The Builder Magazine
February 1915 - Volume 1 - Number
'Tis said that the Flag of
our Republic was born in 1777, but that cannot be true. It was stitched into
form at that time, in a little back parlor, but he who would know its origin
must look far into the dim, pathetic, aspiring past. It was woven on the Loom
of Ages- -woven of the dreams and heartbeats of humanity, of the warp of
sorrow and the woof of hope--by a Great Hand stretched out from the Unseen.
All those who on red fields of war died that their sons might be free; all who
in dark prison cells suffered for the rights of man; all who in the long night
of tyranny toiled and prayed for a better day, added threads to our Flag. It
floats to-day in the blue sky, swayed by happy winds, held aloft by
innumerable hands of the living and the dead, at once a history and a
In old mythology Minerva and
Ceres presided over the laboring classes --robed in flaming red, and that
color became their emblem; but it was an emblem of blood-making, not of
blood-letting; symbolizing the victories of peace, not those of war. Color in
ancient Rome separated plebeian from patrician--blue the color of the
aristocracy, white the war symbol, and red the emblem of labor and peace. All
these colors are blended in our Flag, making it the sanctifying symbol of
Unity, Fraternity, and Good-will among men. So may it ever be--Flag of Freedom
and Friendship--woven of "the mystic chords of memory, stretching from every
battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over
this broad land," proclaiming the time-glorified principles wrought out by the
tears and prayers of our fathers.
Let all those who stand under
it join hearts in one faith, join hands in one purpose--for the safety and
sanctity of this Republic; for the rights of man and the majesty of law; for
the moral trusteeship of private property and public office; for the education
of the ignorant; for the lifting of poverty, through self-help, to comfort;
for the dignity of the home and the laughter of little children; for social
beauty, national glory, and human welfare. Long may it wave, rendered for all
ages holy by the faith of the men who lifted it up, and the valor of the men
who defended it in an hour of madness and peril. May it never again float over
a field of war, but ever and forever over scenes of peace, honor, and
-- J. F. N.
A Journal For The Masonic
Published Monthly by the
National Masonic Research Society
VOLUME I NUMBER 2
TWO DOLLARS THE YEAR
TWENTY CENTS THE COPY
BY JOSEPH FORT NEWTON,
HAD any one written a story
of modern civilization last spring, it would have read like a romance. What a
picture it would have painted of the triumphs of art and industry, of disease
yielding to the skill of science, of the intellectual linking of nations, of
the rapid march of ideas, of the annihilation of time and distance by the
ingenuities of invention. The bright cities of the earth, with their palaces
of art and prayer, lay bathed in sunlight. Air-craft explored the sky, and
wireless messages flew every whither, telling of the glory of man.
And then--a high-school boy
in remote Bosnia fired a pistol, and a pall of ancient barbaric night fell
over the earth, darkening the heavens. Merciful God! the tragedy of it--beyond
comparison the greatest war in all the long annals of time in the new century!
In an instant, all trace of civilization seemed to vanish, and nation was
leaping at the throat of nation, filling the world with measureless misery and
woe. Commerce languishes, art is paralyzed, religion is mocked, and
civilization seems tumbling to a fall. Four days of the cost of this conflict
would dig the Panama Canal and pay for it. One month of it would equip every
hospital on earth to fight the great White Plague. Of the loss of life, the
most precious of all wealth, who can think without a sob, remembering the cold
law of biology by which, if the fittest fall, only the weak remain to father
the men of times to be.
What man may ever hope to
find words wherewith to tell the shame, the crime, the pity of it all. Prating
of Evolution, we were swept along on the crest of an easy optimism, not
realizing that we were carrying with us the lower forms of life, "moods of
tiger and of ape, red with tooth and claw." Well may we refresh our memories
by reading that passage in the "Republic" of Plato, in which a Pagan
philosopher laid down the rules of civilized warfare, as follows--
non-combatants to be spared, no houses to be burned, no farms to be
devastated, the dead to be honorably buried, no trophies of war to be placed
in the temples of the gods. What a rebuke to Christian civilization in a day
when shrines of art and learning and piety are ruthlessly destroyed, and men
act like fiends incarnate! Indeed, a page from the story of this war reads
like an excerpt from the chronicles of Hell, as witness these words from a
war-lord to his men:
"Cause the greatest possible
amount of suffering, leave the non-combatants nothing but their eyes to weep
with. The law of Christian charity has no bearing on the relation of one
nation to another."
With the immediate causes of
this world-shaking war we have not here to do, except to say that no matter
what generalization we make about it, there will be found as many facts on one
side as on the other. History will debate them for ages to come. Any
investigation into the question of who fired the first gun promptly goes back
into the question of who made the gun, and why ? Who diverted the beautiful,
constructive energy of humanity into such wanton waste and unreason ? After
reading the many-colored books put forth by the nations, each in its own
defense, we may admit that all are right in their reasonings, if we accept
their basic fallacy that a nation is a thing apart from humanity to be hedged
about with walls of iron.
They are nearer the truth who
look for the roots of this tragedy in the ideas taught by unphilosophic
philosophers within the last decade or two. Ideas rule the race. They run like
rumors, they hide in the crooked lines of a printed page, but in the end they
force us into the arena to fight for them. Materialism in philosophy led,
naturally and inevitably, to a worship of brute Force, bringing scientific
efficiency to the service of all the horrible gods of sport and speed and
splendor. Offering incense to the diabolical trinity of Mammon, Mars, and the
Minotaur, we have become so vain of our material advance and scientific
technique that we have forgotten that human well being lies in the pursuit of
justice and brotherly love. With Neitzsche preaching atheism in the alluring
style of a poet, while Treitschke and Bernhardi expounded a rationale, if not
a religion, of war, 'tis no wonder that we have been brought to where we are,
to a cataclysm unbelievable, except that it exists.
This is not to cry down
modern inventiveness and its astonishing achievements. Far from it. Not one of
us but feels the thrill of this amazing effort, albeit often futile and
misdirected, to realize life. There can be no question that this is a
wonderful age, romantic in its advance. Equally, there can be no question that
things still more wonderful are to follow. But what is it all worth--this
"will to power," this conquest of Nature--if it lead to a wide weltering chaos
of world-war ? To be sure, we travel more rapidly and get news more quickly,
but, God of dreams, what news of savagery and slaughter! No; our ideals are
wrong, and with all the suffering and ruin already wrought, maybe it will get
into our brains, and at last into our hearts, that our real progress does in
fact depend on the genuine love of God and our fellow man. Only in tragedy, it
seems, will man learn the highest truth.
Still, if we would find the
real causes of this dreadful war we must go far back and deep down into the
nature of man. Human history is saturated with blood and blistered with tears.
It has been estimated that in the annals of mankind, there have been only
thirteen years when there was no war on earth.
"Men are only boys grown
tall, Hearts don't change much, after all. Nations are these lads writ
large, That's what makes the battle charge."
So reads the record of the
ages, and we cannot hope to reverse that order of things in a day. Envy,
ignorance, jealousy, greed, hate, revenge, vanity, racial rancor, love of
strife, these make war against peace. Nevertheless, we must refuse to accept
war as the permanent condition of human society. Slavery was once well nigh as
universal as war, if not as old, but it has been banished from the earth. We
cannot look forward very far, but, despite the horror of today--perhaps,
indeed, because of it--there is reason to hope for a time when war, and the
menace of war, shall be removed from the terrors of human life.
What the issue of this
gigantic conflict will be, no mortal can tell. One hundred years ago Europe
was swept bare by wars of might against right, yet out of that long-drawn
tragedy came a great advance of civilization. So it may be, must be, will be
now. Make no mistake; the right will triumph, and as one nation after another
is released from the burden of militarism, the arts of peace will prevail, the
democratic spirit will be extended, and civilization will, in the end, be
promoted. History, always the sure cure for pessimism, holds out this hope
even to those, if such there be, who see above its tangled and turbulent scene
no vaster, wiser Power correcting the blunders of man, and "from seeming evil
still educing good in infinite progression."
Amidst all doubts, one thing
is certain: kings may pass, dynasties may vanish, but the peoples of Europe
will remain substantially as they are within their historic boundaries. But
these battered and impoverished peoples will be preserved for no other purpose
than new wars and new disasters if they do not fit themselves with a nobler,
truer way of thinking. More important than all else is the question, not as to
the map of Europe, but as to what the map of the human mind is going to be
after the war. How well men have learned war, reducing it to a fine art of
destruction, is shown by those great guns that speak with throats of thunder,
and those "airy navies grappling in the central blue," as Tennyson predicted.
Now they must learn peace, which means that they must begin with the young,
and keep always at it, until mankind masters the sweeter, truer, and diviner
language of fraternity.
In point of fact, we have
been trying to do an impossible thing-- trying to found a humane order upon a
basis of brute force. It cannot be done. Long ago Greece built its structure
of art and life upon a basis of slavery, and it fell. Just so, our
civilization will fail and fall if it is built upon a foundation of Force.
After all, it may be that this war was an inevitable result of a transition
from the rule of Force to the rule of Numbers, and, ultimately, the rule of
Reason and Love. One is tempted to hope that, since it had to come, it will
not stop until all despotisms are swept away, and with them all upholding of
the privilege of the few against the rights of the many; until men everywhere
rise up and say they will not go to war unless they have a vote on war. John,
Hans and mystic Ivan will strike or soon or late, and then will come the end
of Kings and Kaisers--and if this war hastens that day it worth all it cost!
As the grand divisions of
geological history have their beginnings in stupendous revolutions, so, too
the great new epochs in the human world. Such a time is even now with us.
Manifestly, we stand at the end of an era, and the men who come after us will
wonder that, seeing, we saw not, and mistook the red dawn of a new day for a
house on fire. As Napoleon would say, we are condemned to something great.
Whatever betide, the old order has collapsed. The times are infinitely
plastic. There is no reason for letting go of faith in God or human kind.
Instead, those who have eyes will see in this tempest a storm that shall clear
the air of pestilential vapors and hasten the advent of a nobler world-order,
through the corrected sense of the nations--the final flaring up of a blaze
from falling brands, to be covered forever with penitential ashes and quenched
with bitter tears.
Meantime, what has Masonry to
say, what can it do, in this hour of world-crisis when the race is struggling
through blood and fire toward something new, shaking off shams, and coming
face to face with the eternal necessities? Forming one great society over the
whole globe, bringing men together without regard to race or religion, it is
incredible that this Ancient Order should be inactive, much less indifferent,
in a day of supreme demand. From the first Masonry has been international,
knowing no Slavic race, no Teutonic race, but only the Human race, in proof of
which hear these words from its Book of Constitutions--words that stand out
like stars in the night of world-feud:
"In order to preserve peace
and harmony no private piques or quarrels must be brought within the door of
the Lodge, far less any quarrel about Religions or National or State-Policy,
we being only, as Masons, of the religion in which all men agree; and we are
also of all Nations, Tongues, Kindreds and Languages, and are resolved against
all Politics as what never yet conduced to the welfare of the Lodge, nor ever
Such is the principle on
which Masonry rests, and the spirit in which it has toiled through the ages,
breaking down barriers of caste and creed, of race and rank, creating
reverence, not only for the Divine, but also for the Human--for man as man,
regardless of land or language, for the right of every man to be free of body
and soul and have a place in the sun--and drawing men together in mutual
respect into a profound and far-reaching fellowship. Never was its benign
spirit more needed than today, living, as we are, in a world of fratricidal
strife, when every energy of the race seems dedicated to destruction. Alas,
that the truth of the Brotherhood of Man should be revealed only in tragedy
and terror, but if the sword of Mars stabs the world wide awake to this fact,
by the very magnitude of the horror of war, it will be worth the price in
suffering. Truly, the time has come when Masonry must take up its harp and
strike its world-chord with all its might-- strike it magnificently and with
Human unity is no fanciful
dream of a poet, no far off promise of a prophet; it is a fact. Geographical
boundaries do not now and never have represented either race or national
potencies. Morality, intelligence, efficiency, fraternity refuse racial or
political labels. There is no German chemistry, no British astronomy, no
Russian mathematics. What is most excellent in Russia--its Tolstoys, its
Kropotkins, its musicians, its painters, and its hard-handed millions of
toilers--is not Russian, but human. The same is true of Germany, France and
England. Goethe and Schiller, Koch and Kant are fellow-countrymen of
Shakespeare and Darwin, of Hugo and Pasteur. The Republic of Letters and of
Science is universal; it is only our patriotism that has lagged behind and
become "the virtue of narrow minds"--when, indeed, it is not actually what
Johnson called it, "the last resort of knaves."
How, then, can we justify our
love of our own land as over against those who hold that all patriotism is
provincial, if not pernicious? Only in this way: Each nation, each race has a
genius of its own, and by that fact a contribution to make and a service to
render to the total of humanity. Judea was no larger than Iowa, and yet it
gave to the race its loftiest and truest religion, and the strongest, whitest,
sweetest soul the earth has known. Greece was a tiny land, girt about by
violet seas, but it added immeasurable wealth of art, drama and philosophy to
the world. So of Rome. And thus we might call the roll of races and nations,
asking of each what it had or has to give of beauty and of truth to mankind.
Even so, our country has a genius unique, particular, and peculiar, and by
that token a service to render to the universal life of humanity. What is that
service if it be not to show, not only that "government of the People, by the
People, for the People shall not perish from the earth," but that it is the
highest ideal of government, and that it makes for the greatest happiness of
man, alike in private nobility and public welfare? Of that genius and service
our flag is the emblem and prophecy, and loyalty to that emblem implies
devotion to that service. Our field is the world, but our solicitude is our
own country--that it may the better make its unique and priceless contribution
to the universal good. Thus, with due reverence for other nations, by loyalty
to our own flag we best serve our race.
Above all nations, greater
than all races, more important than all royalties is Humanity, and no one
nation can live to itself, much less be truly great, without regard for the
usefulness and happiness of other nations. What we need is a transvaluation of
patriotism from a tribal loyalty into a universal allegiance--a
world-patriotism, growing out of the deepening sense of human solidarity,
large of outlook, far-reaching and benign of spirit. As it is now, patriotism
consists too much in loving our own land and hating every other--a feeling
unworthy of a Republic where Teuton, Saxon, Slav, Gaul, Celt live amicably
together, stand shoulder to shoulder in the industrial army, eat out of the
same dinner pails, and, to a surprising degree, worship at the same altar.
Exactly; and that is the very
genius of Freemasonry, its mission to mankind, and the spirit which it seeks
to make prevail. By its very nature cosmopolitan, it thinks in terms of
Humanity, rather than of race or creed or party, being as the old German
Handbook defined it, the activity of closely united men who, employing
symbolical forms borrowed from architecture work for the welfare of humanity,
striving morally to ennoble themselves and others, and thereby to bring about
"a universal league of mankind, which they aspire to exhibit, even now, on a
small scale." As Goethe said, in his poem on "The Lodge,"
"The Mason's ways are
A type of existence,
And his persistence
Is, as the days are
Of men in this world."
Every Lodge is an emblem and
prophecy of the world, and there will be no abiding peace on earth until what
Masonry exhibits on a small scale is made worldwide, and its spirit of
goodwill among men of all ranks, races and religions becomes the reigning
genius of humanity. Other way out of war there is none. If, instead of meeting
behind closed doors for intrigue, the men who plotted this war had met in a
Masonic Lodge, not one of them would have drawn a sword ! Alas, Lilliputian
militarists have kindled a fire which not even Gulliver can put out, spreading
death and desolation every whither--fanning old feuds, marshalling hordes of
hates, until the very existence of civilization is threatened.
What of the future ? One
thing is evident: if this tragedy drags its bloody way to the bitter end, as
now seems likely, every tie by which man is bound to man the world over will
be needed to hold the race together; and Masonry is one of those ties. To that
end, Masonry itself must recapture its old accent and emphasis upon universal
principles, and take part in recruiting and mobilizing a great army of men of
goodwill, if so we may dehorn the nations now goring each other to death, and
bring to this passion-clouded earth the light of reason. War is waste. It is
unreason. It settles nothing. It is devolution, not evolution. It is not the
survival of the fittest, but the sacrifice of the best. The canker of long
peace, as Shakespeare called it, is the canker not of peace, but of
"The crest and crowning of
Life's final star, is
For it will bring again to
Her long-lost Poesy and
Will send new light on every
A kingly power upon the race.
And till it comes we men are
And travel downward to the
dust of graves."
What this sad world needs is
a League of its "Large Eternal Fellows," tall enough of soul to look over
barriers of race, walls of creed, and mountains of misunderstanding, and
recognize their kinsmen in every land and language. These are the men who see
that we are in more danger from the grasping greed and blind ambition of the
few who rule than we ever were, ever will or ever can be from the great,
toiling masses of our fellows in other lands. They see that the great
generalship displayed in the war, and its good comradeship--the sagacity of
its leaders, and the singing, jesting courage with which the youth of Europe
is marching to the grave-- are the very qualities which, if dedicated to the
organization of the world upon a basis of peace, will swing the earth into a
new orbit! Therefore.
"Come, clear the way, then,
clear the way:
Blind creeds and kings have
had their day.
Break the dead branches from
Our hope is in the
Our hope is in heroic men,
Star-led to build the world
To this event the ages ran:
Make way for
Brotherhood--make way for Man !
"The Mason's ways are
A type of existence,
And his persistence
Is, as the days are
Of men in this world.
The future hides in it
Good hap or sorrow;
We press still through it--
Naught, that abides in it,
But heard are the voices,
Voices of the sages,
Of the worlds and the ages,
'Choose well, your choice is
Brief, but endless.'
And silent before us,
Veiled the dark portal,
Goal of all mortal;
Stars silent rest over us,
Graves, under us, silent.
'Here eyes do regard you,
In eternity's stillness,
Here is all fullness,
Ye brave to reward you,
Work and despair not.'"
PHILOSOPHY OF MASONRY
Five Lectures Delivered under
the Auspices of the Grand Master of Massachusetts Masonic Temple, Boston
BY BROTHER ROSCOE POUND,
PROFESSOR OF JURISPRUDENCE IN HARVARD UNIVERSITY
EXCEPT as he builds upon the
old charges and so uses older materials, Preston speaks so completely from the
eighteenth century that one needs but understand the thinking of
eighteenth-century England to appreciate him fully. In the case of our next
Masonic philosopher, there is another story. He was in the main current of the
philosophical thought of his day. But that current, along with the current of
Masonic thought, had been flowing without break from the seventeenth century.
Hence to appraise his philosophy of Masonry it is not enough to consider the
man and the time. We must begin farther back.
The beginning of the
seventeenth century was a period of great mental activity. The awakening of
the Reformation had brought in an era of fresh and vigorous religious thought.
Political ideas foreshadowing those of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries
were taking form. The downfall of scholasticism had set philosophy free from
Aristotle. Grotius was about to emancipate Jurisprudence from Theology.
Conring was about to deliver Law from Justinian. In consequence a new theory
of law and government arose. Men went back to the classical Roman jurists and
their law of nature founded on reason--applicable to men, not as citizens, nor
as members of civilized society, but simply and solely as men--and the
philosophical school which resulted and maintained itself during the two
succeeding centuries, produced the great succession of publicists, who built
up the system of international law, launched the ever-growing movement for
humanity in war and ultimate peace, and stimulated that interest in legal and
political philosophy, of which the democratic ideas of our own time, and the
humanizing and rationalizing of law in the nineteenth century, were to be the
fruit. The renascence of Masonry, complete in the next century, had its roots
in this period. "There was always," says Sir Henry Maine, "a close association
between Natural Law and humanity." In such a time, with the very air full of
ideas of human brotherhood and of the rational claims of humanity, the notion
of an organization of all men, for the general welfare of mankind, was to be
looked for. It may be seen, indeed, in the opening years of the century; and
we need not doubt that the writings of Andreae and the well-known Rosicrucian
controversy were a symptom rather than a cause. But the idea was slow in
attaining its maturity. In the seventeenth century, it struggled beneath a
load of alchemy and mysticism, bequeathed to it by an obsolete era of
ignorance and superstition. In the eighteenth century, it was retarded by the
absorbing interest in political philosophy. Hence it was not till the first
decade of the nineteenth century that the possibilities of this phase of the
new thought were perceived entirely. Then, for the first time, the idea of
general organization of mankind was treated in scientific method, referred to
a definite end, and made part of a philosophical system of human activities.
Perhaps no better theme could be chosen as an introduction to Masonic
philosophy, than the life and work of that learned and eminent man and Mason,
in his time at once the first of Masonic philosophers and the foremost of
philosophers of law, who rendered this service to humanity and to the Craft.
Karl Christian Friedrich
Krause, one of the founders of a new Masonic literature, and the founder of a
school of legal thought, was born at Eisenberg, not far from Leipzig, in 1781.
He was educated at Jena, where he taught for some time, till, in 1805, he
removed to Dresden. In this same year, he became a Mason; and at once, with
characteristic energy and enthusiasm, he entered upon a critical and
philosophical study of the institution, reading every Masonic work accessible.
As a result of his studies, he delivered twelve lectures before his lodge in
Diesden, which were published in 1809, under the title: "Hoehere Vergeistung
der echtuberlieferten Grundsymbole der Freirmaurerei," or "Higher
Spiritualization of the True Symbols of Masonry." A year later, he published
the first volume of his great work, "Die drei aeltesten Kunsturkunden del
Freimaurerbruderschaft," or "The Three Oldest Professional Records of the
Masonic Fraternity." This book, in the words of Dr. Mackey, "one of the most
learned that ever issued from the Masonic press," unhappily fell upon evil
days. The limits of permissible public discussion of Masonic symbols were then
uncertain, and the liberty of the individual Mason to interpret them for
himself, since expounded so eloquently by Albert Pike, was not wholly conceded
by the German Masons of that day. In consequence he met the fate which has
befallen so many of the great scholars of the Craft. His name, even more than
those of Preston and Dalcho and Crucefix and Oliver, warns us that honest
ignorance, zealous bigotry, and well-meaning intolerance are to be found even
among sincere and fraternal seekers for the light. The very rumor of Krause's
book produced great agitation. Extraordinary efforts were made to prevent its
publication, and, when these failed, the mistaken zeal of his contemporaries
was exerted toward expelling him from the order. Not only was he
excommunicated by his lodge, but the persecution to which his Masonic
publications gave rise clung to him all his life, and prevented him from
receiving public recognition of the position he occupied among the thinkers of
his day. It has been said, indeed, that he was too far in advance of the time
to be understood fully beyond a small circle of friends and disciples. Yet
there seems no doubt that the bitterness engendered by the Masonic
controversies over his book was chiefly instrumental in preventing him from
attaining a professorship. Happily, he was not a man to yield to persecution
or misfortune. Like the poet, he might have said," *** I seek not
good-fortune, I myself am good fortune."
miscomprehension of his teachings, unembittered by the seeming success of his
energies, he labored steadily, as a lecturer at the University of Goettingen,
in the development and dissemination of the system of legal and political
philosophy from which his fame is derived. Roeder has recorded the deep
impression which his lectures left upon the hearers, and the common opinion
which placed him far above the respectable mediocrities who held
professorships in the institution, where he was a simple docent. As we read
the accounts of his work as a lecturer, and turn over the earnest, devout, and
tolerant pages of his books, full of faith in the perfectibility of man, and
of zeal discovering and furthering the conditions of human progress, we must
needs feel that here was one prepared in his heart and made by nature, from
whom no judgment of a lodge could permanently divide us. He died in 1832 at
the relatively early age of 51.
Krause did not leave us a
complete or systematic exposition of his general philosophical system. Nor can
it be said that he achieved much of moment in the field of philosophy at
large, though some historians of philosophy accord him a notable place. It is
rather in the special fields of the philosophy of Masonry, to which he devoted
the enthusiasm of youth, and of the philosophy of law, to which he turned his
maturer energies, that he will be remembered. In the latter field, indeed, he
is still a force. Two able and zealous disciples, Ahrens and Roeder, labored
for more than a generation in expounding and spreading his doctrines. The
great work of Ahrens, published five years after his master's death, has gone
through twenty-four editions, in seven languages. Thus Krause became
recognized as the founder of a school of legal and political philosophers, and
his followers, not merely by writings, but by meetings and congresses,
developed and disseminated his ideas. Until the rise of the military spirit in
Germany and the shifting of the growing point of German law to legislation,
produced a new order of ideas, the influence of his doctrines was almost
dominant. Outside of Germany, especially in lands where the philosophy of law
is yet a virgin field, they still have a useful and fruitful future before
them, and he has been pronounced the "leader of the latest and largest
thought" in the sphere of legal philosophy. In view of the
social-philosophical and sociological movements in the last generation, this
characterization is no longer accurate. But it is true that until the rise of
the great names of the social- philosophical school of legal thought in the
past decade, Krause's was the greatest name in modern legal philosophy. His
great Masonic work is disfigured by the uncritical voracity, characteristic of
Masonic writers until a very recent period, which led him to give an
unhesitating credence to tradition, and to accept, as genuine, documents of
doubtful authenticity, or even down-right fabrications. Hence his historical
and philological investigations, in which he minutely examines the so-called
Leland MS., the Entered Apprentice Lecture, and the so-called York
Constitutions, as well as his dissertation on the form of government and
administration in the Masonic order, must be read with caution, and with many
allowances for over-credulity. But in spite of these blemishes--and they
unhappily disfigure too large a portion of the historical and critical
literature of the Craft--his Masonic writings are invaluable.
In a time and among a people
in which the nineteenth-century indifference to philosophy is exceptionally
strong, and threatens to deprive Law and Government, Jurisprudence and
Politics of all basis, other than popular caprice, a teaching which sets them
on a surer and more enduring ground, which seeks to direct them to a definite
place and to give them definite work in a general scheme of human progress,
cannot fail to be tonic. For the Mason, however, Krause's system of legal
philosophy has a further and higher value. It is not merely that his works on
the philosophy of law, written, for the most part, after his period of Masonic
research and Masonic authorship was at an end, afford us, at many points,
memorable examples of the practical possibilities of Masonic studies. Nor is
it merely that he enforces so strenuously the social, political, and legal
applications of the principles of our lectures. His great achievement, his
chiefest title to our enduring gratitude, is the organic theory of law and the
state, in which he develops the seventeenth-century notion of a general
organization of mankind into a practical doctrine, seeks to unite the state
with all other groups and organizations--high or low, whatever their immediate
scope or purpose--in a harmonious system of men's activities, and points out
the station and the objective of our world-wide brotherhood in the line of
battle of human progress. Let me indicate to you some of the leading points of
his Masonic and of his legal philosophy, and the relation of the one to the
Law is but "the skeleton of
social order, clothed upon by the flesh and blood of morality." Among
primitive peoples, it is no more than a device to keep the peace, and to
regulate, so far as may be, the archaic remedy of private war. In time it is
taken over by the state, and is able to put down violence, where originally it
could go no farther than to limit it. This done, it may aspire to a better
end, and seek not only to preserve order but to do justice. Thus far it has
come at present. But beyond all this, says Krause, there is a higher and
nobler goal, which is, he says, "The perfection of man and of society." The
law, singly, is by no means adequate to this task. Rightly understood, it is
one of many agencies, which are to operate harmoniously, each in its own
sphere, toward that great end. The state organizes and wields but one of these
agencies. Morals, religion, science, the arts, industry and commerce--all
these, in his view, are co-workers, and must be organized also. But the state,
or the political organization, being charged with the duty of maintaining the
development of justice, has the special function of assuring to the other
forms of organized human activity the means of perfecting themselves. It must
"mediate between the individual and the social destiny." Thus it is but an
organ in the whole social organism. He looks upon human society as an organic
whole, made up of many diverse institutions, each related to an important
phase of human life, and all destined, at an epoch of maturity, to compose a
superior unity. Relatively, they are independent. In a wider view and looked
at with an eye to the ultimate result, they are parts of a single mechanism.
All operate in one direction and to one end-- the achievement of the destiny
of humanity, which is perfection. Nor is this idle speculation. Krause seeks
to animate these several phases of human activity, these varied institutions
evolved as organs of the social body, with a new spirit. He impresses upon us
that we are not on the decline, but are rather in a period of youth. Humanity,
he insists, is but beginning to acquire the consciousness of its social aim.
Knowing its aim, conscious of the high perfection that awaits it, he calls
upon mankind, by harmonious development of its institutions, to reach the
ideal through conscious development of the real.
This insistence upon
perfection as a social aim and upon conscious striving to that end is of
capital importance in contrast with the ideas which prevailed so generally in
the latter half of the nineteenth century. Under the influence of the
positivists and of the mechanical sociologists for a time there was a
condition of social, political and juristic pessimism. Men thought of society
as governed by the inflexible operation of fixed social laws, whose workings
we might observe, as we may observe the workings of the law of gravitation in
the motions of the heavenly bodies, but might no more influence in the one
case than in the other. Krause's social philosophy, on the other hand, to use
a recent phrase, gives us faith in the efficacy of effort and thus accords
with the best tendencies of social and political thought in the present.
Krause's philosophy of
Masonry and his philosophy of law require us to distinguish the natural order,
the social order and the moral order. The distinction may be developed as
Scientists tell us that
nature exhibits a ceaseless and relentless strife--a struggle for existence,
though this way of putting it had not been invented in Krause's day--in which
all individuals, races, and species are inevitably involved. The very weeds by
the roadside are not only at war with one another for room to grow, but must
contend for their existence against the ravages of insects, the voracity of
grazing animals, and the implements of men. Thus, the staple of life, under
purely natural conditions, is conflict. If we turn to the artificial
conditions of a garden, the contrast is extreme. Exotics, which-could not
maintain themselves a moment, in an alien soil and an unwonted climate,
against the competition of hardy native weeds, thrive luxuriantly. Planted
carefully, so as not to interfere with each other, carefully tended, so as to
eliminate the competition of native vegetation, supplied with the best of
soil, watered whenever the natural supply is deficient, the individual plants,
freed from the natural necessity of caring for themselves in the struggle for
existence, turn their whole energies to more perfect development, and produce
forms and varieties of which their rude, uncultivated originals scarcely
convey a hint. All struggle for existence is not eliminated, indeed, in the
garden. But the burden of it is shifted. Instead of each plant struggling with
every other for a precarious existence the gardener contends with nature for
the existence of his garden. He covers his plants to protect from frosts, he
waters them to mitigate drought, he sprays them to prevent injury by insects,
and he hoes to keep down the competition of weeds. Instead of leaving each
plant to propagate itself as it may, he gathers and selects the seed, prepares
the ground, and sows so as to insure the best results. The whole proceeding is
at variance with nature; and it is maintained only by continual strife with
nature, and at the price of vigilance and diligence. If these are relaxed,
insects, drought, and weeds soon gain the day, and the artificial order of the
garden is at an end.
Society and civilization are,
in like manner, an artificial order, maintained at the price of vigilance and
diligence in opposition to natural forces. As in the garden, so in society,
the characteristic feature is elimination of the struggle for existence, by
removal or amelioration of the conditions which give rise to it. On the other
hand, in savage or primitive society, as in the natural plant society of the
wayside, the characteristic feature is the intense and unending competition of
the struggle for existence. In the wayside weed patch, nature exerts herself
to adjust the forms of life to the conditions of existence. In the garden, the
gardener strives to adjust the conditions of existence to the forms of life he
intends to cultivate. Similarly, among savage and uncivilized races, men
adjust themselves as they may to a harsh environment. With the advent and
development of society and civilization, men-create an artificial environment,
adjusted to their needs and furthering their continued progress. Thus, the
social and moral ordeal are, in a sense, artificial; they have been set up in
opposition to the natural order, and they are maintained and maintainable only
by strife with nature, and the repression of natural instincts and primitive
desires. It has been said that nature is morally indifferent. Morality is a
conception which belongs to the social, not to the natural existence. The
course of conduct which the member of civilized society pursues would be fatal
to the savage; and the course followed by the savage would be fatal to
society. The savage, like any wild animal, fights out the struggle fol
existence relentlessly. The civilized man joins his best energies to those of
his fellows, in the endeavor to limit and eliminate that struggle.
The social ordeal, then, is,
as it were, an artificial order, set up and maintained by the co-operation of
numbers of individuals through successive generations. Just as the garden
demands vigilance and diligence on the part of the gardener, to prevent the
encroachment and re-establishment of the natural order, so the social order
requires continual struggle with natural surroundings, as well as with other
societies and with individuals, wherewith its interests or necessities come in
conflict. Consequently, in addition to the instincts of self and species
preservation, there is required an instinct or intuition of preserving and
maintaining the social order. Whether we regard this as acquired in an orderly
process of evolution, or as implanted in man at creation, it stands as the
basis of right and justice, bringing about as a moral habit, "that tendency of
the will and mode of conduct which refrains from disturbing the lives and
interests of others, and, as far as possible, hinders such interference on the
part of others." The mere knowledge by individuals, however, that the welfare,
and even the continuance, of society require each to limit his activities
somewhat with reference to the activities of others, does not suffice to keep
within the bounds required by-right and justice. The more primitive and
powerful selfish instincts tend to prevail in action. Hence private war was an
ordinary process of archaic society. The competing activities of individuals
could not be brought into harmony and were left to adjust themselves. But
peace, order, and security are essential to civilization. Every individual
must be relieved from the necessity of guarding his interests against
encroachment, and set free to pursue some special end with his whole energies.
As civilization advances, this is done by substituting the force of society
for that of the individual, and thus putting an end to private war.
Historically, law grew up to this demand.
The maintenance of society
and the promotion of its welfare, however, as has been seen, depend upon much
besides the law. Even in its original and more humble role of preserving the
peace, the law was by no means the first in importance. The germs of legal
institutions are to be seen in ancient religions, and religion and morals held
men in check while law was yet in embryo. Beginning as one, religion, morals
and law have slowly differentiated into the three regulating and controlling
agencies by which right and justice are upheld and society is made possible.
In many respects their aim is common, in many respects they cover the same
field, among some peoples they are still confused, in whole or in part. But
today, among enlightened peoples, they stand as three great systems; with
their own aims, their own fields, their own organization, and their own
methods; each keeping down the atavistic tendencies toward wrong-doing and
private war, and each bearing its share in the support of the artificial
social order, by maintaining right and justice. Religion governs men, so far
as it is a regulating agency, supernatural sanctions; morality by the sanction
of private conscience, fortified by public opinion; law by the sanction of the
force of organized society. Each, therefore, to be able to employ its
sanctions systematically and effectively in maintaining society, must be
directed or wielded by an organization. Accordingly we find the church giving
regulative and coercive force to religion and the state taking over and
putting itself behind the law. But what is behind the third of these great
agencies? What and where is the organization that gives system and
effectiveness to the regulative force of morality?
Here, Krause tells us, is the
post of the Masonic order. World-wide; respecting every honest creed,
requiring adherence to none; teaching obedience to states, but confining
itself to no one of them; it looks to religion on the one side and to law upon
the other, and, standing upon the solid middle-ground of the universal moral
sentiments of mankind, puts behind them the force of tradition and precept,
and organizes the mighty sanction of human disapproval. Thus, he conceives
that Masonry is working hand in hand with church and state, in organizing the
conditions of social progress; and that all societies and organizations, local
or cosmopolitan, which seek to unify men's energies in any sphere-- whether
science, or art, or labor, or commerce --have their part also; since each and
all, held up by the three pillars of the social order--Religion, Law, and
Morals; Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty--are making for human perfection.
But, in the attainment of
human perfection, we must go beyond the strict limits of the social order.
Morality, as we have seen, is an institution of social man. Nevertheless it
has possibilities of its own, surpassing the essential requirements of a
society. There is a moral order, above and developed out of the social t
order, as the social order is above the natural. The natural order is
maintained by the instincts of self and species preservation. These instincts,
unrestrained, take no account of other existences, and make struggle for
existence the rule. In the social order, men have learned to adjust act to end
in maintaining their own lives without hindering others from doing the like.
In the moral order, men have learned not merely to live without hindering the
lives of others, but to live so as to aid others in attaining a more complete
and perfect life. When the life of every individual is full and complete, not
merely without hindering other lives from like completeness, but while helping
them to attain it, perfection will have been reached. Then will the
individual, "In hand and foot and soul four-square, fashioned without fault,"
fit closely into the moral order, as the perfect ashler. Instinct maintains
the natural order. Law must stand chiefly behind the social order. Masonry
will find its sphere, for the most part, in maintaining and developing the
moral order. So that, while it reminds us of our natural duties to ourselves,
and of the duties we owe our country, as the embodiment of the social order,
it insists, above and beyond them all, upon our duties to our neighbor and to
God, through which alone the perfection of the moral order may be attained.
Krause does not believe,
however, that law and the state should limit their scope and purpose to
keeping up the social order. They maintain right and justice in order to
uphold society. But they uphold society in order to liberate men's energies so
that they may make for the moral order. Hence the ultimate aim is human
perfection. If by any act intended to maintain the social order, they retard
the moral order, they are going counter to their ends. Law and morals are
distinct; but their aim is one, and the distinction is in the fields in which
they may act effectively and in the means of action, rather than in the ideas
themselves. The lawgiver must never forget the ultimate purpose, and must seek
to advance rather than to hinder the organization and harmonious development
of all human activities. "Law," he tells us, "is the sum of the external
conditions of life measured by reason." So far as perfection may be reached by
limitation of the external acts of men, whereby each may live a complete life,
unhindered by his fellows, the law is effective. More than this, the external
conditions of the life measured by reason are, indirectly, conditions of the
fuller and completer life of the moral order; for men must be free to exercise
their best energies without hindrance, before they can employ them to much
purpose in aiding others to a larger life. Here, however, law exhausts its
possibilities. It upholds the social order, whereon the moral order rests. The
development and maintenance of the moral order depend on internal conditions.
And these are without the domain of law. Nevertheless, as law prepares the way
for the moral order, morals make more easy the task of law. The more
thoroughly each individual, of his own motion, measures his life by reason,
the more completely does law cease to be merely regulative and restraining,
and attains its higher role of an organized human freedom. Here is one of the
prime functions of the symbols of the Craft. As one reflects upon these
symbols, the idea of life measured by reason is everywhere borne in upon him.
The twenty-four inch gauge, the plumb, the level, the square and compass, and
the trestle board are eloquent of measurement and restraint.
There is nothing measured in
the life of the savage. He may kill sufficient for his needs, or, from mere
caprice or wanton love of slaughter, may kill beyond his needs at the risk of
future want. His acts have little or no relation to one another. He does not
sow at one season that he may reap at another, much less does he plant or
build in one generation that another generation may be nourished or sheltered.
The exigencies or the desires of the moment control his actions. On the other
hand, the acts of civilized man are connected, related to one another, and, to
a great extent, parts of a harmonious and intelligent scheme of activity. Even
more is this true of conduct which is called moral. Its prime characteristic
is certainty. We know today what it will be tomorrow. The unprincipled may or
may not keep promises, may or may not pay debts, may or may not be constant in
political or family relations. The man whose conduct is moral, we call
trustworthy. We repose entire confidence in his steadfast adherence to a
regular and orderly course of life. Hence we speak of rectitude of conduct,
under the figure of adjustment to a straight line; and our whole nomenclature
of ethics is based upon such figures of speech. Excess, which is indefinite
and unmeasured, is immoral; moderation, which implies adherence to a definite
and ascertainable medium, we feel to be moral. The social man, as
distinguished from the savage, and even more the moral man, as distinguished
from him who merely takes care not to infringe the law, measures and lays out
his life, and the symbols of the Craft serve as continual monitors to the weak
or thoughtless of what must distinguish them from the savage and the
The allegory of the house not
built with hands, into which we are to be fitted as living stones, suggests
reflections still more inspiring. Here we see symbolized the organic
conception of society and of human activities, upon which Krause insists so
strongly. Social and individual progress, he says, are inseparable. Nothing is
to be kept back or hindered in the march toward human perfection. The social
order conserves the end of self and race maintenance more perfectly than the
natural order, which aims at nothing higher; and the moral order accomplishes
the end of maintaining society more fully than a system that attempts no more.
The complete life is a complete life of the units, as well as of the whole,
and the progress of humanity is a harmonizing of the interests of each with
each other and with all. Nature is wasteful. Myriads of seeds are produced
that a few plants may struggle to maturity. Multitudes of lives are lost in
the struggle for existence, that a few may survive. As men advance in social
and moral development, this sacrifice of individuals becomes continually less.
The most perfect state, in consequence, is that in which the welfare of each
citizen and that of all citizens have become identical, where the interests of
state and subject are one, where the feelings of each accord with those of
all. In this era of universal organization, when Krause's chapters seem almost
prophetic, there is much to console us in his belief that the organic must
prove harmonious, and that organizations which now conflict will in the end
work consciously and unerringly, as they now work unconsciously and
imperfectly, toward a common end. If, as his illustrious pupil tells us,
"human society is but a solid bundle of organic institutions, a federation of
particular organizations, through which the fundamental aims of humanity are
realized," we may confidently hope for unity where now is discord. And we may
hope for most of all, in this work of unification, from that world-wide
Brotherhood, which has for its mission to organize morals and to bring them
home as realities to every man.
To sum up, how does Krause
answer the three problems of Masonic philosophy ?
(1) What is the purpose for
which Masonry exists? What does it seek to do? Krause answers that in common
with all other human institutions its ultimate purpose is the perfection of
humanity. But its immediate purpose is to organize the universal moral
sentiments of mankind; to organize the sanction of human disapproval.
(2) What is the relation of
Masonry to other human institutions, especially to government and religion,
state and church? Krause answers that these aim also at human perfection.
Immediately each seeks to organize some particular branch of human activity.
But they do this as means to a common end. Hence, he says, each of these
organizations should work in harmony and even in co-operation with the others
toward the great end of all of them. In this spirit expounds the well-known
exhortations in our charges with respect to the attitude of the Mason toward
the government and the religion of his country.
(3) What are the fundamental
principles by which Masonry is governed in attaining the end it seeks? Krause
answers: Masonry has to deal with the internal conditions of life governed by
reason. Hence its fundamental principles are measurement and restraint--
measurement by reason and restraint by reason--and it teaches these as a means
of achieving perfection.
Such, in brief and meager
outline, is the relation of Masonry to the philosophy of law and government,
as conceived by one who has left his mark on the history of each. Think what
we may of some of his doctrines, differ with him as we may at many points,
hold, as we may, that our Order has other ends, we must needs be stirred by
the noble aim he has set before us; we must needs be animated by a higher
spirit and more strenuous purpose, as one of the chiefest of the organic
societies composing the "solid bundle" that makes for human perfection.
"Keep, in Thy pierced hands,
Still the bruised helmet;
Let not their hostile bands
Wholly o'erwhelm it !
Bless my poor shield for me,
Christ, King of Chivalry.
Keep Thou the sullied mail,
Lord, that I tender
Here, at Thine altar-rail !
Then--let Thy splendor
Touch it once--and I go
Stainless to meet the foe !"
--Alfred Noyes. Sheerwood.
SO MOTE IT
The depth and dream of my
The bitter paths wherein I
Thou knowest Who hast made
Thou knowest Who hast made
One stone the more swings to
In that dread Temple of Thy
It is enough that through Thy
I saw naught common on Thy
Take not that vision from my
Oh whatsoe'r may spoil or
Help me to need no aid from
That I may help such men as
"My New Cut Ashlar."
By Brother S.W. Williams
MASONRY, the Church--in fact
all religions --teach that each one of us has the choice of two Paths in life.
One is long, tedious, tortuous and beset with all manner of dangers and
temptations--but finally leads to Peace and Rest--an eternity of Happiness.
The other --a broad highway, easy to travel--with delightful groves and a
plentitude of sunshine, music and flowers --everything to delight the eye and
charm the senses-- gently, almost imperceptibly, but none the less surely,
leads downward to despair and death.
All men that have lived have
chosen--yea, traveled--one or the other of these Roads. There is no avoidance
of it. Either we must struggle as long as life lasts, to keep on that Path
which leads to Light and Life Eternal--or give up the fight--yield to the many
temptations that beset us--branch off upon a pleasanter Path leading to the
Downward Road--exchanging our God-promised reward for a few short hours of
indulgence in whatever debasing Passion or Desire may appeal most strongly to
our brutal instincts.
In the Dhammapada, the
authorship of what is ascribed to Buddha himself, and pronounced to be one of
the most practical ethical hand-books of Buddhism, we read
"The virtuous man is happy in
this World, and he is happy in the next; he is happy in both. He is happy when
he thinks of the good he has done; he is still more happy when going on the
"Earnestness is the Path of
Immortality. (Nirvana.) Thoughtlessness is the Path of Death. Those who are in
earnest do not die, those who are thoughtless are as if dead already."
"Fools follow after Vanity.
The Wise man keeps Earnestness as his best Jewel."
"The Disciple will find out
the plainly shown Path of Virtue as a clever man finds the right flower."
These verses are about 2600
years old, and yet the truths therein contained have never been more
completely or more concisely stated. Analyze them as you will, and the more
thought you expend upon them, the more thoroughly will you understand and
appreciate their breadth and scope.
No thinking man can gainsay
that True Earnestness leads to the Upward Path. "The Path of Immortality." It
is beset with numerous dangers. Innumerable temptations and obstacles obstruct
Our Lodge lessons have taught
us we have need of the three Theological Virtues--Faith, Hope and
Charity--together with the four Cardinal ones--Fortitude, Prudence, Temperance
and Justice; but without the foundation of Earnestness how could Success crown
our efforts ?
Truly Earnestness is man's
And, just as this is true of
Earnestness, so is it also true that Thoughtlessness, if not eliminated from
our character, will ultimately lead us on the Downward Course--even unto the
Shades of Death.
How shall we find this Path
of Virtue ?
Reflect upon the teachings of
the Lodge from the First degree to the last one you have taken, and you will
find the answer.
But neither Faith, Hope,
Charity, Fortitude, Prudence, Temperance nor Justice will avail unless they
are backed up with Sincerity-- with Determination--call it what you
will--Earnestness is the word that best suits all phases of the case--and this
message of Buddha, which has come down to us through 26 centuries, cannot be
About six hundred years after
this message was given to the World, there was born in Bethlehem of Judea, the
CHRIST. He said to the sinful Woman: "Go thy way--thy sins are forgiven
thee"--her faith had made her whole.
But think you that
Earnestness had no part in the healing? This poor woman had thrown every
particle of Earnestness of which she was capable into her appeal--and the
Christ saw--and approved.
It was the Earnestness of her
Faith which wrought the cure.
Volumes might be written upon
this subject, but more cannot be said than that which Buddha has so tersely
"Earnestness is the Path of
Immortality. Thoughtlessness is the Path of Death.
Dear Brother, ponder over
this seriously. Choose the RIGHT PATH. BE EARNEST and PEACE and REST will
attend thy efforts.
"Freemasonry is the
subjugation of the Human that is in Man, by the Divine; the conquest of the
Appetites and Passions by the Moral Sense and the Reason; a continual effort,
struggle and warfare of the Spiritual against the Material and Sensual. That
victory--when it has been achieved and secured, and the conqueror may rest
upon his shield and wear the well-earned laurels--is the true Holy Empire."
--Albert Pike. Morals and Dogma.
LANDMARKS OF MASONRY
BY THE LATE THEODORE S.
Founder of the Library of the
Grand Lodge of Iow
(Among many MSS left by Mr.
Parvin--some of which we shall publish as occasion may offer--was the
following paper, written in the forthright and pungent style characteristic of
a man who had positive convictions, and knew how to express them. Recent
students are not so sure, as Brother Parvin seems to have been, that there was
only one degree in Craft-masonry. But no matter, the paper speaks for itself-
and the editor ventures to add a brief discussion as showing its importance in
view of the present situation in world-Masonry.)
"Every annual Grand Lodge has
the inherent Power and Authority to make new Regulations, or to alter those
for the real Benefit of this ancient Fraternity; provided always that the Old
Landmarks be carefully preserved."--Art. XXXIX, General Regulations of the
Grand Lodge of England, 1723.
The term "Landmarks" does not
occur in the Charges of a Freemason which are universally regarded as of bin
ling authority upon all Grand Lodges. The quotation above made is from the
"General Regulations," binding only upon those Grand Lodges which by enactment
have made them so. These By-laws of the Grand Lodge of England--- for such
they are--are no more binding upon the Grand Lodge of Iowa than are our
By-laws upon any other Grand Lodge of the land.
Save the one subject of the
History of Freemasonry, there has been more nonsense written upon the subject
of Ancient Landmarks than upon any other Masonic subject. Neither the Charges
of a Freemason nor the General Regulations, together usually styled Ancient
Constitutions; anywhere define what a Landmark is, nor do the historians of
Freemasonry, or anyone else endowed with authority, enumerate them. Dr.
Mackey, a learned Mason--though not so learned as Findel, Lyon, Hughan, or
Gould--in his Lexicon of Freemasonry, as also in his Encyclopedia, gives a
list of Landmarks which he made and promulgated as "the" Landmarks of the
Order. His judgment, when based upon historic or legal truth, is entitled to
weight, but he followed his prejudices or speculations, as he did, he commands
no more respect than others. one Mason in ten gives adhesion to his Sched
A writer of equal ability, if
not so learned, a few years ago tried his hand at enumerating the Landmarks,
and almost doubled Mackey's last list; I say list, because Mackey two and his
second contained some not in the first. Thus every writer has his ipse dixit.
For many I have invited, urge and begged Grand Master and Grand Reports to
furnish me with a list of Landmarks. None have ever essayed to do so--further
than to refer me Dr. Mackey, as if a man who was born, lived and died in this
century could make an "ancient" Landmark.
Quite recently a Masonic
editor has told us that "every Mason ought to understand exactly what the Old
Landmarks are." How can everybody be expected to know what nobody knows, ever
has known, or ever will know; because there is no supreme authority to declare
what they are. Scarcely any two jurisdictions, or any two men in the same
jurisdiction, agree on the question.
Again hear a learned brother:
"The Old Landmarks are those customs of the fraternity which became fixed
rules at a time so remote that even their origin is lost, but which have been
handed down as the fundamental laws of Freemasonry." Then he gives a list of
twenty-five rules which he calls Landmarks. His second rule is "the division
of symbolic Masonry into three degrees." Every schoolboy in Masonry knows that
until the eighteenth century--this is only the nineteenth--there was only one
degree. His third is, "the legend of the Temple Builder in the Third Degree."
As a fact, neither the Temple Builder nor the legend was ever known or heard
of two centuries ago in connection with Freemasonry. And so I might go on.
Such Landmarks are like
ten-pins; knock one over and many others fall with it. Talk about rules
established in 1700-1799 as having been "fixed at a time so remote that even
their origin is lost !" It is too ridiculous to merit sober refutation. Yet
the good brother says that "these twenty-five unalterable rules are now
accepted as Landmarks." Accepted by whom? Not by the Grand Lodge of Iowa. In
the number of her Lodges, in the intelligence of her membership, in enterprise
and true devotion to the genuine principles of Freemasonry, the Grand Lodge of
Iowa is the peer of the oldest, the largest and the best Grand Lodge, but she
does not accept this list, nor the half of it. She refuses to bow at the altar
of this modern Baal.
So far Parvin. As showing the
wide divergence of opinion both as regards the nature and number of the Old
Landmarks--the latter varying from six to sixty, and usually fixed at
twenty-five--the article is interesting. Its criticisms of the lists of
Landmarks proposed are as sound as they are keen. Nevertheless, the essayist
leaves us still up in the air with little hope of getting down to the land,
much less of finding our landmarks. Nor does it take due account of the injury
done to the order, and the impediments put in the way of a wider fellowship
and a mutual understanding by this uncertainty and confusion.
Hence we have the spectacle
of Masons in one part of the world refusing to recognize their brethren in
another part, because, forsooth, they do not use exactly the same words, when
the differences in the most important Masonic principles, or their form, is so
slight that they could never stand in the way of a greater and closer
fellowship. Such bigotry--for it is nothing else --reminds one of the
exclusiveness of the ecclesiastic who holds that the sacrament is only valid
when administered in a certain way, when certain words are accurately recited,
and when a certain person set apart and properly ordained by recognized
authorities, is there to administer it.
Moreover, we accuse our
brethren abroad--in France, for instance-- of having departed from the ancient
Landmarks of Masonry, but we have not yet defined what a Landmark is. Instead,
we take some Tradition, Custom or Usage, of comparatively recent date, and
erect it into a barrier with which to exclude our brethren--forgetting that a
Landmark is one thing and a high board fence is another. Not only so, but we
actually take some detail of organization, of whose antiquity no one dare make
claim, and use it in the same way. What a queer outcome of the gracious and
free spirit of Masonry whose genius it is, or should be, to make men friends
For example, in 1858 Mackey
made his list of "ancient" Landmarks, twenty-five in number--that seems to be
the sacred number in respect of Landmarks--one of which was as follows: "The
Bible, being an indispensable symbol, must be present in every Lodge." If that
be so, then a Mohammedan or a Buddhist, who reveres other sacred books than
our own, cannot be a Mason. Even a Hebrew is in part disqualified, for he does
not accept all of the Bible. Confronted with this glaring absurdity, Mackensie
modified the Mackey article on this wise: "The Bible is indispensable in
Lodge, but it need not be the Bible in all cases. It can be replaced by the
Koran, by the Zend-Avesta, or by the Vedas, according to the religious faith
of the Lodge." That is to say, the Bible is indispensable but it may be
Now ye editor is a firm
believer in Christianity and the Bible, of which he is an humble teacher, but
he does not make his Christianity a test of his Masonic fellowship. To do so
would be to make Masonry sectarian-- that is, something utterly alien to
itself, only one more atom in a world of factional feud and ferment. Instead,
he welcomes to his Masonic fellowship his brother Masons of every faith,
Catholic or Protestant, Hebrew or Hindu, thanking God the while for one altar
where men of all faiths may meet without reproach and without regret.
Obviously, any other attitude
is un-Masonic, and a violation of the fundamental, far-shining principle of
Freemasonry set forth by the Grand Lodge of England in 1723, and reaffirmed in
1815; the cornerstone from which we must begin our survey if we are ever to
find the Landmarks of the Order; the forever memorable words:
"But though in ancient times,
Masons were charged in every country or nation to be of the religion of that
country, whatever it was, yet it is now thought more expedient only to oblige
them to that religion in which all men agree, leaving their particular
opinions to themselves; that is, to be good men and true, or men of honor and
honesty by whatever denominations or persuasions they may be distinguished;
whereby Masonry becomes the centre of union and the means of conciliating true
friendship among persons that must have remained at a perpetual distance."
What, then, are the Landmarks
of Masonry? Manifestly, by a Landmark we must mean, if it is to have any
meaning at all, a limit set beyond which Masonry cannot go, some boundary
within which it must labor; a line drawn as against any innovation subversive
of the spirit and purpose of the Order. So, and naturally so, the Landmarks of
Masonry are its great fundamental principles, not any usage or custom, much
less mere details of organization, save in so far as these are identical with
the spread of its spirit and the fulfillment of its purpose and mission in the
world. Since this is so, there has never been a better attempt to state the
Landmarks of the Order than that made by Findel in his "Spirit and Form of
Freemasonry," the sum and substance of which is as follows:
First, and chiefly, its
universality, and the obligation of every Mason to believe and practice that
universal religion in which all men agree and understand each other, and the
avoidance of such debates as mar its fellowship.
Second, the organization of a
secret society, a centre of fraternity, an alliance of men of good repute,
without regard to the distinctions made by the outside world, such as rank,
position, religion, nationality, race, or political party; and the right of
every initiated Mason to be admitted on a footing of friendship in all regular
Lodges--Masonry being universal, and all Masons forming a single Lodge in
which all are equal in the sight of each other.
Third, the requirement of
certain qualifications for the reception of neophytes, such as moral
independence, a sufficient degree of general education, a certain age, and
good repute; and the injunction that no external circumstances, but only moral
value and service to the Order, entitles any one to distinction or honor.
Fourth, the immutable necessity for the Lodges to teach their members to
exercise brotherly love, relief, and truth, to work for their moral
advancement and the betterment of mankind, and to keep strict discretion
towards all outsiders regarding Masonic usages, and especially the signs and
symbols of the Order.
Upon such a broad basis as
this the Masons of all the world may unite in mutual recognition and goodwill
for the advancement of the Order, and that is what our European brethren ask
us to do. How can we refuse to listen to their appeal, the more so when all
that they ask is that we return to the original platform as laid by the Grand
Lodge of England from which we derive. No one has stated their plea with more
point and force, or in a better spirit, than William Conrad, in his paper
setting forth the aims of the International Bureau for Masonic Relations:
"We do not ask our American
brethren to relinquish their opinions or their Landmarks; all that we wish
them to do is to recognize us as good Freemasons, faithful to the traditions
laid down by the Grand Lodge of London in the year 1717. We desire them to
enter into fraternal relations with us, to inquire, in a benevolent spirit,
into our History, our leading principles, our activity and our deeds, and to
convince themselves that we have the same right to be acknowledged as good and
true Freemasons, as they claim for themselves."
BY BROTHER R. BALDWIN, P.
PROV. G. W.
GRAND LODGE OF NEW ZEALAND)
[This brief Quarterly Address
deals so admirably with a matter so important that it is here reproduced, lest
in our zeal for numbers we forget what should always be kept in mind; and
thereby bring injury to the Order. A better statement of it could hardly be
WORSHIPFUL BRETHREN AND
BRETHREN-- The subject which I have chosen for the brief address this evening
is that important question of "Soliciting." I am well aware that brethren of
high rank are of the opinion that a distinction should be drawn between
soliciting and suggestion. This I have no doubt is drawn from reading a small
work written by Brother J.S. Lawrence, and distributed by the Provincial Grand
Master to the Secretaries of Lodges in the Provincial District of Canterbury,
in which the writer states as follows:
"A candidate states at the
outset that he has not been subject to the improper solicitation of his
friends. Now, it is a well-worn dictum, frequently quoted even by those who
are not of us, that no man must be asked to become a Mason. This is a counsel
of perfection. The reference to improper solicitation certainly infers a
solicitation that is not improper. A solicitation that puts pressure on an
unwilling man; that suggested the extension of a business connection; that
represented the Order as a benefit society, or as a convivial club, would
obviously be improper and need not be referred to.
"But, is it wrong for some
experienced brother to suggest to a friend, who is in every way eligible, that
his admission to the Order might open up for him an increased or even a new
sphere of usefulness; that the avenues of knowledge would be increased; that
the friendship he already enjoyed with many Masons would be infinitely more
enjoyable, strengthened by the Masonic tie? The applicant has talked of the
Order with his Masonic friends, and with whom originated the conversation that
has led to the application it is not worth while enquiring. Moreover, might
not a distinction be drawn between a solicitation and a suggestion?"
Personally, I consider it
dangerous to suggest, because a brother is experienced, that he should be
allowed to suggest or solicit his friends to become members of the Order.
Some time ago a well known
and expert brother wrote a leaflet which was printed and distributed by the
United Board of Enquiry, and in some cases read in Lodges in this district, in
which he states: "The desire for membership should in every case emanate from
the candidate and never by suggestion from a Mason. The candidate is called
upon to declare that he has not been influenced by solicitation. It therefore
behooves us to be extremely careful that no man shall ever be placed in the
position of having to give a false answer to the first question put to him in
a Masonic Lodge." Another well-known writer says: "Freemasonry requires that
every applicant should seek the Craft voluntarily, entirely of his own will
and accord." Therefore, if there is one tenet of Freemasonry that is known
alike by the initiated and the profane, it is that of opposition to soliciting
for members. No one should be solicited to become a Freemason. This is a part
of the great unwritten law that must not be. Free will and voluntary action on
the part of the applicant for the degrees is absolutely necessary. Were this
not so the very application itself would bear on its face a falsehood, and the
signature thereto would attest a lie. This is as it should be. The object is
so pre-eminently a factor in Freemasonry; so much is Freemasonry concerned
with the personality; its responsibilities are so individualized, that,
although as a whole it is an organization in which the parts are bound
together by the most solemn and impressive ties, the work it does is
accomplished more through the personal factors of energy and character than
combined effort. The unsolicited applicant is taught through signs and
symbols, and voluntarily obligates himself to do or not to do certain things.
All this concerns him
personally. As he profits by the teachings he becomes a character builder. If
he becomes really a Freemason, and not merely a member of the fraternity (for,
mark you, there is a vast difference between the two), it is his individuality
that works for good. As he lets his light shine, so does he reflect credit
upon the institution.
The one absorbs what the
other teaches. Then the taught in turn becomes the teacher. Advancement in
Freemasonry should be along the same lines as those which led to the
acceptance of the applicant.
"What!" do you exclaim.
"Should the Freemason become a solicitor for honours ?" Not at all. He came to
Freemasonry unsolicited, and Freemasonry received him; he solicited,
Freemasonry investigated and, accepting, taught him to become a Freemason. As
Freemasonry does not solicit, neither should he as a Freemason solicit, for
Freemasonry is but the aggregation of Freemasons. But does Freemasonry never
solicit? Yes; Freemasonry solicits of her votaries that they shall be good men
and true, and conform their lives upon the moral principles symbolized by the
plumb, the level, and the square. She asks that they apportion their time as
she has taught them, by the gauge. She solicits that they shall spread the
cement of brotherly love, and, with the Great Light in Freemasonry as their
guide, build such a spiritual temple as shall make them worthy of all honour.
Once a Freemason, soliciting
should forever cease, as no Freemason should solicit a profane, neither should
he solicit preferment and honours. By living such a life as would make him
worthy of these he will be solicited.
Freemasonry delights to
honour her worthy ones. She solicits their services and honours worthy perform
GIVE ME YOUR HAND.
"Brother, if your Christ be
the Atoning Lamb,
The Only-Begotten of the
Great I Am;
The Rock of Ages cleft for
And you say my Christ would
Follow your Christ--but give
me your hand.
Brother, if my Christ be the
The possibility of the race
The lowly Man of Galilee,
And I say, your Christ would
not help me,
Leave me my Christ--but give
me your hand."
--John White Chadwick.
LIGHT SHINETH IN DARKNESS.
"The Past is the Fate of the
Is the realm that no change
Is the Lawgiver of the
The Source of its joys and
The dead years are diadem's
Whom the years that come
And yesterday is as remote
As the stars are far away."
ATTENTION, MEMBERS N.M.R.S.
For your own information,
read carefully the inside back cover of this issue. It contains data which
will clear up some misunderstandings which appear to be general, in spite of
our efforts to the contrary
"Believe after observation
and analysis, when it agrees with reason
and conducive to the gain and
good of one and all, then accept it
and live up to it. When pure
rules of conduct are observed, then
there is true religion."
-- The Imitation of Buddha
WASHINGTON, the Mason,
renouncing a crown to be the Father of a great Republic, is one of the sublime
figures of human history. Thackeray was not wrong in saying that it was one of
the supreme feats of mortal greatness, as heroic as it was prophetic. The
revolution which gave birth to this nation was the work of the people, but
their leader so incarnated its spirit, its struggle, its purpose that it
almost seems to have been the work of one man. Had Washington fallen in
battle, or been captured by his foes, so far as human insight can see the
fight of our fathers would have failed.
Alas ! that a man so noble, so heroic, so humanly
lovable should have faded, as he seems well nigh to have done, into a mere
statue in the Hall of History. Yet so it is. Today we look at his picture and
see a great face indeed, but it is more like the Sphinx than a man, from which
almost every flush of life has vanished. Parson Weems with his little hatchet
did his pious part to turn a hero into a prig, and the Stuart portrait ironed
every human wrinkle out of his face. As a result, we see a man of giant
strength who carried the burden of a nation, Atlas-like, upon the shoulders,
half hidden from those who owe him the homage belonging to the mighty spirits
of the race.
There are those who say that Washington was not a genius. It is
true that no separate faculty, or federation of faculties, stood out in him in
such splendor as amazes us in Alexander or dazzles us in Napoleon. Th'e
quality of his genius, like that of Alfred, was moral, and his greatness lay
in the symmetry of useful, reliable, unpyrotechnic powers. There was in him a
moral magnificence more rare and precious than the radiant gifts of other men.
Frederick the Great said that the Trenton campaign was the most brilliant of
the century, and it was the century of himself and Marlborough. If Washington
was not a genius, he was
something better - a brave,
true, strong man who picked his way amid the intrigues of friends and the
treachery of foes, and led a people to victory, peace, and honor; bringing
forth "on this continent a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to
the proposition that all men are created equal."
The people did not trust Jefferson, much as they
admired him; Hamilton did not trust the people. Had it not been for
Washington, who towered above all parties, our republic would have fallen
between two partisan stools. He alone out-topped Hamilton and Jefferson,
having a greatness unlike either, and which cornmanded the homage of all. Such
a man the times demanded, and such a man in the providence of God was given to
his country and his race. It behooves us to keep the image and spirit of
Washington alive in our hearts, and tell his story, with all its vivid human
color, to our children, and to those who knock at our gates. True patriotism
may sometimes despair of republican institutions, but fear is folly so long as
our soil can grow men who, like Washington, are proof to place and gold and
show a manhood neither bought nor sold.
Washington came up from Virginia, Lincoln came down from
Illinois. They came with one faith, one spotless honor, one high,
disinterested patriotism, each to do the work set for him to do. They were
maligned, villified, and defamed, but they revealed the same dignity,
patience, and courage. As we see them now on the distant slopes of fame, they
seem akin, and we make a high profession of ideals when we pay them tribute.
Neither could have done the work of the other. Each was a man sent from God in
an hour of great need. Divided at time, as in temperament, they stand together
in the grateful and venerative memory of a l:tepublic which they founded and
defended. They were providential personalities, and this nation, united and
free, is at once their monument and their
Alas, it seems that Mexico, so long a cock-pit of
anarchy, may yet inject an ugly element into our political life. Stories of
indignities visited upon clergy and religious of the Latin Church by the
followers of Villa and Zapata multiply. They are driving out the priests and
monks and nuns, and even killing them, it is said. Naturally the men of that
faith among us are deeply stirred, and rightly so, as every civilized mortal
Unfortunately, in their indignation not a few
Church papers have laid it all at the door of Masonry in Washington and
Mexico. Nonsense ! The fact is that the Church has been in politics in Mexico
on. the side of Huerta and the landlords and the exploiters of the peons, arid
is punished for its politics, not for its religion. Even Father Phelan, in the
"Western Watchman," admits as much in discussing the subject. If the Church
has been with the landlords, the scientificos, and against the people, as
Villa says it has, it must expect to have short shrift from the
For the root of all the trouble in that unhappy
country is not religion, but the land - taking the land away from the people
and giving it to a few - and there will be no peace until the disinherited
masses come into their own again. The revolution for the right to live upon
the land will not end till the land is won. No doubt there is some
exaggeration in the reports of iniquities and atrocities. For all that, the
actual facts are horrible enough, and no one likes to read of dealings with
monks and nuns after the manner of Carrier and les Noyades in the French
Revolution. It is infernal.
Object lessons could not be plainer, and if we are
wise, instead of fanning a feud among ourselves, we shall have regard to the
real facts and causes of anarchy in Mexico, and avoid importing into our
public life the sinister spirit which has wrought so much ill at our doors.
Living as we are in a world of strife, when the whole world seems to have gone
mad, it becomes us to keep our heads clear, our hearts kind, and our hands
ready to help. The injection of a religious issue into our politics is
un-American. It is un-Masonic. It will evoke passions profoundly unreligious.
Let us have done with it.
"Say now Shibboleth; and he said, Sibboleth; for
he could not frame to pronounce it aright," (Judges 12:6); and for his failure
he paid with his life. Another instance in which a word-test was proposed
occurred in the great massacre of the French on Easter Monday, 1282, known as
the Sicilian Vespers. Then the words were "ceci" and "ciceri," and again he
whose tongue slipped was put to death.
After all, life is largely a matter of the right
accent. In the last resort a man is judged, not by his deeds or words, but by
his emphasis upon the right syllable, and an imitated accent always betrays
itself in a crisis. The note of reality is the finest music that breaks upon
the human ear. There is a melody in it which all the trills of Tetrazzini
cannot accomplish. The real Mason does far more than keep the commandments and
nourish "a fugitive and cloistered virtue." His daily life speaks with the
accent of reality and the authority of righteousness, and men know him by the
tone of his character.
Remarkable beyond all expectations, both at home
and abroad, has been the response of the Craft to the spirit, purposes, and
aims of the National Masonic Research Society. At the present rate, the
Society promises to have twenty thousand members, if not more, at the close of
the first year of its history. Even before the first issue of the journal
appeared it had well nigh one-fourth of that number, making it the largest
body of organized Masonic students in the world. These facts tell us two
things, at least: first, that there was a deep need and desire for such a
movement; and second, that the spirit and plan of the Society appeal to the
Craft as not only worthy, but wise and workable. Such a response makes one
proud of the Order, and it opens a field of opportunity, alike for
good-fellowship and mutual instruction, to which no one may set a limit.
From all over the Union have come letters bearing
assurances of the most hearty and enthusiastic cooperation, and they are still
coming from men of every rite and jurisdiction. While from abroad, men like
Gould, Thorp, Crawley, Revenscroft, Waite and others have sent words of
congratulation and goodwill - and, it may be added, they have been most
gracious in accepting the invitation of ye editor to contribute to these
pages, as subsequent issues will reveal. Once more we invite free and frank
discussion of issues raised, or policies proposed, as well as suggestions for
the strengthening of the Society and the improvement of its journal. If ye
editor goes awry in his facts or conclusions, he begs to be set right, and
will listen with an open mind to what his brethren have to say.
If in this issue of The Builder we strike the
patriotic note, making plea for a world-outlook and aspiration, it is because
events now transpiring must have deepened the gratitude of every American for
this Republic as established by the wisdom of our fathers, every year making
us more aware of its mission of leadership in the direction of world-liberty
and worldpeace, and its high service to humanity. Also, it may serve to show
that this Society is concerned, not only with the history of Masonry in the
past, but also with its present influence and future development - most of
all, and always, for the application of the spirit of Masonry to the life of
man, individual, social, and national.
'Tis not by guilt the onward
Of truth and right, O Lord, we stay;
'Tis by our follies that so long
We hold the earth from heaven away.
These clumsy feet, still in the mire,
Go crushing blossoms without end;
These hard, well-meaning hands we thrust
Among the heart strings of a friend.
Our faults no tenderness should ask,
The chastening stripes must cleanse them all;
But for our blunders - oh, in shame
Before the eyes of heaven we fall.
Earth bears no balsam for mistakes;
Men crown the knave, and scourge the tool
That did his will, but Thou, O Lord,
Be merciful to me, a fool !
- Edward Rowland Sill.
A FRIEND OT TWO
"Well, if God saved me alone
of the seven,
Telling me you must be
damned, or you,
'This,' I would say, 'This is
hell, not heaven!
Give me the fire and a friend
or two!' "
- Alfred Noyes.
Tales from the Mermaid
"Blend of mirth and sadness,
smiles and tears;
Quaint knight-errant of the
Homely hero, born of star and
Peasant-prince - a
masterpiece of God."
BY WILLIAM F. KUHN, P.G.H.P.
The Royal Arch stands as the
rainbow of promise in the Ritual; it stands as the promise of the
resurrection; of that which was lost and that it shall be recovered. The
question arises as to whether the Master's Word was originally communicated in
the Third Degree? On this point there is some diversity of opinion. In our
present Ritual of the Third Degree the Master's Word is lost. Dr. Oliver, a
noted Masonic historian, says: "The True Word was never lost but transferred
to the Royal Arch," and in corroboration of this statement further says: "I
have before me an old French engraving of the Ground Work of the Master's
Lodge, dated in 1740, containing the usual emblems and on the coffin is the
'True Word' in Roman capitals." This would tend to prove that before the
legend of Hiram Abiff was introduced into the Master's Degree, the True Word
was communicated in the Master's Degree and not a Substitute Word. It
necessarily followed that when the legend of Hiram became a part of the Ritual
of this degree, the "loss" of the "Word" followed, as the "loss" is a part of
the Hiramic legend. But the "loss" without a "recovery" would be an absurdity;
to complete the symbolism of Freemasonry, the "Word" must be recovered, hence
the necessity for a Fourth Degree, the Royal Arch.
In 1738, or earlier, the
story of the loss of the Word and the new legend, the Royal Arch, were
gradually introduced into the lodges, and when the division occurred, (1751)
dividing the Freemasonry of England into the "Moderns" and "Ancients," the
latter organized a Grand Lodge and adopted a Ritual of Four Degrees, the
fourth being the Royal Arch.
The Grand Lodge of "Moderns"
evidently continued to use the old Ritual, without the legend of Hiram Abiff,
while the Grand Lodge of "Ancients" used the new Ritual containing the Hiramic
legend and the Fourth Degree, until the year 1813, when the two Grand Lodges
united and formed the present Grand Lodge of England, known as the United
Grand Lodge of England. It is therefore to the Grand Lodge of Ancients that we
owe the Master's degree as found in our Ritual and also the preservation of
the Royal Arch Degree. One of the Articles of union of the two Grand Lodges of
England in 1813 was the retention of the degrees as formulated by the Grand
Lodge of "Ancients;" hence, among the articles of agreement of this union, we
find the only declaration made anywhere or at any time as to what constitutes
"Ancient Craft Masonry." This article declares that "Ancient Craft Masonry
shall consist of the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellowcraft and Master
Mason, together with the Holy Royal Arch."
We see, therefore, that the
Royal Arch is merely the evolution of a truth contained in the early Third
Degree. It is not a "Higher Degree," but the last volume of the series in a
sublime story revealed through symbolism. The Master's Degree without the
Royal Arch is a story half told, a song unsung and a promise unfulfilled. The
candidate is promised that he should receive, but is put off with a
"Substitute." He is left in darkness, in doubt, and to the thoughtful one in a
condition of disappointment. Yet, there is a purpose behind this seeming
deception. Light and revealed Truth come only through toil and willing
service. This lesson must be learned before any Mason is qualified to know and
appreciate the Truth, The Master's Word. It is, possibly, unfortunate that the
Royal Arch Degree was separated from the "Blue Degrees;" but whether fortunate
or unfortunate, the Royal Arch stands as the last of the degrees in Ancient
Craft Masonry. It is the summit and no Master Mason is in possession of all
that Freemasonry teaches without the Royal Arch. The series of four degrees
continued to be conferred under a lodge charter until about 1750, in America
at least. The earliest history that we have of the Royal Arch in this country
was in 1758, when it was conferred under a lodge charter in Philadelphia. It
was introduced into New York about the same time by an English military lodge,
in Massachusetts in 1869, where it was conferred by St. Andrew's Lodge.
Since that time the Royal
Arch Degree has remained secure in its superior place. "The term Royal Arch
Lodge was succeeded by Chapter and Royal Arch Chapter. The word Chapter was
used in Connecticut as early as Sept. 5, 1783; in Pennsylvania, Sept. 5, 1789,
in New York, April 29, 1791; in Massachusetts, December 19, 1794. The word
Chapter took the place of Lodge in England, for the first time, April 29,
1768. The word Companion, used in the Chapter in place of Brother, was first
used in England in 1778. These terms, Chapter and Companion, were soon carried
to America where they flourish as elements in the Capitular system of
Such, in brief, is the
history of the Royal Arch Degree; its parentage is as legitimate as any of the
degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry; it sprang from the introduction of
Speculative Freemasonry into Operative Masonry--the fruit of symbolism and
allegory. To be a Master Mason is the highest and most honorable degree that
any man can attain; it entitles him to all the rights and privileges of the
Craft; all the accumulated so-called higher degrees do not add anything to his
Masonic stature. The Royal Arch is a part of the Master's degree--the summit
of its excellency. It is the privilege and should be the duty of Master Mason
to complete the Masonic story, told in allegory and revealed in symbolism by
receiving the Royal Arch.
Would you be enrolled as one
living in that future generation that shall discover IT? Act now.
The Mark Master Degree.
The degrees of the Chapter
are: Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent Master and Royal Arch. The
origin of the Mark Degree is veiled in obscurity, like all Masonic degrees,
but, like the others, it sprang into existence in the earlier period of
It was customary for the
operative Masons to select for themselves a Mark, to be placed upon every
piece of work wrought by them. This was done in order to keep a check on each
operative's work by the Overseers, and to facilitate the payment of wages.
Each Mark was distinctive and the same Mark frequently descended from father
to son through several generations.
These Marks may be seen today
on the stones in the old cathedrals of Europe. Fac-simile copies are
reproduced in all Masonic histories. In Scotland, the operative Mason was
required to register his Mark by the Shaw's Statutes issued in 1598. From this
requirement of registration of the Mark, the Degree was evidently evolved.
The earliest record of the
Mark Degree being conferred in Scotland bears the date of January 7, 1778. Yet
this does not prove that the degree was not conferred at a much earlier date.
These records also contain the information that the Mark Degree could not be
conferred upon any one not having received the degree of Fellowcraft and
Master. A report made to the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of England
states: "There is probably no degree in Freemasonry that can lay claim to
greater antiquity than those of Mark Man or Mark Mason and Mark Master Mason."
The degree was conferred in
Nova Scotia in 1784; in Connecticut in 1791; in New York in 1791 and in Boston
in 1793. Like the Royal Arch, the Mark Degree was originally conferred in the
Lodge. In the United States, the General Grand Chapter, R.A.M., issued Mark
Lodge Charters up to 1853, when it was prohibited and the degree passed under
Chapter control. In England the degree is under the control of the Grand Lodge
of Mark Masons; in Canada and in Scotland the control is vested as in the
The lessons of the degree are
intensely practical, emphasizing the great requirement in life, viz.:
Qualification and service.
The Degree of Past Master.
The general use of the term,
Past Master, by the Craft, means one who has been elected, installed and
served for twelve months over a regular Lodge. The general use of the term
does not imply a separate degree, although in many lodges and formerly in
Missouri, the honorary grade of Past Master is conferred upon Masters elect as
a part of the ceremony of installation. This grade or degree was or is
conferred only in the presence of Past Masters. The degree is the second in
the series of the Chapter; hence arose the terms, Actual Past Master and
Virtual Past Master, the latter meaning one who had received the degree in a
Chapter but who had not been elected or served as Master over a Lodge. A
Virtual Past Master is not entitled to recognition by the Grand Lodge as a
The degree is an old one. We
find the expression of Past Master used in 1771 and implied as one who "having
passed the Chair through some ceremony." The Constitution of the Grand Lodge
of England, 1723, speaks of the installed Master passing through certain
"significant ceremonies." There can be no doubt as to the antiquity of the
degree. It dates from the birth of speculative Freemasonry. The introduction
of the degree into Capitular Masonry rests on the fact that, originally, the
Royal Arch was conferred only on those who had been elected and presided over
a Lodge as Master, but it was manifestly unjust to a large portion of the
brethren to have such a restriction placed upon them and the Royal Arch; the
following law of 1789 illustrates this fact: "No brother can be exalted until
he has been at least three years a Master Mason and has presided six months as
Master of some regular warranted Lodge or has passed the Chair of
Dispensation." This law shows the old restriction and the modification that
was assuming shape, permitting others than actual Past Masters to receive the
Royal Arch. An old law found in Harmony Lodge, No. 52, Philadelphia, 1799,
states: "That every brother who has not passed the Chair shall pay fourteen
dollars, out of which the Dispensation shall be paid for; if he has passed the
Chair for being exalted, eight dollars."
That is, an actual Past
Master could receive the Royal Arch Degree for eight dollars, but one who has
not received the Past Master's Degree must obtain a Dispensation from the
Grand Master to receive it before he could be made a Royal Arch Mason and it
cost fourteen dollars.
When the Royal Arch Degree
passed from under the control of the Lodge and became a separate system, known
as the Chapter, the prerequisite to the Royal Arch remained, viz.: The Past
Master's Degree. The Virtual Past Master Degree became a part of the Chapter
series. The reason for this prerequisite becomes apparent when the Lessons of
this much abused, but beautiful, degree are studied and understood. The lesson
of obedience to authority is proof against anarchy, and he who would teach
must first learn to obey.
Most Excellent Master Degree.
A lie well told and repeated
constantly becomes a truth to credulous people. This applies to the oft
repeated statement that Thomas Smith Webb fabricated the American system of
Capitular Degrees and the Orders of the Commandery of Knights Templar. Any man
having an ounce of brains, and will use that ounce, will find that the degrees
of the Chapter and the orders of the Commandery were in existence and
conferred nearly fifty years before Webb was born. The Most Excellent is
frequently credited to his fertile brain, and so stated by some Masonic
writers, but fortunately there is on record in Massachusetts and New York the
date of Webb's birth and the dates on which he received all the Masonic
Degrees. The dates go to show that the Most Excellent was known and conferred
before Webb became a Royal Arch Mason.
The latter half of the
eighteenth century was prolific in Masonic Degrees in France and England. The
degrees of all Rites can date their birth from 1723 to 1760, and in the maze
of names and titles of degrees we find a veritable jungle. In this period we
find the Irish System embraced The Chair, The Excellent, The Super Excellent,
The Royal Arch, The Knight Templar and the Prince Rose Croix. The Scottish
System embraced: The Mark Master, The Past Master, The Excellent Master and
the Royal Arch. St. Andrew's Chapter, Boston, worked the Irish System, except
The Chair, from 1769 to 1797. After 1799 the Mark, Past, Most Excellent and
Royal Arch were conferred. A prominent Masonic writer says of the change:
"This transition indicates and suggests that the Super Excellent Degree
contained the marrow and something of the bone of the Most Excellent Degree."
From 1791 the Most Excellent
was a well known degree and a part of the Capitular system. The Super
Excellent of this period must not be taken for the Super Excellent appendant
to the Council of Royal and Select Masters of today. The Most Excellent Degree
is a fitting prelude to the Royal Arch, one of the most impressive degrees in
its ceremonies and sublimely spiritual in its symbolism.
What of the Hour?
What of the hour in
Freemasonry? Brighter, stronger, clearer. We often become discouraged and are
inclined to be pessimistic; but amid all the errors and stumbling, a better
day is dawning, when we shall see the beneficent labors of Freemasonry
shinning in effulgent splendor. Freemasonry is growing in power and
beneficence. As its immortal principles take root in the fallow soil of the
human heart and mind, it buds and blossoms into the foliage of kindness and
the Hesperidean fruit of charity toward all mankind. While the Masonic tramp
may be seen on the beautiful highway of Freemasonry, there are many more today
than ever, who are toiling in mind and heart in the treasure strewn mines of
Freemasonry today means more
than negative plaudits and negative principles; but she stand preeminently as
a living, growing, resistless power, whose end and aim is the exaltation of
man and the glory of "The I Am That I Am." Our ancient brethren journeyed from
Babylon to Jerusalem--out of bondage into freedom--with one strong purpose in
view. What was the desire so pre-eminent in their hearts? What was the
foundation of the zeal that actuated them to undergo the trials and hardships
of that weary journey? Let them speak: "To aid in the noble and glorious work
of rebuilding our City and Temple of the Lord." It was Work, Work, Work. Not
idleness and ease.
"IN A NOOK WITH A BOOK"
HERE is a big little book - thin in form but fat
with thought - worth its weight in gold; of a beautiful clarity of style, not
unlike Henri Bergson himself, of incandescent brilliancy; such a book as one
seldom finds amidst the ruck of print these days, "Science and Religion," by
C. J. Keyser. (Yale University Press) There are places in it where the writer
reminds you of the "forlorn splendor" of Plato, as he soars out into that
circumscribing Circle which bounds all the infinitude of squares and triangles
that science - or Masonry - can construct within that Circle. And it is
there, in the realm where the Square fails forever to equal in content the
Circle this thinker places Religion. That is to say, science pursues the
finite until it is lost in the infinite, and reason goes so far and then
senses the ungraspable of which it cannot hold the thread.
Keyser asserts, nay, he demonstrates, the
Overworld. No doubt it is all pure Plato, but its restatement is modern, and
the charm of it lies in the way of approach from the known to the unknown, but
immanent - and, if we had eyes, the imminent. Truly, it is a golden chain he
weaves, and he threads jewels of prose at frequent intervals, the while he
shows us how much poetry lies hidden in mathematics. There plays over and
through the words of this little book just the subtlety of large suggestion
which makes the argument of the author so convincing, and his conclusion so
triumphant, that "aspiration is not mocked."
* * *
There is a class of books - many of them today,
owing to the revival of mysticism now going on - which vex the soul of ye
scribe almost beyond words. Not that he is an enemy of mysticism, far from it;
nor yet because he is a materialist, but because, since he must live here amid
these "short days of sun and frost," he would fain keep his feet upon the
earth., So far from being a mere rationalist, he holds by the wise lines of
dear old Cullen Bryant:
"I would not always reason;
the straight path
Wearies me with its never
And we grow melancholy. I
Make Reason my guide, but she should sometimes sit
Patiently by the wayside, while I traced
The mazes of the pleasant wilderness
Around me. She should be my counsellor,
But not my tyrant; for the spirit needs
Impulses from a deeper source than hers;
And there are motions in the soul of man
That she must look upon with awe."
Exactly; and because there is that in life which
inspires awe, we should not seek to invade it with our analysis, lest we be
found dancing where angels dare not tread. In short, if we go in quest of the
white presences on the hills, we ought to leave our kodak at home.
"Does God think?" asked a Persian pupil, greatly
daring, of the wise Master at whose feet he sat.
"Man thinks because he does not know; God knows,
and so he does not think," was the reply.
Being only human - very human, alas - ye scribe
must needs put on his thinking cap betimes, and he believes that the Greeks
were wise when they advised us to "think as mortals." What he finds amiss in
such a book as "The True Mystic," by H. E. Sampson, (Rider and Con, London)
which is only one of many of its kind, is that it knows so many things that,
so far as evidence is concerned, are not so.
Reading the first chapter, one feels that, after
all, the mysticism advocated by the author lies at least tolerably near to our
common life; but in the very next chapter it careers right away to lost
continents, buried temples, and the seventh heaven. We read of Asceticism,
Akstasis, Initiation, Intuition, and the like - every other word in such books
begins with a capital letter - as the various stages along the Mystic Way,
which in this instance had better been called the Milky Way.
At first there seems to be a kind of appreciable
understandable nucleus, and then a fringe which fades away into remoteness,
impalpability, and what to an ordinary mortal appears to be but fine filigree
of wordspinning. For we are made to witness an initiation in the "Seven
Planetary Temples of Initiation," where we see the earth as it was in the
beginning, "beautiful with a beauty in contrast with which the present beauty
of nature is as a bad dream ;" and we are also shown etherradiant substance,
and self-luminous globes, and opalhued essences, transcendent glory of
immortal vegetation, deo-morphic men, Adamic Mediators of Divine Magneticism,
and so on.
Well, all this may be true enough - ye scribe does
not gainsay its much less ridicule it, though it does read like news from
nowhere - but he thinks that it is not so much Mysticism as mystification; and
that the author ought to give heed to certain danger signals hung out for our
behoof, lest we lose all touch with the actual. But what we find it hard to
endure - and this is the way of such books - is the habit the author has of
calling attention to the importance of the revelation he is about to make,
exciting our curiosity to the last pitch, and then proceeding to utter
something perfectly clear and obvious - so commonplace, in fact, that Noah
must have known it in the Ark. Even that would not be so bad, if he did not
thereupon go on to lament that he has probably been talking over our heads!
Howbeit, if we have noticed this book less for
itself than as a specimen of a species, it is but fair to add that there is
much more in it than that which is bound to sound to ordinary ears wildly
fantastic. If the reader will discriminate, keep his wits, and not be put oif
by strange forms of speech, he will find much to interest and instruct.
Happily, the secret of life is much nearer and simpler than this volume would
lead us to imagine; much more human and therefore more divine.
* * *
How refreshing to come down from those misty
mid-regions to the chapter on The Mystics in so lucid and well-written a book
as "Freemasonry Before the Grand Lodges," by Brother Lionel Vibert, (Spencer &
Co., London.) Here we are on the earth where it is good to be, while the
author sifts out the facts from huge tomes of Masonic lore - chiefly the
Transactions of the Lodge Quatuor Coronati - and gives us the net result in
compact and readable form. We think he is in error in not regarding the altar
emblem unearthed at Pompeii as Masonic; but no matter, he gives the gist of
what is known about the Collegia and the Gilds, the legendary history of the
Order and its oldest documents, the operative Masons and allied associations,
and the growth of our symbols and ritual prior to the Grand Lodge of England.
Still, the total impression of this book is to the
effect that Masonry came into being by spontaneous combustion, so to speak;
for the author has almost more to say-about where it did not come from than
where it had its origin and how. Too little is made of the Comacine Masters,
and we hardly think the thesis of Brother Revenscroft is fairly dealt with -
whereof he will soon speak for himself in these pages. However, the chapter on
the Mystics is excellent, albeit not always correct, as we see the facts. The
book is most timely and instructive, simply and clearly written, and it will
be of great aid to those who are beginning the study of Masonry.
* * *
From a different point of view, and in quite a
different manner, "Symbolic Teaching, or Masonry and its Message," by Dr. T.
M. Stewart, (Stewart & Kidd Co., Cincinnati) is very well worth while. Made
up, as it is, of essays and articles published at various times in Masonic
journals, the volume has the advantages and defects of collections of the
kind. Some repetition was inevitable in a number of papers dealing with the
same general theme, and brought together from different times and occasions.
One of the best essays in the book is that entitled, "A Portion of the Field
of Masonic Study," offering, as it does, a practical plan for one evening a
month devoted to research and discussion by each lodge. Most interesting, too,
is the account given of the Cincinnati Masonic Study School, founded in 1910,
its by-laws being identical with those of the Fargo, South Dakota, Masonic
Study School, organized two years earlier. Indeed, the enthusiasm of this book
in behalf of Masonic Research is so infectious, so eager and insistent withal,
that it will be a wholesome rebuke to such as have imagined that there is
little to know about Masonry, and that little hardly worth studying.
Dr. Stewart holds, and rightly so, that Masonry
has a great history - far greater than Masons realize - and a profound
philosophy, and that the ritual is largely a riddle unless we know how it came
to be, what lies hidden within it, and what depths it reveals to those who
have eyes to see. Of the opportunities open to Masonic research, not only for
instruction, but for strengthening the Order and deepening its influence, the
author writes with the ardor of one who believes that Masonry has a message
for mankind and a work to do in the world - never more needed than today.
* * *
For the rest, if any Brother wishes to read the
greatest modern novel - incomparably the greatest novel written in the
twentieth century - let him make haste to read "Jean Christophe," by Romain
Rolland. Here is a book not for a day, or an hour, but for all time. It is not
concerned with the trivial and transitory; it is made up of the immortal stuff
of human souls. It is steeped in life from the first page to the last; life in
all its phases, its glory, its infamy, its grandeur, its tragedy, and its
farce. Not only is it the best and most wonderful psychological study of
genius ever written, but it is a mirror held up to our age, reflecting all the
tendencies of thought, all the problems of art and ethics that torment us.
Hear these words from the preface:
"I have written the tragedy of a generation which
is about to pass away. I have in no wise tried to conceal its vices or its
virtues, its heavy sadness or its chaotic pride, its heroic efforts and its
deep dejection under the crushing burden of a superhuman task. The whole
world, the reconstruction of the world's morality, its esthetic principles,
its faith, the forging of a new humanity - that was our work.
Men of today, young men, it is your turn now.
March over us, trample us under your feet, and press forward. Be greater, be
happier than we. As for myself, I say good-bye to my past soul. I throw it
behind me like an empty shell. Life is a series of deaths and resurrections.
Let us die, Christophe, to be born again."
Genius is a rare wonder, and happy the age that
can count one, or at most, two of them. And Rolland is a great genius. He sees
life in the large. He has no grievance against the universe. He wears the star
of no cult on his breast; no clique or party owns him. He has no ism to air,
no fad to flaunt, no plaster wherewith to cure the world. He stands for
humanity; the whole of it, not a faction - the little as well as the great,
sorrow as well as joy, sin as well as virtue, laughter and tears, light and
shadow, ever struggling, falling, rising, unconquered to the end. Sell your
bed and buy this book, and you will make a bargain.
* * *
BUILDERS: A Story and Study of Masonry.(*)
By Joseph Fort Newton.
(This little book, written at the request of the
Grand Lodge - of Iowa, was approved and adopted by that Grand Body, June 10th,
1914, the intention being that a copy of it should be presented to each
candidate upon whom the degree of Master Mason is conferred in the Grand
Jurisdiction of Iowa. Several Lodges in other jurisdictions have already
adopted it for a like purpose, and are so using it. Instead of being an
innovation, this is in fact a return to the oldest custom and practice of the
Order - the Old Charges being a brief history of the Craft read or recited to
the candidate in the days of Craft-masonry.)
GEORGE E. FRAZER,
Grand President, The Acacia
"The Builders" is the book that I sought for
shortly after my initiation into Freemasonry, and was unable to find it. It is
the book that I shall give to my friends at the time of their initiation.
"The Builders" is a carefully prepared history of
symbolic lodges from the earliest times, with special reference to the history
of modern Freemasonry since the organization of the grand lodges in England.
The chapters covering the history of the craft are followed by chapters on the
philosophy of Masonry, and the book is ended with a chapter on the Spirit of
Masonry that is, in itself, an essay of very high literary standards.
The author has undertaken a very great service in
the preparation of his chapters on the development of symbolic and ritualistic
organizations among the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. These chapters
give abundant evidence of the careful work of the scholar, but the historical
presentation is unusually free from technical references. The fundamental
doctrines of the ancient philosophies are presented in a graceful essay style,
easily readable and understandable by men who have not given their time or
attention to the study of philosophic works.
The story of Freemasonry throughout the mediaeval
period, and especially the treatment of the orders of operative Masons,
constitutes a real contribution to Masonic thought. The author is also to be
congratulated on his candor in discussing the formal organization of Masonry
under grand lodges in England, and the extension of Masonry. He has dared to
tell the truth, but he has told it in a manner that adds rather than detracts
from the dignity of our beloved organization.
Here is a book on Masonry that is in itself a
contribution to Freemasonry. I know of no book that is comparable to it. It
has been written at the invitation of the Grand Lodge of Iowa for the
information of young Masons. There are few Masons in the world who cannot read
the book with great profit, and who will not find in it information that they
have long desired to know.
The author states that it has been his intention
to stimulate thought and to invite further research. This his book will
unquestionably do. The reader finds himself reluctantly finishing each
chapter. It is to be hoped that the author may find time and opportunity to
prepare a similar work covering capitular Masonry and Knights Templar.
* Published by The Torch
Press, Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Price $1.25 delivered. Lodges in Iowa receive
presentation copies at 76 cents each. Lodges outside the Grand Jurisdiction of
Iowa may receive it at $1.00 each, in lots of more than twenty-five.