The Builder Magazine
February 1918 - Volume IV - Number
RELIGION OF GEORGE WASHINGTON
BY BRO. GEORGE W. BAIRD,
P.G.M., DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
IN the Grand Lodge
Proceedings of South Carolina for 1915, on page 231, Brother W. S. Seipp,
Senior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of Maryland, is quoted as saying that
on a certain occasion the children of a certain Grand Master were entertaining
some of their schoolmates, when the name of George Washington was mentioned
and it was said among other things that he was a Mason.
To the surprise of the good
Grand Master, one of the guests said "Oh, no! George Washington was a
Catholic," and on being questioned stated further "that the brightest scholars
in the world, the holy fathers, had taught them in a parochial school that the
immortal George was not only a Catholic but that he, as Commander-in-Chief of
the Army, had ordered mass to be said every day in camp !"
Occasionally the question of
the religion of Brother George Washington has been raised and such claims as
the above asserted, which if repeated often enough may be believed. If we
sanction by silence such falsehoods we will only have ourselves to blame.
Of course, if children of
parochial school age are taught such falsehoods, it is no wonder that they
should regard the rest of us as mountebanks, all their lives. The mind is more
plastic in the primary school age, than ever after and if the "holy fathers"
get in their work on children at that age it is not difficult to understand
the reason for their superstition and their adhesion to sorcery and to fairy
tales, and it is also plainly to be seen why Romanists are opposed to our
American public school system.
Washington was brought up in
the Episcopalian faith and always attended that church. He was at one time a
vestryman of Pohick Church and was also a vestryman of Christ Church in
Alexandria. These are matters of church record and evidences of his prominence
in the Episcopalian faith.
The grandmother of the writer
was thirteen years of age when Washington died and we well remember hearing
her tell that she attended Pohick church on at least one occasion, and she was
positive that General Washington was particularly devout in his worship and in
his responses during this service.
History does not record that
Washington "ordered mass to be said in the camps every day," but from a
Catholic authority (Sentinel of Liberty, v. II, p. 145) we read of his
suppressing the "Pope's Day" in camp, i.e. the anniversary on which the Pope
was burned in effigy in certain camps of the Revolutionary Army. This practice
of burning the Pope in effigy in these camps is evidence of the esteem in
which his holiness was held in that Army.
Grief was nation-wide when
Washington died. He was held in high esteem; almost idolized by the people.
All churches, including the Romish, held memorial services, but in the last
named the services were modified, which would not have been the case had they
believed that Washington was of their creed. For example, in the circular of
Bishop Carrol to his clergy, on the occasion of the death of General
Washington, he advises them "not to form their discourses on the model of a
funeral sermon, but rather to compose an oration such as might be delivered at
an Academy, and on a plan bearing some resemblance to that of Saint Ambrose on
the death of the young Emperor Valentine, who was deprived of life before his
initiation into our church, but who had discovered in his early age the germ
of those extraordinary qualities which expanded themselves in Washington, and
flourished with so much lustre during a life of unremitting exertion and
"If these discourses shall be
delivered in churches where the holy sacraments are usually kept it would be
proper to remove it, with due honor, to some decent place."
It has been claimed that
Bishop Carroll was an intimate friend of Washington, though none of
Washington's historians even intimate this fact. There is no record of an
acquaintance between them until President Washington was invited to distribute
the premiums at the commencement exercises of the Jesuit College, in
Georgetown, of which Bishop Carrol was president. But it is very certain that
the Bishop would not have caused the holy vessels to be removed from the
churches during the memorial services, had he not regarded Washington as a
About four years ago there
were printed in Romish papers stories on the subject from which the American
Citizen has quoted. One is as follows:
"Although George Washington,
father and first president of our country, was not a Catholic, yet he is said
to have kept always hanging over his bed a picture of the Immaculate
Conception, which is still to be seen in its old place at Mount Vernon. There
is also a tradition that on the night of his death, Father Neale, S.J., of the
Maryland Province, was hurriedly sent for, and rowed across the Potomac, where
he remained for four hours with the dying Patriot * *."
The Potomac river at Mount
Vernon is a good mile wide, and the accompanying map, made in 1795, shows no
trail nor road anywhere near that point of the river on the Maryland side, so
the priest did not row across at that point. We cannot find record of any
Romish church in Maryland nearer than St. Inigoes at that time, and from the
U. S. Catholic Historic Magazine, v. I, p. 333, we find Father Neale, S. J.,
was stationed there.
The map, used as this month's
frontispiece, was engraved from surveys made in 1795, and it shows every road,
path and trail in Charles County and St. Marys County, by which his reverence
might travel. Port Tobacco (where there may possibly have been a Romish
church) was the nearest town in Maryland but there was no road thence to the
Potomac except via Matawoman Creek, from which point there is a waterway
fifteen miles in length, after a ride of about eighteen miles.
From Port Tobacco by water it
is thirty-five miles, and from St. Inigoes by water, it is nearly seventy-five
miles to Mount Vernon. The assumption is, therefore, that the inventor of the
fairy story discovered the name of Father Neale as being in Maryland, and used
this fact to fit into his story.
Alexandria is on the Virginia
side of the Potomac and only about six miles from Mount Vernon. There was a
good bridle-path from Mount Vernon to Alexandria which Washington himself
often rode, which must have been familiar to the inhabitants of Fairfax
County, and as there was a Romish church in Alexandria it would have been so
much more convenient to send there. More than this, Georgetown was but
fourteen miles away, with a good bridle-path all the way, and Bishop Carrol
(who is claimed to have been a friend of Washington) was stationed at the
Jesuit college there.
Travel, at that time, was
mostly by the river* or on horseback. Trails for bridle-paths were cut through
the woods, which accounts for the many hills; for it would seem the
path-finders found the distance over a hill shorter than around it. The river
is tortuous and the channel narrow. There were no steam-boats in those days
and the tides, the fickle winds and the many shoals made river travel slow.
Then, let us inquire, how could Father Neale, sent for in a hurry, reach Mount
Vernon, "spend four hours with the dying Patriot," and leave with no one at
Mount Vernon knowing anything about it?
This alleged tradition places
the remarkable visit on the night of Washington's death, when Mrs. Washington,
private secretary Colonel Lear, Doctor Craik and the servants were in the
house and in the room (for the General was not left alone for a moment) and if
there were any truth in the story it could not possibly have been kept secret.
We believe that the Romanists, more than any other people, are the most ready
to announce their acquisitions and conquests.
The diary of the private
secretary of General Washington, Colonel Tobias Lear, has been in print for
many years and has never been challenged. It was written at the time, on the
spot, and has so often been verified that there has never been a doubt of its
correctness. Colonel Lear wrote:
"During his whole illness he
spoke but seldom and with great difficulty and distress and in so low and
broken a voice as at times hardly to be understood. His patience, fortitude
and resignation never forsook him for a moment. In all his distress he uttered
not a sigh nor complaint, always endeavoring (from a sense of duty) to take
what was offered to him and to do what was desired by his physicians.
"At the time of his decease
Doctor Craik and myself were in the situation before mentioned. Mrs.
Washington and Charlotte were in the room, standing near the door; Mrs.
Forbes, the housekeeper was frequently in the room during the day and the
"As soon as Doctor Craik
could speak, after the distressing scene was closed, he desired one of the
servants to ask the gentlemen below to come upstairs. When they came to the
bedside, I kissed the head I held in my bosom, laid it down and went to the
other side of the room where I was for some time lost in profound grief, until
aroused by Christopher desiring care of the General's keys and other things
which were taken out of his pockets and which Mrs. Washington directed him to
give to me. I wrapped them in the General's handkerchief and took them with me
to my room. "About twelve o'clock the corpse was brought down-stairs and laid
out in the large room.
"Sunday, Dec. 5, 1799.
"The foregoing statement, so
far as I can recollect, is correct. "James Craik."
Thus we have the statement of
Colonel Lear verified by Doctor Craik, the attending physician. Continuing his
diary, Colonel Lear says he "wrote letters to the President, General Hamilton,
* The writer is familiar with
the river, and is descended from ancestors who were actively engaged in river
traffic at this period.
Bushrod Washington, Colonel
Pell, Captain Hammond and also John Lewis, desiring him to inform his brothers
George, Robert and Howell * * *." Mrs. Stewart was sent for. In the morning
about ten o'clock Mr. Thomas Peter came down; and about two o'clock Mr. and
Mrs. Law. Doctor Craik tarried all day and night. In the evening I consulted
with Mr. and Mrs. Law, Mr. Peter and Doctor Craik, on fixing the day for
depositing the body in the vault. I wished the ceremony to be postponed until
the last of the week, to give time for some of the General's relatives to be
here. But Doctor Craik and Mr. Thornton gave it decidedly as their opinion
that considering the disorder of which the General died, being of an
inflammatory nature, it would not be proper nor perhaps, safe, to keep the
body so long and therefore Wednesday was fixed upon to allow a day (Thursday)
in case the weather should be unfavorable on Wednesday."
The diary for Wednesday shows
that "about two o'clock the procession began to move."
"The arrangements for the
procession were made by Colonels Little and Simms and Mr. Dencale and Mr.
Dick. The pall-bearers were Colonels Little, Simms, Gilpin, Payne, Ramsay and
Marstaller. Colonel Blackburn preceded the corpse; Colonel Duncale marched
with the Militia * * *. Lodge No. 23, Corporation of Alexandria and all other
persons preceded by Mr. Anderson and the overseers. When the body arrived at
the vault, the Reverend Mr. Davis read the service and pronounced a short
extempore speech: the Masons performed their ceremonies and the body was
deposited in the vault."
From among the number of
people mentioned and referred to by Colonel Lear who were on the Mount Vernon
premises at the time of the last illness of General Washington, there surely
would have been at least one who would have known of the alleged visit of a
priest if there had been such a visit, but no word nor intimation of such a
"presence" is even hinted at by a soul.
Colonel Lear, Doctor Craik
and all the pall-bearers were Masons, but not all of them communicants of the
church. I cannot discover that anyone has claimed that General Washington died
a Romanist, but this has been often intimated. "It is said" that he kept the
picture of the Immaculate Conception hanging over his bed, but they are
careful not to say who said so, neither can it be found there nor can anyone
be found who has any knowledge of it.
The story of the visit of
Father Neale is a tacit accusation that Colonel Lear, Doctor Craik, Mrs.
Washington, the housekeeper and the servants conspired to conceal that
"presence": an accusation which seems to the writer to be infamous. I would as
soon think of accusing the Virgin Mary as to believe that Mrs. Washington
would be guilty of such deception. Perish the thought! The story that
Washington kept a picture of the Immaculate Conception hanging over his bed is
The writer has many times
visited Mount Vernon but has never seen nor heard of any such picture there.
Besides this, Washington died in 1799, and the Immaculate Conception was not
decreed by the Church of Rome until 1854. It was adopted in the constitution
of Pope Piux IX, Ineffabilis Deus, as follows:
"We define the doctrine which
holds the most blessed Virgin Mary in the first instant of her conception to
have been preserved from all stain of original sin by the singular grace and
privilege of Almighty God, and through the merits of Jesus Christ," etc.
The artist who is alleged to
have made such a picture could hardly have anticipated the discovery of the
conception fifty-five years in advance. Petrograd was called St. Petersburg
until 1914, and if a letter were dated "Petrograd, 1859," none but the
faithful could be induced to believe its authenticity.
A story printed in the
National Hiberian in 1914 (March) says that there are more Washingtons in
County Roscommon, Ireland, than in all of England, and that they all have the
same "facial expression" as the Father of his Country, the immortal
Washington; the intimation being that Washington was Irish. The article was
well written and will doubtless be generally believed by the readers of that
paper. Its purpose is evident--keep such a story alive and in time it may be
generally believed, just as was the story taught to the parochial school-girl
mentioned at the beginning of this article.
Pohick Church, before
referred to, stands on the watershed between Pohick and Accotink creeks a few
miles from Mount Vernon. Many very distinguished men have worshipped there
including Washington, George Mason and John Marshall. At the outbreak of the
Civil War the congregation of Pohick Church was poor and the services in the
church irregular. The United States Artillery seized the building, and used it
for a stable; the floors were torn out that the horses might stand on soft
ground; the windows were broken; the doors unhinged and the holy vessels taken
away. The place changed hands a number of times during the war and when the
Confederates captured it they made similar use of it. But when the Civil War
was ended the vestry of that little church asked Congress for indemnification,
but could never recover a cent.
The communion service was
found in a New York pawn shop; was redeemed and returned by a New Yorker, but
the church was still unserviceable. The vestry begged for sufficient indemnity
to make the building habitable, but without avail.
Fortunately, however, those
noble women who compose the Societies of Colonial Dames and Daughters of the
American Revolution, who are above politics and above sectionalism, placed
their dimpled hands in their pockets and produced sufficient funds to
rehabilitate the edifice and it is now being used for purposes of worship.
I have always believed that
when Wolf and Washington drove the French back across the St. Lawrence river
they did more to establish civil and religious liberty on the North American
Continent than did our War of Independence.
Mankind seems to be generally
divided between the Radicals and the Conservatives; the one is hasty, drastic,
aggressive and confident; the other tardy, conciliating, patient and doubting.
Washington was one of the few
men who came near being a happy mean between the two. He came of highly
respectable and aristocratic people in Virginia and it is generally believed
that his attachment to Masonry was influential in kindling within him the true
spirit of democracy.
I am not certain that he was
a communicant of the church, but it is certain that he was baptized in the
Church of England and was ever an attendant, and it is equally certain that
his actions were in accord with the tenets of Freemasonry.
BY BRO. ALFRED S. EICHBERG,
33d HON., GEORGIA
THE working tools of a Master
Mason comprise all the tools of the Craft, but more especially the Trowel. The
trowel is used by operative masons to spread the cement which unites the
stones of a building into a substantial structure; but we, as Free and
Accepted Masons, are taught to use it for the more noble and glorious purpose
of spreading the cement of brotherly love, which unites us into one close bond
of brotherhood, in which no contention can ever exist, except that noble
emulation of who can best serve and best agree.
But the trowel has in
addition a deeper significance. Numerical values receive especial attention in
Masonry, possibly because mathematics was the first of the sciences to help
civilize the human race. Geometry is regarded as chief among the seven liberal
arts and sciences,--its initial blazes before you. The 47th problem of Euclid
is an important symbol in this degree.
The series, three, five and
seven, occurs frequently among the symbols of Masonry, but the number three is
most frequent; the three great lights, three lesser lights, three degrees in
the Blue Lodge, three stations in the lodge, three stages of human life, three
knocks and many other instances, which you will recall. The reason for this
prominence is that three is the symbol of Stability.
Geometry teaches that three
points are always in one plane and are always in equilibrium.
And this is the philosophic
interpretation of the trowel. It presents three points. It is the principal
working tool of the Master Mason, not only because it spreads the cement of
brotherly love, but also because the close bond of brotherhood so constructed
must always be in equilibrium and is firmly founded on Stability.
But there is yet another
reason; the trowel in the hands of the operative mason is frequently required
to remove from the bearing surfaces of the stone, such foreign substances as
may have become attached to it while it lay among unclean surroundings and
which would interfere with its perfect bonding.
The irregular block of stone
came out of the quarry,--that is, the outer world; it entered the Apprentice
degree, where by aid of the common gavel and the twenty-four inch gauge, it
was shaped into a rough ashlar. It was then passed to the Fellowcrafts, who,
by use of their working tools made it plumb, square and level and fashioned it
into a perfect ashlar.
However perfect an ashlar it
may have been, when it received the commendation of the Grand Master, through
contact with the world, it superficially acquired vices and faults, which
unfit it for a perfect union.
The trowel in this relation
may be regarded as referring to the three jewels of the Master degree,
Friendship, Morality and Brotherly Love, which when worthily worn, so cleanse
and purify, that the stone is in every respect fitted to be raised to its
permanent place in the walls of the Temple of Masonry.
BY BRO JOHN EDMUND BARSS,
Scarce two-score years had
passed him; and they cried,
"See how the mists of dawn
have kept their rose !
Linger and dream a little."
But he said,
"Nay, I must do a man's work
in the world,"
And passing, left them.
And the years flowed by,
Bringing him opulence of
goods and fame,
Enriched with wife, and
children, and success.
Then some besought him: "Rest
a little now,
And mark the glory of thy
But he, "Not yet: these hours
are best for toil,
And I must do a man's work in
Then old age came and walked
with him, and one
Whispered, "At last rejoice
in thy great deeds;
Take time for satisfaction:
"And still not yet!" he
answered; "all my years
At length have taught me
justice, and at length
I know that kindness is man's
To man: I crave one moment to
To him who was mine enemy
Then out of all the world, in
Returned his enemy; and at
He gave him succor, and the
coals of hate
Died to white ashes, whiter
than his hair;
And there sprang up and
blossomed for a day
The rose of love between
them, like the dawn.
Then death came; and he
smiled, "Now may I rest,
For I have done a man's work
in the world."
EDITED BY BRO. GEORGE E.
PRESIDENT, THE BOARD OF
Geo. W. Baird, District of
Joseph Barnett, California.
John W. Barry, Iowa
Joe L. Carson, Virginia.
Jos. W. Eggleston, Virginia.
Henry R. Evans, District of
H. D. Funk, Minnesota.
F. B. Gault, Washington.
Joseph C. Greenfield,
Frederick W. Hamilton,
H. L. Haywood, Iowa.
T. W. Hugo, Minnesota.
M. M. Johnson, Massachusetts.
John G. Keplingel, Illinois.
Harold A. Kingsbury,
Dr. Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri.
Dr. John Lewin McLeish, Ohio.
Joseph W. Norwood, Kentucky.
Frank E. Noyes, Wisconsin.
John Pickard, Missouri.
C. M. Schenck, Colorado.
Francis W. Shepardson,
Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin.
Oliver D. Street, Alabama.
H. W. Ticknor, Maryland.
S. W. Williams, Tennessee.
(Contributions to this
Monthly Department of Personal Opinion are invited from each writer who has
contributed one or more articles to THE BUILDER. Subjects for discussion are
selected as being alive in the administration of Masonry today. Discussions of
politics, religious creeds or personal prejudices are avoided, the purpose of
the Department being to afford a vehicle for comparing the personal opinions
of leading Masonic students. The contributing editors assume responsibility
only for what each writes over his own signature. Comment from our Members on
the subjects discussed here will be welcomed in the Question Box and
QUESTION NO. 8--
"Shall Masonic Recreation
Centers or Club Houses be established at each Cantonment in the United States
and at convenient military points in France? If so, shall the Grand Lodges of
the United States unite in the appointment of a central committee with power
to solicit funds and with power to direct such centers under the rules and
regulations of the War Department? If you do not favor the establishment of
Masonic Recreation Centers at military camps, what system do you favor to aid
and relieve the soldiers and sailors in camp?"
Favors Masonic Centers.
Most assuredly I do favor
Masonic Recreation Centers in or near the various camps and cantonments of our
Army both in this country and at the Front. If after the "fuss" we have made
we fail to do something adequate along this line we shall be laughed at and
shall deserve to be.
What shall we do and how
shall we do it are difficult problems and call for our best thought. There are
some things we should not do; we should not attempt to duplicate the work of
the Y.M.C.A., the Red Cross and other instrumentalities. We do not desire
merely to add a "fifth wheel to the wagon." We should have a building of our
own conveniently located either in or near each camp. It should be kept open
at all suitable hours with a sufficient force in charge. It should be made
comfortable and attractive inside and out. Every Mason in the camp should be
looked up, his name and home address taken, and be invited to visit the
"Masonic Hall." If he is not in good standing he should be urged to place
himself so. Every son of a Mason should be made welcome; every daughter or
sister of a Mason engaged in Red Cross or relief work should be made to feel
that she is surrounded by brothers.
While the movement should be
distinctively Masonic, it should not be exclusive--those of known good
character, though not Masons nor sons of Masons, should be welcomed, but it
should be understood that only gentlemen are desired. Cards could be issued to
such under proper restrictions.
Good Masonic (and other)
literature should be furnished with reading and writing facilities. A room
should be provided where Masons only, might, on occasion, assemble for such
Masonic refreshment and "labor" as might be allowed. Here lectures by
competent brethren could be given on Masonic and kindred subjects-- among the
things to be made clear and strongly impressed is the duty of the soldier
Masons under war conditions to their brethren and to their country. Sick or
wounded brethren or those in any distress could be visited and made to feel
the touch of a brother's hand. In many ways the spirit of fraternity could
make itself felt to the benefit both of the soldier and of the service.
My view is that this should
be done under a single Masonic organization for the entire United States.
Grand Commander George F. Moore has been suggested as a suitable leader and he
could not be surpassed. It should be made plain that the movement did not
pertain peculiarly to any Rite or System, that it was "Masonic" in the widest
sense and embraced all Bodies of all Rites as well as all Concordant Orders.
The necessary funds should be raised by a nation-wide campaign through
voluntary donations by Masons and Masonic Bodies. O. D. Street, Alabama.
Masonic Deputies for
Regiments. There is no recognized central Masonic agency through which a
unified system can be adopted. This is unfortunate and is, in the minds of
some, the strongest argument in favor of a General Grand Lodge which has been
advanced. Many of us who have not yet been converted to the General Grand
Lodge, nevertheless would favor the establishment under competent, unselfish
executive management of some central agency of all the Grand Lodges for the
handling of inter- or pan-jurisdictional matters. As things stand, however,
outside of assistance to the Y.M.C.A., etc., the thing for us to do is to
raise large funds for relief of the dependent families of our Brethren who are
called to the Colors and of the Brethren themselves when returning in mental,
physical or financial distress.
Meanwhile if the various
Grand Masters will commission Special Deputies with different regiments, these
Deputies can get together the Masons of various Camps for social intercourse
and can keep alive and stimulate, even without Lodge meetings, our fraternal
bond. They can also keep each Masonic jurisdiction in touch with the needs of
its own Brethren who are under arms. Melvin M. Johnson, Massachusetts.
Constant Calls for Money. The
war is making constant calls for money. Masons are generously responding to
the calls, one of which is for the establishment and maintenance of the
Y.M.C.A. Recreation Centers in Cantonments and Camps in the United States and
While these Centers are in no
sense Masonic, they are available to Masons for recreation purposes. In a
letter received today from a Masonic friend, now serving with the U. S. Army
in France, he says: "The Y.M.C.A. is a wonderful institution and doing great
work." The establishment at the present time of Masonic Recreation Centers in
the camps would in a measure duplicate the work of the Y.M.C.A. and it seems
to me that under the existing conditions, the money necessary for such
establishment would serve a better purpose if placed at the disposal of the
Y.M.C.A. and the Red Cross organizations which are doing great things for the
aid and relief of soldiers and sailors in camp.
Later it may be wise to
seriously consider the establishment of Masonic Recreation Centers, but not
while the present financial strain continues. C. M. Schenck, Colorado.
Add to Y.M.C.A. Work. In
corresponding with the Grand Masters, one of them made a very good suggestion,
as it seemed to me --Brother Fead of Michigan. His idea is that in addition to
providing funds, the Masons should provide some distinctive recreation to be
put on by Y.M.C.A., or the Red Cross, publicity being given to the fact that
such entertainment was furnished by the Masons.
At first thought, it is very
easy to conclude that each Grand Lodge should go ahead and erect buildings,
but when one comes to consider what this involves and above all that it is a
mere duplication, the wisdom of the decision of the Grand Lodge of Iowa that
it would be unwise to attempt such work alone will, I think, be fully borne
out. John W. Barry, Grand Master, Iowa. *
Give in Business-Like Way.
Every Mason must give--give until it hurts -- but, in addition, he must see to
it that he gives in the most efficient and business-like way. The United
States can not win the war unless the efforts of the people be expended to the
very best advantage; no second best measures will do. Therefore, let the Mason
forget the aggrandizement and advertisement of Masonry that might come from
the establishment of Masonic Recreation Centers, and support the Y.M.C.A. When
letters come to us from our loved ones at the camps, both here and "Somewhere
in France," each letter with the Red Triangle of the Y.M.C.A. in the corner of
the letter paper, think what that Triangle means--"We, an organization whose
business is young men, are doing our bit. Help us!" Masons! Forget this
Masonic social center study and get busy ! Harold Kingsbury, Connecticut.
* * The Kentucky Plan. In
answer to the question concerning Masonic Recreation Centers, I am most
heartily in favor of them and think that there should be such not only at
Cantonments in the United States but at Military points wherever our boys are
to go in Europe. There is already being a great deal done as you no doubt know
along this line since the War Department reversed its ruling. Perhaps what we
are getting ready to do here in Kentucky may interest your readers. Kentucky
already has two Military Lodges now at Hattiesburg, Mississippi, which may
soon be in France. Masons of Louisville are preparing to erect outside of the
Cantonment, but near Camp Taylor, a convenient Masonic Hall both for Club
purposes and the conference of degrees. This will be occupied by one or more
Military Lodges from Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. At a recent meeting of
about two hundred Masons in the Camp from those States, embracing both
officers and privates, the plan was enthusiastically endorsed. We already have
the site. I wish some of those who object to Military Lodges could have heard
the speeches made on that occasion by officers and privates who realize that
they are about to sacrifice all they hold dear, perhaps life itself, that the
world may be brought to the great ideal of Brotherhood and that all countries
may be made safe for this great principle which Masons profess. They believe
without doubt that Masonic Lodges which they could carry with them to Europe,
would do much toward cementing friendships among all people. They intend to
practice Masonry rather than to preach it. I am inclined to think that as
conditions now are in the Masonic World it is best to let each Grand Lodge run
its own gait, but if it were possible to hold a general Masonic Congress in
this country such as the Latin and German Masons are used to we could
accomplish a world of good and perhaps speed up a day to half a century when
Freemasons would forget their red-tape and old-fogyism, championed by a few of
the "old timers" who have nothing else in life to do but pick flaws at
somebody else and get reason why we would not be friendly to this or that
We need more leaders, writers
who will find reasons why Masons should get together than why they should be
kept apart. Many Lodges have sat down on the General Grand Lodge proposition
in every phase or form for something over a century. May I suggest however
that they are at least united on three needs: the General Relief Board,
National Masonic Research Society and the War Relief Board. Perhaps these
three may pave a way for some sort of Annual Advisory Conference which would
in effect be such a Central Committee as you suggest. J. W. Norwood, Kentucky.
* * * Support the Y.M.C.A.
General Pershing is quoted as saying "I desire to deal in France with only two
non-military relief organizations--the Red Cross for the sick and the Y.M.C.A.
for the well."
These two organizations are
superbly efficient. It seems to me that it would be a great mistake to attempt
to duplicate their work. I would rather call upon all Masons everywhere to
unite in a great, earnest and effective support of these two magnificent
organizations. John Pickard, Missouri.
Suggests Letters to Soldiers.
It seems to me that the establishment of Masonic Recreation Centers or Club
Houses at Cantonments or at Military points in France is impractical and would
lead to endless confusion.
Why multiply agencies for
doing the work for which the Y.M.C.A. and the American Red Cross are so
splendidly equipped? To my mind we can not improve upon the work these
organizations are doing and if we compete with them we weaken them without
compensating advantages to the men.
I would favor giving
financial assistance to these organizations which are open to all regardless
of creed or affiliation in any of the fraternal orders.
But, the mere giving of money
involves no real sacrifice on our part and the benefits to the boys would be
mostly material and impersonal. Their creature comforts are provided for. As
Masons, let us give them something of a spiritual nature--something of
For instance. Here is a Lodge
of 300 members. Twenty are in the "chosen" army. Why shouldn't the 280
remaining at home get back of the 20 and let them know that they will always
be in our thoughts. Let a correspondence committee be appointed to write to
the boys regularly. Let them know that their letters from the front will be
read at the meetings. Then let us look up the immediate connections of the
twenty and see that none of them come to want. In case any should do so let us
ease the boys' minds with the assurance that, no matter what comes, their
loved ones are and will be looked after by the brethren at home.
This would be merely a
beginning. But I can not conceive of anything which would be more helpful to
the boys at the Front, which would make us all better Masons and bind us
closer together in the fraternity than a nation-wide program such as this. To
me this is the heart, soul and work of Masonry. John G. Keplinger, Illinois.
An International Masonry.
"Shall Masonic Recreation Centers or Club Houses be established at each
Cantonment in the United States and at convenient military points in France?"
Unhesitatingly I answer yes,
and would add that in Masonic sociability they should be free to our
unrecognized French Brethren. These are no times for red-tape restrictions. I
am not one of those who are carried away with war hysteria to the point of
wanting our whole Army and Navy made Masons at sight and free of cost, nor do
I advocate any change in our present list of recognized Grand Lodges, but I do
think the opportunity presents to show Europe what American Masonry really is.
I would go even further. I
would strongly urge the Masons in these Clubs to seek out, when they can.
Masons among German prisoners and go their utmost length in expending utterly
undeserved kindness and relief. England erred, Masonically; let us, if we too
err, do so on the other extreme.
2nd. "If so, shall the Grand
Lodges of the United States unite in the appointment of a Central Committee ?"
Equally unhesitatingly, No.
Small differences of views would result in discord. We want no central power,
great or small, but independent action by each Grand Lodge. Already some Grand
Lodges are forming traveling Military Lodges, while others vehemently object.
Let each make its own mistakes without involving others.
I favor Clubs or Recreation
Centers, only, partly because we can thus freely open them to unrecognized
Masons and because I happen to know, that in the war of the '60s Military
Lodges made serious mistakes and made Masons of high officers who would have
been blackballed at home. Secretary of War Baker was right in forbidding all
secret meetings. These Clubs should be social and brotherly and should
illustrate the words of our ritual, "These generous principles are to extend
further. Every human being has a claim upon your kind offices; do good unto
all; recommend it more especially to the household of the faithful." These
clubs should illustrate brotherly love and unselfish humanitarianism. Joseph
W. Eggleston, Virginia.
* * *
Opposes Masonic Centers.
Answering the question of the establishment of Masonic Recreation Centers at
Military Cantonments, I wish to say that, as I am not in favor of Military
Lodges, neither do I think it would be the best policy to establish these
Centers at Cantonments or at Military points in France. Those Grand Lodges
which have already taken steps will, of course, be expected to go ahead with
the arrangements now that Secretary Baker has modified the order and they are
permitted to do so; but it seems to me that as a general rule it would be
better for the Masonic bodies and Grand Lodges to do their work in
co-operation with the Y.M.C.A. There are enough Masons connected with the
Y.M.C.A., and enough at the Military centers not immediately connected who
could act in organizing, under proper supervision, auxiliary bodies which
could carry work for relief of soldiers and sailors who are Mans at these
centers. Working in this way, I believe much better work could be accomplished
and at less expense, thereby conserving the moneys donated for Masonic relief
purposes and enabling them to go farther in the work of relief. Frank E.
* * * An Army Precedent. The
Washington (D. C.) papers of December 9th have an account of the activities of
the Ashlar Club, of " at city, which may have some bearing on the question.
The Ashlar Club is made up mostly, it is said, of Masons employed in the War
and Navy Departments, and officers and enlisted men in the Army and Navy. On
November 24th the Club held a rally in Washington and began a movement towards
organizing Masonic Clubs in the various instruction camps and especially
abroad in order to look after the health and morals of the American soldiers.
The Washington Club suggests that these clubs be known as Ashlar Clubs, to
which it would issue charters, etc., and act as a channel of correspondence,
especially when it is necessary to make known the needs of the men to the
fraternity at large.
Possibly the situation can
best be handled in this manner. Here is already a nucleus on which others can
form, and the whole will have a more or less articulated structure. As needs
become apparent, these clubs could go before the Fraternity at large, through
their mother club, and their wants would probably be promptly attended to.
On the other hand, it would
be worth while to make it a nation-wide movement and put the matter a larger
scale from the start than would be possible for any club, as indicated above.
It would be, in a way, measure of the strength of the fraternity that would be
beneficial to it. And, if the various Grand Lodges could be gotten to work in
unity in one matter, they might be able to get together in others. H. W.
Either Lodges or Clubs. My
preference is for Traveling Military Lodges with the different regiments or
army corps; but as that does not seem feasible I think Masonic Recreation
Centers or Clubs should be established at convenient military points in
France. We must make our soldier Brethren feel that they are not forgotten by
the Masonic fraternity. Such centers would supplement the work of the Y.M.C.A.
It might be well for the Grand Lodges to appoint a Central Committee with
power to solicit funds; for such a scheme would not overlap and duplicate the
work of individual Grand Lodges. Henry R. Evans, District of Columbia.
* * *
Masonic Clubs Not Needed.
Question No. 1. It is unnecessary at this time, because the soldiers' needs in
this line are being well attended to by the Y.M.C.A.
A number of competing
organizations could hardly add to the proper regimental spirit of a common
While it would make
Freemasonry prominent in a most estimable way, Freemasonry can and will give
liberally without advertising itself.
Question No. 2. Yes, if
entered upon at all.
Question No. 3. Through the
Y.M.C.A. national organization. An immense sum, said to be $35,000,000.00, has
already been collected for this purpose.
That institution has special
experience in this particular direction. It is non-sectarian, and has among
its members many of all sects. Public confidence in it is well deserved.
Masons, as individuals, have
liberally subscribed to this Y.M.C.A. movement, and can scarcely do greater
service in this line than by continuing to support it. Joseph Barnett,
* * * The Ohio Plan. In my
opinion any opportunity offered Masons to contribute to the comfort of
brethren in active service of the United States should be gratefully grasped.
Doubtless you are aware of the storm of protest and indignation that followed
the refusal of the War Department to allow Masons of Atlanta to erect a
recreation house in a southern Cantonment, when similar privileges had already
been accorded the Knights of Columbus and Y.M.C.A. at that particular
Cantonment. A broader policy seems to have influenced the War Department as a
result and it was with deepest appreciation last month that we Masons of Ohio
learned from our Grand Master, M. W. Henry M. Hagelbarger, that permission had
been accorded to Ohio Masons to erect a Rest or Recreation House at Camp
Sherman, Chillicothe. The Grand Master's request that Lodges of Ohio
contribute twenty-five cents per capita for this laudable purpose has met with
immediate and enthusiastic response in every instance, and our regret if any
is that he did not ask more. The handsome building in purpose of construction
at Camp Sherman will afford quarters for the relatives of soldier-Masons
visiting the Cantonment and many other similar comforts. Either a Committee
working in conjunction with the Grand Master, or as in Ohio, the Grand Master
assuming the arduous responsibility himself, would be serviceable. I am
informed that even with the admirable relief work heretofore done at the
various Cantonments by the Y.M.C.A. and K.C's, their accommodations are
overtaxed and there is abundant room for a rich body like ours to fall in line
and have a hand in this splendid patriotic work. After supplying our
Cantonments here, many of which promise to be many years in use, our next
endeavor should be to establish similar comfort headquarters abroad, so far as
the War Department can admit any activities of this nature. It should be our
constant slogan, "If we can not go across, let us come across," and the next
best thing we can do after giving the flower of our Order to the Flag is to
follow the Flag overseas with our dollars and make the boys as happy as added
comforts can. John Lewin McLeish, Ohio.
BY BRO. P. E. KELLETT, GRAND
Owing to lack of space, we
have, with Brother Kellett's permission, divided his article into two parts.
In the present issue he summarizes for us the attitude and activities of the
Grand Orient of France. He uses official sources, and, while at first blush it
may appear that the Grand Orient has encroached upon political preserves, it
will be well for us to hear Brother Kellett through, before rendering
ourselves a decision. In the second installment will be presented the point of
cleavage between Anglo-Saxon Masonry and the Masonry of France. PART I.
With meteoric suddenness the
present war has ruthlessly cut off many lines of communication and channels of
intercourse between nations and peoples. Freemasonry has suffered with the
rest. This catastrophe has so jarred the mechanism of our daily lives and
impaired the development of the human race as to make us realize more than
ever before the distinct advantage to be obtained from international
co-operation. To attain the highest efficiency, socially, morally,
commercially and otherwise, the cooperation of one people with another is
necessary. We are interdependent one upon the other. The organization of the
relations among men on a universal basis, embracing the whole of the inhabited
world, has been demonstrated to tend to the greatest good.
When each of the peoples of
the earth lived unto themselves alone little progress was made, especially
along the higher ethical lines that tend to the broadest development of a
nation. Love of self reigned supreme; the law of the jungle prevailed, and
might proved right. The evolution of the years modified these ideas, as
peoples came to know one another better through the intercourse of trade. Old
prejudices gradually broke down, and civilization took a wider meaning.
International conventions were called to consider the betterment of relations
between people and people. These gave birth to international services, all
tending to unite the civilized world in common action for general progress,
and to assure to human activity the fullness of its powers. We had reached the
point where we were dreaming of a better life, universal peace, harmony and
progress. The masses today are uttering a cry of hope that the present
barbaric struggle may not be in vain, but may prove to be but a stepping stone
to even better things. May their hopes come to fruition.
No association exists which
more naturally tends towards internationalism than Freemasonry. Anderson's
Masonic Constitution, promulgated in 1723, said the following:--"Ye shall
cultivate brotherly love, which is the foundation and the master stone, the
cement and the glory of this ancient confraternity, for we as Masons are of
all races, nations and languages." An eminent present-day writer on
Freemasonry has said of it: "High above all dogmas that bind, all bigotries
that blind, all bitterness that divides, it will write the eternal verities of
the Fatherhood of God, and the brotherhood of man." Its origin, past history,
organization and philosophy all lead in that direction, and have no other goal
than universal brotherhood.
A great deal of good can be
accomplished by a world-wide fraternal connection between Freemasons of all
countries. Masonry's aim is the Fraternity of men and the spread of the
principles of Tolerance, Justice and Peace. How better can this be
accomplished than by mutual understanding ? If we continue to hold ourselves
aloof, will we ever attain the object we seek? Is it not astounding that
Freemasonry should still be divided, and so far from being united? Would it
not seem that every Mason should use his influence to help weld the chain of
the international fraternity for the accomplishment of universal unity, peace,
tolerance and mutual goodwill.
It is my purpose to point out
to what extent the Freemasons of the world are disunited, and what the main
lines of cleavage are. In particular, I desire to give some information about
the Grand Orient of France, which is a representative institution of that
class of Freemasonry towards which Anglo-Saxon Freemasonry has had particular
According to the latest
available statistics, there are approximately 2,100,000 adherents to
Freemasonry scattered through all countries in the world. These have been
divided into three distinct groups. Authorities say they do not differ
materially in customs, principles, or traditions. In what then can they
rightly differ? The divisions are made because of the greater or less
importance given to religious ideas.
To quote the International
Bureau of Masonic Affairs, established in Switzerland with the aim of
completing an arrangement whereby Freemasons of all countries may mingle with
one another in the Lodges, visit one another, and learn to know one another,
these divisions may be given as follows:
"(1) The first group regards
as-being of absolute necessity the adoption of what are called the
'Landmarks,' and in particular these two, viz., a belief in the G.A. of the U.
and the presence of the Bible on the altar. Some of this group decline to
receive into its Lodges Masons who belong to groups which do not admit these
two landmarks. Others of this group also revere the G.A. of the U., and
possess the symbol of the Bible, but they do not close their doors to any
visitor who proves himself to be a Mason, even when his obedience admits
neither the formula of the G.A. of the U. nor the Bible. Our brethren of the
Grand Orient of France are welcomed with pleasure by them.
"(2) The second group which
comprises part of Latin Masonry, leaves to its adepts the right to believe in
God, even in the esoteric God of the religions, and imposes on them no act of
faith, which does not hinder it from admitting to its Lodges all visiting
brethren, to whatever obedience they may belong, and without any other proof
than their title as regular Masons. This group holds the principle of mutual
tolerance, the respect of others and one's self, and absolute liberty of
conscience; it does not allow of any dogmatic affirmation.
"(3) The third group
comprises purely Christian Masonry," Very much of interest could be said in
giving an account of the effort made by the International Bureau of Masonic
Affairs to the furtherance of mutual friendship and brotherhood among the
Freemasons of all lands. Considerable progress was made, and particularly on
the Continent of Europe, it developed considerable enthusiasm for the
fraternal object aimed at. The war for the present has brought their peace
activities to a close. In one of their later official Bulletins they say
"If we were pessimists we
should once for all give up our plans, our endeavours and our work in behalf
of an improvement in the relations among men. But we know that in spite of
everything our cause is the best, and that nothing, not even the most
overwhelming upheavals, must discourage us.... It will behoove the friends of
peace and of fraternity to proclaim to the world that the ideas of which they
are the guardians may be defeated, but that they never die and never
Many times in commenting on
the progress of their work in their official Bulletin this Bureau has deplored
the fact that antagonism still exists between certain Masonic bodies because
brethren too readily believe all the evil that is propagated about the Masonry
of another country without taking the trouble to ascertain facts by making
enquiries at a reliable source. They say credence is too readily given to
hateful affirmations, which are adopted without examination, and they make the
plea that brethren make the necessary enquiries from the proper source. They
add further: "It would suffice to see one another in order to know, to love,
and to appreciate one another."
Not wishing to lay myself
open to any charge of unfairness, acting upon this suggestion I wrote the
"Winnipeg, July 24, 1916.
"Grand Secretary, Grand Orient of France, "Rue Cadet 9, Paris. "Dear Sir and
"Freemasonry, being a
so-called universal institution, one of whose main tenets is the universal
brotherhood of man, occupies a somewhat anomalous position today, at least in
so far as France and English-speaking countries are concerned. Masonically we
do not recognize one another.
"United as we are in the
great titanic struggle now going on in Europe, it would seem that we should
also be fraternally united. At any rate, the present would be a most opportune
time for considering the matter, as it would surely get sympathetic
"The organization which I
represent is a Masonic organization, in that its members are Past Masters of
regular Lodges in this jurisdiction, but it is not affiliated as an
organization with the Grand Lodge of Manitoba, A. F. and A. M. We purposely
have not sought such affiliation because we want more freedom of subjects for
discussion than organized Masonry here would allow. All of our members are
members of the Grand Lodge, so that the thought and decisions of our
Association have a certain indirect effect on the action of the Grand Lodge.
"I make this explanation to
make it clear to you that I am at present making no overtures from the Grand
Lodge, and have no authority to do so. I simply want to find out from you
information with regard to the Grand Orient of France, with the view, if
possible, through our Association, of breaking down the barriers between
Masonry here and Masonry in France. I am therefore going to be perfectly frank
in my questions, and trust that you will think them more pertinent than
impertinent, for impertinence is not intended. I am actuated by a sincere
desire to secure mutual recognition, if possible.
"It may be said frankly at
the outset that the Grand Orient of France is generally looked upon by the
rank and file here as an absolutely impossible organization for us to
recognize in any way. You are generally considered to have departed from the
ancient traditions of the Order, to be frankly atheistic, and to be in a great
measure a political organization. I have heard it said by some here that you
have mixed Lodges of men and women, and that you have made numerous
innovations in Masonry that are not in accord with the ancient tenets of the
"These are charges which I
can neither endorse nor deny, not having the necessary knowledge. As your
organization is the largest Masonic organization in France, I can hardly
imagine though that it can be so 'terrible' as some would have us believe.
Will you enlighten me ?
"I believe you were at one
time in friendly intercourse with the Grand Lodge of England. Why was this cut
off? I presume there was some argument in connection with it; if so, what was
your side of the contention ? Does the Grand Orient of France control only the
first three degrees, or these and the higher degrees as well ?
"There are other questions I
might ask, but I have probably asked enough to lead you to give me complete
information as to your claim for recognition. I hope you can find time to
answer this by letter, and if you have any printed matter that would give
fuller information I would be pleased to receive it.
"It would be a great pleasure
to me if this would result in the barriers between us being pulled down, so
that we can grasp one another with fraternal grip and work together for the
general good. "Yours sincerely, "P. E. KELLETT, "President Past Masters'
Association, A. F. and A. M., Winnipeg."
In due course I received the
"Paris, October 6, 1916. "To
Very Dear Bro. Kellett, Winnipeg.
"Very Dear Brother,--I have
the honour to inform you that your letter, dated July 24th last, has been duly
received by the Grand Orient of France. Some time before its receipt, and at
the request of our Bro. Quartier-le-Tente of Switzerland, copies of our
Constitution and of our General Regulations were mailed to you. Today I am
mailing you a copy of the pamphlet, 'The Freemasonry of the Grand Orient of
France.' The perusal of these two pamphlets will be sufficient to demonstrate
to you exactly what the Grand Orient of France really is. I also desire to
reply to the questions which you have asked me.
"It is easy to say that the
Grand Orient of France has abandoned the ancient traditions of the Order, but
it is very difficult to prove it. To state that we are frankly atheistic is to
commit the greatest error. It will be sufficient that you read the second
paragraph of the first article of our Constitution, which reads as follows:
"'Freemasonry has for its
basic principles mutual tolerance, respect for others and for oneself, and
liberty of conscience.'
"I can affirm that the Grand
Orient of France is neither deist, atheist, nor positivist. All philosophical
conceptions are represented within its body.
"In what manner is the Grand
Orient of France a political organisation? It includes among its members (it
must not be forgotten that France is a Republic) citizens belonging to all the
various phases of political opinion. You will thus see that the Grand Orient
of France is not bound to any party, and cannot in consequence be considered a
political organisation. All philosophical questions are discussed in our
Lodges, including political and social economy, and each member may, during
the course of these discussions, express freely his personal opinions in a
fraternal and friendly manner suitable to Masonic re-unions.
"The Grand Orient of France
consists of: Lodges which confer the first degrees (Entered Apprentice, Fellow
Craft and Master Mason); Chapters which work up to the Eighteenth Deg. (Rose
Croix), Philosophical Councils or Aeropages, which work up to the Thirtieth
Deg. (Kadosh); and the Grand Lodge of Rites (Supreme Council of the Grand
Orient of France). This confers the Thirty-first, Thirty-second and
Thirty-third Degrees. The Grand Orient of France, which was founded in 1736,
includes at present 472 Lodges, 75 Chapters, and 31 Philosophical Councils or
Aeropagei. Contrary to the information that has been given you, we have not
under our jurisdiction mixed Lodges of men and women, nor Lodges of women
only. We do not even recognise such Lodges.
"As you may have seen in our
Constitution, and as I have stated previously, the Grand Orient of France,
while it respects all philosophical beliefs, insists upon absolute liberty of
belief. This does not mean that we banish from our Lodges the belief in God.
The United Grand Lodge of England, on the contrary, desires to make a belief
in God in some manner compulsory. The Grand Orient of France is much more
liberal, since in proclaiming the absolute liberty of belief it permits to
each one of its members the liberty to believe or not to believe in God, and
by so doing desires to respect its members in their convictions, their
doctrines and their beliefs.
"This is the reason why-
fraternal relations do not exist between the United Grand Lodge of England and
the Grand Orient of France. We regret this exceedingly. Is it not painful to
contemplate that these two Masonic bodies continue to ignore one another, even
at the moment when England and France are so closely and cordially united for
the defence of Right, Justice and Civilization? Do the English and French
soldiers, who are fighting side by side and giving freely of their blood for
the triumph of this just cause, trouble themselves about the philosophical
beliefs of one another? Nevertheless, an intimate fraternity exists between
them, which excites the admiration of the civilized world.
"England has always been
considered, rightly in other respects, a country of liberty. It is difficult
to understand, under the circumstances, why the Freemasons of this great and
noble nation should want to deprive their brothers of France this same
"I ardently desire to see
these difficulties, which appear to me to be based upon mutual
misunderstanding, removed. As a Freemason and as a Frenchman this is my
fervent wish. I ask you to accept, very dear brother, the assurance of my most
fraternal sentiments. "G. CORNEAU, "The President of the Council of the
The information received may,
therefore, be regarded as authentic, and what I have to say regarding the
Grand Orient of France will not be based on mere hearsay. A careful reading of
the letter quoted above, the Constitution and the pamphlet referred to, cannot
but impress one with the-earnestness and the whole souled fraternal spirit of
the Grand Orient. Their methods are different from ours, but this is due to
the circumstances of their environment, which has influenced them quite
materially. One cannot help but notice that they have the same aims and
possess the same aspirations as we have, and that they seem, if anything, more
earnest than we are in working towards the desired end--the advancement and
good of mankind. They seem to direct most of their activity along
external and social lines.
The ideal ever before them seems to be the moral and intellectual improvement
of their members.
Their whole Lodge life is
aimed to train their members for a life of activity in the interests of
humanity. It has been said that Masons who live in Protestant countries can
hardly realise the privilege they enjoy. Authorities say the Freemasons of
France have been subjected to narrow-minded intolerance and prejudice; that
they have been excommunicated, persecuted, insulted and detested; and that
their benevolent activities have been met by all the hindrances, calumnies,
slanders and active opposition pitiless clericalism could invent. By the very
force of events Masonry in France became the directing force of the democracy.
Masonic Lodges became centres where liberal minds could gather for exchange of
views. Even there they had to be discreet, for the police were on the watch.
Circumstances in France have been such that it would have been, as one has
expressed it, "a crime against the Masonic idea for the members to shut
themselves up in classic Masonry."
This condition existed in the
years following the establishment of the third Republic after 1870. For a
number of years, though, they have not been seriously threatened by their old
enemies. The aspect of affairs has changed. That period of
intolerance--intolerance from a Clerical source is responsible for the stand
the French Masons took with regard to "God and Religion" and "Politics." But I
will say more later on those two topics. They may have committed errors, but
in my opinion have done nothing for which they should be punished today.
They regret being separated
from the brethren of other countries, and, as we have seen from the letter
quoted, they would welcome the fraternal hand from us. Separation is, I
believe, due to misunderstanding.
French Masons seem to regard
the institution as still in its infancy, not yet definitely formed, a
progressive institution. They are not averse to trying out-reforms. They do
not consider the institution is such as they should be satisfied with and
refuse to change in any respect. They believe it should be changed, in
anything but principle, if it will help to realize the dream of a world at
peace and civilized in a truly Masonic sense. Their programme is entirely
philosophical. Their Lodges are schools, existing to mould independent
thinkers, free from prejudice and intolerance to take their part in the
citizenship of the nation.
Stated briefly, their
principles, etc., as set forth in their official pamphlet, "The Freemasonry of
the Grand Orient of France," are somewhat as follows:
They recognise no truths save
those based on reason and science, and combat particularly the "superstitions
and presumptions" of French Clericalism. Their primordial law is Toleration,
respect for all creeds, all ideas, and all opinions. They impose no dogma on
their adherents. They encourage free research for truths-- scientific, moral,
political and social. Their work among members is to develop their faculties
and to augment their knowledge by study and discussion. Men of all classes are
taken into their Lodges to work in common "for the emancipation of the human
spirit, for the independence of the people, and for the social welfare of
Their system of morality is
based on the teaching that to be happier one has to be better. The scientific
study of the human heart establishes for them the fact that social life is the
most indispensable weapon in the struggle for existence. Those who live a
common life and band themselves together endure, while those who isolate
themselves succumb. The association of individuals develops love and expands
in the heart desire for the welfare of all. They particularly point out that
morality can be attained outside of religious superstitions or philosophical
French Freemasonry, in
addition to striving to emancipate its members and separate morality from
religious superstition and theory, recognises its mission to make citizens
free and equal before the law--to develop the idea of brotherhood and
equality. She enunciates the principle that it is the primitive heritage of
man, his individual right, to enjoy fully the fruit of his work; to say and to
write that which he thinks; to join himself to his fellows when he sees fit;
to make that which seems good to him; to associate for common purposes of any
kind, material or intellectual; to put into practice, his ideas and his
opinions; to teach that which he learns in the course of experience and study,
and to demand from society respect for the liberties for each and all.
This may sound very
socialistic, but the conditions of the country may have required a declaration
of that kind from Masonry. I cannot help regarding this as simply a distinct
protest against the encroachments of Clericalism.
This pamphlet further
declares that Masonry works for the assuring of the triumph of democracy, so
that citizens can take "a direct part, as considerable as possible, in
carrying on of public affairs, and in exercising the greatest possible part of
that national sovereignty towards which the people of France have marched for
a century without being able to attain."
French Freemasonry interests
herself in social laws because she believes that through them men will realize
the simultaneous welfare of the individual, the family and general society.
History bears witness to the necessity of so moulding these laws as to
overcome the rivalry of selfish interests from whence spring the miseries, the
sufferings and hatreds of society. Social problems they, therefore, consider
legitimate Masonic problems if Masonry is to fulfil its mission in its
broadest sense. They believe the things that menace the progress of human
society should be discussed, so that indirectly they may be drawn to the
attention of public opinion, and through that laws will be demanded to remedy
them. Under this heading they cite particularly that they aim at legislation
to combat misery which is the most active cause of degeneracy, bad morals and
crimes; legislation to protect the child gainst moral, intellectual and
physical atrophy; legislation to lighten the burden of the woman in the family
and in society; legislation to recognize the dignity of abour, to ensure the
safety of the labourer, and to help n solving the strifes of labour. They
realize fully the vastness of the task they set themselves in intellectual,
moral and social development, but Freemasonry, being a permanent institution,
has the time for it, and does not therefore allow herself to be deterred
because of the size of the task; a step at a time finally succeeds.
They describe their Lodges as
being ateliers, in the sense of being study classes or schools. Their
membership is recruited by voluntary impulse, as with us, the only condition
of membership being that of being free, as we Masonically understand it, and
of having good morals.
No dogma, religious,
political or social, is imposed on their members. Each member has absolute
liberty of thought, which he is led to modify or change along the lines of
progression as his own sense may dictate when, by discussion, more extended
knowledge and more numerous facts present themselves.
The condition that every free
man of good morals, whatever his ideas may be, can introduce into the
discussions of the Lodge principles and aspirations of the more diverse kind
as to political and social conditions has the result of educating and moulding
opinion in the best possible way. As when one stone is struck upon another a
jet of light is produced, so when ideas clash, enlightenment likewise follows.
By virtue of a well-balanced
scheme, to the centre of which these incongruous thoughts move from the
absolute order maintained in the discussion, they understand themselves and
criticise themselves. They analyse and refine the one, the other, and evolve a
common reflected opinion.
The result is every French
Freemason goes from Lodge, if not transformed, at least better informed,
improved in every way. The truth which the Masonic study has created
percolates indirectly into profane society, with manifest results.
French Freemasonry thus
offers its initiates a means of re-union where they can inspect their efforts
and their researches. She places them in the centre of human researches. "By
the framework, by the symbols, by the custom, she makes them develop, without
knowing it, the best that is in them, intellectually and morally, besides
realizing the fruitful union of heart and spirit." She elevates individuals by
inciting them to make themselves strong, desirable and true, just and good.
She protects her members at the same time against excess by maintaining
By conducting these studies
the Grand Orient of France keeps before her members, and indirectly before the
people generally, the most practical model and the most ideal. She has already
exerted a powerful influence on the different institutions of the people. Her
task is to inculcate, more and more; true order for the betterment of
humanity. In specifying more and more this ideal she works to the end of
bringing about the most favourable conditions, and at the same time the most
legitimate conditions, of happiness.
This "elevated school of
intellectual and moral nobility" shines not to lose itself in mere
abstraction, but studies what would seem to be of practical benefit to
humanity. She gives her force, trained by intelligence, to the service of
Light and of the Spirit. With study and research always going on and never
interrupted, the Freemasonry of the Grand Orient of France cannot therefore
become dogma. New thought and reason is ever being evolved. Further
investigation is forever upsetting proven theories.
As to their methods of
working to these ends, the pamphlet gives some very interesting information.
Their annual Convention, composed of delegates from all the Lodges, meets in
Paris every year in the month of September. One of the most important
functions of this Convention is to fix the questions which ought to be
referred, for the consideration of the Lodges during the ensuing year. The
programme is discussed, added to and taken from, and finally adopted and sent
out to the Lodges. By this method the General Convention condenses the thought
of Masonry throughout all the Lodges, and members are kept in touch with all
the studies pursued in other Lodges than their own. The Masonic thought of the
whole country is systematized and crystallized.
Aside from the Convention
programme, each Lodge keeps a teacher to study problems of philosophy,
morality, socialism, and history, and bring before the Lodge what he considers
worthy of discussion. The Lodges work, therefore, largely on their own
initiative, and these new discussions are reported at the next Convention, and
may perhaps be put on the general programme for the following year. To us
these discussions might seem to lead on to dangerous ground and have bad
effects. With reference to this they say:
"The discussions which these
problems provoke are always conducted courteously and amicably. Tolerance is
the first rule of the Masonic Association. It is thus that men belonging to
philosophical or political schools, of the most diverse kind, may find
harmoniously, without noise and without vain agitations, the solution of the
problems which interest the prosperity of the nation and the progress of
Among the principal questions
examined in the Conventions and in the Lodges for some years back are the
following, taken from a list they give:
The status of women and
children in modern society.
The struggle against
The struggle against crime,
more especially juvenile crime.
The means of combating
prostitution, vagabondage, and mendicancy.
The reform and simplification
of legal procedure.
Reform of the Magistracy.
Civil Service administration.
Public instruction, the
taking it out of the hands of the clergy.
Betterings of methods of
Condition of the working man
and how it may be bettered.
Cheap dwelling houses.
Working men's credits.
Means of encouraging the
Homes for working women.
Study of morality outside of
all religious dogma.
The finding of a morality,
lay and scientific.
Study of the various
What I have just given is but
a brief synopsis of what is contained in their pamphlet, "The Freemasonry of
the Grand Orient of France," which, being an official publication for the
purpose of setting forth their aims, aspirations and reasons for being, may be
regarded as a fair statement.
What might also be called
hereditary objections are hard to overcome, and some of you may now be
disposed to think their philosophy and work mere socialism, to be scoffed at
and carefully avoided by Masonry. The Sermon on the Mount was equally, if not
more, socialistic, yet you do not think of putting it aside on account of
that. A great English scholar once said that Christ's Sermon on the Mount may
be justly regarded as the charter of Christian Socialism.
Objection may be raised that
this kind of thought, working in French Masonic Lodges, would inevitably lead
to the Masonic institution in France becoming a mere political organization.
Such I do not believe to be the case, and in rebuttal of your thoughts, if
they lean that way, I would refer you again to the statement in the letter I
have quoted, that their membership is made up of men from all political
parties in France. Along the same line I will quote paragraph 15 of their
Constitution, which says:
"Lodges have the right of
discipline over all their members and over all Masons present at their
"They prohibit all debates on
the acts of Civil authority, and all Masonic intervention in the struggles of
"The presiding officer rules
The Grand Orient of France
has also at various times issued instructions enforcing the above rules. To
"If, as citizens, the members
of the Federation are free in their political actions, as Freemasons they must
abstain from bringing the name and the flag of Freemasonry into election
conflicts and the competition of parties."--Circular 1885.
"All political debates at
Masonic meetings are strictly forbidden."--Circular 1885.
If French Masonry has a
political influence, and no doubt it has, it is an indirect influence which we
in this jurisdiction might do worse than emulate. The latest political
influence they are credited with exerting is that which established secular
schools in place of monastic schools. A few facts in connection with this will
indicate why the French people, non-Masons as well as Masons, demanded this
separation. In France in 1897 there were fourteen convictions in the Courts
against monastic teachers for "outrages on decency." In 1898 there were
thirteen more convictions for similar offences. Severe sentences were imposed
in each case by Catholic judges.
Is it any wonder that the
monasteries were abolished and secular schools established? Masonry has been
blamed in magazine articles for bringing this change about. No official action
was taken. Some informers may have been Masons, but not all of them. Who would
not inform? I have not been able to find any evidence to substantiate the
charge made against Masonry, but if similar conditions existed in this country
I should be sorry if the Masonic institution here were not red-blooded enough
to exert an influence to right such a wrong. If that would condemn us to being
called a political institution, I for one would rejoice in the name.
The Grand Orient of France is
not a political organization, nor does it aim to be. It does aim to be an
influence in moulding the opinions of its members, so that when they are
called upon to act and vote as citizens they may do so with a view to the
general good. We might well copy much from their Masonic educational system,
to the profit of our Masonic institution, both individually and collectively.
Our interest in public questions is largely material. Only where the financial
interests are directly affected do we as a people seem to bring ourselves to
the point of investigating, criticizing, and demanding the correction of
faults in our public government. We overlook altogether the by far greater
problems of government--sociological questions, moral reforms, and other
phases of public betterment which French Masons make a study of. If there were
the possibility of a Boodling Scandal in connection with these other questions
they might be more live topics of interest with us.
(To be continued)
OPINION AND ACTION ON
MILITARY LODGES BY GRAND MASTERS
MILITARY LODGES DEEMED
INADVISABLE - UTAH SOLDIER-MASONS ENCOURAGED TO ORGANIZE REGIMENTAL MASONIC
The subject of the
organization of a Military Lodge is an interesting one, and has received our
serious consideration, particularly in connection with the possibility of such
a Lodge being attached to the Utah Regiment of Artillery which is now
stationed in California. After careful consideration of the matter, we are of
the opinion that the organization of such a Lodge is inadvisable and
unnecessary, particularly as the Masonic and social relations can be
satisfactorily maintained by means of a Masonic Club, which we believe can
take care of the matters which appear to warrant an organization of our
Masonic Brethren, and without any of the objectionable features which might
partake of the organization of a Military Lodge. We have, therefore,
encouraged our membership in the Utah Regiment of Artillery to associate
themselves in the character of a Masonic Club, and we are prepared to give all
proper recognition and encouragement to that organization, but I am confident
that our Grand Lodge will not sanction the more formal organization which a
Military Lodge would assume.
C. F. Jennings, Grand Master.
* * *
GRAND MASTER OPPOSED TO SUCH
LODGE - WOULD REFUSE TO GRANT DISPENSATIONS
The Grand Lodge of Wisconsin
has taken no action concerning the chartering of Military Lodges and I feel
sure that if such a proposition should ever be made in the Grand Lodge it
would be rejected.
Personally I am opposed to
their creation and, under no circumstances, would issue a dispensation to form
Existing as they would in the
midst of the most unsettled conditions imaginable, they could not be under any
effective control of the Grand Lodge or Grand Master, neither would it be
possible for their officers to give adequate attention to the affairs of their
Lodges. The initiation of undesirable material, inlproper conferring of
degrees, election to office of Brethren unqualified for leadership, are only
some of the evils which would be likely to result. Such a Lodge, while
perfectly fit in every way at the time it might be placed under Dispensation,
could, as an outcome of war activities, easily degenerate into an organization
which would be a Masonic Lodge in name only and would, of course, bring the
honored name of Masonry into ill repute.
These and other like
considerations would actuate my refusal to grant any dispensations of this
kind, should the matter ever be presented to me.
W. S. Griswold, Grand Master.
Brotherly Love, Relief and
As Masons we are taught,
What higher theme, or nobler
Need anywhere be sought?
Could we but know, and feel
Each is to each a Brother,
The rich, the poor, the high,
All children of one Father,
Our duty, and our happiness,
Misfortune to relieve,
And share with those less
blessed than we,
The good gifts we receive,
To comfort the unfortunate,
The wounded heart to bind,
And by sweet sympathy
Peace, to the troubled mind.
With Truth, that attribute
Of all the Virtues known,
The fixed and sure
The very Corner stone,
By which as Masons we are
To guard against deceit,
And with sincere plain
Life's every duty meet,
To promote each other's
We join both heart and voice,
And in each other's
We one and all rejoice.
BULLETIN -- NO. 15
DEVOTED TO ORGANIZED MASONIC
EDITED BY BRO. ROBERT I.
THE BULLETIN COURSE OF
MASONIC STUDY FOR MONTHLY LODGE MEETINGS AND STUDY CLUBS
FOUNDATION OF THE COURSE
THE Course of Study has for
its foundation two sources of Masonic information: THE BUILDER and Mackey's
Encyclopedia. In another paragraph is explained how the references to former
issues of THE BUILDER and to Mackey's Encyclopedia may be worked up as
supplemental papers to exactly fit into each installment of the Course with
the paper by Brother Clegg.
The Course is divided into
five principal divisions which are in turn subdivided, as is shown below:
Division I. Ceremonial
A. The Work of a Lodge.
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. The 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 MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS Each
month we are presenting a paper written by Brother Clegg who is following the
foregoing outline. We are now in "First Steps" of Ceremonial Masonry. There
will be twelve monthly papers under this particular subdivision. At the head
of each installment will be given a number of "Helpful Hints" consisting of
questions to be used by the chairman of the Committee during the study period
which will bring out every point touched upon in the paper.
Whenever possible we shall
reprint in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin articles from other sources
which have a direct bearing upon the particular subject covered by Brother
Clegg in his monthly paper. These articles should be used as supplemental
papers in addition to those prepared by the members from the monthly list of
references. Much valuable material that would otherwise possibly never come to
the attention of many of our members will thus be presented.
The monthly installments of
the Course appearing in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin should be used one
month later than their appearance. If this is done the Committees will have
opportunity to arrange their programs several weeks in advance of the meetings
and the Brethren who are members of the National Masonic Research Society will
be better enabled to enter into the discussions after they have read over and
studied the installment in THE BUILDER.
REFERENCES FOR SUPPLEMENTAL
PAPERS Immediately preceding each of Brother Clegg's monthly papers in the
Correspondence Circle Bulletin will be found a list of references to THE
BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia. These references are pertinent to the paper
and will either enlarge upon many of the points touched upon or bring out new
points for reading and discussion. They should be assigned by the Committee to
different Brethren who may compile papers of their own from the material thus
to be found, or in many instances the articles themselves or extracts
therefrom may be read directly from the originals. The latter method may be
followed when the members may not feel able to compile original papers, or
when the original may be deemed appropriate without any alterations or
HOW TO ORGANIZE FOR AND
CONDUCT THE STUDY MEETINGS
The Lodge should select a
"Research Committee" preferably of three "live" members. The study meetings
should be held once a month, either at a special meeting of the Lodge called
for the purpose, or at a regular meeting at which no business (except the
Lodge routine) should be transacted--all possible time to be given to the
After the Lodge has been
opened and all routine business disposed of, the Master should turn the Lodge
over to the Chairman of the Research Committee. This Committee should be fully
prepared in advance on the subject for the evening. All members to whom
references for supplemental papers have been assigned should be prepared with
their papers and should also have a comprehensive grasp of Brother Clegg's
PROGRAM FOR STUDY MEETINGS
1. Reading of the first
section of Brother Clegg's paper and the supplemental papers thereto.
(Suggestion: While these
papers are being read the members of the Lodge should make notes of any points
they may wish to discuss or inquire into when the discussion is opened. Tabs
or slips of paper similar to those used in elections should be distributed
among the members for this purpose at the opening of the study period.)
2. Discussion of the above.
3. The subsequent sections of
Brother Clegg's paper and the supplemental papers should then be taken up, one
at a time, and disposed of in the same manner.
4. Question Box.
Invite questions from any and
all Brethren present. Let them understand that these meetings are for their
particular benefit and get them into the habit of asking all the questions
they may think of. Every one of the papers read will suggest questions as to
facts and meanings which may not perhaps be actually covered at all in the
paper. If at the time these questions are propounded no one can answer them,
SEND THEM IN TO US. All the reference material we have will be gone through in
an endeavor to supply a satisfactory answer. In fact we are prepared to make
special research when called upon, and will usually be able to give answers
within a day or two. Please remember, too, that the great Library of the Grand
Lodge of Iowa is only a few miles away, and, by order of the Trustees of the
Grand Lodge, the Grand Secretary places it at our disposal on any query raised
by any member of the Society.
The foregoing information
should enable local Committees to conduct their Lodge study meetings with
success. However, we shall welcome all inquiries and communications from
interested Brethren concerning any phase of the plan that is not entirely
clear to them, and the services of our Study Club Department are at the
command of our members, Lodge and Study Club Committees at all times.
HELPFUL HINTS TO STUDY CLUB
From the following questions
the Committee should select, some time prior to the evening of the study
meeting, the particular questions that they may wish to use at their meeting
which will bring out the points in the following paper which they desire to
discuss. Even were but five minutes devoted to the discussion of each of the
questions given it will be seen that it would be impossible to discuss all of
them in ten or twelve hours. The wide variety of questions here given will
afford individual Committees an opportunity to arrange their program to suit
their own fancies and also furnish additional material for a second study
meeting each month if desired by the members.
In conducting the study
periods the Chairman should endeavor to hold the discussions closely to the
text and not permit the members to speak too long at one time or to stray onto
another subject. Whenever it becomes evident that the discussion is turning
from the original subject the Chairman should request the speaker to make a
note of the particular point or phase of the matter he wishes to discuss or
inquire into, and bring it up when the Question Box period is opened.
QUESTIONS ON "PRAYER"
1. What is prayer? Is it an
instinct, or an art? Is its successful use governed by laws? Does prayer
violate the laws of Nature ? Is it a necessary part of the Masonic life ? Why
? How do you think prayer is answered? For what should we ?ray ? Is audible
prayer necessary ? Have you ever tested prayer by actual experiment ? Is the
cry of an infant a supplication to God? In what sense is the child "an epitome
of theace" ? What is the object of prayer ?
2. What is the candidate's
first voluntary act in the Lodge ? Is what follows a part of the instruction
of the Lodge? Does the Lodge set the example ? How ? How did primitive man
pray? With what did he accompany his prayer? What sacrifice did you make, when
you became a Mason ? Has your service in behalf of Masonry been a sacrifice ?
If not, have you really gotten anything out of Masonry?
3. What is the candidate's
part in the act of invocation? Why do men kneel in prayer? Why do they close
their eyes? What is meant by "an attitude of prayer" ? Are there other
attitudes than those mentioned ? Explain the meaning of the several parts of a
monitorial prayer. What does "Amen" mean ? What does "so mote it be" mean? A
congregation may join in prayer, either mentally or audibly; what is the
effect upon you when you are a part of a congregation thus engaged?
4. What is Faith? Is it the
same as Trust, Confidence ? What part does faith play in business? in social
life? in friendship ? Is faith approved by reason ? What is meant by "the
faith of a Mason"? Is a prayerless, faithless life "atheism" in practice ? Do
savages pray ? How ? Have we improved the art of prayer as we have improved
other arts ? Can the vote of a Lodge be in fact a prayer? Is it a manly thing
to pray? Do you believe in the old saying "To Labor is to Pray"? Can you name
some great men who used the habit of prayer ? Would you be ashamed to dimit
that you used it?
REFERENCES FOR SUPPLEMENTAL
The articles by Brother
Haywood, Newton and Wagstaff and the additional selections from other sources
in this issue of the Correspondence Circle Bulletin should afford Study Club
leaders an opportunity to make this installment of the Course one of the most
interesting they have yet had. Use as many of them as possible, assigning them
to your most interested members for reading at your meeting. Additional
references may be found as follows:
Prayer, p. 577.
Vol. I--Prayer in Masonry, p.
Vol. II--A Mason's Prayer, p.
180; The Great Prayer, p. 368.
Vol. III--What An Entered
Apprentice Ought to Know, April C. C. B., p. 6.
BY BRO ROBERT I. CLEGG
"As Masons we are taught that
no man should enter upon any great or important undertaking without first
invoking the blessing of Deity."
PRAYER is the voice of hope
strengthened by faith. Prayer is the expectant utterance of the elect. Prayer
is petition purified, and therefore powerful. Prayer is the appealing speech
of subject to sovereign, of the creature to the Creator.
Aspiration is that ambitious
attitude of man that seeks hopefully unto a happy end of effort. That is
prayer in action. That is what the Bible surely means when speaking of the
effectual fervent speech that availeth much. "The effectual fervent prayer of
a righteous man availeth much," as is said in James, v. 16.
A natural act it truly is to
implore the aid and protection of a power greater than our own in a time of
difficulty or danger. The child clutching at its mother's gown to steady the
faltering footsteps of infancy is but a prophecy and a pattern of maturity.
Perhaps the inarticulate feeble cry of the infant, the earliest pang of pain
or weakness made vocal, is but significant of that universal seeking for
succor by humanity lifting up its voice unto the heavens, the child being an
epitome of the race.
How natural is the ordinary
kneeling posture of prayer. He that prays is himself a symbol of subjection
when kneeling in an attitude of supplication; the unseeing eyes show
abstraction-- inward looking-- the folded hands beseech compassion and favor.
Then is the candidate nearer to his God. Then does the Divinity that shapes
our ends approach us the closer, our sightless eyes are opened to
introspection and we are prompted aright in action and speech.
THE LODGE SETS THE EXAMPLE
FOR THE CANDIDATE
There is another prayerful
attitude aside from that privacy suggested by darkness and solitude. There is
the prayer of a number, a congregation interceding for themselves or for
others. Therein comes the unity of similar acts, many performing the same
ceremony simultaneously strengthens in every participant the sentiment of his
neighbors. To stand with bowed heads and attentive minds while another prays
the words that are in the hearts of all those assembled means community of
prayer, a common supplication.
THE LODGE INSTRUCTS AND
SUPPLICATES FOR THE CANDIDATE
Consider the Lodge and the
candidate solemnly in a sacrificial spirit offering contritely their
aspirations for the good of all. There is the confident expression of belief
in a Supreme Being whose blessing is sought for both the Lodge and the
candidate to the end that both may, in their humble powers, reflect the glory
THE CANDIDATE'S PART
The candidate is ever an
active element in all that is done. For him, with him, by him,--everything is
done in his behalf. Prayer is at the beginning and the end of all Masonic
work. Particularly is prayer applicable in the first steps of the candidate in
our mysteries. In it he participates. In attitude and in aspiration he has an
active and a typical part. He fills a place peculiarly his own. Both in
posture and in response he meets all requirements or he fits none. Shut out
from the world, the world forgetting, by the world forgotten, darkness blots
away all disturbing factors of sight. Withdrawn from the world, there are but
the reminders of ritualistic instruction penetrating by other avenues than the
"AMEN--SO MOTE IT BE"
The word "Amen" and the
phrase "So Mote It Be" are synonymous terms. Their use is familiar to all
Masons. The word "Amen" is of Hebrew origin, of which the root meaning is
"stability," generally adopted in Christian worship as a concluding formula
for prayers and hymns. Three distinct biblical usages may be noted. (a)
Initial Amen, referring back to words of another speaker, e. g. I Kings i. 36,
"And Benaiah the son of Jehoiaba answered the king, and said, Amen: the Lord
God of my lord the king say so too." (b) Detached Amen, the complimentary
sentence being suppressed, e. g. Neh. v. 13, "Also I shook my lap, and said,
so God shake out every man from his house, and from his labor, that performeth
not this promise, even thus he be shaken out, and emptied. And all the
congregation said, Amen, and praise the Lord. And the people did according to
this promise." Rev. v. 14, "And the four beasts said, Amen. And the four and
twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever." (c)
Final Amen, with no change of speaker, as in the subscription to the first
three divisions of the Psalter and in the frequent doxologies of the New
Testament Epistles. The uses of amen ("verily") in the gospels form a peculiar
class; they are initial but often lack any backward reference. Jesus used the
word to affirm his own utterances, not those of another person, and this usage
was adopted by the church. The liturgical use of the word in apostolic times
is attested by the passage from I Cor., and Justin Martyr (A.D. 150) describes
the congregation as responding "amen" to the benediction after the celebration
of the Eucharist.
Among certain Gnostic sects
Amen became the name of an angel, and in post-biblical Jewish works
exaggerated statements are multiplied as to the right method and the bliss of
pronouncing it. It is still used in the service of the synagogue, and the
Mohammedans not only add it after reciting the first Sura of the Koran, but
also when writing letters, etc., and repeat it three times, often with the
word Qimtir, as a kind of talisman.
TRUST AND FAITH
The greater the importance
and the greater the difficulty of any undertaking, the more essential it is
that an implicit trust in God shall guide our feet and make sure and steadfast
our stumbling steps. Do we deserve that help? Then let us fear not but go
forward of good courage.
Scepticism is frequent.
Cynicism is rife. Among Masons it is not rare to have the student belittled by
the uninformed. Too often an ideal is shattered by "What is the use?"
Take heart. Beneath the
social veneer is sound substance. Rough as may be the raw diamond, every
rightly directed rub of polish adds to its lustre and swells its flashing rays
True, honesty and sincerity
are elbowed out of the newspaper columns by the record of crime. Be not
alarmed. An orgy of wrongdoing is not rampant. No indeed, the very opposite is
true. Only the uncommon is news. What everybody knows is not news. What is
mentioned in the daily papers is the rare, the novel, the curious, the quaint.
When you see crime portrayed in print, be assured that evil is not supreme. It
should remind us that good men and women are too common for advertisement.
Abroad in the land is the
spirit of Masonry. Business in mighty bulk is transacted upon the mere pledged
word. Appeals for trade are voiced with the fervor of religious faith. A
discussion among men of business, advertising men, engineers, and others, is
usually found in one avenue or another associated with lofty ideals, a
philosophy of self-sacrifice and personal devotion. Masonry is this leaven of
mankind, a lever of uplift, a light ever leading unto love.
TO LABOR IS TO PRAY
An old Latin motto, "Labore
est Orore," says in effect, "Work is prayer, to labor is to pray." When the
ancient craftsmen wrought their structures into the glorious Gothic pinnacles
and spires, pilasters and columns, and flung the flying buttresses and beams
astride the spacious transepts of gracious cathedrals, the ornate stone and
carved wood expressed their faith, hope and charity, the sumptuous record of
their souls. The enduring wood and stone perpetuated their prayers.
How far does modern Masonry
impress its teaching on the times? Will we as did our forefathers in
Freemasonry carve into the character of men something of what the craftsmen of
old worked into these buildings that yet remain of grandeur and renown ?
Let us answer these questions
in our own hearts. They are worth our careful study.
Consider, too, that Masonry
tells us how we may pray for ourselves and for others but the prayers of
others are not to substitute for our own. We are to pray for ourselves and for
others. Is this your idea of prayer ?
Have you not met that Mason
whose impression of Masonry is not that of a partnership? His conception of
Masonry is that of an organization that does something for him, not of an
organization that is served by him and by all the other members? Do you not
think that this is the real difference between a member and a Mason?
Of course you all know that a
Mason is more than a mere member, being vaccinated is certainly more than
going through the motions of an operation. If it does not take, the work is a
MORE BLESSED TO GIVE THAN TO
Thus there are two aspects of
Masonry, receiving and contributing, taking and giving. He who wears the
jewelry and carries the card and diploma receives some reward, but he who
wears the instruction in his heart distributes rewards. Happy is he who does
all things Masonically with discrimination and zeal.
The strength of Masonry is in
the unity of its members and in their acceptance of its duties. When they
expect more than they give, Masonry weakens by that drain upon her substance.
When Masons expect less than they contribute of their service, that surplus
strengthens the common source of energy and all profit by the sacrifice.
The element of sacrifice is
indeed inseparable from prayer. The Mason may well ponder how aptly in modern
days or of old he that prayed made an offering. The supplication to his God
was accompanied by a gift upon the altar. Many are the instances recorded in
the Bible of just such offerings, too numerous for enumeration.
Well, what is the sacrifice
when a man becomes a Mason? What then is offered upon the altar of Masonry?
Why, nothing less than the man himself.
God in Fatherhood, man in
brotherliness, each thought suggests service; the sonship of worship unto the
Father, the fraternity of men actuated by the lasting lessons of an antique
and unique schooling. We get by giving. We earn as we truly learn. Our real
fame is as we aim.
When the temptation comes to
be impatient because the institution is not moving as some individual wishes,
is not voting as some person may vote, then reflect that its greatest glory is
in the chastening and refining of the individual character.
Masonry is never a mob.
Masonry is always personal. Masons are never to be herded. Masons are to be
Prayer to the Mason is most
natural, a very plopeact of devotion and of adoration, a practical act of
worship. In it he but follows the Divine command, "Ask and ye shall receive."
There is in it the very essence of faith, for without faith there is neither
purpose nor direction nor end in prayer.
When a vote is used as is a
prayer it is used Masonically. When the franchise is exercised by freemen in a
Masonic fashion it is employed in the spirit of prayer. Whatever is done
Masonically is prayerful.
* * *
Watch once more, my brethren,
the first contact of a candidate with our Craft, his entrance into Masonry.
Apply for yourselves his lessons of faith. Turn back the pages of your career
and see yourselves again in him as when you first entered the lodge. Renew
with him your pledges, replenish your trust, recall the old thrill of your
Entered Apprenticeship. It shall not be in vain. There is not in all the
affairs of life a solitary foothold for you where that knowledge will not
serve you well. Yes, watch, and pray.
"INVOKING THE BLESSING OF
DEITY" BY BRO. H. L. HAYWOOD, IOWA
(By the kindness of Brother
H. L. Haywood, who edits the Library department of this Journal, we have been
privileged to lift from the pages of his forthcoming book of interpretation of
the three degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry, the following delightful
paragraphs relating to Prayer. They are so truly interpretative of the subject
matter of this month's Bulletin study that we would feel our issue incomplete
It is of the highest import
that in the ceremony of initiation the candidate's first act is to kneel at
the altar of prayer for this is nothing other than a symbol of the fact that
all right life, inside and outside of the Lodge, is anchored to the power of
prayer. It is of further significance that in the early Degree he has another
to pray for him while at a later time he must pray for himself because this is
a recognition of prayer as an art to be learned gradually as all other arts
Brother J. T. Thorp, the
veteran English student, has suggested that the Apprentice prayer has come to
us from the old custom of beginning each Old Charge with an Invocation; this
is a reasonable, historical inference, but it does not go deep enough. The
prayer is in the Masonic ceremony because it must be in the Masonic life, and
the important point here is not how we came to pray, but why we do pray; and
the reason we do pray is that we can not help it. Man is a praying creature
because of the way he is made, and not all the arguments of the naturalist or
all the sophistries of the skeptic can cure him of the habit.
Prayer is more "than the
aspiration of the soul toward the absolute and Infinite Intelligence"; it is
more than meditation; it is more than the soul's dialogue with its own higher
self; it is more than soliloquy; prayer is a force and accomplishes work in
its own appropriate realm. When a forester wishes to fell a tree he uses an
axe; when a farmer desires a crop he plows the soil and sows the grain; the
merchant who seeks money applies himself to his trade; by token of the same
universal law of cause and effect the soul that would get spiritual work done
applies the instrument of prayer.
If it be said that God is
all-knowing and all-powerful and does not need our praying we reply that there
are some things which God will not do, whether He can or not without the
assistance of man. Working by Himself God produces the wild dog-rose; working
with man He produces an "American Beauty"; working by Himself He produces the
wild wheat, unfruitful and inedible; working with man He carpets the prairies
with heavy-headed grain, enough to feed a nation; working by Himself He
brought forth the first man, half animal, half human, slinking in his mildewed
cave and killing his prey with his hands, like the wild bear; working in
co-operation with man they Two have brought forth this human world of netted
highways and thrumming cities--literature, art, beauty, the temple, and the
home, the Iliad, the Tempest, the Bible, Homer, Shakespeare, and Christ. Man
co-operates with God in transforming Nature by the use of his hands; he
cooperates with God in transforming the spirit by the use of prayer. Besides,
God has not shut Himself out of the soul that He has made and prayer itself
may well be His own activity, His Divine hand-clasp with the human heart.
This is not to justify the
use of prayer, there is no need of that; it is its own justification. After
all is said pro and con, the fact remains that the great souls have been the
great prayers. It is not for us to twist this fact about to suit our theories;
it is for us to adjust our theories to the fact. Prayer widens our horizons;
purifies our motives, disciplines the will, releases us from the gravitations
of the material, sets a new light in the fact and links us to Heaven in an
ineffable fellowship. It is a stairway let down by God into the inmost
chamber-of our heart up and down which the better angels of our nature pass
and re-pass in their healing ministries.
Upon this earth there is
nothing more eloquent than the silence of a company of men and women bowed in
the hush and awe of a House of Prayer. Through all the groping generations the
soul of man has never ceased to seek a city unseen and eternal. No thoughtful
man but at some time has mused over this great adoring habit of our humanity,
and the marvel of it deepens the longer he ponders it. That instinct for
eternity which draws together the stones of a stately cathedral, where the
shadow of the Infinite is bidden to linger, tells us more of what man is than
all else besides. So far as we know, man is the only being on our planet that
pauses to pray, and the wonder of his worship is at once a revelation and a
"Man sits here shaping wings
His heart forbodes a
He names the name of
That type of Perfect in his
In Nature he can nowhere
He sows himself on every
He seems to hear a Heavenly
And through thick walls to
A labor working toward an
PRAYER IS TRUST BY BRO.
JOSEPH FORT NEWTON, ENGLAND
The first great element of
prayer is aspiration--a hunger for better being and doing, a looking onward
and upward to an ideal which, seen afar off, is yearned after; a discontent
with present attainments and performances, an inability to rest in things as
they are. When a young man gives up wild or careless habits, begins to save
money, to use his time to good account, brace himself against the lure to
idleness and evil, he is praying, though he might be abashed if one told him
that his wistful reaching forth toward something higher and better was prayer.
Wherever improvement is being desired and sought--improvement not only in what
we have, but in what we are and do--there is prayer, even though no word is
uttered. A man in his workshop, factory or office, who, from morn to eve is
striving to realize his ideal of honor, efficiency and service, is praying the
livelong day. When an ideal of manhood is cherished, in the light of which our
best is never wholly satisfactory, and which is evermore urging us to go
beyond it, there is prayer. Such a man, though he kneel not during the day,
goes prayerfully to his bed a better man, and the hum of his honest industry
is the music of a liturgy.
Nor does he pray simply for
himself alone. All prayer, by its very nature, is benevolent and intercessory.
When a man is devoted to the pursuit of knowledge, caring more for it than for
any worldly honor; when he is in search for truth, ready, if need be, to
suffer that he may find it; when he desires to help forward a good cause,
willing to sacrifice for it-- when a man lives thus, he is exemplifying that
love of the best things of which all prayer is the expression. Who can labor
for the good and not begin to throb with desire for the good of others? What
man, not cursed with hopeless selfishness, can enter the presence of the
Eternal Goodness and ask only in his own behalf? When he closes the door of
his oratory he remembers not simply his own burdens, but the griefs and woes
of others. One who, like Abou Ben Adhem, loves his fellow man, need not bow
his head and clasp his hands, before sleeping, to save the day from being
prayerless, since it has been full of prayer. Yet no one can enter his oratory
before falling into the mystery of sleep, without learning something for the
comfort of his heart and the health of his soul.
Again, all true prayer has
its roots in trust, and he is praying who dares trust truth, right, and honor,
no matter the cost, though he may not kneel in a temple. Let him bow in the
temple, but when on the day following he obeys the light within him when it
points, maybe, to a lonely road, where he will no longer walk with troops of
friends--that also is prayer. If prayer is trust, he who trusts the reigning
rectitude, trusts conscience, trusts duty, trusts principle habitually,
fearful only of unfaithfulness, and with tranquil courage pursues his way, is
a man of prayer. No matter how loud he may pray in the temple, if he seeks
even a worthy end by unworthy means, his prayer has no wings. We pray by our
desires, our motives, our tears. and by our acts--praying without ceasing to
the God who is over all, in all, and working through all.
THE DIGNITY OF PRAYER MY
BRO. DENMAN S..WAGSTAFF, P. M., CALIFORNIA
The great secret forcing
along a final and complete consciousness of one's worthiness when asking for
anything, either from The Great Architect or from just a common "Fellow-Craft"
along the road, is the knowledge in advance, of having earned the favor. Hence
we have the right and privilege to ask for that something which we are
convinced belongs to us.
The knowledge of worthiness
is the backbone of the request. In most every instance a request coming from
such a source is granted. Thus we may say that the request and the answer go
hand in hand. The giving and receiving are correlative. The effort means its
These jewels should be among
the contents of the cornerstone of our individual "Temples," which if guided
in their building, planned in their inception by the absolute worthiness of
the reason for building, lead to the final raising of an edifice wherein there
shall be no false gods, false oaths, unfilled obligations nor anything which
doth not belong within a "Temple." We may then pray with a dignity born of
How many do pray just through
the habit of asking for everything in sight. How many are disappointed, when
after meeting with sudden, almost selfinflicted misfortune, prayer brings
nothing. Prayer is indeed nothing, if robbed of its dignity. It can not be
heard. The real preparation necessary to receive the object asked for is
absent. There has been no effort to fill the cornerstone of Life with the
records of Truth. We are out of our class. No previous performance. There is
no record of our having even tried to merit an answer to our prayer, hence it
is simply a wheedling, simpering, despairing cry without dignity and devoid of
What should constitute
previous performance? It takes but little absolutely new to start. The
obligation of the First Degree points the "Apprentice" way: "Be true to
yourself." The Second Degree: "Be faithful to your friends and thus in a
greater degree to yourself." The Third Degree: "Be to all men a brother. Be
quick to lend a helping hand to all mankind--to all men, no matter of what
faith or creed." Be sure to note that all men are equal in the sight of the
Creator. Think always before entering upon an engagement. Let cleanliness of
heart and tongue go hand in hand with every act. Look well ahead on the trail
before you trust your feet upon it. You may, in a darkening moment, tread upon
a brother fallen by the wayside. He should be placed upon his feet again. Then
you may pray for more assistance, with all the "dignity" consistent effort
commands. Your prayers will be answered in your good deed just crowned with
accomplishment, even before your eyes. So shall we merit an endless Life,
wherein Truth prevails.
(Literature contains many
explanations of prayer--explanations which because of their liberal viewpoint
might easily have been made by Masons well versed in the lore of the Craft.
Time and again we have said in these pages that Masonry is not a religion, but
that it is religion. It is not a cult, but its philosophy is the embodiment of
all that is fundamental in religion, and therefore found underlying all cults
and creeds. To the student who has grasped this conception of Masonry, the
following quotations will bring a quiet satisfaction and an illuminating
viewpoint of the true concepts of the Fraternity, as embodied in the teachings
of its degrees.)
THE POWER OF PRAYER
Who will pray must know and
understand that prayer is an earnest and familiar talking with God, to whom we
declare our miseries, whose help we implore and desire in our adversities, and
whom we laud and praise for our benefits received; so that prayer contains the
exposition of our detours (troubles, sorrows), the desire of God's defense,
and the praising of His magnificent name, as the Psalms of David clearly
The consideration in whose
presence we stand, to whom we speak, and what we desire, should excite us to
the greatest reverence in doing this; standing in the presence of the
omnipotent Creator of Heaven and earth, and of all that is therein; whom a
thousand thousand angels assist and serve, giving obedience to His eternal
majesty; and speaking unto Him who knoweth the secrets of our hearts, before
whom dissimulation and lies are always odious and hateful; asking those things
which may be most to His glory, and the comfort of our conscience. But we
should attend diligently that such things as may offend His godly presence may
be removed to the uttermost of our power. And first, that worldly cares and
fleshy cogitations, such as draw us from our God, be expelled from us, that we
may fully, without interruption, call upon God. But how difficult and hard
this one thing is to perform in prayer, none know better than such as, in
their prayers, are not content to remain within the bands of their own vanity,
but are, as it were, enrapt, and do intend to a purity allowed of God; asking
not such things as the foolish reason of man desires, but that which may be
acceptable in God's presence. John Knox.
WHAT PRAYER ACCOMPLISHES
Prayer is a soliloquy; but
being a soliloquy expressing need, and being furthermore, like sacrifice, a
desperate expedient which men fly to in their impotence, it looks for an
effect; to cry aloud, to make vows, to contrast eloquently the given with the
ideal situation, is certainly as likely a way of bringing about a change for
the better as it would be to chastise one's self severely, or to destroy what
one loves best, or to perform acts altogether trivial and arbitrary. Prayer
also is magic, and as such it is expected to do work. The answer looked for,
or one which may be accepted instead, very often ensues; and it is then that
mythology begins to enter in and seeks to explain by what machinery of divine
passions and purposes that answering effect was produced.
* * * * The mythology that
pretends to justify prayer by giving it a material efficacy misunderstands
prayer completely and makes it ridiculous, for it turns away from the heart,
which prayer expresses pathetically, to a fabulous cosmos where aspirations
have been turned into things and have thereby stifled their own voices.
The situation would not be
improved if we surrendered that mystical optimism, and maintained that prayer
might really attract superhuman forces to our aid by giving them a signal
without which they would not have been able to reach us. If experience lent
itself to such a theory there would be nothing in it more impossible than in
ordinary telepathy; prayer would then be an art like conversation, and the
exact personages and interests would be discoverable to which we might appeal.
A celestial diplomacy might then be established not very unlike primitive
religions. Religion would have reverted to industry and science, to which the
grosser spirits that take refuge under it have always wished to assimilate it.
* * * * What successful
religion really should pass into is contemplation, ideality, poetry, in the
sense in which poetry includes all imaginative moral life. That this is what
religion looks to is very clear in prayer and in the efficacy which prayer
consistently can have. In rational prayer the soul may be said to accomplish
three things important to its welfare; it withdraws within itself and defines
its good, it accommodates itself to destiny, and it grows like the ideal which
If prayer springs from need
it will naturally dwell on what would satisfy that necessity; sometimes,
indeed, it does nothing else but articulate and eulogize what is most wanted
and prized. This object will often be particular, and so it should be, since
Socrates' prayer "for the best" would be perfunctory and vapid indeed in a man
whose life had not been spent, like Socrates', in defining what the best was.
--Geo. Santayana--"Reason in Religion."
PUTTING THE MIND IN A
"Prayer is the highest form
of co-operative action required on the part of man. Prayer is the mode of
effort that is adapted to the nature of the spiritual good that is sought by
it, as labor and study are modes of effort that are adapted to the inferior
goods we seek. Labor and study are practical modes of asking for what we seek
by them; a way of putting our minds into a receptive condition. So with
prayer." --C. T. Porter, in "Mechanics and Faith."
PRAYER AND A DIVINE PLAN
There can be no difficulty in
reconciling prayer with the theory of a divine plan when it is remembered that
the Author of the plan instructs us to pray, and therefore his plan must
include our prayers. But they must be right prayers and in a right spirit.
They must never be demands. He who has the most of the spirit of prayer will
be least disposed to press his own wishes. Having laid his petitions before
the all-wise and all-loving Father, he will rest peacefully in the one desire
that embraces and absorbs all others-- "Not my will, but thine, be done."
They must be trustful
prayers. If we ask for guidance in the difficult ways of our daily life we
must believe that he is so guiding us, however dark the pathway may seem to
us. There was profound philosophy in the remark of a child in connection with
the sad fate of President Garfield. The following conversation between two
little girls was overheard:
"I am sure President Garfield
will get well, because people are praying for him all over the world."
"I don't feel sure of it."
"What! Don't you believe that God answers prayers?"
"Oh, yes! I know that God
answers prayers. He always answers prayers, but sometimes He answers yes, and
sometimes He answers no."
One of the scriptural
injunctions to prayer which we feel it hard to take literally is that it shall
be continual. "Pray without ceasing." Since we can not spend all our time upon
our knees or in what we regard as the special religious exercise of prayer, we
dismiss this plain direction as hyperbolical. But it is not. It is a clear
instruction that we are to have a spirit of prayer in all that we do. There is
no act of our lives so trifling that it does not come within the scope of
God's plan. The spirit of prayer will therefore lead us to "pray without
ceasing," that God's will may be done in the smallest particulars of our
lives. The desire to do his will is a prayer. It does not need expression in
words every moment, nor even "the upward lifting of an eye." The desire to act
for God and not for self is a practical expression of the petition "Thy will
be done" in every act that is thus consecrated. --Theo. F. Seward.
"That prayer which does not
succeed in moderating our wish, in changing the passionate desire into still
submission, the anxious, tumultuous expectation into silent surrender, is no
true prayer, and proves that we have not the spirit of true prayer. That life
is most holy in which there is the least of petition and desire, and most of
waiting upon God; that in which petition most often passes into thanksgiving.
Pray till prayer makes you forget your own wish, and leave it or merge it in
God's will. The divine wisdom has given us prayer not as a means whereby to
obtain the good things of earth, but as a means whereby we learn to do without
them: not as a means whereby we escape evil, but as a means whereby we become
strong to meet it." --F. W. Robertson.
A FAMOUS PRAYER WITH A
(A mechanical device known as
a "prayer-wheel" is used by the Buddhists of Tibet and Central Asia. It is
generally formed of a pasteboard cylinder, wrapped in long paper bands
inscribed with repetitions of the prayer "Om mani pad me hum." The efficacy of
the devotion is reckoned by the number of revolutions made by the wheel.)
"Om mani pad me hum!" has
become the "prayer" par excellence of Tibetan Buddhists: "the sum and
substance of all the sentences of all the Buddhas concentrated in one word."
With a Sanskrit origin and meaning somewhat obscure, this jumble of six
syllables is repeated by deified lamas, despotic princes, vicious priests, and
humble laymen from the mountains of India to the plains of China. In the
Tibetan-English Dictionary of the learned Jaschke under the syllable "Om" we
have the following explanation: "Om" a mystical interjection .... the symbol
of the Hindu triad inasmuch as it consists of three sounds A. U. M., or
Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma respectively. This interjection frequently occurs in
the prayers of the Northern Buddhists of Tibet, and especially in the famous
six-syllable prayer "Om mani pad me hum," the literal meaning of which is: "O
thou jewel in the Lotus hum." The person addressed in these words is not
Buddha but Spyan Ras Gzigs, and by some he is thought to be the author of
them. The Tibetans themselves are ignorant of the proper sense of the six
syllables, if sense at all there be in them.... The simple and popular but
also the flattest of these explanations is derived from the purely extrinsic
circumstance that the Sanskrit words of the prayer consist of six syllables .
. . (which), when pronounced by a pious Buddhist, convey a blessing upon one
of the six classes of beings; (gods, demi-gods, men, animals, hungry giants,
and inmates of Hell).
"Om mani pad me hum" seems to
be written on everything, and repeated by everyone everywhere. It is muttered
by bands of lamas at the picturesque religious ceremonies, accompanied by
ringing bells, clanging cymbals, blaring trumpets, booming drums, and wailing
flutes. It is droned with feverish haste and weird monotony by individuals for
the benefit of families in health, sickness, death; and it is muttered and
garbled by countless laymen on wild steppes, dangerous passes, gloomy forests
and busy markets, without intermission from early dawn till late at night. For
instance, the traveller may meet an unkempt nomad or unwashed woman. The lips
are moving rapidly and a droning sound seems to be proceeding from the depths
of the stomach. You greet them and the droning momentarily ceases. Out goes a
long tongue and it would seem that death from asphyxiation was imminent, but
you are soon relieved to hear your salutation returned and the strange noise
continued as if nothing had happened. With the Tibetan, not to pray is the
exception. Old and young, at work and at play, it would seem as if men and
women were not born to mourn but to mutter the everlasting mani. But "praying"
is not necessarily associated with morality. The godless lama, the murdering
brigand, the abandoned woman, and the sordid Chinaman all pray with a fervency
scarcely equalled by the blameless saint of Christendom. And the traveller
soon finds that when the devotions are interrupted it is generally to curse
the patient animal, or indulge in obscene banter with the female drivers. * *
For many years the writer
imagined this strange prayer had no rival among Tibetan peoples, but found
later that this was not so. The Ponpo or Black Lamas contemptuously reject "Om
mani pad me hum," so dear to the hearts of the Yellow and Red cults, and would
die rather than repeat it, turn it, or cause it to be turned. But they have a
peculiar form of their own which is resolved from left to right with as much
ingenuity and assiduity as the others bestow on the "Om mani pad me hum."
Jaschke transcribes the phrase as "Man tri mu tri sa le dzu," while Des Godins,
a great authority on Eastern Tibet, gives "Ma tchri mou me sa le gou." The
writer who has lived among the Bon in Badi-Bawang would tentatively suggest "Om
ma dri mu ye sa le dug." He has never heard them repeating "Om mani pad me
hum" backwards, although the drums, cylinders, and boxes are most religiously
reversed by all good Bons when in the act of praying. It is sad, but still
interesting, to remember that two important schools have found these
meaningless phrases an opportunity for bitter disagreement and often an excuse
for cruel persecution. Some decades ago the Yellow and Black Lama differences
were the cause of a savage civil war.
On two occasions the writer
had the ritual of the lamas at his disposal. One evening he and a companion
arrived at Chelo in Kong U after a sensationally dangerous journey up to the
right bank of the T'ong River. The lamas in the district were very friendly
and belonged to the Bon cult. The Abbot who was an alleged "living Buddha" and
head of the Bonpo fraternity in Chagla (?) invited us to see him. His small
cell was bare and refreshingly clean. A plain, unornamented looking-glass on
the table, a pan of glowing embers in a corner, and battered tea service close
at hand, were the first signs of comfort to meet our gaze. Further in was a
small enclosure bountifully supplied with rugs and skins, but so small that
sleep could only be taken in the sitting posture required of the disciples of
Gautama. The Buddha received us tremblingly but with much dignity. His face
was ascetic, pleasing, and well-proportioned, and as he sat almost silent,
cross-legged, bolt upright, and posing as a god, one could recognize something
of that grace and culture which sometimes (rare indeed) characterises the
better-class lamas. As we went out he accompanied us and knelt as we bade
adieu. Later on our present of soap and perfumes was refused on the score of
poverty, but on the assurance being made that we expected no return present
the soap was accepted. He sent word that he would pray for us: "it was all he
could do." That night the boom of drums, the clang of cymbals, and hurried
muttering of charms indicated that the good man was spending a night in
prayer, and we had every reason to believe it was on our account. The next
experience was in the independent kingdom of Somo. My companion was stricken
down suddenly with a mysterious complaint. A deputation of lamas, who may have
been the authors of the raging fever and excruciating pains, offered to
exercise the "malignant spirit" which was the cause of the malady. Their
services were refused, but later the inn-keeper and the lamas both believed
some such ceremony was necessary and the day following was chosen as a
suitable time to oust the "spirit." Fortunately, with much difficulty, my sick
companion was carried out of Somo and their jurisdiction before the time
decided on for what was intended to be his burial service.
I have no proof of its
antiquity, but the Chinese version is common enough on stone tablets and
temple doorways in China proper. I have seen it at Weichow and Siutu, and even
so far afield as T'aissing in Kiangsu. But there is nothing like it on the
T'ang Chao tablets in the Nim valley. It may be seen in an ancient Sanskrit
form, however, on a small lamasery in Chengtu. --J. Huston Edgar, in The
Duty does not consist in
suffering everything, but in suffering everything for duty. Sometimes, indeed,
it is our duty not to suffer.--Vinet.
"THE SWORD OF AMERICA"
BY BRO. JOSEPH FORT NEWTON,
In response to the many
requests of our members for information as to the kind of sermons Brother
Newton preaches" we are publishing the following as a characteristic example.
This sermon was delivered to Brother Newton's English congregation in the City
Temple, London, Nov. 1, 1917.
"My sword shall be bathed in
heaven."--Isaiah xxiv. 5.
ALL through the Bible the
sword is a symbol of power, sometimes of a power used for evil ends,
sometimes--more often indeed-- for noble ends. The great watchword of the
ancient Commonwealth in its trial, "The sword of the Lord and Gideon," might
be used as a text for what the Bible has to say about the sword. Now power is
neither good nor evil; it is neutral. The purpose for which it is used, the
spirit in which it is used, gives it moral quality. A bomb may be used to blow
up a building, or to blast a tunnel for a railway opening new lands and
inviting to new adventures. There are those who think that the use of any kind
of force is wrong if it be used in behalf of moral and spiritual ends. Not at
all. Force, used righteously in behalf of righteousness, is a sword of the
So, at least, Americans think
of it, and with a few winsome and ardent exceptions, they are quite unanimous
in feeling that the cause in behalf of which America and her allies fight is
the cause of simple justice, decency, and mercy upon the earth. For the
beautiful Quaker tradition America has great respect, and should have respect.
When the Quaker laid aside his great hat and drab coat and picked up his axe,
he laid the foundation of some of the finest things in American life and
literature. But in our wars of former times, if the Quaker was not permitted
by his scruples actually to fight, he has always been a faithful servant of
the Republic. Take our good, grey poet, Walt Whitman, who was of Quaker
origin, as Lincoln was on one side of his family. He could not enter the ranks
and take a gun and fight, but he entered the hospitals, and his service is
memorable to this day in our annals. But for the man who will not render any
service to his country because it is at war and he perchance may be lending
some countenance to the existence of war, Americans can have very little
respect. Conscience then sinks to the level of mere crankery. Such a person is
not the object of scorn, but of pity. To such conscientious objectors then
America objects on conscientious grounds. She holds it to be true that no man
has a moral right to the enjoyment or protection of a country whose
institutions he will not support, and whose existence he will not defend. Let
us be as true to Christianity as our sinful nature will allow us, and the
grace of God will help us to be, but let us not identify Christianity with
Why did America hesitate to
enter the war? Of course, I do not ask you to approve the reason, I only ask
you to understand it. Washington, in his farewell address, told his country to
keep clear of all entangling alliances with Europe. Why ? Europe was at that
time practically a monarchy from end to end. America, as Lincoln stated later,
was conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are
created equal. Therefore, the first President thought it wise for the Republic
to live aloof for a time until it should be firmly established. His advice was
wise; it was followed, and became the basis of all our national policy for
more than a century. Now a century of national policy cannot be reversed over
night, it cannot be changed in a moment. But times change, and men change with
them. Europe is no longer autocratic. Our enemies are trying to hold the last
fortress of autocracy, and it must go. Europe is democratic, and it will be
increasingly so in days to come. Therefore the very reason why our country
kept clear from entangling alliances with Europe in other days, for the same
reason it has come into the fellowship of European nations.
America, then, has not simply
entered the war, she has entered the world, reversing her whole national
policy and the tendencies of her history, and this meant a complete revolution
of thought and feeling in the Republic. In that connection let me recall the
words from a letter of Jefferson to Monroe in 1823:
"Great Britain is the nation
which can do us the most harm of any one, or all, on earth; and with her on
our side we need not fear the whole world. With her, then, we should
sedulously cherish a cordial friendship; and nothing would tend more to knit
our affections than to be fighting once more, side by side, in the same
Today those words are
fulfilled before our eyes, not because we fear harm from England, or have
reason to suspect any threat from her, but because at last the policy of
national isolation having become obsolete in America, and America having
entered the world, her nearest neighbour is her Motherland. Today the sons of
the great Republic are fighting side by side with the sons of the great
What this will mean in the
future no one may venture to predict. Personally, I feel, and I believe it is
also the growing sentiment of my countrymen, that it is the outstanding fact
connected with the whole tragedy of the war, and will have more influence on
the future than any other event. If I should state my own conviction it would
be after this manner:
"An alliance of the United
States and the British Commonwealth on clearly defined terms of unquestionable
explicitness, made in the open light of day, so that those planning aggression
could realize clearly the formidable obstacle in their path, would
effectively, though not absolutely, secure the general peace of the future
Such being the reason why
America hesitated to enter the war, let me ask, in the second place, why she
did enter the war? She was not indifferent; she was not incapable of moral
indignation, as some of you may have felt. Why did we enter the war? Because
our citizens had been assassinated on the high seas in ruthless barbarity? No,
though that were cause enough if citizenship is to have meaning and value.
Because we endured one unparalleled insult after another, such as perhaps no
great and proud people had endured before? No. A rapscallion cannot insult a
gentleman. Did we go to war, then, because our hospitality had been used for
every conceivable kind of plot, involving our own people as well as the people
of other nations-- like a huge spider spinning its dark web of lying and
spying all over the earth? No, though the discovery of those plots has made us
very angry. America kept out of the war until she learned that the government
of Germany is an organised lie. When she learned that, there was no other
appeal but to the awful court of war.
Let me read you some words
from Edmund Burke, the more so that he was a great champion of America, in the
House of Commons, at the time of the war of the Revolution--and, of course, I
need not say that America now understands that the reason for that war was
that the King of England then was a German, and made a mess of things, as
Germans usually do--those great words from the "Reflections on the French
Revolution," one of the noblest passages in all political literature:
"Society is indeed a
contract. It is a partnership in all science; a partnership in all art; a
partnership in all virtue, and in all perfection. As the ends of such a
partnership cannot be obtained in many generations, it becomes a partnership
not only between those who are living, but between those who are living and
those who are dead, and those who are to be born. Each contract of each
particular state is but a clause in the great primeval contract of eternal
society, linking the lower with the higher natures, connecting the visible
with the invisible world, according to a fixed compact sanctioned by the
inviolable oath which holds all physical and all moral natures, each in their
Our enemies have violated the
primeval contract of eternal society, making a treaty a "scrap of paper." An
unwillingness to keep any national engagement that did not entirely suit their
whim, throwing to the winds all moral obligation, is a violation of the
contract on which all human society rests. Consider what would happen in
London if a portion of its population decided to live according to a law of
its own, to keep engagements only when it was convenient for them to do so; to
respect obligations only when it was altogether pleasant and involved no
sacrifice. What kind of community would there be in London? Law would vanish;
business would collapse; anarchy would reign. What is true of one community is
true the world over, and it was this violation of the primeval contract of
society which arrayed the moral indignation of the world against Germany and
her allies and drew America into the conflict.
For the same reason there can
be no peace, no negotiation looking towards peace, with the present German
government. No treaty of peace signed by it is worth the paper on which it is
written. It would be treated as lightly and as carelessly and as indifferently
as other treaties have been treated. For that reason America has not only gone
into the war solemnly, deliberately, reluctantly, but she has gone into the
war for profound moral and religious reasons. And for the same reasons she
will remain in it to the end and beyond, to see that the fundamental decencies
of life are kept upon the earth, and that civilised society shall not perish.
Now, it is not possible for
me in the time that remains to tell you what America in war-time is like. It
is a grand and solemn thing to see a great nation mobilise all its forces,
industrial, financial, moral, intellectual, spiritual--and prepare for a great
contest. Never in our whole history has our Republic been so united, so
cemented as it is today. In no other war has there been such a firm faith and
clear and fixed conviction, not only of the righteousness of it, but of the
necessity for it. I do not even except the war of the Revolution. I certainly
do not except the Civil War. It means much, then, to have the moral judgment
of a hundred millions of people. Our enemies have ignored these imponderable
things. That is their greatest shame and their surest defeat. These things may
seem to be intangible, but they are mighty; if they move slowly they move
surely, and history thunders in our ears telling us where they are going. Our
enemies thought that the British Empire would fall to pieces, but instead the
solidity and solidarity of the Empire has been revealed as in an apocalypse.
They thought that America would remain indifferent, or could be frightened,
but that was another blunder. Truly it has been said that our enemies will go
down in history as a people who foresaw everything except what actually
happened, and who calculated everything except what it cost themselves.
From the Rocky Mountains in
the Far West; from the great prairies of the Middle West; from the valleys and
forests of the South; down out of the stony hills of New England; up from the
great Central States, come young men marching, marching, marching, most of
them having volunteered, most of the States having filled up their quota by
volunteer enlistment before the draft came into effect. These young men come
from all walks of life, our universities and colleges especially giving their
very best, some of them being quite depopulated. They march with one step and
they sing one song. It is quite different from the war with Spain in one
particular, there is very little noise; there is a quietness that is rather
unusual in America, and which is for that reason easily mistaken as to its
meaning. I should like to speak a word particularly about the Middle West,
which English people do not understand at all. It has been quiet; we have made
very little noise out in the Middle West, but the Middle West and the South
are the most American parts of America. Out there men do not say: "Let
somebody else go and do it"--they go themselves. So when it came to the matter
of enlisting, when it came to furnishing funds for the great Liberty Loan, the
Middle West was in the van and led the way.
Let me also say something
about our fellow citizens of German origin. Perhaps 85 or 90 per cent of them
are as loyal and true-hearted in their devotion to the Republic as any other
class of citizens. They are not pro-English, they are not pro-French, but they
are pro-American. They came, or their fathers came before them, to America, to
get away from the hideous, hateful thing that has turned Germany into what it
is today. They hate the Kaiser and all his works. They love America. They were
attracted to America by its idealism, its opportunity for development. Karl
Schurz was typical of this large class. You have read of his flight from
Germany, of his short stay in England, of his journey to America, where he
climbed from the bottom to the top and became a member of the Senate. A very
able and noble man he was. When he returned to Germany he took pains to tell
Bismarck of the difference between living in a Republic and living in an
autocracy. You may find it in his "Conversations with Bismarck," after this
manner: Living in an autocracy is like riding on a great ocean liner. All the
appointments are perfect, but you have nothing to do with running the boat.
The details are quite satisfactory, but the general direction is wrong. Living
in a democracy is like riding on a raft or a flat boat. The passengers get
their feet wet, they take cold, and they sneeze. They have an uncomfortable
time, but they run the boat, and they know where it is going.
These people sympathise
deeply with the folk of their own blood in the Fatherland, but they have no
sympathy with the German Government or that for which it stands. There is a
small minority, perhaps 10 per cent of late comers to America, attracted not
by its idealism but by its opportunities to make money, who have not yet
become American. For I take it that an American is a man who holds in his
heart as sacred that for which America stands, no matter what his race or
religion may be. And America is not a new England, it is not a new Europe, it
is a new world. It is founded upon a principle to which it has been true
through these years, to build a nation not for the rich, though its resources
may make men rich, not for the elect, who can make their way anywhere or
everywhere; but a nation where the plain common man can stand erect, can
stretch his arms and his soul and be free; own his home; cast his vote and
have his voice in the affairs of the State. That small minority of Germans who
have not yet become American have made a good deal of noise, have acted very
unwisely, aided by propagandists from the Home Country, but Americans know how
to deal with them. Either of three things will happen, or all three: they will
be interned, their property will be confiscated, and at the close of the war
they will be deported back to the Germany of which they are so fond.
Not lightly did America go
into the war, offering her bravest and her best to stand side by side with
your bravest and best. The mingling of our common blood in a common sacrifice
means the consecration of us all. We must renew our vows, our high and holy
determination that the Britain for which Britons have fought so valiantly,
with such superhuman courage, the America for which young Americans are now to
fight, shall in the future be a greater, better Britain, a greater, purer
America. Back across the years come the words of Lincoln in the hour of our
national crisis, which express today the feeling of his country in a greater
time of trial--these words:
"Fondly do we hope, fervently
do we pray that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet if God
wills that it continue, as was said 3000 years ago, so still it must be said,
'The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.' With malice
toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us
to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up
the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for
his widow and his orphan; to do all which many achieve and cherish a just and
lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations."
"My sword shall be bathed in
Heaven," in heavenly principles, in a heavenly spirit. So far as we in America
are concerned, it is not a war of hate. It is not a war of revenge; we have no
old scores to clear off. It is not a war of conquest, we do not want an inch
of land from any people. But we realise that Europe cannot be free, America
cannot be free, that no free institution can be safe, until the military
autocracy of Prussia is crushed, and to that one end we unite with you, heart
and hand and soul, that the future may be safer and nobler for your children
and for ours.
Our philosophy of patriotism
is that each nation has, by the gift of God, something unique, particular and
precious; something not to be found anywhere else, and therefore it has a gift
to make to universal humanity. That it may make that gift it should be free to
develop what is most unique and precious in its life. Therefore we say to our
enemies: "We will not impose our culture upon any other people, and you shall
not impose your kultur upon any other people." Kultur! The very word stinks to
the stars. We do not want an internationalism that is a mere abstraction, that
bleaches out all our local loyalties and human heroisms. Not at all; just as
in religion, we do not want unity of the churchyard, we want the unity of the
Church-- unity with variety, the unity of a flower garden, where there is one
soil and one air, and every variety of colour -- so we want an international
understanding that shall permit each nation to develop, not a narrow bigoted
nationalism, but shall give to all what is most precious and holy in its life.
To do that it must be free. For that it is that America is fighting, seeking
the Excalibur that King Arthur found at last. When he was beaten and broken
and wounded and his sword was of no further use, in the enchanted lake he saw
the white arm of a woman holding a sword, the most excellent sword of right,
with which he had vanquished his foes. The name of that sword was truth, its
sheath was faith. And so armed with this bright blade, we join with you, this
England-- this Great heart--in the spirit of these lines from our young poet,
Thomas Curtis Clark:
We are America's men,
Strong, forceful and free;
We are America's men,
Children of Liberty;
Ready to march at the
Ready to fight, ready to
And ready to herald, peace
We are America's men.
We are America's men,
Brave, dauntless and true;
We are Americas men,
Ready to dare and do;
Ready to wield the sword with
Ready the tyrant's brow to
And ready to sheathe the
We are America's men.
We are America's men,
Loathing the despot's rod,
We are America's men,
Under the rule of--God:
Ready to battle giants grim,
Ready to fight till day grows
But ready to sheathe the
We are America's men.
When war is rampant, death a
Upon the bloodstained
stretches, far and wide;
When vengeance stalks with
We hear the echo, "Lord, with
May it be thus, that He who
died to save,
Wrest from the wrecks of
nations, in this night,
The spirit of the right, and
from the fields arise
A Living Thing, triumphant in
Let then the slumb'ring fires
break forth anew,
Let then at last "the Prince
of Peace" be king,
Let holly be the crown, and
not the thorn
Beside the cross; yea, let
the welkin ring
With victory! and not a
But one great prayer
resounding o'er the plain,
Where silent sleeps a
Who died that kings might
live to fight again.
Let not the world forget
The Sword! The Cross! Well
hath each served to give
An untold share to gray
Golgotha's rising mound;
Yet hope in Life and Death
shall always live!
--Bro. Denman S. Wagstaff,
A fool with a good memory is
full of ideas and facts, but he can't
draw sound conclusions from
them; everything turns upon that.--
ZIONISM AND ITS RELATION TO
THE SACRED HISTORY OF MASONRY
BY BRO. DENMAN S. WAGSTAFF,
P. M., CALIFORNIA
NOTE: Such Zionists as may be
among our readers will understand at once the spirit in which Bro. Wagstaff
has written this vigorous article. It is a vigorous presentation of one side
of the question. THE BUILDER will be very glad to publish a reply from some
"Zionism aims to obtain a
publicly-recognized and legally secured home for the Jewish people in
Palestine."--From the Basle Program.
A suit of armor hung upon a
An ancient sword, beside it;
An empty gauntlet clasped its
As tho' forsooth, to draw it.
ANTIQUITY paints the glamor
of "sacred memory" upon the face of everything it touches. Zionism grew to its
maximum strength by the same process of "treasuring," that has aided the
forward march of latter-day Masonry! Thus we build and build, until King
Solomon's Temple stands before us in all entrancing grandeur ! We may now see
the ancients flitting about the vaulted halls of fame, bearing flickering
candles that allow a glimpse now and again of their surroundings !
By this symbol of light, the
Zionist as well, sees dead embers of what were once fires, upon sacred altars!
He sees traces of burnt offerings and scents in the charged atmosphere, the
odor of mystifying incense; and through the curtains of his retrospective
realization, beholds the Holy of Holies and the sacred vessels--the rich
Jewels too that adorned the vestments of the great High Priests. He heal s the
terrible voice of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and observes the light
of his countenance envelop the whole scene !
So Masonry and Zionism have
found their relationship or fraternity of origin. They were born in the same
bed and nursed by the same breast, just as were Romulus and Remus. For years,
until now--and the journey is about at an end--they have traveled hand in
hand. The present is marked by the incident of a separation. Persisted in, the
reason for an actual "parting of the ways" is because of the well established
fact that Masons are Patriots first, Masons next!
Masonry will surely continue
to rise, phoenix-like, to greater heights than yet attained, while Zionism,
because of her abandonment of present and past-proven vital issues of national
life, both spiritual and material, will estrange her devotees from the parent
objective of all advanced effort, placing her skeleton alongside the empty
suit of armor on the wall. Modernism has won a place in life ! Between the
flickering rays of candlelight only, may we see ancient things! By the full
glare of the sun, we see the present, the dawning days we are destined to
overtake! Left to our own volition, we (Jew or Gentile) would not trade a
paving stone on Market Street, for the tomb of some Moses in Jerusalem, except
for speculative purposes, were we obliged, on acquiring the sacred place to
renounce our allegiance to the country of our birth and take up residence on
hallowed ground. By the way, it would be a good place to intern some American
citizens, (yet unconfined) who are afflicted with "Kaisermania" because of
their hatred for Russia. Wonderful reason for a Jew to give, in view of the
shades of Disraelli and the long line of Jewish Lords Mayor of London. The
dream of some day following up the allied armies when they have made it safe
for German and Turk atrocities, is indeed commendable. This we may see by the
flickering candle light.
To meet the point at once, I
would say for Jew and Gentile ! Jerusalem is no more sacred to one than the
other! To be sure the Jew provided out of the abundance of his antiquity, a
Savior, a Christ. We would very much like to come across the stable where he
was born. When we succeed in driving the infidel Turk and German out of the
sacred place, we may be able to safely bribe some son of the real Jehovah to
disclose its whereabouts ! Now the Jews lived in Palestine during various
periods of their national existence, when they were not in Egypt (because they
could not govern themselves) or elsewhere about the country fighting. The Jew
thinks more of Palestine now, than the Jew did then. These facts must console
the "me for the Holy-Land" agitator upon mature contemplation. The Jew of
course has retained his racial characteristics more particularly than any
other race, by having continually reminded himself that he was a Jew. He has
jewed the whole world into the same habit. He has persistently, and ofttimes
offensively, declared himself a Jew, when he might just as well have been
known as an Englishman, a Frenchman, or even just an American. Some have
escaped confinement, by not being outspoken as to nationality, seeming to
value religion more than country. Vigorous thinkers nowadays, when times are
stirring, often fail to take, time to consider that such a man could hardly
belong to the forward movement necessary in the making of full fledged
The world knows that what I
have just said is true. I would like to see the American of Jewish faith wipe
out this new onus of "precarious citizenship," by a complete resumption of his
prerogatives as a citizen, without the taint of religious fanaticism. What is
a Jew anyhow? Is he so different an animal by nature, that he can, of his own
free will and accord, separate himself, throughout the length and breadth of
all lands, from every tie of birth, of association, both business and social?
Does he want anything further of Jerusalem, except to make it a safe place for
a fellow to visit when so inclined? I should think not! Zionists are
collecting a lot of money for what they call their "cause." Better call it
their "casus belli." The Zionist reveres the same ancient landmarks as does
the Mason. He does not think any more of them.
The Catholic Church has made
a great feature of the "Relics" of Jewish Characters and personalities. Judea
ought to be to them, the most sacred place on earth. It is not, however. Their
Church has fought and bled for it, as it has about every country on earth,
except this. For the sake of what they have excavated in Palestine, they have
challenged the heretically civilized world to mortal combat, from the time of
the Crusades until now. However it happens that they were neither Jews nor
Masons! They were very wise. They visited the tomb of Christ and long ago
chipped off a piece of the sacred boulder that once closed its entrance--they
have disinterred every body that had a sacred memory, and have taken as much
away as would hold together. They have in their museum, the original rod of
Aaron and some of the holy water out of his smitten rock, as well as one of
the original slabs of heavenly granite upon which was written by God the Ten
Commandments, and then handed to Moses. These and more, they have taken to
Rome, where they have sanctified and established a new Jerusalem, all their
own. They have there the Holy of Holies. They do not consider the old place as
material to their religious purposes, neither do they wish to colonize it.
It would be a grand thing for
the world and civilization, if they did have such a plan. World interests
would just slide ahead one hundred years upon the day these Christian Warriors
But we can not afford to lose
the Jew! The American of Jewish faith. Let me now plead with him to be
American First, not Jew first. One does not hear public men spoken of as
Methodist-Americans, nor even Catholic-Americans. There would be some measure
of truth in such a title as the latter one, because no sane man doubts but
that the papacy has a stronger hold upon her "gassed" subjects than Woodrow
Wilson, perhaps the greatest President since Abraham Lincoln, could possibly
expect to wield, as a heretic, destined to pass away and then buried like an
ordinary citizen, in non-consecrated ground. The Jew and the Mason are of
course consigned to equally inconsequential localities on the map.
All that I have said may not
be a just or proper arraignment of the material body or spiritual conscience
of the Zionist movement, and these "faddists" may not have conceived, in their
enthusiasm, to what lengths such an "herous-mit'em" drive could be carried,
before meeting with resistance from even Gentiles, who recognize, in their
fellow citizens of the ancient faith, the great and sterling qualities which
make for the highest type of citizenship that America is blessed with. But to
the "man up a tree," an American tree--without prejudice, it would seem that
the desire to restore the Holy Land could be done in a more quiet and indeed
business-like way, as any man would, for instance, go back to the home place
of his father or grandfather, buy it, fix it up so that the "rats and mice"
would not have undisputed possession, gloat somewhat over the transition
accomplished for his immediate posters and rest content, because no strange
unhallowed lands could now caress the old brass door knobs, or the floors of
the chambers, now made safe, for reflection the glories of the past.
Jerusalem is safe. The
British descendants of the Crusaders are doing the trick without even casting
a shadow upon the actual legitimacy of the citizenship of any of the Allies.
Masonry is satisfied with the victory, because it gives back to her unsullied,
the ancient landmarks, in which Jews and Judaism have acted so prominent a
part, in the glorious past. Unsullied because the earth remains, that the
Creator made foreman to tread, and erect on, from time to time, the playhouses
he has always seen fit to decorate in his very mortal fashion, and which may
always pass away, like milestones sink out of sight, on the highways of the
MILITARY LODGES IN CUBA
BY BRO. F. de P. RODRIGUEZ,
IT is not the general custom
at present for Grand Lodges to authorize the working of Lodges attached to
Military Regiments in the field, but during the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries this custom prevailed to some extent and, no doubt, to the advantage
of the Fraternity in that period of the development of the Institution.
We Cubans are proud of the
fact that when Masonic light first spread its civilizing rays upon this Pearl
of the Antilles it came through an Irish Army Lodge. It is indeed a fact that
between Ireland and Spain, and consequently Cuba, the closest ties of sympathy
and friendly relations have long existed; many Irish families, perhaps for
religious reasons, emigrated to Spain during the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries. It is not uncommon today to find among the aristocratic names of
Spain and Cuba, those of O'Reilly, O'Farrill, O'Donnell and O'Brien, which
evidence their Irish ancestry.
When England conquered Cuba
in 1762, there landed in Havana with her soldiers, Lodge No. 218 of the
Registry of Ireland, which was attached to the 48th Regiment, the said
Regiment named "De Webb" belonging to the Brigade of General Walsh. This
Regimental Lodge remained in Cuba until the final departure of the English on
July 6th, 1763.
No one knows exactly where
the quarters of this Lodge were located, but it is probable that it was in one
of the cells of the Franciscan convent, near the dock of the Port of Havana.*
The convent was fully occupied by officers of the conquering army, being
afterward used as the Custom House for many years. It is now the City Post
The only record of the
existence among us of this Lodge is the following, transcribed in full in the
Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, 1901:
"And the Darkness
Comprehended it Not --- In the East A place full of Light where Reigns silance
and peace We the Master wardens and Secretary of the Worship full Lodge of
Free and Accepted Masons Dedicated to St. John No. 218 (Seal) on the Registry
of Ireland held in the Forty Eight Regiment of Foot (Ne Varietur) A Dornd
* This building is one of the
relics of the city, the big mass of grey stones constituting it dates from the
XVI century and is a dumb witness to all changes in our midst.
with all their Honours and
Assembled in Due Form
Do hereby Declare Certifie
and Attest to all men Lightned spread on the Face of the Earth that the Bearer
hereof Alexander Cockburn hath been Received an Entered Apprentice and fellow
Craft and after sufficient proof and Tryall we have given unto him the sublime
Degree of Master and he May Lawfully and Safely without any Demur be Admitted
into And Accepted off by any Society to whom these Presents Come Greeting -
Given under our Hands and
Seal at our Lodge Room at the Havanna this 3d Day of May in the year of our
Lord 1763 and in the Year of Masonry 5763 ----
William Smith, Master James
Lee, Rich'd Coombs [ ?], Wardens Peter Tobin: Secretary."
Nothing is known of the
relations between the members of this Lodge and the civil population of the
island; probably no persons except the soldiers knew anything of it and they
neither accepted any Cuban into their midst nor permitted a native to look
inside the Lodge room. I am informed by the R. W. Grand Secretary of Ireland
that Lodge 218 was in existence from the year 1750 to 1858, and while in Cuba,
in 1763, initiated eleven candidates, none of whom was a Cuban.
It has been proved that
Spanish officers introduced Masonry into Mexico and South America during the
first quarter of the nineteenth century, but not into Cuba. It is well-known
that we are of Yankee extraction; the Keystone State presided at our birth.
All of our first Lodges went the regular way of foundation until, due to the
Spanish misapprehensions, Masonry was strictly forbidden in 1829, and although
two Lodges continued their labors, they did so surrounded by the utmost
secrecy, in the mountainous eastern region of the province of Santiago.
In 1859 the actual Grand
Lodge was started, but always under suspicion of the Spanish government.
Masons had to be guarded in their actions, working always in the dark.
When the Ten Year War broke
out in 1868, although Masons sympathized with it, they had to keep silence.
Grand Master Puente was shot because of his Masonic position and the Masonic
Temple at Havana ransacked. The members of St. Andrew Lodge were surprised
during a meeting and sent to jail for three months.
Under such conditions, could
it have been possible for the Grand Lodge to charter any Military Lodges among
the revolutionary Cubans? Certainly not. Nevertheless, among the patriotic
army there existed in separate epochs two Military Lodges. They were not
regular, it is true. They had no warrants; it was impossible to obtain
warrants under the prevailing conditions. Yet both of these Lodges were
started by regular Masons and did excellent work in the field. Their labors
are worthy of record.
Carlos Manuel de Cespedes,
the leader of our first struggle for independence, called "The Ten Year War,"
was a highly educated and competent man, speaking six languages, a fluent
orator and an enthusiastic Mason. When the war broke out he was the Master of
Buena Fe Lodge at Manzanillo, a position he was compelled to abandon to follow
his fellows to the field of war, the Lodge soon afterward closing its doors.
But Cespedes had taken with him a number of Masonic books including Cassard's
Manual, the Constitution of the Grand Lodge, a Monitor and several other
After the first few
skirmishes of the war, Cespedes' Masonic fancies called him and he began a
search for Masons in his ranks, happily meeting many in the persons of his
principal officers. He worked so earnestly, so devoutly, that when the
Republic was proclaimed shortly afterward, they were ready to start a Masonic
Lodge at Guaimaro, naming it "Independencia." Cespedes was naturally chosen to
serve as the first Master and many of the most noted Cuban Generals of the
revolution were initiated in this Lodge. The actual Treasurer of the Republic
of Cuba, M.W. Bro. Fernando Figueredo, P.G.M., Grand Treasurer of the Grand
Lodge, is one of the few surviving members of Independencia Lodge.
Independencia Lodge possessed
all the necessary paraphernalia for their meetings, carefully made by the
members themselves. The two Middle Chamber pillars were of excellent
workmanship, made in sections to be finally adjusted when needed. All the
working tools were regularly packed and carried, when moving camp, on the back
of a splendid mule especially dedicated to the job and named, for that reason,
"The Mason." Once, when the camp was surprised by the Spaniards, "The Mason"
was hastily charged with the fraternal load, and as it was loosely done, when
the run was at its height, several tools were dropped, among them a section of
one of the pillars, the one marked with the letter "B." The Spaniards,
following closely at their heels, picked up the tools, sending the marked
section of the pillar to Spain as a curious souvenir where it is kept today in
the Artillery Museum at Madrid.
A most curious incident is
also connected with Independencia Lodge. One of the members was General Donato
Marmol, who always regarded Masonry as a religion. A notice was once sent to
him, while commanding the Division of Bayamo, that a Spanish Lieutenant was to
introduce into the city a convoy of provisions badly needed by the hungry
population there sheltered. General Marmol set to work and captured the convoy
together with the Lieutenant. The Spanish officer, when taken into camp, asked
to see the General to whom he gave a Masonic sign and pleaded for his
deliverance, reminding the General that the provisions were not for the
soldiers but for the many Cuban refugees. General Marmol was touched, and
thinking of the Lieutenant as a Mason and not as a soldier, released the
Lieutenant and handed him back the convoy. This act was harshly condemned by
the General's subordinate officers, who knew nothing of Masonry, and among
whom was Maximo Gomez who was afterward initiated into Independencia Lodge and
in the course of time rose to be the Generalissimo of the Cuban army when we
achieved our independence, long afterwards.
General Marmol, that fine
specimen of manhood, died shortly after the above incident, and President
Cespedes was treacherously shot the year following at S. Lorenzo,
Independencia Lodge dying with him, after a bright existence of over three
years. That was the only Military Lodge known to have existed during our Ten
When Cuba made her final and
successful stroke for independence in 1894, another opportunity was afforded
the Masons on the field of war to come together and meet under the Square and
The Spanish government was no
less suspicious of the Masonic Lodges, so it was that when Luz del Sur Lodge,
at Trinidad, was chartered the preparatory meetings had to be held in a cave
on the outskirts of that city. I visited that cave long afterward and could
not but admire the love for the Fraternity of those enterprising brothers who
used to go there at night; a spot difficult of access even in the day time.
It was no longer in the East
of Cuba, the cradle of our liberties, but at the center of the island, in the
neighborhood of that quaint city of Trinidad already mentioned, at the village
of Guinia de Miranda, that a permanent camp was kept by the revolutionaries.
This camp, due to its location, was kept for a long time. It was formed of a
series of huts thatched with palm leaves and affording a relative comfort, if
comfort can ever be found while fighting.
The General of the camp,
being a Mason, as also were a large number of the officers, conceived the idea
of organizing a Masonic Lodge. This was in June, 1896, and the following
month, on July 12th, they held their first meeting. The Lodge was named "Agramonte"
and General Lino Perez acted as Master. A hut was reserved exclusively for a
Masonic Temple, the Square and Compasses marking it on the outside. There the
Lodge met for nearly a year; as long as the camp lasted. Many, many friends of
the writer were initiated there, subsequently being healed in the regular
Lodges of the country. The seal of the Lodge made of carved wood, is still
preserved as a souvenir.
Came a day when Fortune, so
variable during war times, turned against the Cubans. The Spaniards drove the
patriots from their camp and captured it.
According to their custom the
huts were burned with the exception of the one marked with the Square and
Compasses. Why the discrimination? No one knew at the time, but later it
developed that General Manrique de Lara, the commanding officer of the Royal
soldiers, was a Mason. He saw the Temple and ordered that it be spared.
As this was in 1897 and
American intervention came soon afterward, Agramonte Lodge held but few
meetings after their camp was lost and then disbanded, never to meet again.
During the Spanish-American
war two of the American Grand Lodges, Kentucky and North Dakota, authorized
Military Lodges. Another American Grand Lodge, California, refused to do so.
The Kentucky Grand Lodge granted a dispensation for a Lodge attached to the
First Kentucky Volunteer Regiment. This Regiment saw service in Porto Rico,
but never in Cuba. The Master of this Lodge was our Eminent Brother, John H.
Cowles, 33d, the present Grand Secretary General of the Supreme Council,
Southern Jurisdiction, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. Captain Cowles' two
Lieutenants were the Wardens. As the Dispensation was only for members of the
Regiment, no others were admitted except as visitors. In a kind letter which I
have just received from Brother Cowles, he refers to the pleasant times they
had while in Porto Rico and how they were fraternally welcomed by the natives
and invited to attend their Lodges at Ponce, Yauco, San German and Mayaguez.
The Regiment being mustered out in 1899, the Lodge surrendered its
Dispensation and the members scattered.
The Military Lodge under the
authority of North Dakota never came to Cuba, but went to the Philippine
Islands and met at Manila for a time. California, although denying a
dispensation for a Military Lodge, granted one for a permanent Lodge in the
Philippine Islands, and for two more Lodges shortly afterwards, which three
lodges became the nucleus for the actual Grand Lodge of those islands, already
powerful and generally recognized by sister Grand Lodges.
With the American Army of
Occupation came to Cuba many distinguished Masons; two among them deserve to
be recorded: Generals Geo. M. Moulton and Edgar S. Dudley. The first of these
was at the time Colonel of an Illinois Regiment quartered at Camp Columbia
near Havana. Being a most enthusiastic Mason he immediately tried to
communicate with the brethren of the city. Unhappily only one of our lodges
was able to meet him, since after the closing of the Masonic Lodges by the
Spanish Government no lodge could meet for nearly three years, Padilla Lodge
composed almost entirely of Spaniards being the only exception. They met
occasionally in an attic room of a Spanish club house, waiting for better
times, which very soon cheered them, moving to new quarters where Gen. Moulton
found them, and provided with a letter from his lodge in Illinois took with
him his son, a Lieutenant in his Regiment, who was by courtesy initiated by
Padilla Lodge. The Lodge thereafter paid visits to Camp Columbia, the
headquarters of the then Col. Moulton. Affection grew on both sides and when
Bro. Moulton left Cuba he was so well endeared that he was proposed and
accepted as our Grand Representative to the Grand Lodge of Illinois, a
position he still holds with great satisfaction to all.
The other prominent Mason who
came here was at that time a Judge Advocate, with the rank of Major, and as he
remained among us for three years, until the Republic was proclaimed, we had
many occasions to appreciate his great heart. Although he was the Delegate of
the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction for the Army and Navy of the
United States he never, while here, granted a single degree to any one. He
frequented the Masonic societies, joined with us, advised us, did all he could
to encourage us, helped us, through his acquaintance with Grand Secretary
White, of Nebraska, to obtain the recognition of our Grand Lodge by that of
the said State. At that time there were only three American Grand Lodges not
in relation with Cuba: Nebraska, Mississippi and North Carolina. Now all are
our friends. Bro. Dudley left us with the American Army in 1902, carrying with
him the love of all Cuban Masons as shown by the nominations of Honorary
Member both in the Supreme Council and the Association of Masonic Veterans.
Two years afterwards he came back to Cuba as a visitor and was welcomed by his
former friends and presented with a beautiful gold jewel by the Veterans. His
nomination to West Point as Professor of Military Jurisprudence was a cause of
satisfaction for us and when, after his retirement from the Army as Brigadier
General, the notice of his untimely death reached us, mourning was general. We
miss him ! His personality remains forever deeply engraved in our hearts. Oh,
if all Masons were like him !
Law abiding citizens, as
Americans generally are, and as among the Army of Occupation that remained in
Cuba, under the command of Gen. Brooke first, and of Gen. Leonard Wood
afterwards, there were many Masons, the question arose of a new Lodge,
exclusively English-speaking. Coming from many States the brethren could not
ask any Grand Lodge to warrant a Military Lodge, so they acted in the most
proper way possible: they obtained their dimits from their respective lodges
and applied to Cuba for a Dispensation. As the petitioners had resided in Cuba
more than six months, their request was granted on the 9th of June, 1899, and
the first English-speaking Lodge in Cuba came forth. It was named Havana and
the members were nearly all non-commissioned Army Officers and petty
government employees. The stations of the lodge were occupied by E. W. King,
Master, W. B. Knight, Senior Warden and B. B. Evans, Junior Warden. Many of
them coming from Texas, the ritual adopted was the one used in that State.
Havana Lodge had a good
career; they circumscribed their actions to their peers and, when dissolved
just after the Republic was proclaimed, her record was most gratifying to us.
An event happened during the
existence of this Lodge, hardly understood by them but most satisfactory to
Cuban Masons. The then Adjutant to Gen. Wood was Major Hugh L. Scott, now the
ranking General of the United States Army. Major Scott, whenever General Wood
left Havana, was Acting Governor General. The Major was not a Mason, but as he
was a close friend of Gen. E. S. Dudley, he desired to become one, and so
matters stood when he applied to Cuba Lodge for initiation. This Lodge,
although composed of Cubans, was almost an English-speaking Lodge, since its
members had been nearly all of them former residents of the United States. The
Master, who still wields the gavel, Bro. Figueredo, is a former Mayor of
Tampa, Florida. Major Scott was accepted, his initiation occurring while he
acted temporarily as Governor General. I had the honor to be present at the
ceremony, as also at his passing and raising, most conspicuous affairs indeed
in our island Masonry. Havana Lo(lge resented this, but without reason, as the
idea of both Generals Dudley and Scott was to give Cubans a proof of their
friendship and good will.
After the Republic was
started and finally pushed up, Havana Lodge was by-and-by being deprived of
her members, few remaining until the dissolution came in the year 1902. But
the need for an American Lodge was evident and it was then that a new figure
came forth, Dr. Orlando Ducker, who came to Cuba as an Army Surgeon, later
entering the life insurance business. It was then that he undertook to form
the new lodge, dispensation being granted for Island Lodge in February, 1903.
For many years this was the only English-speaking lodge in Cuba. Even after
Dr. Ducker's departure they have continued to this day their progressive
march. It is true that they keep their hall apart and do not mingle much with
native Masons, but whenever any of us visit them we are warmly received and
welcomed. So it has been during the visits paid by the Association of Veterans
and on other occasions. Some of them have applied to the Scottish Rite bodies
and been admitted, assisting in the meetings and have acquired the 32d and
probably one of them will soon obtain the coveted 33d from our Supreme
For a number of years Island
Lodge held the American standard in Cuba until several years ago (1912) two
new competitors came to dispute it. One in the Isle of Pines and the other at
Camaguey, both being centers of American population. The Lodge at Pines named
Santa Fe Lodge is located at the town of that name, in a beautiful
neighborhood. The guiding spirits of this Lodge (one of them now dead) were
two brothers by the name of Simmons, and as they hailed from Illinois, the
ritual of that Grand Lodge was the one adopted at Santa Fe. It is for that
reason that when our Grand Lodge went to Santa Fe to consecrate and install
the Lodge (I was then Grand Director of Ceremonies for our Grand Lodge) we
were struck by the custom of locating the lesser lights in a group of three on
a side table, but were informed that such was the practice in Illinois and
some other places in the United States, and our Grand Master acceded to the
At Camagiiey the lodge is
named Landmark and is under the able guidance of its Master, the conscientious
Brother George Allen, who conducts it finely, doing untold good and performing
charities all around.
This is the record, not only
of the Military Lodges of Cuba but also of the behavior of American citizens
and Masons toward their Cuban brothers. One thing is patent--the respect
evinced for our Grand Lodge. That is the way of powerful and honest nations.
Treaties and agreements between the high and the low ought always to be taken
into account, otherwise the topmost nation descends, not to the level of her
weak opponent, but to the depth of the abyss where the arrogant and defiant
will bury themselves in the course of time.
WAS, IS, SHALL BE
The sun was scorching hot,
and as I lay
Neath clustered palm trees in
the Eastern land
I slept. Yet as I slept I
heard one say
"The work is done. Ah! See it
The Pyramid of Life, twixt
earth and heaven
To hidden Leven from a hidden
The Line of Life insistent,
That Earth may serve her
Master, God alone.
The toil of ages now in
Doth rise, to symbol forth
the heavenly will;
A mighty memoir of a mightier
That calls the worshiper to
Around the Pyramid I saw men
Then swept before me hateful
fires of War,
Destroying all that former
And left the Level as it was
Yet men did build, and round
the ancient pile
Were schools, and
churches,--palaces of Peace;
And hospitals where sick men
And found from heavy toil a
And homes where children
struggled back to life
And parks with trees about
each sheltered way,
Where women hid them from the
world's mad strife
And all was one unending
Then to my dreaming eyes
there did appear,
As far as eye could reach a
And soldiers tilled the soil
where they of old
Did slay their brethren,
scatter seeds of pain,
Did reap wild curses, burning
as they slew,
Destroying all the strength
of every age.
They tilled the soil, and
builded temples new,
And writ yet better deeds for
And all the land did blossom
as the rose.
The wilderness did laugh, and
Around the Pyramid assembled
And made the heavens above
with praises ring.
--Rev. Bro. J. G. Gibson.
We can find no better words
to express our sentiments than those of
the immortal Goethe, and wish
Health enough to make work a
Wealth enough to support your
Strength enough to battle
with difficulties and overcome them.
Grace enough to confess your
sins and forsake them.
Patience enough to toil until
some good is accomplished.
Charity enough that shall see
some good in your neighbor.
Cheerfulness enough that
shall make others glad.
Love enough that shall move
you to be useful and helpful to others.
Faith that shall make real
the things of God.
And hope that shall remove
all anxious fears concerning the future.
ORIGIN AND PURPOSE OF THE
BY BRO. H. G. ROSEDALE, P. G.
IT is obvious that from time
immemorial whenever there have been two workmen at the same trade they have
always united together for mutual assistance and protection against all
others. On the arrival of a third he would only be admitted to friendship on
promising to obey the decision of the majority. This is the spirit underlying
all trade combinations. It is well known that at a very remote period trade
organisations, allied to our Gild system, were in a very high state of
development both in China and India. In India the caste systems still maintain
their power, and there the trader has his own organisations of a somewhat
similar, though more political, nature than our own early Gilds. No doubt,
there was a far earlier civilisation than the Arian; a civilisation which may
have come from south to north, and which had died possibly more than a
thousand years before the Arian emigration began to sweep from east to west--
but we cannot do more than trace to some slight extent the Gild idea as
affected by this later form of human emigration.
Whilst it cannot be disputed
that the Far Orient did possess the primitive forms of our craft Gild, but it
was not until these earlier ideas reached the shores of the Mediterranean and
felt the force of the earlier civilisation upon them, that Gild life attained
to anything like its modern usefulness.
THE FIRST RECORDS
The first records of European
Gild life are found in Greece, where, at least 700 B. C., the Gilds called
Eranoi flourished to such an extent that men of the greatest distinction,
such, for instance, as Lysimachus, the son of Aristides, and Milesius, the son
of Thucydides, were proud to claim membership therein.
Amongst these Eranoi, which,
at the same time, like many of our older Gilds, were burial clubs, numerous
trades were represented. A Gild of Thracian wine merchants, who took Apollo
for their patron and called themselves Keremperoi, mining companies, lessees
of theatres, farmers of taxes, and even privateering companies, all these
formed part of the great social life of the-Greeks. Moreover, the rules of
these Societies were strangely similar to the laws which for centuries
controlled our English mercantile fraternities.
From Greece the spirit of the
Eranoi passed to Rome and produced the world-renowned "Collegia Opificum." At
what date these took their beginning it is now impossible to say, but it is a
matter of general knowledge that the workmen of Rome, almost from the first
days of civilised society in Italy, were associated together in trade groups.
Plutarch, indeed, ascribes the origin of the "Collegia" to Numa Pompilius, the
second King of Rome, 714-643 B. C., and mentions among the various Trade Gilds
of the time musicians, goldsmiths, dyers, shoemakers, carriers, coppersmiths
and porters, all the remaining trades of this time being united into one Gild.
Whatever may be the degree of
truth as to the matter of dates, it is interesting to note that the
regulations both of the Eranoi (sometimes called "Thaiasoi"), as well as those
of the "Collegia," were based on the same underlying principles. They were
governed by a president, an elder, a secretary, a treasurer, and a council.
All these officials, with the exception of the president, being elected
annually, and it is interesting in these enlightened days to note that, like
the early English Gilds, they sometimes admitted women to their circle, in
spite of the fact that there were other communities for women only.
The "Collegia" went a step
further. They were generally established by some act of the ruling power,
either a decree of the Emperor, or a "senatus consultum," representing the
Charter of which the City Companies today are so proud. They, too, were
governed by a president and master, a treasurer, a steward, sometimes a clerk,
but always associated with "decuriones," a body akin to the Court of
Assistants, so important in the fifteenth and following centuries.
In Greece, and particularly
in Italy, these powerful communities of traders and workmen met the new forces
of developing religious life. At first Religion was monotheistic, then
polytheistic, and afterwards, when the Gilds became most closely associated
with religious ideas, Christian.
At a very early date each
Collegium had its common cult and common sacrifices or services at stated
times. It employed priests or sacrificial officers, and was generally
associated with some particular temple. It had its "curia" or meeting-house,
where its business was transacted and where all the members met both for
periodic feasts and for general meetings. There was an "arca" or chest
containing the revenues, contributions, and fines accruing to the Gild. Each
college had its archives, banners, and, above all, exercised the jus sodalitii,
or power over its archives in the same way that our Craft Gilds did during the
fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Every candidate on his
admission to the Society was obliged to take a special oath and to pay the
regular tributum or contribution towards the expenses of the "collegium."
FRATERNAL AND RELIGIOUS ASPECTS
On the death of a member, the
Gild gave a public funeral to the deceased, when every brother was expected to
attend. The secular side was marked by the "cara cognitio," the analogue of
election days in our present Gilds. To mark the fraternal and religious
aspects of Gild life, great emphasis was laid on the half-yearly visits to the
tombs of departed members of the brotherhood, on whose graves they scattered
roses in the summer and violets in the winter as an offering pleasing to the
spirits of the departed; this practice found its successor in the "masses for
the dead," provided so lavishly by the Gilds at a later period.
Space prevents us from giving
a summary of the rules, but we are the fortunate possessors of the laws
governing such a Gild founded at Lanuvium in the time of Adrian and dedicated
to Antinous and Diana. It was this highly developed product of Oriental
fraternities, moulded and developed by Greek and Latin influence, that came to
England with the Roman invasion. Of this there is just one piece of
interesting evidence left to us in the fact that a "collegium fabrorum," or
Gild of Smiths, was established and flourished in this country as early as the
reign of Claudius Caesar. This, like all other Roman institutions, received a
rude shock when, after a long period of relatively luxurious existence, it was
forced into the background if not out of existence altogether by the Saxon
invasion of this country.
INFLUENCE OF THE SAXONS
As might have been expected,
the Saxon warriors brought with them their own fraternities, different in many
respects to those of Greco-Roman origin, less orderly, less beneficent, but
probably more political and governmental than those of the Roman settlers.
They were the product of the old blood-brotherhood, which is now so well
recognised a part of the social life in early Saxon and Scandinavian
countries. The Saxon conquerors tried to adapt their own conceptions of gild
life and government largely intermixed with the idea of family and blood
relationships, blood-feuds and blood-money (wergeld), to the conditions they
found in existence, and as a result produced what are known as Frith Gilds,
all of which may be clearly traced in the laws of Kings Alfred and Athelstan,
but, as might be expected, the inherent strength of the Latin system prevented
the over-bearing and brutal Saxon from ingrafting his own cruder ideas very
deeply on the relatively more cultured people of this country. There were,
however, three highly important points in which the Romano-British burgess and
the Saxon warrior were agreed. In both systems the public feast was of a
semi-sacred nature. Secondly, the recognition of the duty of providing
religious offerings for the dead was deeply ingrained in both systems, whilst
the "Gildhalla" of the Teuton and the Curia or Temple of the Roman were to all
intents and purposes equally sacred.
Amongst the many interesting
matters connected with the development of the early Gild-life, none are more
interesting than the effects which the rising wave of Christianity had upon
these two currents of fraternity-life gradually blended into one great stream.
Long before the time of Augustine of Canterbury, Britain had known many a
Christian martyr, and it is evident both from the writings of Bede and Gildas
that Christianity must have been intensely powerful in these islands at a
period shortly after the end of the first century of our era. The Saxon
warriors, with religious conceptions mostly derived from nature worship, had
no place in their scheme for Christianity. Hence, for a time all Christian
influences had to hide amongst the hills of Wales, in the fastnesses of
Cornwall and the West of England. After Augustine had arrived in England and
obtained so strong a "footing," a warm welcome was accorded him by the native
inhabitants, deeply imbued with early Christian ideals. The bishops and clergy
of the British Church in the West emerged from their hiding in the West, and
Christianity became once more the vital force in the land. Saxon superstition,
like the Roman Emperors, was compelled to bow before the more spiritual forces
of Christian teaching.
A NEW LIFE AMONG THE PEOPLE
From that day forward a new
life sprang up amongst the people of Britain. Troubled by much internal
strife, the Saxon rulers found it politic to call to their aid the powerful
influence of Christianity in order to assist them in governing their subjects.
The Gilds, on the other hand, would hasten to place themselves under the
protection of the Church, which had now become recognised as the most powerful
combination within the land. This intimate connection is strongly marked by
the fact that from the time of Athelstan until the reign of Henry VIII, all
suits connected with Gilds or Trading Companies had to be brought before the
Ecclesiastical Courts. Thus the conversion of the Gild to Christianity, like
the conversion of the State, was an easy and natural consequence. The
Christian priest forthwith replaced the heathen sacrificial officer in the
Gild, whilst the "Dies Rosae" and the "Dies Violae" became masses for the dead
and offerings to the Church.
In those days religion was
paramount. No Gild could exist without its Priest or Chaplain, who represented
alike State and Church. So strongly did religion affect national life that
after A. D. 600, Gilds for purely ecclesiastical purposes were not uncommon.
There is every reason to believe that under the fostering influence of the
clergy, by the middle of the eighth century Gilds had become recognised and
popular combinations both for secular and religious purposes. After the Norman
Conquest the English Gilds gradually reverted to the type of the Roman "Collegium"
with this one difference that the Christian priest occupied a very prominent
place in its economy. At the same time Teutonic influences were not absent,
the payments demanded from the members called "scot" and "lot" were derived
from the "scat" of the Teutonic Gilds, whilst the old Saxon ideal of
blood-brotherhood clearly underlies the practice of demanding "frank pledge"
of the burgesses, and was a principle of Saxon government which remained up to
a comparatively late date.
(To be continued.)
Talk about those subjects you
have had long in your mind, and listen to what others say about subjects you
have studied but recently. --O. W. Holmes.
A merry smile, a short mile.
THE CONTRACT WITH THE
FROM conversation with the
average member of the fraternity one may be in doubt as to the claims of the
candidate upon the Lodge. He probably gets too often less consideration than
is due him. Is the work interesting to the spectators ? Does the rendition of
the ritual cause a thrill of pride in the officers? Then all is well. And
These are indeed of much
moment. They are objective points to be diligently sought. When attained,
these are advantages of very great consequence in the progress of the Lodge
and the edification of its members. But they are not all.
When the candidate has
presented his petition and the necessary preliminaries have been completed and
he submits himself for initiation, he has complied with the conditions laid
down for his acceptance. Thereupon an equally weighty responsibility rests
with the Lodge. Thus far they have been concerned in his fulfilling in every
particular, to the last iota of technical requirement, the lawful demands of
the fraternity upon the applicant. Thus far, also, they have been insistent
upon the candidate and the examining brethren enduring and enforcing a rigid
investigation to the end that no unworthy person may pass the barriers.
Now we will assume that the
scrutiny is entirely satisfactory. From now on the candidate may advance, step
by step, to the goal of his heart's desire in the Masonic Lodge.
Having gained admission by
merit and submission, he is entitled to what sort of treatment? Surely in a
democratic institution regarding no man for his purely worldly wealth or
honors, nothing less would be fair than to give him just what was offered
under the best circumstances. Has the work ever been rendered in that Lodge
with such excellence as to arouse warmest commendations from the most
critical? Then why is not every candidate there justly due the same treatment
Of course we can readily
understand how exceptionally favorable circumstances may prevail at an
initiation. It may be that there are present a corps of expert ritualists
seldom assembled. Perhaps the visit of some dignitary of the Craft has also
had an effect upon the attendance of the highly-skilled brethren and has also
spurred the officers to special efforts.
All this is plausible enough.
It explains much but excuses nothing. Rather than give an applicant an
inferior reception it is really worth while to consider whether the
candidate's claims do not justify a postponement until the ceremonial can be
performed in the most creditable manner.
If we hold that the candidate
has no just claims for the best that the Lodge can do for him, then we need
not ponder over the matter-- it solves itself. But fairminded brethren will
not rest content with any such assumption.
There is a strong temptation
for the presiding officer to fill the one chair or another with an ambitious
brother seeking an opportunity to show what he can do. If the responsible
officer knows what the amateur is capable of doing and if he is also convinced
that the quality of the work will not suffer then there is the less room for
objection. But suppose the presiding officer does not know these conditions
but is willing to take a chance. If he does this, then he loses sight of the
candidate's claim upon the Lodge.
To permit an untried member
to undertake a responsible duty with the ritual is an experiment to be
shunned. There is nothing that so spoils the work as the blundering of a
well-meaning but incompetent or unruly associate on the team. He signally
fails to pull his share of the load. What then should be done?
There is only the one answer.
Every candidate deserves a perfect reception.
From a long study of the
conditions, there are a few simple rules that present themselves for our
Have sufficient and regular
rehearsals of the work. These perfect the officers and enable the presiding
officer to make use of and improve the other available supply of ritualists.
Do not overload the willing
brother. A really able brother is liable to be overlooked. He may already be
in the line of officers and is then moved from place to place even in a single
session. One Worshipful Master has a practice of moving his officers from
their stations so that with every successive candidate upon any given date
there is not in any instance a repetition anywhere in the line-up. On the
second candidate, the Senior Warden succeeds to the Worshipful Master's
station, and so on all the way down the line to the door. With the third
candidate, the Junior Warden is in the East. Here and there are occasionally
introduced members from the side-lines to give a charge or lecture or
A likely result of this
intermittent and irregular mixture of the official material is that everybody
has a smattering of the whole message but few if any have specialized. A
better plan is to see that each officer is equipped to do the work of the
brother ahead of him in the line. Then cases of absence may be remedied with
ease as it is unlikely that two of the brethren exceptionally informed and
competent to fill any particular place would be absent at the same time. This
plan would therefore provide for a corps of officers fully in touch with the
requirements and in position to acquit themselves with great credit to their
lodge. Is not the candidate deserving of this attention?
It is by no means rare for a
Worshipful Master to call anyone to the East. This is a compliment always in
order where the brother so welcomed is by service worthy the honor. Cases are
found where the brother invited has not such qualifications and sometimes is
not even a Warden. Then the practice is an experiment hardly to be encouraged.
The English practice of
preserving the seat in the East only for those who have by election sometime
qualified for the Oriental chair, is one that rather appeals to us. Branding
as it does the occupant as of at least a certain seasoned rank it gives
dignity and honor to the opportunity afforded the one placed therein. He so
chosen of his brethren, even for a temporary occupancy, will appreciate the
place all the more when the position is restricted in that manner.
Customs change and on many
matters of Masonic etiquette there is much scope for interchange of ideas.
Some of the thoughts here ventilated will not apply to such jurisdictions as
do not allow the practices condemned. But in each Lodge as in every family
there are usages permitting of betterment to the end that the candidate may be
the more highly and permanently impressed with the lessons taught.
By all means is it worth our
while to continually ask ourselves these questions during the work: In what
way can we make Masonry the more stimulating and instructive, a force for
service and for righteousness? How can Masonic education be best communicated?
Is our system and our method in this Lodge the most nearly what it was planned
to be by the Grand Lodge to which will be in due course accredited this
EDITED BY BRO. H.L.HAYWOOD
(The object of this Department is to acquaint our
readers with time-tried Masonic books not always familiar; with the best
Masonic literature now being published; and with such non-Masonic books as may
especially appeal to Masons. The Library editor will be very glad to render
any possible assistance to studious individuals or to study clubs and lodges,
either through this Department or by personal correspondence; if you wish to
learn something concerning any book - what is its nature, what is its value or
how it may be obtained - be free to ask him. If you have read a book which you
think is worth a renew write us about it; if you desire to purchase a book -
any book - we will help you get it, with no charge for the service. Make this
your Department of Literary Consultation.)
"HONEST JOHN MORLEY"
JOHN MORLEY was born in Blackburn, England, in the
last week of 1838, the year following Queen Victoria's accession to the
throne; being still alive and in full possession of his faculties, his career
is remarkable in that it covers not only the span of the "Victorian Era" but
also overlaps the present very different world period. Beginning as a
journalist he soon found his way into politics in which he soon rose to become
a commanding figure. In 1883 he was elected to parliament where he remained
for a full quarter of a century. After the outbreak of the war he retired,
"weary of public life and anxious to secure some leisure for literary
This leisure has proved more fruitful than his
continued political activity could have been, full of possibilities as that
was, because it has given us his two volume work, "Recollections," (published
by Macmillans at $7.50) in which he has stored for us, in his austere but
beautiful prose, all the best riches of his career. This work is a history of
the epoch as seen through the trained eyes of an observer who was also a
participant. "It has been my fortune," he notes in his introduction, "to write
some pages that have found and affected their share of readers; to know and
work on close terms with many men wonderfully worth knowing; to hold
responsible offices in the state; to say things in popular assemblages that
made a difference." This gives us the key to the spirit and tone of the work;
Morley was too honest with himself to affect a spurious humility, he was too
sincerely aware of his own limitations to do any boasting; he told his story
with unaffected straightforwardness in a style that enables us to understand
why his compatriots have been fond to call him "Honest John" Morley.
To Morley the secret of his period was its
conversion to Liberalism in thought and life, and by Liberalism he means a
desire to ameliorate the common human lot as well as to free the intellect
from incrusting dogmas and authoritarianism. "Respect for the dignity and
worth of the individual is at its root. It stands for the pursuit of social
good against class interest or dynastic interest. It stands for the subjection
to human judgment of all claims of external authority, whether in an organized
church or in more loosely gathered societies of believers or in books held
sacred." In short, he says, it is the universal application of the Golden
"Recollections" is a cyclorama of friendships.
Meredith, Mill, Carlyle, Gladstone, Carnegie, Mazzini, Roosevelt, Tennyson,
these names give one but a brief glimpse of the almost numberless personages
who pass before the reader, each one made alive, each one revealed, by a
paragraph of clairvoyant sentences. When one considers that the closely
printed index alone would comprise a fair-sized book, and that a majority of
the entrances therein refer to some noted man or woman he can understand what
a living encyclopedia of table talk and personal reminiscence these volumes
In faith, Morley was also a Liberal. "Religion,"
we may read in one of the very few references made to it, "has many dialects,
many diverse complexions, but it has one true voice, the voice of human pity,
of mercy, of patient justice," and he declares that to that voice he has
always tried to listen. As one moves on from page to page of these human and
richly-rewarding recollections he can well believe that Morley has listened to
that voice more intently than most of his contemporaries, even those who were
more claimant in theological affairs.
As we gaze upon the last quarter of the nineteenth
century through his eyes we are made aware that it was moving toward the
larger fields of brotherhood, which is another way of saying, democracy. The
spirit which so clearly manifested itself in the first Grand Lodge of Morley's
native land had at last worked its way into the halls of parliament and into
the streets. May we not believe, in spite of the present war, that it will
continue to grow from more to more, until in all politicians, in all
statesmen, in all writers, speakers and doers on the stage of public life, it
will have its way as completely as in the character of John Morley?
* * *
"A HISTORY OF PENAL METHODS"
This book, written by George Ives, and published
by Stanley Paul & Co., was placed in our hands by a thoughtful brother Mason
who suggested that its 400 pages of the history of crime and punishment might
throw some light on our famous "penalties" problem; but a diligent search
through its dizzy mass of facts and citations has failed to elicit a single
gleam. Nor can it be said that the reading has given the reviewer any
pleasure. This, however, cannot be charged against the toilful author who has
done his work so well; it arises from the nature of his subject matter. The
night side of human nature is not an agreeable object of thought even when
dressed in the glamor of an Edgar Poe's literary magic, least of all when set
forth in the naked manner demanded by a cold scientific analysis.
Those who feel an interest in moral dereliction
and in society's manner of dealing with it will find a mountain of facts in
Mr. Ives' work. Penal methods of the Middle Ages, witchcraft, insanity,
penitentiary methods, all these, and many cognate topics, are set forth with
such a wealth of detail that the treatise must take a place among the serious
works on criminology. Besides, the student in that "dismal science" will
secure far more than his money's worth merely from the lists of authorities
which are scattered through the volume. It is almost an encyclopedia of crime,
and of society's blundering methods of punishing crime. The Masonic student
will find little value in it save that it helps to make more vivid to him the
social conditions of England in the early days of our Craft.
THE QUESTION BOX
(The Builder is an open forum
for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his
own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of
spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Societv, as such,
does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another;
but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each
to stand or fall by its own merits.)
The brethren of my Lodge have asked me to give
them a talk on the subject of "Landmarks." I have access to Mackey's
Encyclopedia, also MacBride's "Speculative Masonry," but they do not agree as
If you have any data at hand on this all-absorbing
topic kindly advise me or send it along. - J.M., Saskatchewan.
There is nothing more difficult than defining a
Landmark. Their existence is undeniable but no two thinkers will agree as to
what they are.
You will find this subject very ably handled by
Brother Roscoe Pound in the July, 1917, issue of THE BUILDER.
Brother Silas H. Shepherd has also covered the
subject in the August and September, 1916, issues of THE BUILDER.
Further references may be found in THE BUILDER as follows:
Volume I, pages 38, 40; volume II, pages 7, 17,
28, 47, 92, 1S5, 191, 207, 217, 274, 302, 368; volume III, pages 39, 211, 221,
March C. C. B. pages 2, 4.
* * *
Some few weeks ago a young brother asked the
following question of me and I am sorry to say that I was unable to give him a
satisfactory answer - one that was satisfactory both to the questioner and
myself. Can you give me any information concerning the matter?
"How did the penalties of the obligations of the
three degrees originate, and has the Craft at any time attempted to mitigate
the penalties so promulgated?” - J.W. Manitoba.
Concerning the origin of the penalties of the
three obligations you will find information in this regard on page 347, volume
II, of THE BUILDER. On pages 550, 551 and 552 of Mackey's Encyclopedia the
matter is gone into at length. Dr. Mackey says that they refer in no case to
any kind of human punishment; that is to say, to any kind of punishment which
is to be inflicted by human hand or instrumentality. The true punishments of
Masonry affect neither life nor limb. They are suspension and expulsion only.
* * *
I am unable to find the word "cable-tow" in any
English Dictionary, including the Century.
What is the origin of the word and has it any
known use or application outside of Freemasonry? - F.S.P., Mass.
Brother H.T.S. has asked the same question and was
replied to on page 215 of volume I of THE BUILDER. Other interesting
references will be found as follows:
Volume I, pages 215, 276, 278; volume II, page
155; volume III, page 341, April C.C.B. page 6, Dec. C.C.B. pages 4, 5.
* * *
A MOHAMMEDAN MASTER OF AN
At the last meeting of our Lodge a member told us
that he had recently received a letter from a relative in England in which it
was stated that a Mohammedan, a native of India, had been elected Master of an
English Lodge. Can you verify this statement? - F.R.L., Indiana.
On the 16th of October, (Mohammedan New Year's
Day,) Brother Abdeali Shaikh Mahomedali Anik, an Indian, member of the Bohra
Moslem Community, was installed as Master of Wantage Lodge, No. 3178, located
in London, England.
Brother Anik was born in India in 1860 and removed
to England in 1901. He had been a Mason but five years when he was elected to
serve as Master of his Lodge, having been initiated in Wantage Lodge in 1912.
He was exalted in St. Thomas Chapter, No. 142, London, a year later. He is
also a Mark Master Mason, a Royal Ark Mariner and a member of the Order of the
Secret Monitor. Brethren of Christian, Hindoo and Parsee faiths were present
at his installation.
* * *
H.G. WELLS' CONCEPTION OF
DEITY IN HIS "GOD THE INVISIBLE KING"
I have just been reading "God The Invisible King,"
by H. G. Wells, and although I am not a religious man, the book has greatly
appealed to me. I have been wondering if the conception of Deity found in this
book can be made to square with the Masonic conception of T.G.A.O.T.U. What is
your opinion about this? - H.G.F., Nebraska.
You are not the only one who has been stimulated
by this remarkable book to ask questions; on both sides of the Atlantic it has
attracted much attention, as well it might, for it is written in Mr. Wells'
characteristically eager and virile fashion and deals with the subject which
has always interested men. There is one sense in which his finite struggling
God can be made to square with Masonry, for, though our Fraternity exacts of
every candidate a faith in Deity, it does not define this Deity and
consequently the individual Mason can feel free to believe in such a God as
his mind and conscience require him. However, the majority of Masonic
thinkers, writers and scholars would not be in accord with Mr. Wells.
If we Masons believe that the Grand Arcnitect is
in truth the Architect of the Universe, the Grand Geometrician of the cosmos
who holds the world in his hand and will one day have his way with it, we are
almost compelled to believe in his omnipotence and omniscience. The blind,
struggling God who is little more than a magnified man, can hardly be expected
to fulfill the necessities of Masonic thought.
* * *
JEWEL OF THE THIRTY-SECOND
I take the liberty of writing to ask what is the
true emblem of the Thirty-Second Degree, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of
Freemasonry. Is it the double-headed eagle, triangle either on its body or
above the heads, "32" in the triangle, and "Spes Mea In Deo Est" written
underneath, or is it the Teutonic Cross with "32" above it? - F.E.A., Indiana.
According to the Statutes of the Supreme Council
for the Southern Jurisdiction the jewel of the Thirty-Second Degree is a
Teutonic Cross of gold, one inch and three-quarters square with raised or
beaded edges, and the surface within frosted, having in the center a wreath of
green enamel, with a gold tie at bottom, and within the wreath the numerals
XXXII in gold.
* * *
THE PATRON SAINTS OF MASONRY
How did Masonry come to have its patron saints? -
In ancient days every organization was dedicated
to some god or goddess, the members hoping thereby to win the approval and
support of such a deity. After Christianity had made it impossible for men to
believe in the Pagan gods, these societies and organizations made use of the
saints for similar purposes; consequently in medieval times every order or
fraternity, every trade union even, had its own patron saint.
As Freemasonry was among these organizations, it
also was dedicated to one or two saints and this custom, so deeply ingrained,
was carried over into modern times.
Why a society of architects, operative and
symbolical, should ever have chosen the Saints John for their patrons instead
of Saint Thomas, who had always been the saint of architecture, is still a
mystery. Many books and numerous articles have been written to elucidate the
question, but as yet it cannot be said that we have solved it.
If you care to go into this matter we shall be
glad to give you references to much interesting material.
MASONRY IN RUSSIA
With reference to the question of D.F.B.,
Nebraska, in the October issue of THE BUILDER as to Masonry in Russia, I wish
to state for the brother's edification that there was a book published some
ten years ago at Berne on "Freemasonry in Russia and Poland." I do not
remember the author's name.
A good many valuable hints on this subject can be
found in "Traces of a Hidden Tradition in Masonry," by I. Cooper-Oakley,
published in 1900. This writer lived for several years in Buda-Pesth and had,
by reason of a scholarly knowledge of European languages, many facilities for
tracing this subject through Continental libraries.
I would like, with all due respect, to question
your definition of "Entered Apprentice," in the November BUILDER. But I
apologize,another reading shows me that we are in agreement. N.W.J. Haydon,
* * *
"THE ORPHANS FRIEND AND
MASONIC JOURNAL" OF NORTH CAROLINA
On page 382 of THE BUILDER
for December I notice a list of Masonic publications, to which I would suggest
you add the name of "The Orphans Friend and Masonic Journal” published at
Oxford, N. C. It is issued weekly. The subscription price is $1.00 per year
and it has a circulation of some 12,000.
A. A. Andrews, P. G. M.,
* * *
The October issue of THE BUILDER which reached me
only the day before yesterday, contains a review of Bro. Vibert's book on
"Freemasonry Before the Existence of Grand Lodges."
In the course of your remarks you quote some words
used by Bro. Vibert on my book "The Comacines," and with your permission, I
desire to give a short reply to what he says.
Since my book was published, seven years ago, I
have kept before me its subject as one of my principal studies and have twice
visited Italy - made a considerable number of notes and sketches, and have
just completed a paper ready for publication as the outcome.
The result of my investigations during these seven
years has been a general and almost unvaried confirmation of what I have
already published although I have not lost sight of the possibilities of
refutation of some of the points on which I wrote with a little diffidence as
expressed in the earlier pages.
Bro. Vibert says: "In the first place there is
absolutely no ground for attributing to any Collegia traditions of King
Solomon." My reply to that is I have very good ground for such as regards the
Comacine Collegia and for the Roman (pagan) Collegia, I do not claim it.
Further he says: "The exodus of a Collegium to
Como is a hypothesis only and Ravenscroft's authority is Findel whose
statements are unsupported." To which I reply, although I have quoted Findel I
make no reliance on him where unsupported and indeed have as good as said so
in my book. My authority is personal consultations with Professor Santo Monti
and Sig. H. Guissani, both well known antiquarians in Como; Sig. Monneret de
Villard, the archeologist appointed by the Italian Government to explore the
Island of Comacina and its neighborhood and who as the result of careful work
and the investigation of numerous archives has published a valuable work only
three years since; Sig. A.G. Caproni, the owner of Isola Comacina; the late
Professor Carter of the American School in Rome. All of these are at agreement
with me, at any rate in my main arguments. And I have consulted also Merzario
and Riviora and paid two visits of some length to the district of the
Comacines. So much for my authority.
Bro. Vibert says thirdly: "Even assuming that the
Masons imported to Saxon England were in fact Comacines this merely means that
their knowledge of building was derived from Ancient Rome (exactly what I
claim for them) not that they brought us any esotericism." My reply is simply
that they did.
Lastly, Bro. Vibert says the legend of our Craft
connects us not with Rome but with Euclid and Egypt. My pursuit is not of
legend but history, and legend in this direction is useful only as sometimes
giving clues and indications.
I have not troubled you with proofs (nor for the
matter of that, so far as I read in your article, has Bro. Vibert) but I shall
hope to show when my further notes are published that I have exceedingly good
ground for making the foregoing replies. W. Ravenscroft, England.
* * *
GRAND ORIENT OF FRANCE
My compliments to Brother Ramsey - his article on
"The Grand Orient of France and the Three Great Lights" is excellent. There is
but one thing in it that I can scare up to take issue with. He assumes that
the Grand Orient took the Bible off the Altar when the famous change was made
in the Constitution. But he says nothing as to his authority. My impression,
and I am sorry that I cannot now cite direct proof, is that the lodges were
long permitted to use any book they wanted to, Bible or otherwise. In fact, as
I recall, this was cited as one of the reasons for the latest governing body,
the National Independent Grand Lodge, being started; that the Grand Orient had
at last decided to make the bodies of its obedience use the same ritual and be
uniform in the "book" practice. Perhaps Brother Ramsey can give us his
Is it not the case that the Rite Rectifie
(Rectified Rite) and the old English "work," like ours, and the Bible were in
use by some Lodges long after the change in the Constitution? By the way, the
change in the Constitution says nothing about the Bible. For that matter, the
general practice has been, everywhere (?), to allow the alternative use of the
Koran, or Shastra, etc., as a concession to a candidate.
R.I. Clegg, Ohio
* * *
The Master is to the Lodge all in all. His will
and pleasure is law supreme. It's the law and the gospel. His orders are
complied with and obeyed implicitly, carried out to the letter. He rules and
governs his lodge with equal regularity of the sun and moon. He points you to
the Great Light of Masonry, the Lamb's book of life. He it is that places you
in the northeast corner of the Lodge a just and upright Mason and admonishes
you to ever walk and act as such. He raises you to walk in a newness of life
and teaches you of the immortality of the soul - that we shall all rise again
- that light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehendeth it not.
The Master represents a noted bible character - a
man that never took the life blood of his fellow man and a man that dedicated
the Temple to the service of God - King Solomon. We dedicate our temples - our
bodies - to the service of God. He gave us life and being and our bodies are
the dwelling places for the spirit. He offers us eternal life beyond the grave
if we are true subjects of His will and pleasure while moving about on this
earth He created for our well-being.
As the Master is directly responsible to the Craft
for the ruling and conduct of his Lodge, so are we likewise held responsible
to our Master for the use we make of our bodies, the indwelling of the spirit.
Then how important it is that we should with consecrated spirit dedicate our
lives and our services to Him who made us, from the rugged paths to save us,
that when time with us is no longer and when we have been summoned before the
great white throne there to give an account of the things done on earth while
in the body, may it be our pleasure to hear from Him who sitteth on the
throne, "Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys
prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Thou hast been faithful
over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many."
Looking to the East is an order that must be
obeyed, an edict, yielding obedience to which make of us good subjects.
Hearing, believing and obeying make of us subjects of that immortal kingdom
and celestial abode where we may drink of the waters of eternal life and never
grow old, fainthearted, where sickness, sorrow and death never enter and where
farewells are never said and where we can bask in the sunshine of God's love
through the ceaseless ages of eternity, with the Supreme Grand Master of the
The Lodge Master should be a God fearing man, a
praying man, a man that his Lodge has implicit confidence in, a man capable of
teaching and imparting the essentials that make for the best of his Lodge at
all times and all seasons. He should be constant in season and out of season,
visiting the sick and afflicted, the fatherless and the widow, giving to
charity and consoling the distressed, pointing all to the God of love who is
able to care for all and to save all who put their trust in Him and obey His
commands. So mote it be with us all at all times. Robert A. Turner,
* * *
GRADES OF THE STONE AGE
Relative to the query of Brother A.P.O., of
California, in regard to obtaining Masonic information about the different
grades of the stone age permit me to say that I believe and sincerely trust
that his quest will be in vain. The subject matter is not at all a Masonic,
but purely a scientific one and even the most imaginative Masonic writer (and
there are legions) can trace the history, not to mention the principles of
Masonry, to the stone age when every man's hand was against the other and
might was right.
If our brother wishes to study the subject from a
purely scientific standpoint I can refer him to Ridpath's "Great Races of
Mankind," volume I, a work not usually sold in book stores and hard to
procure. However, if our brother wishes "further light" in this matter, not
Masonic but scientific, I shall be very glad to assist him.
And, my dear brother, while we are on the subject
of the stone age will you permit me to digress somewhat from the subject?
Permit me to draw three pictures. The first is of a man of the primitive
world, clad in the skin of beasts he has slain, armed with a club, wild-eyed
and haggard looking, seeking first to keep from being devoured by his
superiors in might and force, and next to devour those that were inferior to
him. The next picture shall be of the angels appearing to the shepherds on
Bethlehem's field to deliver the message of the first Christmas day, "Glory to
God on High, Peace on Earth and to Men Good Will." The third picture shall be
a scene from the war now raging in which nearly every civilized nation in both
the Old and New World are engaged.
Picture two lines of trenches, opposing one
another, each line bent on destroying the other. Shot after shot is poured in
on one by the other, thousands are slain and yet thousands, and so the war
goes on from day to day and from year to year.
Or picture a vessel laden with men, women and
children, afloat on the deep; civilians who have no connection with the war,
suddenly aroused by an explosion beneath the body of the vessel and within a
few moments the vessel is sunk with nearly all on board.
Your thinking readers can form their own
conclusions as to whether we have advanced or receded in civilization since
the men of the stone age.
Wishing the fraternity in general and the Research
Society in particular a happy and prosperous New Year, and above all hoping
that this devastating war shall be ended soon.
Henry F. Jox. Indiana