The Builder Magazine
February 1917 - Volume III -
INITIATORY RITES OF DRUIDISM
BY BRO. DUDLEY WRIGHT, EDITOR
THE mode of life adopted by
the Druidical priests made easy the transition from Pagan to Christian
monasticism. To all intents and purposes the Druids formed a Church and their
ecclesiastical system seems to have been as complete as any other systems of
which records have been preserved, whether Christian or non-Christian. The
rank of the Arch, of Chief, Druid was that of pontifex maximus, and,
apparently, he held his position until death or resignation, when his
successor was elected in a manner similar to that in which a pope at the
present day is elected, although some writers assert that the Arch Druid was
elected annually. Caesar states that: "when the presulary dignity becomes
vacant by the head Druid's death, the next in dignity and reputation succeeds;
but, when there are equals in competition, election carries it."
Many Druids appear to have
retired from the world and lived a hermit existence, in order that they might
acquire a greater reputation for sanctity. Martin in his Description of the
Western Isles has pointed out that in his time, in the most unfrequented
places of the Western Isles of Scotland, there were still remaining the
foundations of small circular houses, intended evidently for the abode of one
person only, to which were given the name of "Druid's Houses" by the people of
the country. Many of the Druids also appear to have lived a communal life,
uniting together in fraternities and dwelling near the temples which they
served, each temple requiring the services of a considerable number of
Ammianus of Marseilles
describes them in the following words:
"The Druids, men of polished
parts, as the authority of Pythagoras has decreed, affecting formed societies
and sodalities, gave themselves wholly to the contemplation of divine and
hidden things, despising all worldly enjoyments and confidently affirmed the
souls of men to be immortal."
Not a few, however, lived in
a more public and secular manner, attaching themselves to kindly courts and
the residences of the noble and wealthy. The Druids had thus a close affinity
both with the monastic order and religious congregations of the Church of
Rome, known as the regular clergy, and those living unrestricted by special
vows, and known as the secular clergy.
The period of noviciate and
the character of the training of an aspirant to the Druidical priesthood was
as lengthy and as rigorous as that of an aspirant to membership of the Society
of Jesus. It lasted for twenty years, and, although the candidates were, in
general, enrolled from the families of nobles, many youths of other ranks in
life also entered voluntarily upon the noviciate, and, very frequently, boys
were dedicated to the priestly life by their parents from an early age.
The ceremony of initiation,
so far as can be gathered from the scanty authentic records available, was
arduous and solemn. The aspirant first took an oath not to reveal the
mysteries into which he was about to be initiated. He was then divested of his
ordinary clothing and vested with a tri-coloured robe of white blue, and
green, as emblematic of light, truth and hope. Over this was placed a white
tunic. Both were made with full length openings in the front, and, before the
ceremony of initiation began, the candidate had to throw open both tunic and
robe, in order that the officiating priest might be assured that he was a
The tonsure was one of the
ceremonies connected with initiation. As practiced in the Roman Church, the
tonsure, the first of the four minor Orders conferred upon aspirants to the
priesthood, is undoubtedly a Druidical survival. There is evidence of its
practice in Ireland in A. D. 630, but it does not appear to have become a
custom in England until the latter part of the eighth century. The tonsure was
referred to by St. Patrick as "the diabolical mark" and in Ireland it was
known as "the tonsure of Simon the Druid." It differed greatly from the modern
form. All the hair in front of a line drawn over the crown from ear to ear was
shaved or clipped. All Druids wore short hair, the laymen long; the Druids
wore long beards, the laymen shaved the whole of the face, with the exception
of the upper lip. The tonsure was also known in Wales as an initiatory rite.
In the Welsh romances known as the Mabinogion, we find, among the Brythons, a
youth who wished to become one of Arthur's knights whose allegiance was
signified by the king, with his own hand, cutting off his hair.
The initiation took place in
a cave because of the legend which existed that Enoch had deposited certain
invaluable secrets in a consecrated cavern deep in the bowels of the earth.
There is still to be seen in Denbighshire one of the caves in which Druidical
initiations at one time took place. After taking the oath, the candidate had
to pass through the Tolmen, or perforated stone, an act held to be the means
of purging from sin and conveying purity. All rocks containing an aperture,
whether natural or artificial, were held to be the means of conveying
purification to the person passing through the hole. At Bayon Manor, near
Market Rasen, in Lincolnshire, there is a petra ambrosiae, consisting of a
gigantic upright stone resting upon another stone and hollowed out so as to
form an aperture sufficiently large for a man to pass through. This stone is
believed to have been used by the Druids in the performance of their sacred
rites. Some writers have imagined that the prophet Isaiah was referring to a
practice similar to this when he wrote (I, 19): "And they shall go into the
holes of the rocks and into the caves of the earth for fear of the Lord, and
for the glory of His Majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth."
All such orifices as these were consecrated with holy oil and dedicated to
religious uses, when the distinguished name of lapis ambrosius was given to
The candidate was then placed
in a chest or coffin, in which he remained enclosed (apertures being made for
air circulation) for three days to represent death. From this chest he was
liberated on the third day to represent his restoration to life.
The sanctuary was then
prepared for the further ceremonies of the initiation, and the candidate,
blindfolded, was introduced to the assembled company during the chanting of a
hymn to the sun and placed in the charge of a professed Druid, another, at the
same time, kindling the sacred fire. Still blindfolded the candidate was taken
on a circumambulation nine times round the sanctuary in circles from east to
west, starting at the south. The procession was made to the accompaniment of a
tumultuous clang of musical instruments and of shouting and screaming and was
followed by the administration of a second oath, the violation of which
rendered the individual liable to the penalty of death.
Then followed a number of
other ceremonies, which typified the confinement of Noah in the Ark, the death
of that patriarch, and other incidents, the candidate eventually passing
through a narrow avenue, guarded by angry beasts, after which he was seized
and borne to the water, symbolical of the waters on which the Ark of Noah
floated. In this water he was completely immersed, and, on emerging from the
water on to the bank on the side opposite to that from which he had entered,
he found himself in a blaze of light. He was then presented to the Arch Druid,
who, seated on his throne or chair of office, explained to him the symbolical
meaning of the various ceremonies through which he had passed.
This ceremony of initiation
was similar to that of the Egyptian rites of Osiris, which was regarded as a
descent into hell, a passage through the infernal lake, followed by a landing
on the Egyptian Isle of the Blessed. By its means men were held to become more
holy, just, and pure, and to be delivered from all hazards, which would
otherwise be impending. The cave in which the aspirant was placed for
meditation before he was permitted to participate in the sacred mysteries was
guarded by a representative of the terrible divinity, Busnawr, who was armed
with a naked sword, and whose vindictive wrath, when aroused, was said to be
such as to make earth, hell, and even heaven itself, tremble.
Dionysius tells us that when
the Druidesses celebrated the mysteries of the great god, Hu the Mighty, they
passed over an arm of the sea in the dead of the night to ascertain smaller
contiguous islets. The ship, or vessel, in which they made the passage
represented the Ark of the Deluge; the arm of the sea, that of the waters of
the flood; and the fabled Elysian island, where the voyage terminated,
shadowed out the Lunar White Island of the ocean-girt summit of the
After the initiation was
completed the candidate retired into the forest where the period of his
noviciate was spent, his time being devoted to study and gymnastic exercises.
There were various steps, or degrees, and it was necessary for the Druid to
pass through the degrees of Vate and Bard before becoming a full-fledged
Druid. Prior to the conferring of each degree the candidate was confined
within cromlechs without food for thirty-six hours. The caves in which all the
ceremonies were performed were like the Druidical temples above-ground,
circular in form.
The three degrees of Vate,
Bard, and Druid were regarded as equal in importance, though not in privilege,
and they were distinct in purpose. There is little doubt that knowledge was
confined mainly, if not altogether, to the professed Druids. Caesar says that
they disputed largely upon subjects of natural philosophy and instructed the
youth of the land in the rudiments of learning. By some writers the Druids are
credited with a knowledge of the telescope, though this opinion is based
mainly upon the statement of Diodorus Siculus, who says that on an island west
of Celtae, the Druids brought the sun and moon near to them. Hecataeus,
however, informs us that they taught the existence of lunar mountains. The
fact that the milky way consisted of small stars was known to the ancients is
often adduced in support of the claim to antiquity of the telescope. Idris,
the giant, a pre-Christian astronomer, is said to have pursued his study of
the science from the apex of one of the loftiest mountains in North Wales,
which, in consequence, received the name which it now bears--Cader Idris, or
the Chair of Idris. Diodorus Siculus is also responsible for the statement
that the Saronides (Druids) were the Gaulish philosophers and divines and were
held in great veneration and that it was not lawful to perform any sacrifices
except in the presence of one of these philosophers.
Mr. P. W. Joyce, in his
Social History of Ancient Ireland, says that in Pagan times the Druids were
the exclusive possessors of whatever learning was then known and combined in
themselves all the learned professions, being not only Druids or priests, but
judges, prophets, historians, poets and even physicians. He might have added:
"and instructors of youth," since education was entirely in their hands. Even
St. Columba began his education under a Druid and so great was the veneration
paid to the Druids for the knowledge they possessed that it became a kind of
adage with respect to anything that was deemed mysterious or beyond ordinary
ken: "No one knows but God and the holy Druids."
The Druids were the
intermediaries between the people and the spiritual world, and the people
believed that their priests could protect them from the malice of
evilly-disposed spirits of every kind. The authority possessed by the Druids
is easily understood when it is remembered that they were possessed of more
knowledge and learning than any other class of men in the country. "They
were," says Rowlands in Mona Antiqua Restorata, "men of thought and
speculation, whose chief province was to enlarge the bounds of knowledge, as
their fellows were to do those of empire into what country or climate soever
Kings had each ever about
them a Druid for prayer and sacrifice, who was also a judge for determining
controversies, although each king had a civil judge besides. At the Court of
Conchobar, King of Ulster, no one had the right to speak before the Druid had
spoken. Cathbu or Cathbad, a Druid once attached to that Court, was
accompanied by a hundred youths, students of his art. After the introduction
and adoption of Christianity the Druid was succeeded by a bishop or priest,
just as the Druidesses at Kildare were succeeded by the Briggitine Nuns.
Martin, who wrote his Description of the Western Islands of Scotland in 1703,
tells us that:
"Every great family of the
Western Islands had a chief Druid who foretold future events and decided all
causes, civil and ecclesiastical. It is reported of them that they wrought in
the night time and rested all day. Before the Britons engaged in battle the
Chief Druid harangued the army to excite their courage. He was placed on an
eminence whence he addressed himself to all standing about him, putting them
in mind of all great things that were performed by the valour of their
ancestors, raised their hopes with the noble rewards of honour and victory and
dispelled their fears by all the topics that natural courage could suggest.
After this harangue the army gave a general shout and then charged the enemy
The position of Arch Druid
was at one time held by Divitiacus, the Eduan, the intimate acquaintance and
friend of Caesar, who is believed to have inspired the account of Druidism
given by Caesar in De Bello Gallico. The British Arch Druid is said to have
had his residence in the Isle of Anglesey, in or near to Llaniden. There the
name of Tre'r Dryw, or Druidstown, is still preserved and there are still
there also some of the massive stone structures which are invariably
associated with Druidism. The Courts of the Arch Druids were held at Drewson,
or Druidstown. The principal seat of the French Druids was at Chartres, the
residence of the Gallic Arch Druid, at which place also the annual convention
of Gaulish and British Druids was held. There was also a large Druidical
settlement at Marseilles. It was here that Caesar, in order to put an end to
Druidism in Gaul, ordered the trees to be felled. . There is no record of a
head priest or Arch Druid amongst the Irish Druids.
Dr. John Jamieson, in his
Historical Account of the Ancient Culdees of Iona, which was published in
1870, says that twenty years previously there was living in the parish of
Moulim, an old man, who although very regular in his devotions, never
addressed the Supreme Being by any other title than that of Arch Druid. He
quotes this as an illustration of the firm hold which ancient superstition
takes of the mind.
Druids had the privilege of
wearing six colours in their robes and their tunics reached to their heels,
while the tunics of others reached only to the knees. Kings and queens
reserved to themselves the right of wearing robes of seven colours; lords and
ladies, five; governors of fortresses, four; young gentlemen of quality,
three; soldiers, two; and the common people, one. When the Druids were
officiating in their priestly capacity, they wore each a white robe,
emblematic of truth and holiness as well as of the sun. When officiating as a
judge, the Druid wore two white robes, fastened with a girdle, surmounted by
his Druid's egg encased in gold, and wore round his neck the breastplate of
judgment, which was supposed to press upon his breast should he give utterance
to a false or corrupt judgment. A golden tiara was upon his head and two
official rings on his right hand fingers. On ordinary occasions the cap worn
by the Druid had on the front a golden representation of the sun under a half
moon of silver, supported by two Druids, one at each cusp, in an inclined
The mode of excommunication
was to expose the erring member to a naked weapon. The Bards had a special
ceremony for the degradation of their convicted brethren. It took place at a
Gorsedd when the assembled Bards placed their caps on their heads. One deputed
for the office unsheathed his sword, uplifted it and named the delinquent
aloud three times, adding, on the last occasion the words: "The sword is naked
against him." After these words were pronounced the offender was expelled,
never to be re-admitted, and he became known as "a man deprived of privilege
and exposed to warfare."
MASONRY AMONG PRIMITIVE
BY BRO. J.W. NORWOOD,
MUCH has been said and
written about Freemasonry among the Indians, the Arabs, the Chinese, the
Australians and even the Africans. The recognition of Masonic signs and the
use of various Masonic symbols in the rites of these people have given color
to the supposition that they had Masonry, not of the sort we moderns can
recognize as such to be sure, but sufficient to convince students that "the
landmarks" are there.
If by Freemasonry we mean
merely the grand lodge system established in 1717, then all these tales of
white Freemasons saving their lives among savages or in strange countries by
the use of Masonic signs, mean nothing. But if the legends of our Order have
any significance whatever, then Freemasonry is very ancient though it has been
arranged and rearranged in the form of rites and degrees many times. And if
this is true, that no man can say when or where it first began, then it is not
folly to investigate the evolution of what we now term Freemasonry. Stanley in
Africa, travelers in Australia, shipwrecked sailors on the coast of Arabia,
have been reported as meeting with primitive Freemasonry.
The Chinese have frequently
been referred to as having a rite they claim to be the most ancient on earth.
Chinese classics abound in references to the square and compasses used
speculatively. And as often denials have come from Masonic notables, declaring
it could not be so.
Here is an anecdote that may
illustrate why students of Freemasonry are not so sure the Chinese may not
have what they claim. In San Francisco there is a lodge of what is popularly
called the "Chinese Freemasons." Needless to say they do not themselves call
it so, though they recognize kinship with the great fraternity.
A number of years ago, the
writer had a conversation with a gentleman who had traveled extensively in
this country, Alaska and Mexico. He had visited this lodge of "Chinese
Freemasons." He was admitted in company with a friend, editor of a daily paper
and a 32d Scottish Rite Mason, who merely vouched for the man as a Mason.
My informant stated that he
saw the opening and closing in three degrees but no initiatory ceremonies.
Aside from the general disposition and number of officers, he did not observe
much that reminded him of our Masonry.
I asked him about the signs
given in the three degrees. He arose and proceeded to give me the signs as he
declared the Chinese made them. They were identical with those of the three
degrees save that they were given with two hands where we give them with one.
There were no due guards. My friend was astonished that he had overlooked this
fact. He was no student. He was not a close observer.
He did remark that his
Scottish Rite friend had told him the grand hailing sign was the same with
ours but the words accompanying it were different and sounded like those words
Jesus uttered on the cross and which have been a puzzle to linguists--"Eloi,
Eloi, Lama Sabacthani." The Chinese translated them "Brother, Brother, has
thou forsaken me?" They declared that they were not Chinese or even Sanskrit.
No one could say whence they originated, but they had come down from time
A number of years ago, the
Masonic Home Journal reported an instance of "Chinese Masonry" according to
which a mandarin had captured some white prisoners, including an English
general who made the sign. He was recognized by the Mandarin and advanced upon
the five points. He was well treated.
In Louisville, Kentucky, the
writer once had the pleasure of seeing a young Korean about to return to his
country as a Christian missionary, raised to the sublime degree of Master
Mason. When called upon for remarks, he said that he had wanted to become a
Mason in order to surprise his father and brothers in Korea, for his family
had been Masons for thousands of years. Their system and rite differed, but
the Masonry was there.
If we begin with the
formation of the modern Grand Lodge system of government in London, 1717, and
trace backward, we will find many curious things connected with that era which
cannot be relegated to the rubbish by contemptuous or skeptical writers.
Nothing has been more clearly
proven than that one source of the rite then formed by Drs. Anderson,
Desaguilers and others, was the operative gild.
These gilds can trace their
history back through the middle ages to ancient Rome and Greece, when they
were connected with various mysteries, as in the case of the builders of
Solomon's Temple, who were actual Tyrians and built similar temples throughout
Asia Minor. They were under the jurisdiction of the Dionysian priesthood then
as their successors were governed by the clergy during Christian times.
But there was another source
from which Freemasonry drew its inspiration--the Hermetic philosophy. The "Hermeticists,"
whether Astrologers, Alchemists, Rosicrucians, Theosophists or Kabbalists,
used the same symbols or many of them, and explained them in much the same way
as the ancient Chinese, the Egyptians and Hindus.
Prior to the "Revival" of
1717, this "Hermetic" element is to be found giving expression to itself in
Elias Ashmole's "Astrologers" on the "esoteric" side and to the "Royal
Society" on the exoteric. To both of these associations and their members,
closely affiliated with the "Masons Company" in London at that time, the
subsequent Revival owed much. The idea of the founders of modern Masonry in
1717, seems to have been to divest the degrees of all mysterious terms and
ambiguous language, make it universal and open to all men of average
intellect, so that a common platform could be established upon which men of
all creeds could stand without being diverted by too much study of
As Dr. Charles Merz has
recently suggested in his excellent little booklet, "The House of Solomon,"
the Rosicrucian movement of Andrea seemed to have been the inspiration of the
English forerunners of the Masonic system of 1717. Francis Bacon's "New
Atlantis" had a powerful influence upon the Elizabethan age because of his
description of "The House of Solomon" on Bensalem island.
But before Francis Bacon's
time, there were other ideals written about Solomon's Temple. The "Mystics"
and "Hermetics" of the Christian era find their parallels in similar
philosophers in all ages.
Perhaps no more striking
instance showing the connection between the gilds and philosophical societies
can be found than in the use of the two pillars represented as standing before
the Temple by both. The legends connected with these pillars should alone be
sufficient to convince one of their antiquity, even had we not the evidence
left by the gilds in Christian Cathedrals and pagan temples back into
prehistoric times. The Totem poles of savage rites today are survivals of this
ancient custom and from the Totem pole our modern pillars doubtless sprang.
To the student and scientific
observer, Freemasonry is an evolution. Because it is a "progressive science,"
many have imagined that any rearrangement of its degrees, its symbols or its
ceremonies would destroy the "landmarks." Such a suspicion does little credit
to one's understanding of Freemasonry or its spirit. The landmarks are the
tenets of Freemasonry--not some peculiar form of ceremony.
From the signs of
recognition, the symbols by which certain primitive facts in nature were
preserved in a "universal language" among early peoples, to our modern use of
them even while so few understand or care about their meaning, is a long step.
It is not to be expected that
a primitive people possessing these but not the standards of education of the
more enlightened races, should have kept pace with modern research and
progress in civilization.
As a nation evolves so does
its scientific, religious, and philosophical standards. Freemasonry, the
repository of truth as understood by its votaries, naturally undergoes
variation in form according to the deposit made in its archives. One system
can no more hope to become the dictator of other systems than one lamp can
hope to shine all other lamps out of existence.
Like Christianity, which some
of the early Christian Fathers declared had existed from time immemorial and
long before the advent of the Great Master whose name they adopted,
Freemasonry is a thing of the heart and mind which has also existed from time
It cannot be confined within
arbitrary jurisdictions. The most that our modern system can hope to do is to
clear away the rubbish from our speculative lodges and say, "This is the
system of degrees we will recognize as Freemasonry and this alone, for here we
have some approach to a standard of form and ceremony. All others we will not
In Orthodox Jewish circles,
the Rabbis are almost as much opposed to Freemasonry as the Roman Church,
though for a different reason.
To them it is too much like
their own rituals, symbols and ceremonies--too much like taking sacred things
and imitating them.
The Jewish rituals have in
them the elements of the Masonic but applied to religious and racial uses
Take the ceremony of laying
on the tphillin or "phylactery" as the Bible puts it. There one may find the
"Word," the "Substitute," the "Ark" the sign of the Fellowcraft, and even the
"flight of winding stairs" of fifteen steps, together with much more
pertaining to the Masonic degrees. The three lights and the Master's sign are
to be found in another ceremony and so one might continue through these
ancient Mosaic ceremonies and duplicate practically everything to be found in
But even here we must go back
to Egypt where Moses was educated to discover the origin of these things.
There the "Holy Royal Arch" is no less prominent than the very sign of the
Fellowcraft above alluded to. Egypt has left the records of a Masonry where
may be found all our signs and most of our words.
The writer is acquainted with
a gentleman who many years ago spent some time in Palestine and Arabia in
Masonic research. His description of his own initiation into what the Arabians
claim to be a Freemasonry as old as the pyramids, embraced certain signs, and
simple dogmas, exactly like those of our Masonry. The rite was much simpler.
There was no splendid regalia, but the initiates of the Arabic degrees keep
their obligations to the letter and lay down their lives if need be, for a
Another very profitable field
of research for those who are interested in studying the evolution of this
thing we now call Freemasonry is to be found in philology--study of word
derivations. One is astounded at the almost universal dispersion of certain
well known Masonic terms, never used in any other connection.
The word "Jehovah" for
example is discovered to be practically world wide and age old. Its
pronunciation differs, but not the "landmarks" by which it may be identified.
The Jewish JHVH or YHWH, is the same as the "Jah" whom the Phoenician
father-in-law of Moses worshiped and served as priest. It is identical with
the Roman JOVE, or Yowe. The Greek IAO, the Druid HU, the Chinese YAO and the
seven vowels of India and Egypt, find repetition among American Indians and in
African and Australian cults.
So HIRAM (Hebrew Ch'Huram)
goes back to the ancient name for LIGHT as world wide as the pillars of
And John is to be seen in the
Etruscan Janus, whose temple consisted of these two pillars; in the Chaldean
Ea-n whom the Greeks called Oahnnes and in other names of "gods."
Such studies invariably
convince the open minded, that while rituals and ceremonies undergo many
changes in the course of evolution, the teachings inculcated have never
undergone material change because they are the result of profound research by
the world's greatest masters of science and philosophy.
The speculative or spiritual
use of the square and compasses is the same today as when the Chinese sages
urged statesmen and those who sought knowledge to use them for a nobler
purpose than the operative Mason.
The philosophers and fathers
of Masonry used the Masonic symbols as BUILDERS and the craft has always been
the BUILDERS craft. Only when we desert the plan outlined for BUILDING the
temple of Humanity will we infringe the "landmarks" which are the same today
as thousands of years ago. Methods of building and styles of architecture may
and will change. The material changes with every age and we hope gets better.
But the injunction to first make each part perfect and fit for the temple of
the whole, stands as true today as when the science of architecture was first
When we arbitrarily dismiss
the use of Masonic signs and symbols by others than regular Freemasons from
mind, let us not forget that they are the common possession of "Negro Masonry"
and various unrecognized rites today we deem "spurious" or "clandestine." Dr.
Oliver was accustomed to dub the Masonry of the ancients as "spurious," but
where there is something "spurious" it must of necessity follow that there is
a "true" and "regular." Unless there existed an "authentic" rite, there could
be no imitator.
"WHENCE CAME YOU?"
Daily this question is asked
by Masons without the slightest thought as to its real meaning. It is fitting
that the answer we make to it in the lodge is well nigh unintelligible, for it
is about as intelligible as any ever given it or as probably ever will be
given it. Who can answer the question "Whence came you?" Who has ever answered
it ? Who will ever answer it ? Equally baffling and profound is that companion
question, familiar in some jurisdictions, "Whither art thou bound?" Equally an
enigma is the answer we give it. Simple as these questions appear, they search
every nook and cranny and sound every depth of every philosophy, every
mythology, every theology, and every religion that has ever been propounded
anywhere by anybody at any time to explain human life. They allude to the
problems of the origin and destiny of mankind; they lie at the foundation of
all the thinking and of all the activities of man except such as are concerned
with the purely utilitarian question "What shall we eat and wherewithal shall
we be clothed?" All our better impulses, all our loftier aspirations, all our
faiths, all our longing for and striving after a nobler state of existence,
either in this or a future life, are but attempts to answer these two
questions. They are the supreme questions which men have been asking
themselves and each other ever since men were able to think and to talk, and
they are the questions which men will continue to ask oftenest and most
anxiously until the time when we are promised that we shall know even as we
are known. It is thus that study and reflection bring out the beauty and the
profound significance of the simplest of Masonic formulae. --Bro. O. D.
THE HEART OF GOD
O great heart of God
Once vague and lost to me,
Why do I throb with your
In this land, eternity?
O little heart of God
Sweet intruding stranger,
You are laughing in my human
A Christ-child in a manger.
We have no pleasure in
thinking of a benevolence that is unmeasured by its works. Love is
inexhaustible, and if its estate is wasted, its granary emptied, still cheers
and enriches, and the man, though he sleep, seems to purify the air, and his
house to adorn the landscape and strengthen the laws. People always recognize
this difference. We know who is benevolent by quite other means than the
amount of subscriptions to soup societies.
THE FELLOWSHIP OF MASONRY
BY BRO. JOHN LEWIN MCLEISH,
AN ADDRESS BEFORE THE HYDE
PARK MASONIC CLUB
MASONRY is an earnest
fellowship of tried and true men, cognizant of human failures in the past,
conscious of human limitations in the present, and animated by the loftiest
human aspirations for the future. That Mason who best understands the real,
the esoteric meaning of our gentle philosophy, is best equipped to further the
highest ideals of brotherly love, relief and truth, for which Masonry stands.
The sleeping giant of Masonry
is awakening at last. The Spirit of Masonry is permeating the Mighty
Fellowship, arousing them to the call of humanity in a time of trial, the like
of which this generation of the Sons of Men had never thought to face.
Amidst stress and storm, in
the olden days, when men harbored suspicion and hate, and Nations knew not
Peace, nor Brotherly Love, nor Divine Truth, sprang the Spirit of Masonry to
evolve a philosophy of Moral and Social Virtues which should cement the Sons
of Men of diverse Nations by unbreakable bonds of Fellowship.
For centuries, the
propagation of a Secret Doctrine, "older than the oldest Church, more enduring
than the most ancient Religion," slowly spread, girdling the globe, gathering
into its Great Brotherhood the very best of every civilization until today',
when it stands a Mighty Force, well equipped to properly fight the battles of
Humanity, fearless in its sublime principles, and assured of ultimate
achievement of its highest ideals, because of its practical application of
that Great Masonic Dogma, the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man.
Its very vitality is dependent absolutely upon unfaltering Faith in the Grand
Architect of the Universe, cemented by those ties of true Masonic Fellowship
quite unbreakable even in death.
It is fortunate that this is
so. New problems today confront the Sons of Men. Mighty issues must be faced
by the Nations of the World including our own. Ours the task to minister to
the peoples of Europe, emerging supine from the dread cataclysm of War. We
must meet their pressing need and extend the hand of true Masonic Fellowship
the underlying principle of which is Masonic Charity. We are one of the
World's Great Forces ever struggling along a common highway of Human
Utilitarianism. There are others less constructive. That particular Force
which proves itself best fitted to cope with the new needs of Humankind, will
longest endure. Gauging future probabilities by past performances, this
Masonry of ours will not be found wanting.
Let us consider for a moment
the strength of the Mighty Fellowship of which it is our privilege to form a
In the United States we
number nearly two million brethren of forty-nine Sovereign Grand Lodges. The
very smallest of these in our Federal District has jurisdiction over thirty
lodges. In England the Grand Lodge has subordinate 2578 lodges. In Canada,
eight Grand Lodges guide the destiny of more than 100,000 Masons. In Germany
too are eight Grand Lodges, in South America six, in Australia six, in India
five, in the West Indies three, in Mexico, Liberia, Egypt, Central America,
Hungary, Servia, France and Italy one each. Our craft is numerically strong in
Switzerland, Holland, Belgium and Portugal. From such figures you will
perceive the Universality of the Great Brotherhood, sense its wondrous
potentiality for good, as the lines of Fellowship are drawn closer, ever
closer, a happening sure to come with the termination of the present World
One of our greatest
weaknesses, is the failure of many Masons, through indifference, lack of
time,--environment,--or opportunity, to familiarize themselves with the
glorious history and traditions of an Order whose main motif has been the
making of Better Men and in consequence a Better Humanity during the centuries
of its existence.
There are those raised to the
sublime degree of Master Mason, and hurried through the higher degrees of the
Scottish or the York Rites, who glean but the slightest knowledge of the
history and meaning of Masonry. Proudly they wear the emblems of our Order,
with a dim conception that they stand for something intangible, that through
force of our numbers they demand respect, and cannot but give them a somewhat
superior standing in the mass. Ask these brethren to explain the symbolism of
the emblems, or put to them the pointed questions: "What is Masonry doing
today? What does it stand for? What has it ever done?" They are lost for
reply. They do not know.
For each individual Brother,
Masonry is what he makes it. None of its deeper philosophy will unfold itself
to his ken, without individual effort. Once in his life, to him individually
is imparted the instruction of the Worshipful Master. To him is given an
enactment of the Solomonic and Hiramic legends so beautifully set forth in our
Ritualistic Drama. Much or little of the strange ceremonies performed for his
enlightenment he may grasp. For some, the little that they carry from the
lodgeroom on the night of their "raising," is indeed of small value. As well
expect a candidate, rushed through the thirty-two degrees of the Scottish Rite
in the few days alloted the Annual Reunion, to grasp the full beauty, the
hidden meanings and real philosophy of that Ancient and Accepted Ritual unless
later, he shall follow up the lessons hurriedly hinted at with a thoughtful
reading of the classic "MORALS AND DOGMA," of Albert Pike. or a less
pretentious manual of instruction.
Although I take it for
granted most of you are more or less familiar with the splendid history of our
Fellowship, a brief reference to the history of Masonry from its beginning may
not prove unwelcome. The arduous labors of thoughtful Masonic students
collaborating in groups like the Ars Quatuor Coronati Lodge of London, the
Lodge of Research of Leicestershire, England, our National Masonic Research
Society of Iowa, and the Cincinnati Masonic Study School--has once for all
dispelled any lurking doubts entertained as to the true Antiquity of Masonry.
Let the Father of Masonic
Philosophy, Albert Pike, impart to you his conception of Freemasonry:
"It began to shape itself in
my intellectual vision into something more imposing and majestic, solemnly
mysterious and grand. It seemed to me like the Pyramids in their loneliness,
in whose yet undiscovered chambers may be hidden for the enlightenment of
coming generations, the Sacred Books of the Egyptians, so long lost to the
world: like the Sphynx half buried in the desert. . . In its Symbolism which,
and its Spirit of Brotherhood are, its essence, Freemasonry is more ancient
than any of the world's living religions. It has the symbols and doctrines
which, older than himself, Zarathrustra inculcated, and it seemed to me a
spectacle sublime, yet pitiful . . the Ancient Faith of our Ancestors, holding
out to the world its symbols once so eloquent, and mutely and in vain asking
for an interpreter. . . And so I came at last to see that the true greatness
and majesty of Freemasonry consist in its proprietorship of these and its
other symbols: and that its symbolism is its soul."
History shows clearly close
connection between the Faiths and Philosophies of widely separated peoples.
This is due to the fact that human nature never changes. It is the same now as
it was in the prepyramidal days of ancient Egypt. Now, even as then, Man is
groping blindly yet none the less determinedly in his endless Quest for Truth.
In the long ago, before the
age of books, Man expressed himself in Architecture through the use of various
symbols, as the Swastika of the Chaldees, the Triangle of the Egyptians, the
Triple Tau of the Hebrews, the Cross of the Christians, the Square, Compasses,
Plumb, Level and Circle of the Architects, blood brothers of the Accepted
In 1818 an archeologist,
Giovanni Belzoni undertook the excavation of the Tombs of the Kings at
Biban-el-Maluk, on the outskirts of what was once the thriving and populous
City of Thebes. The result of his efforts was to establish the existence of
Masonry among the ancient Egyptians; a Masonry working upon the same basic
principles as our Modern Masonic Philosophy.
Some of Belzoni's most
convincing "finds" were in the Hall of Beauties, a stone chamber 20 feet by 14
feet in the tomb of Pharaoh Osiris. The walls were profusely adorned with
painted pictures in relief, the old hieroglyphic symbol-writing of ancient
Egypt which has thrown much light upon the customs and manners of antiquity.
Belzoni's discoveries established that the original form of the Egyptian
Masonic Apron was triangular: that the triangular and serpent aprons were
exclusively royal: that this tomb of Pharaoh Osiris was dedicated to the
Masonic Mysteries blended and united with emblems of discoveries, inventions
and sciences in general, progressively as they took place: that Freemasonry in
the earlier ages was very different from what it is now, and that at the time
of Pharaoh Osiris, it had attained to a grandeur unknown in Europe.
Later discoveries in Egypt,
as the finding of Masonic Emblems in the foundations of the Obelisk confirmed
Belzoni's claim that Masonry was an Existent Fellowship in Ancient Egypt. On
this point one of our greatest Ohio Masons, the late Enoch T. Carson, has
"Masonic Archeologists, and
students of its history and mysteries, are not startled at these discoveries.
They know the Order is of great antiquity. The general doctrinal features, . .
its cosmopolite character, its recognition and teaching of the Universal
Brotherhood of Men, are substantially the same today as they were in the
remote ages of antiquity. Its particular ritualistic ceremonies have undergone
many and very great changes. These have been modified to a greater or lesser
extent to correspond with the wants and tastes of particular nationalities. .
. Those who believe that our Masonic Institution had no existence anterior to
1717 are literary knaves and dunces. . . Several learned works have been
written to prove that Masonry sprung from, or is a continuation of the Ancient
Egyptian Mysteries or Osiris Worship in a modified form. . . To the student of
history, its origin is lost in the remotest ages of antiquity: but its
principles and doctrines are fresh and grateful to the moral sensibilities of
true humanity in whatever clime they may be promulgated, even as they were in
the Poets' Golden Age, when Humanity was a Universal Brotherhood." . . This
from so profound an authority as was Bro. Carson.
The acceptance of the
Egyptian Origin of Freemasonry makes it easier for us to understand its
transmission to the Hebrews after the Captivity and its spread through
subsequent civilizations. Like all philosophic peoples, the Egyptians believed
in a life after death. To them Death meant the DAWNING OF A SOUL. The very
network of their drama of Faith based on the coming, death and resurrection of
Osiris, is strangely suggestive of a certain impressive lesson taught in one
of our sublime degrees today.
It is well known that the
Hebrews drew the inspiration for much of their philosophy from Egypt. In their
own version of the old, old story, tradition has woven a beautiful legend of a
certain widow's son, all centering about the greatest world event of King
Solomon's time, the building of the temple on Mount Moriah.
Nor did the spread of
Egyptian influence end with the Hebrews. We can find traces of it in the
Eleusinian Mysteries of Greece, and in those of Syria and Persia. All are
possessors of a similar legend of a death and a resurrection. And about each
one of the diverse Dramas of Faith is a Code of Morality, veiled in symbolism
and protected by the secret signs and words of explanation possessed only by
the initiate. Tolerant of the contemporary beliefs of the Profane, the
primitive Masonic Mysteries under other names, drew into the Great Fellowship
of Antiquity, many eager souls of many nations questing LIGHT.
We come now to the borderland
between Ancient and Modern Masonry.
In its various ramifications,
the Secret Doctrine was carried by the Tyrians from Mount Moriah where they
had participated in the building of King Solomon's Temple, back to their
homeland. They who had had a hand in the most stupendous architectural
undertaking of ancient times, now formed themselves into a Society known as
the Dionysian Architects.
Presently the sway of Rome
began to extend itself over the ancient world. The Roman legions came to Tyre.
With them they took back to the City of the Seven Hills, many of those skilled
workmen who had developed Architecture to a high degree until then not dreamed
of in Rome. In the home of the Caesars they imparted their wondrous skill to
others and in time an Order akin to their own, The Collegia sprang into being.
These too were fraternities of skilled artificers closely correlated, and
protected by the same Secret System as their instructors. A somewhat
significant characteristic of each of these Roman Collegia was the fact that
each had its Master, its Wardens, a Secretary and a Treasurer, and a Quorum of
three, as a requirement to meeting. The Square, the Plumb, the Level, the
Cube, the Compasses and the Circle were symbolic emblems of the Roman
Builders. Secrecy was a keynote of their organization.
In the days when Christianity
was forbidden Heresy in still-pagan Rome, many of The Collegia became
affiliated with the strange new Cult. For a time, the Emperor Diocletian
purposely permitted himself to be blind to their departure from the ancient
Faith to that of the Nazarene. When four of their most influential members
refused to erect a statue to the God Aesculapius, Diocletian inaugurated a
vigorous campaign for their undoing. Four of the Masters and one Apprentice
suffered a horrible death. It is these Four who today are gratefully
remembered by the Craftsmen of Europe, as our First Masonic Martyrs. After
them is named the greatest Lodge of Research in the world, the Quatuor
Coronati of London.
Such of the brethren of the
Collegia as escaped fled to an impregnable refuge on Lake Como. Here they kept
their secret organization alive perpetuating it as the Comacine Gild which
flourished during the Dark Ages.
After Charlemagne, when the
spread of Christianity led to an immense revival in building as a fine art,
expressing itself in the erection of great Cathedrals, the Comacines followed
in the wake of the Clergy, availing themselves of their ancient privileges as
Free Men to go whither they might desire.
Out of their wanderings
resulted the Cathedral Builders or Free Masons--the old Operatives--who
traveled from city to city, from nation to nation, welcomed by all and
recognized as the only Gilds quite competent to express the Spirit of the
Times in speaking stone. Their organization was that of Lodges, with a Master,
Fellowcrafts and Apprentices.
Apprentices were required to
serve seven years before they might become Fellowcrafts. Then there was due
examination and only such as were found duly and truly prepared, worthy and
well-qualified were passed. Another characteristic was that each Mason had his
own individual mark. Many of these you may see today in some of the great
Cathedrals of Europe.
Perhaps I can best explain
the great dependence of Freemasons upon Symbolic Expression by following the
example of Ossian Lang and quoting from that masterly Chapter in Victor Hugo's
"Notre Dame." It takes its title, "THIS WILL KILL THAT," from the gloom of one
of its leading characters, the Archdeacon, as he contrasts a crudely printed
book, one of the first of its kind, with the towers and gargoyle-decorated
walls of the Church, supreme consummation of Masons' handiwork, to gloomily
exclaim as he points to the printed page, "This will kill that." Says Victor
"The human race has had two
books, two registers, two testaments-- Architecture and Printing--the Bible of
Stone, and the Bible of Paper. Up to the time of Gutenberg, Architecture was
the chief and universal mode of writing. In those days if a man was born a
poet, he turned architect. GENIUS, scattered among the masses,--kept down on
all sides by feudality,--escaped by way of Architecture, and its Iliads took
the form of Cathedrals. From the moment that printing was discovered,
architecture gradually lost its virility, declined and became denuded. Being
no longer looked upon as the one all-embracing sovereign and enslaving art,
architecture lost its power of retaining others in its service. Carving became
Sculpture,--Imagery, Painting,--the Canon, Music. It was like the
dismemberment of an Empire on the death of its Alexander,--each province
making itself a kingdom."
While Masonry expressed
itself in the handiwork of the Compagnons as our craftsmen were called in
France, of the Comacines in Italy, and the Vehmgerichte in Germany, Gothic
Architecture springing up in England after the Norman Conquest in 1066, gave
an equal degree of prosperity to the Freemasons there. And as early as 1600 it
was quite common in England for Operative Lodges to admit Speculative members.
Although engaged in the
service of the Church the Freemasons did not even in medieval days wholly
approve of the Church. Upon some of the highest cornices of their handiwork
they have indelibly cartooned this contempt. For example Findel says: "In the
St. Sebaldus Church of Nurembourg, is a carving showing a nun in the embrace
of a monk. In Strassburg an Ass is reading Mass at an altar. In Mecklenburg
may be seen priests grinding dogmas out of a gristmill, and the Apostles in
well-known Masonic attitudes. At Brandenburg you may see a fox in priestly
robes preaching to a flock of geese."
With the Reformation came a
distinct break between Church and Freemasonry.
A direct off-shoot of the
traveling Freemasons were City Gilds which embodied much of the philosophy,
and some of the brotherhood features, of our Order. Still they were quite
distinct. They sometimes worked for the Freemasons. To enter the older and
more artistic fraternity they must prove possessed of unusual skill. There can
be no doubt of our direct descent from the medieval craftsmen of whose
splendid symbolism I have tried to give a glimpse. Says Joseph Fort Newton in
his classic of the Blue Lodge:
"Masonry was then at the
zenith of its power: in its full splendor: the Lion of the tribe of Judah its
symbol, strength, wisdom and beauty its ideals. Its motto "to be faithful to
God and the Government." Its mission to lend itself to the public good and
fraternal Charity. Keeper of an ancient and high tradition, it was a refuge
for the oppressed, and a teacher of art and morality to mankind."
It was when the Freemasons
took Liberty for a slogan that the Church looked askance. In the more Catholic
countries Freemasonry was frowned upon.
Newton stresses the fact that
membership in the old Operative Lodges implied "honesty, trustfulness,
fidelity, chastity and temperance: Fealty to the brotherhood: Regard for
Secrecy: Reverence in God."
The organization of the
lodges was perfect. The Master's word was Law. They had a distinctive
uniform--a rather picturesque crew with skin-tight leather breeches, high
boots, dark tunics and peaked hats: for arms short swords and a heavy walking
It is a disputed point as to
how many degrees the Operative Masons had. This much we know. Their work was
simpler, less formal than it was after becoming Speculative.
The gradual acceptance into
the Order of men of prominence, influence, intellectuality and wealth, marks
the evolution into Modern Masonry which took place in the year 1717, on St.
John's day. In time the purely Speculative Masons outnumbered the older
Operatives. At first the Operatives were differentiated by the title of
Freemasons, the Speculatives by the name of Accepted Masons. Their union in
1717 explains our latterday nomenclature F. & A. M.
As the Age of Man's
Self-Expression in Buildings of Stone Waned, and Freemasons no longer wrought
in the language of Symbolic Carving, their successors clung to the old
traditions and applied the centuries-old philosophy handed down from the days
of Ancient Egypt by word of mouth, to the Building of Spiritual Temples, each
man being his own Architect therefor.
It was the custom in those
early days of Speculative Masonry for lodges to meet in taverns, and so the
first four lodges assembling to form the First Grand Lodge of England, were
those that met at "The Goose and Gridiron Ale House in St. Paul's Churchyard;
The Crown Alehouse in Parker's Lane; The Apple Tree Tavern in Covent Garden
and The Rummer and Grape Tavern."
In those days the tavern was
a most important place in city life. Bishop Earle a writer of the 17th century
says aptly: "Taverns are the busy man's recreation, the idle man's business,
the melancholy man's sanctuary, and the stranger's welcome."
Some of the most eminent men
of the day, nobles, gentlemen, editors, poets and philosophers foregathered at
these taverns "the broachers of more news than hogsheads, more jests than
news." As Macauley truly puts it, "The Coffee House was the Londoner's home
and those who wished to find a gentleman, commonly asked not whether he lived
in Fleet Street or Chancery Lane, but whether he frequented The Grecian or The
An eminently fitting place at
that time for the meetings of a Masonic Lodge which in the early days numbered
among the brethren many of the regular patrons of these old London Landmarks.
A very interesting
description of London Taverns and Masonry is to be found in Vol. XIX Ars
Quatuor Coronati Researches.
From now on, Speculative
Masonry becomes the only Masonry we know-- an organization of worthy men,
humanitarian in their sympathies, moral in their Code, practicing brotherly
love, relief and truth, the three cardinal principles of Masonic Fellowship.
The example of Merrie England
was followed by other lands. Grand Lodges had their being in Ireland in 1729,
Scotland 1736, Berlin 1744, France 1736 and so on through the Universal Empire
In America the first Charter
was issued to a Deputy Provincial Grand Master for New York, New Jersey and
Pennsylvania in 1730. One of our early historic lodges met at the Green Dragon
Tavern in Boston. It was here the brethren of St. Andrew's planned and carried
out the Boston Tea Party.
When we cast aside the yoke
of England, our Lodges forsook all obedience to England's Grand Lodge. Each
State formed its own Masonic Sovereignty. With the exception of the
Anti-Masonic agitation sweeping the country in the middle twenties, Masonry
has made a steady advance.
Now has it occurred to you to
wonder why our Brotherhood has withstood the storm and stress of all time, why
it has drawn into its membership some of the best of every generation of the
Sons of Men ? Does not Albert Pike explain it when he says:
"MASONRY ALONE preaches
TOLERATION, the right of Man to abide by his own Faith, the right of all
States to govern themselves. . . It rebukes alike the monarch who seeks to
extend his dominions by Conquest, the Church that claims the right to suppress
Heresy by fire and steel, and the Confederation of States that insist on
maintaining a union by force and restoring Brotherhood by slaughter and
Masonry has been variously
defined. With Bro. Newton I rather prefer the German definition:
"MASONRY is the activity of
closely united men, who, employing symbolical forms borrowed principally from
the mason's trade, and from architecture, work for the welfare of mankind,
striving morally to ennoble themselves, and others, and thereby to bring about
a universal league of mankind, which they aspire to exhibit even now on a
Our Masonic Ideal is growing
more and more humanitarian. We are face to face with the realization that in a
measure we are directly responsible for Man's well or ill being.
More and more the deeper
Masonic Thinkers are awakening to the fact that if Masonry would hold its own
as a World-Force, it must exert its great influence and strength in the Arena
of World Politics. Conditions have not yet come to a point in this country to
compel Masons to have part actively in politics as such. And yet, all other
things being equal, I would lay it down as an unwritten law implied by our
obligations, when Brother Masons are Candidates for Office, Always give them
the preference with your Ballot before other men. Only so may the Craft
withstand the growing encroachments of Clericalism upon our daily life and
ideals and most upon our American Political Life.
Under this phase our Latin
American Brethren have blazed the trail. They through united action drove the
hated Spanish Inquisition from the shores of the New World. In Mexico, Masons
since 1833 have had their own particular platform, later formulated as the
Laws of Reform into the Constitution of 1857, that same Constitution for which
Madero gave his life, for which Carranza is fighting now. Social Service is
another latter day call upon the craft. In some cities, Masonic Social Service
has been developed to the highest degree of efficiency.
He who would best serve
Masonry must be tireless in his efforts. Maintain close connection with your
Lodge; Make the visiting stranger feel at home; Aid the Master in devising
ways and means to vary the monotony of the ceaseless grinding of our Degree
Mills, endless repetition, an unavoidable consequence nowadays because of the
Wave of Masonic Enthusiasm overspreading the country. If you would better fit
yourself for the Fellowship of Freemasonry as an Active Worker, inform
yourself of its splendid traditions, its history, aims, and present day
All this is possible through
our readable Masonic Magazines, and periodicals for those of you pressed for
time, and the weightier tomes of Masonic Lore for the Booklover. You will soon
learn there is much that we must do. We Masons are just finding ourselves.
I might consume hours telling
of the problems to he met. Perhaps most of you know better than I many of them
now staring us in the face. Signs of Unrest are all about us. How to meet new
issues, new conditions, Masons may find by keeping in close contact with their
Lodges, their Chapters, their Masonic Clubs and subsidiary organizations where
the best of the brethren meet to take council together, and plan for the
future, while showing an unrelaxing interest in the present.
There is much more to Masonry
than the continuous repetition of Ritualism. While that has its function, in
reminding us of the Great Philosophy which has successfully weathered the
storms of centuries, and contributed its quota to the making of Better Men,
Squarer Men, Truer Men, yet it has failed utterly and its beauty and rhythmic
charm has had no meaning to him who came merely to be raised from a dead level
to a living perpendicular, if he passes out again to the Profane, to flaunt
his emblem proudly, while altogether out of touch with the Brotherhood, with
the lodge, with himself--a Button Mason indeed, who comes no more to lodge
unless it be to dine.
There is no more splendid
Fellowship than that of Masonry--the glorious interlacing Fellowship of Man
with the Great Architect of the Universe, the invisible, incorporeal ONE
GOD--and next the Fellowship of Man with Men, the mutual recognition of
Brotherhood. Such a Fellowship expresses both human ideals and spiritual
All through the long
centuries Masonry has borne the Secret Doctrine of Fellowship teaching Man to
live in harmony with Man.
I have spoken of the Great
Quest all Masons have made, all Masons are making, that steady secret search
which some have found, and some have not, the goal.
To each man is the Secret
Doctrine unraveled insofar as he senses his proximity to his God, his
brotherly responsibility for his kind.
WHEN IS A MAN A MASON ?
Find the answer in that Blue
Lodge Classic, The Builders, by Bro. Joseph Fort Newton:
"When he can look out over
the rivers, the hills, and the far horizon with a sense of his own littleness
in the vast scheme of things, and yet have faith, hope and courage . . which
is the root of every virtue. When he knows that down in his heart, every man
is as noble, as vile, as divine, as diabolic, and as lonely as himself, and
seeks to know, to forgive and to love his fellow-man. When he knows how to
sympathize with men in their sorrow, yea, even in their sins, knowing that
each man fights a hard fight against many odds. When he has learned how to
make friends and to keep them, and above all, to keep friends with himself. .
. When he can be happy and highminded amid the meaner drudgeries of life. . .
When no voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no hand seeks his aid
without response. . . When he knows how to pray, how to love, how to hope. . .
When he has kept faith with himself with his fellowman, with his God: in his
hand a sword for evil, in his heart a bit of a song, . . glad to live, but not
afraid to die. . Such a man has found the ONLY REAL SECRET OF MASONRY, and THE
ONE which it is trying to give all the world."
"'Let there be light ! the
great Creator spoke,
And at the summons slumbering
While from the east the
primal morning broke.
Back rolled the curtains of
And earth rejoiced to see the
"'Let there be light !
through boundless realms of space
Beneath its touch arise new
forms of grace;
Warmth, life, and beauty with
its beams keep pace.
Where e'er it shines, with
All things reflect the genial
"'Let there be light! the
Master's lips proclaim,
And heart and hand unite in
To hail th' enrollment of a
While he beholds with
The glories of the perfect
"'Let there be light! and let
the Bible's glow
Pervade our thoughts--through
all our actions show--
Around our hearts its warming
So shall our steps be led
If guided by that holy light.
" 'Let there be light! though
we see dimly here,
The shining gates are ever
And send their glory down our
Beyond--shall heaven our eyes
With its divine, transcendant
--Thomas W. Davis, Mass.
THE BASIS OF BROTHERHOOD
It is not possible to create
a true and genuine Brotherhood upon any theory of the baseness of human
nature. There can be no real Brotherhood without mutual regard, good opinion
and esteem, and mutual allowance for faults and failings. It is those only who
learn habitually to think better of each other, and who look habitually for
the good that is in each other, and who allow and overlook the evil, who can
be Brethren one of the other, in any true sense.--Albert Pike.
DR. BUCK -- A MILITANT MASON
BY BRO. JOSEPH FORT NEWTON,
TAPS are sounded all too
often in our noble army of Builders, as one by one our veteran leaders and
students pass into "the Eternal East." Few names are more widely known in our
Fraternity, and none more highly honored, than that of Dr. J.D. Buck, whose
death at the mellow age of seventy-eight takes from us a man distinguished
alike in Medicine and in Masonry, as indefatigable in his studentship as he
was tireless in his benevolence. He was a man of fine character, of forthright
intellect, faithful and true in all the fellowships of life, respected as a
citizen, beloved as a friend, honored as a Mason; and if we were asked to sum
up his long life in a single phrase it would not be hard to find-- the search
for truth and the service of mankind.
Self-made and self-trained,
he had an insatiable thirst for knowledge, and, his mind, far-ranging by
nature, journeyed into many a replete field of research in quest of truth --
passing through more than one phase betimes, as he advanced from system to
system in his pilgrimage. Original without being creative, what it lacked in
orderliness it made up in the vigor and daring with which it dealt with first
principles and ultimate issues in science, philosophy, economics and
religion--as witness the names and number of his published works. What his
final conclusions were may be found, no doubt, in the book which he left
unfinished, and we are sure it was written in that style virile and direct,
touched at times with beauty and fire, which is familiar to all who have
followed his pen.
Truly it was a great
privilege to have carried an open mind and a kind heart over so long a span of
years, watching the revolutionary changes of thought and life between 1838 and
1916. Better still, our Brother filled his years to the brim with fruitful
labors as a citizen, a scientist, a teacher, and a friend of his race, leaving
the world better than he found it, helping forward every good cause. Here
follows a brief sketch of his life wherein the leading facts are recited,
which his Brethren will want to know:
Dr. J.D. Buck was born in
Fredonia, N. Y., Nov. 20, 1838. His early education was obtained at Belvidere
Academy, Belvidere, Ill., to which place his parents had removed. Later he
attended the Janesville, Wis., Academy. The early death of his father made it
necessary for him to quit school and assume the responsibility of the bread
winner for the family, at an age when most boys are in high school. His work
at bookkeeping was stopped at the age of seventeen, because of failing health;
and fearing lung trouble he took to the pine woods of Michigan. He worked at
lumbering and swung an ax during the summer. In the winter he taught school,
and studied along those fundamental scientific lines which later served to
distinguish his work as original in medicine as well as in the field of
At the age of 23 he enlisted,
at the first call for Civil War' Volunteers, in Merrill's Horse, Company H., a
regiment recruited at Battle Creek, Mich. Later his health failed, and for
three months he lay in the hospital at Camp Benton, Mo., from which point he
was honorably discharged and sent home. On return of his health, he again
taught school in the winter, and worked as a master carpenter during the
summer, in this way not only aiding the support of his mother and in the
discharge of her responsibilities but he began the study of medicine with Dr.
Smith Rogers at Battle Creek, Mich., later attending Hahnemann Medical College
at Chicago, and graduated in 1864 from the Cleveland Medical College.
In October, 1865, he was
married to Melissa Clough at his old home and place of birth, in Fredonia,
N.Y. In 1866 Dr. Buck was made instructor in Physiology and Histology in his
Alma Mater at Cleveland, receiving no remuneration at that time nor at any
time during forty years of teaching medicine in Cleveland and later in
Cincinnati, as this was before the days of endowed medical schools and state
medical departments connected with the universities. Notwithstanding the call
to duty in teaching medicine, the demands upon him ever increased, and the
rare judgment he brought to bear upon his cases, slowly and surely, made of
him the reliable physician and that rare jewel, a sympathetic consultant, to
whom the profession long continued to turn in times of doubt and difficulty.
In August, 1870, Dr. Buck
removed to Cincinnati. In 1872 he called the meeting of physicians which, at
Dr. Pulte's office in Cincinnati, resulted in the founding of Pulte Medical
College of which Dr. Buck was the Registrar and Professor of Physiology from
its organization to 1880. He was then made Dean and Professor of the Theory
and Practice of Medicine which position he held almost up to the time, a few
years ago, when the Pulte Medical College was absorbed by the Ohio State
Some twenty years ago he took
up the study of psychology as a basis for his work in medicine in the
department of nervous and mental diseases, to which department he was made
Professor in Pulte Medieal College. As a part of his study he made a thorough
and exhaustive investigation of hypnotism and spiritualism, and from a purely
scientific standpoint concluded that they were both destructive in their very
nature and tendency, and therefore not to be made the basis of either the
teaching or the cure of nervous or mental troubles.
Pursuing his search, but ever
mindful of his duty to his profession, he went from the philosophy of DesCarte
and of Schopenhauer to the Vedas of Old India, in the search for the kind of
knowledge which would best aid man to help himself. That he found something
others, equally earnest, have missed may be understood by reading his first
book, "The Study of Man," or any one of the other volumes coming from his pen.
While for the past year he
was not actively in the practice of medicine, he has been putting in some
spare time on another book dealing with that ever present problem of
economics, but the shadow of death has dimmed the light which would have been
thrown upon the topic by his handling of the material.
"To be a good man and true"
is the first great lesson a man should learn, and over 40 years of being just
that in example, Dr. Buck won the right to lay down the precept. This he has
done in the kindliest manner possible in the ethical teachings which abound in
all his books, and his frequent essays on ethics, economics and other timely
topics attest the vigor of his mind, the kindness of his heart and the bigness
of his soul.
Dr. Buck was an Ex-President
and has been a member of the Cincinnati Literary Club for 44 years, and was
devoted to its work and its traditions. He was President of the Am. Section of
the Theosophical Society during that period in his career when investigating
the theosophical teachings. He was repeatedly honored by his local and State
and National Medical Societies, and was an Ex-President of the Am. Institute
There is no need to add that
Dr. Buck was an active and influential member of every Rite of our historic
Order, holding the highest rank both in the esteem of his Brethren and in the
gift of the fraternity --including the honorary Thirty-Third Degree of the
Scottish Rite in its Northern Jurisdiction. Indeed, he was a recognized leader
of a definite school of Masonic thought and propaganda; and while we have
never been able to agree with all the conclusions of the school which he
represented, we are none the less appreciative of its services to the
Craft--knowing that Truth is larger than the formula of any one school or of
all schools put together. Surely, by this time we ought to be able to hold
differing views without marring our unity of spirit, never forgetting that
without charity no truth is of any real worth.
Dr. Buck was a militant
Mason. There are certain fundamental, far-shining principles which he held it
to be "The Genius of Freemasonry" to defend and its mission to expound,
exemplify and make prevail--such principles as lighted the way of the Pilgrims
of the Mayflower who, defiant alike of arbitrary civil power and insolent
ecclesiastical authority, set sail on a wintry sea to found "a church without
a bishop and a state without a king." Those principles, as he knew, are one
with the creative spirit and prophecy of our Republic, and it was therefore
that his Masonry, on one side, was a spiritual patriotism in the exposition of
which he was truly and impressively eloquent. In behalf of free thought, free
conscience, and the sovereign right of man to worship in the way his heart
loves best, he was a crusader--as every Mason must be, albeit some of us may
use a harp instead of a hammer for a weapon.
By the same token, he was
sleeplessly alert lest these principles, so vital to human welfare, be
compromised or undermined by subtle, sinister influences always seeking their
overthrow. Like many others, he felt the danger in our midst of a venerable
Hierarchy alien to the genius of the republic and foreign to its ideal, and
tirelessly active with a cunning learned through long ages, taking advantage
of the liberty of our land to undo, slowly and imperceptibly, its
institutions. Such a disaster is possible, but hardly probable; and if others
do not share his fear in the same degree, it nevertheless behooves us to be
awake, knowing that eternal vigilance is the price of liberty, and that
government without tyranny--like religion without superstition--is a hard-won,
precious inheritance of our humanity. Not all may be able to adopt the method
of Dr. Buck, but he is a poor patriot, and a poorer Mason, who does not honor
his motive, his courage, and his earnestness.
Not a few felt that Dr. Buck
was in some degree antagonistic to the Christian religion. Not so. He was
profoundly religious, but his insight went deeper than dogmas, down to the
primitive fires of faith that are forever burning, and to the permanent
fountains of hope that forever flow. He knew that if all temples were swept
away, all creeds lost, and all rites forgotten, the heroic, creative soul of
man would rise radiant and new-born, uplifting new temples and dictating new
sacred books. He saw that if the Christian records were destroyed, the spirit
of Christ and his basic truths would abide, because they are a part of the
order of the world. As we may read, in the introduction to his "Mystic
Masonry," perhaps his most widely read book:
"What, then, shall we
conclude regarding the real genius of Christianity? Is it all a fable, put
forth and kept alive by designing men, to support their pretensions to
authority? Are historical facts and personal biography alone entitled to
credit? While everlasting principles, Divine 'Beneficence, and the laying down
of one's life for another are of no account? Is that which has inspired the
hopes and brightened the lives of the downtrodden and despairing for ages a
mere fancy, a designing lie? Tear every shred of history from the life of
Christ today, and prove beyond all controversy that he never existed, and
Humanity from its heart-of-hearts, would create him again tomorrow and justify
the creation by every intuition of the human soul and by every need of the
daily life of man. The historical contention might be given up, ignored, and
the whole character genius, and mission of Jesus, the Christ, be none the less
real beneficent, and eternal, with all of its human and dramatic episodes.
Explain it as you will, it can never be explained away the character remains;
and whether Historical or Ideal, it is real and eternal."
This, greatly said, shows us
that the real religion of the man rested upon that profound faith which
underlies all creeds, and that inextinguishable hope which overarches all
sects. It is the universal religion. Its ideal is character; its revelation,
wisdom; its heaven, hope; its worship, love. Because Freemasonry is founded
upon this universal faith, because it holds aloft the torch-light of
Tolerance, Equity and Fraternity, treating all religions with respect, while
recognizing certain basic truths common to all--the existence of God, the
Brotherhood of Man, and the immortality of the Soul--Dr. Buck loved it, served
it faithfully and fruitfully, and found his home in its temple. With details
of his service to Masonry, his studies in its symbolism and philosophy, and
his activity in its behalf, we hope to deal more at length at another time,
wishing now only to lay a tribute on his new-made grave.
Often we have thought that
the best thing he ever wrote was his little book entitled "The Lost Word
Found," not only for its style, but for the glimpse which it gives of the
innermost nature of the man and his quest of truth and the ideal. Whether or
not he found the Lost Word--whether any one can find it upon this earth--we
need not stop to debate; but we may be sure that our Brother has found it in
the Great White Lodge whither he has gone. A noble and true man, kindly and
brotherly, he will be missed in the gracious circle which he adorned, and his
name will be spoken with reverence and gratitude wherever Masons meet upon the
Level and part upon the Square.
Life ! I know not what thou
But know that thou and I must
And when, or how, or where we
I own to me's a secret yet.
Life! we've been long
Through pleasant and through
'Tis hard to part when
friends are dear--
Perhaps 'twill cost a sigh, a
Choose thine own time;
--Then steal away, give
Say not Good Night,--but in
some brighter clime
Bid me Good Morning.
--A. L. Barbauld.
DE QUINCEY ON MASONRY
BY BRO. ALFRED GIFFORD,
THOMAS DE QUINCEY'S ideas
about Freemasonry may be found in his study of Secret Societies in volume
seven of Masson's edition of his works, and in volume thirteen, where we find
the "Historico-critical Inquiry into the Origin of the Rosicrucians
Freemasons." At the outset, let it be said that we must not always take our
author seriously. He loves a whimsy and dearly loves a joke. The story (vii.
199) of the Mason who got drunk, and then revealed the secrets to his
inquisitive wife, finds its point in the fact that the lady thought he was
joking when he told the truth, and pestered him until he conceived the idea of
telling fairy tales that she accepted for fact. This tale is on a par with his
tarrididdle about the candidate who appears trembling before "the Grand
Master" (sic) and finds that part one of the Degree is "forking out" all his
coin, and part two is chiefly "brandy" (200-201) .
FREEMASONRY AS A HOAX
The quite serious thing in
his study is his belief that the origin of Freemasonry is found in a hoax, and
a German one at that. This idea that a vast system could have such a
ridiculous beginning is not so impossible as may appear at first sight. The
whole great structure of Mormonism is said to be built on a fable invented by
an idle clergyman to while away time. De Quincey says of Freemasonry (xiii.,
386): "To a hoax played off by a young man of extraordinary talents in the
beginning of the seventeenth century (i.e., about 1610-14), but for a more
elevated purpose than most hoaxes involve, the reader will find that the whole
mysteries of Freemasonry, as now existing over the civilized world, after a
lapse of more than two centuries, are here distinctly traced."
This theory is not De
Quincey's own; it is but a DeQuincified rendering of the theory of a German
professor of logic and philosophy, named J.G. Buhle, who in 1803 read a Latin
dissertation on the subject before the Philosophical Society at Gottingen. De
Quincey has no compliment for this "fatiguing person," nor for his confused
and illogical paper, with its spluttering unintelligibility. He feels that he
has so washed the dull professor's face and whitewashed him "that nothing but
a life of gratitude on his part and free admission to his logic lectures
forever" will repay his translator. Nevertheless, he adopts the
De Quincey believes that
Freemasonry arose out of Rosicrucianism, the fabled brotherhood of the Rosy
Cross. He finds, as is commonly accepted in non-Masonic circles, that the
story of Christian Rosycross is a fable invented by one John Valentine
Andreas, of Wurtemberg, an able satirist and poet. In three works, "The
Universal Reformation of the Whole Wide World," "The Fraternity of the Order
of the Rosy Cross," and "The Confession of the Brotherhood of the Rosy Cross,"
Andreas' travels in the East, his discovery of a secret society, and the House
of the Holy Ghost, with its tomb of Rosycross, are equally fictitious. But
they were taken as facts. Men sought them and not finding them, invented an
Order on the lines of these books, is the theory. One may wonder how such a
mystic order appealed to men, until the anti-critical temper of the last
decade of the sixteenth century is realized. That was the heyday of Cabbalism,
Theosophy, and Alchemy. How long afterward the temper remained is well
illustrated in Thomas Carlyle's study of the King of Quacks --Cogliostro. The
spirit of credulity was so widespread that only the marvelous thing was
attractive. What Andreas wanted was to establish a Cult of Universal
Brotherhood, but he had to bait his hook with esoteric doctrines, imaginary
cults, and the theory of the transmutation of lead into gold. Despising these
things, he used them to get his Cult established, and was horrified to find
that men accepted the myths and let the principles go.
His legendary founder of the
Order was a certain Christian, Rosycross, and his followers were termed
Knights of the Rosy Cross or Brothers or Philosophers of it; and their symbol
was a St. Andrew's cross with four roses, one between each arm of the cross.
This, it is said, was the coat of arms of Andrea's own family. Their word was
Rosy Cross. The Order was of value, whatever its origin, for its members were
bound to cure the sick without fee or reward. They were to be noted not for
their dress, but for their tolerance and charity. Accepting the foregoing as
history, can this cult be connected with Freemasonry? It is just at this
crucial point that De Quincey fails. He says that Robert Fludd, who in 1629
wrote, or is said to have written, a treatise entitled "Summum Bonum," was the
connecting link. We know that Robert Fludd, M. D., did in 1617 write an
"Apology for the Reality of the Society of the Rosy Cross." But De Quincey
says that Fludd formally withdrew the name Rosicrucian, in attempting to
popularize the Society in England, and re-named it a Society of Masons in
PROOF THAT IS NOT PROOF
All the proof of this theory
that he offers is found in two or three passages he quotes from Fludd's work.
Under pressure of argument he does wish that the name were buried, and
proposes the name Wise Men for the members of this Society. De Quincey,
without a shred of evidence, supposes the name "Mason" to have been suggested
by the "House of the Holy Ghost" in Andrea's "Fama Fraternitatis." Because
Fludd speaks of men becoming living stones by philosophy, De Quincey says that
"living stone" means "Mason." This is not so much discovery as invention on
our author's part. Naively enough, he mentions that Fludd and others call the
Apostles, who were supposed to be the original Rosy Cross brothers,
"Husbandmen," as well as Architects, and says, "had the former type been
adopted we should have had the Free Husbandmen instead of Freemason." Since De
Quincey's day much new material relating to Masonic origins has come to light.
His other discussions on the origin of the Order are seen to be beside the
mark since their connection with the old Craft or Operative Masons Lodges has
THE VALUE UNCHANGED
Believing all the foregoing,
De Quincey is yet assured of the essential value of Freemasonry. He cannot
speak too highly of its assertion of the equality of personal rights and this
in days when they were universally challenged, while he misunderstands his
mysteries and cannot see the value of its signs, he is assured that its effect
is wholly beneficent. "It cannot be denied," he says, "by those who are least
favourably disposed to the Order of Freemasonry that many States of Europe,
where Lodges have formerly existed or do still exist, are indebted to them for
the original establishment of many salutory institutions having for their
object the mitigation of human suffering."
In these days when we are in
danger of judging things rather by their origin than by their qualities, it is
well to remember with De Quincey that whatever was the origin of Freemasonry,
it is of the same value. As a Universal Brotherhood with the ideals of Relief
and Truth, it is of eternal value, whether it originated in a German hoax, the
Garden of Eden, or in the hearts of men who loved their fellows and adopted an
ancient society as a vehicle for their faith and words. In De Quincey's
studies there is much to interest and amuse, no little by way of enlightening
suggestion; but most will be gained by those who grasp his fundamental idea,
that it is not a question of what Freemasonry was, but of what it is.
THE LEVEL AND THE SQUARE
An Ode to an Ode
"We meet upon the Level, and
we part upon the Square,--
What words of precious
meaning those words Masonic are,"
And they still are ringing,
ringing as the Craft today doth know
As they did when Morris sang
them more than fifty years ago.
"We meet upon the Level, and
we part upon the Square,"
Did the Bard who caught the
meaning and who flung it out so fair,
Did the vision of the REAL
that the years so soon should see Give
the Poet the perspective of
what IS and is to be ?
"We meet upon the Level, and
we part upon the Square,"
In its true symbolic meaning
was unfolded with such care,
That it carried with its
rhythm and its setting into song
The true spirit that will
ever to the Mystic Art belong.
"We meet upon the Level, and
we part upon the Square "
With the Plumb in the
triangle 'mong the symbols gleaming there,
All their meanings were
embellished for the Craft for coming time
Through the Art and through
the Poet of the Art that is sublime.
"We meet upon the Level, and
we part upon the Square"
Carries with it the momentum
that the Bard transcribed so fair,
Carries with it, upright ever
by the true, unerring Plumb
All that lies in mortal
vision of the Masonry to come.
"We meet upon the Level, and
we part upon the Square"
In its meaning has been
finding hearts responsive everywhere;
It has met a nature longing
in the hungry human heart
Undiscovered till 'twas
written into real Masonic Art.
"We meet upon the Level, and
we part upon the Square,"
On the Level as it finds us;
on the Square as we repair
To our stations in the
Temple, to our stations in the world
Upright in the light of
heaven flashing in the gems impearled.
"We meet upon the Level, and
we part upon the Square"
Is the answer of the ages to
its longing and its prayer.
The solution of the problem
of the world's unrest today
Must be solved by this same
token for there is no other way.
Let us then be forging,
forging stronger still the Mystic chain,
For the glory of the meeting
and the work that doth remain.
In the spirit of the Poet let
us do our work with care
"As we meet upon the Level,
and we part upon the Square."
--L. B. Mitchell.
THE REAL RICH MAN
He is the rich man who can
avail himself of all men's faculties. He is the richest man who knows how to
draw a benefit from the labors of the greatest number of men, of men in
distant lands and in past times.-- Emerson.
BY BRO. W. E. ATCHISON. ASS'T
AT the close of his Entered Apprentice Degree, our
newly admitted Brother has received a Charge having to do with his conduct
within and without the Lodge. He has discovered that it is necessary for him
to commit a certain amount of catechism, and is informed that an examination
of his proficiency in this respect, as well as certain other formalities, must
be completed before he can advance to the Second Degree.
Now, what is the law governing these various
formalities ? How and when shall the examination be conducted ? How long a
time must elapse between the conferring of degrees? What is the effect of a
physical disability incurred by the Brother after he has been initiated into
the Entered Apprentice Degree? If his application for advancement is rejected,
how often may it be renewed? What is the effect of an objection to
advancement, by some other Brother? How must an objection be made - privately,
to the Master, or in writing, for consideration by the Lodge ?
These are the questions which have been kept
uppermost in mind while making the following study. Not all of the questions
are answered in the table, frequently because the law is not defined in the
Code of the particular State. We repeat that this table does not purport to be
a complete codification of the laws of the various Jurisdictions, but the
manner in which the above questions are answered, in this particular, reveals
a tremendous range of variation.
Mackey states the general rule in these terms: "It
is an almost universal rule of the modern Constitutions of Masonry that an
examination upon the subjects which had been taught in a preceding degree
shall be required of every brother who is desirous of receiving a higher
degree; and it is directed that this examination shall take place in an Open
Lodge of the degree upon which the examination is made."
"Suitable proficiency" is seldom defined. The Book
of Constitutions for Colorado, however, gives us the rule (in this particular
Jurisdiction advancement being dependent upon a formal election by the
brethren) that "no candidate shall be advanced to the second or third degree
until he shall have been duly elected to receive such degree, after having
passed a satisfactory examination, in open Lodge, at a stated communication,
upon his proficiency in the next preceding degree," and then follows with this
definition: "Suitable proficiency means that the brother must be able to
answer satisfactorily the questions in the lecture of the degree, and repeat
As an example of a Jurisdiction which permits the
examination of a candidate to be conducted outside of the Lodge, by a
committee, instead of before the whole Lodge, the following Resolution by the
Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia is of interest: "Resolved, that no
Lodge under the jurisdiction of this Grand Lodge, except by dispensation from
the Grand Master, shall advance a brother until he has been examined in open
Lodge by the Master or outside of the Lodge by a competent committee, and
found to have made such proficiency in the preceding degree as will, in the
opinion of the Master of the Lodge, enable him to pass such an examination as
to be able to work his way into a Lodge of the degree in which he has been
examined. (Reprint G. L. P., 1858.)"
Questions of the definition of the time element
have arisen. The following quotation from the Ahiman Rezon of the Grand
Jurisdiction of Pennsylvania shows hover it has been determined there: "A
Masonic month is from one stated meeting to a stated meeting on the
corresponding day in the next ensuing month, and may consist of from
twenty-eight to thirty-five days. A candidate receiving a degree at a special
meeting on a day after a stated meeting, cannot be advanced before the
corresponding day after the next stated meeting. A candidate receiving a
degree on the first Monday, or any other day of the month, cannot be advanced
(except by virtue of a dispensation) until the corresponding day of the
following month, and the day of the stated meeting of the ensuing month has
The variation in the official effect of an
objection to advancement being raised is so great, and the details are so
frequently found hidden in out-of-the-way sections of the Codes, that we have
endeavored to classify only the most important to the average student.
In an early issue we propose to discuss "The
Ballot," a subject with which the present study is closely affiliated, and we
believe that our brethren will find a comparative study of the two subjects,
taken side by side, extremely interesting. As has been said before, we welcome
suggestions and criticisms, and shall endeavor to publish the points at
variance with each table, the month following its presentation. Meanwhile, if
some Brother finds food for thought in these tables, we welcome him to the
Correspondence Column. The 1917 Index will group all the tables, as well as
the discussion, so that quick reference to the entire subject may be made.
NOTE TO USERS OF THESE TABLES
Attention is called to the tabulated summary, at the end of
this paper, of the five jurisdictions which were omitted from the January
Table on the subject of "Affiliation." As we now have access to the Codes of
all American Jurisdictions, we expect that subsequent
papers will be complete. W.E.A.
Edited by Bro. Robert I.
Clegg, Caxton Building, Cleveland Ohio
THE BULLETIN COURSE OF
BY R.I. CLEGG
MASONS who have made a study
at any length of Freemasonry and then have tried to interest others in a like
pursuit soon arrive at certain definite conclusions. There should be a handy
and concise arrangement of material and of topics. The research must be
lessened of tedium or trifling. Short and pithy papers attract more than long
and sometimes prosy chapters.
Even as these lines are
written there comes from a scholarly American Mason a letter saying "I have
felt the need of an elementary textbook suitable for recommendation to
First of all then let us
prepare a chart of operations. We will adopt a simple but I trust a sufficient
classification of our subject, Masonry, into these leading topics: Ceremonial
Masonry, Symbolical Masonry, Philosophic Masonry, Legislative Masonry, and
For our purpose let us
roughly define the scope of these main topics, remembering of course that they
cannot but overlap here and there.
1. Ceremonial Masonry
pertains to the vocal and visual presentation of monitor and ritual.
2. Symbolical Masonry employs
memory aids to impress the Masonic instruction.
3. Philosophic Masonry is the
science of Masonic fundamental teaching.
4. Legislative Masonry
comprises the legal practice of the fraternity.
5. Historical Masonry
appraises Masonic events and events.
These divisions may be again
subdivided. For purposes of publicity we cannot be too detailed in references
to the "work." Division 1, therefore, can only be very roughly grouped.
Division 2 is for like reasons similarly restricted in treatment. Divisions 3,
4 and 5 are more flexible of adaptation.
For a working analysis of
Masonic material a superior textbook is necessary. It is perplexing to refer
students to sources they cannot easily tap. Completeness and authority are
also as essential as that the textbook be readily available and readable. I
have chosen the very latest edition of Mackey's Encyclopedia as the textbook.
Additional references will be provided throughout the entire outline.
Divisions of the subject have
not been arranged at random. Well aware am I that everybody seems in treating
the subject to prefer a historical start. Chronologically there is merit in
doing so as a matter of recording the order of events.
But I much prefer to present
the order of discussion to relate directly to the individual Masonic
experience; first the Lodge, then the instruction given therein, next the
ethics, afterwards the laws, and finally the history.
Readers will note that this
system permits any one to go ahead as far as he likes, with or without Study
Club organization. But, obviously, the discussion and co-operation of the many
are most advantageous. By all means get the Study Club habit.
References are select. Very
many more could be cited. Every student will hunt up others for himself. For
instance, mention of "Chaplain" in connection with the Lodge suggests the
names of other officers to be sought under their appropriate headings in the
Encyclopedia as "Wardens," etc.
Use of "etc." in a list is a
reminder to the reader to look up parallel references to similar words of the
same class. References to be read first will be marked with a star or
asterisk. A double star may occasionally be employed in a list to indicate a
THE CRAFT CURRICULUM
Division I. Ceremonial
A. Lodge Foundations and
B. The Lodge and the
C. First Steps.
D. Second Steps.
E. Third Steps.
Division II. Symbolical
B. Working Tools.
Division III. Philosophical
D. Religious Aspect.
E. The Quest.
G. The Secret Doctrine.
Division IV. Legislative
A. The Grand Lodge.
1. Ancient Constitutions.
2. Codes of Law.
3. Grand Lodge Practices.
4. Relationship to
5. Official Duties and
B. Constituent Lodge.
2. Qualifications of
3. Initiation, Passing and
5. Change of Membership.
Division V. Historical
A. The Mysteries--Earliest
B. Study of Rites--Masonry in
C. Contributions to Lodge
D. National Masonry.
E. Parallel Peculiarities in
F. Feminine Masonry.
G. Masonic Alphabets.
H. Historical Manuscripts of
I. Biographical Masonry.
Masonry--Study of Significant Words.
THE LODGE -- FOUNDATIONS AND
FUNDAMENTALS BY R.I. CLEGG
FROM a mere study of the
derivation of the word "lodge" much interesting data has been collected. A
connection has been traced to a similar word that in the Sankrit means
"world," another link in the etymological chain has been claimed to be
"Logos," the "Word." Less striking are the several additional references to
words in various languages having closely relating values to the terms we as
We ourselves do not use the
word invariably in the same way. Sometimes we apply it to the place where the
Masonic rites are performed.
Then again the word has been
used to mean a representation of the Ark of the Covenant. Preston in his
"Illustrations" so employs it and refers to processions of the Craft in public
during the eighteenth century when the "Lodge" was carried through the streets
and where, if we may judge from the name given to it, and from the use made of
it, it was a symbol of that other "Lodge," active, spiritual, potential in
essence and in purpose, universal of influence, and intent. Thereby I arrive
at the third application of the word as it touches that living organism we
know as the Masonic Lodge.
Our Bible has a very definite
purpose with the word "lodge." It is employed freely to signify a permanent or
temporary home. "Where thou lodgest, I will lodge" says the book of Ruth,
1:16. So speaks the voice of an abiding love depicting faithfulness of
purpose, the desire for a common haven of rest, the home.
Thus also do we recognize the
mention in Luke, 13:19, "The fowls of the air lodged in the branches," the New
Testament joining with the Old in a like employment of "lodge" as the nest of
birds, the home of families, the house of refreshment and refuge for
sojourners or the habitation chosen for more permanent abode.
"Lodge" to a Freemason means
all of this and more. A certain number of qualified Masons, lawfully assembled
and empowered to work constitute a Lodge. Less than the specified number of
persons; inability to conduct without outside assistance the Masonic
ceremonies of initiation of Entered Apprentices, passing of Fellowcrafts, or
the raising of Master Masons, or other incidental business; or the absence of
the usual legal preliminaries and the want of a dispensation or charter
properly attested by due constitutional authority, supreme in the locality
where the communication is to be held--an or all of these deficiencies operate
to render void and null, no matter how ephemeral its existence, the erection
Or a "Lodge."
Of the labor of a Lodge in
conferring the degrees of Masonry nothing need be said even if we were
disposed to treat in detail so alluring yet so secret and truly so sacred a
study. This much may be pointed out that Lodge qualifications are not
determined by the four walls, ceiling and floor of any room no matter how
elaborate may be that chamber.
Granted the requisite number
of duly authorized Masons capable of ceremonial work and the only remaining
requirement is privacy. On the hill-top, in secluded valley, within some
sequestered cave, down deep in the depths of a canyon, retired in a secret
vault or inner hall--these are all found practicable provided the brethren are
duly tyled against the intrusion of unwelcome visitors.
Compare, if you please, the
curious significance of Freemasons at work with the Levites of old performing
their priestly functions. Such an examination discloses very instructive
facts, truths which we may ponder to great advantage.
It may be that the peculiar
relationship I have mentioned is not so evident to others of my brethren as it
has ever seemed from my own viewpoint, nor do I recall at the moment where the
question has similarly been raised.
Be that as it may I do
venture reverently to draw a parallel between the priesthood of Israel and the
Masonic brethren performing what to me are the holy rites of the fraternity.
Consider first the Lodge when
receiving the initiate.
Our brethren are expected to
conform to the specifications of those universally accepted landmarks, the Old
Charges. Such customs of the Craft as have come down to us establish beyond
dispute the curious origins of sundry practices that even today are closely
followed usages amongst us.
Physical and mental strength,
a sound mind in a healthy body, were particularly necessary when operative
craftsmanship was concerned for the personal excellence that should man to man
prevail and hold high all claims coming in contact with the demands of other
competitors, be they allied or single in attack. Then were the days when the
stout hearted relied upon vigor of arm among the units themselves as well as
among the unity of the oath-bound craft itself.
Men whole of limb were
essential because, as the old phrase goes in its apt description, "a maimed
man hath no might."
True, yet I see a further
meaning here. Let us now with the old operative thought in view look far into
the past. We will carry in our minds the idea of a selected group of Masons
entrusted with the official and very responsible duty of accepting and
instructing new members, of taking the raw material--the best that presents
itself- -and making it over into a building and a builder, an element in a
structure that grows by additions as well as by the expansion of all these
carved and shaped construction stones.
incidental fact it is truly, that "character" comes as a word from a
derivation meaning cut or carved or graven into form. Figurative it may be to
speak of a lesson graven on the heart or embedded as by tools into the fiber
of the individual's sturdy character. But experience is indeed as the stroke
of the hammer upon the chisel, driving a furrow or two across the aging brow
all too soon wrinkled with the swiftly wearying, wearing years.
Yes, and we get a glimpse
thereby of the beauty that so often appeals to the observer of death. Plunged
into sorrow's deep despair the nearest and dearest see death as the thief
coming in the night. That dread visitor is death whose touch appals prince or
peasant, rich or poor, innocent or guilty.
Yet that clasp of his
firm-set fingers smoothes away the old anxious tension, the pressure relaxes,
age slips back upon the pathway with its facial milestone records of life, and
as the weight of years is lifted in some degree, we have that younger, almost
youthful, aspect of peace that to many is the glory of the death chamber.
Recently I stood by the bier
of a beloved Masonic friend. Like a lusty old oak he was in life gnarled of
exterior as the bark upon an ancient tree. His brow was corrugated with these
visible cares lining most legibly the countenance of man. In death these waves
evoked by the tempests of the living were distinct and lent a character of
trial by the Builder's tools, and of the chisel test of suffering, to his very
impressive, deeplined face. Death had kindly touched these traces of
affliction and of labor, and in truth had wiped away all his tears. Marks of
sorrow, of aches and anguish were gone. Upon him rested the benediction of
Of such is the aspect of
Masonry, a life spent in the development of character and the pursuit in lofty
purpose of a moral career, enjoying the happy reflections of a well-spent
life, and then to die in confident contentment and conviction.
Again we consider the
Levites, men without blemish, for none but such as these could approach the
altar of their God. So also is the very obvious plan of our own institution.
Thus were the sacrifices of old also expected to be equally faultless as was
intended the priesthood in whose hands rested the control and fulfilment of
these revered rites of atonement and propitiation. By such aids of old were
worshipers brought near unto the Being they served.
By the agency of the
blameless and blemishless, the unsoiled and unstained, the mentally pure and
physically perfect priesthood and their faultless sacrifices, their potency as
offerings consumed upon the altar being reminiscent of the burning pot of
incense symbolic of a fire-purified heart, those who served as the chosen
brought into the habitations of men a knowledge of the will of God, the human
was leavened by the divine.
I will not here discuss what
is very near to the mind of all thoughtful Freemasons: that is the purpose of
the Craft in the general affairs of the world. My convictions are clear and
unhesitating. But I cannot now examine this question save only to offer the
belief that personal growth and individual service is the main objective for
Recall now my brethren, the
ceremony of the corner in the north-east. Think then with that fact in mind of
the ordinary laying of a cornerstone. Here you note the element of sacrifice
and offering. In the cavity of the cornerstone is placed memorial matter.
Records of the inception of the building, coins of the current era, names of
those prominent in the project, and other memorabilia are locked up within the
stone. Upon the stone is poured corn and wine and oil, emblematic of food for
nourishment, refreshment and rejoicing.
When all these things have
been done with religious fervor, spiritual inspiration, and serene sublimity
of faith, the ceremony becomes an edifying rite that lingers long in the
memory of all spectators.
You will also remember that
the same ceremony is in all essentials applied in the constitution and
consecration of a Lodge. Here again we have the sacredness of religious ritual
with the ancient system of sacrifice illustrated by the oblation of the corn,
wine and oil poured upon the Lodge.
Pouring the corn, wine and
oil upon the Lodge is accomplished not by the anointing of the individuals
comprising it, or by any like use of the corn or wine. In most cases the
object being symbolic is carried into effect by pouring the materials of
consecration upon the table or floor. Of course the result and the end sought
is sacrifice and offering, unmistakable and significant.
That in early times the
sacrifice was performed in most awe-inspiring manner is very certain from a
critical consideration of all the facts in the case.
Today our ceremonies of
consecration, whether of Lodges or otherwise, are in their offerings reminders
of larger sacrifices once not rare. Immediately we think of Abraham's
sacrificial intentions toward Isaac, of Jephthah and the daughter devoted to
death by a father's fearful vow.
More than this, we arrive at
that striking foundation ceremony whereof we are told in I Kings xvi:34. "In
his days did Hiel the Bethelite build Jericho: he laid the foundation thereof
in Abiram his firstborn, and set up the gates thereof in his youngest son,
Segub." What shall we say of such a sacrifice?
Was it ever the case to take
the beloved eldest son, or the youngest son, and pour out human life as the
invocation of a blessing upon a building?
Sometimes we find in
literature more than a mere suspicion that the custom was once firmly
established and widely known. As for instance, Shakespeare says in Henry vi,
part III, v. i.:
"I will not ruinate my
father's house, Who gave his blood to lime the stones together, And set up
If the reader has any doubt
about foundation rites demanding actual death of a human being, he may read
Hastings' Bible Dictionary under the heading of "House."
He may study the death of
Curtius as told by Plutarch in his Romulus, where the hero casts his body into
an abyss. Instantly there closed the hitherto yawning opening of earth. While
this is not human sacrifice applied to a building, it is an act of
propitiatory nature, offered to mollify an outraged and anthropomorphic
Similar rites with or without
the consent of the person sacrificed seem to have been common. Writers have
claimed that the victim often was a voluntary one, and that the act was
esteemed a high honor, as is indeed the circumstance with the Japanese
suicidal ceremony of hari-kari.
Consult in this connection
"Foundation Rites," by L. D. Burdick; "Builders' Rites and Ceremonies," by
George W. Speth; "History of Rome," by Theodore Mommsen, and other authorities
on this peculiar trait of the primitive mind. Burdick's book contains a
substantial bibliography guiding the student to very many sources of
information upon the beliefs, customs and legends connected with buildings,
locations, landmarks, etc. Upon "Lodge" and the various rites mentioned here
consult Mackey's Encyclopedia.
A single sacrifice of man,
woman or child was not always deemed sufficient to appease the Deity. Human
sacrifices were frequent among the Aztecs and other races. One writer observes
that "Frequent reiteration of sacrifices seems necessary, also, in order to
keep up the sanctity of images and sacred rites, to put as it were a new soul
We may differ as to the
reason given by this author for the sacrifices, but we have little ground left
to deny the practice. So much seems fully proven.
Speth had no doubt upon the
subject. He felt assured of the old reason being still effective for the
peculiar characteristics of our modern ceremony of laying a cornerstone. "I do
not assert that one in a hundred is conscious of what he is doing; if you ask
him he will give some different reason; but the fact remains that,
unconsciously, we are following the customs of our fathers, and symbolically
providing a soul for the structure." So ran his belief.
The blood of the primitive
sacrifice is now displaced by the gifts of corn, wine and oil. But the
evidence that this is but a memorial of the living person once offered in a
dedicatory and propitiatory manner is borne out by so many corroborative
circumstances that there is no room for doubt.
As Freemasons we may draw
equally obvious conclusions as to the relation of our own ceremonies with
these rites of old. Nay, there is a Masonic hymn oft used at the laying of
foundation stones that is typical of the whole story:
"On Him, this cornerstone we
To Him, this edifice erect;
And still, until this work's
May Heaven the workman's ways
We see clearly that the Lodge
is more than an etymological study. Were it otherwise we might draw some
lessons from its use as the distinguishing name of a small house at the
entrance to a large estate, a guard to a big interest.
The word is also known in
Northern England as meaning a millpond.
The "Long House" or
Hodensaunee of that powerful federation of the red men of North America, the
Iroquois, and the "Men's House" of many other tribal communities scattered
over the globe resemble the "Lodge" in that they are privileged groups of
persons gathered in privacy for the performance of sacred rites.
Applied as it was to the
workshops of the middle ages that grew mushroom-like around the great
cathedrals while under construction, we have it used in a much more material
method than I have preferred to employ it.
If I were to think of the
Lodge purely as a place and not so distinctively as a power, as location
rather than leverage uplifting, then the etymology alone would suffice. But
the question is nearer the heart of Masonry.
We are told by Bailey in his
"Death is the universal salt
of states; Blood is the base of all things--law and war."
To us then, we of the Craft,
is the place and power of priesthood offering as sacrifice our service in the
making of good men into Masons.
References to Lodge
Foundations and Fundamentals found in Mackey's Encyclopedia:
*Corn, Wine and Oil.
*Depth of Lodge.
*Extent of Lodge.
*Form of Lodge.
Stone of Foundation
"THE FIRST AMERICAN"
LET us never forget that the man whom Lowell
called "the first American," and who lives today in the story of his race as
one of its sublime, sacrificial spirits, was neither a psalm-singing Yankee
from New England nor a fox-hunting squire from the Old Dominion. No, he was a
man of the great Middle West; a child of the South like Lee, a leader of the
North like Grant, who grew up in the valley of the Father of Waters the child
of a pioneer grew so tall of soul that he was the one figure large enough to
embody in his life the tragedy and prophecy of the heroic epoch of his
Tall, angular, homely, eloquent - he was a lawyer
with the spirit of a humanitarian; a pacifist not "too proud to fight" for the
safety and sanctity of his nation; a man of action led by a seer-like vision;
a humorist whose heart was full of tears; modest, tender of heart, holding no
bitterness, no hate; patient, wise, canny in his kindness, not free from fault
and therefore rich in charity; as unwavering in justice as he was unfailing in
mercy - an uncommon man with common principles and the sturdy old moralities,
in whom laughter and tears mingled, and power and pity blended.
If anyone would know what America means, he need
only look into the face of Lincoln, so strong, so gentle, so human, written
all over with the hieroglyphics of sorrow, yet having lines where smiles fell
asleep when they were weary. If any one would know the spirit of this
Republic, its genius, its faith, its prophecy, let him study that face with
the marks of struggle in it, the light of high resolve, the touch of an
infinite pity; a face neither rudely masculine nor softly feminine, yet having
in it something to remind you of the mother and the boy behind the man. Study
that face with its deep-set eyes that never lie, its rugged gentleness, and
you will know something of the cost of all progress, something of the yearning
in the hearts of the lowly, something of the glory and pathos of noble human
These words are written by a child of the South,
whose father fought Lincoln with all his power, who is yet a lover of the
greatest figure in our history and one of his humble historians, and who,
looking back at Lincoln in the vicissitude of life,a plain, honest, kindly
man, sweet of heart and sound of mind, who knew that humanity was deeply
wounded and sought to heal it, knows him to be a fellow to the finest, rarest,
truest souls now or ever to be citizens of eternity.
* * *
THE CITY OF GOD
"For the finer spirits of Europe there are two
dwelling-places: our earthly fatherland and that other City of God. Of the one
we are the guests; of the other the builders. To the one let us give our lives
and our faithful hearts; but neither family, friend, nor fatherland, nor aught
that we love has power over the spirit. The spirit is light! It is our duty to
lift it above tempests, and thrust aside the clouds which threaten to obscure
it; to build higher and stronger, dominating the injustice and hatred of
nations, the walls of that city wherein the souls of the whole world may
Surely that is a true, prophetic voice - Romain
Holland, speaking from "Above the Battle," - the grandest utterance that has
yet been heard above the din of war and the thunder of great guns, if heard
only by a few who refuse to share in the wide-sown hatreds and madness of the
hour. If the House of Life seems suddenly shattered, as if by a shrieking,
screaming shell, leaving us shelterless, it is because, having lost our sense
of common humanity, we have lost our citizenship in the City of God. Either we
are all citizens of the same City, and war between us is civil war, or else
there is no City of God and no home for man in the universe, nor any hope
ahead save an endless conflict of beings that have nothing in common and no
place where they can gather and be at rest. Hear now a voice from Germany -
Forster of Munich - speaking in sober, searching words which rebuke the false
philosophies and fanatical folly of the day:
"We have been misunderstood, and have
misunderstood others. Who can wish in this chaos of deception to lay all the
faults upon one side? Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. The
traditions of all nations are stained with blood and guilt, and this world war
is the culmination of the slowly working world judgment on the terrible course
of European history in the past. For us here, behind the lines, it is a sacred
duty to do all we can to bring about an atmosphere in which passions can be
soothed and the voice of reason make itself heard. What matters is a new
spirit; in each nation men must make themselves felt who will say openly that
there is no way out of the hell of madness and obstinacy, unless we all
resolve to give up the old evil spirit that ruled the intercourse of nations,
confess, openly and honestly, our own share in its sins, and from the bottom
of our hearts learn to love and to think out a new Europe."
Truly, here is deep wisdom, going down to the
roots of our woes, and if this war ends in a league of men who think lovingly,
it will be worth all its frightful cost in blood and tears. The fact stands
before us, nobody can dispute it. Humanity began low and has been going higher
ever since, pushed upward by compulsions it could not escape, pulled upward by
influences it could not resist. Slowly, through ages of pain, through untold
sorrow and sacrifice, our race has been climbing, throwing off one dead weight
after another, and making its way toward liberty and light. Its ascent is
inevitable, and not even the tragedy of world-war can stay it, much less stop
History, in the great conception of it, reveals an
onward movement. There was Greece, after her twenty-seven years of civil war,
exhausted, demoralized, fallen - but she rose again and her soul goes marching
on. Mighty Rome, full of decadence, reeled to her ruin, and the world moved
on, but the spirit and genius of Rome were not conquered by the barbarians
thundering at her gates. The Reformation made protest against a corrupt church
in behalf of the home and the rights of the soul, and nothing could stop it.
The French Revolution was a human earthquake, terrible in its atheism and
inhumanity, but out of it rose a new day radiant with unguessed promise.
Make no mistake; out of this world-war incredible good will
issue and the race will move forward at a pace unmatched before in its annals.
As the long wars of the Middle Ages overthrew feudalism and ushered in
nationalism, so this war will mean the end of narrow, bigoted nationalism and
the advent of a closer world-fellowship. Already, above the din of battle, we
hear prophetic voices proclaiming the necessity of things hitherto held to be
impractical dreams, so slowly does man learn that his dreams are his
redemption, and his ideals his beacon lights. Surely, in the new day that is
to be, there will be a ministry for Masonry, which is a world-order of closely
lmited men who work for the welfare of mankind, "striving morally to ennoble
themselves and others, and thereby to bring about a universal league of
mankind, which it aspires to exhibit even
now on a small scale."
* * *
HOW TO STUDY MASONRY
There are two ways of studying Masonry. One is to
begin at the roots of all initiatory rites in the Men's House of primitive
society, seeking out the reason for it, tracing it up through the Ancient
Mysteries into the building orders of Asia Minor, Rome, and the
cathedral-building period; and thence to the founding of modern Masonry, its
growth, its organization, and the ramifications of its influence. Another way
is to begin close by, in the Lodge, taking the initiate as he enters the
Order, following each step as he moves on through the picture-gallery of
symbol, drama, and parable, asking the meaning of each sign and symbol. Of
course, such a method requires a tyled Lodge, or some private place of
instruction, with due regard for the secrecy of the matters studied.
Now our thought is that the ideal way should combine these two
methods, so that each may illumine the other. First learn the ritual - that is
fundamental - not necessarily so as to be able to repeat it, but well enough
to detect an error. That is, have a distinct and vivid picture of each degree
in mind, and then make free use of the wise little word Why. Soon there will
be a whole crop of questions asking for answer, and to find the answer it will
be necessary to take up the other method - going back into the past to learn
the why and wherefore of things and how they came to be. Research
will thus be made to serve the ritual, and the ritual will at the same time be
the basis and inspiration of our research.
THE ANCIENT PHYSICIAN
Honor a physician with the honor due unto him for
the uses which ye may have of him; for the Lord hath created him.
For of the Most High cometh healing, and he shall
receive honor of the king.
The skill of the physician shall lift up his head;
and in the sight of great men he shall be in admiration.
The Lord hath created medicines out of the earth;
and he that is wise will not abhor them.
Was not the water made sweet with wood, that the
virtue thereof might be known?
And he hath given men skill, that he might be
honored in his marvelous works.
With such doth he heal and taketh away their
Of such doth the apothecary make a confection; and
of his works there is no end; and from him is peace over all the earth.
My son, in thy sickness be not negligent; but pray
unto the Lord, and he will make thee whole.
Leave off from sin, and order thine hands aright,
and cleanse thy heart from all wickedness.
Give a sweet savor, and a memorial of fine flour;
and make a fat offering.
Then give place to the physician, for the Lord
hath created him: let him not go from thee, for thou has need of him.
There is a time when in their hands there is good
For they shall also pray unto the Lord, that he
would prosper that which they give for ease and remedy to prolong life.
He that sinneth before his Maker, let him fall
into the hand of the physician.
- The Book of Ecclesiasticus.
THE LEADER OF THE PEOPLE
Earth listens for the coming of his feet;
The hushed Fates lean expectant from their seat.
He will be calm and reverent and strong,
And, carrying in his words the fire of song,
Will send a hope upon these weary men,
A hope to make the heart grow young again,
A cry to comrades scattered and afar:
Be constellated, star by circling star;
Give to all mortals justice and forgive:
License must die that liberty may live.
Let Love shine through the fabric of the State-
Love deathless, Love whose other name is Fate.
Fear not: we cannot fail -
The Vision will prevail.
Truth is the Oath of God, and, sure and fast,
Through Death and Hell holds onward to the last.
- Edwin Markham.
"THE VOICES OF SONG"
LONG ago Cicero said
that everybody should read a little poetry every day. And he was right. It
helps in daily living. One can work better to a rhythm running in
his head, as sailors sing a chanty as they
turn the capstan. A bit of a song gives
marching orders for the day, and arranges the values of life into something
harmonious. It lifts us up, reveals a sense of proportion by taking us to a
height from which the human scene is seen from the point of view of the
eternal. Poetry is a light upon the common things of life, evoking unsuspected
meanings, unguessed beauties, and the reading of it makes some things more
bearable - and all things more lovely. It is a prophecy of what life may
become, and helps to make the dream come true.
Nor is there any lack of true poetry in our day,
whereof we are ready to offer proof. There is so much good poetry, indeed,
that lovers of it are apt to underestimate what is really good in their quest
of what is supremely great. There are many poets writing today, who, if they
had written a hundred years ago, would now be acclaimed as classics. Always it
is so. As a statesman is a dead politician, so a classic poet is a dead singer
who was not honored while he lived. But, as we were saying, everybody should
read a little poetry every day, and we propose to make note here of some
dainty books of poetry written by Brother Masons, the better to tempt their
brothers and fellows to obey the suggestion of the old Roman lawyer.
Now that Whitcomb Riley is no longer among us,
perhaps the first of our Western poets is James W. Foley - Past Grand Master
of North Dakota. Sane, broad, sympathetic, whether he treats of life with his
own peculiar brand of humor, or whether he strikes the deeper and more solemn
notes, he is equally vivid, equally sincere, and equally representative of
what is best in our national life. One reads his "Boys and Girls" and is
reminded now of 'Gene Fields, now of the child lyrics of Stevenson, and now of
nobody else on earth,for he has a knack of his own, a touch as individual as
it is authentic. "Tales of the Trail" takes us back into the older West of the
Remington pictures, the Wister stories, and the Bret Harte poems; the days
when Roosevelt was a rancher and used to stop at the old home to talk books
with the father of "Foley's boys."
So, and naturally so, the former President writes an
introduction to the latest volume of poems by one of "Foley's boys," entitled,
"The Voices of Song." It is like the other volumes, only different. The shadow
of the great war falls over it betimes, but does not cloud its optimism, the
while it sings of life and love and sorrow,
of An Old Fashioned Girl and The Little Country Town, of Comrades in The Quest
of The Way to Galilee. Always the song is rich in sentiment, in moods
tender or playful, finely phrased and hiding a wise philosophy under the
lilt of simple melodies.
Good-morning, Sister Song,
I beg your humble pardon
If you've waited very long.
I thought I heard you
To shut you out were sin,
My heart is standing open,
* * *
"A HEAP O' LIVING"
There are those who say that American optimism is
evasive, unreal, and does not see straight,suffering from astigmatism and
needing treatment from an optometrist, if there be such a thing. Maybe so.
Perhaps it is sentimentalism, but it is practical too, and Brother Edgar Guest
is a happy exponent of it. Bright, clear-cut, rollicking, touching many
aspects of life surely, if briefly, reminiscent of childhood, shot through
with all the old loyalties and pieties - his verse is common sense set to
music. His philosophy is simple,the world is good if you take it in the right
spirit; that is, it is right, if you are right. Otherwise, it is all agog and
awry. "Stay upon the level and do the best you can," - for yourself and
everybody, and nothing can go far wrong. Hear music "when father shakes the
stove," and eat your "chunk of raisin pie" in thankfulness. When you "tackle
your work" just feel that you are equal to the job, and it will be done before
you know it, without fuss or fume. Be neighborly, have a kind word to say. It
is a happy mood, set to easy rhythm and rhyme, which is surely better than the
"sob-stuff" of which we have so much more than we need. To be sure, such a
philosophy overlooks a thing or two, including the world-war, the horrible
maladjustments of men and things, and the eternal discontents. But what of it?
Was not Hamlet made miserable by thinking he was born to put the world to
rights ? Furthermore, if we are to do our bit in swinging the earth back into
its orbit, we must first get right ourselves. Exactly, and that is the goodly
gospel of Guest, which he preaches from the pulpit of the Detroit Free Press.
May his tribe increase. There are "heaps of livin' " left, love to win us,
truth to entice us, beauty to lure us, and memory to take us back into the
days that come not back.
"Foxes can talk if you know how to listen,
My Paw said so.
Owls have big eyes that
sparkle an' glisten,
My Paw said so.
Bears can turn flip-flaps an'
climb ellum trees,
An' steal all the honey away
from the bees,
An' they never mind winter
becoz they don't freeze;
My Paw said so."
* * *
"I SAT IN LODGE WITH YOU"
When those words are spoken the ice is broken, two
men, strangers till then, become friends, and the fire of fellowship burns. It
was a true stroke, a tender touch, a fine flash of insight when Wilbur Nesbit
wrote those lines, which will surely become a classic of the Craft. What a
world of difference it makes to hear those words ! Somebody can vouch for you.
Doors open. Hands are outstretched. The old loneliness melts into a mist, like
a bad dream. What more can we do in this world than vouch for one another,
anysvay ? The richest man is a pauper if nobody will vouch for him. What is
the matter with the criminal? Chiefly, that no one will vouch for him. God of
dreams, what, a text for a thousand sermons! But it is not preaching we need,
but just to take the text to heart and live up to it.
"Those words hold all of
And help me face the world
There's something deep and
rich and good
In this: 'I sat in lodge with
* * *
THE BANK OF BEAUTY
Here is a beautiful book, privately printed,
entitled "Saint Francis of Assisi and Giotto his Interpreter," by J. R.
Chapman, of the Continental & Commercial National Bank of Chicago. How
strange. Francis wedded Lady Poverty as a bride. Clad in a rough garb, with a
rope girdle, he showed how rich life can be without money. Later a great
artist followed his steps with his brush, fixing the fleeting beauty of his
life in the eternal repose of art. And now a great banker follows those
shining steps, visiting the haunts of the "little poor man," brooding over the
hills and valleys of "the Galilee of Italy." It is beautiful withal, and
eloquent. Every man should have a city of the soul built against outward
distraction for inward consolation and shelter - some refuge from his work,
some remote and quiet retreat, a place of escape. Why not find in Masonry such
a home of the mind ? He that is wise will take heed, and govern himself
* * *
Saint Francis of Assisi, by J. R. Chapman.
The Voices of Song, by J. W. Foley. E. P. Dutton
Co., New York. $1.50
Tales of the Trail, by J. W.
Foley. E. P. Dutton Co., New York. $1.50
"A Heap o' Livill"' by Edgar Guest. Reilly
History of Kisco Lodge, No. 708, by J. F. Chapman.
Times Press, Mt. Kisco, N. Y.
Trees and Other Poems, by J.
Kilmer. Doran Co., New York. $1.00.
Why Men Pray, by C. L.
Slattery. Macmillan Co., New York. 75 cents.
Beside Our Reading Lamp, by
Luther A. and Elinore T. Brewer. Privately Printed.
How to Read, by J. B. Kerfoot.
Houghton Mifllin Co., Boston. $1.25.
Paul Revere, by Belle Moses.
D. Appleton Co., New York.
A MIDNIGHT SOLILOQUY
* * * "The horrid deed is
Here, cold and mute, wrapped
in the icy cloak of death, the Master sleeps.
No more the pageantry and
pomp of power;
No more the craftsman
hastening to perform his deep designs;
No more for him the Temple
rising proudly from its hill
And beckoning heaven itself
to rest upon these stately columns -
No more shall these his high
Oh, death untimely! Yet, oh,
timely death !
Wrested from earth while
still his honors clustered;
Before the breath of calumny
Or slander marred the worth
of his achievements.
He now has fallen, yielding
up his life,
Ere that he would betray his
Surrendering all - all that
the world holds dear -
Life, honor, power, riches,
Yet holding fast to his
Oh, daring loyalty -
fortitude most grand !
To him in future time shall
countless thousands sing their songs of praise,
And sound his name, who death
preferred, than faithless prove - than trust betray.
Yet kept so well, his secret
And from his death I read it
Truth, Honor, Fortitude!
* * *
But hark! The temple bell
rings out the midnight hour;
Come, now, my comrades, let
us haste away,
Bearing, where'er we go, our
heavy burden of remorse."
THE FIRST AMERICAN POEM*
When sun doth rise the stars
Yet there's no need of light.
God shines a sun most
When creatures all are right.
The very Indian boys can give
To many stars their name,
And know their course, and
Excel the English tame.
English and Indian none
Whose hand these candles
Who gives these stars their
More bright ten-thousand
- Roger Williams.
* Printed in England in the
first book ever issued by an American author, 1643.
BROTHERS OF LIGHT
Dear Brother: - Enclosed find a clipping from my
home paper, "Neue Zeuricher Zeitung," (Switzerland) dated July 23rd, 1916,
reading as follows: "Liberty Lodges. Ladies and Gentlemen of good standing
will be admitted into Freemasonry Lodges of the Hermetic Brothers of Light.
(America, Conn.) Prepaid inquiries to be sent to Post Office Box 1368, Ascona."
I should like to have you print this in The Builder with further information
as to the Freemasonry of the Brothers of Light. Fraternally, E. Nievergelt,
Unfortunately we have no information about the
fraternity mentioned by our Brother, except that they have no place in the
regular Masonry of America - which should be sufficient reason for letting
them alone, save as curiosity may prompt to investigation as to what they are
trying to do.
* * *
Dear Brother: - Some time ago I attended a lecture
on ''Symbolism of the Bible," delivered by a Theosophist. During the lecture
she often used Masonic terms and claimed it was pure Masonry. In a private
conversation the lecturer claimed to have been initiated into Masonry,
including the Third Degree, a member of a duly constituted Lodge operating
under a charter granted by the Grand Orient of France; that the order was duly
recognized in all countries except America. 'The Great White Lodge," she often
referred to, and alluded to it as Co-Masonry. I would appreciate information
about these matters. - E.P.W.
An article about Co-Masonry, soon to appear in these pages,
will set the facts clearly before our Members as regards this movement in
France and elsewhere: it is written by Brother A.E.
Waite. Co-Masonry exists in France and in many places, but it is not
recognized by the Grand Lodges of America. Nor is it recognized by the Grand
Lodge of England. For that matter, the Grand Orient of France is not
recognized by the Grand Lodge of England or by the Grand Lodges of America -
so that, as regular Masons, the whole affair is outside our jurisdiction. Some
of the leaders of the Theosophical Society - including its founder - we
understand were initiated, irregularly of course, into Masonry, and have given
theosophical interpretations to Masonic symbolism - that is, they united
Masonry and Theosophy; and this is no doubt what the lecturer meant by "pure
Masonry." To be sure, there is no reason why a Theosophist should not be a
Mason, or a Mason should not be a Theosophist; but it comes with ill grace to
claim that a mixture of the two is "pure Masonry " implying that our own
Masonry is diluted. Others might mix Masonry with Methodism, Buddhism, or some
other cult or sect or philosophy, and call it "pure Masonry." Such a
principle, if carried out would mean a Masonry as many-colored as the coat of
Joseph, and it would cease to exist. We have no prejudice against Theosophy,
or against a theosophical reading of Masonic symbols - if any one prefers that
interpretation - but the claim
of the lecturer is unMasonic, and would seem to show that she is not well
instructed in the basic tenet of the Order.
* * *
Dear Brother Newton: - Ever since I read your
editorial on the two Saints John, in the June issue of The Builder, I have
wanted to ask you whether or not prophets have been known in other nations
besides the Hebrews. I do not want to be a "butinsky," but would like to know
what you think about it. - J.L.N.
Indeed, yes. For a long time prophecy was looked
upon as an exclusively Hebrew institution, but that time has long gone by -
the idea having been made obsolete by the comparative study of religions. No
one nation has a monopoly of anything religious, albeit the Hebrews had a
genius for religion, as the Greeks had for art and philosophy, and it is
therefore that their prophets are supreme. But the prophet-genius is a thing
as distinct as the genius of the poet, or the painter; its characteristics are
well-known and may be clearly set forth - as ye editor tried to do in his
lectures on "Carlyle" and on "Savonarola," both of whom had the prophet-genius
in rare degree. Every race, every religion has its prophets. Such a book as
"The Prophet and his Problems,'' by J. M. P. Smith, will give you examples of
prophets in Egypt, Syria, Assyria and other lands of the ancient world. (Chap.
1.) Some seem to think that the chief function of a prophet is to foretell
coming events. Not so. That is the least significant aspect of his ministry.
He is less a fore-teller than a forth-teller, one who speaks "for" another -
so that, anyone who tells a moral or spiritual truth is, in so far, a prophet,
he speaks for God. If he has the lonely, sorrowful, austere, impassioned
genius of the prophet, he will tell it with tremendous earnestness and power,
with a style picturesque, parabolic, and surcharged with moral electricity.
* * *
SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES
Dear Sir and Brother: - I was exceedingly pleased
to get the list of references to the Bible in Masonry and should like to add
those we use in Jonkheer Lodge No. 865, F. & A. M., (Yonkers, N. Y.) in
connection with the allusion to untempered mortar in the first degree: Ezekiel
XIII:9 and XXII:28.
In New York our Great Light is open at Psalm
CXXXIII for the first degree; at Amos VII for the second and at Ecclesiastes
XII for the third degree. Are the references as printed in the December
journal wrong, or do the various jurisdictions change the references? Yours
fraternally, D D. Berolzheimer, New York.
* * *
Dear Brother Editor: - I would like to know if any
Brother can inform me if Robert Southey, born August 12, 1774, died March 21,
1843, at Bristol (?) County of Somerset, England was a Mason. Southey was Poet
Laureate of England from 1813 until his death. His Lyric, "To a Spider," has
the following for verse 2:
"Thou art welcome to a Rhymer sore perplext,
The subject of his verse.
There's many a one, who on a better text
Perhaps might comment worse.
Then shrink not, old Free Mason, from my view
But quietly like me spin out the line;
Do thou thy work pursue,
As I will mine."
Why does Southey call the Spider: "Old Free
Louis S. Brigham, Randolph,
It does not appear from any biography of Southey
that he was a Mason. At least, it is not mentioned - though that is not always
conclusive. Perhaps some of our English Members can tell us the fact. Of
course, he would not have to be a Mason to write the line quoted, since the
common fact that Masonry rests upon geometry, and the geometrical figures
woven by the Spider in his web, would suggest the comparison.
* * *
My dear Brother: - I received your letter of the
26th of May, on time; and if you will pardon the long delay, I will answer the
Darius Cobb is not a Mason. He is the artist who
produced the wonderful pictures: THE MASTER, THE LAST COMRADE, CHRIST BEFORE
PILATE, and many others.
He is now 84 years of age, active, hale, hearty,
and a big "boy" now as he always has been. On his birthdays, he always issues
this challenge: "I, Darius Cobb, hereby challenge any man my age, in the
world, to race me for 25 miles." The challenge has never been accepted.
On July 4th, 1916, I saw him at a Community
Celebration Parade at Newton Highlands, Mass., where he lives. He impersonated
"Diogenes" and later made a big hit with the boys when he actually struck out
"Teddy Roosevelt" on three pitched balls at a burlesque ball game. All this at
Fraternally, L. S. Brigham,
(This interesting note is in reply to our inquiry
as to whether Darius Cobb, the artist - Brother of Sylvanus Cobb, of whom
Brother Brigham wrote so interesting a letter - is a Mason. It gives us a
glimpse of a hearty, happy old age, which any man might envy - the fruit of a
well-spent life. The famous painting of "The Master," by Cobb, deserves its
renown, uniting as it does the strength of manhood and the mercy of womanhood,
illumined by strange, starry eyes, keen but kind, which look into the soul of
humanity. For a few swift and gentle years those eyes looked into the eyes of
humanity - and the world moved on. But the race has never forgotten that
glance, nor will it forget until whatever is to be the end of things.)
* * *
THE UPPER ROOM
Dear Bro. Newton: - Can you give me some authority
in regard to the proposition of holding a Masonic Lodge on the ground floor of
a building, or in a one story building ?
Ever since l have been a member of the Fraternity,
I have had the idea that it was contrary to Masonic tradition to hold a Lodge
on the ground floor or in a one story building. I presume I got the idea from
reading that in Ancient times our Brethren ascended to the highest pinnacle
when they assembled as a Lodge.
Since I came to the Province of Saskatchewan and
more especially since taking up my duties this year as District Deputy Grand
Master of the 12th Masonic District in this Province, I have discovered that
two of the Lodges in my jurisdiction have their Lodge rooms on the ground
floor, and I still claim that it is contrary to Masonic tradition, so if you
will be so kind as to enlighten me on this matter I will be grateful indeed.
The writer is a Past Master of Anamosa Lodge No. 46 and in
addressing you I feel that I am writing "home" for information.
Thanking you in advance for the anticipated favor,
I beg to remain,
Fraternally yours, H. G. A.
(There is neither reason nor authority, so far as
we are aware, why a Lodge may not meet on the first floor of a building, if it
so desires. Our Brethren in the olden time met often in hills, the better to
note the approach of cowans and eavesdroppers, but it was not always so. The
only point in a place of meeting is its privacy, and that may be secured on
any floor. As we write, there comes to mind a lovely summer afternoon on the
banks of the Thames, only a few months ago. when we sat in Lodge which
convened on the first floor of a building near the Skindle Hotel, Taplow, in
the Province of Buckingshire.)
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS
Dear Brother: - In a copy of The Builder for the
current month I notice on page 357 under the title, "The Roll of Honor," the
names of John Adams and John Quincy Adams who are described as "Brother
As M. W. Bro. Baird states that he has verified
the list I believe it would be worth while to publish the verification because
the anti-Masons assert in their publications that John Adams never passed
beyond the first degree and John Quincy Adams never entered a lodge.
It is certain that in the Anti-Mason controversy
the latter took a conspicuous part against the order, writing a series of
"Letters on Masonry" for publication. The "Account of the Morgan Tragedy"
included in the collected "Letters," is still used by the Antis as a tract to
propagate their ideas. They also used to have a tract containing what
purported to be letters from Chas. Francis Adams, son of J. Q. Adams, in which
the writer asserted that neither his father nor any of his descendants ever
had been Masons.
It is more than twenty-five years since I saw this
tract but the statements therein were very explicit and apparently backed by
family testimony. The only point concerning which my memory is not clear is
whether Chas. Francis Adams also denied the Masonic affiliation of his
grandfather, John Adams.
The existence nor yet the honor of Masonry depend
on neither of these men. If they were not Masons let us cease to claim them. I
do not remember seeing anything claiming honors for the American people by
reason of the fact that Benedict Arnold was born in Connecticut. Why should we
boast of the distinction of having had a brother who became President of the
United States, when at the same time he used his literary ability to attack
our Brotherhood ? If he never was a Mason we need have no concern about his
attacks more than another's showing equal ability. If he was a Mason his
hostility imposes on us an especial burden of explanation. And his attitude
was notorious cannot be denied, while his distinguished career adds weight to
the wrong side of the scale where we are concerned. We had better let the
Anti-Masons have all of him since he gave them what he did.
Paul F. Ela, E. Douglas Mass.
* * *
"SCOTTISH RITE PHILOSOPHY"
Dear Sir and Brother: -The letter under the above
title, and over the initial signature, "L. S. G.," appearing on page 382 of
the December, 1916, issue of The Builder, prompts me to risk being called
presumptuous, when I attempt to write a few words that may possibly cast a ray
of light across the what seems to be a dark horizon, to many men who admit and
claim allegiance to the marvelous Scottish Rite. Unfortunately for the
stability and radiance of Masonry, there be many men, who, even though
enlightened with all the education that modern universities can bestow upon
them, yet they are absolutely unable to speak the first word in the answer to
the "riddle of the sphinx," "Why, Whence, and Whither." The correct answer to
this time old riddle is truly the "Holy Doctrine" as well as "the long lost
I am indeed sorry to observe that the editor of The Builder, in
his reply or comments on the letter of Brother "L.S.G.," is inclined to cast
regrets and rather critical innuendoes at the form and the philosophy of
Morals and Dogma. To some members of the Rite it would be as impossible to add
to or subtract from the beauties and sublimity and profundity of Morals and
Dogma, as it would be to change for the better the verbiage of the "Great
Light." Any one that fails to discover these wonderful features of that great
book should never cast aspersions at the work, for that plainly indicates
their own inability to comprehend and grasp its deeper and hidden meanings. We
are assured in its pages that exoteric Masonry is made in such way that the
profane may not know its hidden meaning.
It must be read "between the lines" by the one who would grasp its full and
I hope that I will not be deemed pedantic, if I
attempt to tell Brother "L.S.G." of the "rough and rugged road" over which I
traveled, and through which the symbolism and the philosophy of Morals and
Dogma, and in fact the whole symbolism of Masonry, was made plain to me. Not
that I pretend or assume that I am able to unravel and have mastered each and
every feature of their unlimited intricacies, for such "Mastership" I believe
to be beyond the ability of any one finite mentality. But I do believe and
feel that much of the hidden treasures are perceptible to me, and those that I
have not mastered remain unrevealed because of lack of opportunity and mental
ability on my part. The revered and lamented Pike, and the brilliant
Richardson, each spent a lifetime in the study of these hidden treasures, and
were not able to plumb their most profound depths. Then why should I presume
to be even able to feel and see their most hidden beauties. Masonry I conceive
to be a rich mine, and the deeper the Seeker delves, the richer the jewels
that he will bring to light.
It was my good fortune, to receive the degrees of
Ancient Craft Masonry, very early in my young manhood. The Capitular and
Cryptic degrees soon followed, and in due time I was made a Knight Templar.
Soon after completing the degrees of the York or American Rite, I was
fortunately led into a course of reading, that for me, held an almost
irresistible attraction. I presume that my inherent love of the study of
Ancient History was the real reason that I took up the line of study that I
here mention. I will not name the many books that I read that took rank as
collateral reading, but will mention only what I now view as the central work
around which all others but radiated and held second place. I refer to the
writings of Madame H.P. Blavatsky. Now do not throw up your hands in "holy
horror" for I am not going to advocate a full course in "Theosophy," or of any
other cult, as such. I believe that no one should undertake the reading and
study of such deep and intricate philosophy, until that reader is able to read
the text, and exclude from his mind the personality and the crotchets of the
author. Then and only then, will the student be able to reap the rich harvest
that is sometimes almost completely overshadowed by some erratic views and
personal whims of the author.
The two volumes entitled "Isis Unveiled," and the
three volumes, "The Secret Doctrine," constitute a mine of wisdom, that in my
humble opinion has never been equalled in an equal number of volumes. After
reading these volumes a number of times, together with many other books such
as I before termed collateral, then it was my good fortune to be elected to
receive the degrees and the philosophical teachings of the Scottish Rite. When
I finally arrived at summit, then I devoutly thanked my lucky stars that my
reading and study of the many previous years had been cast in the lines that
had fallen to my lot.
As the entrancing beauties of the Scottish Rite
degrees were unfolded to my wondering eyes, their matchless philosophy
expounded to my astounded and charmed mind, my thoughts harked back to the
invaluable and innumerable facts and truths of ancient religions, and the
traditions of ancient mythology, all so lucidly and clearly and indisputably
dragged forth from their forgotten crypts by the wonderful erudition and
learning of Blavatsky, to become a background and shading for the wonderful
picture as painted by the hand of Albert Pike. Soon I read the pages of Morals
and Dogma, and I was forced to marvel at the wonderful harmony that exists in
its philosophy. By a combination of the teachings from these two great
teachers, the symbolism and the philosophy of Masonry became to me, perfectly
satisfactory and complete. The, that to me, is the "long lost Master's Word,"
came like a flash from a noonday sun. The "Why," "Whence" and "Whither," was
answered to my entire satisfaction, and the purposes, the objects or reasons
for existence became perfectly satisfactory to my mind, while the future was
entirely stripped of all previous dread. This same course may not remove the
clouds from the minds of others, for we are told in our rituals, "let each
apply the answer best suited to his own mind." But to me, it has acted in a
way that I conceive to be very much like the orthodox condition called by its
adherents, "Sanctification." Life and its trials and temptations, its
victories and its disappointments, all are viewed as part of the vast scheme
of the cosmos, guided and directed by the same unerring laws of Nature, or in
other words, by the same hand of God. This induces a man to endeavor with
redoubled effort, to "live the life" and render his own heart a fit dwelling
place for the "Most High God." It is worth the effort.
H. L Henderson, Oregon.
(Now ye editor has not been casting innuendoes or
aspirations at "Morals and Dogma" or its author, nor is he inclined to do so.
Far from it. He holds the great book and its great author in high esteem, but
he does not believe in the infallibility of either. Instead of belittling the
book he has been trying to "read between the lines," as our Brother suggests,
and if he has not found those unfathomable depths of truth which no mortal
thought may sound, he has at least endeavored to make the wise and good and
beautiful philosophy of the Scottish Rite more lucid. He insists that "Morals
and Dogma" needs revision, needs it badly - and he is ready any time to give a
bill of particulars, plans and specifications, or whatever else may be needed
to show that he is right. He is insistent, not because he is an enemy of the
Rite - God forbid - but the more earnestly because he loves it, believes in
it, and is certain that it is one of the greatest instrumentalities for
teaching men the truth that exists upon earth. Because this is so, because of
its unmeasured possibilities, it ought to seek a higher efficiency for its
high ends. When it does so, more men will find it what Brother Henderson has
found, albeit perhaps not in just the same way - a House of Truth for the
habitation and comfort of the intellect, a Temple of Faith in which to
strengthen and fortify the soul. No, we do not hold up our hands "in horror"
at Madame Blavatsky, or at any one else who has labored to enrich and exalt
the human mind - never! That is not the spirit of the Scottish Rite. As life
runs on we find ourselves more eager to welcome every helper, more willing to
listen to every sweet voice that speaks of the things that matter most,
rejoicing in the truth, wherever it is found - as we rejoice with our Brother
in his hard-won assurance and peace of heart.)
* * *
THE PLAY OF LIFE
I have been reading "The Crescent Moon" by
Radindranath Tagore, the great Poet of India - and these are some of the
thoughts that have lingered in my brain:
We have been pacing alone across the Fields of
Life - strolling along the shores of the great Ocean of Time - while the
Sunset was hiding its Gold like a miser.
The infinite Sky is motionless and the restless
Life's Children play on the Sands of endless
Worlds and meet and greet, and part 'mid joyous songs and dances.
They build their houses with sand and play with
empty shells, with withered leaves they weave their boats and float them on
the Sea of Life.
Tempests roam the sky and blacken the trackless
deep - yet the Children of Life play on in innocence and glee - fearing
The Crescent Moon becomes tangled in the branches
of the trees and, in childish joy and confidence, we spread a net to catch it.
The Clouds that float in the azure sky seem Angels
and friends, and the Waves are peopled with those that sing songs of joy and
gladness from morn till night.
Then again, we build Palaces for our Fairy Friends
with silver walls and roofs of Gold.
The World has been flooded with radiant Light -
but the Sun is hiding its face behind the Clouds.
The shadow of the Rain has covered the day of our
lives - and the fierce Lightning scratches the Sky with its nails; the Clouds
rumble and roar; we shrink in fear - and are far from Home.
There are no hedges to mark the way, nor
foot-paths to lead the feet; tears moisten our eyes and our hearts tremble
with fear and nearly break, when we feel a hand in the darkness of our despair
which tenderly lifts us up and clasps us to the bosom of its Heavenly Love -
hearing us to Home - and Love - and LIGHT.
S.W. Williams, P.G.H.P.,
* * *
THE YORK RITE
Dear Brother Newton: - In reading Brother Ruhn's
very interesting article on the York Rite in the November, 1916, number of The
Builder, I have noted a few points which I should like to bring to your
In the first place he states that "The Ancient and
Accepted Scottish Rite" is a misnomer as this Rite does not come from
Scotland, and he considers that the word "Scottish" should be changed or
omitted. May I point out that the Supreme Council for England made this change
some years ago and in that country the Scottish Rite system is now known as
the Ancient and Accepted Rite for England and Wales and the Dependencies of
the British Crown.
Secondly, Brother Kuhn states that "the most excellent Degree
is unknown in the British Empire, except in Canada." This is an error which I
should like to correct. The Grand Council of the Cryptic Degrees for England,
grants Charters which give power to confer the Degrees of Most Excellent
Master, Royal Master, Select Master and Super-excellent Master. Councils under
the authority of this governing body are to be found in most parts of the
I may say that the Ritual of the Degree of Most
Excellent Master as conferred by the Cryptic Councils of England is
practically identical with that given by Royal Arch Chapters in Canada and the
C. C. Adams, Canada.
* * *
(The following letter from an alert and able young
Master of an Iowa Lodge is most interesting and valuable, as showing the
fruitfulness of a wise suggestion by a Grand Master, and further, as proposing
a custom which it would be well to gonsider. Pertinent to the same points are
the "Hints to Masters," by Brother MacBride, of Lodge Progress, published in
the January issue. If a Master has no plan of progress for his Lodge, he will
not get very far. Masters should be trained, not only in the ritual, but in
the executive and practical aspects of their office. Yes, this Society can
help, and it will keep in mind the suggestion here offered; it was this that
we had in mind in publishing the Hints to Masters.)
As the election of officers in the various lodges
draws nigh I am thinking of the officers in line for next year and the total
indifference that some of them feel towards the work. This indilference is
only exceeded by the utter lack of understanding as to their responsibilities
in their new stations. A new master takes his oath of office often without the
least thought as to how he is going to improve the order during the coming
year, and sometimes with no intention of trying to do so. It is this lack of
appreciating and understanding the responsibilities of the office that makes
for this haphazard work of so many lodges and precludes all growth, except
perhaps in numbers.
Grand Master Walton, at Cedar Rapids, touched upon
a cure for that very thing, in my judgment. I have thought of it a great deal
since then, and I feel more and more that if the outgoing master was required
to give a thorough accounting of his year’s work in the form of a report read
at the time of installing his successor, as Brother Walton suggested, it would
be a very good thing for the lodge. It would give the new master something to
think about, and if these reports were read year after year, and compared and
discussed by the brethren, as would certainly happen, it would create a
feeling in all who were on their way toward, or who aspired to be masters that
after all it was no small job and worthy of the best talent in the lodge and
the best efforts of every man who was in the chair. I believe that the
brethren would also be more careful of whom they elected.
Couldn't the National Masonic Researgh Society
through The Builder do something to help this along? A campaign of education
would help, I believe. Would it not be profitable work for the magazine if it
gave a little space to a short article on the subject in November or December
of each year, in order to remind those masters that had perhaps forgotten?
Then in the January number, which would be read by the new masters when their
interest is at its highest, maybe a short article of an inspirational nature,
accompanied by an actual report of some master, would solve the matter in some
measure. New masters and old ones too, and other members would read with the
greatest of interest the report of some master whose name and lodge was given.
It would be a concrete example of what had been done, and would create a
desire for the same thing. Many masters need only to be given a hint along
such a line, and if one report was published in The Builder in January of each
year it would not be many years until a valuable collection of reports would
be at hand for reference.
G.G. Gudmundson, Iowa.
* * *
BY CHARLES MACKAY
In the Book of Genesis (IV:22) occurs the
sentence: "And Zillah, she also bare Tubal Cain, an instructor of every
artificer in brass and iron." On the hint given in this brief statement the
very popular poem of "Tubal Cain" was composed by Dr. Charles Mackay, an
industrious English writer ( 1814-1889), who was for a time editor of the
ILLUSTRATED LONDON NEWS, and correspondent for the LONDON TIMES during the
American Civil War.
Mackay is remembered chiefly by this poem and by
the spirited song, "Cheer, Boys, Cheer!"
"Tubal Cain" affords an excellent example of how
much can be made out of a very slight suggestion when this gains lodgment in
an imaginative mind.
The Bible tells nothing more about Tubal Cain; yet
from the bare fact that he is spoken of as an instructor in metalworking
Mackay spun a very spirited poem of "the days when earth was young," embodying
also, in a picturesque fashion, a moral to be remembered.
Old Tubal Cain was a man of
In the days when the earth
By the fierce red light of
his furnace bright,
The strokes of his hammer
And he lifted high his brawny
On the iron glowing clear,
Till the sparks rushed out in
As he fashioned the sword and
And he sang, "Hurrah for my
Hurrah for the spear and
Hurrah for the hand that
shall wield them well,
For he shall be king and
To Tubal Cain came many a one
As he wrought by his roaring
And each one prayed for a
strong steel blade
As the crown of his desire
And he made them weapons
sharp and strong,
Till they shouted loud with
And gave him gifts of pearl
And the spoils of the forest
And they said, "Hurrah for
Who hath given us strength
Hurrah for the smith, hurrah
for the fire,
And hurrah for the metal true
But a sudden change came o'er
Ere the setting of the sun,
And Tubal Cain was filled
For the evil he had done:
He saw that men with rage and
Made war upon their kind,
That the land was red with
the blood they shed
In their lust for carnage
And he said, "Alas that ever
Or that skill of mine should
The spear and the sword for
men whose joy
Is to slay their fellow man!"
And for many a day old Tubal
Sat brooding o'er his woe;
And his hand forbore to smite
And his furnace smoldered
But he rose at last with a
And a bright courageous eye,
And bared his strong right
arm for work,
While the quick flames
And he sang, "Hurrah for my
And the red sparks lit the
"Not alone for the blade was
the bright steel made,"
And he fashioned the first
And men, taught wisdom from
In friendship joined their
Hung the sword in the hall,
the spear on the wall,
And plowed the willing lands;
And sung, "Hurrah for Tubal
Our stanch good friend is he
And for the plowshare and the
To him our praise shall be.
But while oppression lifts
Or a tyrant would be lord,
Though we may thank him for
We'll not forget the sword !"
DISSERTATION ON THE EMBLEMS
Inscribed and Dedicated to My
Beloved Brother M. W., Albert W. Crites, Past Grand Master and Past High
BY ROBERT E. FRENCH, OF
The Three Steps.
As the sun rises in the east,
giving birth to day,
So in youthful hours the
heart is light and gay -
'Ere angry clouds o'ercast
the sky, all is bright and clear,
Before the heart has felt a
sign or e'er been chilled by fear.
In manhood as Fellow Crafts
we arrive at middle age,
Youthful hours are past and
gone - we're actors on life's stage;
Misfortunes crowd our
pathway, clouds return in gloom;
We feel our own feet sliding
toward the silent tomb.
In age as Master Masons,
having lived three score and ten,
May we look back along the
track without remorse or pain.
Then let the golden bowl be
broken the fountain rent in twain
Then let the silver cord be
loosed and the clouds return again.
The Pot of Incense.
Fair emblem of a pure and
Filled with love, relief and
truth, tenets of our art;
May it ascend in fragrance
rare as flowers of sweet perfume,
To a throne beyond the skies,
immortal life beyond the tomb.
Emblem of industry of the
"Ancient and the Free,"
Learning lessons of honest
labor from the busy bee,
Laying by rich stores of
knowledge ere winter age gomes on,
Relieving, aiding and
assisting each and every one.
The Book of Constitutions.
"The Book of Constitutions
guarded by the Tiler's sword,"
Warns us to be watchful of
thought and act and word.
Let the tongue remain in
silence and circumspection, too,
Rather than betray our
virtues to those that are untrue.
The Sword Pointing to a Naked
"The sword pointing to a
naked heart" - a warning to us all
That stern justice will
o'ertake the great as well as small;
For he who guides the comet
along its rapid flight
Knows but one eternal law,
and that's the law of right.
The Ark and Anchor.
"The ark" riding on the
billows tells of a sure retreat
From life's storms and
troubles we may rest our weary feet.
Within a peaceful harbor may
we all arrive at last,
Where the wicked cease from
troubling and the weary are at rest.
"The anchor" is an emblem of
a well grounded hope,
Like the mariner that clings
to the life-saving rope,
So we look forward to a haven
of bliss above,
Safely moored in a harbor
where God rules in love.
The Forty-Seventh Problem of
Invention of Pythagoras, the
seer of ancient days,
Mystical truth-seeker, garing
naught for praise,
Traveling in foreign climes
over land and sea -
Solve this ancient problem
and you'll find a mystery.
The Hour Glass.
"The hour glass," emblem of
life's swiftly running sands,
Gives all a timely warning of
an approaching end,
Moments, swiftly passing,
soon will end life's idle dream;
Soon we all must cross
Death's cold and silent stream.
"The scythe of Time" that
cuts the brittle thread of life,
Thus ending all our troubles
in this world of strife,
That launches us into
eternity for another shore,
To a distant land, where our
fathers have gone before.
The Spade, Coffin and Sprig
"The spade and the coffin" -
Oh! what solemn emblems thou,
To remind us of death’s dew
that will gather on our brow
When this life has passed
away to other planes and scenes,
The Mason's faith taught by
the acacia of immortal green.