The Builder Magazine

August 1921 - Volume VII - Number 8

 

Frederick the Great, and His Relations with Masonry and Other Secret Societies

TAKEN FROM THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF THE LADY CRAVEN

Elizabeth, the youngest daughter of the fourth earl of Berkeley, was born on December 17, 1750.  A sprightly and beautiful girl, she had many love affairs, and was finally married to William, 6th Lord Craven.  She was unfaithful to him, having relations with the French ambassador, Count de Guines, but was pardoned by her indulgent husband.  After Lord Craven's death she went to Germany and found a place in the train of the Margrave of Anspach, to whom, after an unseemly friendship, and within three months after the death of his wife, she was married.  There is no need to detail her history further, or print the long codicil of her titles, save to say that, after having seen life in many courts, among them Russia, and after having had a most mixed career of love affairs and intrigues, the Lady published her "Autobiographical Memoirs" in 1826, when she was in her seventy-sixth year.  From these Memoirs the following chapter, with a few irrelevant paragraphs omitted, has been taken: for what reason, the Masonic reader will immediately discover for himself.

 

The best edition of the "Autobiographical Memoirs" of the Margravine is published by John Lane under the title of "The Beautiful Lady Craven"; the two volumes are attractive in appearance, as most of Lane's books are, and halve been very ably edited by A. M. Broadley and Lewis Melville.

 

WE DISPATCHED a courier forward, after whose arrival at Berlin the King sent eight fine horses to draw us through the sandy plains of Prussia.  The frost and snow in Bohemia had much damaged the springs and wheels of our carriage; but we arrived without any serious injury or accident, from a journey which was the most terrific I ever underwent; for if any thing had ever happened to the Margrave, I and I alone, should have been accused of doing him harm.

 

When we arrived at Berlin, the Carnival being ended, all the Royal family were gone to their different villas; but His Majesty returned to meet the Margrave at his palace; while I was left to the discretion of the Princess Royal, afterwards Duchess of York, who had her own establishment in the Royal Palace.

 

We remained here only four days, during which time I saw but little of the Margrave, for he was constantly with the King.  He informed His Majesty that there had existed a mysterious correspondence among some of the nobility of Bareith, and others at Anspach the object of which he supposed was to form more distrusts between Austria and Prussia.

 

Frederick William II had succeeded to the throne on the death of his uncle Frederick the Great, in 1786. He made many salutary regulations for his subjects and established a Court of Honour to prevent the horrible practice of duelling in his dominions.

 

As I was willing to gain all the information possible respecting so great a character as Frederick the late King, it may easily be imagined that I lost no opportunity which could be afforded me during my residence among the Royal Family, and which, together with the Margrave's knowledge of this illustrious man, and that of Prince Hardenberg, afforded me much satisfaction.

 

After my marriage with the Margrave, we brought out from Anspach a full-length portrait of the late King, for which he himself sat, for the Margrave, whom he also presented another of his father, Frederick William.  The countenance and whole figure are striking resemblance of His Majesty.  The expression is surprisingly fine.  I had it placed under a canopy at Brandenburgh House, and those who have seen it can never forget it.

 

When Frederick ascended the throne he was only twenty-eight years of age. lt is well known to all Europe how this great Prince profited by the army left to him by his father, and the riches which he had accumulated.  He had been detested by the late King when he was Prince Royal, because he appeared to apply himself to the sciences and fine arts rather than to military affairs. Having followed his father to Wesel, he conceived the project of passing into a foreign country.  He had probably other motives than those of gaining instruction by travels; no doubt it was to escape the tyranny of his father: but the latter had gained information of his design, and arrested him at the moment of its execution.  He was tried by Commissaries who had the firmness not to condemn him to lose his head. It might appear to be a light crime for the presumptive heir of a kingdom to quit the realms without the permission of his Sovereign; but such was the law.  Of four-and- twenty judges, only one was found who voted for the sentence of death, and that was a person named Derschau; yet such was the magnanimity of Frederick when he came to the throne, that this man never experienced from him the slightest vengeance.

 

Frederick, his father, was on the point of renewing on the theatre of Europe the scene of Don Carlos, or more recently that of Czarowitz.  The Prince was pardoned; but the unfortunate companion of his flight, his friend and confidant, was decapitated.

 

Frederick has been accused by his enemies as having neither shed a tear nor used an argument to induce his father to save this victim from destruction.  But I have been assured, from those who were present at the scene, that when the unfortunate man was led to the scaffold, the Prince Royal demanded his pardon with the effusions of a heart broken by grief; and that he fainted more than once during the punishment, and in fact experienced the greatest anguish.  Before the execution he had tried every means in his power to save him.  In his despair, he had offered to his father to renounce the throne forever, in order to preserve the life of his friend whom he loved: but the inflexible Monarch, not satisfied with the sentence of the judges, who had condemned him to the galleys for life, with his own hand signed his death-warrant, alleging that there was no justification for the crime of high treason, and treating his son's entreaties with indignation and contempt. Katt was the grandson of a field-marshall, and son of a general of that name at that time both alive and in the service of the King.

 

Frederick the Great was born with sensibility, but he learned to suppress his emotions and his feelings; he saw how necessary it was to be just, as well as merciful, during his long military career; and perhaps the firmness which has been his reproach, was the greatest triumph of his nature.

 

After this event he retired to Rheinsberg, applying himself to all kinds of acquirements; and here he learned to play on the flute, on which instrument he excelled, not as a prince, but as an amateur of the first rank.

 

His allowance was extremely moderate, and his father had vigorously forbidden any one to advance him money.  This order was, however, ill observed, and it has been objected against him that when King he never repaid the obligations of his creditors.  But the fact was otherwise; he paid them in secret.  The Minister of his father's finances had refused to advance him money, and when the Prince ascended the throne this man was supposed to be ruined, and on his coming to give in his accounts demanded permission to retire; when the young King, to the astonishment of all round him, praised his fidelity, begged him to continue his services, and doubled his salary.

 

What a different fidelity from that of the judges of poor Katt, who considered blind obedience to the commands of their Sovereign as a proof of fit submission to his authority!

 

It is a singular circumstance in the history of the House of Bradenburgh, that during the space of 370 years, in which time the sovereignty was in their hands, there was never experienced one minority.

 

Frederick enjoyed an immoderate reputation, and to a certain point even the adoration of his contemporaries, not only as a warrior, but as a governor of his empire, and as a profound politician.  His assiduity was indefatigable, and his skill in affairs of government transcendent.  The Government of Prussia appeared to rise from the seeds of despotism, and formed a lesson of instruction to the world.  Notwithstanding his exactness and his inflexibility in war, he obtained the affections of his soldiers, who always denominated him their Father Fritz.  It was the name by which he was familiarly called through the army.

 

The severity of his conduct towards Baron de Trenck (1) has excited the indignation of mankind, and has been considered as a blot on his escutcheon; but arbitrary order and rigorous detention have to be exercised in other countries as well as in Prussia.  Without pleading this as an excuse, I shall endeavour, with impartiality, to remark on the leading points of the justification of Frederick's conduct, derived from those who were acquainted with the cause of such a punishment.

 

M. de Trenck had been forbidden by the King, whom he acknowledged not only as his Sovereign, but as his benefactor, to write to his uncle, who was a chief of the Pandours.

 

His injunctions were violated.  The King demanded of him personally whether he was in correspondence with his uncle.  M. de Trenck denied it.  "Do you give me your word of honour of it?" said the King.  "Yes, Sire," was the answer.  It was at the very time that Trenck had just written to his uncle, that this dialogue passed.  The discovery was made, and M. de Trenck was sent to the fortress of Magdeburg: it was a punishment usual in the Prussian service.  M. de Trenck plotted his escape, and fled with an officer whom he had seduced to desert, he killed those who pursued him.  The King's Resident at Dantzic, whither Trenck had fled, sent him back to his Sovereign.  Trenck had certainly violated every law - he had at first been disobedient, then perjured - a rebel, and a murderer.

 

At Magdeburg, Baron de Trenck recommenced his devices: his imprisonment was in consequence rendered more severe, and his confinement lasted for ten years.

 

Trenck was six feet two inches high, and squinted: he was popular, and always followed by thousands. After the death of Frederick he published his Memoirs.  At that period, all who were acquainted with the groundwork of his history were dead: on his own testimony depends the whole of his relation.  Those whom he cites in his narrative have probably forgotten the circumstances of so distant a date, but without recurring to vague conjectures regarding the truth of this affair, or of the cruelty exercised against him, M. de Trenck avows that he had intrigued with a person of illustrious rank.  If that person, as has been generally supposed, and which from good authority I know to be the case, was the Princess Amelia, sister of the King; if from this connection there were children who were deprived of life by means the most horrible - what strong inducements might not the King have had for visiting on Trenck a punishment of the severest kind, without being under the necessity of explaining (from motives of decorum and decency) the reasons which influenced him to such an act.

 

Frederick frequently broke his officers for causes light in appearance; but he always had heavier charges against them, which were unknown to the rest of mankind, and which he concealed for the purpose of preserving military discipline.

 

 As soon as Frederick ascended the throne, he invited into his kingdom all those who were called les esprits forts: Voltaire, le Marquis d'Argens, the Abbe de Prade, Maupertuis, and even the impious La Metrie. This example encouraged the literary Germans to proclaim their sentiments, Berlin became the asylum of the persecuted, and the nursery of truth.

 

The history of the secret societies of Germany was at that time little known.  It might be interesting to a philosopher, but the generality of people might regard it as a romance: all well-informed persons can attest the reality of it.

 

Towards the end of the last century an association, or secret society, existed, which was daily gaining ground.  It was the Order of the Illumines.  The chiefs of this Order had resolved to form an association which was to unveil the mysteries of superstition, to enlighten mankind, and to render them happy.  Their object was to gain a superiority over the lodges of Freemasonry, (2) and to turn these institutions from darkness to the benefit of humanity.  They proposed to extend the sphere of knowledge universally, not so much in depth as on the surface; to introduce reason and good sense; to ameliorate the condition of men by an insensible operation.  No Prince, however great or good, was to be admitted.  They swore to preserve, as much as was in their power, Sovereigns from the perpetration of crimes, and from the commission of errors; to abolish the slavery of despotism, to destroy ecclesiastical jurisdiction, to favour the liberty of the press, and to unveil mysteries of every description.

 

The project was great noble and sublime; but prudence was wanting in its execution.  They expected to see a sudden effect, whilst they forgot that the edifice was only building.  The society enlarged, the wicked and designing were admitted; the powers of bigotry and superstition saw the force of their enemy, and the arm of Government was called to their assistance.  Many of the chiefs were driven from Germany, others were imprisoned, and every thing but death and torture inflicted on them.

 

The dispersed members of this association soon formed another assembly; they were again surprised, their papers taken, and their doctrines published, without regard to the effects which they might produce.  Many sects arose from these, which rendered discord prevalent throughout Germany.  Their different Orders had little resemblance to Freemasonry - they were visionary, mystical, and cabalistic.

 

Frederick had too sound an understanding to be caught in the snares of enthusiasm. It is not known whether the attempt were made to conquer him, but it is most probable that he was never tried. Nor is it certain when the area or how the nature of the misunderstanding between this Monarch and the superiors of the Order of Freemasonry began.  Whether he was ignorant of the machinations of modern Masonry, of the visions and the horrors which were latterly raised, or of the general tendency of these mysterious associations; or whether having once adopted the Masonic costume, and having openly protected its Orders, he did not wish, even after having seen its evil tendencies, to retract and to separate from a society into which he had erewhile not disdained to enter - he refrained from excluding from his dominions these secret associations.

 

Masons of every denomination - Rosicrucians, Centralists, Illuminate - had all, under his reign, the liberty of establishing lodges and societies according to their fancy, provided they did not disturb the public order.

 

Thus Berlin became the receptacle of sects, of parties, of conjurations, of chemical mysteries, and of extravagances of every kind.

 

In the meantime instruction was not neglected, and Frederick supported and protected every institution which might extend education throughout his kingdom. Rousseau had written his Emilius - a work the most perfect of its kind, and which places the author incontestably in the rank of the first of benefactors to mankind; in Germany this production became as a torch which extended its light throughout; it opened to the system of education new views.  Youth was taught not by words alone, and those in an unknown language - but he gave them clear ideas of natural things, of moral and physical relations, of mechanism, of history, and of geography.

 

Frederick did not lose sight of the good effects of such a system of education; and to promote it, established a Consistory, which was to superintend every institution, and at the head of which he placed himself.  He procured masters, and did not blush to render homage to the superiority of the institution which he had promoted.  The example of the Sovereign excited the nobility and gentry of the nation, and Frederick inspired in his subjects an admirable and laudable competition.

 

It was in one of those moments which in human life are so contradictory to the general sentiments of the mind, that Frederick, hearing the news of the proscription of the Jesuits in France, by the public functionaries, exclaimed, "Pauvres gens! ils ont detruit les renards qui les defendaient des loups, et ils ne voient pas qu'ils vont etre devores."

 

Frederick had sanctioned and approved the writing of the philosophers; he had become a philosopher himself.  Heveltius had published his work De I'Esprit in France, and to avoid punishment had fled to England.  Le Contrat Social of Rosseau had found protection among the magistracy; and the Parliaments had defended Doderpt's declaiming against despotism.  The Court and Clergy had admired Voltaire's ridiculing the Parliaments.  There has been exaggeration, when it has been said that the philosophers proposed by a regular plan to subvert the foundations of societies and thrones: they worked to that effect without being sensible of it.  They did not wish to be the destroyers, but the preceptors, of monarchs: and had Montesquieu only produced his work Sur les Romains, and his Esprit des Lois; had Beccaria only written his Traite des Delits et des Peines; had Voltaire only refuted Machiavel, and defended Calas, Scriven, and Lally; had pleaded the cause of nature, of morality, and of religion; and had the Encyclopedists respected the principles of religion alone - they would have been entitled to the indulgence of the world. But the discussion of one subject led to a another, and in the correction of abuses they proceeded beyond the bounds which they had prescribed.  Then it was, that one of the greatest Kings who ever wore a crown figured in the correspondence of philosophy: then it was, that he pronounced in his Academy the eulogy of the man who wrote L'Homme Machine, ("Man, a Machine"-Ed.) and that he compelled his churches to celebrate obsequies of the man who had endeavoured to undermine the foundation of Christianity.

 

This influence spread throughout Europe: it penetrated into every class.  Diderot, D'Alembert, and Condoreet, united their forces in the operation.  Then the sects of the Illuminate, who had associated for the destruction of revealed religion, overthrew its foundations, as far as regarded themselves, and introduced a new code founded on natural morality, which led to the system of primitive equality.

 

Even Frederick himself proved that a king, though a man of letters, could not sustain with dignity the sceptre of literature.  Some unfortunate members defiled the character of his Academy; but Euler and La Grange were an eternal honour to it.  Some men of high estimation were associated with others of obscure and even ridiculous talents: their inequalities were great.

 

It was a prejudice generally spread throughout Germany, that the province of Prussia, and Berlin in particular, was peopled with Atheists.  Because Frederick encouraged freedom of thought in his dominions; because he collected and united about his person men of genius; because, under his reign, some irreligious books escaped from the Prussian press - this conclusion, as absurd as precipitate, was adopted.  M. Nicolai, a distinguished writer and bookseller of Berlin, (a union very rare, though it were to be desired that it were more general,) had depicted Berlin in a romance with great truth; and his work displays excellent notions on the manners of Germany.  He has shown, that if, in general, there are some Freethinkers in the Prussian provinces, the people at large are attached to the national religion.

 

Towards the end of the seven years' war, a man named Rosenfeld, in the service of the Margrave of Schwedt, quitted the service of that prince, and began to inform the populace that he was the new Messiah; that Jesus had been a false prophet; that the preachers were rogues and liars, who preached death; that for himself he preached life, since his adherents never died; that the King of Prussia was the Devil; that the time approached when he (Rosenfeld) should assemble together the twenty-four Elders, and should obtain the sword, and govern the world with their assistance.

 

Rosenfeld prevailed on some of his adherents to deliver over to him seven girls, of whom the zealous fanatics were the fathers.  It was, he said, to open the seven seals that he required seven virgins.  With these he formed a seraglio: one of them was his favourite Sultana; he made the others work, and lived upon the profit of their labours.  After having carried on the trade of a Messiah for twenty-nine years, under different mischanges; first poor, then imprisoned, afterwards entertained by the presents of his votaries, and living habitually by means of the wool which his mistresses spun; after acquiring disciples in Berlin and its environs, in Saxony, and even at Mecklenburg - one of his faithful followers, who had in vain expected to reap the fruit of his splendid promises - even one of those who had delivered over to him three of his daughters, accused him before Frederick; that is to say, denied his Messiah, who he believed to be the true God, before the King, whom he believed to be the true Devil. This very accuser always regarded Rosenfeld as the real Messiah, and only wished that the King could compel him to realize his prodigious offers.

 

The King sent Rosenfeld to a natural tribunal, which condemned him to be whipped, and shut up for the remainder of his days at Spandau.  The Supreme Tribunal commuted this sentence, and pronounced that this new Messiah should be sent to the House of Correction, where he should be flogged as often as he at attempted to have an adventure of gallantry, and after two years that a report should be made of his manner of conducting himself.  The defenders of the accused appealed: the King revised the process, and confirmed the severer sentence of the first tribunal.  He imagined, without doubt, that it was necessary that Rosenfeld should be punished in the sight of the people, to prevent them from being in future deceived through similar visions.

 

But the most absurd opinions are often the most tenacious, because they have no perceptible basis by which they may be measured; and this spectacle did not undeceive any of the adherents of Rosenfeld, a great number of whom remained attached to him.

 

He went afterwards to preach his doctrines at Charlottenberg, hardly a mile from the capital; but he found that this theatre was too small for two fanatics like himself and Musenfeld.  The Government, without doubt, tired with his persevering enthusiasm, overlooked his folly and left him in repose. . . .

 

Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, (3) the conqueror of Creveldt and of Minden, was induced, by the persuasion of the Baron de Hund, who was a Reformer, to place himself at the head of the reformed Lodges of Freemasonry, which has taken the appellation of the Strict Observance.  It was supposed to be an Order of Freemasonry which was a continuation of the Society of Knights Templer: the highest step was that of a Templar, with all the ceremonies of ancient chivalry.  Doctors of divinity and professors of Physic were received as Chevaliers d'Epee. It is hardly possible to conceive that reasonable beings could lend themselves to ideas so ridiculous; example, however, did everything, and enthusiasm was contagious.  In this branch of the Order there reigned a monastic despotism, and men who led away by rites and ceremonies. The members alone possessed the secret; those out of the Order could never tell where or what it was.

 

As no woman can possibly be a Mason, every woman has a right to endeavour to penetrate the mystery. (4) It is admitted that Adam was the first Mason; he founded the first lodge - he had all the instruments necessary for the purpose - he produced the mortar;- without Eve there would have been no lodge.  Where is the mystery of Masonry, if the idea be followed up? Having created the lodge, he made members for it: those members created others, and the society extended over the globe; and while the globe exists, members will never be wanting.  Over this secret I will throw the apron!

 

When the minds of men were sufficiently heated, the actor of this drama caused to appear upon the scene the Thaumaterges, or miracle-workers.  These appeared to have ordinarily no relation with Freemasonry in general, but attached themselves to personages eminent for rank or fortune.  One of the first of these charlatans was Schroepfer, a coffeehouse-keeper of Leipsic, on whom Duke Charles of Courland (5) had inflicted corporeal punishment; but who afterwards so fascinated this Prince, and a greater part of the principal personages of Dresden and of Leipsic, that he compelled them to act a principal part with him.

 

At that time were reproduced on the theatre of Europe the follies of Asia and of China - the universal medicine - the art of making gold and diamonds - the beverage of immortality.  The peculiar qualification of Schroepfer was the invocation of manes; he commanded spirits, and caused the dead and the invisible powers to appear at his will.  The denouement of his drama is well known.  After having consumed immense sums which he obtained from his adherents, and alienated their senses, when he found that he could no longer sustain the imposture, he shot himself through the head with a pistol, in a wood near Leipsic.

 

To Schroepfer succeeded Saint-Germain, who had been before announced by the Comte de Lambert.  This Saint-Germain had lived a thousand years; he had discovered a tea, before which all maladies disappeared; he made, for his amusement, diamonds of immense magnitude! He attached himself to Prince Carles of Hesse; (6) but, like his predecessors, he forgot not to die.

 

 In the meantime Gessner, religious miracle-worker, appeared in the environs of Ratisbon.  He did not belong to the Freemasons, nor did he attach himself to any of the principal members of the Order; but he was equally useful to it, - for all the prodigies of which he was heard to speak corroborated the general faith of miracles, which was one of the great springs of the machine.   In the heart of Switzerland lived a preacher of an ardent imagination - of a penetrating mind - of immeasurable ambition - of undaunted pride; am ignorant man, but gifted with the talent of speech - intoxicated with mysticism - eager after prodigies - and made up of credulity.  He imagined that, with faith, miracles might at this time be effected.  Servants, peasants, Roman Catholic priests, Freemasons - all combined in his mind as contributing to the gift of miracle-working, whenever he discovered the slightest appearance of anything extraordinary.

 

M. Lavater (7) gained a great party, particularly among the women; these brought him the men - and he had soon thousands, and subsequently millions, of followers after his visionary ideas.

 

After these, succeeded Mesmer (8) and Cagliostro (9) (whose tricks and extravagances are well known), without reckoning the crowds of madmen, of charlatans, of jugglers of every kind, who sprang up on all sides.

 

This concourse of knaves, far from appeasing the divisions of Freemasonry, augmented the fermentation.  A new branch arose in the dominions of Frederick: it was called the Lodge of Zizendorf, from the name of its founder.  This Zizendorf had been formerly a member of the Templars, from which Order he detached himself, and formed a great party, assuring them that he alone had the true rites and the true mysteries.  Each of these branches decried the other.  This new agitation attracted the attention of men of sound understanding (at least of the Order), who immediately formed a new association under the name of Eclectic Masonry.  They professed a general toleration of all sects of the Order; and this system, which was the only solid one (if any system of the kind can be so), gained in a short time many partisans.  This was the cause of the fall of the Order of Templars, who soon saw their machine in ruins.  Frequent Chapters were held, where the deputies of the provinces deliberated; and, with surprise, the first question they found they had put to the Grand Master was, What is the true end of the Order, and its real origin? Thus the Grand Master, and all his assistants, had laboured, for more than twenty years, with incredible ardour, for an object of which they neither knew the true end nor the origin.  Thus puzzled and perplexed, the system of the Templars was abandoned, and an Order instituted of the Chivalry of Beneficence.

 

Every secret association has something of resemblance to a conspiracy, and it is incumbent on every Government to watch over it.  But some consideration must be paid to the characters of the members.  If they will not bear the test of inspection, doubtless measures should be taken to prevent their increase, with moderation and prudence.  And when it is more-over remembered that Sweden lost its constitution from these associations, which are frequently composed of men profound in design and indefatigable in perseverance, no means should be laid aside which may develop their plans. . . .

 

(1) Frederick von der Trenck (1726-1794), a native of  Konigsberg. His arrest at Dantzic in 1754 caused a great sensation throughout Europe. He was not liberated until 1756. He was denouched as a spy in France, and guillotined July 25, 1794. (2) Frederick the Great was, however, an ardent Freemason, and as such was instrumental in arranging the initiation into, the Order of more than one member of the British Royal Foraily. (3) Charles William Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick (1735 - 1806) killed at the battle of Jena. He was an ardent Freemason, and entered into friendly relations with the English Grand Lodge. (4) The Margravine in this instance is mistaken.  Masonry of Adoption, or Feminine Freemasonry, was extensively practised in France and on the Continent.  Marie Antoinette and her sister Caroline, Queen of Naples, both belonged to the Order of which the unfortunate Princesse de Lamballe was for a time Grand Mistress. (5) Charles, Duke of Courland (b. 1728). (6) Brother of the reigning Landgrave William IX. Born 29 Dec, 1744. (7) Johann Caspar Lavater (1741-1801). (8) Friedrich Anton Mesmer (1734-1815). (9) Alexander Cagliostro (1745-1795).  His connection with Freemasonry is fully, but not exhaustively, described in Mr. W.R. H. Trowbridge's biography (1910). (10) La Metrie wrote a book called "Man, a Machine." It was published in this country by the Open Court Company of Chicago.

 

A Postscriptural Preachment by the Editor:

 

The editor begs indulgence of the veteran Masonic student while he administers a preachment to the young students in the Craft, using the above as a text for the same.  Those young students are asked to use the Lady Craven article as a kind of laboratory task whereby to examine two or three rather important canons of historical study.  They are asked, nay, urged to sharpen their young critical faculties on the intriguing paragraphs of the Beautiful Lady, for they will not soon encounter again so useful a specimen.

 

They are asked to note first, that the Lady Craven received nearly all her information at second-hand, and then not often from authoritative sources.  This, at one stroke, removes her narrative, which is so well-informed upon the surface of it, from the class of genuine historical sources, and renders all she says (with all due respect to the memory of the clever grande madame) more or less suspect.  What is gossip worth as evidence? Nothing! In history gossip is almost useless, more especially in those passages whereabout much controversy has raged.  When you undertake the study of Masonic authors bear in mind that you are ever to stand on your guard against the easy sin of accepting gossip at its face value.  Ascertain first of all if your author had access at first-hand to his sources of information: if he did not, next ascertain, if you can, how reliable were his informants.  Accounts of Masonry, no more than any other chapters of history, are not to be taken on anybody's mere say-so, even though the say-soer himself wore the apron.  In other words, the laws of evidence are in full force in the Masonic province.  Masonic Scholarship! what crimes have been committed in thy name by those who have forgotten this simple fact! In the second place, it is always necessary to ascertain the competency of the author himself (or herself) to deal with the matter in hand.  Facts themselves are useless to one incapable of thought.  What impression of the intellectual capacities of the Beautiful Lady do you gain from the above, especially from that diverting paragraph in which she develops a quite Jesuit bit of argument drawn from the eventful experiences of Adam and Eve? Does it anywhere appear that she knows anything about Masonry herself? Would a well-informed writer have mixed together the Illuminati, the Thaumaterges, the Messiah Worshippers and all that into one whole and dubbed the thing Masonry? It is evident that the Beautiful Lady knew nothing about her subject, even though more than once she clearly attempts to make the reader believe that she has seen behind the curtains of it all.  When one is being invited to receive a palpable deceit it is well that he become sceptic at once and read on with a grain of salt.

 

Note another thing, not closely connected with the above.  Suppose that you have read another account of Frederick's doings in Masonry, etc., and that, as would be very sure to happen, your author's account would violently disagree with that furnished by the Beautiful Lady: how would you decide in your mind which of the two to believe, or whether either one might be true in his (or her) statements? In such a dilemma it is wise to refer the matter to the experts.  The experts may disagree, that is true.  They often do, and in that case one must let his judgment hang in suspense: but usually on important matters, and where there is much available data, the experts are sure to be in general agreement, and if so it is seldom difficult to learn what are their conclusions. (THE BUILDER exists in order, among other things, to make accessible to Masonic students the work of Masonic experts).  It happens that THE BUILDER published. recently an opinion by an expert on some of the very things about which Lady Craven writes so engagingly.  In the month of December for last year you will find Arthur Edward Waite's reply (and what a thrilling reply it was!) to the canards against Freemasonry published by the London Morning Post.  Look up that article and read what that "master of those who know" had to say about Frederick the Great, and the Illuminati, etc. (Wouldn't it be "rich" to read a reply from Brother Waite to the article on Freemasonry published in the Roman Catholic Encyclopedia? Such a reply would surpass the one referred to above, and would be worth going miles to see!)

 

Lastly, when the beginner makes his debut into the field of Masonic lore he soon grows dizzy at the complexity of it all, begins to realize too keenly his own ignorance, and is tempted to abandon it all at the start.  Brother Beginner, do nothing of the kind.  Put up with your helpless sense of bewilderment while you doggedly wade through six or seven volumes of Masonic history: After awhile the country will begin very gradually to disclose itself; you will see the great landmarks emerging from the mist; and finally the highways will stand clearly revealed.  After that it is no trouble to walk therein.  You will gain confidence in yourself; you will not abase yourself any more at the feet of every author you encounter; you will come at last to have an informed judgment on Masonic matters and to trust that judgment.  Long before you have reached that satisfactory stage you will have learned enough to see that any writer who lumps together a great variety of secret societies, religious cults, and private fanatics and calls the whole thing Freemasonry, is not a writer whose pages are to be taken seriously.

 

ROMAN CATHOLICISM AND FREEMASONRY

 

BY BRO. DUDLEY WRIGHT, ENGLAND

 

PART IV

 

L. LORENTE, the author of the History of the Inquisition, who was himself secretary of one of the Inquisition tribunals, canon of the Primatical Church of Toledo, Chancellor of the University of that city, Knight of the Order of Charles III, and member of the Royal Academies of History and of the Spanish Language at Madrid, has left on record the following lengthy statement concerning M. Tournon's appearance before the Inquisitors.. He says:

 

"M. Tournon, a Frenchman, had been invited into Spain and pensioned by the government in order to establish a manufactory of brass or copper buckles and to instruct Spanish workmen.  On 30th April, 1757, he was denounced to the Holy Office as suspected of heresy by one of his pupils, who acted in obedience to the commands of his confessor.

 

"The charges were: (1), That M. Tournon had asked his pupils to become Freemasons, promising that the Grand Orient of Paris should send a Commission to receive them into the Order, if they should submit to the trials he should propose, to ascertain their courage and firmness; and that their titles of reception should be expedited from Paris; (2), that some of these young workmen appeared inclined to comply if M. Tournon would inform them of the object of the Institution. That, in order to satisfy them, he told them severally extraordinary things, and showed them a sort of picture on which were figured instruments of architecture and astronomy.  They thought that these representations related to sorcery and they were confirmed in the idea on hearing the imprecations, which M. Tournon said were to accompany the oath of secrecy.

 

"It appeared from the depositions of three witnesses that M. Tournon was a Freemason.  He was arrested and imprisoned on 20th May, 1757, at Madrid, The following conversation which took place in the first audience of monition, is of interest. After asking his name, birthplace, and his reasons for coming to Spain, and making him swear to speak the truth, the Inquisitor proceeded:

 

"Q. Do you know or suppose why you have been arrested by the Holy Office? "A. I suppose it is for having said that I was a Freemason. "Q. Why do you suppose that? "A. Because I have informed my pupils that I was of that Order, and I fear they have denounced me, for I have perceived lately that they speak to me with an air of mystery, and their questions lead me to believe that they think me a heretic. "Q. Did you tell them the truth? "A. Yes. "Q. You are then a Freemason? "A. Yes. "Q. How long have you been so? "A. For twenty years. "Q. Have you attended the assemblies of Freemasons? "A. Yes, at Paris. "Q. Have you attended them in Spain? "A. No. I do not know if there are any lodges in Spain. "Q. If there were, would you attend them?. "A. Yes. "Q. Are you a Christian, a Roman Catholic? "A. Yes, I was baptized in the parish of St. Paul, at Paris "Q. How, as a Christian, can you dare to attend Masonic assemblies, when you know, or ought to know, that they are contrary to religion? "A. I do not know that; I am ignorant of it at present, because I never saw or heard anything there which was contrary to religion. "Q.  How can you say that, when you know that Freemasons profess indifference in matters of religion, which is contrary to the Article of Faith which teaches us that no man can be saved who does not profess the Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman religion? "A. Freemasons do not profess that indifference.  But it is indifferent if the person received into the Order be a Catholic or not. "Q.  Then the Freemasons are an anti-religious body? "A. That cannot be, for the object of the Institution is not to combat or deny any religion, but for the exercise of charity towards the unfortunate of any sect, particularly if he is a member of the Society. "Q. We prove that indifference is the religious character of Freemasons, that they do not acknowledge the Holy Trinity, since they only confess one God, whom they call T.G.A.O.T.U., which agrees with the doctrine of heretical Philosophies, who say that there is no true religion but only religion, in which the existence of God, the Creator only is allowed, and the rest considered as a human invention.  And as M. Tournon has professed himself to be the Catholic religion he is required by the respect he owes to our Saviour, Jesus Christ, true God and true man, and to His Blessed Mother, the Virgin Mary, our Lady, to declare the truth according to his oath, because, in that case, he will acquit his conscience, and it will be allowable to treat him with that mercy and compassion which the Holy Office always shows towards sinners who confess; and if, on the contrary, he conceals anything he will be punished with all the severity of justice, according to the holy Canons of the laws of the kingdom. "A. The mystery of the Holy Trinity is neither maintained nor combatted in the Masonic lodges; neither is the religious system of the natural philosophies approved or rejected.  God is designated as T. G. A. O. T. U., according to the allegories of the Freemasons, which relate to architecture.  In order to fulfil my promise of speaking the truth, I must repeat that, in Masonic lodges, nothing takes place which concerns any religious system, and that the subjects treated of are foreign to religion, under the allegories of architectural works. "Q. Do you believe, as a Catholic, that it is a sign of superstition to mingle holy and religious things with profane things ? "A. I am not sufficiently acquainted with the particular things which are proscribed as contrary to the purity of the 'Christian religion; but I have believed till now that those who confound the one with the other either by mistake or a vain belief, are guilty of the sin of superstition. "Q. Is it true that in the ceremonies which accompany the reception of a Mason, the crucified image of our Saviour, the corpse of a man, and a skull, and other objects of a profane nature, are made use of ? "A. The general statutes of Freemasonry do not ordain these things: if they are made use of, it must have arisen from a particular custom, or from the arbitrary regulations of the members of the body, who are commissioned to prepare for the receptions of candidates; for each lodge had particular customs and ceremonies. "Q. That is not the question; say if it is true that these ceremonies are observed in Masonic lodges. "A. Yes, or no, according to the requirements of those who are charged with the ceremonies of initiation. "Q. Were they observed when you were initiated? "A. No. "Q. What oath is necessary to take on being received a Freemason? "A. We swear to observe secrecy. "Q. On what? "A. On things which it may be inconvenient to publish. "Q. Is this oath accompanied by execrations? "A. Yes. "Q. What are they? "A. We consent to suffer all the evils which can afflict the body and soul if we violate, the oath. "Q. Of what importance is this oath, since it is believed that such formidable execrations may be used without indecency? "A. That of good order in the Society. "Q. What passes in these lodges which it might be inconvenient to publish? "A. Nothing, if it is looked upon without prejudice; but as people are generally mistaken in this matter, it is necessary to avoid giving cause for malicious interpretations; and this would take place if what passes when the brethren assemble was made public. "Q. Of what use is the crucifix, if the reception of a Freemason is not considered a religious act? "A. It is presented to penetrate the soul with the most profound respect at the moment that the novice takes the oath.  It is not used in every lodge and only when particular grades are conferred. "Q.  Why is the skull used? "A. "That the idea of death may inspire a horror of perjury. "Q. Of what use is the corpse? "A. To complete the allegory of Hiram, architect of the temple of Jerusalem; who, it is said, was assassinated by traitors, and to induce a greater detestation of assassination and every offence against our neighbours, to whom we ought to be as benevolent brothers. "Q. Is it true that the festival of St. John is celebrated in the lodges, and that Masons have chosen him for their patron? "A. Yes. "Q. What worship is rendered him in celebrating his festival? "A. None; that it may not be mingled with profane things.  This celebration is confined to a fraternal repast, after which a discourse is read, exhorting the guests to beneficence towards their fellow creatures, in honour of God, the Great Architect, Creator, and Preserver of the Universe. "Q. Is it true that the sun, moon, and stars are honoured in the lodges? "A. No. "Q. Is it true that their images or symbols are exposed? "A. Yes. "Q. Why are they used? "A. In order to elucidate the allegories of the great, continual, and true light which the lodges receive from the Great Architect of the world, and these representations belong to the brethren, and encourage them to be charitable. "Q. M. Tournon will observe that all the explanations he has given of the facts and ceremonies which take place in the lodges are false and different from those which he voluntarily communicated to other persons worthy of belief; he is, however, again invited by the respect he owes to God and the Holy Virgin to declare and confess the heresies of indifferentism, the errors of superstition which mingle holy and profane things, and the errors of idolatry which led him to worship the stars: this confession is necessary for the acquittal of his conscience and the good of his soul; because if he confesses with sorrow for having committed these crimes, detesting them and humbly soliciting pardon (before the fiscal accuses him of these heinous sins) the holy tribunal will be permitted to exercise towards him that compassion and mercy which it always displays to repentant sinners; and because he is judicially accused, he must be treated with all the severity prescribed against heretics by the holy canons, apostolic bulls and the laws of the kingdom. "A. I have declared the truth and if any witnesses have deposed to the contrary, they have mistaken the meaning of my words, for I have never spoken on this subject to any but the workmen in my manufactory, and then only in the same sense convey by my replies. "Q. Not content with being a Freemason, you have persuaded other persons to be received into the Order, and to embrace the heretical pursuits and pagan errors into which you have fallen. "A. It is true that I have requested these persons to become Freemasons, because I thought it would be useful to them if they travelled into foreign countries, where they might meet brethren of their Order who could assist them in any difficulty; but it is not true that I encouraged them to adopt any errors contrary to the Catholic faith, since no such errors are to found in Freemasonry, which does not concern any points of doctrine. "Q. It has been already proved that these are not chimerical; therefore let M. Tournon consider that he has been a dogmatizing heretic, and that it is necessary that he should acknowledge it with humility, and ask pardon and absolution for the censures which he has incurred; since if he persists in his obstinacy he will destroy both his body and soul; and as this is the first audience of monition he is advised to reflect on his condition, and prepare for the two other audiences which are granted by the compassion and mercy which the holy tribunal always feels for the accused."

 

 M. Tournon was taken back to the prison and persisted in giving the same answers in the two remaining audiences.  When brought before the court when the fiscal presented his act of accusation he confessed facts but explained them as he had done before. He refused to choose an advocate on the ground that Spanish lawyers were not acquainted with the Masonic lodges and were as much prejudiced against them the public.  He therefore thought it better to acknowledge that to was wrong and might have been deceived from being ignorant of particular doctrines; he demanded absolution and offered to perform any penance that might be imposed on him, adding that he hoped the punishment would be moderate on account of the good faith which he had shown and which he always preserved, seeing nothing but beneficence practised and recommended in the Masonic lodges without denying or combatting any article of the Roman Catholic faith.

 

He was condemned to be imprisoned for one year after which he was to be conducted under an escort the frontiers of France; he was banished from Spain forever, unless he obtained permission to return from the King or the Holy Office.  He also signed his abjuration with a promise never a again to attend the assemblies of the Freemasons. He went to France at the termination of his imprisonment and it does not appear that he ever returned to Spain.

 

In the same year that the foregoing occurred - 1757 - the Associate Synod of Scotland attempted to disturb the peace of the Fraternity.  Happily, these bigoted dissenters did not possess a fraction of the power of the Church of Rome, or of the Council of Berne, but their proceedings were prompted by a like fanaticism, and would have been marked with the same severity, but, fortunately for the Order, their power extended only to the spiritual concerns of those delinquents who were of the same sect as themselves.  At the beginning of 1745 a complaint was lodged before the Synod of Stirling stating that many improper things were performed at the initiation of Freemasons and requesting that the Synod would consider whether or not the members of that Order were entitled to partake of the ordinances of religion.  The Synod referred the matter to the Kirk Sessions under their inspection, allowing them to act as they thought proper.  In 1755, they ordered that every person who was suspected of being a Freemason should return an explicit answer to any question that might be asked concerning the Masonic oath.  In the course of these examinations the Kirk Sessions discovered (for they seem hitherto to have been ignorant of it) that men who were not architects were admitted into the Order.  On this account the Synod, in the year 1757, thought it necessary to adopt stricter measures.  They drew up a list of foolish questions, which they commanded every Kirk Session to put to those under their charge.  These questions related to what they thought were the ceremonies of Freemasonry and those who refused to answer them were debarred from religious ordinances.  The Act of the Associate Synod was in the following terms:

 

"Whereas the oath is one of the most solemn acts of religious worship, which ought to be taken only upon important and necessary occasions; and to be sworn in truth, in judgment and in righteousness, without any mixture of sinful, profane, or superstitious devices:

 

"And, whereas the Synod had laid before them, in their meeting at Stirling on the 17th March, 1745, an overture concerning the Mason oath, bearing that there were very strong presumptions that among Masons an oath of secrecy is administered to entrants into their Society, even under a capital penalty, and before any of these things which they swear to keep secret be revealed to them; and that they pretend to take some of these secrets from the Bible; beside other things which are ground on scruple, in the manner of swearing the said oath; and therefore overturning, that the Synod would consider the whole affair, and give directions with respect to the admission of persons engaged in that oath to sealing ordinances.

 

"And, whereas the Synod in their meeting at Stirling on the 26th September, 1745, remitted the overture concerning the Mason oath, to the several Sessions subordinate to them, for their proceeding therein, as far as they should find practicable, according to our received and known principles, and the plain rule of the Lord's word and sound reason.

 

"And, whereas the Synod at their meeting at Edinburgh on the 6th March, 1755, when the particular cause about the Mason oath was before them, did appoint all the Sessions under their inspection, to require all persons in their respective congregations, who are presumed or suspected to have been engaged in that oath, to make a plain acknowledgement, whether or not they have ever been so; and to require that such as they may find to have been engaged therein, should give ingenious answers to what further inquiry the Sessions may or cause to make, concerning the tenor and administration of the said oath; and that the Sessions should proceed to the purging of what scandal they may thus find these persons convicted of, according to the directions of the above-mentioned Act of Synod in September, 1745.

 

"And whereas the generality of the Sessions have, since the afore-mentioned periods, dealt with several persons under their inspection about the Mason oath; in course of which procedure, by the confessions made to them, they have found others, beside themselves of the Mason Craft, to be involved in that oath; and the Synod finding it proper and necessary to give more particular directions to the several Sessions, for having the heinous profanation of the Lord's name by that oath purged out of the congregations under their inspection. "Therefore the Synod did and hereby do appoint that the several Sessions subordinate to them, in dealing with penons about the Mason oath, shall particularly interrogate them - if they have taken that oath, and when and where they did so? If they have taken the said oath, or declared their approbation of it, oftener than once, upon being admitted to a higher degree in a Mason lodge? If that oath was not administered to them without letting them know the terms of it, till in the act of administering the same to them? If it was not an oath binding them to keep a number of secrets, none of which they were allowed to know before swearing the oath? If, beside a solemn invocation of the Lord's name to that oath, it did not contain a capital penalty of having their tongues and hearts taken out in case of breaking the same? If the said oath was not administered to them with several superstitious ceremonies: such as the stripping them of, or requiring them to deliver up, anything of metal which they had upon them - and making them kneel upon their right knee, bare, holding up their right arm bare, with their elbow upon the Bible, or with the Bible laid before them - or having the Bible, as also the square and compasses in some particular way applied to their bodies? And if, among the secrets which they were bound by oath to keep, there was not a passage of Scripture read to them, particularly I Kings vii, 21, with or without some explication put upon the same for being concealed?

 

"Moreover, the Synod appoint, that the several Sessions shall call before them all persons in their congregations who are of the Mason Craft and others whom they have a particular suspicion of as being involved in the Mason oath, except such as have been already dealt with, and have given satisfaction upon that head; and that, upon their answering the first of the foregoing questions in the affirmative, the Sessions shall proceed to put the other interrogatories before appointed; as, also, that of persons of the Mason Craft, applying for sealing ordinances, and likewise others concerning whom there may be any presumption of their having been involved in the Mason oath, shall be examined by the ministers if they have been so; and upon their acknowledging the same, or declining to answer whether or not, the ministers shall refer them to be dealt with by the Sessions, before admitting them to these ordinances; and that all such persons offering themselves to the Sessions for joining in covenanting work, shall be then examined by the Sessions as to their concern in the aforesaid oath.

 

"And the Synod further appoint, that when persons are found to be involved in the Mason oath, according to their confessions in giving plain and particular answers to the foregoing questions and professing their sorrow for the same; the said scandal shall be purged by a sessional rebuke and admonition - with a strict charge to abstain from all concern afterward in administering the said oath to any, or enticing into that snare, and from all practices of amusing people about the pretended mysteries of their signs and secrets.  But that persons who shall refuse or shift to give plain and particular answers to the foregoing questions, shall be referred under scandal incapable of admission to sealing ordinances, till they answer and give satisfaction, as before appointed.

 

"And the Synod refer to the several Sessions to proceed unto higher censure as they shall see cause, in the case of persons whom they may find involved in the said oath with special aggravation, as taking or relapsing into the same, in opposition to warnings against doing so.

 

"And the Synod appoint that each of the Sessions under their inspection shall have an extract of this Act, to be inserted in their books, for executing the same accordingly:'

 

In Roman Catholic countries, in particular, the persecution of Freemasons continued with unabated vigour.  In Portugal brethren were exposed to the penalties ordained by its bigoted rulers.  In 1766 Major Francois d'Alincourt, a Frenchman, and Don Oyres de Ponellas Pracao, a Portuguese nobleman, were imprisoned by the governor of Madeira solely because of their membership of the Order. They were conveyed to Lisbon where they were confined in a fortress for fourteen months until they were released by the generous and persistent efforts of other members of the Craft.

 

Towards the end of 1770 the governor of the Isle of Madeira, Jean Antoine de Sa Pereira, persecuted several Freemasons, his action being said at the time to be for vengeance.  His despatches to the Marquis de Pombal, some of which are now in the keeping of the Bibliotheque Nationale, are couched in bombastic and splenetic language, as may be seen from the following specimen:

 

"In discharge of my duty and as a faithful subject, I am compelled to describe to you the horrible scheme of the most monstrous crimes concocted by the most diabolical of sects and the most barbarous suggestions, such as in this enlightened age have never been placed before the pious eyes of His Majesty.  I call this sect diabolical, because under the title of Freemasons they open their arms to embrace all the nations of the world. They obey one visible head who bears the specious title of 'Very Worshipful,' who is said to have been elected to this position in Scotland, of which nation he is a subject."

 

On 27th November, 1770, the enraged Governor Funchal informed the Marquis de Pombal of the discovery of a group of Freemasons, which he proved to him by forwarding the documents seized, among which were some Masonic catechisms.  He added that these impious people followed the anathematized maxims posed by Father Joseph Torrubia in his book Sentinelle contre les Francs-Macons, a copy of which he also sent. Aires de Ornellas Frazao, head of the Funchal custom house, and a very large number of Freemasons in the island were the first to be arrested.  When interrogated, Frazao observed a strict silence, but in a letter to the magistrate, he indulged in threats and endeavoured to outwit him with subterfuges.  However, his wife, when she was questioned, declared than an engineer, Sergeant-major Francis d'Alincourt and Barthelemy Andrieux, both Frenchmen, were also members of Craft.  They were at once arrested.  She then gave the names of other persons whom she believed also be associated with the Order, among whom were Julien Fernandez da Silva, a physician; Eumolpo Stanislas; and Joachim Antoine Pedroso, who, in a letter sent London addressed to Barthelemy Andrieux had referred to "the memory of our good brothers." Frazao and d'Alincourt were sent to Lisbon but Andrieux asked to be interregated again, when he avowed heresy, and having told the Governor all he wished to know, was released.  This man had previously been denounced to the Inquisition as a libertine, because he had set the soldiers the bad example of eating meat on the fast days prescribed by the Church, not attending Mass, and belonging to the Freemasons.

 

On St. Januarius' Day in 1776 the blood of saint is said to have refused to liquefy in the customary manner and the agents of Tanucci, an unscrupulous and inveterate enemy of the Craft, attributed this to the machinations of the Freemasons and a persecution immediately followed.  But Ferdinand's queen Caroline, who is said to have "loved Masons well," interposed and in consequence of her advocacy the edict was revoked and Tanucci dismissed from office.

 

The original Lodge of John of Scotland founded France in 1778 on a warrant and constitution from the Grand Orient of Paris had as its first Master the Abbe Bartolio, while among its members were the Abbe Robinson, the Abbe Durand, Prior of Entraigne Dom Chabriet, a Benedictine of the Monastery of Cluny.

 

Aix-la-Chapelle was the scene of a severe persecution of Freemasons in 1779. A Dominican monk named Ludwig Greinemann, a lecturer in theology, endeavoured to prove, in a course of Lenten sermons, that the Jews whom he held to be responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus, were members of the Masonic Order; that Pilate and Herod were the Wardens of a Masonic lodge; that Judas before he betrayed his Master was initiated in a lodge held in a synagogue; and that when he returned the thirty pieces of silver he did no more than pay his fees for initiation into the Order.  A commotion was raised immediately among the people by these discourses, and the magistrates of the city immediately issued a decree which provided that "if any one shall offer a refuge in his house to Freemasons, or allow them to assemble there, he shall be punished for the first offence with a fine of one hundred florins; for the second offence, two hundred florins; and for the third offence, with perpetual banishment from the city and its territories."

 

Meanwhile, however, the Craft continued to grow.  In 1787 a lodge was again established in Rome, but the members were surprised by the officers of the Inquisition on 27th December, 1789, but the brethren succeeded in making their escape though the property and archives were seized.  On the same day the Inquisition captured that arch-charlatan, Cagliostro, whose evil repute had acted very prejudicially upon Freemasonry.  The lodges in Lombardy issued a manifesto - which was laid before the College of Cardinals - disclaiming all connection with him and defending the Craft from the charges brought against it by the Papacy.

 

(To be continued)

 

THE FINALITY OF MASONRY

 

BY BRO. LOUIS BLOCK, P.G.M., IOWA

 

SOME YEARS ago a great thinker and teacher, one George Burman Foster, now of sainted memory, wrote an epoch-making book which he called "The Finality of the Christian Religion." By this he did not mean the end of the Christian Religion in the sense of its coming to a termination, but what he did mean was an effort to set forth the true meaning and purpose of this great religion in its last and final analysis.

 

In writing this book this brave preacher performed a great service for Christianity, for he rescued it from being smothered to death by the caking and crystallizing process with which the creed-mongers were trying to encase it.  This he did by showing that real Christianity - the Christianity that Christ taught - was no mere matter of fixed formulae, of rigid legalism, of hard and fast creeds.  That on the contrary it was a natural religion, taught by reason and inspired by nature, which is after all but the visible garment of God.  It found its voice in the song of the birds and the brooks, in the murmur of the breeze and the majestic roll of the thunder.  It was a thing which, as Emerson put it, was in tune "with the blowing clover and the falling rain." It was a living, breathing force, one that could no more be confined within a creed, than a rose could be kept from bursting from its bud.  Christ cared naught for creeds but He was careful to "consider the lilies how they grow." He knew that forms and ceremonies, creeds and churches, towers and temples are not themselves religion, but the mere trappings of it - mere modes of expression by means of which human souls have striven since time began to make confession of the presence of God in the heart of men.

 

Forms fade and die away, creeds change and disappear, churches crumble to dust, but the Spirit abides, for it is not they.

 

Today a great and far-reaching cry responds from the Craft, calling for a leader who shall perform fro Masonry the same great service that Prof.  Foster rendered his religion.

 

For we face two things that are fraught with menace for our institution.

 

 One of these is a growing superstition that worships the ritual like an idol - that tends to look upon it as a thing and an end, in and of itself.

 

Another is a woeful failure of many so-called Masons to get any sort of real idea about the great lessons the ritual strives to teach, and a consequent wretched failure to make its meaning, manifest either in the life of the individual Mason or of the nation in which he lives.

 

Why is it so many Masons continue to think that Masonry was not only brought into being, but continues to exist, for the sake of the ritual and for that alone? All they seem to talk about, or think about, or care about is "getting the work." In their effort to become perfect in the letter of the ritual they would fain memorize the punctuation marks if that were possible.  Among them that man is the best Mason who comes nearest a phonograph in the perfection of his word memory.  All too few of them make much, if any, effort to understand the spirit of the ritual or to let that spirit have its perfect work in their thoughts and lives.  Ask one of these what a certain part or phrase of the ritual means, and he is not only at a loss to know, but even wonders what is the matter with you, that you should think it really had a meaning, or that he ought to know that meaning.  He has accurately committed his lines, repeated them without a mistake, and for him that's enough.  And it he can say them with fewer errors than you can, he thinks himself a better Mason than you are - despite the fact that he has little or no idea what those words mean.

 

Is Masonry an institution that exists for the sole purpose of putting a premium upon the mere ability to memorize?

 

Let us see.

 

From time immemorial we have been taught that the design of the Masonic institution is to make its votaries wiser and better and consequently happier, that we are to receive none knowingly into our ranks except such  as are moral and upright before God and of good repute before the world, because such men when associated together will naturally seek each other's welfare and happiness equally with their own. In order that they may  do so upon a common platform and become not weary in well doing we obligate them by certain solemn and irrevocable ties that serve to bind them together in this great and glorious work.

 

 Now it must be perfectly clear to any one who will give it a moment's  thought that the mere ability to commit words never made a man wiser and better, nor himself or his neighbours any happier. But that it is only when he comes to grasp the noble meaning that those words teach and makes that meaning to live in his daily life, that any real good gets done.

 

What a wonderful world this would be - what a heaven - life we would have on earth - if every Mason would try half as hard to know the meaning, and to live it, as he does to get the words of the ritual.

 

We are painfully careful about a new brother's committing the words - we  force him to learn them - won't be decent to him till he does - but once he's  got them, we let him go hang as far as their meaning goes. As far as the words went he was subjected to forced feeding, but when it comes to getting the meaning, he must forage for himself. Having ground the words into him we let him grope for the rest. Naturally he thinks his betters know  what they are about, and noting where they put the emphasis, he gets the words and - quits. Or if he goes on doing anything it is simply to help some other brother to get the words, words, words. In lodges where this sort of thing prevails real live men soon lose their interest and stay away, for there  is much better food for hungry souls to be found elsewhere. That is the thing that causes so many lodges to die of dry rot.

 

For there is something in the very  nature of formalism that tends to fossilization. The charm of novelty is a thing that cannot last, and endless repetition soon wreaks ruin unless there is repeatedly brought to the mind of the Mason a re-vivifying realization that there lies hidden within the ritual great thoughts and meanings to come to know which means comfort in hours of care, an inspiration that rescues life from becoming a dreary mill-round of fate, and reveals a path of individual service, to follow which is to sweeten and sanctify the whole life of the humblest mortal on earth.

 

But unless the Mason comes to see these things, unless he gets the vision, unless the spirit that lies within the letter be eternally made manifest, the ritual becomes like a system of electric light wires from which the current is cut off, so that even while crying for light, we grope in darkness, and Masonry fails in her function.

 

Of what avails our elaborate system of "types, emblems, and allegorical figures" if these have become as "sounding brass and tinkling cymbal" that strike upon deaf ears and stir no life in our sodden souls?

 

Oh, yes, I know - we are busily engaged in caring for our distressed, housing their bodies, clothing their nakedness, and filling their bellies, nevertheless, and despite all that, and until we go one step further, and systematically feed their starved souls, our own included, Masonry will continue to fail in her function.

 

There is a great hunger in the souls of men today - a lack and a want that neither food, clothes, or shelter can fill. If Masonry is to save herself it must be by trying to satisfy this want. To succeed it must be done systematically. Haphazard work always has, and always will, fail. The only salvation that really saves is systematic salvation. The only way to rescue and revive the ritual and restore it to the brethren is by a systematic scheme for educating them in the things for which it stands. Masons must be made to know that the ritual is no mere magic sing-song of empty words, but is the stern story of the struggle and travail of a human soul striving to attain light - that "Light that never was on land or sea."

 

One who has just come fresh from reading the thoughts of the leaders of the Masonic world will find a wonderful accord among them concerning the thing they think the ritual is meant to teach - things that make for nobler human life, in the home, on the street abroad in the nation, and round about the globe. It is like a mighty chorus singing, in unison -

 

"Hark to their voices, they utter one Name  One Lord, one Hope, one Brotherhood proclaim!"

 

It is these things which when taught systematically that have in them the power to save. And it can be systematically done, is even now being so done. You will be surprised to learn how hungry the Masons are to go to school - all they want is a chance.

 

Give them a course of study and broad-mind deep-thinking, forward-looking men - men with soul aflame with their faith in human brotherhood, to teach them, and you simply cannot drive them away from the Masonic study class.

 

In my own town, with my own eyes I have seen it. Have seen a Masonic college professor lecture night after night to an audience of three hundred brethren - men from all the walks of life - "the butcher, the baker and the candle-stick maker" - they were all there, they simply ate up that "high-brow stuff" and called for more. Sat for over an hour, hearing him talk about such a thing as the "Psychology of Architecture" forsooth! And the discussion and live debate that followed, the interest and enthusiasm that were show and the new friends that were made - friends of mind, heart, and soul! Why it would make you think Brother Kipling's "Mother lodge out there"! And out of it all there has grown a great revival of Masonry throughout the community. Interest in the ritual has revived, for now the brethren are coming to know what it is all about. Even the "phonograph" Mason has profited - has ceased being a mere mechanical  mouth piece and has become a living voice of the spirit.

 

The last lecture dealt with the subject of the Mason's civic and patriotic duty, and an audience of over a thousand Blue Lodge Masons were stirred to enthusiasm as never before. The spirit which ruled our brethren of the "Boston Tea Party" is now making itself felt in the civic life of our community, in a cleaner, a better, a truer, and a nobler life.

 

Finally, my brethren, let us render honour where honour is due. Be it known that the success we are achieving is due in larger measure to the real service we have received at the hands of the Masonic Service Association. Its plain and practical programs, its clear and carefully prepared courses of study, its helpful literature, and its prompt response to our every need have been for us a source of great inspiration and have set our feet in the path that has led us to doing sums thing really worth while.

 

Its service is free for the asking and lodges everywhere, both within and without Iowa, could do themselves no greater kindness than to avail themselves of it.

 

Here in Iowa its work is well seconded and furthered by the enthusiastic support of the Masonic Research Committee of the Grand Lodge, whose Speaker's Bureau has provided speakers and lecturers, who have put vim and snap, and fire and punch into the promulgations of this Great Work.

 

More power to the movement!

 

 

CO-MASONRY

 

BY BRO. JOSEPH H. FUSSELL, CALIFORNIA

 

The Headquarters of the Universal Brotherhood and Theosophical Society at San Diego, is one of the show-places of Southern California, so beautiful is it for situation, so striking in its arrangements, so manifold in its interest.  The educational experiments being carried on there have attracted a more than curious interest from educators.  As for the doctrines of Theosophy they are known everywhere.  Many of the men in residence at the Headquarters, and also a number of those holding official or teaching positions, are active and interested Freemasons, who find in the Fraternity much of the spirit of universality and toleration, and some of the tenets, which comprise the body of doctrines that they hold.  Among these is the Secretary, of the Society, Brother Fussell, whom it is a pleasure to introduce to our readers.

 

The following article is written in response to a letter received from Brother Robert I. Clegg, 33 degree, Editor-in-Chief of the Masonic History Company, Chicago, Illinois, through whom I learned of an Esperanto Masonic Convention held last year at The Hague, with the object of bringing about a closer relationship among Freemasons all over the world.  At the Convention a Committee of Freemasons was appointed from various countries.  It was felt best that the President and Secretary of the Committee should be residents of some neutral country.  Accordingly the new President is from Holland.  The new Secretary is from Antwerp, concerning whom Brother Clegg writes, "much to my sorrow I note that he represents a lodge of Co-Masons.  I have just written to the Chairman to tell him frankly that this will be a very serious handicap to English, as well as American, Freemasons.  So far as I am concerned I fail to see how I can possibly have any Masonic correspondence with any individual having such connections.  Nevertheless it may be that when they find out how unfortunate is this step they will do something to correct it."

 

Brother Clegg, knowing that I had given some attention to so-called "Co-Masonry," asked if I had any information that I could give.  I was happy to respond to his request, and in addition it has occurred to me to write the following, which I now offer for the consideration of the brethren.

 

 

The Author.

 

FOREWORD

 

THE SUBJECT of "Co-Masonry," so far as I know, has been treated hitherto mainly, if not entirely, from its outer aspect, on the supposition that the exclusion of women from Freemasonry is merely a matter of tradition and of rules and regulations and outer ceremonial; in other words, that it is a matter of form and not basic - superficial and not fundamental.

 

While it will generally be conceded that some women who advocate "Co-Masonry" may be actuated by a desire to learn something of the deeper spiritual teachings of Freemasonry which, apparently, they are convinced it possesses, others - those who are most insistent in their efforts to enter its portals - appear to regard their exclusion as an expression of man's selfishness, or as a (supposed) weapon by which he seeks to maintain a (fancied) supremacy over the so-called weaker sex; and on these grounds they are determined to assert their rights and break down this exclusion.  Others perhaps are actuated by other, more hidden, motives -of ambition, or - what?

 

To those of the first class who, it is assumed, are sincerely seeking for light, I hold that something more is due than merely to say that Freemasonry is a Fraternity for men only; and if there is a deeper and basic reason for excluding women from Freemasonry which may properly be made known, surely they are entitled to know it.  That such a reason exists, I hold, and the position taken in the following discussion is that women are excluded from Freemasonry for fundamental - not formal or fictitious - reasons, and that because woman is not and can never become man, so she can never become a Freemason.

 

"I believe in the equality of the sexes; but I hold that man has a mission and that woman has also a mission, and that these missions are not the same.  If woman is to understand the duties of real wifehood and motherhood, and to reach the dignity of ideal womanhood, she must cultivate her femininity.  She was born a woman and she must BE a woman, in the truest sense; and the contrasts between man and woman exist in life. . . . these contrasts hold within themselves, in the very undercurrent of human life, a superb and glorious harmony. Woman in her true place, her position, hand in hand with man in his true place, would bring about such a new order of things that we can hardly speak of, much less realize, the resulting possibilities." (1)

 

"I hold that man has a mission, and that woman has also a mission and that these missions are not the same." "Woman in her true place, hand in hand with man in his true place."

 

These are the words of one of the foremost thinkers and educators of the day, Katherine Tingley, Leader of the Theosophical Movement - successor in that office of H. P. Blavatsky and W. Q. Judge.  I have chosen them to introduce the subject because, first, they are from a woman; and, second, they are in entire harmony with the spirit as well as the letter and practice of Freemasonry, as I understand these.  Whatever be the ultimate origin of Freemasonry, whether to be searched for in remotest antiquity as some claim, and as I believe, or in comparatively recent times, there is no question as to modern Freemasonry and its practice - that it is an organization for men only, with the object (among others) of teaching and fitting the neophyte for his mission and true place in life as a man.

 

It is true that the great moral principles of Freemasonry are universal, applicable to all life, to the life of woman as well as to that of man, and equally so, being basic.  There is no secret made as to the moral teachings of Freemasonry; they are published openly and are for all who care to inquire into and study them.  The secrets of Freemasonry do not consist in these.

 

In what do these secrets consist? Many different answers have been made to this question, and I venture to make one more, and to say that the secrets of Freemasonry are such as pertain to the full knowledge of man's nature and his mission as man -  knowledge more complete than, generally speaking, is to be found outside the ranks of Freemasons, and which is had in varying degrees even within its ranks.  In this connection it must be confessed that not all Freemasons comprehend, or even apprehend the nature of, the secrets of Freemasonry, which can only become known and be understood by the individual Freemason as and to the degree that, through - his own efforts, he becomes worthy and well qualified, duly and truly prepared.  Such qualification and preparation are not outer but inner, and must be the work of himself alone, the fruit of his own efforts.

 

The real secrets of Freemasonry do not have reference to physiological so much as to psychological differences which exist fundamentally between men and women - distinctions of inner qualities which may be summed up and regarded as the foundation of true manliness in contrast to true womanliness.  The one is not and never can be the other; they are fundamentally different, being aspects of the root-differentiation of all nature, all manifestation and existence, and yet when rightly developed they are in complete harmony.  It is to be noted that harmony does not result from identity or sameness but is a certain relation existing between two dissimilars; and on the development and character of those dissimilars will depend the nature of the resultant harmony.

 

The purpose of Freemasonry then, as I understand it, is to fit man as man to fulfil his duties in life and to make possible his contributing his due share to that harmony on which alone not only a true home but the true state and civilization itself can be established and maintained, for the foundation of the state and of civilization is the home.

 

Why is it, then, that certain women seek to invade the Masonic Fraternity? (1) Is it out of mere curiosity? (2) Are they jealous because for centuries men have met in their Masonic lodges from which women are excluded, and have faithfully kept the secrets of Freemasonry from women; or (3) Do they imagine that in Freemasonry there is certain knowledge which they are entitled to have and which men have been withholding from them?

 

Is any one of these possible reasons worthy of true womanhood? Certainly not (1) or (2); but what of (3)? Is there certain knowledge in Freemasonry to which women are entitled?

 

The principles and ethics of Freemasonry, as already stated, are not secret; they have been again and again publicly proclaimed.  If women feel themselves entitled to such knowledge it is for them to take it and apply it to their own lives as women, just as Freemasons are taught to apply it to their lives as men.  There is nothing to prevent women from doing this, but such application must be made by themselves; for certainly and rightly, I take it, they would object to any line of application which men might lay down and insist upon for them.  Hence what need for women seeking admission to Freemasonry to obtain such knowledge when it is open to them?

 

Clearly, therefore, it cannot be the principles of Freemasonry that they are seeking, and yet these are at the very heart of Freemasonry and are the essential factors which make Freemasonry such a power.  What is it, then, that women seek in their effort to invade Freemasonry? Is it to participate in its ritual, to learn its obligations and, doubtless, other secrets which they are convinced must exist? But though a woman should participate in the ritual of Freemasonry and its obligations, she would be just as far as ever from being a Freemason, for it has secrets which a woman can never know.  Leaving aside, therefore, mere curiosity and jealousy, I am convinced that the desire of any good woman to enter the ranks of Freemasonry arises from a misunderstanding; and it is my endeavour, in writing this, to remove that misunderstanding.

 

The true womanly attitude, in my estimation, is that expressed by Katherine Tingley in a statement which she made on "Co-Masonry," published in "The New Age Magazine.,," June, 1914, from which I quote:

 

"I cannot understand how any true woman would wish to intrude into an order held to be exclusively for men.  There are lines of work which I hold are exclusively in the province of men, just as there are lines of work which are exclusively in the province of women.  I hold that woman can only wield her full share of influence in the world from a knowledge gained by using and fulfilling her opportunities as a woman and in her own sphere.  I consider that she steps away from her true position and greatly lessens her influence by seeking to invade the sphere of man. Why should women be disturbed that men have an organization which is exclusively for men?

 

"What is needed today by both men and women is a greater respect, first for themselves, in their true natures as men and women, and following that a greater respect each for the other - of women for men and of men for women. Such respect implies no invasion of one another's sphere, but the very contrary, and in fact can only suffer terribly from such invasion.

 

"If it were possible to conceive of the secrets of Masonry being given to a woman, from my understanding of the matter it could be only through some one unfaithful to his vows as a Mason, and no true or self-respecting woman would think of availing herself of such information; nor could it, by the nature of things, be held to be reliable, for he who is unfaithful in one thing will be unfaithful in others, and I prophesy that this attempt of certain women to seek admission where they do not belong can result only in confusion, disaster, and serious embarrassment for all such women."

 

Relativity and contrast are to be found throughout manifested life; they are the sine qua non of manifested existence and of all Progress.  It is relativity, contrast and, if these are rightly balanced, the subsequent harmony, between man and woman that make not only for the happiness of home but for true civilization. The Delphic Oracle "Man, know thyself," must be, to a degree at least, fulfilled, and equally "Woman, know thyself," if that harmony is to be attained.  If there is an invasion, or attempted invasion, of the rightful sphere of man by woman, or vice versa, the result can only be - not harmony but - confusion.

 

One of the greatest stabilizing forces of the present day, as it has been in the past, is Freemasonry.  It is, in the best sense, conservative, in that it is founded upon and teaches the highest ethics, the loftiest ideals, and fairest virtues, taught and practised by the noblest in all ages.  It is progressive in that while holding to, the highest traditions of the past, it relates those traditions to the present welfare of humanity, and by seeking to develop the highest qualities of true manhood it works for the spiritual upbuilding of the race.

 

The tacit assumption of "Co-Masonry" is that the woman nature is not different from but identical with the man nature and that therefore woman should have and be whatever man has and is.  But woman can never be man, nor can she ever have what man has in the same way that he has it.  Even the woman mind is different from the man mind.  As said above, it is a psychological difference, of which the physiological is merely an outer aspect.  In the normal man reason governs, in the woman intuition.  This does not mean that woman has no power of reason, or man no faculty of intuition, but in man the relation between reason and intuition is different from the relation between these in woman.

 

In the earliest years of life there is apparently no marked difference between boys and girls, and very naturally and properly they may be educated together.  But to develop the best in their natures as they pass through the period of youth and enter upon that of manhood and womanhood, while certainly they should not be deprived of mutual association, yet boys and girls should receive distinctive and separate training; and a part of their lives should be kept sacred to themselves throughout life if their finer distinctive traits are to be preserved.

 

Every normal man desires, and with reason, to associate at times with man alone; and so too, I take it, every normal woman with woman alone; and every normal man and woman desires and, in the deepest sense, requires recurring opportunities for solitude.  "And thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet (into solitude) and there pray" - to that "Deity" which can be approached only in secret, and in the inner solitude of the heart.

 

Freemasonry as practised today may be far short of the ideal, but if Freemasons have recognized the value of meeting with their brother Masons for the purpose, and in a sense the highest purpose, of attaining self-knowledge, of studying and practising the noblest virtues, and of preparing themselves to fulfil all the duties of life, should women therefore be jealous and seek to invade their ranks? Is not the way open to them to do likewise, but in their own womanly way?

 

We know but little of the ancient Mysteries.  There were the Lesser Mysteries - into which all who fulfilled the preliminary requirements were permitted to enter.  The Greater Mysteries were only for those who successfully passed through the Lesser.  From a careful study of the subject I have come to the conclusion that while the Lesser Mysteries were open to men and women alike, and while some of the ceremonies were for men and women together, there were also those into which men alone and others into which women alone, were admitted.  In Freemasonry men have kept alive, or have at least revived a part (however small or great) of their phase of the Lesser Mysteries; whereas the women of our Western civilization seem to have lost touch with theirs.  This conclusion is borne out by the fact that among the North American Indians and certain other so-called primitive or savage races there are still lodges for men and lodges for women which are wholly distinct, no woman being admitted to the former and no men to the latter. (2)

 

"Co-Masonry" is an attempted intrusion; it is a virtual confession on the part of those women who advocate "Co-Masonry" that they have neither the wit to discover, nor the intelligence to devise and carry out, a system and organization that shall in its inspiring teachings, profound symbolism and uplifting influence be equal, parallel and complementary to the Masonic Fraternity and become, like it, a beneficent power not only in woman's life, but through her in the life of the world.  This attempted intrusion is, in fact, a virtual confession that men have discovered or evolved for themselves something which women have not in this age been able to discover or evolve or parallel

 

One of the cardinal teachings of Theosophy, especially accentuated by Katherine Tingley, is that there are two natures in every human being: a higher nature, divine in essence and immortal, and a lower nature, mortal, passional, self-seeking. I cannot help but question if it be the true womanly nature that actuates the advocates of "Co-Masonry." I question whether it may not be that some of the advocates of "Co-Masonry" have failed to find and take their true place as women, and that, realizing their failure (though doubtless they would indignantly deny it), they seek another sphere, not their own. And I question whether they could do this were it not that the finer, truer side of their womanliness has been stunted.

 

Every true man, and certainly every true woman, knows that woman loses more than half her influence if she seeks to put aside her womanliness.  Reference is not made here to the domestic virtues and affections, though these have their place and their charm, but to the deeper aspects of womanliness which have made so many women (aside from all sex influences) the inspirers and helpers of men.  It has often been said, but may well be repeated again and again, and men will always be ready to acknowledge, that their greatest achievements in life would never have been accomplished but for the inspiration of mother, wife, sister or woman friend.  I put Mother first, for "the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world."

 

On the other hand, can it be gainsaid that the present unrest of the world, beginning long before the war, is in great measure the result of woman's failure to exercise her true womanly influence in the home, in society and in the nation? "The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world" - and it is the mother who has the glorious and fateful opportunity of striking the first keynote of her son's life - by her own thoughts, her own attitude, her self-control and purity and true womanliness.  And the sweet, refining, and inspiring influence of these continue with him all through life, even when she has passed on.

 

Every, true mother, too, knows that her son will have to meet problems which he must solve for and by himself, and the wise mother, however her heart may ache for him, will at such times leave him to himself and let him have his solitude.  She knows, too, that he needs a father's influence and the companionship of other boys.  On these she will not intrude, for that would mar the fineness of his manhood and the sweet relationship between them.  Yet, if she has struck the keynote aright, her influence will be with him still, a gentle and unbreakable restraining power, keeping him in the path of true nobility and chivalry, in the path of purity, honour and true manliness.  This, I take it, is the influence that the true mother wields, and the true wife and sister - the influence of the true womanly nature.

 

Is it worth while bartering away that influence for the sake of the very doubtful gain that might accrue from any attempted intrusion upon an organization which is for men alone? Assuredly no! And  were the intrusion to become a fact, it is not only woman who would suffer, but man too, and the home and civilization.  Such an intrusion would but add to the already appalling confusion of the present day - its attempt is indeed but another indication of the confusion.

 

Even if the doors of Masonic lodges were opened to women, it would still be a hollow victory for them they would for ever miss the inner meaning which, already said, concerns man as man.  Indeed, I think that the women who advocate "Co-Masonry" have looked far enough ahead, they look only at the possible and immediate fulfilment of their desires - the opening of Masonic lodges to them - but have no adequate conception, if any conception at all, of what would result.  In other words, they do not know what they are doing; they are working wholly from wrong premises.

 

Now let me venture a suggestion, first premising that all true men and all true women desire and welcome opportunities for closer cooperation - such cooperation implying no superiority or inferiority, either of the one or of the other, but a complementary equality and harmony.  Here then is the suggestion which I venture as possibly leading towards a solution.  Freemasonry is a Fraternity for men; let women establish their Sorority with its appropriate name - it cannot be Freemasonry nor "Co-Masonry," as already shown, and I am not disposed to think that women are so lacking in resourcefulness that they would have to copy a name which has its distinctive application to an organization of and for men alone, or that by copying they would wish to show their dependence on men.  I use the term Sorority as the exact complement of Fraternity and as best describing an organization of and for women alone, as a Fraternity is of and for men alone.

 

Let them therefore revive the lodges for women which undoubtedly existed in the most ancient times with their appropriate ritual and ceremonial, which women themselves must re-discover or devise.  Such appropriate ritual and ceremonial, if these are to be parallel and complementary to Freemasonry, must be based upon the highest principles, the noblest moral teachings and be applicable to woman's true development as those of Freemasonry are to man's.  Let them prove their organization, as Freemasonry has been proved, to be a beneficent power in the life of the world, and then they will not have to ask, for Freemasons will be ready to join with them, for a higher cooperation, a greater harmony in which each shall play an appropriate part, man as man, and woman as woman-partners and coworkers for the world's good.

 

As parties to this new cooperation will be on the one hand women who have passed through the portals of their Sorority and have proved themselves (how - it is for women to determine) worthy and well qualified; and on the other hand men who have passed through the portals of the Masonic Fraternity, and have likewise proved themselves worthy and well qualified.  Such a step forward, assuming it to be practicable, might require years of preparation, or it might be possible to take it quickly.  And perhaps it depends, in the first instance, upon the women, and not upon the men.  Perhaps this is an instance to which Katherine Tingley referred when she said, "Let woman find her true place and man will find his." Such a step, made possible by this new cooperation, might lead indeed to the finding of the door to the lost Greater Mysteries. Who can tell?

 

"Analogy," says Mme. H.P. Blavatsky, in her great work The Secret Doctrine (II, 153), "is the guiding law in Nature, the only true Ariadne's thread that can lead us, through the inextricable paths of her domain, toward her primal and final mysteries." It was through woman, through our mothers, that we gained entrance into this physical world; the impulse, the seed, is from the father, but the mother opens the door of physical life.  And, by analogy, may it not be, that though man may give the impulse, may perhaps provide the seed, he must wait for woman to open the door into the spiritual life.  Underlying this conception there is, I think, a profound mystical principle, discussion of which must be deferred until a future occasion. If this conception and analogy be correct, does it not show that true progress can come only through the cooperation of man and woman, through which alone can come into existence the true home, the true state, and a true civilization?

 

 

Nor can this be accomplished by either man or woman assuming the superior role.  As in the true home neither is superior, and neither inferior, but each with his or her own sphere, with his or her own part to play, they are partners and coworkers; so in the world's life, for which Freemasonry is a preparation for men, while for women-where is their organization? If women feel the need of similar opportunities, and similar preparation, let them be true to themselves, to their own womanhood, which they cannot be if they leave their own sphere and seek to invade that of men.

 

There is, however, this to be remembered and seriously considered: Freemasonry, according to many students, traces its lineage back to the ancient Mysteries (clearly the Lesser Mysteries, as already said), and our modern Freemasonry is a continuation or revival of part of the symbolism and of a few of the teachings of those Lesser Mysteries which were enacted in Egypt, India and Greece. It may be, and I think it certain, that a hidden thread may be found whereby women may link the present with the past and rediscover a part of the symbolism and teachings of the ancient Mysteries that relate to their life and opportunities as women.

 

It is for this reason that it is held that the establishment of an organization for women which shall be complementary and parallel to the Masonic Fraternity must be a re-discovery or revival and not an invention.  Further, as Freemasonry in no sense takes man away from the path of duty, or the fulfilment of his obligations to his family, his fellow man or society, but accentuates the importance of such fulfilment, so a complementary or parallel Sorority must in no sense take woman away from the path of duty or the fulfilment of her obligations in the home, to her family or society, but will accentuate the importance of such fulfilment.

 

Such a complementary and parallel Sorority, it will be clear, cannot be established by any woman or group of women who are actuated by ambition or fancied knowledge. It can be established, if it is to be indeed complementary and parallel to Freemasonry, by finding the Ariadne's thread that shall lead the woman of the present to the rediscovery of the teachings of Antiquity, - of some, at least, of the teachings of the Lesser Mysteries pertaining to woman's true place in life and to the unfoldment of her spiritual nature.  And when woman takes her true place, as Katherine Tingley has said: "Woman in her true place, her true position, hand in hand with man in his true place," may we not look confidently forward to the coming of "such a new order of things we can hardly speak of, much less realize, the resulting possibilities."

 

How much then depends upon woman in this day and generation! And the question is: shall it be co-operation and a resulting harmony or attempted intrusion and disharmony and confusion? Shall the door to the Greater Mysteries of Antiquity once more be found and humanity enter upon its spiritual inheritance? Does it not depend very largely upon woman?

 

(1) "Katherine Tingley on Marriage and the Home" - An Interview by Claire Merton - Theosophical Publishing Co., Point Loma, California.

(2) Further corroboration of this conclusion is given by Professor Franz Cumont (Membre de I'Tnstitut, Paris), a distinguished archaeologist and author of "The Mysteries of Mithras." In a letter, April 17, 1921, he writes: "The evidence of the numerous inscriptions which have been gathered prove that women did not partake in the Mysteries of Mithras, which were derived from the old religion of Persia.  We never find them making any offering, receiving any degree of initiation, or mentioned in the list of names of the confraternities.  But the excavations have proved that the subterranean temples of Mithras were often connected with temples of the Great Mother of the Gods (Cybele) and we have other proofs that the two cults were closely associated.  Women of course could worship this goddess and partake in her mysteries.  If they were excluded from the men's colleges of the 'Invincible' Sun, they could have their feminine 'Sororities' devoted to the Mother Earth."

 

MASONIC CLUBS IN DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

 

Washington, D.C., now has nineteen Masonic clubs, with a membership of nearly 6,000. They embrace the employees of Government departments and various institutions as follows: Ashlar Club, State, War and Navy, White House and Civil Service Commission; Ionic Club, Treasury Department; Trestleboard Club, Government Printing Office; Trowel Club, Department (of the Interior; Triangle Club, Department of Agriculture; Fellowship Club, Bureau of Engraving and Printing; Lambskin Club, Navy Yard; Circle Club, District Government employees; Compass Club, Pace and Pace Institute employees; National University Law School Masonic Club; George Washington Univers in Masonic Club; Craftsman Club, War Risk Insurance; Anchor Club, Shipping Board; Gavel Club, business and profession men of Washington; Italian-American Masonic Club; Railroad Square Club, Washington Terminal employees; Southgate Club, Southern Railway employees; Level Club, Department of Commerce; Cable Tow Club, City Postoffice.

 

The first club was organized in the Geological Survey in 1909, known as the Trowel Club, and its formation was prompted by a brother in that Department being sick and the Masons getting together to look after him.

 

The clubs meet once a month and the proceedings are of a social character and for the purpose of getting acquainted. The Advisory Board of Washington consists of the president and two members from each club and meets four times a year for the purpose of exchanging views and to combine action for the good of Masonry. They install the officers of the clubs when requested to do so. Brother W.R. Metz is president of the board and Brother W.J. Dow is secretary and treasurer. - The Kraftsman.

 

 

GENERAL JOFFRE. FREEMASON

 

BY BRO. CHARLES F. IRWIN, OHIO

 

THE DISPROPORTIONATE number of brilliant Masonic leaders in France to their membership roll struck the American brethren as remarkable. The cultivation of the social friendship of French Masons opened the way for the exchange of information which proved of worth to us. The brethren of French Masonry form the very foundation of the genius of France. The leaders in constructive thought in all departments of public life will be found identified with some branch of Freemasonry. Every sound law placed on the national statute books for twenty-five years has been placed there through the activity of French Masons.

 

When the war opened the man toward whom France turned to lead the army and to preserve the Republic was General Joffre, the idol of France, or, as he is popularly known, "Papa Joffre." General Joffre had a plan speedily formulated which practically held for the duration of the war.

 

 

For reasons never publicly expressed General Joffre was retired from active command of the Armies early in the war. He was practically in retirement for the balance of the fighting. Yet the genius of this remarkable man permeated the councils of the Allies and influenced their deliberations.

 

It was inevitable that we should wonder why General Joffre was thus retired. Although advanced age and physical weakness were given as ostensible reasons for his retirement, his continued activity contradicted such reasoning.

 

Thoughtful observers know that a wave of reaction swept Europe and came close to American governmental shores during the war. This reaction changed many things which had formerly led to liberty and intelligence.

 

General Joffre is a 32nd degree Mason. He is a Protestant. He represents the highest point attained by French intelligence and culture in the early years of the twentieth century. He was persona non grata to elements in France who have always bitterly assailed our Fraternity. And it cannot escape our minds that the fraternal associations of General Joffre were matters of serious dissatisfaction to this element in the French government.

 

General Joffre had a great reluctance to needlessly sacrificing his men in assaults. He developed to its high degree of perfection the trench warfare. There are many who believe that, had he retained command, scores of thousands of French soldiers who now sleep would be alive and aiding in the constructive policies of their country.

 

When the great celebration of the Victory Day Parade - July 14, 1919 -was approaching, the curiosity of the French people was aroused as to the place General Joffre should occupy. So they inquired of the government who announced that due to his age and feebleness he would occupy a seat beside President Poincare in the tribunes, or reviewing stands.

 

This did not satisfy the populace who demanded that Joffre should ride beneath the Arch de Triomphe. Never since 1812, or in 107 years, had a French victorious Army marched beneath the arch, and French emotion could not contemplate this great Frenchman deprived of a place in such a great event.

 

The government then announced a change in plan, and declared General Joffre should march through the Arch de Triomphe and dismount at the tribunes, where he would take his designated place.

 

Again the French public demanded the presence of Papa Joffre at the head of the Defile. And such was the pressure that the government yielded.

 

I stood at the Place de la Concorde that morning amid a host of French people. We heard the roar of applauding voices in the distance, up Champs Elysee. Cannons were booming in the distance, aeroplanes were gliding; and captive baloons hung, still and stationary, overhead. Everyone was under highest tension.

 

Then the head of the parade came into sight. The applause was so great as to defeat all attempts to speak to one's neighbor. What was the burden of tumult? The answer was found in the erect, graceful figure of an old warrior who rode at the right of that historic march - "Papa Joffre! Papa Joffre! Brava, Papa Joffre!" The old warrior - the Freemason - who was supposed to be too feeble to sustain the day's exposure, was passing by!

 

Two years have gone and many later experiences have come to pass. But the day and the man stand out in my memory like a monument of marble against a sky of azure.

 

Recently the Cincinnati Enquirer printed an editorial on this great man, which is so timely a summary of his life that I am quoting it. The editorial was headed "The War's Greatest Figure," and reads as follows:

 

"How much the world owes to Marshal Joffre gradually is being disclosed through belated publications of the inner secrets of the incidents in which he was central and important. The very recent utterance of one of the aides who accompanied him to America in May, 1917, reveals the warrior is a skilled diplomatist and master of the knowledge of mass psychology.

 

"It was he who suggested to President Wilson that the most profound effect upon the morale of the Allies would come from the prompt sending of an American division to France and the twining together of the Stars and Stripes with the Tricolor and the Union Jack.

 

His mature mind also caused the dispatching of Pershing in advance to make ready for the millions that were to come. From his experience, too, came the warning to the President to send none but competent Generals and to be prepared for the failure of fifty per cent. of them under the real test of war.

 

"In fact, it was Joffre who made the plans for the disposition of the troops we sent abroad, and it is to the credit of the War Department and the General Staff that it possessed the sound discretion to accept his counsels and follow the courses he mapped out with meticulous care. But the greatest value in these publications is the proving that the old Marshal's concept of the defense against the German attack was the ablest of all the theories of the war councils. It was the policy of persistent nibbling at the apparently impregnable lines before the Allies' front until the foe was brought down to the same level with his opponents. Then was to follow the grand assault and victory.

 

"Precisely that campaign was followed by Foch, and it was a proud part that the American Armies played in the concluding drive, pantomimed by the Marshal by delivering an imaginary blow with his left and then with his right hand, and following both with a kick to the front. The story of the aide also gives a better light upon the part taken by the President in preparing for the invasion of Europe by the American troops. Apparently he was guided by the veteran of the Marne, who was also good enough to pay a high tribute to Secretary of War, Newton D. Baker, for his rapid absorption of the plan of action brought from France and his clear understanding of the situation.

 

"From this record it is difficult to reconcile the stories of haphazard plans and fumbling execution."

 

THE MISSION OF THE MASONIC PRESS

 

BY THE LATE BRO ROBERT FREKE GOULD, ENGLAND

 

In the first issue of this journal its editor laid on the trestleboard a scheme of the plan of work proposed for the National Masonic Research Society: therein was indicated a purpose to republish already printed works that may not be accessible to the majority of students.  The best that has been thought and said about Masonry, by those outside as well as inside the Craft, should not fall into oblivion merely because it may chance to have been written a year ago, or ten years ago, or twenty.  We have already republished a number of essays and chapters of such a character: we shall publish many more.  Among these may be listed the following characteristic essay by one of the masters of Masonic lore: the article, which I able to speak for itself, was first printed in The London Freemason in 1906.

 

"Oceans of ink, and reams of paper, and disputes infinite might have been spared, if wrangles had avoided lighting the torch at the wrong end; since a tenth part of the pains expended in attempting to prove the why, the where, and the when certain events have happened, would have been more than sufficient to prove that they never happened at all." Rev. C.C. Colton.

 

POPULAR errors of the moment, mischievous and extensive in their  effects," observes Sir Egerton Brydges, "are always in operation; truth prevails more rarely than is assumed, and false opinions, let alone, will obtain absolute dominion.  The enlightened intellect which can correct them, and dissipate delusions, is a great benefactor."

 

Surplus copies of books, as many will be aware, are called in trade "Remainders," and with this prelude I proceed to quote from an interview with one of the greatest dealers in those wares, of which an account was given some years ago in the newspapers. "Remainders in Law and Physic," Mr. William Glaisher, the well-known bookseller of High Holborn, is reported to have said, "would be of little use.  People who want legal and medical works must have the latest editions -they must be up-to-date.  I'm afraid, therefore, that surplus copies of legal and medical works become so much waste paper, and are sent back to the mills."

 

 

Let us contrast with this the fate of unsold copies of works relating to Freemasonry. Year by year, the early history of our ancient Craft is being gradually unfolded to us. But no Masonic book ever seems to grow out of date.  The visionary writings of past times, and the more scholarly productions of our own, are perused with an equal faith.  Old texts are found to yield new readings, but the old readings are not thereby displaced. Popular fallacies are exploded, i.e., within a limited circle - but within a larger circle their vitality, remains unimpaired.

 

What, therefore, is most wanted in the true interests of Masonic study, or, perhaps, it will be better to say, in the diffusion of genuine Masonic knowledge, is a tabulation of results.  The wisest man may be wiser today than he was yesterday, and tomorrow than he is today. New facts are constantly becoming known, while old facts are as rapidly disappearing, and (as it seems to myself) an efficient registration of these phenomena should be included among the duties or obligations which we naturally associate with the Mission of the Masonic Press.

 

It has been well said, that it is not so difficult a task to plant new truths, as to root out old errors; for there is this paradox in men, they run after that which is new, but are prejudiced in favour of that which is old.

 

Under the title of A Masonic Curriculum, the late George William Speth wrote an interesting pamphlet which was designed to be "A Course of Study in Freemasonry." It was almost the last essay he lived to complete, and though a small and unpretentious contribution to the literature of the Society he served so faithfully and well, it is full of sage reflections and interesting comments on the then published works and ephemeral writing of all Masonic authors of repute, and these critical remarks will always be attractive, not for their utility, but also for their felicities of style.

 

It was the object of the late Bro. Speth to point out what books and pamphlets ought to be read. A similar duty, of course, devolves on the Masonic Press, but a matter of far greater importance (as it strikes my own mind) is the urgent necessity for the literary organs of the Fraternity to speak with no uncertain sound as to the books and writings (of all classes and descriptions) which the student of Masonry will be well advised to leave severely alone.

 

The amount of justly merited obloquy under which the entire literature of the Craft reposes, owing to the foolish writings of so many enthusiastic but uncritical Freemasons, it would be impossible to exaggerate.

 

By way of illustration, let me quote some passages from a long forgotten article on "Ancient and Modern Freemasonry," by the late Dr. Armstrong, Bishop of Grahamstown, who observes: "The Livys of the Masonic Commonwealth are far from willing to let their Rome have either a mean or unknown beginning.  According to Preston, 'From the commencement of the world, we may trace the foundation of Masonry'; 'But,' adds Dr. Oliver, 'ancient Masonic traditions say, and I think justly, that our science existed before the creation of this globe, and was diffused amid the numerous systems with which the grand empyreum of universal space is furnished."'

 

After pointing out in a strain of severe satire that the Freemasons were not in the least joking, in what many men considered as a joke, the Bishop continues: "Look, for instance, at the Rev. G. Oliver, D.D. He is quite in earnest.  There is something really wonderfully refreshing in such a dry and hard-featured an age as this to find so much imagination at work.  After having pored through crabbed chronicles and mouldy MSS., with malicious and perverse contractions, ragged and mildewed letters, illegible and faded diaries, &c., it is quite refreshing to drive along the smooth and glassy road of imaginative history.  Of course, where there is any dealing with the more hackneyed facts of history, we must expect a little eccentricity and some looseness of statement - we cannot travel quickly and cautiously, too.  Thus the Doctor of Divinity before mentioned somewhat startles us by an assertion respecting the destruction of Solomon's Temple: 'Its destruction by the Romans, as predicted, was fulfilled in the most minute particulars; and on the same authority we are quite certain it will never be rebuilt.' He is simply mistaking the second Temple for the first!"

 

The Bishop further observes: "There are minds which seem to rejoice in the misty regions of doubt, which see best in the dark, which have a sensation of being handcuffed when they are tied to proofs and documents; they despise those stubborn facts, the mules of history, on which safe historians are content to ride down the crags and precipices of olden times, 'Inveniam viam aut faciam'- I will find my facts or make them; so say the Masonic writers. They have the same contempt for plain plodding historians which we can conceive a stoker of the Great Western dashing out of Paddington would feel for an ancient couple, could such be seen, jogging leisurely out of town in pillion-fashion on their old somber mare, with the prospect of a week's journey to Bath.  They drive the 'express trains' of history.  While we are groping and floundering amid the fens and bogs of the seventh, eighth and ninth centuries, they look upon such times as the mere suburbs of the present age - 'the easy distance from town.' They dash past centuries, as railroad trains whisk past milestones.  For ourselves we see nothing of Freemasons before the seventh century; we cannot even scent the breath of a reasonable rumour.  But if we put ourselves under the charge of the most sober and matter-of-fact Masonic historians, away we are scurried from the seventh to the sixth, from the sixth to the fifth, from the fifth to the fourth, to the third, to the second, till dizzy heads and our breath gone, we find ourselves put down by the Temple of Solomon.

 

Dr. Oliver, of course, was not the only, but he may justly be styled the worst, offender in matters of the kind, as of all the vast array of authors who have written on the subject of Freemasonry, he was the most prolific, and in the quantity of the publications that issued from his pen, there has been no one to compete with either in the Old World or the New.

 

All the works of Dr. Oliver would be put into an Index Purgatorius, that is to say, if the scholars of Masonry were empowered to draw up "A Catalogue of Books prohibited to be read." The book of his that has probably done the most harm is The Revelations of a Square, a sort of Masonic Romance, professing to detail, though in a fictitious form, many of the usages of the last centuries, with anecdotes of the leading Masons of that period.  Most of the articles on the English Ritual of the eighteenth century, written since the publication of this work, have been based on the illusory "Revelations" of Dr. Oliver's imaginary "Square."

 

In the remarks, however, with which I am now proceeding, space would fail me were I to attempt to enumerate the books and pamphlets which should be carefully avoided and left unread by all serious students of Freemasonry.  The utmost I can do is to present in a small compass a body of specious but radically unsound doctrines, which if resolutely stamped out by the combined action of the Masonic Press, would result in a purification of our sources of knowledge, and tend to remove the popular impression that Freemasonry is wholly unworthy of the attention either of scholars or men of intelligence.

 

Historical fictions have been common in all ages, and the particular branch of "history" in which Masonry is contained, has its full share of them.

 

There is nothing from which we have reason to infer, that the cathedral (or church) builders were a separate class from the Masons of the City Guilds or companies; that the Manuscript Constitutions belonged to the Church-building Masons; or that the Church builders were a single fraternity, travelling from place to place as their services were required and making themselves known by means of secret grips, words, and signs.

 

Papal Bulls were not given to the Freemasons, nor had they an annual Parliament of their own.  The first Grand Lodge was formed, and the first Grand Master elected in 1717.  Sir Christopher Wren was not a Grand Master, nor is there any proof that he was a Freemason at all.  The Grand Lodge of England (1717) was not founded by Payne, Anderson, and Desaguliers, or any one of them.  Two degrees and not three were recognized by the Grand Lodge of England in 1723.  Neither Martin Clare nor Thomas Manningham revised the Ritual, and the labours of Thomas Dunkerley in the same direction are equally imaginary.  Andrew Michael Ramsay did not invent a single one of the numerous Rites that have been fathered on him.  The young Pretender - Charles Edward - was not a Freemason.  There has never been - except in the imagination of the American writers - a York Rite; nor are there any Prerogatives, which are inherent to the office of a Grand Master.  The dogmas of Perpetual Jurisdiction, Physical Perfection, and Exclusive (or Territorial) Jurisdiction, have been evolved since the introduction of Masonry into what has become the "United States," from England, during the first or second quarters of the eighteenth century.  No alterations were made by the Original Grand Lodge of England in the "established forms." The story of Mrs. Aldworth, the alleged "Lady Freemason," is of no historical value whatever, and to bring my list of delusions to a close (though the examples could be greatly multiplied) the now familiar mot du guet, "the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man" would have been both unmeaning and unintelligible to the Masons living in the era that preceded that of Grand Lodges, as their conception of a creed would have been a strict belief in the Trinity; and probably nothing would have more surprised our ancient brethren than to hear it mooted that persons of other than Anglo-Saxon parentage were qualified for admission into the Society.

 

It will scarcely be denied by anyone, that owing to the loose and inaccurate - not to say extremely foolish - manner in which Masonic history has been written, there is much that the present, and possibly a later generation will have to live down.  That the efforts of the true lovers of Freemasonry in this direction will be ultimately successful I have myself no doubt whatever, but the period of time that may be expected to lapse before this aspiration is fulfilled must necessarily vary in extent, accordingly as enlightened assistance is rendered, or not rendered, by the concerted action of the Masonic Press.

 

The task immediately before us is to show, that with the disappearance of its fabulous history, there emerges a real history, of which every intelligent Freemason may feel justly proud.

 

There is an anecdote of Lord Chesterfield, so much to my present purpose, that I cannot refrain from relating it, as I conceive that it will be deemed in point by most readers, and to some may possibly be new. We are told by Horace Walpole, in one of his letters, that on a certain occasion Lord Chesterfield exclaimed to John Anstis, Garter King of Arms, "You foolish man, you do not understand your own very foolishness." Without doubt, there are points of resemblance - suggestive of a family likeness - between the Herald and the Freemason, when each of them is clad in full panoply of his regalia, which strikes the eye of the ignorant (or untutored) observer; and while I do not for an instant wish it to be supposed that I consider the "business" of a Freemason to be a "foolish" one (which, indeed, would be in direct opposition to the view I am seeking to establish), nevertheless, I shall venture to affirm that the profound ignorance of the generality of the Craft, with regard to the history and antiquities of our venerable Society, might well extenuate, if it did not entirely excuse, the words of Lord Chesterfield, if peradventure, instead of being addressed to the Garter King of Arms, they had been used with respect to the "business," as commonly understood, of a Freemason.

 

"The boys that grind my colours," said Apelles to one of the priests of Diana, "look upon you with respect, while you are silent, because of the gold and purple of your garments; but when you speak of what you do not understand, they laugh at you."

 

"Why do men study ancient history, acquire a knowledge of dead languages and decipher illegible inscriptions? What gives life to the study of antiquity? What compels men, in the midst of these busy times, to sacrifice their leisure to studies apparently so unattractive and useless, if not the conviction, that in order to obey the Delphic commandment - in order to know what Man is, we ought to know what Man has been?"

 

The foregoing are the words of the late Professor Max Muller, and they are applicable to the study of Masonry, as to the investigation of any other branch of historical research.  The authentic history of our ancient Craft can be traced, by the evidence of existing documents, to the fourteenth century, and without the shadow of a doubt it had then attained a hale and vigorous old age.

 

The recent labours of many learned men have brought to actual demonstration what was previously only matter of strong probability, that a state of society highly cultivated and refined, existed in various parts of the globe, prior to any written or authentic documents transmitted to us.  Are we justified in supposing that the traditions which connect Masonry with those ancient peoples, among whom that advanced condition of civilization is found to have prevailed, are entitled to any real weight?

 

Of traditionary evidence, indeed, it has been said by an old writer whose name I forgot, "that a great cloud of smoke argues at least a little fire."

 

But the observation is a shrewd one, and I have reminded the reader of it, as the Traditions - Written or Unwritten - of Freemasonry, are its chief glory, and in these consists its superiority over all other Associations.

 

"Say what you will against Tradition," wrote the learned Selden; "we know the Significance of Words by nothing but Tradition.  You will say the Scripture was written by the Holy Spirit; but do you understand the Language 'twas writ in? No. Then, for example, take these words, 'In principio erat verbum." How do you know these words signify, 'In the beginning was the word,' but by Tradition, because some Body has told you so?"

 

But long before the discoveries of recent times, there were monuments in many countries which fairly justified the belief that has now ripened into actual knowledge.  The magnificent ruins of ancient cities, of which no record remained, the Pyramids, concerning which the remotest antiquity had nothing to depose, the advanced state of the sciences of Geometry and Astronomy amongst the Egyptians and the Babylonians amply warranted the presumption that a high state of cultivation and knowledge did exist anterior to any written documents or historical records.

 

To the literate of our Craft it will be unnecessary to explain either that the characteristic signs now called Masons' Marks, were originally developed at a very early period in the East, and have been since used as distinguishing emblems of some kind throughout the Middle Ages, in Persia, Syria, Egypt and elsewhere; or, that the Science of Geometry as taught by Euclid to the Egyptians, was the fons et origo of the Craft of Masonry, that is if we may repose any confidence in what is distinctly affirmed by the most ancient Manuscripts of our Society.

 

There are many further points on each of which I should like to say a few words, but as this cannot be done, I shall make the best selection I can for treatment in the present article.  To begin with, there is a certain amount of drudgery associated with the acquisition of the rudiments of Masonic knowledge, which may explain, perhaps, why it is that no one who enters upon the study of Masonry late in life ever pursues it to an entirely satisfactory conclusion.  "More, therefore (to slightly paraphrase the words of Dr. Johnson, when speaking of the natives of Scotland), may be expected from a Mason, who has been caught young." Lengthy works, however, are not generally esteemed by any Masonic readers, who, in this particular, remind one the Italian convict - the story is told by Macaulay.  He was given the choice of the galleys or reading through Guicciardini; he chose Guicciardini but stuck fast in the wars of Pisa, thought better of it, and took to the oar.

 

The famous author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, has spoken of "the vast space which every ray of light has to traverse before it reaches the eye of the common understanding." But since the days of Edward Gibbon, many things have happened, and at the present day intelligibility is not considered by learned men as a sort of reflection on their intellectual status.  It is no longer a reproach to be "popular." On the contrary, it is generally understood that the savant who is unable to make the abstruse moderately simple is not gifted with a very clear intellect, or is deficient in that literary ability which is so marked a characteristic of the leading latter-day writers on subjects of scientific, artistic, or of any other special character.

 

The extent to which the history of our own Craft has been critically and intelligibly dealt with by writers of the present generation, is a question on which, for obvious reasons, I should hesitate to pronounce any judgment at all.  But wherever they have failed to bring down to the level of the ordinary mind the bearings of the latest discoveries, let us hope that what Proctor did for Astronomy, what Huxley and Wallace achieved for Natural History, what Tyndall accomplished for Physics in this country, and Helmholtz in Germany, may be done for Masonry by the organized labours of the Masonic Press.

 

 

EDITORIAL

 

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE LANDMARK QUESTION

 

OUR CORRESPONDENCE, along with such knowledge of things Masonic in general that we receive from reading Masonic journals and newspapers, shows that ever and anon the Landmark problem keeps bobbing up. Grand Lodges and private individuals, students and dilettanti, find it a real question on occasion, and many are their attempts to solve the matter.

 

On the surface it would appear that this is a thing of hair-splitting. What practical difference does it make to anybody whether there are three Landmarks, or thirty? Why should it be of concern to know what Pike thought on the matter? or Mackey? or Webb? Why should Masonic journalists show so much alarm when some Grand Lodge undertakes once again to define, name, and number Landmarks?

 

The significance of all this, of course, lies behind the details, and that significance seems to be this, tha Masons are ever trying to discover what is Masonic orthodox. Back of their minds is the belief that some where in the past there has been a perfect, a classic Masonry; that what that classic Masonry was all Masonry should be; and that it is our duty to keep testing our present day Masonry by the touchstone of that classicism.

 

The fallacy of all this lies in the fact that there never has been a classic Masonry. Never once has the Order developed into a stage which we may refer to as the standard of what all Masonry should be. The Masonry of the Grand Lodge of England in the first half of the eighteenth century cannot be accounted the norm, because that Masonry became changed out of all recognition, and was itself always in a condition of flux and uncertainty, as witness the history of the Holy Royal Arch. Nor can we look back to the same Grand Lodge during the latter half of that century, because in that period it was compelled to divide the field with the Masonry represented by the Ancient Grand Lodge, which had a very different system. During the following quarter of a century there came the Union of 1813 when both sides compromised, and when the Hemming Lectures were adopted. But in this land those lectures did not receive favor, having to give way to the system inaugurated by Webb. And so it goes. And if in our search for a strictly standard Masonry we turn back to Masonry before the era of Grand lodge's we find ourselves in a worse case still, for the Order was then in such a state of flux as has since given the period the name of the Era of Transition. Masonry before that was of the Operative variety. Nearly every Landmark has at some time or other, by some one of the numerous Grand bodies, been entirely abolished. In the Ritual there have been innumerable changes. Of Masonic jurisprudence, its principles and practices, the same may be said.

 

Consider also how things lie in the Masonic world at present. The Masonry of the Grand Orient of France has so far departed from the Landmarks as defined by American Masonry that a great number of our Grand Lodges refuse to affiliate with the Grand Orient. But, except in regard to two important matters, American Masonry differs from English Masonry by almost as wide a gulf. It is a well known fact that our English brethren always go away in a daze after witnessing our Work, it varies so much from theirs. And of brethren in Latin countries one may say as much.

 

But all this need disturb no one. It has been so from the beginning, and that with small effect on the growth and character of the Fraternity. It is so in every other department of life: in government, in religion, in education, in literature, in business. It is so with the individual. He grows from babyhood to boyhood, thence into youth, from which he springs up to manhood, and thence to old age, and all the while maintains his identity unchanged, so that despite all changes he remains the same individual still, and recognizable as such by all his friends.

 

What difference does it make if American Masonry differs so much from English Masonry? What matters it if the customs of Pennsylvania are very unlike those of Wisconsin? Masonry is a great living organism, waxing ever more vigorous, and all these variations within itself are signs and tokens of its own power and everlasting vitality. Nobody need fear that it can ever change its character or lose its identity. In a thousand years from now it will have become something unrecognizable to us; but even then, antiquarians will look back to the Order as it was in 1921 and say, It is the same great Fraternity still !

 

* * *

 

A NEW MASONIC SCHOLARSHIP NEEDED

 

In that excellent paper, The Masonic Reporter, of Chicago, there appeared some time back an editorial in the midst of which are these lines:

 

"Seldom do we hear of a lodge engaging a Masonic lecturer or encouraging the study of Masonry. Its traditions and history, its beautiful system of morality and science, all, all are a closed book to the average Mason. Where are our Masonic libraries? The few books that may be found in some of our lodge libraries are covered with dust, undisturbed for years."

 

And then the editor goes on to tell what a store of information and of inspiration is to be found each year in the Grand Lodge Proceedings, and laments the fact that so few of the brethren ever look into the volume, published at so great cost of money and time. He says that this indifference to what Masonry really is and is trying to do seems to indicate that a vast number of the young men who throng our portals come for the less worthy purposes of social or business aggrandizement.

 

The mail that brought the Masonic Reporter in which this editorial appeared brought also a letter from a kind brother in which was enclosed the following, clipped from a daily paper:

 

"Some brethren hold that the art and mystery of the Masonic Order was first introduced at the building of the Tower of Babel, thence handed down by Euclid, who communicated it to Hiram Abiff, under whom, at the building of the temple of Solomon was an expert architect named Mannon Graecus, who, according to legendary lore, introduced it into England."

 

Well! well! well! It may be that a great deal of the lack of interest complained of above, (and complained of in every issue of THE BUILDER) may be due to the sort of stuff that is peddled about by some Masonic talkers and writers. It is true that lodges and masters are to blame for the dearth of intellectual activity; it is equally true that those who seek to minister to that activity are equally to blame, for so much has been said and written about Masonry which is mere stuff, so silly that a child can see through its pitiable ignorance. Men of sense and education will not waste their time on such trifling. We need a new Masonic scholarship in America: a new standard for our great host of Masonic speakers: a new knowledge of the real history of, and of the true interpretation of the teachings oft our great Fraternity. When members once begin to understand that to accomplish all this is one of the principal purposes of Masonic study and research, they will cease to look upon that enterprise as the plaything of a few brethren with a certain intellectual curiosity about things far away in time and importance.

 

Do something for somebody gladly,

'Twill sweeten your every care;

In sharing the sorrows of others

Your own are less hard to bear.

Do something for somebody always,

Whatever may be your creed;

There's nothing on earth can help you

So much as doing a kindly deed.

 

- Venie Whitney.

 

----o----

 

‑ The cautious seldom error. - Confucius.

 

 

THE LIBRARY

 

ROBERT BURNS AND FREEMASONRY

 

WHAT the Masons of an older day might have been like is sensed in yet another charming volume that has come to our desk; this time the work of the distinguished English Masonic scholar, Brother Dudley Wright, Associate Editor of THE BUILDER. "Robert Burns and Freemasonry," by our worthy brother ought to find room upon the shelves of all who are collecting a Burnsiana, or for that matter, upon all library shelves, and particularly the Masonic library shelf. We suggested its indication of what the Masonic life of a bygone day was like. We may read this interesting information on page thirteen of this well printed volume: "Freemasonry influenced his (Robert Burns) thoughts; inspired his muse, and nutured that stern love of independence and brotherhood which became the predominant characteristic of his manhood." And then a little later we have this sidelight in Burns' companionships, "with very few exceptions all his patrons and acquaintances were members of the Brotherhood." We have today in our midst as lodge members many distinguished men, but no doubt many of us who belong to lodges that contain the names of these eminent men on their rosters have never had particular fellowship with them in the body of the lodge room. It is interesting to note how the distinguished were constantly present at lodge meetings in the Poet's day. We have another reference on page sixty‑one to those names associated with literature which figure in the register of Lodge Canongate Kilwinning, No. 2, among them John Wilson (Christopher North), J. Gibson Lockhart, and Lord Brougham. We are informed that this lodge possesses the most ancient lodge room in the world. "It is one of the most active Masonic lodges of the present day, keeping alive the traditions of nearly eight hundred years."

 

This volume of Dudley Wright's makes us feel that Burns is indeed the eternal Poet Laureate of Masonry, and through the marvelous poetic quotations in the volume we get new glimpses of the wonder and everlasting worth of Masonic teaching, as sung by him. Completing the book is an address delivered by our own Dr. Newton "proposing the toast to the immortal memory of brother Robert Burns at the Burns meeting of Scotts Lodge, No. 2319, English Constitution, on the 24th of January, 1918." We cannot refrain from quoting what Brother Newton says: "If ever of anyone, it can be said of Robert Burns that his soul goes marching on, striding over continents and years, and trampling tyrannies down. He was the harbinger of the nineteenth century, the poet of the rise and reign of the common people of whom it has been said God must love, because he made so many of them."

 

At the time of our reading of Robert Burns we chanced to be dipping into a biography of John Wesley, written under the caption "Wesley and His Century," by an Australian Methodist minister named Fitchett. We could not help but wonder whether there was any relationship between the revival of modern Masonry and the great religious revival of the eighteenth century in which Wesley was the predominant figure. We have been assured that Wesley was not a Mason, but we should not fail to note that the marvelous spiritual awakening culminating in the progressive strides of the nineteenth century can never be explained without Wesley and we believe Freemasonry had no small part in the strife with malignant atheism of the century.

 

When we are inclined to a depressing pessimism the antidote that we require is a reading of history that will reveal to us what the great, luminous souls of yesterday had to contend with and how they attempted, achieved,, and triumphed. England in the eighteenth century is a morbid, dark picture. "A new century was dawning," says Dr. Fitchett, "but it seemed as if in the spiritual sky of England the very light of Christianity itself was being turned by some strange and evil force into darkness," and a little farther we read that, "judges swore on the bench; chaplains cursed sailors to make them attentive to sermons; the king swore incessantly and at the top of his voice.

 

Infidelity and blatant deism then ruled the world; religion was a mockery; and right relationships, moral and exemplary, were regarded with contempt. Rejuvenation or disaster inexorably attended such a condition. Across the channel the phrase "disaster" expressed itself in revolution; in England the Wesleyan revival and the fertile brain of John Wesley caused a light to shine throughout the Empire which brought healing and ultimately that light shone to the far corners of the globe. "When one thinks of the heroic figure," says a recent writer, "athletic both in body and soul, and the wonder of his evangel which saved England from revolution, one must not forget the stern culture of soul which made it possible."

 

While John Wesley was a sacramentarian and a high churchman he was a Protestant of the Protestants and if modern Protestantism is to play the part we believe God intended in the rejuvenation of modern life, it must evolve men of the vision, consecration and the daring of Wesley.

 

Freemasonry will never fail to militantly support the spiritual idealism expressed in such men as Wesley, that culminates in the finding of benevolent institutions for the service of mankind.

 

"Now and then, usually at far distant periods, a personality appears in the world of such commanding character that all other formative elements are subject to his supremacy. He is a creative power, and then something totally new appears." Of Martin Luther who stood before the Diet at Worms, and whose 400th anniversary is being celebrated this year, were these words spoken. But the words may be used with equal force relative to John Wesley. So mote it be.

 

(Robert Burns and Freemasonry, by Dudley Wright, price $1.75, postpaid. Copies may be secured through the National Masonic Research Society, Anamosa. Iowa.)

 

----o----

 

PUBLICATIONS WANTED, FOR SALE, AND EXCHANGE

 

We are constantly receiving inquiries from members of the Society and others as to where they might obtain books on Masonry and kindred subjects, other than those listed each month on the inside back cover of THE BUILDER. Most of the publications wanted have been out of print for years. Believing that many such books might be in the hands of other members of the Society willing to dispose of them we are setting apart this column each month for the use of our members. Communications from those having old Masonic publications will also be welcomed.

 

Postoffice addresses are here given that those interested may communicate direct with each other, no responsibility of any nature to be attached to the Society.

 

It is requested that all brethren whose wants may be filled through this medium communicate with the Secretary so that the notices may then be discontinued.

 

WANTED

 

By Bro. George D. Macdougall, Grand Master, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada: "History and Cyclopedia," by Oliver and Macoy; "A Concise Cyclopedia of Freemasonry," by E. L. Hawkins; "Masonic Facts for Masons," by W. H. Russell; "Genius of Freemasonry," by J.D. Buck; "The Traditions, Origin and Early History of Freemasonry," by A. T. C. Pierson; "Illustrations of Freemasonry," by Wm. Preston; "The Spirit of Freemasonry,t' by Wm. Hutchinson.

 

By Bro. Avery P. Lord, 537 Champlain St., Berlin, N. H., a copy of "The Universal Masonic Directory," published in 1912 by the Fraternal Directory Company, of Cleveland, Ohio.

 

By Bro. N. W. J. Haydon, 564 Pape Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada, a copy of Da Costa's "Dionysian Artificers." Brother Haydon has been trying for years to find a copy of this work, but without success, and will gladly enter into an arrangement with some more fortunate brother for the temporary loan of a copy.

 

By Bro. E. A. Russell, 751 Linwood Place, St. Paul, Minn. "Symbolism East and West," Aynsley; "The Gods of Egypt," Budge; "Dionysian Artificers," Da Costa; "Secret Tradition in Masonry," and "Studies in Mysticism," Waite; "The Cathedral Builders," Scott; "Freemasonry and the Great Pyramid," Holland, and "Egypt the Cradle of Freemasonry," De Clifford.

 

By Bro. Silas H. Shepherd, Hartland, Wisconsin, "Catalogue of the Masonic Library of Samuel Lawrence," "Mystic Masonry," by J. D. Buck, "Second Edition of Preston's Illustrations of Masonry."

 

FOR SALE OR EXCHANGE

 

By Bro. Silas H. Shepherd, Hartland, Wisconsin, "Stray Leaves from a Freemason's Note Book," by George Oliver. This volume also contains "Some Account of the Schism showing the presumed origin of the Royal Arch Degree." Univ. Mas. Lib. edition. Price $3.00. "Lights and Shadows of Freemasonry," bv Robert Morris. (Fiction and anecdotes.) Price $3.50.

 

FOR SALE

 

By Nelson L. Finch, Broadalbin, N. Y.:

 

"The History of Freemasonry," by Robert Freke Gould. The London edition, six volumes, 4to cloth, full gilt, 1884. Price $16.50.

 

"Discourse on Masonry," by Thaddeus Mason Harris, D. D., 1801. Price $5.00.

 

"Tales of Masonic Life," by Robert Morris, 1860. Price $3.00.

 

"Digest of Masonic Law," George W. Chase, 1859. Price $1.50.

 

"Practical Masonic Lectures," by Samuel Lawrence, 1874. Price $2.00.

 

RADICALISM IN THIS COUNTRY

 

Those who see the roots of revolutionary radicalism only in the Old World will find cause for second thought in the report of the Lusk Committee of the New York Legislature. The modern radical movement began with Karl Marx and the Communist Manifesto of 1848, since which revolutionary radicalism has been more or less evident in Europe.

 

But the Lusk Report, in four large volumes of more than a thousand pages each, calls upon Americans to look to their own country for some roots of radicalism. It presents an amazing review of revolutionary efforts that have been cradled here. No doubt, these are a by‑product of the growth of machine production and large cities. But to charge the changing industrial order with the whole responsibility for revolutionary radicalism is to go astray.

 

The Lusk Report finds two great causes for the movement. The first is economic and the second is moral. The infection of radicalism has spread from the ranks of labor to churches and universities, because our acquisitive society has left the intellectuals sadly underpaid. Except for teachers and clergymen of the highest rank, salaries have been allowed to drop far below industrial wages. The result has been to spread discontent and bitterness. More reward and honor should be given where they are necessary to maintain balance and good feeling.

 

Besides this economic factor, the lack of religious and moral training has furnished seed‑ground for revolutionary radicalism. When high moral standards fall into abeyance, instincts of acquisition, ruthless consumption and display are quick to take their place. This country has in the past generation enjoyed marvelous material prosperity, but without a corresponding quickening of moral responsibility and good citizenship.

 

American instincts are still sound, but there has been, on the part of many, a loss of perspective and balance. The Lusk Report presents a picture whose moral is evident. Revolutionary radicalism does not spring up without reason or cause. It is the result of certain conditions. These are not irremediable.

 

An economic adjustment and the revival of the moral element in American life will do much to check the spread of radicalism. Because the normal way out has seemed unduly slow, many have resorted to a quick and dangerous philosophy of escape.

- Minneapolis Journal.

 

----o----

 

SIGHT, HEARING, SMELL

 

Seeing, it is a gladdening thing:

White birds against a morning sky,

Blowing poppies, nodding grasses,

Light that grows and fades and passes,

Young‑leaved poplars shining high.

 

And God be thanked that gave us hearing

For children's laughter, sweet and bold,

For winds that whisper old hills round,

For every intimate sweet sound

The quiet golden evenings hold.

 

But oh, 'tis scent that makes immortal

The little lives of mortal men!

Roses with haunting sweetness riven,

Incense, to lift men's hearts to heaven,

Lilacs, to draw them home again.

 

- Margaret Adelaide Wilson.

 

 

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, particlllarly 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.

 

LANDMARKS ONCE MORE

 

While preparing a paper on Landmarks I have gone through all the bound volumes of THE BUILDER, and have read every reference to the subject. It all confuses me. It seems that Landmarks are and they are not. From your own article which was published in the May number for 1918 I gain the same impression. Won't you confess that you were not yourself sure what Landmarks were when you wrote that paper?

 

G.A.W., Rhode Island.

 

"Guilty, Most Excellent King Solomon"! and I might add also, as a sop thrown to my vanity, "As many a friend and brother has done before" me! I have never yet cornered a Landmark. I could no more make up a list of the Landmarks of Freemasonry now than I could when I wrote the article in 1918. There is however one way out, and that as simple as it is practicable:

 

If you approach the subject from a philosophical or historical point of view you must form your own judgment as to what the Landmarks are: that judgment will be valid for you but it cannot be binding on any other. It is not often, however, that you would think of them in that way.

 

Usually the only time a Mason thinks about the Landmarks is when someone proposes a change in the Fraternity, in its ritual, its jurisprudence, its symbols, its policy, or what not. In that event it is the duty of Grand Lodge arbitrarily to decide what the Landmarks are. When your Grand Lodge has so decided them, for you, that determines what are and what are not, Landmarks.

 

For all practical purposes, then, we could define a Landmark as a long‑established principle, or tenet, or policy of the Order having the sanction of universality which Grand Lodge has decreed to be a Landmark.

 

* * *

 

PROFANITY AMONG MASONS

 

The subject of profanity among Masons has been on my mind for some time and it would seem that if this could be brought before the brethren in the proper manner, and would be seen in the right light, that much improvement could be accomplished in that direction.

 

I feel proud to be a Mason, and to be connected with so great and good a Fraternity, but it sometimes makes one blush with shame to be in a gathering and hear an otherwise good and worthy brother (one who would perhaps give his last dollar for the support of widows and orphans, and do all in his power to help a brother in distress), curse, blaspheme, and take the name of God in vain, that God whom we as Masons reverence and serve. Surely it is inconsistent, as well as sinful and shameful.

 

If the absence of profanity among Masons could be made a distinguishing feature, it would not only be a wonderful improvement to our Fraternity, but would have a wonderful impression on the world outside, especially among men who at some time intend to unite with us.

 

This may not be in line with your research work, but I believe that this subject could be agitated through THE BUILDER and would in that way reach a great many Masons who would be ready and willing to cooperate, and perhaps later it could be brought before the Grand Lodges, and then before every lodge in the country.

C.A.L., Nebraska.

 

We have contributed to the cause of a more reverent manhood, Brother Larsen, by printing your excellent letter, which is in itself as eloquent a plea as men will often hear. Like yourself, ye scribe has heard Masons use profanity ad lib, and how they can do it is ever a mystery, for surely he who has passed through the Masonic initiation to any purpose and with any sincerity must know that God is, and that to keep His name pure and clean is an ever present necessity. What can be done about it? Apparently nothing except to leave it to each man, for it is by its nature a private problem, and one difficult to deal with in the large. It may be that other brethren glimpse the matter from another angle, or have a word to add to the good words of Bro. Larsen's letter; if so, let them speak up!

 

* * *

 

THE NEW TESTAMENT APOCRYPHA

 

Can you tell me where I can get a copy of a New Testament Apocrypha? what was this book? is it of any interest to a Mason? H.F.T., Georgia.

 

The standard edition of the New Testament Apocryphal writings has long been Volume XVI of the "Ante‑Nicene Christian Library" published in 1870 by T. & T. Clark of Edinburghthe translation was made by Alexander Walker. You can secure a copy of this book through any book dealer or publisher: you should be able to find a second‑hand copy at a very reasonable figure.

 

The New Testament Apocrypha was not, properly speaking, a book, but rather a collection of books which had a wide circulation in early Christian times but which, for one reason or another, were omitted from the New Testament canon, and which are not believed to have much value from an historical point of view. These writings fall naturally into three groups: the Gospels, such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Nicodemus, etc.; the Acts, such as the Acts of Paul and Thecla, of Barnabas, of Philip, etc.; and the Revelations, such as the Revelation of Moses, of Esdras, of Paul, of John, etc.

 

These writings have no value to the Masonic student save as they throw light on the religious thoughts of the early Christians and Jews, and as they explain some of the theological doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church.

 

The great living authority on things Apocryphal is Canon R.H. Charles; he has published several very excellent works on the matter, besides numerous contributions to the Encyclopeedias. The last work from his pen is a two‑volume commentary on The Book of Revelation.

 

* * *

 

MASONRY AND CHRISTIAN SCIENCE

 

Do you believe that Masonry faces a Christian Science peril ?

A.L.M., Massachusetts.

 

Gracious! are we face to face with another peril? They come thick and fast these days ! Henry Ford would have us believe that we are all to be eaten by the Jews: Senator Phelan is equally alarmed at the Japanese: in England there are those who can't sleep o' nights, for fear of the Masons!

 

Masonry does not face any Christian Science peril. Many Masons good and true are of that sect, of which they can be as proud as any other man his sect, and these have come as others have, because there is that in the Order which draws them. This is only another example of the universality of Freemasonry, and shows that it does in truth lay its foundation beneath all the creeds. If many Masons read the Christian Science Monitor it is because it is so excellent a newspaper and prints, among other things of more than local and sensational interest, many articles about Masons and their doings. If many Christian Scientists come to our doors to seek entrance, it is our gain and theirs, and thrice welcome are they all, as members of any church are welcome. As for a peril, that is of a piece with the giraffe which the backwoodsman saw for the first time: "there a'int any sech animal!"

 

* * *

 

THE ANCIENT BELIEF CONCERNING THE CONSTELLATIONS

 

Can you refer me to a good book that tells about the constellations, and what the ancients believed about them?

 

C.B.Y., New York.

 

"The Star Lore of All Ages," by William Tyler Olcott, is doubtless the very book you need. It is published by G.P. Putnam's of New York, and has a deservedly wide popularity. The sub‑title gives a condensed description of its contents: "A Collection of Myths, Legends, and Facts Concerning the Constellations of the Northern Hemisphere." In the course of 400 pages the author brings together the beliefs concerning each of the constellations held by all the races of men, and with it all furnishes the reader with a mass of accurate information on astronomy in general. Scattered through the volume are some fifty beautiful illustrations, most of‑them photogravures of old masterpieces; many of them photographs of sculpture. The book is a companion to "Sun Lore of All Ages," which is published in a binding uniform with it.

 

* * *

 

ARE OUR ISSUES TOO SMALL?

 

I have long been a booster for THE BUILDER. The only complaint I have ever heard is that it is too small. Now that the war is over can't you give us more bulk?

 

E.W.R., Oregon.

 

Steady there! Don't you recall Mr. Dooley's definition of a magazine? "An island of littrachoor in an ochean of advhertisin!" You must remind your friends that THE BUILDER carries no advertising, and that it is even larger than the great majority of journals in its own field and class, as you can prove for yourself if you will measure its reading contents and make comparison with its contemporaries. Moreover, you can also remind them that when they "subscribe" to THE BUILDER, it is not merely a magazine they receive, but a membership in the National Masonic Research Society, and also an unlimited service, free of charge, in any form of Masonic study, not to mention other things that we gladly do for our brethren, every day of the year, such as buying books for them, helping them with speeches, and what not.

 

* * *

 

THE TALMUD

 

In our study club we have several times discussed things pertaining to the Ancient Jews, their temple, and their capital city. Our leader has several times mentioned the "Talmud": will you please explain to me what this is ?

 

J.T.K., Florida.

 

Roughly speaking, The Talmud is a book composed of those comments on the Old Testament, of traditions and legends having to do therewith, and of the sayings of wise teachers made in its spirit, which came to take rank in Jewish literature next to the Old Testament itself. I advise you to read carefully the articles in the Jewish Encyclopsedia and in Hasting's Encyclopsedia of Religion and Ethics. Also, I recommend a volume called "The Early Christians in Rome," by the Very Rev. H. D. M. Spence‑Jones, and published in 1911, by the John Lane Company. Book V of this volume is entirely devoted to the Talmud and gathers into a few pages of clear prose nearly everything you may care to learn about the matter.

 

In this connection I am tempted to write a little review of this volume, since it is one that deserves a wide reading, not only by those interested in church history, but also by Masons, for here and there through the book are many matters of concern to the Masonic student. It is divided into five books, the first of which relates the story of the "Beginning of Christianity in Rome." Much is given in this part about the private life of Christians then, about their habits of letter writing (of which many remains are still in existence), and about a few of the Emperors who took most notice of them. Book II is an account of those elements in early Christian private life which led to asceticism, and to the subsequent formation of schools of monks and nuns. Book III is an account of "The Inner Life of the Church," which relates how the early Christians worshipped, and how they met martyrdoms. Book IV, a very interesting section, has to do with the Catacombs, how they were discovered, how their story has been deciphered, and what light they throw on the history of those times. The final book, as said above, deals with "The Jew and the Talmud." The author narrates the story of the last three great wars of the Jews: that of A. D. 70 when the Romans, under Titus the son of the Emperor Vespasian, destroyed Jerusalem and slew about two million Jews: that of 116‑7 when the Zealot Party led the Jews in a forlorn hope against the Roman Power, were defeated, and suffered losses of about two hundred thousand; and the final war of 132‑3‑4 when, led by a pseudo‑messiah named Bar‑cochab, the Jews attempted to overthrow the yoke, only to meet a terrible defeat, with the loss of about one million lives. The author then describes Rabbinism and what it did for the nation; the Massorah; the Haggadah, and the Halacah. In so short a space details are necessarily omitted from the discussion of so many large matters, and the volume is not recommended to those who need such treatment, but for those who need a brief and rapid introduction into the field, "The Early Christians in Rome," will prove a very worth while book.

 

* * *

 

WAS MARTIN LUTHER A MASON?

 

What documentary evidence have we that Martin Luther after his heroic stand at the Diet of Worms, was rescued and kept in seclusion by Masons? I have often heard this statement made, and have been assured that it was authentic history. Re cently I made the statement here, and in this strong Luthera community my statement was naturally challenged. Now I wan the facts, if they may be had. Can you help me out?

C.L.F., Iowa.

 

It is hard to give you the facts because the particular episode of which you speak is still shrouded in uncertainty. Luther was excommunicated in 1520. He was called to the Diet of Worms in 1521. He had been given a "safe conduct" before leaving for Worms, else he could never have reached the place, but this expired before he could return and he was compelled to go into hiding. It is supposed, but nothing can be certain about it, that his friend and patron, Frederick the Wise, Elector of Saxony, sent soldiers to secrete him in an old castle. And it is supposed that it was during this seclusion that Luther began his famous translation of the Bible into the German vernacular. You will find these matters carefully traversed in any good life of Luther, among which the lives by President McGiffert and by Prof. H.P. Smith may be especially recommended.

 

* * *

 

WERE ANY OF THE POPES MEMBERS OF THE MASONIC FRATERNITY ?

 

Can you tell me if any of the Popes of the bygone age have been members of the Craft? Are any of the dignitaries of the Roman Church today members ?

M.L., Alberta.

 

So far as is known no Pope has ever been a member of the Fraternity. This could have happened a thousand years ago when Masons were builders of church buildings, favored by the Papal See, and all loyal churchmen, but, so far as we can discover, it has never occurred. No church dignitary of today is or could be a member, because it is now a law of the church, and has been for a century and more, that membership in the fraternity is punishable by excommunication, and in many cases, as the papal bulls express it, "the heavier penalties" of the church. A certain Spanish bishop in charge of Santiago, Cuba, was, a long while ago, a Mason, but he was taken in charge by the Inquisition, and paid the price therefor.

 

 

* * *

 

"MASONRY" OR "FREEMASONRY"

 

Which is proper to use, "Masonry" or "Freemasonry"?

M.L.P., Georgia.

 

Usage dictates that "Freemasonry" is the more correct, though the other term is not banned, even by the carefullest writers. In nearly all encyclopaedias and histories it is "Freemasonry"; that is more accurate and therefore preferable.

 

* * *

 

JESUIT HISTORIES

 

Can you recommend to me a good and not too long history

of the Society of Jesus, otherwise known as the Jesuits?

C.S.M. Oregon

 

Of such histories there are many, some of them in many volumes and full of erudition; it is probable that, your own wants can best be satisfied by a one volume work written in 1908 by G.B. Nicolini, an Italian writer who has also published other works on various phases of Romanism. The fact that this work is published by George Bell & Sons, of London, and issued as one of the numbers of the famous Bohn's Library is its highest recommendation.

 

* * *

 

WOMEN FREEMASONS.

 

Is it true that the Theosophists have organized a branch of Masonry for women? H. F. D., California.

 

The Theosophical Society exists in two opposed sects, one headed by Annie Besant, now in India, and the other led by Madame Katherine Tingley, of Point Loma, California. Under the Besant faction there exists an order described as "CoMasonry" which is supposed to be Masonry for women. It is not Masonry for women because there can be no such thing.

 

* * *

 

AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM

 

In the Jesuit weekly "America" for April 9th is the following interesting book review:

 

"Albert Pike - Fred W. Allsopp has written an interesting 'Life Story of Albert Pike,' (Parke‑Harper News Service, Little Rock, Ark.), the well‑known American Freemason. Born in Boston in 1809, he went West at twenty‑one, following the Santa Fe Trail. He fought in the Mexican and Civil Wars, became 'Sovereign Grand Commander' of Scottish Rite Masonry, and died in Washington in 1891. In reply to Pope Leo's Encyclical, denouncing Masonry, Albert Pike protested that Freemasonry makes no war upon the Roman Catholic religion, and said that it is not true that 'English‑speaking Freemasonry will not receive Catholics into its bosom,' but 'It will not receive Jesuits because no oath it can administer would bind the conscience of a Jesuit.' Yet how remarkably widespread is the impression that the Church and Masonry are hardly bosom friends, and that no Catholic, let alone a Jesuit, can be a Mason without giving up the practice of his religion, an impression which is strengthened, strange to say, by the perusal of the 'New Age,' the Masonic periodical. AD MAJOREM DEI GLORIAM is the Jesuit device on a Masonic temple in Mr. Allsopp's book."

 

What is the date and history of origin of the Latin phrase given above? A.H.V., Pennsylvania.

 

Ignatius Loyola, the founder of the Order of Jesuits, was born in Spain in 1491, which was the year before the discovery of America. He took up arms as a profession, and was wounded in a battle against the French in 1521. While convalescing he experienced a profound religious conversion during which, amid many visions, he saw before his inner eye a great army of Jesus Christ advancing against the enemies of the church, and he pictured himself at its head, as its general. His life was an attempt to fulfill this vision. Like other "armies" his was to have a flag, and the device he chose for that flag, the device which has ever since been the motto of the Order, was "Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam." "To the Great Glory of God."

 

 

CORRESPONDENCE

 

MAKING MASONS AT SIGHT

 

I notice in "The Masonic Herald" of Rome, Ga., an article entitled "Bishop Made Mason at Sight" which relates how that the Rt. Rev. William A. Guerry, of Charleston, was made a Mason "at sight" at Columbia on Tuesday, January 18, by Grand Master Lanham of Spartanburg.

 

We are sorry that Bro Guerry, by this haphazard method, has been deprived of the necessity, required by Masonry, of having "made suitable proficiency in the preceding degree," before advancing to the next, and sincerely hope that his interest in Masonry may be strong enough to cause him to make diligent study of which a number of years are usually necessary, and thus learn at least a part of that which, by this method, has been denied to him.

 

THE BUILDER discussed this subject at some length, I think in 1916, and the writer of this article wrote under the caption of "Prerogatives" an article in strong condemnation of this apparent un‑Masonic practice, receiving letters of commendation on account of the article, from representative Masons in various parts of the country, and I shall not in this brief article, attempt to reiterate, nor in any manner review the articles written upon the subject at that time, but I cannot help saying in conclusion, that as the article says it was the first time in the history of

the Fraternity in South Carolina that such a thing had been done, let us fervently hope that it may also be the last.

 

Lewis A. McConnell, Colorado

 

* * *

 

MASONIC BARNACLES

 

I have observed that many, if not a great majority, of the members of our local lodge neither wish nor expect anything to be brought up at our meetings except the ritualistic work.

 

Some time ago we elected a young, ambitious brother as Master and as soon as he was installed he announced that he hoped to have the meetings made more interesting and that they would attract more members by having talks on various Masonic subjects. Immediately one of the older brethren got up and said that we did not need anything of the kind - that if we learned the ritual that was all that was necessary. It is needless to say that this Master's term of office was not characterized by any great advance in the work.

 

It may not be polite, but it seems to me that some of these self‑satisfied members should be overruled and a broader view of Masonry spread abroad among the members. Our magazine, THE BUILDER, (I say "our" because I expect ever to be a Masonic student), should be placed in the hands of every newlymade brother and every lodge should be required to subscribe for him for one year. If the brother wants "more light" this will show him where and how to get it and will do more than anything else to make him active in his lodge.

 

F.H.O., Iowa.

 

* * *

 

SPIRITUALITY IN MASONRY

 

In the April issue of THE BUILDER Brother Ellison, in his article "Whence Came Masonry," "proves" that Masonry is a relic of medieval guilds and trades unions, which are synonymous with our present‑day labor unions.

 

He establishes his theory by "authentic" history, which reminds us of Brother Dupuy, who vouched for a number of brethren, but no one could be found "who vouches for Dupuy."

 

 

Certainly there is no unbroken chain of written history to show that Masonry existed in remote ages of the world, but corroborative, circumstantial and self‑evident facts backing up the historical and prehistorical periods, show conclusively an ancient origin.

 

O]iver's History of Masonry, 1841, quotes from Preston's "Illustrations," Book 4, Section 2: "About the year of our Lord 690, the Picts and Scots continued their depredations with unrestrained vigor, till the arrival of some pious teachers from Wales and Scotland, when many of these savages, being reconciled to Christianity, Masonry got into repute."

 

A manuscript in the Bodlein Library, which is a copy of one written in 1440 A. D., attests that "Maconnes techedde mankynde relygyonne."

 

Evidently there is some spirituality about Masonry, that the great pedestal of Masonry is religion, and without belief in a supreme being there can be no Masonry - Guild Masonry to the contrary.

 

Masonry ministers to the needs of man. As man is a dual being, physical and spiritual, it could not do that, were it not spiritual.

 

We are first made Masons at heart - if not, we are "physical" Masons similar to the medieval Guilds, Operative and Trade Union Masons, as Brother Ellison says we are, plus more or less morality.

 

Everything physical dies - the divine only is deathless.

 

When Masonry ceases to be divine it dies.

 

When the spiritual, or heart part of Masonry, is eliminated Masonry will have already been dead.

 

A. K. Bradley Texas.

 

* * *

 

AMERICANIZATION

 

One of the most gigantic problems before our people is the stupendous question of how to make permanent and patriotic citizens of the aliens upon our shores and those who are to come.

 

There are three great factors, the perfection of which will accomplish the desired results:

 

1. The American Public Schools.

 

2. The Boy and Girl Scout Movement.

 

3. Universal Military Training.

 

First and foremost is the American Public School System.

 

It may be of interest to know that the Ancient Greeks were the first people to establish a system of education based upon scientific principles to prepare its youth for citizenship, rather than upon religious beliefs and ecclesiastical ceremonies. Plato's "Gymnastics for the body, music for the soul," was supplemented by the rhetorical and philosophical teachings of Socrates and Aristotle.

 

With the fall of the Roman Empire, however, this excellent system of education was declared pernicious by the priests; the church assumed control of education in Europe; resented any encroachment of the state on its domain and education again beeame a matter of religious beliefs and mediaeval ecclesiastical rites.

 

After the Reformation, the multiplication of sects brought about so much warfare regarding religious instruction that in most of the advanced nations, education is now mainly secular and controlled by the State.

 

The American Public School System obtained its greatest impetus during the forty years following the Revolutionary War and has constantly developed until now its splendid educational advantages are second only to those of France.

 

Most of our states have compulsory school laws but these are not well enforced, because in 1918 Montana children wasted 25.8 per cent. of the time they should have spent in school by non‑attendance.

 

This means that Montana children wasted 39.2 days out of the 152 school days that Montana provides for them. The expense to the state was as great as though they had attended the full 152 days.

 

There were upon the outbreak of the war, whole communities in our country and in our state where language, schools, churches, newspapers and all literature was in a foreign tongue. In the case of Lutheran colonies, of Mennonite colonies, of German colonies, their sympathies were naturally with the home land, for we had given them little to make them American at heart.

 

In some localities it is claimed that radical principles were openly advocated to children at their most impressionable age and the school house was sometimes the center of a hotbed of alien propaganda.

 

Understand these were not foreign schools, these were American schools, attended by American school children!

 

When America entered the war, thousands of American boys were inducted into the service who could not understand a word of our language!

 

Imagine the amazement of your Grand Master in inspecting whole companies of American soldiers who could not comprehend an American command!

 

These boys were born in America, educated in American schools and had grown to manhood in America with a knowledge only of the language spoken by their foreign born parents!

 

Oh the pity of it!

 

This is not the fault of the alien immigrant nor of his American born son.

 

It is the result of criminal negligence of the United States Government and we are that United States Government.

 

We have called them wops, bohunks, kikes, svenskas, pollocks, dagos and square, heads, but we have considered their patriotism as we considered their labor: of interest to us only as it could be used.

 

We have been long on nicknames, but short on sympathy.

 

Radiant with ridicule but stingy with sentiment.

 

Sarcasm begets not love but rancor.

 

The glowing light of Liberty's torch that welcomed them to our harbor only served to deepen the shadow of our National indifference.

 

Repelled by this neglect, chilled by indifference, ridicule and frequently open contempt, is it any wonder they formed colonies, started schools, established churches for worship and kept green the hallowed memories of the home land from which still were stretched yearning arms of loved ones left behind?

 

Is it any wonder that our pre‑war apathy for our own flag lighted no patriotic fire in alien breasts?

 

Having renounced his own flag and finding only ridicule and contempt under ours, is it surprising that his hungry heart sometimes sought sympathy under the Red?

 

It is now proposed to establish night and special courses at which the adult immigrant may learn to speak and if he cares to do so, to write the American language. The children of foreign born parents of course, come under the same laws as home born children and all these from the ages of six to fourteen, without regard to birth, nationality, political, religious, or financial conditions, should attend the American Public Schools, which schools should be under the joint supervision of federal and state control.

 

Then will all interests be national; then will our patriotism be spontaneous; then will the "little red school house" cease to be a healthy habitat for the little Red school teacher.

 

Many feel that the learning of the language by the adult should be made compulsory, but Masonry rebels at forced Americanism.

 

Unstable the government borne upon the back of compelled patriotism.

 

We believe the implied ignorance of a lack of its knowledge will force the unwilling to its acquisition.

 

While many sects oppose this plan, it is interesting to note that the organization most vicious in its denunciation is the one which stands accused of the greatest unfaithfulness during the war, namely: the German Lutheran.

 

Well may we question and even suspect the motives of any organization that fosters class distinction in a democracy.

 

Masonry, pledged to patriotism, must insist upon the learning and use of the American language by alien immigrants and upon the compulsory attendance at our public schools by all children during the years of school age. Not a factional school, not a private school, not a parochial or denominational school of any kind, but the American Public School, the greatest of present day factors for making Americans.

 

Robert J. Hathaway, Grand Master, Montana.

 

 

         

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