The Builder Magazine
October 1915 - Volume I - Number
BY THE EDITOR
LOOK now on this picture and on that, portraying
from varying angles, both from within and without, a House of Light at the
Sign of the Square and Compasses! Graceful, substantial, modest, home-like, it
is the Home of the National Masonic Research Society; as simple as it is
elegant, as useful as it is beautiful, a temple and a work-shop; at once a
centre and a symbol of that for which it stands - and as you study it consider
what it means as a fact and as a prophecy. Open to all members of the Society,
it is here that a company of fellow-workers are wont to forgather betimes to
hold councils of peace, to lay plans for the building of The Builder, and to
devise ways and means for spreading of the kindly light of Masonry among men.
Every movement passes through three stages on its
way to usefulness and permanence. First, it is a dream in the minds of a few
men who, seeing a great need in the form of opportunity, and wishing to do a
little good while yet it is day, ere the night cometh when no man can work,
set about to meet that need. Then follows a period of planning, of experiment
and the tentative trial of methods, of adventure in quest of a point of
contact with the problem, of alternate victory and defeat. Finally, the vision
slowly takes tangible shape, the dream begins to come true, not in all its
original radiance, perhaps, but in its essential meaning and purpose; and the
faith of the workers is justified by a new opportunity for service. It has
been so with our Research Society. Beginning in a sincere desire to serve the
great order of Freemasonry, it had its period of adventure and experiment, but
it is now entering the stage of permanent establishment, having not only a
name, but a habitation befitting its spirit and purpose.
Now, take thought for a moment. Here, for the
first time in the story of American Masonry, is a temple devoted exclusively
to the cause of Masonic culture in all its Rites, in all its aspects of
historical research, philosophical interpretation, spiritual power, and
practical endeavor. Surely, if there be any virtue in Masonry, any power in
its high and tender spirit, any worth in its teachings, or any promise for the
good of humanity in its benign activities, every Mason must feel his heart
beat faster when he looks upon this House of Friendship and thinks of its
significance. It is unique. It is prophetic. It is practical. Built amid the
wreck and tragedy of world-war, it stands as a protest against those Ruffian
forces which, if they have their way, will rob us of the hard-won inheritance
of the ages; and a prophecy of that day when the gentle Spirit of Masonry will
be victorious to the confounding of all uncleanness, all unkindness. In the
winter of the world it foretells the advent of a springtime of Brotherly Love;
in the darkness it bespeaks the dawn of a better day.
Let there be credit where credit is so richly due.
Despite his protest we deem it but iust to state the simple fact that our
House of Light, so beautiful in its appointments, was erected by the
munificence of our Secretary, whose enthusiasm for the advancement of
Freemasonry is only equaled by his practical capacity in working out his
designs. Ye editor and the Board of Stewards aided after a fashion, but
without his faith, his personality, his executive acumen and indomitable
industry, neither this Society nor its Home would ever have had an existence.
Believing that Masonry has in it hitherto unguessed powers for the enrichment
and refinement of men, which if awakened and made effective would make it a
greater instrumentality in behalf of righteousness, intelligence and goodwill,
he has invested his time, money and energy without stint, asking no dividends
save the increase of Freedom, Friendship and Fraternity among men. Such faith
in Masonry has evoked the faith of Masons everywhere, as witness ten thousand
loyal members of this Society, who will do their part to add ten thousand more
to that number.
Uniting beauty with utility, our House of Light is
built of cement and steel, fire-proof throughout, to protect the records of
the Society and the treasures which will increase with the years. Both in
arrangement and equipment it is fitted for effective service, containing a
reception hall entered by three distinct knocks; a library prepared for
special research - not forgetting a noble temple organ of myriad keys and
melodies; offices, work-rooms, vaults, storage-space, all furnished from attic
to basement - the oldest emblems of the Order visible on every side, equally
in design and decorations. In the work-room one finds every kind of device to
facilitate labor: telephones connecting the different departments;
Dictaphones, addressographs, mailometer, folding machines; a Lodge map of the
United States and Canada; filing cases rapidly filling up with data concerning
Masonic buildings, plans for Study-clubs, lists of Masonic students and their
special fields of research - with a fine printing plant a block or so away.
The House looks like a home, surrounded by a sloping sward of clover and
shrubbery, but it is as busy as a Bee-hive, housing a working force of
thirteen people which, with ye editor added, makes the number as lucky as it
If we have dwelt thus briefly on the several
apartments of a House made with hands, it is because we believe that every
member of this Society will be proud of its new Home, as they have a right to
be. Also, it will help the Brethren to fix in their minds, once for all, that
this Society is no longer an experiment, but an established Institution, to be
reckoned among the permanent assets of American Masonry, and equipped to work
out the designs outlined on its Trestle-board at the beginning. Founded under
the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, endorsed, unqualifiedly, by the Grand
Lodge of Indiana, with a Home and equipment adequate to its activity, and
having no other purpose than to promote the interests of Masonry without
regard to rite or jurisdiction, we believe that this Society will appeal to
Masons as worthy of their labor and loyalty. No one can deny that the Society
has been making good and making better since the day it was founded, and if
its members will bestir themselves, as we now most earnestly urge them to do,
its membership can be doubled within the next few months.
As announced elsewhere editorially, with this
issue The Builder is permanently enlarged to thirty-two pages, as we
originally promised to do when the Society had twenty thousand members. The
Masons of America having met us half way, we propose to go the other half,
despite the added expense incurred, if only to show our faith in an enterprise
which we believe will mean so much for the future of Masonry in this country.
Not only as a challenge to our Brethren, but for a number of reasons, we feel
safe in making this venture:
First, we believe that the response deserves it.
Surely it is remarkable that, within less than a year, a movement as novel in
its design as it was comprehensive in its scope should have won the allegiance
of ten thousand Masons; and we can never forget that more than four thousand
of them came before ever a single issue of The Builder had been printed. Such
loyalty and enthusiasm deserve to be rewarded, and we desire to do everything
within our power to be worthy of such confidence and encouragement.
Second, the pressure upon our pages demands it.
Equally remarkable has been the response of the Craft in the way of
contributions of the very highest quality, many of which have been delayed for
months for lack of space. Therefore, in order to give our members a better
balanced journal, to add new departments and special features, thereby adding
to its interest and value, we feel the necessity for more space.
Third, the Correspondence feature has developed to
such proportions, and has shown itself to be so interesting and profitable -
being a kind of free-for-all forum where many matters are discussed
informally, if sometimes saucily - and is so altogether worth while that we
have not had the heart to abridge it; and yet without increased space other
features would suffer unless we did so. The letters that reach us are full of
fruitful suggestion, and withal are so brotherly in their spirit and tone, as
if we were sitting about the great fire-place in the House of Friendship, that
we cannot help enlarging the circle by passing them on to the Craft.
Fourth, for lack of space ye editor is far behind
in answering the many interesting questions sent to him from all sides and on
all subjects, requiring him to answer by correspondence, lest he keep his
Brethren waiting too long; and this means an extra labor for one who has as
much to do as any man dare undertake. The Brethren have been very patient, but
we wish them to have such answers as we can give more promptly, so far as lies
within our power.
Fifth, a number of special articles now in
preparation, at our request, to be accompanied by many illustrations, will
require more space than we have now at our command. As it is, members of this
Society receive more reading matter, and of the best sort - if we may judge
from their letters of appreciation - than is offered anywhere else in the
Masonic world for a like fee.
Sixth, the constantly increasing demand for
building suggestions must be met, and until recently we have had to do this by
correspondence. Here, also, illustrations are essential to a clear
understanding of plans, a single floor-plan being worth more than a page of
print, and we must have more space to exhibit the results of the experience of
the Craft to best advantage.
Seventh, with the December issue the first volume
of The Builder will close, and that issue will carry a complete index, making
all the material so far published instantly available for reference and use.
Those coming into the Society before that time will receive all back numbers
for binding, as long as they last, and will have their files complete from the
beginning. It will not be possible to estimate the probable number of members
at the end of another year, and so we cannot guarantee to furnish all the back
numbers for 1916.
For all these reasons, to name but a few, while
enlarging The Builder we urge the Brethren to pull with us, and all pull
together, to reach the twenty thousand mark in our membership by the first of
the year or soon thereafter. We have shown our faith, we have tried to do our
part, we want to serve the great ideals and purposes of Masonry, and we
believe our Brethren will do their part to place this Society on such a basis
that its influence will be doubled and its labors be made more effective and
rewarding for the sublime end for which it toils. There are various schools of
Masonic thought, and they do not always see eye to eye, but a frank and
fraternal discussion in the House of Light at the sign of the Square and
Compasses will reveal that they are all aiming at the same exalted Ideal, and
that each has something to teach the other.
In Unity there is strength, in Love there is undo
standing, and in the sweet air of Faith, Freedom a Friendship we shall the
better pursue that Research Magnificent whereby a man finds God, and lives the
Eternal Life in the midst of Time.
Here, my Brethren, is our first and chief concern,
to which everything else is secondary, and valuable only in so far as it
conduces to that culture of the soul that refinement of personality, that
building of heroic and pure character without which life loses its rhythm, its
radiance, its reason for being and its hope of going on. Let us give ourselves
to this first task, and the last, unresting and unhurrying, that so our days
may be strung on a golden thread of high purpose, and deal be only a soft,
ineffable homeward sigh. To this end we consecrate our House of Light,
repeating the ancient prayer of the man of God in the olden time, whose words
are as fresh as the morning dew:
"Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us:
and establish Thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands
establish Thou it."
Guard thou this Apron even as
High Badge it is of an
Which, from the dawn of dim
Has struggled upward in a
quest of light;-
Light that is found in
reverence of Self,
Unselfish Brother-love, and
love of God.
This light now on thine Apron
Let ne'er a shadow intercept
Thine eyes late saw the Sun
burst from the East,
Marking the Morn of thy
Calling thee forth to labor
with thy peers,
Gird then thy lambskin on;
nor fail to find
In it a thought of brooks and
sweet clean fields,
Haunts of this lamb through
many a sunny hour.
Find in it, too, a nobler
thought of Him
The Light ineffable, that
Lamb of God,
Immaculate, unstained by
shame or sin,
Who, dying, left ensample to
Who would build lives in
purity and truth.
In Wisdom plan thy Apprentice
Thy time with care, thy
moments spend as though
Each day were lifelong, life
but as a day.
In purity of heart and sheer
Use thou the gavel on each
Divesting thought of aught
perchance might stain,
Or scar, or tear this badge
of shining white.
At Midday in the Craft's high
Gird round thy life these
bands of loyal blue,
Uniting with thee all to thee
Strong in a deepening
knowledge, bend thy skill
To leveling false pride in
To squaring thy foundations
with the truth,
To setting each new stone in
When in the West the Evening
turns to gold
And beautifies what Strength
and Wisdom reared,
Pause not, but search thy trestle-board, God's
And ply with solemn joy thy master tools,
Earth's many cementing into heaven's one.
Full soon an unseen Hand shall gently stay
Thine arm; and on thine Apron, scutcheon bright,
Shall rest the Allseeing Eye, adjudging there
The blazoned record of thy workmanship.
Anon, thy Sun goes out and brothers lay,
With thee, thine Apron in the breast of earth,
Among the forgetful archives of the dust.
* * *
Wear worthily this thy
While still thy body toils to
build thy soul
A mansion bright, beyond the
gates of death,
No edifice that crumbles back
But a glorious house eternal
in the skies.
These, now, be Mason's wages;
when from his hands
Forever fall the working
tools of life,
Arising, to ascend to loftier
From out the lowly quarries
to be called
To labor in the City of the
Glad in the light of one long
To serve anew the Celestial
And Sovereign Master of the
* * *
Thy portion, Brother, may it
be to hear
These welcome words, when the
great Judge shall scan
Thy work, "Well done! Thou
good and faithful servant,
Enter thou into the joy of
- J. Hubert Scott, Coe
College, Cedar Rapids.
CHARLES MARTEL LEGEND IN FREEMASONRY
BY BRO. O.D. STREET, ALABAMA
AS is well known to students
of Masonic history, (though not to all Masons by any means), there is in
existence a class of MSS. known as the "Old Charges" of Freemasons, but which
would more appropriately be termed "Legendary Histories of the Craft of
Masonry." The known copies of these number about eighty and are to be found in
the possession of Lodges, individuals, libraries and museums. Until a
comparatively recent date they were unpublished, but now nearly all are
obtainable in printed form. The earliest of them, the "Halliwell" or "Regius"
MS., dates from about 1390 A.D.; the next oldest, the "Cooke," from about 1450
A.D.; while the others originated at irregular intervals extending down well
into the last century. The extreme value of these documents in relation to the
Craft is universally recognized.
One of the oldest traditions
of Freemasonry recorded in these MSS. histories, is that which connects with
the fraternity Charles Martel, who, at the battle of Tours, in A. D. 732,
turned back the tide of Saracenic invasion of Europe. In its earliest form it
"And thus was that woorthy
Crafte of Massonrey Confirmed in the Countrey of Jerusalem And in many other
Kyngdomes. "Curious Craftes men walked aboute full wyde in Dyu's Countries
soome to Learne more Crafte and conning and some to teache them that had but
litle conning and so yt befell that their was on' Curious Masson that height
Naymus grecus that had byn at the making of Sollomon's Temple and he came into
ffrance and there he taught the Science of Massonrey to men of ffraunce And
there was one of the Regall lyne of ffraunce that height Charles Martell And
he was A man that Loved well suche A Crafte and Drewe to this Naymus grecus
and Learned of him the Crafte And to vppon him the Chardges and ye mann's. And
afterward by the grace of god he was elect to be Kyng of ffraunce. And when he
was in his Estate he tooke Massons and did help to make men Massons yt weare
none and sett them A woorke and gave them bothe the Chargs and mann's and good
paye that he had learned of other Massons And confirmed them A Charter from
yere to yeare to holde their assembly wheare they woulde, And churrishe them
right much And thus came the Crafte into ffraunce." (1)
More than seventy later
versions of the "Old Charges" repeat the story in much the same language.
Three, the Cooke, the William Watson, and the Henery Heade MSS., (one older
and two later than the Grand Lodge No. 1), denominate this legendary patron of
the Craft "Carolus Secundus." Not one mentions Charlemagne and yet in recent
years the attempt has been made, with some success, to substitute Charlemagne
for both Charles Martel and "Carolus Secundus" in this legend. The leading
advocate of this theory is Bro. Edmund H. Dring, the distinguished head of
Quaritch's famous book store in London, who in two papers read before the
Quatuor Coronati Lodge, for which he is enargued powerfully in favor of this
Since the publication of
these papers in 1905 and 1906, Bro. Dring- -and others--have apparently
assumed on occasion that he had indubitably proved his contention. Not only
does no copy of the "Old Charges" connect Charlemagne with Freemasonry, but no
other Masonic document or publication of early date does so. A result so
surprising should certainly have something very tangible to support it. I, for
one, do not think that Bro. Dring has by any means proved his contention. I do
not think he has produced a single fragment of evidencc to sustain it. His
argument throughout is, in my judgment, essentially fallacious. It rests
entirely on two assumptions of which therc is not the slightest proof.
He accounts for the
introduction of the name Charles Martel into our written legends by supposing
(not proving) two historical blunders, (1) that the author of the Cooke MS.,
misconstruing a passage in Matthew Paris' Chronica Majora, wrote "Carolus
Secundus" where he should have written Charlemagne, and (2) that a later
editor or copyist of the MS., "seeing a discrepancy and not being able to
reconcile it with his own knowledge of history, boldly altered the word 'Secundus'
to Martel." This involves several other suppositions, that the Cooke MS. is
the original of all others, a thing by no means agreed among Masonic scholars;
that the author or compiler of the Cooke was familiar with Paris' work, of
which there is no proof; that he committed an absurd mistake and that a later
editor or copyist made a still more absurd correction.
Bro. Dring skillfully
prepares the way for this kind of argument by citing other instances of
similar alterations, not to say forgeries. By interesting facsimiles of
portions of old documents he shows how easily an honest mistake of this sort
might be made. That such things have been done through inadvertence and by
design is not denied. Considerations like these force us to admit the
possibility of Bro. Dring's theory, but are mere possibilities to outweigh the
positive statements of documents of respectable age, to say the least,
although it is not yet known precisely what degree of credit these documents
are entitled to? That an error has been made in one case or in many cases, or
that forgeries are committed does not prove or have any legitimate tendency to
prove either in a court or in the domain of history that a particular case is
an error or a forgery. While it shows the possibility and hence prepares the
way for less evidence to produce conviction than would otherwise be requisite,
it does not dispense with the necessity of producing some evidence of a
character having a legitimate and direct tendency to prove that in fact there
was an error or a forgery.
Because the Cooke MS.,
(supposed to date from about A. D. 1150), says "Carolus Secundus," Bro. Dring
holds it as entitled to more weight than the numerous later MSS. which have it
"Charles Martel," and as therefore proving that Charles Martel could not have
been the person referred to. If we knew (as Bro. Dring seems to assume) that
all later versions of the "Old Charges" were derived from the Cooke, this
would be a logical conclusion. But we do not know this; Masonic scholars are
by no means agreed that this is a fact. On the contrary, it is just as likely
that some, if not all, of our later versions are derived from a MS. or MSS. as
old or older than the Cooke. But having used the Cooke MSS. to discredit the
Charles Martel theory, Bro. Dring with strange inconsistency immediately
proceeds to argue that the Cooke in saying "Carolus Secundus" is itself in
error. In fact, it was pointed out at the time by the Worshipful Master of the
Lodge before which Bro. Dring's theory was advanced that a remarkable feature
of his argument was that "Charles the Second was not Charles the Second, that
Charles Martel was not Charles Martel, that Naimus was not Naimus, and Grecus
The fact is the genealogies
or origins of these MSS. have not been traced, if in truth they ever can be.
But until this is done, it is folly to talk of their respective probative
values. Bro. Robert F. Gould devised a classification by which he thought this
might be determined, but a no less distinguished authority--Bro. William J.
Hughan--in a letter to the writer, pronounces Bro. Gould's scheme as "not
workable" and "useless for practical purposes." In such a state, we can do no
better than to regard the general concensus of the evidences afforded by these
documents. The fact stands out that three of them say "Carolus Secundus," more
than seventy say "Charles Martel," not one says "Charlemagne." It is to say
the least a remarkable result when from the MSS. themselves the conclusion is
deduced that Charlemagne is meant. If such an error as Bro. Dring supposes
could produce such an abundant crop of "Martels," is it not remarkable, yea
incredible, that not a single example of the correct reading has been
Another line of argument
advanced by Bro. Dring is to show that Charlemagne was a patron of
architecture and building. I do not question that he was as much so as Charles
Martel; doubtless he was more so. But it could be shown that many monarchs,
both before and after Charlemagne, were likewise patrons of this art. That all
of them were such is no proof that Charles Martel was not.
When Brother Dring first
propounded his theory of the identity of the "Carolus Secundus" and "Charles
Martel" of our MSS. with Charlemagne so eminent authority as Bro. W. Begemann,
of Germany, promptly and powerfully dissented, (3) insisting that the evidence
was stronger that the personage meant was the Emperor Charles II, surnamed the
Bald, who was certainly one of the earliest Royal patrons of architecture and
building in Germany. (4)
Summarizing, we learn from
about sixty copies of the "Old Charges" accessible to us that Charles Martel
(or Secundus (5)) was of the regular, (6) regal, (7) or royal (8) line of
France; or that he was of the King's blood royal, (9) or of the King's
lineage, (10) or that he was a worthy King, (11) (or merely a King (12)) of
France, or that he was a worthy Knight, (13) or simply that he was a man in
(14) or of (15) France. At the same time we are assured that he was no
Frenchman. (16) We learn also that he was a Mason before he was King; (17)
that he loved well the Craft, (18) learned it of Naymus Grecus, (19) took
uhimself the charges and manners (20) of Masons, became one of the Fraternity;
(21) that afterwards he was elected King of France but whether by the Grace
(22) or Providence (23) of God, or by lineage, (24) or by fortune only seems
to have been a disputed question. (25) It was even denied that he was of the
After he became king he
cherished the Masons, confirmed them a charter to hold their assemblies from
year to year, set them to work on great works, and ordained for them good pay.
Thus we see that the Charles
referred to was one of whose royal blood there was question but who was
nevertheless in fact of the regal line of France; that he was elected King of
France, but that there was dispute whether his election was due to his royal
blood or to the fortune he had achieved for himself; finally that he was no
This accurately describes
Charles Martel, certainly as much so as it does Charlemagne. Charles Martel
was the illegitimate son of Pepin d'Heristal, Duke of Austrasia and Mayor of
the Palace of the King of France, and was upon the death of his father
excluded from any share in the government and thrown into prison. The
Austrasians, however, despising the rule of a woman and a child, to whom Pepin
had left the governrnent, revolted; Charles made his escape, was elected Duke
of the Austrasians and soon made himself master of Neustria also.
We have here narrated just
such a condition of affairs as would beget the doubt and uncertainty which
seem to have troubled our Masonic chroniclers.
On the other hand,
Charlemagne's title to his kingdom partly by descent from his father Pepin,
the Short, A. D. 768, and partly by death of his brother Karloman, A. D. 771,
was never doubted, and while Charlemagne too was born out of wedlock, he was
fully recognized and legitimated by the subsequent marriage of his mother and
father. There was never the least question as to his ancestry or as to his
being of the royal family.
The objection made by Bro.
Dring to the Charles Martel theory (26) that he was not in fact of the royal
or regal line of France is more specious than sound. It is true that neither
he nor his father was ever formally crowned king, but his son, Pepin the
Short, father of Charlemagne, was. It is true that Charles Martel never
assumed the title of King; during his entire reign his official title
continued to be "Mayor of the Palace." The nominal kings of the French had,
however, at this period long ceased to be king in fact; they are known to us
as the "puppet kings," to the French as "les rois faineants" (the lazy kings).
The real ruler had long been the Mayor of the Palace, an official who began as
a sort of confidential servant, or, as we might now say, Private Secretary to
the great old Clovis, but who ended with usurping all the kingly authority and
finally in deposing the king and confining him in a monastery. This shadowy
line of royalty came to an end with the death of Thierry IV in A. D. 737;
Charles neglected to place another on the throne and from then until his own
death in 741, though retaining the old title of Mayor of the Palace, Charles
Martel wielded an authority which even in theory was unshared with any other.
The transparent fiction of governing in the name of a king who had no
existence should certainly deceive no one of this day; doubtless most of his
own generation recognized in him the real king. In the annals of the year A.
D. 717 it is written "Carolus regnare coepit." So very obvious is this that at
least two recent encyclopaedic works of high authority denominate him "King of
the Franks." (27)
I do not mean to imply that
these works are technically accurate in denominating him "King"; but admitting
that the encyclopedic writers in question are uncritical, I ask might not the
same facts that lead uncritical writers of the XXth Century to call Martel
"King of the Franks" have led the same class of writers, (such as the
compilers of our "Old Charges" undoubtedly were), to do the same thing, say,
in the Xth, or XIth, or XIIth, or XVIth Century? The mere fact that the
personage (whoever he be) that is referred to in our manuscripts, is called
"King of the Franks" does not prove that Martel is not that personage, because
forsooth while practically, he was never technically their king.
In a very real sense Charles
Martel was of the "Regal" or "Royal" line of France, though his illegitimacy
and apparent repudiation by his father would naturally give rise to the charge
by the adherents of his stepmother and nephew, (to whom Pepin had left the
Kingdom), that he was not of the royal blood at all, thus rationally
accounting for just such discrepancies all contradictions as we find in our
Accrediting Charles Martel
with doings of Charlemagne is quite unlikely for two reasons, it is a tendency
of the human mind to ascribe an act (1) to a later rather than an earlier hero
and (2) to the more noted rather than the less noted individual. In every age
since his day, Charlemagne has been a better known personage than Charles
Martel. We should, therefore, rather expect deeds of Charles Martel to be
attributed to Charlemagne than the converse. And are not those who advocate
Bro. Dring's theory doing this very thing ?
It has never been
satisfactorily shown, so far as I am aware, whence or how Charles acquired his
cognomen of Martel (the hammer). Our legends say hc was a Mason before he was
King, a thing which, owing to his early precarious fortunes, was far more
likely with him than with Charlemagne. As a Mason he would, of course, wield
the hammer; when he was become king some reminiscence of his old Craft would
naturally cling to him; history affords many such instances. The idea that his
name was given him because he beat the Saracens so unmercifully, as with a
hammer, sounds quite apocryphal; more likely it was but a new application of a
name by which he had been previously known.
Charles Martel was first a
man of or in France, though not a Frenchman; he was elected King of the
French, if not by a regular show of hands, by the silent suffrage of his
people; his elevation he achieved by his own fortune, powerfully aided, no
doubt, by the fact that he was a son (though only natural) of Pepin d'Heristal;
hence, of the lineage of the real king; so that it may then have well been, as
it is now, a matter of doubt which contributed the more to his success. These
well authenticated historical facts fulfill every requirement of our MS.
traditions, except that Charles Martel was a Mason before he was king. But on
this point history is not so silent in his case as in that of Charlemagne. On
the other hand, his name, Martel, lends, as we have seen, some corroboration,
which is wholly lacking in the name of Charlemagne. While it must be confessed
that the evidence outside of our MSS. is meager, yet what there is and all
that there is tends to support the Martel theory.
Nor is there anything
inherently improbable in it; it is a mistake to suppose that architecture was
unknown during and before Charles Martel's day. Omitting all consideration of
the classic architecture of Greece and Rome, for nearly two centuries prior to
his birth, the Magistri Comacini, the famous brotherhood or guild of Masons,
having their center at Como, in Northern Italy, (and hence not remote from
France) had under the patronage of the Lombard Kings (and even before their
time) been engaged in the erection of splendid churches and palaces, remains
of which exhibit a high degree of skill. Evidences are not wanting of the very
early introduction of Comacine architecture into France. Bro. Gould says that
at the present day splendid ruins dating long before the invasion of the
barbarians still testify to the opulence of the French people. History vol. 1,
Having by the battle of Tours
in A. D. 732, freed Europe from the threatened inundation of the Saracens and
thus become the recognized defender of Christianity against the Infidel,
nothing is more natural than that Charles Martel should have evidenced his
piety and gratitude by the erection of churches. It was a common custom from
the days of the earliest Christian kings thus to give expression to their
religious enthusiasm and it should excite no surprise if Charles Martel
followed their example. All the probabilities are on the side of the
conclusion that he, like so many of his predecessors and successors, was a
church builder. Indeed, it need cause no wonder if Martel, as our MSS.
declare, himself became a member of and practiced the Craft, an example which
finds imitation in Peter the Great becoming a ship-wright.
If, as therefore appears
probable, Charles Martel was either a member or a patron of the Craft of
Masonry, he might reasonably be expected to grant them privileges not
conferred upon the other crafts generally. Our MSS. say that he did; likewise
in France, according to Boileau's Code of the usages and customs of the
Masons, the Stone Masons, the Plasterers, and the Mortarers, compiled about A.
D. 1260, "All Stone Masons are free of watch duty since the time of Charles
Martel, as the wardens have heard tell from father to son." Commenting upon
this, Bro. Gould, in his History of Freemasonry (vol. I, p. 200) says "The
Prud'hommes (wardens) inform Boileau that it has been traditional from father
to son that they (stone masons) have been exempt ever since the time of
Charles Martel. We thus see that as early as the thirteenth century, a
tradition was current in France that Charles Martel had conferred special
favors upon the stonemasons, and that this tradition was sufficiently well
established to ensure very valuable privileges to the craftsmen claiming under
it. With but one (28) exception, all the Old Charges of British Freemasons
also pointedly allude to the same distinguished soldier as a great patron and
protector of Masonry." This "community of tradition," as Bro. Gould calls it,
"which pervaded the minds of the medieval Masons in Gaul and Britain," and
which is one of the greatest obstacles in the way of the Charlemagne theory,
Bro. Dring does not so much as allude to, much less attempt to reconcile. It
is thus indisputably proved that the Charles Martel tradition was thoroughly
established in France certainly a hundred and fifty years before the Cooke MS.
had any existence and hence before its author could have made his supposed
mistake, and a much longer period before Bro. Dring's supposed editor or
copyist could have made his supposed correction, or mis-correction, if the
term may be allowed. By Bro. Dring's rule that, when a document does not
accord with one's theory, one has only to suppose that its author or editor
had mistakenly or deliberately made it read differently from the way it should
read, anything can be either proved or disproved. If two documents stand in
the way, it is only necessary to suppose that the writer of one had the other
before him, and thus any number of authorities may be gotten rid of. In this
manner, Bro. Dring has brushed aside more than seventy documents.
The name of Charles Martel
first appears in our known MSS. in Grand Lodge No. 1, of A. D. 1583, or as we
have seen, more than three hundred years after a similar tradition concerning
him was current among the French Stonemasons. Those who would overthrow this
concensus of Masonic tradition both in France and England and would dethrone
Charles Martel from the proud position he occupies in our legendary history
and put in his place the greater Charles, must produce evidence more
convincing than any yet brought forward. Until stronger evidence is adduced,
Charles Martel is quite good enough a hero for us.
(1) Quoted from the Grand
Lodge MS. No. 1 of the "old charges." This MS. bears date A.D. 1583 and is
printed in Hughan's "Old Charges" (1872), p. 41, Sadler's "Masonic Facts and
Fictions" (1887), p. 199; Quatuor Coronati Antigrapha, Vol.
(2) A.Q.C. vol. XVIII, p.
179; Ib. vol. XIX, p. 45.
(3) A.Q.C. vol. XIX, p. 55.
(4) Bryce Holy Roman Empire;
A.Q.C. vol. III, p. 166.
(5) Cooke, William Watson,
Henery Heade MSS. The Stanley MS. says he was named "Charles" simply.
(6) Cama MS. Levander-York
MS. says "regulator of France."
(7) Grand Lodge No. 1,
Phillipps No. 1, Phillipps No. 2, Bain, Dowland, Col. Clerke, Wood, Melrose,
York No. 6, Dumfries-Kilwinning No. 1, Dumfries-Kilwinning No. 4 MSS.,
Papworth MS. says a "regalion of France." John T. Thorp MS. says "reall Lyne
of France." The Stanley MS. says "of Regalme in ffrance."
Lansdowne, Antiquity, York No. 1, York No. 2, York No. 4, York No. 5, Harris
No. 2, Probity, Hope, Alnwick, Wren, Waistell, John Strachan, New Castle
College, Scarborough MSS. Dumfries-Kilwinning No. 3 calls him "a prince of the
Royal line of France."
(9) Cooke, William Watson,
Henery Heade, Carmick MSS.
(10) Acheson-Haven, Thos. W.
(11) Cooke, Henery Heade MSS.
(12) Grand Lodge No. 2,
Harleian No. 1942, Rawlinson, John Macnab MSS.
(13) William Watson MS.
(14) Buchanon, H. F. Beaumont
(15) Phillips No. 3, Sloane
No. 3848; Sloane No. 3323 "men." Lechmere Briscoe MSS.
(16) Dumfries-Kiiwinning No.
(17) Cooke, William Watson,
Dumfries-Kilwinning No. 3, Henery Heade MSS.
(18) Grand Lodge No. 1, Col.
Clerke, Edinburgh-Kilwinning, Probity, Phillips No. 1, Dumfries-Kilwinning No.
1 and No. 3, New Castle College, Phillips No. 2, Cama, Carmick, Bain,
Lansdowne, H. F. Beaumont, Antiquity, Thos. W. Tew, York No. 1 York No. 2,
York No. 5, Wood, Melrose No. 2, Harris No. 2, Alnwick, Wren, John T. Thorp,
John Strachan, Scarborough, Grand Lodge No. 2, Harleian No. 1942, John Macnab,
Buchanan, Acheson-Haven, York No. 6, Papworth, Phillipps No. 3, Dowland,
Levander-York, Sloane No. 3848, Sloane No. 3323, Harleian No. 2054, Lechmere,
Briscoe MSS. Stanley MS. "he says loved well such advice."
(19) Grand Lodge No. 1,
Edinburgh-Kilwinning, Phillips No. 1, Thos. W. Tew, Phillipps No. 2, Cama,
Carmick. Bain, York No. 1, York No. 2, York No. 5, Stanley, Wood, Alnwick,
John T. Thorp, H. F. Beaumont, John Strachan, Col. Clerke, Scarborough, Grand
Lodge No. 2, Harleian No. 1942, Rawlinson, John Macnab, Dumfries-Kilwinning
No. 1 and No. 3, Lechmere, Briscoe, Sloane No. 3323, New Castle College,
Harleian No. 2054, Levander-York, Sloane No. 3848, Buchanan Acheson-Haven,
York No. 6, Papworth, Phillipps No. 3, Dowiand MSS.
(20) Grand Lodge No. 1,
Dumfries-Kilwinning No. 1 and No. 3 Edinburgh-Kilwinning, Thos. W. Tew,
Phillipps No. 1, Phillips No. 2, Waistell, Cama, Col. Clerke, Bain, Lansdowne,
Probity, Antiquity, York No. 1, York No. 2, York No. 5, Wood, H. F. Beaumont,
Melrose No. 2, New Castle College, Harris No. 2, Hope, Alnwick, Wren, John
Strachan, John T. Thorp, Scarborough, Dumfries-Kilwinning, Buchanan, Acheson-Haven,
York No. 6, Papworth, Phillipps No. 3, Dowland, Levander-York, Sloane No.
3848, Sloane No. 3323, Harleian No. 2054, Lechmere MSS.
(21) Grand Lodge No. 2,
Harleian No. 1942, Rawlinson, John Macnab MSS.
(22) Grand Lodge No. 1,
Edinburgh-Kilwinning, Phillipps No. 1, Col. Clerke, Phillipps No. 2, Waistell,
Cama, Bain, Lansdowne, Antiquity, Thos. W. Tew, Wood, Melrose No. 2, Stanley,
Harris No. 2, Hope, Probity, Alnwick, Wren, H. F. Beaumont, AchesonHaven, York
No. 4, York No. 6, Phillipps No. 3, Dumfries-Kilwinning No. 1 and No. 3,
Dowland, Levander-York, Sloane No. 3848, Sloane No. 3323, Harleian No. 2054,
Lechmere, John T. Thorp, John Strachan, Scarborough, Cooke, William Watson,
Henery Heade, Buchanan MSS.
(23) York No. 1, York No. 2,
York No. 5, New Castle College MSS.
(24) Cooke, William Watson,
Henery Heade MSS.
(25) Cooke, William Watson,
Henery Heade MSS.
(26) A.Q.C. vol. XVIII p.
(27) Universal Encyclopaedia;
Encyclopaedia Americana; The Encyclopaedia Brittanica (11th ed.) with a nicer
discrimination denominates him a "Frankish Ruler," between which and "King of
the Franks" it must be admitted there is little difference.
(28) Cooke MS. Two others
have since been discovered, William Watson and Henery Heade MSS.
CONTINUATION OF QUESTIONS ON "THE BUILDERS"
Compiled by "The Cincinnati
Masonic Study School"
206. How should a young Mason feel toward Masonry?
Why? What will be the result? Page 8-238-252.
207. If every Mason were to more earnestly strive
to be a Mason, not merely in form, but in faith, in spirit, and still more in
character, what would be realized? Page 8.
208. What are the real foundations of Masonry both
material and moral ? Page 15-201-202.
209. What constitutes the true greatness and
majesty of Freemasonry? Page 18.
210. What is said of man from the beginning as to
his purpose of finding out hidden meanings beyond mere facts ? Page 19.
211. Of what does the value of man consist ? Page
212. What position does Masonry hold in the world
today? Page 52-53.
213. What is said of the Comacine Guild 712 A. D.
as compared with Masonic work of today ? Page 90.
214. When did the order of Freemasons decline, and
when was it revived and what resulted ? Page 90-124-186.
215. Why is it impossible to gain much knowledge
from the history of Freemasonry ? Page 96.
216. What is said of the simple eloquent emblems
of Freemasonry being older than all religions? Page 97.
217. What was the difference between Freemasons
and Guild Masons and from which is it thought Masonry of today descended? Page
218. What is said of how the Masons taught the
Monks in early Christian days? Page 114.
219. What is the chief glory of Masonry? Page
220. What was the motto of Freemasonry during the
Middle Ages? Page 121.
220a. What evidence exists as to more than one
degree during the Middle Ages ? Page 146.
221. Why did soldiers, scholars, clergymen,
lawyers, and even members of the nobility ask to be accepted as members of the
order of Freemasons through all the past ages? Page 168.
222. Relate an incident showing one way the
enemies of Freemasonry may work. Page 209.
223. Where does the real power of Freemasonry lie?
Page 212-214 Note.
223a. How did the numerous so-called "exposes" of
Masonry affect the order? Page 209-212.
224. In what years were many so-called exposures
of Freemasonry given, with what result and why was Masonry not affected by
them ? Page 212-213.
225. How does it come that the headquarters of the
Revolution and that of Paul Revere, Hancock, and others used a Masonic Hall
for their meeting place? Page 221.
226. When was an Anti-Masonic party formed in the
United States? Who was its candidate for President and what success did they
have ? Page 228.
226a. What was the status of Masonry during the
Civil War ? Page 229.
227. Why must we as Masons be ever alert and
vigilant even today in America? Page 230.
228. In what countries does Masonry exist ? Page
229. Name some soldiers, philosophers, patriots,
writers, poets, musicians, editors, ministers of religions, statesmen,
philanthropists, educators, jurists, and masters of drama who were Freemasons.
229a. What is said of the various definitions of
Freemasonry? Page 239-241.
230. What sort of a system is Freemasonry? Page
230a. What is Masonry declared to be according to
one of the "Old Charges?" Page 239.
231. Why do some people say that "Masonry is a
science" which is engaged in a search after divine truth ? Does a candidate
increase in the knowledge of truth as he progresses in the study of the
symbolic teachings? Page 240.
232. What proof have we that Masonry can do more
for mankind than to extend Friendship, Love and integrity? Page 240, 241.
233. What are the words of the German Handbook in
regard to the activity of Freemasonry? Page 241.
234. With what is Masonry linked which makes it so
strong that no weapon formed against it can prosper ? Page 242.
235. What is the mission of Freemasonry among
mankind? Page 242-244-247.
236. Why do the many schemes for the "betterment"
of mankind fail? Page 246.
237. What causes Masonry to best serve the society
and state ? Page 248.
237a. Why praise Masonry? Page 252.
238. Why is Freemasonry the greatest organization
for the preservation of Peace in the world? Page 249.
238a. What is greater than all books ? Page 252
239. What does the foundation of Masonry rest upon
? Page 260.
240. In what quest does Freemasonry invite all men
to unite, and what do Masonic thinkers proclaim ? Page 263-264.
240a. What is classed as the greatest modern book
? Page 265.
241. What does it mean to say that this mighty
soul of man is akin to the Eternal Soul of all things? Page 270.
242. Why is it Masonic to be friends of all men,
regardless of different opinions ? Why is it we can hate what a man may do but
still love the, man as a man ? Page 284.
242a. What will result if we cultivate the spirit
of Love ? Page 222.
243. At the Masonic altar how do men meet? Page
244. What does Masonry endeavor to accomplish for
man ? Page 226-289 and 289 note 295.
245. What is the Spirit of Masonry? Page 127,
179-180, 258, 283, 289-290.
246. What will become of industry, education and
religion when real Masonry exists upon earth ? Page 290.
247. What of the vision which Masonry gives to its
votaries ? Page 295-296.
248. What will Masonry do for any man who will lay
its truths to heart? Page 291-295-296.
249. When is a man a Mason ? Page 297.
250. What is the Great Masonic Secret? What is the
real Masonic Secret? Page 293, 298.
251. How many orders were there of the mysteries
as practiced at Memphis and of what did they consist ? What were the
requirements to membership? Page 47.
252. What is supposed to have been taught by the
Grecian or Eleusinian Mysteries 1800 B. C. ? Page 49.
253. Describe the various mysteries (similar to
the Egyptian) passing to other countries ? Page 48, 52.
254. What influence had the ancient mysteries upon
the ritual of the Christian Church ? Page 50.
255. How did St. Paul view the mysteries ? Why ?
256. What is said of the final condition of the
mysteries and are such things possible in other works, the church included ?
257. What is said of The Mysteries at their
highest and best? Page 51.
258. Were the Mysteries of early ages sectarian
and what is said of their Spirituality ? Page 52.
259. How do the Mysteries of today compare to
those of the early ages? Page 52.
260. Did the ancient Mysteries exist prior to any
religion ? Page 53.
261. How does Masonry stand in relation to the
ancient Mysteries? Page 53.
262. Upon what did the right to admission into the
Grecian Mysteries depend? Page 58.
263. What wish did the aspirant have who was
granted the introduction into the so-called Grecian Mysteries? Page 59.
264. When did the Mysteries accept a student and
were they always ready to accept one who knocked on the door for admission ?
265. How did the teachings of the ancient world
known as the Systems of esoteric and exoteric instruction differ from the
hints the novice received by symbols, dark sayings and dramatic ritual and why
? Page 63.
266. What mysteries ruled the Roman world by turns
? Page 82, 83.
267. What drama did the Mysteries of Isis and
Mithra teach ? Page 83.
268. Did the ancient Mysteries teach the belief of
any one sect or did they include them all ? Page 196.
269. What is the result of the contemplation of
our mortal lot ? Page 8.
270. What is said of man as a builder, both
material and spiritual? Page 6.
271. What induced man to attach moral and
spiritual meanings to the tools, laws and materials of building? Page 26.
272. What is man's last and highest thought,
relative to all his building ? Page 15.
273. What has man divined from the beginning, of
how many worlds has he ever been a citizen, and of what did he hope ? Page 19.
274. What did Mencius teach ? Pace 29
SADNESS OF ART
What we harbor most at heart
Never finds a word to hold it;
Melodies that could unfold it
Still elude our utmost art;
What we put in paint and granite
Doing so our noblest duty,
Tells the world of wondrous beauty
While we weep to see and scan it.
That is why we go despairing
In a world of love and laughter,
Heed no past and no hereafter,
Find no rest in all our faring;
That is why we are the sad;
How can hearts of ours help breaking?
Still unmade for all our making!
Naught to tell the dream we had !
- S.O. Sheel.
The Masonic tie is no mere
idle fancy. It is a real life which binds men to mankind at large, and gives
them an interest in the larger hopes for coming generations. They wage war for
- London Freemason.
ESTABLISHMENT AND EARLY DAYS OF MASONRY IN AMERICA
BY BRO. MELVIN M. JOHNSON,
G.M. OF MASONS IN MASS.
CHAPTER II--PART II
Gridley's Deputation arrived
on Aug. 21, 1755, and he was installed "Provincial Grand Master of Masons in
North America" by Henry Price on October 1. Again in this year Price was
elected Master of the Masters' Lodge in Boston. The Earl of Loudoun was Grand
Master of the Grand Lodge of England in 1736, and was present at the
celebration in Boston of the Feast of St. John the Evangelist on Jan. 31,
1757. This was a gala day, with many of the most prominent Brethren present.
Closely in touch we find England and America again, for in 1757 Brother
Franklin went to England for five years. He was able to bear testimony to the
Grand Lodge of England, for he was present at its meeting on Nov. 7, 1760. On
Sept. 10, 1767, Gridley died, and Price was recalled to the East of the Grand
Lodge on Oct. 2.
Gridley had issued a Charter
to North Carolina, date unknown, and on Dec. 30, 1767, Price appointed a
Deputy Grand Master for that Province. During this period Charters were also
granted from Boston to Lodges in Rhode Island, Jan. 18, 1757; again, March 20,
1759; Dutch Guiana, April 8, 1761; Connecticut, April 9, 1762; again, July 26,
1765, and Oct. 24, 1766; New Jersey, July 28, 1762; again, Oct. 25, 1765;
Quebec, Oct. 26, 1764; West Indies, Oct. 24, 1766; Virginia, Oct. 24, 1766;
and to Army Lodges in New York, May 13, 1756; April 13, 1759, and March 20,
1762; and in Nova Scotia, Nov. 13, 1758.
On Jan. 22, 1768, John Rowe
was nominated as Provincial Grand Master of North America and on Jan. 25,
1768, a petition was drawn up to the Grand Master of England for his
appointment. In that, we again find the customary prayer that "Whereas Masonry
in America, originated in this Place (Boston) Anno 5733, and in the Year
following our then Grand Master Price received Orders from Grand Master
Crauford to establish Masonry in all North America, in Pursuance of which the
several Lodges hereafter mentioned have received Constitutions from us; We
therefore claim due Precedency, and that in Order thereunto, Our Grand Master
Elect may in his Deputation be stiled Grand Master of all North America."
Accompanying this petition was a letter from Henry Price to the Grand Master
of England, dated at Boston, New England, Jan. 27, 1768. This holographic
letter is an important one, and I beg leave to quote it here:
"Boston, New England, Jan.
Right Worshipful Grand
Master, Deputy Grand Master, Grand Wardens and Brethren, in Grand Lodge
The Money now sent to you is
for the Constitution of four Lodges in America, which I pray may be Registered
in the Grand Lodge Books; the Money would have been paid long before, but some
unforeseen Accidents prevented, therefore, I hope the said Lodges will not be
denied their Rank among the Lodges, according to the Time of their
Constitution, notwithstanding the above Omission. For the particulars
concerning them, I must refer you to the Letter from the Grand Committee of
the Grand Lodge here, which goes by the same hand that presents this to You:
Several other Lodges have been Constituted by the Grand Lodge here, in
different parts of America, who have not yet Transmitted to us the Stated Fees
for their Constitution, but as soon as it comes to hand, it shall be remitted
to You, hoping at the same Time that they will likewise be Registered among
other Regular Constituted Lodges.
Rt. Worshipful Brothers. I
had the Honour to be appointed Provincial Grand Master of New England, by the
Rt. Honble and Rt. Worshipful Lord, Anthony Brown, Viscount Montacute, in the
Year 1733, and in the Year 1735, said Commission to me was extended over all
North America, by the Rt. Honble and Rt. Worshipful John Lindsay Earl of
Crauford, then Grand Master of Masons; but upon enquiry, I find that said
Deputations were never Registered, though I myself paid three Guineas therefor,
to Thomas Batson Esqr., then Deputy Grand Master, who with the Grand Wardens
then in being, signed my said Deputation.
"This Deputation was the
first that the Grand Lodge ever issued to any part of America, and stands so
now in all Lodges on the Continent. Other Deputations have since been given to
different Provinces, but they cannot according to Rule take Rank of mine. So,
would submit it to your Wisdom and Justice, whether said Deputations should
not be Registered in their proper Place, without any further Consideration
therefor, and the Grand Lodge here have Rank according to Date, as it has (by
Virtue of said Deputation) been the foundation of Masonry in America, and I
the Founder. Wherefore Rt. Worshipful Brethren, I beg that enquiry may be made
into the Premises, and that Things may be set right, is the earnest Request of
your much honoured, and
Affectionate Brother and very
humble Servant Henry Price.
P. S.: Rt. Worshipful. I
herewith send you an attested Copy of my said Deputation, as Registered in the
Grand Lodge Book of this Place, under the Hand of our Grand Secretary, whose
signature you may depend upon as Genuine. H. P."
(Concerning the clerical
errors in spelling Montague's name and in stating the year 1735 instead of
1734, see full explanation 1871 Massachusetts printed proceedings page 330;
and also Report of Committee, M. W. John T. Heard, Chairman, 1870
Massachusetts printed proceedings pages 238-330.
This letter was committed to
the care of Bro. William Jackson, who took it to England and presented it to
the Grand Lodge there. This is another express petition addressed to the Grand
Lodge of England directly involving the precedency of Henry Price and the
Grand Lodge founded by him in Massachusetts. The Body to which it was
addressed, the Grand Lodge of England, was the only body in the world having
authority to adjudicate this question. It was the court of last resort. It had
before it all the facts. It had the full opportunity of investigating the
facts, not only from the visits between England and America and from documents
on its own files, but also through any further information it sought to
obtain. The whole Masonic world was open to it. Many men were living who knew
of the incidents concerned. And the Grand Lodge of England then proceeded to
make a final adjudication upon the matter. A letter in reply addressed to
Henry Price by Thomas French, the Grand Secretary of England, exhibits the
carelessness in Keeping and preserving records and in the execution of details
both in England and America. It shows that Henry Price had been somewhat
neglectful in keeping up a regular correspondence, and it also shows the
carelessness with which such letters as he did send were treated in England.
The Recording Grand Secretary refers to having found an important document
among what he called "loose papers" in his possession.
The correspondence between
Price and England is to be found in 1 Mass. Printed Proceedings, 407 et seq
(See 1871 Mass. Printed Proceedings, 362 et seq.) In this correspondence Price
is expressly recognized as Grand Master of all North America, except Canada,
North Carolina and South Carolina. These very exceptions show that England
recognized his authority over Pennsylvania. The Deputation to Rowe was dated
May 12, 1768. In this is an express adjudication that Price had been
"Constituted Provincial Grand Master for North America." It was received in
Boston Sept. 30, 1768, and on Nov. 23 Rowe was installed Grand Master by Henry
Price with elaborate ceremonial.
It was on May 30, 1769, that
Gen. Joseph Warren was appointed a Provincial Grand Master for Boston and its
environs by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. That Grand Lodge claimed the right to
jurisdiction here because this was a Province, and therefore open to any Grand
Lodge. Whether or not the claim was sound is immaterial to this discussion,
because his Grand Lodge has since been merged with the Grand Lodge headed by
Henry Price and his successors. In the Massachusetts archives are to be found
the printed Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of England for Feb. 7, 1770, Feb.
6, 1771, April 26, 1771, Nov. 29, 1771, and Nov. 4, 1772. All of these bear
the original signature of Rowland Berkeley, Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge
of England, and are directed to Henry Price with titles in recognition of his
standing. For instance; The Proceedings for Feb. 6, 1771, are addressed as
"To the R. W. Henry Price,
Esqr. Provl. G. M. of Free Masons for North America at Boston, New England."
On April 30, 1773, Henry
Price presided over the Grand Lodge for the last time, and on Jan. 28, 1774,
he attended the Grand Lodge for the last time.
On March 8, 1777, the
independence of Freemasonry in America from foreign dictation was first
declared by the Massachusetts Grand Lodge.
It has been asserted that the
Grand Lodge of which Henry Price and his successors were the head suspended
operations from 1775 until 1787. This, however, is not correct, though the
official records are missing. The diary of Grand Master Rowe states that he
dined with Freemasons March 28, 1776; speaks also of "The Lodges under my
Jurisdiction with Our Proper Jewells and Clothing" and of the "handsome
Procession of the Craft" April 8, 1776; and adds that he celebrated the Feast
of St. John the Baptist in 1776 with the Brethren of the Lodges under his
direction. That diary is authentic evidence, as are diplomas now extant which
were issued during the period named; notably the diploma of Commodore Samuel
Tucker who was made a Mason in St. John's Lodge of Boston in January, 1779.
Reports were given in the newspapers of meetings of Lodges in 1780. March 23,
1780, Union Lodge of Danbury, Conn., was-chartered from Boston. St. John's
Lodge (which was formerly the First Lodge in Boston) at one time held a
Charter issued by authority of John Rowe, Grand Master, and bearing date Feb.
7, 1783. On this date the First and Second Lodges in Boston united and
subsequent records are complete. "Fleet's Pocket Almanac" published in Boston
for 1784, shows that Lodges were then active. On page 42 of this book it says
Free Mafon's Lodges.
The Records of the firft
Grand Lodge in Bofton, (Right Worfhipful John Rowe, Efq; prefent Grand Mafter)
being carried away by the Secretary, at the time the Britifh troops evacuated
the Town in 1776, a particular Lift of the feveral Lodges in North America who
received Deputations from, and are under its Jurifdiction, cannot at prefent
be obtained--They are in Number about Thirty. Thofe in Bofton are,
St. John's or 1ft Lodge, 2d
Now united in one.
Moreover, the records of Feb.
17, and March 2, 1787, contain inherent evidence of continuity and activity,
although there be an hiatus in the formal record.
The troublous times account
for the non-existence or loss of formal records. Probably no one will ever be
able to explain exactly what has become of them. The Grand Secretary of 1776
was a Tory and fled Boston never to return taking the books with him. Nothing
would be more humanly probable than that his successor for a time would have
kept the records upon loose sheets intending to transcribe them in the regular
books when returned. The writer personally knows of
two cases recently where
Grand Secretaries have died leaving years of records upon loose sheets only
except as some had been printed therefrom without being written into the
official record books. So while we have not found the formal record, yet we
have found, as indicated, unshakable evidence that the Fraternity was active
and the authority of the Grand Lodge was being exercised during this period
between 1775 and 1787, and has therefore been continuous from 1733 to date.
(Concluded next month)
MASON'S HOLY HOUSE
We have a holy house to
A temple splendid and divine,
To be with glorious memories
Of right and truth, to be the
How shall we build it, strong
This holy house of praise and
Firm set and solid, grandly
How shall we all its rooms
For use, for ornament, for
Our God hath given the wood
And we must fashion them
Like those who toiled on
Making the labor their
This house, this place, this
This temple with a holy dome,
Must be in all proportions
That heavenly messengers may
To dwell with those who meet
Build squarely up the stately
The two symbolic columns
But let the lofty courts and
With all their golden glories
There in the Kadosh-Kadoshim,
Between the broad-winged
Where the shekinah once
The heart shall raise its
Of gratitude and love to God.
Mayhap it stretches very far,
Mayhap it winds from star to
Mayhap through worlds as yet
Its never-ending journey
Through worlds that now are
Of formless mists between the
I go - beyond my widest ken -
But shall not pass this way
So, as I go and can not stay,
And never more shall pass
I hope to sow the way with
Whose seed shall bloom like
And flood my onward path with
That thrill the day like
That other travelers
May find a gleam and not a
May find their path in
A trail of music and of
- Sam Walter Foss.
Gather us in, Thou Love that
fillest all !
Gather our rival faiths
within Thy fold !
Rend each man's temple veil
and bid it fall,
That they may know that Thou
hast been of old;
Gather us in!
Gather us in! we worship only
In varied names we stretch a
In diverse forms a common
soul we see;
In many ships we see one
Gather us in!
Each sees one color of Thy
Each looks upon one tint and
calls it heaven;
Thou art the fullness of our
We are not perfect till we
find the seven;
Gather us in!
Thine is the mystic light
great India craves,
Thine is the Parsee's
Thine is the Buddhist's rest
from tossing waves,
Thine is the empire of vast
Gather us in!
Thine is the Roman's strength
without his pride,
Thine is the Greek's glad
world without its graves,
Thine is Judea's law with
The truth that centers and
the grace that saves;
Gather us in!
Some seek a Father in the
Some ask a human image to
Some crave a spirit vast as
life and love:
Within Thy mansions we have
all and more:
Gather us in!
- George Matheson.
Not for one single day
Can I discern my way,
But this I surely know -
Who gives the day
Will show the way
So I securely go.
- John Oxenham.
Say nothing of my religion.
It is known to my God and myself alone. If my life has been honest and dutiful
to society, the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one. - Thomas
TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
BY BRO. GEO. W. BAIRD, P. G.
M., DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
THERE is a very handsome marble statue, at the
intersection of Pennsylvania Avenue, tenth street and D street, in Washington,
of this great man and Mason. It was not, however, erected at the expense of
the Government, nor the Craft nor any patriotic organization, but by a
Printer, Mr. Stilson Hutchins, editor and proprietor of the Washington Post.
There are three statues of Signers of the Declaration of Independence, in the
City, but neither of them built at public expense.
On the front of Franklin's memorial is the word
PRINTER. And it appears he is more revered for his trade than for his
Franklin was one of the five men who drafted the
Declaration of Independence: he is one of the few self-made men of his day on
whom the Colleges conferred degrees: he was one of the very few Americans who
were ever made fellows in the Royal Society of England. He was an LLD and a
PhD, and also a diplomat of a high order. One of the few self-made men who was
not superficial. He discovered the origin of the Gulf stream, that great river
in the sea which tempers the climate of western Europe and which gives such
substantial aid to Navigation.
He was our first Commissioner to a foreign Nation, (France) our
first Minister to Great Britain; the intimate friend of Washington, of Louis
XIV, of the great Helvetius, Voltaire, Houdon and John Paul Jones. The first
to explain the cause of electricity in the clouds: the inventor of the
printing press and other useful devices. The exact date of Franklin's
initiation into Masonry is not known: this is another evidence of the
remissness in keeping records at that time, or the loss of records. Franklin
was Master of that famous lodge in Paris, Neuf Soeurs, famous for its
distinguished membership and for the bravery of its members in the defense of
the rights of man, previous to and during the French Revolution: he was Grand
the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania afterwards.
The epitaph of Franklin, which was, unfortunately,
mislaid and was never engraved on his tomb, is characteristic.
BY WM. F. KUHN, P.G.M.,
IN the onward march of
civilization, in the
upward trend toward a higher standard of morality and ethics
for the enlightenment , of humanity, I see a greater and more influential
future for Freemasonry than at any period of the past. The Freemason of today
cares less, far less, for the non-essentials, but more for the essentials. The
martinet of steps, grips and words is rapidly disappearing, but the student of
the life and spirit of Freemasonry is increasing. The Freemason of the future
will care less for idle speculation. He will believe and practice that
humanity needs less of abstract philosophical cob-webs, but more of cheer;
less of Egyptian rites, now mumified, but more of good will; less of imaginary
symbolism, but more of love. He will pay less "tithes of mint and anise and
cummin," but more attention to the weightier matters; mercy, faith and
charity. He will recognize more fully the beautiful life of Him who was set as
a "Plumb line in the midst of my people Israel."
The doctrine of hearts made lighter and lives made
brighter, will outlive all abstract speculations, all official distinctions,
all self aggrandizement. The Freemason of the future will worry and write less
over what may constitute the "Ancient Landmarks," but he will believe that the
three essential landmarks, of faith in God, hope in immortality and the daily
application of the Golden Rule, are more important.
He will know that: -
"God is a Father,
Man is a Brother,
The earth is our Mother,
Life is a mission and not a
Knighthood is service,
His scepter is gladness,
The Least is the Greatest,
Saving is dying -
Giving is living -
Life is eternal and Love is its essence."
The unseen player on the golden harp of
Freemasonry has touched a sweeter chord; its notes speak of love, of joy, of
gladness, whose harmonies will touch the heart of this cold selfish world. Its
seraphic sweetness will be carried, as on the wings of the morning to the
uttermost parts of the earth, to hamlet and palace, to rich and to the poor,
that it will roll back in a mighty chorus from royal men, repeating the
angelic song of Bethlehem's plains: - "Glory to God in the Highest Peace on
Earth and Good-Will to men."
We are all like children
playing on the seashore, picking up here a pebble and there a stone, with the
whole ocean of truth unexplored before us.
- Sir Isaac Newton.
OF THE FIRST DEGREE
BY BRO. ASAHEL W. GAGE,
IN the beginning, the seeker
for truth must be duly and truly prepared. In the usually accepted sense, this
talk is unprepared. And yet, I spent five years in the "line" of the lodge
observing, thinking about and studying Masonry. It is this study and my later
contemplations that are my preparation to speak on the symbolism of the first
It seems to me that the
essence of every Masonic lesson is presented in the symbolism of the first
degree. An entered apprentice is a Mason. The second, third, and so-called
higher degrees are elaborations. All Masonic business was formerly transacted
in a lodge opened only on the first degree.
The Masonic lessons are
practical lessons. They have a dollar and cents value. The Senior Warden tells
us that he became a Mason in order that he might receive master's, or larger
wages. That there may be no misunderstanding as to his meaning monetary wages,
he further says, in order to "better support himself and family." If we will
look honestly into our own hearts, we will see that we paid the price for the
Masonic degrees because we hoped to receive the equivalent or a greater
return. If we have not received a return equal to our original and annual
investment, it is because we have not applied ourselves to the study of
Masonry with freedom, fervency and zeal.
But let us understand each
other. There is little chance of our making much headway unless we agree on a
clear and definite meaning of the terms we use. It is not only good and
pleasant, but it is necessary for us to dwell together in unity of thought, if
we would arrive at a harmonious conclusion. We should therefore endeavor to
clearly define our subject.
The word "symbol" is derived
from the Greek, meaning "to compare." A symbol is the expression of an idea by
comparison. Often, an abstract idea may be best conveyed by a comparison with
a concrete object. A dictionary definition of a symbol would be, a sign or
representation which suggests something else.
Symbolism, therefore, is the
science of symbols or signs, the philosophy or art of representing abstract
truths and ideas by concrete things. Symbolism is suggestion; in sculpture and
painting by form and color, in language by words, in music by sounds. What
allegory and parable are in literature; what figurative speaking is in
language; the same is symbolism.
The symbolism of the first
degree is for the apprentice. An apprentice Mason is one who has begun the
study of Masonry. Certain qualifications are necessary for every apprentice.
The qualifications of a Masonic apprentice are a belief in a God, a desire for
knowledge, and a sincere wish to be of service to his fellow creatures.
Possessing these qualifications, the candidate must follow a course of ancient
hieroglyphic moral instruction, taught agreeably to ancient usages, by types,
emblems and allegorical figures. This is symbolism, and symbolism is universal
language. It is the language in which God reveals himself to man. The
manifestations of nature are only symbolic expressions of God.
Children learn best from
symbols. Blocks and toys are crude symbolic representations of the more
complicated things of life. Most of us learned our alphabet and almost
everything else by the relationship or correspondence to things with which we
were familiar. We are only children after all. Older children call themselves
scientists and make their experiments in their laboratories. Each experiment
is a symbol of what is taking place in the real world outside.
The apprentice in the moral
science should give up the rags of his own righteousness and also all precious
metals, symbolical of worldly wealth and distinction, and all baser metals,
symbolical of offense and defense, in order that he may realize his dependence
upon moral forces only. He should be clad in a garment signifying that he
comes with pure intentions to learn the noble art and profit by its lessons,
not to proselyte among others, but to develop and improve himself. He is
carefully examined to ascertain whether he is worthy and well qualified to
receive and use the rights and benefits of Masonry. Being satisfied that he is
worthy and well qualified, he is admitted and is immediately impressed with
the fact that he must undergo sacrifice and suffering if he would attain the
end he seeks. Realizing that the good intentions of the candidate, his own
righteousness or even the lodge organization, are not sufficient, we invoke
the blessing and aid of God upon our search for knowledge and truth.
We follow the system of
symbolism. When we would know the truth in regard to things too great for our
minds to comprehend, we take as a symbol that which is within our mental
grasp. We know that the truth about the things we cannot comprehend, is
identical with the truth in relation to the symbol which we do comprehend.
The apprentice in his search
for Light must start from the North with the Easter Sun in the East, and
travel by way of the South to the West, and back into darkness. He again comes
out of the North in the East and passes through the same course again and
again in his development. Obstacles are met by the apprentice in his progress,
so similar that they seem identical. The little occurrences-of life may seem
unimportant but they determine whether we will be permitted to advance. The
apprentice must ever be worthy and well qualified.
The apprentice must advance
on the square by regular upright steps. The symbolism is so common and
universal that it is used in the slang of the street. Obligations are duties
assumed. We must assume them if we would advance and having assumed them we
are bound by them whether we will or not. Then the light breaks and we begin
to see. We find that others, even the most learned, stand like the beginners.
The Master is on a level with the apprentice, and extends a hand which is
grasped fraternally, and the candidate is raised. There is the key to the
Masters Word--an open book, but he may never find the word itself.
Then, as before, the
apprentice must follow the course of the Sun. As is the greatest, so is the
smallest. In the drop of water are all the laws of the universe. If we study
carefully, we will find in the dew drop the particles revolving and whirling
in their little circles the same as we find the heavenly bodies revolving and
turning in their great orbits, circle within circle and circle upon circle.
The seeker after Light always emerges from the North in the East and passes by
way of the South to the West and again into darkness, with full faith and
perfect confidence that day will follow night. He is continually subjected to
tests and trials and always held responsible for what he has learned and for
that which has gone before.
God's Holy Book, His
revelation to us, is the guide in our search for light. To the Jew this Holy
Book is the history of Israel, substantially the Old Testament. To the
Christian, it is the Old and New Testament. To the Mohammedan, it is the
Koran; to the Hindu, the Veda. But whatever book it is, it is the Holy Book of
the seeker for Light and that which he believes to be the word of God. The
Holy Book together with the square and the compasses are the great lights of
The lesser lights are the
Sun, Moon and Master of the Lodge. The Sun symbolizes the great active
principle, the Moon the great passive principle. This symbolism is so commonly
accepted that even the uninitiated refer to the Sun as masculine and the Moon
as feminine. The Master is symbolical of the offspring of the great Active and
Passive Principles. He is the mediator, the child of the two great forces. He
sets the craft to work upon their symbolic studies, which is no light
responsibility to be assumed by the uninformed. Only chaos and disaster can
overtake him who attempts the work he is not qualified to perform. When the
apprentice has received his degree he is given his working tools and the
primary or elementary instructions as to how to go to work.
The working tools of an
apprentice are the 24 inch gauge and the common gavel. The gavel symbolizes
strength or force. Force undirected is the flood devastating all in its path
or the idle puff of the unconfined powder which accomplishes nothing.
Undirected force is the gavel without the rule. But intelligently controlled,
and directed along a proper line by the rule of intellect, the force of the
torrent grinds the grain and does the work of many men. The force of the
exploding powder prys the rock loose so that the work of months is
accomplished in a moment.
The operation of universal
laws in the moral world is just as ascertainable and understandable as in the
physical world. Morals are as susceptible of scientific study as physics.
The lambskin apron, a most
ancient symbol, signifies that it is only by honest conscientious toil that
the moral laws can be learned and applied, and that this toil must be done in
purity and innocence.
In the lectures which follow
the ceremony of the first degree, the apprentice is given preliminary
information. It would be too tedious to analyze these lectures at this time.
Suffice it to say they are very superficial and of little worth in themselves.
They must be understood and felt, if they are to be of any value. Briefly we
may describe a Lodge as a place to work, a place to study, analyze, and master
the moral science so that we may make use of the moral laws and principles in
our every-day life. Symbolically, it is representative of the world, our daily
The foundation of the Lodge
and its teaching is squareness. It is, however, supported by three pillars;
Wisdom, Strength and Beauty. From which we may learn that in every
undertaking, when intelligence or wisdom directs, and strength or power works,
then beauty and harmony result.
The Lodge is covered with the
blue vault of Heaven. Blue is the symbol of equality, it is a proper mingling
of all colors, it is perfect concord. It is also symbolical of the
universality of that charity, which should be as expansive as the blue vault
of Heaven itself. Charity is not the giving of money alone. It is also
necessary to have charity toward the weaknesses and mistakes of others.
This life is a checkered
pavement of good and evil, but in the center is the blazing star which is the
seed and the source of all life and eternal life.
The parallel lines have a
symbolism analogous to that of the two pillars, Jachin and Boaz, which is more
fully developed in other degrees. The point in the center of the circle
between the parallels is sometimes compared to the individual member and
sometimes to God who is the center of all things. The circumference may
suggest the boundary of man's conduct, or God's creatures, all equally distant
and all equally near to Him. Sometimes the circumference is used to depict the
endless course of God's power, and His existence without end. This is all
speculation, it is symbolism, the contemplation of which will develop the
If the apprentice pursues his
studies in the moral art with freedom, fervency and zeal, he will receive
Master's, or larger wages, and be thereby the better enabled to support
himself and family and to contribute the relief of the distressed.
PRESENTATION OF THE APRON
BY BRO. JOHN W. WELLS, IOWA
IN presenting the Apron to a
Brother, we say that it is more ancient than the Golden Fleece or the Roman
Eagle, more honorable than the Star and Garter, or any other order that might
be conferred, etc.
Are these claims true? We
shall examine them severally.
The Golden Fleece.
In Greek tradition, the
fleece of the Ram Chrysomallus, the recovery of which was the object of the
"The Golden Fleece" has given
its name to a celebrated Order of Knighthood in Austria and Spain, founded by
Philip III. Duke of Burgundy and the Netherlands, at Bruges, on the tenth of
January, 1429, on the occasion of his marriage with Isabella, daughter of King
John I. of Portugal.
This Order was instituted for
the protection of the Roman Catholic Church, and the fleece was assumed for
its emblem, from being a staple commodity of the low countries. The founder
made himself Grand Master of the Order, a dignity appointed to descend to his
successors; and the number of knights, at first limited to twenty-four, was
Contests arose between Spain
and Austria as to the possession of this Order of Knighthood, which were
finally adjusted by introducing the Order into both countries. In Austria the
Emperor may now create any number of Knights of the Golden Fleece from the
nobility. If Protestants, the consent of the Pope is required. In Spain,
Princes, Grandees, and personages of peculiar merit are alone eligible to
membership in this Order.
The legend of the Golden
Fleece, for which the Argonauts searched, is like the story of Masonry, a
search for that which was lost. It is familiar to most readers of poetry and
myths, and is interesting as being among the first known voyages of discovery.
The Roman Eagle.
The Eagle as adopted by the
Romans upon their banners, signified magnanimity and fortitude, or as in the
ancient Sacred Writings, swiftness and courage. The Romans were not the first
to display the Eagle upon their banners, for the Persians, under Cyrus the
Younger, had borne the Eagle upon their standards.
In modern times France,
Russia, Prussia, and the United States have adopted the Eagle as a National
The Order of the Black
Eagle, in Prussia, was instituted in 1701, on the occasion of the coronation
of the King. The number of Knights was first limited to thirty, in addition to
the princes of the Royal family; but now the number is unlimited. They must be
at least thirty years of age, and must prove noble descent through both
parents for at least four generations. Chapters of the Order of the Black
Eagle are held twice a year. It is the highest Order in Prussia. No member is
allowed to travel from Court more than twenty miles without permission or
The Order of the Red Eagle,
founded in 1734, was afterwards made a subordinate degree to the Order of the
Black Eagle, and those received into the Black, must now pass through the
Order of the Red Eagle.
These Orders are outgrowths
of the original symbol of the Roman Eagle.
The Star and The Garter.
These are two Orders.
The Order of the Star
originated in France, and was founded by John II. in 1350 in imitation of the
recently instituted Order of the Garter in England. The name of the Order has
allusion to the Star of Bethlehem, or the Star of the Magi.
A star of some design, from
five to sixteen points, forms a part of the symbolism in every Order of
The Order of the Garter dates
from about 1344. Its origin is not certain. Edward III. is said by some to
have instituted it. Others say Richard I. at the siege of Acre, when he is
said to have caused 26 Knights to wear thongs of blue leather around their
Another account is, that the
Countess of Salisbury happened at a ball to drop her garter, and the King
picking it up, presented it to her. Some of the company smiled, whereupon the
King exclaimed "Honi Soit Qui Mal y pense" (Evil to him who evil thinks.)
Immediately after this circumstance this Order of the Garter was founded. It
was founded in honor of the Holy Trinity--The Virgin Mary, St. Edward the
Confessor and St. George. The last, who had become the tutelary saint of
England, was considered its special patron. It is known as the Order of St.
George, as well as of the Garter. Its members are also known as Knights of St.
The number of Knights was
originally twenty-six, including the Sovereign, who is the Chief of the Order;
but in 1786 an order was passed increasing the number to include all the
princes of the Royal family, and illustrious foreigners on whom the Order
might be conferred.
The Garter is a dark blue
ribbon, edged with gold, bearing the motto, "Honi Soit qui Mal y pense" (Evil
to him who evil thinks) in gold letters, mounted with a gold buckle, and worn
on the left leg below the knee. The mantle is of blue velvet; on the left
breast is a star. The hood is of crimson velvet lined with white The hat is of
black velvet with a plume of white ostrich feathers, in the center of which is
a tuft of black heron's feathers, all fastened by a band of diamonds. The
"George" is a figure of St. George encountering a dragon, and is worn on the
collar, while a lesser "George" pendant to a dark blue ribbon, is worn over
the left shoulder.
This Order is perhaps the
best known of any except the Order of Knights Templar. In many respects The
Garter and the Order of the Temple resemble each other.
In comparing all these
orders, The Golden Fleece, The Roman Eagle, and the other European orders of
the Eagle, The Star and the Garter, Freemasonry may well claim to be more
ancient than any or all of them; for in some form, well nigh akin to its
present form, Masonry has existed for many centuries.
We build us temples tall and
With gifts we heap our altars
Unheeding how, on every
The hungry and the naked cry.
We sound our creeds in
With zeal we compass land and
Unmindful of the sob and
Of souls that yearn for
We hurl to hell, we bear
With equal ease we loose or
Forgetful quite that God is
And Love is large and broad
O Thou Eternal Largeness,
Our petty, shrivelled souls
Till Thou, within their
In every human heart may
Till Love alone becomes the
Of every nation, tribe and
The Fatherhood of God,
The blessed Brotherhood of
- David E. Guyton.
I do solemnly bind myself
that I will give my vote and suffrage as I shall judge in my own conscience
may best conduce to the public weal. So help me God! - Framingham, Mass.,
Hear the mighty mandate
Let there be light !
See the waste of waters
Let there be light!
Light thro' heaven's arches
All the darkness backward
Set the morning star a
Let there be light!
Here, O Father, see one
Let there be light!
For the New Light
Let there be light!
Now continue Thy creating,
All the chains of darkness
And a Son of Light awaking !
Let there be light!
- Wm. M. Shaver.
A thought is a real thing and
words are only its raiment, but a thought is as shy as a virgin; unless it is
fittingly appareled we may not look on its shadowy nakedness: it will fly from
us and only return in the darkness which we cannot comprehend until, with
aching minds, listening and divining, we at last fashion for it those symbols
which are its protection and its banner.
- James Stephens.
TEMPLE OF KENWOOD LODGE, MILWAUKEE, WIS.
to build an exclusive Masonic Temple sufficiently commodious to house a Lodge
of moderate numbers, for the sum of $50,000.00, is a question frequently asked
of architects in these days. The problem becomes difficult only when the
social demands of some of our Lodges are put forward. Space for dancing and
banquets, for the accommodation of the ladies on festive occasions, and for
real fraternity among the members whenever they desire to make of the temple a
"Men's House" in fact, is at a premium in such a building. And the answer to
our question becomes indeed serious, when the Brethren who have the enthusiasm
to demand all these things for the entertainment of themselves and their
families, are equally earnest in making careful and wise provision for the
perpetuation of the real Masonry, by a proper presentation of its degrees.
Five illustrations in this number of The Builder
will inform the members of the Society how the question was answered by
Kenwood Lodge No. 303, practically the youngest chartered Lodge in Wisconsin.
The ground occupied by the building is 55x115 feet. The Venetian Gothic
design, adopted to blend with a very promising residential district, is unique
and pleasing to the eye. Carried into the interior, it seems to afford that
dignified and sensitive atmosphere which is best calculated to inspire
reverence in the participants in the work of the Lodge, and to banish all
thought of mirth. That such surroundings will help to make a candidate's
introduction into Masonry a consecration in fact, will be conceded at a
One cannot but admire the economy of space in this
Temple. The high basement accommodates a banquet hall with a seating capacity
of 400, an ample kitchen, and, withal, a complete heating and ventilating
apparatus. On the first floor is arranged a large Drill or Dance Hall, with
commodious anterooms, reception hall, Ladies' Parlor and tiled Loggia. On the
second floor is the Lodge Room proper (its high ceiling extending up into the
third story) with a large and commodious Lobby, Anteroom, Preparation Room,
Property Rooms, Pipe Organ, Stage, and Corridor for a Commandery, (note she
splendid arrangement for locker space.) The third floor, besides accommodating
the upper part of the Lodge Room, will have an upper Commandery Room, and a
large Billiard Hall, with an open fireplace.
Writing of this Temple a Milwaukee Brother says:
"It is the purpose of the Brethren to make Kenwood Lodge not alone a live
Masonic institution, but a home or club for the Masonic Brethren living in the
upper 18th ward affiliated with the various Lodges of the City of Milwaukee."
No doubt the complete equipment of this Temple, in order to accommodate the
desires of the Brethren in these various respects, will add a number of
thousands of dollars to the bare cost of the building. But there are many
communities in America where a great part of the entire social life of the
community, broadly speaking, has for its hub the Masonic Temple. For such a
condition, there are a goodly number of notable features of this Temple which
are well worth while. Tastes in architecture may differ; decorative effects
and color schemes may or may not receive the same attention, in one community
as in another. But for economic arrangement of space without materially
affecting convenience for use of a Chapter or Commandery, and with everything
that a Blue Lodge can desire for the portrayal of its degrees, this Temple is
a splendid example. Lighting facilities have been intelligently planned,
heating and ventilation are carefully arranged for, and the comforts for the
handling of a reasonable audience are all there. Stairways have not been
cramped. Officers are provided with a room in which to meet privately.
Fire-proof vaults will house and protect the records of the Lodge. No mention
is made of more than one preparation room, but it is evident that this
accommodation could easily be provided, if necessary. All in all, an
examination of these plans reveals intelligent foresight and knowledge of the
Masonic requirements, and, as we believe, they are well worth presentation in
a series of studies of the operative efforts of American Freemasons.
BY ARTHUR EDWARD WAITE,
(Ye Editor does not disguise
an honorable pride in the following appreciation of his little book, The
Builders: a Story and Study of Masonry, published by Brother Arthur Edward
Waite in the Occult Review, August, 1915. There is no man living whose opinion
he values more highly than that of the distinguished author of "The Secret
Tradition in Freemasonry"--to name only one of his many brilliant and
scholarly works--and for this reason he appreciates such praise of his labors,
but still more the fine tribute to the Grand Lodge of Iowa for its advanced
step in having the book written and in putting its official sanction upon it.
The review by Brother Waite is brief but it says everything, as he knows so
well how to do, recognizing the necessity for such an introduction to the
study of Masonry as well as the value of the particular book under review.)
I have before me a book which
is described by its publishers in exceedingly striking terms. It is explained
that the work has been written as a commission from the Grand Lodge of Iowa,
U.S.A., that it was approved by that Body on June 10, 1914, and that
henceforward a copy will be "presented to every man upon whom the degree of
Master Mason is conferred in the Grand Jurisdiction of Iowa." The zeal and
activity of this American Lodge has been mentioned more than once in the
Occult Review, in connection with a National Lodge of Masonic Research,
founded recently, and in reviewing its official organ, some issues of which
have reached us. That is a collective effort worthy of the highest praise and
beginning to deserve it in the best sense of these words. Under the simple but
pregnant title of The Builders, the volume here under notice is, however, an
individual effort--though bearing an important imprimatur--and there are two
ways in which it marks an epoch. They are the circumstances of its production,
as stated, and the value of its contents.
When a man enters Freemasonry
it is customary to present him with the Book of Constitutions and the By-laws
of that Lodge by which he has been received into the great community. These
things are provided so that he may live in conformity with Masonic rule in
things which concern the Brotherhood, and they are therefore put into his
hands by an act of necessity, not by an act of grace. During a period of
considerably over two hundred years, there may have been rare cases in which
other information has been furnished, but they have not come under my notice.
The new member has therefore very little knowledge of the organization into
which he has come, its pretensions or its history. The mystery of speculative
building, of temples spiritualized, the Symbols and Rites of the Order, their
developments and transformations--of all these things he who would learn must
seek--and it might happen that the Master of the Lodge would prove, not only
the last person who could guide him, the very last person to instruct, but
even the first to feel confused and astonished at direction being sought on
such subjects. I am not wishing to suggest that there is no guidance possible.
In this as in all things else, a man who wants to learn will not fail to find
his teachers, while for the Mason also as for others there is a great cohort
of instructors, each at his own value, in books and even in periodicals. There
are also a few Lodges which pass as learned and issue transactions that those
who wish may see, without very grave difficulty. Of course in the multitude of
counsellors there is the confusion to be expected, and the most natural
question arises: What have the Masonic headships to say upon the subject of
Hereunto there has been so
far no answer whatever, and when I come to the real reason, it is likely to be
unexpected by some at least of my readers. Individual Grand Officers may write
of that and this, but only in their private capacity, for--as a matter of fact
--any teaching body of the kind implied by the question is not possible in
Masonry. It is on the surface a "system of morality, veiled in allegory and
illustrated by symbols." The morality is perfectly clear, and calls for no
exposition, while up to a certain point the Rituals exist to explain the
allegories and symbols. The essence and spirit of Masonry are not contained,
however, within the terms of the definition which I have quoted. Rather they
escape therein. But of that which lies beyond no governing body in Masonry has
the power to speak with authority, such bodies being custodians of the surface
meaning only and of what is involved thereby. Omnia exeunt in mysterium, and
if it should profit little to consult the Master of a Lodge, in the great
majority of cases, the profit might be less than nothing to consult the Grand
Lodges, which would exceed their province by speaking. If some time or other
in the history of Masonry--whether operative, speculative, or both--there grew
up or was imported within it that strange ceremonial mystery which constitutes
the Third Degree, and if it contains within it as a summary all the instituted
Mysteries, the legend of the soul and the doctrine of Christ-Life on earth,
the Grand Lodges cannot tell us when and how it was imparted, whence it came,
or alternatively how it grew up within the four walls of the Universal Lodge.
They cannot unveil the allegories, if this be their inward aspect, nor can
they illustrate the symbols. It is their province to maintain landmarks and
constitutions without innovations therein.
The result is that every man
who becomes a Mason thinks what he pleases to think on all sides of the
Masonic subject. He may regard it as a benefit society, a social club, a
method of bringing people together, a concern which provides status, or things
further from the purpose than one or all of these. He may believe
alternatively that it is a great instrument of moral and social amelioration,
or an aspect of religion; that it is the wisdom of Egypt projected through the
centuries for ever and ever; that-its first traces are in Aztec or even in
Atlantis; that it is Kabalistic theosophy popularized in moving ceremonies;
and so forward, without stint or hindrance. It is a perfectly open position,
leaving every one rather helpless, but unavoidable in the nature of things.
And now what has happened
during these last days ? An important Grand Lodge--as we have seen-- having
otherwise many titles to influence and distinction, has set itself to remedy
that portion of the difficulty which may be called remediable within the best
and only measures that it is free to act. It has assumed no seat of authority
in teaching; it has sought to arrogate to itself no artificial orthodoxy of
opinion on matters of speculation; but it has resolved that the new Mason
coming under its obedience shall know what there is to be known, outside
controversial regions, on the foundations of Masonry, on general symbolism in
its connection with particular forms prevailing in the great Craft, on the
region of Masonic legend which goes before Masonic history, on the
unquestioned historical data, on the history of the Grand Lodge of England,
which is in one sense or another the Mother-Lodge of the whole Masonic world,
on the story in brief of her children in other countries, long since grown up
and working out their own destiny, and on that which-- apart from all
dogma--may be thought and held about the deeper meaning of Masonry, its
philosophy and its spirit.
To attain this end the Grand
Lodge has chosen Brother Joseph Fort Newton, a doctor of literature, who has
prepared the designed memorial; and so it comes about that we have this "story
and study of Masonry" which is called The Builders; and I know in my heart
that every thinking Mason into whose hands it comes will wish devoutly that it
could have been presented to him when he was first made a Mason and will
generously envy those who are destined now to receive it under the auspices of
the Grand Lodge of Iowa. Dr. Newton is known to us otherwise as author of The
Eternal Christ, a series of studies in "the life of vision and service," and
as a preacher who on many occasions has proved to have a mouth of gold. In his
own words concerning Emerson, he is one of the seers of this day who have
"made the Kingdom of the Spirit something more than a visionary scene
suspended in the sky." Because of what he is in these respects and, for the
rest, because of his Masonic scholarship, he has written a book which is not
only the best introduction to the study of Masonry that I have met with in my
whole experience--whether in English or another language-- but is something
also that belongs to the domain of literature. He has gifts therefore which
have been wanting but too often in the generality of Masonic writers. Finally,
he has accomplished a most difficult task without once imperilling the Grand
Lodge of which he is the spokesman by any tincture of extravagance in theory
or grave mistake in fact.
My knowledge of things as
they are within Masonic measures is much too wide for me to dream that other
Grand Lodges will adopt The Builders as their textbook, but I am not without
hope that the high interest and importance which attaches to this little
classic will bring it into general demand and that these words may help in
It is a sufficient argument
with which to refute those who think they believe in no God, that it is simply
impossible that the Moral Sense could originate in or be produced by any
combination of material atoms, or by the action or interaction of any
conceivable forces of matter. To create a Moral Law, or a single tenet of it,
there must be a superior Will to enact it.
Money in its acquisition and
its dispersion is the outward and visible sign of the absence or presence of
so many inward and spiritual graces. The most important part of a man's
private conduct, after that which concerns his relations with women and his
family, is generally that which concerns his way of dealing with money.
Knowledge and wisdom never
thrust themselves gratuitously upon any man. Sometime, somewhere, he has paid
the full price in Personal Effort; and they have come to him only as
compensation for the energy he has spent in his struggle upward into the light
of Truth. There is no achievement in the realm of the soul without personal
effort. --From "The Great Work."
A PLEA FOR
THE noble plea for peace by Grand Master Freifeld,
which serves as a preface to the Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of New York,
is timely and truly Masonic. No doubt it will fall on deaf ears abroad, and it
may even be resented, as seems to have been true of the words of Brother
Block, but it will find response at home. Without being Tolstoyan pacifists,
our people are profoundly averse to war, and never more so than today, in view
of the red horror which they behold in Europe. There is truth in the words of
Alfred Noyes about the censor who sends our news:
It comes along a little wire
Sunk in a deep sea;
It thins in a club to a
Between one joke and another
For a city in flames is less than the fire
That comforts you and me.
Little do we know of what is actually transpiring
in Europe, but so far from being indifferent we are subdued, sorrowful,
horrified, and every man of us wears a badge of mourning on his heart. At any
rate, we know too much for a few men with high hats and black coattails to
plunge us blindly into a universal hell. The words of Brother Freifeld recall
the resolution offered by ye editor at the last session of the Grand Lodge of
Iowa, which was unanimously adopted and a copy of it telegraphed to the
President. We reproduce it here, in response to many requests, as expressing
the feelings not only of that Grand Body, but of the vast majority of the
citizens of this Republic:
Whereas, To the grief and horror of all
right-thinking men and Masons, the nations of Europe have been plunged into
the maelstrom of world-war, setting man against man, nation against nation, in
bloody, cruel butchery, filling the earth with measureless misery and
bitterness, and threatening the very existence of civilization; and -
Whereas, In the course of tragic events our
Republic has become involved in a controversy which may drag it into this
gigantic conflict, with all the woes of war and its entail of sorrow and hate
and the spirit of destruction; and -
Whereas, Masonry is an ancient and international
institution whose mission is to teach men to love one another, and to promote
peace on earth and goodwill among races and nations, that truth and justice
and freedom may grow and be glorified; therefore be it -
Resolved, That the Grand Lodge of Iowa rededicate
itself to the cause of peace among nations and brotherly love among men, that
it commend the President of the United States for his patient, patriotic, and
untiring labors in behalf of neutrality, and beseech him to do everything
humanly possible to keep our Republic from being drawn into the tragedy of
world-war; but if this is impossible, we pledge ourselves as men and Masons to
stand behind him whatever may befall.
* * *
TRULY PREPARED" -
There are many who think that we are making Masons
too fast, without due regard as to the quality of the men who seek the
fellowship of our Fraternity, and that the itch for numbers may easily result
in permanent injury to the Order. No committee can be appointed by a Lodge
whose action is more vital to the interests of the Order than a committee
investigating a petitioner for the Degrees. Such a committee deals with the
sources of the stream from which our Masonic life flows, and if they permit
that stream to be polluted the results are far-reaching and hard to undo. The
feeling grows that we do not make the investigation thorough enough, and that
committees appointed to this task are not sufficiently instructed as to their
duties and responsibilities - especially so in larger cities where intimate
knowledge of men is more difficult than it is in the smaller communities.
Happily there are signs of an awakening to the
seriousness of this matter, and a tendency to make the investigation more
thorough, while furnishing more specific guidance to committees. For example,
the Grand Lodge of New Jersey has formulated a "Statement of the Petitioner"
to accompany his petition to the Lodge, giving, first, as a means of simple
identification, his name, residence, business, date and place of birth, name
of parents and brothers and sisters, how long he has lived in the United
States, in the State, and in the city. Then follow certain other questions, as
follows: Where did you attend school? At what age did you leave school? Give
names and addresses of your employers for the past ten years, and the periods
and nature of your several employments. Are you married? How long? Have you
any children? How many ? If married, are you living with your wife? If not
living with your wife, state reasons for separation ? What provision have you
made for yourself or your family in case of disability or death? Have you ever
been a defendant in a criminal case; if so state circumstances and result? Do
you contribute to charity so far as your circumstances will permit ? How long
have you been acquainted with your proposers, personally? Give names and
addresses of three responsible persons, Masons preferred, who have known you
the most intimately for the longest time.
Some of these questions may seem strange at first
sight, but a little reflection will show that they are not only pertinent but
important. While lack of education may be no bar to living the Masonic life,
nor an education, however extended, be a guarantee that a man is leading or
will lead such a life, none the less it is a matter that may well be taken
into account. Nor will any man whose record is good object to giving a full
account of his employment - he will rather be glad to do so - and at the same
time the Lodge ought to know whether he can afford the necessary expense
entailed in joining a Masonic Lodge, without using funds needed for himself or
family in case of illness or misfortune. In the same way, the query about his
home-life, or lack of it, allows a man not living with his wife an opportunity
to explain the reasons with more fairness and justice than if the Lodge, or
some member of it, merely knew the fact; and the same argument applies with
equal force to the matter of criminal action. Often enough, as we all know,
there is a natural and reasonable explanation for what looks bad on the
surface. Similarly, if a man is able to practice charity, and refuses or
neglects to do so, we may well hesitate to admit him to the fellowship of an
Order one of whose corner stones is Charity. The other questions are also
important, and if a man is his own employer he will surely not object, if he
be worthy, to giving the names of men who have known him a long time who can
vouch for his character and good report. Some of these questions will not seem
necessary in all cases, yet they can do no harm, and may be of advantage in
helping the Lodge to determine whether a man is "duly and truly prepared."
All these inquiries assume, and rightly so, that
Masonry is not a reformatory or a moral infirmary, nor yet a distinctively
charitable Order - albeit practicing charity in myriad ways - but a Fraternity
mobilizing men of character, intelligence and goodwill for the service of
humanity; and as such it must guard itself, so far as is humanly possible,
alike from moral unworthiness and mere prying curiosity. It does not solicit
members, save in so far as the quality of its men and its influence in a
community may invite the cooperation of men of like sort, who wish to foster
what is noblest in humanity. Therefore, if it is to fulfill its mission, it
must have a care for quality as well as for quantity, the more so in a day
when it is highly esteemed, and when men throng its temple gates seeking its
ancient and honorable fellowship.
* * *
MADE WITH HANDS -
During the month of October, with its crisp
sunlight shimmering through the feathery gold of maple leaves, the new House
of the Temple will be dedicated with imposing ceremonies in the capital city
of the Republic. Such an event, memorable in the annals of Freemasonry, must
not be allowed to pass without due appreciation of its significance as a fact
of history and a symbol of the mission and progress of Masonry. A miracle of
architectural art, uniting grandeur and simplicity with stateliness of
outline, that Temple will stand for ages in the chief city of the first and
freest of nations, proclaiming the part which Masonry has had, and yet has, in
the making of the noblest of Republics, her eternal fidelity to the most
hallowed of all liberties, and her service to universal humanity.
Surely, if men see after death what passes here
below, there will be two audiences present on that day of dedication and
reconsecration - for such it must be, equally for its solemnity and joy. Our
fathers, where are they? Aye, they are with us still: their words are they;
their acts are they; and were these forgotten the spirit of their heroic and
dedicated lives persists; none of them more surely and benignly than the
stately, grave and noble genius of Albert Pike - who on that day will preside
over a scene which even his prophetic soul hardly dared to fore-dream. A
gracious man, a great scholar, a philosopher with the heart of a poet, and
withal a wise and tried leader of his Brethren, he embodied, as perhaps no
other in our history, the mighty and tender spirit of Freemasonry; and today
we enjoy that comity of Rites for which he made plea in his address to the
Grand Lodge of Louisiana in 1858 - the greatest single Masonic address ever
delivered, in which may be found the seed which bore such rich flower and
fruit in Morals and Dogma and in the Degrees in which his artist-soul was
All Masonry is beautiful and benign, but the
Scottish Rite - in which art comes to the service of philosophy, and symbol
and drama help men to utter what else would be inarticulate - is a Masonic
university; and it should be the goal of every Mason seeking for an
elaboration and exposition of what is hinted and hidden in the great and
simple symbols of universal Masonry. Masons of every rite and rank will
rejoice in a festival dedicating a Temple which will stand amidst the passing
generations as a tangible prophecy of religion without superstition, of
government without tyranny, and of the adventure of the soul in free and happy
quest of that Truth by which no man was ever injured.
* * *
GREATER BUILDER -
Only the few men who saw a great need in Masonry,
and who have labored to found the National Masonic Research Society, putting
time, money and hard work into it, can realize what a joy it is to announce
that The Builder will be enlarged to thirty-two pages, beginning with the
present issue. This expansion is made possible by the loyalty and enthusiastic
response of the Fraternity, as it is made necessary by the increasing pressure
upon our pages of articles of the very highest quality. The growth of the
Society has been truly remarkable, surpassing all our calculations, and it has
only begun. Though not yet a year old, this Society is already the largest
organized body of Masonic students in the world, and it is possible for it to
double its membership within the next six months. Every one must now see that
it is no mere scheme for the floating of a journal, much less for the
exploitation of individuals. Initiated by the Grand Lodge of Iowa, endorsed by
the Grand Lodge of Indiana, it has no other purpose but to deepen the interest
of Masons in Masonry, seeking to be scholarly, conservative, practical and
popular, nor forgetting the spiritual mission of our Order while grubbing for
the facts of its history. Once more we urge our members to bestir themselves,
that we may the better reach the Brethren of every jurisdiction, who will join
with us in doing the greatest work yet done in the history of American
* * *
Editor: - Those of us who differ with you in our
opinions as to the Great Work, would probably best follow the TK's method of
making some pertinent admissions of the truth and justice of some of the
charges, so as to clear the way for the more vital points of difference.
1. The Great Work may "lack the artist stroke."
The TK may not be a maker of phrases that appeal to the literary critics. We
who are not of established reputation may as well pass that. But in matters of
research please call attention to the fact that there may be gems of truth,
philosophy, logic and even a real charm in a book that does not charm by well
rounded phrases. Charming phrases may present a most diabolical thought.
Wouldn't it be nice if a writer with the flashing wit of ye scribe would
present TK's point with the charm it deserves ?
TK writes for a very limited group of readers; and
those outside that group when they get hold of the book, are bored and often
sarcastic even as ye scribe. In the first place the TK limits his main appeal
to those who are in search of a rational religion and understand the
limitations of physical science in the consideration of spiritual things.
In the second place TK himself admits the handicap
of the "idea that he is the keeper of a wonderful treasure of truth which must
be carefully guarded" etc. It must be a very real handicap to making an
occasional "artist stroke." But who can say that he is wrong? Is anyone
prepared to catalog the things the TK claims to know, but does not know? And
who is prepared to decide whether a treasure of truth should be guarded except
the men who have the treasure ? You, Sir, should not show such conceit as to
infer that you know TK's limitations, or that you know all that can be known
of truth treasures.
2. Let us agree that the Great Work is not a
Masonic book, if that makes any difference.
With these admissions past, it may be suggested
that there is a thread of connection between the Great Work and Masonry, which
I have not seen clearly stated in The Builder, and which may warrant another
reference to it in your columns. The connection, moreover, is not the
historical one of the Lineal Key, but rather more related to your first
remarks on the Proof of Faith.
In regard to the Lineal Key, then, let us devote
to it just this paragraph. Call the attention of the readers of The Builder to
the contrast in the statements of two writers. The TK says, "In truth the
chain (of records) is complete to a time before Egypt had become a center of
civilization." Ye scribe replies, "Of a truth, it is an interesting romance."
"For not one of the statements made above is there the slightest shred of
evidence, not even the shadow of a basis in fact." Each prefaces his statement
with an appeal to truth. Let the careful students choose between the man who
states a fact as an item of experience, (Life & Action, Vol. 4, page 232) and
another who says there is no evidence and no basis in fact for the statement
of the first; clearly implying that every fact along these lines, in order to
be a fact, must be known to him. This dogmatic statement of lack of facts,
where facts are simply undiscovered by the one who writes, is not going to
create an atmosphere favorable to any kind of research.
Now, ye scribe, wisely separating the two parts of
his discussion, assumes two very different attitudes toward facts. In one he
calls for evidence and insists on proofs, references and citations before the
Lineal Key will be acceptable. In the other article he is quite content to
rest his faith on confirmations found in thought, conscience and love. He even
goes so far as to state on his own responsibility that some things are facts,
for which he has no other confirmation - not feeling the need of a personal
experience, as TK does. Well, Sir, we are not all built alike, and some of us
consistently try to base our statements of at least the more important facts
on some real evidence.
Later on you refer to it as unfortunate that TK
suggests going farther than is now common in the "proof of faith." But here
you make an inference that does not seem warranted by a careful reading. Where
does TK "recommend" that a man induce a state "wherein the mind leaves the
body" etc? The other volumes of the series state clearly that this particular
feat is not necessary for the purposes of a practical human life; that it is
dangerous; and that it should be attempted only by such as expect to devote
their lives to demonstration. This being the case, the demonstration the TK
seems more to favor is simple and safe and it is hard to find the
"unfortunate" part of it. It may be described as the growth of spiritual
consciousness. Distinguish carefully. It may not be so very different from the
certainty of eternal things which cotnes to ye scribe, and to all who have
lived up to their high ideals.
Furthermore, to many of us, the emphasis of this
suggestion of the TK, seems to be put in an entirely different place. Where
does TK recommend this process as a proof of faith? He calls attention to that
proof and makes it seem very wonderful but he really seems to have a better
reason for recommending it. Instead of being taught in the Great Work to
desire a consciousness of future life as a proof of faith, are we not rather
taught that the development of spiritual consciousness and power, is evidence
that the code of morals therein outlined is scientifically exact and really
constructive in its results? This is a very vital point. There are many, many
codes of morals - more by far than there are sects and denominations. How can
a man judge the right except by constructive results ?
The advanced student of philosophy may find it
best to do "justly for sheer love of justice" and love mercy because it is
lovely, and all the other worthy things mentioned by ye scribe; but many of us
are not that far along, and we have looked in vain for some firm ground to
stand on. There are undoubtedly some, who intuitively sense the right and
wrong, and feel perfectly sure of their proof of faith. By intuition they
select their course of action through life with few mistakes. However, those
intuitions are not infallible and many who have felt just as sure they were
right have later had to admit they were wrong. We do not, all of us,
invariably and just naturally love justice and see the loveliness of mercy.
Perhaps if we went farther, we would; but here comes the TK, with a code
clearly stated and an explanation we can at least partly understand as to why
he recommends it. We reach out after it like a hungry man.
Now this code, as far as we can see, is not at all
opposed to good Masonic teaching. If followed, it might lead many a Mason to a
more satisfactory "proof of faith" quite incidental to his main object in
life. And, Mr. Editor, from your wider reading, tell us, What other code has
been put up for our edification with equal assurance that it has constructive
results? If there is any better way to judge a code, or any other code equally
good for the love of Humanity, let us have it. Let there be light.
Frank F. Grout, Minn.
(Most of the points of this letter have been
covered in our pages, except, perhaps, two, which we may refer to briefly -
the more so because one of them has been brought forward by several Brethren.
(1) "Where does TK 'recommend' that a man induce a state 'wherein the mind
leaves the body' etc?" More than one Brother has accused us of careless
reading - not to say murder - for making that statement. Well, we beg to refer
them to "The Great Work" (pp 441-442), where we are told that the Third Degree
- the Master's Degree - of the Great School includes the power to leave the
physical body and travel at will in the realms of Spiritual Life and Nature.
We leave it to the readers of The Builder to judge who has been guilty of
careless reading. (2) Our Brother takes issue with our distinction between
historical truth proved by facts and moral or spiritual truth confirmed by
spiritual experience. Yet this distinction is self-evident. No amount of
spiritual experience could ever prove that Washington was President of this
Republic. No more can spiritual experience substantiate the statements made in
the chapter of the "Great Work" on the Lineal Key. They belong to the domain
of history and must abide by the facts - and we are asking for the facts,
nothing else. (3) As for the last paragraph of the above letter, we remind our
Brother of that Great Light in Masonry, always open on its altar, which
contains a code of morals and a method of spiritual culture which, for depth,
sanity and constructive results, tested by ages of noble and heroic
experience, is supreme above all others. More than the marvels of Greece or
the more hoary antiquities of Egypt or India, more than the accuracies of
modern science or the inventions of modern industry, are the messages that
speak to us out of the old Hebrew centuries to every man who wishes to think
truly and to live nobly. - The Editor.)
* * *
To the Editor of The Builder: - Much wisdom as
well as sentimentality and lack of knowledge has been shown in the interesting
discussion which has taken place in The Builder since the fourth number in
which appeared the article, "Hysteria in Freemasonry." To quote Mark Twain:
"Judging by the squeals," the writer "must have struck pork."
The claims advanced by TK for himself and his
school, are nothing new. Any orte who has made a study of classical Greek and
Latin literature, the writings of the Neo-Platonists, the history of the
Gnostic, and Heretical Christian Sects, can not help seeing that there was a
faith in an inner world which was ever striving to manifest itself in the
outer world. In the Dark Ages, in the writings of the Church Fathers and
ecclesiastics, are found traces of this same teaching.
Alchemy found its way into Europe at the time of
the Crusades. The Literature of this much misunderstood science will show
belief in the influence of an inner world through its representatives, the
"Princes of the Royal Secret." A study of the revolutionary period in Europe
will show any impartial observer the influence of secret schools and their
representatives. The lives and actions of such men as the Count St. Germain,
Cagliostro, Mesmer and DePotet show us that the claims advanced by TK are no
new thing in the history of Free Masonry.
From 1875 until her death Mme. H. P. Blavatsky
publicly advanced claims similar to those of TK. At present the same claims
are made by perhaps a half dozen of her alleged successors who claim each one
to be the only true representative of the One Great School.
We ask TK, and his followers, what better reason
we have to believe his claims and try his yoga practices than those of any of
the rival Theosophical claimants, or of any of the Rosicrucian Schools which
exist in different lands? Personally I am convinced from the study of history
and the result of my own experience that the world is guided from within, and
that there is an almost unthinkable possibility for the perfectability of man
through his own efforts and an inner guidance.
No one, however, who has not made a careful study
of the history of such claims during the Christian Era as those advanced by TK
and others, and who has not investigated Spiritism, and the modern
psychological discoveries of hypnotism and occultism is able to judge wisely
either for or against such claims. Among such a host of conflicting claimants
where shall we find the truth? We see Dr. Buck, who is now one of the most
prominent followers of TK, at different times appearing as the follower of H.
P. Blavatsky, W.Q. Judge, K.A. Tingley, Blue Star, and now of TK. How are we
to know that the last of these is the one true representative of the "Great
School" and not one of the others ? If he was mistaken once he may be mistaken
There is a way out of these seeming difficulties
of the inner life. He who studies and puts in practice the philosophies of the
East such as are given us in the writings of the Taoists, the Confucians, the
Vedantines, the Zoroastrians and the Buddhists will see that the true school
of the Spirits of Just Men Made Perfect as shown us in our Great Light, has no
outer representatives confers no favors has no outer system of initiation.
Life itself is the True Great School, death itself the true initiation.
Whether this be physical death or the mystical death of the animal elements of
our being it is for each one of us to decide.
Sincerely and fraternally
Frederick Weed Flint, New
* * *
Dear Brother Newton: - In "The Builder" for August
a subscriber who signs himself F.W.T. inquires regarding the authenticity of
an alleged statement of Abraham Lincoln's views regarding the Roman Church and
its influence in Americas which I cite in my little pamphlet, "Catholicism and
Freemasonry," page 14. The quotation is taken from Chiniquy's "Fifty Years in
the Church of Rome," edition of 1892. The first part of it will be found on
page 714, and the last sentence at the top of page 715. Mr. Chiniquy claims to
have been well acquainted with President Lincoln, who on more than one
occasion, before he rose to political prominences acted as Chiniquy's
attorney. Chiniquy, as most of your readers perhaps know, was a former priest
of the Roman church, but severed his connection with it following certain
difficulties with his ecclesiastical superiors, and was thereafter the
outspoken opponent of the organization. I do not know, of course, whether
Lincoln is quoted correctly. Chiniquy gives what purports to be his
recollection of a conversation, and he states frankly that Lincoln talked more
freely with him on these matters than with anyone else, because of their
previous relations of lawyer and client. Lincoln's outburst on the occasion in
question appears to have resulted from his indignation over the action of Pope
Pius IX in extending encouragement to the Southern Confederacy. If F.W.T. will
read chapters 58 to 61, inclusive, of Chiniquy's book, he will find a large
number of similar utterances attributed to Lincoln, and he will be in position
to judge for himself whether or not they truly represent that great man's
Fraternally and sincerely
R. J. Lemert, Montana.
* * *
Dear Brother: - With the hope of provoking discussion I wish to
say something about Masonic Mottoes and Definitions. Albert Pike's definition,
given in the February number of The Builder, beginning, "Freemasonry is the
subjugation of the Human that is in Man, by the Divine," etc.,
seems to me to be too general. The other attributed to Mackey: "Freemasonry is
a system of morality veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols," is
beautiful - but there is no "punch" in it. I suggest the following as a Motto
of Freemasonry: "Be clean; extend justice; watch your steps!" And as a
definition of Masonry, the following: "Masonry is that system of the
Brotherhood of Men and ethical laws, teaching by daily actions and Lodge
traditions the sovereignty of God; instilling the desire to be clean with all
God's creatures, commending its members to extend justice to all mankind, and
compelling respect for the rights of a Brother." How can that phraseology be
bettered and shortened, and yet keep everything already in it?
What is the geometry of Masons? Here is my
answer:- "Masonic Geometry is a code of ethical laws and revelations
impressing all peoples with its candor, justice and faith; instructing its
students in an open mind, strength in the right. and cleanness of heart and
body; and forever inculcating love of God, home and country, and the reproof
and forgiveness of a Brother's
Ray W. Abbott, Minn.
* * *
Editor of The Builder: - In your August number
Brother Eggleston, Past Grand Master of Virginia, says: - "Our (i. e.
Vlrginia's) seniority as a Sovereign Grand Lodge is so indisputable that we
see no sense in controversy. Ours began its existence in 1778 - the first of
Of course we cannot well reason with one who does
not care to discuss a subject because he admits himself that he is right.
Nevertheless, to correct any erroneous impression which others might gain from
his letter, may I call attention to the fact that Massachusetts Grand Lodge
terminated its character as a Provincial Grand Lodge and organized as a
Sovereign Grand Lodge on March 8th, 1777, since which day it has maintained a
continuous existence as such ? For proof of which see
Mass. Printed Proceedings, 1733-1792, page 259
Mass. Printed Proceedings, 1870, page 27.
Mass. Printed Proceedings,
1877, pages 1, 6, 20, 24
Virginia Printed Proceedings, 1778 1822, page VII
Gould's History (Am. Ed.)
Vol. IV, page 348.
Virginia organized as a Sovereign Grand Lodge on
October 13th, 1778. The meetings of May and June were merely preliminary. For
Virginia Printed Proceedings, 1778-1822, page 6.
Gould's History (Am. Ed.) Vol. IV, page 382.
Mackey's History, Vol. V,
Dove's History Grand Lodge of Virginia, page 64.
Mass. Printed Proceedings, 1877, page 2
It may be interesting to add the dates of the formation of
those Sovereign and Independent Grand Lodges in the United States organized as
such during the eighteenth century; as follows
Massachusetts, March 8th,
Virginia, October 13th, 1778.
Maryland, July 31st, 1783.
Pennsylvania, Sept. 26th,
Georgia, Dec. 16th, 1786.
New Jersey, Dec. 18th, 1786.
New York, June 6th, 1787.
North Carolina, Dec. 9th,
South Carolina, March 24th,
1787. (Old Style)
Connecticut, July 8th, 1789.
New Hampshire, July 8th,
Rhode Island, June 25th,
Vermont, October 15th, 1794.
Kentucky, October 16th, 1800.
Melvin M. Johnson, Boston.
* * *
(The following letter was received by Brother
Sylvester, of Crescent Lodge, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from a young man who was
made a Mason in that Lodge, but is now in the Austrian army. Shortly before
the war broke out he went home to assist his father in business, and was
pressed into military service. Naturally, he takes the pro-Teutonic attitude
out of loyalty to his home and native land for which he fights. Though an
educated young man, he never quite mastered our English idiom, as his letter
shows; but we give it as he wrote it, believing that his quaint way of saying
things adds to its charm. The letter, of course, had to pass the censor, and
due allowance must be made for that fact. - The Editor.)
Budapest, July 19th.
My dear Brother Sylvester:- About four months ago
I have written you a long letter, and have still not received an answer. I
believe it must get lost somehow, because I know that otherwise you would not
keep me waiting so long. I might go out now in a few weeks on the battlefield
with a machine-gun detachment. So now I say, my brother, good bye to you and
all my brothers of whom I think always with love. And how often do I think
back now of dear old Cedar Rapids and of our meetings. Only God Almighty can
tell whether I get back there some day, and still I am willing to go to the
battlefield, just like all my countrymen, because we know why we do fight. We
have good crops, plenty food here, and positively no epidemics. The spirit
among the people of Austria and Germany, and among us soldiers, is the finest
and best! The number of the enemy's soldiers is nearly twice times as much as
ours, and still not only that they can't best us, but we have occupied nearly
twice times as much land from their country as they from ours, not mentioning
the large number of prisoners. We have still no pleasure in the war, nor in
the victory. We are entitled to hollow the same way our enemies do that
Justice is ours, or that we fight for the peace of this world, or that we
fight in the name of God, etc., etc. Every country has its motto and believes
it is in the right, so it is with us. We hated to have a war, we never wanted
to have any, and though the victory is in our hands still, we all (Germans,
Austrians, Hungarians) like one wish to see the end of this bloody war. Why is
this war? Only because England is jealous of Germany's industry. You see it
now - this is the only reason why so many lives are being lost, homes broken
up, and a vast army of widows and orphans. And think how it is to bring to the
European battlefield the colored men of Africa and the Hindus, is this Justice
Let us hope that this for us so glorious war will
come soon to an end, and that after that God Almighty will grant us to have
power to uplift the poor and help aid the widows and orphans. After the war
will come the time for us Freemasons and let us hope that time is not far.
After the war, when the good gray years come, we will see whose sin is this
terrible war and then we'll see not only the Masonic but the whole world how
the German and Hungarian Masons were trying to keep back the powers from this
war. I leave the judgment of the French English and Italian Masons to you,
because you must know more about their agitation for the war than we here. I
guess you must read some terrible news about the war and the situation in
Germany and Austria. I hope that you don't believe the same. Life everywhere
in the cities is just like it is in peacetime. Theaters are all open, and the
food prices are regulated by the Government. The Freemason's Lodges hold their
meetings every two weeks, and do very much charity. One hospital for wounded
soldiers kept up at the expense of Freemasons takes care of one thousand men.
Besides, the Freemasons distribute free bread for the poor, and everywhere I
go I hear the people speak only good about the Masons.
I can't send my Lodge dues on account of the war. It is
impossible, but will send them just as soon that conditions change. I have not
received the last edition of the Iowa Masonic Bulletin, please let me have
one, because this and the lecture book of the three degrees are my only
pleasure when I have
a little free
time. Before I enlisted in the army I gave my Apron to the Grand Lodge of
Hungary to keep it until the end of the war. Well, my dear brother, I must
bring to an end my letter. Let us hope that by the time you receive this
letter everlasting peace has returned to this world. With best regards and
brotherly love to all the brothers.
“ IN A
NOOK WITH A BOOK"
SEVERAL years ago there
appeared a story
entitled "When it is Dark," by Guy Thorne, portraying in vivid manner the
moral and social collapse which would follow the discovery of proof positive
that Jesus did not rise from the dead. It was a picturesque story, but hardly
convincing, for the moral life was nobly lived long before Jesus was born, and
as for the downfall of social order - well, the spectacle now seen upon the
earth of the bankruptcy of civilization is quite as bad as that depicted in
the story. Indeed, in some respects it is worse, and the end is not yet. At
any rate, we have learned to expect the sensational from Guy Thorne, and his
latest story of "Love and the Freemason" does not disappoint us. It is located
in one of the English cathedral cities, and concerns the fortunes - or
misfortunes - of a well-to-do solicitor, Christopher Severn, who has a good
deal of trouble about a book revealing the secrets of Masonry - really written
by a decadent brother, and his name, strangely enough, is also C. Severn. Of
course there is a woman in the story, a remarkable woman, too, loved by the
brother, who runs a successful hotel and who, having been present at a meeting
of Masons, has to be made an "entered apprentice." The story, despite the
laudable efforts of the author, does not bear the length to which he has
driven it. Making use of an old and oft-told story, it is not a very great
success, albeit there are good passages to be found here and there.
* * *
Most interesting and suggestive is a little
booklet entitled "First Three Steps, an Introduction to the Study of Masonic
Symbolism and Philosophy," by Brother John L. Travis, of Savannah, Ga. It is
made up of three introductory talks on What is Masonry, The Apron, and the
Winding Stair, and the talks are very practical and worth while - yet we find
Brother Travis repeating the TK fiction that Masonry is one of the efforts of
an alleged Great School to educate the human race, as if it were an
established fact of history. Indeed, the "Great Work" is quoted more often, we
believe, than the Great Light in Masonry. Nevertheless, this booklet will do
any young Mason good, in proof of which we venture to quote some of its
"Masonry has no monopoly of the truth, nor of the
wisdom of the ancient sages - nor, indeed, could it or any other organization
truly claim a monopoly of these inestimable gifts. This wisdom and the great
truths of life are concealed all about us; in every man these truths are
hidden in his heart, so that when he sees one of them, he is not surprised,
for he seems to recognize an old acquaintance. But men cannot see these truths
when they live by false standards or darken their judgment by errors or vices.
These truths are hidden in the allegories of the world, even in the fairy
tales that are told to children. But men cannot hear the spiritual meaning so
plain as the adept until their ears are tuned to the harmony of the spiritual;
and every fault, vice, or folly clogs the musical strings of the soul so that
it cannot respond to its true harmonic, but produces discord instead."
"There is another meaning of the Apron, which I
will also explain to you. The square is used to symbolize the receiving
faculties, and the triangle the giving powers. In this Apron, therefore, you
see your life-history, in that heretofore you have received more than you have
given. Masonry has long ago discovered that happiness consists in giving not
less than we receive. Heretofore you have received more benefit than you have
conferred, but by this symbol you are told that you cannot keep this up. You
must confer at least as much as you receive, as Emerson taught in his
wonderful essay on Compensation."
"Now remember what I told you before: that Masonry is never
dogmatic. You are at liberty, if you choose, to reject all the interpretations
I have given you of the Masonic symbols, and to adopt in their place your own
interpretations; or you may accept part of what I have given you and take your
own opinions for the rest. I have no right to criticize you for your beliefs
nor have you the right to fall out with me if I do not believe as you do.
It is not what we believe that counts in estimating character, it is what we
do. That Master said: 'Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which
is in heaven, the same is my brother, my sister, my mother.' "
* * *
AND THE LODGE
There are sermons and sermons - some of them wise,
some otherwise - but we beg to call special attention to a notable sermon by
Brother E. A. Coil, of Marietta, Ohio, who is Worshipful Master of the
American Union Lodge No. 1, delivered on June 27th, and now published in a
neat pamphlet. It is entitled "The Church and the Lodge," and, if we mistake
not, will do much to clear up the confusion which still lingers in many minds
as to the real relation between these two great instrumentalities making for
righteousness. Happily, much of the old absurd prejudice of the Church against
the Lodge has vanished, or is vanishing, but not a little of it remains, for
the reason, as Brother Coil points out, that "the church itself is now in
transit from old positions, long maintained, to new ones not, in all cases,
clearly defined." This general condition involves both Churchmen and Masons in
a grave responsibility to do some straight thinking, which they dare not
shirk, for upon the issue depends much in the way of righteousness, peace and
happiness for the world. If we are to do any clear thinking there must be a
clearer definition of what we mean by religion as the life of God in the soul
of man, taking many forms, including all the activities of the higher human
life, and of such profound and far-reaching significance that no one will any
longer try to limit it. With a clearer conception of what religion is will
come a better understanding of the function of both the Church and the Lodge;
and to that end we believe the sermon by Brother Coil is of more than usual
importance, as it is certainly timely and to the point.
* * *
Imagine a lonely, wind-swept country cemetery,
ill-kept, its stones tumbled down, or hidden by weeds, such as we too often
see by the roadside. Then suppose each of the sleepers there should rise up
and tell, not in ghostly whispers, but in human tones, what of sorrow or of
joy was most significant in their lives; each writing his own epitaph, so to
speak, and all together reviving the life of a long vanished community. Well,
that is the "Spoon River Anthology," by Edgar Lee Masters, and we know of
nothing in the whole range of recent poetry to equal it in uniqueness of
conception, and withal in its wise and kindly philosophy, as of one who would
read life in the sweet and tender sadness of the tomb. Some of the epitaphs
are quite unlike those carved by sorrowing friends, and now and then we hear
the rattle of a skeleton - not in the grave, but in some old closet of village
gossip - but he who reads this little book will have a new charity for his
fellows, a keener insight into human life, and a new pity. Among the sleepers
in that old cemetery at Salem is Anne Rutledge, the sweetheart whom Lincoln
loved and lost, whose epitaph strikes a deep and haunting melody:
Out of me unworthy and
The vibrations of deathless
"With malice toward none,
with charity for all."
Out of me the forgiveness of
millions toward millions,
And the beneficent face of a
Shining with justice and
I am Anne Rutledge who sleeps
beneath these weeds,
Beloved in life of Abraham
Wedded to him, not through
But through separation.
Bloom forever, O Republic,
From the dust of my bosom !
* * *
In a letter of singular sweetness of spirit a
Brother from Chicago writes to assure us that, if we could bring ourselves to
accept the truth of reincarnation, our philosophy would be complete; at
present it needs that key-stone. Perhaps he is right; but we are suspicious of
a "complete philosophy" - a neatly wrought theory of this vast universe, with
all the gaps closed, must of necessity shut out more truth than it contains.
There was once a man who wrote a Philosophy of Everything, but a few years
later he added a supplement on A Philosophy of a Few Other Things. No, keep
the windows open, Brother, and let in the light. Our little systems have their
day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of a Truth in the presence of
which we are all one in our littleness.
* * *
In the article on Immortality, by Brother
Williams, he quotes the sentence, "God created the Heaven and the Earth, and
the Earth was without form and void." What is the difference between heaven
and earth ? Is the earth not a part of heaven ? - S.S.
Your question recalls a remark by Sir Oliver
Lodge, in his "Substance of Faith" - a book that would interest you, by the
way, if you have not seen it, being a catechism of faith written by a great
scientist - when he says that it is occasionally helpful to remember that the
Earth, with all its sins and woes and tragedies, is also one of the heavenly
bodies. It must be that heaven, in the spiritual sense, is a state of purity
of heart, without which no man can find heaven anywhere in the universe.
* * *
Witnessing the Mark Master degree the other night,
it seems to me that its main lesson is the philosophy of the Transmigration of
the Soul. Will you kindly tell me if, in your opinion, my idea is correct? -
We cannot see anything resembling the dogma of
Transmigration in that Degree which, for simplicity and beauty, is hardly
surpassed even in Masonry. The Degree of Mark Master is an acted poem, woven
about one of the great haunting, prophetic passages of the Bible, and it seems
strange to us that our Brother could miss its deep and beautiful truth, while
trying to read into it something of which it does not dream. Transmigration!
Why, yes, all human life is a transmigration of soul from one outworn form to
another - as Tennyson said, each man "rising on stepping-stones" of his dead
self to higher things. But this is very different from the Eastern dogma of
transmigration with its weary round of life that is not hopeless, perhaps, but
unhopeful. It seems to us a pity that Brethren should be so eager for the
occult, that they fail to see what is taught so impressively in a Degree that
moves with the footstep of a poem and the gesture of a prophet.
* * *
With reference to the question as to what
Presidents were Masons, Past Grand Master Baird, of the District of Columbia,
writes: "My records show that the following Presidents were Masons -
Washington, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Tyler, Polk, Taylor, Pierce, Buchanan,
Johnson, Garfield, McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft. Grant was reported as a Fellow
Craft, but I have not been able to verify it."
Surely it is about time for some Brother to take this question
up and go into it thoroughly - dig up the records, and find out the facts. For
example, what basis is there in the oft repeated tradition that Jefferson was
made a Mason in France? Also why the persistent tradition that Fillmore was a
Mason, and recanted during the Morgan raid? There must be some
basis for it, else Masons would not have affirmed it. Here is
an interesting field for some Brother to work, and the Craft will be glad to
know the results.
* * *
What percentage of the Grand Lodges of the
American Union have definite rulings regarding the non-acceptance of
applications for membership from men who are in any way engaged in the Liquor
Traffic? - A. J. H.
Grand Secretary Parvin, of Iowa, to whom we
referred this inquiry, replies as follows: - "From personal recollection and
knowledge of the matter, we would say that nearly all our Grand Bodies are
opposed to receiving such petitions. The Codes issued by the different Grand
Bodies do not always mention the subject but by reference to our collection,
we find specific mention made in the Codes of the following States in which
said Grand Bodies oppose membership of such parties, to wit: Arkansas,
Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Mississippi,
Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio,
Iowa, and Washington. In the Code of the Grand Lodge of Alabama, we find the
law to be that petitions from such parties are accepted and no legislation
made against receiving them into membership. The Code of Kentucky and New
Mexico, while frowning on such practices, yet leave it entirely optional with
the subordinate Lodge. However, our collection of Codes is incomplete, so the
above information is not to be considered final and conclusive."
* * *
"By the way, I have been wondering if I may not
have struck a clue to the requirements regarding physical perfection which
appear to have existed in Freemasonry for so long a time that no man's mind
runneth to the contrary. It has always been something of a puzzle to me why
these requirements should have been so stringent, because they are really
unreasonable from the standpoint of a mere workman. But the other day while
reading the Bible - for, though I am no churchman, the good Book always lies
on my desk - I chanced upon the 21st chapter of Leviticus, wherein Moses lays
down the most rigid standard of perfection for the priests. Now the Egyptians,
as I understand it, had a similar code of requirements which was applied to
those who sought admission into the higher grades of the Mysteries; and in the
sacred books of India the same thread may be traced. In all these religions,
of course the priests were permitted - even, I think, almost required - to
marry. Wasn't it the idea to establish a system of eugenics, for the purpose
of producing a superior priestly class ? And since there are excellent grounds
for suspecting (I put my own position mildly) that the temples of Egypt not
only generated the Hebrew religion, but also the cult of the Dionysiacs, is it
not almost certain that the same requirements, for the same reasons, existed
among them and their successors? I have a very strong idea that a thread of
light may be found, running down from the ancient days, linking the old
Levitical and pre-Levitical system of eugenics with the mystical organizations
which later got themselves tangled up with the mediaeval builders; and it has
occurred to me to ask if you have ever seen the theory advanced or developed."
We have never seen such a theory advanced, and we
hope that our Brother - who is one of the best students of Masonry in America
- will develop it further. Meantime we recall the words of the late Brother
Gould, in an essay on "The Mission of the Masonic Press" - included in his
collected "Essays on Freemasonry" - to the effect that "The dogmas of
perpetual jurisdiction, physical perfection, and exclusive territorial
jurisdiction, have been evolved since the introduction of Masonry into what
has become the United States, from England, during the first or second
quarters of the eighteenth century." (p 300). Some of us have a dim hope that
our American Grand Lodges will some day so modify their dogma - which,
apparently, has as little basis in reason as in ancient Masonic usage - as to
permit a man with a wooden leg, equally with a man with a wooden head - if
such there be - to enter the Masonic Order.
* * *
Is there any published history of the Morgan
excitement? Seeing so many references to it - as in your answer to a question
about Presidents who were Masons - I am anxious to read an account of it. -
Indeed, yes; there are many accounts of the Morgan
frenzy. The anti-Masonic fanatics were a prolific set, fertile of lies; but
the facts have been sifted by Masonic historians. There is a very good review
of the matter in the "History of Masonry and Concordant Orders," by Hughan and
Stillson, and a more elaborate discussion in the "American Addenda" to Gould's
massive and magnificent "History of Freemasonry," (Vol. IV) as well as many
briefer sketches - for example, "The Builders," pp 226-228
* * *
A number of Brethren have raised questions with
regard to asceticism, as suggested by the discussion of the method of
spiritual culture recommended by TK. They ask, (1) what is the relation, if
any, between the method of TK and that of the Hindu Yoga system; and (2) have
we not something very like the same method in the lives of Christian mystics,
as expounded by Evelyn Underhill in her "Practical Mysticism" - a copy of
which a Brother has been good enough to send us, albeit he might have found it
listed among books received in the March issue of The Builder.
Obviously, such large questions cannot be discussed in detail
in a brief note, except to say that the way of the soul of man in its quest of
union with God is much the same in every age and every land. There is,
therefore, an underlying harmony to be found in the teachings of all great
mystics, but the difference between Eastern and Western mysticism lies,
chiefly, in the difference in the conception of God by the Eastern and Western
mind. Eastern thought is pantheistic - often, it would seem atheistic - while
the Western mind, for the most part, holds
personalness of God. Thus the one seeks absorption in the Divine - as a dew
drop sinks into the sea - and the other union or fellowship with God. Keeping
this distinction in mind, we may suggest, (1), that the Great Work, by TK, is
tinged with Eastern thought, and his method of spiritual culture resembles in
some respects the Yoga system - at its best, however, not is its cruder forms,
when its object seems to be to achieve complete vacuity of mind. For the Yoga,
founded by Patanjali and regarded as a branch of the Sankhya system, was less
a philosophy than a means by which the soul may attain to union with the
Supreme Soul. Thus it was a system of austere discipline of body and soul in
behalf of a clearer vision of truth, and such is also the purpose of TK, for
whose religious experience we have the utmost respect. (2) As for Christian
mysticism as expounded be Evelyn Underhill - and we like her larger books,
"Mysticism” and "The Mystic Way," much better than her briefer manual - it has
not been untouched by Eastern thought and method, but at its best and highest
it offers, it seems to us, a better way to the same goal - whereof we have
written in two little books "The Eternal Christ" and "What Have the Saints to
Teach Us?” Miss Underhill uses too many metaphysical abstractions in her
descriptions of what is, after all, more simple, natural and happy than her
analysis would lead one to think. Space does not allow a longer discussion,
but we shall be glad to return to it if the Brethren are sufficiently
interested. Meanwhile, know ye that no man wins the highest truth without
being what the earls Christians called themselves - "spiritual athletes" - nor
is he worthy of it until, by renunciation of evil and the forging of passion
into power, he has attained to strength and purity of heart. Here lies the
difference, as we see it, between mysticism and occultism, and in his
distinction between the two, and in his insistence upon the spiritual
refinement that comes of the actual practice of virtue, TK is eternally right.
* * *
An Open Letter to American Masons, by Jose
Castellot. The New Age.
"Free Mason" About 1700, by W. B. Hextall.
Transactions Quatuor Coronati Lodge.
Physical Qualifications, as Well as Mental, by G.
F. Wahle. Masonic Standard.
Why Acacia? by Frank C. Higgins. Masonic Standard.
Masonry in the Midst of War. Masonic Home Journal.
Science of Scottish Rite Masonry, by Josiah Gross.
Square and Compasses.
The Legend of the Widow's Son, by F. H. Mead.
The Secrets of Masonry, by R. J. Lemert. The
Freemasonry in Sweden, by S.H.B. Svenson. London
Cagliostro: Adept or Imposter, by J. E. Morcombe.
* * *
First Three Steps in Masonry,
by J. L. Travis, Savannah, Ga.
The Church and the Lodge, by
E. A. Coil, Marietta Ohio.
The Story of Irish
Freemasonry, by J. H. Edge. University Press, Dublin.
Some of Our Ancesters, by R.
J. Lemert, Helena, Montana
Confessions of a Clergyman,
Anonymous. McBride, Nast & Co., New York
Visions and Revisions, by J.
C. Powys. G. Arnold Shaw, New York.
Crack of Dawn, by Fannie S.
Davis. Macmillan Co., Nev York.
The New Infinite and the Old
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