The Builder Magazine

December 1915 - Volume I - Number 12

 

THE HOUSE OF THE TEMPLE

BY THE EDITOR

WITH ceremonies solemn and impressive, yet simple in spirit and eloquent in form, the new House of the Temple was dedicated in Washington city, October 18th, the home of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in its Southern Jurisdiction. It was a lovely day, and more than five thousand people, including distinguished Masons from all over the country, witnessed the consecration of one of the most unique and imposing build ings on this continent - at once a monument to the founders of the Order and an emblem of the influence and power of the Rite. As the Grand Prior sprinkled the oil, consecrating the Temple to "Mutual Concession, Charitable Judgment, and Toleration," a White Dove flew from across the street, entered the building, then returned to the bright sunlight amid the acclaim of the assembly who interpreted it as a token in accord with the Spirit of Masonry and the eternal fitness of things.

Our Frontispiece shows the House of the Temple from the outside, and the accompanying illustrations disclose two of its stately chambers; but to describe such a building in a few words is too daring a thing to attempt. Truly, it is Freemasonry carved in stone; a great Symbol in itself, epitomizing by virtue of its Simplicity in Magnificence, its Grandeur and Beauty of conception, the Faith, the Philosophy, the Genius and the Prophecy of the Order - cemented here, once for all, in a noble emblem destined to withstand the storms of time and the mutations of human tortune. In design it is a Square crowned by a Triangle, approached by Three, Five, Seven and Nine steps, its gate guarded by a Sphinx on either side, bespeaking the Wisdom and Power of God; and so it will stand as one generation cometh and another generation goeth, a mute but eloquent witness of the truth that, if Man would build for Eternity, he must imitate on earth the House not made with hands. With right was it dedicated -

"To Purity, Innocence of Act, Word, and Thought; to Mutual Concession, Charitable Judgment, and Toleration; to Charity, Compassion, and Sympathy; to Justice, Night, and Truth; to Universal Benevolence and Good Will Towards Men; to Wise Legislation, Good Faith, Stainless Loyalty, and Honor; a Symbol of Gratitude, Veneration, and Love of God, and a pledge of Future Fidelity and Performance of Duty.

Masons of every land, of every Rite, will join in the words of the Sovereign Grand Commander - grave words fitly spoken - in which Prayer is blended with Prophecy, and Aspiration with Resolution, when he said:

"May guile and deceit, false pretense and hypocrisy never intrude within these doors; but let there always stand as vigilent tilers, sincerity and frankness, plaindealing and earnestness to forbid the approach of any unclean visitor. For the increase of loving kindness, which is the soul of all religion, to be the shrine of honor and duty, inseparable as the Dioscuri; for the glorifying and magnifying of truth, which, sown in whatever barren and rocky soil, springs up and yields a hundredfold for use and blessing; for the conquest everywhere of the hydra of tolerance, hatred and persecution; for toleration to which Masonry erects its altars, garlanded with flowers; and to aid in establishing everywhere the dominion of God and faith in human nature, of hope, the chief blessing bestowed by Providence on man, and of charity, divinest of all the virtues, this House of the Temple has been consecrated."

 

SYMBOLISM, THE HIRAMIC LEGEND, AND THE MASTER'S WORD

BY BRO. J. OTIS BALL, ILLINOIS

It sometimes seems that the foundation of all that has been written on any subject may be found in Plato. The careful Emerson says, "Plato only, is entitled to Omar's fanatical remark, 'Burn the libraries; for their value is in this book.'" In Plato's Phaedrus, we find the fundamental principles of public address, and one of the first principles given, is for the speaker to clearly define his terms in order that there be no misunderstanding or disagreement at the start.

I was very much impressed with Brother Gage's definition of Symbolism at the beginning of his talk on Symbolism of the First Degree, and it will probably be well for us to briefly review his definition. We may be able to make it clearer in our minds, or perhaps add some thought of value. Brother Gage dwelt upon the derivation and meaning of the word symbol. He found that the word came from the Greek, meaning to compare. A symbol is an expression of an idea by comparison. Abstract ideas are often best conveyed by comparison with concrete objects.

A symbol is also a sign, and the words sign and symbol are especially synonymous in their Masonic connection. The symbols of Masonry are the signs which guide the traveler along his journey through life and point to his destination. In olden times, when the weary pilgrims journeyed to the city of their desire--whether it was Mecca where the Mohammedans went to greet the rising sun, or Jerusalem where the Christians journeyed that they might walk upon the ground made holy by the foot-falls of the man of Nazareth--the signs along the way meant much to them. It is the same in Masonry. It is with a certain satisfaction and joy that we find these signs or symbols which point out the right road to travel and mark our moral and spiritual progress--much the-same as the signs along the way, marked the pilgrim's progress in former times.

The study of these signs or symbols is called Symbolism, and the man who endeavors to find these signs in Masonry and to read them aright, is called a Symbolist. A Symbolist, in trying to understand the symbols of Masonry, not only benefits himself but he may also aid some other tired and weary pilgrim in his journey through life. Let us therefore, approach this subject of Symbolism in a thoughtful way; for if the symbols of Masonry are guide posts that will assist us in our earthly pilgrimage, then indeed, the effort is worth while.

In addition to defining Symbolism as the study of these signs in Masonry, let us also attempt to define Masonry. If each of us were handed a piece of paper and wrote a definition of Masonry, we would probably be surprised at the various ideas. Let us then, as Plato suggests, agree upon a definition. It has been said that one of the best ways to clearly fix in the mind what anything is, is to find out some of the things which it is not. We should have no difficulty in agreeing that Masonry is not politics, although some of the recent activities in our fraternity make us feel that there are those among our number who are attempting to make a political organization of the fraternity. While might makes right, we will hear brethren boast of the political achievements of the Masonic Fraternity and encourage hatred and prejudice, but politics is not Masonry.

There is a very great difference between Masonry and the Masonic Fraternity. The Masonic Fraternity is made up of men who follow, or who are supposed to follow, the teachings of Masonry; but men are prone to err. The fraternity is apt to wander from the fundamental principles of Masonry, and the mistakes are due to the frailty of man and the errors of his judgment, rather than to the principles of Masonry. In speaking of Masonry therefore, both of its history and characteristics, I do not refer to the Masonic fraternity.

If Masonry then, is not the fraternity, what is it? In referring to our Illinois monitor, we find the following sentence in the Secretary's lecture, given in the ante-room before the candidate is admitted to the lodge: "Masonry consists of a course of ancient, hieroglyphic, moral instruction, taught agreeably to ancient customs by types, emblems, and allegorical figures." This is beautiful English, but is its full import immediately clear ?

The peculiar characters cut upon the rocks in the tombs of the ancient Egyptians are hieroglyphics. For many centuries they stood as the mute unknown secrets of ages past and gone. Modern researchers, however, successfully patched together and deciphered them, and the hieroglyphics and signs were finally read and understood. They were found to be clear pictorial representations of events and ideas, full of meaning-- but only to those who understood them. Masonry, being hieroglyphic, is taught by a system of signs or symbols which mean something to those who have studied them, but to others they mean nothing.

Why is Masonry hieroglyphic? Perhaps it is because of that old principle that something which we get for very little effort, is usually very little valued; but something for which we are required to expend more effort, we believe to be of more value. Just as the etymologist discovers the meaning of an old Egyptian hieroglyphic, after months of careful study and search; so do we find truth after careful thought. As our Ancient brother Pythagoras is said to have discovered the forty-seventh problem of Euclid, only after weary and tedious toil; so will we discover the secrets of Masonry only after we seek for them. Masonry, therefore, is hieroglyphic for the good reason founded upon a fundamental truth, that something which we get for nothing is worth nothing.

Masonry is moral, because it is in perfect accord with the established principles of truth--and that is real morality. We learn that this hieroglyphic, moral system is taught by types, emblems and allegorical figures. We speak of a man of a certain type, meaning that he has certain characteristics in common with men of the same class or type. Types are expressions of classification, by which we are able to fix general truths or characteristics in our minds and draw conclusions from them. Emblems are signs or symbols visible to the eye, which stand for something in addition to themselves, and they create in the mind a flow of thought. The square, for instance, in all ages has been an emblem of Masonry, but its use has become so common that "to be on the square" has a meaning to others than Masons.

Allegories are parables. In seeking why Masonry is taught in allegories instead of by logical statements of truth in direct form, we may answer that in many ages truth has been taught by allegories and parables, in order that the mind may conceive great and fundamental truths by comparison with simple things. Some think that Masonry is taught by types, emblems, and allegorical figures in order to conceal the thought, but it seems to me that they reveal the truth and make it clear and understandable. In the wonderful parable of the Sower, we learn of the seed that fell on fertile ground, the seed that fell among thistles, and the seed that fell on the rocks and stony places. Does the parable conceal the thought ? On the contrary, the parable or allegory makes the thought clear to the thinking mind, but only after a certain effort in thinking the thing through.

 

Call Masonry, then, a philosophy, a science, an art, or even a religion if you please, but retain the idea of a system of hieroglyphic moral instruction taught by types, emblems, and allegorical figures. In this sense Masonry is indeed ancient, and we may trace four ideas in this peculiar system through many ages. These four principle ideas might even be called Land-marks. They are: a belief in one God, a teaching of Immortality, a symbolic idea of building, and a seeking after something which was lost.

 

We find these characteristics in Masonry from the time of the Ancient Egyptians in the mysteries of Osiris, where it is said Moses was initiated into the solemn rites which antedated the return of the chosen people of God; in the old Persian Mysteries of Mithras, where we find traces of an unusually clear conception of a life after death; and in Syria where we find the Dionysian Mysteries which came from Greece and were probably carried by the workmen of Tyre into Jerusalem when Solomon's temple was built on Mount Moriah. We also find these four characteristics in the mysteries of Bacchus in early Rome; later in the Roman Collegia of Builders; and in the teachings of the peaceful Essenes along the Jordan, where some authorities conjecture that Jesus was initiated before the beginning of his ministry. In the middle ages we find this hieroglyphic moral system taught by types, emblems and allegories, among the Cathedral Builders; in the dark ages, we find it among the Comacine Masters on the little island in Lake Como; and we may trace it through the guilds of travelling Masons, to the Speculative Masonry of 1717, which we substantially teach today.

 

Our Iconoclastic friends, who are interested in the history of the fraternity, may smile at the dream of a symbolist, but bear in mind that we are not speaking of the fraternity when we use the word Masonry; we are speaking of that hieroglyphic, moral system taught agreeably to ancient customs by types, emblems and allegorical figures; and having four principal ideas: a belief in one God, a life after death, a symbolical idea of building, and the seeking after something which was lost. It is true that the careful student finds clouds of darkness occasionally hiding these real intents and purposes. At times we read of the ceremonies degenerating into the common and vulgar, as in the case of the mysteries of Bacchus at Rome. But like the hidden river which disappears under ground, only to flow out fresh and pure farther on; so we find these fundamental characteristics of Masonry occasionally hidden, but later coming to light.

 

Considerable has been written on all of these four characteristics, especially on the belief in one God and on the idea of building. Let us also look into the subjects of immortality and the seeking after something which was lost. These two subjects are so closely akin to the legends of Hiram and of the Master's Word in our Masonry of today, that it may be well for us to see what meaning these two symbols had in the Masonry of Antiquity.

 

In the ancient Egyptian Mysteries, Osiris represented the spirit of the Sun, the principle of light and life. He was assailed by the powers of evil and was killed, and apparently the forces of darkness ruled. Isis went out to seek for him, and Osiris was later resurrected and brought to life. This story was portrayed in dramatic form in the Egyptian mysteries. The facts are verified by Plutarch, Plato, Epictetus, and others. Substantially the same story was told by Mithras in the old Persian Mysteries, of Dionysus in the Grecian and Syrian Mysteries, and of Bacchus in the early Roman rites. All were slain and then sought for, and finally raised or brought to life. A death and a life after death has been one of the fundamental teachings of Masonry in all ages. These old mysterious ceremonies have been an expression of that idea of immortality which seems to be ever present in the heart of man from remotest antiquity.

 

The ancient sun-worshipers saw the sun retire in the Fall and reach the Winter solstice. If, as some antiquarians think, the sun worship had its beginning in the far north, the old Norseman on the shores of the Arctic seas experienced a long period of night during the Winter. In the Spring, they saw the sun's resplendant rays again light and warm the earth. The old legend was that the sun was slain and that during the period of darkness, the sun was dead; and that later the sun, as in the case of Osiris, Mithras, and Dionysus, was brought to life again and there was light and life. Ceremonies were instituted and the lesson of a life after death, was taught by a dramatic portrayal very similar in character to that of the legend of Hiram today.

 

In the legend of Hiram we may find the lesson of immortality, and we may also find one of the greatest tragedies ever conceived by man. Edwin Booth, the famous Shakespearian actor, referred to the legend of Hiram as the most sublime tragedy; and said that in its portrayal in a Masonic lodge, he would rather play that part without applause, than to play the greatest tragedy Shakespeare ever wrote. We may find in the journey of Hiram the symbol of Man's journey through life. In this journey, man encounters many obstacles which may be symbolically referred to as enemies. They may be considered as accosting him from the three aspects of his being--the mental, spiritual and physical. Three of these enemies are Ignorance, Doubt, and Prejudice.

 

The encounter with ignorance may be considered as symbolical of the first effort made by man in his progress. Perhaps the twenty-four inch gauge, as the weapon used by ignorance, is symbolical of the mental and the idea that the knowledge which man already has, is sufficient. As he presses on in his journey for further light, Doubt is encountered. The little knowledge which man has, may be confined to material things, and there is doubt about those things which are not material. Perhaps the square, symbolical of the earth, may be used by Doubt and a correct understanding of great, eternal and spiritual truths prevented by confusion with earthly things. If man still presses onward, he may encounter a third and more deadly enemy--Prejudice--which often slays him and stops his progress. The word prejudice comes from the Latin, Prae meaning before, and Judicium meaning judgment. Prejudice is a previous judgment, clung to even after contrary facts are disclosed. Our prejudices, or previous judgments, often come from the passions. Fear, hatred, jealousy, and love of the passionate sort, all engender prejudice. These passions have their abiding place in the physical.

 

In addition to the universally taught lesson of immortality, we find in the lodge a continued admonition to seek for the Master's Word. But even after we have completed the several degrees, we do not find the Master's Word. In the last degree of the Blue Lodge, we find that as Master Masons, we will have to be content with a substitute. All through the degrees of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, we find further indications of this continued seeking. At last, when a brother is made Sublime Prince of The Royal Secret, he still receives an admonition to advance, to progress, and to seek. "He is to advance and conquer in his heart those old enemies, Ignorance, Doubt, and Prejudice, and to seek the Master's Word." That is the Royal Secret. In the degree of the Royal Arch, we are told that in a book there is a key to the Master's Word. The Master's Word is not a few meaningless syllables whispered in the ear, neither is it a few arbitrary characters. Neither is it the name of the Great Jehovah, unless it is considered in a symbolical sense, as representing Truth and Perfection. The key to the Master's Word is in the book, which to us is the Holy Bible, the Great Light in Masonry. There, we will find the key to the Master's Word, but not the Master's Word itself.

 

What is this Master's Word, and why this continual search? We find in the Masonic funeral service an allusion to a certain "pass" whereby we may obtain entrance into the Grand Lodge above. What higher conception could we have of the Master's Word, than the pass whereby we can find immortality and entrance into the Grand Lodge on High? We are told that this pass is, "the pass of a pure and blameless life." The symbolism is perfect. Now we know why we will have to be content with a substitute, because on earth we will not attain the Master's Word, "the pure and blameless life." We learn that Moses had this Master's Word; his inspiration came direct from God himself. Solomon had the Master's Word, until he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, then he lost the Master's Word. It was buried amid the rubbish of his physical temple.

 

But since we cannot attain this Master's Word, "the pure and blameless life," why are we so continually admonished to seek for it ? Why seek for that which we cannot find ? Why this ceaseless, endless search for perfection and truth, only to receive a substitute ? Because in the very seeking for the Master's Word, "a pure and blameless life," we come nearer to it. Like the Cathedral Spires of Gothic Architecture, which point upward, although they never reach heaven; we find that in our seeking after perfection, we come nearer and nearer to it.

 

The seeking for the Master's Word, therefore, is the real purpose of Masonry--that hieroglyphic moral system of types, emblems and allegories. It should be the purpose and the object of every true and worthy brother to find this Master's Word. With the thought of the unity of God, the hope of immortality, and the seeking after the perfect life, we will build a temple that will be eternal. We will also exercise that charity toward the weaknesses and failings of others, which is incumbent on all Masons; and as taught in the Council Degrees of Royal and Select Masters, we will deposit in the secret vault true copies or counterparts of those sacred treasures of Mercy, Justice, and Love, which are in the Sanctum Sanctorum above. Then, after the destruction of this temple, the treasures or their counterparts will be found at the building of a second temple not made with hands but eternal in the heavens, and there we will find the true Master's Word, "the pure and blameless life"--not here, but hereafter.

 

 BUILDING DESIGNS

 

BY BRO. ASAHEL W. GAGE, ILLINOIS

 

(If our readers are familiar with "Peer Gynt," by Ibsen, they will recall that the lovable scapegrace who is the hero of that drama is a man without a will, though kind of heart and full of dreams, and let his life go to waste, as the old Button-Maker said, for lack of a design in his living. Having no set purpose, no definite program of living, he followed the behest of whim, fancy and passion, which led him into far-wanderings and many sorrows and sins. Masonry, as Brother Gage points out, offers a man a life plan or design, whereby he may organize his powers and build them into that greatest thing in the world--a noble, strong, refined character; and more men fail for lack of character than for lack of ability.-- The Editor.)

 

The designs in which all are most interested are those for that spiritual building, that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. What that house is, St. Paul clearly indicated when he said: "Know ye not that ye are the Temple of God ?"

 

How to plan the erection of this temple, the Bible teaches in its historical account of the erection of the material temple. Life is grouped into three general divisions: youth, manhood, and old age. The development of humanity may also be divided into symbolic epochs. These divisions are typified by the three groups of laborers employed in the building of Solomon's Temple.

 

The apprentices, or bearers of burdens, correspond to youth, and symbolize man before he became the predominant creature. His whole existence was a struggle against the inclemency of the elements, and the ferocity of the wild beasts; when he worked with and developed strength, symbolized by Thor's hammer. His mind was not the highly developed, complex intelligence that it now is. He knew only simple and direct effort, symbolized by the straight line of the twenty four inch gauge. The working tools of the apprentice teach the necessity of directness of thought and strength of character.

 

The fellowcrafts, or hewers, correspond to manhood, and symbolize man in the second stage of development when he notes the orderly or geometric processes of nature. He uses the plumb, square, and level, as working tools. He experiments, tests, and tries, and by the aid of his working tools, symbols of his faculties, he learns to use the materials and forces he finds about him. The ability to work with the fellowcraft tools makes life easier and more secure and gives opportunity for the development of the higher faculties.

 

The masters, or chiefs over the work, correspond to old age, to man developed until he becomes a builder, a designer, a creator, he molds all nature in forms of his own design. He grows corn of the quality he wants, the orange without seed, and the rose of a color to suit his fancy. His working tools are all implements, but more especially the trowel, the symbol of cementing, of uniting, of building.

 

The stones of which the temple is composed are thoughts, words, and deeds. The master with the trowel of constructive thought unites these symbolic stones into a temple of character. The Bible teaches that these stones must be perfected in the quarries where they are wrought. There will be no tools to alter them later for neither hammer, nor ax, nor any tool of iron, is heard in the house while it is in building. The necessity for perfection of each thought, word, and act is therefore apparent.

 

The Biblical account of the building of Solomon's Temple is most perfect symbolism. Being Truth, its application is universal and the lessons to be learned from it are limited only by the ability to understand its teachings. The benefits we receive are limited only by the ability to apply the teachings to the problems of life.

 

 

THE PLUMB-LINE

 

BY BRO. WM. F. KUHN P. G. M., MISSOURI

 

"Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumb line, with a plumb-line in his hand. And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, a plumb-line. Then said the Lord, behold, I will set a plumb-line in the midst of my people Israel; I will not again pass by them any more." (Amos, VII: 7-8.)

 

The Degree of Fellow Craft deals with material interests of life and man's intellectual nature. Its object is to stimulate every incentive to pursue and attain those things that go to make up man's welfare and comfort in material things and in his mental development and satisfaction. The Degree addresses itself to the workman in the clay grounds, to the man who is engaged in the realms of the intricate sciences, to the liberal arts, and to the practical application of all scientific knowledge to a useful end.

 

The Scriptural Reading to this Degree is, often, an enigma; and the only relation that this Reading bears to the Degree to the average Mason, is the occurrence of the word "Plumb-Line" which somehow has something to do with the erection of walls and buildings. To understand this Scriptural Reading and its relations to the Degree of Fellow Craft, it is necessary to know the history and the application of this vision of Amos.

 

Amos lived and taught in the year 787 B. C. during the reign of Jereboam II of the Kingdom of Israel. The reign of Jereboam was chiefly characterized by mere formal religion, the arrogant assumption of power, cruel oppression for the accumulation of wealth for himself and Nobles. The poor could not attain justice in the Courts, and justice became rank injustice. It was a reign of a typical, practical politician who feasted and fattened off the poor and oppressed. In this reign of wealth, and degradation of the poor, Amos, the Reformer, arose and with fiery eloquence denounced the social conditions existing. He speaks of himself as, "I was no prophet, nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd and dresser of sycamore." One of the ablest Commentators speaks of him as follows:-- "Amos was the first great social reformer in history; he was the tribune of the poor and oppressed. The rich and the rulers and those in authority were the special objects of his attacks. By them he was silenced as a dangerous agitator and banished from the Kingdom."

 

It was to correct the abuses of the very things inculcated in the Degree of Fellow Craft, that he laid aside his shepherd's crook to preach righteousness and justice. He might be called the prophet of the plumbline. Listen to his denunciations as he applies the plumb-line to the rulers.

 

Alas, for those who turn judgment to wormwood,

And cast righteousness to the ground,

Who hate him that reproves in the gate,

And who abhor one who speaks uprightly.

 

Therefore, because ye trample upon the weak

And take from him exactions of grain,

Houses of hewn stone have ye built,

But ye shall not dwell therein;

Charming vineyards have you planted,

But ye shall not drink the wine.

 

They who lie on ivory couches,

And sprawl upon divans,

And eat lambs from the flocks

And calves from the stalls,

They drawl to the sound of the lyre,

Like David, they devise for themselves instruments of song,

And drink bowls full of wine,

And anoint themselves with the finest oil,

But they do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph.

 

It is not surprising that he was banished from the country; truth hurt just as much in the centuries of the past, as now. In his final effort to arouse the people, he made use of intensely graphic word pictures in the form of visions. In the Metric form they are as follows:--

 

Thus the Lord showed me,

And, behold, he was forming locusts,

When the late spring grass began to come up.

And when they were making an end

Of devouring the vegetation of the land,

I said, O Lord, Jehovah, forgive, I pray;

How can Jacob stand, for he is small ?

Jehovah repented concerning this;

It shall not be, said Jehovah.

 

Thus the Lord showed me,

And, behold, he was giving commands to execute judgment

By fire--the Lord Jehovah.

And it devoured the great deep,

And had begun to devour the tilled land.

Then I said, O Lord, Jehovah, cease I pray;

How can Jacob stand, for he is small ?

Jehovah repented concerning this;

Neither shall this be, said Jehovah.

 

Thus the Lord showed me,

And, behold, the Lord was standing

Beside a wall, with a plumb-line in his hand.

And Jehovah said to me,

What dost thou see, Amos?

And I answered, a plumb-line;

Then the Lord said, behold, I am setting a plumbline

In the midst of my people Israel;

I will not again pass by them any more.

 

In placing the visions of the plague of locusts, of the drought, and of the plumb-line in their sequence, the meaning of the last line, "I will not again pass by them any more," is readily understood. The Lord's hand was stayed in the first and second vision by the prayerful and faithful Amos, and the vengeance of the Lord "Passed by," but in the vision of the plumb-line, He set a standard of measurement that can never be changed. The plumb-line, the symbol of national and individual rectitude and justice, will stand forever. "He will not again pass by any more." It will endure and can not be stayed.

 

The third vision contains the very essence of true worth and greatness. The plumb-line is the test of values. Twenty-four centuries before Speculative Freemasonry was born, this simple shepherd held aloft the plumb-line whose symbolic meaning was the same then, as it is today--the standard of rectitude, justice, uprightness, and true manhood. As such it is one of the most impressive symbols in Freemasonry. As such it stands preeminent in the Degree of Fellow Craft; the symbol by which the value of the material interests of life must be gauged and by which the use of man's intelligence must be tried. The symbolism is so plain, that it does not need any profound philosophy to unfold it, neither is it necessary to search for it along "geometrical lines." It stands clear, simple, and profound.

 

It matters not whether the Freemason toils, as a day laborer, in the clay grounds between Succoth and Zaredetha, or stands as the exponent of the liberal arts and sciences. There is but one standard for King or subject, rich or poor, educated or ignorant. The plumbline of moral rectitude must be applied to every walk in life.

 

----o----

 

A SONG IN THE HEART

 

Thou dost hear the ocean's tale

In the moonlight, very pale,

Since thy chamber opens wide

One great casement toward the tide.

But another window looks

Over marshes and their brooks;

And thy garden paths between

Brooks and window intervene:

When the evening breezes blow,

Hear we in these paths below!

 

Lest the great, insistent sea -

Day and night adjuring thee-

By the secret word it sings,

Take too far from human things;

For a little space apart

Hear the singing in my heart!

Or if things eternal make

So much music for thy sake,

Hearken, from they seat above,

The still vaster deep of love !

 

- Arthur E. Waite

 

----o----

 

PRAYER FOR PEACE

 

I prayed for peace: God, answering my prayer,

Spake very softly of forgotten things,

Spake very softly old remembered words,

Sweet as young starlight. Rose to heaven again

The mystic challenge of the Nazarene,

The deathless affirmation: Man in God,

And God in Man willing the God to be!

And there was war and peace, and peace and war,

Full year and lean, joy, anguish, life and death,

Doing their work on the evolving soul -

The far fruition of our earthly prayer:

'Thy will be done !' There is no other peace !

 

- W.S. Johnson.

 

----o----

 

"True Masonry is true Charity, not only in giving alms but in giving love in every day life. When Masons live up to their ideals we shall better know who are most benefited by Masonry."

 

----o----

 

"Habit is a cable - we weave a thread each day, and it becomes so strong we cannot break it; but this is also true of good habits. The law is the same, and wise is he who applies it to fortify his soul against evil "

 

----o----

 

PRIVILEGE

 

There's no such thing as duty

When motive prompts the act.

'Tis privilege, maid of beauty,

Made so by love's sweet tact.

There's no such thing as duty

Of soul unto its God,

For privilege, maid of beauty

Goes where love first has trod.

There's no such thing as duty

In the race the heart is in.

But privilege, maid of beauty

With love's fleet wings, will win.

There's no such thing as duty,

'Tis but an empty name.

But privilege, maid of beauty

Is slave to love's sweet game.

There's no such thing as duty,

And there can never be

While privilege, maid of beauty

Is love's sweet alchemy.

 

* * * * * * *

 

The thing the world calls duty

Can no true Mason make,

For privilege, maid of beauty

Does it for love's sweet sake.

 

- L. B. Mitchell, Michigan.

 

THE HISTORY OF THE RITUAL

 

(The history of the Ritual is most interesting, and should be written in more detail, so far as that is possible and proper for publication. Steinbrenner has a brief chapter on The Ritual in his History of Masonry, and Dr. Mackey published a lecture on "The Lectures of Freemasonry," in the old Quarterly Review of Freemasonry. (Vol. II, p. 297). The following article giving a brief story of the Ritual, appeared first in the Masonic Monthly, of Boston, in 1863, and has been several times reprinted--once in the New England Craftsman (Vol. VII) and in the Bulletin of the Iowa Masonic Library, (Vol. XV). It is of unusual value not only for its compactness, but for its revelation of the growth of the Ritual--as much by subtraction as by addition--and especially as showing the introduction of Christian imagery and interpretation, first by Martin Clare in 1732, and by Dunckerly and Hutchinson later. One need only turn to "The Spirit of Masonry," by Hutchinson--deservedly one of the most popular Masonic books ever written--to see how far this tendency had gone when it was checked in 1813. At the time of the Union a committee made a careful comparative study of all rituals in use among Masons, and the ultimate result was the Preston-Webb lectures now generally in use in this country.--The Editor.)

 

Of the thousands upon thousands of candidates who annually pass through the ceremonies of the several degrees conferred in Masonic Lodges, but very few know anything of the history of the ritual of the order. This is especially to be regretted, for the reason that there is, among the members of the craft generally, a strong aversion to any change, however slight, in anything connected with the Ritual, for fear that some of these ancient way-marks may be infringed upon or obliterated.

 

This veneration for the ancient usages and customs is highly commendable, and care should ever be taken that it be not weakened, as the stability, universality, and usefulness of the Order are, to a very considerable extent, dependant upon it. Rude hands must not be allowed to tamper with our ceremonies, our language or our usages. But it is of the greatest importance that there should be an intelligent appreciation of what really are "ancient" usages, and what actually constitute "landmarks" of the Order, as it is these alone that should be carefully preserved, and from which we should never suffer the slightest deviation. In the minds of many, every word of the Ritual, as it has come to their individual ears, is invested with all the sanctity of a landmark, to deviate from which, even in the slightest degree, would be a fatal stab at the heart of the venerated institution, and shake the foundation of the very temple itself.

 

In order that this fidelity to obligations, and to convictions, may be intelligently directed, so far at least as what are technically called Lectures of the Lodge are concerned, the following brief history has been prepared for these columns. The uninformed brother may safely rely upon the truthfulness of the narrative:

 

Previous to the revival of Masonry, in 1717, and the organization of our present system of Grand Lodges, and Chartered Lodges, the secrets of the Order were undoubtedly communicated and the instructions and explanations given, to candidates, in such form of language as the presiding master or warden could command at the time. If he were a person gifted in language, and his mind well stored with the facts and lessons of scriptural Masonic history, his explanations would be full and interesting, and his instructions clear and explicit. If, on the other hand, the presiding officer were less fortunate in these respects, the traditions and moral instruction would be set forth in style and language corresponding, even to a meagre and barren explanation of the vital points. It is very probable, but not certain, that these explanations and instructions--or "lectures," as they were technically called--by long usage and frequent repetition, gradually assumed very nearly a set form of words, which form was transmitted orally from one generation to another.

 

Soon after the reorganization of the Order, in 1717, the Grand Lodge of England ordered the ancient constitution and charges of the Order to be compiled and printed, which was done by Dr. James Anderson, a distinguished scholar, and Freemason. This volume, known as "Anderson's Constitution," was published in 1723, and was the first printed book upon Freemasonry ever issued. (Since this article was written others have been found of earlier date.)

 

Simultaneously with the compilation of this book of constitutions, Dr. Anderson, assisted by Dr. Desaguliers, arranged the "lectures," for the first time, into the. form of question and answer. Dr. Oliver informs us that "the first lecture extended to the greatest length, but the replies were circumscribed within a very narrow compass. The second was shorter, and the third, called the Master's part, contained only seven questions and examinations." So favorably were these improved "lectures" received that the Grand Lodge of England (then the only Grand Lodge in existence, except the old Grand Lodge, or Assembly, at York, which soon afterwards expired) adopted the form, and ordered them to be given in all the Lodges. Thus was compiled and disseminated the first regular form, or system, of Masonic "lectures."

 

The progress of the Order, subsequent to the date above mentioned, was unprecedented in all its previous history, and in a few years the imperfections of Dr. Anderson's lectures loudly called for a revision. This was finally accomplished in 1732, by Martin Clare, an eminent Mason, and who was afterwards Deputy Grand Master. Clare's amendments consisted of but little more than the addition of a few moral and scriptural admonitions, and the insertion of a simple allusion to the human senses, and to the theological ladder.

 

A few years later, Thomas Dunckerly, an accomplished scholar, and who was considered the most intelligent Freemason of his day, considerably extended and improved the lectures. Among other things, he first gave to the theological ladder its three most important rounds.

 

According to Dr. Oliver, Dunckerly "added many types of Christ." This, be it remembered, was only one hundred years ago, and is an explicit statement of the addition of the first Christian allusions to be found in the ritual of Freemasonry.

 

The lectures of Dunckerly continued to be the standard in England until 1763, when Rev. William Hutchinson revised and improved them. Hutchinson boldly claimed the third degree to be exclusively Christian. He considered the three degrees to refer to the three great Dispensations, viz: The Patriarchal, the Mosaic, and the Christian. He even argued that the name "Mason" signifies or implies "a member of a religious sect, and a professed devotee of the Deity." He regarded the degrees as progressive steps, or schools in religion. He believed that the knowledge of the God of Nature formed the first estate of our profession; that the worship of the Deity, under the Jewish law, is described in the second stage of Freemasonry; and that "the Christian dispensation is distinguished in the last and highest order." In the lectures of Hutchinson are first introduced the three great pillars, Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, as supports of a lodge. He also appears to have introduced, for the first time, the cardinal virtues of Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance and Justice. He also gave to the Star its Christian significance. In fine, he appears to have exerted his utmost in genuity to render the degrees emphatically Christian in their allusions and teachings.

 

Hutchinson's system continued in force but a few years. His lectures gave place, in 1772, to the revision of William Preston. The latter not only revised, but greatly extended, the lectures, and his system continued to be the standard in England until the "Union" of the two Grand Lodges of that Kingdom, in 1813, when a committee, of which Dr. Hemming was the chairman and leading mind, compiled the form now generally used in the English Lodges, and known as the Hemming Lectures.

 

During the unhappy division of the craft in England, between 1739 and 1813, differences had also crept into the lectures, and at the Union above mentioned, the committee endeavored to compile a system which, while it should be in conformity to the spirit of Freemasonry, and in harmony with the ancient landmarks, should be a sort of compromise between the forms in previous use by the two rival organizations.

 

The Hemming lectures differ widely from those of Preston, or from any others previously introduced. A few of these differences may properly be mentioned. English Lodges are now dedicated to Moses and Solomon, instead of to the two Sts. John, as before, and their Masonic festival falls on the Wednesday following St. George's Day, April 23--that Saint being the patron of England. The symbolical working tools of an E. A. are "a 24-inch rule, a gavel and a chisel." Those of a M.M. are "a pair of compasses, a skirret and a pencil." The ornaments of a M. M.'s Lodge are "a porch, a dormer, and a stone pavement." Instead of following the example of his predecessors, in introducing new Christian allusions, Dr. Hemming expunged several in use previously. The system, however, never met the cordial approval even of English brethren, and though "beautifully elaborate," contains so many incongruities and departures from the more simple lectures of Preston that it can never he recognized as a universal system. The verbal ritual of Preston was introduced into this country by two English brethren, -- who had been members of one of the principal lodges of Instruction in London, and was by them communicated to Thomas Smith Webb, an accomplished and distinguished Mason of New England. According to the testimony of Webb himself, he made but little change in the system of Preston. In the first edition of his Freemason's Monitor, published in 1797, he says:

 

"The observations on the first three degrees are principally taken from 'Preston's Illustrations of Masonry,' with some necessary alterations. Mr. Preston's distribution of the first lecture into six, the second into four, and the third into twelve sections, not being agreeable to the present mode of working, they are arranged in this work according to the general practice." It appears plain that Webb followed Preston quite closely, and one who will take the trouble to compare, will find that Cross, and after him all the rest, have copied nearly verbatim from Webb, so that the exoteric portions of the ritual, as contained in our Monitors, Charts, Manuals and Trestle Boards, are but little more than reprints of Preston's Illustrations of Masonry. In 1801-02 Benjamin Gleason, an intelligent and zealous brother, then a student in Brown University, at Providence, Rhode Island, received the lectures of Preston--as modified by Webb--directly from Webb himself. Gleason by his zeal and other excellent qualities, became a great favorite of Webb, through whose influence he was induced to become a Masonic lecturer. July 2nd, 1804, Isaiah Thomas, then Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, commissioned Brother Gleason as Grand Lecturer to the lodges under his jurisdiction, the Grand Lodge having left the subject of uniformity of work to his discretion, as Grand Master. Early in the year 1806 the Grand Master of New Hampshire, Thomas Thompson, wrote to the Grand Master of Massachusetts, requesting that committees might be chosen by the two Grand Lodges, to meet and confer upon Masonic subjects, and especially upon the subject of a uniformity of work and lectures. The proposition was favorably received, and such a committee was appointed. Rev. George Richards (editor of Richards' Preston's Illustrations of Masonry), Lyman Spaulding (Grand Secretary) and John Harris represented New Hampshire; and Henry Fowle, Benjamin Gleason and Stephen Bean represented Massachusetts. The committee met at Newburyport in this state, and before rising adopted a report, signed by each member of the committee, from which we make the following extract: "The respective committees of Massachusetts and New Hampshire are also fully agreed, perfectly decided, and positively unanimous in their opinion, that the mode of work as exemplified by Brothers Gleason, Fowle and Bean, as practiced in Massachusetts, and adopted in New Hampshire, according to the acknowledgment of Brother Harris, Richards and Spaulding, is as correct as can possibly be expected under existing circumstances; and they deem it expedient that in the three degrees, every master of a Lodge should be indulged with the liberty of adopting historical details, and the personification of the passing scene, as most agreeable to himself, his supporting officers, and assisting Lodge."

 

The report was approved by the respective Grand Lodges, and the Preston-Webb ritual continued to be taught by Brother Gleason. This is the committee from whom Rev. Jeremy L. Cross--long and well known as a Masonic lecturer, and as the author of the Masonic Chart, and other works-- claimed to have received the work and lectures, and to have been formally commissioned as lecturer. He also affirms that he never afterwards changed a word or a letter of the ritual as it was communicated to him by them. There are, however, some differences between the lectures as taught by Cross, and as taught by Gleason, though they are principally such as may be called non-essential.

 

In 1810, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts formally adopted the Preston-Webb ritual, and voted to employ Brother Gleason to communicate it to the Lodges under its jurisdiction. In the performance of this duty, he was employed most of the time for several years; and he continued to impart his instruction, at intervals, until his death, in 1847, visiting for that purpose various sections of the country.

 

----o----

 

LIFE SYMBOL

 

This old earth is a Great School of the Soul, in which are a multitude of shining symbols training us to discover the beauty about us and the wonder within. Nothing is valueless for our teaching, unless we are willing to close our eyes and ears to its testimony; nothing is merely what it seems. We meet a new friend, we hear a beatific song, we listen to a bird at dawn, we read a noble book, we look upon a lovely scene of land or sea or sky, and forthwith we are in the presence of the Eternal. Whenever we are thus summoned, if we answer with our hearts, the veil becomes thinner, the symbol more transparent. Often life is terrible and tragic, but let not its dark days deceive you; there would be no shadow without Light. If you want to find God in its shadows, God will find you. Life is a symbol, and its mystery hath in it the secret of unknown revelations.

 

Joseph Fort Newton.

 

----o----

 

 I HAVE LOOKED

 

I have looked into all men's hearts. Like houses at night unshuttered they stand, And I walk in the street, in the dark, and on either hand There are hollow houses, men's hearts.

 

They think that the curtains are drawn. Yet I see their shadows suddenly kneel To pray, or laughing and reckless as drunkards reel  Into dead sleep till dawn.

 

And I see an immortal child With its quaint high dreams and wondering eyes Sleeping beneath the hard-worn body that lies  Like a mummy-case defiled.

 

I have looked into all men's hearts. Oh, secret terrible houses of beauty and pain! And I cannot be gay, but I cannot be bitter again,  Since I looked into all men's hearts. --Fannie S. Davis. The Crack of Dawn.

 

 

WHAT IS MASONRY?

 

BRO. GEORGE THORNBURGH EDITOR THE MASONIC TROWEL, ARKANSAS

 

SPECULATIVE or Symbolic Freemasonry has been appropriately defined as "a beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." By Symbolic Masonry we mean the performance of the work of an Operative Mason emblematically. We take tools of an Operative and use them as symbols to impress lessons of morality and virtue. For instance, the Operative Mason wears his apron to protect his clothing. The Speculative Mason is taught to wear his to remind him of a safe-guard or protection against the vices and superfluities of life. He should no more allow his moral character to be stained than the Operative his clothing. The Operative works according to design laid down for him by the architect of the building. The Speculative Mason takes the revealed will of God, the great Architect of heaven and earth, as his guide, and should endeavor to erect his spiritual building in conformity thereto. The Operative Mason uses the 24 inch gauge or measure to lay out his work. Speculative Masons use it to divide their time, that every moment may be profitably employed. Man is not placed upon earth to be indolent or inactive. He has a destiny to fill in the drama of life. The mind of man is so constituted that it must be employed. Inactivity is not compatible with its nature, and if not employed for good it will be for evil. Industry is the command of Masonry. Laziness is rebuked by the lesson of the bee-hive and the necessity of improving every opportunity is taught us by the hour glass, which shows how rapidly we are passing away.

 

Masons are taught to so divide their time as to have a part for the Worship of God, and the relief of distress; a part for refreshment and sleep, and a part for the business of life. To worship is the natural disposition of man; to worship God his highest duty. The only religious requirement for admission to the Masonic brotherhood is a belief in God and the immortality of the soul. This is a cardinal faith, the unity of the Fraternity, and the bond of fidelity among them. The man who holds that there was no Creating Spirit, that moved upon the wide empire of night and chaos, and no voice that said, "Let there be light," is not to be trusted with the mysteries of Masonry. The law of the land alone prevents such a one from immorality. He has no monitor within to hold him to a performance of his vows, or to restrain him from a violation of his pledges. But that man who believes in God has a rudder and an anchor. He may wander in darkness temporarily, the allurements of vice may lead him astray, but his conscience follows him through it all, and in the darkest gloom an all-seeing eye is upon him and a star lights him back to the path of rectitude and duty. It is well that no one can pass the center of an Entered Apprentice Lodge who does not willingly and fully declare his trust to be in God.

 

The gavel is an instrument made use of by Operative Masons for dressing rough stones and preparing them for the builder's use. Symbolic Masonry uses it to teach the importance and necessity of divesting the mind and the conscience of the vices of life and of cultivating the higher and nobler qualities of our being. The rough corners of vice, intemperance and profanity must be knocked off to "fit us as living stones for that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens."

 

The Operative Mason makes an important use of the plumb, square, and level. He uses the plumb to keep his work perpendicular, the level to keep it horizontal, and the square to keep it in form.

 

Speculative Masons teach impressive lessons by the use of these tools as emblems. The plumb admonishes .us to walk uprightly. To walk uprightly before God and man is one of the highest duties of a Mason, and he who does so will neither be a bigot nor a persecutor, but will act justly and love mercy.

 

By the square we are taught to square our actions and our dealings by the square of virtue and morality. By a faithful adherence to its moral precepts our actions and doings will be honorable whether we engage in high or low pursuits.

 

The level teaches us the great lesson of our natural equality. Man should not pride himself upon his birth or his worldly wealth. It is of but little consideration whether we were born high or low, if we are true to God, to our fellow-men and to ourselves.

 

The day will come when we must stand in the presence of our Maker stripped of everything save that which will entitle us to pass the judgment bar of an omniscent God.

 

Perhaps the most important symbol used by the Craft is the trowel. It is used by Operative Masons to spread the cement which unites the building into one common mass. We use it emblematically to spread the cement of brotherly love. The Order is composed of every class and condition in life, the high, the low, the rich, the poor, from Washington, the leader of the American army, to the private soldier; from Andrew Jackson, the President of a great republic, to the humblest citizen; each taking into the Order his individuality, but all cemented by the Masons' trowel into one spirit. Every nationality comes, with its peculiar brogue, but all are taught by Masonry to speak the same language by signs and symbols. Religionists come to us with their widely differing doctrines, and are taught by Masonry to worship together one true and living God.

 

The Masonic trowel cemented the broken elements of a once divided people in the United States. Scarcely had the last sound of the deadly conflict of 1861-65 been hushed in the sweet embrace of peace, than the fraternal voice of Masonry was heard through the land calling the brothers from the South to join the brothers of the North, appealing in the tender language of brotherly love for the Masons of the ice fields of Maine and those of the orange groves of Florida to greet each other as companions in the General Grand Chapter Royal Arch Masons. The first reunion of any kind between the men of the two sections after the conflict was in this body; California, Maine and Louisiana formed a triangle of peaceful hands, raised a living arch and whispered the old love in the souls of these men who had for four dreadful years been engaged in fratricide. Be it said to the Honor of Masonry that the General Grand Chapter was never divided, nor did any part of it secede. While churches, societies, and families were being rent in twain, and the angry passion of war covered the land as a cloud of destruction, Masons of the South were hidden from those of the North but not lost. War could stand between but could not separate them. The great Masonic heart of the two sections beat in unison, as was shown upon the battle field, in the hospital and the prison. And when the angry cloud disappeared and the sunshine of peace darted its gladdening rays over the continent, the first words of reconciliation that crossed Mason and Dixon's line were the resolutions of the General Grand Chapter inviting its long-separated children to meet around the old family altar. It, with one voice, and that the voice of a fond mother, said "Resolved, that all the Grand Chapters which have failed to meet in consequence of the recent war are declared to be in good standing in this body, and entitled to continue their relations with it. And they are most cordially and fraternally invited to unite with us, without reference to the past differences, and are most sincerely assured that they shall receive a fraternal, hearty and Royal Arch welcome."

 

That was the work of the Masonic trowel, and the fruit of the teachings of the Fatherhood of God, and the brotherhood of man. And yet Masonry is not a church. The church and Masonry have their blessed spheres, and between the two there is no conflict and should be no prejudice.

 

Masonry does not usurp the office of the church, and the church-- the Protestant Church--is not jealous of Masonry. Among the best and most loyal Masons are the thousands of leading ministers of the gospel who have assumed the vows of Masonry and indorse its tenets.

 

 

LET ME LIVE IN THE HEARTS OF MEN

 

There are selfish souls who by themselves

Live ever themselves within.

There are those who stay in their pleasure haunts

From the best things of life shut in.

And there are souls who are slaves to gain

And paying the price of the loan,

But let me live in the hearts of men

And never without a home.

 

Let me live in the hearts of my fellow men, -

The shelter I cannot buy,

The home that is real and of priceless worth

And that God makes his ratings by.

My shelter may be within plainest walls

Or 'neath a glittering dome,

But let me live in the hearts of men

The only home that's home.

 

Let me live in the hearts of my fellow men

For I am as human as they,

And because I am proud to stand side by side

With them in the strenuous way.

It may be that my treasures may take to wings

And naught left but myself that I own,

So let me live in the hearts of men,

And that makes the world a home.

 

Let me live in the hearts of my fellow men

Though the circle be ever so small.

It may be 'tis the littles that will make me great

With the few who may quite know it all.

'Tis a tonic to jostle with the crowd to and fro

Or trudge to the shut-in alone,

So let me live in the hearts of men

And always "at home" at home.

 

Let me live in the hearts of my fellow men,

Elsewhere would be just "marking time."

The life that is real is the life with my own

And the plan that's forever Divine.

'Tis the true home instinct of "home sweet home"

Earth's only protecting dome,

So let me live in the hearts of men.

At home on the journey home.

 

* * *

 

Let me live in the hearts of my fellow men

Though the token may not always be there,

But 'tis never withheld by the brother of mine

On whose breast gleams the compass and square.

Unmeasured the joy is this living that's real,

Unmeasured the wealth that I own.

‘Tis a balm and a cure for the ills of the soul,

The home in the home that is home.

 

- L. B. Mitchell, Hart, Mich.

 

----o----

 

"Freemasonry is a moral order instituted by virtuous men, with the praiseworthy design of recalling to our remembrance the most sublime truths in the midst of the most innocent and social pleasures, founded on liberality, brotherly love, and charity." - From an old Dutch Dictionary.

 

 

SYMBOLISM IN MYTHOLOGY

 

BY BRO. C. T. SEGO, GEORGIA

 

MOST boys at some time come to the age when nothing pleases them so much as do stories of the exaggerated deeds of some far off hero. As William Tell they shoot arrows from their imaginary sons' heads; as Jack-the-Giant-Killer they wage their mimic warfare on grosser foes; as Princes Charming they break into enchanted castles and kiss away the dreams from the eyes of Sleeping Beauty. But real as these heroes are to boyish minds, the student learns that maturer years render still more real the characters of his childhood stories. William Tell still has an unerring aim with his arrows; Jack-the-Giant-Killer still defeats his foes; and the Sleeping Beauty of flower and field wakes to new life each year under the ardent vernal kiss of the personified prince who shines as one of the lesser lights of Freemasonry. Many fairy tales are the folklore of yesterday, and this folklore was the highly symbolic philosophy and religion of the ancients. The minds of men in general do not readily grasp an abstraction. That is one of the reasons why we use symbols. We do not cheer firesides, and homes, and fields; nor thoughts, and hopes, and aspirations; we cheer the flag which symbolizes all those things. When only the ruins of a one time civilization mark the sites of New York and San Francisco, the eager archaeologist from Asia will discover pictures and statues of Uncle Sam and will believe that we present day Americans worshipped Uncle Sam as our tutelary god, our patron saint, and that we prayed to him for help in times of need.

 

There is a psychological need for symbols, a real demand for stories, which man has ever supplied. By descent through the ages these stories became legends and fairy tales. When they are employed for pastime purposes only, these stories become corrupted by recital and changed so as to be almost unrecognizable. The story of Sleeping Beauty illustrates this. Not at first does one recognize in the sleeping princess the glory of the springtime flower and the promise of autumn fruit. Equally changed is the prince, really the sun, who breaks through the confining walls of winter's cold earth and claims his promised bride.

 

But when these legends are told not for amusement only but in order to secure a definite result, then their teachings never change. The effect must be always procured, and it can be procured only by following the prescribed formula. So the legend of the third degree, introduced into our body I do not know when, is the same today as it was when we first learned it. The Ancient Mysteries had many things similar to our teachings and classical mythology personified thoughts that are eternal.

 

The Sleeping Beauty falls into slumber after having received a prick from a distaff. In Grecian mythology the distaff is a boar's tooth. The legend tells us that Adonis while hunting was killed by a savage boar. After the death of Adonis his soul went to Hades, which is here merely an underworld, a place of gloom and not a place of torment. But the goddess of love descended into Hades and prevailed upon Proserpine, its mistress, to allow Adonis to return to the earth for a certain time each year. This story is more readily understood than is the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. The youthful Adonis is the vegetative spirit of nature. The boar is winter, harsh, rough, and bristly. The goddess of love is the warmth of springtime which coaxes the vegetation to leave Hades.

 

These annual returns of Adonis were made the occasions of much symbolic ceremony. The god was mourned as dead; women went wailing through the streets in utter disregard of their usual care for their attire. The ordinary social conventions were broken down and unrestrained sex license prevailed among the celebrants. In later days the celebration was given over chiefly to courtesans. For into this celebration, as in many others, in time there came more or less phallic worship. The pomegranate was worshiped as a symbol of plenty, and so was corn. Enormous images of the male generative organs were carried in public processions and set up and worshiped as superhuman. Our maypole is a survival of those days, and our architecture is filled with many similar reminders.

 

Adonis is the Grecian form of the Hebrew word, Adonai, signifying Lord. In Babylonia, Phoenicia, and Canaan, Adonis was known as Tammuz. Ezekiel, the prophet, reproaches the Hebrew women for indulging in the celebration I have just spoken of. The name of the god is fixed today in the Jewish month Tammuz. Tammuz or Adonis afterwards became identified with the Egyptian Osiris of whom I shall speak later.

 

The worship of Dionysus, or Bacchus, or Orpheus, was of a nature like to that of Adonis with the difference that it is Orpheus' wife, Eurydice, who dies and Orpheus who descends into Hades in search for her. By the magic of his music Orpheus induces Hades to consent that Eurydice may return to earth if Orpheus does not look back. But the eagerness of Orpheus to see his wife causes him to break his promise and he looks back only to see Eurydice return to Hades just as she had arrived at its exit. The same teaching is given here. Eurydice is flowers and vegetation; Hades is the death of winter; and Orpheus' lute is the magic music of the springtime sun whose appeal nothing can resist. The story is a look beyond death to the resurrection and eternal life.

 

Likewise the Greek Persephone playing in the flowers is surprised by Pluto and carried to the infernal regions. Ceres, the mother of Persephone, seeks her until she finds her by the aid of the all seeing Helios (sun). Ceres asks the aid of the other gods, and after all their persuasion Pluto consents that Persephone shall stay on earth a part of the year, and with him in Hades for the remainder. Here again we have the death, the search, and the resurrection annually recurring.

 

These myths were not confined to Asia and southern Europe. In one form or another they have been found all over the world. One illustration suffices. In Scandinavian mythology Balder the Beautiful is the god of spring, light, gladness. Blind Hoder, his very opposite, is the god of the dark and gloomy winter. Loki, the mischief maker, inspires Hoder to cast at Balder a dart of mistletoe, a winter plant. Balder falls dead, but the promise is given that he shall return and bring with him perpetual spring.

 

To the Mason, however, the most interesting mythological tales come from ancient Egypt. There Osiris, son of the earth and sky, brother and husband of Isis, was early identified with the setting sun and became the god of the dead. Osiris traveled in many foreign countries spreading the light of civilization. His wicked brother, Set, god of the desert, evil, and darkness, planned to take the life of Osiris. So Set made a chest the exact size of Osiris and offered to give the chest to whomever it would fit. When Osiris entered the chest, Set and his confederates closed the lid and cast the chest into the Nile, on whose water it was borne to the sea. The chest drifted ashore near the Phoenician coast and became imbedded in the trunk of a great tree which finally enclosed it. The king of the country, ignorant of this fact, caused the tree to be cut down and made into pillars for his house. But after long search Isis found the chest in the pillar, obtained permission from the king to remove it, and carried the body to Egypt. After burying the body she went to visit her son Horus, the rising sun, the resurrected Osiris. While she was away Set found the body, tore it into fragments, and scattered them abroad. Isis again searched for the body, and found and buried its scattered parts. Horus, however, did not mourn, but rose and took vengeance on his father's murderers.

 

In this legend we find Osiris doing good in the world. He is murdered and his body concealed. There is mourning and a search for his corpse. The body is found, raised, and carried to Egypt for more decent interment; and the murderers apprehended and punished by Horus, the god who rises in the east to open and govern the day. Every evening the murder is committed; every night the body of Osiris, the setting sun, is cut into fragments, or stars, and these stars or fragments of Osiris, scattered to the four quarters of heaven. Every morning Isis collects the fragments and they rise as Horus, the morning sun, or the resurrection of Osiris.

 

There are those who pretend to see all this in our mighty drama. The twelve fellowcrafts are the twelve signs of the zodiac which the sun occupies during the twelve parts of the year. The three fellowcrafts are the three winter months. Fell and cruel they raise their impious hands to destroy all the beauty of spring, the promise of summer, and the fruit of autumn. Then all the constructive work of creation is stopped; for there is no agency active that knows the designs of nature. The vegetative principles of nature cannot be lifted to life by the chilly snow or the steely stare of the stars; their grip is too insecure. No movement on the dead earth answers the like efforts of the pale moon; its forces are too feeble. It is only when the lord of the day comes in the vernal warmth of his love that the mysteries of life overcome the thralls of death, and foliage and flower and fruit are lifted into life by the strong grip of the mightiest force of nature.

 

This fancy may please those who like it. There is no harm gotten by believing it. But I am thinking that something is hidden here, even as there was something hidden in the Ancient Mysteries. The uninformed and thoughtless and careless found and still find ample satisfaction in the apparent, external teaching of these schools. They little thought and little think that these teachings are carefully arranged systems of morality veiled in allegory, and that the purpose of it all is to enable those who are duly and truly prepared, worthy and well qualified, to advance, of their own volition, of their own free will and accord, without either passive submission on one part or repressing dominance on the other, into a state of real mastery, a state of conscious unity with the mighty constructive forces of the Grand Architect of the Universe. And when this state is attained, then all things shall be seen in true perspective; many things now thought of first shall be thought of last; the small shall be magnified and the great reduced; and this life shall not seem an end in itself but merely a part of the life of the immortal soul of man.

 

----o----

 

ECCLESIASTES XII

 

Remember thy Creator

While the pulse of youth beats high,

While the evil days come not,

Nor the weary years draw nigh,

When man can find no pleasure

In the hollow things of earth,

And the heart turns sick and sad

From the jarring sound of mirth.

 

Ere the light of stars is darkened,

Ere the glorious sun grows dim,

And the bitter sup of sorrow

Is filling to the brim;

When the grinder's song is low,

And the wailing mourners come

Marching in the death-procession,

As man goeth to his home.

 

Ere the golden bowl be broken,

Or the silver cord unwound,

The pitcher shattered at the well,

The broken wheel be found.

In the days when keepers tremble,

And the strong men bow the knee,

Then shall dust to dust return,

And to God the spirit flee.

 

--Bro. O. B. Slane

 

A MASONIC MEDIATION

 

BY THE EDITOR

 

John Fort Newton

 

WHAT is the greatest thing in the world ? Surely the most important day in the life of a man is when he makes answer to that question, for it decides his beau ideal of excellence, of possession, of attainment. What he admires, he imitates. What he exalts in his dream, draws him upward toward itself, and subtly fashions him after its design. Always the idols of men are their ideals, and an ideal, a supreme end, desirable above all else, each man must have, and does have. Reason and action alike demand an ultimate purpose, as a condition of thought and a goal of endeavor. Shadows we are, hastening from night to night, through a gleam of day, whither are we tending and what is the prize of the race we run? What we live for determines what we are, what we are worth to ourselves, to our fellows, and to the world.

 

All men are in search of the greatest thing in the world, but few there be that find it, albeit the deepest secret is the most open. In the providence of God, things most needful to all men are common to all men. Though mysterious, they are universal. When we are young the Ideal seems far off, hidden in the dreamy splendor of distance; but when we grow older we come to realize that what we most need is not in the heavens or beyond the seas, but very nigh unto us even in our hearts. Lowell taught us this truth in his exquisite parable of the pilgrim in his long quest of God. At the end of a long journey he came to the holy mountain, and prayed that a sign might be given him that God was there and that he was accepted. Suddenly a rock broke open at his feet, and a lovely flower appeared and filled the air with fragrance; and as he plucked it he remembered that this same flower, so wearily sought and found, his little girl had brought to him when he started. plucked from his own doorway.

 

One thing is clear; the supreme good must be an indispensable good; without which no good thing is good; that which gives meaning and value to life. It must be such that we would choose it rather than anything else, if we must choose. It must retain its value in the retrospect, leaving no regret in the heart of him who vowed loyalty to it, even to the last full measure of devotion. It must be great enough to give free scope and play to all the manifold powers of man. It must be a sovereign good, a focalizing aim, which causes all the activities of life to cohere and converge toward a single point, harmonizing effort while it reveals the truth of what life is and what it means. It must account for the greatness we ascribe to every human being. What is it that can answer to this description? It is, certainly, not a palpable thing at all, nothing that we can touch with our fingers, like gold. Nor can it be a mere set of sensations, like health. It must be something as rich and deep as life itself, giving us a key to its rhythm, a glint of its radiance, a hint of its reason for being.

 

Reasoning backward from the deed to the desire, let us enquire of the men of action, the men of power, the masters of opportunity, with teeming brain and iron will and unwearied persistence, if they have found the great Ideal. A French writer of tales has told us of a Magic Skin, whose possessor might enjoy every wish, but the talisman shrank and grew smaller as each wish was granted. Life is such a talisman. All around us we see men sacrificing ease, rest and life itself, paying out days and years of their shrinking capital of time, for-what? Is it for real enrichment, for eternal value? Is it that their souls should be of finer grain, their minds trained and rich in thought, that they should understand somewhat of the world before they leave it ? Is all this tense unending struggle to make them masters of themselves, servants of men, the soul enriched by its poverty, and made sovereign by service? No! It is for dross, for the glory of self, for the trumpet of panegyric, for wealth, power and quickly fading fame, to be able to stand an inch above the Lilliputians round about them and command. These are the ideals of the market-place and the forum.

 

Must we then agree that men who follow such ideals are practical ? Manifestly not. They are drunken with desire, hypnotized by glittering baubles, somnambulists in a waking dream. Practical men seek for things worth while, refusing to barter the sands in the hour-glass for mere tinsel that withers with the getting; they do not give everything for nothing. He only is practical who seeks that which abides, upon which he can rely, and which brings some satisfaction of soul. Now and then into the market-place there comes a man pale with anguish, crying aloud, "Awake, ye sleepers!" They do-not awake, and they know in the deep heart of them the truth of the message, even when they deride the messenger. They may kill him with a hemlock, with fire, with a cross, but the word lives, and the messenger they at last honor. Out of this uneasiness, this startled sense of emptiness and error, this flashing vision of the better and the best, there come gleams of the greatest thing in life, of the casket containing the crown jewels of the moral sovereignty of man.

 

If we turn to the mighty thinkers we find Socrates saying that the highest good is knowledge; not mere facts, much less theories, but the living knowledge which lights the way to virtue. How noble he was, going about Athens urging upon young and old alike the greatest improvement of soul as the only endeavor worthy of man. Across the years we listen to his grand argument for the immortality of the soul, and hear him saying that such a discussion ought to close with prayer. Whereupon he uttered that brief and wise prayer, putting into a few words the sum of his desire:

 

"Mighty God, grant me to become beautiful in the inner man, and that whatever outward things I have may be at peace with those within. May I deem the wise man rich, and may I have such a portion of gold as none but a just man can either bear or employ. Do we need anything else, Phaedrus? For myself I have prayed enough."

 

 "Yes, make the same prayer for me too," said Phaedrus, "for the possession of friends should be share and share alike."

 

How beautiful it is, reminding us of the prayer of the two boys in the Hindu poem, who asked that God might protect and enjoy them both and that their wisdom might grow bright together. Socrates thought it incredible that any man who had once seen the beauty of virtue and the horror of evil, could choose the evil way. Yet the men who do as well as they know are very few, as each of us can testify. Plato saw this fact, and he deemed the greatest thing in the world to be the purification of the mind of the lusts and passions of the flesh. He saw that humanity has only begun to emerge out of the mire and the clay. Some have risen head-high, others breast high, the eyes are clear, the lips are pure, and heart is free. Foot-loose none of us are. Every muddy, illogical thought is so much clay in the brain. Every malicious word is so much clay on the lips. Every impure glance is so much clay in the eyes. That we may wholly rise, that the lofty form of man may tower above our animal ancestry, that our spirits may stand erect as our bodies already do--this, as Plato saw it, is the great aim and end of life.

 

Aristotle, keenly searching for the purpose of purposes, the end of ends, found it in happiness--not pleasure, but the happiness of perfect, rational activity. Effort and activity are necessary, but activity implies an aim. Without it we drift; with it we steer. To be conscious of putting forth activity, involving all our powers, in behalf of the happiness that belongs to righteousness; to be a forward-working, effective agent --that seemed to Aristotle the supreme good for man. It meets all the tests. It is indispensable. It is lasting. It gives concentration and direction to life, yet saves us from becoming narrow. It rescues us from depression, which is intense, passive suffering. If now we put the three together, we have knowledge that lights the way to virtue, and effort to clear the clay out of our nature, the better to realize the happiness of right action and right being. Such is the answer of philosophy to the quest after the highest good, the net results of the toil of the finest minds, all summed up by Kant when he said that we should so live that, if our life were made a universal law, or standard, it would make for the good of humanity.

 

Philosophy is ice; religion is fire. What we miss in philosophy is the power to move us to do what we know--knowledge aglow with emotion, made luminous by hope, the dream of the heart which rebukes the laggard? inspires the earnest, lends wings to the weary, and makes self-forgetting effort the cheap price of victory and attainment. However the great religions may differ as to the method of attainment, all of them give us something not found in philosophy--a power to change the heart until man feels the meaning of renunciation, of humility, of union with the spirit of holiness. With Buddha the way of life was by repression of desire, and an all-embracing pity, awaiting absorption into the Divine. With Moses the sacramental word was Duty. Above all else, above faith, above asceticism, above love, above worship, even, is the august and awful call of duty. It is not simply the whisper of nature, a social custom, a mere inheritance. It is the deed. It is the motive. It is the life of God drawing man toward Himself and His will. Amid all uncertainties, this is the great open secret of life, the essence of religion, ethics, and all spiritual nobleness. It is not forbidding, but an obedience, glad, eager and grateful, to the high will of God in which there is peace.

 

Clearly, if we are to find the greatest thing in the world, it must be something wide and deep and rich enough to include the knowledge of Socrates, the purity of Plato, the happiness of Aristotle, the pity of Buddha, and the grand moral idealism of Moses. What is it? What ideal is equal to this demand in height, depth, and comprehensiveness? When St. Paul would tell us of the ultimate good and glory of life he does not define it, which shows not only his wisdom but his sense of its greatness. There is a truth which begins where definitions end. It is not indefinite, but indefinable; not the vagueness of a confused mind, but the breathless wonder of a listening heart. Also, the Apostle uses a word not found in classic lore, rendered Love, Charity, Courtesy, but which no one may ever hope to translate. It includes all these, and transcends them. It is something which all words and phrases together cannot express--a mystery, a wonder, a depth no plummet can fathom. It is the center of union, the cement of society, the fragrance and splendor of life. It is the essence of law, the inspiration of effort, the goal of endeavor, the measure of all excellence. It is the life of God in the soul of man.

 

First the Apostle shows how, without this one thing needful, life is empty, vain, and futile. Eloquence, no matter how angelic, is only sound and fury signifying nothing, "if I have not love." Knowledge, though it go down to the root of all mysteries, brings up no real reward unless it toils in a spirit of love. Prodigal philanthropy, and even the heroism of martyrdom --were they possible without it - lose their splendor. It is the secret of character, of the patience which suffers long and is kind, of the joy in goodness on which no shade of envy falls, of the humility that forgets self, of the dignity that never behaves unseemly, of the self-sacrifice that seeks not its own, aye, and of the white purity that thinketh no evil. It is the secret, also, of an incredible and all-conquering confidence, able to endure all things because it sees where others are blind, and hopes where others despair - sees the beauty hidden and forgotten in the most sin-bespattered life, and, seeing, dares to believe in the unknown goodness of bad men, and in the Divinity that haunts our mortal dust. Hence its masterful defiances of pain and wrong, its sweet and unwearied conciliations, and its unshakable hold upon a handful of deathless hopes.

 

Then a ray of white eternal light, falling from some far off pilot star, shone for an instant upon the page, and in its radiance the Apostle wrote three words which in this sad, cynical, disillusioned world seem too good to be true: "Love never faileth." How can it be true in a world where "life is a count of losses every year," where so many fair things lose their beauty, and where in the muck and ruck of things so much that is pure and holy is defiled? Evermore the knowledge of one age becomes the foolishness of the next. Prophecies fail either by falsity or fulfillment, and poor stammering tongues are hushed in the great silence. But the greatest thing in the world remains, new every morning and unwearied at eventide, the cup of enchantment, the crown of triumph, the sovereign beauty which time nor chance can dim or defile. Yea, it lifts us out of the welter of sin and sorrow and immemorial misunderstanding, out of the shadow into that nameless, ineffable mystery in which faith is lost in vision, and hope is fulfilled in fruition, and where, at last, we "shall know even as also we are known."

 

 

AFTER DEATH SHALL WE LIVE AGAIN?

 

BY BRO. R. I. CLEGG, CLEVELAND, OHIO

 

SAYS Brother Fennell, in the July issue, "My greatest interest has centered around the problem of demonstrating the future life. . ." How can it be demonstrated? Not wholly by the monitorial evergreen. That is obviously misnamed. Neither by the acacia. These are but transitory symbols. Reminders rather are they than irrefragible and conclusive evidences. Contributory and maybe presumptive testimony it is true but mainly suggestive, not absolutely convincing to the antagonistic among the sceptical, not altogether satisfying to the friendly critic. For the evergreen shrivels at the approach of heat, and disintegrates into elemental dust at the touch of a mere ignited match. How illusory is it at a superficial glance if we so measure it as a firm foundation for our faith !

 

How then shall we Freemasons answer for our reliance on the life eternal? We may look to the Great Light. Is there anything further? Humbly I offer a few crude comments in reply.

 

First, Faith: Nature tells us of symmetry and order, even as we are taught as Fellowcrafts. Order is indicative of purpose. In that we perceive design. Beyond the art of the Builder, we recognize and reverence the Architect Sublime of the Universe.

 

Incomplete are our lives. Rewards and punishments are various and mysterious and to our defective sight they are ill-assorted and unequally applied.

 

Seeing here so much of the unfulfilled we must contritely, prayerfully and expectantly hold with humility as little children the hand of Him our Father when hence we go into the dark.

 

Second, the Hope Universal: How beautiful Robert Ingersoll voiced with eloquence the unquenchable ardor of men, even of the agnostic, for comfort in this problem. He the fighter most brilliant against faith religious could not but doubt his own conclusions when contemplating the mystery of the grave. Death, said he, may be but the closing forever of a door or the unfolding of pinions for flight, and dire was Ingersoll's dilemma when without the chart of religion or the beacon light of its convictions.

 

While throughout the world men of all tongues in all the ages, wise and simple alike, have deemed-this belief in immortality to be at the very least a probability, and most men have admitted it to be a certainty, we may well ask ourselves why so fundamental and generally accepted conviction is indeed not to be classed with the axioms of the geometers. Assuredly more than hopeful is the lesson of this world-wide and world old acceptance.

 

Third, by Analogy: Force is eternal so far as investigation reaches. The conservation of energy is a principle accepted both by atheists and the faithful everywhere. Matter to the physicist disappears not but has protean forms. Nature's changes and phenomena are ebbing and flowing constantly as a restless sea. Outward goes the tide, to be again driven back upon the shore. Upward to heaven rises the evaporated waters from the ocean to fall once more as rain upon the land, or as the shimmering pearly dew upon the flowers of the earth; or perhaps the drops unitedly tumble joyously adown the mountain side and the slender brook rushes boisterously or flows quietly along gentle slopes or leaps o'er Niagara's brink back to the bosom of the deep waters whence it first emerged.

 

Into the earth's waiting soil-drops the seed. A tiny plant is given birth. It grows and blossoms. Anon the seed reappears. Scattered by the vagrant winds or the industrious hand of man the seed is once more entrusted to the fruitful earth. Again and again it lives the unceasing succession of cycles.

 

So goes everywhere the busy round of Nature. As of the body so is reasonably the evolution of the soul. Can we not as a consequence, fairly by analogy alone, believe that the greater plants and twigs and trees of humanity, youths and maidens, men and women, may anticipate that in due course there will come just such renewed opportunities for the service of our God ?

 

And lastly, by our ripening knowledge: As children our facts are few. They are unrelated. We see them not at all in precise and accurate comparison with other truths that widening experience alone unfolds to us. When older we note a coherence where formerly was naught but scattered and broken links. The universe then becomes the more vividly to us a true unity.

 

Is there an apparently irregular motion of a star ? Science welcomes secrets but abhors mysteries. An astrophysicist in due season dares probe with mental means into the darkness. He places and appraises the source of commotion though he sees not neither does he feel save with the eye and hand of faith founded in the assurance that everywhere is operative law. Later when the mechanic improves his practice in optics the astronomer sees further than before into the heavens and announces the disturbing element as a hither to undiscovered star. Thus also in chemistry did Mendelief reason out his law of the periodicity of the elements. So likewise did Helmholtz see the relation of tone and overtone.

 

Therefore this coherent relationship of Nature, this suggestion on all hands that the present is but a promise, that the bud is only the unopened flower, gives a deepening knowledge that an intelligent and altogether justifiable belief is that of immortality. Or surely we be less than the beasts and the herbs of the field in the economy and the systematization and the intention of the world.

 

From isolated facts the scientists unearth and grasp the general law. Is a measure of oxygen of a specific atomic weight? On trial he finds accordingly and says, Yes. He repeats the experiment. Again he secures the same evidence. The particular fact becomes with every repetition the emphasized proof of a universal law. All truth is but these related uniformities. From them we look further and trustingly into the future. Immortality is the fact that scientifically satisfies.

 

Here be briefly and in part the restful rocks on which at least one Mason builds his expectancy of meeting those he loved that have gone before.

 

 

WHAT is a MASTER

 

BY BRO. S. W. WILLIAMS G. H. P., TENNESSEE

 

WHAT is a MASTER--and what does it mean ? A MASTER, in the highest and truest sense, is one who has climbed the rugged Path of Life; who has, by casting off the dross, so lightened his load that he can rise into the true and pure Light that emanates from the presence of GOD.

 

One who has conquered SELF--and devotes his life to the aiding and uplifting of his fellows; who has purified his heart, and mind, and Soul by overcoming the baser parts of his nature, and dedicated his Passions to be used solely for God's glory and honor; one who is ever ready and willing, at all times and under all conditions to sacrifice his own hopes, wishes and desires, if thereby he may be of service to a distressed Brother.

 

One who, not withstanding the jibes and jeers of the populace, will, like the Eagle fix his eye on the Sun, and rise higher and higher through the maze of difficulties that will beset him, till he falls prostrate at the feet of the Father, only to be "Raised" into an ecstacy of Light.

 

To be a MASTER, one must "Pass" through "the valley of the Shadow" and be able to soar through the Stars--ever ready and willing to go back into the sickening, scalding slime of Death itself to lend a Helping Hand.

 

To be a MASTER one must steel his heart and mind against the temptations and follies of this life and TRUST IN GOD--even as a Child clutches and clings to its mother--he must have "Faith in God, Hope in a blessed Immortality, and Charity for all mankind"- - he must "Love those that hate, and pray for those who despitefully use him."

 

He may be scoffed and jeered at--abused, slandered and reviled-- but God will give unto him a Halo-- an AURA, if you will--and countless thousands will rise to "touch the hem of his garment" that they may be healed by his great strength, which is only that which the Father has given him.

 

The poor, the sick and the suffering will love him-- aye, they will cherish him, for he has been very good unto them; he has sympathized with them in their sorrows and rejoiced with them in their joys; he has whispered words of encouragement to them that has made it easier to climb the rugged Path of Life; he has brought sunshine, and cheer and happiness where before all was darkness, discouragement and distress.

 

SUCH AN ONE IS A MASTER--and has FOUND THE TRUE WORD--the WORD THAT WAS LOST.

 

"Be ye faithful unto death, and I will give you a Crown of Life."

 

 

MASONRY IN "THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN"

 

BY BRO. CHARLES S. LOBINGIER, SHANGHAI, CHINA

 

(By the kindness of Brother Lobingier we present herewith a part of a report made by him to the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, in its Southern Jurisdiction, reciting how, on May 13th, 1915, he communicated the degrees of the Rite, from the 4th to the 32nd, to the following candidates from the Shanghai bodies:--Chow Tze Chi, of Federal Lodge No. 1, Washington, D. C. Pacnan Mienseng Whang, of Washington Lodge No. 21, New York; and Walter Alexander Adams, of Recovery Lodge No. 33, Greenville, S. C. This ceremony took place in the famous Temple of Heaven, Peking, China--described below--for the reason that Brother Chow, being a member of President Yuan's cabinet, and unusually occupied with the trying diplomatic experiences with Japan, could not leave the capital for any purpose, nor, of course, could his secretary, Brother Whang. Yet they were extremely anxious to receive the degrees, and it seemed highly important to the Rite that their wishes be gratified. Hence the communication of the degrees in Peking, of which a very interesting account follows.--The Editor.)

 

AT my request, communicated through Bro. Chow, the Chinese government placed at our disposal for the ceremonies of the day, one of the buildings in the extensive enclosure in the south city known as the "Temple of Heaven." You will be the better enabled to appreciate just what this concession meant from the Chinese viewpoint from some descriptions of these famous buildings by leading writers on China:

 

"Within the gates of the southern division (Chinese City) of the capital," says Dr. Martin, (1) "and surrounded by the sacred grove so extensive that the silence of its deep shade is never broken by the noises of the busy world, stands the Temple of Heaven. It consists of a single tower, whose tiling, of resplendent azure, is intended to represent the form and color of the aerial vault. It contains no image and the solemn rites are not performed within the tower but on a marble altar which stands before it."

 

S. Wells Williams (2) thus describes it:

 

"Separated from the Altar of Heaven by a low wall, is a smaller, though more conspicuous construction called Kihuh Tan or 'Altar of Prayer for Grain.' * * Upon its upper terrace rises a magnificent triple-roofed, circular building known to foreigners as the 'Temple of Heaven.' It is no exaggeration to call this temple the most remarkable edifice in the capital or indeed in the empire. The native name is Ki-Pien Tien or Temple of Prayer for the Year."

 

The building set apart for our use was one almost as sacred, known as the "Emperor's Robing Temple," "of exquisite form and color, the same wondrous blue tiles being used. It is from this temple that he comes  to the great open-air sacrificial altar." (3)

 

This building was almost as well adapted to our purposes as if built expressly for a lodge room. It was already provided with an altar and the elevated throne in the rear opposite the entrance afforded a "gorgeous East." The light was not especially good but our Chinese candidates brought silver candelabras which afforded illumination quite sufficient. It was thoroughly in accord with the international character and spirit of the occasion that the doors and steps of the temple were draped with both American and Chinese flags. The five hued flag of China, though in use as such only since the inauguration of the republic, is really the embodiment of a bit of Chinese symbolry in which the number five, like the number three, figures prominently.

 

The Robing Temple is a most interesting structure in itself but its peculiar sacredness derives from its proximity to and connection with, the famous Altar of Heaven, opposite which it stands. Of this Mr. Williams (4) observes:

 

"The great South Altar, the most important of Chinese religious structures, is a beautiful triple circular terrace of white marble whose base is 210, middle stage 150, and top 90 feet in width, each terrace encompassed by a richly carved balustrade."

 

Liddell (5) calls it "* * * the most beautiful and impressive example of architecture in existence."

 

But the most appreciative description is from the pen of Dr. Martin, the veteran missionary:

 

"This is the high place of Chinese devotion," he says, (6) "and the thoughtful visitor feels that he ought to tread its courts with unsandalled feet." * * * "Dr. Legge, the distinguished translator of the Chinese classics, visiting Peking, actually put his shoes from of his feet before ascending the steps of the great altar. * * *"

 

"For no vulgar idolatry is here; this mountain top still stands above the waves of corruption and on this solitary altar there rests a faint ray of the primeval faith. * * *

 

"The tablet, which represents the invisible Deity, is inscribed with the name of Shang Ti, the Supreme Ruler, and as we contemplate the majesty of the empire prostrate before it, while the smoke ascends from his burning sacrifice, our thoughts are irresistibly carried back to the time when the King of Salem officiated as 'Priest of the most High God.' "

 

It was amid such surroundings, hoary with antiquity and redolent with the piety of unnumbered generations, that the Chinese in Peking were first introduced to the philosophy of the Scottish Rite.

 

I recall that in 1899 the General Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters met in Colorado and while there improved their opportunities and startled the Masonic world by conferring a portion of their degrees on the summit of Pike's Peak and the remainder in the famous Cave of the Winds near Manitou. These wonders of Nature certainly afforded an imposing background for their ceremonies but I believe you will agree with me that they were not more so than the environment with which we were so fortunately provided.

 

It was of course impracticable to confer the degrees in full form with only two assistants, one of whom stopped at the 18d. We, therefore, by way of introduction, conferred the 4d in short form, Dr. Anhaeusser acting as master of ceremonies. Then by way of preparation for the remainder, I read the candidates a composite lecture consisting of those passages in Morals and Dogmas, Ritual and Liturgy which deal with the sages and philosophy of China. It is really surprising to one who has not tested it, to learn how considerable these passages are and how accurately they reflect the thought of this ancient land--another proof of the broad scholarship and profound learning of their distinguished author!

 

When St. Paul delivered- on the Acropolis his famous discourse (7) by which he introduced amongst the cultured Athenians the strange faith from Palestine, he wisely sought to interest his hearers by quoting from "certain also of your own poets." So it seemed fitting, in introducing this new philosophy of the west in the capital of the oldest sovereignty on the globe, to lay special stress upon the extent to which that philosophy had drawn from the sages and thinkers of China.

 

The ceremonies of the 32d were not concluded until late in the evening and there was hardly time to return to the hotel and dress for the dinner which Minister Chow was giving at his home in honor of the event and to which not only the participants but other Masonic friends, Chinese and foreign, were invited. This was a most enjoyable and memorable affair. Your letter of May 13 was read and received with hearty applause and the unanimous feeling of the company was that the Masons of Peking, of whom there are many, must proceed to organize forthwith. A petition for a dispensation to open International Lodge in that city is already before the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts (of which China is a Masonic district) and the sentiment was that the next step should be the organization of a Lodge of Perfection. I believe that the field there is ready for our Rite and that the possibilities are almost unlimited. New China has entered the family of nations; her leaders need our principles and are naturally attracted to them. May we not fail to meet so great an opportunity.

 

(1) Lore of Cathay.

(2) The Middle Kingdom, 77.

(3) Liddell, China its Marvel and Mystery. (1909) 141.

(4) The Middle Kingdom, 76.

(5) China, Its Marvel and Mystery, 141.

(6) Lore of Cathay.

(7) Acts XVII, 22-31.

 

----o----

 

AN UNUSED TOOL

 

Today Freemasonry lies in the hand of the modern man largely an unused tool, capable of great achievements for God, for country, for mankind, but doing very little. For one, I believe that circumstances may easily arise, when the highest and most sacred of all freedoms being threatened in this land, Freemasonry may be its most powerful defender, unifying all minds and commanding our best citizenship.

 

--Bishop Potter.

 

 

EDITORIAL

 

(The Builder is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another; but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its own merits.)

 

GETTING TOGETHER

 

We mix from many lands, we march for very far

In hearts and lips and hands our staffs and weapons are;

The light we walk in darkens sun and moon and star.

It doth not flame and wane with years and spheres that roll

Storms cannot shake nor stain the strength that makes it whole,

The fire that moulds and moves it of the sovereign soul

 

TRULY, in Fellowship Masonry has its founts, and it is one of the aims of this Society, set forth from the beginning, "to enable Brethren in one section of the country to come in touch with Brethren similarly interested elsewhere." In this behalf, we are now ready to organize a Correspondence Circle among our Members, in which all are invited to join, and we have reason to believe, from inquiries broaching this matter, that a great many will take advantage of such an opportunity for closer fellowship. Indeed, the advantages are almost unlimited, not only for mutual inspiration and instruction, but also for the cultivation of warm and enduring friendships - than which, outside the home and the house of God, there is nothing fairer or finer on this old earth.

 

Therefore, in our last issue we asked our Members to tell us, in few words or many, in which aspect of our many-sided Masonry they are most interested. Every Mason loves Masonry - it is so noble, so beautiful, so benign, and it holds before us an Ideal of freedom, friendship and gracious living - but most of us will confess that some one aspect of it appeals to us more deeply than others; some one Rite, perhaps, or some one Degree which came to us in a dross-drained hour and helped us to find ourselves. One man loves Masonry for its religious tolerance, another for its large and wise philosophy, another for its simple and eloquent symbolism, and still another because it offers him a field in which to serve his fellow men in practical ways. Such choices, made almost unconsciously, are largely matters of taste, temperament, and habits of mind, and the glory of Masonry is that it is rich enough, deep enough, broad enough to unite and exalt many men of many minds.

 

Now it occurs to us that, by knowing the chief points of interest in Masonry on the part of our Members, we can arrange them into four or five groups - perhaps more - according to their interest and inclination; and that the members of each group would be glad to have a list of Brethren both in their own Jurisdiction and elsewhere who are similarly interested. In this way, although widely scattered, we can meet about the great fireplace in the House of Light and thrash things out, stimulating frank and fraternal discussion, the while we promote good-fellowship, deeper sympathy and mutual understanding. When the discussion is of sufficient interest and value to warrant its publication, the pages of The Builder are always at our command, and ye editor will welcome it most heartily. Any of our Members who are willing to permit their names to be given to other Brethren making inquiries, or who have any suggestions to offer as to this plan of Getting Together, will confer a favor by letting the Secretary know at an early date.

 

Brethren, we live in wild and desperate days when many ties are being broken or cut, and the world seems going to pieces amid the crash and tragedy of universal war. It behooves us to come closer together, and where better can we do this than in the House of Light at the Sign of the Square and Compasses ! Comrades in a great Cause, we must pass from the outer courts into the secret place of Fellowship, seeking every man his Brother!

 

"What is this - the vague aspiring

In my soul towards unknown good,

For no selfish end desiring

Blessings dimly understood?

 

'Tis the World-Prayer drawing nearer,

Claiming universal good,

Its first faint words sounding clearer,

Justice, Freedom, Brotherhood."

 

* * *

 

GEORGE FRANKLIN FORT -

 

It is a great pleasure to announce a forthcoming biography of the late Brother George Franklin Fort, one of the most brilliant of Masonic historians, whose work, "Early History and Antiquities of Freemasonry," has become a classic among us, alike for its scholarship and its literary quality. The book will be written by Mr. A. E. Bear, and will contain, besides the biographical material not hitherto published, a number of articles by Brother Fort on Masonic subjects published locally or in fugitive form. Such a book should command a wide reading among Masons, not only because little or nothing has been written about Brother Fort, but because, as the late Brother Gould said in his History of Masonry, he was one of the finest scholars American Masonry has known.

 

Ye editor confesses to a double interest in this forthcoming biography, being a member of the Fort family - as his middle name betrays - as well as an ardent admirer of Fort as a Masonic historian. In order to spread news of this book we have secured for The Builder a personal sketch of Brother Fort, written by his brother, John H. Fort, accompanied by a very fine picture, to which will be added a critical study and estimate of G. F. Fort as a Masonic scholar and historian by Brother O. D. Street, of Alabama. The sketch and the appreciation, taken together, will serve to introduce to the Masons of this generation a man well worth knowing both for his character and his genius, and whose work is so worthy of study.

 

* * *

 

SANTA CLAUS A MASON?

 

My Brother, do not be too terribly wise about that Santa Claus business, for we are often most foolish when we fancy that we are wise, and most truly wise when we fear that we are foolish. If there is a Lost Boy back down the years - buried, it may be, under the litter of your labor or the dust of grinding toil - go find him on Christmas Day, if so you may learn to trust the great Father, for one day, as you did in the times when the heart was pure and life was new, before knowledge had troubled the waters of faith and our days were sicklied over with the pale cast of thought.

 

Look now at that Picture - a little Child and his Mother bending near, a stable his shelter, a manger his Cradle; the shepherds in their rough garb, the Magi with their rich perfumes; and over all the eternal mystery of love new-born, of truth announced by simple rustic sentiments and commanding the homage of hoary wisdom - and a Light linking a Babe with the far off, wandering Stars. Art will always love that scene, and music will celebrate it in everlasting song. It is easy to brush all this aside as the work of poetic fancy - too easy, indeed, since its mark on history remains, and the influence of that Child, on any theory of His origin, is the noblest force that has yet touched the life of our poor sad humanity.

 

Since that day Christmas has journeyed far, gathering many beauties in its train, until today it is a vast symposium of hope and joy and forward-looking thoughts. Puck, Cupid, Ariel and Santa Claus, airy spirits from elfland, have joined its choir, with Tiny Tim and his band of Arabs, each bringing some note of quaint and curious glee. Together they hold concert on that day, translating the dim, gray hieroglyphs of life into a symphony of hope, with many an odd and eerie variation borrowed front the pipes of Pan and the lyre of the reeds swaying in the glen. No wonder Shakespeare portrays it as a time when evil spirits dare not stir abroad, and the bird of dawn sings all night long, so hallowed and so gracious is that prophetic day.

 

For Christmas is a prophecy, a stray note of harmony in this discordant world, inducing a finer quality in our thoughts and a sweeter flow of our feelings toward one another. No one need sign a creed, or profess a dogma, to be happy on Christmas day, for then it is that we have one Universal Fellowship in which there are no sects, no parties, no saints, no sinners, and its altar is a Cradle. On that Day, the son of toil who on other days may have regretted that tiny lips ever named him "father," sits happy by his fireside. On that Day the weary mother forgets her care, and is lifted, for a brief time, into something resembling joy. Wherefore this oasis in a desert of days that are but a muddled memory of what they ought to be ? Is there any explanation of this riddle? To our thought, yes. It lies in the fact that Christmas is a prophecy, looking not so much backward as forward to a coming, but perhaps distant, time, when men will learn to live by the Law of Love which on other days they deny - God knoweth why.

 

Despite a world at war, despite class hatreds, race rancors, and the riot of greed and strife and the struggle for place and power and pelf - aye, despite the weariness of our own hearts waiting for the dawn - let us have hope born of faith in the might of love, the valor of forgiveness, and the final advent of that Christmas Day when

 

"Brotherhood of good,

Equal rights and laws,

Freedom, whose sweet food

Feeds the multitude

All their days and nights."

 

* * *

 

MASONRY IN THE HOME -

 

As Christmas is the great Home Day - the festival of Mother and Child, and all the sweet, ineffable associations which cluster about the oldest and most hallowed of our human fellowships - we beg to call attention to a wise address on "Masonry and the Home," by Brother T. Newburgh, delivered at the last quarterly meeting of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand. Seldom have we seen so much deep truth so fitly spoken as in this brief address which brings the point of the whole matter right home to each of us, editor and reader alike, and we feel that it is needed. Listen:

 

We must remember, Brethren, that as Freemasons we have our direct responsibilities. We are taught to practice every domestic as well as public virtue, and this cannot be done under our present system of confining all knowledge of the working of Masonry to the Lodge room. In my opinion, if the Freemason's domestic circle was given a little more intelligent enlightenment as to the aspirations and tenets of Masonry it would certainly lead to a greater tolerance of our Order than it generally receives. The Masonic world we live in is seldom introduced into the home, with the result that a great many people form a most distorted and grotesque idea of its aims, objects and ideals. In this direction, I believe, we make a very serious mistake.

 

Our Order imposes - or seems to impose - by unwritten law or ancient custom, a foolish secrecy, which is not only injurious to the harmony of the home, but derogatory to the best interests of the Order. Brethren, I know of nothing in our Masonry of today which should not have its place, and a very decided place in the average home. . . There are a few, a very few, who take pride in introducing Masonry into their homes, but these are exceptions to the rule. It is highly necessary for the well being of the home that the utmost sympathy must always prevail and if we were to bring our Masonrv more closelv into touch with our homes and home-life, it would be better for all concerned. Our Order is judged not by our ideas of it, but by the ideas we convey to others. . . Is it not true, Brethren, that the Masonry of to-morrow can only be maintained by the children of today? And such being the case, we should see to it that they are well prepared for such an honorable position by laying the foundations of a genuine, sympathetic harmony between the home and the Craft, and thus bring the two into closer union than they are at present.

 

Now, in my humble opinion the great mistake the average Freemason makes is in reference to the secrecy of our Order. Surely our beautiful charges and teachings are worthy to be scattered to the four cardinal winds of heaven. Alas, we seem to labor under the delusion that our obligations bind us to secrecy on all points. Needless to say, Brethren, our real secrets should always be guarded, but should we not bring ourselves down to actual facts, and ask ourselves, "What are the secrets of the Graft?" and in the analysis I venture to assert that the greater part of our ritual will find no place among those secrets. Brethren, let us abandon once and for all the foolish and ignorant attitude of regarding the moral and intellectual atmosphere of Masonry as a close corporation, to be spoken of only in whispers or within the secret precincts of our Lodge rooms.

 

* * *

 

PRACTICAL MASONRY -

 

There are signs to show that Masonry is becoming more effectively practical in the way of social service, doing many things which even the church cannot do. Here lies a rich field of labor, only it must be entered wisely and with care, so as not to involve our Lodges in such efforts in behalf of social betterment as require political agitation and action. But a large area of opportunity for social service remains open and free from such danger, and many of our Lodges are becoming active in good causes, applying the spirit of Masonry to the service of the common good. For instance, the Masons of Duluth won the thanks of that city for reducing the death-rate of the community, by their concern and service in the matter of infant mortality. A Lodge in Washington conducts a Bible-class in a moving picture show. In Kentucky a Lodge is reported to have given one thousand dollars to a community school. Meanwhile, the same spirit is assuming new and tangible shape in new forms of service among Masons themselves, as witness the number of employment bureaus in our cities conducted by Lodges. Up in Minnesota not long ago a Brother had his barn burned down, and a band of Masons appeared upon the scene and rebuilt it while he lay ill - "operative" Masons in very truth. These are a few examples out of many, showing in how many ways Masonry may render useful service to mankind and how well fitted it is for such labors.

 

* * *

 

CORRESPONDENCE

 

IMPRESSIONS OF THE FIRST DEGREE

 

That which determines on which degree a Lodge is working is well known to every Master Mason and what we see and hear while not for the profane, is nevertheless exoteric and passes for the Ritual to those who do not understand its deeper or hidden meaning.

 

The square is a symbol of the material manifestation, the triangle is a symbol of the three aspects of God. When these are placed in proper relation to each other a result is accomplished (something started).

 

Three or more persons make a company and under certain conditions are empowered to work and to work for good. Let us for the purpose of argument transpose good and its opposite evil; the result requires no stretch of the imagination to see the chaos conjured up to despoil that which is sublime.

 

Be it said to the shame of the few who have exhibited emblems for mercenary purposes that through their act something wrong has been started, and evil is the progeny.

 

In the first degree the Square dominates everything, indicating that the work is for the material presence. It is true that Lodge business was conducted on the first degree, and if I mistake not, still is in England: however this fact should not be set up as a precedent to conclude that it is because the first is the most important, but as business is material, it does properly belong within the confines of a Lodge while at labor where things of material nature may be dealt with.

 

In like manner the two remaining degrees have their distinct functions and meanings which ring out clear as bells and are far, very far, from being elaborations.

 

One must not forget, however, that the E. A. degree is to deal with the material side only, so far as it may be refined, to be more fully developed and spiritually perfected in the sueceeding degrees.

 

The thinker is brought to light. Let no one assume that "The Masonic lessons" are practical lessons (materialistic), that they have a dollar and cents value, that the wage is a nonetary consideration and excuse himself, or hide behind the exoteric or literal ritualistic expression of the one who says "for the better support of himself and family."

 

Were the wage merely monetary, ther Masonry is unworthy the name and would long since have ceased and been forgotten. From any Masonic manual we learn that metal is a dense substance, in other words it belongs to this planet or sphere.

 

Man is a many sided creation. and while possessing a carnal body has his real being in the higher self. It is therefore fitting that in the beginning of his Masonic career that which is worldly, that which is of the Earth earthy, should be senarated from him that the person, the I, may be free.

 

When one reflects that the paper money in one's pocket is a certificate (a check if you please) which is a demand for metal which our Government recognizes as the real money, this becomes clear. It is not within the pale of possibilities to imagine that the higher self can be paid a wage which is of the Earth earthy. Wage there is and the student of Masonry must find it. He and he alone, when he finds himself (his higher self) is on the road and from that time shall he receive wages and the more he labors the higher will be the wage, and the better support of himself and family.

 

The beginner soon finds that the step he is taking does not concern his worship of Deity, his political affiliations, his standing in the community nor indeed himself (he of the carnal mind), and the experiences through which he passes are not for others than those of the craft, yet to the well-informed members he may talk without restraint since by so doing the sooner will come the light of understanding.

 

The course of the candidate seeking knowledge cannot be likened to anything alternating darting from darkness to light, from light to darkness without end; as a matter of faet the direction is from East to West and from West to East and once he sees the light it is never lost. It is the light seen without eyes a luminary which is nearer, even dimmed, but leads the thinker on, and on, ever seeking more and more and more light.

 

All the written words of God are before him and by their power his promises become Holy resolutions, and the student of Masonry finds himself paroled in the custody of his own honor. Not, as some suppose, "bound whether we will or not." The inner meaning is exactly the reverse of bound it is liberated. It is the freeing from all that enslaves, the unshackling of the higher self: and, armed with knowledge, man goes forth; he finds himself and is able to work and receive wages.

 

Masonry provides the beginner with the wherewithal and sees that he is properly fitted out to labor; and instructs him in the use of implements. All know the symbolism. Then he is assigned a place. He finds his responsibilities among his fellows, and that he is the living word of God.

 

- J. Oscar Bruce, New York.

 

* * *

 

A UNIVERSAL RITUAL

 

Dear Brother Editor: - In the September member of The Builder I notice an article under the subject of "What shall we do with the Ritual" and in reading this article over I am led to make the following remarks. In the first place, I would say leave it alone, at this time at least. "Why?" Because the time, energy and money, that would be required to bring about a so-called Universal Ritual could be put to a better advantage for the Fraternity.

 

In the next place, what particular benefit will the Fraternity derive from a Universal Ritual? I have never in my Masonic experience known of a case where a brother was refused any help, aid, or assistance on account of difference in Ritual, but I have known of cases where they were refused simply because they were not familiar enough with their own Ritual to prove themselves worthy of any aid or assistance. Now this was not the fault of the Ritual being different from some other Ritual, but the fault was in the Brother himself because he did not familiarize himself with his own Ritual. And in fact I am led to believe that we often get a good many ideas by coming in contact with the different Rituals while on the other hand I would like to ask if there wouldn't be a certain degree of danger with a Universal Ritual, of becoming just a little bit careless or rather a handicap when it comes to admitting strangers within our lodge rooms. I am of the opinion that if we will only study our Rituals more it will be a good deal like rubbing up against a newly painted building, the more we rub against it the more the world will be convinced of its good effect. I am also convinced that we should watch our Petitions closer and see that we are getting nothing but the kind of material that is willing to spend time and energy to study the Ritual that we already have; then and then only will we have workers, and a difference in the Ritual will be a secondary consideration. How many of us have watched or even helped to bring young men to Further light in Masonry and that is about the last we see of them, except occasionally when there are Eats. There was something overlooked in the petition of that young man, and in fact I believe we as Masons should, when a friend asks us to sign his petition, stop the man right there and ask him if he knows what it means to be a Mason and if he will put forth every effort to live up to its teachings, and if these questions are answered in the affirmative and the man does really put forth such an effort, my guess is that we will have a member that will be of some service to the Fraternity. But I imagine in a good many cases the answer to the question would be something like this, "Well, there is so and so, I don't see that he pays much attention to the teachings of Masonry." This is only more evidence that some petitions have gone through that should not. A Brother said to me some time ago, "That the lodge had better quit taking in members and make Masons out of some that they now have." I am very much impressed with the plan that is adopted by Arcana Lodge No. 87 of Seattle, Washington, as outlined in the April number of The Builder; in fact I hope to see the time in the near future when our Grand Lodge will adopt something of the kind.

 

Fraternally yours,

 

C. L. Hargrave. Iowa.

 

* * *

 

GENERAL GRANT A MASON?

 

Dear Sir and Brother: - On page 247, of the October Builder, under the heading, "Questions," I note what P. G. M. Baird of the District of Columbia, says, ending, "Grant was reported as a Fellow Craft, but I have been unable to verify it."

 

In the Templar Correspondence of Illinois, 1902, (pages 131-139,) under the review of Oregon, by R. E. Sir John Corson Smith, Correspondent, will be found the story of the reports regarding General Grant having received some Masonic Degrees, etc., and on pages 137-8, is a copy of a letter Sir Smith wrote about 1892 to the Rough Ashlar, Richmond, Virginia, telling all about his (Sir Smith's) effort to give President Grant the Degrees " at Sight," and how he was prevented. (we might say providentially.) We say this, because we have yet to know of a "Mason made at sight" who was of any benefit to the Craft as a Mason, and President Grant was not called upon to say, as President Taft is reported in the daily Press, a short time since, "that he had cause to regret that he had not taken the Degrees in the regular way, he would then have known more about it."

 

Fraternally yours,

 

J. C. Kidd, Texas.

 

* * *

 

WAS MILLARD FILLMORE A MASON?

 

On the tradition relating to Millard Fillmore as a Mason who recanted during the Morgan excitement these words from a recent biography written by Dr. William E. Griffis are interesting: "Out of this anti-Masonic agitation in New York State, a brilliant group of young politicians arose and appeared first in politics as anti-Masonic leaders. Three of them were William H. Seward, Thurlow Weed and Millard Fillmore. With the last-named, anti-secrecy became an article of faith and an active principle throughout life. Opposed to any form of occultism and loving the daylight, Fillmore maintained consistently his moral convictions. Despite his connection in later life with the "NativeAmerican" party. this is true, for though nominated by the "Know Nothings," the burden of his speeches is loyalty to the Union, as the dominant passion of his life." (Griffis: "Millard Fillmore," p. 10).

 

Francis W. Shepardson, Illinois.

 

* * *

 

FAVORING GENERAL GRAND LODGE

 

Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin,

 

My dear Brother: - It seems to me to be an odd Masonic fact, that there seems to be no way for me to know that any body exists outside of our Grand Jurisdiction. Especially is it odd that as willing as I believe that I am to become acquainted with men of your manifest capacity, there seems to be no practical Masonic reason for my ever knowing that you exist at all.

 

Your study on the subject of "The Landmarks of Masonry" cannot be overestimated by any one who has any practical, in exchange for theoretical, purpose in Masonry.

 

I wish that I were worth while so that you could be more definite than to say that you are from "Wisconsin."

 

You demonstrate the State of Chaos as to Landmarks. The practical question is, "What are you going to DO about it? How will you cure it? I think that you disclose a fundamental reason for action.

 

The elder Parvin had an article on this subject in which he said that, "We have not yet defined what a landmark is."

 

I presume that you meant by your caption, "The Landmarks of Regular Masonry " We obliterate all other forms of Masonry by ignoring them.

 

When I was installed as Grand Master in 1908, the following words were read to me in a most serious voice as if I were being handed something of profound significance and of superlative importance:

 

"The Ancient Landmarks of the Order BY WHICH WE ARE DISTINGUISHED FROM THE REST OF MANKIND are particularly intrusted to your care. It therefore becomes your most sacred duty to see that during your incumbency, not the least of them be removed."

 

I called around me some of our Past Grands and said, I will bet $10.00 to 1c that these words are plain bunk because you cannot hand me a list of Landmarks to protect. The Grand Lodge of Indiana cannot settle bv herself what they are. The Landmarks are fundamental to Regular Masonry and regular Masonry must get together and settle what they are and enforce loyalty to them.

 

At that session, our Grand Lodge declared for an organization which could have settled this question. Wisconsin among others laughed at the idea so our Grand Lodge tucked its tail between its legs and ran away from a practical attempt at settling this and other questions which are common to Regular Masonry

 

There hasn't been enough headwork expended on Masonry in its 200 years of so called "Speculative" existence to even settle so fundamental a question as "What distinguishes us from the rest of mankind."

 

Your study is valuable if you follow it up, otherwise what was the use. I am a pragmatist practically.

 

The point I want to make is that you give us through The Builder, the enormity of the situation which you have brought to light and suggest an adequate cure. That is practical sense, isn't it ?

 

Within the United States we are 48 different, regular, unarticulated Masonic Orders, Fraternities, sects cults, something I don't know what. We have no brain center Nationally or internationally. Our Grand Lodge system means that we have 48 different ganglionic centers which attend to mere existence. You ought to be a part of a brain center for the benefit of Masonry. You at least, would succeed in showing us where "rubbish" is. Your next step will be to show us how to get rid of the rubbish.

 

Personally I would have no controversy as to what a Landmark is or what they are. My stunt in life pertains to organization. Let the different jurisdictions organize to decide and enforce any list that they want.

 

There is a logical next sten for you to take. I wonder if you take it. The officiary of Wisconsin has refused to participate with us in the "get together" movement which has been going on in the last six years and which is the real cause of your study, whether you know it or not.

 

If you have any time, shoot some ideas straight across, into my head. I would like to see whether I would permit one to get inside.

 

Thanks for your articles. I value them.

 

Very truly yours

 

Chas. N. Mikels, P.G.M. Ind. '08-'09.

 

* * *

 

OPPOSING GENERAL GRAND LODGE

 

Hartland, Wis., Oct. 2, 1915.

 

Dear Brother Mikels:

 

Your most interesting and valuable letter has my earnest attention. I feel that the article, which was an humble effort of a young student, has served its purpose. It was written to awaken thought and eventually to correct errors.

 

It would be presumption on my part to assume the office of Dr. of Masonic Law and offer a cure-all for the inconsistencies and errors that exist; but I did believe that by making some of those inconsistencies self evident it would awaken in the ripe scholarship of the craft an earnest effort to correct them.

 

You say that "there seems no practical Masonic reason for ever knowing that you exist at all." I see it in a far different light. The very knowledge that we have of each other and that each is an earnest seeker for that great light Truth is the very best Masonic reason for our knowing each other.

 

The term "Regular Masonry" is one on which I have ofter pondered. May the harpy day arrive when the spirit of brotherly love; the feeling of reverence for a common Father; and a bright hope of future life be the only test of regularity.

 

You compliment me with the idea that I olght to be a part of the brain center for the benefit of Masonry. I believe that as far as ability will permit, I am.

 

I am aware that many of our most earnest and able brethren are of the same opinion as yourself; that there should be an International or National organization. If either it would appear to me that an International would be the only rational one. A National Grand Lodge would be on the same principle as at present only on a larger scale.

 

The most pronounced harm was done when our American Masonic jurists formulated a system of Jurisprudence which was not only to govern themselves but others who were not consulted or recognized as having rights we were bound by the spirit of Masonry to respect.

 

When a sufficient number of our brethren become educated in the spirit as well as in the ritual, and I hold that a correct rendition of the ritual is a "thing of beauty," we shall have an adjustment of these errors.

 

I am of the opinion that our Research Society will prove a most valuable factor in the Education of Masons and that the light in the east is already driving away the clouds of chaos which have enveloped our beloved brotherhood.

 

If Masonry in the past 200 years had done nothing more than to give us Albert Pike the effort would have been nobly repaid.

 

It has given much to all of us who allow it to serve us. It has given me a greater faith not only in the future life but in this one as well. This makes it quite clear to me "what distinguishes us from the rest of mankind."

 

Is not a unity of spirit of greater value than any mere formal organization ?

 

Some of these things are too deep for us younger students and it will probably be well for me to listen and learn rather than attempt to expound, and if my future leisure will permit it is more congenial to me to gather the gems from the rubbish than to polish them.

 

I greatly appreciate your kind letter.

 

Fraternally and cordially yours,

 

Silas H. Shepherd.

 

* * *

 

THE BODY OF MASONRY

 

Dear Brother Newton: - In the Installation Service for the subordinate Lodges, as used in Wisconsin, occurs the following:- Question: "You admit that it is not in the power of any man or body of men, to make innovations in the body of Masonry ?" Answer: "I do." Now the phrase "body of Masonry" is one the content of which is very uncertain to the average Mason. There are those who construe it as referring particularly to the ritual, its language, its sequence of degrees, methods of recognition, and the like. Again, there are those to whom the teachings of the Fraternity as embodied in the words "Brotherly Love, Relief Truth, Temperance, Justice," and so forth, are the "ne plus ultra"; and they contend that such make up the "body" of Masonry. If you were installed in this Jurisdiction what would be in your mind when you answered, "I do ?" Fraternally yours,

 

W. G. Coapman, Wisconsin.

 

(Here is a question which we would very much like to have discussed, as the point raised by the letter has to do not simply with the installation service, but with other matters as well. Before giving our notion or interpretation, we should be glad to hear from a great many of our Brethren. The substance of the question as asked in the Grand Jurisdiction of Wisconsin, if not the same words, is asked in every Jurisdiction. We believe that a discussion of this question will be more interesting and valuable than any answer we might give to it. Let us hear from you, Brethren. - The Editor.)

 

* * *

 

THE MEN'S HOUSE

 

Dear Sir and Brother: - While serving in the United States Army in the Philippine Islands I ran across a pamphlet giving a description of a secret society among the natives there, called "The Katapunans." Not being a Mason at the time, I did not pay much attention to it, but since becoming a Mason I have thought about it and I see some similarity in some things to Masonry. I know that one of our men, when captured by the natives, was treated royally when they learned that he was a Mason. Could you find out anything about this order and publish it in The Builder?

 

Yours very truly,

 

W. A. Harper, Iowa.

 

(Nearly all primitive peoples, as far back as we can go, had their secret societies - indeed, the tribal life of olden time, so far as the men were concerned, was altogether a Secret Society called the Men's House - a scientific discussion of which may be found in "Primitive Secret Societies," by Prof. Hutton Webster. Macmillan Co., New York. The Society to which Brother Harper refers is of this kind and perhaps sortie of our Members in the Philippine Islands will tell us what is known about it. Meanwhile, if Brother Harper can find a copy of Mid-Pacific Magazine for April 1913 he may read an interesting article entitled "Among the Meianesian 'Masons,"' by H. F. Alexander, describing a similar secret order in New Hebrides. Details differ, but all such societies have a fundamental likeness in purpose and method - they initiate young men into manhood, obligate them to obedience to tribal law and train them in right doing, according to the standards of tie tribe, having first tested their courage and their physical and moral worth. Masonry has its roots in that ancient Man's House of primitive society, and perpetuates its tradition and service. - The Editor.)

 

THE LIBRARY

 

"IN A NOOK WITH A BOOK"

 

MASONRY, WHEN, WHERE, HOW?

 

MANUALS of Masonry multiply, and one of the best we have seen is a little volume by Brother George Thornburgh, Past Grand Master of Arkansas, and editor of the Masonic Trowel, entitled "Masonry, When, Where, How?" As he tells us in the preface, it is not a picture book, nor a biography, but a history, and only incidentally are men mentioned in it - Washington and Pike excepted, and rightly so. The author holds that the reason why Masons as a rule know so little of the story of Masonry, is not because of a lack of interest in the subject, but for want of opportunity to inform themselves - few having the time or means to devote to large and expensive kooks which, in the end, do not make clear the truth. To meet the need of busy men, Brother Thornburgh has written a story of Masonry in plain language, boiled down and stripped of speculation, with a hope that it will be studied and appreciated by the Craft.

 

The result is a very interesting and valuable little book, beginning with the rites, rituals, oaths and degrees of old Operative Masonry, passing thence to the traditional history, and then to the growth and development of Speculative Masonry and its extension over the world. No doubt there will be differences of opinion as to many questions raised in this record, as when the author tells us that "Dr. Anderson, not knowing the ceremony of the Operative Master's Degree, invented the legend of the Speculative third degree," taking it, doubtless, from the ancient Egyptian Mysteries. For our part, we question this statement in view of the facts, and we would be.glad to have Brother Thornburgh give his reasons for it in the pages of The Builder. Whatever view the author may hold as to the origin of Masonry, when he comes to tell us what Masonry is, what it teaches and how, and what it is doing for mankind, he is above reply.

 

Indeed, the little volume is packed full of useful information, not only as to the origin and degrees of Blue Masonry, but also as to the Capitular and Cryptic degrees, Templarism, the Scottish Rite, the Order of the Eastern Star, and the Mystic Shrine. Negro Masonry is touched upon, and the Morgan raid is handled very briefly and wisely; and the volume closes with a sketch of Masonry in Arkansas. There are biographies of Washington and Pike, also mention of the Poets Laureate of Masonry, Burns, Morris, and Hempstead, and a poem by each one of them. The spirit of the book is admirable, and its style is a model of simplicity and lucid statement of facts. Such books are needed in every Grand Jurisdiction, and we trust that the present volume will find many readers not only in Arkansas, but in the great company of the Craft of Builders everywhere.

 

* * *

 

THE PHILOSOPHY OF GOETHE

 

Brother Paul Carus, editor of The Open Court and The Monist, is a prodigious worker. Hardly a year passes that does not bring two or more books from his pen, works of scholarly research in widely differing fields. The last to reach us is a study of "Goethe, With Special Consideration to his Philosophy," as beautifully printed as it is nobly written; and we are glad to note that it gives due place to the influence of Masonry in the life of that "myriad-minded man." Other biographers overlook this aspect of his life, when they do not actually belittle it. Brother Carus delineates to us Goethe the man, the poet, the thinker; and the man is almost a more attractive figure than the poet or the thinker. He was so sanely, so richly human; liberal but not skeptical; religious but not dogmatic; he worshiped God in Nature, and might be called either a pantheist or a monist-albeit, as the author tells us, he was more of a follower of Christ than is usually thought.

 

As has been said, the Masonic fellowship of Goethe meant more to him than some of his students have been willing to allow. He belonged to the Amalia Lodge, of Weimar, for which he wrote more than one Masonic poem, afterwards printed in his posthumous works in 1833. Wernekke, in his volume on "Goethe and the Royal Art," also makes note of his Masonic poems, some of which were set to music and sung in the Lodge. In speaking of the poem called "The Bequest," and in particular of the lines,

 

"No being into naught can fall;

The eternal liveth in them all,"

 

Brother Carus points out that "the Wise One" who indwells man is "the Omniscient Architect of the world - a Masonic idea"; and the meaning is that truth by which we live comes from God who marks the orbits of the stars and guides their courses. Lovers of Goethe will find this book a delight, and those not familiar with him could hardly ask for a more inspiring introduction to one of the great minds of the world.

 

* * *

 

MATHEMATICS AND THEOLOGY

 

Readers of The Builder will remember a little book on "Religion and Science," by Prof. Keyser, noted in our first issue; and if they read it they will be eager to see his new essay on "The New Infinite and the Old Theology." Here is the same breadth of outlook, the same firm grasp of great ideas, the same magic of style. What strikes one in this little book, however, is its revelation of the service of the science of mathematics to religious faith and the higher life of man. In this respect the essay is luminous, and might have been named, as the author once intended, the message of modern mathematics to theology. For the author is not of those shortsighted ones who think that, because so much has been made obsolete of late, theology is a defunct science. Not so. Nor will it ever be so while man has to face the dark mystery of the world, and the questions which attend the pensive mood or the tragic hour. As we may read:

 

"I do not believe that the declined estate of Theology is destined to be permanent. The present is but an interregnum in her reign, and her fallen days will have an end. She has been deposed mainly because she has not seen fit to avail herself promptly and fully of the dispensations of advancing knowledge. When she shall have made good her present lack of modern education and learned to extend a generous and eager hospitality to modern light, she will reascend and will occupy with dignity, as of yore, an exalted place in the ascending scale of human interests and the esteem of enlightened men."

 

* * *

 

"THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS"

 

From a tiny, tender little book by Arthur H. Gleason, whose lines are perfumed with the spirit of the gentle festival of which they speak, we venture to read a page, the while we wish our Brethren as merry a Christmas as any one may hope to have in a world so full of the woe of war. Listen, and meditate:

 

"Each year, for a handful of days, so brief, so swift to go, Lord Christ assumes the leadership. Each year we give Him Christmas week, permitting His will to prevail, His brooding spirit to rest upon us. Toward that gentle interlude - the days of the Truce of God - men longingly look through the tale of weary months. And when the brief term is ended, yearningly our thoughts turn back to that time when we were good together. His spirit breathes through the season, like faint music in the night. Strife, anger, and the hurry of little days are banished. To His lovingkindness we yield ourselves, as tired children lay down to rest. A while we dwell in His peace. Touched with mortality, as is all earthly beauty, the rapid days glide by, and we have lost them while the welcome is still on our lips. If His dominion over the hearts of men were more than a lovely episode, if He might abide, it would be well with us.”

 

* * *

 

QUESTIONS AND DISCUSSIONS

 

We are informed that the Sts. John were eminent patrons of Masonry and that our Order is dedicated to them. How is the above fact known to be absolutely true? And since what time has Masonry been dedicated to them?

 

Also, how do we know that Pythagoras was an eminent patron of Masonry, and when and where was he raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason? - H.A.H.

 

(1) The two Saints John were patrons of the Order in the sense that they taught Righteousness and Love, which are the foundations of Masonic character. Historically, their names no doubt became linked with Masonry soon after the advent of Christianity, when Christian builders put aside pagan deities as patrons and adopted the saints of the new faith. This came about gradually, and no date can be fixed. The Old Charges of Masonry make note of St. John's Day as an ancient festival of the Order - which shows that it was older than the Old Charges. The Grand Lodge of England was organized, "according to ancient usage," on St. John's Day.

 

(2) Pythagoras was not a Mason as we know Masonry today, nor was he ever raised to the sublime degree. Nevertheless, he was initiated into more than one of the great secret orders of antiquity, and founded one of his own, using numbers as symbols of moral truth and spiritual faith. He was thus a prophet of Masonry, a shining figure in that tradition of secret initiation and noble truth in which our Order stands, and which it perpetuates in the modern world.

 

* * *

 

Tell me, please, in what part of the world tides ebb and flow twice in twenty-four hours. My geography must be bum. I would also thank you to tell me what is an oblong square. These things make me wonder.

- J.K.P.W.

 

And no wonder, for, as the old farmer said when he saw a giraff for the first time, "There ain't no sich animals." Such errors no doubt crept in by virtue of the law of exaggeration for the sake of emphasis, and may easily be corrected - like the height of the Two Pillars which tower so high in some of our jurisdictions.

 

* * *

 

Is it not about time to stop tracing Masonry back to the beginning of time, as Oliver and others used to do ? Surely the actual facts, as we are able to establish them, are a better basis on which to build. - F.J.L.

 

Yes, and No. Despite his extravagant and often absurd claims for Masonry, much may be said in behalf of the theory of Oliver. In his "History of Initiation" he took us all over the world, showing us the rites used in many lands, and his book is often unreliable and always unscientific. Yet a man of science like Prof. Webster, in his "Primitive Secret Societies," confirms the main contention of Oliver, and traces the history of initiation still further back - to the Men's House in early tribal life. Oliver erred in identifying those primitive initiations with Masonry as we know it, whereas they were only shadows of it. Secret lodges for the training of men in righteousness, honor, courage, and goodwill may be traced back even into prehistoric times, and this was what Oliver tried to tell us, albeit he got things mixed at times. Our point is that the Lodge, in one form or another, is one of the oldest, as it is one of the greatest, institutions of humanity; and Masonry continues its ministry today, as no other order may ever hope to do.

 

* * *

 

Replying to a Brother who asks about the degree of Past Master, we may say that, according to the early Atholl Regulations - that is, the body in England calling themselves the Ancients before the union of Grand Lodges in 1813 - only Masters and Past Masters were eligible for exaltation to the Royal Arch degree. This led to the invention of the "Degree of Past Master," which was conferred on Brethren who had never actually held a Chair in a Lodge in order to qualify them for the Arch Degree. ( See Hughan's "History of the English Rite," Ed. 1909). The Degree of Installed Master was known at an earlier time, but that of Past Master, or as it is sometimes called in old minutes "Passed Master," came about as above stated.

 

* * *

 

I have seen repeated references in my Masonic reading to what is called "the Prestonian Lecture," but I have never been able to make out what it was. Perhaps you can tell me. -  J.G.M.

 

William Preston, who died in 1818, left a sum of three hundred pounds as an endowment for the annual delivery of a lecture. The lecture was to be on the First, Second, or Third Degrees of Masonry according to the system practiced in the Lodge of Antiquity during his term as Master. (Gould's History of Masonry, Vol. 3, p. 11). But whether it was a set lecture to be merely read or recited by the lecturer, or one to be prepared by him, is not clear from any record at hand. Some say one, some say the other. Several lecturers were appointed in various years, Brother Henry G. Warren being the last to receive payment in 1862. By the way this is not a bad idea to revive in our time. Suppose a wealthy Mason, or a Grand Lodge, should endow such a lectureship, and each year have some able man deliver a lecture on one of the three degrees - would it not mean a great deal?

 

Several questions have been received touching Negro Masonry, both as to its status and the best books dealing with it. The Grand Lodge of New Jersey has one Negro Lodge - or rather a mixed Lodge - under its obedience, the Alpha Lodge of Newark. When this became known, the Grand Lodge of Mississippi severed fraternal relations with New Jersey in 1909. Oklahoma followed the example of Mississippi, but in February, 1914, rescinded its action. With this exception Negro Masonry is a separate organization in this country. The American Freemason gives the following list of books dealing with Negro Masonry, the first named being the standard work:

 

"Negro Masonry," by Wm. H. Upton, obtained from H. F. Belt, 15 Court Square, Boston, Mass., price $1.50.

 

"History of Freemasonry Among the Negroes of North America," by Wm. H. Grimshaw. For sale by the author, care of Congressional Library, Washington, D. C.

 

"Prince Hall and his Followers," by G. W. Crawford. The Crisis, 70 Fifth Ave., New York, price $1.05.

 

"Negro Mason in Equity," by S. W. Clark. Obtained from J. J. Lee, Grand Secretary of the Prince Hall Masons, 1403 Granville Ave.. Columbus, Ohio.

 

* * *

 

Certainly the symbols of building and of geometry are among the oldest forms of human thought. They seem to be inwrought in Nature also. May it not be that they are the thought-forms of the Supreme Architect? - J.K.L.

 

Manifestly. Numbers, triangles, circles, squares, pentagons, hexagons are revealed in Nature round about us, from the dewdrop to the sun in his glory, from the frolic architecture of a snowflake to the orbits of the stars. They are in the structure of the universe, and must be the thought-forms of the Eternal, else they would not be the natural, self-sought forms of matter. "All things are in numbers," said Pythagoras; "the world is a living arithmetic in its development - a realized geometry in its repose." Nature is a realm of numbers; crystals are solid geometry. Music uses geometrical figures, and cannot free itself from numbers without dying away into discord. As Plato said, "God is always geometrizing," and elsewhere he remarked that "Geometry rightly treated is a knowledge of the Eternal." When we use these great and simple symbols we do but think the thoughts of God after Him, as Kepler said when he looked through his telescope into the midnight sky. By the same token, when we live our lives on the Level, by the Square, testing them by the Plumb, and keeping our passions circumscribed by the Circle, we are in harmony with the moral order of the world.

 

* * *

 

Several Brethren have asked us to return to the TK discussion long enough to define what we mean by mysticism. Perhaps it may be briefly stated after this manner: The Mystic - and all of us are mystics if we were wise enough to know it - is led by one insight, makes one passionate affirmation - that Unity underlies all diversity; a sense of the oneness of things, of the kinship of all life, never better stated than by Krishna in the Hindu poem:

 

"There is true knowledge. It is this:

To see one changeless life in all,

In the separate, One Inseparable."

 

Naturally, if this is really a universe, if unity underlies all things, then man must have some share of the nature of God; and upon this fact of the kinship of all men with God all our thinking rests, whether in science, philosophy, or religion. And since man is akin to God, he is capable of knowing God through what is godlike in himself - that is, through his soul. Such is the insight of all mystical thinkers, from Plato to Emerson, and it is unshakable.

 

Howbeit, spiritual knowledge is different from mere intellectual information; not only different, but deeper. We know a thing mentally by looking at it from the outside, by comparing it with other things, by analyzing and defining it. Whereas we know a thing spiritually only by becoming like it. One may know the theory of music and yet not be a musician. One must love in order to know love, as it is written, "he who loveth is born of God and knoweth God, for God is love." Like is known to like, and the one condition of the highest knowledge is likeness to, and union with, the object of knowledge. As Eckhart said, God and the soul are one in the act of knowing.

 

Therefore, the quest of the mystic - and of every man in so far as he is a mystic - is for union with God; the knowledge that comes of character; for harmony. Here lies the meaning of our Masonic search for the Lost Word, which we can never really find until the Word is made flesh in our lives, until it is translated into our character. What though we knew the ultimate, ineffable Name and shouted it from the house-top, it would be only an empty sound, unless we had incarnated it in our lives. Of this process of spiritual refinement whereby, slowly and by struggle, the Eternal Word becomes first a whisper and then a melody within us, the Masonic Degrees are an allegory - only a symbol, and foolish is he who mistakes the symbol for the fact.

 

At the close of the year, when thoughtful men are wont to look before and after, and take stock of things done or left undone, and wish for light to lead them along the old, winding human way, we beg to transcribe the tribute of Heine to the Great Light in Masonry; one of the noblest tributes for that it comes from a man who was called a sceptic, and whose poetry was a blend of a smile, a tear, and a sneer:

 

"What a Book! Stranger still than its contents is for me its style, in which every word is, so to speak, a product of nature, like a tree, a flower, like the sea, the stars, like man himself. One does not know how, one does not know why, one finds it altogether quite natural. In Homer, the other great book, the style is a product of art, and the materials always, as in the Bible, are taken from reality, yet it shapes itself into poetic form as though recast in the melting pot of the human spirit. In the Bible there is not the slightest trace of art; it is the style of a memorandum book in which the Absolute Spirit entered the daily incident with the same actual truthfulness with which we write our washing list. A Book! Yes, it is an old honest book, modest as Nature, modest as the sun which warms us, as the bread which nourishes us; a book full of love and blessing as the old mother who reads it with her dear, trembling lips. With right it is named the Holy Scriptures. He who has lost his God can find Him again in this book; and he who has never known Him is here struck by the breath of the Divine Word."

 

* * *

 

ARTICLES OF INTEREST

 

A War-time Initiation, by A. S. Mackinzie. Southwestern Freemason.

 

Masonic Research, by Geo. E. Frazer. Illinois Masonic Review.

 

The First Degree A. W. Witt. Kansas City Freemason.

 

Lecture on the First Degree, D. S. Wagstaff. The TrestleBoard.

 

Masonry in a Snowflake, Frank C. Higgins. Masonic Standard.

 

The House of the Temple. The New Age.

 

First Impressions of Masonry, R. E. Tipton. Bulletin Iowa Masonic Library.

 

* * *

 

BOOKS RECEIVED

 

Masonry, When, Where, How, by George Thornburgh, Little Rock, Ark.

 

Henry Codman Potter, by George Hodges. Macmillan Co., New York.

 

The American Indian as a Slaveholder, by A. H. Able. A. H. Clarke Co., Cleveland.

 

Myths and Legends of Ancient Egypt, by Lewis Spence. F. A. Stokes Co., New York.

 

Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration, 1915.

 

The Spirit of Christmas, by A. H. Gleason. F. A. Stokes Co., New York.

 

Aristocracy and Justice, by P. E. More. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.

 

CONTINUATION OF QUESTIONS ON “THE BUILDERS”

 

Compiled by "The Cincinnati Masonic Study School"

 

338. What object of Masonic interest was uncovered at the excavation of Pompeii in 1878? Page 83.

 

339. What of the pillars of Jobal and Jubal ? Page 108.

 

340. What is said of the Freemasons of Rome and for what purpose is it said Pope Gregory used Masons in connection with St. Augustine? Page 113.

 

341. What did Popes up to Benedict XII think of Masonry ? Page 122.

 

342. In what year did Pope Clement XII publish his Bull against the Masons and why ? With what result? Page 211.

 

342a. What is the Masonic position toward Politics? Page 248.

 

343. What is the mission of philosophy? Page 60, 259.

 

344. What is stated of the alternative to the philosophy taught by Masonry? Page 266.

 

345. Of what has Masonry ever been the prophet? Page 291.

 

346. What parable was translated by Max MulIer? Page 292. What parable regarding the Divinity in man comes to us from the Orient? Page 293.

 

347. What is Masonry's age-long quest? Page 262.

 

347a. How did Plotinus view philosophy? Page 269 Note 1.

 

348. What is the thesis of Ruskin as set forth in his Seven Lamps of Architecture, relative to the two sets of realities - material and spiritual? Page 7.

 

349. Describe the old light religion of humanity. Page 14-183.

 

350. What fact lies at the root of every religion and is the basis of each ? Page 25.

 

351. What is said of the few who have been able to grasp the inner and deeper doctrine of the various religions accented by the masses of every land ? Page 58.

 

351a. What admonition is given to youth relative to the Soul? Page 279-291 to 296.

 

352. Can all the people of any religion grasp al the inside doctrine ? Page 58.

 

353. Where were all the religions born and what do they owe to the ancient mysteries? Page 53.

 

354. What is said of the religion of a Freemason in 1723 ? Page 177.

 

355. How does it come that Freemasonry can embrace all religions and accept men of all faiths? Page 177, 209.

 

356. When did Religion take its outward shape? Page 241.

 

357. What is the reason that we are on the eve if not in the midst of a most stupendous and bewildering revolution of social and industrial life? How can we solve this great problem? Page 248, 249.

 

357a. What caused the creation of the Bible and the Church? Page 252 see note.

 

358. What is the basis of the one religion ? Page 255-256.

 

358a. What were some of the blackest pages of history; against whom and how did Masonry protest? Page 254.

 

359. What is the Masonic position toward the religious world? Page 178-255-262-263.

 

359a. How did Ruskin use the word Church? Page 250.

 

360. What will be the simple words of the one eternal religion extending high above all dogmas that divide, and all bigotries that blind and all bitterness that now beclouds us? Page 255, 256.

 

361. What does Freemasonry demand of all governments and religions? Page 178-231-237-273-274.

 

361a. Why do men leave the church? Page 250

 

361b. Is Freemasonry a religion ? Page 250.

 

362. What is the religion of a man, or what does a truly religious man do ? Page 294.

 

363. What is religion? Page 252 note, 293, 294.

 

364. What value was placed on the various legends woven about the temple of Solomon? Page 74.

 

365. By whom were the temple and the palaces of Solomon built ? Page 75, 76.

 

366. By whom was the Temple of Solomon designed and erected? Page 76.

 

367. What is said of the home of the soul ? Page 174-270-271.

 

368. How did it come that the influence of Solomon's temple to a certain degree gave the forms of the Christian Churches during the Middle Ages? Page 191.

 

369. What is the cause of the ceremonials of speculative or symbolical Masonry being more elaborate and imposing? Page 143.

 

370. What was the progress made by speculative Masonry at the start? Page 203.

 

370a. What is said of the Supreme Mind and the righteous Will? Page 266.

 

371. What is the present need of human Society? Page 247.

 

371a. What attributes of the Soul lift man above the brute and bespeak his divinity? Page 270.

 

372. How do the teachings of Socialism compare with those of Masonry and the so-called City of God? Page 287.

 

373. What effect do Symbols have upon the life of man ? Page 4.

 

374. What are the emblems of truth, justice and righteousness? Page 10.

 

375. How were the shrines ot the old solar religion of Egypt oriented? Page 11.

 

376. What are the oldest emblems of Solar Faith ? Page 13.

 

377. How is Symbol related to speech ? Page 19.

 

378. What is said of symbolism relative to man ? Page 20.

 

379. Of what do the ancient symbols bear witness ? Page 34.

 

380. What is the symbol of Buddha? Page 28.

 

381. What symbolic reference have the serpents ? Page 33.

 

382. What is the good the simple symbols of Masonry may do to establish the Brotherhood of man? Page 53.

 

383. What is said of the circle ? Page 24, 25, 33.

 

384. What lofty interpretation does Masonry accept in regard to the point in the circle ? Page 26.

 

385. What is said of the triangle, square, cross and circle? Page 25, 33.

 

386. How old is the idea of the Trinity ? Page 23 - 264.

 

387. Of what is the triangle a symbol in India? Page 23, 79.

 

388. How is the Triangle compared to the Trinity of life ? Page 22.

 

389. What is Solomon's Seal? Page 79. What is the Triangles of Vishin and Siva? Page 23-79.

 

389a. What is said of the lesser and the greater Tetractys? Page 143.

 

390. What is the Seal of Solomon in Syria, Persia and India? Page 79, 23.

 

391. How many hundreds of years before the socalled Christian era were allusions made to the compasses ? Page 30.

 

392. What is said of the crown, and what is said of its symbolism ages before our era? Page 24.

 

393. What is said of the cube? Page 10, 27, 23.

 

394. What is said of the discovery of the Square and of what did it become an emblem? What does it still teach ? Page 10, 30, 33.

 

395. What is said of the Swastika? Page 23.

 

395a. What is said of "Gloves" as a symbol? Page 137.

 

396. Why should we study the symbolism of Freemasonry and why did symbolism become a language for the thoughts of the thinker? Page 153.

 

396a. What is meant by Tiler? Page 138.

 

397. What is said of symbolism during the "Middle Ages?" Page 156.

 

398. Have Masons always appreciated and loved the symbols of their degrees? Page 157.

 

399. What sort of people became Masons after Masonry ceased to be operative and what was the Symbolism retained by Speculative Masonry? Page 201.

 

399a. For what purpose did Stuckley the antiquarian enter the order of Freemasonry in 1721 ? Page 203.

 

400. What is said of the secret sermon on the mountain coming to us from Egypt through Greece? Page 47.

 

----o----

 

WASHINGTON

 

Like some lone mountain in the starry night, lifting its head snowcapped, severely white, into the silence of the upper air, serene, remote, and always changeless there! Firm as that mountain in the day of dread, when Freedom wept and pointed to her dead; grim as that mountain to the ruthless foe, wasting the land that wearied of its woe; strong as that mountain, heath its. load of care, when brave men faltered in a sick despair. So does his fame, like that lone mountain, rise, cleaving the mists and reaching to the skies; bright as the hems that on its summit glow, firm as its rocks and stainless as its snow.

 

Walt Mason.

 

----o----

 

I AM WAR

 

I am a pestilence

Sweeping the world.

Hate is the root of me,

Death is the fruit of me,

Swift is my stroke;

Blood is the sign of me,

Steel is the twine of me,

Thus shall ye know me:

I am the'death of Life,

I am the life of Death,

 

I am War !

 

- Alter Brody, in the London Outlook.

 

 

 

         

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