OF MASONRY; in that divine spirit which inspired the patriarchs when they erected altars unto the Lord; if we are true servants to our king, faithful and true to our chartered liberties, christians in profession and in practice, and to each other, and mankind in general, affectionate and upright.

 

(p. 237). . . . with attention endeavour to arrive at the utmost knowledge of your PROFESSION, the end of which, I presume to proclaim to you, is to work out THE WORKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS.

 

Our next author is Captain George Smith, the title of whose work is: The Use and Abuse of Free‑masonry; A Work of the greatest Utility to the Brethren of the Society, to Mankind in General, and to the Ladies in Particular.

 

By Capt. George Smith, Inspector of the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich; Provincial Grand‑Master for the County of Kent, and R.A.

 

[Drawing of three interlacing circles with the Hebrew letters A.B.L. and the words]      Spiritus           Jehovah Elijah Elohim Fiat London: Printed for the Author; and Sold by G. Kearsley, No. 46, Fleet Street, 1783. (Price Five Shillings in Boards.) Kearsley printed the unauthorized edition of the Book of Constitutions in 1769.

 

The book has two dedications‑(1) To His Majesty Frederick the Second King of Prussia‑reciting the whole of his hereditary titles, and ending with Protector of Freemasons. (2) To His Royal Highness Henry Frederick, Duke of Cumberland and Strathern, Earl of Dublin, Ranger of Windsor Great Park, Admiral of the White Squadron, and Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter; Present Grand‑Master of Masons in England.

 

MASONIC TEACHERS OF THE 18TH CENTURY          79 In his preface (p. xv) he states "Elegance we have sacrificed to brevity", and then goes on to show what "brevity" can be lengthened out to. Smith's main thesis is framed on the philosophical teachings then in fashion, that man is formed to be a sociable being, and that men must of necessity form associations for their comfort, friendship and defence as well as for their very existence. Of these associations the best is the ancient institution of Free and Accepted Masons, an establishment founded on the benevolent intentions of extending and confirming mutual happiness, upon the best and truest principles of moral and social virtue.

 

In the chapter on the Antiquity of Freemasonry in general he follows the current opinions of the day and traces the development from Adam onwards. "After the Flood, the professors of this art (according to ancient tradition) were first distinguished by the name of Noachidae". His philology is not very sound, for there are no proofs that "The titles therefore of Mason and Masonry most probably were derived from the Greek language, as the Greek idiom is adopted by them in many instances". Though where the Greek idiom is adopted in Masonry is sadly to seek. He also says, "I am bold to assert, the most perfect remains of the Druid rites and ceremonies are preserved in the customs and ceremonies of Masons, that are to be found existing among mankind". We agree that he was bold to assert, but we do not agree with his assertion and we should like to have known where he got his information from. It ought at any rate to have been a very reliable quarter to stand the use of the superlative. On p. 35 he says: "The original names of Masons and Masonry may probably be derived from or corrupted of Mvs77pcov=res arcana, mysteries, and Mv~r)s=sacris initiates mysta, those initiated to sacred mysteries". This is an obvious misprint for Mva‑r~s (o)=one initiated. His Greek is rather weak. It should be To p,varrjpcov= a mystery or sacred rite, rite, generally in the plural Td p.va7~pta.

 

After describing the building of the Temple (p. 45), Solomon is credited with establishing general distinguishing characteristics by which the craftsmen after their dispersal over the whole earth should be able to pass on to their descendants those principles which they had cultivated to such perfection.

 

Various circumstances contribute to prove that Freemasonry was introduced into Britain by the first inhabitants about 1030 years B.C. It began to revive under the patronage of Charles II, who had been received into the Order while on his travels. In 1694 King William was privately initiated into Masonry. These historical statements are from Anderson, and there is no justification for them.

 

A list of the various Grand Masters follows, and a full account of the ceremony observed at laying the Foundation of Freemasons' Hall on Monday, 1st May, 1775, by Lord Petre. This is of especial interest to those of us who were at the laying of the Foundation Stone of the new Freemasons' Hall last year by the Duke of Connaught. The ceremony of the dedication 80           THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES of the Hall on Thursday, 23rd May, 1776, is also given at length. We may hope that we shall be present at the dedication of the new building though the progress of erection will not be so rapid as in the 18th century.

 

Smith then reviews the history of Freemasonry in the various countries of the world, and alludes to the Papal Bull and the Edict of Berne. and to this latter he gives far greater prominence than it ever merited. He gives the number of Lodges in the world as, in Europe 1,247; in America 187; in Asia 76; and in Africa 13‑a total of 1,523‑and he says: "On estimating the lodges one with another, at 30 members in each, makes 45,690 Masons in all".

 

He next embarks on a defence of Masonry in general. He admits that "All sovereigns have the authority to determine the actions of their subjects, provided that they are by a necessity, as well natural as moral, or by the fundamental laws of the place, capable of an obvious determination". He proceeds to show that "It is nowhere to be found ... that they ever bore a part in the intrigues and troubles, etc." and cites as an instance the conduct of the Freemasons in the Gordon Riots of 1780, and concludes, p. 251: "Far from degrading the authority of sovereigns, masons are, have been, and ever will be faithful, steady, and zealous defenders of it".

 

Masonry, he goes on to say, is the daughter of heaven, and happy are those who embrace her, and he proceeds to a vindication of Freemasonry from all general aspersions.

 

"Men of all religions and of all nations are united. The distant Chinese, the wild Arab, or the American savage, will embrace a brother Briton.... Masonry teaches us to be faithful to our king, and true to our country; to avoid turbulent measures, and to submit with reverence to the decisions of legislative power. It is surely then no mean advantage, no trifling acquisition, to any community or state to have under its power and jurisdiction a body of men who are loyal subjects, patrons of science and friends to mankind".

 

Wisdom seeks the secret shade, the lonely cell designed for contemplation.

 

"As we ought to be irreproachable in our own demeanour so we ought to be certified that our candidates for freemasonry have the requisite qualifications, which indispensably ought to be a good reputation, an honest method of living, sound morals and a competent understanding".

 

On Masonic Secrecy he writes "Does not Solomon, the wisest of men, tell us He that discovers secrets is a traitor, but a man of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter ? In conducting worldly affairs secrecy is not only essential but absolutely necessary and was ever esteemed a quality of the greatest worth . . . the ancient Egyptians had so great a regard for silence and secrecy in MASONIC TEACHERS OF THE 18TH CENTURY      81 the mysteries of their religion that they set up the god Harpocrates, . . . who was represented with his right hand placed near the heart, and the left down by his side, covered with a skin before full of eyes and ears, to signify, that of many things to be seen and heard, few are to be published". (pp. 286‑7).

 

Instances are given from Pythagoras onwards which "should be sufficient to justify masons against any charge of singularity or innovation on this account.... Do not all incorporated bodies among us enjoy this liberty without impeachment or censure". (p. 291). He then goes on to discuss the origin of swearing oaths and the different customs adopted by the ancients. We then get (p. 298): ... a free‑mason is to be a peaceable subject, conforming cheerfully to the government under which he lives, is to pay a due deference to his superiors; and from his inferiors is to receive honour rather with reluctance than to extort it.

 

(p. 301). . . . if a number of persons, who have formed themselves into a body with a design to improve in useful knowledge, to promote universal benevolence, and to cultivate the social virtues of human life, have bound themselves by the solemn obligation of an oath, to conform to the rules of such institution, where can be the impiety, immorality or folly of such proceeding? ... As for the terror of a penalty, it is a mistaken notion to imagine that the solemnity of an oath adds anything to the obligation; or that the oath is not equally binding without any penalty at all.... A VOLUNTARY oath is the more binding for being voluntary, because there is no stricter obligation than that we take willingly on ourselves".

 

In speaking of the lodge and its furniture, etc., he says:   "A LODGE is the place where all business concerning the society is transacted, and where masons meet to expatiate on the craft". Further on he tells us that mosaic work is to remind us of the precariousness of our state on earth, and the "book of his law" is that whereby the mason shall form his conduct.

 

To aid the conduct of every mason the GRAND MASTER holdeth the compass, limiting the distance, progress, and circumference of the work ... assigning to each his province and his order ... the square is presented as the probation of his life, proving whether his manners are regular and uniform ... our three lights are typical of the Holy Trinity. (pp. 324‑6).

 

Masons ... profess innocence; they put on‑white apparel as an emblem of that character.... The raiment, which truly implies the innocence of the heart, is a badge more honourable than ever was devised by kings; the Roman eagle, with all the orders of knighthood, are thereto inferior; they may be prostituted by the caprice of princes, but innocence is innate and cannot be adopted.

 

82        THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES To walk uprightly before heaven and before man, neither inclining to the right or to the left, is the duty of a mason, neither becoming an enthusiast or a persecutor in religion, nor bending towards innovation or infidelity.... To steer the bark of life upon the seas of passions, without quitting the course of rectitude, is one of the highest excellencies to which human nature can be brought, aided with all the powers of philosophy and religion. (pp. 327‑32).

 

Finally on Masonic Charity he writes CHARITY is the chief of every social virtue; it includes not only a supreme degree of love to the great Creator and Governor of the universe, but an unlimited affection to beings of all characters and every denomination.

 

After reminding us that the present committee of Charity of the G.L. of England was constituted in 1725 in consequence of an old regulation established at the revival of the G.L. in 1717, and giving a list of benefactions abroad and at home, he concludes: To heaven's high Architect all praise, All gratitude be given; Who deign'd the human soul to raise, By secrets sprung from heaven.

 

And so the work of Captain Smith ends on the lofty note of prayer, praise and thanks to T.G.A.O.T.U.

 

All the arguments and most of the text are taken from Calcott and Hutchinson verbatim, the historical details‑which are mostly inaccurateare copied from Anderson, and the addresses from various sources. Smith says (p. 22) : With this view I have made it my business for many years to collect a great number of passages from writers eminent for their learning and probity, where I thought they might serve to illustrate my subject. The propriety of such proceeding is too obvious to need any apology.

 

The last sentence is distinctly appropriate in view of the fact that most of the book is copied without any acknowledgment, and even this is a paraphrase of Preston. The work is well worth reading; Captain Smith has faithfully followed in the footsteps of the original workers, and his writing gives a good summary of their ideas, though he does not take the trouble to correct their mistakes.

 

Captain George Smith served in the Prussian army under Frederick the Great, and was probably initiated into Freemasonry somewhere in Germany, but the time and place are unknown. On his return to England he was appointed Inspector of the Military Academy at Woolwich, which meant that he was headmaster of the school of cadets. In 1778 he was Provincial MASONIC TEACHERS OF THE 18TH CENTURY 83 Grand Master of Kent. In 1780 he was appointed junior Grand Warden. This appointment was strongly objected to by the Grand Secretary, James Heseltine, who was a champion objector, on the ground that no one could hold two offices in the Grand Lodge at the same time; though at that time there was no regulation forbidding this. (Const. 1784, p. 347). He occupied the chair of the Royal Military Lodge, No. 371, for four years, and came into a certain amount of notoriety by holding a lodge in 1783 in the King's Bench Prison, and conferring degrees on some of the inmates, thus contravening the rule that "it is inconsistent with the principles of Freemasonry for any Freemason's Lodge to be held in any prison or place of confinement". For this escapade he was solemnly censured by Grand Lodge. (See Constitutions 1784, p. 349). His excuse was that the Royal Military Lodge was an itinerant Lodge.

 

In 1783 he published The Use and Abuse of Freemasonry. The Grand Lodge, prompted by Heseltine, refused its sanction to the publication on the general policy of opposition to the publication of masonic literature. (Const. 1784, p. 347). In 1785 he was expelled from the Society for "uttering an instrument purporting to be a certificate of the G.L. recommending two distressed brethren".

 

No record is available of his subsequent career or when and where he died.

 

He was one of Preston's strongest supporters, and at the famous Grand Gala performance in honour of Freemasonry, May 21, 1772, he was one of the Stewards (fourth in the list) and took part in Section III of the First Lecture and was first in the list of Assistants. (Preston, 1772 Ed., p. 38).

 

In addition to the Use and Abuse he wrote several works on military subjects, one of which, the Universal Military Dictionary, published in 1779, was for many years a standard work and is of value yet as a reference for military terms of the 18th century.

 

He must have been an able and cultured man, even if in masonic affairs he usually appears to have been "agin the government".

 

We come next to J. Ladd, the title of whose work is: The Science of Free‑Masonry Explained: In Four Lectures on the Beauty, Antiquity, Rise and Progress of Free‑Masonry, from the earliest Period, down to the present Time; Shewing That Scriptural Faith and a Knowledge of the Sciences, are the Fundamental Principles of a true Mason: Which may be of great Use and Benefit to the Craft, or any other Persons who study the Sciences.

 

Selected, Abridged and Compiled from eminent Writers on that Subject.

 

London: Published for and sold by the Compiler, J. Ladd, in Heddon Street, near Swallow Street, St. James's. (Name on the door.) Who 84       THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES teaches Drawing and Painting in all its Branches, also practical Geometry, Architecture, Perspective, Surveying, Dividing and Mapping Land, Measuring and Valuing Timber, and Mensuration of Artificers Work, etc., etc.

 

Sold also by J. Dixwell, No. 148, St. Martin's Lane, near Charing Cross. (Price Two Shillings).

 

[Dixwell published the Candid Disquisition].

 

The title page is fairly comprehensive, but the preliminary part relating to Masonry fades into insignificance when we come to the multifarious occupations of the gifted author. He gives more ample details later on in "An Address to Free‑Masons in Particular and My Friends and the Public in General", which is frankly in the nature of an advertisement of his qualifications for employment as a surveyor, etc. He also desires to teach others and invites parents and guardians to call on him, "Or a line post paid will be duly answered. N.B. He engages with no more than eight pupils at the same time".

 

Nothing is known about Ladd; there is no mention of him in the G.L. Records, and no books or record of him at the British Museum.

 

Bro. W. R. Makins has looked through many papers and has found, in the Wonnacott collection, only two references to anyone named Ladd.

 

(i) Ladd (Modem) visited Old King's Arms Lodge (now No. 28), 7 and 19 December, 1769. His own Lodge not stated.

 

(ii) Ladd, John (Modem), Mariner, age 35, made in Emulation Lodge (now No. 21) 26 Sep., 1774.

 

Ladd begins his lectures with a definition of the characteristics of a perfect and good Mason: A good mason then is an honest man, and, as Pope says, one of the noblest works of God. One, who duly pays his duty to his great Creator, and his allegiance to his king‑one, who studies to subdue his inordinate passions and natural perverse will, in proper subjection to all superior degrees and orders of men and all civil constitutional policy‑One, who strives by honest industry to excel in that profession, trade, or science he is called to‑one, who is just in all his dealings and dependencies; temperate, faithful, fortuitous, and steady, cultivating his mind and behaviour with social adepts and brotherly benignity in all the duties of life‑ One, who would willingly do to all men as he would have them to do to him‑ Nay, one, who studies excellency in all moral and religious duties‑to which laudable end, he particularly avoids all party or partial tale‑bearing, which, generally out of a frail, ill‑judged design of entertaining or pleasing, animates incorrect sensation, leads people into irrecoverable difficulties, and generally proves a bane to society‑ He avoids, with equal care, censoriousness, MASONIC TEACHERS OF THE 18TH CENTURY 85 perverse contradiction or captiousness, which often produce discord, or at least uneasiness‑ He would not be seen in the throng of the vicious, nor intemperately sip the cup of ebriety‑ A good mason is like a rock washed whiter, but not shaken with the storms and waves of life‑ He carries that erect, even deportment and disposition of mind, that never inclines to give or exaggerate offences, but strives to facilitate conviction by argument, in the gentlest manner and softest language, not by a haughty overbearingness, or an inflam'd debate; considering, that amity and social harmony ought to flourish and abound in all human societies, but particularly among the fraternity of free and accepted masons‑whose names are enrolled in the books of everlasting scientific records, to maintain and ever kindle that mysterious zeal, which enlightens us to see, with feeling compassion, the turbulent disquietudes, and vitiated principles of most of the unselected and uncivilized part of mankind.

 

These are, brethren, the united qualifications of a good and true mason, which, in short, is a fund of scriptural knowledge, adorned with the practice of social and religious virtue.

 

It must be admitted at once that Brother Ladd has given us here a fairly comprehensive list; the possessor of all these qualities would indeed be perfect.

 

The concluding paragraphs with their Christian allusions point out to us that at this period Freemasonry had not yet lost its definite Christian characteristics: "Let us therefore have a lively faith in Christ, be in perfect charity with all the world, and as brethren, with one another, let us study heartily to do good to all mankind". (p. 21).

 

The prayer ends: "This we most humbly beg in the Name and for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen".

 

The Second Lecture is described as containing a short Historical Account of Masonry, from Adam down to the Building of Solomon's Temple.

 

(p. 29). Geometry is, beyond all doubt, the basis and foundation of Masonry, as well as ... all mathematical and mechanical learning.

 

(p. 37). After the temple was finished, many of the master masons travelled into all parts of the world, and constituted lodges; teaching the liberal arts, but would not unfold their mysteries to any but gentlemens sons, who were born free‑ From whence came the name of Free‑Masons.

 

(p. 38). The Egyptians constituted a great number of lodges, but, with assiduous care, kept their secrets of masonry from all strangers.... They wrapt up their mysteries, in disguised allusions, enigmas, fables, and allegories; From whence arose the various obscure questions and answers, and many other disguised obscurities, 86           THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES which lead to the royal craft; the true sense of which are practised by thousands, tho' understood by few.

 

(p. 39). Geometry, in former times, dwelt as it were in a sanctuary, where every one was not allowed to approach‑they were mysteries known only to a few‑The truths they contain are simple and clear; but cannot be perceived without labour and attention, and a patient study of their long connections; for such a truth or such a supposition, can be only clear to him, who has already unfolded an hundred others.

 

(p. 43). Our love and fear of God, founded in the belief of the Gospel, inspires us with spiritual discernment, illuminates our faith, and will enable us to square our principles, level our desires, and plumb our actions.

 

In the Third Lecture, giving the Opinion of Some of the Ancients on Free‑Masonry, Geometry and Architecture, which are the Fundamentals of a Perfect Mason, after citing the practice of many ancient writers the author refers to English Masonry as follows (p. 56). The Trojan race of Britons built many temples, towns and castles, under the direction of Ebrank and Bladud, kings of the Britons and grand masters; the latter of these built the city of Bath, whose statue and inscription, as builder, remains there to this day; nor do the masters of the lodges in that city ever fail, on lodge‑nights, after their lectures are over, of giving a toast to the memory of king Bladud; and as I have frequently visited the lodges there, I cannot help saying, in justice, to the honour of my brethren at Bath, that their lodges were kept in more decorum, decency, good order, polite behaviour and brotherly friendship, than many lodges I have visited in this metropolis.

 

Through the kindness of Bro. Vibert I have obtained the following details of Ladd's visits to Bath. Minute Book No. VI of the Royal Cumberland Lodge, No. 41 (No. 59 of the 1755 List, then without a name), meeting at the Bear, until December, 1767, when it moved to the White Hart, Stall Street. Ladd's name appears as a visitor, paying 1/6, on Nov. 3, 1767, and Nov. 17, and Dec. 13; also on Feb. 2, Feb. 16, and May 3, 1768. He may possibly have visited on other occasions when the names of visitors are not given in detail.

 

Geoffrey of Monmouth, 12th century, Historia Britonum, traces English history from the arrival of Brutus of Troy to 689 A.D.

 

(p. 57). In Carausius's reign, St. Alban, steward of the household and ruler of the really, was grand master; he got a charter for the free‑masons, constituted a grand lodge, made masons himself, and gave most instructive charges.

 

MASONIC TEACHERS OF THE 18TH CENTURY          87 Carausius, "a Menapian of the meanest origin" (Gibbon), revolted A.D. 286. He was commander of the Roman Fleet in the Channel, stationed at Boulogne. He assumed the imperial purple and title of Augustus, and for seven years governed well; Diocletian and Maximian acknowledged his sovereignty. He was assassinated by his minister Allectus A.D. 293.

 

(p. 58). Prince Edwin, brother to king Athelstone, held a grand Lodge in York; where he brought Oriental records of the mysteries, and formed the constitution of the English Lodge.

 

The list of Grand Masters, the early ones hypothetical, is given up to date, ending with: "and Lord Peter, the present grand master" (generally spelt Petre). The following is distinctly modern: (p. 64). I cannot help thinking ... that were we so prudently cautious of raising master masons, as our fore‑fathers were, the desire of knowledge in the mysteries of masonry, would be much more power fully inviting; and the principles and qualifications of persons in the craft would be better known and approved, as being more worthy.... It is an apparent degradation to masonry in general, that some hundreds have been raised so imprudently and precipitately to be master masons, without the knowledge or understanding of hardly any one part of the order, or the least part of science.

 

From those, and the like causes, many unguarded and consequential mischiefs have arose.

 

The Fourth Lecture is described as "containing some definitions on Knowledge, the Liberal Arts or Sciences, and Geometry". The previous lectures have been given in the ordinary lecture form, but in this lecture the author reverts to the old method of question and answer. In this way there are described the various kinds of knowledge, the trivium and quadrivium and the principles of geometry. The work ends with a postscript of which the concluding words are: (p. 96). It is not every dish that pleases every palate; I tossed up this, in the first place, for my own table, which agreed extremely well with my constitution, and if my readers have a mind to take a part with me, they are kindly welcome; but I hope the guest that partakes at another body's table, will not quarrel with his supper.

 

The title of the last work that we shall consider is: An Introduction to Free Masonry: For the use of the Fraternity and none else. In four parts. Among the several Particulars of which are contained Choice and Select Songs, used by Free and Accepted Masons; The Bye Laws of a Lodge; the Memento; the Free Mason's Perpetual Almanack; a Demonstration of the Foundation of Masonry; HS    THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES a Specimen of Moral Geometry; and the Desiderata. By W. Meeson, M.M. Birmingham: Printed by Pearson and Rollason. M. DCC. LXXV.

 

This is a most interesting work looking at Freemasonry from the moral and mathematical aspect. It begins with the Preparation.

 

(p. 7). Of the Necessity of Self Government.... Thus in every circumstance of life, the contented, affable, obliging, complaisant, sincere man, enjoyeth the reward of his virtue, and liveth in peace and safety.

 

An Introduction to Free Masonry. Part the First. The Apprentice only ... (p. 11). Chap. 1. How a Man may Govern himself.

 

(p. 11). Let then him that is fully resolved to part with every vitious habit, and every evil thought, directly and without delay, put his hand to the work; and with the keen Chisel of Reproof, and true Gavel of sincere Penance, force them off: and at this work let me advise you to be both ingenious and industrious, nor give it over until you have formed yourself into a perfect Square; and this rather by your own hands, than the skill or labour of others.

 

Chap. 2. How a Man should Square himself.

 

(p. 13). This Square, if well applied, will perfectly show where the Gavel and the Chisel should be employed and how far their use is necessary.... The Square then is the theory of universal duty, and consisteth of two right lines, forming an angle of perfect sincerity, or 90 degrees; the longest side is the sum of the length of the several duties we owe to the Supreme Being; the other is made up of the lengths of the several duties we owe to all men, And every man should be agreeable to this Square when perfectly finished.... When this is done, the Stone, or Rough Ashlar, is compleatly finished; and the Gavel and Chisel may be laid aside till the Square discovers some other irregularity.

 

Chap. 3. Of the Improvement of our Time.

 

Let the several parts of our work be measured out only by the Rule of one Day; allowing to every part of our work its just and proper quantity of length and breadth; for he that taketh care of his measure is more likely to bring his work to perfection than he who neglects it; notwithstanding he may still be doing something towards it.

 

Part the Second. The Master or Journey‑man. Chap. 1. Of Moderation.

 

(p. 21). As the husbanding well our time is the only way to acquire a competence suitable to our station here; and as this competence well managed may conduce towards our everlasting MASONIC TEACHERS OF THE 18TH CENTURY          89 On P.

 

happiness, it will thence follow that we should always maintain frugality and keep within the Compass of Moderation.

 

22 there comes an interesting digression into medicine.

 

Intemperate or immoderate watching dissipates the spirits, weakens the fibres, and exhausts the fluid parts of the blood; whence great disorders may arise, concomitants to a sluggish inactivity. And most certainly, Weakness of the fibres and a tenacious blood produce obstructions, which tend to various diseases, as inflammations, fevers, dropsies, etc.

 

But the immoderate drinking strong drink or spirits is by far more pernicious, as it tends to produce dropsies, atrophies, consumption of the lungs, hectics, the jaundice, anorexy, and langour of the whole body; also pains in the head, the apoplexy, epilepsy, palsy, &c., whence the ill consequences of such intemperance are fully manifest.

 

I shall add only a word or two more on this head (by way of comfort to the valetudinarian drinkers, if such there be amongst us) & that from a worthy doctor.

 

"It often happens (says he) to hard drinkers, that the glands of the liver which separates the bile from the blood, are sometimes so hardened or stopped as to resist the strongest deobstruents; whence the motion of the blood in the liver is so impeded, and to such a degree, as forces it into the gastrick arteries (which go or branch off from the hepatic) that it breaks into the stomach. And from hence it is that such unfortunates are subject to vomit blood, which in this case is a very fatal symptom, & such as does not admit of a cure".

 

Surely the weirdest words of comfort to a valetudinarian drinker ever written unless the comfort consists in the fact that the condition described "does not admit of a cure". In which event the sufferer would at once know the worst, if he did not previously suspect that something was wrong with him.

 

Chap. 2. Of Sincerity.

 

(p. 26). Sincerity is an universal duty; neither can that man be said to be so, who cannot stand the test of the true Plumb Line of gospel sincerity.

 

And he that is truly Square, well polished, and thus uprightly fixed, is well qualified, and fit to be a member of the most honourable society that ever existed.

 

Chap. 3. Of Beneficence.

 

(p. 27). He that expects the kind assistance of others, should by all means endeavour to deserve it by contributing all in his power to the happiness of all men.

 

90        THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES He should put his hand to the Trowel of peace and beneficence, and not lay it by so long as he is able to join one stone to the building.

 

Chap. 4. Of Example and Emulation.

 

(p. 30). And as we are to set others a good example, so let us emulate and endeavour after the greater attainments of others; striving with all our might to overcome the corruptions of our nature; and to come up to the true Level of prudence, virtue, and piety, along with the most exalted patterns of purity and perfection.

 

These will cause us to be esteemed by the truly generous and impartial, who love that which is good, whether it be in a mason or any other name.

 

The mathematical demonstrations of the next part have been worked out in extenso, and will be published at some later date, probably in A.Q.C. The title is: "Part the Third, Of Moral Geometry. The Master only". It begins with Definitions copied from Euclid with added moral reflections. Thus 9. Every line representing a duty to be performed, may be supposed to contain all the particular branches of that duty; for the branches or parts of any duty must of consequence make up the whole duty itself.

 

26. A Triangle is a plain (sic) surface, contained by three right lines: An emblem of friendship.

 

The author proceeds to give Postulates, Axioms, and illustrates his method by moralizing Euclid, Book 1, Prop. 1.

 

Part the Fourth, the title of which is "Miscellaneous. A Demonstration of the Foundation of Masonry", continues this method. Thus the 47th Proposition of the first book of Euclid's Elements "is the foundation of all masonry, of whatever materials or dimensions", and Ward and Descartes are quoted. Then follow two "mental problems".

 

An Almanack from 1764 to 1854 is followed by prayers of a definitely Christian character, and we then have a Short Charge to be given to new admitted Brethren, varying somewhat from ours. Then come the Memento, and Masonic Aphorisms, etc. An example may be given.

 

Faith, Hope and Charity are the three principal graces, by which we ascend to the grand celestial Lodge where pleasures flow for evermore.

 

Let every true Mason knock off every evil disposition by the Gavel of righteousness and mercy: measure out his actions by the Rule of one day: fit them to the Square of prudence and equity: keep them within the bounds of the Compass of moderation and temperance: adjust them by the true Plumb‑line of gospel sincerity: bring them up to the just Level of perfection and spread them abroad with the silent Trowel of peace. &c....

 

MASONIC TEACHERS OF THE 18TH CENTURY 91 It will be noted that he speaks of the Compass, not the compasses, in this following Smith. The work concludes with a set of model Bye Laws, and a list of Regular Lodges, under the E.C.

 

In the valuable library belonging to the Quatuor Coronati Lodge there is a small book, Fcp. 8vo., originally Crown 8vo. cut down, half brown calf, red label on back, M.P. sides, in which are bound up the following books: Illustrations of Masonry, by William Preston. 2nd Edition 1775. pp. 300.

 

(2) Private Lectures on Masonry in Twelve Courses, by William Preston. No date. No printer's name. pp. 72.

 

(3) Meeson; the work just described.

 

(4)       The Science of Freemasonry explained in Four Lectures, by J. Ladd. pp. 96.

 

I know of no other copy of Ladd's work; and the only other copy I can trace of Meeson is in the Worcestershire Masonic Museum. Pearson and Rollason were well‑known printers and, publishers, and Meeson's book is recorded as published by them in 1775 in The Bookmakers of Old Birmingham, by Joseph Hill. This information was courteously furnished to me by the Chief Librarian at Birmingham, Mr. Walter Powell. Alibone, in 1870, quotes: Meeson, W. Introduction to Freemasonry for the use of the Fraternity and none else. London: 1776. 8vo.

 

Unless this is an error, both as to date and place of publication, it means that there was a second edition, published in London. But it is otherwise unknown.

 

Concerning Meeson, the man and his masonic career, no information is obtainable. There is no record of him at the British Museum or in G. Lodge, and the Provincial G. Secretary of Warwickshire can find no mention of his name anywhere. My endeavours to obtain information in the Province of Worcestershire have not met with success. It is to be desired that further research may reveal some details about him, for he was most certainly an original thinker. In Remains of the Early Masonic Writers, edited by Dr. G. Oliver, D.D., "Masonic Institutes by Various Authors", published by R. Spencer, London, MDCCCXLVII, Lecture VIII, on p. 157, is entitled "The Masonic jewels illustrated by the aid of Moral Geometry". (Anonymous). This is an epitome of the book we are treating of. It is therefore probable that Meeson lectured upon this topic as was customary at that period. In a footnote at the end (p. 75), Oliver says: "This lecture is an admirable illustration of the manner in which our ancient brethren inculcated the duties of morality from the terms and propositions of geometry; and I regret exceedingly that all my efforts to obtain the author's name have been unsuccessful". Oliver does not give any indication as to where or how he 92        THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES got the lecture. The question naturally arises: was the source a MS. copy or did Meeson publish it in lecture form before elaborating his material into a book ? One clue remains to be investigated. On p. 53, Mental Problem II., we read: "The ideal or magical working of the desire, and the ideal or magical working of the will, to produce the same effect, oppose and are contrary to each other:‑Quere a mathematical demonstration. (See Behmen on the six great points, chap. 1). N.B. The above was inserted in the Birmingham and Wolverhampton Chronicle of July 19, 1770; and the editor gave six weeks for its investigation, but as no solution appeared in that time I sent (according to promise) the following, which appeared in the Chronicle of Sept. 13th". A diligent search has been made by several friends residing in the Midlands for a copy of this newspaper, but up to the present without any result. Odd copies of later dates have been found but hitherto not one of the dates specified.

 

The interesting fact emerges that he was acquainted with the mystical writings of Jacob Boehme, 1575‑1624, who worked as a shoemaker at G6rlitz. Apparently Boehme had periods of religious exaltation in which he received divine revelations tracing the parallelism between the visible physical and the invisible metaphysical world and demonstrating in everything its necessity by tracing its origin to the attributes of God. Meeson probably had read the admirable translation into English by William Law, whose Serious Call had such a profound influence on the religious teachings of his day. It is this strain of thought that predominates in Meeson's work. He approaches his subject in a most unusual manner; it is not so much a discussion on Freemasonry as it is an enquiry into questions of conduct and thought. The central idea is an attempt to connect morality and mathematics, and by the use of mathematical formulae to arrive at an estimate of moral values. Here he is distinctly original, though it is somewhat of a shock to find that when worked out in full some of the various parts of the Decalogue to which we attach great importance‑or at any rate are supposed to do‑are not estimated, from the mathematical point of view, at the same value as some of the commandments which we perhaps think should not be given such a high position.

 

The first thinker in mathematical philosophy was Pythagoras (c. 530 B.C.), who taught that there must be certain axioms of faith, a construction of the "seen" order capable of providing for the needs of the unseen. The Universe, in fact, is informed by a moral order; and the fruit of contemplation is the reproduction of a corresponding order of beauty and goodness in the philosopher's soul. This is to become like God. Similarly the synonyms temperance, moderation, self‑control, enshrine the notion of the duly tempered mixture of opposites and the mathematical conception "means" and "extremes" led on to Aristotle's famous theory of virtue as the mean between two extreme or opposite vices.

 

MASONIC TEACHERS OF THE 18TH CENTURY          93 From his theory of numbers Pythagoras deduced a frame of reality sufficient to provide an intellectual representation of the moral and religious truths from which he starts. Our English philosopher Hobbes maintained that all our thinking consists of addition and subtraction, i.e. in bringing new ideas together and in detaching them from one another. From the time that the principles of mathematics were discovered there has always been maintained a close relationship with the principles of morality. For at the same moment men were working at mathematical problems; men were acquiring some knowledge of the properties of numbers; men were trying to fathom the laws governing moral life, conduct, and action. And just as the highest type of intelligence was requisite for the new science of mathematics, so was it also natural that this intellect should be devoted to metaphysics; hence it followed that mathematics and morals were studied and elucidated by men working under similar conditions. In addition to this it was seen that the principles of mathematics were fixed, so that when certain conditions were laid down‑for it is manifestly absurd to attempt to solve a problem the factors of which are unknown‑certain results invariably followed, so it appeared to these thinkers that the results of obedience or disobedience to moral laws should likewise produce definite consequences which could be expressed in terms corresponding to mathematical formulae. The earliest worker in this field, Pythagoras, still excites our wonder and admiration for his famous demonstration of Euclid I, 47. It is noteworthy that in our present‑day teaching the child is instructed how to prove the theoretical statement by practically making the respective squares, cutting up the two to exactly fit on the one, and so getting an ocular proof of the correctness of the proposition.

 

This connection has been carried on from the days of Pythagoras down to the present time. In fact the terms of all philosophers can be stated as mathematical problems and argued out as such, and it is here that failure of pure reasoning occurs because it leaves out of account the question of the individual human being and the curious complex of motives, environment and heredity which collectively make up the human element.

 

The special content of the action must be left to the influence of the developmental conditions governing every single moral act in the infinite course of the moral life.

 

These problems are always relative ideals. They represent something more perfect than the existing state of things, but never absolute perfection. Their comparative value is, however, sufficient to transform them into motive powers that must finally prevail, despite all disturbances and fluctuations in the ebb and flow of moral life. If we were not sure of their final victory, moral endeavour would have no object, either ultimate or proximate, and the moral world would be transformed from a reality into the greatest of all illusions. A certain affinity thus exists between the ideal of ethics and the fundamental hypotheses of mathematical science. They are not facts immediately demonstrable in experience, but postulates upon which we find 94           THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES it necessary to base our experience in order to make its coherence thinkable. If the moral ideal were done away with, each individual end would be a passing illusion, and the history of the world a disjointed comedy, forgotten as soon as the curtain falls.

 

The examination and criticism of these old writers affords ample evidence of the serious way in which Freemasonry was studied in the 18th century. These brethren had thought out carefully the different problems belonging to Freemasonry, and, as a result of much reflection and a genuine desire to diffuse light and information, had printed these lectures which had been given by them in their own lodges.

 

We must not judge their erratic ideas of what constituted history or their attempts at the derivations of various words too harshly‑future writers may pick similar holes in our coats. The 18th century was an age of philo sophy; all sorts and conditions of men evolved all sorts and kinds of systems which were to reform a world which as a general thing did not want to be reformed but desired greatly to be let alone. England was chiefly dominated by the school of Locke, more especially because he was free from that curious rationalism which rendered the much greater thinker Thomas Hobbes unacceptable to the orthodox; then the sentimental notions of the continental writers became prevalent and the transcendental philosophy of Rousseau came into prominence. The Law of Nature and the primeval happiness of the noble savage and such like theories became the fashion.

 

It was therefore quite the correct thing to philosophize over the origin and practice of Masonry and to endeavour to read into it those things which they wished to see in it without any great sense of proportion or probability. All the same there is frequently more than a grain of truth in their speculations. Above all things our brethren held fast and foremost to the real teachings of the Craft‑the belief in God, the practice of charity in thought, word and deed, and the principles of brotherly love, relief, and truth.

 

The accentuation of these axioms is made more evident by the circumstance that Freemasonry at that period was on its defence. The popularity of later years was yet to come and so these men felt the necessity of entering into elaborate statements in justification of the oaths, the secrecy, the ceremonial and the very existence of the Order.

 

Greatest of all is their recognition of the fact that the permanence of Freemasonry is and must be due to its spiritual aspect and its profound realization of the truth that "In God is all our Trust".

 

THE ANTIQUITY OF OUR MASONIC LEGENDS especially in relation to THE LEGEND OF THE THIRD DEGREE (THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1929) by Bro. RODERICK H. BAXTER, P.A.G.D.C.

 

P.M., Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076, London My purpose this evening will be to try to interest you in the subject of the Antiquity of our Masonic Legends, and, although that is a subject which might cover a wide field, I shall endeavour to comply, so far as possible, with the terms of the Prestonian bequest by confining my remarks to those legends only which apply to our first three degrees, and more especially, to that relating to the Master Mason's ceremony, for it has to be admitted that the actual ceremonies of initiating and passing have little or no real story attached to them, and it is only in what may be called the trimmings, such as the addresses, charges and explanations of the tracing boards that these are introduced.

 

THE NUMBER OF DEGREES To begin with, let me say that even at the present day there are Masonic students who believe that in pre‑Grand Lodge days there was only one ceremony of admission into the Craft, and that an exceedingly simple one, consisting of little more than the reading of the Old Charges, or portions of them, and the communication of a grip and word. (For the time being I am not concerned with the date of the creation of Grand Lodge, which is generally assumed on the authority of the Rev. Dr. James'Anderson‑the author of the first two editions of the Book of Constitutions‑to have taken place in 1717, but which need not have been the beginning of regularly organized Freemasonry. Anderson, although I do not doubt his sincerity and honesty, was never very reliable, and in fairness to him it must be remembered that he describes the events of 1717, as a revival).

 

95 96  THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES And whilst, for my own part, I am prepared to admit that degrees as we now practise them are outgrowths of modern Freemasonry, I am, nevertheless, firmly convinced that the legends and matter around which these degrees have been built up are, at least, medieval in their origin. The probability‑amounting almost to certainty‑is that there were at least two degrees.

 

There may, indeed, even in the Middle Ages, have been two distinct classes of Masons‑operative and speculative, or perhaps workmen and designers‑who had different forms of reception, and [it is possible] that our own ceremonies are an amalgamation of both systems.

 

THE ANCIENT MYSTERIES The attempts which have been made to trace the descent of our own order from the ancient mysteries of Greece and Egypt (which in turn were derived from mysteries in still older and now forgotten nations), in my opinion, entirely fail, for whilst there may be a general similarity in the run of the narrative, that can hardly, in any way, prove a connection.

 

BUILDERS' RITES AND CEREMONIES Ever since the earliest period of which we have any record, builders (possibly in common with other classes of the community) practised rites and ceremonies, and many of these are not without significance to presentday Freemasons.

 

Human sacrifice at the laying of foundations, which was the earliest form of giving a building a soul or spirit so that it might survive through the ages, gradually changed to more humane methods. Thus, animals became substitutes for human beings, as in turn did eggs, which contain the germ of life, and effigies, which resembled the human body. Other substitutes were used from time to time until now, in our own days, we are content to use the current coin of the realm, which always bears on the obverse the representation of the reigning monarch.

 

We have thus in our foundation‑stone ceremony a real example of old customs dying hard. The popular idea that current coins are placed under the stone so that when the building comes to be demolished a record may be found of the date of its erection is quite erroneous. The last idea of the old builders was that their structures should ever perish. As already pointed out, the depositing of coins bearing the effigy of a living person, under the foundation stone, is simply a development of the early idea of animism or giving the building a soul by immolating a human being.

 

And at the completion of an edifice certain rites seem to have been observed to propitiate the gods, consisting of a food offering. We see traces of the survival of this custom in many places, but particularly in Gothic structures in the form of hip‑knobs and finials, which are really representations of bunches of flowers, fruit and corn, carved in wood and stone.

 

ANTIQUITY OF MASONIC LEGENDS       97 In these more enlightened days we are content with a ceremonial opening, but have not entirely forgotten the food‑offering, for there is generally a certain amount of feasting and revelry associated with the event, so that here again we have preserved an old custom.

 

Students of this subject cannot do better than consult a pamphlet containing a couple of lectures on Builders' Rites and Ceremonies,* delivered by the late Bro. George William Speth before the members of the Church Institute, Margate, in 1893, for whilst these were obviously not addressed to Freemasons, they were, by the very nature of the matter embodied in them, of considerable interest to Masonic students.

 

The point, however, that I am endeavouring to make is that, in connection with early buildings, there was a death which ultimately led to a rejoicing.

 

THE ORIGIN OF OUR THIRD DEGREE LEGEND But, to return to my subject. All these mysteries, myths, legends and rites, hardly, in my opinion, concern us in our quest for the origin of our principal Masonic legend.

 

It is generally acknowledged now that the present‑day Speculative Freemasons are the legitimate descendants of the medieval Operative craftsmen who built our Gothic cathedrals, churches, castles and keeps, and the theory which I want to lay before you is that these old Masons, being so closely in touch with all the rites of the church, simply applied the gospel narrative to their trade in a symbolical way, just as they moralised on their working tools and implements.

 

This theory (so far as it concerns the antiquity of our Third Degree Legend) it now becomes my duty to develop to the best of my ability, and, although such a task must, of necessity, be a difficult one, owing to the paucity‑and perhaps still more to the ambiguity and cryptic characterof written records, I hope I may be able to satisfy you that my hypothesis is not without some justification.

 

THE OLD CHARGES In an enquiry of this kind it is not possible to leave out of consideration the importance of our Old Charges, a wonderful series of documents ranging in date of transcription (though obviously not of origin) from the end of the fourteenth to well into the eighteenth centuries, which we may claim as our title‑deeds of inheritance proving our descent from our operative ancestors. And whilst these MSS., if taken at their actual face value, are not very illuminating so far as my theory is concerned, they, nevertheless, if studied with a certain amount of imagination, supply some points which will help in my argument.

 

"Quatuor Coronati Lodge, Pamphlet No. 1, price 5/‑ post free.

 

98        THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES The Introductory (Trinitarian) Prayer, the Charges for Masters, Fellows and Apprentices and the Additional Orders and Regulations, which really, for the most part, comprise moral teachings, trade rules and matters of or ganization, may be left out of account, and it is only the Legend of the Craft, or the Story of the Guild, with which we have to deal. Truly, this is such a mix‑up of false history and chronology that, at first sight, it might be deemed unworthy of treatment. But when viewed in the light of our present quest some rays may be found to dispel our darkness.

 

THE OLD CHARGES AND THE RITUAL I have already shown, in a paper on the "Old Charges and the Ritual", read before the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, in 1918, that the beginning of the legendary history, wherein the antiquity and dignity of the science of Masonry are extolled, forms a very good prototype for our present‑day Charge delivered to a newly‑made Brother. And, further, that the general run of the story concerns itself with two pillars, the building of King Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem, the loss of certain secrets by a calamity, and their subsequent recovery.

 

In minor details we have: (1) the prominence given to the seven Liberal Arts and Sciences; (2) Lamech, with his two wives, Adah, Zillah, and their childrenJabal, Jubal, Tubal‑Cain and Naamah; (3) the writing of the sciences on the two pillars; (4)        the swearing of a great oath; (5) the method of its administration by superimposing the right hand on the Bible, and afterwards kissing the Book; and (6) the use of several words and signs.

 

Our present‑day customs arising out of these old legends comprise: (1) the injunction to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge, and, without neglecting the ordinary duties of our station, to study such of the Liberal Arts and Sciences as may lie within the compass of our attainments; (2) the importance of certain names or words; (3) the suggestion that a certain other pair of pillars served as archives for Masonry; (4) the administration of the obligation; (5) the method of taking it and rendering it binding; and (6) the communication of the secret modes of recognition.

 

THE BIBLICAL AND MASONIC ACCOUNTS OF THE BUILDING OF KING SOLOMON'S TEMPLE But, above all, I must call your attention to the peculiar‑and, it seems to me, significant‑discrepancy between the Masonic and the Biblical accounts ANTIQUITY OF MASONIC LEGENDS       99 of the association of Solomon, Hiram of Tyre, and the Tyrian craftsmen who were responsible for the building of the Temple at Jerusalem. We read in 1 Kings vii. 13, 14: v. 13. And King Solomon sent and fetched Hiram out of Tyre.

 

v. 14. Hiram was a widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali, and his father was a man of Tyre, a worker in brass: and he was filled with wisdom, and understanding, and cunning to work all works in brass. And he came to King Solomon, and wrought all his work.

 

And again in 2 Chronicles ii. 11‑14: v. 11. Then Huram the King of Tyre answered in writing, which he sent to Solomon. Because the Lord hath loved his people, he hath made thee king over them.

 

v. 12. Huram said moreover, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, that hath made heaven and earth, who hath given to David the king a wise son, endued with prudence and understanding, that might build an house for the Lord, and an house for his kingdom.

 

v. 13. And now I have sent a cunning man, endued with understanding, of Hurarn my father's.

 

v. 14. The son of a woman of the daughters of Dan, and his father was a man of Tyre, skilful to work in gold, and in silver, in brass, in iron, in stone, and in timber, in purple, in blue, and in fine linen, and in crimson; also to grave any manner of graving, and to find out every device which shall be put to him, with thy cunning men, and with the cunning men of my Lord David thy father.

 

There is no hint in either of these places of the master‑craftsman being the son of King Hiram. How much different is the case in our Old Charges! The Regius MS. (A) of 1390, circa, does not mention the incident at all, but, taking the next oldest three in order of transcription (although as I have already pointed out that does not necessarily imply priority of origin) we find Cooke MS. (B.1) 1425‑50, circa.

 

And the Kyngis sone of Tyry was his master‑mastn. (That is to say, of course, King Solomon's master mason).

 

Grand Lodge, No. 1 MS. (D.a.l), 1583.

 

And further more theare was a kyng of another reigne that me called Iram and he Loved well king Salomon and he gave him Tymber to his woorke and had a soonne that height Aynone and he was mr of geometrey And was cheife master of all his Masons.

 

100     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES Lansdowne MS. (DA.2.), 1600, circa.

 

And then there was a king of another region which men called IRAM and he loved well KING SOLLOMON and gave him Timber to his work and he had a Sonne that was called a Man that was Master of Geometry and that was chiefe Master of all his Masonrie.

 

It would be wearisome to quote from all the MSS., but I hope I may be forgiven if I add another, as the actual document happens to be one of my own prized possessions: Langdale MS. (D.b.40), 1670‑80, circa.

 

& furthermore ther was A King of another region yt was cald Hyram he loued well King Salomon and gave him timber to his worke and had a son yt was cald ... and he was Mar of Geometrie and he was cheife Mar of his Masons and was Ma of all his graving and carving and of all other Maner of Masonrie yt belonged to the Temple.

 

Now, although it must be admitted that the name of the Master‑craftsman varies in the different documents‑even being corrupted to Apleo in the Stanley and Carson versions‑it seems to me that taking the story generally, we have the important points that whatever the real name may have been, he is consistently described as being the son of Hiram (which in itself means, according to the Genevan version of the Scriptures, the height of life), and that he was Solomon's Master‑mason.

 

Bro. J. E. S. Tuckett, in a paper entitled "The Old Charges and the Chief Master Mason", published in A.Q.C., xxxvi., shows that generally there are two forms of the name, which he designates as the M. and N. forms respectively (let us say Aymon and Aynon), and that the M. form is, undoubtedly, the older.

 

An ingenious suggestion is made in the course of this paper that the name Aymon‑or its variants‑was a corruption of the Hebrew word for the general superintendent of building operations.

 

Bro. the Rev. Herbert Poole, the present Master of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge (i.e., 1929), and the greatest living authority on the Old Charges, in a criticism of Bro. Tuckett's paper confirms the priority of the M. form by a study of the MSS. as classified in groups, so that we may accept the point as settled.

 

AMON [AYMON] IDENTIFIED Bro. J. E. S. Tuckett, in the paper already mentioned, gives instances of the use of the word Amon in the Hebrew Bible, and quotes examples of translations in the authorised and revised versions, such as a master‑workman and cunning‑workman. And Bro. the Rev. W. W. Covey‑Crump, in some valuable comments on Bro. Tuckett's paper gives examples of the name Amon. These references prompted me to look up the "Table of Proper Names" in the Genevan Bible, where I found: ANTIQUITY OF MASONIC LEGENDS Amon, faithfull, true, etc., as Amnon.

 

Amnon, faithfull or true, or an artificer, or nourisher, or schole‑master.

 

And in my own authorised version: Amon, a‑m6n (1) a master workman. (2) a god, the secret one. Amnon, dm‑n6n, faithful.

 

Now, in connection with Amon, King of Judah, we read in 2 Kings 23, and 2 Chronicles xxxiii. 24, that his servants conspired against him and slew him in his own house. And further, in 2 Kings xxi. 26, he was buried in his sepulchre in the garden of Uzza.

 

Amnon was the first‑born son of David (2 Samuel iii. 2). The meaning of his name was singularly inappropriate, for the story of his dealings with his sister, Tamar, is far from being a nice one. Retribution overtook him at the hands of his brother, Absalom, who "commanded his servants, saying, Mark ye now when Amnon's heart is merry with wine, and when I say unto you, Smite Amnon; then kill him, fear not: have not I commanded you It is not entirely without significance that Amon was the father of Josiah who was responsible for the repair of the Temple.

 

Now, as I have already pointed out, there is a considerable amount of confusion in the Old Charges. It is not altogether impossible that much of it is intentional. In the particular case under consideration, there can be no doubt that the Biblical narrative relating to the building of the Temple was quite well known to the church‑building masons of the Middle Ages, but either by accident or design Amon got substituted for the other craftsman who superintended the erection of the Temple. The details and explanations already given can easily account for a mistake having been made, or can equally excuse an attempt to conceal the identity of Hiram Abif, whose name, it should be added, has dropped out of the Scriptures from the issue of the first edition of the Genevan version, in 1560, to the present day, although it was to be found in Bibles of older date.

 

A reference to the chronological list of Old Charges at the end of my paper will show that both names, Amon and Amnon, are to be found, and that Hiram Abif does not anywhere appear until the later transcriptions are reached. [See the notes printed in capitals. ED.] If I have thus, as I firmly believe, established the identity of the MasterMason, the contention of Bros. Hughan, Murray Lyon, and others that there is no hint of the Hiramic Legend in the Old Charges goes by the board.

 

THE MASTER'S PART All this, taken in conjunction with the meaning of the words which are communicated to a Master Mason at his raising, seems to substantiate my theory that the application of the Gospel story to the Craft of Masonry‑  101  102 THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES  or Freemasonry, if you prefer the term‑has been made out. And if we accept this conclusion we shall have to admit that the contention of Bros. Speth, Tuckett, and other students that the Master's Part of old days was not merely the part of a Master Mason, but actually the Master‑builder's Part itself, will need some intensification as being applied to another and more important Master.

 

MASONIC PROPER NAMES I am assured, on the authority of a Hebrew Brother, that the words of the Third Degree as now used are ******** said to mean the d**** ** *** b****** and ********** the b****** ** s******. But in spite of this assurance I am inclined to think that the correct words are Scriptural proper names‑as indeed are nearly all our other Masonic words‑for we find that in 1730 Prichard prints the word exactly as we have it in the Bible.

 

Now, if we refer to 1 Chronicles ii. 49, and xii. 13, we find two names, which, according to the table in the Genevan version, are said to mean "Pouertie, the smiting of the sonne, or the smiting of the builder," and "a wretch, or my poor sonne, or the pouertie of understanding". And turning to the table of proper names in a modern copy of the Authorised version in my possession, the names similarly mean‑"cloak?" and "clad with a cloak ?" These definitions are so divergent that it is hardly possible they can both be correct. The questions then arise, "Were these explanations put into the Genevan version by people who understood their Masonic use?" or, conversely, "Were they adopted from that source by Masons of the period ?" And, further, "Did the compiler of the table in the Authorised version, to which I have referred, simply wish to cloak or conceal something which he thought it undesirable to reveal ?" However these things may be, I hope you have not missed the point that the son is given in these translations as much prominence as is Aymon the son of Hiram in the Old Charges, and that there is the very definite suggestion of a calamity in association with him. On this subject of names at least two papers should be consulted. The first by the Rev. C. J. Ball, appeared in A.Q.C., V., and was entitled, "The Proper Names of Masonic Tradition," and the second in the Transactions of the Leeds Installed Masters' Association (also issued as a separate pamphlet) called "Masonic Words and Proper Names", by the Rev. Morris Rosenbaum.

 

The first of these papers can only be consulted in its entirety on application to the Secretary of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, and then only, of course, by duly accredited Masonic students.

 

Bro. Rosenbaum's explanation of a possible Gaelic origin of a word and an association with the Jacobite cause are, in my opinion, hardly tenable, but it is not my duty at present to offer criticism of the authors ANTIQUITY OF MASONIC LEGENDS       103 named. I leave you to study the papers for yourselves and to form your own conclusions.

 

Nothing in all this, however, quite establishes the fact that the word or words (for you must remember that it is alleged the two Grand Lodges before the Union used different words, and that the use of both was one of the compromises reached by the Lodge of Reconciliation) was, or were, in use in the days anterior to the Revival in 1717. So the task now remains of bringing evidence on that point.

 

"THE FREEMASON EXAMINED" For this purpose I think I may first call your attention to a publication of 1723, for, although this is posterior to the establishment of the first Grand Lodge of which we have any knowledge, it is at least probable that the matter was considerably older than the date of the printing. The print referred to is called The Freemason Examined (1), and the passage to which I wish to draw your attention reads An enter'd Mason I have been, Boaz and,7achin I have seen; A Fellow I was sworn most rare And know the Astler, Diamond, and Square: I know the Master's Part full well As Honest Maughbin will you tell.

 

In order to link this up definitely it will be necessary for me to bring three documents under review.

 

THE HAUGHFOOT RECORD, 1702 First of all we have in a Minute Book of the old Lodge at Haughfoot, Scotland, a fragment of what appears to be a kind of ritualistic instruction (preceding pages have been torn away). It reads: "of entrie as the apprentice did Leaving out (The Common Judge). Then they whisper the word as before‑and the Master Mason grips his hand after the ordinary way." (The Common judge probably means the common gauge.) THE CHETWODE CRAWLEY MS., C. 1700 The above extract would not help us very much were it not for the fact that the advent of the Chetwode Crawley MS., now in the Library of the Grand Lodge of Ireland seems to complete the record: ". . . Afterwards, he must go out of the Company with the youngest Master to learn the words & Signs of ffellowship. Then Comming in (1) Now always known as A Mason's Examination, a heading supplied by Gould when he reprinted it in his History of Freemasonry, Vol. III, p. 487.

 

104     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES again, he makes the Master‑Sign; and Says the Same words of Entry as the prentice did, only leaving out the Common Judge. Then the Masons whisper the word amongst themselves, beginning at the yowngest as formerly. Afterwards, The yowng Master must advance & put himself in the posture wherein he is to receive the word. . . ." We have thus established that as early as 1702 the Master‑Mason's word was communicated in a peculiar way, and the only point remaining for solution is to define exactly what that word was. If evidence on that point were lacking my case might fall to the ground.

 

TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN, MS., 1711 It is, therefore, fortunate, that I am able to quote from a MS. bearing date, February, 1711, discovered in the Library of Trinity College, Dublin, by the late Bro. W. J. Chetwode‑Crawley.

 

The Masters sign is ********, the word ********. The fellow craftsman's sign is ********, & sinues ye word ********. The Enterprentice's sign is sinues, the word ****, or its hollow. Squeese the Master by ye ********, put your knee between his & say ********, &c., &c.

 

What clearer evidence could we possibly have than this of the early use of something resembling our f.p.o.f. ? RECAPITULATION My evidence is now before you, but, before I conclude, it may be desirable that I should run over my main points again.

 

I began by pointing out the differences of opinion amongst scholars as to the number of degrees in pre‑Grand Lodge days, and drew attention to the possibility of different ceremonies amongst operative and speculative Masons (the suggestion being that actual workmen were admitted to the Craft in a different form to the geometricians or designers of buildings). I then reminded you that any connection between the ancient mysteries and Freemasonry was unlikely. I next passed under review some rites and ceremonies of old‑time builders, which may have had an influence on our customs, and next I laid before you the theory that the close association of builders with the church possibly actuated Masons to apply the Gospel narrative to the ceremony of making a Master‑Mason. I pointed out the similarity of the general run of the story in the Old Charges to that told in our ceremonies today, and then exhibited the divergence between the accounts of the building of the Temple at Jerusalem, as recorded in the Bible and the Old Charges.

 

In the latter the Master‑craftsman is almost invariably described as being the son of Hiram (the height of life‑or, dare I suggest as an alternative translation‑the Most High?); that the name meant faithful, or true, or a ANTIQUITY OF MASONIC LEGENDS       105 teacher (or something of that kind) just as Jesus might be described; that he was the Master of the workmen and suffered death by violence, if we are to accept the translations of certain proper names as given in the Genevan version of the Scriptures; that the word (or words) was (or were) communicated in a manner corresponding to our f.p.o., and therefore indicating that there had been something in the form of a "Raising".

 

CAUTIONARY That is my case, but before I resume my seat I am anxious to issue one or two notes of warning. I do not wish it to be understood that either the word or the method of communicating it was in these early days (any more than they are now) the culminating point of a Master‑Mason's education. And, furthermore, whilst the trend of my paper has been to show that the basis and origin of the Craft were definitely Christian, I am far from contending that it either retains or ought to retain that character exclusively now. Possibly ever since the so‑called Revival of 1717, and certainly since the publication of Anderson's Book of Constitutions, in 1723, the Craft has been non‑sectarian. All good men and true, whatever their race or creed, so long as they believe in the Great Architect of the Universe and a resurrection to a future state, are eligible for admission within its fold.

 

That is a great and noble ideal in which we may justly take pride, and it is to be hoped the Craft may long be preserved on this sure foundation.

 

NOTES MASONIC LEGENDS An interesting little book by the late Bro. J. Finlay Finlayson, entitled, The Symbols and Legends of Freemasonry, was published by George Kenning, London, in 1889.

 

Further articles on Legends have appeared in A. Q.C., as follows Vol. I., 25, "An early version of the Hiramic Legend," 7'. Hayter Lewis.

 

Vol. I., 59, "The Legend of the Quatuor Coronati as given in the Arundel MS.," Rev. A. F. A. Woodford.

 

Vol. L,116 : IL, 52, "A word on the Legends of the Compagnonnage," W. H. Rylands.

 

Vol. III., 81, "The Mummers or Guisers," W. Simpson. Vol. IV., 73, "Alban and Athelstan Legends," C. C. Howard. Vol. IV., 158, "The Legend of Sethos," B. W. Richardson. Vol. V., 37, "Remarks on the Craft Legends of the Old British Masons," W. Begemann.

 

Vol. VI., 34, "The Nimesian Theory and the French Legends," John Yarker.

 

106     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES Vol. VIL, 135, "The Two Saints John Legends," Jacob Norton. Vol. VIII., 156, "The Two Saints John Legends," W. J. Chetwode Crawley.

 

Vol. X., 72, "A Russian Masonic Anecdote," G. W. Speth.

 

Vol. XIV., 172, "The Testament of Solomon‑A Contribution to the Legendary Lore of the Temple," Rev. W. E. Windle.

 

Vol. XVI., 4, "Some Notes on the Legends of Masonry," W. H. Rylands.

 

Vol. XVIII., 179; XIX., 45, "The Naimus Grecus Legend," E. H. Dring.

 

Vol. XXI., 264, "Two Ancient Legends concerning Solomon's Temple," John Yarker.

 

Vol. XXIL, 6, "The Prince Edwin Legend," E. H. Dring.

 

Vol. XXVI., 45, 146, 221, "The Templar Legends in Freemasonry," W. J. Chetwode Crawley.

 

Vol. XXVIL, 158, "The Legends of the SS. Quatuor Coronati," W. J. Chetwode Crawley.

 

Vol. XXVIII., 115, "Some Usages and Legends of Crafts kindred to Masonry," Gordon P. G. Hills.

 

Lastly, I hope I may be forgiven for mentioning a little work of my own, "Masonic Legends," issued by Lodge 3392, Manchester, and reproduced in Merseyside Transactions, VI.

 

THE NUMBER OF DEGREES The following papers, all of which have appeared in A.Q.C., should be consulted: X., 127, "The Three Degrees of Freemasonry, especially in relation to the oldest known records of the Master Mason's Ceremony," W. J. Hughan.

 

XI., 47, "The Two Degrees Theory," G. W. Speth.

 

XVI., 28, "The Degrees of Pure and Ancient Freemasonry," R. F. Gould.

 

THE ANCIENT MYSTERIES A whole volume might easily be written on articles dealing with this subject, but the ordinary Masonic student will probably find sufficient for his purpose in Gould's great History of Freemasonry, the same author's Concise History of Freemasonry, and Frederick Armitage's Short Masonic History. Several papers scattered throughout the pages of A.Q.C. may also be consulted if desired; see my own list of Papers and Essays, contained in A.Q.C. Vols. I.‑XXX.

 

BUILDERS' RITES AND CEREMONIES In the course of my paper I have drawn attention to Bro. Speth's two lectures on this subject, and, although these are both admirable so far as they ANTIQUITY OF MASONIC LEGENDS go, they really deal for the most part only with ceremonies connected with the beginning and completion of works. Many other rites remain to be handled, particularly those relating to the admission of apprentices, the completion of indentures, and the trade secrets relating to the preparation of templates and the setting out of works. Bro. Sir C. Purdon Clarke's paper, "The Tracing Board in Modern Oriental and Operative Masonry", A.Q.C. VI., 99, and Bro. W. H. Rylands' "Remarks" on the same subject, VI., 124, to some extent, cover this ground.

 

THE ORIGIN OF THE THIRD DEGREE Although it is generally acknowledged that the standard work on this subject is Bro. W. J. Hughan's Origin of the English Rite of Freemasonry (G. Kenning, London, 1884) with two later editions issued by the Leicester Lodge of Research, a new and revised edition (Johnson, Wykes & Co., Leicester, 1909), and third edition (Johnson, Wykes and Paine, Ltd., 1925), I, personally, have a feeling that there is a considerable amount of important evidence which has not been brought under review. Some of it is indicated in my paper.

 

THE OLD CHARGES I attach so much importance to these old documents that I have compiled a list of all the known copies, arranged as nearly as possible in chronological order, and giving the classification, date of transcription, location, information as to where reproductions may be found, and, lastly, the name of the mastercraftsman. [The Classification letters and numbers, shown in () immediately after the name of each text, are explained at the end of the list, pp. 1178. ED.] I have to acknowledge my indebtedness to Bro. the Rev. Herbert Poole for assistance in this compilation. I cannot possibly do better than recommend his little book, The Old Charges (The Masonic Record, Ltd., London, 1924) for a concise account of the value and importance of these precious documents.

 

[Note‑Some twenty additional texts of the MS. Constitutions have been brought to light since Bro. R. H. Baxter compiled the following list. They all fall into one or other of the standard classifications; and as none of them adds any vital or controversial evidence upon the subjects under discussion in this Lecture, they are omitted from this list. ED.] (1) Regius (A), 1390 circa: duced in J. O. Halliwell's Early Introduction of Freemasonry into England, 1840 and 1844; by Dr. Asher at Hamburg, 1842; the late Bro. H. J. Whymper (Spencer & Co., London, and Clarke & Co., Boston, U.S.A.) in full facsimile (six copies on full vellum, thirty‑four on vellum paper, as well as ordinary paper copies were issued); Q.C.A., L, now in the British Museum. Repro 107 108     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES with a commentary by Bro. R. F. Gould, and a glossary and maps by G. W. Speth; a modernised version by Bro. R. H. Baxter in the Leicester Transactions for 1914‑15, reproduced again in Vol. IV. of the Merseyside Transactions. THE AYMON INCIDENT NOT RECORDED.

 

(2) Cooke (B.1), 1425, circa: now in the British Museum. Reproduced by Bro. Matthew Cooke in History and Articles of Masonry (Spencer, London, 1861); G. W. Speth in Q.C.A., II., full facsimile with a modernised version and fine commentary. One hundred copies on vellum, bound in oak boards in exact imitation of the original, were issued. NOT MENTIONED BY NAME.

 

(3) Grand Lodge, No. 1 (D.a.l), 1583: now in Grand Lodge Library. Reproduced in Hughan's Old Charges, 1872; Sadler's Masonic Facts and Fictions, 1887; and in Q.C.A., II.; also one hundred copies in roll form. AYNONE.

 

(4) Lansdowne (D.d.2), circa 1600: now in the British Museum. Reproduced in Freemasons' Magazine, 24th February, 1858; Hughan's Old Charges, 1872; and Q.C.A., II. A MAN.

 

(5) York No. 1 (D.c.3), first half XVII. century: now in Lodge 236, York. Reproduced in Hughan's Old Charges, 1872; Masonic Magazine, August, 1873; and Ancient York Masonic Rolls, 1894. AMON.

 

(6) Wood (D.6), 1610: now in Worcestershire Masonic Library. Reproduced in Masonic Magazine, June, 1881; and Q.C.A., VI. AYMON.

 

(7) Yohn T. Thorp (E.a.16), 1629: now in Bro. Thorp's Library at Leicester. Reproduced in A.Q.C., XI., 205. AYNON.

 

(8) Sloane, No. 3848 (E.b.1), 1646: now in British Museum. Reproduced in Hughan's Old Charges, 1872; and Q.C.A., III. AYNON.

 

(9) Sloane, No. 3323 (E.b.2), 1659: now in the British Museum. Reproduced in Hughan's Masonic Sketches and Reprints, 1871; and Q.C.A., III. DYNON.

 

(10) Grand Lodge No. 2, with the Apprentice Charges and New Articles (F.2), second half XVII. century: now in Grand Lodge Library. Reproduced in Q.C.A., IV.; also one hundred copies in roll form. ANNON.

 

(11) Harleian, No. 1942, with the Apprentice Charges and New Articles (F.3), second half XVII. century: now in the British Museum. Reproduced in Freemasons' Quarterly Review, 1836; Hughan's Old Charges, 1872; and Q.C.A., II. ANON ANTIQUITY OF MASONIC LEGENDS      109 (12) G. IV. Bain (D.a.39), second half XVII. century: now at Leeds. Reproduced in A.Q.C., XX., 249. HYNON.

 

(13) Harleian, No. 2054 (E.b.3), second half XVII. century: now in British Museum. Reproduced in Hughan's Masonic Sketches and Reprints, 1871; Hughan's Old Charges, 1872; Masonic Magazine, September, 1873; and Q.C.A., II. AYNON.

 

(14) Phillips, No. 1 (D.a.4), second half XVII. century: now at Cheltenham. Reproduced in Q.C.A., V. AYNON.

 

(15) Phillips, No. 2 (D.a.5), second half XVII. century: now at Cheltenham. Reproduced in Kenning's Archaeological Library, Vol. 1; and Q.C.A., V. ANNON.

 

(16) Lechmere (E.b.4), second half XVII. century: now in Worcestershire Masonic Library. Reproduced in Masonic Magazine, December, 1882; and Q.C.A., VI. THIS PART OF MS. MISSING.

 

(17) Buchanan (T.3), second half XVII. century: now in Grand Lodge Library. Reproduced in Gould's History of Freemasonry; and Q.C.A., IV. AYMON.

 

(18) Kilwinning (D.a.8), second half XVII, century: in Lodge No. 0., Scotland. Reproduced in Murray Lyon's History of the Lodge of Edinburgh, 1873 and 1900; and Hughan's Masonic Sketches and Reprints, 1871. AYNON.

 

(19) Ancient Stirling (D.i.9), second half XVII. century: in the Lodge at Stirling, Scotland. Reproduced in the Freemason, 27th May, 1893; and one hundred copies privately by Bro. W. J. Hughan. AMON.

 

(20) Beswicke Royds (E.b.21), second half XVII. century: now at Manchester. Reproduced in A.Q.C., XXVIII., 189. AYNON.

 

(21) Atcheson's Haven (T.2), 1666: now in Grand Lodge Library, Scotland. Reproduced in Murray Lyon's History of the Lodge of Edinburgh, 1873 and 1900. AYMON.

 

(22) Aberdeen .(D.i.11), 1670: in Lodge No. 13, Aberdeen. Reproduced in the Voice of Masonry, Chicago, December, 1874. AMON. (23) Melrose No. 2 (D.12), 1670, Lodge No. 12, Melrose. Reproduced in the Masonic Magazine, January, 1880, and Vernon's Freemasonry in Roxburgh, Peebles and Selkirkshires, 1893. NOT NAMED.

 

(24) Henery Heade (C.4), 1675: now in the Inner Temple Library, London. Reproduced in A.Q.C., XXI., 161. NOT NAMED. (25) Stanley (13113), 1677: now in West Yorks. Library. Reproduced in West Yorks. Masonic Reprints, 1893. APLEO.

 

110     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES (26) Carson (D.14), 1677: now at Cincinnati, U.S.A. Reproduced in the Masonic Review, Cincinnati, July, 1890; and the Freemason's Chronicle, 23rd August, 1890. APLEO.

 

(27) Antiquity (D.d.15), 1686: now in the Lodge of Antiquity, No. 2, London. Reproduced in Hughan's Old Charges, 1872. A BLANK SPACE.

 

(28) Col. Clarke (D.b.16), 1686: now in Grand Lodge Library. Reproduced in The Freemason, 4th and 11th February, 1888; and in Conder's History of the London Masons' Company, 1894. AYNON.

 

(29) William Watson (C.2), 1687: now in West Yorks. Masonic Library. Reproduced in the Freemason, January, 1891; West Yorks. Masonic Reprints, 1891; Q.C.A., III.; also 100 copies in roll form. YE KINGS SON OF TYRE.

 

(30) H. F. Beaumont (T.4), 1690: now in West Yorks. Masonic Library. Reproduced in West Yorks. Masonic Reprints, 1901; and Baxter's General and Historic Notes on Freemasonry, 1908. AYMON.

 

(31) T. W. Tew (T.1), second half XVII. century: now in West Yorks. Masonic Library. Reproduced in West Yorks. Masonic Reprints, 1889 and 1892; and in Christmas Freemason, 1888. HYMAN.

 

(32) Inigo Jones (G.2), second half XVII. century: now in Worcestershire Masonic Library. Reproduced in the Masonic Magazine, July, 1881; and in Q.C.A., VI. HIRAM ABIF. (33) Dumfries, No. 1 (131.21), second half XVII. cenuryi in Lodge No. 53, Scotland. Reproduced in Smith's History of the Old Lodge of Dumfries, 1892. AYNON.

 

(34) Dumfries, No. 2 (D.h.24), second half XVII. century: in Lodge No. 53, Scotland. Reproduced in the Christmas Freemason, 1892; and in a pamphlet by W. J. Hughan. AYNON.

 

(35) Dumfries, No. 3 (D.g.25), second half XVII. century: in Lodge No. 53, Scotland. Reproduced in Smith's History of the Old Lodge of Dumfries, 1892. NOT NAMED.

 

(36) Hope, with the Apprentice Charges (E.c.5), second half XVII. century: in the Lodge of Hope, No. 302, Bradford. Reproduced in Hughan's Old Charges, 1872; and West Yorks. Masonic Reprints, 1892. AMON.

 

(37) T. W. Embleton (E.d.7), second half XVII. century: now in West Yorks. Masonic Library. Reproduced in the Christmas Freemason, 1889; and West Yorks. Masonic Reprints, 1893. AYMON.

 

ANTIQUITY OF MASONIC LEGENDS (38) York, No. 5 (D.c.17), second half XVII. century: in Lodge No. 236, York. Reproduced in the Masonic Magazine, August, 1881; and in Ancient Masonic Rolls, 1894. AMON.

 

(39) York, No. 6 (D.h.18), second half XVII. century: in Lodge No. 236, York. Reproduced in the Masonic Magazine, March, 1890; and in Ancient York Masonic Rolls, 1894. AYNON.

 

(40) Colne, No. 1, with the Apprentice Charges (D.e.19), second half XVII. century; in the Royal Lancashire Lodge, No. 116, Colne. Reproduced in the Christmas Freemason, 1887; and in A.Q.C., XXXIV., 59. HIRAM OF TICUS, a mason's sonne.

 

(41) Clapham, with the Apprentice Charges (D.e.20), second half XVII. century: now in West Yorks. Masonic Library. Reproduced in the Freemason, 29th March, 1890; and in the West Yorks. Masonic Reprints, 1892. HIRAM OF TICKUS, a masons son.

 

(42) Hughan (D.b.22), second half XVII. century: now in West Yorks. Masonic Library. Reproduced in the Freemason, 3rd September, 1892; and West Yorks. Masonic Reprints, 1892. HAM, not stated to be the King's son.

 

(43) Dauntesey (D.23), second half XVII. century: now at Manchester. Reproduced in the Keystone, Philadelphia, U.S.A., 20th March, 1886. AMMON.

 

(44) Harris, No. 1 (D.g.26), second half XVII. century: in Lodge No. 136, England. Reproduced in the Freemason's Chronicle, 22nd and 29th April, 1882. NOT NAMED.

 

(45) Langdale (D.b.40), second half XVII. century: now at Rochdale. Reproduced in the Christmas Freemason, 1895; and in the Manchester Transactions, 1913. BLANK SPACE.

 

(46) David Ramsey (E.c.18), second half XVII. century: now at Hamburg. Reproduced in the Freemason, 31st March, 1906. AINON.

 

(47) Taylor (E.a.19), second half of XVII. century: now in West Yorks. Masonic Library. Reproduced in A.Q.C., XXI., 211. MS. INCOMPLETE.

 

(48) Waistell, with the Apprentice Charges (E.c.8), 1693: now in West Yorks. Masonic Library. Reproduced in West Yorks. Masonic Reprints, 1892. AAMAN.

 

112     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES (49) York, No. 4, with the Apprentice Charges (E.c.9), 1693: now in York Lodge, No. 236. Reproduced in Hughan's Masonic Sketches and Reprints, 1871; and in Ancient York Masonic Rolls, 1894. AMON.

 

(50) Thomas Foxcroft (D.d.42), 1699: now in Grand Lodge Library. Reproduced in the Freemason, 6th January, 1900. (BLANK SPACE).

 

(51) Boyden (D.f.44), circa 1700: now in Iowa, U.S.A. Reproduced in the New Age, Washington, U.S.A., February, 1926. AMON.

 

(52) Wallace Heaton (D.g.45), circa 1695‑1715: now in Grand Lodge Library. Reproduced in the Masonic Record, VIL, 192. ANON.

 

(53) Brook‑Hills (D.g.46), circa 1695‑1715: now in Grand Lodge Library. Not yet reproduced. ANOCK.

 

(54)     Talents (D.a.47), circa 1695‑1715: now in Grand Lodge Library. Not yet reproduced. MS. ENDS before this incident is recorded.

 

(55) John Strachan (E.a.17), circa 1700: now in Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076. Reproduced in Leicester Transactions, 1900. AMON.

 

(56) Newcastle College (D.c.37), first half XVIII. century: now in Newcastle Rosicrucian College. Reproduced in facsimile by the College, 1894. AMON.

 

(57) Alnwick (E.a.10), 1701: now in Lodge at Alnwick. Reproduced in Hughan's Masonic Sketches and Reprints, 1871 (American edition); Old Charges, 1872; and Newcastle College Transactions, 1895. AJUON.

 

(58) York, No. 2 (D.c.27), 1704: now in York Lodge, No. 236. Reproduced in Hughan's Masonic Sketches and Reprints, 1871; Old Charges, 1872; and Ancient York Masonic Rolls, 1894. AYNON.

 

(59) Scarborough (E.11), 1705: now in Grand Lodge, Canada. Reproduced in the Philadelphia Mirror and Keystone, 15th August, 1860; the Canadian Masonic Record, February, 1874; the Masonic Magazine, September, 1879; Ancient York Masonic Rolls, 1894; and in Q.C.A., V., also 100 copies in roll form. AYNON.

 

(60) Colne, No. 2 (D.e.28), first half XVIII. century: in Royal Lancashire Lodge, No. 116. Reproduced in A.Q.C., XXXIV., 59. HIRAM TICKU . . . masons son.

 

ANTIQUITY OF MASONIC LEGENDS       113 (61) Papworth (D.b.30), first half XVIII. century: now in London. Reproduced in Hughan's Old Charges, 1872. BENAIM.

 

(62) Macnab, with the Apprentice Charges and New Articles (F.5), 1722: now in West Yorks. Masonic Library. Reproduced in West Yorks. Masonic Reprints, 1896; Merseyside Transactions III. ANNON.

 

(63) Haddon (D.b.32), 1725: now in Grand Lodge Library. Reproduced in Hughan's Old Charges, 1895. AYNON.

 

(64) Songhurst (G.5), circa 1725: now in Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076. Not yet reproduced. HIRAM ABIF.

 

(65) Phillips, No. 3 (D.b.31), first half XVIII. century: now at Cheltenham. Reproduced in Q.C.A., V. AYMON.

 

(66) Dumfries, No. 4, with the Apprentice Charges (H.1), first half XVIII. century: in Lodge No. 53, Scotland. Reproduced in A.Q.C.. VI., 36. HIRAM (not called a son).

 

(67) Cama (D.a.29), first half XVIII. century: now in Quatuor Coronati Lodge. Reproduced in Q.C.A., III. HIRAM (not stated to be the king's son).

 

(68) Portland (T.5), first half XVIII. century: now at Welbeck Abbey. Not yet reproduced. AYMON.

 

(69) Dring‑Gale (D.a.43), in the handwriting of Samuel Gale (16821754); now at London. Reproduced in Merseyside Transactions, V. AYNON.

 

(70) Fisher‑Rosedale (G.6), circa 1725: now in Grand Lodge Library. Reproduced in A.Q.C., XXXIII., 5. HIRAM ABIF (not stated to be a son).

 

(71) Spencer (G.1), 1726: now at Cincinnati, U.S.A. Reproduced in Spencer's Old Constitutions, 1871. HIRAM ABIF (not stated to be a king's son).

 

(72) Thomas Carmick (H.7), 1727: now in Grand Lodge, Pennsylvania. Reproduced in A.Q.C., XXII., 95. ANNAS.

 

*(73) Woodford (B.2), 1728: now in Quatuor Coronati Lodge. Not yet reproduced. INCIDENT NOT RECORDED.

 

*(74) Supreme Council (B.3), 1728: now in Supreme Council Library, London. Not yet reproduced. INCIDENT NOT RECORDED.

 

(75) Bolt‑Coleraine (T.6), 1728: location private. Not yet reproduced. AYMEN.

 

* NOTE‑Nos. 73 and 74 are merely transcripts of the Cooke.

 

114     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES (76) Gateshead, with the Apprentice Charges (H.2), first half XVIII. century: in Lodge of Industry, No. 48, now at Durham. Reproduced in the Masonic Magazine, September, 1875. INCIDENT NOT RECORDED.

 

(77) Rawlinson (F.4), first half XVIII. century: now in Bodleian Library, Oxford. Reproduced in Freemasons' Monthly Magazine, March and April, 1885: Masonic Magazine, 1876; and A.Q.C., XI., 17. AMMON.

 

(78) Probity (D.d.33), first half XVIII. century: in Probity Lodge, No. 61, Halifax. Reproduced in the Freemason, 30th January and 13th February, 1886; and in West Yorks. Masonic Reprints, 1892. AMON.

 

(79) Levander‑York (D.b.41), circa 1740: now in Lady Lever Art Gallery and Museum, Port Sunlight. Reproduced in A.Q.C., XVIII., 161. Merseyside Transactions, 1936. AYNON.

 

(80) Drinkwater, No. 1 (T.7), in the handwriting of Arnold Drinkwater (1679‑1755), stated to be copied from a MS. written in 1695: now in Lancashire. Reproduced in Manchester Transactions, XV., 125. HYMAN.

 

(81) Drinkwater, No. 2 (F.6), in the handwriting of Arnold Drinkwater (1679‑1755), stated to be copied from a MS. "writ in Queen Anne's Reign" (1702‑1714): now in Lancashire. Reproduced in Manchester Transactions, XV., 125. ONLY THE CHARGES GIVEN.

 

(82) Holywell (E.d.22), 1748: now at Colne, Lancs. Reproduced in Poole's Old Charges, 1924. AYNON.

 

(83) Thistle (M.3), 1756: in Lodge No. 62, Dumfries. Reproduced in A.Q.C., XXXV., 41. NOT MENTIONED.

 

(84) Melrose, No. 3 (D.35), 1762: in Lodge No. 12, Scotland. Not yet reproduced. NOT NAMED.

 

(85) Harris, No. 2 (D.g.34), second half XVIII. century: now in British Museum. Reproduced in Q.C.A., IV. HYRAM THE SON OF AHIBBAL KING OF TYRUS ... WAS A MASTER MASON.

 

(86) Tunnah (E.b.14), 1828: now in Quatuor Coronati Lodge. Not yet reproduced, but identified by Bro. Poole as a copy of the Beswicke Royds MS. AYNON.

 

ANTIQUITY OF MASONIC LEGENDS       115 PRINTED VERSIONS (87) Plot (C.1), 1686. Printed in Plot's Natural History of Staffordshire. Reproduced in West Yorks. Reprints; Baxter's General and Historic Notes on Freemasonry; and several other places. INCIDENT NOT RECORDED.

 

(88) Roberts, with the Apprentice Charges and New Articles (F.l), 1722, a pamphlet. Very scarce indeed, only one perfect copy being known. Reproduced in Cox's Old Constitutions, 1870, and by Richard Spencer as a separate pamphlet. AMON.

 

(89) Briscoe (E.b.15), 1724, a pamphlet. Reproduced under the auspices of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge by G. W. Bain, in 1891. AYNON.

 

(90) Cole (G.3), 1728‑9, &c., engraved from copper plates and also in ordinary letterpress. Reproduced in Hughan's Constitutions, 1869; and by Richard Jackson, 1897. HIRAM ABIF.

 

(91) Langley (H.4), 1738, printed in Langley's Builder's Clerk's Assistant. INCIDENT NOT RECORDED.

 

(92) Dodd (G.4), 1739, in pamphlet form. Reproduced in Q.C.A., IV. HIRAM ABIF, but not stated to be a son of King Hiram.

 

(93) Krause (H.5),1808, printed at Hamburg. Reproduced in Hughan's Old Charges, 1872. HIRAM ABIF (not stated to be a son).

 

(94) Dowland (D.b.36), 1815, printed in the Gentleman's Magazine. AYNON.

 

(95) Hargrove (H.6), 1818, in the History of the Ancient City of York. The reference is only a fragment, possibly, as Hughan suggests, from the missing York, No. 3 MS. INCIDENT NOT RECORDED.

 

MISSING MSS.

 

(96) Dermott's MS. (X.4), stated to have been of the XV. century. Formerly in possession of Lawrence Dermott, Grand Secretary of the Ancients. Produced in Grand Lodge, 6th December, 1752.

 

(97) Melrose, No. 1 (X.I), 1581: formerly in possession of Lodge No. 12, Scotland. Melrose, No. 2, is stated to be a copy.

 

(98) Morgan's MS. (X.3), date unknown: supposed to have been removed by John Morgan, first Grand Secretary of the Ancients, when he left the country. Hughan suggests that it may have been the Scarborough MS.

 

116     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES (99) Baker's MS. (X.2), Dr. Rawlinson mentions that he had seen a roll of the Old Charges in the possession of a Mr. Baker, a carpenter in Moorfields. It is not impossible that the Rawlinson may be a copy, or it may be one of the rolls since discovered.

 

(100) Wilson's MS. (X.5), stated to be of XVI. century date. Referred to in a marginal note on a "Manifesto of the Right Worshipful Lodge of Antiquity, 1778." (101) Mason's Company MS. (X.7), referred to by Sir Francis Palgrave in the Edinburgh Review, April, 1839, as having been included in an inventory of the Worshipful Company of Masons and Citizens of London.

 

(102) York, No. 3 (X.6), 1630, formerly in possession of the Lodge of All England, York.

 

(103) Newcastle Lodge MS. (X.10), only known by a reference in an Inventory of Property belonging to the Newcastle‑on‑Tyne Lodge of Freemasons, No. 26 (now 24). It has been sug gested to me that this is the William Watson MS., but Bro. Watson himself scouts the idea.

 

(104) T. Lamb Smith MS. (X.11). This MS. was in the possession of the late Thomas Lamb Smith, of Worcester, but could not be found at his decease, and all efforts to trace its whereabouts have failed.

 

(105) Anchor and Hope MS. (X.12). The late Bro. James Newton, Prov. G. Secy., found a reference in the records of Lodge No. 37 to a MS. which was probably a version of the Old Charges, but no further information is available.

 

*(106) Crane, No. 1 (E.d.12), second half XVIII. century: formerly at Chester. Reproduced in the Freemason, 8th November, 1874. DYNON.

 

(107) Crane, No. 2 (C.3), second half XVIII. century: formerly at Chester. Reproduced in the Freemason, 11th and 18th October, 1884. THIS PART OF MS. MISSING.

 

(108) Wren, with the Apprentice Charges (E.d.13), 1852: formerly at Chester. Reproduced in the Masonic Magazine, December, 1879. BLANK SPACE.

 

*This MS. has been unearthed lately by Bro. S. L. Coulthurst. (NOTE‑Although the Crane No. 2 and Wren MSS. are missing, their contents are known, and so they are classified in their proper groups).

 

ANTIQUITY OF MASONIC LEGENDS       117 CLASSIFICATION OF THE OLD CHARGES A. applied only to No. 1 (p. 107 ante) the Regius MS., a class by itself. B. the Cooke Family, with three representatives‑Cooke, Woodford, Supreme Council.

 

C. the Plot Family, with four representatives‑Plot, William Watson, Crane No. 2, Henery Heade.

 

T. the Tew Group, with seven representatives‑Tew, Atcheson's Haven, Buchanan, Beaumont, Portland, Bolt‑Coleraine, Drinkwater No. 1. D. the Grand Lodge Family, with eight representatives in the Grand Lodge Branch, a., Grand Lodge No. 1, Phillips No. 1, Phillips No. 2, Kilwinning, Cama, Bain, Dring‑Gale, Talents; Dowland Branch, b. (eight representatives)‑Dowland, Clerke, Hughan, Papworth, Phillips No. 3, Haddon, Langdale, LevanderYork; York Branch, c. (four representatives)‑York No. 1, York No. 5, York No. 2, Newcastle College; Lansdowne Branch, d. (four representatives)‑Lansdowne, Antiquity, Probity, Foxcroft; Colne Branch, e. (three representatives)‑Colne No. 1, Clapham, Colne No. 2; Stanley Branch, f. (three representatives)‑Stanley, Carson, Boyden; Harris Branch, g. (five representatives)‑Harris No. 1, Dumfries No. 3, Harris No. 2, Wallace Heaton, Brook‑Hills; Dumfries Branch, h. (three representatives}‑Dumfries No. 1, York No. 6, Dumfries No. 2; Stirling Branch, i. (two representatives)‑Stirling, Aberdeen; and Sundry Versions (four), Wood, Melrose No. 2, Melrose No. 3, Dauntesey.

 

E. the Sloane Family.

 

Thorp Branch, a. (four representatives)‑Thorp, Alnwick, Strachan, Taylor; Sloane Branch, b. (seven representatives)‑Sloane No. 3848, Sloane No. 3323, Harleian No. 2054, Lechmere, Tunnah, Briscoe, Beswicke‑Royds; Hope Branch, c. (four representatives)‑Hope, Waistell, York No. 4, David Ramsey; Embleton Branch, d. (four representatives)‑Embleton, Crane No. 1, Wren, Holywell; and Sundry Version (one)‑Scarborough.

 

118     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES F. the Roberts Family, with six representatives‑Roberts, Grand Lodge No. 2, Harleian No. 1942, Rawlinson, Macnab, Drinkwater No. 2.

 

G. the Spencer Family, with six representatives‑Spencer, Inigo Jones, Cole, Dodd, Songhurst, Fisher‑Rosedale.

 

H. Sundry Versions, with seven representatives‑Dumfries No. 4, Gateshead, Thistle, Langley, Krause, Hargrove, Thomas Carmick.

 

X. Missing Manuscripts, with ten representatives‑Melrose No. 1, Baker, Morgan, Dermott, Wilson, York No. 3, Mason's Company, Newcastle Lodge, T. Lamb Smith, Anchor and Hope.

 

CONCLUDING HEADINGS My own paper on the "Old Charges and the Ritual" can be consulted in A. Q.C., XXI., 33.

 

The Bible itself and the various reproductions of the Old Charges deal with the subject of the building of King Solomon's Temple.

 

The "Master's Part" is dealt with in Bros. Speth's and Tuckett's papers, already cited.

 

Bros. Ball's and Rosenbaum's papers deal extensively with Proper Names.

 

The Freemason Examined (A Mason's Examination) is reprinted in Gould's History.

 

The Haughfoot record and other details of two degree working in pre‑Grand Lodge days can be found in Vernon's Freemasonry in Roxburgh, Peebles and Selkirkshires.

 

An article describing the Chetwode‑Crawley MS., by Bro. W. J. Hughan, appears in A.Q.C., XVIL, 91, and photographs of the document are to be found in the principal Masonic Libraries.

 

The Trinity College, Dublin, MS., 1711, had not yet been published when Bro. R. H. Baxter compiled his Prestonian Lecture, but that text, with the other three documents noted above, have all been reproduced in Early Masonic Catechisms, by Knoop, Jones and Hamer. (First Edn., 1943; Second Edn., 1963). [Ed.] ANTIQUITY OF MASONIC LEGENDS GENEALOGY OF THE OLD CHARGES REGIUS Cooke Plot Family Tew Original Tew MS.

 

Missing Intermediates Atcheson's Haven  Missing Intermediates Missing Intermediates Buchanan Beaumont Portland Coleraine I Roberts Family Sloane Family Grand Lodge Family including Cama Spencer Family THE SEVEN LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES (THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1930) by BRO. H. CART DE LAFONTAINE, P.G.D. P.M., Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076, London A present‑day writer has well said that it has been generally accepted that every great artist is the child of his time, which means that in his work we shall find reflected something of the spirit of his age. Thus the religious faith of the middle ages is embodied in the noble art of Norman and Gothic cathedrals; the painting of the Renaissance mirrors the graceful Papalism of the period; and in the poetry of Shelley and Wordsworth we catch echoes of the revolutionary voices that were making themselves heard in France at the close of the eighteenth century. And since, for example, we find a sermon in stone in the cathedral of Chartres, and the faith of an epoch frozen into the verse of the Divina Comedia, we are tempted (sometimes too hastily) to believe that in any masterpiece of art its creator has recorded, not only his own inspiration, but the very spirit of his time.

 

The truth is that art must be mainly subjective, and this is especially true of music. Certainly, in his choice of form the composer may be influenced by his age. Bach could hardly have escaped writing fugues had he wished to do so. Fugue‑writing was then `in the air'. But that which constitutes the permanent value of a Bach fugue is that he breathed into its seemingly narrow confines so much of his ampler, richer spirit, that in his hands `The Thing became a Trumpet, whence he blew Soul‑animating strains'. Beethoven chose to fancy that in his "Eroica" symphony he was saluting the triumph of democracy, personified in the figure of Napoleon; actually the symphony is an expression of his own rugged, independent character, and might have been composed without the external stimulant of a revolution to inspire it. So we perceive the pride and fastidiousness of the aristocrat in the pages of Chopin; Brahms's hatred of wearing the heart on the sleeve accounts for the uncompromising nature of so much of his work; and what is all Wagner's music but the magnificent, the triumphant betrayal of his own titanic energy and passionate eroticism ? And if we turn to our own age, which may be described as the age of science and applied mechanics, it may well be possible that posterity will regard the engineer and the mechanic as the artists who were best able in their work to reflect 122     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES the age we now live in; and we ourselves even in this our day are prompted to consider whether the products of the factory and the workshop are not more representative of the genius of the time than anything that present‑day art can show.

 

The arts and sciences seem to revolve in cycles; this is pre‑eminently, as we have said, the age of science, but this year's exhibition of Italian pictures in this metropolis carries us back to a magnificent art cycle. Great names of the past, belonging to that land of artistic enchantment, Italy, once more rise before our eyes; that past reveals the cultivation of the arts and sciences, but art predominates. Occasionally we find the two intermingled, and a notable instance presents itself in the person of that wonderful man who exhibits in his own dual nature art wedded to science. I allude to one of Italy's great sons, Leonardo da Vinci. He accomplished much in his time; he had the ambition for greater conquests, but he was hindered oft‑times by a want of concentration. Is he painting his great picture of the Last Supper in the Milan monastery, then of a sudden he is called away to the setting‑in‑order of some heating‑apparatus at the Ducal abode. Is he meditating earnestly on where to procure a model for his Christ, then his attention is diverted by the necessary preparation of some diagram illustrating part of the mechanism of his flying‑machine. Is he engrossed in a problem which concerns the genesis of motion and the primary force which sets all in action, then he is called by his friends to witness the destruction, by a brutal French soldiery, of the model for his great equestrian statue, intended to be erected in the Palace square, as a testimony of devotion to the Duke, his patron. And so he moves on through life, his brain seething with thoughts and ideas which, owing to the finiteness of human life, cannot be translated into actualities. Two traits there are in his character which are of a touching and picturesque nature, his love for little children, and his unwearying efforts in instructing his pupils. It is true that at times there were moments of fierce, almost ungovernable, consuming rage, but at other periods the peace of Heaven seemed to possess his innermost soul. I have chosen to bring before you this man, because, as I have premised, he shows us, like the facets of a well‑cut stone, gleams of art and science; and as art and science are the theme of this lecture, I think he serves as one who can appropriately introduce us to a consideration of such matters.

 

Mr. George Godwin says, in an article entitled "The Florentine Superman": "Recently there has been a tendency to deny the greatness of Leonardo, both as man and artist, but the truth is that we forget that many of the achievements of our own age are but the mechanical development of ideas conceived and worked upon five hundred years ago by the Florentine superman. That that age of superstition, of belief in Black Magic and the efficacy of the necromancers, should have produced a mind purely scientific is astonishing. Leonardo's great intellect blazed like a torch, exposing fearlessly fallacious ideas, bringing into view new beauties, throwing light upon hitherto SEVEN LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES       123 uncomprehended laws. No other figure in history stands out with such purposeful domination; no other brain, perhaps, has teemed with such marvellous activity, no other imagination has been so fecund as that of this humble Florentine. Painting and modelling were but a small part of his lifework. The passion of his life was mathematics, and he saw everywhere in nature obedience to mathematical law. In his diary he writes: `The waves of light and sound are governed by the same mechanical law as that governing the water; the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection.'   Light waves, then, are no new discovery, it would seem; the forerunner forestalled our age by five centuries. The problem of the possibility of human flight was one that occupied Leonardo many years. He believed, despite the failure of his machine to rise, that his achievement was but a matter of time. In his diary he wrote: `There shall be wings.'   Drawings of his flying machine are extant. They prove that he was working upon the right lines, taking the streamline of the bird as his model." In a letter which Leonardo addressed to the Duke of Milan, whom I have already mentioned as being his patron, he enumerates with an astounding assurance his mechanical capabilities as regards warlike engines. These are so varied that they are worth quoting. He says: "I have a method for bridges, very strong, easy of transport and incombustible; new means of destroying any fortress or castle (which hath not foundations hewn in solid rock) without the employment of bombards; of making mines and passages, immediately and noiselessly, under ditches and streams. I have designed irresistible protected chariots for the carrying of artillery against the enemy. I can construct bombards, cannon, mortars, all new and very beautiful; likewise battering rams, machines for the casting of projectiles, and other astounding engines. For sea combats I have contrivances both offensive and defensive; ships whose sides would repel stone and iron balls, and explosives unknown to any soul."        This shows the many‑sided character of the man, and although the days of stone and iron balls, as formerly used in warfare, have passed, yet there is something almost prophetic in the mention of the "irresistible protected chariots for the carrying of artillery against the enemy," for we have in that modern engine of warfare, the armoured tank, the fulfilment of Leonardo's project.

 

Leonardo realised the significance of fossil remains, and indeed hinted at evolution of species. And this was three centuries before Darwin! Inventions that were conceived by the brain of this marvellous man are the telephone, the steamboat, the aeroplane, canals, hydraulic engines, and tree‑grafting. The mention of canals may seem a new departure in the long list of Leonardo's accomplishments, but it is to be remembered that he spent the last years of his life in constructing plans to connect the Loire and Saone rivers by canal, besides designing pleasure castles for his royal master, Francis I. Leonardo in his meteoric career may be said to have acquainted himself in the highest degree with all the liberal arts and sciences then in vogue. His writings 124   THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES prove that he was no mean grammarian; his public disputation exhibits him as a more or less successful rhetorician; the principles of logic guided his conclusions; geometry was the basic principle on which he worked; music was to him a sweet solace, he being a lute player; and astronomy was ever with him an abiding passion. I am not sure that he was equally strong as an arithmetician‑he may have been so scientifically, but in the largesse which he bestowed on all around him, even the most worthless, he was numerically unsound. And now let his spirit rest in peace.

 

In the fourth volume of the Transactions of the Authors' Lodge there is a short paper by Sir John Brickwood on the Liberal Arts and Sciences. In this he records that in an address given by the Pro Grand Master to the Brethren of the Grand Master's Lodge, Lord Ampthill said that insufficient attention is paid to the Second Degree and the Liberal Arts and Sciences. The candidate is enjoined to study these, but has no opportunity given him for such study. The paper goes on to say that the old Liberal Arts and Sciences, compiled some two hundred years ago, are scarcely up to date now, and instead of grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, one could place engineering, electricity, languages, history, geography, still keeping music and astronomy as more appropriate to the present day. I am afraid I do not see eye to eye with Sir John in this somewhat involved passage. I would boldly maintain that the cultivation of such arts and sciences as grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy, was never more necessary than in the present day, not only to raise people to a noble ideal, but to encourage art, to sustain religion, to promote intellectuality, to secure a proper nicety in speaking and writing, to revive an old‑time eloquence in the assemblies of the great, to enable us to think in proper sequence, to cultivate the organs of hearing, to give us a proper sense of numerical values. Such things as engineering, electricity, and the like have their proper cells in the great beehive of life, but do not let us meddle with our ritual, even in order to change names and phrases for those we think more apposite. We may remember that recently an ecclesiastical manual, well‑known to most of us, did not emerge too happily from such a process.

 

"We are indebted to the Scholastic philosophers of the Middle Ages for the nomenclature by which they distinguished the seven sciences then best known to them. These they styled the seven liberal arts and sciences, to separate them from the mechanical arts which were practised by the handicraftsmen. The liberal man, `liberalis homo', meant, in the Middle Ages, the man who was his own master. The Masons of those days, always anxious to elevate their profession above the position of a mere operative art, readily assumed these liberal arts and sciences as a part of their course of knowledge, thus seeking to assimilate themselves rather to the scholars who were above. them than to the workmen who were below them. Hence in the Old Constitutions we find these liberal arts and sciences introduced at the beginning, as forming an essential part of the body of Masonry. It is not therefore SEVEN LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES 125 surprising that on the revival of Masonry these subjects were made a part of the system of instruction." Dante, the great Florentine poet, speaks in the early part of the Inferno, when he, with Virgil, is traversing the region known as Limbo, of arriving at a mighty fortress. These are his words: "We came unto a noble castle's foot, Seven times encompassed with lofty walls, Defended around by a fair rivulet." This was the abode of the classic sages of antiquity. Longfellow, in his note on this passage, says, "This is the Noble Castle of human wit and learning, encircled with its seven scholastic walls, the `Trivium,' Logic, Grammar, Rhetoric; and the `Quadrivium,' Arithmetic, Astronomy, Geometry, Music." The word "trivium" is used to indicate the three liberal arts which in the medieval system of academic studies constituted the first portion of the curriculum, being the undergraduate's course before proceeding to the degree of bachelor. The "quadrivium" carries us a step further on the way of learning, for it represents the second portion of the curriculum, being the graduate's course in the acquisition of a knowledge of the four other liberal arts during the three years between the bachelor's and master's degree.

 

In order further to acquaint ourselves with the system of education that was pursued in those days, let us consider the course of study at a great university, and as we have begun the Lecture in an Italian atmosphere, let us once more breathe the air of Italy, and transport ourselves to the city of Bologna, which was then and subsequently renowned for the possession of a most famous University. It has been computed that in those bygone days the number of students in residence at one time was as high as ten thousand. They were of all ages, from sixteen to forty, some of them men of wide experience, many of them ecclesiastics.

 

The courses in the liberal arts corresponded to the academic department of an American university; they were the final instruction in the subjects which boys studied at school; they formed the completion of a literary education, and also fitted young men for practical service in many walks of life. We shall understand better the study of the liberal arts in this university if we treat them as a part of ordinary education. First of all, children heard the romantic tales of ill‑fated Troy and of all‑conquering Rome, and studied their letters at home in an A.B.C. book, an `abecedarium,' which served both for Latin and Italian; next they learned, without understanding the meaning, to recite Psalms in Latin and to sing Latin hymns. When a little older, boys went to school. The schools were grammar schools. In the lower departments little was taught beside grammar, and some rhetoric. Latin grammar was the only door for those who wished to have any education, and every schoolboy had to study Latin grammar. For those who were not to study law, rhetoric was the main part of a civil education.

 

126)    THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES Brunetto Latini, whose writings greatly impressed the mind of Dante, both as a youth, and as a man, says in what may be called his encyclopxdic work, Le Livre du Tresor, that rhetoric is a science that teaches us to speak fully and perfectly both in public and in private, and that the aim of the art is to teach the speaker to speak in such a way that those who hear him shall believe what he says. He follows Cicero in dividing the subject into five divisions. "The first thing is to find out what you are going to say; the second, to marshal your arguments; the third, to suit your words to the matter; the fourth, to cultivate the memory so that you can learn your speech by heart; and last, to study bearing, gesture, diction, and the subject of delivery." Of the "quadrivium," the mathematical sciences, Brunetto says: "The first is arithmetic, which teaches us to count, to compute, to add, to subtract, multiply and divide; it also includes teaching the use of the abacus" [a Roman instrument for counting by means of beads strung on wires which were stretched across a frame] "and algorism. The second is music, which teaches how to make tunes and songs in accord with one another on zithers, organs, and other instruments, for the pleasure of the listeners or for divine worship in church. The third is geometry, by which we know the measures and proportions of things in length, breadth, and thickness. The fourth science is astronomy, which teaches us the order of the heavens, of the firmament, and of the stars, and the courses of the seven planets through the twelve signs of the zodiac, and how weather changes to hot or cold, or to dry time, or to wind, according to a law that is established in the stars." You will notice that in this passage two words are used, "abacus" and "algorism," which are somewhat unfamiliar. We generally understand by the word "abacus" an architectural term; it is interesting to note that its original Latin meaning is "a square tablet for counting on," and thence "an ancient contrivance still used in nursery and infant schools to teach arithmetic," called in classic language, "Abacus Pythagoricus," and thence it appears as an architectural feature, and is described as "a table constituting the upper member or crowning of a column and its capital". The word "algorism," as its name suggests, refers to a symbolic method of numeration. Before leaving our good friend, Brunetto, I should like to quote some lines which seem to me so apposite that I cannot neglect them "And we make prayer to the Lord God; That he take from our hearts all darkness, That we may acquire knowledge and learning, That we may have His grace and love, And so drink of learning that we shall gain honour." And now we will turn to a ritual as used and practised in some Lodges today. Let us see what allusions we find there regarding the subject of this Lecture. You will remember that in the Charge delivered after the admission SEVEN LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES    127 these words occur, "To study more especially such of the liberal arts and sciences as may he within the compass of your attainment." This is laid down as an impending duty, but, owing to lack of understanding, it becomes in too many cases a negligible quantity, and the hapless aspirant is left in some degree of wonderment as to why the injunction was ever uttered. Again in another Degree, you find these words: "As a Craftsman, you are expected to make the Liberal Arts and Sciences your future study, that you may the better be enabled to discharge your duties as a Mason, and estimate the wonderful works.of the Almighty."       Here you may see that we have advanced a step. In the Charge it is a recommendation that you should study these arts and sciences, now it is actually made a matter of obligation. The word "expected" is used, and this is far stronger than a recommendation.

 

And in the meantime, who has been looking after the newly‑made Brother? Who has told him or taught him that the few answers he has to learn by heart in order that he may repeat them in parrot‑like fashion and without understanding, when questioned by the Master, prior to receiving a further Degree‑who has taught him that these represent a very small part of the Masonic knowledge which day by day he is supposed to be acquiring? In too many instances I am afraid the answer must be, "No one". The absence of definite Masonic teaching in present‑day Masonry, especially in our London Lodges, is lamentable. I know that in our Lodges of Instruction we have invaluable adjuncts for the training of Masons, and that the three Craft Lectures, with their various Sections, are most useful forms of instruction, but instruction in the proper rendering of the ritual and explanations of its form cannot be said to demonstrate what a vast and complex system of science Masonry unfolds to us. What we really need is a school for Masons, both young and old, a species of academy in which they may be instructed and taught that the taking of degrees, and the satisfying, sometimes the over‑satisfying, of bodily needs, is only the fringe of Masonry, and a very torn and tattered fringe it sometimes proves to be.

 

In a Lecture on the Second Tracing Board we have the statement that seven or more make a perfect Lodge, in allusion to the period of time involved in the construction of the Temple, and there is also a further allusion to the seven Liberal Arts and Sciences.

 

In the fourth Section of the second of some Craft Lectures we have an explanation of the character, purpose and use of these arts and sciences. I will first briefly recite some of the actual words used in the Section, and then proceed, as occasion may serve, to give an amplified explanation of each in turn. Let us therefore proceed in that order: "Grammar teaches the proper arrangement of words according to the idiom or dialect of any particular kingdom or people, and that excellence of pronunciation which enables us to speak or write a language with accuracy and precision." 128      THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES "Rhetoric teaches us to speak copiously and fluently on any subject, not merely with precision alone, but with all the advantages of force and elegance, wisely contriving to captivate the hearers by strength of argument and beauty of expression, whether it be to instruct, exhort, admonish, or applaud." "Logic teaches us to guide our reason discretionally in the general knowledge of things, and to direct our inquiries after truth. It consists of regular trains of argument, whence we infer, deduce and conclude, according to certain premises laid down, admitted, or granted; in it are employed the faculties of conceiving, reasoning, judging, and disposing." "Arithmetic teaches the powers and properties of numbers, by means of letters, tables, figures, and instruments." "Geometry treats of the powers and properties of magnitude. By this science, the Architect is able to execute his plans and estimate his designs; the General to arrange his soldiers; the Engineer to mark out ground for Encampments; the Geographer to give the dimensions of the world, delineate the extent of seas, and specify the divisions of empires, kingdoms and provinces. By it also the Astronomer is enabled to make his observations, calculate and fix the duration of times and seasons, years and cycles." "Music teaches the art of forming concords so as to produce a delightful harmony by a mathematical and proportionate management of acute, grave and mixed sounds; this art by a variety of experiments is reduced to a demonstrative science, with respect to tones and the intervals of sound." "Astronomy is that Divine art by which we are taught to read the Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty of the Almighty Creator in the sacred pages of the Celestial hemisphere; assisted by Astronomy, we can observe the motions, measure the distances, comprehend the magnitude, and calculate the periods and Eclipses of the Heavenly Bodies; by it also we learn the use of the Globes, the system of the world, and the primary laws of Nature." Now let us expand these very excellent, but somewhat quaintly‑expressed definitions. And first as to Grammar: According to the definition of the late Dr. Henry Sweet, a grammar gives the general facts of language, whilst a dictionary deals with the special facts of language. To the ordinary man, grammar means a set of more or less arbitrary rules, which he has to observe if he wants to speak or write correctly; this may be called `prescriptive' grammar. To a scientific man, the rules are not what he has to observe but what he observes when he examines the way in which speakers and writers belonging to a particular community or nation actually use their mother‑tongue; this may be labelled `descriptive' grammar. The nineteenth century furnished us with another form of grammar, 'comparative historical' grammar, and this should always be supplemented by (separative' grammar, which does full justice to what is peculiar to each language, and treats each on its own merits. Many things of grammatical importance, such as intonation, stress, etc., are not shown in our traditional SEVEN LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES     129 spellings. Dialect grammars and grammars of the language of uncivilized races deal of necessity only with spoken words. Grammar being the basis of all the liberal sciences, it particularly concerns us as Masons to know its rules, for without this knowledge we cannot be acquainted with the beauties of our own Craft lectures, nor can we speak with correctness or propriety. When I reflect on the present slip‑shod manner of speech, on the ungrammatical nature of letter‑writing, on the loose phraseology of the ordinary novel, and on the atrocious spelling exhibited in letter‑writing, I am led to recommend wholeheartedly a return to the study of grammar.

 

The founder of rhetoric as an art was Corax of Syracuse. He gave rules for arrangement, dividing the speech into five parts, proem or introduction, narrative, arguments, subsidiary remarks, and peroration. He also illustrated the topic of general probability, showing its two‑edged use; thus, if a puny man is accused of assaulting a stronger, he can say: "Is it likely that I should have attacked him?" and vice‑versa, the strong man can argue: "Is it likely that I should have committed an assault when the presumption was sure to be against me ?" This topic of what was called in the Greek `eikos' was, in its manifold forms, the great weapon of the earliest Greek rhetoricians. Aristotle says that rhetoric is a popular branch of logic. Logic may be more persuasive with the more select hearers of rhetoric, but rhetoric is for the many. Speakers incapable of showing the ghost of an argument have sometimes been the most completely successful in carrying great audiences along with them.

 

What is the use of the art of rhetoric ? It is fourfold, Aristotle replies. It is useful, first of all, because truth and justice are naturally stronger than their opposites. Rhetoric is then corrective. Next, it is instructive, as a popular means of persuasion for those who could not be reached by the severer methods of strict logic. Then it is suggestive. Suppose that I am going to plead a cause, and have a sincere conviction that I am on the right side, the art of rhetoric will suggest to me what might be urged on the other side, and this will give me a stronger grasp of the whole situation. And lastly, rhetoric is defensive.

 

It would take too long to detail the various phases through which the art of rhetoric has passed, but one may mention among its early exponents Cicero, Quintilian, and Hermogenes of Tarsus. During the first four centuries of the Roman Empire the practice of the art was in greater vogue than ever before or since. Then there came a lapse, and it was not until after the revival of learning that it again began to hold its own. The general aim at this period was to revive the best teaching of the Ancients. At Cambridge in 1570 the study of rhetoric was based on the works of Quintilian, Hermogenes, and Cicero. An Oxford statute of 1588 shows that the same books were used there. The decay of rhetoric as a formal study at the universities set in during the eighteenth century. The function of the rhetoric lecturer passed over into that of correcting written themes, but his title remained long after his office 130       THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES had lost its primary meaning, and the college prizes for `declamations' helped to keep alive in some measure the old classic traditions. The conditions of modem life, and especially the invention of printing, have to some extent diminished the importance which belonged in antiquity to the art of speaking, though modern democratic politics and forensic conditions still make it one which may be cultivated with advantage.

 

Logic is the name given to one of the four main departments of philosophy. It is the science of the processes of inference. There are three types of inference, the first being from particular to particular, which is called analogical inference; the second is from particular to universal, which is inductive inference; the third is from universal to particular, which is deductive inference. We will illustrate these three types in order to give a clearer meaning, and we will employ the names of three Greek cities in the illustrations, though any others might quite as well be substituted. Suppose I say, "Border war between Thebes and Phocis is evil," and then make the further statement that "Border war between Thebes and Athens is similar to that between Thebes and Phocis"; from these two I draw the analogical inference that "Border war between Thebes and Athens is evil". Again I may say that "Border war between Thebes and Phocis is evil," and follow up that assertion with the assertion that "All border war is like that between Thebes and Phocis"; from these two statements I draw the inductive inference that "All border war is evil". I now start with this inductive inference that "All border war is evil," and I follow on with the statement that "Border war between Thebes and Phocis is border war," and draw the conclusion by deductive or syllogistic inference that "Border war between Thebes and Athens is evil". You will see that this is rather like an algebraical problem; by eliminating certain factors, you arrive at a definite conclusion. We owe to Aristotle this triple distinction of analogy, induction, and deduction.

 

Grammar and poetic criticism, rhetoric and dialectic preceded logic and out of those arts of language arose the science of reasoning. The comprehensive genius of Bacon widened logic into a general science of inference. That great philosopher, Frederick Denison Maurice, says: "The science of logic is of purely Greek invention. Though logic, in a formal and narrow sense, is considered as the antagonist of poetry, yet only a most imaginative and poetical nation could have given it the statue‑like perfection which it has attained in Greek hands. Zeno is believed, on the best grounds, to be the inventor of logic." Zeno is said to have studied under various philosophers for a period of twenty years. At its close, he opened his school at Athens in the porch known as the `Stoa Poecile,' so named from its having been the place in which poets formerly met. From the fact of Zeno's disciples assembling in this porch or `Stoa' they were called `Stoics,' a term still in use today. We often employ the words `logical' and `illogical', sometimes without thinking that they have reference to one of the most fascinating and intricate of the liberal arts and sciences.

 

SEVEN LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES           131

 

Arithmetic was originally looked upon as the science or theory of numbers; at present it is regarded as the art of computation. With regard to the numerical measure of a group, as the result of counting or computing, the term `cardinal number' is used, as when we say that there are five persons in a room. With respect to number as designating position in a sequence, the term `ordinal number' is used, as when we speak of the third page of a book. The spread of Greek culture and commerce carried the Greek numerals into all the regions bordering on the Mediterranean Sea, and the still more extensive development of the Roman civilization made the Roman numerals dominant in the Occident for many centuries. In the tenth century the entry into Europe of the Indo‑Arabic numerals (those that we generally use today) was followed by a slow acceptance of the convenient system of place value by which, with only the numerals, but with an indefinite number of `places' (units, tens, hundreds, and so forth) any number could conveniently be written. The symbols went by the names of `characters' and `notae', and at a later period by the English names `figures', `numerals', and `cyphers'. The grouping of objects for purposes of counting led to the use of the same device in the writing of numbers. A grouping by 'fives' is called a `quinary system', and is said to be based upon the `scale' of five, or to have five as a `radix'. Since man has five fingers on each hand and five toes on each foot, he has a natural counting abacus arranged on a scale of five, ten, or twenty. While there are traces of the early use of these and other scales, the predominant one has been the denary or decimal scale, wherein ten is the prominent number. A familiar relic of grouping by twenties is seen in the English word `score', and the French `quatre‑vingt' for eighty. On the scale of ten the English counting proceeds as follows: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, `oneteen' (one and ten), `twoteen' (two and ten), thirteen (three and ten), and so on till we arrive at twenty (two tens). The fact that twelve is scientifically a more convenient root than ten (having its half, fourth, and third easily expressible) seems to have led to the use of `eleven' and `twelve', instead of `oneteen' and `twoteen', after which the denary scale was followed. This art or science may be usefully employed by a Mason in order to subtract nothing from the character of his neighbour, to multiply his benevolence to his fellow‑creatures, and to divide his means with a suffering brother.

 

Geometry, one of the three principal branches of mathematics (the other two being algebra and analysis) may be described as the branch which deals with the properties of space. Like most other departments of knowledge, geometry arose originally in response to man's practical needs. It seems to have had its birth in ancient Egypt, where the periodic inundations of the Nile made the surveying of the land for the re‑establishment of boundary lines a necessity. This early geometry consisted of a number of crude rules for the mensuration of various simple geometric figures. The ancient Greeks developed this crude beginning into the science which is now studied in the

 

132     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES

 

schools under the name of demonstrative geometry. One cannot mention tl:e word `geometry' without thinking of Euclid, the cause of much annoyance and much smarting to recalcitrant schoolboys. The celebrated `Pons Asinorum' has caused many a heartbreak to a struggling intellect, and the wet towel has often been used as an incentive to mental effort.

 

The Elements of Euclid consists of thirteen books, the first six and the last three being devoted to plane and solid geometry respectively. The great achievement of Euclid was the arrangement of the material handed down to him into a coherent logical system. It is one of the marvels in the history of mathematics that the Elements should have maintained itself as a text‑book for over two thousand years. With Euclid, Archimedes, and Apollonius of Perga, geometry reached its highest development during ancient times.

 

Geometry and Operative Masonry have ever been found together, the latter carrying into execution those designs which were first traced according to the principles of the former. Speculative Masonry is, in like manner, intimately connected with geometry. In deference to our operative ancestors, and, in fact, as a necessary result of our close connection with them, Speculative Masonry derives its most important symbols from this present science. Benjamin Franklin, in an address which he is said to have given to the Brethren of his Lodge, and which was afterwards printed as an editorial in his Pennsylvania Gazette, says: "As to the usefulness of geometry, it is certain that no curious or mechanic work can either be invented, improved, or performed, without its assisting principles ... Though Plato's censure that those who did not understand the 117th proposition of the 13th book of Euclid's Elements ought not to be ranked among rational creatures, was unreasonable and unjust; yet to give a man the character of universal learning, who is destitute of a competent knowledge of the mathematics, is not less so ... Philosophers do generally affirm that human knowledge to be most excellent which is conversant amongst the most excellent things. What science then can be more noble, more excellent, more useful for men, more admirably high and demonstrative, than this of the mathematics?" "The invention of musical instruments is ascribed, in the book of Genesis, to Jubal, who is mentioned as being the `father of such as handle the harp and organ'. What was the nature of the instruments invented by Jubal can only be matter of conjecture; for the words `harp' and `organ', used in our translation of the Scriptures, are not to be held as meaning the instruments now known by these names. The translators of the Bible, possibly knowing little of the instruments used by the Hebrews, seem at times to have employed the names of modern instruments almost at random." Thus writes Mr. Hogarth in his book on Musical History.

 

During the reigns of David and Solomon the art of music seems to have been at its height amongst the Hebrews. David's inspired lyrics, the Psalms, were set to music for the purpose of being performed by the "chief musician", with the band or orchestra under his direction, aided by a choir of both sexes.

 

SEVEN LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES 133

 

The music probably resembled the rude, but frequently grand and imposing strains still to be heard in various parts of the East, consisting of a very simple melody, sung by a single voice, intermixed with choruses in the unison or octave, and accompanied by instruments, a really primitive form of what is now known as oratorio music. During the period of their prosperity, the Hebrews appear to have excelled their contemporaries in music, for in the beautiful lamentation composed during the period of the Babylonian captivity, the captives are described as being importuned by their oppressors to entertain them with the "Songs of Zion". "For they that led us away captives required of us a song, and melody in our heaviness, saying, `Sing us one of the songs of Zion'. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land? If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning." The mention of the cunning of the right hand leads us to associate the allusion with proficiency on some stringed instrument which was afterwards developed in process of time into that graceful and too‑often neglected instrument, the modern harp.

 

"The poems of Homer are full of allusions to music, which he represents to us as having been in constant use at the time of the Trojan war. At that period, the music of voices, accompanied by the lyre and the flute, is described as being always employed, not only on public, solemn, and festive occasions, but also as a favourite amusement of private life." William Wallace, is his Threshold of Music, points out that, as an adjunct to Christian worship, it was in the Eastern division of the early Church that music was first organised, and that even before the fall of the Roman Empire various schools had arisen for the cultivation of the art. "Imported into the West, it found its patron in Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, who, according to tradition, established upon it a system derived from that of the Greeks. Music found a more stable basis when Gregory turned his mind to it, and we may be within measure of the truth in ascribing his interference to his zeal for the prestige of the Church rather than for the salvation of the art. We can be certain that all music of this period was not purely of the Church. The transmission by ear and voice of the tunes of the people may have brought down to Gregory's time many a stave that had been sung by a lonely shepherd on Thessalian slopes, many a snatch of song thrown into the air by the winepressers as they trod the Chian grape, many a wild hymn chanted at the secular games‑and these even now may be woven into themes that re‑echo through our cathedrals." While the state of society in the revival which followed the dark ages was favourable for the erecting of great cathedrals, music was developed just so far as was necessary for ritual purposes, and although folk‑music must have existed, it was transmitted mainly by oral tradition, for the means to write it down still remained obscure and complicated. The discovery of printing gave a means of recording with precision the ideas of composers and ensuring for their works a wide circulation.

 

134     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES In the age of Elizabeth, which many have recognised as the Golden Age for music in this country, the art seems to have been in universal cultivation, as well as in universal esteem. Chappell, in his Popular Music of the Olden Time, informs us that not only was it a necessary qualification for ladies and gentlemen, but even the city of London advertised the musical abilities of boys educated in Bridewell and Christ's Hospital, as a mode of recommending them as servants, apprentices, or husbandmen. In Deloney's History of the Gentle Craft one who tried to pass for a shoemaker was detected as an imposter because he could neither sing, sound the trumpet, play upon the flute, nor reckon up his tools in rhyme. In those days tinkers sang catches; milkmaids sang ballads; carters whistled; each trade, and even the beggars, had their special songs; the base‑viol hung in the drawing‑room for the amusement of waiting visitors; and the lute, cittern, and virginals, for the entertainment of waiting customers, were part of the necessary furniture of the barber's shop. They had music at dinner; music at supper; music at funerals; music at night; music at work and music at play. An old writer recommends the country housewife to select servants that sing at their work, as being usually the most painstaking and the best; and in an old play, one called Merrythought says, "Never trust a tailor that does not sing at his work, for his mind is of nothing but filching." Byrd, one of the great musicians of this epoch, gives the following eight reasons why everyone should learn to sing: (1) It is a knowledge easily taught, and quickly learned; (2) the exercise of singing is delightful to nature; (3) it doth strengthen all parts of the breast, and doth open the pipes; (4) it is a singular good remedy for hesitancy in speech; (5) it is the means to procure a perfect pronunciation, and to make a good orator; (6) it is the only way to know where nature hath bestowed a good voice; (7) there is not any music of instruments comparable to the well‑assorted voices of men; (8) the better the voice is, the meeter it is to honour and serve God therewith. At the end of these reasons we have this distich: Since singing is so good a thing, I wish all men would learn to sing.

 

A new admiration for the power of music over the emotions comes into literature in Shakespeare's age. Shakespeare's outlook on music was pure. For him, music was a synonym for sweetness. A brook makes "sweet music with the enamell'd stones". Love is "as sweet and musical as bright Apollo's lute". You will recall the celebrated passage from the Merchant of Venice: The man that hath no music in himself, Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils.

 

The motions of his spirit are dull as night, And his affections dark as Erebus.

 

SEVEN LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES 135 Shakespeare believed with Plato in the Music of the Spheres, the music of which we hear so much in Dante's Paradiso. There are many references thereto in his plays. The most magnificent‑again from the Merchant of Venice‑surpasses the common conception of the eight spheres humming in solemn diapason. It is, I suppose, the most tenderly‑delicate piece of imagery ever penned by the hand of mortal man. TtLare is sentence. List how it runs music in every Look how the floor of heaven Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold; There's not the smallest orb which thou beholdest But in his motion like an angel sings, Still quiring to the young‑eyed cherubins. Such harmony is in immortal souls, But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay Doth grossly close us in, we cannot hear it.

 

"Shakespeare is the supreme type of a truly cultured poet, free from pedantry, but blessed with such power of observation that the things seen become materials for the building up of characters and plots. The golden age of English drama was the golden age of English music, and in Shakespeare that music receives its tribute of appreciation." We may now ask ourselves, what part does music play in regard to Masonry? We may turn for answer to an excellent paper on "Masonic Musicians" that appeared in the Quatuor Coronati Transactions in 1891. The writer was the well‑known musical critic, W. A. Barrett. In the course of that paper we meet with these remarks: "There were many worthy musicians who wrote pieces of high Masonic tendency, but as they require the exercise of a certain amount of musical skill, they, in common with a vast number of like compositions, are only occasionally heard, and then not always in connection with Masonic assemblies. The charms of the social circle in Masonry and the good‑natured readiness of musicians to add to those charms by the exercise of those gifts and talents has been one of the chief reasons why musicians have taken a large interest in the Craft. Our ancient and honourable institution owes no little of its attractive power in the social circle to music, but except at the time of the consecration of a Lodge, music, which could greatly augment the dignity and impressiveness of our ceremonies, is not encouraged to the extent that it might be. The general apathy of the brethren towards the use of vocal music in the several degrees has damped the ardour of the most enthusiastic, who have perceived the advantages which might have accrued by the use of solemn music. Unless, however, music can be introduced into the Lodge in a manner worthy of its high mission it should never be done at all. For it should not be dragged forward and exposed to ridicule like a blind Samson brought out and exhibited to the scoffings of the multitude." 136 THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES I am afraid I have been led away by my passion for music to write at greater length that I have done with regard to the other arts, and have thus disturbed the harmonic progression of my subject. Music has been called the Cinderella of the arts; if that be true, then I would rather sit by the lonely hearth, and dream dreams of celestial harmonies, than consort with the votaries of fashion in the crowded ballroom. To one and all I say: "If you have an ear for music, cultivate it with all might and main. If you cannot be an executant, you can educate yourself in its history, you can study the principles of composition, you can add to your education by listening to the masterpieces of the great, and (though I write these words in anguish of spirit) you can even learn much by listening to gramophone or wireless. Music will be a solace, a delight, a constant friend, at all times and in all seasons."       And now, Muse of Music, flee from me, or thou wilt be my undoing! A practical acquaintance with the elements of astronomy is indispensable to the conduct of human life. Hence it is most widely diffused among uncivilised peoples, whose existence depends upon immediate and unvarying submission to the dictates of external nature. Having no clocks, they regard the face of the sky; the stars serve them for almanacs; they hunt and fish, they sow and reap, in correspondence with the recurrent order of celestial appearances. But these, to the untutored imagination, present a mystical, as well as a mechanical aspect; and babaric familiarity with the heavens developed at an early age, through the promptings of superstition, into a fixed system of observation. But no genuine science of astronomy was formed until the Greeks sublimed experience into theory. Among the Grecian astronomers of antiquity two great names stand out with unchallenged preeminence, Hipparchus, and Ptolemy. There are others who might be mentioned, such as Thales, and Pythagoras. Hipparchus is the man who is said to have catalogued 1,081 stars, a remarkable maximum in those early days of the science. A noteworthy personage, who may be said to be intermediary between the Greeks and the Romans, was Posidonius of Apamea, a Syrian. After travelling in Spain, he settled in Rhodes, where he founded a wellknown school. He was learned in both astrology and magic, and became so famous that Pompey visited him and Cicero attended his lectures.

 

With the capture of Alexandria by Omar the last glimmer of its scientific light became extinct, to be rekindled a century and a half later on the banks of the Tigris. Arab astronomy, transported by the Moors to Spain, flourished for a time at Cordova and Toledo. Meantime a radical reform was being prepared in Italy. Under the searchlights of the new learning the dictatorship of Ptolemy was no more inevitable than that of Aristotle; advanced thinkers promulgated what were called Pythagorean opinions; they were more eagerly and fully appropriated by Copernicus during his student years at Bologna and Padua. Although Copernicus can scarcely be called an astrologer, his researches did much to influence the art which developed side by side with SEVEN LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES   137 astronomy. Copernicus was in the early stages of his life a student of medicine, but he later on turned his attention to science. He finally took Holy Orders and became a canon. He was educated at the University of Cracow. The first of his great discoveries relates to the rotation of the earth on its axis. He proved that the air must accompany the globe and that the sun was the centre of the system.

 

Two names next engage our attention; they belong to men who were almost contemporary, Galileo Galilei, and the famous Kepler. Johann Kepler inherited the wealth of material amassed by Tycho Brahe, whilst Galileo unquestionably ranks as the founder of descriptive astronomy. The importance of Kepler's generalisations was not fully appreciated until Sir Isaac Newton made them the corner‑stone of his new cosmic edifice.

 

Kepler wrote concerning the relation between astrology and astronomy: "Astrology is the foolish daughter of a wise mother and for one hundred years past this wise mother could not have lived without the help of her foolish daughter." Although the tenets of astrology are now generally regarded as belonging to a past age, it has left an impression on our language of the present day. Thus we speak of the `martial', `mercurial', or `saturnine' person, without perhaps remembering that these terms are derived from and related to the supposed influence of Pagan deities. The `ill‑starred' individual is often referred to in literature, and allusions are frequently made to those whose `star is in the ascendant' or to some person who was born under a `lucky star'. The belief in the influence of the planets on the fortunes of the new‑born child belongs to astrology, and you may remember that passage in Shakespeare's Henry IV, where Glendower says: At my nativity The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes Of burning cressets; know, that at my birth The frame and huge foundation of the earth Shak'd like a coward.

 

And the sarcastic answer of Hotspur: Why, so it would have done At the same season, if your mother's cat Had kittened, though you yourself had ne'er been born.

 

Let us take, by way of contrast to this, one of the beautiful allusions to the heavenly bodies made by Milton in Paradise Lost. The angel is speaking to Adam concerning the universe: To ask or search I blame thee not; for Heaven Is as the Book of God before thee set, Wherein to read His wondrous works and learn His seasons, hours, days, or months, or years. This to attain, whether Heaven move or Earth 138          THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES Imports not, if thou reckon right; the rest From Man to Angels the Great Architect Did wisely conceal, and not divulge His secrets, to be scanned by them ought Rather admire.

 

"Poets of all ages have sung of the romance of the stars that scintillate in the celestial vault, which, like a circling canopy of sapphire hue, stretches overhead from horizon to horizon. Who can look up at the deep azure of the sky at night, with its myriads of planets and stars of varied brilliancy, without wonder and awe? There we have poetry written in letters of gold on the purple vestment of heaven, music in the gliding motion of the spheres, and harmony in the sweep of the sun, planet, and satellite."          How truly has it been said that the heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth His handiwork! It is when we look up into the vault of the heavens that we realize the insignificance of the earth in the scheme of the material universe. Our sight penetrates beyond space, reaching world beyond world of unimaginable grandeur, and the greatest of these orbs is but as a speck in the vast intervening void. The moon is a smaller body than the earth, which it attends as a satellite. The sun stands to our earth in much the same relation as the earth does to the moon. The sun is the ruler, and the earth a subordinate globe travelling round nearly in a circle under the controlling force of the earth's gravitational attraction. The amount of matter constituting the sun is equivalent to 300,000 earths rolled into one. This great mass is maintained by means which are still very largely a mystery, at enormously high temperature, so thzt it continually pours forth the unceasing stream of heat and light which are of so much importance to terrestrial life.

 

There is little doubt that the most remote object in the heavens which can be seen without telescopic aid is a small fuzzy patch of light in the constellation 'Andromeda'. At first glance this would be taken as one of the fainter stars, but the diffuseness of the light is distinctive, and telescopes show it to be a great spiral nebula. The light which we see today left that nebula more than 100,000 years ago.

 

The study of the heavenly bodies falls naturally into two divisions, the solar system and the stellar universe, the latter comprising all that is beyond the solar system. To the solar system belong, besides the sun and the earth with its moon, the planets or `wandering stars'. Such of the planets as are visible to the naked eye are ordinarily mistaken for true or `fixed' stars; they can usually be distinguished by the fact that their light does not twinkle. But that is by no means an infallible test, since it depends a great deal on atmospheric conditions.

 

I will conclude our consideration of astronomy by a peculiarly appropriate passage which may be found in Ashe's Masonic Manual: "Astronomy stands confessedly the most exalted and sublime science that has ever been cultivated by man. This noble science may justly be said to comprehend the whole of the other six; as by Grammar we correctly express the substance of our observations; by Rhetoric we forcibly impress the truths therein contained; by Logic we proceed to demonstrate those truths; by Arithmetic we make our calculations; by Geometry we measure the magnitudes and distances of those vast orbs; and, finally, we cannot but subscribe to the harmony of the whole, where there is not the least discord to be found in any of its parts." We have now come to the end of our brief survey of the liberal arts and sciences, and I hope that the time spent in their examination has not been unprofitably occupied. It is certain that even a little knowledge of these things will tend to make us more enlightened as men, and more helpful as Masons. "The Brother who understands enough grammar to write a paper to be read to his brethren; who has studied enough rhetoric to learn how to speak well in open Lodge; who has so disciplined his mind by logic as to think straight and clear; who has the appreciation of a fine art like music, so as to be mellowed and softened by the charm it throws about one's personality; who has had his mental outlook broadened and his store of knowledge enriched, so as to have useful information to place at the disposal of the Craft; such a Brother is one who exemplifies the Masonic love of light and learning." And so my task comes to an end, and as a conclusion to this Lecture, I venture to say, in the words of a writer belonging to a past generation "I, who though dabbling in authorship, rank not among the inspired; who can neither uphold the arts with the hand of a sovereign, nor praise them with the pen of a poet; who can only, athwart the din of trade, the bustle of politics, and the clamour of self‑interest, raise in favour of the Fine Arts a feeble voice, have done all I could; but the most general flame may begin in a single spark; and should I succeed in kindling for the arts a purer, a more intense, a more universal love; should I be instrumental in promoting nobleness of mind and feeling, most copious and most lasting, I shall think myself the humble instrument of the greatest good that can be conferred on humanity; and when comes the hour of death, I shall think I have not lived in vain." MEDIEVAL MASTER MASONS AND THEIR SECRETS (THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1931) by BRO. REV. W. W. COVEY‑CRUMP, M.A. P.M., Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076, London In 1813‑that annus mirabilis in Masonry‑Bro. William Preston put into his will a bequest which, on his death five years afterwards, became the foundation of the Lectureship that bears his name. Its income was to provide for a Lecture annually on one of the Craft Degrees as practised in his Lodge of Antiquity, London. The motives which prompted that bequest can only be guessed; they partly depend upon what Bro. Preston and his contemporaries understood by the term "lecture" (in a Masonic connection) and also upon the ritual then worked in Antiquity Lodge. Masonic admission ceremonies were not so frequent then, and were subservient to courses of symbolical instruction effected by so‑called "lectures" catechetical in form; to the systematizing of which lectures Bro. Preston had for forty years been devoting much consideration and research. The impending Union of the rival Grand Lodges was sure to involve some changes in those lectures, and a possibility of official authorization was in the air. But it is well to notice that, although Preston lived on for several years after the Union, he took no active steps to alter his bequest; and in 1819 the United Grand Lodge endorsed the opinion of the Grand Master that an insistence on uniformity in regard to the Lectures was not desirable in the interests of Masonry.

 

Since that period more than a century has elapsed. Tempora mutantur. Our Fraternity has extended its ideals as well as its interests; and its modes of imparting Masonic tuition have been altered to meet modem requirements. Nowadays we rely more upon impressiveness of ceremonial and hortatory addresses. The "lectures" have become occasional discourses on diverse subjects. And, inasmuch as members of the Craft are not all antiquarians, the Prestonian Lecturer is expected not only to venerate ancient landmarks in its Past but also to visualize some potentialities of its living Present: "heart within, and God o'erhead"; an elasticity of which I cannot think Preston himself would disapprove today. The lecturer may get criticism, but he must stimulate enquiry. On his part originality is called for; and his hearers, on their part, must make 142            THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES allowance for his predilections. A sense of relative value causes evidence, sufficiently convincing to one person, to be unsatisfying to another. Moreover, all parts of a lecture are not equally provable; yet its time‑limits make minutiose digressions impossible. Nevertheless I hope any Prestonian Lecturer can be trusted to be cautious in utterance and accurate in research; and therefore, if, in what I am about to say, some details may not seem fully proved, you will receive them as reasonable inferences based on a balancing of probabilities.

 

Brethren! It is with such thoughts in mind that I ask you now to consider the significance of that familiar phrase‑"the mysterious secrets of a Master Mason". For the phrase itself I claim no high antiquity. In its present context it may not be earlier than the ceremony drafted by the Lodge of Reconciliation. I admit that some 18th century evidences presuppose the lost arcana to have been just a word‑"the Master Mason's Word".'           This, however, may indicate that the secrets of a Master Mason were at that time not merely regarded as lost, but that their very nature had been forgotten. To restrict those secrets to formal tests or tokens of recognition would be absurd. Mysteries in Masonry are more concerned with principles than with pass‑words. Its genuine secrets (like those of Life) are complex, and are revealable only to those who by patience and perseverance prove their title to a participation in them.

 

I regret that I cannot range myself with the many erudite Brethren who seek an ancestry for those secrets in Hellenic mysteries, or in puberty rites of primitive races. Where some obscurity is inevitable the research methods of the "authentic school" yield safer criteria than analogies derived from anthropology. The "secrets of a Master Mason" are not necessarily identical with any pertaining to a Collegium Artificum at Rome; nor with those for which a well‑known architect is said to have given his life during the building of Solomon's Temple at Jerusalem. Even in the year 1717 we dive into deep water. For, to those London Masons who then federated as a Grand Lodge, "the Master's Part" (with which these secrets were connected) was said to be lost. We get no hint from Anderson in 1723 that he had ever heard (either in Scotland or in England) of an assassination of Solomon's architect, though he eulogises his ability.

 

Nevertheless, I think we all intuitively feel that the "Master's Part" was already there; and a "Master's Part" without the Hiramic Tradition seems almost incredible. Anderson's second Book of Constitutions contains a suggestive allusion to it in 1738, whilst Prichard's Masonry Dissected (1730) and the Rit de Bouillon assert that its theme was the murder of a Master, and because that Master refused to reveal certain secrets.

 

What those secrets were supposed to have been can only be surmised. But, if we grant that the Tradition had any historical basis at all, the secrets therein referred to must have been of a tectonic kind‑secrets connected with I Flying Post (1723) and Verus Commodus' Letter (1725).

 

MEDIEVAL MASTER MASONS 143 the practical art of building; they would not be academic pass‑words, or Divine Names, useless to anyone except dabblers in sorcery. In Solomon's time proficiency in various arts‑architectural, metallurgical, and the likewas closely confined to hereditary clans of artificers. Those men had technical secrets, which they jealously guarded and seldom communicated to other men. The view presented in the Hiramic Tradition, therefore, is that the superintendent of Solomon's work possessed an exclusive knowledge of certain technical matters which some inferior craftsmen desired likewise to know. Hence their alleged determination to obtain possession of them by some means, and, if necessary, to have recourse to violence in order to achieve their object. That through their misdeed the secrets might perish was clearly an unforeseen and undesired catastrophe which need not detain us now.

 

Having prefaced thus much about the substance of the Hiramic Tradition, and the secrets referred to therein, let me again emphasize the point that, without going back to the days of King Solomon, or supposing an unbroken continuity of specific secrets from that time through all the succeeding centuries, we can indisputably say that there were secrets among the medieval Master Masons; and that those secrets were jealously cherished and formally communicated, quite possibly under a supposition that they had a Hiramic origin.

 

But let us ask‑Who were those medieval Master Masons ? As far as our present Masonic fraternity is concerned, we can safely assume that, as an organization, it is derived from bands of more or less illiterate artisans who rendered manual labour in building the minsters and churches in ‑our land. This seems abundantly clear from such of their Old Charges as have come down to us. Those operative masons had lodges‑isolated yet allied lodgesin which they transmitted certain customs and ordinances, ceremonies and a legendary history, inherited from time immemorial, and in each of those operative lodges there was, of course, at least one "Master Mason".' In the 13th and 14th centuries the term "Master Mason" meant an experienced architect, who undertook to carry out certain structural work to the satisfaction of the ecclesiastical lords who supplied the requisite funds. The Master Mason was the man who not only drafted its innumerable details; he also superintended their execution by means of craftsmen whom he selected and paid. Such was the custom in those times. In many lodges there may also have been a few other craftsmen possessing similar qualifications, who were capable of taking the Master's place at any time should such an emergency arise. But to him and to them the mysteriousz secrets of 1 Mr. Wyatt Papworth's Arts. in Misc. Lat. XV should be read in this connection. 2 i.e., Secrets of the "mystery" or craft.

 

144     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES a Master Mason meant geometrical and mechanical principles of construction relating to stresses and strains, to vaulting and ornamentation, and other such like details of ecclesiastical architecture.

 

But a period of transition followed. The dissolution of the monasteries and the doctrinal Reformation in the 16th century swept away the patrons of those migratory masons. For a time the art of church building became moribund; and the Master Masons had to seek other avenues for exercising their talents. In many cities there were local craft gilds; and we may safely say that not a few Master Masons settled down as permanent citizens and joined the local gilds. Now these gilds likewise cherished certain peculiar customs and ordinances; they too may have had ceremonies and a legendary history of their own; they certainly were each banded under a "Master" or Wardens, who were elected by the members from time to time.'           But the Gild Masters had purposes very different from those of the former Master Masons. Their main concern was with local conditions of employment, with equable rates of wages, mutual help, and prevention of unfair competition between rival employers in the same town.

 

We can therefore see why, in these changed circumstances, the "genuine secrets" of the Master Masons became lost so far as artisan craftsmen were concerned. These too kept up vestiges of periodical assemblies, though necessarily transferred from workshops to taverns. Then, to eke out their finances and promote conviviality, they admitted to their sodalities sundry non‑operative associates‑persons who were not stone‑masons by occupation, but whose membership was mutually desired. Moreover the "acception" of such quasi‑masons involved a ceremony‑a ceremony covering two grades E.A. and F.C.‑and those two grades conveyed full privileges in the lodge except probably a right to installation in the Master's chair. But the employers' gilds (or "Companies" into which they had by that time developed) took no account whatever of those lodge proceedings. Membership of the Company was seldom open to journeymen masons, and never open to their "accepted" associates (as such); and the conflicting interests between masters and men gradually widened the breach between them. Consequently, although the Gild Masters would (because they had formerly been apprentices) be familiar with a secret ritual practised in the lodges, the men could know practically nothing about what was done by the Masters in their Gildhalls.

 

When therefore, in 1717, the London Grand Lodge was constituted (or "revived" if you prefer that term), its members, although well aware that Master Masons at that time possessed secrets, were unaware of the details of them; but at the Apple Tree Tavem, by placing in the chair "the oldest Master Mason present who was also Master of a Lodge," they implicitly claimed a right of succession to them.

 

1 Cf. Touhnin Smith's Eng. Gilds (Early Eng. Text Soc., xl.) and Knoop's art. on Gild Resemblanees in A.Q.C., xhi, 259 et seq.

 

MEDIEVAL MASTER MASONS    145 Meanwhile, however, there is another factor to be considered in this connection. During the 17th century many gentlemen‑men of erudition, culture and social position‑joined the Fraternity. We are therefore bound to ask what was the attraction which induced such literati to take that step. Mere convivial relaxation is too inadequate an incentive to suffice, even if we could say (which we cannot) that they joined select Masters' Gilds, not ordinary Masons' Lodges. To them membership of a society then so obscure offered no entree to a superior social circle, nor did it imply any superior standard of ethical form. Yet these men were not Utopian "visionaries,"' though certainly they were seekers for truth. And I submit to you that what drew them into Masonry was the desire to participate in certain mysterious secrets known (or supposed) to be embedded thereinsecrets of such a nature as to be specially interesting to them. What those secrets really were we will therefore proceed to consider.

 

More than thirty years have passed since first this inquiry was broached by W. Bro. Sydney Klein in two remarkable papers, entitled The Great Symbol and Magister Mathesios, and advanced in an esoteric demonstration which he gave in the Quatuor Coronati Lodge and afterwards repeated (on 18th January, 1898) at a meeting of distinguished experts held by invitation of the Board of General Purposes in Freemasons' Hall, London.2 I need not say I was not present in those somewhat critical assemblies, of which very few veterans now remain; but it is from Bro. Klein himself that I have obtained much valuable information, which after testing and augmenting by personal research in other directions I am now about to propound to you.

 

The first of those "geometric Masters' " secrets to which I would direct attention is concerned with the Tracing Board. By this I do not mean either of those conventional diagrams to which Freemasons now usually apply the term. I mean that Tracing Board which is referred to in the First Lecture, as used by the Master "to lay lines and draw designs on". "To lay lines!" The Board, when about to be used for designs, was not entirely plain. It was first covered by a series of parallel diagonal lines, intersecting one another at definitely fixed angles. In days before the advent of Gothic architecture the intersections constituted squares (perhaps chequered)3 or possibly rhombs based on the principle of a right‑angled triangle having sides in the ratio of 3 : 4 : 5. This 3 : 4 : 5 triangle was an ancient arcanum. It was extolled by Philo Judxus4 as "the foundation of t Notwithstanding Bro. Gould's stigma, Hist. ii, 119.

 

2 A.Q.C., X, 82, etc., and xxiii, 107, etc. The original MS of the esoteric demonstration, showing the discovery of the genuine secrets of M.M., is preserved in the Library of Grand Lodge.

 

3 Hence the present Lodge floor‑cloth is its counterpart. 4 Philo Jud., Vita Moysis, iii, 4.

 

146     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES the creation of the universe" and was said by Plutarch' to have been wellknown to the Ancient Egyptians, an assertion now confirmed by evidence from their monuments. It certainly had come down from prehistoric times, and we can readily see that to be enabled to construct a right‑angle in any required position without possibility of error would always have been a matter of importance and consequently a secret to be cherished by men engaged in building and in kindred crafts. The method employed was apparently by using three rods of proportionate lengths, or‑when something on a larger scale was required, such as marking out the ground for an intended structure‑by a cord accurately divided into 2 , 2 and      and stretched 12 by three people at those points simultaneously. Hence the Greeks called the possessors of this simple yet secret method of obtaining a right angle 'Ap,TESova7r‑rat‑ix., "rope‑stretchers".

 

But the advent of the architectural style which we know as "Gothic" involved an entire revolution from this old principle of the 3 : 4 : 5 triangle. The identity of the architects who superseded the Norman style throughout western Europe, and the manner in which they accomplished their task, are controversial matters into which we cannot enter now. Suffice it to say that as part of that architectural revolution a new geometrical canon of proportion was adopted‑a new right‑angled triangle‑one in which the angles rather than the sides maintained a simple ratio, viz., 1 : 2 : 3 (or 30 :60' : 90). This right‑angled triangle is obtained by bisecting the base of an equilateral triangle (as laid down in Euclid I, 10), the perpendicular thus halving the triangle into two right‑angled triangles each having angles of 30, 60 and 90, and sides in the constant ratio of 1 : ‑,/3 : 2.

 

Why was this triangle substituted ? In the view of those Masters of Gothic architecture the equilateral triangle had two all‑important symbolical applications which strongly commended its use as an appropriate factor in sacred architecture. First of course there was the fact that an equilateral triangle is an obvious emblem of the Holy Trinity. And, secondly, an equilateral triangle is obtained by describing two equal circles intersecting each other through their respective centres, and forming thereby that well‑known figure the vesica piscis, which was an apt symbol of the Incarnation of the Eternal Logos in the womb of the B.V. Mary. Moreover, the two generating circles represented the past and future Divine eternities, and the Vesica the present temporal Dispensation. One curious property of this geometrical figure is that its perimeter is equal to that of each of the remaining arcs of the two circles‑thus presenting another appropriate symbol of the Holy Trinity. For these reasons the Vesica Piscis had even from the time of the Primitive Christians possessed a sacred symbolical significance, though the purport of that significance was variously interpreted owing to the secrecy of its transmission. By many early Christians the Vesica was supposed to represent a fish, and as such it 1 Plutarch, Isis et Osiris, 1 56.

 

MEDIEVAL MASTER MASONS    147

 

 

 

 

 

figures on their monuments in the catacombs. By taking the Greek names and titles 'h7oovg Xpta‑r6.9 O" EoO Tog EwTrjpI and combining the initials of those words they obtained the word IXOTE which means a fish. From this occult circumstance the Christians sometimes spoke of themselves as pisciculi (little fishes), with reference to their regeneration in the waters of baptism. Tertullian says "After our IXOTE we are pisciculi, born in the water"2; and Clemens Alexandrinus, in discussing ornaments which might consistently be worn by Christians commends the Vesica engraven on a ring.3 Modem attempts to associate the vesica with the yoni may be disregarded; but Dr. Oliver, however mistaken he may have been in suggesting for it a Platonic origin, is quite right in saying "this mysterious figure possessed an unbounded influence on the details of Gothic architecture, and constituted a great and enduring secret of our ancient brethren" : and everyone who has read that anonymous book The Canon (published in 1897) must have been struck by the numerous instances therein adduced to show that the proportion 1 : ‑\/3 (which is that of the axes of a vesica) was employed by the cathedral builders in their work.

 

1 =Jesus Christ, Son of GOD, Saviour. 2 Tertullian, De Bapt. i.

 

3 Clem. Alex., Paed., iii, 11. 4 Oliver, Discrep., 109.

 

148     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES One of the most direct evidences of the idea of planning Gothic buildings on a Tracing Board criss‑crossed in the foregoing manner is to be found in Cesariano's translation of Vitruvius, published at Como in 1521. In that re markable volume there are illustrated a plan and sectional elevations of Milan Cathedral (commenced in 1386), exhibiting these geometrical intersections which determined the proportions of that wonderful structure, and which are obviously based upon this principle of a right‑angled triangle having its sides in the ratio 1 : ‑,/3 : 2, and its angles 30, 60 and 90. This graphic illustration may therefore fittingly conclude our notice of the ancient Master Mason's Tracing Board.

 

The time at my disposal will not permit of a detailed examination of other analogous geometrical principles which, though now familiar to every schoolboy, were in those illiterate days regarded as masonic secrets, and taught as such. I can only notice two as illustrations. The first of these is the principle that the angle in a semi‑circle is invariably a right‑angle. In other words‑if from the ends of a diameter lines are drawn to any other point in the circumference those lines will always form a right‑angle. One allusion to this still survives in the familiar phrases "Q. Where (I think it should be "How") do you hope to find them (i.e., the Master Masons' secrets) ? A. With a centre.

 

Q. Why with a centre ? A. Because that is a point from which a M.M. cannot err." The Master Mason of those days had merely to describe a semi‑circle having a given point at its centre and its circumference cutting the point where the right‑angle was needed, when two lines drawn to the extremities of the diameter would complete his operation. This furnished a distinct advance on the older gnosis of the 3 : 4 : 5 triangle; because by its means the ratio of the sides became negligible. The right‑angle so constructed would always be true, irrespective of any ratio of the sides containing it; and this constituted a secret which Dante said Solomon himself might well have longed to know.' Another is that usually known as the 47th Proposition of Euclid, although its alternative name "Theorem of Pythagoras" reminds us that it may have been discovered two centuries prior to Euclid's time. It is that "in any right‑angled triangle, the square upon the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares upon the two sides containing the right‑angle". According to 1 Dante, Parad., xiii, 101.

 

MEDIEVAL MASTER MASONS    149

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proclusl (A.D. 450) Pythagoras was unaware that this is a universal principle; he only knew of its truth in certain cases, and consequently his proof differs from that of Euclid. There are, in fact, several methods of proving the proposition, but we need not discuss them because the proof depicted on the P.M.'s jewel has always been that supplied by Euclid himself. In medieval times not much concern was felt for a mathematical proof of it. Knowledge then was almost entirely empirical; and therefore such a geometrical principle would be transmitted confidentially as an esoteric truth, explainable only in some philosophical or mystical manner.

 

The same reasoning may apply to the mysteries of the catenarian arch, and the stone rejected by the builders; but since these are matters not directly associated with ordinary "Craft Degrees" we may pass them without comment, and turn our attention to secrets of quite another kind and of a different parentage.

 

The secrets which hitherto we have been considering were secrets of geometry; we have now to consider secrets of gematria. Gematria is an Aramaic term [:znmwl a metathesis of the Greek word ypalutca‑rs%a 2 in the sense of letters as representing numbers, and is applied to the most frequently used hermeneutical rule in literal Kabalism.

 

I must not embark on a disquisition about the nature of the Kabalah; for we are here concerned only with the connection of gematria with Freemasonry, and even that covers an area too extensive for us to examine more than a part of it. Fifty years ago that pre‑eminently cautious author, Bro. Freke Gould, after disputing at considerable length the hypotheses of Buhle and De Quincey3 (then being advocated by Bro. Woodford), was constrained to admit that during the 16th and 17th centuries Kabalism and Rosicrucianism profoundly influenced many secret societies; and that Freemasonry in England "may have received no slight tinge from the (Kabahstic) pursuits of some of its adherents at that time; who were possibly more numerous than is generally supposed, and the larger their number the greater is 1 Proclus, Comm. Eucclidi Elem., p. 426 (Friedlein's Ed.).

 

2 Literally 'writing‑tablets'.

 

3 Buhle: Des Ord. d. Rosenk. and Freimaurer (1804).

 

De Quincey: Hist. Crit. Inquiry into Origin of Freem., Lond. Mag., ix (1824).

 

150     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES

 

the probability that some did indoctrinate their brethren with their peculiar knowledge," and thereby introduced Kabalistic ideas into Masonic ritual. I Since Bro. Woodford's time much further evidence on this subject has come to light, and today few Masonic scholars care to dispute the truth of this hypothesis. The analogies between Freemasonry and Kabalism are too numerous to be dismissed as fortuitous, and are too direct to be unintentional, although I frankly acknowledge that this constitutes merely circumstantial evidence and, consequently, not equal in value to that which would be furnished by authentic documents if we had them.2 Kabalism is a peculiar system of philosophy, and its votaries have included many distinguished Freemasons: notably Ashmole and Moray, Louis de Saint Martin and Pasqually, besides such later students as Lessing and Starck, Eliphas Levi, Pike, Westcort and Waite; and it is with the work of such Hermetic Brethren in England more than two centuries ago that we are here concerned. In accordance with the mental vision of that period they ingeniously combined two distinct factors: viz., (1) certain profoundly speculative ideas touching that most interesting of all human studies‑the knowledge of ourselves‑ideas expressed by special symbols; and (2) a coherent correlation of the names of those symbols with the ideas, secured by means of gematria; both symbols and names being dealt with after the manner of Kabalism. Besides the use of an alphabetical cypher which undoubtedly was known to Cornelius Agrippa and Athanasius Kircher, we find special prominence given to such peculiar symbols as the Blazing Star and the Tetractys, three pillars, a ladder of virtues, Seven Stars and the All‑seeing Eye. Some of these symbols may have been already in the system, but some were certainly then superinduced into it; and my point is that their selection for prominence in Masonic teaching was accompanied by a particular notice that the Greek names of those symbols bore an appropriate correspondence with the symbols themselves, and with the ideas which those symbols were intended to inculcate, in accordance with the Pythagorean aphorism omnia in numeris sita sint.

 

You will recollect that each individual Greek word was also a numberthat number being the sum of the numbers represented by its component letters. Each symbol therefore involved a number; and the mystery lay in the mental association of that number with the idea represented by the symbol. Thus, as the Middle Chamber was assumed to be a square apartment, so, too, its name MEaov Talteiov,3 which has the gematrial value 841, is the square of 29. Similarly in Hebrew its name 11tDIP ‑V52 has the value 676, which is the square of 26. Again, the form of the altar was a t Gould, Hist., ii, 138‑237. See also Bro. Hughan's opinion in A.Q.C., vii, 42. z The oldest allusion is in the Letter of Verus Commodus (1725), reproduced in Gould's History (iii).

 

3 Literally `Middle Treasury'.

 

MEDIEVAL MASTER MASONS double cube; so, too, its name To evataar~ptov 1 has the value 1728, which is the cube of 12 and is also the cube of 6 multiplied by the cube of 2.

 

But for examples more distinctively Masonic let me direct your attention to the Blazing Star. This symbol was a French immigrant‑L'Etoile Flamboyante‑a bright star with many points. Subsequently, however, the points were reduced to seven or five, to correspond with the seven liberal arts or the five Points of Fellowship. Now the Greek term for Morning Star is 'Aa‑rip 'OpOprtvds,‑'AoT~p being =609, and OpOptvog being =609. Both words therefore are multiples of 29, a unit very appropriate to Masonic symbolism because the Greek term Q K~ (a point) has the value 29.

 

Nor was this all. The two words 'Aa‑rip 'OpOpwos when added together represent 1218, which presents another curious Masonic correspondence. For 1218 is the sum of the names of the three cardinal virtues‑HiaTtg, 'EA7rt'g, 'Ayd7r772‑which are the three principal staves or rungs in the mystical Ladder of ascent to the Blazing Star. And we have only to subtract the cube of 6 (which we may regard as equivalent to the Perfect Ashlar or Cubic Stone) from this number 1218, to be left with that of `H KA"dla6 'IaKf~fl, the Ladder of Jacob.

 

My statement about the Perfect Ashlar being associated with the cube of 6 (i.e., 216) may perhaps need defence, since 6 is not a numeral so significant in Masonry as 3 or 5. But we must remember that, whereas the original reference was to a perpend ashlar, it was during the 18th century altered to a perfect ashlar, meaning a stone cubical in form, and therefore contained by six equal squares. For such a stone the only available Greek name was o KvPLKO9 A(Bos,3 which has a curiously symmetrical equivalent 1111.

 

Consider next the three pillars‑Wisdom, Strength and Beauty‑which somehow became substituted in the First Degree for the two earlier pillars B. and J. Architecturally the introduction of three pillars as supports for an oblong edifice is obviously a monstrosity, as is likewise their arrangement E. W. and S., instead of being in a row. Such incongruities clearly indicate a non‑tectonic origin, and a signification that was purely symbolical. Had the conventional Orders of Architecture been three, that might have supplied a clue; but they are five. The Ionic, Doric and Corinthian have been applied to the pillars, but their appropriateness lies really in their nameswhich in Greek are Ed0ta, "IaXvs, and KaAAog,4 and have the gematrial values respectively of 781, 1410, and 351‑making a total of 2542. For, just as these three pillars join two worlds, the visible and the invisible, so too the number 2542 is twice the equivalent of their names Koaltos and Ilapa8eiaos.5 1 Literally `the Altar'.

 

2 Literally `Faith, Hope, Love'. 3 Literally `The Cubic Stone'.

 

4 Literally `Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty'. 5 Literally `The World, and Paradise'.

 

152     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES

 

My time will only allow of one more example. Let it be that which is termed "the Sacred Symbol" par excellence. Whether originally the adjective was "sacred" or "secret" is of little consequence, since this symbol is both. Nor does it seriously matter what symbol (if any) was depicted in the Middle Chamber of Solomon's temple. The symbol intended by those who introduced the reference to it into Masonic ritual was undoubtedly the Pythagorean T E‑rpaKrv s, which in medieval magic frequently appears as Abrac or Abracadabra, and which consisted of the Hebrew Tetragrammaton written in a peculiar tri angular manner called Shem Hamphoresh.

 

 

 

 

 In that extended form its gematrial value became 72 (not 36, as Plutarch supposed). Long before its introduction unto Freemasonry this symbol had been disguised as an All‑Seeing Eye‑an emblem of the omniscient Being Who Himself in the absolute is TEAETH (=Perfection) and Who therefore has both 72 and 81 as factors of His number, which is 648.

 

In conclusion may I repeat that the mystery which our Craft thus derived from those anonymous Masters is not just a medieval method of juggling with letters and numbers introduced for the sake of mystification. Ancient mysteries were dealt with according to the ideas of that day. To us, with a different bias, some of those ideas may seem unworthy of the importance which they attributed to them. But though their ways were not our ways they builded better than they knew, and the result is a system of symbolism which has proved to be a world‑wide inspiration to all that is best in and for the human race.

 

Subsequent developments in the Craft have led to an undue concentration upon rigid accuracy and an impressive rendering of its ceremonies. But that daily advancement in Masonic knowledge which we urge upon our neophytes means something more than a monotonous routine of ritual. It implies an ever‑widening outlook on the true meaning of Masonry, an intelligent grasp of its symbolism. And, although Masonic instruction by means of "lectures" such as those for which Bro. Preston laboured is now antiquated beyond revival, something could and should be done to restore the former balance in our Lodge‑work‑so as to instil in every member a general knowledge of the mysteries inherent in the Craft‑and thereby to preserve the pristine ardour of ordinary Master Masons. In every Lodge the Master Masons are an overwhelming majority. Lack of opportunity or bent may debar many from taking office; but so long as they continue so woefully ignorant about the system their interest in it will inevitably wane. Special Lodges of Research attract a few, but only a few of them; perhaps because the many 1 Plutarch, Isis et Osiris, 1 76.

 

MEDIEVAL MASTER MASONS 153

 

feel that definite and detailed instruction ought to form part of the curriculum of every Lodge. Who will say that in this they are wrong? I will not remark upon what is being done in other jurisdictions to meet this laudable longing for light; but, as a practical outcome of the Prestonian bequest, I earnestly plead that those wise Brethren who direct our Craft administration will combine in their vision of its potentialities some really constructive scheme for promoting this ideal.

 

Thereby as our members continue to increase, so in proportion will their knowledge increase; and through their influence Freemasonry will become a power mightier yet for good throughout the wide, wide world.

 

S. M. I. B.

 

THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1932 entitled THE EVOLUTION OF MASONIC RITUAL in England in THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY by Bro. J. Heron Lepper, P.G.D., P.M. Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076, dealt exclusively with Ritual matters and was never printed. It is therefore omitted from this collection.

 

THE OLD CHARGES IN EIGHTEENTH CENTURY MASONRY WITH THE TEXT OF THE FORTITUDE MS.

 

(THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1933) by BRO. THE REv. H. POOLE P.M. Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076 It must be now almost exactly twenty years since I first came under the spell of the "Old Charges"‑that remarkable series of documents, some of a very venerable antiquity (as we reckon the literary remains of Masonry) which have for some half‑century been the happy hunting ground of the Masonic antiquary, and can still be appealed to for fresh light on theories, old and new, on the organization and character of the Craft in all its phases.

 

Hitherto most of my study of them has consisted in looking back from the eighteenth century towards their origin; and attempting to trace the connection between MS. and MS., and to show how and where they were evolved. But there is a view in the forward direction too. Dethroned from their first high importance as a necessary part of the equipment of a Lodge, these documents now claim a higher place still in our Museums and Libraries, as among the earliest of our legacies from the past. The eighteenth century was, Masonically speaking, above all a period of transition; and it was during this period that the change took place. And it will be my object in this Lecture to attempt to trace the change; to examine the extent to which, and the manner in which, these old documents have left their mark in the Masonry of today; to answer the question‑What part, if any, the Old Charges played in eighteenth century Masonry; and, last but by no means least, to show how, curiously enough, Bro. William Preston himself may justly be claimed as the last champion of the old use and the first exponent of the new.

 

In case‑which I think is not unlikely‑there may be some Brethren who are not acquainted with these documents, I propose to give a very short account of their nature and contents. I t The text of the Fortitude MS. is given in full below, and may be taken as typical, except for its omission of the Euclid story.

 

155 156          THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES The "Old Charges," or MS. Constitutions (to give them a more correct name) normally consist of three parts: First a Prayer, addressed to the Holy Trinity, for what our Prayer Book calls "Grace to live well".

 

This is followed by a loosely connected series of legendary episodes carrying the history of the Craft from before the Flood to the reign of King Athelstan. The origin of the Seven Liberal Sciences is ascribed to the four children of Lamech, who ensured their survival after the Flood by engraving them on two great pillars. The next scene is the building of the Tower of Babel; after which we are told how Abraham introduced the Craft into Egypt, where Euclid proved a `worthy scholar', and did much to organize and develop it. Thence, we are told, it was carried by the Children of Israel into the Land of Promise, where its greatest achievement was the building of Solomon's Temple. The Craft is next traced to France, brought thither by a `curious mason' who had been at the building of K.S.T.; and there Charles Martell accorded to it his royal patronage. We next see it flourishing in England, under St. Alban, who greatly improved the pay of the Mason; and the history ends with an account of a great Assembly held at York by Edwin, son of King Athelstan, at which a book of Charges, based on existing customs and usages of the Craft, was drawn up, and was ordered to be `read or told' when any Mason was made.

 

The last section of the document consists of an actual code of 'charges,'usually divided into two parts‑'general' charges, which are chiefly concerned with what we may call the `morals' of the Mason; and a series of a more operative character for the `Master or Fellow', which relate to the organization of work, the taking of apprentices, and so on.

 

Such are the normal contents of these documents, which range in date from late fourteenth century up to well into the eighteenth, though the earliest of all is rather different in character and arrangement.

 

One detail requires a little more notice. In almost every copy the code of charges is introduced by a paragraph, usually in Latin, which may be rendered as follows: "one of ye Eldr taking ye bible shall hold it forth that hee or they which are to be made Masons may impose Or lay their right hands Upon & then their Charge shall be read."           (Clapham MS.) This, it may fairly be said, makes it clear that the whole contents of the document were intended to be read at admissions, the concluding portion taking the form of an Ob., and if there were any doubt as to this, it would be set at rest by the closing words, which usually read somewhat as follows: "THESE Charges that we now have rehearsed to you & all other yt belong to Masons you shall keep unto your power so help you God AMEN." (Hughan MS.) THE OLD CHARGES IN 18TH CENTURY MASONRY 157 The very large number of copies of these MS. Constitutions which date from the seventeenth century seems to point to their having played, during that period, the part which their contents suggest‑to the reading of a copy having formed an integral part of the ceremony of admission. But we have evidence of another type, in the existence, for example, of the Sloane 3848 MS., written on the 16th October, 1646, the very day of Ashmole's initiation, and so probably (one can put it no stronger than that) used at the ceremony; while the Scarborough MS., of 1705, is endorsed with a note of a meeting held in that year, at which six gentlemen were admitted.

 

That some definite purpose was served by the Old Charges is made clear by their repeated revision, as well as by their having been amended in small ways from time to time in accordance with current legislation. That they were by no means a dead letter in mid‑seventeenth century appears from the introduction, at about that date, of the so‑called "New Articles", reflecting the steady alteration of the character of the Craft from `operative' to 'speculative,' the first of which enacts that: "Noe pson of what degree Soever be accepted a ffree Mason vnlesse he shall have a Lodge of five free Masons art ye least, whereof one to be Master or Warden of that Limitt, or division, wherein Such Lodge shall be kept and another of the Trade of ffreemasonry." (Grand Lodge No. 2 MS.) Writing of the Freemasons in 1686, Aubrey tells us that "The manner of their adoption is very formall"; but, apart from inference from the contents of these documents, and the rather slender evidence of the Sloane and Scarborough MSS. already quoted, we have, as a matter of fact, no knowledge of the ceremony of admission as practised during the seventeenth century and earlier. Towards the very close of the century, however, evidence of an entirely different character begins to appear, in the MS. rituals and catechisms, of which the earliest at present known‑the Edinburgh Register House MS., of 1696‑came to light a few years ago. These vary considerably within limits, though there is a very strong family likeness running through the whole group, which consists of four or five MSS., followed by five or six printed versions, culminating in Prichard's Masonry Dissected of 1730.

 

In one small detail, there is a fairly close agreement between the two classes of documents. The Oath administered at admission is given in several of the catechisms, and there is wide variation in the forms. All, however, are linked with each other and with the few examples found among the Old Charges by similarities of wording. It is difficult to exhibit this fully without quoting a number of examples at length; but I will content myself with two'‑the Drinkwater No. 1 MS., a late seventeenth century 1 The remaining examples from the Catechisms, and a representative selection from the Old Charges, are given in Appendix I.

 

158     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES copy of the Old Charges, and the Sloane 3329 MS., an early eighteenth century catechism. The Oaths in these two MSS. are as follows: "The signs & Tokens yt I shall declare unto you, you shall not write in Sand, paper, or Green leaves; And you shall not tell it to any Dumb Creature in y hearing of any person, Neither to Stick, Stock nor Stone in ye hearing of any person, Neither to Man, Woman, nor Child but to such as you find to be a Mason. So help you God." (Drinkwater No. 1 MS.) "The mason word and every thing therein contained you shall kzep secrett you shall never put it in writing directly or Indirectly you shall keep all that we or your attendrs shall bid you keep secret from Man Woman or Child Stock or Stone and never reveal it but to a brother or in a Lodge of Freemasons and truly observe the Charges in ye Constitucon all this you promise and swere faithfully to keep and observe without any mannr of Equivocation or mentall resarvation directly or Indirectly so help you god and by the Contents of this book." (Sloane 3329 MS.) In two small points, moreover, the forms of Oath given in the catechisms reveal a familiarity with the Old Charges. The form found in the Sloane 3329 MS. (of just about the beginning of the eighteenth century) is alone in including a clause enjoining the candidate to "truly observe the Charges in ye Constitucon," which seems to imply that his attention is to be, or has already been, directed to them, even if they have not actually been read over to him.

 

Perhaps even more interesting is a phrase used in the Grand Mystery Discovered, of 1724‑the second printed exposure to appear. , Here the Oath is of an altogether different character; but the phrase "be a true liege man to the King" must have been taken directly from a copy of the Old Charges. Two printed versions of these had appeared by that date; but the earlier (the Roberts) has a different and quite unusual form; while the later (the Briscoe) has a curious misreading‑"You shall bear true Agement to the King". Thus the phrase in the 1724 catechism suggests strongly that its composer was familiar with an orthodox version of the Old Charges, though the form of the Oath perhaps also rather suggests that it is a short summary intended to replace the longer form of earlier days, which included all the `charges' in detail.

 

Apart from these versions of the Oath, the two groups of documents ‑the Old Charges and the catechisms‑have so little in common that one might be tempted to believe that there was no connection between the bodies of men who used them, were it not that one of the latter‑the printed Mason's Examination, of 1723‑explicitly refers to a `reading' as a part of the ceremony of admission, though the subject‑matter of the reading is concealed by a tantalising blank‑"he is," we read, "to have the THE OLD CHARGES IN 18TH CENTURY MASONRY 159 belonging to the Society read to him by the Master of the Lodge". So far as I am aware, there is no other such reference in any of the numerous rituals and exposures which appeared during the eighteenth century.

 

Probably a fairly safe summary of the position at about the time of the foundation of Grand Lodge would be that the ritual was in process of elaboration; that the traditional reading of the "Constitution" (which included the history) was not forgotten; but that, as a matter of fact, it was not by any means always carried out in practice. Perhaps an indication of a changing custom is to be found in the Alnwick Minute Book, of 1701, where the Lodge copy of the Old Charges was signed by all members at their admission.

 

The year 1723, which saw the publication of the Mason's Examination, saw also the publication of a much more momentous work‑the first Book of Constitutions, by Bro. James Anderson. Apart from a number of extracts or quotations in the work, and the statement of Desaguliers in the Dedication as to Anderson's `compiling and digesting this Book from the old Records,' two features seem to link it with the Old Charges. One is the general scheme of the book, which starts with a history of the Craft‑a great deal longer, but in many places little less legendary than that of the earlier documents‑and ends with "Ancient Charges".

 

These represent, substantially, a genuine revision of the charges, general and special, of his originals. Taking as typical the series which is found in the Grand Lodge No. 1 MS. (of 1583),1 there are only five charges which have not a more or less exact counterpart in Anderson's version. These are the charges prohibiting theft, adultery, and the playing of games of chance, and that which enjoins honest payment for meat, drink and board and at least two of these may fairly be considered as covered by the general injunction that all persons made Masons must be "no immoral or scandalous men, but of good report". To these we should add the charge prohibiting the visiting the town at night "without ... a Fellow with him that might bear him witness that he was in honest places." which no doubt helped to suggest to Anderson the injunction "You must also consult your healch by not continuing together too late or too long from home after lodge hours are past: and by avoiding of gluttony or drunkenness, that your families be not neglected or injured, nor you disabled from working".

 

It would, I think, be fair to say that Anderson has been more faithful to his originals here than in any other part of the book; and, as a result, we may fairly claim that, in the form of his "Ancient Charges", which have undergone little alteration since he first put them out in 1723, the substance of the code of conduct laid down in the old MS. Constitutions has survived up to the present day: and, if it is not universally read to every candidate 1 The reader may find it of interest to make a similar comparison of the Charges in the Fortitude MS. with the `Ancient Charges' on pp. 3ff of the modern B. of C.

 

160     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES

 

at his initiation, it at least forms practically the opening portion of the book which is placed in his hands, and which is `recommended to his serious perusal'.

 

The other link between Anderson's book and the Old Charges is the instruction found on p. 1, that this work is "To be read at the Admission of a New Brother"‑an injunction, startling enough in this matter of a mere 70 quarto pages, which was repeated in the 1738 edition, where it must have applied to over 170. I do not suggest that it was ever so read; but I do suggest that a clear indication is provided that such a reading was a recognized portion of the ceremony, though possibly seldom practised.

 

If further evidence is needed, it may perhaps be found in the various printed versions of the more orthodox Old Charges which appeared at about the same time. In 1722 appeared the Roberts print‑a version on the whole of standard type, but somewhat revised in (probably) mid‑seventeenth century. In 1724 came the Briscoe‑a fairly normal specimen of a centuryold text. This was followed in 1728 by the Cole engraving, representing a revision completed in 1726; and the same text appeared again in the Dodd print in 1739.

 

It cannot, however, be assumed that all of these were intended primarily, if at all, for use in Lodge. Bro. R. F. Gould has expressed the opinion' that the Briscoe print may have been put out by Masons to throw dust in the eyes of the general public, after the exposure which appeared in the Flying Post in the previous year. Again, the Roberts version appeared almost simultaneously in The Post Man and Historical Account and in pamphlet form; and it is very unlikely indeed that the newspaper print could have been intended for Lodge use, though the pamphlet might have been. The Cole engraving seems definitely to have been produced by Masons for Masonsit is dedicated to the Grand Master‑and there is no reason to doubt that the Dodd print was also.

 

But there is a certain amount of evidence that already the Old Charges were looked upon in a somewhat antiquarian light‑as relics‑in some quarters. The usual form for these documents was the `roll'; but there are several early copies in existence in `book form', which, by their `make up' as well as by what is known or can be inferred as to their production, suggest that their main purpose may have been the interest of their owners. Thus, the so‑called Wood MS., of 1610, is a beautifully written version, occupying sixteen pages ruled with a double margin in red, and furnished not only with marginal notes and titles, but also with a complete index (running to another ten pages) to the subject‑matter of the text. This, it need hardly be said, could have been of little use in a copy intended solely for reading in Lodge ceremonies. Again, the Phillips Nos. 1 and 2 and the Bain MSS. form a closely related group in book form, very similar to each other in arrangement and style. The first of these was almost certainly copied by Mr. Hammond, 1 A.Q.C., xvi., 37.

 

THE OLD CHARGES IN 18TH CENTURY MASONRY 161

 

who was Clerk to the Masons' Company of London in 1677‑8, for Mr. Richard Banckes, a member of the Company, who was elected to the Court of Assistants in 1677. The Phillips No. 2 MS. is in the same handwriting; while the Bain MS., though not in the same hand, was certainly copied from the same, or an almost identical, original. It is, of course, by no means impossible that all these copies were intended to enable their owners to hold private meetings and work ceremonies; but such copies do certainly suggest their production for interest rather than for use.

 

When we come to the eighteenth century, we are on rather firmer ground. Stukeley in his Diary records' (under date June 24th, 1721) that, "The Gd. Mr. Mr. Pain produc'd an old MS. of the Constitutions which he got in the West of England, 500 years old"; and a tracing which Stukeley made of the opening and closing portions of the text enables us to identify it with the MS. which we know as the Cooke. It was evidently exhibited as a curiosity in 1721. A letter from the Duke of Richmond to Martin Foulkes, of 1725, has recently come to light,2 which reveals something of the same attitude. "I thanke you," he writes, "for the Old Record you sent me, it is really very curious, & a certain proof at least, of our antiquity, to the unbelievers."  Again, in 1728 William Cowper thought it worth while having a copy made of the Cooke MS.; and the MS. known as the Woodford accordingly bears the following inscription in his handwriting:‑"This is a Very Ancient Record of Masonry wch was copyed for me by Wm. Reid Secretary to the Grand Lodge 1728." These references may well suggest, at first sight, that the Old Charges were generally unfamiliar to the `Rulers of the Craft' in the third decade of the eighteenth century. We do not know what MS. Foulkes sent to the Duke of Richmond, though the allusion leaves little doubt that it was a copy of the Old Charges: but it must be remembered that the Cooke MS. was then almost exactly 100 years older than Anderson's book is now; and might well have been regarded as a curiosity by men perfectly familiar with late seventeenth century copies. It is extremely unlikely, in any case, that antiquarian interest, any more than their appeal to a sensation‑loving public, could account for the printing or engraving of no less than four texts within twenty years‑in 1722, 1724, 1728 and 1739.

 

It must be borne in mind, also, that these MS. Constitutions not only contained the traditional history of the Craft, but also the only set of Regulations, By‑Laws, Charges, or whatever we like to call them, which, up to 1723, had ever been codified‑a series claiming (and not without some measure of likelihood) to have been drawn up by our Royal Patron Edwin, at his great Assembly at York in the reign of King Athelstan. The inclusion of this code would alone be sufficient to necessitate the reading of at any rate a portion of the document at admissions; and it is by no means unlikely 1 Stukeley's Diaries and Letters (Surtees Soc., 1882), vol. i, p. 64. 2 Misc. Lat., xvii, p. 31.

 

162     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES

 

that it was this portion that called for the services of an editor in 1723, when the opportunity was taken of revising the whole of the history as well.

 

That the first Book of Constitutions was not altogether well received is more than a suspicion. Bro. W. H. Rylands has suggested that the Roberts print of 1722 was published on the eve of Anderson's venture as a definite challenge; and he explains' the extreme paucity of surviving copies by the possibility that it was deliberately suppressed and destroyed by authority. And it seems more than likely that the Spencer group of texts (issued first in MS. in 1725‑6, and appearing in the Cole engraving in about 1728 and the Dodd print in 1739) represented an attempt to supersede the semi‑official work, though it may be a mere coincidence that, just as in its earliest forms it appeared about two years after 1723, its latest form was printed in the year following the second edition of the Book of Constitutions. I may mention in passing my conviction that some such attempt was actually the case; and that a most interesting chapter of Masonic history will be opened when or if we ever identify the hand which put forth the Spencer MSS. into the world.

 

I have, I think, said enough to show that the Old Charges, whether in their early form or in the shape of the "Ancient Charges" of Anderson, played some definite part, in theory if not in practice, in the Masonry of the early eighteenth century, though exactly what that part was is not so clear. At least one early code of Lodge By‑Laws2‑those of the Lodge at the Black Bull at Spalding, of 1739‑made considerable use of Anderson's charges in its phraseology and arrangement; and it is extremely likely that the reading of that portion of the B. of C. must have been a common feature of Lodge practice. When we look for evidence of such readings in the Minutes of early Lodges, it must be confessed that we find but little. In the Old King's Arms Lodge (now No. 28), a Minute3 of 1733 states that "A Part of the Constitutions was read by the Master".

 

At the Old Lodge at Lincoln (constituted 1730) on 3rd December, 1734, we read :4 "After which the Master went thro' an Examination and several of ye Regulations out of the Book of Constitutions were read and the Lodge was closed with a Song."     This instance is of more than ordinary interest, as Bro. W. Dixon (author of Freemasonry in Lincolnshire) hints that it is not unlikely that this Lodge was a survival of an operative one.

 

Bro. H. Sadler, in his account of the Mourning Bush Lodges (1742‑1780), does not give the Minutes in detail, but is evidently summing up when he writes: "It was an almost invariable custom to finish the business of the even ing by the delivery of one or two Lectures, the practice being occasionally 1 Records of the Lodge of Antiquity, vol. i, p. 37. 2 See Appendix II.

 

3 Not in print.

 

4 W. Dixon, Freemasonry in Lincolnshire, p. 5. 5 H. Sadler, The Lodge of Emulation, p. 31.

 

THE OLD CHARGES IN 18TH CENTURY MASONRY 163 varied by reading a portion of the Book of Constitutions, which book was also frequently borrowed by the members for home perusal . . ." Bro. A. Heiron records' that the 1756 B. of C., still in the possession of the Old Dundee Lodge (No. 18) has the reference "Charges 269" written inside the front cover, evidently to enable the Master to turn up quickly the eight pages of "Old Charges" for use at an Initiation; and that "these eight pages are badly stained, thumb‑marked, and show signs of constant use". He also quotes an interesting Minute of 1810, at a time when the Lodge was adopting the resolutions of the Lodge of Promulgation: "Br. Thos. Spence, P. M. proposed, which was 2nd. That the Charges to our New‑Made Brethren be Read on the Initiation as usual, which was carried." As late as 1761, an early Minute (14th January) of the Golden Lion or Talbot Lodge, of Leeds, records :2 "Opened an Apprentice Lodge in due form and order; reading the proper articles, both in the old and new regu lations in the Book of Constitutions, as also of the By‑Laws made for the Good Government of our Lodge, and after working it in a regular manner, all Businefs being over, we have closed the same." These examples are the fruits of a search through the published histories of some 15 or 20 early Lodges. At first sight they do not appear to be a very rich haul; but if we bear in mind the scarcity of early Minutes, the large number of early Lodges with no published histories, and the comparatively few such which print Minutes in any detail or quantity, they are not so meagre as they appear. Moreover, it must be borne in mind that if the reading of Charges was a more or less normal feature of the ceremony of admission (as I have shown reasons for suspecting), then no mention of it would ordinarily be expected in the Minutes. The examples quoted are sufficient, at any rate, to show that, in spite of the absence of any provision in any printed ritual of the latter part of the eighteenth century, the tradition of the reading of the Old Charges never entirely died out; but was observed at various times and in widely‑separated places throughout the first fifty years after the foundation of Grand Lodge. It is worth mentioning that there are many Lodges which observe the same tradition today, though I have in no case been able to discover evidence of continuity from early times. I am inclined to suspect that such a custom in some cases really represents a revival; and that it is to Bro. William Preston that we owe the revival.

 

The somewhat sporadic examples which I have quoted have brought me chronologically to the time of that worthy Brother, to whom the Craft owes a debt which it is almost impossible to estimate. And, as Preston is careful to explain, his whole system was inspired by, and had its origin in, 1 A. Heiron, Ancient Freemasonry and The Old Dundee Lodge, pp. 181‑183. 2 Leeds I.M.A. Trans., 1916‑18, p. 115.

 

164     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES the Old Charges, in the form in which they had been promulgated by Anderson. "Directed", he says' in the earliest edition of the Illustrations, and the passage is worth quoting in full, "by an assiduous study and careful perusal of our ancient charges, which we established as the basis of our work, our first step was attentively to consider the nature of the institution. To imprint on the memory their excellence and utility in the faithful discharge of our duty, we reduced the more material parts of them into practice, and prosecuted our enquiries after still more useful knowledge.

 

"To encourage others to join in our great undertaking, we observed a general rule of reading, or ordering to be read one or other of these charges on every regular meeting; and of offering our sentiments in elucidation of such particular passages as seemed to be obscure. This practice we still retain," he goes on, and I do not think that his language could be improved on, "persuaded that a recital of our duty can never be disagreeable to those acquainted with it; and to those to whom it is not known, should any such be, it is highly proper to reconunend it.

 

"Such was the method we followed in the introduction of our plan, which being favourably received, we gradually improved, and brought into form, the several sections which compose the first lecture of mason y." It would be interesting to learn just what did actually take place at regular meetings of the Caledonian Lodge (of which Preston was a member until he transferred his allegiance to Antiquity, in 1774); but unfortunately the Minutes for the period are wanting. It is not, however, surprising to find that the reading of the Ancient Charges took a very prominent place in the programme of the "Grand Gala", organized by Preston, which made the occasion for the publication of the first edition of the Illustrations. In that Gala, which in spirit must have somewhat resembled the `Festival' of one of our Lodges of Instruction, the business of the evening consisted of a rehearsal of the six sections of the first Lecture by a `team' of twelve Brethren, interspersed with toasts and with vocal and instrumental music; but two of the Ancient Charges‑‑"On the Management of the Craft in working," and "Laws for the Government of the Lodge"‑were read immediately after the opening, and another‑"On the Behaviour of Masons"‑before closing. "A rehearsal of the ancient charges of the society," he says in a later edition,2 "properly succeeds the opening, and precedes the closing, of every Lodge"; and he inserts these three in their places in his remarks on the ceremonies.

 

And so we draw towards the end of the eighteenth century, and the interesting period at which the ritual was more or less stabilised as we have it today. I do not propose to go further: for there is no reason to suppose that the Old Charges were used either more or less in the closing years of the century, unless it be that the influence of Preston's work‑and it went 1 Illustrations of Masonry (1772), p. xxii. 2 Illustrations of Masonry (1788), p. 34.

 

THE OLD CHARGES IN 18TH CENTURY MASONRY 165 through not less than six editions before 1800‑led to a certain amount of revival. This is by no means improbable, though it would be difficult to prove. What we can state without any fear of contradiction is that, in the ritual of the early nineteenth century we have substantially the ritual of today; and there is no place in it for the Ancient Charges.

 

As I said at the outset, the eighteenth century was an age of transition. At its beginning there must have been many Lodges in which the Old Charges, history and all, constituted almost the entire ritual: at its close, no room could be found for them, in spite of the gallant effort of Bro. Preston to restore them to a place of honour. Yet they have never ceased to be an integral part of what I may call the `official literature' of the Craft: many Lodges today read portions of them regularly‑perhaps in some cases following a custom descended unbroken from the earliest times; and, most important of all, we are still true enough to the original principle to make a point of placing inthehands of every initiate, with a special recommendation to study it, a true lineal descendant of these documents‑the code of conduct which may well have been originally drafted before the Norman Conquest.

 

Today we cherish early copies of the Old Charges as among the most precious relics of our past. The monumental works of such great Masonic scholars as Hughan, Gould and Begemann would alone be sufficient to show the value that we place on them. And I want now to show how, though it was many years before the idea gained strength, it was Bro. William Preston who was the first student to use the Old Charges as we use them now ‑to recognise them as valid sources for the history of the Craft, and to build up a constructive argument on the basis of material found in them.

 

So far, we have seen him interesting himself in the "Ancient Charges" in the form in which they had been `digested' by Anderson in 1723. It is true that in his book he quotes a number of extracts from copies of pre‑Grand Lodge type; but, up to a certain point, these are simply copied from Anderson. But in 1774, two years after the publication of the first edition of his illustrations, he became a `joining member' of Antiquity Lodge; and thereafter, so far as we know, the Lodge at the Queen's Head, Holborn, his Mother Lodge, seems to have seen little more of him. It is an old story how he was immediately elected Master of his new Lodge, though actually this did not take place, as is often stated, at the very meeting at which he became a member. But it is an interesting fact that one of the first Minutes of the Lodge after he took the Chair records the provision of a tin case for an old MS. in the possession of the Lodge. The Lodge, in fact, possessed a perfectly good late seventeenth century copy of the MS. Constitutions; and it looks very much as if one of Preston's first acts as Master of the Lodge was to draw attention to it and to make provision for its safe keeping.

 

166     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES So at last this worthy student has got back to the originals; and not only does he quote from the Antiquity MS. in later editions of the Illustrations, but he also makes use of these old documents as we use them today.

 

It is a matter to be regretted that the chief use which he made of them was to support the case of York v. London as the true "seat of masonic government"; but this does not prevent us from hailing him as foremost among the pioneers in this new view of the Old Charges. It is also matter for regret that in a few places Preston shows little more sense of responsibility to his readers as to correct quotation than did Anderson himself. He quotes in full from the Antiquity MS. both sets of Charges; but he inserts them as a footnote to the ceremony of Installation, to compare with the revised form (substantially the same as that read at Installations today). All goes well until the very conclusion is reached, when he wrote:' "These be all the charges and covenants that ought to be read at the installment of master, or makeing of a free‑mason or free‑masons," in which the reference to the `installment of master' is an interpolation made simply to suit his purpose, and devoid of any authority whatever. He is also‑ guilty of a small, but significant, alteration in one of Anderson's "Ancient Charges". Anderson had reproduced an ancient regulation very faithfully when he enjoined the Master and the Mason to "be faithful to the Lord, and honestly finish their Work, whether Task or journey; nor put the Work to Task that hath been accustomed to journey": it is hard to find any excuse for Preston when we read his version :2 "The Master, Wardens, and brethren receive their rewards justly, are faithful, and honestly finish the work they begin, whether it is in the first or second degree; but never put that work to the first, which has been accustomed to the second degree." Fortunately‑or perhaps unfortunately, as it might have helped to identify the MSS. which he had before him he does not actually quote passages in support of his argument for York. Besides various other authori ties noted in the margin of his "Manifesto of the Right Worshipful Lodge of Antiquity", of 1778, he refers to an "Original MS. in the Lodge of Antiquity, A.D. 1686", "MS. in the British Museum" and "O[riginal] MS. in the hands of Mr. Wilson, of Broomhead, near Sheffield, Yorkshire, written in the reign of K. Henry 8th".

 

As to the identity of the first of these, there can be no doubt whatever. The so‑called Antiquity MS., still in the possession of the Lodge, actually bears an endorsement to the effect that it was written, evidently for "William Bray, Free‑man of London and Freemason", by Robert Pagett, "Clearke to the Worshipful Society of the Free Masons of the City of London" in the year 1686.

 

The British Museum MS. is less easy to identify. There are at present no less than eight copies of the Old Charges in our National Collection, 1 Illustrations of Masonry (1788), p. 103. 2 ib., p. 36.

 

THE OLD CHARGES IN 18TH CENTURY MASONRY 167 which in Preston's time probably contained six: the Lansdowne MS. having been added in 1807, while the Harris No. 2 MS. is bound up with a calendar of 1781, and this was presumably done before it was acquired by the Museum. Of the remaining six, Preston's authority cannot have been either the Regius or the Cooke MS., neither of which contains the reference to York; and we are left with two MSS. in the Harleian Collection (Nos. 1942 and 2054) and two in the Sloane (Nos. 3323 and 3848), any of which might have been his source.

 

The last of the three MSS. mentioned by Preston is still recorded in the list of `Missing MSS.' drawn up by Bro. W. J. Hughan, as the Wilson MS. The collection of MSS. which belonged to Mr. John Wilson, of Broomhead Hall, was sold in 1843, and many of the items came into the possession of Sir Thomas Phillips, of Cheltenham, though no trace of the Wilson MS. was found by Bro. G. W. Speth when he searched the Phillips Collection. A MS. catalogue made in 1806 of the Wilson Collection refers to "A Collection of papers relating to Free Masons", which leaves us little the wiser as to whether this particular item was still in the collection. Now the Master of Antiquity at the time of the Manifesto was Bro. John Wilson, solicitor, of London, the eldest son of Mr. John Wilson, of Broomhead Hall. As the latter died in 1783, leaving the Hall as well as the collection to his eldest son, it is by no means improbable that this MS. never went back into the collection, but may well have been given away by its new owner; and so far it has not been traced. I may add that if the missing MS. were really of the date stated by Preston‑"written in the reign of K. Henry 8th" (i.e., between 1509 and 1547)‑and Mr. John Wilson (Sen.) seems to have been a serious student of the MSS. which he collected‑then its loss is most unfortunate, as it must have been some 40 years older than the Grand Lodge No. 1 MS., which is senior to all copies at present known except the Regius and the Cooke. Some of my remarks on this MS. may seem irrelevant; but I do not hesitate to use this opportunity to set forth all that is known of its history at some length, in the hope that some clue may serve to get us on its trail again.

 

Whatever his sources, Preston seems to have recognised the Old Charges as good Craft history; and his summary of the case for York, based on these and other authorities, is worth quoting at length, as a carefully‑considered opinion, which, it is interesting to notice, he allowed to remain unaltered in subsequent editions of the Illustrations, even after his reconciliation with the London Grand Lodge had been effectedl: "There is every reason to believe that York was deemed the original seat of masonic government; no other place has pretended to claim it, and the whole fraternity have, at various times, universally acknowledged allegi ance to the authority established there; but whether the present association in that city is entitled to that allegiance, is a subject of enquiry which it is not my province to investigate. To that assembly recourse must be had for information. Thus much however is certain, that if a General Assembly 1 Illustrations of Masonry (1788), pp. 182‑6, note.

 

168     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES or Grand Lodge was held there (of which there is little doubt if we can rely on our records and constitutions, as it is said to have existed there in Queen Elizabeth's time), there is no evidence of its regular removal, by the consent of its members, to any other place in the kingdom; and upon that ground the Brethren at York may probably claim with justice the privilege of associating in that character. A number of respectable meetings of the fraternity appear to have been convened at sundry times in different parts of England, but we cannot find an instance on record till a very late period, of any general meeting (so called) being held in any other place beside York....

 

"As the constitutions of the English Lodges are derived from this General Assembly at York; as all masons are bound to observe and preserve those in all time coming; and as there is no satisfactory proof that such Assembly was ever regularly removed by the resolution of its members, but that on the contrary the fraternity still continue to meet in that city under this appellation, it may remain a doubt, whether, while these constitutions exist as the standard of masonic conduct, that Assembly may not justly claim the allegiance to which their original authority entitled them; and whether any other convention of masons, however great their consequence may be, can, consistent with those constitutions, withdraw their allegiance from that Assembly, or set aside an authority to which not only antiquity, but the concurrent approbation of masons for ages, under the most solemn engagements, have repeatedly given a sanction."' I do not claim this as a weighty contribution to the history of Masonry: it is a very slender one, and one which sadly lacks the support of such evidence from outside sources as we are accustomed in these days to bring to bear on our historical reconstructions. But I do claim it as the first of its kind, and as a worthy beginning. Anderson had dug in the same field for his material; but he merely extracted `facts' for his compilation. Preston was the first student to adduce them in support of a theory. It was many years before a successor carried on the work; but Preston seems to have realised, as we realise today, that, apochryphal though their history may be, they still provide almost the only light which we have on the earliest days of Freemasonry in this country.

 

The 'ritualist' and the research student are not usually the same person; but Preston was an outstanding figure in the Masonry of his time. And he was not only the last to organize a serious attempt to preserve a `ritual' use of the Old Charges, but also the first to point the way, however slightly, towards the much more important position which they were one day to occupy. I welcome the opportunity‑provided by himself‑of paying a tribute to his memory.

 

1 It is interesting to observe that substantially the same note appeared in the previous (1781) edition of the Illustrations, but with a significant difference in the final paragraph, which there reads:‑"If the constitutions ... and all masons ... and there is no satisfactory . . ." (italics not in original). One fears that it was not additional research which turned possibility into certainty! THE OLD CHARGES IN 18TH CENTURY MASONRY 169 THE FORTITUDE MS. D (d). 48.

 

This copy of the Old Charges, which first attracted attention in January, 1934, has been for some time in the possession of the Lodge of Fortitude, No. 281, Lancaster. It is the 99th version of the Old Charges to become known, eight of these existing in print, either complete or in the form of extracts or references. The Lodge of Fortitude is one of only eight `ordinary' English Lodges which possess such treasures, there being also five in Scotland.

 

The document is on paper, and consists of eight sheets measuring about 124 in. by 84 in. stuck together so as to form a roll which is in all about 7 ft. 2 in. long, though a few inches are missing from the final sheet if it was originally as long as the rest. At both ends the paper is somewhat frayed, as can be seen from the illustrations. At a comparatively recent date the whole roll has been mounted on a paper of poor quality, evidently to save it from cracking at the joints where the sheets were stuck together; but this backing is now itself very rotten.

 

The text is well and effectively written with a number of words, names, etc., in red. It is also furnished with a double red‑line border throughout the roll; while at the head appears a drawing of the Masons' Arms, fairly normal save that a Latin motto has been introduced into the shield itself. Expert opinion at the British Museum has pronounced the handwriting to be of about 1750. The roll has suffered a good deal from damp‑stains, but is legible throughout, except for a few of the words in red ink, some of which have completely disappeared.

 

The text belongs to the Lansdowne Branch of the Grand Lodge Family, and follows the Antiquity and Foxcroft MSS. very closely. It must, indeed, be a very near relation to the latter, as there is a strong likeness between the coats of arms drawn in these two MSS., while the concluding paragraph is set out in exactly the same way in each. Like the Foxcroft, the Fortitude MS. originally had something after the concluding 'Amen'‑perhaps a name and date‑but whatever it was has now disappeared.

 

The text of the Lansdowne Branch is of a fairly normal type; one of its principal deviations from the standard text of the Grand Lodge Family being the omission from the historical portion of the story of Euclid‑the Euclid Charge having been (no doubt inadvertently) given to Nimrod. But the Fortitude MS., though it follows the Branch text very faithfully, has three unusually interesting additions to the text: (i)         In the account of Solomon, the passage commencing: "(for his ffather Davids sake . . . " and ending: " . . . of the Daughters of Dan)" 170      THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES is almost entirely interpolation. This, on the whole, looks extremely like the influence of the Cole engraving, or that of some other member of the Spencer Family; though the reference to Dan cannot have come from that source, and might be taken either from the Bible or, more likely, from the Book of Constitutions. The reference to "Huram or Huram" in the same section of the history also points rather to the latter source.

 

(ii)        in the second `general Charge' we find: "true Liege‑man to the Present King of England and Successively" where the usual reading is simply "true liege man to the King of England".

 

It is difficult to see the purpose of the addition in the middle of the eighteenth century, though it might have been quite natural in the last decade of the seventeenth, to which period both the Antiquity and Foxcroft MSS. belong.

 

(iii)       In the same charge we find an explanation of a `Mason allowed': "yt is to say have entred into the Society by passing a Lodge and being approved by ye Single Charges." This is without parallel in any known copy of the Old Charges, and is of great interest. It is not easy to see the exact meaning of the phrase `being approved by ye Single Charges'; but if, as seems likely, these are identical with the `Charges Single' (usually `Singular'), or the code which follows the `Charges Generall', the whole clause seems to suggest a Mason who has reached the status of `Master or Fellow' in a regular manner according to ancient custom‑i.e., in a Lodge where the reading of the `Old Charges' is still the prominent feature of the ceremony of admission. The use at such a late date of the term `Society', whose vogue was before, rather than after, the days of Grand Lodge, points perhaps in the same direction.

 

It is, of course, possible that both (ii) and (iii) came into the text in (say) 1690‑1700, and that the Fortitude MS. is merely a copy of some fifty years later. But the interpolation (i) would seem to belong to a date not much earlier than 1730; and the similarity to the Foxcroft MS. in the drawing of the coat of arms suggests that both were direct copies from their common original.

 

I consider myself singularly fortunate in having made the acquaintance at just this moment of a MS. which is not only so nearly identical in text with the copy which must have been most familiar to Preston himself, but which, by the interpolations in it, shows more strongly than anything which I said in my lecture how far from being a `dead letter' the Old Charges must have been even in mid‑eighteenth century. And I am very grateful indeed to the Lodge of Fortitude, by whose courtesy I have been allowed a free hand in my use of the text.

 

THE OLD CHARGES IN 18TH CENTURY MASONRY 171 In the transcript which follows, it has been impossible to reproduce all the variations in lettering; but words in a larger and somewhat ornamental type are distinguished by capitals, while words written in red are indicated by a heavy type. Italics are used wherever the MS. is illegible, either through the fraying of the paper or owing to the effects of damp: in these cases the missing portions are supplied from the Antiquity or Foxcroft MSS.

 

THE FORTITUDE MS.

 

On the Coat of Arms‑Vir, ne perjura teipsum Time Deum Honora Regern On scroll below‑Fear God and keep his Commandments For this is the whole Duty of man IN the name of the Great and Holy God of Heaven the wisdom of the Son and the Goodnefse of the Holy Ghost three Persons and one God be with us now and ever AMEN GOOD BRETHREN and Fellows here begineth the Noble and Worthey Science of Free Masons or Geometry and in what manner it was first founded and begun and afterwards how it was confirmed by Worthey Kings and Princes and by many other Worshipfull men AND also to those that be here we mind to shew you the Charge that belongs to every Free Mason to keep for in good faith Jf you take good heed it is well worthy to be kept for a Noble Craft and Curious Science. SIRS there be Seaven Liberal Sciences of which this noble Science of Masons is one and the Seaven be these. THE First is Grammar and teacheth a Man to spell and write truly. THE Second is Rhethorick and teacheth a man to speak fair and Subtle. THE Third is Logick and that teacheth a man to discern the true from the false. THE Fourth is Arithmetick and that teacheth a man to reckon and accompts. THE Fifth is Geometry and teacheth a man mete and Measure of Earth and of all things and of the which this Science is called by Mr. Euclides Geometry and by Vitruvius is called Architecture. THE Sixth is called Music and teacheth a man to sing with voice &c as Tongue Organ Harp and Trump. The Seventh is called Astronomy and teacheth a Man to know the Course of the Sun and the Moon and the Stars. THESE be the Seaven Liberall Sciences of the which all be founded by one that is Geometry and thus a Man may prove that all the Seaven Sciences be founded by Geometry for it teacheth a man Mete and Measure, Ponderation and Weight of all things on Earth for there is no workman that worketh any Craft but he worketh by some Mete or Measure and every man that buyeth or Selleth they buy or sell by some weight or measure and all this is Geometry and the Merchants and all other Craftsmen of the Seaven Sciences and the Plowmen and the tillers of the Earth and the Sowers of all manner of Grains seeds vines and Plants and setters of all manner of Fruits. FOR Grammer or Arithmetick nor Astronomy nor none of all the Seaven Sciences Can no man find mete or Measure 172          THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES inwt'out Geometry wherefore methinks that the said Science of Geometry is most worthey and all the other be founded by it.

 

BUT how this worthey Science and Craft was first founded and begun I shall tell you, Before Noahs Flood there was a man which was called Lamech as it is written in the Bible in the Fourth Chapter of Genesis and this Lamech had two wives the one calle Adah the other Zillah by the first wife Adah he begat jabal and his Brother Jubal and of Zillah she bare Tubal Cain and his Sister who was called Naamah and these four Children found the begining of all these Crafts and Sciences in the World for the Eldest son Jabal found the Craft of Geometry and he fed flocks of sheep and Lambs in the field and first wrought houses of stone and he and his Brother Jubal found the Craft of Musick song of Mouth Harp Organ and all other Instruments. THE third Brother Tubal‑Cain found the smith Craft of Gold Silver Iron Copper and Steele and the Daughter found the Craft of weaving and these Children knew well that God would take vengeance for sin either by fire or Water wherefore they wrote these Sciences they had founded in two Pillars of Stone that they might be found afterwards the one Stone was called Marble for that would not be consumed in the First and the other was called Leathern and that would not be drowned in the water.

 

OUR Intent is to tell you how and in what manner these Stones were found that these Sciences were written on the Herminerius that was Cabb his Son the which Cabb was Shem his son the which was Noahs son this same Herminerius was afterwards called Hermes the ffather of the wise men he found one of the two Pillars of Stone and found the Sciences written therein and he taught it to Others and att the makeing of the Tower of Babilon was Masons there first made much of and when the King of Babylon (called Nembroth) who was a Mason himself and loved well the rest as is Said with the Master of Stories and when the Citty of Niniveh or the Citty of the East Port should have been made Nembroth the King of Babylon Sent thither Sixty Masons of his Region to the King of Nineveh his Cousin and when he sent them forth he gave them Charge after this Manner.

 

First that they should be true to their King, Lord, or Master they Served and that they should Ordain the most wise and Cunning man to be Master of the King's or Lord's work that was amongst them and neither for love riches or Favour to set another that had little Cunning to be master of that work whereby the Lord Should be ill served and the Science ill dishamed Second that they should call the. Governour of the said work Master all the time they wrought with him and many more Charges that were to long to Cyte and for the keeping all those Charges he made them Swear a great Oath which men Used at that time and ordained for them reasonable pay that they might live with honesty and also he gave them in Charge that they 174  THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES should Afsemble together every year once to see how they might work best to serve the King or Lord for their Profit and their own worship.

 

Thirdly that they should correct within themselves those that had Trespafsed against the Science and thus was the noble Craft ffirst founded there and the Worthey Mr. Euclides gave it the name of Geometry and how it was called throughout all the world Masonrie (alias) Mazonry Long after when the Children of Israel were come into the Land of Behest (which is called the Countrey of Hierusalem) where King David begun the Temple which is now called Temple Dei and is now named with us the Temple of Jerusalem and the same King David loved Masons then right well and gave them good pay and he gave the Charges and manners that he learned in Egypt which were given by the Worthey Mr. Euclides and other more Charges that you shall hear afterwards And after the decease of King David then reigned Solomon. Davids son and he performed or ffinished out the Temple that his ffather had begun and he sent after Masons into divers Countreys and into divers Lands and he gathered them together so that he had 24000 workers of Stone and were all named Mafonf and he chose out of them 3000 that were ordained to be Master. Rulers and Governours of his work and there was a King of another Region called Tyre which men call Hiram or Huram and he loved well King Solomon (for his ffather Davids sake he being a well lover of that Science) and sent to Congratulate him after his Accefsion to the Throne of his ffather being right glad of his great wisdom and Zeal for the Lord and verry willing to afsist him with necefsaries in his proceedings according to his ffathers directions and his own great Wisdom prompted him on in the Speedy performance thereof and the same Huram gave him timber to his work and he had a Son called Huram that was master of Geometry and was chief Master of all his Masons (and was of one of the women of the Daughters of Dan) that belonged to the Temple both for Graving and Carving and all other Masonrie (This is wittnefsed in the Bible In Libro Regum tertio et quarto) AND this same Solomon confirmed both the Charges and the Manners which his ffather had given and thus was the worthey Science of Masonrie confirmed in the Countrey of Hierusalem and many other Kingdoms and Regions. Men walked into divers Countreys some because of learning to learn more Cunning and some to teach them that had but little cunning and so it befel that there was a man called Namus Greocius who had been at the makeing of Solomons Temple and he came into France and there he taught the men of that Land the Science of Masonrie and there was one of the Royal line of France called Charles Marshall a man that loved well the said Craft and took upon him the rules and manners and after that. BY THE GRACE OF GOD was elected to be King of France and when he was in his Estate he helped to make those Masons that were none and gave them Charges and manners as he had learned of other Masons and set them on work and gave them good pay and Confirmed THE OLD CHARGES IN 18TH CENTURY MASONRY 175 them a Charter from year to year to hold their Assemblie where they would and Cherished them right well and thus came this Noble Craft into France. ENGLAND in that season stood void as forreign Charge of Masons untill St‑ Albans time for in his days the King of England and that was a Mason that did wall the town about which is now called St‑ Albans and St‑ Alban was a worthey Knight and Steward to the King of his Houshold and Head Governour of his Realm and also of the walls of the said town and he loved well Masons and Cherished them much and made their pay right good for he gave them 3 shillings and 6 pence pr week and 3 pence pr day for the bearers of Burthens before that time in all the Land a Mason took but one penny the day and his Meat untill St‑ Alban mended it, and he got them a Charter from the King and his Councill for to hold a Generall Councill and gave it to name Afsembly thereat he was himself and did help to make Masons and gave them Charges as you shall hear afterwards. Soon after the death of St‑ Alban there came divers Wars into England out of divers Nations so that the good rule of Masons was disheired and put down untill the time of King Aldiston in his time there was a worthey King in England that brought this Land into good rest and he builded many great works and buildings therefore he loved well Masons for he had a son called Edwin the which loved Masons much more than his Father did and he was much practiced in Geometry that he delighted much to Come and talk with Masons and to learn of them the Craft. AND after for the love he had to Masons and to the Craft he was made Mason at Windsor and he got of the King his ffather a Charter and Commifsion once every year to Afsemble within the Realm where they would within England and to Correct within themselves faults and trefspafses that were done as touching the Craft and he held them an Afsembly att Yourk and there he made Masons and gave them Charges and taught them the manners and Commands the same to be kept ever afterwards and took them their Charter and Commifsion to keep their Afsembly and ordained that it should be removed from King to King succefsively and when the Afsembly were gathered together he made Cry that all old Masons or young that had any writeings or understandings of the Charges and manners that were made before their Lands wheresoever they were made Masons that they should shew them forth. THEY were found some in French some in Greek some in Hebrew some in English and some in other Languages and when they were read and overseen well the Intent of them all was understood to be one and the Same thing and then he caused a Booke to be made thereof how this worthy Craft of Masonrie was first found and he himself Commanded and also then caused it should be read att any time when it should happen any Mason or Masons to be made to give him or them their Charges and from that time untill this day Manners of Masons hath been kept in this Manner and form as well as men might Govern it and furthermore art divers Afsemblys have been put and ordained divers Cratchets by the 176            THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES best advice of Magts. Fellows. Tunc unus ex seniorib' tentat librum et illi potent manum suam super librum Every man that is A Mason take good heed to these Charges (we pray) that if any man find himself guilty of any of these Charges that he amend or principally for dread of God you that be Charged to take good heed that ye keep all these Charges well for it is A great perill for A man to forswear himself upon A Book.

 

The frst Charge is this that ye shall be true men to God and his Holy Church and to use no errour or Heresy by your understanding and by wise mens teaching also.

 

Second that you shall be true Liege‑men to the Present King of England and Succefsively without Treason or Treachery or falshood and that ye know no treason treachery or falshood but that ye shall give knowledge thereof to the King or to his Councill also ye shall be true one to another (that is to say) every Mason of the Craft that is Mason allowed (yt is to say have entred into the Society by passing a Lodge and being approved by ye Single Charges) ye shall do to him as ye would be done unto your Self.

 

Third ye shall keep truly all the Counsell that ought to be kept in the way of Masonhood and all the Counsell of the Lodge or of the Chamber also that ye be no thief nor thieves to your knowledge free that you shall be true to the King Lord or Master that ye serve and truly to see and work for his Advantage Fourth ye shall call all Masons your Fellows or your Brethren and no other names Fifth ye shall not take your Fellows wife in villany nor deflowr his daughter or Servant nor put him to any disworship Sixth ye shall pay truly for your meat and drink wheresoever ye shall go to table or board Also ye shall do no villany there whereby the Craft or Science may be Slandered. These be all the Charges Generall to every true Mason both Masters and Fellows.

 

Now WILL I REHEARSE UNTO YOU OTHER CHARGES SINGLE FOR Masons ALLOWED OR ACCEPTED Firstly that no Mason take on him any Lords work nor other mans unlefs he know himself well able to perform the work so that the Craft have no slander.

 

Secondly also that no Master take work but that he take reasonable pay for it so that the Lord may be truly served and the Master to live honestly and to pay his Fellows truly and that no Master or Fellow supplant others of their work that is to say if he hath taken a work or else stand Master of any work that he shall not put him out unlefs he be unable of cuning to mak an end of his work and no Master nor Fellow THE OLD CHARGES IN 18TH CENTURY MASONRY 177 shall take an apprentice for lefs then Seaven years and that the Apprentice be free born and of limbs whole as a man ought to be and no bastard and that no Master or Fellow take Any allowance to be made Mason without the Afsent of his Fellows att the least Six or Seaven.

 

Thirdly that he may be able in all degrees that is ffree born of a good Kindred true and no bondman and that he have his right limbs as a man ought to have Fourthly that a Master take no apprentice without he have occupation sufficient to occupy two or three at the least.

 

Fifthly that no Master nor Fellow put away any Lords work to task that ought to be Journey work.

 

Sixthly that every Master give pay to his Fellows and Servants as they may deserve so that he be not defamed with false working and that none Slander another behind his back to make him loose his good name Seventhly that no Fellow in the house or abroad answer another ungodly or reproveably without a cause.

 

Eighthly that every Master Mason do Reverence his Elder and that a Mason be no common player at Cards Dice or Hazzard nor att other unlawfull plays through the which the Science and Craft may be dishonoured and slandered Ninthly that no Fellow go into the town by night except he have a Fellow with him who may bear record for him that he was in an honest place Tenthly that every Master and Fellow shall come to the Assembly if it be within 50 miles of him if he have any warning and i f he have trefspafsed against the Craft to abide the award of Masters and Fellows.

 

Eleventhly that every Master Mason and Fellow that hath trefspafsed against the Craft shall stand to the Correction of other Masters and Fellows to make him accord and if they cannot accord to go to the Common Law.

 

Twelfthly that a Master or Fellow make not a mold‑stone square nor rule to no Lowen nor set any Lowen within their Lodge nor without to Mold‑stone Thirteenthly that every Mason receive and cherish strange Fellows when they come over the Countrey and set them on work as the manner is (if they will work) that is to say if the Mason have any Mold Stone in his place he shall give him a mold‑stone and set him on work and If he have none the Mason shall refresh him with money unto the next Lodge.

 

Fourteenthly that every Mason shall true serve his Master for his pay Fifteenthly that every Master shall truly make an end of his work task or Iourney whether so it be.

 

178     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES These be all the Charges And covenants that ought to be read att the makeing of Free mason or Free Masons The Almighty God of Jacob who ever have you and me in his keeping Blefs us now and ever AMEN APPENDIX I. Forms of the Oath. From the Old Charges : I A: B: doe in ye prsence of Almighty God & my ffellowes and Bretheren, here prsent, pmise & declare, yt I will not att any tyme hereafter, b~ any act or circumstance wtsoever directly, or indirectly, publish, discover, or reveale, or make knowne, any of ye Secretts, priviledges or Councells of ye ffraternity or ffellowshipp of ffree masonry, which att any time hereafter shall be made knowne vnto me, Soe helpe me God, & ye holy Contents of this booke. (Grand Lodge 2.) These charges wch wee now rehearse to you, and all other the Charges, Secrets and Mysteries belonging to Free‑Masonry, you shall faithfully and truely keep together with the Councel of this Lodge or Chamber You sb all not for any Gift, Bribe or Reward favour or Affection directly or Indirectly for any Cause whatsoever divulge or disclose to either Father or Mother Sister or Brother Wife Child friend Relation or Stranger or any other prson whatsoever. So help you God yor Holy doom and the Contents of this Book. (Harris 1.) These Charges that you haue Received you shall well and truly keepe, not discloseing the secresy of our Lodge to man woman nor Child: sticke nor stone: thing moueable nor vnmoveable soe god you helpe and his holy Doome Amen. (Buchanan.) From the Harleian 2054 fragment: There is Severall words & signes of a free mason to be reveiled to yu wch as yu will answ: before God at the Great & terrible day of Judgmt yu keep secret & not to reveile the same in the heares of any person or to any but to the Mrs & fellows of the said Society of free masons so helpe me God &c.

 

From the Catechisms By God himself, As yow shall answer to God, when you shall stand before him naked at the great day, yow Shall not reveal any part of what yow hear or see at this time, Neither by word or write, nor put it into write at any time, Nor draw with the point of a Sword or any Instrument, upon the Snow THE OLD CHARGES IN 18TH CENTURY MASONRY 179 or Sand, Nor shall yow Speak of it, but with an entered Mason, So help, God. (Chetwode Crawley, c. 1700.) I Solemnly protest and swear, in the Presence of Almighty God, and this Society, that I will not, by Word of Mouth or Signs, discover any Secrets which shall be communicated to me this Night, or at any time hereafter: That I will not write, carve, engrave, or cause to be written, carved, or engraven the same, either upon Paper, Copper, Brass, Wood, or Stone, or any Moveable or Immoveable, or any other way discover the same, to any but a Brother or Fellow Craft, under no less Penalty than having my Heart pluck'd thro' the Pap of my Left‑Breast, my Tongue by the Roots from the Roof of my Mouth, my Body to be burnt, and my Ashes to be scatter'd abroad in the Wind, whereby I may be lost to the Remembrance of a Brother. (Grand Whimsy,' 1730.) As I shall answer before God at the great day, and this company, I shall heal and conceal, or not divulge or make known the secrets of the mason‑word, (Here one is taken bound, not to write them on paper, parchment, timber, stone, sand, snow, &c.), under the pain of having my tongue taken out from beneath my chowks,and my heart out from beneath my left oxter, and my body buried within the sea‑mark, where it ebbs and flows twice in the twenty‑four hours. (Mason's Confession, 1755.) You must serve God according to the best of your Knowledge and Institution, and be a true Leige Man to the King, and help and assist any Brother so far as your Ability will allow: By the Contents of the Sacred Writ you will perform this Oath. So help you God. (Grand Mystery Discovered, 1724.) APPENDIX II.

 

By‑Laws of the Lodge at the Black Bull, Spalding.

 

(The portions of the following within brackets are contemporary additions to the original MS. which appears at the end of a bound volume containing, among other items, a copy of the 1723 B. of C., which was in the possession of Maurice Johnson, the Founder of the Gentlemen's Society of Spalding.) (Rules of the Lodge of Free Masons at Spalding in Lincolnshire No. 175, Black Bull. Mr. Matthew Everetts June 22d 1739.

 

(In a List of Regular Lodges according to their Seniority & Constitution by Order of ye Grand officers all engraven by J. Pine & dedicated to Jno. Earle of Kintore Grand Master 1740 p. 15.

 

(Transcribed from the Original under the hand and Seale of the Right Honourable Robert Lord Raymond Baron of Abbots Langley then Grand Master and Sent to Mr. John Grundy Mathematician and Master of that Lodge.) Charges and Regulations.

 

Laid down in severall Rules, which are to be observed, and strictly fulfilled, by every Brother that now is, or may be hereafter admitted a Member I Also known as The Mystery of Free‑Masonry.

 

180     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES of our antient and honourable Society of free and accepted Masons, at our Lodge held at Spalding, in the County of Lincoln. AD. 1740. AL. 5740.

 

Rule 1 St.

 

All Masons are strictly enjoyn'd to pay due Honour, Obedience, & Reverence to the great and almighty Architect; who hath by his Infinite Power, and Wisdom, form'd all worlds, in the great Expansion of Space, as well as every other Body, or Being; moveable, or immoveable, therein contain'd. And as a farther Manifestation to us Mortals, of his Incomprehensible wisdom, and Goodness, govern this great Creation by his wonderfull Providence in that Beautifull Harmony, Order and Proportion in which they appear to all Beings, in every Part of the great Fabrick of infinite Space, and Duration, By this Rule it will evidently appear, that every Brother is enjoyn'd to be a peaceable Subject to the civil Powers wherein he resides, or workes, and never to be concern'd in Plots, or Conspiraces against the Peace and Welfare of the Nation; or to behave himself undutifully to inferiour Magistrates; but in a loving, curtious, and affable Conversation behave himself to all Mankind, so as to answer the true End of Society for which he was intended by the great Creator of all Kings.

 

Rule 2d.

 

The intent of Masonry is to knitt, and (blank) all Brothers into a more close and strict Tie of Harmony, and Friendship than the rest of Mankind, hence Brothers are hereby injoyned to live in the strictest Ties of Friendship with each other at all Times, free from all Malice, Slandering, or Backbiting each other; but to the utmost of their Power, aid and assist each other, both in their Words and Actions, provided it may not be prejudicial to their own Circumstances so to do: to be sober, honest, and industrious in their own respective callings, or Stations of Life; Always observing this royal Law, and Rule, of doing to others, as Reason and Religion direct we shou'd be done by in the like Circumstances; the Sum of which is acting upon the Square, and living within the compass with all Mankind.

 

Rule 3d.

 

All Manner of Disputes, or debates about Religion, or Politicks are wholy to be omitted between Brothers, especially within Lodge, for as the royal Art of Masonry teachet Us to bear no ill Will toward any Brother, on account of his own private Thoughts in Matters of Religion provided they be good en and true, or Men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever Denomination or Perswasion they may be distinguished by This way of Proceeding Masons become the Center of Union, as well as the Means of conciliating true Friendship amongst Persons that might have remain'd at a perpetual Distance.

 

THE OLD CHARGES IN 18TH CENTURY MASONRY 181 Rule 4th.

 

The Place where Masons assemble, and work, for the Improvement of each other in Arts, and Sciences, Viz, Arithmetick, Geometry, Architecture, Astronomy, Navigation, and every other Branch, Mathematical, Philosophical, Musical, or Machanical; besides History, Antiquity, Anotamy, Botany, military Architecture and every other usefull Branch of Knowledge by which the Understanding of any Brother may be improved, is call'd a Lodge; in which Place every Brother ought to be an usefull member, and to communicate such knowledge as by him at any Time may be found out; Except, such Nostrums by which he may recieve Damage to himself or Family, if made known to some of the Brethren in the Lodge, of the like Calling or Occupation.

 

Rule 5th.

 

The Persons to be admitted Members of a Lodge must be good, and true Men, free born, and of mature and discreet Age, no Bondman, no Woman, no immoral or Scandilous Men, but of good Report, and such, as in some usefull Branch of Knowledge excell others in their Way; For as the Honour of Masonry hath been always the best supported where the antient Constitutions; and Regulations have been. the most strictly observed, it is by us thought Expedient, that in Conformty to such Regulations, no Brother shall drink to Excess, Swear, or talk loosely, or profainly of any Matter, during the Time the Lodge is open, without being duly censured, and find by the rest of the Brotherhood in Proportion to the Offence.

 

Rule 6th.

 

The Time of opening, and closeing the Lodge, is fixed to be from seven Clock in the Evening, till Ten and no longer, and no longer, and to be held every first Wednesday in each Month of the Year. Except some extra ordinary Occasion oblidges Us to convene the Brotherhood oftner, in all such Cases a Lodge may be call'd, and Work done, as it shall appear necessary to the Masters and Wardens of the said Lodge.

 

Rule 7th.

 

All Preferments among Masons to be grounded upon real Worth, and personall Merit only, for if not, the Brethren may be put to shame, and the royall Craft despised; but in Order to prevent such Irregularitys, no Brother ought to be made, or rais'd, without the Consent of the Majority of the Brethren belonging to to the same Lodge, Hence, in all Baloting to Raise or make a Brother, the Master is to stand for 3, the Warden for 2 Voices.

 

Rule 8th.

 

Lastly it is to be observ'd as a constant Rule that every Brother shall be oblidged to spend sixpence every Lodge Night, if he drinks ale only, but his 182       THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES Shilling if he drinks Wine, Punch, or any other Liquor that is of a higher Price than Ale; but no more during the opening, and closeing the Lodge. And, farther, that every Brother shall be oblidged to leave the House in which the Lodge is kept, on all Lodge Nights by the Hour of Eleven at Night for Fear of giving Scandal or ill Report to the Lodge, as well as the Brotherhood; It is not intended by these Rules to forbid any Part of innocent Mirth amongst Brothers, but on ye contrary, when the Work of the Lodge is over; Any, or every Brother may sing and divert themselvs in all Manner of innocent Recreations, that are no Ways contradictory to the aforesaid Rules, and Regulations. It is farther to be observed that each Brother will be oblidged to attend on Lodge Nights, except extraordinary Buisiness prevents his coming in all such Cases, he will be oblidg'd to pay his sixpence in the same Manner as if there.

 

THE ART, CRAFT, SCIENCE OR `MISTERY' OF MASONRY (THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1934) by BRO. F. FIGHIERA, P.G.D.

 

I have ventured to take as the title of the Lecture "THE ART, CRAFT, SCIENCE OR `MISTERY' OF MASONRY" because, in our ritual, those terms, except the peculiar word "Mistery", are used to describe the Body Masonic.

 

I may here explain that word "Mistery". It has nothing to do with the word "Mystery", or "Mysteries", so constantly cropping up in the course of our ceremonies. The word "Mistery" is the old French word Mestier, which is now spelled Metier‑Art or Craft. I hold the opinion that it was that old French word which originally formed part of our Ritual. Aural transmission has, I am sure, been the cause of many changes in the wording of our ceremonies. In my view, when the words "the Secrets or Mysteries" appear in our ritual, particularly in the Obligation, the original context probably was "the Secrets of the Mistery". Because we bind ourselves to hele, conceal and never reveal certain quite defined things, the ceremonies are unjustifiably denominated Mysteries, as though they were a continuation or adoption or adaptation of the Mysteries of antiquity, for the most part entirely pagan in their origin.

 

From the first we come up against the everlasting and controversial question: Whence has come this Masonry of ours ?     I can only answer that query according to my own definite conviction. Any other derivationand many others are put forward‑seems to me to rest on a confusion of ideas which has sought to convert symbolical parables into historical facts.

 

My conviction is that we originally derived from the antient Gilds. Of the origin of most of those Societies there is little or no documented evidence, but there are legends, tradition and myths‑as in our own case of Masonry‑which have come down to the present day with a veneer of possibility laid upon a fairly solid foundation of improbability.

 

As far as the London City Gilds are concerned, the Great Fire of 1666 doubtless consumed very many of their records‑in many instances, all of them. The catastrophe‑the beneficent catastrophe, as it might, in certain respects, be called‑was too far flung, too personal to each citizen, to permit of thoughts for records, then probably not appraised as of sufficient value to merit any risk or even a second thought, but which today would be priceless.

 

183 184          THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES

 

For the most part, these Gilds, like our Masonry, have ceased to be "operative", and have become purely "Speculative", administering old legacies and endowments left by Masters, Wardens or members of the "Mistery" for specific purposes, for promoting education and training, or for bestowing charity. A few, very few, still keep up their "Mistery" and they are those whose functions are as live today as they were centuries ago, such as Fishmongers, Goldsmiths, Carpenters, Turners, Leathersellers, Plumbers, etc., etc.

 

To permit of some kind of comparison with Masonry, I propose to quote a few extracts from the 11th Edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica under the title of "GILDS".

 

"Medieval Gilds were voluntary associations formed for the mutual aid and protection of their Members. Among the Gildsmen there was a strong spirit of fraternal co‑operation or Christian brotherhood with a mixture of worldly and religious ideals‑the support of the body and the salvation of the soul.

 

Early meanings of the root Gild or Geld were expiation, penalty, sacrifice or worship, feast or banquet and contribution or payment: It is difficult to determine which is the earliest meaning, and we are not certain whether the gildsmen were originally those who contributed to a common fund or those who worshipped or feasted together.

 

Their fraternities or societies may be divided into 3 classes: religious or benevolent, merchant and craft gilds. The last two categories, which do not become prominent anywhere in Europe until the 12th century, had, like all gilds, a religious tinge, but their aims were primarily worldly and their functions were mainly of an economic character.

 

Various theories have been advanced concerning the origin of gilds. Some writers regard them as a continuation of the Roman Collegia and sodalitates, but there is little evidence to prove the unbroken continuity of existence of the Roman and Germanic fraternities ...

 

No theory on this subject can be satisfactory which wholly ignores the influence of the Christian Church. Imbued with the idea of the brotherhood of man, the Church naturally fostered the early growth of Gilds, and tried to make them displace the old heathen banquets. The work of the Church was, however, directive rather than creative. Gilds were a natural manifestation of the associative spirit which is inherent in mankind." Dealing with the Religious Gilds, after the Norman Conquest, the writer continues: "Each member took an oath of admission, paid an entrance fee and made a small annual contribution to the common fund. The brethren THE `MISTERY' OF MASONRY 185 were aided in old age, sickness and poverty, often also in cases of loss by robbery, shipwreck and conflagration . . . Alms were often given to non‑gildsmen: Lights were supported at certain altars: feasts and processions were held periodically: the funerals of brethren were attended: and masses for the dead were provided from the common purse or from special contributions made by gildsmen . . ." Coming to the craft gilds, we read: "A craft gild usually comprised all the artisans in a single branch of industry in a particular town. Such a fraternity was commonly called a "mistery" or "company" in the 15th and 16th centuries, though the old term "gild" was not yet obsolete ...

 

Officers, commonly called `Wardens' in England, were elected by the members ...

 

The craft fraternities were not suppressed by the statute of 1547 (I Edward VI). They were indeed expressly exempted from its general operation. Such portions of their revenues as were devoted to definite religious observances were, however, appropriated by the Crown. The revenues confiscated were those used for the finding, maintaining or sustentation of any priest, or of any anniversary, or obit, lamp, light, or other such things.

 

This has been aptly called `the disendowment of the religion of the misteries' ".

 

Mutatis mutandis most of what has been quoted in regard to Gilds equally applies to Masonry. But there are other points of similarity, such as, for instance, the common imposition of "secrecy". Once the apprentice came out of his Articles‑probably even before that, in many instanceshe had to make a solemn declaration to maintain secrecy. I am going to quote the pertinent part of that of the Worshipful Company of Turners in London, of which I was Master for two consecutive years. Many new members joined the Livery of the Company during that period and it was, I suppose, the constant reiteration of the words of the ancient formula by the Clerk of the Company which, perhaps not unnaturally, impressed me. They were: "the secrets of the said Mistery you shall keep and all such communications, consultations and conclusions as shall be had at any of the assemblies or Meetings amongst the men of the said Mistery or Art at their common Hall, or in any other Place which ought to be concealed, you shall keep secret and not disclose the same to any Person or Persons whereby any hurt or prejudice may grow either to the said Company or to any other Person or Persons whatsoever . . ." etc.

 

It seems to me that the Liveryman's declaration of secrecy is the foundation on which our Obligation on admission to the Craft was based. We have greater detail but the speculative Masonic Obligation descends 186     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES from the operative Masonic Oath, and identically the same caution is evidenced in each case. I have not ascertained, but it would probably be found that these conditions apply to many if not to all, of the other Gilds. One would certainly expect it in the Worshipful Company of Masons and in some of the other Gilds, of what I may perhaps be permitted to term "creative" as against the "merchant" or religious Gilds.

 

Furthermore‑and this is very important‑we were, like the Gilds, not only Christian, but Roman Catholic, for there was no other Christian religion in those days but the Roman Catholic‑at any rate in Western or North Western Europe.

 

In our operative, as in our early speculative existence, we have always had special regard for St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, the dates of whose Festivals were, it may be said, almost part of the land marks. The first Grand Lodge, for instance, was constituted on the day of St. John‑in‑the‑Summer, 1717. The Festival of the Four Crowned Martyrs was also identified with the Art or Craft of the Mason and was held on 8th November (on which date the world famous Lodge of Research, Quatuor Coronati, No. 2076, named after the Four Crowned Martyrs, holds its annual Installation Meeting). St. John also was an important feature in the Royal Arch, but has now been eliminated therefrom, after the abandonment of the Christian qualification for Masonry. We can be quite sure that neither the Gilds, nor our Masonry (in its operative days) would have been tolerated by the Church of Rome except as Roman Catholic institutions. It is equally obvious that all the Gilds, social, religious or trade, had Patron Saints and held Gild Masses. The first general charge in Masonry directs "that ye shall use neither error nor heresy", an expression which is clearly pre‑Reformation.

 

Let us now turn for a moment to the mottoes of a few of the Gilds, selected haphazard. The Fishmongers "All worship be to God only"; The Sadlers "Our trust is in God"; The Drapers "Unto God only be honour and glory"; the Tallow Chandlers Ecce Agnus Dei qui tollit peccata mundi ("Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the World"); the Mercers Honor Deo. Lastly the Company of Masons "God is our Guide". To this Gild we may be said to have an especial attachment. As was the case with many of the City Companies, this Gild lost nearly the whole of its records in the Great Fire of London. Its grant of Arms, the same as now used by the Company, is dated 12th Edward IV (1472), the style of the Company at that date being "Master and Wardens of the Company of Free Masons within the City of London". The Charter of Charles II, in addition to making the aforesaid Free Masons "one body corporate with the customary privileges" gave power "where any stones to be used in the Art or trade of Masonry should be brought or laid, to search and see whether the same be of proper length and measure, and well and sufficiently wrought". All these gilds recognized the grades of apprentice, THE `MISTERY' OF MASONRY    187 fellow and master. Is it not from this foundation that we and our Masonic Degrees derived ? These gilds, societies or "misteries", call them what you will, were distinguished one from another by their Livery. This uniform was their "distinguishing badge". Nowadays uniforms are resented on the plea of their being badges of servitude. Rather are they badges of service. They possessed great moral value, for men in those days would always carry and behave themselves so as not to bring disgrace or contumely upon the Gild, its membership or the craft or "mistery" for which it stood. Those were all Brethren trained "to work diligently, live creditably and act honourably by all men". Is not our Livery today the badge with which we are invested‑the badge of innocence and the bond of friendship‑at our Initiation; the Fellow Craft's, the Master Mason's and the Installed Master's badges, each of which has a definite significance which the Master explains and each symbolizing progress and reward for merit ? I have told you and shown that our Masonry was originally Christian and Roman Catholic. Let us gather some further evidence.

 

The Old Charges, so inappropriately termed "Constitutions", nearly all contain an invocation to the Trinity: some allude to Holy Mother Church, a Roman Catholic expression; and the oldest of them, as far as we at present know dated as of about 1400, contains the following: "Pray we now to God almyght and to hys moder Mary bryght". Obviously these are Christian and Trinitarian, and they certainly relate to our "Mistery" or Gild of Operative Masons.

 

Early in the 18th century our Masonry was converted to Monotheism. That is, the Book of Constitutions no longer imposed the qualification of Christianity for membership: the Craft was thrown open to persons of any religion. The First Charge now lays it down clearly and definitively "Let a man's religion or mode of worship be what it may, he is not excluded from the order, provided he believe in the glorious architect of heaven and earth and practice the sacred duties of morality." This was a distinct innovation, but there is, as far as I know, no evidence of any protest being registered against the revolution. And it is remarkable that the Rev. Dr. James Anderson, the Presbyterian, and the Rev. John Theophilus Desaguliers, the Episcopalian, the third Grand Master, were prominent Masons at that time and they must have acquiesced in, if they did not promote, the change.

 

This definite departure from Christianity, and the adoption as the new and only requisite qualification for Masonry, already quoted "Let a man's religion or mode of worship be what it may ... etc." caused the Pope, by 1738, to take action: he could not accept the position, and so, on the 28th April of that year, Clement XII launched his famous Bull In Eminenti, excommunicating Masonry not merely because it was a secret Society imposing an Oath, but because, under its new Constitution, men of all religious 188  THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES creeds‑Jews, Mohammedans, Hindus, Parsees, etc.‑were admissible as candidates. This was heresy. So long as we were Roman Catholic, like the other Gilds, we were no doubt encouraged: while we remained Christian, we were tolerated: but Monotheism could not be for one moment sanctioned. Pope Benedict XIV confirmed this Bull.

 

But not everywhere was the example followed which was set by our Grand Lodge of dispensing with Christianity as a qualification. Masonry in some Continental countries still remains definitively Christian.

 

Thus in 1932 our M.W. Pro. Grand Master and a deputation from Grand Lodge, you will recollect, went, at the invitation of the M.W. Grand Master of Sweden, H.M. King Gustav V, to that country and witnessed some of the ceremonies as there performed. It was indeed in Sweden that our late Grand Master, H.R.H. the Prince of Wales (afterwards King Edward VII) was initiated. The qualification in Sweden for Masonry is still, not only Christian, but actually the candidate must be of the Lutheran faith.

 

We need not, however, go as far afield as Sweden or Scandinavia to find Christianity recognized in contemporary Masonry. We find it in our next door neighbour, Ireland.

 

Some years ago, quite accidentally, I had occasion to refer to the Book of Constitutions of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. There I found alternative prayers to those ordinarily used inthe Craft ceremonies and they were Christian.

 

I am told that the alternative prayers which I am about to quote are likely to be eliminated, if this has not already been done, but they exist in the 1926 edition, although, even there, they have undergone a slight variation from the edition of 1914, where I first saw them. The Book of Constitutions states, after giving the prayers to be used in Lodges, that the following alternative prayers may be used instead of the foregoing. There is then one "At the opening of the Grand Lodge or Provincial Grand Lodge" another "At the Initiation of a Candidate", etc. In the 1914 edition the prayers at the opening of Lodges, at the closing of Lodges, at the Initiation, Passing, etc., concluded bythe words "Through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen".

 

In the case of the one for the Raising, that edition terminated "Grant this, Most Merciful Father, for Jesus Christ's sake, our blessed Lord and Saviour". These particular words have been eliminated from the 1926 edition.

 

I am told that these prayers are comparatively modern and date to somewhere about the middle of the 19th century, but, at any rate, they do appear at the end of the Book of Constitutions and, therefore, have the approbation of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. The following is the prayer at the Raising of a Candidate to the Third Degree: "O Most High God, Thou Great Architect of Heaven and earth, who, by the leading of a star didst manifest Thyself to the Gentile world, and hast built Thy Church upon a sure foundation, Christ Jesus being the chief comer stone, grant that we being led by Thy THE `MISTERY' OF MASONRY            189 Holy Spirit, may unfold the mysteries of Godliness and Christianity: and, being so joined together in unity and love, may be made a holy temple, acceptable in Thy sight. We implore Thee to pour down upon this our Convocation . . ." and the end of the prayer is practically that in use among us. I am indebted to W. Bro. Heron Lepper, Prestonian Lecturer in 1932, for the loan of The Constitution of Freemasonry of Ireland, dated 1817. This contains two Christian prayers. One of these recites, almost verbatim, the presentday wording of the alternative prayer in the 1926 edition of the Book of Constitutions at the initiation of a candidate. I will, however, only quote from the end of this prayer: "Endue him with a competency of Thy divine wisdom that he may, with the secret of Freemasonry, be able to unfold the mysteries of Godliness and Christianity. This we most humbly beg, in the name and for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Saviour, Amen".

 

And then we have in the same book another prayer entitled "A prayer used among the primitive Christian Masons": "The might of the Father of Heaven, and the wisdom of his glorious son through the Grace and Goodness of the Holy Ghost, being three persons in one Godhead, be with us at our beginning and give us grace to govern us here in our living, that we may come to his bliss that never shall have end. A‑men." This is, in fact, the opening phrase of most versions of the Old Charges. Another point of similarity between Masonry and Gildry, and which is surely also something more than a mere coincidence, is that, the Gilds were, as we have seen, associations formed for the mutual aid and protection of their members‑in other words, for administering Charity‑and so the first authority set up by Grand Lodge at its inception was "the Committee of Charity". The Board of Benevolence of today is the direct descendant from that original body. The Board of General Purposes came at a later date. As we have seen, Masonry in the early days of the 18th century became Monotheistic. That change to Monotheism, much as it may be regretted or questioned in certain quarters, was, however, in my humble judgement, one of the greatest achievements of the Society and one which I venture to think did more to consolidate and strengthen it, ensuring its steady growth and liberating it from the weakening consequences of, and possible dangers from, dogmatic discussions within the portals of the Lodge. By this wider and broader substituted qualification the Craft warranted its declaration that "Masons unite with the virtuous of every persuasion in the firm and pleasing bond of fraternal love" and " . . . strive, by the purity of their own conduct, to demonstrate the superior excellence of the Faith they may profess".

 

190     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES And lastly, and most vital of all, it established on a firm and immutable foundation, the brotherhood of man under the Fatherhood of God. Nothing more, I think, need be said in justification of the change and as an instance of the effect it wrought, we need only turn to India. A Masonic lodge is the only place in that vast peninsula where men of every faith will foregather in amity and perfect brotherhood under one roof and there will be found, as in our Lodges at home, that great landmark, the Volume of the Sacred Law unfolded. But there, there may be four or five books, each in the language, and embodying the faith of the respective attending Sects, thus retaining the essential of our Masonic structure, without interfering with the individual forms of religion. If, therefore, we today reverted to our pre‑Grand Lodge days, what an overwhelming chasm would be created in our ranks, without a single benefit to humanity at large, to religion in general or to our Society in particular. If I may so express it, we would become purely parochial by comparison with the universality of our existing institution. One cannot therefore but feel that Anderson and Desaguliers, Preston and Oliver, and others appreciated, as I hope we do, the possibilities of Masonry on its Monotheistic foundation, and we therefore accept Monotheism as a creative, rather than a destructive force in our Society.

 

Coming now to the matter of lodge working, to which I must make reference, however laconic, one here encounters the same lack of authentic information in regard to its origin as marks the early history of the Craft itself.

 

In the Gild operative days and probably in the earliest stages of our Masonry, the admission was doubtless a very simple ceremony. The reading of the Charges, the administration of the Oath of Secrecy, and perhaps the communication of a word, token and/or possibly, a sign. GraduallyI venture to think very gradually‑doubtless during the period of transition from the operative to the speculative condition, this formality was shaped into a Degree. One is forced to the conclusion that, at some period, something recorded in writing was put together, committed to memory and recited to those who entered Masonry in its growing speculative form. I think that we are entitled to say that this Ritual, adapted to the changed conditions, was not just a haphazard creation, but rather emerged from the simpler formulae of the `operative lodges' and was modelled to meet the changing and changed conditions. I share the view that there was originally but one Degree. We have, however, no definite information on this point, but it seems a reasonable deduction. If we rehearse the First and Second Degrees, as we have them today, the phraseology and turns of the sentences seem of the same period. Let me put it another way. In general style, the Third Degree differs materially from the First and Second. It is of a later date. One gathers that round about the formation of Grand Lodge there already were two Degrees‑the First and the Second. The Third then followed. There being Degrees, there had to be relative openings of the Lodge.

 

THE `MISTERY' OF MASONRY      191 But in all this, as I shall laconically show, quite material changes in wording soon imposed themselves.

 

Grand Lodge and its early subordinate Lodges had just about settled down to their respective functions when sundry spurious rituals and expositions etc. followed each other and were commonly offered for sale. Grand Lodge did not, as far as I know, enter into discussions as to the merits or demerits of these pamphlets, nor even attempt to traverse the claims for truth which their authors made. It prudently took action and changes were quietly made in the signs, tokens etc., and, in due course, promulgated to the subordinate Lodges so as to ensure that no stranger should gain admission to a Lodge as the result of assimilating the contents of these spurious publications. That these changes had become numerous is demonstrated by the fact that, in 1810, the `Moderns' Grand Lodge of 1717, warranted the Lodge of Promulgation for the purpose of reverting to the ancient landmarks of the Order‑thus admitting a departure from them. But rather more than half a century before then, the Grand Lodge of the `Ancients' had come into existence and this most formidable rival, of Irish origin, had also caused still further changes. I do not propose to enter into the quarrels as between those Grand Lodges, but the point which I wish to make is that the Ritual, as we have it today, undoubtedly differs very materially from the ritual of the early days of the first Grand Lodge. In 1813, the Lodge of Reconciliation was warranted in order to reconcile the two or more workings of that period. Almost its earliest step was to decide that no written notes should be made of the ritual or ceremonies and that no record should be kept, beyond unenlightening Minutes. There only remains, therefore, one course open to us in order to endeavour to trace the original ritual and ceremonies and that is to see what was done by those who followed the original Grand Lodge, and the first of these was the Grand Lodge of Ireland. I do not think that there is any more documental proof in that case than in ours, but that Grand Lodge was not as directly afflicted as was ours by these pamphleteers, rival Grand Lodges, or people who sought to make money out of the secrets that they claimed to be revealing. There must have hence been less interference with the ritual and ceremonies than occurred in England.

 

There is a notable difference between Ireland and ourselves at the time of the dividing up of the Single Degree into two and I am not sure that the Irish version is not more sensible than ours‑certainly it adds to the interest of the Second Degree.

 

Our First Degree symbolizes birth or the early life of man‑his boyhood. He is ignorant and uninstructed, but during that period the foundations of knowledge and education are being laid in him. Obviously one of the virtues that would be inculcated into every youth is that of charity, but I think that probably most of us would admit that the precepts or examples of charity set before us in our school days probably only left a more or less general impression upon our minds or hearts. This is the consideration 192       THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES which induces me to suggest that that charity test is, in Ireland, much more reasonably allocated to the Second Degree, where the candidate is reputed to have attained manhood and where he is enjoined to extend his researches into the hidden mysteries of Nature and Science. Just as the expression "Nature and Science" surely embraces every avocation of man, the addition of Charity makes up that which we designate by the comprehensive term of civilization. Already, in the Charge to the Initiate he is enjoined to study such of the liberal arts and sciences as may lie within the compass of his attainments:* this injunction is emphasized in the Second Degree, but to it is added the further direction to extend his researches into the hidden mysteries of Nature and Science.

 

The Charity test, hence, fits in better with the Second Degree than with the First, but we may have brought it into the Initiation in order to warrant the words in the Charge "Be especially careful to maintain in their fullest splendour those truly masonic ornaments which have already been amply illustratedBenevolence and Charity".

 

When we come to the Third Degree, we are, more or less, in line, except that in Scotland the Degree is somewhat more dramatic and in the United States of America decidedly theatrical, as, there, the traditional history is acted and not recited. There are obvious differences between Ireland, Bristol and such Lodges as the Royal Cumberland Lodge No. 41, Bath, etc., and the ordinary working in general use today in England. But, as I have said, our English ritual and ceremonial do not rest upon the original English lodge working of the early speculative days.

 

Clearly, openings and closings of the Lodge naturally followed the institution of the three Degrees, but these differ materially and in many respects from the Irish system‑the nearest to the original, in my opinion. Let us take an example. We have degenerated in England into a condition in which we run a grave risk of departing from our obligation of secrecy when we are content with the Master enquiring of the Senior Warden what the next care is after being satisfied that the Lodge is properly titled. His reply is "to see that none but Masons are present". That would seem to be a perfectly natural precaution, but what happens ?        The Master says "To order, Brethren, as Masons", or some such similar formula, according to the working of the Lodge, and that is all the test which occurs. In Ireland, it is the duty of the Deacons to satisfy themselves individually before any practical attempt is made to open the Lodge that those present really are Masons and to report accordingly. The same holds good in the jurisdiction of North America which must have derived from us in the early days, when our Masonry migrated to that country, as it did to Ireland. In this episode, then, we find a departure of considerable interest to us from what is the present English accepted form, and the latter, I submit, is not the original working.

 

THE `MISTERY' OF MASONRY      193 Then, again, the layout of the Lodge in Ireland differs from ours. There are three candles, but they form a separate triangle instead of being at the various pedestals as we have them. There is a space left between the Brethren and the wall, round which it is possible to perambulate with the candidate. The candidate is first conducted round that space‑behind the backs of the Brethren‑before he enters the Lodge which is contained in the space in front of the Brethren. The probabilities are that this was the general custom. Remember the words of the Wardens, "Enter, free and of good report". We perambulate today in front of the members, instead of at their backs, and that may probably account for the expression in our ritual that the candidate "is now about to pass in view before you"that is to say, inside the Lodge‑"to show that he is the candidate properly prepared etc." He does not gain his figurative admission through the Wardens with us, as he does in Ireland.

 

The openings in the three Degrees are infinitely simpler in the Irish working than in ours. When we come to the closings there is no closing in the Second or Third Degrees in Ireland. These closings, therefore, may have derived from the Lodge of Reconciliation. In Ireland they resume to the Second or to the First. And here we get another interesting point and that is the difference in our closing prayer.

 

In Ireland it recites: "May the blessing of Heaven rest upon us and all regular Masons: may brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue cement and unite us. Amen. So mote it be." This is a benediction. Ours a thanksgiving. Both, however, contain the word "cement" and include "every moral and social virtue". I believe that this prayer was in use in the Lodge of Antiquity, No. 2, although they have today the prayer as we know it.

 

I have, I hope, said enough to indicate to the Brethren directions in which they can seek for further knowledge and they will then probably appreciate, as they have never done before, how exceedingly undesirable it would be from every standpoint to standardize ritual and ceremonial, as was evidently intended in 1813, and has since been, fortunately fruitlessly, attempted. No one who has seen Irish, Scotch, Bristol or American working, or the fascinating atmosphere of age which surrounds some of our oldest Lodges, such as Antiquity, Royal Cumberland (Bath), Bristol Lodges, etc. could ever desire to see the universal adoption of a uniform ritual. There is so much of history, so great a link with what now seems to be a distant past, that it would be a thousand pities to cut ourselves adrift from those fascinating ancient customs and abandon ourselves finally and irretrievably to a mere "pelmanic" competition, a danger from which we are never quite free. There will still be those, I fear, who, without a vestige of evidence or probability, will persist in predicating that our lineal descent is from the Essenes or Comacine Masters or from the building of King Solomon's temple or 194            THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES from even earlier periods!      The elimination of the Christian qualification bears some part of the responsibility for this myth.

 

Bro. Heron Lepper's History of the Grand Lodge of Ireland dates the earliest certain reference to Freemasonry as an esoteric society to 1638 in The Muses Threnodie by Henry Adamson. He also mentions a petition of Freemasons and Bricklayers at Dublin which was answered on the 18th April 1629, but there seems to be no record of the original Petition.

 

I have brought nothing new to you by way of research for the enlightenment of Masonic students. I can only claim to have put down in my own words that which has been often said before. My sole purpose has been to offer reasons for the belief, that many of us share, that Gildry and Masonry have been built up on an identical foundation and basis. Investigations into such records as exist of our ancient Gilds would, I am confident, merely strengthen my submission, but there is, in that direction, still a field for exploration for him who has the leisure and inclination, subject always to the paucity of documents. To the man who has not the spare time for investigation, the easiest and best method of keeping abreast of the times is to belong to the Correspondence Circles of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, the Lodge of Research at Leicester or to foundations of this nature. I have not only sought to give some proof of my belief in Gildry as our main origin, but to remove that other unfounded impression, that our derivation is Hebraic in form and in fact. There always seems to me to be a great and incomprehensible reluctance to admit that we were originally Christian (and, in fact, Roman Catholic) in our operative or pre‑speculative days. This is probably due to a misapprehension as to the intention of the admonition to refrain from all topics of political or religious discussion. That injunction applies only to a discussion in our Lodges and the parpose of this is to prevent dissension amongst ourselves about matters of dogma, either political or religious, which must engender disunion. I know that many of our members have, at times, had doubts as to whether they were right in entering or remaining in our ranks because of our undefined Christian status. There is no shadow of reason whatsoever today‑and in Englandwhy we should conceal our Christian or Jewish or Mohammedan faith. It matters not‑so long as we "believe in the glorious Architect of heaven and earth and practise the sacred duties of morality".

 

FREEMASONRY AND CONTEMPLATIVE ART (THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1935) by W. BRO. W. J. BUNNEY, F.R.C.O., P.G.St.B. P.M. 523, 5429 It gives me peculiar pleasure to be here this evening to talk to you for a short time about Freemasonry and Contemplative Art. We meet also this evening to honour the memory of a great‑hearted Mason. Brother William Preston devoted the greater part of his life to expounding and practising the fundamental truths and principles of Freemasonry. "He had, in truth, the real interests of Masonry at heart and to him we are largely indebted for giving a better tone to Masonic life, and raising the standard of Masonic teaching."'      My purpose will be to uphold that standard. Previous lecturers have dealt so ably with the antiiquity, history, constitution and symbolism of Freemasonry that when considering the title for this lecture I felt that a departure from the usual method of inquiry into Masonic principles would be of interest to the brethren. I will therefore try to outline some of these principles as reflected in the three arts of Poetry, Drama and Music.

 

In the headings of the various sub‑sections I shall quote from Brother Preston's Illustrations of Masonry and from the lectures. Bro. Hills, in The Freemason's Craft, says: "Freemasonry resembles a well‑cut stone with many facets, each reflecting a different but equally pleasing light, each ray affording opportunity for study." So it is with the members of this great Order. Each of us sees the truths and principles from his own point of view, and this viewpoint varies according to one's own personality and temperament.

 

Education from our early days has been a receiving and an imparting of knowledge; and as we proceed through life, each in the pursuit of his vocation, we mingle our thoughts and experiences with those of our brethren or fellow men, to the mutual advantage of all concerned. There are, doubtless, many who, in moments of meditation, have asked themselves the questions: "What does Freemasonry mean to me?" and "What are my own personal reactions to Freemasonry ?"           The answer to the former question will determine the answer to the latter. Each one can paint upon 1 Records of the Lodge of Antiquity.

 

195 196          THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES the canvas the picture as he sees it for himself. Havelock Ellis has said: "It is possible to sublimate the material desire of grasping things into the aesthetic pleasure of contemplating them." It is with such a thought in my mind that I shall endeavour to represent Freemasonry as viewed through the three Arts, believing that they can make their own contribution to the great commonwealth of souls.

 

The poet, dramatist and musician have the power of throwing new light upon old paths, and that light diffuses itself in the minds of men in such various ways that old truths become clothed in new garments, and the new way of expressing the old thought becomes intimate by contemplation of the Art through which the expression is given. As Dryden says: "No Arts are without their precepts." The sole object of Art is the expression of the beautiful. The poet turns the slavery of metre and rhyme into a source of unexpected beauties. The dramatist presents a true picture of human nature in all its varying emotions. The musician bids us look within the soul for the highest revelation of beauty.

 

Disraeli says: "All things that are good and beautiful make us more religious. They tend to the development of the religious principle in us, which is our divine nature."   Does Freemasonry, good and beautiful as it is, make us more religious? Let us inquire. What is our Masonic creed? What does the Order teach us as to the rules of faith and conduct ?  Three vital things: first, a belief in God; second, the brotherhood of man; and third, a belief in the immortality of the soul.

 

The first of the ancient charges is very clear on the first point: "A Mason is oblig'd by his tenure to obey the moral Law; and if he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist, nor an irreligious Libertine, nor act against conscience."' "In antient Times, the Christian Masons were charged to comply with the Christian Usages of each Country where they travelled or worked; being found in all Nations, even of divers Religions."2 Secondly, the brotherhood of man. "By the exercise of brotherly love we are taught to regard the whole human species as one family, the high and low, the rich and poor, created by one Almighty Being and sent into the world for the aid, support and protection of each other. On this principle Masonry unites men of every country, sect and opinion, and by its dictates conciliates true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained at a pepetual distance."3 And, thirdly, a belief in the immortality of the soul. " . . . the third degree is the cement of the whole; it is calculated to bind men 1 Book of Constitutions, 1723. [Note: The last four words do not appear in the Charge. Ed.] 2 Ahiman Rezon, 1756. 3 Lectures i., Section 6.

 

FREEMASONRY AND CONTEMPLATIVE ART 197 together by mystic points of fellowship, as in a bond of fraternal affection and brotherly love; it points to the darkness of death and to the obscurity of the grave as the forerunner of a more brilliant light, which shall follow at the resurrection of the just, when these mortal bodies, which have been long slumbering in the dust, shall be awakened, re‑united to their kindred spirit and clothed with immortality."' I have quoted from the Third Lecture, but I take it to mean the spiritual not the natural body.

 

"This creed is sufficient to show that the chief feature of Freemasonry is its sacred and solemn character and that a religious tone prevails throughout the ceremonial."2 If it does not make a Mason more religious it is not the fault of the system, but of the devotee. Surely we have in the Charge delivered to every initiate a philosophy based upon such a firm foundation as to withstand every assault that may be brought against it.

 

Now let us see how the contemplative arts have been used to express the fundamental principles of Freemasonry, beginning with poetry. As a general exposition of Freemasonry there is the Ode by Bro. W. R. Wright, delivered at the Masonic Union Assembly, December 27th, 1813. This is printed in Hughan's Memorials of the Masonic Union. Also the Ode by Bro. Cunningham in Preston's Illustrations, fourteenth edition. They are both too long to give here, but the latter concludes with these lines: "Hail to the Craft! at whose supreme command The gentle arts in glad obedience stand.

 

O ! may her social rules instructive spread, Till Truth erect her long neglected head! Till through deceitful night she dart her ray And beam full glorious in the blaze of day! Till men by virtuous maxims learn to move, Till all the peopled world her laws approve, And Adam's race are bound in Brother's love." The three grand principles of the Order are Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. The relief of the distressed is a duty incumbent upon all men, particularly Masons. One of the most impressive sections of the ceremony of initiation is that peculiar moment when the candidate is asked: "Have you anything to give to poor and distressed Masons ?" At this unexpected moment what conflicting thoughts pass through his mind! How deeply impressive, when the address in the north‑east part of the Lodge is delivered with true sincerity and sympathy!           It is a lesson which none of us ever forgets.

 

Charity and loving sympathy have been expressed with deep feeling in an "Address to the Freemasons" written by Eliza Cook3 and delivered at their 1 ibid. 111, 1.

 

2 J. T. Thorp, Religion and Freemasonry.

 

3 Poems by Eliza Cook, Lansdowne Poets, F. Warne & Co.

 

198     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES Festival on June 21st, 1848, in aid of the funds of their Institution for Poor and Aged Masons. The poem is in the form of a parable. I give the concluding lines: "Ye willing workers in a sacred band, Among the noblest in our noble landYe gladly build in Charity's blest name The Christian altars raised to England's fame; Altars that serve to break the storms that rage In fearful gloom round Poverty and Age; Ye help the helpless with a cheerful zeal, Ye feel for Want as man should ever feel; Ye shed the essence of your God around, For God is seen where Charity is found.

 

Fear not to die, for freely do ye spare Some of the "talents" trusted to your care: Well may ye hope to gain the highest flight Toward the portal of celestial light; For if that portal Mercy's plume can win, Ye bear the pinions that shall let you in." The authoress must have had in mind the Volume of the Sacred Law, in which St. Paul says: "And now abideth Faith, Hope and Charity, these three, but the greatest of these is Charity," symbolized by the three irregular steps in the first degree‑Faith, Hope, and Charity, the third step, the greatest of the three.

 

"Truth is a divine attribute and the foundation of every Masonic virtue. To be good men and true is a lesson we are taught at our initiation, on this grand theme we contemplate, and by its unerring dictates endeavour to regulate our lives and actions. Hence, hypocrisy and deceit are, or ought to be, unknown to us, sincerity and plaindealing are our distinguishing characteristics, whilst the 'ieart and tongue join in promoting each other's welfare, and rejoicing in the prosperity of the Craft."        "A genuine loyalty to Truth that dares to speak it and to live it is one of the grandest features of manhood."' As Shakespeare says in Hamlet: "This above all, to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man." And, again, Longfellow: "But if a word could save me, and that word were not the truth; Nay, if it did but swerve a hairsbreadth from the truth, I would not say it."2 It follows, therefore, as Shelley has said, "there is one road to Peace, and that is Truth".

 

"Throughout the First Degree, Virtue is depicted in its most beautiful colours, the duties of Morality are everywhere strictly enforced, 1 Preston's Illustrations of Masonry. 2 Giles Cory of Salem Farms.

 

FREEMASONRY AND CONTEMPLATIVE ART 199 and the principles of knowledge are impressed on the mind by sensible and lively images.

 

The Second Degree. . . not only extends the same plan, but embraces a more diffusive system; the contemplation of the intellectual faculty, the study of human science, and tracing the goodness and majesty of the Creator by minutely analysing His works . . ."I "That Man's sublimer spirit, who can feel that God is everywhere! The God Who framed Mankind to be one mighty family, Himself our Father, and the world our home."2 These words of Coleridge are a very real expression of the essence of Freemasonry‑'The Fatherhood of God, and the Brotherhood of Man'.

 

When we estimate the Divine Will in Creation, the mystery of life is one of the most beautiful and wonderful that we can contemplate. Man is the crown of God's creation. "God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and Man became a living soul."      The thought is most happily expressed in the following short poem by T. H. Rand: "A builder builded a Temple, He wrought it with grace and skill, Pillars and groins and arches All fashioned to work his will; And men said, as they saw its beauty, `It shall never know decay; Great is thy skill, O builder! Thy fame shall endure for aye.' A mother builded a Temple With loving and infinite care, Planning each arch with patience, And laying each stone with prayer. None praised her unceasing efforts, None knew of her wondrous plan; For the Temple the mother builded Was unseen by the eyes of man.

 

Gone is the builder's Temple, Crumbled into the dust; Low lies each stately pillar, Food for consuming rust.

 

But the Temple the mother builded Will last while the ages roll, For that beautiful unseen Temple Was a child's immortal soul." The life beyond the grave and the injunction "be careful to perform your allotted task while it is yet day," has been beautifully expressed by Bro. Rudyard Kipling in a poem from The Seven Seas.

 

"When Earth's last picture is painted and the tubes are twisted and dried, When the oldest colours have faded, and the youngest critic has died, We shall rest, and faith we shall need it, lie down for an aeon or two, Till the Master of All Good Workmen shall put us to work anew.

 

1 Introduction to Second Lecture. 2 Lines written in the Hartz Forest.

 

200     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES And those that were good shall be happy: they shall sit in a golden chair; They shall splash at a ten‑league canvas with brushes of comet's hair; They shall find real saints to draw from‑Magdalene, Peter and Paul; They shall work for an age at a sitting and never be tired at all! And only The Master shall praise us, and only The Master shall blame; And no one shall work for money, and no one shall work for fame, But each for the joy of the working, and each, in his separate star, Shall draw the Thing as he sees It for the God of Things as They are!" Carlyle, in the third book of Past and Present, closes the 15th chapter in these words: " . . . we will march out of this Third Book with a rhythmic word of Goethe's on our lips; a word which perhaps has already sung itself in dark hours and in bright, through many a heart. To me, finding it devout yet wholly credible and veritable, full of piety yet free of cant; to me, joyfully finding much in it, and joyfully missing so much in it, this little snatch of music, by the greatest German Man, sounds like a stanza in the grand Road‑Song and Marching‑Song of our great Teutonic Kindred, wending, wending, valiant and victorious, through the undiscovered Deeps of Time! He calls it Mason‑Lodge‑not Psalm or Hymn" "The Mason's ways are A type of Existence, And his persistence Is as the days are Of men in this world.

 

The future hides in it Gladness and sorrow; We press still thorow, Naught that abides in it Daunting us,‑onward.

 

And solemn before us, Veiled, the dark Portal, Goal of all mortal:Stars silent rest o'er us, Graves under us silent.

 

While earnest thou gazest, Comes boding of terror, Comes phantasm and error, Perplexes the bravest With doubt and misgiving.

 

But heard are the Voices,Heard are the Sages, The Worlds and the Ages: `Choose well, your choice is Brief and yet endless; Here eyes do regard you, In Eternity's stillness; Here is all fullness, Ye brave, to reward you; Work, and despair not'. " FREEMASONRY AND CONTEMPLATIVE ART      201 And here we have the teaching of the Third Degree as expressed in the close of that wonderful exhortation, full of "the hope of a glorious resurrection into life eternal", the immortality of the soul. And so I close this section in the words of Longfellow: "So when for us life's evening hour Soft fading shall descend, May glory, born of earth and heaven, The earth and heaven blend. Flooded with peace the spirits float, With silent rapture glow, Till where earth ends, and heaven begins, The soul shall scarcely know."l I will now direct your attention for a short time to Drama and Music. It is not my intention to give a complete historical account of the close connection of the Drama with Freemasonry, but rather to mention a few of the more important works, and to give excerpts relevant to my theme. From the early part of the 18th century there has been an intimate relation between Freemasonry and the Drama.

 

"In the very early years of the organized Grand Lodge of England it was customary for the Grand Master from time to time to bespeak a play, on which occasions he would attend, accompanied by the Grand Officers and a large number of the brethren, all adorned with the regalia of the order. Some distinguised actor or actress would speak a specially written Prologue or Epilogue extolling the excellence of Freemasonry, and the virtues of the Brethren; and all the Masons present would join in singing the `Entered Prentice's Song' and the `National Anthem'. "2 To the latter were frequently added one or two stanzas bearing upon Freemasonry. The custom spread through the Provinces and into the Colonies, and many instances of bespeak performances will be found in local newspapers, and in old Minute Books, even as late as the middle of the 19th century. One of the earliest accounts is bound up with Cole's Constitutions of 1728‑9, a very rare book, containing engraved plates of the "Old Charges". On page 37 we read: "On Friday the 27th Day of December, 1728, the Right Honourable the Lord Kingston, Grand Master of the Ancient Society of Free and Accepted Masons, bespoke a Play, viz.: The Second Part of King Henry IV., to be Acted on the Monday following at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, for the Entertainment of the Brethren, and order'd a new Prologue to be spoke on that Occasion; as also a Scene to be alter'd for introducing the `Prentices' Song', as publish'd in the Constitutions, which was done accordingly; and all the Free‑Masons in the Pit and Boxes join'd in the Chorus to the entire Satisfaction of the whole Audience." 1 The Golden Sunset.

 

2 Bro. J. T. Thorp MS.

 

202     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES The Prologue was spoken by William Mills, and the Epilogue by Mrs.

 

Thurmond, a Freemason's wife.

 

The Prologue is as follows: You've seen me oft in gold and ermine drest, And wearing short‑lived honours on my breast; But now the honourable Badge I wear Gives an indelible high character; And thus by our Grand Master I am sent To tell you what by Masonry is meant.

 

If all the social virtues of the mind, If an extensive love to all mankind, If hospitable welcome to a guest, And speedy charity to the distrest, If due regard to Liberty and Laws, Zeal for our King and for our Country's cause; If these are principles deserving fame, Let Masons then enjoy the praise they claim.

 

The Epilogue too long to quote in full, contains much of the playful fancy expected from a Mason's wife.

 

She greedily believed each he contrived against that famed Society, and, with many more complained that, "'twas very hard, Women should from their Secrets be debarr'd." In the end she admits that Masonry had made him a better husband, and concludes with these lines : "Ye marry'd Ladies, 'tis a happy Life, Believe me, that of a Free Mason's wife. Tho' they conceal the Secrets of their Friends In Love and Truth they make us full Amends." This Prologue is given in Ahiman Rezon, 1756, page 193. In this edition there are four Prologues and four Epilogues.

 

In 1777 a work was published in Exeter entitled The Principles of Freemasonry Delineated; printed by R. Trewman. In this book 42 pages are taken up with Prologues and Epilogues spoken at plays performed at Exeter by desire of the "Union Lodge". These consist of seven Prologues and six Epilogues all spoken between 1771 and 1777.

 

On the first representation of Dibdin's pantomime Harlequin Freemason on December 29th, 1780, we have a Prologue spoken by three persons ‑a father, a mother, and a daughter.

 

After a short conversation between the mother and daughter, the father enters, "cloathed as a Mason"; the daughter runs towards him saying: Papa, are you a Mason, do tell me, Now do, what's Masonry? Father: I will, my dear‑our Order is designed, To expand the human Heart‑and bless Mankind, Wisdom herself contrived the Mystic Frame; Strength to support; to adorn it Beauty came. We're taught with ever grateful Hearts to adore The God of all; the Universal Power; To be good subjects; ne'er in Plots to join FREEMASONRY AND CONTEMPLATIVE ART      203 Or ought against the nations' Peace design; We're taught to calm destructive anger's storm, And bring rude matter into proper form; Always to work by the unerring Square, With zeal to serve our Brethren‑be sincere, And by our Tongues let our whole Hearts appear. Lowly of mind, and meek, we're bid to be, And ever clothed with true Humility.

 

All, children of one gracious Father are, To whom no ranks of rich or poor appear, "He sees with equal eye, as God of all, A Monarch perish, and a Beggar fall." We're taught our Conduct by the Plumb to try To make it upright to the nicest eye.

 

The Compass is presented to our eyes, And, Circumscribe your actions, loudly cries; We're strictly ordered never to pass by, Whene'er we see a Fellow‑Creature he, Wounded by sorrow,‑but with hearts to go,Which with the milk of kindness overflow, And make a careful search each wound to find, To pour in oil and wine,‑and gently bind; On our own b(r)easts to place him‑to convey Where all may strive to wipe his tears away.

 

Mother: Go on, ye Good Samaritans, to bless, And may your generous hearts feet no distress.

 

Father: Whoe'er believes in an Almighty cause, And strict obedience pays to Moral Laws, Of whatsoever faith or clime he be, He shall receive a Brother's love from me. "For modes of faith the graceless zealots fight, We know he can't be wrong whose life is right." What though we here such diff'rent roads pursue, All upright Masons‑all good men and true, Shall meet together in the Lodge above Where their good names shall certain Pass Words prove.

 

Mother: No,‑God respects not Persons, but will bless Those of all climes who follow Righteousness.

 

Father: Whene'er Philosophy‑by rigid Law, And Brow severe, to Virtue strives to draw, Men are disgusted; we take diff'rent ways, And make fair Virtue and her lessons please. We at our work are rationally gay, And music call to tune the moral Lay, Intemp'rance never at our Lodge appears, No noisy Riot e'er assails our ears; But Pleasure always, with her Bosom Friends, With Cheerfulness and Temperance there attends. Our secrets (of importance to mankind) The upright man, who seeks, may always find.

 

Mother:  But women, ever seeking, seek in vain; Be kind enough this mystery to explain.

 

  203   204      THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES  Father: Tho' women from our Order we exclude, Let not that beauteous sex at once conclude We love them not;‑or think they would reveal What we as secrets wish them to conceal, We fondly love,‑and think we might impart, (Sure of their Faith) our Secrets to their Heart. But we're afraid, if once the lovely Fair Were at our happy Lodges to appear, That Love and jealousy would both be there. Then Rivals turn'd, our Social Bonds destroyed, Farewell the pleasures now so much enjoyed! We're taught to build 'gainst Vice the strongest fence, And round us raise the Wall of Innocence; Happy! thrice happy! could we Masons see Such perfect workmen as they're taught to be; Could we behold them everywhere appear Worthy the Honourable Badge they wear. Thus I've explained, my child, our Royal Art.

 

Daughter: I'm much obliged‑I thank you from my heart; All you have said I have not understood, But Masonry, I'm sure, is very good.

 

"In addition to frequent official attendance at performances in London and the Provincial theatres, the Fraternity has been the subject of a great number of dramas, which have been represented on the Stage both in Great Britain and abroad. From 1731 to 1903 a regular succession of plays, sketches, pantomimes and operas has been produced, in some cases of a serious and solemn character, in others, holding up Freemasonry to contempt, scorn, and ridicule."1 There was the comic opera called The Generous Freemason in three acts, printed in 1731. It was a jumble of nonsense; the most interesting portion (to Freemasons) of the whole opera, is the air No. 25, a Eong with chorus set by Henry Carey, and which has been reprinted with verbal alterations in a great many collections of Masonic songs, commencing with that of Cole's Constitutions, second edition, of 1731. There is an excellent version of this song accessible to all in the 1930 edition of Six Masonic Songs, published for the Quatuor Coronati Lodge.

 

Keats has said: "Sweet are the pleasures that to verse belong, And doubly sweet a Brotherhood in Song." I recommend our Masonic singers to procure copies of this book, and sing these fine old Masonic songs at our social gatherings. I am sure you will find them more entertaining than much of the so‑called music to which, by courtesy, we are compelled to listen.

 

Of the more serious dramatic works, I will mention Solomon's Temple, an oratorio performed in Dublin for the benefit of sick and distressed Masons. There was also Gounod's opera, The Queen of Sheba, better known as Irene.

 

1 Bro. J. T. Thorp MS.

 

FREEMASONRY AND CONTEMPLATIVE ART 205 This contains that fine Recit and Air "Lend me your aid". A complete description will be found in the Quatuor Coronati Transactions, Vol. XVI., page 193.

 

We now come to the greatest of all Masonic dramatic works, Brother Mozart's The Magic Flute. At the time of its composition, in 1791, there was considerable opposition to Freemasonry, both political and ecclesiastical. A short sketch of the conditions of that period and of Mozart's decision to become a Mason may be of interest. Nohl, in his Life of Mozart, says "About the year 1785 many who were striving with an earnest mind and inner craving after higher truths were deeply interested in Freemasonry. The newly awakened spiritual life of nations was no longer satisfied with the explanations offered by schools and creeds; thus enlightenment on the most elevated subjects was sought on every side. Discussions about Providence and Immortality were everywhere prevalent among deep‑thinking men. Their spirits sought purification and exaltation in reciprocal exchange of feelings in a Brotherhood like this. There were few distinguished men of that day who did not belong to this Order, its mysteries being recognized as aiming after an honest search after truth and sincere endeavours to disseminate high cultivation and helpful love. Freemasonry providing the most intellectual and refined society, Mozart became a member soon after his arrival in Vienna. With what earnestness he was devoted to it, and how he gloried in the exertions of the Brotherhood his illustrious services to the Craft show." The libretto of The Magic Flute has been described as an inane and stupid plot, but it inspired Mozart to write the most beautiful and profound music. Wherever we look in this opera, the consummate art of the composer compels our admiration. Professor Alexander, in his book published in 1933, Beauty and Other Forms of Value, points out that "the highest beauty (in art) is achieved when the materials with which the artist works are contemplated for their own sake".

 

He goes on to discuss the use of music to illustrate extraneous ideas. He continues "Whether the fusion of music and subject is successful, it may be hard to say in particular cases. In many cases the problem is solved by what is practically a disregard of the words of a song, or an opera, of which the best instance is the sheer poetry of The Magic Flute, where the senseless libretto does not count." Now, I say, that if Mozart achieved the highest form of absolute beauty in this opera in the eyes of the artistic world, of how much greater value is this work in the eyes of a Mason ? Let me call your attention to certain significant features.

 

"Freemasonry is indicated in The Magic Flute as the service of Isis and Osiris. The comparison of Freemasonry with the Egyptian 206           THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES mysteries was a favourite subject of reflection among the brethren in Vienna."' The opera was written near the close of Mozart's life. He felt deeply that the ties which bind us to earthly existence were loosening. Life and he had nothing more in common, so he felt impelled to give utterance to his best gifts before for ever passing "that mysterious veil which the eye of human reason cannot penetrate unless assisted by that light which is from above".

 

With these thoughts in his mind, he gives the first hint of Masonic philosophy in the Overture, where you will hear the knocks of the Third Degree three times.

 

The finale of the first act is full of Masonic significance. At the back of the scene is a Temple, over the portal of which are the words "Temple of Wisdom". A colonnade of pillars leads from this to two other Temples, on one of which is inscribed "Temple of Reason", and on the other "Temple of Nature", symbolical of the three degrees, and the three Pillars, Wisdom, Strength and Beauty. Freemasonry is illustrated in the chorus of the Priests, and in the three Genii, who conduct Prince Tamino to the gate of the Temple. The instrumentation of this finale is remarkable, and unusual for the period at which it was written. If we look at the full score we find‑the bright voices of the Genii accompanied by the stringed instruments, and supported by soft chords on the trombones, muted trumpets and drums, while a long sustained note on the flutes and clarinets gives an ethereal effect, the whole producing an atmosphere of solemnity and mysticism.

 

Again, we meet the figure three when the Genii give the three‑fold command to Tamino to be steadfast, silent, and obedient‑words full of meaning to Masons. Again, in answer to a request for information, they reply: "To tell thee this is not our task" (a reference to the Charge, "Never improperly to disclose any of those Masonic secrets"), and then again comes the threefold command: "Be steadfast, silent, and obedient; go, be a man and thou shalt conquer." Tamino, then sings of "this fair sculptur'd gateway,‑these pillars of marble bear witness that labour and art here inhabit." He then tries to enter the other Temple gate; the voice of the man in armour cries "Stand back!" Thus, the Tyler, armed with a drawn sword. Tamino replies, "Repulsed! Repulsed! then I will enter here," trying the third Temple. Again, from the second man in armour comes the stern command "Stand back!" And so this magnificent finale proceeds, full of Masonic references, to the end of Act I.

 

The second Act gives us much more. This opens with the stately "March of the Priests," which makes such good music in our ceremonial processions if our Organists would use it. Following this march, Sarastro, who represents Truth, the spirit of Freemasonry, addresses the three priests 1 Macfarren. Preface to the opera.

 

FREEMASONRY AND CONTEMPLATIVE ART 207 with regard to the initiation of Tamino. The first priest inquires: "Is he virtuous ?"    Sarastro         answers:         "Most  virtuous."        The      second           priest: "Can he be silent?"   "He can."        ("The tongue of good report has already been heard in his favour.")      The third priest: "Is he beneficent?"        "He is." Then follow the thrice repeated chords of the Third Degree.

 

I have only time to remind you that in this Act there is one of the most beautiful Masonic songs ever written; the title is: "Within this hallowed dwelling." The entrance of Mozart into the Order of Freemasonry betokens the awakening of an artistic earnestness which seemed lacking in many of his compositions previous to that time. The modern orchestral symphony owes its present shape to two Freemasons‑Haydn and Mozart‑but it was Mozart who gave it the true symphonic art form.

 

Philosophy was not generally accepted as entering into music before Beethoven's time. Mozart may, therefore, be considered a pioneer in that he incorporated Masonic philosophy into his works, as you have seen in The Magic Flute, and, as I will try to show you, in a lesser degree in one of his symphonies.

 

In 1788, the fourth year of his Masonic career, he composed his three greatest Symphonies‑the E flat major, the G minor, and the "Jupiter" in C major.

 

These wonderful compositions were written in the short space of six weeks. In them we can recognize a far greater depth of feeling than in any earlier work of the kind. They are the crown of his life's work. In the "Jupiter" Symphony, the greatest of the three, we have that cryptic allusion to Freemasonry which seemed to pervade the mind of the composer from the time when he joined the Order, but which is only revealed to the initiated through those familiar words: "Seek and ye shall find." Take the opening bars of this Symphony. Our attention is arrested immediately by the knocks in the First Degree.

 

It is, however, in the finale of this masterpiece that our curiosity and interest are further aroused. From the musician's point of view, "this example is unique among tonal compositions. In this majestic movement the fugue and sonata form move as independent musical factors. No less than five different melodic outlines are employed simultaneously."' In the 19th bar we have the significant phrase, which you will recognize as the knocks of the Second Degree.

 

You may be surprised to learn that this characteristic rhythmic figure occurs no less than 100 times in the final movement, yet it is so perfectly woven into the texture as to be scarcely noticed by the listener. Naumann says: "The whole wears so light and spontaneous an aspect that the layman 1 Naumann, History of Music.

 

208     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES can form no notion of the colossal art‑development there accomplished. His impression will be that he has listened to a work of surpassing grandeur and of imposing magnificence and he will humbly acknowledge the wonderful genius of its young creator. Mozart has more effectively accomplished for the tonal Art what Goethe strove to achieve in poetry in the Second Part of Faust." It may be suggested that the persistent repetition of the Second Degree alarm was merely a fortuitous circumstance. Mozart's zeal for Freemasonry, and his use of Masonic symbolism in other works, would appear to give a denial to such an opinion. "Chance," says Voltaire, "is a word devoid of sense. Nothing can exist without a cause," and I submit that Mozart's wonderful employment of quintuple counterpoint, or the simultaneous use of five different melodies, all being performed at the same time, towards the end of the movement, was his symbolic method of calling attention to the "Five Points of Fellowship".

 

There is hardly any department of musical art of the period which does not seem to have been brought to high technical perfection by Mozart. He had a mind which knew no rest until he had discovered the most perfect architectural form for the expression of his superior artistic instinct. The question arises: Was it the philosophy of Freemasonry that inspired him, and through which he worked to attain the highest ideals that are prominent in these last great works ? From a careful study of the few letters of this period, I think it was.

 

Let us remember that the object of art is not merely to give pleasure, but to express the highest spiritual realities, "an Art", as Wordsworth says, "lodged above the starry pole"; "Pure modulations, flowing from the heart Of Divine Love, where Wisdom, Beauty, Truth, With Order dwell, in endless youth." We honour the memory of those who anticipate their latter end with a truly Masonic equanimity. The contemplation of death had become with Mozart a spiritual discipline. Evidently, he was deeply impressed with the symbolism and teaching of the Third Degree, for, in a letter to his father he wrote : "After serious reflection, death seems to me to be the purpose of our life, therefore I have for some years familiarized myself with this truest and best friend of man, so that the contemplation of the inevitable has no longer any terror for me, but produces a state of beatified peace and consolation. For this I daily thank my Creator, and pray that it may so be meted out to all men." It was, doubtless, with such thoughts as these that Mozart was inspired to compose in memory of two brothers of the Order, Mecklenburg and Esterhazy, the finest piece of purely Masonic music ever written. ["Masonic Funeral Music".] Jahn, in writing of this music, says FREEMASONRY AND CONTEMPLATIVE ART    209 "Mozart has written nothing more beautiful from its technical and finished effort of sound, its earnest feeling and psychological truth, than this short movement. It is the utterance of a resolute manly character which, in the face of death, pays the rightful tribute to sorrow, without being either crushed or stunned by it." Mozart's last great work was his "Requiem Mass", in which he envisaged his own death. Alas! he never lived to complete it.

 

Now, if I may do so without presumption, I should like to offer a few remarks as to the manner in which art may be used to beautify our ceremonial working or, conversely, how indiscretion in the use of material can mar the dignity of it. I have heard, during an important ceremonial procession, music played which lacks the stateliness that such an occasion demands. How much more suitable would be the march from The Magic Flute, already mentioned, or even the March from Handel's Scipio, or his March from the Occasional Oratorio. All these are far more dignified and far better for processional purposes.

 

Again, during the perambulations in the Three Degrees, it is disturbing to hear fragments of popular songs or tunes played, which are inappropriate. Music which distracts the minds of the brethren from the ceremony is not a help but a hindrance, and its choice lacks that fine sense of discrimination that we ought to expect. Art should lend support to a ceremony, not the reverse. There is a vast amount of good music available if our Organists will take the trouble to search for it.

 

In the ceremony of Raising, after being entrusted with the secrets of the Degree, I have heard the candidate accompanied out of the Lodge to the most puerile music. You will remember the Candidate has previously heard these words: "It is thus all M.Ms. are . . . from a figurative . . ." I cannot imagine anything more suitable to play at this part of the ceremony than that from Mozart's "Requiem" to the words in the English translation: "Lord, redeem us from the grave, and ransom us from death for ever." A few bars will suffice.

 

I have heard Handel's Dead March in "Saul" played at that inappropriate part of the ceremony when the Senior Deacon is directed to instruct the candidate to advance to the East by the proper steps, and the brethren called to order while half of it was played, thus holding up the ceremony for some three minutes. To wrest such an important and well‑known work of art from its proper setting is a perversion. A few bars of Chopin's Prelude in C minor would be more suitable. It possesses the requisite solemnity, and need not hold up the smooth progress of the ceremony, because it can be concluded in four bars, or six, or eight, according to the length of time required.

 

In our social gatherings I plead for music of a high standard, and entertainment that is in perfect accord with the atmosphere of Freemasonry.

 

210     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES There is no moral or artistic uplift in listening to a comic song after taking part in an impressive rendering of the Third Degree. We ought to be very careful that we do not nullify the effect of the Initiation ceremony on the mind of the candidate by introducing music or song, or even a flippant toast, which may remove his thoughts far away from the ceremony through which he has passed.

 

Freemasonry is full of the expression of the beautiful. We work a ritual pure and dignified in its conception and, as such, requiring an approach of the utmost reverence and sincerity from those who attempt its inter pretation and expression. "The letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life." If, instead of the cold mechanical type of rendering, the sole aim of which seems merely to be "word perfect", we could have an exposition warmed by sincerity and sympathy proceeding from the heart and soul of the speaker, how much more convincing, inspiring, and human the rendering of our ceremonies might still become.

 

We have seen that no effort is spared in acquiring perfection in the Contemplative Arts; may we not, by similar effort, aim at perfection in everyy detail of the art of Freemasonry ? so that each time we witness its familiar ceremonies we perceive yet another facet of that "well‑cut stone';. In the past the great principles of Masonry have been a source of inspiration to the artist, and he has responded to the interpretation of those principles of truth and beauty in the glories of his matchless creations in architecture, sculpture, painting, poetry, and music; with the inevitable result that there is some of the real spirit of Masonry in all good art. There is a Brotherhood in both, and they can be made to react upon each other in such a way that they bring us nearer to the Infinite. To serve our Brethren and fellow‑men in any capacity that may promote their moral and spiritual advancement is to attain to the highest usefulness and dignity of man. Each of us has his own office in this advancement. It depends upon the artist to what purpose he devotes his genius. If he consecrates his art to the highest and noblest good he is fulfilling his duty, but he must further devote himself to it with persevering assiduity, or he will never gain the approval of his own artistic judgement and conscience. He must build not only for time but for eternity; and that is the essence of the teaching of Freemasonry. I never hear the address to the Worshipful Master at his Installationwithout thinkingthatevery Freemason is a missionary now, and always, for good or for evil, whether he intends it or not.

 

Thus, my Brethren, I have tried, from the point of view of a musician, operative rather than speculative, to outline some of those principles and ideals for which, I believe, Bro. William Preston lived and laboured to the lasting good of our Masonic art. You have only to read his Illustrations of Masonry‑a book to be found, I hope, in every Masonic library, and which has been the inspiration of this lecture‑to realise that he consecrated FREEMASONRY AND CONTEMPLATIVE ART his brilliant genius to the exposition of all that was noble, good and beautiful in this sacred Masonry of ours.

 

And so I feel that these thoughts upon "Freemasonry and Contemplative Art" may be summed up in the words of Robert Bridges: "Gird on thy sword, O man, thy strength endue, In fair desire thine earthborn joys renew; Live thou thy life beneath the making sun, Till Beauty, Truth, and Love are one.

 

Thy work with Beauty crown, thy life with love; Thy mind with truth uplift to God above; From whom all is, from whom was all begun, In whom all Beauty, Truth, and Love are one." FREEMASONRY, RITUAL AND CEREMONIAL (THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1936) BRO. LEWIS EDWARDS, P.A.G.Reg.

 

It would be to follow custom and to do that which is altogether fitting were we just for a moment to bear in mind the name and the services of William Preston, to whom is due the opportunity for this our meeting you, Brethren, here for the purpose of gaining some enlightenment, and I here, as though travelling on a wander‑year‑if senescence is still capable of this‑the teacher, from contact with his Brethren learning much more than he can ever hope to teach them. But beyond the invocatory mention of William Preston, it has seemed to me becoming to attempt to deal with a subject with which he was intimately connected and which was ever dear to his heart‑I mean ritual and ceremonial. Sharing the view of John Donne of . . . "sacramental and ritual, and ceremonial things, which are ... the subsides of religion", Preston could recognize this importance while, so to speak, keeping them in their place, as when he says, "In all regular assemblies of men which are convened for wise and useful purposes, the commencement and conclusion of business is accompanied by some form. In every country of the world the practice prevails, and is deemed essential. From the most remote periods of antiquity it is traced, and the refined improvements of modern times have not abolished it.

 

Ceremonies simply considered are little more than visionary delusions, but their effects are sometimes important. When they impress awe and reverence on the mind, and attract the attention to solemn rites by external forms, they are interesting objects. These purposes are effected when judicious ceremonies are regularly con ducted and properly arranged. On this ground they have received the sanction of the wisest men in all ages, and consequently could not escape the notice of Masons. To begin well, is the most likely means to end well; and it is justly remarked that when order and method are neglected at the beginning, they will be seldom found to take place at the end.

 

The ceremony of opening and closing the Lodge with solemnity and decorum is therefore universally adopted among Masons; and though the mode in some meetings may vary, and in every Degree must vary, 213 214            THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES still an uniformity in the general practice prevails in the lodge; and the variation (if any) is solely occasioned by a want of method, which a little application will easily remove."' These words of Preston are full of sound wisdom, and of good eighteenthcentury sense. He, like most of our Masonic writers, looked upon himself as a citizen of the world, and on Masonry as but a branch of human knowledge and of social conduct, and we may feel sure that he would have welcomed any attempt at placing his beloved Craft against the background of contemporary knowledge from time to time, so that what is immutable might stand out in a fresh glory and that which is ephemeral be revised in the light of fuller knowledge as such becomes accessible. He, from the nature of the case, had displayed his views against an eighteenth‑century background with a tincture of contemporary reason, and according to the principles of history and of sociology current in his day. To criticise his treatment would be unhistorical and unfair, but to revise, to correct, or to corroborate his judgements would be, to my way of thinking, to treat him not as a dead classic, but as a powerful and still‑living force. So much has been written since Preston taught, with regard at least to the historical side of ritual and ceremonial, that an attempt to view the Craft, however cursorily, in the light of modern knowledge seems well overdue.

 

At the outset, it is perhaps necessary to point.out a distinction. I have used the terms "ritual" and "ceremonial" together, and throughout I shall do so either in this way or alternatively, since for my present purpose the principles regulating them and the history behind them are the same. Even the Oxford English Dictionary defines "ritual" as a "prescribed order of performing religious or other devotional service", and then goes on to speak of "ritual observances: ceremonial acts". Bishop Frere, however, points out the distinction in his Principles of Religious Ceremonial, when, after using the word Ritualist in what he calls "its popular and inaccurate sense" of "one favouring ceremonial" he goes on to say that "Strictly speaking, a rite is a form of service, while ceremony is the method of its performance", and proposes to maintain "the true distinction between ritual and ceremonial" throughout the rest of the work.2 The Rev. Vernon Staley, in his Ceremonial of the English Church, quotes Archbishop Benson in the Lincoln judgment as saying that "the word `rite' is held to include, if not to consist of, the text of the prayers and Scriptures read; the books called `rituals' containing these, while the books called `ceremonials' prescribe the mode of using the rites or conducting the service".

 

And Staley adds "Strictly speaking then, the term `ritual' signifies the words of a rite, and the term `ceremonial' the actions in which it consists or 1 Illustrations of Masonry, 17th Edition (1861), p. 24. 2 1906 Edition, p. 3, note.

 

FREEMASONRY, RITUAL AND CEREMONIAL  215 by which it is accompanied. Thus, it is possible to be a learned 'ritualist' and yet to know little or nothing about `ceremonial'; in the language of the Lodge of Instruction one can know the whole book without knowing the floor‑work, and be thus incapable of conducting a ceremony." Further, Staley explains ceremonial as being concerned with the circumstances, as distinguished from the substance, of religion, and again quotes Archbishop Benson as saying that "a ceremony in worship is an action or act in which material objects may or may not be used, but is not itself any material object", and concluded by defining it as "a formal symbolic gesture or action of religious meaning, performed or done in the course of the services of the Church".

 

One word more on terminology. In accordance with custom, I use the term "speculative" in contrast to "practical", although there are serious objections to this use. The Oxford English Dictionary states that "speculative" refers to "speculation or theory in contrast to practical or practical knowledge", and it should properly be applied to the science of the man of theory, the architect, as opposed to the practical workman, the mason. John Hall's Historical Expostulation (1565) well shows the difference "learning in chirurgery consisteth not in speculation only, nor in practice only, but in speculation well practised by experience".1 There are really three aspects under which to view an art: the practical or operative, the theoretical or speculative, and what is variously called the symbolical or mystical. The term "speculative" is then best applied to the second of these. The question of whether "symbolical" or "mystical" is the better word for the third aspect I propose to discuss later in another context.

 

Seen in the light of our own experience and theories, the views of the earlier writers on ritual seem to be vitiated by the lack of an historical sense, by a failure to recognize the influence of a cultural and social environment different from their own, by the ascription to the primitive mind of the same impulses‑or rather the same complex of impulses‑as those which regulated their own beliefs and actions. The idea of change and of development was not adequately grasped: accidental similarities were taken to mean essential likenesses. The discovery, for example, of tools used by the ancient Egyptians similar to those used by our operative ancestors and then by our speculative Brethren was boldly taken to show that Freemasonry existed in Egypt, as though we should say that because the Egyptians believed in the immortality of the soul, therefore they were Christians. Similar beliefs, similar practices, similar symbols even, can be found throughout historical time and geographical space, but in itself this means little. Even within the smaller compass of the history of the "Old Charges" we know the difficulties of 1 Ed. T. J. Pettigrew (Percy Society 41), 1844, p. 44.

 

216     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES tracing their descent from an unknown though conjecturally synthesized original. Still more is it the case with the origin and development of the human race. We find likenesses in the various types of creatures, some more human than animal, some more animal than human, but an exact classification still defies the efforts of anthropologists. Again, though we keep many of our old forms in religion, in politics, in society, their relative importance has changed, and, what is more, their present significance is recognizable in their old only to the trained observer.

 

Before I deal with the subject of primitive ritual there are one or two points which it is necessary to have previously appreciated before the matter can be understood. Any ritual we use now, whether of the Church or of Masonry, comes to us, we are accustomed to think, as being imposed by authority. If in time of drought we pray for rain we do so in accordance with the forms prescribed by the authority which governs our faith and binds our conscience. Our primitive ancestors knew little of faith or conscience in our sense, however. They worked according to principles of analogy or of association. As water is associated with rain, so they thought that by the use of the one they could produce the other, as where, to take a presentday instance, according to Sir James Frazer at Poona, "When rain is needed, the boys dress up one of their number in nothing but leaves and call him King of Rain. Then they go round to every house in the village, where the householder or his wife sprinkles the Rain King with water and gives the party food of various kinds. When they have thus visited all the houses, they strip the Rain King of his leafy robes and feast upon what they have gathered".' Here we have in our sense no religious element, no prayer, no morality, no idea of divinity. It is only later that we get personification and myth making. In this later stage, each of the natural forces becomes ascribed to a divine or super‑human person and to their operation is attached a legend or myth. We can see a primitive ritual, accompanied sometimes by what seem to us grossly immoral features, being given the background of a myth, as in the great nature cults, and then a development into what we should recognize as a religion, dictating principles of the purest morality. Frazer speaks of "Isis in the olden times, a rustic corn‑mother adored with uncouth rites by Egyptian swains", and adds, "But the homely features of the clownish goddess could hardly be traced in the refined, the saintly form which spiritualised by ages of religious devotion she presented to her worshippers of after days as the true wife, the tender mother, the beneficent queen of nature, encircled with the nimbus of moral purity, of immemorial and mysterious sanctity".

 

I Golden Bough (Abridged Edition), p. 70.

 

FREEMASONRY, RITUAL AND CEREMONIAL 217 Consider, for example, what Robertson Smith says "And here we shall go very far wrong if we take it for granted that what is the most important and prominent side of religion to us was equally important in the ancient society with which we are to deal. In connection with every religion, whether ancient or modern, we find on the one hand certain beliefs, and on the other certain institutions, ritual practices and rules of conduct. Our modem habit is to look at religion from the side of belief rather than of practice; for, down to comparatively recent times, almost the only forms of religion seriously studied in Europe have been those of the various Christian churches, and all parts of Christendom are agreed that ritual is important only in connection with its interpretation. Thus the study of religion has meant mainly the study of Christian beliefs, and instruction in religion has habitually begun with the creed, religious duties being presented to the learner as flowing from the dogmatic truths he is taught to accept. All this seems to us so much a matter of course that, when we approach some strange or antique religion, we naturally assume that here also our first business is to search for a creed, and find in it the key to ritual and practice. But the antique religions had for the most part no creed; they consisted entirely of institutions and practices. No doubt men will not habitually follow certain practices without attaching a meaning to them, but as a rule we find that while the practice was rigorously fixed, the meaning attached to it was extremely vague, and the same rite was explained by different people in different ways, without any question of orthodoxy or heterodoxy arising in consequence. In ancient Greece, for example, certain things were done at a temple, and people were agreed that it would be impious not to do them. But if you had asked why they were done, you would probably have had several mutually contradictory explanations from different persons, and no one would have thought it a matter of the least religious importance which of these you chose to adopt. Indeed, the explanations offered would not have been of a kind to stir any strong feeling; for in most cases they would have been merely different stories as to the circumstances under which the rite first came to be established, by the command, or by the direct example of the god. The rite, in short, was connected not with a dogma, but with a myth.

 

In all the antique religions mythology takes the place of dogma; that is, the sacred lore of priests and people, so far as it does not consist of mere rules for the performance of religious acts, assumes the form of stories about the gods, and these stories afford the only explanation that is offered of the precepts of religion and the prescribed rules of ritual. But, strictly speaking, this mythology was no essential part of ancient religion, for it had no sacred sanction and no binding 218          THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES force on the worshippers ... Belief in a certain series of myths was neither obligatory as a part of true religion, nor was it supposed that, by believing, a man acquired religious merit and conciliated the favour of the gods. What was obligatory or meritorious was the exact performance of certain sacred acts prescribed by religious tradition. This being so, it follows that mythology ought not to take the prominent place that is too often assigned to it in the scientific study of ancient faiths. So far as myths consist of explanations of ritual, their value is altogether secondary, and it may be affirmed with confidence that in almost every case the myth was derived from the ritual, and not the ritual from the myth; for the ritual was fixed and the myth was variable, the ritual was obligatory and faith in the myth was at the discretion of the worshipper."1 This passage (long as it is) shows how different was the order of religious development from what we might have imagined, for there was in fact a development in ideas, a relegation to second place of the old forms. Greek religion might begin in a ritual imitating or rather re‑duplicating the forces and seasons of nature, might result in myths sometimes of a beauty never equalled, sometimes of a crudity to arouse the condemnation of the Socratic Dialogues, and finally lead to the exalted ideas of civil and religious polity of the Platonic Socrates‑yet, be it noted, even he on the point of death could still observe the old ritual and make his offering to Nsculapius. Turning from classical to our better‑known sacred lore, we can trace through the Bible the changes in the relative importance of ritual and of prayer, of bumt‑offerings and of conduct. The meticulous regulations of ritual in the earlier books of the Bible give place to the teachings of the prophets, the Mosaic ritual develops into the sublimities of Isaiah, and finally, as some would hold, the Lord's Prayer gives Christian expression to the latest and greatest of the truths of Judaism.

 

The conclusion I wish to draw is that not only of the development of a ritual, but that of the change of the ideas to which it gives rise. From one point of view the completed idea of one age becomes the primitive idea of the next. From another, the natural ideas are sublimated into the spiritual. If we take the history of pictorial art and trace it to an origin in ritual, in getting things done by the unseen powers by what we should now call the representation of them, we again recognize a development from ritualistic practice. We have certain things represented with a view to controlling or influencing the things or forces they represent. The pictorial art so originated, then follows a line of development of its own, until by an advanced form of pictorial representation there are suggested ideas, with which it becomes associated, of a much more sublime religious character.

 

If these instances show the caution with which we must regard any attempt to connect our present ideas of ritual with those of its more primitive 1 Lectures on the Religion of the Semites (1914 Edition), pp. 16‑18.

 

FREEMASONRY, RITUAL AND CEREMONIAL 219 forms, yet on the other hand it is not to be supposed that there do not exist many cases of surviving ritualistic forms. The changing seasons of the year were of the utmost moment to the primitive races, to whom the yield of the harvest was literally a matter of life and death. The earlier books of the Bible bear witness to the part the fruits of the earth played in the economy of the Israelites, and show how intimately connected they were with the provisions of the Mosaic code. The Greek nature myths of Demeter and Persephone, the Egyptian myths of Osiris, the Syrian tale of "Tammuz yearly wounded", all show the prevalence of the cult. It was the wisdom of the early Christian Church to connect the phrases of the Gospel story with the seasons of the earth, and to fix the Nativity itself‑for this fixing occurs comparatively late in the development of Christianity‑at that mid‑winter season when it could gather to itself, and hallow with the association of the Birth, the age‑long customs of pagan times, and it was a sure historical instinct of the Puritans to condemn so much of the religious ceremonial as being mere pagan survival. What are now the Christmas associations of the mistletoe, for example, can be traced back very early. It is curious to reflect, moreover, that though the pagan survivals of the Maypole and Jackin‑the‑Green are now dying, if they are not already dead, yet the concomitants of Spring are in process of being associated with what in the sight of the centuries is so recent a growth as that of the Labour movement in its May Day processions and demonstrations.

 

I have dealt with the general background and with these general principles at this length for three reasons: to follow the example of the older writers in dealing with ancient lore, but, it is hoped, in such a way as to make my treat ment agree with the results of recent investigations; to show that ritual is no new thing, devised for a certain purpose and without roots in the past; and to give an opportunity here briefly to consider, and a stimulus to others to investigate at length, the details of our Masonic ritual, to point out the dangers of the quest, while showing how absorbing a pursuit in reality it is. We shall not see, as did the old writers, Freemasonry existing in remote antiquity, or even as a system having its roots there, but we shall see how its ritual has incorporated, though we know not in many cases when, how or why, many details which, to say the least, can be paralleled in early times, and, to say something more, are probably in however indirect a fashion derived from those times, little as those who assisted in the development may have guessed their origin.

 

As to our own Masonic ritual, what is it, whence did it arise, and when? These, the obvious questions to ask, are by no means easy definitely to answer. We have generally agreed to derive the Speculative Craft from the Operative Masonic and other Guilds of the Middle Ages, and the opinion has been steadily gaining ground that even with regard to ritual there is a continuity and a development linking the medieval operative ritual, whatever it was, with that of the eighteenth century and so on to modem times. Dr. G. G. Coulton 220            THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES after describing.the position of the medieval operative after the completion of his work at a certain place and at the end of a certain time, bound to seek his future livelihood at another job and in another place, adds: "How, then, was our wanderer to prove to the master mason, when he found him at last, that he was a full‑fledged competent workman? ... There might be other ways, but for two we have a certain amount of documentary evidence; the pass‑word and the sign. That evidence, it is true, is less early and less explicit than we might wish; yet it seems most probable that the conditions which we find in 1563 [the year when the Emperor Ferdinand I. confirmed the Masonic regulations for the whole Empire] had developed far earlier. Since they would follow logically from what we know to be the earlier conditions. Here, as on some other points, our only documents are German".

 

He then goes on to speak of the German Statutes of 1462 describing an initiation ceremony followed by a feast.

 

"Every apprentice when he has served his time and is to be declared free, shall promise to the craft by his troth and honour, in lieu of oath, and on pain of losing the craft of a mason, that he will disclose or say to no man the greeting or the [hand‑grip] of a mason, except to one to whom also he should rightly say it, and also, that he will put nothing thereof into writing." He then deals with the greeting, for which he claims far fuller evidence, if the authority he quotes is to be trusted, and gives a ritualistic dialogue between the stranger and the Mason, which, when they have recognized each other, is followed by a hand‑grip, greeting and welcome, after which the stranger is brought into the room of assembly, where there follows another ritualistic colloquy. Finally, Coulton again quotes in corroboration the German Statutes of 1462, "And every travelling fellow, when he has received the donation, shall go from one to the other and shall thank him therefor. And this is the greeting wherewith every fellow shall greet, when he first goeth into the Lodge thus shall he say: `God greet ye, God guide ye, God reward ye, ye honourable overmaster warden and trusty fellows'; and the master or warden shall thank him, that he may know who is the superior in the Lodge. Then shall the fellow address himself to the same, and say: `The master' (naming him) `bids me greet you worthily'; and he shall go to the fellows from one to the other and greet each in a friendly manner, even as he greeted the superior. And then shall they all, master and wardens, and fellows, pledge him as is the custom, and as is already written of the greeting and pledge; but not to him whom they hold for no true man, he shall be fined one pound of wax."' 1 G. G. Coulton, Art and the Reformation, 1st Edition, pp. 167‑171.

 

FREEMASONRY, RITUAL AND CEREMONIAL 221 Bridging the gap between the medieval masons (although some of these sources indeed overlap the medieval period) and the speculatives of the eighteenth century, we have the many and varied versions of the "Old Charges" of the Freemasons. These show rather clearly that there were certain forms of ritual accompanying admission into the Society.

 

Hawkins considered that the ceremony was as follows:(a) A Prayer.

 

(b) The reading of the Legendary History.

 

(c) The placing of the candidate's hand on the Volume of the Sacred Law, and the reading of the Articles.

 

(d) A short Obligation.

 

(e)       The reading of the Special Charges.

 

(f)         A longer Obligation regarding the Secrets. (g) The communication of the Secrets.' Bro. Poole thinks that the details were:(a) A Prayer.

 

(b) The reading of the Legendary History.

 

(c) The placing of the candidate's hand on the Volume of the Sacred Law during the reading of the Charges, and then the sealing of the Obligation.

 

(d) Some form of mystification‑as we should say "ragging"followed by the communication of the Secrets.2 That there were two stages in the process of admission seems clear from certain documents, for example, the Edinburgh Register House MS., which have come down to us; but here we must satisfy ourselves with the bare mention of the fact.

 

Now I think it as well here to point out that the medieval form of Freemasonry was practical in its object and was not primarily concerned‑‑or at least no more so than other similar associations of the time‑with religious, ethical and philanthropic matters. That the "Old Charges" begin with a prayer or invocation, that prayers may have accompanied the assemblies, that many of the societies placed themselves under the protection of certain saints who either in their lifetime, or in the circumstances of their martyrdom, were associated with a particular craft or trade or with the implements of a craft or trade,3 that they had a special chapel allocated to their use‑these circumstances do not, to my mind, give to the Guilds a primary religious purpose, any religious character they might take therefrom being but the usual accompaniment of medieval associations.

 

t E. L. Hawkins, The Evolution of the Masonic Ritual, A.Q.C., Vol. XXVI, pp. 16‑17.

 

2 H. Poole, Masonic Ritual & Secrets before 1717, A.Q.C., Vol. XXXVII, pp. 12‑15.

 

3 The association of the Quatuor Coronati with the Masons and of Saint Blasius with the Wool‑Combers may here be instanced.

 

222     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES With the infiltration into the Lodges of non‑operatives' with the increasing influence due to these members and their social importance, and with the decreasing need for an operative Society, the raison d'etre of the institution changed, and with that its whole character. Men would seek admission into the Society not for reasons of livelihood, but purely for the sake of fellowship, and probably from some idea, as in the later cases of Ashmole and Stukely, that there was some secret knowledge to be gained from admission.

 

Shortly following the organization of speculative Freemasonry in 1717, we see in vigorous working order a system obviously descended from that of the operatives, but differing from it in the relative importance of its component parts, from our point of view, chiefly in the increased prominence given to ritualistic and ceremonial elements. I say "obviously descended from that of the operatives" by reason of the continuity which can be traced running through the medieval sources, the "Old Charges", manuscripts like that of the Edinburgh Register House, and the eighteenth‑century "Exposures". And on general grounds, also, we must prefer the idea of continuity and development to that of the organizers of 1717 and their immediate successors deliberately setting out to formulate a ritual and to institute a new system. More and more with the growth of knowledge do we see that there is no such thing as an historical cataclysm, that nature does nothing by leaps, and that all is ordered and continuous, although natural processes may on occasion be either hastened or slowed down.

 

What then‑were the reasons for the accentuation of the ritualistic side of the Craft about 1717 ?      We do not actually know them, but can make some strong conjectures as to their nature. By reason of the peculiar circumstances of their Craft as compared with that of others, the medieval masons were forced to have recourse to certain outward and visible signs and ceremonies to preserve their corporate identity, even while the economic and industrial bond still existed, but when that bond ceased their speculative successors had more and more to rely on signs and ceremonies as their demarcation from the rest of the community, lest otherwise their identity should be lost. To take a homely analogy, it is customary to sneer at what some judge to be the exaggerated importance attached to social ritual among Englishmen abroad, settled among an alien race, but after all, absurd as they may sometimes seem in themselves, these social customs are the means for preserving the corporate identity of the community, and similar causes were at work in the organization of speculative Freemasonry. In addition to these general reasons, the following special ones may also be suggested: the keen interest taken in biblical antiquities in the century which had just closed, an awakened zest for exploring into mystic and symbolic regions, the growth of a renewed 1 At the beginning these were to their fellows as notabilities elected to an Inn of Court or to a learned society as honorary members are to the professional members of these bodies.

 

FREEMASONRY, RITUAL AND CEREMONIAL  223 spirit of association‑or clubbability, and possibly the instinct for ritual baulked by the lethargy of the Established Church, seeking a new outlet. With regard to the form which our ritual took in the eighteenth century, Bro. Lepper has treated these in detail in his Prestonian Lecture,' they can be followed in many contemporary "Exposures", and we need devote no space to them here. But mention must be made of the prominent part taken by William Preston, who by precept and example did so much in the latter part of the eighteenth century in organizing the ritual, and who made the work of the Lodges of Promulgation and Reconciliation so much easier than it would otherwise have been.

 

As to whether there should be one fixed standard of ritual, opinions may differ, but for myself I see much advantage in the present practice, where the authorities permit the use of any established ritual, provided that the Antient Landmarks be not infringed, and are prepared to allow the continuance of so many hallowed local customs.

 

We may note in passing some elements of eighteenth‑century ritual, some of which have disappeared, some been transformed and some given a less extensive existence. The Junior Warden no longer sits with the Senior in the West. The function of the Senior Entered Apprentice as the conductor of the candidate and that of the junior Entered Apprentice to guard the Lodge within its entrance have been transferred to regular officers. The trowel as an emblem of office in craft Freemasonry has in many places fallen into disuse, and the bee‑hive, the Masonic emblem of industry, has, save in a few cases, gone out of use. The use of an altar for the Volume of the Sacred Law is‑may I say unfortunately? ‑‑common only in certain workings, the Bible now having to rest on what is used for many purposes as the Master's desk.

 

I should like, tentatively, and necessarily rather briefly, to examine certain points in our Lodge work from the point of view of their characteristics as ceremonial. Frere divides ceremonies according as they are.utili tarian, interpretative, symbolical, or mystical ,2 and for a moment it would not be without interest to seek for these in our own ceremonial. Of the utilitarian, the keeping of order and the demanding of attention by means of the knocks of the gavel may be taken as an example. The posture of the officers and members during certain portions of the ceremony are interpretative as the outward and visible signs of their attitudes of mind. We have kneeling for adoration; standing for prayer and thanksgiving or while discharging official rites, as in the Master's rising to make an announcement. The symbolical and mystical elements are naturally of supreme importance and need some definition and consideration. He considers that the essence of symbolical ceremonial lies in "the importation of some fresh ceremony not otherwise demanded 1 Not reproduced in this volume. See Note at foot of p. 153. 2 W. H. Frere, Principles of Religious Ceremonial.

 

224     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES on other grounds which serves at the same time as a symbol to introduce a fresh idea not hitherto present".

 

He contrasts it with interpretative, which is only the use of ceremony to interpret an already inherent idea, "and the mystical explanation which ... is only the attaching of new meanings to ceremonies which already exist on other grounds".

 

If these definitions are accepted much of what we are accustomed to describe as symbolism is really mysticism. If we take it that the formation of the Lodge and the details of the working were introduced on account of their moral teachings, the square to teach morality and the divesting of metallic substances as a reminder to practice charity, then these things are symbolical. But if we adopt the more likely explanation that the formation and customs of an Operative Lodge passed over into a Speculative Lodge and were then made to teach moral lessons, then the explanations given in our speculative working are of a mystical rather than a symbolical nature. In view of the wide use of the term "symbolical" in our Craft I am far from suggesting its disuse, but I do think it of some importance to bear in mind the distinction which has been illustrated.

 

As to some of the details of our ceremonies, consider first the opening and closing of the Lodge. This is for the most part of a utilitarian nature and involves those precautions which we can understand any body of men taking who are met together to transact their business free from intrusion, e.g. the inquiring of the officers whether each knows his duty and in regard to this point it may be allowable to express a preference for those workings where each officer is himself asked what his duty is, rather than those in which the Wardens are made to answer for them.

 

The candidate's perambulation of the Lodge might well be the subject of a separate lecture. It can be compared to the appearance before the citizens of the postulant for consular honours, to the presentation of a king to his people, to the exhibition of a malefactor to the subjects of the State whose laws he has offended‑‑all cases, so to speak, of the introduction of the one to the many, whether for honour or for infamy. Together with this there is also the practical object of making certain that the candidate gives the correct answers to ensure his figurative admission into each part of the Lodge. With regard to the manner of his progress, this may well have been due to the need for carefully avoiding the social furniture of a crowded room. His direction, Sun‑wise, is such as we should naturally expect from the importance of the Sun and of the East in Masonic ritual, and it supplies us with a link with the primitive forms spoken of at the beginning of this lecture. Far be it from me to suggest a direct connection, but there is no small probability that a method of progression consciously following that of the Sun in its origin found its way into the Lodges of the Masons without their being aware of that origin. The candidate for certain portions of the ceremony is placed in the North‑East and South‑East parts of the Lodges FREEMASONRY, RITUAL AND CEREMONIAL    225 respectively. I am acquainted with some part of the learning regarding the placing of Operative Masons' Lodges at certain points of the compass. But if we bear in mind the need for the candidate to be halted somewhere near the Master's pedestal, the convenience of the two comers respectively on the latter's right and left, does it not seem more likely that this figurative explanation was adapted to what had become a practical convenience ?       Further, if it is considered that what we now know as the First and Second Degrees were once a single ceremony, and that in the Third there is no corresponding halting of the candidate, the suggestion given may well be the true explanation.

 

It is a curious fact that the obligations are taken kneeling. The extensive use of that posture even for prayer is a late development. It was used in biblical times by the Jews, as it still is, only on very solemn occasions, and even in the New Testament it is not common. Existing more in the Middle Ages, its use greatly increased after the Reformation, the Reformers employing it extensively for prayer, while those of the old religion used it for adoration. On the other hand, the obligation is an oath, not either prayer or adoration, and the adoption of a kneeling posture in the circumstances seems rather curious, contrasting with the upright posture assumed in a Court of Law, which seems more consonant with the public nature of the act.

 

Moreover, it is to be noted that in the Service of Confirmation as given in the Book of Common Prayer and as practised, the candidate in renewing and ratifying the undertaking of his godparents given at Baptism, stands when taking what is in fact an obligation.

 

With regard to the penalties mentioned in the various obligations, it has to be remembered that from the evidence contained in the early "Exposures" it seems clear that these were divided at a later date. It may be noted that there is nothing in the characteristics of any of the obligations to connect them with the peculiar lessons of each Degree. Whether we may see in them any definite or direct connection with any ancient rites or punishments‑many punishments, by‑the‑bye, have a ritualistic side, e.g. an auto da fe‑we cannot be sure. But in respect of each of the obligations we may well consider in the order given: the circumstances, and particularly the place, of an execution for piracy; the heart as a symbol of life; and the eternally damning character of the punishment of dismembering and burning the body among peoples believing in a physical resurrection. Whether the punishments had any connection with these ideas it is impossible to say; they may have merely been adopted as particularly striking forms by those whose influence moulded our ritual.

 

The working tools of the three Degrees now in use have not always been so used, and the present details known in England are not universally accepted. As they stand, however, it is possible to see in them, unlike the obligations, something having a characteristic connection with each Degree. The TwentyFour Inch Gauge, the Common Gavel and the Chisel one would associate with the rougher work of the Entered Apprentice; the Square, the Level and 226           THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES the Plumb Rule, with the more skilled work of the Craftsman; and the Skirret, the Pencil and the Compasses, with the directive labours of the Master of the Craft.

 

Bro. Covey Crump, in his book on The Hiramic Tradition, states that Bro. Hextall mentioned no less than fourteen hypotheses of its origin, and proceeds to examine them‑with no very conclusive result. While on the one hand this is not the place to deal with all or any of them, in treating of our ritual it is necessary to say at least a word on a matter so striking and of so unique a character. For one thing, the Hiramic portion of our ceremonies is the only one throughout the work of the three Degrees‑I except certain incidents in the Inner Working of the Installation‑where there is a definite dramatization of an historical or of a traditional incident. Whether the death of the builder is connected with the old ritual of a sacrificial burial or whether it is derived from a biblical or post‑biblical tradition of an actual occurrence, we do not know, but as enacted in our Lodges it is peculiarly suggestive of, if it is not connected with, the primitive rituals so widely diffused which derive from the natural processes of death and resurrection. In the ritual as we now have it the teaching is not altogether clear, or rather while the lesson of fidelity is clearly taught, there is, in addition, from the raising of the body for the purpose of identification and with a view to a second and more decent interment, an attempt to draw the secondary lesson of immortality and to suggest what the eye of faith shall see when "this transitory life shall have passed away".

 

Before I pass from the historical portion of my subject I wish, at the risk of repetition, to make it clear that I have not in any case made a definite claim for any direct connection with ancient ritual. I have placed our present form against that background with a view to showing how deep‑rooted and extensive are ritualistic practices, and also to suggest that however difficult it may be to trace them, there is a possibility of a connection however indirect; or I might merely suggest that the mind of man in the field of human belief and knowledge works but in a few ways and that given similar circumstances and objects the results that he will achieve may be the same, although arrived at independently.

 

With regard to the present usefulness of ritual and ceremonial, I cannot do better than quote the words of Richard Hooker: "The end which is aimed at in setting down the outward form of all religious actions is the edification of the Church. Now men are edified, when either their understanding is taught somewhat whereof in such actions it behoveth all men to consider, or when their hearts are moved with any affection suitable thereunto; when their minds are in any sort stirred up unto that reverence, devotion, attention and due regard which in those cases seemeth requisite. Because therefore unto this purpose not only speech, but sundry sensible means besides have always been thought necessary, and especially those means which being FREEMASONRY, RITUAL AND CEREMONIAL  227 object to the eye, the liveliest and the most apprehensive sense of all other, have in that respect seemed the fittest to make a deep and a strong impression; from hence have risen not only a number of prayers, readings, questionings, exhortings, but even of visible signs also; which, being used in performance of holy actions, are undoubtedly most effectual to open such matter, as men when they know and remember carefully, must needs be a great deal better informed to what effect such duties serve. We must not think but that there is some ground of reason even in nature whereby it cometh to pass that no nation under heaven either doth or ever did suffer public actions which are of weight, whether they be civil and temporal or else spiritual and sacred, to pass without some visible solemnity; the very strangeness whereof and difference from that which is common, doth cause popular eyes to observe and to mark the same. Words, both because they are common and do not so strongly move the fancy of man, are for the most part but slightly heard; and therefore with singular wisdom it hath been provided that the deeds of men which are made in the presence of witnesses should pass not only with words, but also with certain sensible actions, the memory whereof is far more easy and durable than the memory of speech can be.

 

The things which so long experience of all ages hath confirmed and made profitable, let not us presume to condemn as follies and toys, because we sometimes know not the cause and reason of them. A wit disposed to scorn whatsoever it doth not conceive might ask wherefore Abraham should say to his servant, `Put thy hand under my thigh and swear', was it not sufficient for his servant to show the religion of an oath by naming the Lord God of heaven and earth, unless that strange ceremony were added? In contracts, bargains and conveyances a man's word is a token sufficient to express his will. Yet, this was an ancient manner in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging to establish all things; a man did pluck off his shoe and hand it to his neighbour; and this was a sure witness in Israel."' Hooker concludes by quoting from Dionysius : "The sensible things which religion hath hallowed, are resemblances framed according to things spiritually understood, whereunto they serve as a hand to lead, and a way to direct."' Hooker's words are a plea for the performance of ceremonial action rather than for the rehearsal of ritualistic speeches, but in view of their close connection, the interdependence of speech and action in the Masonic working, these words can be justly claimed in aid of our argument.

 

It has seemed to me, and that not only from my Masonic experience, that in respect to their reactions to religious ideas there are two types of mind, corresponding to an extent, whatever the particular sect it is to which they 1 Laws of Ecclesiastical Policy, Book IV., c. 1 and 3.

 

228     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES belong, to the difference between High Church and Low Church. On the one hand, there are those who feel most in touch with things unseen when in direct and solitary communion with them, and to whom rites and ceremonies seem but as obstacles to that communion. On the other hand there are some who feel the need for participating with their fellows in the act of worship or in contemplation, who see in what at first sight appear but as outward forms and ceremonies a means of strengthening the appeal of things spiritual, and who see them as "things which religion hath hallowed" and which lead and direct them. To the first class, Freemasonry, being "veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols", can obviously make little appeal. The other class perceives in our ritual and ceremonial, not a religion‑in spite of the suggestion so frequently and so wrongly made‑but a means for enforcing and illustrating religious and ethical principles and precepts. The decency‑in the old sense of becomingness‑and the beauty of the ceremonies attune the mind to the reception of Masonic teachings; the awareness of the celebration of an act of communion between himself and his fellows and an Unseen Power causes a man to feel a corporate spiritual strength comparable to the corporate material strength of an ordered host. Further, there is a discipline, a working together in carrying out a common rule of life in which impulses which might otherwise lose themselves and become vain may be taken up and directed to the spiritual advantages of one and of all.

 

The Antient Landmarks of the Order, which a wise judgement has declined to define, stand firm and unchallenged, not derived from written documents, but based on their perception throughout the whole teachings of the Craft. Consistent with these, and indeed beautifying them in themselves and in their surroundings, there is room for the idea of development in the lessons to be drawn from our ritual as the mind of man becomes more and more capable of perceiving them. The outward forms remain universal, save for the differences which time and association have hallowed with a spiritual content of their own, and form for us a "temple not made with hands"; within it we practise our ceremonies and receive their teachings, and while we continue to do so with an increasing spiritual sensitiveness it will remain, we hope, "eternal as the heavens".

 

Such, my brethren, is the best explanation of the background, the history, and the present and future purpose of our forms and ceremonies that I can give you, and though of many of the details dealt with herein he was necessarily ignorant, I can hope that William Preston would have approved the design of the work though he may well have perceived, as I do so keenly, the imperfections of its execution.

 

THE INWARDNESS OF MASONIC SYMBOLISM IN THE THREE DEGREES (THE PRESTONIAN LECTURE FOR 1937) BRO. THE REv. JOSEPH JOHNSON, P.A.G.Chaplain The subject of this Lecture was not finally chosen without considerable meditation and care. It was felt, eventually, however, that "The Inwardness of Masonic Symbolism in the Three Degrees" was a subject that would meet a widespread desire in the Craft, as numerous Brethren in every area are experiencing a great yearning for enlightenment on this subject. We recognize, of course, that it is scarcely possible to give an exposition of the inner meaning of Freemasonry that will command every Brother's endorsement. Indeed, it is one of the glories of Freemasonry that it never dogma tizes on the interpretation of Masonic symbols. Each Brother is at liberty to interpret the symbols from a different angle and to express his views in his own terms. One Brother looks more deeply than another into the moral and spiritual significance of a symbol, hence the spirit of toleration and charity is highly necessary when forming judgements of those who differ from us.

 

The whole trend of Masonic symbolism leaves no shadow of doubt with me that Freemasonry rests on God, lives in God, and that it can be made a powerful influence in leading Brethren both in thought and attitude towards God. Every symbol and every phase of Masonic ritual from the first step the Initiate takes toward the east, right through to the point when he becomes a Master Mason, has reference to the Divine Being, without whom Freemasonry would have no real meaning. In the reference of that second enquiry addressed to every candidate, viz.: "In all cases of difficulty and danger, in whom do you put your trust?" we are called upon to acknowledge God‑God the first truth and final reality‑though it is not without significance, that in the introductory stages of a man's admission into Masonry, God is described as the Great Architect of the Universe, which description fittingly synchronizes with the symbolism of the first Degree. By implication and atmosphere, Masonry brings its adherents into the very presence of God, and my own personal judgement is that but for its spiritual basis, Freemasonry could never have survived and become the force it is today among the English‑speaking peoples of the world.

 

229 230          THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES An army that devotes its energies to enlisting recruits and pays no attention to the morale and training of the army generally, would be of little value in a crisis; in the same sense, it is of small service for Masonry to be engaged solely in the admission of men into its fold, and omitting to put vitality into the culture of Masons generally in the principles and teaching of Masonry. Failure in this respect means that the rank and file of the Craft will never grasp the real meaning of Masonry, and the exemplification of Brotherly Love will fail to be realized with the firm grasp of the hand, with the sympathetic look into a Brother's eyes, and with the thought that we are shoulder to shoulder with him, ready to bear a portion of his burden and to sympathize with him in his sorrow.

 

Every Brother needs education in the mission and purpose of Freemasonry, which is to bind men together in one circle of love and service, and to ensure that, as a great moral force, it breaks down the barriers separ ating men from each other, thereby diffusing the spirit of benevolence and peace. It cannot be too strongly stressed that Freemasonry is founded on the eternal principles of truth, dedicated to fraternity, equality, and charity as broad as the race. The antiquity of Masonry need not necessarily concern us. The glory and charm of Freemasonry are not in its antiquity but in its high ideals and its noble principles‑the principles of high character and upright conduct it enforces throughout its teaching. Those privileged to come within the scope of Masonry's mystic circle, are encouraged by its teaching to build on a trustworthy foundation and develop a staunch and stalwart manhood.

 

The lessons Freemasonry teaches are certainly veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols, and to acquire a practical knowledge of them, requires discernment and constant application. By these means the scales are removed from our eyes and we come to see and appreciate the real inwardness of Masonry. Whatever differences of personality, social status, moral endowment and mental capacity may feature men who come within the portals of Masonry, the soul of a man ought to be strengthened by every obligation to which he commits himself, and it should afford him stimulus in seeking to attain the highest type of manhood.

 

There is nothing shallow in those words that first strike the ear of each candidate for Initiation as he kneels "poor and penniless" while the blessing of Heaven is invoked on the proceedings, and prayer is offered that the Almighty Father and Supreme Governor of the Universe may vouchsafe His aid and grant that "this Candidate for Freemasonry may so dedicate and devote his life to Thy service as to become a true and faithful Brother among us," and for him to be endued "with a competency of Thy Divine wisdom, that, assisted by the secrets of our Masonic art, he may the better be enabled to unfold INWARDNESS OF MASONIC SYMBOLISM 231 the beauties of true godliness, to the honour and glory of Thy Holy Name." There is remarkable significance in that beautiful prayer, and be assured Brethren that if our Masonry does not assist in the direction indicated by that prayer, then there is either something radically wrong with Masonry, or in our understanding and application of it.

 

Following these introductory observations, I desire now to introduce you to an examination and elucidation, one by one, of the symbolism of the three Degrees.

 

THE FIRST DEGREE Masonic students have accustomed themselves to regard the Lodge as a symbol of the world and its ritual as the drama of man's life. The Lodge is one of the oldest shrines of humanity and the idea and art of Initiation date back to the earliest ages. The Men's House was the rallying centre of tribal society, the place where the novice was tried, taught and trained in the secret lore of the race. The rites of those early days were designed to test men before entrusting to them treasures, which had cost so much and must not be lost, and the crowning rite of initiation was a drama of the immortal life‑life that defies death and continues through endless ages of the future. Later, by some mystic insight, the art of initiation was linked with the art of building, and behind this blending of the two arts was a recognition of the principle of law and order. Thus it was that every Lodge came to be regarded as a symbol of the world, its floor the earth, its roof the heavens, and its ritual the drama of man's life, showing the passage of the soul to Eternity.

 

The Preparation of the Candidate for Initiation has much significance as a symbol of birth, out of the dim sense of life, into a world of moral values and spiritual vision.... I The cable‑tow is a striking reminder of the cord that joins a child to its mother at its birth, which in the Initiation of a Candidate into Masonry is not removed until he has been solemnly obligated to his new life, and a new unseen tie is woven in his heart. Another feature of the Candidate's preparation is . . . symbolic of the fact that he will be received by the Lodge in the deepest sense a poor candidate in a state of darkness, content to be as a child entering into life, a symbol of his surrender to the new order and rule of life into which he is about to be admitted. These things symbolize that our worldly possessions are not our real wealth but our limitations, and that we can only gain by subordinating them to the higher things of life. This seems paradoxical but it is nevertheless true. As we emerge from darkness to light, we must show willingness to surrender the things that may clog and cling to us.

 

The Reception of the Candidate begins with the enquiry "Are you a free man and of the full age of twenty‑one years ?"          The meaning of that enquiry 1 The . . . indicate obligatory omissions from the original text. Inserted or substituted words are shown in [ ]. (Ed.).

 

232     THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES is, whether he is a free man in a moral rather than in a civil sensevoluntarily offering himself for the obligations and service of Freemasonry, free from all attachments that might hinder the achievement of his purpose, free for the goodly fellowship of all other Initiates, and entirely detached from all unworthy associations and intercourse. This follows the announcement by the Master of the Lodge that the tongue of good report has already been heard in the candidate's favour. To be of "good report" is intended to signify not so much that he is a man of good reputation but, having been interviewed, the authorities of the Lodge are satisfied that he "rings true", giving back a genuine ring like a good coin that is tapped to determine its genuineness; in other words, that he possesses those qualities that will enable him to be responsive to Masonry's high ideals.

 

The Candidate's Confession. One of the first demands made on the Candidate for initiation is that of his faith in God. He is not required to define the precise terms in which he thinks of God but he must reveal his atmosphere of thought and attitude of heart towards Him. The implication of this is, that as Masonry is a system of moral mysticism, faith in the Supreme Being and in Eternal Life is a necessity to aid the candidate in securing a clear and reliable conception of his duty Godward and manward, the development of his spiritual faculties, and the refinement and exaltation of his life in fellowship and service.

 

The Obligation. By obligation the Pledge of the Initiate to secrecy is secured, not that Masonry is afraid or ashamed to reveal its secrets, but because we are a family and our relationships are sacred. Masonic secrets should never be revealed to anyone outside the fraternity. By this act of obligation, the Initiate is consecrated, in the presence of the open Lodge, to the spirit and ideals of Freemasonry, and taken as it is at the Altar, the Initiate enters into a definite pledge of love and loyal support to Freemasonry.

 

The Altar, whether immediately in front of the Master or in the centre of the Lodge, is an indication that Freemasonry is a worship, not a form of religion. From earliest days the Altar has always been regarded as a place of peculiar sanctity, a place of refuge and a pledge of justice. The Altar is also a place of prayer where men, of all faiths, unite in worship. Kneeling at the Altar, the Candidate takes his obligation, in the process of which he begins to realize the spiritual significance of Masonry. It is here he learns that the Altar is an Altar of freedom‑not freedom from faith but freedom of faith‑a centre of fraternal unity and fellowship. The Altar does not demand uniformity of opinion but it does foster fraternity of spirit, leaving every Brother free to determine his own philosophy of truth, the expression of his own views of religion, and his personal preference for ecclesiastical life and attachment. It is before leaving the Altar, at which he has been obligated, that the Candidate symbolically has his eyes opened, not physically but spiritually and for the first time, in his newly‑found experience, INWARDNESS OF MASONIC SYMBOLISM 233 his attention is called to the Sacred Writings which henceforth are to govern his faith.

 

The Volume of the Sacred Law. The place and influence of The Volume of the Sacred Law in Masonic ritual are strikingly significant. This great book is the centre of Masonic light and life, and the source of its teaching. The Volume of the Sacred Law is opened when the Lodge opens and closed when the Lodge closes. No business is legal and no initiation valid without its presence and guidance. On it the Initiate takes his vows of loyalty, chastity and charity, obligates himself to the practice of Brotherly Love, and seals it with a simple act of affection. However much Brethren may differ in dogma, they are all urged to consult it for guidance and follow it faithfully. This grand old Book, so rich in symbolism, is itself a Symbola symbol of truth, of faith and of Divine favour, and men have never looked in vain to its words of counsel and cheer. If we lose our way in the labyrinth of life's experience we shall always find that the light is a lamp to our feet; should we be overtaken by misfortune, and heart and hope fail, we can always turn to this Book which speaks in accents of infinite tenderness and sympathy; and when the time comes for us to enter the "valley of the shadow", and we are called with faltering step to walk along a dim path, amid weakness and infirmity, into the future, we shall discover that the one light that will not fail us, is the Volume of the Sacred Law. This Volume gives us the vision of a fraternity, a brotherhood not yet attained, a vision of fellowship not yet realized. It is a vision of humanity‑one in nature and need, one in faith, duty and destiny, with God supreme as the Father of us all. Perhaps not in our day, but as surely as the sun rises and sets, this vision will widen in growth, and true Masonry will greatly facilitate its realization. The vision glows in the Volume and it lives in our hearts. What an advantage it is that every recruit to Masonry should be informed that the Volume of the Sacred Law is to be consulted for acquiring a knowledge of his duty to God, his neighbour and himself!    In depth, in wonder, in richness of moral truth, and, in spiritual enrichment, there is no book to compare with it. Its spirit is the very breath of God and its instruction and guidance are of imperishable value in stimulating the attainment of moral manhood in "doing justly, loving mercy and walking humbly with God". The Volume of the Sacred Law is the spiritual Tracing Board on which God has delineated the plan of life, and when men in sincerity turn thereto, they find something about its teaching which tends to make them gentle and strong, faithful and free, obedient and tolerant, adding to knowledge, virtue, patience, selfcontrol, brotherly love and compassion.

 

The Meaning of the Apron. After a Candidate for initiation has taken the vital obligation and has had communicated to him the signs and secrets of that Degree, he is entitled to be invested with the distinguishing badge of a Mason. The lambskin or white leather apron is a symbol to the Initiate (now an Entered Apprentice) of striking beauty and significance; it indicates 234         THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES his admittance to a new life, after it was proved that he came with due humility, stripped of worldly rank and possessions, tested and obligated in darkness and ignorance, appealed to for assistance to the cause of charity but to which he expressed his inability to make a proper response, all of which is duly explained and the moral of it drawn and enforced. The plain white lambskin, or leather apron which the Entered Apprentice receives, indicates the one common basis on which we all begin our Masonic career, and it is emblematical of innocence and purity. Whatever differences of rank and social position may characterize Initiates in society generally, all are admitted equal, prince and peasant alike, on the one common basis. It is always an understanding that the badge of a Mason is to be worn worthily as becomes men who realize its significance. It is a token that the wearer of the badge has consecrated himself to high ideals, and it is expected that he will never prove recreant to his pledge. When, therefore, the Apron is represented as of ancient and honourable origin, worn by prince and peasant and the best men of all generations, with dignity and pleasure, it is confidently assumed that the newly invested recipient of it will wear his distinguishing badge with honour to the Craft and with credit to himself. It is the first symbol of a Mason's equipment shown and explained to the newly initiated, and it is the crowning symbol of his acceptance into Masonry.

 

The Working Tools of an Entered Apprentice . . . possess a remarkable significance. The Candidate on his entrance into the Lodge is placed with his face toward the East, which means that though he is unconscious of it at that moment, he is set before an ideal, and after a perambulation round the Lodge, he receives instruction how to advance to the East, a symbolical endeavour to realize that ideal in his life. The first of the tools ". . . represents the 24 hours of the day, part to be spent in prayer to Almighty God, part in labour and refreshment, and part in serving a friend or Brother in time of need without detriment to ourselves or connections".

 

Time is to be given daily to prayer, to work, and to humanitarian service and rest. What a beautiful symbol is this working tool of the wise use of time!    Time is our most valuable asset and Masonry urges us to use it wisely. Think of the inwardness of this!       The wise use of time is the key by which the closed doors of nature and science can be opened. It is the clue by which the history of human civilization may be traced, and of this we may be assured that, if we rightly understood and appreciated this symbol, especially in the early years of life, we should make more effective use of time and thus comprehend better the purpose of Him Who measureth the waters of the sea in the hollow of His hand. All members of the Craft should learn from this symbol that we may rear a building of costliest and most beautiful material, but if in its construction the unerring law of the measuring rod is violated and the foundation is not wisely and securely laid, however much onlookers may at first admire it, one day it will show INWARDNESS OF MASONIC SYMBOLISM   235 itself to be untrustworthy and will crumble and fall, perhaps grinding others as well as ourselves in its collapse. Masonry teaches the value of the measur ing rule.... The laws of man may be changed, they may be repealed or ignored, but the laws of God never change. A reliable foundation to human life is always an indispensable necessity.

 

[The second of the E.A.'s tools] represents the force of conscience, etc. In early days, it was the duty of the Entered Apprentice by means of ... to fit the stone to its proper place in the building, i.e. to knock off and remove all rough edges and superfluous obtrusions, which made it difficult to fit the stone into the position for which it was designed. There is a divine purpose behind every life, and there is a niche in God's great temple for each member of the race to fill.

 

Masonry can be wonderfully helpful to men in finding their right niche, and the right application of the [Apprentice's working tools] symbolizes this. We have a wealth of symbolism in Masonry drawn from the art of building, also from the immortal tools and their remarkable traditions, and much of this symbolism points to the work of preparing the material fit for its place in the building. The purpose of [this second] tool of a Mason, has never been to give polish nor beauty to the stone, but to give it adaptability to the place it has to fill in the building. It also symbolizes the vigilance required in the education and moral training of Brethren.

 

The . . . points out to us the advantages of Education by which means alone we are rendered fit members of regularly organized society. When [this tool] is applied to the stone it is with the view of producing a higher finish or a more ornamental shape, or, for the engraving of a special design on or to the stone. It symbolizes how needful it is for us to cut away some of the vices and superfluities of life which sometimes unfit men for service in daily life. It also symbolizes the advanced studies and training essential to enable men to fill their place in life acceptably; also the importance of everything possible being done to ensure the habit of virtue, to enlighten the mind and render the soul pure, thus fitting and perfecting men increasingly for the higher stations in life.

 

THE SECOND DEGREE Viewed by itself, the second, or what is more generally described as the Fellow‑Craft Degree, is probably the least understood; and yet, when we remember that it is part of a human allegory, of which the Entered Appren tice's Degree is only the beginning and the Master Mason's Degree the completion, it is not so difficult to comprehend, especially when we keep in mind that the Fellow‑Craft Degree is as distinctly intellectual in its purpose and spirit as the Entered Apprentice's Degree is moral, and that the first part of the Fellow‑Craft Degree is chiefly a reiteration of the moral teaching of the Entered Apprentice's Degree. In the Entered Apprentice's Degree we are symbolically born out of darkness into the light of moral truth and duty, out of a merely physical into a spiritual world. Symbolically, 236 THE PRESTONIAN LECTURES we enter into a new environment, as the child does at birth, with a new body of motive and law, taking vows to live by the highest standard of values; whereas, in the Fellow‑Craft Degree it is presumed that we are entering on an advanced stage of life, where we are face to face with serious labours and struggles, and the dominant note of the Degree is self‑improvement. In this Degree, its symbolism teaches us that virtue is always to be our primary consideration, and that no knowledge nor success purchased at the sacrifice of morals, honour or integrity, is of abiding value. The pathway of strict rectitude, and justice is emphasized as the only safe pathway. The Fellow‑Craft Degree also teaches that, as the operative mason, in building an upright structure, was compelled to adhere to the laws of architectural and building construction and to work rigidly by the [tools of that Degree] ... so, in the building of personal character, we must live and work in harmony with the moral principles which the working tools of the Second Degree symbolize.

 

Masonry having come down to us at least from the middle ages, a period in which trade guilds flourished, a time in which many of our great European medieval cathedrals were erected, when operative masonry was at the zenith of its power and at the heyday of its art, it is not difficult to discover side‑lights it throws on some phases of the Fellow‑Craft Degree. For example, those guilds had three great divisions, viz.: Apprentices, Journeymen and Masters. Apprentices were those who received instructions in their art, journeymen were those who had completed their apprenticeship and moved from post to post to gain experience, and Masters were those who had become fully qualified to instruct their apprentices and give oversight and further counsel to Fellow Crafts.

 

The Working Tools of the Fellow Craft . . . reflect in their symbolism the great practicality of their teaching. These working tools have a striking significance, and it is well worth while that we should look carefully into their inwardness and understand thoroughly their symbolic teaching.

 

The [first] is to try and adjust rectangular corners of buildings and assist in bringing rude matter into due form. Symbolically, it teaches morality and tends to promote uprightness. It is actually a rule of virtue and should lead us to conform to the perfect architecture of speculative Masonry. However much Brethren may fall short of the high standard of Masonic teaching, and we regretfully and humbly admit we have known a few failures, it is not without significance that Freemasonry stresses the need for uprightness, and that its adherents should always act "on the square". It may be regarded a commonplace utterance to say that we may be upright without being moral, but it is no mere platitude to say that we cannot be moral without being upright. The [tool] teaches morality and this symbol should lead us to apply this test to ourselves, to [govern] our actions by the rule of virtue, and to see that our attitude toward men generally possesses the quality of that perfect figure which symbolizes integrity and INWARDNESS OF MASONIC SYMBOLISM 237 renders us acceptable to that Divine Being, from Whom all goodness springs and to Whom we are all accountable. [Such] conduct does more than anything to keep alive faith in the truths that make us men and to make tangible the power of love, the worth of beauty, and the reality of our high Masonic ideals.

 

[The second of the F.C.'s tools is of the utmost importance and] it is scarcely possible to exaggerate the significance of this symbol.

 

[It] teaches equality, the only [status] recognized in Freemasonrythe [basis] upon which all Brethren meet‑rich and poor, high and low, men of all creeds, interests and occupations‑forgetting all differences of rank and station, and united in warmest endeavour for the highest good of each and all.

 

[It] symbolizes the real unity of Brethren otherwise scarcely known, and this promotes toleration and breadth of vision to a remarkable degree. Here you find leaders of thought in opposite parties and rival factions of other spheres, forgetful of their intrigues, catching the spirit of mutual sympathy, consideration and benevolence. Here nobility of birth and blood is superseded by the higher nobility of disposition and life. Here the crown of loyalty and authority belongs to those most distinguished for virtue and honour. Here the distinguished representatives of various ecclesiastical systems meet side by side with men of most diverse and extreme theological sentiments without any test between them, save that of the Masonic fraternity; and here they find fraternal and congenial fellowship which in other spheres is rarely enjoyed. This gives significant distinction and advantage to Freemasonry. The [symbol] does not signify identity nor even similarity of gift and endowment; it is something better, for it symbolizes the equal right of each Brother to the full use and development of such power as he has, whatever it may be, unhindered by prejudice, injustice, or oppression.