The Builder Magazine
November 1918 - Volume IV - Number
WAR WORK IN ENGLAND
BY BROTHER DUDLEY WRIGHT,
ASSISTANT EDITOR "THE FREEMASON," LONDON
BROTHER Dr. Fort Newton has
honored me with the request that I should put on paper some particulars of
what the brethren in England are doing toward the relief of the distress and
suffering brought into being through this terrible war and what steps they are
taking to bring about, in an honourable manner, the end toward which all eyes
are turned. The task is not an easy one for the very reason that Brother Fort
Newton himself gave only a few days since at the City Temple. English people
do not advertise, except it be to announce in a loud voice the indiscretions
they commit. Particularly is this so of the brethren of the Craft in England.
I have frequently met brethren who have almost shuddered when they have seen
the report of a Masonic gathering in the secular press. "Oh, how wrong !" has
been their exclamation. It is, perhaps, unnecessary for me to say that I make
them shudder as often as I can. There are members of the Craft who refuse to
subscribe to Masonic journals on the ground that they are unnecessary and
ought to be abolished. But possibly there may be another explanation of this
The beneficence of the Craft
in England has, however, and rightly so, been honoured with magnificent
advertisements in the English press of late. The extraordinary results
achieved by the great Masonic institutions at their recent festivals, when,
according to the latest tabulation, sums amounting in the aggregate to
considerably over a quarter of a million pounds sterling, or, according to the
coinage of New England, a million and a half dollars were collected, have
excited not a little wonderment and a good deal of admiration in that large
world outside the Craft. This beneficence, however, is but a very small part
of the whole that has been, and is being, done by the great Masonic body in
this country towards relieving distress, pain and suffering occasioned by the
Apart from the great London
area, which comprises nearly eight hundred lodges, England and Wales are
divided up into forty-five Masonic Provinces, which include in their dominion
more than 1,800 lodges. Every one of these Provinces has its own Provincial
Benevolent Fund and each of these has reported increased receipts during the
year at the annual meetings which have just been held-- East Lancashire has
more than doubled its income--and each, following in the wake of the three
great institutions, has elected its beneficiaries without ballot. Then, during
the past few months, the Freemasons War Hospital has extended its operations
by taking over that portion of Fulham Palace, so generously offered by the
Bishop of London to the Red Cross Society.
The Provinces, also have been
assiduous in other ways. The Wallasey brethren purchased and equipped a
six-cylinder, forty-five horsepower motor ambulance which they presented to
the local branch of the Red Cross Society. The Nottinghamshire brethren set
out to collect the money necessary for the installation of an up-to-date
orthopaedic treatment for the wounded soldiers in the local hospital, but the
Masonic response to the appeal issued was so spontaneous and hearty that they
found themselves in a position to erect a new wing for the apparatus and
patients as well as the apparatus. This, apart from the fact that the same
brethren have established a hut at Chipstone Camp at a cost of 1,300 pounds
and are maintaining five houses for Belgian refugees. In a similar manner the
North London Freemasons undertook to provide a motor ambulance for the
conveyance of wounded soldiers. The sum contributed enabled them to do this
and provide also one year's maintenance. Now they are on the road to supplying
a second ambulance.
In the East End of London the
brethren, without difficulty, found themselves in possession of more than
1,000 pounds which they needed for the endowment of a bed in Queen Mary's
Hospital and so they placed the balance, together with other sums they are
still collecting, towards the new wing which is to be erected in commemoration
of the brave men of East Ham who have fallen in the conflict. Warwickshire and
other Provinces have also provided motor ambulances. Bath-- there are only
five lodges in Bath--provided an organ for the local war hospital. These are
but a few of the things that have been done, for so much has been done by
stealth. One member of the Craft established on his own account a "Smoker's
Gift" and spends a great portion of his time collecting the names and
addresses of brethren and their sons serving at the front in order that he may
send them gifts of tobacco. It is an open secret that one volunteer regiment
composed entirely of men over military age, or otherwise disqualified, and
performing regular and useful service was really brought into being by members
of the Craft by whom it is almost entirely manned. The members of the London
Rank Association, all men of middle or mature age, devote time to visiting the
hospitals, rendering various services to their fellow Masons or their
It would be practically
impossible to enumerate the Masonic church services which have been held, at
all of which the offertories have been devoted either to the Freemasons War
Hospital or to some other fund directly connected with the relief of suffering
or distress occasioned by the war.
Many lodges, particularly
those peculiarly fitted for such hospitality by their constitution, such as
the Royal Colonial Institute Lodge and the Anglo-Colonial Lodge, have made it
a special feature to welcome American and Colonial brethren in khaki passing
through this country on their way to the front. Handsome contributions have
been made to the Interned Prisoners' War Fund-- the Province of
Northamptonshire alone gave 1,000 pounds -- the Belgian Relief and other War
This is but a part of what
has been accomplished in England and Wales. The Grand Lodges of Scotland and
Ireland have been equally active and generous in proportion to their strength,
as have the sister English-speaking Grand Lodges across the seas and the
thirty District Grand Lodges working under the United Grand Lodge of England
BY BRO. GEORGE W. BAIRD.
P.G.M., DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Matthew Thornton, whose
memorial is shown as the frontispiece of this issue, was one of the three
signers of the Declaration of Independence who were born in Ireland. His
ancestry were Scotch, and migrated to the north of Ireland about the year
1650. Thornton was born in 1714, and came to the American Colonies with his
parents and other Scotch-Irish families, in 1717.
The Thorntons were
Presbyterians. They figured prominently in the Colonial Wars, the Revolution,
the War with Mexico and the Civil War and, no doubt, the descendants are now
participating in the present World War "Somewhere in France."
Matthew Thornton was a
physician, enjoying a good practice in the time of the Colonies. In 1775, as
Surgeon of a New Hampshire Regiment, he went with the expedition to Cape
Breton, which resulted in the capture of Louisbourg. The town of Thornton was
named fol Matthew Thornton, and granted to him and others by the King in 1763.
In 1760 he was married to
Hannah Jack, who was considered a great beauty. Five children were the result
of the union, all of whom became distinguished.
Dr. Thornton held many public
offices. Among them were Representative in the Legislature, selectman of
Londonderry and moderator in the town meetings. He was commissioned by the
Royal Government as Colonel of the Londonderry Regiment, which he commanded.
He was commissioned a Justice of the Peace of the Court of Common Pleas, in
which position he served for a number of years and attended the Court in
He was active in church work,
and advocated a uniform and equitable system of taxation in the church.
He served in the Second
Provincial Congress and represented the Provisional Government in the
Watertown Congress, in which body he was chosen president pro tem, and was on
the committee to prepare a plan of ways and means to furnish troops, which was
at once effective.
He was an excellent Greek and
Latin scholar, had a marvelous command of the English language, and was
usually the central figure in all assemblies. Though much in love with his
medical profession, he was continually persuaded away from it, into public
life, by acclamation of the people. In that day of patriotism the office
sought the man--but, alas, how times have changed.
In 1775 Thornton was on the
committee of safety. The President invited him to consult with Franklin, Lynch
and Harrison, in the task of forming an army.
Matthew Thornton was a member
of an Army Lodge of the 28th Regiment, Foot, and was initiated at Londonderry.
This fact is confirmed by Gould in volume IV of his "Library of Masonic
History," and is in accordance with the family traditions, so we are informed
by a direct descendant, Mr. Charles F. Adams, who resides in New York City.
The records of this lodge were lost and never afterwards found, as was the
case of so many of the Revolutionary records.
The picture of the monument
tells of the gratitude of New Hampshire. The monument is of dressed granite
and is situated at Thornton's Ferry, a town in New Hampshire, near Merrimac,
on ground once the property of Dr. Thornton and which is still in the
possession of his descendants.
MASONIC JURISPRUDENCE BY BRO.
ROSCOE POUND, DEAN, HARVARD LAW SCHOOL
IV--MASONIC LAW MAKING
NO idea is today more
familiar than the idea of making law. Wherever any sort of sovereign authority
exists, men take for granted that it will proceed to justify its existence by
copious legislation and assume as a matter of course that the quantity of its
legislative output is the measure of its efficiency. This was not always true.
Indeed conscious law-making on any large scale is a wholly modern phenomenon
not only in the state but in those human organizations which exist to conserve
other than political values and secure other than political interests, but are
organized along lines analogous to those which govern politically organized
society. Hence by way of introduction it is worth while to give some account
of the development of legislation in the legal systems of modern states.
Five stages may be perceived
in the development of legislation as the everyday agency of law-making: (1)
unconscious legislation in the period of customary law, (2) declaratory
legislation in the period when the traditional law is reduced to writing, (3)
selection and amendment when by the political union of peoples with divergent
customs it becomes necessary to choose in declaring the custom of the new
whole, (4) conscious constructive law-making as an occasional expedient, at
first to meet political exigencies, but gradually to effect important changes
here and there in the legal system in great emergencies, and (5) habitual
legislation as the ordinary agency of development, usually culminating in
codification of the law as a whole.
In the first stage of legal
development. the stage of traditional modes of decision based upon repeated
decisions by supposed divine inspiration, there is not a little unconscious
law-making. The case in hand may not be exactly like one which has arisen
previously, but those who have the custody of the tradition may assimilate it
thereto. Moreover the custodians of the tradition may warp it more or less
unconsciously to meet new needs. The laws obeyed are regarded as having always
existed. Men are not conscious of the innovations which creep in from time to
time and in the best of faith confuse new usages with the old. Thus for a time
law-making is a purely subconscious process.
Later we come upon a stage of
declaratory legislation. In the beginnings of law all legislation, as such, is
of this type. It is not an authoritative making of new law--it is an
authoritative publication of law already existing. All the so-called ancient
codes are of this type. Indeed the prologue to the laws of Manu, reciting how
Bhrigu, who had learned the tradition from Manu, authoritatively dictated them
to the sages, the prologue to the Senchus Mor, in the Ancient Laws of Ireland,
telling how the bards were brought together and recited the traditional laws
to St. Patrick, and the prologue to the Salic Law, telling how chosen men from
the different villages were brought together and discussed among themselves
the traditions, as they remembered them, till they arrived at an authoritative
text to be reduced to writing--such prologues tell the story of primitive
Conscious law-making begins
when it becomes necessary to make choice between conflicting traditions or
when conflicting traditions must be harmonized through amendment. This
necessity arises whenever attempt is made to reduce the tradition to writing
or to compare and re-edit different versions of the written tradition. It
becomes acute when attempt is made to declare the common custom of a political
unit formed by the union of formerly distinct tribes or peoples with customs
of their own. An example is to be seen in the laws of Alfred. He tells us that
he had to pick and choose and even amend, but adds "I durst not set down much
of my own." From this it is an easy stage, but one taken only gradually and
occasionally, to pass to conscious constructive law-making. The first step in
this direction comes when men perceive that by changing the written record of
the law they can change the law which theretofore had been held eternal and
immutable. Even when this discovery is made, however, after a brief law-making
ferment, the law settles back to a process of growth through development of
tradition, and it is not until the maturity of legal systems that we enter
upon a real stage of legislation.
A similar development may be
seen in Masonic lawmaking, and it will conduce to sounder appreciation of our
written law to look at its history in this way. It is true a wholly different
view of the subject became classical in Masonic literature. Thus Mackey, after
considering the landmarks, says:
"Next to the unwritten laws,
or Landmarks of Masonry, come its written or statutory laws. These are the
'regulations' as they are usually called, which have been enacted from time to
time by General Assemblies, Grand Lodges, or other supreme authorities of the
Order. They are in their character either general or local." (Jurisprudence,
We are then told that the
"General Regulations are those that have been enacted by such bodies as had at
the time universal jurisdiction over the craft," and the year 1721 being fixed
as the decisive point beyond which such general regulations were no longer
possible because there were no longer general assemblies with general powers,
ten authentic and authoritative acts of general Masonic legislation down to
1721 are set forth as follows: (1) The "Old York Constitutions of 926" (for
which he gives Oliver's abridged version of the articles and points from the
Halliwell MS.); (2) the "Constitutions of Edward III" (taken from Anderson's
Constitutions, 2d edition); (3) the "Regulations of 1663"; (4) the "Ancient
Installation Charges" (taken from Preston's Illustrations); (5) the "Ancient
Charges at Makings" (also from Preston); (6) the "Regulation of 1703" (given
on the authority of Preston); (7) the "Regulations of 1717" (given on the same
authority); (8) the "Regulations of 1720" (an authentic regulation, adopted at
a quarterly communication of the Grand Lodge of England, June 24, 1720); (9)
the "Charges Approved in 1722" (presented to the Grand Lodge of England in
1721 by Anderson and Desaguliers, adopted March 25, 1722, and published in the
first edition of Anderson's Constitutions, 1723); and (10) the "General
Regulations of 1721" compiled by George Payne, Grand Master in 1720, approved
by the Grand Lodge of England in 1721, printed in the first edition of
Anderson's Constitutions. Thus, it will be noted, we are asked to believe in a
series of acts of Masonic legislation, wholly analogous to a codification of
the law or the enactment of a new paragraph of the written law by a modern
American Grand Lodge, extending from the tenth century to the eighteenth. It
is the first step in a proper understanding of Masonic Jurisprudence to
discard this idea completely. There were no such assemblies as this conception
of the MS. constitutions postulates down to 1717, and it was not till the
eighteenth century that men began to think of the wholesale making of laws out
of whole cloth as a normal, much less a legitimate process.
Thanks to the studies of
Hughan and Gould and Begemann, we know much more about the MS. constitutions
than was known in 1859, when Mackey's Jurisprudence was written. Today no
serious Masonic scholar believes that constitutions "were framed at the City
of York in the year 926" or that the constitutions so framed "were seen
approved and confirmed in the reign of Henry VI." The unconfirmed authority of
Anderson and Preston, moreover, will not suffice to establish legislation of
the first quarter of the eighteenth century. What we find is not a uniform
tract of law-making, analogous to that set forth in the statutes of the realm,
but rather a written tradition from the end of the fourteenth century,
obviously based on an older oral tradition, changing and developing slowly in
the course of successive transcripts, and laid hold of on the rise of the
Grand Lodge system in the eighteenth century as the basis of Masonic law. In
other words, we may see an unconscious development in the (Masonically)
pre-historic period of oral tradition, declaratory law-making when in the
middle ages the traditional regulations were reduced to writing, selection and
amendment from time to time as the MSS. were recopied and re-edited, conscious
constructive law-making as an occasional expedient in the fore part of the
eighteenth century in the Mother Grand Lodge, and finally an era of habitual
legislative law-making in the nineteenth century which has reached its highest
development in America. Gould's conclusion that the earliest of our authentic
MSS. shows us "a gild or fraternity which commemorated the science without
practising the art of masonry" seems well founded. It was as far back as the
fourteenth century a "fraternity from whom all but the memory or tradition of
its ancient trade had departed." Hence, as Gould puts it, "many of the old
laws or disciplinary regulations of the earlier Masons became fossilized or
petrified." "They passed out of use, though retaining their hold on the
written and unwritten traditions of the society" (Concise History, Am. ed.
308). When, in the eighteenth century, organized Grand Lodge Masonry became a
world-wide institution, these traditions had to be put to a new use. Instead
of being read to or shown to the initiate, they had to be transformed into a
body of law for a society with new values to conserve and new interests to
secure. In this respect Mackey's instinct was sound when he fixed upon Payne's
General Regulations of 1721 as the turning point.
Why should the Masons of the
last half of the eighteenth century and of the first three quarters of the
nineteenth century have deceived themselves so completely upon a matter of
such consequence? One reason, and perhaps the chief reason, is to be found in
eighteenth-century ideas of codes and of law-making. For one thing, the
eighteenth century was an age of absolute governments. The local, feudal,
decentralized governments of medieval Europe had definitely broken down. In
England the Wars of the Roses had demonstrated that the general security
called for something stronger and the Tudors and Stuarts had furnished it,
howbeit the struggles against the Stuarts had preserved for the modern world
the sound kernel of the medieval polity. In France, which in the days of Louis
XIV had furnished the model for eighteenth-century politics, centralized royal
government had triumphed. The Roman Corpus Iuris, compiled in sixth-century
Constantinople, gave us Byzantine ideas of law as the product of the sovereign
will, and the Byzantine theory of law, expounded by French publicists in the
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, accorded so exactly with what men saw
before their eyes that it scarcely needed the aid of an idea that Roman law
was embodied reason to give it currency. The time was one of codes and
legislative programs. Men spoke of the "codes" of the Anglo-Saxon kings and
thought of the traditional law of English-speaking peoples as a body of
statutes worn down by time. It was the fashion among historians to attribute
all legal and political institutions to the deliberate invention of this or
that ruler. A sounder view came in with Hegel's philosophy and the rise of the
historical school in the nineteenth century. But that view did not reach
Anglo-American scholarship at once and did not become significant in American
thought till some time after the Civil War.
Again we must remember that
the eighteenth century thought of itself as the age of reason. Men had
absolute faith in reason. They believed that they could work out everything by
their own unaided reason without troubling to do the futile work of
investigating details. Moreover they believed firmly in what they called
"natural law." They conceived that what ought to be and what was were to be
made synonymous; that whenever one could show a moral principle that ought to
govern conduct he had thereby shown a legal principle that did govern it. This
attitude led naturally to confusion of what ought to be and what was, and it
was an easy transition from what one would like to think to what ought to be.
Thus much of eighteenth-century historical writing was ultra-subjective. It is
a record of what the writer thought a priori must have been the course of
history, assuming that to show what ought to have been sufficiently
demonstrated what was. When, therefore, Gould says of Preston that he was "a
Masonic visionary who--untrammeled by any laws of evidence wrote a large
amount of enthusiastic rubbish, wherein are displayed a capacity of belief and
capability of assertion which are hardly paralleled at the present day by the
utterances of the company promoter, or even of the mining engineer," he is but
saying that Preston was a child of his time. The need of fortifying the Grand
Lodge system by an appeal to antiquity was strong. Men were not trained in
historical method. Rather they relied on their individual reasons for all
things, and what they took to be reason was often no more than enthusiasm and
Thus the first five of
Mackey's ten forms of the old written law of Masonry take on a wholly
different aspect. The sixth and seventh are Preston's generalizations from the
result of the establishment of the Grand Lodge system. The principles which he
formulates in these so-called regulations were thoroughly established in his
day. Characteristically he assumed that they must have resulted from
deliberate law-making and, fixing the terms as accurately as he could, he
reported them circumstantially as to the time and place of their adoption,
exactly as the eighteenth-century historian could report the precise words
spoken in a council of war centuries before and report out of his own reason
the details of intrigues and conspiracies, of debates of secret councils, and
even of the communings of a king or commander with himself. Indeed the
apocryphal character of the so-called regulation of 1703, which contradicts
all that we know of Masonry from the fourteenth to the eighteenth centuries,
suggested itself to Mackey, who sought to avoid the difficulty by
interpretation in a footnote. The remaining four are genuine examples of
legislative declaration of existing law, with minor emendations, or of
legislative innovations to secure new interests and conserve new values.
Today the written law of the
craft in any particular Jurisdiction, which Mackey would call its local
regulations, is made up commonly of four elements: (1) constitutions of the
Grand Lodge, which are usually compiled and edited from time to time and thus
kept in organized, systematic form exactly as a state of the Union compiles
its legislation, or else after a definite compilation are held in that form by
a practice of introducing new legislation in the form of amendments of or
additions to this or that paragraph; (2) decisions of the Grand Lodge on
appeal from the Masters of subordinate (or constituent) lodges or from the
lodges themselves; (3) edicts of the Grand Master; and (4) answers of the
Grand Master to inquiries as to the law submitted to him, or decisions of the
Grand Master upon questions asked by Masters of lodges with reference to
matters pending before them or their lodges. To understand these we must turn
to the Roman law where these forms of law developed and got the names which
still attach to them not only in the law of the state but in Masonic law.
A Roman emperor made or
declared the law by constitution, by decision (decree), by edict, and by
rescript or letter. He had this power, in legal theory, because at his
accession the Roman people had specially conferred it upon him for his life by
a special act of legislation. Down to the reign of Diocletian, at least, in
political theory, the Roman state was a republic. Sovereignty was in the Roman
people. The emperor was only "princeps," first citizen, a citizen upon whom
the Roman people had devolved their sovereignty for the time being by an act
of legislative authority upon an extraordinary occasion. Later, in Byzantine
times, the emperor came to be thought of as the repository of sovereignty and
the source of law. But in classical times he simply wielded the powers of the
sovereign Roman people which had been devolved upon him. Accordingly as the
Roman people in their legislative assembly could enact a statute (lex) the
emperor, wielding the legislative power of the people, could enact a law. What
he thus established (constituit) by virtue of the legislative authority
devolved upon him, was called a constitution (constitutio). Thus in Roman law
a constitution is a rule established by legislative act. And such precisely is
a constitution in Masonry. Only with us the legislative power of the
fraternity in each jurisdiction has devolved upon the Grand Lodge. Hence what
the Grand Lodge establishes and promulgates as a rule of law, by virtue of its
legislative authority, is a constitution. At the end of the eighteenth
century, when sovereign peoples began to adopt for themselves a fundamental
law, fixing the framework of government and imposing limitations upon the
several organs of government so set up, the term constitution came to be
applied to such enactments of the sovereign people. Thus it has come into use
in America, and to a less extent elsewhere, in the sense of a superior
fundamental law, to which ordinary acts of the several departments of
government or of the agencies of a society must yield, a conception growing
out of the circumstances of colonial government in America prior to the
Revolution, where executive and legislative acts were subject to the measure
of the colonial charter. In Masonic law we preserve the older use of the term,
speaking from the fore part of the eighteenth century, when the modern
political written constitution was quite unknown.
Another way in which the
Roman emperor made or declared law was by his decisions in causes taken to him
on appeal or determined by him directly. These were called decrees. For the
Roman magistrate had no power to render a judgment of the strict law. This
could be done only by judices or arbitrators, chosen for the case in hand,
somewhat as the common law demands the verdict of a jury as the foundation of
a judgment. But the magistrate could decide certain things extra ordinem and
render a decree, and this power, along with the other powers of the Roman
magistrates, was specially devolved upon the emperor at his accession. In
Masonry, the power of determining appeals, as an attribute of sovereignty--for
so it was regarded when men forgot how the Roman emperors came by it--
devolved upon the Grand Lodge, to which in the eighteenth century sovereignty
Still another way in which
the Roman emperor made or declared the law was by his edict. The power of
issuing an edict belonged originally to the superior magistrates of the
Republic and was exercised chiefly by the praetors or judicial magistrates.
Strictly the edict was a pronouncement by the magistrate of the course which
he proposed to take in the administration of his office. It was a sort of
post-election platform from which the citizen might know what to expect from
the officer in question. But this easily became a law governing the
administration of his office, and when the magisterial power was devolved upon
the emperor the power of issuing an edict came to be in substance a power of
issuing general orders governing matters of administration. The term was so
used in French public law in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and was
generally used in this sense at the time when Masonic law was formative. In
this same sense we use it in Masonry. An edict is a general administrative, as
distinguished from a judicial order, prescribing the conduct of some matter of
administration, on prescribing the conduct of Masons in some matter of
administrative cognizance. A good example may be seen in the edicts of Grand
Masters in different jurisdictions against the use of cipher rituals.
Finally a Roman emperor made
or declared the law by means of rescripts. The rescript or letter was an
answer which the emperor returned to a question put to him by a judge or
magistrate who had a cause pending before him. In the classical Roman polity
the judices who had a cause before them were advised as to the law by the
expert opinion of a jurisconsult. In the imperial polity the emperor was taken
to be the most authoritative jurisconsult and the practice of submitting
questions for his authoritative opinion as to the law was a natural result.
This practice passed to the canon law, where the Papal rescripts had similar
authority, and was well known to the law of continental Europe in the
eighteenth century. Naturally it came into Masonic practice along with other
institutions of the time when, in the formative period of Grand Lodge Masonry,
a universal polity had to be set up rapidly. The decisions of the Grand Master
in answer to questions might very well be called rescripts, exactly as his
administrative general orders are called edicts. They are not decisions in a
judicial sense, they are authoritative opinions of the most authoritative
jurisconsult of the craft for the time being. Being mere opinions there is no
impropriety in the practice of many Grand Lodges to which the Grand Master
regularly reports his opinions for review. His decision is not reviewed.
Indeed Mackey seems justified in his position that the decisions of a Grand
Master as such are not or at least ought not to be reviewable. In legal theory
what happens might be explained thus: The opinion of the Grand Master upon the
point of law involved in his answer is considered and the doctrine which it
announced is given the force of a constitution by the approval of the Grand
Lodge or else the doctrine is rejected as a rule for the future and some other
rule given legislative authority.
It will be noted that of the
four forms of making or declaring the law which were in use by the Roman
emperor, two are appropriate to the Grand Lodge and two to the Grand Master.
In the later Roman imperial polity all the powers of sovereignty were in the
emperor. As the Institutes put it, his will had the force of law. But along
with the imperial Roman conceptions, familiar to the time through the writings
of publicists based on Justinian's law books, another set of conceptions were
familiar to Englishmen at the time when Masonic legal institutions were
formative. The memory of the contests with the Stuart kings was still fresh
and in the course of that contest English lawyers had resurrected and
furbished up many ideas that belonged to the polity of the Plantagenets. Thus
the British constitution in the eighteenth century was a superposition, as it
were, of what were then modern ideas and institutions upon the older and
radically different ideas and institutions of medieval England. As a result
the balance was maintained chiefly by custom and precedent and respect for
traditional lines between authorities and magistracies with large
potentialities of theoretical jurisdiction. Experience gradually settled the
lines and respect for precedent established them. The same phenomenon is to be
seen in the development of Anglo-American Masonic polity. Legislation by
general regulations or constitutions and the power of judicial decision on
appeal, with the incidental power of so declaring the law, became functions of
the Grand Lodge. The more nearly administrative functions of issuing edicts
and rendering what may fairly be called rescripts became functions of the
Grand Master. They can hardly be said to be common-law powers in the same
sense as those universally customary prerogatives which Mackey sought to
establish as Landmarks. No doubt Grand Lodge legislation may interfere, as it
sometimes has done, to abridge or modify them. But it is significant that with
the example of the separation of powers in American public law constantly
before them, American Masonic lawyers have acquiesced in and developed a
system of law-making proceeding on radically different lines and originating
in the law books of Rome.
Direct, deliberate law-making
by constitutions is the type of Masonic law-making that calls chiefly for our
attention. Maine tells us that "the capital fact in the mechanism of modern
states is the energy of legislatures." True, the lawyer is somewhat skeptical.
He doubts with good reason the possibility of achieving by law more than a
small fraction of what the promoters of new laws confidently expect. But the
layman's faith in the efficacy of legislative law-making is unbounded and
there is no evidence of abatement of the huge annual output of our political
law-making machinery. There are many causes behind this phenomenon. But one is
of special significance for Masonry and is behind a similar excess of zeal for
legislative law-making in too many of our jurisdictions. The theory that law
is the will of the sovereign, that a sovereign democracy, or its
representatives or delegates in its name, can make law by the simple process
of translating its will for the time being into chapters and sections, the
magic words "be it enacted" justifying all that follow, arose by applying to
sovereign peoples the ideas which had been worked out with reference to
absolute personal sovereigns. The will of the emperor had the force of law;
hence the will of the people is to have the force of law. But a confusion was
involved here. The emperor owed it to his subjects to use his will rationally
when willing law. The power to give his declarations of will the force of law
did not absolve him from obligation to measure the content of those
declarations by reason. Our fathers were conscious of this with good reason
and so sought to. limit law-making and give security against arbitrary and
capricious action by bills of rights. But these securities are available only
within comparatively narrow limits. So long as the theory of law as will
prevails, the flood of law-making will continue.
In American Masonry we have
very generally a similar situation, as has been said, for a like reason. For
one thing, we have all been trained in the theory that what we will
collectively or in sufficient mass to make a majority is law in substance and
only needs a mechanical process of receiving the legislative guinea stamp to
be law in form. It is very easy to transport this conception to every other
connection in which the word law appears. Is there Masonic law? Then it is to
be made by the will of the Masonic sovereign. Have we a sovereign Masonic
body? Go to, let it justify its existence by making laws. Such ideas confuse
exercise of the will as a means and exercise of the will as an end. The means
of making law is the declared will of the sovereign. But the end of making law
is not to enable the sovereign to declare his will. The end is to conserve
values and to secure interests. Delicate processes of weighing values and
cataloguing, appraising, and balancing interests must be gone through with
before the matter is ripe for the declaring will.
Having no bills of rights in
Masonry and hence nothing beyond a handful of vaguely defined Landmarks to
restrain him, what then are our barriers against the ravages of the zealous,
energetic, ambitious Masonic law-maker? Legal barriers there are none. But
some of the most sacred interests of life have only moral security and on the
whole do not lose thereby. For example, the claims of husband and wife
respectively to each other's society and affection are left as between the two
with no other security than the moral sense of the community. It is important
to ask, therefore, how far there are agencies for focusing the moral sentiment
of the craft upon the Masonic legislator and making it an effective moral
check. One such agency, which has been of no little service, is the report of
the Committee on Correspondence, whereby in so many jurisdictions the
law-making of the Masonic world is reviewed, criticized, and adjusted, if
possible, to general theories of Masonic law. These reports vary greatly in
value. But by and large they are inestimable repositories of Masonic law.
Moreover it must needs give the Masonic innovator pause when he reflects that
what he does must run the gauntlet of critical scrutiny by veteran reviewers
upon the Committees on Correspondence of a majority of our jurisdictions.
Another restraining influence is coming forward with the development of
Masonic study. Nothing is so dogmatic as ignorance. A better and more general
acquaintance with the history, philosophy, and legal traditions of the craft
is certain to make our law-makers more cautious, more intelligent, and more
effective. Such comparative studies in Masonic legislation as those already
begun in THE BUILDER* are likely to do much for intelligent law-making where
library facilities are small and law-makers are zealous. But above all things
we must rely upon the principles of Masonry. Let us remember Krause's formula:
"Law is the sum of the external conditions of life measured by reason." Our
measure is to be reason, not will, and all the lessons and symbols of the
craft are eloquent of measurement and restraint.
In conclusion, let me repeat
the disclaimer with which I began. I have not sought to expound the law of the
craft at large or of any jurisdiction in particular. I have sought rather to
consider how far there may be said to be such a thing as Masonic
jurisprudence, what materials are at hand for an organized body of knowledge
that may be called appropriately a science of Masonic law, what general
principles may be found for such a science, and in particular how far the
problems of legal science generally may be found in and their solutions may be
applied to the law of our craft. So studied, the subject of Masonic
jurisprudence has great possibilities which are as yet scarcely opened. The
ambitious Masonic student who essays any of its problems as he would a problem
of the everyday law, going through our Grand Lodge proceedings as he would the
legal sources, using our texts as he would a legal text book, reasoning from
our traditions as he would from the body of written tradition we call the
common law, will not only be abundantly repaid but will do a service in
helping to make Masonic jurisprudence a reality.
* Advancement vol. III, p.
Affiliation, vol. III, p. 9.
Ballot for the Degrees, vol.
III, p. 70.
Dimits, vol. III, p. 134.
Physical Qualifications for
Initiation, vol. III, p. 2~.
SYMBOLISM OF THE THREE
BY BRO. OLIVER DAY STREET,
PART IV--THE SYMBOLISM OF THE
MASTER MASON DEGREE--(CONCLUDED)
THE FIVE POINTS OF FELLOWSHIP
THE Five Points of Fellowship
are symbolized by the Pentalpha, or five pointed star. The connection of this
geometrical figure with the art of building is not at once apparent, but
recent researches show that it entered extensively into determining the plans
of many of the splendid castles and cathedrals of medieval times. To this fact
is probably due its introduction or retention among the symbols of our
Speculative Craft. (1)
This figure has, however,
from very ancient times borne a moral signification also. Says a recent
"In the more esoteric
philosophy, the symbol is used to designate man, and an examination of the
shape of the figure will shaw that by a stretch of imagination it may be
construed into a crude representation of a human figure." (2)
In this connection it is
interesting to note that there exists in England a secret gild of operative
Masons who have a ceremony wherein is represented the mock-assassination of
one of its three Grand Masters. His body is said to be raised and borne out of
the hall on the five points of fellowship in this wise-- each seizing an arm
or foot and a fifth under the middle of the body.
The Pentalpha with one of its
points elevated, was a symbol of the pure and the virtuous and a harbinger of
good, but with two of its points elevated it became the accursed Goat of
Mendes, which typified Satan and foreboded evil and misfortune. (3)
In England, the Five Points
of Fellowship are h. to h., f. to f., k. to k., b. to b. and h. over b.(4) It
is well known that in the United States we substituted m. to e. for h. to h.
Mackey thinks this change was made at the Baltimore Conference of Grand
Lecturers in 1843, and I am persuaded that the English working is the ancient
and correct one.
The winged foot has for ages
been the symbol of swiftness, the arm of strength, and the hand of fidelity.
In the center of the Pentalpha as employed by us is usually seen two hands
clasped. This as we learned in the Entered Apprentice degree is the ancient
symbol of the god Fides.(5) It is an appropriate emblem of the fidelity and
readiness to aid each other, which would characterize members of the Masonic
Fraternity. Let it not be supposed that by assigning symbolical meanings to
the persons and incidents of the legend of Hiram Abif, I thereby mean to deny
its reality. I see no reason (and such seems to be the opinion of most
students of Freemasonry) why this legend may not be based upon a substratum of
fact, as probably were those similar legends which characterized the Ancient
Mysteries. That it has undergone many alterations and been greatly overlaid
with fiction is certain, but that it is founded wholly upon fable is not at
THE LOST WORD
We next come to consider one
of the most abstruse conceptions in Freemasonry. The allegory of a search for
a Lost Word is not a search for any particular word; in fact it is not even a
search for a word at all. The expression "The Word" had significance to the
Jews and other ancient races which is hard for us to comprehend. While not
strictly accurate we shall not be far wrong in saying that to the ancient mind
"The Word" signified all truth, particularly divine truth. To us the most
striking and familiar passage in literature containing this expression is that
in St. John, as follows:
"In the beginning was the
Word. And the Word was with God, And the Word was God." Ch. 1
John does not here announce
any new doctrine, but one that was perfectly familiar to the Jewish thought of
his day; only his identification of Jesus of Nazareth with the Word was new.
Nor was this expression or this idea by any means confined to the Jews; it
belonged to nearly all ancient philosophy. Among the Greeks it was the "Logos"
a term derived from the Greek verb "lego", to speak; the same root from which
comes our word "Logic", the name of that science by which we determine moral
That noble attribute of man,
the power of articulate speech, whereby his wisdom and his most abstract
thoughts are made known to his fellows, a power so far as we can see possessed
by no other animal, must have in all ages greatly impressed this thoughtful
mind. The spoken word seemed an instrument worthy to be employed by Deity
himself, not only in promulgating divine truth but even in creating all things
that were created. According to ancient ideas Deity v as so omnipotent that he
had but to speak and the thing was done; he said "Let there be light" and
there was light; and that without "The Word" was not anything made that was
Hence "The Word" under the
development of philosophy. particularly that of Philo Judaeus, a contemporary
of Jesus, became synonymous with every manifestation of divine power and
truth, so that finally it was regarded as not only co-existent with but
metaphorically as identical with Deity himself. This is clearly the meaning of
The Masonic search for the
"Word", therefore, symbolizes the search for truth, particularly divine truth.
The lesson here to us is to search diligently for the truth, never to permit
prejudice, passion or interest to blind us, but to keep our minds always open
to the reception of truth from whatever source, or however opposed to our
preconceived notions it may be; and having seen it and received it, always to
act agreeably to its dictates. Hence Masons everywhere are devoted to the
doctrines of freedom of thought, freedom of speech and freedom of action.
But we are also cautioned not
vaingloriously to imagine that we ever here achieved all truth. The Master
Mason is invested not with the True Word, but with a Substitute Word, implying
that in this life we may know only in part, that we may approach, we may
approximate truth, but that we never attain it in its perfection. This search
shall continue as long as this life lasts, but not until we shall have passed
on to a higher state of existence will divine truth be disclosed to us in all
its fullness and beauty. I may say here that this final disclosure is
symbolized in the Royal Arch degree.
The preservation of this
extremely ancient conception of "The Word" is not without historic value also
as indicating the great antiquity of Masonic symbolism. (6)
THE MARBLE MONUMENT
Incidental to this legend of
Hiram Abif are introduced certain other symbols. For example, the virgin
weeping over the broken column, an urn in her left hand and a sprig of
evergreen in her right, and an old man behind her dressing her hair. Masons
are familiar with the explanation of this group given in our ritual, but I am
persuaded that it is very superficial to say the least.
In the Egyptian Mysteries, as
we have seen, Isis finds her husband's body encased in a tamarisk, or acacia
tree, which the King of Byblos converts into a column. This column, still
containing the body, is finally carried away and broken by Isis and the body
released. We can readily imagine her weeping over this broken column. Apulieus
(second century, A. D.) describes her as a "beautiful female, over whose
divine neck her long thick hair hung in graceful ringlets," and in a
procession depicting her are shown female attendants following who are combing
and dressing her hair.
The urn is an ancient sign of
mourning. A small urn in which figuratively to catch the tears was worn by the
mourners, especially widows. This explanation of the presence of the urn in
this emblem, as a symbol of grief, better accords with our tradition as to the
disposal of our Grand Master, as well as with history, than does that given in
our Master's lecture. We know that it was a well nigh universal custom of the
Jews as well as the Egyptians to bury and not to cremate their dead. Likewise
from ancient times it was common for the mourner to bear in the hand to the
place of interment an evergreen sprig and there to deposit it in the grave as
an avowal of belief in a life to come. It seems to me that in these ancient
traditions and customs is to be found the true origin of our Marble Monument
(7) and that this emblem signifies that, while we mourn for, and cherish the
memory of our dead, yet we believe that they shall live and that we shall see
THE SETTING MAUL
The Setting Maul is a wooden
instrument used in setting firmly into the wall the polished stone, and is one
of those traditionally said to have been used at the building of Solomon's
Temple. It would very properly be in the hands of the three Fellow Crafts, who
are in the third degree reputed to have made a notable use of it just before
the completion of the Temple. From that incident it is employed among us as an
emblem the meaning of which is known to every Master Mason.
It has, however, in different
forms been employed as a symbol of destruction from prehistoric times. In
Norse mythology, Thor, the god of Thunder, was represented as a powerful man
armed with a mighty hammer, Miolnir (the smasher). Counterparts of this god
and his formidable weapon are found in many of the ancient religions and
In the Cabiric Mysteries the
seven gods who slew the eighth were called "Paticii", or wielders of the
It was a custom of the Jews
to plant at the head of the grave an acacia sprig for the double purpose of
intimating their belief in immortality and of marking its location, as to
tread on a grave was by them regarded as extremely unlucky. To them,
therefore, the acacia was, as it is to us, an emblem of immortality and of
innocence. The true acacia is the thorny tamarisk which abounds in Palestine,
and we have seen that strangely enough in the legend of Osiris his dead body
was said to have been cast ashore at the foot of a tamarisk or acacia tree,
and that this circumstance led to its discovery. This tree, owing to its
hard-wood quality, its evergreen nature and its exceeding tenacity of life
bore to the Egyptian and Jew the same symbolical significance it does to us.
Of its wood was constructed the tabernacle, the table for the shew-bread, the
ark of the covenant and the rest of the sacred furniture of the Temple, and of
its boughs was woven the crown of thorns that was placed upon the head of
Jesus of Nazareth.
Each of the Ancient Mysteries
possessed a sacred plant which was employed in their initiations and
ceremonies for the same purpose and with the same symbolical significance as
the acacia is by us. Among the Egyptians it was the Lotus and the Erica, among
the Greeks the Myrtle, and among the Scandinavians the Mistletoe. That a tree
or plant had life-giving properties was an idea familiar to the Jews in the
earliest times, as witness the Tree of Life mentioned in Genesis, and by New
Testament writers the immortality of man is likened to the recurrence of plant
life. (I Cor. 15; John 12, 24).8
THE POT OF BURNING INCENSE
The Pot of Burning Incense
was employed in Solomon's Temple to produce a sweet savor in the Holy of
Holies, that is to say, according to the Jewish conceptions, in the actual
presence of J H V H. It is not supposable that the intelligent Jew regarded
this as other than symbolical of the offer of a pure heart as a sacrifice to
the Deity. The bloody sacrifices of bullocks, lambs and goats, as well as the
peace and sin offerings, were offered in less sacred precincts of the Temple
and probably meant no more than to impress the people that they should be ever
generous in dedicating their earthly wealth to the service of God and the
hastening of his Kingdom, but the pure, immaterial offering of a delightful
incense was to remind them that after all the only sacrifice worthy of Deity
himself was the spiritual and immaterial offering of a pure heart.
THE BEE HIVE
To the operative Mason could
anything be more important than industry ? By it he lives, and by it were
reared those dreams of architectural beauty which excite our wonder and please
Is it any less necessary to
the speculative Mason in his work of building human character ? Is it not far
more so ? The temple of human life is incomplete unless every talent and every
virtue is brought to the highest possible state. A few years at most suffice
to complete and adorn our greatest structures. If the builder die before it is
finished, others can carry it on to completion after him. But the time alloted
to no man was ever sufficient for the complete development of all the
possibilities of his mind and character. If he die before the work is
finished, none can take it up and finish it for him. How important, therefore,
is it that not a moment of our time, that most precious gift, should be
In all nature nothing is more
constantly busy than the bee, and from ancient times it has been an emblem of
industry. "Busy as a bee" has become an aphorism. A place of great industry we
call a hive, and while I do not find it to have been employed in ancient
symbolism, no symbol of labor could be more appropriate than a bee hive.
Masonry in every degree, and
in none more than the Master's degree, signifies labor. Its very name is
synonymous with labor and its very implement reminiscent of labor. Toil is
noble, idleness dishonour. Deity himself is recorded as having worked and we
see on every hand the Titanic results of his labor. He reared the mountains,
He laid down the plains, He made the rivers and the seas; the very smallest of
these beyond the capabilities of millions of men. He deposited the rich ore in
the bosom of the earth. He stocked the waters with fish and the land with an
infinite variety of vegetation and living animals both great and small.
Finally He made man; not a single man, but millions, yea billions, of men;
about every thirty-five years He makes one and a half billions, four and a
half billions to the century, or about ninety billions since the birth of
Christ. How many hundreds of thousands of billions he made before we cannot
even surmise. But this is a manifestation of only one phase of His unceasing
and prodigious activity. In thousands of other forms, it displays itself in
equally staggering figures. If anyone ever conceived of God as an idler, let
him get that notion out of his head. If He rested on the seventh day, we may
be sure that He began work again on the eighth. We can understand the value of
the grub and even the boll-weevil, but the utility of the sluggard in the
economy of this universe is beyond the perception of man, unless it be to
afford us an example of something to be avoided.
The Book of Constitutions
guarded by the Tyler's sword may be, as is claimed, a new emblem among us, but
the virtue it commemorates, silence, is an old and excellent one. How much
better it would be if we thought more and talked less. This virtue seems to
have been more prized by the ancients than by us. The disciples of many of the
ancient philosophers were required to practice absolute silence for long
periods of probation, and so important was it deemed in their religious and
philosophical systems that to it was allotted a special deity, Harpocrates,
who was represented as full of eyes and ears, signifying that many things are
to be seen and heard but little to be spoken. (9)
THE ALL SEEING EYE
The All Seeing Eye is a very
old symbol of Deity. The Egyptians represented Osiris, their chief god, by an
open eye, which they placed in all his temples. The idea was also familiar to
the Jews, for we read in Psalms (xxxiv, 15) that "The eyes of Jehovah are upon
the righteous," and (cxxi, 4) that "he that keepeth Israel shall neither sleep
nor slumber." In Proverbs (xv, 3) Solomon says "The eyes of Jehovah are in
every place watching the evil and the good." This symbol was to the Egyptians
and the Jews the same that it is to us, the symbol of Deity manifested in his
omnipresence and omniscience. To us it is a warning that things we would not
do before the eyes of men, yet do in secret, are nevertheless beheld by an eye
that can explore our innermost thoughts and will witness against us before a
tribunal where there are no perjured witnesses nor miscarriages of justice.
THE ANCHOR AND THE ARK
The Ark as a symbol in the
third degree has been supposed by some to refer to the Jewish Ark of the
Covenant, but others with more reason think it refers to the Ark of Noah. All
the Ancient Mysteries seem to have contained allusions more or less clear to
the Deluge and Noah's Ark. There being so many other symbols common to Masonry
and the Mysteries, it is not surprising to find the Ark also employed as a
Masonic symbol. To the pre-Christian ages, the idea of a regeneration, or a
new birth, was as familiar as it is to us. In the Ancient Mysteries, we are
best able to judge, the tradition of the Deluge and the Ark, by which the
human race was reputed to have been both purified and perpetuated, was in a
variety of forms employed to teach this doctrine of regeneration.
In the Funeral Ritual of the
Egyptians, it is by means of he Ark or boat that the deceased passed to Aahlu
or the place of the blessed in Amenti. (11) We are all familiar with the
Greian myth which represents Charon as ferrying the shades of the departed
over the river Styx. Thus it is seen that the Ark has for ages been the symbol
of the passage from this world to the next. We attach to it a very similar
meaning, it symbolizes to that power or influence by which we are fitted for
and raised a higher state of existence in the life that is to come. (12)
The anchor does not seem to
have belonged to ancient symbolism. Paul appears first to have employed it as
an emblem of hope of immortality and bliss after this life (Heb. i, 19.) Kip,
in his Catacombs of Rome, says that the primitive Christians looked upon life
as a stormy voyage and that of their safe safe arrival in port the anchor was
a symbol. Mrs. Jameson says that the anchor is the Christian symbol of
immovable firmness, hope and patience. Though apparently of Christian origin
as a symbol, there is nothing narrow or sectarian in its significance, and it
may with equal propriety be employed by Jew and Gentile, as well as by all
others who share in the belief of a peaceful place of abode hereafter for
those who have made a proper use of this life. (13)
In the symbol of the Anchor
and Ark we, therefore, see gain pressed upon our attention the doctrines of
Deity, the Mediator, regeneration, resurrection and immortartality.
THE FORTY-SEVENTH PROBLEM OF
The Forty-Seventh Problem of
Euclid is the earliest Masonic symbol we have on record; it appears as the
frontispiece to Anderson's "Book of Constitutions," published at London in
1723, accompanied by the word "Eureka" in Greek characters. It will be
understood that prior to this date only one book on Freemasonry had been
printed, and not till three-quarters of a century later did our Monitors
contain illustrations of the emblems and symbols. So it happens that the
Forty-Seventh Problem is absolutely, so far as is known, the earliest
illustration of Masonic symbol on record.
In the text of the same book
it is declared to be "if duly observed, the foundation of all Masonry, sacred,
civil and military," (p. 23) and in the second edition of this work (1738), he
speaks of it as that "amazing proposition which is the foundation of all
Masonry, of whatever materials or dimensions" (p. 26). This figure is known by
a variety of names. The Theorem of Pythagoras, the Theorem of the Bride, and
the Theorem of the Three Squares. It was also known as the Gnomon, the Greek
word for knowledge, and Plato in his Commonwealth, denominates it the "Nuptial
Figure." To our fathers in their school days, it was an object of dread, as
the "Pons Assinorum," or the Bridge of Asses.
The remarkable properties of
the right-angled triangle are well known to those who have studied geometry.
Astronomers also are acquainted with its value; with it they measure the
universe. Its usefulness is understood by architects and builders. Even those
mechanics who are so ignorant that they do not know that a figure whose three
sides are to each other as 3, 4 and 5 is a right-angled triangle, yet are
aware of its convenience in making corners of a building perfectly square.
When they measure three feet along one wall and four feet along the other, if
five feet will exactly reach across, they know that the corner is square.
These things were well understood by ancient and medieval operative Masons,
and they constituted a part of their trade secrets.
But it is equally certain
that to this beautiful triangle they ascribed moral and philosophical (not to
say religions) meanings which are now little understood by us.
Of this figure Brother G. W.
Speth says "it is certain that, while our medieval brethren may have been
familiar with its symbolical meaning, we are not." (14) We are merely told in
our monitors that "it teaches Masons to be general lovers of the arts and
sciences." Perhaps this is true, but we are given no hint as to why or how it
does so. The deeper meanings of this symbol are wholly lost except to those
who have made it a special study. Much of it I believe is lost beyond the hope
It is a curious fact, the
psychological reason for which is not known, that dimensions increasing by
half (e.g. a rectangle 20x30, a solid 20x30x45), and the ratios of the base,
perpendicular and hypothenuse of a right-angled triangle whose sides are as 3,
4, 5, are very pleasing to the eye. The equilateral triangle in ways not now
fully understood seems also to enter into the element of proportion in
Odd as it may appear that
geometrical figures such as points, lines, superficies and solids, angles,
triangles, squares and circles should be invested with such meaning, yet the
fact is undoubted. The ancient moral philosophers attached what appears to us
an inordinate importance to geometry and geometrical figures.
Plato, the greatest of
philosophers, wrote 400 years before Christ on the porch of his academy, "Let
no one who is ignorant of geometry enter my doors." He taught that God was
"always geometrizing," and that "geometry rightly treated is the knowledge of
the Eternal." (15) At his time, geometry was the only exact science
(arithmetic being not yet invented); hence, quite naturally a knowledge of
this science was deemed indispensable to one in search of philosophical truth.
To Pythagoras, all the ancient writers give credit for first having raised
geometry to the rank of a science, and Proclus tells us that he "regarded its
principles in a purely abstract manner and investigated his theorems from the
immaterial and intellectual point of viewed." (16)
In short, "from the earliest
times, the knowledge of geometry was looked upon not only as the foundation of
all knowledge but even by the Greek philosophers as the very essence of their
religion, the knowledge of God." (17)
Numerous echoes of this
ancient veneration for geometry are preserved in Freemasonry, thus affording
further evidence of its great age. But of all geometrical figures the
right-angled triangle, or set-square, was most revered by the ancients. It has
from extremely remote ages and among extremely remote peoples borne profound
Confucius, the great Chinese
teacher, tells us (481 B. C.) that not till he was seventy-five years old
"could he venture to follow the inclination of his heart without fear of
transgressing the limits of the square." (18)
In a Chinese book written
between 500 B.C. and 300 B.C., called "The Great Learning" we are told that a
man should not do unto another what he would not should be done to himself;
"and this," it is there said, "is called the principle of acting upon the
It is, to say the least, a
strange coincidence that the Greek word for square, "gnomon," also means
knowledge and that the initial of this word, the Greek letter gamma is a
perfect setsquare. As said by Brother Sidney T. Klein, a distinguished Mason
and architect of England, to the ancients "geometry was the foundation of
knowledge and gnomon was the knowledge of the square." (20)
In the symbolical writings of
the Egyptians thousands of years ago, the square or right-angled triangle was
the standard and symbol of perfection; it was also the symbol of life. (21)
The ancients taught a very
peculiar philosophy. According to their ideas Nature was tripartite,
masculine, feminine, and offspring. This conception was applied in an endless
variety of ways The sun was regarded as masculine or active; the moon as
feminine or passive and Mercury as the offspring. So the ancient Egyptian
Trinity consisted of Osiris the father, Isis the mother, and Her-ra, or Horus,
the son. To represent this conception of Deity they employed a right-angled
triangle whose sides were in the proportion of 3, 4 and 5, wherein the
shortest side, 3, represented Osiris, 4 represented Isis, and 5, the resulting
hypothenuse, represented Her-ra, the son, or the result of the union of the
male and the female. This figure, therefore, became an emblem of life.
But as it also represented
Nature, and as they were wise enough to see that Nature uninterferred with was
perfect, this figure became the recognized symbol of perfection.
This implement so useful
among operative Masons in testing the perfection of the work was, therefore,
appropriately adopted by them as symbolical of that perfection which should
mark the temple of human character. This symbolical square is the instrument
by which all mental, moral and religious conduct is tested.
THE HOUR GLASS
Rev. A. F. A. Woodford, a
distinguished Masonic scholar of England, expressed the opinion that the Hour
Glass is not, strictly speaking, a Masonic symbol. This is probably based upon
the fact that evidence is wanting of its ancient employment as a symbol. The
antiquity of its use as a measure of time is, however, undoubted, and it is a
most fit emblem of the flight of time and of the wasting away of our lives. If
it is a recent acquisition to our ritual, we will not quarrel with the monitor
maker who introduced it. (22)
In ancient symbolism, the
scythe was one of the attributes of Saturn because he was reputed to have
taught men agriculture. But Saturn was also the god of Time, and, as by
another ancient myth human life was said to be a brittle thread spun by the
three Fates, it is natural that this peaceful implement of agriculture should
become the symbol of the power that severs the slender thread and puts an end
to our existence.
To us the coffin is an
obvious emblem of death, but it has sometimes been claimed that it would not
be so to the Jews, who anciently buried their dead in shrouds and winding
sheets only. But in the Ancient Mysteries of those peoples surrounding the
Jews the candidate was placed in a coffin or chest as a symbolical
representation of death. This custom, as well as the use by Egyptians of the
coffin for burial, was undoubtedly well known to the Jews whether they
practiced it or not.
The ancient symbolism of the
coffin seems to have been intimately connected with that of the Ark. In fact
in Hebrew the word aron denoted both. But the subject is too recondite to be
entered upon further at this time. (24)
Some have questioned whether
those engaged in the operative art of building could comprehend such abstruse
symbolism as that I have herein attempted to outline. Whether they understood
it or not, it is certain that they, at least those of them engaged in temple
and church building, employed it. The important structures devoted to purposes
of worship, from the most ancient period through medieval to modern times,
abound in symbolism. It is doubtless true that many of these operative workmen
did not know the meanings of their own symbols, just as many speculative
Masons do not now know them. But we must bear in mind that operative Masonry
in ancient and medieval times did embrace classes that well may be supposed to
have understood them. They were in the closest association with the priestly
and monastic orders to whom we are indebted for most of the learning of the
ancients which has come down to us. Architecture and its kindred sciences were
until comparatively recent times the most honorable of all callings.
Brother Albert Pike claims
that "during the splendor of medieval operative Masonry the art of building
stood above all other arts, and made all others subservient to it; that it
commanded the services of the most brilliant intellects and of the greatest
It must be admitted that men
like these were capable of appreciating and preserving the most refined
symbolism. Brother Pike further declares that they "reveled in symbolism of
the most recondite kind; that geometry was the handmaid of symbolism; that it
may be said that symbolism is speculative geometry." (26)
Brother Gould has admitted
his belief that the Masons of the fourteenth century, or earlier, were capable
of understanding and did understand to a greater extent than ourselves the
meaning of a great part of the symbolism which has descended from ancient to
In conclusion, permit me to
say, that for every statement herein contained there is respectable Masonic
authority. It is not claimed, however, that on none of these questions is
there difference of opinion. Where this is the case, I have been compelled
simply to adopt that new which appeared to me most reasonable, and did not
have time always to state the different views and the reasons-for each. This
each student must do for himself. My expectation has not been to accomplish
more than to arouse in some, if not all, of you, a curiosity to learn more of
our beautiful and instructive symbolism.
(1) Yarker's Arcane Schools,
pp. 118, 119.
(2) Tyler Keystone, Oct. 5,
1909, p. 161.
(3) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum,
vol. 1, pp. 31, 61; vol. VIII, pp. 90, 105: Universal Masonic Library, vol. VI
(2), p. 62.
(4) Emulation, pp. 111, 112.
(5) Mackey's Symbolism, pp.
67, 190: Morals and Dogma, p. 88.
(6) Morals and Dogma, pp.
204, 261, 264, 266; 269, 268, 269, 270, 279, 281; Edersheim's Life of Jesus,
pp. 46, 66: Mackey's Symbolism, pp. 176, 197, 216, 224, 226, 232, 280, 298,
(7) Morals and Dogma, pp. 17
80 378, 887.
(8) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum
vol. I, p. 67; vol. IV, p. 48: vol. VI, pp. 9. 14: Mackey's Encyclopedia, pp.
6, 8, 9: Mackey's Lexicon of Freemasonry, D. 16 Masonic Magazine, vol. I, p.
126; Morals and
Dogma, p. 82; Kenning, p. 4;
Tyler Keystone, Aug. 20, 1908, p. 78:
Universal Masonic Library,
vol. X, p. 83
(9) Lodge of Research
"Masonic Reprints," No, 1, p. 42: Morals and Dogma, pp. 106, 269.
(10) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum,
vol. IV, p. 43; Kenning, p. 18; Mackey's Encyclopedia, pp. 9, 67: Mackey's
Lexicon of Freemasonry, p. 29.
(11) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum,
vol. II, p 24.
(12) Idem, vol. I, p. 31
Mackey's Encyclopedia, p. 64 Mackey's Lexicon of Freemasonry, D. 46, Universal
Masonic Library, vol. VIII, p. 7, vol. X, p. 64.
(13) Mackey's Encyclopedia,
(14) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum,
vol. III, p. 27.
(15) Idem, vol. X, D. 83.
(17) Idem p. 91.
(18) Idem vol. XIV, D. 30.
(19) Idem, p. 31.
(20) Idem, vol. X, pp. 84,
(21) Idem, p. 93.
(22) Kenning, p. 318;
Mackey's Encyclopedia, p. 700.
(23) Mackey's Encyclopedia,
(24) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum,
vol. 1, p. 81, vol. III, pp. 59, 40 Mackey's Encyclopedia, p. 64 Mackey's
Lexicon of Freemasonry, pp. 93, 641.
(25) Ars Quatuor Coronatorum,
vol. III, D. 16.
(26) Idem, p. 16.
FREEMASONRY AND IMMORTALITY
BY BRO. JOSEPH BARNETT,
CONCERNING the Immortality of
the Soul, Freemasonry offers no argument. It states the principle as an
unquestioned integral part of the Institution. The hope that life does not end
with the physical body, but continues through a boundless future, has through
past ages been an inspiration to brightness of life, patience, perseverance
and process. As a life force it has throbbed through the inertia of savage
existence and quickened man to those extraordinary efforts that produced
civilization. A shining pillar of cloud by day, of fire by night, the beacon
of humanity is Immortality.
Long before the written Word
of Revelation, men had seen its prototype in the forces of nature. Eternal
life was written on the midnight skies in the constancy of the constellations,
on the gracious face of earth in recurring forms of beauty in the springtime,
and on the azure deeps of heaven in the daily miracle of the morning sun. And
with the dream of eternity quite naturally came to be associated the idea of a
The Resurrection of the Body
is a doctrine dear to human hearts. Through the influence of heredity, it has
become an instinctive expectation. Its prototypes still appeal to us,
religious sects teach it, literature has engraven it on its pages, love and
hope have enshrined it, and human beings probably have a more distinct vision
of its meaning than of any strictly spiritual idea.
In ancient times, hierarchies
magnified its importance till it became the most impressive element of
religious belief. It was taught of old that every soul was to pass through
purgatorial processes in the under world; and that the soul found worthy would
eventually return to earth, perfected, to re-inhabit the old physical body,
and thereafter live under more favorable conditions than in the former life.
In order that the returning spirit might have as little trouble as possible in
finding and occupying the body, the dead were embalmed and placed in vaults as
carefully prepared as homes. This curious idea of the outcome of immortality
has its present day counterpart in hierarchical opposition to cremation, and
in priestly exercising and blessing of burial places of the faithful.
Freemasonry does not discuss re-incarnation of the immortal spirit, except
mentioning it as one of Mackey's Landmarks. What Freemasonry asserts is that
the spirit is immortal.
It was also taught of old
that, if, after repeated opportunities, a soul was not amenable to purgatorial
improvement, it was at last annihilated by a flaming ray on the steps of the
underworld. Modern priestcraft has built up a doctrinal system of punishments
in the spirit world that, to be effective, would logically require a physical
body. Burning brimstone and immortal spirits are not co-ordinates. Freemasonry
does not speculate on the question. It teaches that men should be good and
true, not through fear, but because their claim of Divine relationship makes
uprightness of life a natural attitude.
While men may generally allow
that the progress made in our lifetime bears some relation to our progress in
eternity, priestcraft has urged that it bears an exceptional and
disproportionate relation. In ancient Egypt, this idea was so successfully
exploited by the priesthood that almost every act in the daily life of the
people had its rigid rules established and was constantly scrutinized by the
temple authorities. And national life and thought became so crystallized into
unchanging, and eventually meaningless, habits and customs, that in the end it
checked progress and helped to ruin the nation. In modern times, we see its
imitation in the lingering imposition of the Confessional, Friday fasting, and
similar petty superstitions. Freemasonry teaches that the hope of immortality
should free man from superstition, and encourage him of his own free will and
accord so to shape his life that it shall be fitted to be a living stone in
the Temple of Life.
Ancient religious systems
classed kings with the immortal gods, whose mouthpieces and privileged
representatives the priesthood claimed to be. They divided the people into
classes, and established a caste system with the priesthood at the head.
Today, we see the reflection of this in the Divine Right of kings and the
still more audacious pretensions of pontiffs. Freemasonry classes kings,
priests and princes with all other men; it strips away the artificial
attributes of power, wealth and caste, and declares all men equal because they
are all children of the Supreme Father. This has an interesting parallel in
the claim of equal civil rights in our Declaration of Independence. Both
Freemasonry and our Republic are a constant protest against autocracy.
Priestcraft has declared some
of the great and good of the past to be saints, beings with direct and special
relations to humanity, and with special influence in Heaven. Freemasonry
recognizes the debt we owe to men of the past, men who lived in less favorable
times than ours, but still sought the light of knowledge, strove valiantly for
progress, and endeavored in their lives to justify their claim of Divine
relationship. The aspiring spirit in men today recognizes a similar fervency
in men of the past, and holds all such in esteem, not after the superstitious
manner of priestcraft, but only in so far as the memory of their example may
influence us also to be faithful, just and true.
On the doctrine of the
Immortality of the Soul, Freemasonry represents: not a threat, but a promise;
not fears, but hopes; not autocracy, but liberty.
FOR THE MONTHLY LODGE MEETING
BULLETIN --- No. 22 DEVOTED TO ORGANIZED MASONIC STUDY Edited by Bro. H. L.
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 papers by Brother Haywood.
The Course is divided into
five principal divisions which are in turn subdivided, as is shown below:
Division I. Ceremonial
Masonry. A. The Work of a Lodge. B. The Lodge and the Candidate. C. First
Steps. D. Second Steps. E. Third Steps.
Division II. Symbolical
Masonry. A. Clothing. B. Working Tools. C. Furniture. D. Architecture. E.
Geometry. F. Signs. G. Words. H. Grips.
Division III. Philosophical
Masonry. A. Foundations. B. Virtues. C. Ethics. D. Religious Aspect. E.
The Quest. F. Mysticism. G. The Secret Doctrine.
Division IV. Legislative
Masonry. A. The Grand Lodge. 1. Ancient Constitutions. 2. Codes of Law. 3.
Grand Lodge Practices. 4. Relationship to Constituent Lodges. 5. Official
Duties and Prerogatives. B. The Constituent Lodge. 1. Organization. 2.
Qualifications of Candidates. 3. Initiation, Passing and Raising. 4.
Visitation. 5. Change of Membership.
Division V. Historical
A. The Mysteries--Earliest
Masonic Light. B. Studies of Rites--Masonry in the Making. C. Contributions
to Lodge Characteristics. D. National Masonry. E. Parallel Peculiarities in
Lodge Study. F. Feminine Masonry. G. Masonic Alphabets. H. Historical
Manuscripts of the Craft. I. Biographical Masonry. J. Philological
Masonry--Study of Significant Words.
THE MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS
Each month we are presenting
a paper written by Brother Haywood, 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. On page two, preceding each
installment, will be given a list 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
Haywood 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 Committee 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
Immediately preceding each of
Brother Haywood'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 additions.
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 Haywood's
PROGRAM FOR STUDY MEETINGS
1. Reading of the first
section of Brother Haywood'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 Haywood'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.
MAKE THE "QUESTION BOX" THE
FEATURE OF YOUR MEETINGS
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.
QUESTIONS ON "THE APRON."
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 a few 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 the period of time devoted to the study meeting. 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 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 open.
I Why has the apron been
interpreted so variously? Give a list of the interpretations you have heard.
Why is it dangerous to seek for symbolisms in the present shape and size of
the apron? How long has it had its present shape and size? If the shape and
size has changed from time to time is it safe to build any symbolism thereon?
II Can you give any examples
of non-Masonic use of the apron not mentioned in the text? Why, do you
suppose, has the apron been so widely used ? Why did the Operative Mason wear
an apron? What do you imagine its material and size to have been ? If it was
once of leather, why ? Why was it changed to its present material ? Why is the
apron we usually wear in lodge of material different from that given to us
during initiation ? What led Speculative Masons to change its material and
shape? Give usual dimensions of aprons as worn in American lodges. Why are
they sometimes varied for different degrees and offices ?
III What is a badge? What is
the badge of a Mason? What is the difference between a badge and an emblem ? A
symbol? Has the Masonic use of the apron done anything to wear down the old
prejudice against manual labor? Why were men ever so prejudiced? How long has
it been since the prejudice began to break down? What were the causes ? What
are the labors of a Mason ? Are they of any great value to society ?
IV In what way is the apron
as now used the symbol of sacrifice and innocence? Why have men so frequently
thought of white as a symbol of innocence? Give examples of the early use of
the color as such symbol. What is the meaning of innocence? How can a grown
man be innocent? What is the Masonic meaning of innocence?
V What do you think of
Brothel Crowe's argument as given in the text? Why is the lamb the symbol of
sacrifice? Can you give examples from the Bible of such a meaning ? What is
sacrifice? Why is sacrifice necessary? What is a Mason's sacrifice ?
What was the Golden Fleece?
The Roman Eagle? Star and Garter ? Why is the apron more ancient and honorable
than these ? How would it affect human society if all men accepted the Masonic
meaning of toil, innocence and sacrifice?
Mackey's Encyclopedia: Apron,
THE BUILDER: Vol. I--The
Apron (poem) p. 222; Meaning of, and Presentation of the Apron, p. 236.
Vol. II--The Master's Apron,
(poem) p. 4; Symbolism of the Apron, (poem) p. 360; The Lambskin or White
Leather Apron, (poem) p. 215.
Vol. III--On Presenting the
Lambskin Apron, (poem) p. 8; The White Leather Apron, (poem) p. 19; The Apron,
74; The Apron Lecture, (poem) p. 128; The Apron, True Clothing of a Mason,
Dec. C. C. B. p. 4.
Vol. IV--Symbolism of the
Three Degrees--The Apron, p. 239; Symbolism in the Apron, this issue.
FIRST STEPS BY BRO. H.L.
PART X - THE APRON
HAVING been privileged to
read a great deal of Masonic literature we may say that on no other one symbol
has so much nonsense been written. It has been made to mean a thousand and one
things, from the fig leaf worn by Adam and Eve to the last mathematical theory
of the Fourth Dimension; and there is little to cause wonder that the
intelligent have been scandalized and common men bewildered. If an
interpretation can be made that steers a safe course between the folly of the
learned and the fanaticism of the ignorant it will have some value, whatever
may be said of its own intrinsic worth. Warned by the many who have fallen
into the pit of unreason we shall be wise to walk warily and theorize
Speaking generally, and
without the slightest hint of disrespect of our fellow workers in this field,
it may be said that a majority of the wildest theories have been based on the
shape of the Apron, a thing of comparatively recent origin and due to a mere
historical accident. The body of it, as now worn, is approximately square in
shape and thus has suggested the symbolism of the square, the right-angle and
the cube, and all arising therefrom; its flap is triangular and this has
suggested the symbolism of the triangle, the Fortyseventh Proposition, and the
pyramid; the descent of the flap over the body of the Apron has also given
rise to reasonings equally ingenious. By this method of interpretation men
have read into it all manner of things, the mythology of the Mysteries, the
metaphysics of India, the dream-walking of the Kabala, and the Occultism of
Magic. Meanwhile it has been forgotten that the Apron is a Masonic symbol and
that we are to find out what it is intended to mean rather than what it may,
under the stress of our lust for fancifulness, be made to mean. When the
Ritual is consulted, as it always deserves to be, we find that it treats the
Apron (1) as an inheritance from the past, (2) as the Badge of a Mason, (3) as
the emblem of innocence and sacrifice.
1. The Apron is an
inheritance from the past.
For one purpose or another,
and in some form, the Apron has been used for three or four thousand years. In
at least one of the Ancient Mysteries, that of Mithras, the candidate was
invested with a white Apron. So also was the initiate of the Essenes, who
received it during the first year of his membership in that order, and it is
significant that many of the statues of Greek and Egyptian gods were so
ornated, as may still be seen. Chinese secret societies, in many cases, also
used it, and the Persians, at one-time, employed it as their national banner.
Jewish prophets often wore Aprons, as did the early Christian candidates for
baptism, and as ecclesiastical dignitaries of the present day still do. The
same custom is found even among savages, for, as Brother J. G. Gibson has
remarked, "wherever the religious sentiment remains-- even among the savage
nations of the earth--there has been noticed the desire of the natives to wear
a girdle or Apron of some kind."
From all this, however, we
must not infer that our Masonic Apron has come to us from such sources,
though, for all we know, the early builder may have been influenced by those
ancient and universal customs. The fact seems to be that the Operative Masons
used the Apron only for the practical purpose of protecting the clothing, as
there was need in labor so rough. It was nothing more than one item of the
workman's necessary equipment as is shown by Brother W. H. Rylands, who found
an Indenture of 1685 in which a Master contracted to supply his Apprentice
with "sufficient wholesome and competent meate, drink, lodging and Aprons."
II Because the Apron was so
conspicuous a portion of the Operative Mason's costume, and so persistent a
portion of his equipment, it was inevitable that Speculatives should have
continued its use for symbolical purposes. The earliest known representatives
of these, we are informed by Brother J. F. Crowe, who was one of the first of
our scholars to make a thorough and scientific investigation of the subject (A.Q.C.
vol. V, p. 29), "is an engraved portrait of Anthony Sayer. . . Only the upper
portion is visible in the picture, but the flap is raised, and the Apron looks
like a very long leathern skin. The next drawing is in the frontispiece to the
Book of Constitutions, published in 1723, where a brother is represented as
bringing a number of Aprons and gloves into the Lodge, the former appearing of
considerable size and with long strings." In Hogarth's cartoon, "Night," drawn
in 1737, the two Masonic figures, Crowe points out in another connection (See
his "Things a Freemason Should Know") "have Aprons reaching to their ankles."
But other plates of the same period show Aprons reaching only to the knee,
thus marking the beginning of that process of shortening, and of general
decrease in size and change in shape, which finally gave us the Apron of the
present day; for since the garment no longer serves as a means of protection
it has been found wise to fashion it in a manner more convenient to wear, nor
is this inconsistent with its original Masonic significance. It is this fact,
as I have already suggested, that has made the present form of the Apron a
result of circumstances, and proves how groundless are interpretations founded
on its shape.
According to Blue Lodge
usages in the United States the Apron must be of unspotted lambskin, 14 to 16
inches in width, 12 to 14 inches in depth, with a flap descending from the top
some 3 or 4 inches. The Grand Lodge of England now specifies such an Apron as
this for the First Degree, but requires the Apron of the Second Degree to have
two sky-blue rosettes at the bottom, and that of the Third Degree to have in
addition to that a sky-blue lining and edging not more than two inches deep,
"and an additional rosette on the fall or flap, and silver tassels." Grand
officers are permitted to use other ornaments, gold embroidery, and, in some
cases, crimson edgings. All the evidence goes to show that these ornate Aprons
are of recent origin. The Apron should always be worn outside the coat.
2. The Badge of a Mason.
"The thick-tanned hide, girt
around him with throngs, wherein the Builder builds, and at evening sticks his
trowel," was so conspicuous a portion of the costume of the Operative Mason
that it became associated with him in the public mind, and thus gradually
evolved into his badge; for a badge is some mark voluntarily assumed as the
result of established custom whereby one's work, or station, or school of
opinion, may be signified.
Of what is the Mason's badge
a mark ? Surely its history permits but one answer to this--it is the mark of
honorable and conscientious labor, the labor that is devoted to creating, to
constructing rather than to destroying or demolishing. As such, the Mason's
Apron is itself a symbol of a profound change in the attitude of society
toward work, for the labor of hand and brain, once despised by the great of
the earth, is rapidly becoming the one badge of an honorable life. If men were
once proud to wear a sword, while leaving the tasks of life to slaves and
menials, if they once sought titles and coats of arms as emblems of
distinction, they are now, figuratively speaking, eager to wear the Apron, for
the Knight of the present day would rather save life than take it, and
prefers, a thousand times over, the glory of achievement to the glory of title
or name. Truly, the rank has become the guinea's stamp, and a man's a man for
a' that, especially if he be a man that can do; and the real modern king, as
Carlyle was always contending, is "the man who can."
If this is the message of the
Apron, none has a better right to wear it than a Mason, if he be a real member
of the Craft, for he is a knight of labor if ever there was one. Not all labor
deals with things. There is a labor of the mind, and of the spirit, more
arduous, often, and more difficult, than any labor of the hands. He who
dedicates himself to the cleaning of the Augean stables of the world, to the
clearing away of the rubbish that litters the paths of life, to the fashioning
of building stones in the confused quarries of mankind, is entitled, more than
any man, to wear the badge of toil!
3. An Emblem of Innocence and
When the Candidate is
invested with the garment he is told that it is an emblem of innocence. It is
doubtful if Operative Lodges ever used it for such a symbolic purpose, though
they may have done so in the Seventeenth Century, after Speculatives began to
be received in greater numbers. The evidence indicates that it was after the
Grand Lodge era, and in consequence of the rule that the Apron should be of
white lambskin, that Masons began to see in its color an emblem of innocence
and in its texture a suggestion of sacrifice.
In so doing they fell into
line with ancient practices for of old, white "has been esteemed an emblem of
innocence and purity." Among the Romans an accused person would sometimes put
on a garment of white to attest his innocence, white being, as Cicero phrased
it, "most acceptable to the gods." The candidate in the Mysteries and among
the Essenes were similarly invested, and it has the same meaning of purity and
innocence in the Bible which promises that though our sins be as scarlet they
shall be white as snow. In the early Christian church the young catechumen (or
convert) robed himself in white in token of his abandonment of the world and
his determination to lead a blameless life. But there is no need to multiply
instances for each of us feels by instinct that white is the natural symbol of
Now it happens that
"innocence" comes from a word meaning "to do no hurt" and this may well be
taken as its Masonic definition, for it is evident that no grown man can be
innocent in the sense that a child is, which really means an ignorance of
evil. The innocence of a Mason is his gentleness, his chivalrous determination
to do no moral evil to any person, man, or woman, or babe; his patient
forbearance of the crudeness and ignorance of men, his charitable forgiveness
of his brethren when they wilfully or unconsciously do him evil; his
dedication to a spiritual knighthood in behalf of the values and virtues of
humanity by which alone man rises above the brute, and the world is carried
forward on the upward way.
V It is in token of its
texture--lambskin--that we find in the Apron the further significance of
sacrifice, and this also, it seems, is a symbolism developed since 1700. It
has been generally believed until recently that the Operatives used only
leather Aprons, and this was doubtless the case in early days, but Crowe has
shown that many of the oldest Lodge records evidence a use of linen as well.
"In the old Lodge of Melrose," he writes, "dating back to the Seventeenth
Century, the Aprons have always been of linen, and the same rule obtained in
'Mary's Chapel' No. 1, Edinburgh, the oldest Lodge in the world; whilst
Brother James Smith, in his history of the old Dumfries Lodge, writes, 'on
inspecting the box of Lodge 53, there was only one Apron of kid or leather,
the rest being of linen!' As these Lodges are of greater antiquity than any in
England, I think a fair case is made out for linen, versus leather,
It can not be said, however,
that Brother Crowe has entirely made out his case, for other authorities
contend that the builders who necessarily handled rough stone and heavy
timbers must have needed a more substantial fabric than linen or cotton. But
in any event, the Fraternity has been using leather Aprons for these two
centuries, though cotton cloth is generally substituted for ordinary lodge
purposes, and it is in no sense far-fetched to see in the lambskin a hint of
that sacrifice of which the lamb has so long been an emblem.
But what do we mean by
sacrifice? To answer this fully would lead us far afield into ethics and
theology, but for our present purpose, we may say that the Mason's sacrifice
is the cheerful surrender of all that is in him which is un-Masonic. If he has
been too proud to meet others on the level he must yield up his meanness; if
he has been guilty of corrupting habits they must be abandoned, else his
wearing of the Apron be a fraud and a sham.
Carrying with it so rich a
freightage of symbolism the Apron may justly be considered "more ancient than
the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle, more honorable than the Star and Garter,"
for these badges were too often nothing more than devices of flattery and the
insignia of an empty name. The Golden Fleece was an Order of Knighthood
founded by Philip, Duke of Burgundy on the occasion of his marriage to the
Infanta Isabella of Portugal in 1429 or 1430. It used a Golden Ram for its
badge and the motto inscribed on its jewel was "wealth, not servile labor!"
The Romans of old bore an eagle on their banners to symbolize magnanimity,
fortitude, swiftness and courage. The Order of the Star originated in France
in 1350, being founded by John II in imitation of the Order of the Garter; of
the last named Order it is difficult to speak, as its origin is clothed in so
much obscurity that historians differ, but it was as essentially aristocratic
as any of the others. In every case, the emblem was a token of aristocratic
idleness and aloofness, the opposite of that symbolized by the Apron; and the
superiority of the latter over the former is too obvious for comment.
SYMBOLISM IN THE APRON
BY BRO. J. GEORGE GIBSON,
THE clothing of the Freemason
is not introduced for the purpose of impressing "profanes", since it is almost
entirely absent when the public is present. It is in the lodge functions alone
that its use is compulsory, and the wearing of each article of Masonic
clothing is but a memorial and a present signification of the Faith of a
Mason. It is not only interesting, but it is essential to the effective life
that the full significance of the apron should be realized by every Entered
Apprentice, and remembered by those who from degree to degree go forward and
upward to excellency and attainment.
For the institution of Modern
Freemasonry in England we look to the seventeenth century; but for its origin
and causation we may go back beyond Rosicrucianism and Essenism to the
practice of the ancients of every age of worshippers. And, however far we
travel we still find traces of the white lambskin apron as the clothing of
Masonic novices. There must always have been some special significance
connected with its use, and with the colour also, as well as in its use.
Indeed, it is upon these three lines of material, of colour, and of user, that
we must seek for light as to the full sense of its presentment to assembled
Attached to the idea of user
are suggestions both of labour and of religion. From the earliest age of
Noachidae there have been signs that labour and productive energy were, and
would ever remain, honoured by the highest distinction--because of their
operative values. The Jewish, Persian and Egyptian dignitaries wore aprons to
indicate their high rank. The royal standard of Persia, that land of fire
worshippers, was originally an apron. And in the Ancient Mysteries of the
Persian Mithras novices were clothed with white aprons, as also were others.
And today certain dignitaries of chul ches are found wearing the apron, though
of a sombre colour. In fact, Masonry appears through all ages to have been
incorporated with the particular religions of each nation, and was to that
body what religion is to theology.
Realizing that the builder is
the true King of Man, the clothing of the operative builder was adopted by the
speculative Freemason in the earliest age as the symbol of the priestly and
teaching class. Nothing could so signify ability as could the dress of a
workman, of a powerful operative of a builder of temples. And the consensus of
today's millions approve the ancient dictum of the Sacred Law. Work is that
which tells; and the clothing of a toiler is honourable above all other.
The colour of a Mason's apron
should be white. This is the colour of light, the color that reflects most
light, the clean colour which shows stains most plainly. It was the colour
worn by the Israelitish Levite, and by the later Essenes, by the Roman
sacrificing priests, and by the Druid votaries of the highest degrees. The
candidate for the Ancient Mysteries was clad in spotless white, and among
Christian churches the officiating clergyman chiefly wears white while engaged
in the sacred office.
White is the emblem of
purity: and the Apocalyptic Seer, seeking to describe a Divine Justice as
absolutely pure, tells us of the "great white throne of God", and of the
purified as wearing robes of pure white. Is this not manifestly the reason why
the Masonic novice is clothed with a pure white apron ? Some Christian
ministers clothe the candidates for baptism in white. Freemasonry receives her
children to the white garb of purity. The Entered Apprentice has turned his
back upon the "profane" world; and, when he passes the Tyler he is Masonically
clad in purity and open to the impressions of Masonic life.
But, pure as the white light
is, it is a composed colour. It contains all the colours and is the perfected
blend of coloured lights. The Druid perhaps saw this when he made the last
degree the white degree; and perhaps also the Roman priest knew this when in
the supreme duty of his office he wore white in which to sacrifice. Certainly
the Freemason acts wisely when he retains the white apron for the Entered
Apprentice, since whatever that novice may become is already and only assured
in the purity of his soul and desire as he takes the first Masonic steps.
Then the Masonic apron must
be of simple lambskin. Not of cloth of gold, nor of rich silk, nor of a
splendid texture of any kind. the lamb is the emblem of innocence, and of
innocence sacrificed. All progress involves sacrifice and blood. If man would
rise he must bleed somehow, or someone must. Primeval man's very raiment was
the skin of slaughtered animals. Advance in civilization involves a victim;
and the making of a Mason means a recognition of the cost of light and labour.
In the highest degrees there are changes in form or in ornament. Perhaps the
lambskin may be almost hidden under the red and blue of the Royal Arch, or by
the jewels of rank and office: but the lambskin is there all the time, and a
Masonic apron can be made properly of no other material. He who wears this is
made conscious that as Cain built Enoch out of his loss and pain, so all
Masons are compelled to prepare for the time when hard things are to be done,
sore things to be endured, and fortitude to be cultivated. Masonry is not a
mummery but a life; and the clothing of a Mason is that fit for his labour and
suggestive of his duty.
And, lastly, the use of the
lambskin apron symbolizes the great object of Freemasonry, the building of a
Human Temple to the Great Architect of Heaven and earth. True, the blue strip
of the craft colour tells the virtue of Masonic brotherhood and trust, as well
as the love which is over all and in all. But the ordinary white lambskin
apron is much more eloquent could we realize all that it means.
I see a massive pile of
Masonry before me in the ages long gone past. There are turban and bare heads,
men of ranks and of all nations, fiery drabs and dark browed Gibeonites,
active Tyrians and heavy limbed fellaheen from the banks of the river of
Egypt. Some are but unskilled labourers; but many thousands wear the Mason's
lambskin apron, and carry the tools of their calling. They are come from all
lands to build a House for Jehovah, Solomon's God: and from the call to labour
to the call off to refreshment they are hard at work. One is reducing the
mighty blocks to shape, another is carefully squaring and smoothing the
surface and making the even bed, another is carving thefacade stones in chaste
designs and obeying each command conveyed in the plans of the designers.
The scene changes. A weeping
crowd of returned exiles cast off their garments and clear the level of the
ancient ruins. These men also wear the apron of white ambskin. They have
sacrificed and suffered, and suffer now. The same process and order and
persistence. Again in scattered bands men gather upon the site of some
Monastely, some fortress, some Cathedral, some Palace of Justice. There is the
same white lambskin apron. There is the same obedience to the Master and there
is the same loyalty to the Volume of the Sacred Law. The lambskin apron is the
symbol of labour, of sacrifice, of construction, of obedience to design, of
service to one's brothers, and of educative process ever going on.
We do not today stand
alongside the rude mason's bench and with gavel and chisel dress huge blocks
of hardest stone. But we stand before a delicately adjusted masterpiece which
we must finish, or fail in our lives. The world is our workshop; the tools of
a mason are in our hands, and the apron is both speculative and operative in
suggestion. We are called to cultivate character, to deepen human sympathy, to
draw closer the chords of brotherly love, and to prepare ourselves by
discipline for each post as the great Grand Master shall appoint us. We have
before us imperfect Human Society which must be saved by progress, and
established by the inspiration of a Humanity which includes, but is greater
than patriotism. The reminder of the Mason's apron ought to inspire us to a
nobler consecration and a more human interest and service. We must wear it, in
lodge, until we are called of labour, and the hour of our Eternal Rest is
come, and the voice of the Great Warden calls us home.
THE HIDDEN TRUTHS OF MASONRY
The work is so full of
cunningly hidden suggestions of immortal truths that one is almost inclined at
times to claim for it inspiration. It is becoming generally acknowledged among
believers in a Deity that all life is a manifestation--or perhaps it had
better be called an outpouring--of the presence and spirit of God. That all
life owes its origin to Him, and at extinction, returns-- as the waters return
from the sea--to its original source. Moses, or the original author of the
account of the creation, did not deal in metaphor when he said "the Lord God
formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath
of life, and man became a living soul." What is more expressive of life than
"breath"; or of death than its absence ?
Thus Masonry declares: "Then
shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the spirit shall return unto
God who gave it." It draws a striking illustration from the acacia which
reminds us of that immortal principle which survives the grave and bears the
nearest affinity to that Supreme Intelligence which permeates all animate
nature and which can never die.
If our ears are only attuned
to these melodies they sound at every stroke of the gavel and every opening
and closing of the lodge. "Familiarity doth breed contempt." We should rather
cultivate an ear to hear like those employed in vast machine shops, who can
recognize the fall of a pin, because the ear recognizes the pitch of the
--Rob Morris Bulletin.
BY BRO. DR. G. ALFRED
LAWRENCE, NEW YORK
In the British Colonial
Possessions in America Military Lodges took an important part in the diffusion
and propagation of Masonry.
Captain Alexander (Fourth
Lord Colville) of the British Navy, initiated by Lord Cornwallis in 1749 at
Halifax, was elected in the following year Master of the "2nd Lodge at Boston"
and which he represented at every meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge until
his appointment as Deputy Grand Master of North America in 1752. He was
present at the capture of Louisburg in 1758, served in the expedition against
Quebec in 1759 and in command of the fleet at the recapture of Newfoundland in
1762, after which he was promoted to Rear-Admiral of the White.
At Louisburg the 1st, 15th,
17th, 22nd, 28th, 35th, 40th, 45th, 7th, 48th and 58th Foot, two battalions of
60th (Royal Amerans) and Fraser's Highlanders (78th) were engaged and six of
these were known to have had lodges attached to them--the 1st, 15th, 17th,
35th, 47th and 48th. This does not mean that the other Regiments did not also
have lodges in 1758 as it was not uncommon for lodges to exist in Regiments
without being included in the "official lists." It is known that by the
commencement of the Revolutionary War all thirteen of the above Regiments had
lodges attached to them--the 28th having received an Irish warrant in 1734,
but lapsed in 1758 as a new lodge under a Provisional Charter was formed in
the Regiment by Col. Richard Gridley in this year (1758); the 40th received a
"constitution" in 1759; the 78th in 1760; the 60th in 1764; the 45th in 1766;
and both the 22nd and 58th in 1769.
There were at least six
registered lodges accompanying the British land forces in the expedition
against Quebec (and probably others not on the official lists) as it was a
common practice to "congregate all Free and Accepted Masons" on such occasions
and "forming them into one or more lodges" in the Masonic jurisdiction of
Military Lodges were thus
known to have been established at Lake George and Crown Point in addition to
Louisburg and in 1759 after the capitulation of Quebec the eight or nine
"warranted" lodges of the Regiments assembled and elected an acting Grand
Master. The following year (1760) on St. John's Day, June 24th, Col. Sir Simon
Fraser of the 78th Foot was elected to preside over the Canadian lodges. It is
interesting to note that Thomas Dunckerley, gunner of the Vanguard, through
whom a lodge was established on board the Vanguard, on his official warrant
from the Grand Lodge of England to inspect into the state of the Craft
wherever he might be "honoured them with his approbation of their conduct and
installed Bro. Fraser in his high office." Such roving commissions to
seafaring brethren to exercise the functions of a Provincial Grand Master,
when no other Provincial covers the territory, had also been given before and
after this period. Brother Dunckerly was present at both the reduction of
Louisburg and the capitulation of Quebec and later on, returning to Quebec
with other vessels prevented the retaking of this latter city. He had the
Masonic distinction of establishing the first "Sea Lodge" as above mentioned
on the Vanguard and when he was later transferred to the Prince he established
a second "Sea Lodge" (on board this latter vessel) on May 22nd, 1762. This
lodge was designated "No. 279," and upon Dunckerly's later transfer to the
Gaudeloupe he evidently transferred No. 279 to the same as it is recorded that
the latter was "held on board the Guadeloupe." Later these sea lodges were
established by Dunckerly on land-- that of the Vanguard becoming the "London
No. 108" and that on the Prince and later the Guadelope becoming the "Royal
Somerset House and Inverness No. 4." A third Sea lodge was established in 1768
"On Board His Majesty's Ship Canceaux at Quebec" and struck off the roll in
1792 for not having paid for its constitution or returned any list of members.
No other Sea lodges were constituted by the Grand Lodge of England but a
petition was received for "Naval Kilwinning" to be held on board H.M. Ship
Ardent from Lieutenant Crawford and other naval officers in 1810. The Grand
Lodge of Scotland, however, after consulting with sister jurisdictions
"notwithstanding the respectable station of the applicants felt itself
constrained to refuse."
Referring back to the
situation at Quebec, the first Military Lodge coming into existence there was
"St. Andrews," established October 20th, 1760, in the 78th Highlanders by the
above mentioned Sir Simon Fraser, Colonel of the Regiment and Provisional
Grand Master. Other lodges were soon organized in addition to the various
sojourning lodges already in existence among the troops from the British
Isles--the "Ancients" becoming stronger as time passed but the "Moderns" held
their own among the Colonies that later became the United States. This
struggle for successful supremacy of the "Ancients" was largely due to Army
Lodges established under their jurisdiction, especially at Boston in 1768 and
New York in 1781-2 (the British having occupied the latter city in 1776 and
introduced "Ancient" Masonry into the State.)
Col. Richard Gridley, who
distinguished himself at both the siege of Louisburg and Quebec, later planned
the work for the British and was wounded at the Battle of Bunker Hill and here
also the celebrated Lord Rawdon (afterwards Second Earl of Moira) fought
against the American forces and in which engagement Major General Joseph
Warren was killed. All three of these soldiers were prominent and brilliant
Masons. For a long time it was believed that Gen. George Washington was made a
Mason in the "Lodge of Social and Military Virtues" in the 46th Foot (holding
warrant No. 277 from the Grand Lodge of Ireland granted in 1752) as the Bible
is preserved in the officer's mess with this inscription "On this Sacred
Volume Washington received a degree of Masonry." It was twice taken by the
enemy and both times returned to the regiment" "with all the honors of war."
The first instance was when their Masonic chest fell into the hands of the
Americans and Washington ordered a guard of honor to return the same with
other articles of value belonging to the 46th Foot. Later at Dominica this
same 46th Foot was attacked by a French force and again lost its Masonic chest
and the latter was taken on board their fleet without knowledge of its
contents. Three years later the French government at the earnest request of
the officers who had commanded the expedition returned the chest with several
complimentary presents. In 1816 this same lodge was at work in the same
Regiment at Sydney, Australia, and in 1817 on the coast of Coromandel, India,
and at the latter place obtained a local charter, No. 7. After 1822 when
marching from Cannanore to Hyderabad various members died and others invalided
and the lodge chest forgotten. It was accidentally rediscovered in 1829 by
Capt. Lacey, a Mason, who brought the chest back to England in 1833. Its Irish
warrant was renewed in 1834 at which time there was but one member who had
originally been connected with the lodge. In 1847 its Regimental or Travelling
warrant was returned to the Grand Lodge of Ireland. Two days later a new
warrant of a Military, though stationary character, with the same number was
issued making it a permanent Garrison lodge situated at Montreal. In 1855 this
No. 227 joined the Grand Lodge of Canada receiving a civil warrant and two
years later the name was changed to "Lodge of Antiquity," "to take precedence
of all numbered lodges." In 1869 a Grand Lodge was established for the
Province of Quebec and "Antiquity" was the first lodge placed on its roll and
the two next on the list were "Albion" and "St. John's" formerly in the Royal
Artillery. This "Lodge of Antiquity" is now No. 1, Quebec, and observes with
great ceremony its "Military Night" at which large numbers of officers and
volunteers appear in uniform.
Another instance of Military
Masonic courtesy was that in which the Constitution of "Unity Lodge No. 18" in
the 17th British Regiment fell into the hands of the Americans and on July
23rd, 1779, it was returned accompanied by a very courteous and fraternal note
from Gen. Samuel H. Parsons. This lodge was originally chartered by the Grand
Lodge of Scotland as No. 168 in 1771, landed at Boston the same year and
removed to Philadelphia in 1777. While here (although still on the Scottish
roll and remaining on same until 1816) it accepted a warrant from the
Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania under the "Ancients" with local number
"18." This same Gen. Parsons founded and was treasurer of "American Union" a
Military Lodge in the American forces during the Revolutionary War and
warranted by Col. (afterwards General) Richard Gridley, Deputy Provincial
Grand Master of Massachusetts under the "Moderns." In April 1776 the members
of Unity Lodge No. 18 were on duty with their Regiment in New York State and
an application for confirmation of their warrant was denied. A new one,
however, was granted with title "Military Union No. 1." This long-continued
rivalry between "Ancients" and "Moderns" practically disappeared as a result
of the influence of Military Lodges during the Revolutionary War. Many of
these Regimental lodges became stationary lodges in both the United States and
Canada. An instance of this is a still existing lodge, "Zion No. 1,"
originally constituted in the 60th Foot in 1764 when this Regiment was
stationed at Detroit, Mich., by the "Moderns." In 1794 at the instance of
another Army lodge (Now "Albion, No. 2") at Quebec it went over to the
"Ancients" becoming "Zion Lodge No. 10" on the Provincial roll of Lower
Canada. In 1806 the Quebec warrant was surrendered and a new one, No. 62,
obtained from the Grand Lodge of New York. In 1819 it became No. 3 and in 1826
united in the formation of the Grand Lodge of Michigan under which Grand Body
this old "Traveling Lodge" now holds first place under the original title
"Zion No. 1."
In the prolonged struggle
between Great Britain and France from 1793 to 1815 there was much activity in
the various Military Lodges in the many Regiments engaged on both sides. Not
infrequently Regiments lost their warrants or paraphernalia and in some
instances duplicate warrants were issued as in the case of Irish warrant No.
441 in the 38th Foot in August 1795 owing to the original having been taken by
the French. Both the warrant (granted in September 1795 by the Grand Lodge of
Ireland) and Masonic chest of No. 570 of the 5th Dragoons were also captured
by the French and a duplicate warrant was also granted in this instance. In
February 1798 the Ancients established a Military Lodge in the 11th Foot at
Norwich and when the members of this entire Regiment became prisoners of war
in Flanders in May 1798 (and not exchanged until 1799) they probably met
Masonically during this period as the custom of meeting as Masons has always
prevailed to a very large extent among prisoners of war, and this lodge was
still in existence in 1807. "No. 441" in the 38th Foot frequently conferred
the Higher Degrees (as was the Irish practice) under the warrant of the first
three degrees. This lodge upon resuming working of the Royal Arch Degree in
1822 and upon inquiry received the following reply: "There are not any
warrants issued by the Grand Lodge of Ireland other than that you hold; it has
therefore always been the practice of Irish Lodges to confer the Higher
Degrees under that authority."
A Regimental lodge (No. 183)
established by the "Ancients" in February 1803 in the 9th Foot lost their
archives when the transport Ariadne on which the First Battalion had embarked
went down off the coast of France near Calais and the staff officers and two
hundred and sixty-two soldiers were made prisoners of war and resumed their
Masonic labours at Valenciennes. The proceedings of this "Captive Lodge"
extended from January 30th, 1806 to January 25th, 1814. On January 25th, 1814,
the brethren dispersed and the "Ark" was taken from Riom in the province of
Auvergne and returned to England in charge of one of the brethren and the
lodge ceased to exist shortly thereafter.
The 96th Foot received
warrant No. 170 from the "Ancients" in 1804 and the following memorandum by
the Grand Secretary appears: "6th January 1809; Warr. No. 170, Box and
Furniture lost at St. Croix. Members all lost or dead or disposed of but Bro.
Geo. Baxter, Quartermaster." During this period the 42nd Foot not only had an
Irish Lodge ("Hibernia, No. 42") actively at work but also a Scottish Lodge
(St. Andrew, No. 310). It may be mentioned here that during the Peninsular War
(18081814) Irish Lodge "No. 557" in the 6th Dragoon Guards lost its chest
containing the lodge furniture, warrant and jewels, during an engagement and a
French officer directed its return to the English Regiment under a flag of
truce and a guard of honor.
After the Battle of Waterloo
the British Army was reduced to a peace footing and many Military Lodges
passed out of existence or became stationary--among the latter "Virginia
Lodge" at Halifax, now No. 3 on the roll of Nova Scotia; "Union Waterloo" at
Kent; "St. Johns" at Gibraltar; "Humility with Fortitude" and "Courage with
Humanity" at Calcutta and "Orion in the West" at Poona (the latter three
formerly in the Royal Bengal and Bombay Artillery); and "Amphioxus Lodge"
originally in the Royal Marines and becoming stationary at the inland town of
Heckmondwike, Yorkshire. "Royal York Lodge of Perseverance" was first
established as a stationary lodge at London in 1776, became a Military Lodge
in 1793 in the Coldstream Guards, and in 1821 again resumed its stationary
"Mount Olive Lodge" in the
67th Foot was transferred to the Royal Regiment of Cornish Miners in 1807 and
afterwards exchanged its military warrant for a civil warrant and is now the
"Lodge of Fortitude" at Truro, and "Euphrates" at London, "Unanimity" at
Preston, and "One and All" at Bodmin, were originally held in the West London,
Third Lancashire and First Cornwall Militia respectively. "St. Cuthberts" in
the Durham Militia, with a Scottish warrant, continued its Military character
until the Regiment was disembodied in 1813. It then continued under the same
warrant as a stationary lodge, meeting at Bernard Castle. In 1825 it applied
for and received an English warrant. In 1836 it applied for its original
Scottish warrant but was refused. "Shakespeare Lodge," Warwick was originally
a stationary lodge at Norwich. In 1796 its members sold their furniture to
some brethren in the Warwickshire Militia and made them a present of their
Constitution and the latter designated it "Shakespeare Lodge." On the removal
of this Regiment in 1795, the lodge accompanied it and five years later was
brought to Warwick. The next year the battalion was again ordered into service
but the lodge remained at Warwick. The Regiment returned in 1805 but three
years later was ordered to be quartered at Sunderland. The lodge, however,
passed a resolution that it should be made stationary at Warwick. A protest
was made by the members at Sunderland but the Grand Lodge decided in favor of
the majority at Warwick, so that Shakespeare Lodge was removed from the
Warwickshire Militia to the guardianship of non-military brethren at Warwick.
A custom sprang up among
Scottish lodges of issuing commissions, or as afterwards termed,
dispensations, "which led to great evil of brethren traversing country and
obtaining membership for their own lodges to the detriment of those locally
situated." This practice of forming branch lodges by "dispensation" became
very popular in Ayrshire, and one such branch remained in active operation for
eight years in the County Militia, the Mother lodge being "Renfrew St. Paul."
It was usual on the part of the lodge granting such dispensations to exact
one-half the amount received as entrance fees but this was subject to
modifications as instanced by the above mentioned Mother lodge "from a wish to
indulge her brethren in the Ayrshire Militia" asked "no more than 3s. for each
entrant, 2s. 9d. of which was to be retained to defray any necessary
expenses." This practice was also carried out by an Irish lodge whose
dispensation was granted by Mother Kilwinning.
In 1813 fifty Regimental
lodges were carried over by the Union of the two English Grand
Lodges--forty-four working under "Ancient" warrants to six under "Modern"
warrants and the proportion of Military to civil lodges was about one in
twelve in 1878 this became one in three hundred and by 1899 the proportion was
one in eleven hundred.
The early Military Lodges
largely originated in the rank and file and later extended to the officers and
towards the end of the eighteenth century it became increasingly customary to
have lodges in Regiments exclusively confined to officers. The first
"Officer's Lodge" (of which there is any known record) was established by the
Grand Lodge of Ireland in the 32nd Foot with warrant No. 617 issued in 1783
and subsequently "erased for neglect" between 1785 and 1792. Before, during
and after this period there was a Scottish Lodge No. 73 "presumably the resort
of non-commissioned officers and privates," in this same battalion. Charter
No. 274 for "Orange Lodge" was granted to officers of the 51st Regiment in
1801 by the Grand Lodge of Scotland--there being at the same time two other
lodges in the corps, both of the same name, and one under Irish and the other
under "Ancient" warrant and both of the latter bearing, singular to relate,
the number 94. From the year 1815 the practice of admitting private soldiers,
except as serving brethren, was absolutely forbidden by the Grand Lodge of
England and while there was no actual law on the subject by the Grand Lodge of
Ireland there is every reason to believe that from about the same date the
regulations of all Military lodges--regimental or garrison-- have contained a
clause to a similar effect. Subsequent to the Union of 1813 this practice of
commissioned officers meeting as brethren without the companionship of the
lower ranks obtained a great vogue and there were "Officer's Lodges" in
Bengal, Madras and Bombay. In 1815 the Grand Lodge of England promulgated a
law forbidding the admission of civilians into Military Lodges and which was
probably observed by the Regiments on home service but by those abroad,
especially in the East, it was for many years totally disregarded. The "Lodge
of Hope" at Poona was formed by civilian members of "Orion in the West" in the
Bombay Artillery in 1825 and in the same year "Humanity with Courage" (an
offshoot of "Courage and Humanity," Bengal Artillery) was so flourishing at
Penang in the Malay Peninsula that every civilian of respectability was ranged
beneath its banner. Also "Union Lodge" in the 14th Foot, then stationed at
Meerut, returned as a member A. J. Colvin, Judge and Magistrate, in 1826.
The Irish practice only
curtailed the freedom of their Military lodges when prejudicial to the
interest of their stationary lodges and enabled the former on several
occasions to be the means of establishing local (or civil) lodges on
continents or islands where Regiments to which they were attached happened to
be sent on duty. The 1st Royals (as previously stated) constituted a new
stationary lodge at Albany, New York, in 1759 and many were formed by the 39th
Foot in Hindostan at a still earlier period. In 1857 the 4th or King's Own
while serving at Mauritius initiated twenty-eight gentlemen of Port Louis into
their Regimental lodge and in 1858, prior to leaving the island, the brethren
of the Military lodge installed the officers of the civil lodge (consisting of
nineteen members of the parent body who remained in the Mauritius). In the
same way the "Lodge of Yokohama," the earliest in Japan, was an offshoot of
the "Sphinx Lodge" in the 2nd battalion of the 20th Foot which initiated
sufficient numbers of civilian members to enable the work of Masonry to be
carried on at the departure of the Regiment from that country in 1866.
Military Lodges were also
formed in Volunteer Regiments and two of the most famous were the "Edinburgh
Defensive Band" erected in 1782 and the "First Volunteer Lodge of Ireland" in
1783. The former was raised towards the close of the American War of
Independence and about fifty of its members, in anticipation of its being
disbanded, formed a lodge of the same name under the Mastership of its
Colonel. Lodges existing at the present time in the Volunteer forces both in
the British Isles and its colonies, are very numerous--among them the
"Fitzroy" in the Honorable Artillery Company of London.
The list of lodges in
garrison towns or fortified places which are or were of a Military, though
stationary, character are many and among the prominent lodges in this class
may be mentioned "Friendship" and "Inhabitants" lodges at Gibraltar; "St. John
and St. Paul" at Malta; "Pythagoras" at Corfu and others in the West Indies,
Australasia, North and South Africa, the Far East and the Dominion of Canada.
It is interesting to note the
outgrowth from this Military lodge system of a large number of "Class
Lodges"--University, Authors, Lawyers, Physicians and members of many other
professions and callings. Among such class lodges in London of a Military or
Naval character are the "Navy," "Household Brigade," (of both which the Prince
of Wales, Admiral of the Fleet and Field Marshal was first Master); "Nil Sine
Labore" (Army Service Corps); "Army and Navy" (chiefly non-commissioned
officers in Household Cavalry and Brigade of Guards); and "Ubique" (Royal
Artillery). The "Aldershot Army and Navy" and "Camp" Lodges are examples of
similar associations in the province (and county) of Hampshire.
The custom of prisoners of
war, who were Masons, congregating in lodges in all the countries of Europe
during the many wars of the past two hundred years resulted in many
interesting events. In some instances they were permitted to visit regular
lodges and even admitted to membership. It is related that many of the French
officers interned at Brandon in 1746-47 were admitted members of the "Ancient
Boyne Lodge" in that Irish town and other French captives were recipients of
fraternal kindness at Leeds in 1761, Kelso in 1810 and at Selkirk--where
twenty-three of their number were enrolled as honorary members of the "Lodge
of St. John" in 1812. Prisoners of war at Basingstoke in 1756 "finding
themselves a competent number" formed a lodge making due submission to the
(older) Grand Lodge of England and a warrant placed at their disposal but
owing to pecuniary reasons they were obliged to decline. In 1758 part of these
captives were removed to Petersfield and formed a second lodge and again made
"due submission" to the Grand Lodge. The latter took no notice of same and
these French brethren, taking silence for approval "continued working and
making Masons until middle of 1759." A further change of quarters of some of
these prisoners resulted in the formation of a third lodge at Leeds, which
still existed in 1761. In 1762 "a constitution or warrant" was granted by the
Grand Lodge of York to similar captives "on their parole," to hold a lodge at
the "Punch Bowl" in that city, "prohibiting them nevertheless from making
anyone a brother who shall be a subject of Great Britain or Ireland." In
Scotland French prisoners of war also held lodges of their own--one of which,
"St. John of Benevolence," was constituted by leave and warrant of the Lodge
of Melrose. Another lodge must have met, if not by direct at least by tacit
permission of "St. Johns" Selkirk, as the minutes of the latter state that
"the prisoners held a lodge from time to time, the proceedings of which were
conducted by themselves in their own language." A similar lodge under the
Grand Orient of Marseilles was established at Malta after its occupation by
the British. This afterwards shifted its allegiance and became "Les Amis en
Captivite" on the English roll but its life was a short one and it disappeared
without ever having made any return to the Grand Lodge. Considerable sums were
voted on various occasions by both the Grand Lodge of England and that of
Scotland for the relief of French prisoners of war confined in Great Britain.
During the Crimean War the "Lodge of Integrity" which accompanied the 14th
Foot to the Crimea, continued to work during the war in the depth of winter
and many distinguished officers were initiated in this lodge amidst the
booming of guns--amongst them being Lord Eustace Browniow Cecil who was
initiated in the camp before Sebastopol, May 24th, 1855.
(To be continued)
The following letter was
mailed to every Grand Master in the United States after a meeting of the Grand
Master of Iowa's Advisory Council, held at Anamosa on the evening of October
2nd, at which the contents of the letter were approved and the following sums
appropriated from the War Fund of the Grand Lodge of Iowa and immediately
cabled to the respective organizations.
Grand Lodge of France, for
the relief of Mason prisoners of War in Germany $2,000.00
International Bureau of
Masonic Affairs, Switzerland, to assist in its work of locating missing
Masonic Club, Saint Nazaire,
Heather Still Masonic Club,
A. E. F., France $500.00
HAS MASONRY A DUTY IN THE
ONE GRAND MASTER'S OPINION
GRAND LODGE OF IOWA, A. F. &
GEO. L. SCHOONOVER
GRAND MASTER OF MASONS IN
ANAMOSA. IOWA, OCT. 3, 1918
To All Grand Masters in the
My Dear Brother Grand Master:
There are times when a problem weighs so heavily
upon a man's conscience that he cannot sleep nights. This is not a good thing
for the health. The only antidote offered by science for a case like that is
that he unburden himself, fully, freely and frankly to some friend in whom he
can trust. Such an hour of confession is akin to prayer. I cannot personally
understand why, when a problem of this kind is discussed between two earnest,
thoughtful men, it is not a prayer. For surely God is present upon such an
occasion; and if He be the loving Father we picture Him in Masonry, He will
give an ear to such a problem, presented in a reverent way.
It seems to me that there is a problem which you
and I ought to be considering in just such a way as I have outlined. I cannot
believe that we have considered it as carefully as it merits. Had we done so,
I feel that we would long since have gotten together in this reverent way
which I have tried to describe, to survey it from every possible angle.
In approaching it, I do so with a feeling of
trepidation. Like many another problem which it becomes ours to deal with, to
have a difference of opinion is by no means to imply bad faith to either
party. Scattered as we Grand Masters are, in forty-nine different parts of the
United States, surrounded by an infinite variety of conditions, and our minds
occupied by the details of everyday duties in our respective offices, it is
not at all strange that we may have not seen all sides of it. In looking at a
diamond we see but a few of its facets; and it is not to be wondered at that
we have a large divergence of opinion as to its brilliancy.
In order to present my
own ideas upon this problem,
I wish to come to you as if we were closeted together, alone, under conditions
of friendship and mutual esteem which would permit of the fullest and frankest
expression. If in doing so I turn the searchlight of study into the very
innermost depths of my own soul, please do not accuse me of egotism. I make no
disclaimers other than that. My friends who know me, over the United States,
will have to acquit me of that feeling or of that attitude. It is not that
which impels me, but a deep-seated conviction, which has grown with the months
since we as a nation have entered into this terrible war, that I am not doing
my duty as a Mason. The action of the Grand Lodge of Iowa in elevating me to
the highest position within its gift does not rob me of my right to think.
What it has done is to impress upon me a thousand-fold the fact that the
measure of the honor which that position brings to me is the measure of
service to our Craft which I bring to it,and no more. And this deep-seated
conviction that I am falling short of my bounden duty to give to Masonry the
best that is in me, challenges that conception of the position which I hold in
Iowa. I must speak. To speak elsewhere than to my confreres who hold, or have
held, the same position in this and other Grand Lodges, is to dodge the issue.
That I will not do.
Listen then, to an unhappy soul unburdening
For almost a year and a half our Free Nation has
been at war with the ancient enemy of all Freedom - Despotism. Despotism in
its most damnable form - so damnable that thoughtful men everywhere wonder. To
some it seems like ordinary lunacy; to others, devilishness gone mad. Had the
Nazarene succumbed to Satan upon the mountain-top, when he offered Him the
kingdoms of the earth, He might have become like the Kaiser of Germany.
Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, are mighty words -
so mighty that they spell the ultimate doom of Despotism. Now they are at
work. Of the ultimate result we need no longer fear. America has arrived, and
it is not "Too Late." France, our Sister Republic, England, our Mother, and
all the nations of the earth know it. Even despotic Germany knows it in part.
It is only a question of time and blood. Time and blood, the great historical
antiseptics which eventually overcome every scourge which besets mankind. It
has been so, and it will be so again.
Liberty, Equality and Fraternity are dynamic
words. And nowhere more dynamic than in the great Masonic institution. Let me
capitalize that word "Institution." As I conceive it, it knows no territorial
boundaries. It is a Spirit Thing, binding heart to heart, working its sweet
ministry upon men of every color and race according to their capacity to
receive the Truth.
What is The Great Truth? Leaving those to define
it who love to dogmatize, may I not ask is it anywhere revealed in greater
purity or in an atmosphere of greater affection than in the Constitution of
the United States? Again, leaving to the historians to tell exact data in what
manner suits them best, is not this great truth the very essence of Masonry?
It was put thel e by Masons, and they did not fail in their duty.
Masonry, then, pure and undefiled, is emblazoned
in the American Constitution, because its principles underly that document
which every true American reveres.
By so much as this is true, this war is Masonry's war! And
every Masonic principle is at stake in this war.
* * *
We sit now in the chamber of reflection.
I come to you sick at heart. I, a Mason - aye, I a
Grand Master of Masons, am sick at heart because I cannot make Iowa Masonry
take its proper plate in a World Temple whose very pillars are falling all
True, we have asked our lodges to register and
keep sweet the memory of their brethren who wear the khaki of our country.
True, we have raised a War Emergency Fund, as a free will offering, and stand
ready to raise more when it is needed. True, we are accepting the petitions of
those who would be Masons before they go "over there," and using every
legitimate means within our power, waiving technicalities, in order that their
ambitions to be numbered among the Great White Souled Brotherhood may be
gratified. They are worthy to be so numbered. True, the Grand Lodge of Iowa
has extended its fraternal hand to the Grand Lodge and the Grand Orient of
France, applying only the standards of Fraternal Service to them and thereby
finding them truly Masonic - and may God grant that Iowa Masonry may forever
remain big enough to apply only that standard. True, we have respected the
hailing sign of distress from across the waters, voiced by the Grand Master of
the Grand Lodge of France in the memorable and modest words which follow, by
expressing our good will and aiding the cause. True, our lodges have bought
Liberty Bonds. True, they have contributed to every humanitarian cause which
is classed by our government as a legitimate one. True, our membership
throughout the state has stood behind the government in its every activity,
leading where the free will of a great people have chosen them to be leaders,
following when it seemed that someone else could best do the work.
We have given our money as lodges.
We have given ourselves, as
citizens. But we have not given ourselves as Masons!
* * *
If the action of the Grand Lodge of Iowa had not
been favorable to the recognition of French Masonry at its Annual
Communication of last June, I could not recite the following touching reply
from Brother Gal. Peigne, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of France,
acknowledging our cabled recognition:
"I beg leave to acknowledge receipt of your letter
confirming your cablegram of the 13th June, which we received with the
greatest joy. It is for us, indeed, a veritable pleasure to have your Grand
Lodge renew fraternal relations with ours. Like you, we are convinced that our
co-operation will be beneficial.
"Replying to your wish, which conforms to ours, of
exchanging between our two Societies guarantees of friendship, our Federal
Council has honored me by appointing me representative to your Grand Lodge and
of submitting this choice for your ratification. I will aceept and fulfill
this command with pleasure.
"You wish to thank me for the courtesy with which
we have received the American Masons who have come to France in the aid of
Right and Justice. We have received them as brothers and we entertain the most
cordial relations with them. We are always happy to see them among our number.
It is with the greatest pleasure that we have fulfilled and will continue to
fulfill this fraternal and pleasant duty, and we are glad that they have so
generously appreciated our sentiments in their regard; an appreciation which
"I am greatly touched also by the offer which you
make of co-operation in our war work. I would believe myself lacking in a
sacred duty should I not reply with the frankness which you asked for.
"Most of our lodges in the Provinces have
established and are carrying on very interesting work; Military hospitals,
help to the families of the heroes who have disappeared in the torment which
has ravaged our country for four years. Personally our Grand Lodge established
on its property, a Military hospital, which has been suppressed since 1915;
its existence, in a city like Paris, being of little importance on account of
the few beds we were able to install. We also established free meals for the
benefit not only of Masons, but of others who were so tried by the war. Work
having been rapidly resumed and the want having abated; we gave up this work
which no longer responded to a necessity.
"There are two things which we began at the
commencement of the war, and which we still follow and hope to pursue to the
end of the war if possible; the work of caling for families of those killed,
and above all, the work of sending food to the prisoners of war.
"We commenced this last work in 1915. At first we sent two
packages a month to our Masons who were prisoners, by means of the Berne
Committee (attached to the Red Cross) of aid to the prisoners of war, of
Secretary General is a Mason, very devoted, and the President an Alsatian, a
big-hearted woman, become Swiss through her marriage, but remaining French in
soul, and who gave her son for the defence of France and today mourns his
"Unfortunately, the war still continues, the
misery increases with the mourning, and although we bear stoically all the
misfortunes which overwhelm us; although we shall stand firm for a just
victory, we cannot, now, help the unfortunate in the same proportion, and we
have had to reduce our ration for the prisoners to one package a month, a
cruel decision for us, because the Germans let them die of hunger. And now the
time is coming when we shall not be able to give them this slight help. We
cannot appeal to our lodges in the Provinces, for they have difficulty in
carrying on the work they have undertaken. Our lodges in Paris and foreign
lands helped us as they could. In the beginning of the war we sent an appeal
to the various Grand Lodges and to the Orients abroad. Alone, the Grand Orient
of Brazil responded - they sent us some 13,000 francs. We are poor today
because three-fourths of our Masons are in the army. Many of them have fallen.
There remain the living, victims of war, and in the first place, prisoners and
children. There remains also the misery which we shall have to help in the
invaded regions, when their hour of freedom shall come. In spite of all, we
desire earnestly to keep on with these works. We shall be very happy to have
the American Masons who will be made prisoners have a share in this. We have a
great affection for them. We have found in the Americans spirits kindred to
our own. Such, very frankly, as you demanded, is our situation as we enter the
fifth year of the war.
"Permit me, in closing, to tell you of the
admiration we have, which our soldiers who fight beside them have for the
courage, the devotion, and the self-sacrifice of the Americans."
A Mason wrote that letter. Gentle, kind,
bighearted, modest, smothering his own sorrow, praising the samples of
American bravery of which I am proud, but forgetting to mention the volumes of
heroism and sacrifice shown by his countrymen,yes, he is a Mason. He is my
brother in heart as well as in arms.
French Masons have given themselves, as Masons!
* * *
Let it not be said that American Masons are not
thinking about what we ought to be doing, as Masons. In December last,
following the conference of Fraternal Societies held at the request of
Secretary McAdoo, the Grand Masters of some twenty-five or thirty
jurisdictions met informally at the invitation of Grand Master Witten of the
District of Columbia, and the matter was touched upon. Of that conference
little more need be said. It was not to its credit that it permitted the
specter of a General Grand Lodge to drive out of the conference room the
vision of that mighty army in khaki, no small part of which needs the grasp of
a hrother's hand on the other side of the water. Through the kindness of my
predecessor in office I was privileged to attend that little meeting, and the
memory of a brother who could not vote upon a resolution to have a group of
Masons named as a committee to study the problem, because his Grand Lodge had
not acted upon the question, remains a nightmare to haunt me.
The conference in New York, though lightly
attended, promised more. M. W. Brother Thomas Penny had a vision of the
problem. He propounded certain questions which no thinking Mason could
conscientiously ignore. They went to the core of the matter. Without bias or
prejudice, they frankly asked the question whether Masonry might not find
something worth while to do in the maelstrom "over there."
With all due respect to the Resolutions Committee,
I want to protest the "seemingly," the "so far as possible," the "be invited
to contribute," and the "recommend" phrases in the resolutions which resulted.
If the, visiting brethren believed that which in their resolutions they said
they believed; if they believed what the New York brethren evidently did
believe, then their resolutions should have rung throughout Masonic America as
the Liberty Bell rang for Freedom. No countryside, no "Grand Jurisdiction,"
should have been too far distant to have heard its clarion call!
If the reports of the conference in the Masonic
Press are to be believed, this effort "to unite the Masons of America into one
common mass" for the purpose of effecting a working organization to help our
brethren overseas was abortive, because no one dared to use the Trowel! As
hosts to the Conference, our New York brethren could not wield it. All honor
to them, therefore, that they are following the vision as they see it, raising
a substantial fund to carry it through, while the rest of us are appointing
War Boards (some of us are) in order to be able to work with them when they
finally launch their splendid program.
Right here is a good place to quote from a letter
in my possession from a brother who knows what the New York program is, and is
helping it from the inside. He says:
"We are not 'over there' yet,
and there is nothing definite when we will be. We are being held up (and I use
the term advisedly). You cast draw your own inference."
My brother, we are still in the chamber of
reflection, and I want you to ask a question: Do you like the stinger in the
above quotation? Do you suppose that if the Masons of America (I'm talking
about the Craft, now, and not Grand Officers) knew that such a condition
existed, they would sit supinely by and twirl their thumbs? I do not think
they would! Yet I feel that I am doing that very thing, up to this date!
Our government, by the very nature of the crisis
which it faces, is forced to restrict welfare work to as few organizations as
possible. I believe that they have no business recognizing forty-nine or more
different organizations, all Masonic. We are entitled to no such special
recognition. If we would work together as one, we could get results.
* * *
We are still sitting together in the chamber of
Humiliating as it is, I must read you another
letter. This one hurts. It hurts deep. But I've been twirling my thumbs, and I
accept the reproof which it implies. Whether it will bring the lump into your
throat I do not know. Can you listen to the voice of an American soldier
telling of his need, without a lump ? I cannot. I feel a blush of shame creep
up my neck every time I read this letter. I've had it only forty-eight hours.
It touched the trigger, and that's why my pistol is going off.
Listen to him, brother o'mine, asking favors of me
! He, a Captain in my army, asking as a favor that I send him magazines! So
that the tired and the lonesome and the wounded may rebuild shattered nerves,
get a mental handclasp with the thinking brother back home, and forget the
wounds suffered that I might be free. He, a Captain drawing barely enough
money to pay his expenses and keep up the little home "Somewhere in the
U.S.A.," and his brother, a Private, drawing $30.00 a month, need money, so
that they can have a little Masonic Club House "Somewhere in France," and keep
sweet, keep manly, keep clean for the wife and babies at home - a place where
no religion is preached at them, but where the tender bud of Masonry may bloom
into the flower of new friendships and renewed Fraternal ties. They need
money, brother o'mine !
Yes, as God is my witness, they need money to do
for themselves the work which I, an able-bodied member of the Masonic
Fraternity, should long ago have been planning and executing for them! This is
the naked truth, openly confessed. Now read the letter:
Base Section No. 1
W. F. Jerome,
Charles J. Cook,
Saint Nazaire, France, Sept.
The National Masonic Research
Will you please publish and find out if any one
would be so kind as to send any and as many Masonic Journals as possible to
our Club, as we can dispose of them very easily and put them into valuable
circulation. They need not be fresh from the press, but after they have been
read and of no more value to the folks at home, forward them to the Masonic
Club, Base Section No. 1, Saint Nazaire, France, and I assure you they will be
well appreciated by our worthy brothers who visit the Club, and sick and
wounded in the hospitals.
Thanking you for any consideration given, I remain
Edmond Dupras. Secretary.
And he enclosed a little advertisement that they
are running in an American newspaper of French vintage, as follows:
Masonic Club - Saint Nazaire. Meets every Tuesday,
7 p. m., Masonic Hall, Place Marceau, over Cafe American. Club rooms open from
7 p.m., to 11 p.m. every night. All Masons welcomed.
E. Dupras, Secretary.
Finally, he inserts a mimeographed letter from the
Club Committee, of which this is a verbatim copy:
Masonic Club, Base Section
A.P.O. 701, A.E.F.
Sept. 1, 1918.
Since coming abroad Masons belonging to the
American Expeditionary Forces have been working under peculiar conditions, and
it is for a correction of these conditions that we appeal to the members at
Masonic Clubs have been organized quite generally
throughout the different army units, and in base ports and large cities have
attained considerable importance, but the real activities and purposes of all
these organizations are greatly hampered, and some have ceased to exist for
the following reasons:
First. - Membership is drawn entirely from the
army, navy, and attached civilians, whose first consideration must be the
performance of those duties to which they have been assigned in the service,
and which often leaves little or no time for anything else. We are first to
win the war.
Second. - The large field for work makes time an
Third. - The absence of support which comes
through co-ordination, recognition and outside help.
As a remedy for these conditions, we suggest the
That a central body be organized in the United
States, whose duty it would be to raise funds, appoint a staff of secretaries
above military age, and systematize Masonic activities among the troops
abroad, especially in France and Italy.
An executive officer, having plenary power, should
be stationed at a central point, like Paris, to whom the various Clubs could
make known their needs, and to receive reports. Club rooms should be
maintained at all the principal points, such as base ports, large cities,
casual and rest camps, and other places where the membership would seem to
warrant. Each of these Club rooms should be under the charge of a civilian
Secretary provided with sufficient funds to furnish and maintain the rooms,
and for the relief of all worthy Masons.
This being a base port, and also near a large
area, we come in daily contact with many Masons upon their arrival in France;
with the wounded sent back from the front; and with soldiers returning to the
homeland, which places us in an excellent position to carry out the precepts
of our noble Order by extending Fraternal greetings, rendering aid to those in
distress, and visiting the sick and wounded.
Until other arrangements are made, any funds that
you might feel disposed to give can be placed to a good purpose through our
Club, and money is needed!
In conclusion we bespeak your earnest
consideration of our Masonic conditions and ask that you immediately take such
steps as are necessary and seem best for the greater fulfillment of our
obligations and responsibilities as Masons.
Masonic Club Committee.
Edmond Dupras, Secretary.
* * *
Do you wondel that I feel
like a slacker?
I've been one.
* * *
But the explosion is out, and I'm not a slacker
I cannot do this work alone: The Grand Lodge of
Iowa can and will help, and I will help myself, to the best of my ability, but
we cannot do it alone. It is a job for American Masonry, that is what it is!
No labels that indicate degrees have any place in this work. It is not a
matter of titles, or of Rites, or of Grand Jurisdictions. It is a matter of
You are big enough not to ignore this call. So is
your Grand Jurisdiction. I'm not afraid to meet you and talk this matter over
to its last detail if necessary ! And the Grand Lodge of Iowa is not afraid to
have me come and talk the matter over with you. I'm not afraid of an
organization, with officers having "plenary power," as our brother expresses
it, or "all buttoned up," as my good friend Brother Watres of Pennsylvania
would say, in order to do the jab that needs to be done for our brethren in
khaki. We don't care who fathers it, so that we get the best brains that
American Masonry possesses. Forget "General Grand Lodge" with its eerie
phantom! Our country is in a crisis, the like of which it has never faced
before. Our brethlen are flocking to the colors; they're being mixed up like
hash in the griddle - but they're still Masons! They are meeting a crisis, too
! And in that crisis they are calling on you and me to help them.
The New York plan may be the best one to unite
around - I don't care how it is done, so that we answer that Masonic Club
Committee's letter as it deserves to be answered. To answer it at all demands
that we answer it effectively.
Our government has told us that they will
recognize us as a National organization, but they will not do so as forty-nine
or more separate organizations.
Can you, and will you, meet me within thirty days
at some central point in the United States of America to talk this thing over?
And will you bring with you one, or two, or three of your strong Masons - the
strongest men you have in your jurisdiction - so that when we have met upon
the level and evolved something, we can go before the Masons of America and
tell them that we have a constructive plan which will represent American
Masonry at its best? We don't need to worry about money, if we show them that
we are going to try to do the job, and do it right. And they will accept
With all sincerity, I am
Geo. L. Schoonover,
Grand Master of Masons in
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or how it may be obtained - be free to ask him. If you have read a book which
you think is worth a review write us about it; if you desire to purchase a
books - any book - we will help you get it, with no charge for the service.
Make this Your Department of Literary Consultation.
“THE DIVINE MYSTERY"
THIS book, written by Allen Upward, and published
by Houghton, Miflin Co. at $1.75, is a study of the origins of Christianity
written from the point of view of modern anthropology. The author sees the
faith as an inevitable development out of the religions which preceded it -
indeed he traces its origins back to the most primitive forms of religion,
such as magic, primitive genius, etc. - and these primitive forms of religion,
which are often condemned as childish superstitions, he interprets as having
been naive interpretations of real experiences and events; thus he holds that
the early magician began as a rain-maker, and that he was probably a man with
a supersensitive nervous system who was able to forecast the coming of a
thunder-storm by his own feelings, a human barometer, as it were. Because the
primitive mind held that that which preceded a thing was its cause it was easy
for them to believe that because the magician announced the coming of the rain
he was really the cause of the rain. The same supersensitive nervous organism
working in other directions would be the genius, the prophet, or the primitive
poet, all of whom Mr. Upward believes, may have unwittingly exercised what we
now call thought-reading, clairvoyance, etc. Because of their unusual powers
they were first feared, then reverenced, and at last worshipped. After the
death of the wizard he was gradually deified, and thus, according to the
author's argument, the gods were transfigured men who had at one time actually
One may hold whatever theories he may please about
these matters, but no reader can deny that Mr. Upward has worked out his
thesis with great learning, with fearless and original thinking, and with
admirable conciseness; nor are his pages lacking in literary appeal. It would
be impossible for the author of that sparkling work, "The New Word," which won
for him the Nobel Prize, to write a dull page if he tried: especially
noteworthy is the brevity of the treatment made possible by his ability to
condense into a single striking paragraph a long and very complex subject.
But the cautious reader will be on his guard
against rapid generalizations, and there can be no doubt that Mr. Upward is
sometimes led to rush in where more circumspect scholars fear to tread. The
well-informed Masonic reader will note this in Mr. Upward's references to the
mysteries of our fraternity, as in the following passage on the Hiram Abif
"A development from idolatry is the consecration
of a building by means of a human victim The first temple was a tomb, and in
architecture as in other arts religion led the way. The virtue of the ghost
extended from the gravestone to pervade the sacred fabric, and in imitation a
single victim buried under the foundation gave magical strength to a whole
building, or to the whole circuit of a city wall. The custom can hardly be
said to have died out yet among savages, and there are many traces of it in
our midst. The most remarkable is the ceremony of admission to the degree of
Master Mason. The original meaning of their ritual has been lost by modern
Freemasons, the liturgy now used by them being a medieval allegory, but an
anthropologist can hardly fail to see that the candidate who goes through a
pantomime of death, burial and resurrection, is personating the ancient
And more to the same effect.
A thoroughly trained Masonic scholar would admit,
as Gould was always admitting, that we cannot be sure of possessing the
original meanings of our ritual, and he would be the first to acknowledge that
certain faint echoes of early practices remain in our ceremonies: but to call
our liturgy a "medieval allegory" flies beyond all evidence. Speth, than whom
there was no better informed authority on the subject, published an essay in
which he tentatively advanced the theory that our drama has some dim
connections with the old custom of burying a victim under the cornerstone, but
he frankly admitted that his thesis was largely guess-work: when therefore Mr.
Upward asserts without proviso that what Speth held as a working hypothesis is
an actual fact, and to be asserted as such, we feel that he is going too far.
To hold a theory is one thing: to assert it as a fact is quite another: Mr.
Upward is altogether too much given to making assertions in regard to matters
about which we are as yet very ignorant.
But after making all such deductions "The Divine
Mystery" is a brilliant book, well worth reading, especially for Masons. It is
an essay in a field which is comparatively virgin soil and we may be sure that
in the years to come scholars will hit upon some very great and fruitful
discoveries in the origins of religion.
* * *
JONAH: A BOOK FOR MASONS
The book of Jonah occupies but two pages in the
Authorized Version of our Bible but in value it far outweighs other books
which absorb many times its space, for, with the exception of the latter half
of Isaiah and a few of the Psalms it strikes a higher note than any other part
of the Old Testament. Professor Cornill, whose "Prophets of Israel" has become
one of the classics of Biblical exposition, writes of this slender work:
"I have read the book of Jonah at least a hundred
times, and I will publicly avow, for I am not ashamed of my weakness, that I
cannot even now take up that marvelous book, nay, nor even speak of it,
without the tears coming to my eyes, and my heart beating higher. This
apparently trivial book is one of the deepest and grandest that was ever
written, and I should say to everyone that approaches it, 'Take off thy shoes,
for the ground whereon thou standest is holy ground.' "
Who wrote this book we do not know, but internal
evidence goes to show that he lived at about the middle of the fourth century
before Christ. At that time the literary allegories were the fashion, even as
novels now are, and it was natural for him to throw his message into such
form; as natural as it was for Winston Churchill to write "The Inside of the
In those days there were two classes of religious
teachers in Israel; on one side were the bigots who believed that Jehovah was
the private property of the Jews, having His residence in Palestine, and that
He was determined to destroy the heathen nations root and branch; on the other
side was a smaller but more intelligent group who understood that Jehovah was
the Creator of the whole earth and that the heathen were as much his people as
The author of Jonah was a member of the latter
group and his book is evidently a blast directed against the bigots. He chose
Jonah, the son of Amittai, to be the central figure figure of his tale because
that prophet had lived in the eighth century when narrow-mindedness had run
amok among the Jews. If one will bear this in mind and if he will remember the
conditions of the author's own age and his purpose in writing his work, he can
easily catch the point of the allegory.
Jonah, the embodiment of human bigotry, refuses to
go to Nineveh to prophecy against her because he is afraid that if he does the
heathen will repent and Jehovah will not destroy them. So he runs away in the
opposite direction and takes ship for Tarshish. But the storm overtakes the
vessel and in the midst of that storm Jonah makes the discovery that the
heathen sailors are as full of the milk of human kindness as himself. Later
on, he arrives at Nineveh and cries out his warnings. Here again he learns how
erroneous were his opinions of the non-Jews for the hated Ninevites reveal the
fundamentally human trait of repentance and all turn from their evil ways and
Jehovah forgives them.
Angered because the Ninevites have been saved
Jonah goes off to a hillside to pout. He trains a gourd vine over a few sticks
in order to enjoy the shade, but a worm gnaws the vine and a sultry wind
withers it up and Jonah is so filled with pity for the vine that he weeps;
then it is that Jehovah says to Jonah:
"Thou hast regard for the gourd, for which thou
hast laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night and perished
in a night; and should I not have regard for Nineveh that great city wherein
are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their
right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?"
What could be plainer than this sublime moral?
Where is there a book that more clearly expresses the ancient Masonic belief
in the essential and inalienable Brotherhood of Man?
Bro. Rev. George Gibson, P.
P. G. Chaplain, Northumberland and Durham.
Shadows fall, we must depart,
Seeking now a peaceful rest.
Cleanse, O King, our secret
May our slumber, Lord, be
All our labor now is done,
And we lay our tools aside;
In refreshment help us shun
Fruitless thoughts; be Thou
With us be till next we meet
Round Thine Altar, O Most
Leave us never, we entreat;
In all trouble, Lord, be
When no more we gather here,
When we stand in heaven
Then in mercy, Lord, be near;
Crown thy work with endless
So mote it be.
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 oven opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is
better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not
champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another; but offers
to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or
fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are
open to all members of the Society at all times. Questions of any nature on
Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our members, particularly those
connected with lodges or study Clubs which are following our "Bulletin Course
of Masonic Study." When requested, questions will be answered promptly by mail
before publication in this department.
PERSIAN LITERATURE AND THE
I have rather amateurishly tried to inform myself
regarding Persia, 1000 to 1500 A.D., by reading Sir Thomas Moore's "Lalla
Rookh." Can you suggest a course of reading in this connection, covering the
history of Persia of the above dates costumes, essays upon the religions -
Zoroasterism, Mahometism and Buddhism - particularly as to their clashing in
Persia and their respective inherent mysticism?
In a word, the Grotto is not unrelated to these
times, and it occurred to me that the researches of the N.M.R.S. would mean
that some of the editors and contributors would be able to suggest some
volumes at least which I might profitably read.
In order to collect the materials about which you
inquire it will be necessary for you to ransack a number of books and
periodicals because there is no volume, known to us at least, or even any set
of books, in which you could find gathered such information as you desire. Of
course you will desire to read the Zend-Avesta, Persia's Bible; you will find
it in Max Muller's "Sacred Books of the East." Next to that in importance will
come those world classics which Persian genius has contributed to literature:
"The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam; the "Divan" of Hafiz, so beloved by Emerson;
the "Bustan" and the "Gulistan" of Sa'di; the heroic epics of Firdousi,
Persia's Homer, and one of the greatest writers that ever lived; as Persian
religion has ever been prevailingly pantheistic you will care to read
something of the works of Jelal un-din Rumi, who has often been described as
"the greatest writer of pantheism that the world has ever known." For
histories the following may be recommended, given in order of value, according
to our views: "History of Persia," by Sir John Malcolm; "Literary History of
Persia," by G. E. Browne; "The Story of Persia," by S.G.W. Benjamin; "History
of the Parsis," by Dosabbai Franiji Karaka; "Biographical Notices of Persian
Poetry," by Sir G. Onseley.
V.W. Jackson's is one of the best books on "Zoroaster,"
the founder of Zoroastrianism; nothing better has been written than
Rhys-Davids' various books of Buddha and Buddhism; "Buddhism; Its History and
Literature," being the most comprehensive of his more popular writings; D. S.
Margoliouth's "Mohammed" steers a safe course between extremes in presenting
the portrait of the perplexing founder of Mohammedanism.
In Watts-Dunton's essay on "Science and Poetry,"
you will find an Englishman's estimate of "Sufism"; in Hogel's "Philosophy of
History," you will have a metaphysician's estimate of the value of Parsiism to
world religion; and Emerson included an essay on "Persian Poetry" in his
"Letters and Social Aims." Scattered through the following miscellanies you
will discover many interesting things on the Persians, their customs, etc.
In volume I of Draper's "History of Intellectual
Development of Europe" are some interesting pages on the latter stages of
Mohammedanism; you will find plates representing Persian costumes in the set
of books called "Costumes of All Ages"; Gibbon has some larger studies of the
larger world aspects of Mohammedanism in his "Decline and Fall of the Roman
Empire," volume V, "The Story of the Saracens," by Arthur Gilman is found in
the set of books called "Story of the Nations"; in his “Childhood of
Religions,” Edward Clodd prints some incisive pages of the earlier
Mohammedanism; on Persian marriage customs see "Current Literature" for June,
1902; Lady Shiel contributes an article on "Life and Manners in Persia," in
"The Living Age," volume LI, page 449; Malcolm Khann has an article on
"Persian Civilization" in "The Contemporary Review," volume LIX, page 238; in
the "American Historical Review," volume XII, page 602, is an interesting
essay on "Persia, Past and Present," by A.V.W. Jackson, who knows his subject.
On the various phases of mysticism, in Persia and
elsewhere, there is no better work than Evelyn Underhill's "Mysticism." For
Persian pantheism, look up any good work on the history of pantheism, and
especially on Sufism, which was the most vital development of pantheism in
If an article or two should develop out of your
course of reading, don't forget to try them out on THE BUILDER
H. L. H.
* * *
QUESTIONS ON "THE BUlLDERS"
AND SUGGESTIONS TO STUDY CLUB COMMITTEES
There was commenced in the June 1915 number of THF
BUILDER, on page 128, a series of questions, being a sort of catechism of
Brother Newton's book "The Builders," which series was continued until
January, 1916. You also published another series of one hundred and eighty
questions of a similar nature on "The Story of Freemasonry," during 1916. The
questions, it appears, were prepared by the. Cincinnati Masonic Study School.
I wish to know whether either or both of these
lists of questions have been printed in pamphlet form, and if so, where they
can be obtained. Some of the Masonic brethren in this locality desire to form
a Masonic Study Club and it would seem that these two catechisms in handy form
would furnish a ready means of interesting Masons in the study of Freemasonry.
J. B., Wisconsin.
The questions on "The Story of Freemasonry," have
not, to our knowledge, been printed elsewhere than in the columns of THE
BUILDER. The questions on Brother Newton's book "The Builders," however, have
been issued in pamphlet form by "The Masters and Wardens Club" of Grays Harbor
County, Washington, and may be obtained through this office.
We are mailing you data concerning the course of
Masonic study now running in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin section of THE
BUILDER which will give you much additional information relative to our plan
that is not given in the space devoted to the subject in pages 1 and 2 of the
Correspondence Circle Bulletin. This additional information will be mailed to
any member of the Society desiring to bring the matter before his lodge, upon
Several lodges that are following the course of study in their
monthly meetings have adopted the Plan of including a part or all of the
questions appearing in the monthly study installment (to be found on page 2 of
the Correspondence Circle Bulletin) in the notices of their study meetings
which are sent out to all resident remembers of the lodges, thus giving each
member an idea of the subjects to be discussed and enabling those who
are readers of THE BUILDER to study the study paper
beforehand and prepare themselves for the subsequent discussion of the
subject. As a consequence much interest in the plan is being manifested in
these particular lodges and the attendance at their meetings is constantly
* * *
What is the meaning of the letters "V.S.L." as
used by Brother Haywood in his article on "The Lights" in the Correspondence
Circle Bulletin section of the September number of THE BUILDER? I have asked a
Past Master here and he cannot enlighten me. A.J.G., Iowa.
These letters are an abbreviation for the "Volume
of the Sacred Law." As explained in Brother Haywood's article other books are
substituted for the Bible in non-Christian countries.
* * *
PROMINENCE OF FREEMASONRY IN
In Pope's "Dunciad," Book 4, lines 571 and 572,
appears the following:
"Some, deep Free-Masons, join in the silent race
Worthy to fill Pythagoras' place."
This was first published in 1728, and was intended
as a satire on Freemasons. Is it of any importance to us in the study of
Masonic history. R.H.A., Nebraska.
The quotation from Pope is of considerable
importance and clearly shows that Pythagoras was held in high estimation by
our brethren of 1728, whom Pope endeavors to ridicule. Some of the theories
that have been advanced are that the brethren of the early decades of the
Grand Lodge era were devoted principally to convivial pursuits, and that the
philosophy of Masonry was nearly dormant or had not yet developed.
It is also of importance in showing that
Freemasonry in 1728 was of sufficient prominence to be noticed in a satire on
the more prominent institutions and men of that time.
* * *
THE LEVEL AND THE SQUARE
Can you inform me where I can procure a copy of
the poem "Meet upon the level, and part upon the square?" I recently heard it
delivered at a lodge meeting and was deeply impressed by it.
Two versions of this masterpiece of Brother Rob
Morris are published in his volume "The Poetry of Freemasonry," and since
neither of them have previously appeared in THE BUILDER, we herewith give them
The Level and the Square
We meet upon the Level, and
we part upon the Square -
What words of precious
meaning those words Masonic are!
Come, let us contemplate them; they are worthy of
a thought -
With the highest and the lowest and the rarest
they are fraught.
We meet upon the level,
though from every station come -
The King from out his palace and the poor man from
For the one must leave his diadem without the
And the other finds his true respect upon the
We part upon the square, for the world must have
We mingle with its multitude, a cold, unfriendly
But the influence of our gatherings in memory is
And we long, upon the level, to renew the happy
There's a world where all are equal - we are
hurrying toward it fast -
We shall meet upon the level there when the gates
of death are past;
We shall stand before the Orient, and our Master
will be there,
To try the blocks we offer by His own unerring
We shall meet upon the level
there, but never thence depart;
There's a mansion - 'tis all ready for each
zealous faithful heart;
There's a Mansion and a
welcome, and a multitude is there,
Who have met upon the level and been tried upon
Let us meet upon the level then, while laboring
patient here -
Let us meet and let us labor, though the labor
Already in the western sky the signs bid us
To gather up our working tools and part upon the
Hands round, ye faithful Ghiblimites, the bright,
We part upon the square below
to meet in Heaven again.
O what words of precious meaning those words
Masonic are -
We meet upon the Level, and we part upon the
The above is the original form in which the poem
was written in August, 1854, while the following is a later version:
We meet upon the LEVEL and we part upon the
What words sublimely beautiful those words Masonic
They fall like strains of
melody upon the listening ears,
As they've sounded hallelujah's to the world,
three thousand years.
We meet upon the LEVEL, though from every station
The Monarch from his palace, and the Laborer from
For the King must drop his dignity when knocking
at our door
And the Laborer is his equal as he walks the
We act upon the PLUMB - 'tis our MASTER'S great
We stand upright in virtue's way and lean to
The ALL-SEEING EYE that reads the heart will bear
us witness true,
That we do always honor God
and give each man his due.
We part upon the SQUARE - for the world must have
We mingle in the ranks of men, but keep The Secret
And the influence of our gatherings in memory is
And we long, upon the LEVEL, to renew the happy
There's a world where all are equal - we are
hurrying toward it fast,
We shall meet upon the LEVEL there when the gates
of death are past;
We shall stand before the
Orient and our Master will be there
Our works to try, our lives to prove by His
We shall meet upon the level
there, but never thence depart.
There's a mansion bright and glorious, set for the
pure in heart;
And an everlasting welcome from the Host rejoicing
Who in this world of sloth
and sin, did part upon the SQUARE.
Let us meet upon the LEVEL, then, while laboring
Let us meet and let us labor, though the labor be
Already in the Western Sky
the signs bid us prepare,
To gather up our Working
Tools and part upon the SQUARE.
Hands round, ye royal craftsmen in the bright,
We part upon the SQUARE below to meet in heaven
Each tie that has been broken here shall be
And none be lost around the Throne who parted on
THE SYMBOLIC LIGHTS
In connection with the article on the Symbolic
Lights, by Brother Atchison in the September number of THE BUILDER there is
some interesting information bearing on the subject to be found in vol. XXIX
of the Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, pages 243-264, in an article on "The Evolution
of the Tracing Board." I would especially call attention to figures 2 and 3 in
which the position of the three symbolic lights is given from two different
rituals. In "Masonry Dissected," published in 1730, there is no reference to
the greater or lesser lights, but there is a reference to the three lights of
the lodge and the three fixed lights of the lodjre. The catechism is as
Have you any lights in your
A. Yes; three.
Q. What do they represent?
A. Sun, Moon and Master Mason.
(N. B. These lights are three large candles placed
on high candlesticks.)
Q. Why so?
A. Sun to rule the Day, Moon the Night, and Master
Mason his lodge.
Q. Have you any fixed lights in your lodge?
Q. How many?
(N. B. These fixed lights are three windows
supposed to be in every room where a lodge is held.)
Q. How are they situated?
A. East, South and West.
Q. What are their uses ?
A. To light the men to, at and from their work.
Q. Why are there no lights in the North?
A. Because the sun darts no rays hence.
It is not until 1860 that I find a reference to
the three greater and three lesser lights, and at this time we have the Bible,
Square and Compasses introduced as the three great lights of Masonry. The
three candles are here referred to as the three lesser lights, representing
the Sun, Moon and Master Mason, thus, you will note, transposing the present
order in which the three candles are representatives of the three lesser
lights. Possibly the change was made earlier than 1760, in which the Bible is
introduced as one of the three greater lights but I do not find any evidence
of it, and so far as I know, the statement so often made that it was not until
1760 that the Bible became one of the three great lights of Masonry is true.
It was not Preston who made the Bible one of the
three great lights in 1760, for he was not made a Mason until 1762.
I would also call attention to the position of the
lights in the various figures illustrated in the before-mentioned article. In
the Carmick Manuscript, 1727, is a floor cloth which gives two candles instead
of three. In the French ritual, as shown in figures 9, 10, 11 and 12, the
candles are shown as placed in the northeast, southeast and southwest corners
of the lodge, in figure 10, while in figure 11 it appears as though there was
a three-branched candlestick in each of these three corners. In figure 12
there is a design representing a window in the southeast corner, one in the
south, and a third in the west, slightly to the right of the Senior Warden's
In the frontispiece accompanying the article on
"The Scald Miserable Masons," which appeared in THE BUILDER for October, 1917,
will be noticed a representation of the Sun, Moon and the Master carried in
the procession. In the inscription these are called the "three great lights" -
the Sun, hierogliphically, to rule the day, the Moon, emblematically, to rule
the night, and the Master Mason, politically, to rule the lodge. This might
indicate that prior to 1760, or at least in 1742, the three great lights were
what we now call the three lesser lights. At any rate I find no reference to
the three great and three lesser lights prior to 1760. C. C. Hunt, Iowa.
* * *
In the Question Box department of the August
number of THE BUILDER there appears an interesting question and answer
concerning crosses. The answer, in my opinion, is incorrect.
Heraldry is built upon a number of figures,
directions, postures and positions, each of which mean some particular thing
and is intended to convey some particular meaning. It may be a plain cross,
which is one of the Ordinaries of heraldry, by which is meant a figure, etc.,
which by its ordinary and frequent use in a shield of arms becomes most
essential to the science of heraldry.
When the word "cross" is mentioned in heraldry,
the plain arms crossed at right angles, arms of equal length, is meant. Now if
one arm is longer than the other. its name is no longer "cross", but "passion
cross", although that is not exactly correct If we take the original cross and
place across or on the ends of the four arms a short bar, making each arm look
like the top of an old-fashioned crutch made in the country shop, it is no
longer a cross, but a cross potent, for the reason that each arm has the
appearance of a portion of a crutch, which in Chaucer's time was called a
"potent." If from the center of the crossing of the arms you depict light,
short lines diverging in all directions, it is not a cross, but a "cross
rayonnant," or rayed.
Now, if the Blue Lodge should adopt the cross,
they could not properly call it a "Blue Lodge cross." If we found that the
Consistory, in using a "cross potent", described it as a "Teutonic cross" I
would conclude that this term was used to make it more simple of understanding
to us folk who would want to know the proper cross to be used, since not many
of us have heard the word "potent", do not know its original meaning, and have
never met Chaucer.
I have three very old standard books on my desk.
One makes no mention of the word "Teutonic," although the cross potent is
described and illustrated, as are thousands of other emblems. Another shows
plates of decorations and gives the history of the Teutonic Knights, and their
badge is shown as an attenuated design of a cross "patee,” while the star (or
cross) of the Order is a pure cross "patee." This Order still exists as a fief
of Austria. They have had very interesting history but have but little
prominence now; almost all of their lands have been taken away from them and
they have been conquered by the Poles and West Prussians. Napoleon abolished
the Order in the Rhinish provinces. When a new Emperor of Austria comes to the
throne, the brand Master must renew his fief. There is nothing to connect our
thirty-second degree jewel with the Teutonic Knights.
In Edmonson's ''Complete Body of Heraldry," the
Herald's Bible, it is stated that the original badge of the old Teutonic
Knights was a "cross potence sable," or a black "cross potent", (remember the
crutch,) and at subsequent times were added a double potent gold cross, then
the imperial eagle, and St. Louis of France gave them a green cross-bar on
which appears the fleur-de-lis of France. The present Masonic cross does
resemble this only in the "cross" particular, but it must be remembered that
because the Teutonic Knights adopted or were given the use of the
"cross-potent" as a badge, that did not in any way make it a "Teutonic cross"
- it is still a "cross potent."
T. W. Hugo, Minnesota.
(In the Question Box department of the February
number of THE BUILDER, on page 63, we described the jewel of the thirty-second
degree as a Teutonic cross of gold with certain embellishments. We took as our
authority the Statutes of the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction.
Possibly Brother Hugo will enlighten us concerning this official description.
* * *
In THE BUILDER for June, 1917, I found a question
signed by one T.J.D. asking "Why preachers limit Brotherhood by the phrase 'in
Christ'?" As you pointed out it would been better had your correspondent asked
Let me point out that the expression has a
two-fold meaning, one universal and one limited. First: "Because we thus judge
if Christ died for all then were all dead, and that he died for all," etc.
Recognizing therefore that Christ died for all, we address men as "Brothers in
Christ". For we believe "in God the Son who has redeemed me and all mankind".
Secondly: The phrase may have, according to the connection in which it is
used, a more restricted meaning, as a brother who also believes in the same
Christ as we do. In such connection it no more "limits" Brotherhood than one
speaks of a brother in the ministry, or a brother Mason, or a brother anything
Masons, at least, should understand the use of such a phrase,
when, although they recognize in every son of Adam a brother of the dust, they
are also expected to keep in due bounds with all mankind, but more especially
with their brethren in Masonry. E.W. Pickford.