The Builder Magazine

October 1920 - Volume VI - Number 10

 

MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS

GENERAL RICHARD GRIDLEY

BY BRO. GEO. W. BAIRD, P.G.M., DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

IN THE 1916 report of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts will be found the entry that Richard Gridley, the brother of the Grand Master, was his Deputy.

 

General Richard Gridley, the subject of this sketch, was born in Boston in 1710, and died at Stoughton in 1796. He was at an early age particularly clever in the strongest of the sisters of science, mathematics. He became a surveyor, then a civil engineer, and later a military engineer and the associate of the famous John Henry Bastide, the Dictator of His Majesty's Engineers.

 

Gridley was commissioned a Lieutenant Colonel in the English Army in 1745, and assigned to the comrnand of the Grand, or Royal, Artillery, which was opposite the harbor of Louisburg, and which was captured by English forces in 1745. Gridley erected all of the Pepperrell batteries. He drew the designs for Governors Island in Boston Harbor, and for Fort Halifax in the Kennebec river.

 

He was with Wolfe in the great battles of the Plains of Abraham, back of Quebec, the importance of which historians have shied at, for, in the belief of the writer, the success of Wolfe and Washington, and in fact the whole of the British Army, in driving back the Romish French beyond the St. Lawrence, made it possible for our colonists to establish a Republic which guaranteed civil and religious liberty; a freedom which alone protected our lives and consciences against compulsory superstition, sorcery and vagaries. The writer verily believes that these Colonial battles were more effective in establishing civil and religious liberty than the battles of the Revolution.

 

Liberty, that right which we enJoy in saying and doing what pleases us, provided it does not interfere with a like right in others: and which liberty is fast being displaced by license, as the hyphenated American gains ascendancy.

 

At the outbreak of the Revolutionary War Richard Gridley was appointed Chief Engineer, and he constructed the defenses at Breeds (Bunker) Hill the night before the battle, June 17th, 1775. He was afterwards commissioned Major General, and commanded in the Continental Army.

 

The name of Gridley is enrolled in so many of the Army Corps, Divisions, Regiments and ships lists of the nation that it is almost a household word. Another Gridley, broken in health, under orders to return home to die, commanded a ship in Dewey's fleet at Manila, in 1901. Commander Gridley's relief arrived on the eve of the battle. He begged that he might carry his ship through the action, come what might, and Dewey was big enough to withhold the orders returning Gridley home, until after the battle. “Steve” Gridley, as he was called, was at the front and in the thick of the fight.

 

MASONRY IN MEXICO

 

BY BRO. OLIVER DAY STREET, J.G.W., ALABAMA

 

Since this report on Masonic conditions in Mexico was submitted to the Grand Lodge of Alabama in December, 1919, much additional information from that country has come into our possession. The most important of this are three pamphlets printed in Mexico City a few months ago. One of these, entitled “York Grand Lodge of Mexico, Free and Accepted Masons,” by Cecil C. Freston, is in the form of a printed communication addressed to “Mr. Oliver D. Street, Chairman of Foreign Correspondence Committee, M. W. Grand Lodge of Alabama, F. and A. M.”, and was published in December, 1919. Another entitled “The Irregularities of the so-called York Grand Lodge of Mexico,” is by Dr. Earnest Forbes, and was published early this year. The third, entitled “York Grand Lodge of Mexico,” is by a Committee on Publicity of that Grand Lodge. While all are controversial in tone, yet they are important contributions to the Masonic literature of that country.

 

Most of this recent information is only confirmatory of the statements and conclusions of this report, yet some of it is new and corrects some errors into which we had fallen. Some of this we have appended in the form of notes, deeming it best not to alter the original text.

 

Oliver D. Street

 

MASONRY both of the York and Scottish Rites was introduced into Mexico early in the last century. Five lodges chartered by New York in 1826 formed a Grand Lodge in October of that year for the government of Craft Masonry in that Republic. (Trans. Leicester Lodge of Research 1912‑'13, p. 110.)

 

There soon ensued between the partisans of the two Rites a bitter struggle which was carried into politics. It would seem that each Masonic faction attempted to utilize the political parties of the day and that the political parties in turn attempted to utilize the Masonic factions. Grand Lodge is said to have closed in 1828. (See York Grand Lodge Pamphlet [1920] p. 59.)

 

In 1833, certain of the leading brethren of both Rites in order to put an end to the unseemly struggle and to place Masonry on a proper basis formed the Grand Orient of the Mexican National Rite. This was a compromise system consisting of the three degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry and six others practically borrowed from the Scottish Rite. The compromise did not succeed and soon the Mexican National Rite found itself also drawn into the political maelstrom.

 

By the year 1859, the warring factions, namely, the “Yorkinos” (partisans of the York Rite) and the “Escoseses” (partisans of the Scottish Rite) had just about succeeded in exterminating each other. A few fragments of each remained but nothing worthy of recognition as organized Masonry. At this period there existed at Mexico City a lodge “Union Fraternal” chartered about 1855 by the Grand Lodge or Supreme Council of Cartigena, New Granada (Columbia), which will be noticed further in the course of this report.

 

The year 1859 marks the beginning of a new era for Masonry in Mexico but not one of peace and prosperity. In this year, Brother Albert Pike, the then Sovereign Grand Commander for the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite, dispatched Brother Lafon Ladebat to Mexico with instructions to attempt to place Masonry in that country on a sound basis. It has been stated (but we are unable to say) that Ladebat's instructions forbade his establishing Scottish Rite bodies with authority over the first three degrees. If such ware Ladebat's instructions. he violated them by creating at Vera Cruz a Supreme Council claiming jurisdiction over the Blue degrees, and it began to establish lodges throughout Mexico.

 

Thereupon the fragments of the old Mexican National Rite and of the old Scottish Rite, still lingering in the Republic, began to take notice. The former attempted a renewed organization in 1863, and the latter on December 27, 1865.

 

Thereupon ensued a brief struggle between this new Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite and the Ladebat Supreme Council but this was ended in 1868 by the union of the two. During the same year a loose sort of fusion was brought about between this united Supreme Council and the Grand Orient for the Mexican National Rite. The Grand Orient retained control over its own ritual and internal government. It seemed that at last Masonry in Mexico was about to close its wrangling and present a solid front for the spread of Masonic principles. But this unity was of short duration. About 1870, the “Supreme Grand Orient of the Scottish Rite” was formed, claiming exclusive jurisdiction over all Scottish Rite Symbolic lodges. A little later, about 1872, the Mexican National Grand Orient severed its understanding with the Supreme Council. There also sprang upon about the same time what was called the “Reformed Scottish Rite” but it was regarded as clandestine by nearly all Mexican Masonic bodies. (See York Grand Lodge Pamphlet, p. 60.) We mention these Scottish Rite bodies because they have had an ineradicable share in the creation of such Masonry as may now exist in Mexico. Not even the York Grand Lodge has been unaffected by these influences.

 

The Supreme Council and the Mexican National Grand Orient seem to have renewed their loose compact about the year 1882. This year marks the beginning of another epoch in the history of Mexican Masonry.

 

It would be in vain as well as profitless to our present purpose to attempt to trace further the devious, obscure and confused path of Masonic history in Mexico prior to 1882. Suffice it to say that at that date all Masonry of the Craft, Symbolic, or Blue degrees, except possibly a few lodges of the old Mexican National Rite, had fallen under the control of Scottish Rite bodies, of which there were at least three, contending with each other for supremacy. There were so-called Grand Lodges in several of the states of the Mexican republic, but they owed and acknowledged their allegiance and subordination to the higher bodies of the Scottish Rite.

 

To summarize, it seems that at this period (1882) there existed in Mexico, (1) a small remnant of the old Grand Orient of the Mexican National Rite, (2) the united Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite controlling the 4th to 33rd degrees, with its subordinate Grand Lodges in various states, controlling the three degrees, (3) the Reformed Scottish Rite, very weak, and (4) the Supreme Grand Orient of the Scottish Rite, exercising control over the first three degrees only, also very weak. (1)

 

It was under these circumstances that early in January, 1882, the Grand Lodge of Colon and the Island of Cuba chartered three Symbolic lodges at Vera Cruz. On January 28, 1883, these three lodges formed a Grand Lodge at Vera Cruz under the name of the Independent Symbolic Mexican Grand Lodge, temporarily claiming jurisdiction throughout the Republic of Mexico over Symbolic Masonry. So far as we can ascertain its organization was in strict accord with the rules for the erection of an independent Grand Lodge of Ancient Craft Masonry.

 

The Scottish Rite Supreme Council and its subordinate Grand Lodges bitterly resented the action of the Grand Lodge of Colon and the Island of Cuba in establishing these lodges, claiming it was an invasion of their territory but Cuba justified its course by insisting that in the absence of any independent Grand Lodge of Ancient Craft or Symbolic Masonry in Mexico that country was unoccupied territory. Thereupon, in their effort to head off this movement, the Supreme Council undertook in April, 1883, to establish in Mexico City a “Central Grand Lodge” to hold jurisdiction over all Symbolic lodges in the Republic, but this aroused so much opposition on the part of its own subordinate lodges and Grand Lodges that the movement was dropped, and a decree promulgated May 27, 1883, effective June 24, 1883, whereby the Supreme Council absolutely and unconditionally surrendered control of Symbolic Masonry to the Grand Lodges then existing in the several States or that might thereafter be erected.

 

The Independent Symbolic Mexican Grand Lodge at Vera Cruz announced from the very beginning that its purpose was not permanently to monopolize for itself the whole of Mexico, but that it would gladly surrender the territory of any State, except Vera Cruz, to a regular Grand Lodge as soon as one was formed therein. The result of the combined actions of this Grand Lodge and the Supreme Council was that soon there were independent Grand Lodges in many of the Mexican States. Conditions thus seemed auspicious for the orderly development of Freemasonry along lines that have proven so wholesome in other countries.

 

On December 24, 1889, by solemn treaty the Supreme Council again renounced forever its claim over the three Symbolic degrees and the old Grand Orient of the Scottish Rite disbanded. This was part of a plan well conceived but mistakenly executed whereby all Symbolic Masonry was to be united in one central governing body for the entire Republic. Accordingly in February, 1890, there was formed the “Gran Dieta Simbolica,” to which the several State Grand Lodges were to be subordinate, with Porfirio Diaz, the then President of Mexico, as Grand Master and Dr. Ermilio G. Canton as Grand Secretary. The position of President Diaz seems to have been purely nominal and Dr. Canton was in fact the real head of the “Gran Dieta.” (10 Ars Q. C., p. 68.) It started off auspiciously and at the height of its prosperity held under its sway seventeen State Grand Lodges and about 225 lodges. Its position was analogous to what would be that of a General Grand Lodge for the United States of America, so often proposed but as often rejected. It practiced only the three degrees and while the Scottish llite ritual of these degrees was the official, lodges were allowed to work in the York Rite. (7 Ars Q.C., p. 73.)

 

The following Masonic organizations seem to have been in existence which did not unite in the formation of the “Gran Dieta” and which never united with it, namely, (1) the fragment of the Mexican National Rite, (2) the Reformed Scottish Rite, (3) the United Mexican Grand Lodge of Vera Cruz, (4) the Grand Lodge of the Federal District, and (5) the Independent Grand Lodge of the Federal District, an entirely different body from the “Grand Lodge of the Federal District.” (6 Ars Q. C., p. 115.) Though it has been claimed that the Reformed Scottish Rite and the Mexican National Rite were both already dead. (7 Ib., p. 72.)

 

The alleged discarding of a declaration of a belief in Deity, the alleged removal of the Bible from its altars, and the alleged admission of women, proved its ultimate undoing. We say “alleged” because all these charges were denied. On July 1, 1901, the “Gran Dieta” dissolved. It had been practically dead since 1895, several of its most influential Grand Lodges having withdrawn. In the early '90's the statement was made that the Grand Orient of the Mexican National Rite consisted of only a “few lodges” but was respected because it was “the first Masonic organization” in Mexico and for the great men whom it had numbered among its members; that it was preserved “as a kind of souvenir.” (Alabama Cor. Rep. 1892, p. 135.)

 

With the dissolution of the “Gran Dieta” in 1901, began another era of independent State Grand Lodges, and this era was still prevailing when Masonry, like everything else in Mexico, was torn to atoms by the Revolution still in progress.

 

The Republic of Mexico, like our own, consists of separate States and Territories and a Federal District. The States are twenty-eight in number and the Territories two. Theoretically with them, as with us, there may be one Sovereign Grand Lodge in each State, in each Territory and in the Federal District. A recent communication received by your Committee from the Grand Lodge “Benito Juarez” in the State Coahuila, says:

 

“Generally speaking there is a Grand Lodge in every State of the Republic, founded when at least three Symbolic lodges had been installed in the State. In no State of the Republic can there be two Grand Lodges at the same time, because Blue Masonry is prohibited to invade territories occupied by another Grand Lodge. After a Grand Lodge has occupied a vacant territory and has installed three lodges, these will form their own Grand Lodge for that State.”

 

This wholesome policy does not, however, appear to have been nor is it now universally observed by Mexican Masons or Grand bodies.

 

Our information is that at present there are, or recently were, four Grand Lodges in the Federal District, each claiming to be sovereign and independent, and each exercising jurisdiction not only in the District but in several States. They are:

 

1. The Grand Lodge Valle de Mexico, Mexico City.

 

2. The York Grand Lodge, Mexico City.

 

3. The Grand Lodge of the Federal District, Mexico City.

 

4. The Independent Grand Lodge of the Federal District, Mexico City.

 

We are not certain that the one numbered three of the foregoing is still in existence and the one numbered four is the creature of the so-called Reformed Scottish Rite and is regarded as clandestine. (2)

 

There are, or lately were, Grand Lodges in other States as follows:

 

STATE                         NAME                        SEAT

Aguas Calientes                        The Grand Lodge of Aguas

                        Calientes

Basabal                        The Grand Lodge of Basabal

Campeache                        The Grand Lodge of Campeache                        Campeache

Chihuahua                        The Grand Lodge “Cosmos”                        Chihuahua

Coahuila                        The Grand Lodge “Benito

                        Juarez”                        Torreon

Durango                        The Grand Lodge of Durango

Guanajuato                        The Grand Lodge of Guanajuato                        Guanajuato

Guerrero                        The Grand Lodge of Vicente

                        Guerrero

Hidalgo                        The Grand Lodge of Hidalgo

Jalisco                        The Occidental Mexican Grand

                        Lodge                        Guadalajara

Juarez                        The Occidental Grand Lodge                        Juarez

Lower California                        The Grand Lodge of Lower

                        California                        La Paz

Morelos                        The Grand Lodge of Morelos                        Cuernavaea

Nuevo Leon                        The Grand Lodge of Nuevo Leon                        Monterey

Oaxaca                        The Grand Lodge of Oaxaca                        Oaxaca

Puebla                        The Grand Lodge of Puebla                        Puebla

San Luis Potosi                        The Grand Lodge “El Potosi”                        San Luis Potosi

Sonora                        The Grand Lodge of Sonora                        Hermosillo

N. Tamaulipas                        The Grand Lodge “Light of

                        the Frontier, No. 14”                        Nuevo Lareao

Tamaulipas                        The Grand Lodge “Ignacio

                        Ramirez”                        Tampico

Tamaulipas                        The Grand Lodge “Jacob De

                        Molay”

Tlaxcala                        The Grand Lodge of Tlaxcala

Vera Cruz                        The United Mexican Grand

                        Lodge                        Vera Cruz

Yucatan                        The Oriental Grand Lodge of

                        Yucatan                        Merida (3)

 

Our Circular of Inquiry was sent to all of these Grand Lodges but replies were received from York of Mexico, Valle de Mexico, Cosmos, Benita Juarez, Nuevo Leon, and Vera Cruz only. Brother E. V. Anaya, a member of the supreme Council, A. & A. S. Rite, of Mexico, stated in “American Freemason” for March, 1918, that Tamaulipas at Tampico, Occidental at Guadaljara, and Oriental at Merida were then working regularly. There have been and may yet be other Grand Lodges in the Republic not mentioned in the foregoing list. The statement is made in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum (1897), vol. 10, p. 68, that each State of the Republic had its own Grand Lodge. (4)

 

Valle de Mexico. - The Grand Lodge Valle de Mexico, Mexico City, logically comes in for first treatment. It was formed in 1865. The charge has been made that brother James C. Lohse arbitrarily divided Lodge “Union Fraternal,” into three lodges, namely, “Union Fraternal,” “Emules d'Hiram,” and “Eintracht,” and that these three then united to form the Grand Lodge “Valle de Mexico.” Brother Lohse and the “Valle de Mexico,” on the other hand, claimed that this division was but the separation of “Union Fraternal” into its “original parts” (whatever this means) and that the formation of the three lodges out of one was under the circumstances entirely regular. (5) Your Committee confesses its inability with the lights before it to decide the point.

 

“Valle de Mexico” claims some sort of descent from the old Grand Lodge founded in 1826. (6) The best information, however, that we have been able to get is that “Union Fraternal” lodge, from which “Valle de Mexico” was formed, was chartered by the Grand Lodge (or Grand Orient, or Supreme Council) of Cartigena, New Granada (now United States of - Columbia), a Scottish Rite body, at some date prior to 1855. (See Alabama Cor. Rep. 1902, p. 91.)

 

The “Valle de Mexico” claims to have lodges in the States of Guanajuato, Jalisco, Aguas Calientes, Hidalgo, Sonora, Zacatecas, and Lower California.

 

Until 1878, “Valle de Mexico” worked in subordination to the Scottish Rite bodies but in that year it declared its independence.

 

Upon the formation in February, 1890, of the illstarred “Gran Dieta Simbolica” at Mexico City, “Valle de Mexico” became one of its constituent Grand Lodges as “Valle de Mexico, No. 1,” that is to say, it was recognized as the senior Grand Lodge upon the roll of the “Gran Dieta.” It never, however, surrendered its independence completely. It adhered to the “Gran Dieta” until August 13, 1895, when it again declared its independence, and remained independent at least until 1910, since which time there are charges and evidences that it has again fallen under Scottish Rite control at least in part.

 

So far as we can ascertain the only Grand Lodges, recognized by us, which recognize the “Valle de Mexico” are Cuba, Indiana, Louisiana, Queensland, and Tasmania. It claims others but the claim is not borne out by their lists. It has been several times refused recognition by Alabama. (See Proceedings 1902, p. 91; 1905, p. 56; 1906, p. 79; 1911, p. 166; 1913, p. 170.)

 

At one time the “Valle de Mexico” gave promise of developing into a regular and well ordered Masonic governing body, but about 1910 it fell strongly under the influences of the Scottish Rite Supreme Council of Mexico. This led to a disruption in 1910, resulting in the formation of two Grand Lodges, each styling itself “Valle de Mexico.”

 

The merits of this division have been the subject of acrimonious dispute. Each charged and still charges the other with causing it by its unlawful and irregular practices. Each claims to have had the support of a majority of the lodges and Masons of the original “Valle de Mexico.” The faction under consideration still calls itself “Valle de Mexico” while the other faction in 1911, changed its name to “York Grand Lodge of Mexico, legitimate successor to Grand Lodge Valle de Mexico.”

 

At the 1911 Annual of York Grand Lodge, the Grand Master thereof, J. J. Reynoso, gave the following account of this schism:

 

“At the last Annual Session of this Grand Body (April, 1910), we had thirty-two lodges, of which five were under dispensation with a total membership of 1,426. At that session we regret to say that some of the representatives of seven lodges expressed themselves as dissatisfied with the election as decided by a large majority vote and left the Grand Lodge room. These lodges were Benito Juarez No. 3, Union No. 6, Felix Diaz No. 7, Lealtad No. 15, Ignacio Ramirez No. 20, all chartered, of the Federal District. These lodges together with Benito Juarez No. 24 of Guadalajara, commenced agitating for a separation of the lodges working under the Scottish Rite ritual from those working under the York ritual.

 

“It was believed that such separation could be amicably arranged and the discussion of such an arrangement between the interested parties had even reached the point of the drawing up of a basis of separation which was signed by the Committees of the Scottish ritual lodges of the Federal District and of the York ritual lodges of the Federal District, to be submitted to all of the lodges of the jurisdiction, when on June 23,1910, we were astounded to learn that the seven Scottish ritual lodges above mentioned had held a secret meeting, without advice to the other lodges of the jurisdiction and then and there declared the Annual Session of the Grand Lodge (April, 1910) irregular and the elections illegal and proceeded to elect themselves as officers of the Grand Lodge “Valle de Mexico.” Among these representatives was our Grand Secretary, who turned over to the seceders the offices and records of the Grand Master and Grand Secretary. They then demanded of the other lodges of the jurisdiction by telegraph that such lodges join them within three days or be declared irregular.”

 

To this demand two other lodges under charter and three under dispensation yielded, making a total of thirteen lodges which joined in the new movement. To an impartial observer the merits of this controversy appear to rest with the York Grand Lodge and this division appears to have been due to two causes, racial prejudices and the age-old antagonism in Mexico between the York and Scottish Rites. The new “Valle d Mexico” carried with it nearly all lodges and Masons speaking Spanish, while the “York Grand Lodge” carried with it nearly all those speaking other languages. In1911, the York changed its official language to English. Manuel Levi, who led the “Valle de Mexico” faction, is now the Sovereign Grand Commander of the Mexican Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite. It very doubtful if the present “Valle de Mexico” is independent of the Supreme Council. Its adversaries charge and evidence indicates that it is not. (7) We do not, however, wish to be understood as attempting to judge the question either of its origin or of its subsequent regularity. We desire further information.

 

York Grand Lodge. - This Grand Lodge owes its existence, as above stated, to a dissension that arose in 1910 in the bosom of the old Grand Lodge “Valle de Mexico.” The “York” carries upon its seal the legend “Organized October, 1825,” but this can be regarded only as a flourish and as a suggestion that the genuineness of its Masonry traces back in some way through the old “Valle de Mexico” and “Union Fraternal” lodge to the old Mexican Grand Lodge formed in 1826. This thread of descent must, however, be admitted to be of an exceedingly tenuous nature. (8)

 

The following Grand Lodges, recognized by us, recognize the “York,” namely, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Costa Rica, District of Columbia, Cuba, Idaho, Kansas, Manitoba, New York, Philippine Islands, Prince Edward Island, Texas, Utah, Victoria, Virginia, and West Virginia. It also claims recognition by California, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, England, Ireland, New Brunswick, New South Wales, Scotland, San Salvador, South Australia and Tasmania, but their lists do not bear out this claim. Further information concerning it will be found in our general Reports on Foreign Correspondence for the year 1916, p. 195; 1917, p. 213; 1918, p. 111, and also for the present year.

 

The “York” was refused recognition by Alabama in 1913, pp. 170-176.

 

The York Grand Lodge does not restrict itself to the Federal District but has lodges in the States of Sonora, Chihuahua, San Luis Potosi, Puebla, Jalisco, Nuevo Leon, Hidalgo, Tamaulipas, Guanajuato and perhaps others. It claims jurisdiction over “all Symbolic York Rite Masonry throughout the Republic of Mexico.” (Alabama, 1912, pp. 32-33.) (9)

 

This claim of jurisdiction in States outside of the political subdivision in which the “York” is located has been denounced by some Grand Lodges as in violation of the doctrine of exclusive territorial jurisdiction, so jealously maintained by American Grand Lodges. (Alabama Cor. Rep. 1912, pp. 81-2.) The “York” replies that, so far as Ancient Craft Masonry is concerned, the entire Republic of Mexico is unoccupied territory, thus invoking another well-settled Masonic doctrine. It claims that so-called Mexican Grand Lodges are either non-existant or are subordinate to the Scottish Rite Supreme Council. (10)

 

United Mexican Grand Lodge. - We have already given an account of the formation at Vera Cruz of the “Independent Symbolic Mexican Grand Lodge” in January, 1883, with seven lodges. In June, 1883, a rival body called the “Grand Lodge of the State of Vera Cruz” was erected as an independent Grand Lodge, claiming to have been first organized in 1869. If this date be the true one, it was as a subordinate of the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite and it did not claim independence until after the Supreme Council in April 1883 renounced its control over the Blue degrees. In November, 1885, these two Grand Lodges united, forming the “United Mexican Grand Lodge of Vera Cruz.” It maintained its independence of the “Gran Dieta.” (Alabama Cor. Rep. 1896, p. 95.) It is recognized by Louisiana and Cuba. Frankly, it can prove about as strong, if not stronger, case of regularity of formation than any of the Mexican Grand Lodges. (11)

 

The receipt of our Circular of Inquiry sent this Grand Lodge was acknowledged April 30, 1919, and we were advised that it had been referred to their Committee on Foreign Relations. We have, however, to date received nothing further from it. It was stated in 1913 that this Grand Lodge was strongly dominated by the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite. (Trans. Leicester Lodge of Research 1912-13, p. 119. See also York Grand Lodge Pamphlet [1920], pp. 41, 50-52.)

 

Grand Lodge of Federal District. - This Grand Lodge was formed at Mexico City, on June 23, 1883, by fourteen Symbolic lodges of the Scottish Rite. No lodge of the York Rite participated. Carlos K. Ruiz was chosen Grand Master. At the same time and in the same Temple, another so-called Grand Lodge was formed with Porfirio Diaz, the then President of Mexico, as its nominal Grand Master. The Ruiz body quickly secured complete ascendancy over its Diaz rival. In March, 1896, President Diaz was elected Honorary Grand Master of the Ruiz body. The Grand Lodge of the Federal District did not unite with the “Gran Dieta.” (Alabama Cor. Rep. 1896, p. 95.) Alabama declined to recognize this Grand Lodge in 1885. In 1891, Grand Master G. W. Tyler, of Texas, stated that the “Federal District” then had no subordinate lodges but this charge was immediately and indignantly denied. (12) Brother Carlos K. Ruiz from 1883 was the enlightened leader in propagating the idea of an independent Grand Lodge in each State of the United States of Mexico with jurisdiction over the territory of the State and with exclusive control of the first three degrees. In short he seems to have grasped completely the system that has worked so well in our country.

 

“Cosmos.” - This Grand Body in 1890 joined the “Gran Dieta Simbolica” but in 1896 it proclaimed its independence of that body. It had trouble with its constituent lodges and by 1903, is alleged to have been reduced to a single lodge. In this year enough members were taken from this lodge, and two other lodges were formed of them under charters from the United Mexican Grand Lodge of Vera Cruz. The three then “reorganized” the Grand Lodge “Cosmos.”

 

A somewhat different version of this “reorganization” obtained currency to the effect that this one lodge was arbitrarily divided into three and that these reorganized “Cosmos.” (Alabama Cor. Rep. 1909, p. 41.) We confess we do not know what the precise facts were. It continued to work and to grow slowly until the present disturbances began in that country, as a result of which several of its lodges fell asleep.

 

Another “reorganization” was had and according to a communication recently received from it by your committee it now boasts five lodges with a membership of about 400. The Supreme Council 33d, A. and A. S. Rite has by treaty recognized the Grand Lodge “Cosmos” as the sole governing body of Symbolic Masonry in the State of Chihuahua. It works according to the Scottish Rite ritual. It is recognized by Connecticut and Louisiana. It also claims recognition by California and New Mexico, but the lists of recognized Grand bodies published by them do not support the claim. Alabama refused it recognition in 1905. (Alabama Proc. 1905 p. 56; See also Alabama Proc. 1908, p. 91.)

 

At one time the “Cosmos” was generally held to be irregular by not only the Grand Lodges of the United States of America but by some of those of Mexico on the alleged ground that it excluded the Bible from its lodges. We do not know its present attitude on that question but we do know that its lodges are dedicated “To the Glory of the Grand Architect of the Universe” and that its documents are so inscribed (22 Ars. Q. C., p. 216.) A writer in 1913 made the statement that “Cosmos” was then strongly dominates by the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite. (Trans Leicester Lodge of Research, 1912-13, p. 119; See York Grand Lodge Pamphlet [1920], p. 61.)

 

“Benito Juarez.” - From this Grand Lodge, named for the great Mexican citizen and President, Benito Juarez, we have received a very full reply to our Circular of Inquiry.

 

It was founded at Saltillo, State of Coahuila, in 1890, under the auspices of the “Gran Dieta Simbolica.” Upon the dissolution July 1, 1901, of the “Gran Dieta,” it assumed independence and sovereignty. It now claims jurisdiction over the two important States of Coahuila and Durango. On April 29, 1906, the Grand Lodge “Progreso,” which also claimed jurisdiction over Coahuila and had its seat at Torreon, united with “Benito Juarez.” “Progreso” had been formed in 1905 by three lodges under the Grand Lodge Santos Degollado.

 

At present “Benito Juarez” has nine lodges working with a membership of over 300, while several other lodges are sleeping, owing to the political conditions. It controls only the first three degrees and professes to observe the “Ancient Charges and Landmarks as laid down by Dr. Anderson in 1721.” The official ritual of the three degrees is that of the Scottish Rite but any lodge may employ “any regular and recognized ritual” it may desire. “Benito Juarez” claims not to have failed to hold a single meeting at the appointed time, notwithstanding the political conditions prevailing in Mexico. It also professes to work in conformity to the “ancient landmarks and customs” and that it has never intermeddled in politics or religion and has constantly respected the de facto authorities who have governed the State.

 

Aguas Calientes. - This Grand Lodge was in existence in the '80's but when or under what auspices it was formed we do not know. (Alabama Cor. Rep. 1892, p. 133.) If not dead, it is now dormant.

 

Campeache. - This Grand Lodge was formed before June, 1885, and in 1886 declared its independence of the Scottish Rite bodies which created it. We know nothing of its present condition.

 

Guanajuato. - This Grand Lodge was in existence in 1883 with six lodges. (3 Gould's His., p. 372.) Its present condition or whether in existence we do not know.

 

Hidalgo. - Formed as an independent body about 1885 by six Mexican, three English, two French, and one Italian lodges. Whether it still weathers the political storm we do not know.

 

“Independent Grand Lodge of Federal District.” - This body is to be distinguished from the “Grand Lodge of the Federal District” mentioned above and seems to be appendant or subordinate to the Reformed Scottish Rite. It is considered clandestine by all the Mexican Masonic bodies excepting the Reformed Scottish Rite (if such be still in existence). (13)

 

“Jacob DeMolay.” - A Grand Lodge of this name existed in the State of Tamaulipas in 1887. (Alabama Cor. Rep. 1887, p. 90.) Whether still claiming existence or whether it was changed or merged into the Grand Lodge “Ignacio Ramirez” or “Light of the Frontier No. 14” we have not ascertained.

 

Juarez. - Of the time, place, or circumstances of the organization of this body we have been able to learn nothing. We only know that it was working in 1918.

 

Lower California. - This Grand Lodge was formed about 1884 by the Scottish Rite bodies. (Alabama Cor Rep. 1887, p. 68.) We do not know its present status, if it exists.

 

Mexican National Rite. - There is a Grand Lodge of this name, claiming jurisdiction over Symbolic Masonry throughout the Republic, which is not recognized by the other Mexican Masonic bodies. It is not the old “Mexican National Rite,” which has been dead for several years, but it is a new organization “arrogating to itself a name and origin to which it is not entitled.”

 

Morelos. - This Grand Lodge was in existence as a Scottish Rite subordinate in 1883 with five lodges (3 Gould's His., p. 372.) On May 23, 1885, it declared itself independent. (Alabama Cor. Rep. 1886, p. 66.)

 

North Tamaulipas. - This Grand Lodge under the name of “Light of the Frontier, No. 14” was in existence in 1892 as a subordinate of the “Gran Dieta.” The “No. 14” means it was the fourteenth Grand Lodge on the roll of the “Gran Dieta.” (Alabama Cor. Rep 1892, p. 130.) It was recognized by Louisiana and Georgia. We know nothing concerning its recent fate

 

Nuevo Leon. -This Grand Lodge was formed by lodges chartered by the United Mexican Grand Lodge, Vera Cruz. It refused at one time to place the Bible on its altars on the ground that it is “a sectarian boots which has no place in Freemasonry,” and thereby called down upon itself much adverse criticism. This rule is now changed and the Bible is regarded as a fundamental requisite. (22 Ars Q.C., pp. 216-217; See York Grand Lodge Pamphlet [1920], pp. 41, 61.)

 

We know this Grand Lodge is still in existence because your Committee is in receipt of a circular from it, dated September 15, 1919, in which it appeals to the Grand Lodges of the United States for a better understanding not only between the Masonries but between the peoples of the two countries. This spirit manifested in this circular is in every way commendable.

 

Oaxaca. - Formed about 1883 as a Scottish Rite subordinate. (Alabama Cor. Rep. 1886, p. 65; Ib. 1887 p. 68.) It was reorganized as an independent body on February 5, 1886. Said to be still working in 1909 (22 Ars Q.C., p.216.) (14)

 

Occidental Mexican, Jalisco. - In existence in 1883, as a Scottish Rite subordinate, with seven lodges. (3 Gould's His., p. 372.) Independent in 1889 but in 1890 passed under the control of the “Gran Dieta.” Independent again in 1901, and still working as such.

 

Puebla - In existence in 1883, as a subordinate to the Scottish Rite bodies, with six lodges. (3 Gould’s His., p. 372.) Became independent in 1885. (Alabama Cor. Rep. 1886, p. 66.) In 1909 had been dormant “for some years.” (22 Ars Q. C., p. 216.) (15)

 

Tamaulipas. - After a slumber of some years we revived in 1909. (22 Ars Q. C., p. 216.) Do not know its present status. (16)

 

Tlaxcala. - In existence in 1883 as a subordinate to the Scottish Rite bodies, with five lodges. Became independent in 1885. Passed under the control of the “Gran Dieta” in 1890. (3 Gould's His., p. 372; Alabama Cor. Rep. 1886, p. 65-6.)

 

Vicente Guerrero. - In existence in the '80's but we know nothing of its present condition. (Alabama Cor. Rep. 1892, p. 133.)

 

Yucatan. - In existence in 1883, as subordinate the Scottish Rite bodies, with six lodges. (3 Gould His., p. 372.) Was recognized by Louisiana. Working actively in 1918 as an independent body.

 

Of the remaining Grand bodies listed in the above table we have no further information than there shown.

 

Owing to the unsettled conditions in Mexico both from the Masonic and the political point of view, not to speak of any other reason, we do not recommend recognition of any of the Mexican bodies claiming to be Masonic.

 

We append the three following interesting letters touching Mexican Masonry as an

 

APPENDIX

 

(For the translation of the letter from the Valle de Mexico we are indebted to the fraternal courtesy by Brother William J. Rowe, of Birmingham, Ala.)

 

A.L.G.D.G.A.D.U.

OFFICE OF SECRETARY

 

GRAND LODGE A.'. F.'. & A.’ M.'. “VALLEY OF MEXICO.”

P. O. Box No. 10, Mexico, D. F.

Number 323. Or.’. of Mexico, May 21st, 19;19, E.'. V.'. To the Grand Lodge A.'. F.'. & A.'. M.’. of Alabama,

 

Or.'. of Guntersville, Alabama, U. S. A.

 

Prosperity Strength Union

Most Worshipful Grand Master & Brother:

 

We have in our possession your Circular (without date) relating to the action taken by your thigh Bodies, seeking to find a way to enter into relations with all Masonic Powers in both the Hemispheres, the institution being of Universal character; and requesting that you be given the information as per questions in said Circular:

 

In replying, we are honored to state that it has and always will be of great responsibility to the Masonic populace to remain lofty in their ideals without sacrificing in any way the proper egoism for the good of Universal Brotherhood. It is for this reason, that the activity of your Grand Lodge, in seeking relations with all lodges, is worthy of great praise and set an example of the highest Masonic spirit which is justly deserved by a Grand Lodge composed of elements of such Large Virtues, Firm Tolerance and love for the institution. Proof of that Masonic Spirit has been given in so noticeable a manner in the Circular.

 

Complying with your Just and Noble desires, we give you the information that you desire, giving this in concrete form so as to avoid a lengthy explanation.

 

This Grand Lodge is derived from the extinct Grand Symbolic Regimen of the United States of Mexico, which in its time surged from the extinct Grand Lodge “Santos Degollado” universally accepted and recognized.

 

Our archives date from the year 1878. Before the Revolutionary movement of 1910, this Grand Lodge was composed of forty-five lodges. Afterwards and in view of the abnormal existing conditions, we have twenty-two active Tiles with strong hopes of elevating fifteen other lodges that are dormant.

 

Our Jurisdictional Territory embraces the Federal District, States of Mexico, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Aguas Calientes, Hidalgo, Sonora, Zacatecas and Lower California.

 

The exact title of our Grand Body is “Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons Valley of Mexico.”

 

We have in our Ritual all the Rites that are universally recognized and we only control in our Jurisdiction the three degrees of Primitive Masonry.

 

The Philosophical Degrees are circumscribed to their radius of fundamental action, absolutely not mixing in the Symbolic Regimen.

 

In the Territory of the Republic there are various Sovereign and Independent Grand Lodges existing, and even when in some States of the Union two or more Grand Lodges have or exercise Masonic authority, that authority rests only and exclusively in the territory occupied by the lodges of their obedience without interfering in the Regimen and Sovereignty that each one controls.

 

In the territory of the Republic there is a Grand Lodge existing that calls itself “Rito Nacional Mexicano” and which the other Grand Lodges existing in said territory do not recognize. There are many reasons that have caused similar state of affairs, among them, the fact that the true and legal “Rito Nacional Mexicano” has ceased to exist several years past, the said body arrogating a title and origin to which they are not entitled.

 

Our relations with Bodies of other Rites are Fraternally essential as we consider the Brothers that perform and instruct the York as well as the Scottish Rite Fair and Just.

 

We find our Archives to be honored with correspondence of that Grand Lodge during the year 1908 and for unknown reasons, our relations have remained in suspence since that time.

 

We believe the time has come for us to effectively realize the Fundamental Principles of Brotherhood and that is only accomplished by exercising Tolerance and a great desire for Union and Plosperity which are absolutely essential in this great cause.

 

The Grand Lodge A.’. F.’. & A.’. M.’. of Alabama is worthy of great Honor, having initiated with such energy and good will the Symbol of Fortitude and can rest assured that the fruit of their labors will be reaped by the good impressions left in all hearts of the great work verified by the Sacred Laws of Justice and Duty.

 

For better understanding, we enclose the Treaty between this Grand Lodge and the Supreme Council of the 33 degree and last Gr.’. Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite fo the Jurisdiction of the United States of Mexico, not giving you more data concerning our International Relations and list of friendly guarantees with the Grand Symbolic Bodies of the Exterior, as it would make this letter too lengthy.

 

Receive therefore, our sincere and enthusiastic applause and that flattering success will crown your Noble efforts.

 

We greet you with the highest honors that you deserve and to which you are entitled.

 

The Most Worshipful Grand Master,

 

Signed: Ignacio Cortes, 32d

 

In faith

 

The first Grand Sec'y.

 

Signed: S. Palma, 14d

 

A.’.L.’.G.’.D.’.G.’.A.’. D.’.U.’.

 

MUY RESP.’. GRAND.’. LOG.’. “BENITO JUAREZ”

De Antiguos LL.’. y AA.’. MM.’.

Del Estado de Coahuila.

Apartado 87

 

TORREON, COAU.

Gran Secretaria No. 330.

 

Reply to Circular of Inquiry Received from Grand Lodge of Alabama.

 

Nos. questions:

 

1. Regarding time, place and circumstances of the formation of our Grand Lodge, I enclose herewith a booklet in the English language, “The History and Constitution of the Grand Lodge of Coahuila, Benito Juarez,” and with reference to the number of lodges participating; there are at present nine subordinate lodges in this jurisdiction and several more lodges which are not working now, due to our political commotions, will soon begin work again.

 

2. The reply to the first part of this question will be found in the enclosed pamphlet. Our territory comprises the States of Coahuila and Durango. The State of Coahuila is the third largest in extension in the republic of Mexico and one of the very richest in mines, agriculture and cattle. The State of Durango is also extensive and rich.

 

3. This question is also answered in the booklet. At present there are more than three hundred active members.

 

4. The exact title of our Grand Body is in the Spanish language: “Gran Logia 'Benito Juarez' de Antiguos, Libras y Aceptados Masones del Estado de Coahuila,” or in English: “Grand Lodge 'Benito Jaurez' of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Coahuila.” Benito Juarez was a prominent figure in the republic, a great Mason, and considered by all Mexicans as one of the great men of America, and in Latin America he is given the title of “The well deserving of all America.”

 

5. The Grand Lodges of this republic control only the three Symbolic Degrees, or Blue or St. Johns' Masonry, the other degrees, from the fourth to the 33rd, belong to the jurisdiction of the Supreme Council of the 33rd and the last degree of the republic of Mexico, residing at Mexico City. Since several years ago the Masonry of this republic celebrated a treaty whereby the Symbolic Bodies became independent and sovereign, united in Grand Lodges with well defined jurisdictions. Generally speaking, there is a Grand Lodge in every State of the republic, which was founded when at least three symbolic lodges had been installed in the State. In no State of the republic can there be two Grand Lodges at the same time, because Blue Masonry is prohitited to invade territories occupied by another Grand Lodge. After a Grand Lodge has occupied a vacant territory and has installed three lodges, these will form their own Grand Lodge for that State.

 

6. The Grand Lodge of the State has jurisdiction over all lodges of her dependency, although the subordinate lodges are free, independent and sovereign with regards to their internal government. The latter are united to the Grand Lodge by the constitutional covenant and they owe her obedience, within the law, and while they govern themselves freely they must report to the Grand Lodge the movement of their members, of the treasury and a resume of the work of the lodge. They are represented in the Grand Lodge by delegates, with right to vote, they assist in the making of laws and in the elections of the Grand Officers. Sentences of the subordinate lodges pass to her for review and revision, in case of non-confirmity of a decision. Aside from this, although the Ancient, Free and Accepted Scottish Rite is of the official, each lodge has the privilege to work in any regular and recognized rite she may desire, by giving notice to the Grand Lodge. Instruction is given to the brethren in all rites and besides the old sciences, which comprise the Royal Art, the modern, social and political, are also studied.

 

7-10. The seventh and eighth questions are partly answered in previous replies. There are treaties of friendship in force with several Masonic Grand bodies in this republic and also foreign, maintaining friendly relations with the whole Latin American continent and several European Grand Lodges, with whom we are in correspondence. The Supreme Council of the 33rd and last degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of the United States of Mexico maintains friendly relations since many years with all Supreme Councils including the Southern and Northern Jurisdictions of the United States of America and was represented at the Grand Convention at Laussanne, Switzerland, and forms part of the Confederation.

 

Our Grand Lodge has its residence in Torreon, state of Coahuila, and its members have not missed working a single day set for its meetings, notwithstanding the political disturbances the country is undergoing, and in conformity with our ancient landmarks and customs it has never intermeddled in politics or religion and has constantly respected the dispositions of the de facto authorities who have governed the State.

 

Recognized by all Masonic authorities in the republic our members have found protection and help, whenever needed, and liberal as our rite is, we do not make distinctions in nationality, religion or race of a brother to give him assistance.

 

As I have said before, we do not limit ourselves to extend our relations to the Grand bodies of this republic only; we are also in connection with foreign bodies, particularly Latin-American, and if we in the past have neglected our sister republic to the north, the reason is, that we have been informed that those who do not belong to the York Rite, profess the Protestant religion, and express themselves in correct English, have been slighted, a thing which we have regretted very much and which has been the cause that numerous Mexicans living in the State of Texas seek the Mexican National Rite.

 

God grant that the Grand Lodges of the United States, in a spirit more fraternal, less egoistic and more in accordance with the Constitutions of the Scottish Rite and with the Old Landmarks, will inaugurate a new era of good relationship between the regular Grand Lodges of the two Americas and in this manner shall we the Sons of the Widow better fulfill our great mission and enable us to help the whole world in these difficult times.

 

El Muy Respetable Gran Maestro,

Lic. Jesus Maer Bosque.

 

El Gran Secretario,

N. R. Garcia. [ Seal.]

 

A.’.L.’.G.’.D.’.G.’.A.’.D.’.U.’.

 

GRAN LOGIA “COSMOS”

DE AA.’.LL.’. Y AA.’. MM.’.

 

Del Estado de Chihuahua

(R.’.E.’.A.’.A.’.)

Gr.’. Secretaria

Direccion:

Apartado Postal 221

 

A la Grand Lodge A.’.F.’. & A.’. M.’. of Alabama.

 

Or.’. de Guntersville, Alabama.

 

Lib.’. Ig.’. Frat.’. Num. 429.

 

This Grand Lodge was united to the “Grand Dieta” in 1890, and proclaimed its independence in 1896 according to the unanimous consent of all the constituent lodges.

 

In 1899 entered a treaty of Alliance and Friendship with the Supreme Council of the 33 Gr.’. of the A.’. and A.’. S.’. R.’. for the Masonic jurisdiction of Mexican Republic. In this Treaty, which is still in force, it is recognized the territorial jurisdiction for the Estate of Chihuahua, of the Grand “Cosmos” Lodge.

 

Some disturbances among its membership were the cause for the apostasy of two of its constituent lodges, and in order to avoid this abnormal condition, from one of the loyal lodges were taken the necessary members to constitute two new lodges, that under warrant started to work at once, and a short time after, such new lodges were granted their charters issued by the Grand United Mexican Lodge of Vera Cruz, which is one of the most reputed and credited as regular in this Republic.

 

Previous to the above proceedings, in the early part of the year 1903, was started the reorganization of the Grand Lodge “Cosmos” with the help of the Grand United Mexican Lodge of Vera Cruz, represented by the V.’. Bro. Rafael L. Molina, who duly installed the officers of the constituent lodges “Constancia y Trabajo No. 1,” “Mariano Escobedo No. 2” and “Hidalgo No. 3.”

 

In 1901 were entered friendly relations with the Grand Lodge of California, and with the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, U. S. A.

 

In 1903 the Grand Lodge of France appointed as Guaranty of Friendship before this Grand Lodge Cosmos the Bro. Rafael L. Molina.

 

The work of increasing of the institution was continued uninterruptedly until, unfortunately, the political events of our country came to interrupt such work.

 

Having been proclaimed sleeping, some of the constituent lodges of this High Corps were reorganized and now are in active and regular work. The following lodges constitute the “Grand Cosmos Lodge”:

 

“Constancia y Trabajo No. 1” - V.’. Master, Pedro Escapite; Secretary, S. Villalobos.

 

“Mariano Escobedo No. 2” - V.’. Master, Eduardo L. Becerra; Secretary, M. F. Monzon.

 

“Perseverancia y Lealtad No. 12” - V.’. Master, Martin Rubio; Secretary, Ramon Rodriguez D.

 

“Benito Juarez No. 10” - V.’. Master, Jose Murillo; Secretary, Justino Cortes.

 

“Guelatao No. 5” - V.’. Master, Filiberto Guenrostro; Secretary, Baudelio Perez.

 

The above five lodges are in actual work with a membership of no less than four hundred all together, according to the A.’.A.’.S.’. ritual, under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge “Cosmos” of State of Chihuahua, which is the only Masonic Power recognized by the following High Corps for the three symbolic degrees:

 

Supreme Consejo del 33d - Mexico, D. F.

 

Grand Lodge “Valle de Mexico” - Mexico, D. F.

 

Grand Lodge “Unida Mexicana” - Vera Cruz, V. C.

 

Grand Lodge “Occidental Mexicana” - Guadalajara, Jal. Mex.

 

Grand Lodge “Oriental” - Merida, Yuc.

 

Grand Lodge de Estado - Monterey, N. L.

 

Grand Lodge “Benito Juarez” - Torreon, Coah.

 

Grand Lodge de Chile - Chile.

 

Grand Lodge - Lima, Peru.

 

Grand Lodge - Guatemala, Guatemala.

 

Grand Lodge Cuscatlan - San Salvador, C. America.

 

Supreme Consiglio del 33d ed ultimo gardo - Roma, Italia.

 

Supreme Counseil de la Rep - Argentina - Buenos Aires.

 

and some other Corps with whom now we have re-established our interrupted relations.

 

We send you our fraternal greetings.

 

Grand Secretary,

Cayetano Sainz Pardo.

 

Grand Master:[Seal.]

 

Gumerindo Balderrama. [ Seal.]

 

SUMMARY

 

The present status of Masonry in Mexico, in brief, seems to be about this:

 

There are twelve Grand Lodges at work. These claim and exercise jurisdiction over the first three degrees only, except the lodges may, as in this country, confer the Past Master degree on Masters-elect. Eleven of these Grand Lodges recognize each other as regular and as a rule use the Scottish Rite Symbolic ritual. They do not recognize the York Grand Lodge and have no Masonic intercourse with it.

 

There is a Supreme Council of the A. & A. Scottish Rite, located in Mexico City, claiming exclusive jurisdiction throughout the Republic. It receives applicants for its degrees from the group of eleven Grand Lodges above mentioned and did until November, 1919, receive them from members of the York Grand Lodge, but it now strictly forbids any intercourse with or recognition of members of the “York.”

 

An unofficial letter from Brother Jose Cos, Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council, says:

 

“1st. This Supreme Council claims no jurisdiction, whatsoever, over any Symbolic body or over the Capitular bodies, Chapter, Council and Commandery of the York Rite;

 

“2nd. The only possible connection this Supreme Council has with Symbolic bodies is, as it is in all other jurisdictions the world over, to know that the Lodge of Perfection does not accept an application from any Symbolic Mason of the Third degree unless he is a member of a lodge which owes allegiance to a legally constituted Grand Lodge;

 

“3rd. There is, in this Jurisdiction, a Philosophic body by the name of “Rito Nacional Mexicano” which claims jurisdiction over Symbolic bodies but this body has been declared by this Supreme Council as spurious. (See copy of Balustre No. 78, transmitted herewith.)”

 

There is also Mexico City Chapter of Royal Arch Masons holding under the Grand Chapter of Texas. On December 26, 1919, the High Priest of this Chapter submitted a decision at a regular meeting of the Chapter, holding the eleven Grand Lodges above mentioned to be regular and all others in Mexico, including the “York,” to be illegitimate.

 

There are also a Council of Royal and Select Masters, Mexico City Commandery No. 1, and Anezeh Temple, A.A.O.N.M. Shrine. We are informed that all these bodies are now drawing the line on the “York.”

 

The strongest point of attack made against the “York” is that it is a body of foreign Masons speaking a foreign language who have attempted to monopolize Symbolic Masonry in the entire Republic. The “York” virtually admits this charge; its Grand Master at its 1919 Annual said, “we are a mere nucleus of Americans and English here in a foreign country.”

 

 

(1) Freston states (p. 4) that the Supreme Grand Orient ceased to exist February 26, 1890. Its lodges passed to the several Grand Lodges within whose territory they were situated. (Light, Vol. 4, p. 63.) We are also assured that the so-called “Reformed Scottish Rite” has died out.

 

(2) A well informed brother in Mexico writes that “the Grand Lodge of the Federal District of Mexico” went out of existence in 1904, when it united with the Grand Lodges “Santos Degollado” and “Valle de Mexico,” carrying with them the rights of those bodies to Grand Lodge Valle de Mexico. The so-called “Independent Grand Lodge of the Federal District of Mexico,” says this brother, was a revival “by a person or persons who were not even members, and used for political and pecuniary purposes, calling its Grand Lodge 'Distrito Federal,' after the old Grand Lodge.” He pronounces this last Grand body “absolutely clandestine and so pronounced by all students of Masonry in Mexico.” (Concerning “Santos Degollado,” see York Grand Lodge Pamphlet [1920], pp. 26, 27-8, 44.)

 

(3) A recent unofficial letter from Brother Jose Cos, Sovereign Grand Commander of the Supreme Council of Mexico, says that the following Grand Lodges mentioned in the foregoing list are “dead,” namely, “Distrito Federal,” “Distrito Federal Independente,” Aguas Calientes, Durango, Guanajuato, Vicente Guerrero, Hidalgo, Morelos, “Ingnacio Ramirez.” He says the following “never existed,” namely, Basabal, Juarez, Lower California, Sonora, “Light of Frontier, No. 14,” “Jacob de Molay” and Tlaxcala.

 

These Grand Lodges may have “never existed” otherwise than on paper, but all have been from time to time mentioned in Masonic publications. Brother Cos says we failed to mention the regular Grand Lodge of Tamaulipas. (Concerning a Grand Lodge at Victoria, Tamaulipas, see York Grand Lodge Pamphlet [1920], p. 26.)

 

Brother Freston, in his pamphlet, (p. 8), says he understands that there is a Grand Lodge in the State of Tabasco. We have never met with other reference to it. There was also at one time a Grand Lodge in the State of Mexico. (York Grand Lodge Pamphlet [1920], p. 26.)

 

(4) Of the foregoing list it is quite certain that the following have ceased to exist, namely, Aguas Calientes, Basabal, Campeache, Durango, Guanajuato, Vicente Guerrero, Hidalgo, “Occidental” of Juarez, Lower California, Morelos, “Light of the Frontier, No. 14,” “Jacob de Molay” of Tamaulipas, and Tlaxcala.

 

Baluster No. 79, issued in November, 1919, by the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite for Mexico shows the following Grand Lodges as existing and at work in Mexico, namely:

 

Grand Lodge “Unida Mexicana” of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Veracruz.

 

Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons “Valle de Mexico,” Mexico, D. F.

 

Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Oaxaca.

 

Grand Lodge “La Oriental” of Free and Accepted Masons, Yucatan.

 

Grand Lodge “Cosmos” of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Chihauhau.

 

Grand Lodge “Benito Juarez” of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Coahuila.

 

Grand Lodge of the State of Nuevo Leon.

 

Grand Lodge “Occidental Mexicana” of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, Jalisco.

 

Sovereign and Independent State Grand Lodge “El Potosi” of Free and Accepted Masons, San Luis Potosi.

 

Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Tamaulipas.

 

Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Puebla.

 

The Supreme Council strictly forbids its members receiving or holding Masonic intercourse with any Mason or Masonic body not embraced within this list. This inhibition is especially directed against the York Grand Lodge of Mexico, which it regards as an “irregular body” for the following reasons, namely:

 

”1. Because it was illegally organized by a group of Masons who segregated themselves from the Grand Lodge Valle de Mexico.

 

“2. Because immediately after the so-called organization took place, and claiming to be the successor of the Grand Lodge Valle de Mexico, which body has never ceased to exist, did on its own self-constituted authority proceed to include all other jurisdiction throughout the whole territory of this Republic, a jurisdiction which the Grand Lodge Valle de Mexico has never pretended, nor pretends now to possess.

 

“3. Because upon exercising the mentioned jurisdiction, and by establishing lodges in various parts of the Republic, it has invaded the Masonic territory of various regular Grand Lodges legally chartered in this country.

 

“4. Because by having adopted the English language as the official one, it has simply become a self-constituted Grand Lodge of foreigners, included within the territory of a free, sovereign and independent nation.

 

“5. Because by asserting to be the only regular Symbolic body within the territory of the Republic of Mexico, and their lodges working in the English language, it has dispossessed all Mexicans who are not familiar with the aforesaid language, of the right to make themselves regular Masons.

 

“6. Because there has been permitted in some of their lodges the use of ceremonies, vesture equipment, and certain badges highly improper for the symbolic degrees, and thus flagrantly violating their spirit and traditions.”

 

Of the State Grand Lodges shown in our list, the well-informed brother above mentioned, says:

 

“Some of these Grand Lodges of States are in a very precarious condition on account of the years of internal troubles which have thinned the membership but as this is only a temporary condition it will not change the standing of those Grand Lodges and probably those others which are mentioned by you as having once existed may again come to life.”

 

(5) Brother Forbes, who is friendly to “Valle de Mexico,” admits in his pamphlet (p. 10) that the Columbian records disprove that three charters were issued for “Union Fraternal” but only one, and that the manner of formation of “Valle de Mexico” was “clandestine, irregular and illegitimate.”

 

(6) Brother Forbes, who is a protagonist of the “Valle de Mexico,” in his pamphlet (p. 53), denies that “Valle de Mexico” claims any connection with the old Grand Lodge of 1826. He admits that it originated in 1865, and was formed from “Union Fraternal” Lodge chartered by the Supreme Council Neogranadino of Cartigena, Columbia.

 

(7) This charge is indignantly denied by Brother Forbes in his pamphlet (p. 54). He says:

 

“This is such a deliberate lie that it has to be characterized as one, and the lie was told in order that foreign Grand Lodges should believe that the York Grand Lodge was the only Masonic institution in this Republic which did not owe or give obedience to the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite, and the foreign Grand Lodges would be inclined, for this reason, to accord recognition to the York Grand Lodge. To say nothing of this being a deliberate lie, you can easily see how the Mexican Masons were belittled and disparaged in the eyes of symbolism everywhere on earth, it being supposed that your Grand Master told the truth - that Mexicans had spurned Symbolic Masonry and had returned to the fold of the Scottish Rite, from which they were liberated in May, 1883.”

 

(8) Brother Forbes, in his pamphlet, says that the York Grand Lodge cannot produce “a scintilla of evidence to maintain its allegation” of descent from the Grand Lodge of 1825. He further says:

 

“This is a lie, or false statement, which ever you like to call it, and was never used by the Grand Lodge Valle de Mexico, to which Grand Lodge the York Grand Lodge claims to have succeeded. It was used only by the somewhat astute politicians who gained control of the Grand Lodge Valle de Mexico, when changing its name to the York Grand Lodge, solely for the purpose of impressing foreign Grand Lodges that the York Grand Lodge was an ancient and regular institution.”

 

(9) We learn from Brother Freston's pamphlet as well as from other sources that the Grand Lodge “Valle de Mexico” now claims jurisdiction over Symbolic Masonry only in the Federal District, coupled with the right to found lodges in any State or Territory where there is no Grand Lodge.

 

(10) Freston says (p. 7) that the lodges of “Valle de Mexico” in common with all Mexican Grand Lodges except the York, work according to a “Colonial Rite, probably Prussian in its origin.” We understand from other sources that they use the Scottish Rite ritual of the first three degrees.

 

(11) Brother Freston, (a partisan of the York Grand Lodge), says in his pamphlet (p. 8) of the United Mexican Grand Lodge of Vera Cruz, “that it is undoubtedly a legitimate Grand Body.”

 

(12) Our latest information is that the Grand Lodge of the Federal District went out of existence when, in 1904, it voluntarily united with Grand Lodge “Santos Degollado,” which in 1908 merged with “Valle de Mexico.”

 

(13) Late information from reliable sources in Mexico City is that both the “Reformed Scottish Rite” and the “Independent Grand Lodge of the Federal District” are now unknown there and have been so for many years. (See York Grand Lodge Pamphlet [1920], pp. 26, 60.)

 

(14) In November, 1919, Grand Lodge of Oaxaca was working and is recognized by the other Mexican Masonic Grand Lodges, except the York.

 

(15) Grand Lodge of Puebla is again at work and is recognized as regular by the Mexican Masonic bodies, according to late and reliable reports.

 

(16) Late information is that the Grand Lodge of Tamaulipas is still at work. Brother Freston in his pamphlet (p. 7) savagely attacks it in these words:

 

“2. The Grand Lodge of Tamaulipas, Dr. Guzman, G. M., Tampico. Colonial Rite. This Grand Lodge was illegally formed by one Lic. Teodoro Montemayor, as a political move to assist the late General Bernardo Reyes in his fight for the Presidency as against Don Porfirio Diaz. The old Grand Lodge of Tamaulipas died a natural death some years ago for want of members. The building in which they met had been donated to the Craft by one General Flores, an enthusiastic Mason of the old times. A condition of the gift was, that if ever the Craft ceased to work the building was to revert to the Government. To avoid this a fragment of one lodge, 'Vitrex No. 1,' always kept alive, held a meeting once in about six months. They admitted anybody that had the price, Negro, Arab, Syrian, Chinese, Mexican stevedores, - anyone that could pay five pesos for the degrees. When Montemayor was named a 'Propagandist' on behalf of General Reyes, he conceived the idea of reviving this lodge, and of using the Craft for political purposes. Accordingly, he divided Vitrex Lodge into two parts and organized a stevedore lodge in a small nearby village with timber taken from the docks and loading gangs of the stevedores. He gave them the degrees free, in consideration of their voting for his man. Out of this element he organized his Grand Lodge. The Charters were obtained from the Grand Lodge of Vera Cruz, which Grand Body, when the true facts were brought to its notice, promptly revoked them. However the harm was done and when the seceders from the Grand Lodge in 1910 formed their spurious Grand Lodge, recognition was promptly given to the body under discussion, and what is even worse, after the good old lodge of Vera Cruz enacted the unholy treaty with the pseudo Grand Lodge Valle de Mexico, they recognized Tamaulipas Grand Lodge also.”

 

-----o-----

 

By mismanagement and misapplication of Masonic principle we can bring our splendid form of institution into ill repute; but if liberty, justice, equality and fraternity control the functions and actions of our institution, we shall have found an effective remedy for the disease that promotes dissatisfaction and strife.

 

Frank W. Settlemier, P. G. M., Oregon.

 

----o----

 

The tasks set to children should be moderate. Over-exertion is hurtful both physically and intellectually, and even morally. But it is of the utmost importance that they should be made to fulfill all their tasks correctly and punctually. This will train them for an exact and conscientious discharge of their duties in after life. - Hare.

 

THE HUNGARIAN MASONIC PERSECUTIONS

BY BRO. DUDLEY WRIGHT, ENGLAND

 

 

THE OFFICIAL dissolution of Hungarian Masonic lodges and organizations has again directed public attention and opinion to the terrorist activity in Hungary, but it is necessary to emphasize the fact that this action of officialdom must be separated from the Communist prosecutions which have recently taken place. Freemasonry did not take the slightest part in the creation or support of Bolshevism in Hungary, although, in spite of that fact, the members of the Craft have become the victims of the present reactionary propaganda, which regards the objects of Freemasonry as obstacles to its policy.

 

In Hungary today it is a crime to be a Freemason, and the punishment for such crime is discharge from official employment, internment and imprisonment. The Masonic lodges have been stigmatized as “immoral and unpatriotic secret societies” and the “Awakening Hungarians” have condemned all Masonic societies. They did not even wait for the government to give an official and legal form to the sentence, but began, without delay, their campaign.

 

On 25th April last - more than a month before the official dissolution of Masonic associations - a detachment of the notorious Brachialgewalt, accompanied by a number of civilian “Awakenings,” forced an entry into the Lodge Arpad, when they turned over the furniture, confiscated all documents, and sealed up the library; an example which quickly found many imitators. In Ujpest a group of terrorists entered by force the Lodge Vilagossag, where they committed a similar action, while in Magykanizza the Masonic Temple was also confiscated. In Budapest, on 15th May, the palace of the Symbolical Grand Lodge of Hungary at 47 Podmaniczky-utca, as well as the buildings of the Lodges Galileo and Hajnal were requisitioned, without any formal procedure.

 

It was not until 29th May that the Hungarian government gave its sanction to these atrocities and dissolved all Masonic organizations, the work of which had already been paralyzed by the terrorists. The “Magyar Kurir” wrote as follows concerning this measure:

 

“We are informed by competent circles that the Minister for Home Affairs, by his order No. 1550, 1920, has definitely dissolved all Freemason lodges, associations, and institutions. It is a well-known and officially established fact that Freemasonry had a considerable, almost decisive, role in calling forth the war, and later, during the war and after the armistice, in the development of defeatism and destruction, as well as in the raising of the Karolyi revolution and of Bolshevism. The wealth of the lodges will come under official confiscation and will be utilized by the government for humanitarian and cultural purposes, but, before everything, for the support of actions of nationalistic and Christian tendencies.”

 

The untenability of this semi-official interpretation is obvious. In the first place, it commits a striking contradiction by stating that Freemasonry called forth the war as well as pacificism-stigmatized as “defeatism” - for the statement concerning a part supposed to have been played by Masonic brethren in the incitement of Bolshevism is sufficiently disproved by the fact that, in the first weeks of Bolshevist rule, the People's Commissariat for Home Affairs dissolved the lodges and confiscated all their possessions. Even the moderate Social Democrats did not identify themselves with the Craft. In the congress of the Hungarian Social Democratic party held at Easter, 1918, a resolution was carried, according to which a member of the Social Democratic Party cannot be a member of a Masonic lodge, because Freemasonry was held to be a “bourgeois organization.”

 

The Freemasons who sought refuge in flight to foreign countries are issuing a proclamation by means of which they hope to call the attention of their European comrades to the recent happenings in Hungary and seeking their support and sympathy against the officially sanctioned atrocities of the terrorists.

 

---o---

 

IF THE CRAFT SHALL BELIEVE IN ME

 

BY BRO. L.B. MITCHELL, MICHIGAN

 

As the parting time at last shall come

As I've tried to set the seal

And the spirit of the mystic home

Of the Art that is ideal,-

As I've prayed my way with heart and hand

As the Light has helped to see,

I'll be blest upon the border-land

If the Craft shall believe in me.

 

I have tried to be true to the Art

Through the years as they have passed,

To indite that which allures the heart

To the Truth of things at last.

Though I may have stumbled here and there

Where we all so love to be,

But O, how richly will I fare

If the Craft shall believe in me!

 

It may be I've sometimes left the way

In the quest of other things,

And to some have marred the harmony

Of the soulfulness it brings;

It may be I've faltered on the way

Of a faith reality,

But I seek the Light and humbly pray

That the Craft may believe in me.

 

And if thereby to them shall come

An added bit of joy

I'll be truly blest in what I've done

In the dear old Art's employ;

And blest will be the by and by

If my angel whispers me

That 'twas not in vain, my “passing by,”

For the Craft believes in me.

 

FOR THE MONTHLY LODGE MEETING

 

CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN NO. 41

 

Edited by Bro. H. L. Haywood

 

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.

 

MAIN OUTLINE:

 

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 the 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 Masonry.

 

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 PAPERS

 

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 study period.

 

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 paper.

 

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.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

 

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 "ETERNAL LIFE"

 

THE BUILDER OCTOBER 1920

 

In conducting the study meetings the Chairman should endeavour to hold the discussions as closely as possible 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 a discussion is turning from the original subject the Chairman should request the speaker to make a note of the particular point or phase of the matter he wishes to discuss or inquire into, and bring it up when the Question Box period is opened.

 

What does Brother Haywood consider to be the central idea of the Legend of the Third degree?

 

In what respect does the term "Eternal Life" differ from Future Life? Immortality? Resurrection?

 

What is Brother Haywood's definition of "Eternal Life"? How would you define it?

 

What are the two component parts of human nature?

 

What group of our activities has reference to the body?

 

What is man's "spirit"? What is this "spirit" eternal?

 

What is the principal fault of many of us? What is the result of this faith? What is the remedy for this condition?

 

Why is the "Lost Word" the symbol of "Eternal Life"?

 

Do you agree with Brother Haywood's conception of the "Raising"? If not, wherein do you differ from him? (A general question.)

 

Is it necessary for us to seek outside of our Blue Lodge ritual for the "Lost Word"? If so, why?

 

 SUPPLEMENTAL REFERENCES

 

Consult indexes to Volumes I, II, III, IV and V of THE BUILDER for references to "Immortality" and "Resurrection." Mackey's Encyclopedia:

 

Immortality of the Soul, p. 347; Resurrection, p. 621.

 

THIRD STEPS BY BRO. H.L. HAYWOOD, IOWA

 

PART VI - ETERNAL LIFE

 

That which I believe to be the central idea in the whole Hiram Abiff drama, and, consequently, the profoundest interpretation of it, is that which is embodied in the term used as the title of this section.  I have chosen to consider it in a section apart, not only because its importance is deserving of such emphasis, but also because the truth of Eternal Life is so confused, so mingled with other very different ideas, in the minds of men, that we have need of a careful analysis of the matter.

 

By Eternal Life we do not mean quite the same thing as that meant by a Future Life.  Future Life, by virtue of the very words used to describe it, is a life that is supposed to lie in the Future, beginning after death; Eternal Life will be lived in the great Future, true enough, but is something more than that.

 

Nor is Eternal Life the same as Immortality, for Immortality means deathlessness - that is, an existence of endless duration.  It suggests a picture of life lived on a level line, of which line there is no end.  Eternal Life includes this conception of infinite duration but it also includes much besides.

 

Again, Eternal Life is not to be identified with Resurrection. According to this latter hope the man who dies will be raised from the dead, and will be the same man that he was before death.  This also may be true, in some sense doubtless is true, but it is not the same truth as that meant by Eternal Life.

 

What, then, do we mean by Eternal Life? Briefly it may be put thus - there is something in every man, call it spirit, soul, a divine spark or what you will, which even now is not concerned with time or space, but exists above or outside them.  This God-like thing in us need not wait for death to make it Eternal; it is Eternal now.

 

From the most ancient times, as is proved by the history of every religion, men have found human nature to be a kind of double thing, one half of which is very different from the other half.  In behalf of simplicity we may, as many teachers have done, call one of these halves the body, the other the spirit.  Under one or the other of those two words we may group all of our activities.

 

One group of our activities has reference always to the body.  If we work to earn money it is that we may clothe, and feed, and shelter the body; if we seek pleasure it is to please the same body; if we desire possessions it is that the wants and needs of the body may be satisfied. By this very nature, it is plain to see, these activities are temporal, because the body, around which they all revolve, soon breaks down and is at last destroyed by death.  It is because food is to feed the temporal body, and clothing to cover it, etc., that we call these things temporalities.  What use will we have for money, for houses, for land, clothing, food, and all similar things, when we no longer have a body by which to use them?

 

But there is in each of us another set of activities which have reference to the spirit.  By virtue of its very nature man's spirit is a thing that seeks Goodness, Truth, and Beauty.  Just as food is the satisfaction of the stomach's appetite so are these the satisfaction of the spirit's craving.  And it must be noted that the things for which the spirit has need are not in any sense necessarily tied up to, or dependent on, the body, or the earth of time and space; in all worlds, with or without a body, and under any imaginable circumstances, the spirit will necessarily keep on its search for Goodness, Truth and Beauty.  For this reason we are justified in describing this life of the spirit as Eternal.

 

It is the great tragedy in the life of many men that they so entirely devote themselves to the body's needs that they forget, or neglect the spirit's needs.  Giving themselves up to the search for things, for temporalities, they leave the divinest cravings in them to go unsatisfied; as a result, they become materialistic, self-centred, vain, greedy, and animalistic; the soul becomes dissatisfied, God becomes unreal, and the future life uncertain; and they even fall into the fatal habit of making such goodness, truth and beauty as they do find in themselves or others, into a mere means to an end.  Such a man's whole life revolves about himself; he becomes his own world and his own God, and out of such a state grow the fears, doubts, superstitions, quarrelings, graspings, prejudices, envyings, and hatreds which so often make life a mere scramble after the things of self. In other words, the body is set at the centre of existence so that all the man's life is made up of temporalities.

 

The one remedy for this condition is to change the centre of gravity so that the spirit is master and the body is servant, so that search is made for the eternal things instead of wholly for the things that pass away.  When this occurs, selfishness, envy and materialism vanish; the soul becomes the great reality; God draws very near and becomes very certain; the perspective of life is changed and its scale of values is reversed.  To be horrorable and true, to love others, to live in pity, charity, and kindliness, to know eternity as present and the present existence as a brief place of an endless life, all this becomes for such a man the great ideal toward which all his energies are bent. Loss and disease may be serious but they are not fatal; even death is robbed of its terrors because the man's treasures are out of the reach of destruction.

 

This is Eternal Life.  This is the "life of God in the soul of man," eternity in the midst of time, a divine-human experience possible in the Here and Now.  To reach such an existence is in the power of every man; nay, it is the birthright, the God-intended plan, of every child of the race.

 

Herein, it seems to me, we have the reality of which the Lost Word is the mystic symbol; and he who has found that word within him is victorious always, whatever betide.  If he is betrayed by the friends in whom he has trusted, waylaid by ruffians, put to death in the midst of his creative and benignant work, and thrown into an unmarked grave, he is not defeated or destroyed; the God-like spirit within him, dedicated to the Eternal Values, raises him up from the level of death to the perpendicular of the life that even now is eternal.

 

If this be the true interpretation of the Raising, we can no longer agree with those who see in it merely a ceremony in witness to the Future Life of the soul. How could it be? The Raising is not accomplished on the Other Side of the grave but on This; out of the very disaster which overwhelmed him, out of the midst of that dreadful "masterful negation which men call death," the master is lifted up and made victorious.  The Spirit is conqueror even Here.

 

Furthermore, and as I have already hinted, this interpretation makes void the theory which would have us believe that the Lost Word must be sought outside the Blue Lodge Ritual.  When is the Master raised? Is it not in the Third degree? Is not the very Power that raises him itself the thing we mean by the Work? It is true that the secret is elaborated and made plain in a higher degree, but the power, the actual upraising energy of which such a word must be a mere symbol, is present, and does its work, inside the limits of the Third degree!

 

As this understanding came home to me and opened up within my mind, the whole of the Blue Lodge ritual, nay, the whole of Masonry became transfigured; dark places became filled with light; obscure symbols, often so cryptic and dim, became eloquent with wonderful meanings; I found every ceremony, from the first activities of the preparation room on to the solemn awful tragedy moving with steady tread and predetermined plan on toward the sublime climax.  Freemasonry rose in my vision to the most divine heights and I saw that it has in its heart an Eternal Gospel which gives it a place among the great religions, and among the noblest of all the philosophies, wherethrough men have sought for light on the brief broken, bewildering mystery of existence, and strength to live, unconquered and unashamed in the midst of so many enemies and defeats.

 

 

TEMPLES OF PAIN 

 

BY BRO. N. W. J. HAYDON, CANADA 

 

Tall and wide are thy mansions, Oh Pain,

And many the woeful dwellers therein;

The tiny babe, kept from its mother's breast,

The little child whose feet forget their dance,

The stripling and the strong man bow to thee,

The gentle maid, the mother suffering long,

And weary age-all own thy might.

Through thy long corridors their sighs resound

And those who watch, or wait, the long hours through,

On their hearts, too, thy grim strength casts its shade.

 

Thy high places, Pain, are full and overflow

With those white altars where thy victims lie;

There is that upper chamber where the fierce light

Beats on the little table and the quiet form

Round which thy white-robed ministers

Hover with quick and skilful hands

To aid the dreadful fight twixt Life and Death.

And last, that silent room whose undraped couch

Doth bear the scarred shell of all our hopes and fears.

 

Oh Pain! The black-robed servants of our God

A God of life and joy - what paradox -

Would teach us thou'rt His love's chief messenger,

Bringing us nearer the vision of His face.

Perhaps thy pearl-hued wings are tipped with rosy dawn

For those who pass thy gates; but those who stay

Oh Pain, see in them only sunset hues,

And the unyielding blank of empty hands.

Oh Pain! When wilt thou be content?

 

----o---

 

The average Mason pays little attention to Masonry after he attains to the sublime degree of a Master Mason. He is not often seen in the lodge room. When called upon to render a Masonic service, he occupies himself in making excuses and explanations. If each Mason would simply devote thirty minutes of each day to Masonry; to rendering a service to a distressed brother, to obtaining a more accurate knowledge of what Masonry means; in the search for greater light and knowledge, the Masonic Fraternity would become a power, and the individual a giant of intellectual strength, which, when united with his fellow member, would make this world better. Masonry knows no prejudices-and makes no promises to its initiates; but it does exact service from all good Masons-service which is taught in the lectures of the three degrees. The reason you know them not is because you are not familiar with Masonry. You have received the three degrees; it is true you wear the badge of a Mason prominently displayed, but if by chance you should be suddenly challenged, you would utterly fail. The question is, what are you going to do to improve your knowledge ? Are you going to leave untouched the workshop of Masonry? Are you going to remain content with your own limited knowledge, or are you going to arouse yourself from the helpless Masonic state in which you find yourself ? Are you going to be content with a few empty honors which may have accidentally come to you and which you have not earned? Masonry is knocking at the door of every member, pleading with its votaries to help make men better. Masonry is beating a perpetual tattoo upon your door, and begs you enter the vineyard and take up the burden-as a Mason this work is absolutely and entirely your duty.

 

Milton E. Springer, P. G. M., Philippine Islands.

 

-----o-----

 

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in. That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, and for the people, shall not perish from the earth. - Lincoln. 

 

WOMAN AND FREEMASONRY

 

BY BRO. DUDLEY WRIGHT, ENGLAND

 

Wise men tell us that there never has been a woman Freemason.  Perhaps that is true.  This question has been called to the attention of the able scholar and devoted Mason who contributes this series of articles.  Can Freemasonry enlarge its borders to include women or must they forever remain outside the pale? If they are to be made Masons in literal truth in what way can we reorganize the ritual so as to eliminate certain features which might prove embarassing to them? If they cannot be admitted into full membership in what way can the spirit and teachings of this ancient Fraternity be made available to them? Since Freemasonry began to be this has been a moot question; it is still.  It will be for years to come. It is a theme of perrennial interest.  For this reason we are very glad indeed to give to our readers the reasoned and mature judgments of a scholar who has every right to speak on this interesting question.

 

RITUAL OF FREEMASONRY FOR LADIES

 

(The Ritual of Adoptive Masonry here given differs from that appearing in the August number of THE BUILDER. It was published in 1791, in the French language, from which it is now for the first time translated.)

 

FIRST DEGREE

 

PREPARATION OF THE LODGE AND OF THE CANDIDATE

 

THE SISTERS and brethren are convened in a spacious apartment, brilliantly lighted with wax candles, five of which are placed in the south, while five others are placed on a pedestal in the north, and arranged in such a manner as to illuminate a picture illustrating the angel expelling Adam from the Garden of Eden.

 

The Grand Master, wearing white gloves and apron, his breast decorated with a silver ladder pendant from a white ribbon, and holding a silver trowel in his right hand, takes his seat in the north part of the lodge.  The Grand Inspectors, wearing white aprons and gloves are placed at right angles to the Grand Master.  One has a silver hammer and the other a miniature silver Tower of Babel, pendant from white ribbons from their breasts.

 

(The northern situation of the Grand Master is in accordance with the traditional belief that this is the most appropriate situation for one whose duty it is to impart knowledge.)

 

The sisters and brethren wear embroidered aprons and, during the ceremony of initiation, the former sit to right and left of the Grand Master's throne, while the latter, holding white wands in their hands, arrange themselves in an oblong, from north to south, in order to receive the candidates for initiation.

 

The Grand Master instructs one of the sisters (who is assisted by a brother), preferably the sister who has proposed the candidate for initiation, to see that the candidate is properly prepared.  This preparation consists first of depriving her of all jewelry and money, the intention being that she shall be reminded of the fact that intellectual worth only is considered of value by the members of the Order.  A white veil is then thrown over her head and, blindfolded, she is conducted by the brother to the entrance of the lodge.

 

MANNER OF OPENING THE LODGE AND OF INITIATING A CANDIDATE

 

The Grand Master commands attention by clapping his hands in a peculiar manner five times, an act which is repeated by the Inspectors.  Both sisters and brethren rise and the Grand Master addressing the Junior Inspector says:

 

"What is the duty of every Mason?"

 

Answer: "To hear, to obey, to work, and to be silent."

 

Grand Master: "Brethren and sisters, may we hear and may we obey. Let us work and let us be silent.

 

All the members and visitors salute the Grand Master and intimate their obedience to his commands by clapping their hands five times.

 

The candidate is admitted by five taps at the door and the brother who acts as her guide hands her over to the charge of an Inspector who conducts her round the lodge and leaves her standing in front of the Senior inspector, who asks the question:

 

"What is the cause of this intrusion?"

 

Answer: "A lady desires to become a Mason."

 

This is communicated to the Grand Master who asks the candidate:

 

"Has curiosity any share in your request?"

 

Answer: "No."

 

Grand Master: "Are you willing to be rid of the prejudices common to your sex? If so, we are willing to admit you to our ranks."

 

Answer: "I am."

 

Grand Master: "In order that you may be enabled to persevere in those sentiments, brethren and sisters, assist the candidate and conduct her to the entrance gf the Temple of Virtue."

 

The veil is then removed and the candidate is welcomed by the members of the lodge who signify their willingness to admit her into their company by striking their aprons with their hands.

 

The brethren with their wands then form an arch under which the candidate passes and advances by slow, measured steps to the pedestal.  She kneels on a cushion and with her right hand placed on a Masonic apron, repeats the following obligation, word for word, after the Grand Master:   OBLIGATION

 

"In the presence of the Creator of All Things, and of the members of this lodge, and by that honor, which is the distinguishing characteristic of a virtuous woman, I promise to keep strictly and truly the secrets of Masons and Masonry under the penalty of being excluded from the company of my friends here on earth and from Paradise hereafter."

 

The approbation of the members is intimated by the striking of their aprons with their hands.  The candidate then uses and is invested by the Grand Master with an apron and a silver ladder, and he addresses her as follows:

 

Grand Master: "You are now, madame, an initiated Mason and as such I can entrust you with the sign, the grip, and the pass-word.  Give me the pleasure to address you as a sister and as such to salute you with the kiss of peace."

 

INSTRUCTION IN THE FIRST DEGREE

 

The principal part of this catechism is undertaken generally by the Grand Master or some other brother proficient in the science, but the original intention was that every member should, in turn, take part in the answers.

 

Grand Master: "What is the duty of an initiated Mason?"

 

Answer: "To hear, to obey, to work, and to be silent."

 

Grand Master: "Are you an apprenticed Mason?"

 

Answer: "I believe so."

 

Grand Master: "Are you not certain?"

 

Answer: "It is prudent to be doubtful of everything and certain of nothing."

 

Grand Master: "In what manner were you admitted into the lodge?"

 

Answer: "I was blindfolded."

 

Grand Master: "For what reason?" Answer: "To intimate that my curiosity could not be gratified, and that I could only attain to the knowledge of the sublime mysteries if possessed of the fortitude to persevere."

 

Grand Master: "Where were you received as an apprentice?"

 

Answer: "Between the Ladder of Jacob and the Tower of Babel."

 

Grand Master: "What does that Ladder signify?"

 

Answer: "Its meaning is mysterious, but, so far as I can understand it, I conceive that the duty of all mankind is indicated by it."

 

Grand Master: "Will you explain your meaning?"

 

Answer: "It is emblematic of prudence and justice."

 

Grand Master: "Into how many parts is the figure divided?"

 

Answer: "Five."

 

Grand Master: "What are they?"

 

Answer: "Two external sides and three internal steps."

 

Grand Master: "Be more explicit and inform the lodge in what manner prudence and justice are depicted."

 

Answer: "Prudence is indicated by one of the external parts, which is held to illustrate the veneration and love due to our Creator.  His justice is indicated by the other side, which is also held to be symbolical of the attention and love due to our neighbors."

 

Grand Master: "What do the steps indicate?"

 

Answer: "The moral virtues, the practice of which will lead us to immortality."

 

Grand Master: "What does the Tower of Babel represent?"

 

Answer: "The pride of the children of the earth.  The only presevative against that destructive passion is the inner exercise of temperance."

 

Grand Master: "How do you arrive at this knowledge in Masonry?"

 

Answer: "Through the Arch."

 

Grand Master: "What does that Arch represent?"

 

Answer: "Unity and Strength."

 

Grand Master: "Give the sign of an initiated Mason to your sister."

 

(The forefinger and thumb of the right hand are applied to the left ear of the sister.)

 

Grand Master: "Give her the salute also."

 

(A salute on the left cheek.)

 

Grand Master: "Give me the pass-word."

 

Answer: "Amice."

 

Grand Master: "What does that word denote?"

 

Answer: "Benevolence."

 

Grand Master: "What is meant by Benevolence?"

 

Answer: "Masonry."

 

Grand Master: "What is worn by an initiated Mason?"

 

Answer: "The symbol of Jacob's Ladder."

 

Grand Master: "Whither will that ladder lead?"

 

Answer: "To felicity"

 

Grand Master: "And what is the duty of an initiated Mason?"

 

Answer: "To hear, to obey, to work, and to be silent."

 

SECOND DEGREE

 

PREPARATION OF THE LODGE

 

The brethren and sisters who have already passed the Second degree only are permitted to be present for the purpose of forming a lodge for the admission of the candidate.  They assemble in a convenient room, in the center of which is placed a tree, on which is fruit.

 

The only light in the room is supplied by means of spirits of wine and salt, placed on a pedestal.  On the east side of the lodge is a star; on the west a painting of death; on the north a representation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden; while in the south is placed a buffet with wines, sweetmeats, etc.

 

The officers, brethren and sisters are placed in the same order as in the previous degree.

 

A silver chain of considerable length and a bracelet engraven with the words "Virtue and Silence," are placed on the pedestal.

 

 PREPARATION AND INSTRUCTION OF THE CANDIDATE The initiate is conducted by a brother or sister to an ante-room, where she is received by the Inspector, who hands to her a white ribbon, which is fastened round her right arm, by means of which she is led into the lodge.  Previously to this, however, the Inspector asks her if she is willing to submit to the trial belonging to the second degree, that of Companion, and a reply in the affirmative being received, she is blindfolle and handed over to the care of the Brother Inspector, who notifies the fact to the lodge by giving five shouts.

 

Grand Master: "What is your request?"

 

Answer: "An initiated Mason is desirous of being admitted as a Companion and offers herself voluntarily for the purpose of undergoing the trials necessary to attain to the knowledge of the Second degree."

 

Grand Master (to Candidate): "Know that in order that you may attain to this dignity to which you aspire it is essential that you display fortitude, for if the least fear is evinced by you, it may cause you to be rejected."

 

(To Inspector): "Lead the candidate to the pedestal in order that she may behold the danger of her situation" (at this moment the veil is removed). (To Candidate): "Behold the trials to which you are exposed.  Travel towards the west and behold the nature of your existence and remember that the charms of beauty will not avail when your sun is set.  The picture now before you is a true representation of what you must come to.  May this picture never be effaced from your memory.  As there is no true picture without a shadow, observe in the east a light: that is emblematical of the star of life."

 

The candidate is then conducted to the pedestal where she is told to kneel.

 

Grand Master: "Have you infringed your vow as an initiated Mason?"

 

Answer: "I have not."

 

Grand Master: "Will you persist in keeping inviolate the obligation you are about to be entrusted with, as well as the one you have taken already?"

 

Answer: "I hope so to do."

 

The Grand Master then places a silver chain around her neck, saying:

 

"You are not, sister, to suppose that this chain is an emblem of slavery; on the contrary, it points to the union of friendship which, as a Companion, you are to evince for all members of the Order."

 

OBLIGATION

 

"I promise by the penalty attaching to my former vow never to speak of the secrets of this degree, to be a friend to the whole of the human race, to abstain from eating the core of apples, to wear the bracelet of the Order, to sleep with it this night, and never to reveal the secret which that bracelet implies."

 

The candidate then rises and is divested of the chain and ribbon, and invested with the bracelet of the Order.

 

Grand Master: "Notwithstanding your vows, I anoint your lips with the seal of discretion, that being the only security in Masonry.  Receive likewise this fruit, refresh yourself with it, but reject the core: you will then become One of Us."

 

The new Companion tastes the fruit, the members as a body saluting her with cries of "Eve."

 

The Grand Master then seats the Companion on his left and, giving the signal for silence, addresses her as follows:

 

"The silence of Masonry is as horrorable as it is ancient; the pass-word of this degree is as ancient as the Creation, and its antiquity is proved beyond the possibility of doubt.  The honor, therefore, which is attached to it, which you will hereafter experience, is beyond your comprehension at present or my power to express.  You ought peculiarly to rejoice in your present situation, for many have attempted to attain to the knowledge of this degree, but have been rejected, and the disappointed candidates thus withdrawn have experienced a shame seldom known to human beings except on such humiliating occasions."

 

INSTRUCTION IN THE SECOND DEGREE

 

Grand Master: "What is the duty of a Companion Mason?"

 

Answer: "To obey, to work, to hear, and to be silent."

 

Grand Master: "Are you a Companion?"

 

Answer: "Give me an apple and I will prove it."

 

Grand Master: "How were you received as a Companion?"

 

Amswer: "By the anointing of my lips and by tasting the fruit."

 

Grand Master: "With what were your lips enointed?"

 

Answer: "The seal of discretion."

 

 Grand Master: "What is the meaning of this sign?"

 

Answer: "It is to teach Us that the lips of Masons are never to be opened to reveal our mysteries except to those who, upon examination, prove to be One of Us."

 

Grand Master: "What does the fruit signify?"

 

Answer: "It implies friendship as wc all partook of the same upon our admission to this degree."

 

Grand Master: "As you assemble as sisters what is its further significance?"

 

Answer: "The essence of stability."

 

Grand Master: "In what way?"

 

Answer: "In our having virtue as the basis of our superstructure."

 

Grand Master: "How did you arrive to the dignity of a Companion?"

 

Answer: "By means of a tree."

 

Grand Master: "Where was the tree?"

 

Answer: "In a garden."

 

Grand Master: "What was the name given to this garden?"

 

Answer: "Eden, the same as that in which Adam and Eve were placed at the Creation."

 

Grand Master: "In what part of the garden was the tree, to which you allude, placed?"

 

Answer: "In the center of it."

 

Grand Master: "By what name was it called?"

 

Answer: "The tree of knowledge of good and evil."

 

Grand Master: "By what was the garden bounded?"

 

Answer: "By a river."

 

Grand Master: "What does this river represent?"

 

Answer: "The stream is indicative of the rapidity of the human passions, which are to be restrained only by Masonry."

 

Grand Master: "What became of Adam and Eve?"

 

 Answer: "They were expelled from the garden."

 

Grand Master: "For what reason?"

 

Answer: "For their disobedienre to the commands of their Maker they forfeited their inheritance."

 

Grand Master: "What lesson is inculcated by their conduct?"

 

Answer: "It teaches us that should any one of us violate the vows we have taken as Companions the consequence will be that we shall be refused admission to the Order."

 

Grand Master: "Why is a Companion forbidden to eat the cores of apples?"

 

Answer: "Because the core is supposed to be the seed of the forbidden fruit."

 

Grand Master: "I present you with this apple and desire that you will prove to this lodge that you are a Companion Mason."

 

The Companion takes the apple, from which she abstracts the core, which she places on the pedestal.

 

Grand Master: "Why was the serpent introduced into the garden?"

 

Answer: "The serpent is an emblem of eternity as well as the symbol of the origin of evil."

 

Grand Master: "Why is this emblem placed in so conspicuous a part of the lodge?"

 

Answer: "As we are at present only in a state of probation it is a monitor to us to be diligent in our vocation so that we may merit by our conduct here a greater degree of happiness beyond."

 

Grand Master: "Why should you be reminded of the origin of evil?"

 

Answer: "In order that we may recognize the necessity of seeking for happiness."

 

Grand Master: "Where is happiness to be found?"

 

Answer: "In Masonry."

 

Grand Master: "What is the principal aim of Masons?"

 

Answer: "To make each other happy."

 

Grand Master: "What is the duty of a Companion Mason?"

 

Answer: "To obey, to work, to hear, and to be silent."

 

 At the conclusion of the meeting a supper is provided and when the Companions are seated the Grand Master calls upon the newly-admitted Companion to rise, when he addresses her as follows:

 

"Before you partake of the refreshment provided in honor of your reception, it is necessary that the mysteries of the degree to which you have been admitted should be explained to you.  The representation of death is that of the state of man after his fall, owing to the lack of discretion in the female who was created to be his companion in Paradise.  As the oracles of truth have declared the seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head, but as the day of wrath is also declared to be accompanied by a day of mercy, I therefore now cordially welcome you into this second degree, that of felicity, in the hope that the present company will be to you as a second Paradise.  From this day we admit you to our table and request your participation in our refreshments, which are emblematical of the tree of life and of the essence of Masonry."

 

THIRD DEGREE

 

The Third degree in Masonry being regarded as of the highest importance, it is very rarely granted and the ceremony is worked only on particular and special occasions. It is regarded as the highest indiscretion to entrust any but the most worthy with secrets and favors which are the property only of the worthiest of the sex.

 

The Companion who aspires to the Third degree must be proposed at the last but one of the two lodges preceding that when she desires to be admitted.  This condition is obligatory and can on no account be dispensed with.  The object of the proposition being considered at two meetings of the lodge is to give ample opportunity for any objection against the candidate being brought forward, void that every member of the lodge may be made acquainted with the proposition, notice of the proposal is sent to every member of the lodge.

 

At the second meeting a ballot is taken for the candidate, and if in her favor the Grand Master requests the member who proposed the Companion to desire her attendance at the next meeting.  If the ballot is not in her favor the proposal cannot be made again.

 

OPENING OF THE LODGE

 

The temple in which this degree is conferred is generally reserved for this special purpose.  The tapestry and decorations, however, are of so costly a character that many lodges have to resort to the expedient of having them represented on canvas.

 

The temple is brilliantly illuminated.  At the north end of the room is depicted a rainbow, which extends from the eastern to the western extremities, and in the center is a representation of the sun, encompassed by the moon and stars.  On the west side of the temple Europe is represented by a lady in a very rich habit of several colors, seated between two crossed cornucopias, the one filled with all kinds of grain and the other filled with black and white grapes. She holds a miniature temple in her right hand and, with the forefinger of the left hand, she points to representations of sceptres and crowns, a horse amid trophies of arms, and a book with an owl seated above it.  Several musical instruments are placed close to the picture, as well as a pallet and pencils.  Adjacent is a representation of Noah's Ark, resting on a mount, with the dove entering it with an olive branch in its mouth.  Jacob's Ladder, reaching from earth to heaven, with angels ascending and descending upon it, is also depicted.

 

Africa is represented by a blackamoor woman, almost naked, with an elephant's head for a crest, a necklace of corals and coral earrings, and a scorpion by the side of her ear. She holds in her right hand a cornucopia, while ears of corn are in her left hand.  A fierce lion stands by her on one side, while a viper and a serpent are on the other.

 

In the east Asia is represented by a female clad in a rich embroidered vestment and wearing a garland of various flowers and fruits.  She holds in her right hand branches with sprigs of cassia, pepper, and cloves, and in her left hand a smoking censer, while by her side is a kneeling camel.  Near by is a model or picture of the Tower of Babel and an angel with a trowel in his hand preventing the sons of Nimrod from proceeding with that structure.  There is also represented the town of Gomorrah in flames with Lot's wife transformed into a pillar of salt.

 

America is represented by a naked woman of tawny aspect, having a loose veil on her shoulders and wearing round her body an omarnent of feathers of divers colors.  She holds in one hand a bow; on her left is a human head pierced with an arrow, a lizard lying on the ground by her feet.

 

A pedestal covered with an embroidered cloth is placed in the center of the temple.  The subjects of the embroidered work are representations of the sacrifice of Isaac by Abraham, which is on the surface of the pedestal, while on the part which hangs in front of the pedestal is a picture of the pit into which Joseph was cast by his brethren.  A gold salvar is placed on the pedestal, which holds a silver box which encloses the form of a human heart with tools wherewith to shape it. A red velvet cushion with gold tassels is placed on the carpet near to the center of the saloon.

 

The officers of this degree consist only of the Grand Master and his Deputy, the latter holding a naked sword in his right hand during the ceremony.  The jewel of the Third degree is a sword.

 

Every member on initiation is presented with a silver trowel which is worn afterwards on the left breast, and admission into the lodge is refused unless the member displays this jewel.

 

The Grand Master is placed in the north part of the lodge, the Deputy near to the pedestal, while the rest of the assembly are placed in a oblong running from north to south.

 

The candidate is received in an ante room by the sister who proposed her, by whom she is blinfolded and conducted to the door of the temple.

 

MODE OF RECEPTION

 

The candidate being placed comfortably and every preparation for the ceremony of reception being made, the Deputy Grand Master commands attention and order by presenting the sword, the emblem of his office, to the Grand Master, who draws his trowel across the point.

 

The Deputy Grand Master then perambulates the lodge exactng the same compliment from every one present.  After this is done he takes his accustomed seat, and when his sword has been placed in an erect position, the Grand Master declares that the lodge is formed and that the candidate may enter.  The candidate is conducted to the left of the Grand Master's chair, when she is informed that the dignity of this degree is so great that she will not be blindfolded during any part of the proceedings in order that she may be fully cognizant of its solemnity.  The silver ladder which is worn by the Grand Master is then taken from his breast and placed on the carpet in front of him.

 

Grand Master: "Sister Companion, ascend the Ladder of Jacob."

 

(This is done in the usual manner.)

 

Grand Master: "What is the position of a sister?"

 

Answer: "At the summit of felicity."

 

Grand Master: "Take off the candidate's shoes and let her kneel at the altar of Isaac."

 

Then, addressing the candidate, he says:

 

"It is in consideration of your merit that you are placed in this position, for you are about to receive the highest honor it is in our power to confer.  You have become One of Us; now place your hand on this salver and be made perfect by repeating the promise to continue in your perseverance."

 

The sword is now taken from its position and held by the Deputy Grand Master over the candidate's head, while she repeats the following obligation:

 

"I promise in the presence of the Masons now assembled, and by the sword now held over my head, that I will not divulge the secrets of Masonry, neither what I now lmow nor what shall be communicated to me, in consequence of this present undertaking, except to those who have already taken this obligation. "I promise also to protect and succor every one now present on all, and every occasion, according to the ability granted to me by Providence.

 

"I promise these things upon my word and honor.  If I fail, may shame and infamy be my portion and may I be pointed at as unworthy of the respect and esteem inseparably attendant upon worthy Masons."

 

The point of the sword is then presented to the candidate and is kissed by her, when she is commanded to rise.

 

Grand Master: "It is required of every sister on admission to this degree that a present be made by her to the lodge in return for the favor conferred.  You will be assisted in your choice by the Deputy Grand Master, but your own industry will, no doubt, produce the proof of your ingenuity which will be worthy of our acceptance."

 

The Deputy Grand Master then hands to her a box of tools and superintends the work which has been previously decided upon.

 

At this point refreshments are  frequently introduced, after which the candidate produces the model of a heart which is formally examined by all the members of the lodge.

 

Grand Master: "A heart has been produced.  Sister, you have consummated the great mystery of Masons.  The heart is the great secret of Masonry.  Our science has no other object save to regulate the passions.  In a state of nature the heart is cruel and ungovernable.  Our art, as Masons, effects the change, and we become the reverse of that inhospitable condition. We are as you have experienced kind and cheerful, meek and humane.  Advance and receive the reward due to your work and skill.  You are invested with this trowel as the key to the Third degree.  This will admit you to our assemblies and now, at this particular moment, demands from us our secrets.  The sign of this degree is given by drawing the trowel across the point of the sword, and then kissing the point of the sword, as at your reception.  The pass-word of this degree is Esther.

 

The Grand Master then delivers the following address to the candidate:

 

"Sister: Your admission into this degree having made you on an equality with us all, it only now remains for me to describe and explain to you the symbols on the tapestry, which will conclude the ceremony of reception into this degree.  Every blessing that we enjoy is derived from the Providence of our Creator, and this Providence is fittingly depicted by the sun, moon and stars.  The rainbow which encompasses these luminaries is to remind us that vice once caused the world to be deluged and that our conduct as members of this Society is to be such as not to incur the repetition of the divine vengeance.

 

"The Ark of Noah is introduced for the express purpose of proving that the faithful Mason will always be provided for, let the winds, the waves, and the storms of the world rage ever so high.  A place of refuge will never be wanting for the wife, the virtuous and the good.  The Tower of Babel is emblematic of the false strength of those who are deficient in the science of Masonry, and the messenger with the trowel indicates that one moment of divine direction can put to nought and confusion the works of men.  The sacrifice of Abraham is a proof that no temporal enjoyment should supersede the supreme dictates and that when our duty requires us to act we should acquiesce willingly in the divine will.  The sleep of Jacob is a similitude of our condition after death and his after conduct of the respect due to the Creator from the sons and daughters of mortality.  The city of Gomorrah in flames is presented to our view and shows the inevitable destruction of the vicious and the transformation of Lot's wife is at once applicable to what your position would have been had your inclinations prevented you from aspiring to this dignity.  The pit into which Joseph was cast by his brethren would also have been applicable to your condition, had not your merits prevented your refusal at the ballot, for, in that case, your situation would have been like to that of Joseph, as not only would you be absent from your friends at this gathering, but you would have the mortifying reflection of knowing that you had been rejected.

 

"In order to demonstrate the universality of our science, representations of the four quarters of the globe are introduced. Europe is depicted as a lady in a very rich habit, and the various ornaments that surround her are emblematic of her arts and arms generally and show that she is first in point of consequence and the principal part of the world.  Asia is depicted by a heroine wearing a garland of flowers and fruits, thus intimating that this quarter of the globe produces delightful things necessary for human life, as shown by the garment in which she is decked, particularly the profuseness of the rich materials in which it abounds; the bundle of spices in her right hand and the distribution of them to other parts of the world; the censer holds some of the pleasant- smelling gum which continent produces; while the camel is an animal peculiar to this region.  Africa is represented by an almost naked woman, thus showing that the continent does not abound in materials for clothing; while the elephant's head, the lion, the viper, and the serpent are characteristic of the animals having their habitation there.  America is depicted also by a naked woman, as showing the condition of the earliest inhabitants.  The bow and quiver denote that the natives live by hunting; the human head pierced by an arrow indicates that many are cannibals; while the lizard on the ground is an animal inimical to the human race.

 

"In this manner we communicate the knowledge derived from the mode of reception of candidates to this degree, and thus, you will, in turn, communicate it to others.

 

CATECHISM OF THE THIRD DEGREE

 

Grand Master: "What is the duty of a Mason?"

 

Answer: "To work, to hear, to obey, and to be silent."

 

Grand Master: "How long is it since you reached this degree?"

 

Answer: "Seven months and more."

 

Grand Master: "Who assisted you in your benevolent undertaking?"

 

Answer: "One who was well conversant with the degree."

 

Grand Master: "By what name do you distinguish him?"

 

Answer: "The Deputy Grand Master."

 

Grand Master: "Who presided in the lodge on that occasion?"

 

Answer: "The Grand Master."

 

Grand Master: "Give further proof of your attainment."

 

Answer: "I know how to ascend the Ladder of Jacob." (Reference is here made to the plant bearing that name which will be known to students of Botany.)

 

Grand Master: "Probably the Iadder to which you refer is the ladder of the novitiate."

 

Answer: "The construction is materially different."

 

Grand Master: "Describe the ladder which you have ascended."

 

Answer: "The foundation is on the earth and it ascends to felicity.  The rungs are at equal distance so as to form regular steps to the summit."

 

Grand Master: "What are the materials of which this ladder is composed?"

 

Answer: "Such as have existed from time immemorial and such as will exist to the end of time."

 

Grand Master: "What name is given to the base?"

 

Answer: "The footstool of the Almighty."

 

Grand Master: "How many steps are there?"

 

Answer: "They are innumerable."

 

Grand Master: "How were you enabled to take the first step?"

 

Answer: "By the exercise of sensibility." Grand Master: "What is this exercise of sensibility?"

 

Answer: "The union of souls truly noble."

 

Grand Master: "What principle does it teach?"

 

Answer: "That as I had fought and obtained happiness, so it is my duty to communicate it to others."

 

Grand Master: "What enabled you to ascend the second step?"

 

Answer: "A conscious dignity of spirit."

 

Grand Master: "What name does the world generally give to this principle?"

 

Answer: "Honor."

 

Grand Master: "What is its Masonic description?"

 

Answer: "It enjoins Masons to be strictly just where no public law can compel, to fulfil our engagements in an equitable manner, and to hold as sacred the trust reposed in us."

 

Grand Master: "What enabled you to ascend the third step?"

 

Answer: "The practice of sincerity."

 

Grand Master: "In what does that consist?"

 

Answer: "Not in deceit and guile, but in social well-being, the outcome of a generous mind."

 

Grand Master: "What exchange do those of a contrary principle experience?"

 

Answer: "They barter kindness for a shadow of joy and are deceived more than they are able to deceive."

 

Grand Master: "What enabled you to ascend the fourth step?"

 

Answer: "Experience."

 

Grand Master: "Its utility?"

 

Answer: "The control of the passions, preventing us front judging wrongfully."

 

Grand Master: "What are the effects of experience?"

 

Answer: "A conduct void of reproach and such as to merit esteem here and initiation beyond."

 

Grand Master: "What enabled you to ascend the fifth step?" Answer: "The knowledge I had obtained through the medium of Masonry."

 

Grand Master: "In what manner?"

 

Answer: "By the cardinal virtues which were allegorically represented in the first degree which, when united, signify wisdom."

 

Grand Master: "Explain this union."

 

Answer: "It is impossible to exercise the practice of temperance without having a due preparation of fortitude or to be in the possession of prudence without that of justice."

 

Grand Master: "Having ascended the step of wisdom is it necessary to delineate the remainder individually?"

 

Answer: "It is not, for so soon as mortals arrive at that step, the difficulties of the ascent are dissolved and the path to felicity made clear."

 

Grand Master: "What is the signification of Noah's Ark in the Deluge?"

 

Answer: "It refers to the heart of man in an uncultivated state."

 

Grand Master: "Why did Noah build it?"

 

Answer: "As a refuge for himself and family."

 

Grand Master: "How came he to obtain the knowledge of the approaching Deluge?"

 

Answer: "By attendance at the Grand Lodge of Masons over which the Creator presided."

 

Grand Master: "When did he enter the Ark?"

 

Answer: "So soon as he perceived the waters overflow the usual boundaries."

 

Grand Master: "What moral does this convey to us?"

 

Answer: "That it is our duty to frequent lodges in order that the precepts inculcated there may teach us to avoid vice, which will, when true Masonry is neglected, occasion the destruction of the world a second time."

 

Grand Master: "Of what material was the Ark?"

 

Answer: "An incorruptible wood called cedar."

 

Grand Master: "What lesson does the employment of this wood inculcate?"

 

Answer: "That the secrets of Masonry cannot be penetrated by envy and thai the malice of its enemies recoils on to the breast of its propagators."

 

Grand Master: "What was the form of the boards of the Ark?"

 

Answer: "Every one was placed on a true level."

 

Grand Master: "The intent of this form?"

 

Answer: "To prove the quality of Masons and that their unity is the mainspring of their happiness."

 

Grand Master: "Why is the Tower of Babel introduced into the lodge?"

 

Answer: "As a warning against pride, which is totally at variance with the genuine dictates of the science."

 

Grand Master: "To whom did it owe its origin?"

 

Answer: "The rebellious Nimrod."

 

Grand Master: "What was his object in erecting so high a structure?"

 

Answer: "To create for himself a name among men and to make himself equal to God."

 

Grand Master: "How long was the building carried on?"

 

Answer: "Until it pleased the Creator to frustrate his design by the introduction of foreign languages the use of which threw the workmen out, in consequence of which they separated, left their work and travelled and finally settled in various parts of the world."

 

Grand Master: "What became of the edifice?"

 

Answer: "Being deserted by the human race, in process of time it became the habitation of wild beasts."

 

Grand Master: "What lesson is to be derived from this incident?"

 

Answer: "To give respect to the promises of God, to place our whole confidence in Him alone, to divest ourselves of false pride, and to work, having truth for our foundation and wisdom for our superstructure."

 

Grand Master: "Is there not a further lesson to be derived?"

 

Answer: "It is that a lodge is badly formed whenever concord and obedience are absent, and that when such conditions prevail it will inevitably fall into confusion."

 

Grand Master: "What lesson is inculcated by the rainbow?"

 

Answer: "That harmony prevails in a well-conducted lodge."

 

Grand Master: "What does the town in flames represent?"

 

Answer: "The horror which every good Mason feels at the recollection of the abominable crime that brought the fire from heaven."

 

Grand Master: "What does the sleep of Jacob represent?"

 

nswer: "The peace and tranquility in the breast of every worthy Mason."

 

Grand Master: "Why is an initiate deprived of light at her reception?"

 

Answer: "To convey to her the darkness of the uninitiated in respect to Masonry."

 

Grand Master: "Why do we assemble in lodges?"

 

Answer: "Because as often as we meet we renew our friendship."

 

Grand Master: "Is there any other inducement?"

 

Answer: "That we may communicate to each other our secrets."

 

Grand Master: "What is the duty of a Mason outside the lodge?"

 

Answer: "To work to hear, to obey, and to be silent."

 

The answers to the first and last questions in the catechisms of the three degrees should receive particular attention. They are as follows:

 

First: Hear.  Obey.  Work.  Silent.   Second: Obey.  Work.  Hear.  Silent.   Third: Work.  Hear.  Obey.  Silent.

 

Hence, the primary duty of an initiate is to hear; that of a Companion, to obey; and that of a fully-admitted Mason, to work; but of members of all degrees, to be silent.

 

In concluding the catechism the Grand Master demands the compliment to the sword as at the reception, and the members are dismissed with the words:

 

"The lodge is perfect and may it ever so remain.  As we met so let us part, with goodwill to all.  We congratulate one another. Let us reverence the jewel of the Order and depart in peace."

 

 

THE GENIUS OF ROBERT TREAT PAINE

 

BY BRO. GILBERT PATTEN BROWN, NEW JERSEY

 

IN BOSTON, Massachusetts, there are several old time graveyards. Notable for its many Masons sleeping therein is the “Granary Burial Ground” on historic and busy Tremont Street, for here have long since crumbled back to Mother Earth the mortal parts of Robert Treat Paine, a few of whose many virtues will here be told in brief.

 

Born in Boston, March 11, 1731, Robert Treat Paine, whose life demonstrated the true nobility of New England ancestors, is at this time worthy of our attention. The Paines were Masons, as were the Warrens, Hancocks and Quincys of Revolutionary fame.

 

As we follow the life-labors of those sons and daughters of New England whose names are enrolled in the Boston Hall of Fame, we find a reason for the pride we have in family traditions and influences. This section of the country has much of old English conservatism that preserves a pride of race.

 

With the Paines we have an example in point of a distinctive New England family, loyal and honorable, proud to trace its history to the James Paine who was a member of the expedition against Canada in 1694. Robert Treat Paine's father was pastor of a church at Weymouth and sometime after 1730 he removed to Boston, entered commercial life and became a successful merchant.

 

Robert's mother was the grand-daughter of Governor Robert Treat of Connecticut, and for this relative young Paine was named. About the time that he graduated from Harvard, Robert's father lost his property and that he might at once be a help rather than burden, Robert took a position to teach school and made a success of the work.

 

With the true New England idea of seeking a fortune in sea life, Robert's next venture was as master of a vessel, making three voyages to North Carolina, following this with a voyage to the coast of Greenland as captain of a whaler. There seemed nothing incongruous to Paine in coming home to take up a study of law and theology, and at 24 years he was chaplain of a frontier regiment at Lake George.

 

Before he settled down as a lawyer he preached for a while at Shirley, but at the age of 26 he was admitted to the bar, and began practice at Boston.

 

He was only 34 years old when in 1768 he was sent as a delegate to consider the conditions of the country. He was chosen to conduct the proceedings against Captain Prescott and his soldiers for the Boston Massacre of 1770. He was elected a delegate to the first Continental Congress, and to the second Provincial Congress at Cambridge.

 

As a delegate to the Continental Congress, 1776, he voted for the Declaration of Independence, and also signed this famous document. In 1777 he was elected unanimously Attorney General for Massachusetts, and was a member of the committee that conferred with members of other colonies for the price to be paid for labor, for provisions and for manufactured goods.

 

Robert Treat Paine voted for the adoption of the State Constitution; he was for 14 years judge of the Superior Court; and he was one of the founders of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

 

At Lake George was working a Masonic lodge in the British troops as there had been at Lewisburg and at Crown Point. Here Paine is thought to have been made a Mason though the records are not quite clear as to the same. At any rate, he was a most enthusiastic Craftsman.

 

When he was 28, on Tuesday, June 26, 1759, we find him at the home of General John Greaton(?) at “Roxberrie” at the “Celebration of the Feast of St. John the Baptist,” in company with other notable Masons, such as Major Henry Price, Governor Andrew Belcher, Honorable Benjamin Hollowell, Colonel John Leberett, Colonel Jeremy Gridley, LL.D., Honorable John Rowe, Richard Hooton, (the father of Mrs. Joseph Warren), Colonel Joseph Webb (later Grand Master), Lieutenant Governor Andrew Oliver, Honorable Hugh McDaniel and others of eminent fame of their generation.

 

In December of the following year we find him in company with General Jedediah Pleble (father of Com. [Brother] Edward Preble U. S. N.), General Richard Gridley, Honorable Fitch Poole, Colonel James Frye, and one hundred and fifty more notable Masons at a celebrated Masonic banquet.

 

He appears to have been active in “St. John's Lodge No. 1” of Boston. For a period of 19 years the records of this old lodge are lost. While at present the lodges in Massachusetts are not numbered, this lodge is still known as the outcome of the first chartered lodge in Boston under Major Henry Price, the founder of New England Freemasonry in 1733.

 

In the Granary Burial Ground on Tremont St., in the Athens of the new world sleeps Robert Treat Paine beside many of his brethren in Freemasonry - the most notable being Samuel Adams, John Hancock, Colonel Jeremy Gridley (father of the Boston Bar), and Paul Revere. Robert Treat Paine died in Boston, May 11, 1814. In every one of these United States of America there should be at least one Masonic Body named in his honor.

 

The writer has many times visited St. John's Lodge of Boston where Robert Treat Paine often met his brethren in fraternal intercourse. He has more than a score of times stood upon the sacred soil of this honored graveyard of Boston. There are no hot-beds of flowers there growing, nor do costly monuments grace that Heaven-like spot, but the true religion of the eternal God is there in evidence to the metaphysical mind, and Robert Treat Paine, the Boston preacher, lawyer, and patriot there rests till time will be no more.

 

A most interesting chapter of our Colonial history would be a full account of Captain Robert Treat Paine's whaling voyage. He was a good man at any occupation or profession he ever followed. While the ex-whaling Captain (a genius to the letter) was in the zenith of manhood there were alive in the ethical life of “ye modern Athens” three of the most noteworthy Masonic Bodies ever chartered in Anglo-Saxon world Masonry - St. John's Lodge, the Lodge of Saint Andrew, and the Massachusetts Lodge.

 

In the hearts of these Masons of Colonial and Revolutionary Boston was the spirit of the “Boston Tea Party” of December 16,1773 born - then came the war of 1775-1783 - the hope of 1900 years.

 

The greatest document since the “Sermon on the Mount” - the Declaration of Independence was nothing short of the spirit of the ritual of Freemasonry, and Robert Treat Paine with the assistance of Samuel Adams, created the sentiment that placed John Hancock (of the lodge of St. Andrew) President of the Continental Congress, a body composed of over 98 per cent. of Masons.

 

---o---

 

FROM DARKNESS TO LIGHT

 

BY BRO. THOMAS G KERWIN, ILLINOIS

 

We heard the Alarm when he gave it;

With trust in the Name of the Lord

He knelt at the feet of the Master

In the Faith as taught in the Word.

 

To remember the Sabbath and keep it

Was a lesson he learned on the way.

He Prayed in the Sanctum Sanctorum-

Took Death for Integrity's pay.

 

We caused him to toil in the quarries

Till the Work he presented was Square.

He was Tried in the Chair Oriental-

Were his rulings impartial and fair?

 

He wrought at our Temple's Completion-

Saw its Beauties symbolic arise;

Was Greeted as Skilful and Faithful-

Acknowledged both Zealous and Wise.

 

We saw him from Babylon journey

Over mountains and rivers and slopes-

Saw him Passing the Veils interposing

Between Night and his fondest hopes.

 

The Ark's Divine Treasures he brought us-

Those the Words of the Prophets fulfill;

A Companion then we Encrowned him:

Thus rewarding Devotion and Skill.

 

L'ENVOI

 

Thrown aside are his Tools now forever;

From earth's toiling and worry and strife

To the Starry Sanctorum Exalted

To that Higher and Holier Life.

 

No Substitute Word will avail there;

In that Realm he'll find out the Right:

By the Signet of Truth must he enter

The abode of Perfection and Light.

 

 

EDITORIAL

 

THE PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM AND THE SMITH-TOWNER BILL

 

FIVE MILLION people in the United States who cannot read or write.” What an appalling statement! Vouched for, we are assured authoritatively, by the discoveries relative to the Selective Service Act.

 

That such a formidable percentage of the people can be a menace to the prosperous and happy development of this country is at once apparent, and any effort launched in the direction of banishing such an unenviable situation is to be heartily commended. Such a movement should be universally endorsed.

 

Unfortunately, however, this is not the case, for we are finding decidedly militant opposition on the part of a small section of the citizens of this country to a bill which is now before Congress, endorsed by powerful educative bodies representing several large universities and colleges as well as educative and welfare clubs all over the country - a bill which would contribute in a large part to the solution of the problem of illiteracy.

 

The objectors to the bill, so far as we can ascertain, are religious partisans whose policy for many a century has given rise to the belief that ignorance is not a bad thing for a people since it serves well for the increase of a religious faith.

 

The bill in question as those who read it will find Cand all Masons ought to read it - in no wise militates against any sectarian institution. The parochial school of the Roman Catholics is still suffered to exist, as are other sectarian schools - a matter of course that had the writer the deciding power would be eliminated from our educational system tomorrow. But since toleration is a cardinal virtue which we love to observe we can still suffer their existence, providing that they remain self-supporting. In the foregoing sentence, we believe, is found the real bone of contention that has aroused the ire of certain Roman Catholic priests and journals that have been so pronounced in their denunciations. We are indeed reluctant in believing that all the Catholic citizenry of this country share the point of view of these protesting priests and journals.

 

It would be a sorry day if many millions of the population of these United States objected to a program of Americanization made definitely possible and practical through the passing by Congress of the educational measure known as the Smith-Towner Bill on the ground that its effect would be to banish God and religion from the school, and ultimately from the land. It is gratifying to note that an expression of such fears repudiates much of the ugly criticism that was wont to designate the public school as Godless. Or is it possible that the critics referred to were suffering from an illusion that most of the citizens of this country were educated in Catholic institutions?

 

Let us affirm here and now our belief that the public school of this land has educated the greatest of its great citizens, that its extension will render the service destined it should render, and that no sectarian school can or ever will supplant it, that its future is to be greater than its past, and further and last, that there shall be no division of monies for the realization of sectarian educational programs.

 

The Smith-Towner Bill, or any other bill of like character, ought to become a law. The road to the Mexicanization of this country is to invite the religious supervision of our educational life such as our neighbor to the South has experienced. The Americanization of this country is assured as we thoroughly de-Europeanize ourselves and work out our destiny in conjunction with the spirit of the wisest and best who have graced this country, and who set their unalloyed stamp of approval upon the effort of the State, through its public schools, to educate the citizens of these United States in the principles of justice, right and truth, and those trained unto respect for these three can never be Godless or loveless of their kind.

 

Robert Tipton.

 

----o---

 

The attendance at our lodge meetings is not what it should be. I do not mean to imply that non-attendants are not good Masons; nevertheless I am convinced that this is partly due to our officers, who, for various reasons, do not make the meetings attractive enough, disregard the importance of punctuality in meeting, and do not exemplify our work properly. There seems to prevail only the desire to get through with the meeting in record-breaking time, and this, coupled with a very scant knowledge of our laws, is not conducive to bring about a good attendance. Some of the better informed brethren in our lodges should take up subjects of interest, explain the meaning of the ritual, symbols, tradition and history, and thus evoke enough interest and enthusiasm to make our meeting nights more attractive to our members, in particular to our newly-raised Master Masons. Our ritualistic work should be as near perfect as possible, but how few of us realize the meanings and thoughts which can only be understood by research and investigation.

 

I heartily approve the action of some of our lodges which have joint meetings every so often, attended by the neighboring lodges, who exemplify work, discuss topics of interest and have some well informed brother carefully prepare and deliver a lecture.

 

I believe the formation of study clubs, under the supervision of some able brother in every district would bring about satisfactory results and should be encouraged. The study side of our great institution has been neglected, thus retarding progress. My brethren, true Masonry stands for good citizenship, for patriotism, and for good government. Masonry demands but little, and it gives in abundance; it champions every movement leading to social betterment; it banishes and condemns ignorance, intemperance and injustice, and while it demands obedience to the tenets of the Order, it requires nothing that will conflict with any of our duties to God, our country, our neighbor, our family or ourselves.

 

A. D. Goldenberg, P. G. M., New Mexico.

 

 

THE LIBRARY

 

EDITED BY BRO. ROBERT TIPTON

 

The object of this Department is to acquaint our readers with time-tried Masonic books not always familiar; with the best Masonic literature now being published; and with such non-Masonic books as may especially appeal to Masons. The Library Editor will be very glad to render any possible assistance to studious individuals or to study clubs and lodges, either through this Department or by personal correspondence.

 

It will be our aim to pahlish in this Department each month a list of such publications as we may be able from time to time to secure for members of the Society. However, a book listed herein this month may be out of stock next month, and further copies unobtainable, and for this reason it is recommended that when ordering books or pamphlets from these lists the latest monthly issue of THE BUILDER be consulted, and no orders be made from lists more than thirty days old.

 

In the monthly reviews the names and addresses of the publishers of the books are given in order that our readers may order such books direct from the publishers instead of through the Society. In many instances the books may be found in stock at local book stores.

 

A BOOK FOR AMERICANS

 

“Democracy and Ideals,” by Professor John Erskin, Columbia University. Published by George H. Doran Comoanv. 38 West 32nd Street, New York, N. Y.

 

THIS LITTLE BOOK is for real Americans and those in the making, and consists of lectures first delivered to soldiers in the Service and, as our author informs us, is “intended to form a study of American character and its needs.” He has, as he indicates a little later, tried to express from several angles a conviction that we in the United States are detached from the past, and that this detachment is the striking fact in all our problems; that if in the future we are to become and remain a nation, we must collaborate for common ends. It is a work clearly analytical and the close observations it reveals are such as will tend to the making of our conglomerate population better Americans. His distinction between the American and old world idealism, is such as ought to be impressed upon every student in the land.

 

It is a book reflecting the soundest optimism in regard to the possibilities confronting us as Americans, and it ought to be generously distributed in our colleges that their students may apprehend with that clear insight what Professor Erskin indicates as the real American character.

 

It is a book both broad and deep, apprehending those things brought by immigrant peoples that we must assimilate, and pointing clearly the grounds for repudiation of those things that have been tolerated and too frequently openly cultivated by Americans and which, as a consequence, have contributed more to our discomfort than to our success. The quest for the ideal as it should be pursued by us as a people and a nation is clearly stated. Our lack of capacity of defining what is our ideal is pertinently suggested and what hitherto has characterized us as Americans, the pursuit of success above our fellows, or the acquisition of money acquired without effort, is markedly arraigned. That in these United States we are working out the greatest experiment in government and social living hitherto entertained in the mind of man, is thoroughly understood after reading these chapters. And the way to make of America a real melting pot where through fusion of many peoples, one great and glorious nation can be realized whose economy can meet universal approval and be the example for all peoples, is ably demonstrated. It is a book well worth the reading and we earnestly commend its perusal to every Mason who is interested in a greater and nobler America. Professor Erskin has indeed done an immeasurable service for Americans.

 

* * *

 

MODERN FABLES

 

“The True Philosopher, and Other Cat Tales,” boy Peggy Bacon. Published by The Four Seas Company, 67 Cornhill St., Boston, Mass. Price $1.25.

 

A charming and readable little book of modern fables, quaintly and uniquely illustrated. Children undoubtedly will find keen enjoyment in the reading of these nine tales. Artfully constructed, they embody the adventures of cats, Princesses and common folk, and those of maturer years will appreciate the satirical humor that they contain.

 

We would commend the perusal of this little work to both young and old.

 

* * *

 

PSYCHIC PHENOMENA

 

“The First Valley,” by Mary Farley Sanborn. Published by The Four Seas Company, 67 Cornhill St., Boston, Mass.

 

This work of Mary Farley Sanborn is one of those new efforts in the field of literature arising as a result of the recent wave of interest of psychic phenomena. It is daring from its inception to its close inasmuch as the setting is in the realm of disembodied spirits. It is a good thing that the work is designated as a novel, else many might be tempted to repeat its story as a portion of the mass of evidence submitted these days as to the reality of life after death.

 

The story is told in a vivid style and is calculated to hold the interest of the reader through keeping him in an expectant and speculative mood from beginning to end. The First Valley is the first stage in the pilgrimage of the human soul after leaving this earth. The transition to this spiritualized second earth - for such the First Valley seems to be - is told in such a manner as evidences wonderfully the author's imaginative and descriptive powers.

 

It is a healthy little book, being void of those neurotic touches that so frequently pervade books of this character. Throughout its pages there is reflected a wise philosophy which, if heeded, will make human life richer and better.

 

* * *

 

A HISTORY OF THE SHRINE

 

“History of the Imperial Council, A.A.O.N.M.S.” Compiled and edited by the Committee on History, William B. Melish, Chairman, 612 West Sixth Avenue, Cincinnati, Ohio.

 

We are in receipt of the History of the Imperial Council Ancient Arabic Order Nobles of the Mystic Shrine for North America, 1872-1919, compiled and edited by the Committee on History, William B. Melish, chairman. Its prefatory essay is a brief and concise statement of the origin and development of the order in America. It also contains pertinent suggestions regarding the philosophy and history of Freemasonry. It will be of interest to Nobles to learn of those connected with the genesis of the Nobility in America and the observations that are made with reference to the works of the distinguished Fleming, Florence and McClenachan, who were the prime movers in the establishment of the Order.

 

The record and history of the Imperial Council and its work, together with a former history of the order, are ably written. Devotees of the Temple will find in these records of the Imperial Council a work rich in interest.

 

* * *

 

APOLOGIA PRO WILSONIA ADMINISTRATIONE

 

“The War, The World and Wilson,” by George Creel. Published by Harper & Brothers, Franklin Square, New York, N. Y.

 

We are in receipt of the book, “The War, The World and Wilson,” by George Creel. We venture to prophecy that this will be one of the most pertinent pieces of propaganda material that the Democratic party will use in the present Presidential Campaign among thinking people. Written in a racy style, at once lucid and admirable, it presents the record of the Wilson administration, especially its war work, in a fashion that makes the book at once convincing and formidable.

 

The picture of Mr. Wilson, the Man and the President, is a careful and masterly analysis. Those who have been disposed to criticizing the President will discover in the chapter dealing with this subject a logical and powerful defense that will - we are ready to assert - be hard to refute. Indeed the promiscuous critics of the President will find here a presentation of opinion that will warrant - especially at this time of Mr. Wilson's going out of office the abandonment of judgment that has frequently been pronounced in bitter, if not malicious terms.

 

If the future will bear out Mr. Creel's apology for the administration - and such indeed we feel it to be - it may well come to pass that succeeding generations will acclaim Mr. Wilson as being the great outstanding figure of our times.

 

Interesting are the chapters that touch upon why Mr. Roosevelt and General Wood were not permitted to go to France. We, however, confess a dislike to the chapter dealing with General Wood. But we are glad in the interest of fairness and justice, however, that Mr. Creel has drawn attention to the prominence enjoyed by Republicans in the administrative direction of the war activities. In the heat of partisan strife the sense of fairness and just dealing with our opponents is too frequently forgotten.

 

As the apologist for the administration we feel that where Mr. Creel speaks of the American achievements in the great war that he slyly intends to convey that the American genius in particular is with specific reference to the Democratic administration. Being a propagandist we naturally forgive him. His treatment of the League of Nations, the Peace Treaty and the Foreign Policy is confirmedly Wilsonian, and is an able exposition. It is a powerful handbook for political purposes in the present campaign and the Democratic Administration is to be congratulated upon the possession of such a virile spokesman and able defender of its policies such as Creel proves himself to be.

 

OCTOBER BOOK LIST

 

The following list embraces practically all the standard works on Masonry which we are able to secure and keep in stock for the accommodation of individual members of the Society, Study Clubs and Lodges.

 

We are finding it more difficult each year to procure new or second-hand copies of the earlier works on Masonry of which, owing to the limited market for them at the time of their publication, but a small number of copies were printed.

 

We are continually in search for additional items which will be listed in this column whenever it is our good fortune to secure them.

 

It is suggested that the latest list be consulted before sending in orders and that no orders be made from lists more than one month old, since our stock of these books is limited and a book listed this month may be out of stock by the time next month's list is published.

 

Since the publishers are constantly increasing their prices to us the following prices are subject to such changes.

 

PUBLICATIONS ISSUED BY THE SOCIETY

 

1915   bound volume of THE BUILDER            $3.75

1916   bound volume of THE BUILDER            3.75

1917   bound volume of THE BUILDER            3.75

1918   bound volume of THE BUILDER            3.75

1919   bound volume of THE BUILDER            3.75

 

Philosophy of Freemasonry, Pound             1.25

Freemasonry in America Prior to 1750, Melvin M. Johnson, P.G.M., Massachusetts          1.35

1722 Constitutions ( reproduced by photographic plates from an original copy in the archives of the Iowa Masonic Library, Cedar Rapids). Edition limited,            2.00

"The Story of Old Glory, The Oldest Flag," Bro. J. W. Barry, P. G. M., Iowa, red buffing binding, gilt lettering, illustrated. A story of the Flag and Masonry,             1.25

"The Story of Old Glory, The Oldest Flag," paper covers .50

"Further Notes on the Comacine Masters," W. Ravenscroft, England. A sequel to "The Comacines, Their Predecessors and Their Successors," a Masonic digest of Leader Scott's book "The Cathedral Builders" and containing the latest researches of Brother Ravenscroft which present a very logical argument for the connection of Freemasonry of the present day with the Roman Collegia and traveling Masons of the early times, paper covers, illustrated            .50

Symbolism of the First Degree, Gage, pamphlet            .15

Symbolism of the Third Degree, Ball, pamphlet            .15

Symbolism of the Three Degrees, Street, 68 pages, paper covers. The lessons and symbols of each degree traced to their origin, in every instance that it has been possible to so trace them. Brother Street gives many explanations of our symbols in this little book on which our monitors but vaguely touch            .35

Deeper Aspects of Masonic Symbolism, Waite, pamphlet        .15

 

* * *

 

PUBLICATIONS FROM OTHER SOURCES IN IN STOCK AT ANAMOSA

 

"The Builders," a Story and Study of Masonry, by Brother Joseph Fort Newton, formerly Editor-in-Chief of THE BUILDER             $ 1.75

 

Mackey's Encyclopaedia, 1919 edition, in two volumes, Black Fabrikoid binding             16.00

Symbolism of Freemasonry, A. G. Mackey            3.15

Masonic Jurisprudence, A. G. Mackey            3.15

Masonic Parliamentary Law, A. G. Mackey            2.65

“Freemasonry Before the existance of Grand Lodges,” Lionel Vibert. A digest of the researches of Gould, Hughan, Rylands, Speth and others on the origin and early history of Masonry            1.75

Concise History of Freemasonry, Robert Freke Gould  4.50

Collected Essays on Freemasonry, Gould  7.00

 

* * *

 

The foregoing prices include postage and insurance or registration fee on all items except pamphlets. The latter will be sent by regular mail not insured or registered.

 

THE QUESTION BOX

 

THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research 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.

 

THE MOVABLE AND IMMOVABLE JEWELS

 

 

As you know, the American system and the English system quote the movable and immovable jewels in exactly the opposite manner. Could you inform me where I can find the authority for each system, or the reasons given by each system for its own definition? G. L., Colorado.

 

According to the American system the movable jewels are the Rough Ashlar, the Perfect Ashlar and the Trestleboard while the square, plumb and level are the immovable jewels The reason assigned is that the former have no particular loca tion in the lodge, while the latter are confined to the East, West and South respectively.

 

In England, and almost universally outside of the Unites States, the square, plumb and level are called the movable jewel because being emblems of office they are transferred with the officer they represent. The others are immovable because they are each assigned to a particular place in the lodge.

 

Where the American explanation and designation originate I do not know. Robert Morris attributes it to Webb, while Albert Pike calls it a modern invention and has a strong argument for this position since the American explanation originated in, and is confined to, the United States. Even in the United States the English form is found in the oldest rituals.

 

The Rough Ashlar represents the Entered Apprentice on his first admission into the Masonic Order. It is not a shapeless mass of rock but, though rough, has already assumed the shape of a rectangular solid. Thus the candidate must have at least a good reputation before he can be elected to receive the degrees. The place where he is first examined after his entrance is in the South, therefore the place of the Rough Ashlar is in the South, just in front of the Junior Warden.

 

The Perfect Ashlar represents the brother to whom the working tools of Masonry have been applied and his character has been modeled in accordance therewith. The Perfect Ashlar is ready to be tried by the working tools of a Fellow Craft, hence it is placed in the West just in front of the Senior Warden.

 

As to the Trestle Board, I can do no better than to give the description of it and the lecture as given in England:

 

“As the Trestle Board is for the Master to lay lines an draw designs on, the better to enable the brethren to carry on the intended structure with regularity and propriety, so the Volume of the Sacred Law may justly be deemed the spiritual trestle board of the Great Architect of the Universe in which are laid down such divine laws and mortal precepts that were we conversant therewith and adherent thereto they would bring us to an etherial mansion not built with hands but one eternal in the heavens.”

C.C.H., Iowa.

 

* * * *

 

I cannot give the authority for the English or America systems. The English lecture is as follows:

 

Q. Name the movable jewels.

A. The square, level and plumb rule.

 

Q. Why are they called movable jewels?

A. Because they are worn by the Master and his Warden and are transferable to their successors on nights of installation.

 

Q. Name the immovable jewels.

A. The Tracing Board, the Rough and Perfect Ashlars.

 

Q. Why are they called immovable jewels?

A. Because they lie open and immovable in the lodge for the brethren to moralize on.

 

C. C. A., England

 

* * *

 

WAIVERS OF JURISDICTION FROM LODGES OF CONCURRENT JURISDICTION

 

In a leaflet received from the Grand Lodge of Connecticut find the following:

 

“Section 33, paragraph 3, was amended so that, in case lodges having concurrent jurisdiction, a waiver by one of the lodges makes the same complete.”

 

Can you furnish information as to how many Grand Jurisdictions in the United States have adopted a ruling similar to the above?

J. F. R., Delaware.

 

We have submitted the following two questions to the various Grand Secretaries in the United States and give herewith a tabulation of their replies, supplemented with explanatory footnotes:

 

JURISDICTION

Must a request for a waiver of jurisdiction over an applicant for the degrees be acted upon by all lodges located in a territory where concurrent jurisdiction prevails?

Does the consent of one lodge in such territory make such waiver complete?

Alabama

Yes

No

California

No

Yes

Colorado

Yes

No

Connecticut (1)

No

Yes

District of Columbia No

 

Yes

Florida

Yes

No

Georgia

No

Yes

Idaho (2)

 

 

Indiana

No

Yes

Iowa

Yes

No

Kentucky

No

Yes

Louisiana

No

Yes

Maine

No

Yes

Maryland

No

Yes

Massachusetts (3)

No

No

Michigan (4)

 

 

Minnesota (5)

 

 

Mississippi

Yes

No

Montana

No

Yes

Nebraska

Yes

No

New Hampshire

No

Yes

New Jersey

No

Yes

New Mexico (6)

 

 

New York

No

Yes

North Carolina

No

Yes

North Dakota (7)

 

 

Ohio

No

Yes

Oklahoma

No

Yes (8)

Oregon

Yes

No

Pennsylvania (9)

No

Yes

Rhode Island

No

Yes

South Carolina

Yes

No

South Dakota (10)

 

 

Tennessee (11)

 

 

Texas

No

Oldest lodge in such territory may grant waiver.

Utah

Yes

No

Vermont (12)

Yes

No

Virginian

 

Yes

Washington (l4)

No

No

West Virginia

Yes

No

Wisconsin

If applicant never petitioned any lodge, then no waiver necessary. If he did, then lodge he applied to acts only.

 

Wyoming (15)

 

 

 

 

(1) Amendments adopted February, 1920, provided as above. - George A. Kies, Grand Secretary.

 

(2) Idaho has but two lodges having concurrent jurisdiction. The above questions, therefore, do not apply to this jurisdiction. - Geo. E. Knepper, Grand Secretary.

 

(3) Waiver must be obtained from two lodges having jurisdiction, one of which must meet as near as any other to the residence of the applicant. -F. B. Hamilton, Grand Secretary.

 

(4) According to our Michigan law, territorial jurisdiction cannot be waived by our lodges in favor of any other jurisdiction. The only kind of waiver our lodges are authorized to make is their personal jurisdiction, that is over the rejected material of their own lodge, or over their work partially completed. - Lou B. Winsor, Grand Secretary.

 

(5) 0ur law does not permit a waiver of jurisdiction. - John Fishel, Grand Secretary.

 

(6) We have no more than one lodge in any community in this jurisdiction. - A.A. Keen, Grand Secretary.

 

(7) This question is a new one in this jurisdiction. Not until this year have we had a second lodge in any of our cities and hence, so far as I know, the question has never come up. It would be my opinion, however, that the waiver would have to be from all lodges holding jurisdiction. - Walter L. Stockwell, Grand Secretary.

 

(8) The applicant for a waiver may designate the lodge to which he would petition, and that lodge alone may waive jurisdiction. It is subject to the objection, however, of lodges of concurrent jurisdiction. - W. M. Anderson, Grand Secretary.

 

(9) Waiver of jurisdiction in Pennsylvania is obtained only through the Grand Master, by the Grand Master of the jurisdiction requesting it.

 

Inquiry by one lodge of another in Pennsylvania is direct between the lodges, which is not a waiver of jurisdiction, and is of one lodge only. - John A. Perry, Grand Secretary.

 

(11) The provision of our Grand Lodge by-laws is: “Provided, That a lodge may receive the petition of a profane residing within the jurisdiction of another lodge in the State when waiver is granted by unanimous secret ballot of the lodge holding such jurisdiction.”

 

We have only one case of two lodges holding concurrent jurisdiction, viz., the two lodges in this city (Sioux Falls). The question has never been raised, and no decision or construction of the law above stated has ever been made in a case such as your inquiries cover.

 

Possibly the lodge to which the application should be made might be held to have complete jurisdiction to grant the waiver without the consent of the other. But, as I say, the matter has never been decided. - C. L. Brockway, Grand Secretary.

 

(11) Waivers of jurisdiction were practically done away with by the last Grand Lodge, when it amended Edict Seven, making it read as follows:

 

“Lodges shall not make a Mason of any one who has become a resident in their jurisdiction less than twelve months before presentation of the petition.”

 

It will be seen by this that a waiver of jurisdiction is not of any benefit, as the applicant must reside twelve months within the jurisdiction of a lodge before petitioning.

 

Under the old law, where a petitioner resided in a town where there were two or more lodges, a waiver of jurisdiction had to be obtained from every lodge in the town, as will be seen by reference to our Code, page 54, section 5. Of course, under this law, the consent of one lodge would not make the waiver complete. - Stith M. Cain, Grand Secretary.

 

(12) We have no cities or towns with more than two lodges.- H. H. Ross, Grand Secretary.

 

(13) We can waive jurisdiction only over an elected candidate, Entered Apprentice, or Fellow Craft. - C. A. Nesbitt, Grand Secretary.

 

(14) 0ur law is as follows:

 

“Where a waiver of jurisdiction over a petitioner residing within the concurrent jurisdiction of several lodges is sought, it shall not be necessary to obtain waiver from more than one of such lodges. The applying lodge at the time such waiver is requested shall, under its seal, notify every other lodge having jurisdiction and, if the waiver is granted, shall submit to the Grand Master, when his dispensation to confer the degrees is asked, the evidence of such waiver and that due notice was given to such other lodges.”

 

Our lodges can waive jurisdiction only to lodges having an adjacent jurisdiction. - H.W. Tyler, Grand Secretary.

 

(15) We do not have any legislation on the above subject. -  J.M. Lowndes, Grand Secretary.

 

 

CORRESPONDENCE

 

TREASURES OF DARKNESS

 

The Volume of the Sacred Law views darkness from two distinctly different aspects. From one viewpoint it is something to be feared, dreaded, loathed, while from the other it is something eminently desirable and of great worth.

 

The darkness in which we all commence our Masonic career is of the latter order and it rests with each of us whether or not we possess ourselves of the treasures that await our appropriation. Let us remember that the fact of light, “and it was light,” is the result of definite effort. “And God said 'Let there be light.”' Let us also bear in mind that Truth does not suddenly burst on our minds as a completed science but we are commanded to “search the Scriptures” and to “know the Truth,” implying definite effort and enquiry. It is to help and encourage us in this search of the treasures that lie buried in darkness that these lines are penned. No degrees confer knowledge ready-made or bestow the treasures of the darkness from which we emerge, or enter, in order to discover the greater things beyond. We emerge truly, and yet our emergence is almost as overwhelming as was our darkness so vast is the field of research awaiting our efforts and yet withal so glorious the treasures, the reward of our investigation. We emerge only to reenter, but we reenter with a new inspiration, a more noble purpose and with definite direction in our quest, for we know that the darkness will yield its treasures.

 

Let us search then and become richer in intellect and spirit. Darkness has treasures innumerable and as much of life's greatest blessings are the gift of darkness, so should our treasures be the gift of our darkness and our persistent exploration of its blackness, gradually turning it into that which we most desire.

 

The darkness of nature produces the brightness of the flowers and the glory of the trees; the darkness of the earth transmutes vegetation into power-producing coal; while the darkness of the tomb revealed the might of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. The darkness of astrology produced the more exact science of astronomy, the darkness of superstition surrounding the “medicine man” produced the surgeon's skill, while the literary treasures of today are the crystallized results of past gropings in darkness.

 

And thus we might continue; the darkness of sickness and disease inspired medical science with all its modern miracles of healing; the blackness of poverty, unbearable and unjust, gave us more equitable laws and fraternal organizations, while thepolitical and social injustices of the past gave birth to the ballot, Factory Acts, Trade Unions and ideals of citizenship; and even the gross blackness of war produced the treasures of self-sacrificing devotion that will for all time sparkle as jewels among the history of nations.

 

The debt of humanity to darkness for the treasures it has produced is immeasurable. Even that Great Light upon our altars is in part at least the treasure of the darkness of Israelitish exile, for in those dark days the great scribe Ezra collected and arranged that which became to the nation the rule and guide for their faith and practice on their return to their native land.

 

The teaching then, for all those truly in search of light, is the recognition of these things as being representative of a principle of life, which if grasped and applied will surely make us wiser and consequently happier men. In other words there are still Treasures of Darkness awaiting our appropriation. Even with the fuller light of the sublime degree how much is still darkness for the average candidate. Even with all the light of past experience how much failure is common to us all.

 

My brother, there are treasures of knowledge in the symbolic teaching of Masonry that you must find for yourself by serious search and conscious appropriation and which you alone can discover for yourself. The darkness of past failures yields treasures for us in the truths learned from those deflections and are personal and inward but become true gems of character if rightly appropriated.

 

May I point to the greatest of all the Treasures of Darkness, as the Treasure above all treasures that every Mason should seek. “In the beginning God said 'Let there be light”' and the physical treasures of the world were partially revealed, many still awaiting man's search. Later, God, seeing the world in moral darkness said “Let eternal truth shine forth” and “the light shined in the darkness” and spiritual treasures were partially revealed, many others still awaiting man's search.

 

And who should be any more competent to search where that great Treasure is to be found than all Master Masons? Instructed in the whole course of life as far as its natural end they are led to discover the power of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the greatest Treasure of life's darkness. Is that Treasure ours by definite search and conscious appropriation? Once more let us remind ourselves that all knowledge, mental, moral and intellectual improvement, or progress in any direction is only the result of intelligent personal effort. The great culminating Treasure is to be found in our teaching; it is there half-revealed and half-concealed; passed over by some, ignored by others, but to the faithful searcher revealed in beauty and power. Seek and ye shall find and yours shall be the Treasure of Darkness.

 

Charles B. Sinden, Canada.

 

* * *

 

THE SACRED SYMBOL

 

What is the sacred symbol?

 

If this question were asked in a gathering of Masons it is doubtful whether any definite reply would be forthcoming. Yet in a system of morality illustrated by symbols it stands to reason that there should be no ambiguity concerning the form of that symbol which above all others has been singled out for the supreme dignity of such an objective.

 

It is generally supposed that the sacred symbol and the letter G are identical, but insofar as it is regarded as the initial letter of God or of Geometry, a letter is merely an abbreviation and is by no means a symbol.

 

The problem of the significance of the letter has been considered so inscrutable that the authorities have abandoned the attempt to solve it, and in despair have pronounced the subject to be open to exoteric discussion.

 

Yet the letter G. though not itself the sacred symbol, does actually represent it. The process by which this representation took place is in reality surprisingly simple. The foundation of Masonry, operative or speculative, is the square, which is the time honored symbol of material and moral truth. No symbol therefore could be held in higher honor by Freemasons. The square has been justly called the great symbol and it is also the sacred symbol, because in former days it was a synonym of the I)eity. The method of forming a square in any given position was a strictly guarded trade secret of the Craft. Therefore to mention it in the presence of the uninitiated would have been regarded as an act of irreverence and impropriety. A gloss was accordingly required to convey the meaning to a brother while concealing it from the world at large. Such a gloss was ready to hand in the ancient and medieval form of the letter G. which as the gamma in the Greek alphabet and as gebo in the Gothic was a perfect square. That the gamma and the square were viewed as identical is proved by the fact that the figure of four gammas conjoined was known in heraldry as the Gammadin, and to medieval Cathedral builders as the Tetragammaton.

 

It appears to be clear therefore that the sacred symbol has always been the square, that it came to be called the G because of a former identity in shape with that letter and retained the designation after the form of the G had been changed. The recent attempt of Masonic iconoclasts to discredit and obliterate the letter G is founded on a misapprehension of its origin and meaning. It should surely be retained either in its original or in its actual shape on account of its interesting archeological association.

 

John A. Cockburn, P.G.D., England,

P.D.G.M., South Australia.

 

----o----

 

Music is well said to be the speech of angels. - Carlyle.

 

 

 

 

         

Museum Home Page     Phoenixmasonry Home Page

Copyrighted © 1999 - 2014   Phoenixmasonry, Inc.      The Fine Print