The Builder Magazine
May 1928 - Volume XIV - Number 5
The Ark of the Covenant
BURTON E. BENNETT, Washington
THE Ark of the Covenant with Israel of the Old Testament plays a leading part
in the Chapter and Council degrees. It is also known as the Ark of the
Testimony and the Ark of the Revelation. It is called in the Chapter and
Council systems of our American Rite the "Substitute Ark."
The Chapter consists of four degrees, Mark Master, Past Master, Most Excellent
Master and Royal Arch. The Council has two degrees, Royal Master and Select
Master. The story of the making of these degrees is a long one and only a
short sketch can be given here. The Royal Arch was manufactured first. It
originated in France, passed over to England where it was amplified and then
came here. It ruined the soul of Ancient Masonry and made it commonplace by
finding that for which it should have forever striven. The other degrees were
mostly made in America, probably by Webb. All were put into form here. The
Council degrees were claimed by the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite
until 1870, when it released all control over them. All of these nine degrees
tell further about Solomon and his Temple. The Ark, or Substitute Ark, as it
is called in these degrees, occupies such a prominent position that it is well
for Masons to know, to some extent, the true history of the Ark of the Bible.
The Ark was a chest made of acacia wood. It was about three feet nine inches
long, two feet three inches wide and two feet nine inches deep. It was covered
without and within with gold. Two golden rings were placed on each side of the
Ark through which were passed poles of acacia wood by which the Ark was borne.
It was carried by two men, one in front and one behind. The top of the Ark was
covered with a gold slab on which were two cherubim.
The Ark was carried by the Levites. This class performed all religious
functions. The true priests were descended from Aaron. The other Levites did
the menial tasks. The Levites as a whole were descended from Jacob by his
wife, Leah, through their son Levi. Later when the Jewish religion had become
firmly established, and the Temple built at Jerusalem, all altar services were
performed by the Aaronite priesthood. The other Levites, who were really
servants, were not allowed to approach the altar. An ordinary person doing so
was subject to the death penalty.
When the Israelites had a first real sacred and religious Ark the abode of
their great God Yahweh cannot, of course, be determined. It was, probably,
after they had settled in South Palestine. Yahweh was their great God, their
war God. His abode was in the venerated Ark. With it came victory; without it
came defeat. Tradition connects the Ark with Moses and the Exodus. It was by
no means the only holy thing upon which the Israelites relied in their
journeyings and final subjugation of the promised land. Probably it was at
first the protector of the two tribes of Joseph, Ephraim and Manasseh. It
appears in the beginning not to have been the protector of all Israel, but
only of the tribes that first came to Judah. The Ark was not always with them.
Sometimes it was taken from them. Long periods of time pass without any
mention of it. Sometimes it was not even considered ancient. But it was the
abode of their great God Yahweh, continued with them during the conquest of
Palestine (perhaps sometimes in memory only), and finally became lodged in the
Temple that Solomon built at Jerusalem.
THE SETTLEMENT IN EGYPT
The Bible tells a story about Jacob and his family in Palestine. According to
it, one of his sons, named Joseph, was sold by the other sons to Arab traders,
who took him to Egypt and sold him there. He attracted the attention of some
government official, became a government official himself, and finally rose
high in the service. He even became the king's chief adviser. Due to a famine
in Palestine, Jacob sent his sons to buy wheat in Egypt. Joseph recognized his
brothers, made himself known to them, and advised them to come, with the whole
family, to Egypt. The migration was made with Jacob at the head. Joseph
obtained a grant of land for his kin in Goshen, and here they settled. Jacob's
other name was Israel, and from him the twelve tribes of Israel were
descended. They grew from a family to a people and lived in Egypt some four
hundred years. Another version says two hundred and fifteen years. The
accepted story is that they were persecuted by the Egyptians and escaped under
the leadership of Moses and Aaron. It is certain that on account of dynastic
changes in Egypt the government turned against them, but whether they escaped,
or were driven out of Egypt, is uncertain. Egyptian chronicles of about this
time tell of some slaves escaping over the border. But there is no knowing
whether this referred to the Israelites. The Israelites returned to Palestine,
reconquered the land of their fathers, established a kingdom first with Saul
and then with David at its head. All this was done during a period of some
three hundred to four hundred years. This kingdom is said to have arisen to
great magnificence under Solomon, the son of King David.
The journey from Palestine to Egypt is an easy one, and it is just as easy to
return. The Israelites were a small family when the famine began; Egypt was a
mighty kingdom. For centuries, even before Abraham is said to have wandered
into Palestine with his people and his flocks from Babylonia, it had dominated
Palestine. Its princes were subject to the mighty power of Egypt.
EGYPTIAN RECORDS SILENT REGARDING HEBREWS
Egyptian monuments do not mention the Israelites, and Egyptian civilization
appears to have made no impression on them. It is reasonable to suppose,
however, that one member of a family in Palestine was sold as a slave in
Egypt, rose to high power there, and his people came there and he provided
well for them; that in time they greatly increased and remembered dimly the
circumstances of their coming; that on account of governmental changes in
Egypt they were so harassed that they were glad to get out; that they returned
to the country where their ancestors had lived hundreds of years before, and
on account of better knowledge acquired from Egypt finally conquered the
people that remained and founded a united kingdom.
The two great characters in this Israelitish-Egyptian story as related in the
Bible are, of course, Joseph and Moses. Joseph was a practical man, a
financier comparable to our great captains of industry, combined with a genius
for government. Moses was a practical man, too, a born leader of men, a
prophet. Joseph lived in the 17th century B.C., Moses in the 13th century B.C.
Joseph was a younger son beloved both by his father and mother. They made for
him a coat of many colors. His brothers envied him. They determined to get rid
of him. They sold him, as we have mentioned before, to slave traders going
into Egypt. The traders saw that he was not a common youth, held him for a
high price, and sold him to one of the great men of the Egyptians. He was no
ordinary slave. He must have had an engaging personality, combined with high
intelligence. This is shown by the episode of Potiphar's wife. This story
becomes more complicated when we consider that Potiphar was, probably, a
eunuch. Egypt at this time was one of the largest empires in the world and
possessed a civilization that ranks with the great ones of any time. Born in a
poor country, among poor people, stolen from home while young, thrown as a
slave into the midst of a rich and cultured people of a mighty empire and
finally to rise to be the premier of its autocratic king, Joseph became one of
the immortals of ancient history.
Moses was different from Joseph, not so human, not so lovable; more of a
prophet, a mediator for the finite with the infinite. But he is so bound up
with myths and legends that we know very little about his true life and
character. He is changed into a hero almost as mythical as Hercules. The story
of his birth and rise is only a tale told of many ancient heroes. The name
"Moses" means "boy," or "infant." This shows that he was not considered of
enough importance to have a real name, or was a foundling. But he possessed a
mighty soul, a great intellect. He became the leader and lawgiver of his
people, and is easily the outstanding figure before the Christian era.
THE ARE AS THE ABODE OF YAHWEH
The Ark was the protector of the Josephine tribes. It does not seem at first
to have belonged to all Israel. Possibly different portions of Israel had
their own Ark. It is only after the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar
that we get detailed descriptions of it. By this time it had become lost and
was never recorded. The post-exilic story is that it came with the Josephites
out of Egypt and remained with them until deposited in the Temple at
Jerusalem. It became merged in the Temple. The God of Israel that had
heretofore dwelt in the Ark dwelt thereafter in the Temple, and thenceforth
little attention was paid to the Ark. Whether it was destroyed by the
Egyptians, when they invaded Palestine and took Jerusalem, or during some of
the civil wars, or by the Babylonians when the sacked Jerusalem, is not known.
During the Babylonish Captivity the Israelites became a different people, more
refined, more civilized, more spiritual. Their religion was placed on a vastly
higher plane. How much of this is to be attributed to Babylonian culture and
knowledge is uncertain. So spiritual did the Hebrew religion become in later
times that it was sung that the venerated Ark had been raised into heaven to
remain until it was brought back to Earth by the Messiah.
That the Ark was the abode of Yahweh; that when moved He came out of it to
direct the Israelites; that in war He fought their enemies and defeated them,
and when they rested He returned to it, is certain. By this it can be seen
that He was a spiritual being. But in the Ark there must have been some symbol
of Yahweh, their mighty God. The question is, what was it ? There have been
advanced many different views as to what the Ark really contained. Scholars
have widely differed. Some claim that it was only an empty box, blessed by the
priests and carried by the priestly class who proclaimed to the people that in
it was their great God, Yahweh. Others maintain that serpent worship was still
a part of their religion and that the Ark contained sacred serpents. It has
been argued that as the original abode of Yahweh was on Mount Sinai the Ark
contained some meteoric stones obtained there. The accepted view, however, is
that it contained the tables upon which were engraved the laws of Moses, known
as the Decalogue. Therefore it is meet for us to know what the Decalogue
really is. The story is that it was first written by God upon two stone tables
which were broken and that then Moses had it carved upon two new stones and
put into the Ark. The Decalogue is, of course, the Ten Commandments. It is
stated that God gave the Commandments to the Israelites at Mount Sinai so that
all the people heard them. There are two statements about this in the Bible
that contradict each other. Critical Bible scholars agree that the Ten
Commandments, in their present form, date from some five hundred years after
the time of Moses. Image worship continued in Israel long after Moses' time,
and one of his descendants was an idolatrous priest. David, even, had images
in his house, and in some parts of Israel image worship was established by
law. Moses himself made a serpent of brass which was worshipped from the time
of the Exodus until David established his capital at Jerusalem and continued
to be worshipped there until at least 700 B. C. If Moses did prohibit image
worship the prohibition was not very effective. In a short article like this
we can only make the statement that the Commandments do not seem to fit in
with the time and surroundings of Moses. They reach to many different times,
and many different peoples, and many different sources, before and after
The most reasonable and satisfying explanation as to what the Ark contained is
that in it were the bones of Joseph. In Egypt Joseph said that he wanted to be
buried in his boyhood home, where his father and other relatives were buried.
When the Israelites, or Jacobites, left Egypt under the direction of Moses and
Aaron it is almost inconceivable that the bones of Joseph should be left
behind. With the passing of the centuries the fame of Joseph had grown. He had
become a god to Israel. Why should not the Ark be built, and in it placed his
bones ? The gods of the Egyptians must have been detested by the persecutions
that the Israelites had received for years before the Exodus. Before coming to
Egypt they had many gods. Even each family had its god. Whatever religious
ideas Abraham had brought with him from Babylonia had been forgotten, or at
least so distorted as to be unrecognizable. The long centuries in Egypt had
wrought great changes. Perhaps they still continued to have their personal and
household gods as their kindred still had in Palestine, but it seems certain
that they had one great and mysterious God that outranked all and whom all
worshipped. It is highly probable that they had spiritualized Joseph into
their great God, Yahweh, whose symbol was his bones. This may not fully have
become true until after their return to Palestine, and perhaps it took a long
period of time to reach the sublimity of a god. It must be admitted that if
the bones of Joseph were in the Ark they would be highly venerated; in war
that they would be carefully protected, and in such protection defeat would
often be turned into victory, and finally that the Ark and his bones would be
revered. It is but a step from reverence and veneration to worship. The
children of Israel possessed but one Joseph when worship came, how could they
have but one God ? Ancestor worship is the easiest kind of worship.
The myths and mysteries and legends of the past are slowly being dissipated by
the searchlight of science and reason. Mankind must not lose Abraham, Joseph,
Moses, David or Solomon, or the other great figures of the Bible, but it has a
right to know as much truth about them as advancing scholarship and intellect
The article by Bro. Parker in THE BUILDER for 1926, page 45, may usefully be
read in conjunction with this. Also the very valuable monograph by Prof.
Arnold, The Ephod and Ark, upon which Bro. Parker based the interesting
hypothesis that the Ark of the Covenant was a class of sacred objects and not
unique as the Old Testament narrative in its present form would make it
The Degrees of Masonry; Their Origin and History
BROS. A. L. KRESS AND R. J. MEEKREN (All rights reserved)
EVERY Mason has learned a traditional account of the various grades of Craft
Masonry, and this term may be stretched to include more than the three degrees
of the "Blue" or "Symbolic" Lodge, in especial the degrees of the Chapter and
the Council. Aside from the fact that to an educated and intelligent man these
legends bear on their face the stamp of the purely mythical, every Masonic
student has inevitably become aware in the course of his reading that there
have been definite theories advanced as to their origin, the more drastic of
which practically denudes them, and by implication the Masonic ritual also, of
any real antiquity at all.
is perhaps rather curious that, though there have been a good many articles in
THE BUILDER upon the general subject of the degrees, and some dealing with the
origins of the Third, or Master Mason's Degree, yet there has been practically
nothing about their origin as a system, although a good deal in regard to this
has by many contributors been taken for granted. It had to be taken for
granted, because to enter upon the subject as a whole would have led them too
far afield. Yet the difficulty remained for most of their readers to obtain an
adequate idea of the status of the problem. A very real difficulty, for the
information is scattered through a large number of books and periodicals, many
of them very scarce and hardly to be obtained in the ordinary way, except by
chance. It is partly on account of this inaccessibility of the sources of
information that it has happened that not a few painstaking and scholarly
writers have been themselves led astray through lack of complete information.
There are two works that are, however, readily available which contain
dissertations upon our subject: Mackey's History of Freemasonry and Gould's
Concise History. The student should certainly read both. Gould's Collected
Essays, which also is still in print, has quite a good deal on various
disputed points, though it must be said that it is not very easy to follow by
one who has no previous acquaintance with the subject. Also Bro. H. L. Haywood
gave a brief account of the general situation in the fourth volume of THE
BUILDER, but without going into any detail.
But the two writers first mentioned were more concerned with setting forth
their own opinions than in giving an account of the development of the
different theories and the arguments advanced to support them. And it is this
that we propose to do. We regard this series of articles as being part of the
Prolegomena to the history of the Masonic Ritual upon which the present
authors have been collaborating for a number of years. This latter subject is
so extraordinarily complex that it can only be dealt with piecemeal. No Mason
will need to be told how intimately the question of degrees is bound up with
the ritual. If some definite standing ground can be found as to the origin and
antiquity of our present degrees a number of important points will have been
fixed in regard to the ritual. Our present purpose, therefore, is to present,
as fully as is practicable, the history of this more limited question, with
the arguments and evidence and full references, with the hope that it may save
others from much wearisome and often fruitless search.
THE SCOPE OF THE DISCUSSION
must be confessed that we have been unable to make an absolutely exhaustive
examination of everything that has been said upon the subject. This perhaps is
of the less consequence seeing so much that has been advanced is really of no
value whatever. In any case it would have been practically impossible. We
believe, however, that we have collected everything of real importance.
The chronological order will be followed roughly, though merely for the sake
of convenience, as it is not so much a history of the problem that we wish to
present as a clear idea of the facts available as evidence, and the deductions
drawn from them and the hypotheses devised to interpret them. It will be seen
that there has been a definite development of opinion; that what at first seem
quite irreconcilable interpretations are really connected, and that there has
been a convergence of opinion towards agreement. That complete agreement will
ever be reached is not likely in so difficult an investigation. For this
reason we propose to give the actual evidence as fully as possible so that our
readers will, as we hope, not only be informed of what opinions have been
advanced and by whom, but also will be in a position to judge and criticize
The earlier Masonic writers accepted all the traditions and legends at their
face value. This was true even when they were men of some pretensions to
scholarship and learning. When the Book of Constitutions was first published
it is true that Dr. Anderson's account of the History of Masonry was scoffed
at by profane critics, yet we must not judge him or them by our own standards.
These same critics were accepting other fables as serious history. Though
there was much scepticism in intellectual circles yet it was rather a general
attitude of doubt than a careful and painstaking criticism. It may be said
that scientific history did not come into existence until the nineteenth
century, though of course like everything else it had its forerunners and
predecessors in previous centuries. Also it may be said, too, that the methods
of scientific history were not brought to bear upon the records of Freemasonry
until within the memory of men still living. It was inevitable, then, that
such writers as Anderson, Martin Clare, Dermott, Preston and Dr. Oliver should
accept tradition for fact, without any real attempt to sift the truth from
pure fable. This naive belief in Masonic legends is by no means a thing wholly
of the past, but it is probable that the great majority of Masons who read
anything at all about the Institution to which they belong, are aware of the
difficulties, inconsistencies and absurdities which a literal acceptance of
Even such a credulous and enthusiastic writer as Dr. Oliver, whom we have just
mentioned, who published his first book more than a hundred years ago (in 1823
to be precise), was gradually forced into a more critical attitude during his
long life of literary activity, as his later works here and there quite
plainly show. He is especially mentioned here as he appears to have been the
first, so far as we have been able to discover, to advance a theory that has
had many later supporters, and which still influences the opinions of many
today. This theory is that the degree (or Order) of the Royal Arch was
fabricated by the so-called "Antients" or by Laurence Dermott, their real
leader and moving spirit, by the simple process of cutting the original third
degree in two. It has been called the "mutilation" hypothesis; and some such
idea as this was possibly in the minds of those who framed the peculiarly
worded statement sanctioned by the United Grand Lodge of England at the
Reconciliation of Antients and Moderns in 1813,
.... that pure Antient Masonry consists of three degrees and no more; viz.,
those of the Entered Apprentice, the Fellow Craft and the Master Mason
(including the Supreme Order of the Holy Royal Arch (1)).
This definition of the original, simon-pure, brand of Masonry was, however,
much more probably a compromise between the two systems of the Ancients and
Moderns, rather than intended as a historical verdict. Dr. Oliver's accounts
of what happened are as little to be accepted without examination and
confirmation as Dr. Anderson's before him. His theory is beautifully simple.
The "Antients" to him were purely schismatic, what in America would now be
called clandestine. As propaganda they, or Dermott for them, devised a more
complex series of degrees, ending with the Royal Arch. In reality they gave
nothing more to their initiates than the original and regular Grand Lodge
(i.e. that of the "Moderns”), but made them go through more grades to obtain
it (2). For this reason, it was supposed (i.e. that the Royal Arch was truly
part of the Third Degree) it had to be retained at the Union, yet because it
had now become a separate entity it was distinguished from it; really a most
illogical position to take, and one that could only be possible, we may
perhaps say, to the English, with their concern for what will work in practice
and their total disregard for, and sublime indifference to theoretical
consistency. The weakness of this whole hypothesis is manifest upon
examination; it leaves quite unaccounted for the fact that the "Moderns" had
long worked the Royal Arch themselves; that Dermott, so far from inventing it,
regularly received it in Ireland before he ever came to London; that it was in
existence quite a number of years before the "Antients" organized their Grand
Lodge (3); and finally, that the Grand Lodge of Scotland never recognized it
at all, though giving no more in the Third Degree than was communicated in
word may be said here on the terms Antient and Modern. Although there is now
really very little excuse for misapprehending them yet there still seem to be
brethren who, deriving their knowledge from the works of earlier writers, are
inclined to suppose the former, or their leaders, to have been clandestine
impostors, and the latter legitimate and regular. So far as the latter
adjective goes, the Moderns were the ReguIars, for they first used this term
as a description of their lodges, and added it to the older general epithets,
"just and perfect," or "right" or "true." Regular in the first place meant
connected with and subordinate to the Grand Lodge of 1717. Whether
intentionally or not it was a very diplomatic move, as the inference naturally
seemed to follow that all other Masons and Mason's lodges were irregular,
whereas they were simply independent, remaining in all respects as "just and
perfect" and legitimate as the "regulars" themselves. The distinction really,
as first used, was exactly analogous to that in the Roman Catholic Church
between "regular" and "parochial" clergy. The latter are not in any sense
irregular, the former are called regular simply because they are under a Rule
(regulus), or in other words belong to some Monastic Order and are subject to
its special discipline. So the "regular" Masons were those under the newly
formed Grand Lodge, who submitted to its jurisdiction. They were presumably
free to give up their own independence if they so chose, but they had no right
to legislate for those who did not care to join them (4).
The older writers, having little but Anderson's account to go upon, assumed
that Masonry was practically extinct in 1717, and that those who formed the
Grand Lodge were the last remnant who by this action saved and revived the
Institution, and that all Masons since that time are descended from them. Even
today, scholars who certainly know better are sometimes led, in the
carelessness of enthusiasm, in making a speech or proposing a toast, and even
in writing, to assert that the United Grand Lodge of England is the Mother
Grand Lodge of the World. As rhetoric this may pass, for in a limited sense
(if we can properly regard it as the same organization as that of 1717 one
might say it was rather a daughter with two mothers!) it does seem true that
it was the parent of the Grand Lodge organization of Freemasonry. In the sense
that all Masons in the world have derived their Masonry from it, it is not
only not true, but a very misleading assertion. Even Hughan fell into this
erroneous way of speaking while intent on endeavoring to prove that the
differences between Antient and Modern were really negligible (5). In truth
the four lodges that formed themselves into a Grand Lodge at the Goose and
Gridiron Tavern were but a small minority, a very small minority indeed, of
those then existing. There were others, equally "just and perfect," "right"
and "true,” all over England, Scotland and probably Ireland, and, as is all
but certain, even in London itself. The Grand Lodges of the two latter
countries owed nothing (at that time) to England or to London, except the idea
and the example; and it is far from certain that even the idea was a wholly
new one. In fact it seems to have been an attempt to revive the General
Assembly spoken of in the old MS. Constitutions, whatever that may have been,
and it is possible that other attempts had been made before, and failed,
leaving no record. The "New Articles" that appear in one group of these
documents may, like the "New Regulations" of Grand Master Payne, have been the
work of some earlier attempted reorganization, and such a supposition would
give some basis for Anderson's describing the action taken in 1717 as
"reviving the quarterly communications." But this by the way. Originally the
Assembly seems to have been a general court, in the old sense of the word, or
as we would say today, a general meeting, composed of every Mason in a given
district. Such actually was the London Grand Lodge in the first years of its
existence. The same idea probably underlay the later action of the old lodge
at York, when on certain special occasions it called itself a General or Grand
Lodge. Presumably every Mason within reach of York was in theory supposed to
attend and take part in its proceedings. What the lodge at York tried to do
was done elsewhere, as notably in Scotland by Mother Kilwinning and in Germany
by Royal York of Friendship.
Now according to Anderson's account in his revised edition of the
Constitutions, George Payne, Esq., upon his election and installation as Grand
Master in 1718
desired any brethren to bring to the Grand Lodge any old writings and records
concerning Masons and Masonry, in order to shew the usages of Antient times;
and this year several old copies of the Gothic Constitutions were produced and
Two years later he was again elected and Anderson notes that
This year at some private Lodges, several very valuable manuscripts (for they
had nothing yet in print) concerning the Fraternity, their Lodges,
Regulations, Charges, Secrets and Usages (particularly one writ by Mr.
Nicholas Stone, the Warden of Inigo Jones), were too hastily burnt by some
scrupulous Brothers, that those papers might not fall into strange hands.
must put these two statements with that in the prefatory note to the General
Regulations, that they were
Compiled, first by Brother George Payne, Esq. when Grand Master A. D. 1720,
and approved by the General Assembly at Stationer's Hall on 20th June, 1721.
Next by order of the Duke of Montagu when Grand Master, the Author, James
Anderson, compared them with the Antient records of the Fraternity and
digested them into this method with proper additions and explications from the
said records; and the Grand Lodge having revised and approved them, ordered 'em
to be printed in the Book of Constitutions, on 25th March, 1722.
From this it would appear that the chief concern of the new organization was
legislation and regulation, and not ritual. In the second of the three
excerpts the words "Secrets and Usages" seem to go beyond this, however, and
also another statement, that the meeting of Grand Lodge (Dec. 27, 1721) at
which the committee was appointed to examine Anderson's manuscript for the
Book of Constitutions
was made very entertaining by the Lectures of some old Masons.
would certainly appear from this that there was some interest in the ritual,
indefinite as the notice is. We cannot be absolutely certain whether the word
"lecture" is here used in the present Masonic sense, or the more general one
of every day speech, but it would almost seem that the probability is in favor
of the former interpretation, and it might perhaps be regarded as additional
confirmation of this that he also uses the word "bright" as a technicality for
a brother well conversant with the usages of the Craft.
THE GRAND LODGE AND THE RITUAL
However though undoubtedly the members of the Grand Lodge were occupied to
some extent with the ritual, it would be a grave mistake to suppose that it
was taken up in the way it would be today if a new Grand Lodge were organized.
There would be less danger of misconception in the British Isles, and Europe
generally, where very great liberty has always been used by individual lodges
in this matter, than there might be in America. The method adopted was
embodied in Regulation XI:
All particular lodges are to observe the same usages as much as possible; in
order to which, and also for cultivating a good understanding among Free
Masons, some members of every Lodge shall be deputed to visit the other Lodges
as often as shall be thought convenient.
And in the second edition Anderson adds to this that
The same usages, for Substance, are actually observed in every Lodge; which is
much owing to visiting Brothers who compare the usages. This shows us that
exact uniformity did not exist, but that practically this rule had produced
something approaching general agreement in ritual essentials. Anderson's
remark of course applies only to London, and the area so quaintly described as
"within the Bills of Mortality." Outside of the London district much wider
variations undoubtedly appeared.
frequently quoted passage from the introductory pages of Dermott's Ahiman
Rezon (7) may help to give some further light on the subject. He has just
previously been commenting on Anderson's brief statement that Sir Christopher
Wren "neglected the office of Grand Master," which he accepts as a fact, and
explains as due to the unjust and ungrateful treatment he received at the
hands of the authorities, as well as to his age, ascribing the decay of
Freemasonry to the disgust and indignation of the brethren generally at this
action, and their refusal to accept the new nominee of the King. This of
course is all unhistorical, there being no evidence whatever that Wren was
Grand Master, or even a Freemason for that matter (6), and still less that his
successor in the office of "Surveyor of the Royal Works" was ipso facto Grand
Master. However, Dermott after stating that though inactive in London
. . the Lodges in the country, particularly in Scotland and at York, kept up
their ancient formalities, customs and usages, without alteration, adding or
diminishing, to this hour, from whence they may justly be termed the most
from which he leaves his reader to infer that his Grand Lodge, being in
fraternal relationship with Scotland at least, was likewise entitled to be
styled "Ancient." And then in the next paragraph he goes on to make the
statement above referred to, which runs as follows:
About the year 1717 some joyous companions, who had passed the degree of a
craft (though very rusty), resolved to form a lodge for themselves, in order
(by conversation) to recollect what had formerly been dictated to them, or if
that should be found impracticable, to substitute something new, which might
for the future pass for Masonry amongst themselves. At this meeting the
question was asked, whether any person in the assembly knew the Master's part.
and beings answered in the negative, it was resolved, nem. con., that the
deficiency should be made up with a new composition, and what fragments of the
old order found amongst them, should be immediately reformed and made more
pliable to the humours of the people.
And he then goes on to give an intentionally ridiculous and fantastic account
of the changes made, which, nevertheless, quite obviously hints at the
differences in the ritual forms of the two organizations for those able to
read between the lines.
This whole passage till comparatively recently was taken as absolutely
baseless, ill-natured, slander. But the juster view of the position of the
Antients and their claims has led to a material change in this judgment. What
Dermott wrote is obviously "propaganda," but he was too clever a
controversialist, and we may fully believe, too good a man and Mason, to
deliberately publish what he knew to be false. It was some forty-seven or
eight years after the event that this was written, which though a considerable
period was not too long for personal reminiscences to have come to him at
least at second hand. He naturally put them in as unfavorable a light as
possible for his opponents, but it is not straining probability to suppose
that some information may have reached him other than the official account
given in Anderson's second edition of the Constitutions. The points specially
to be noted in what he says are these: first, that those who formed the Modern
(but senior) Grand Lodge were Fellowcrafts but not Master Masons, that,
secondly, they invented a third degree, and last, that there was considerable
uncertainty among them as to what was ritually correct. The possible
significance of the first two points will appear later. The last would be
fully accounted for by supposing that a number of varying usages were
represented. As we have seen from what Anderson himself says, this would
appear to have actually been the case, and there is other evidence to the same
effect that we shall have to consider in due course.
far what has been said is merely clearing the ground for the discussion of the
question in hand. The whole matter is so exceedingly complex that it is very
difficult to present it clearly, and still more difficult to present it
impartially. Any attempt at simplification would almost of necessity involve
treating it from an ex parte standpoint, and though the present authors have
their own opinion, as will appear in the sequel, the intention here is to
present the evidence and not to argue for any special conclusion.
THE REACTION FROM TRADITIONAL VIEWS
noted that Dr. Oliver, toward the end of his career, had given up the
traditional history and legends of Freemasonry, and to those familiar with the
character of his many works the fact itself will be significant, for he was
the complete reverse of a sceptical or critical scholar, and the evidence
would have to be very strong to make him discard his earlier belief. His
change of attitude, however, was not very clearly or definitely made, nor did
he give his reasons in any detail.
The next author of note in this connection was David Murray Lyon, who
published his History of the lodge of Edinburgh in 1873, six years after Dr.
Oliver's demise. Just how much influence, if any, the belated scepticism of
the elder author had upon the views of the younger we have no means of
estimating, but from Lyon's own references to his predecessor it may have been
considerable. He was certainly familiar with Oliver's works for he quotes him
on this very point. The credulous enthusiasm of the one would produce a mental
reaction in a historian of Lyon's type, which would be further reinforced by
his predecessor's later and rather reluctant reversal of opinion. However it
was, Lyon played the part of an iconoclast in Masonic tradition.
His work deals, as its title indicates, with the history of the old Lodge of
Edinburgh or "Mary's Chapel," but in dealing with this he was obliged
practically to write a history of Freemasonry in Scotland. In his work he
gives in full the Schaw Statutes, the St. Clair Charters, and copious extracts
from the minutes of the Lodge of Mary's Chapel (the earliest of those still
extant being dated July, 1599) and quotations from the minutes of other old
lodges of the seventeenth and early eighteeth centuries. Upon these he bases
the following conclusions regarding Scotch Masonry, to which he strictly
confines himself. That the operative craft of Masonry was fully organized from
an early date, though he does not allow anything very definite before 1590;
that the Masons possessed a secret spoken of as "the Word;” that this was
communicated to those newly entered in a simple ceremony, great stress being
laid on its simplicity; that there is no trace of any further secrets than
this Mason Word, which apparently was communicated to Apprentices; that the
passing of "Fellows of Craft" could not have been a degree in the present
sense of the word because Apprentices were present when the new Fellows were
"received"; and that from a very early period a considerable number of
nonoperatives, mostly of high social position, became members of the lodges,
and in some cases presided in them, although most of the old lodges retained a
genuinely operative character much later than was the case in England. Two
further conclusions are obvious, though not particularly stressed, that the
later Speculative system was intimately connected with the earlier Operative
organization when it was introduced or came it being, and that the Speculative
Masonry of the London Grand Lodge in 1721 was sufficiently like that of the
Operative Masonry of Edinburgh to enable the secretary of Mary's Chapel to
record, under date of Aug. 24 of that year, that
. . John Theophilus Desaguliers, Fellow of the Royall Societie and Chaplain in
Ordinary to his Grace James Duke of Chandois, late Generall Master of the
Mason's Lodges in England, being in town and desirous to have a conference
with the Deacon, Warden and Master Masons of Edinr., which was accordingly
granted, and finding him qualified in all points of Masonry, they received him
as a Brother into their Societie. (8)
From this entry, and the two following ones, dated Aug. 25 and 28, on which
days it seems that a number of socially prominent men petitioned and were
“admitted and received Entered Apprentices and Fellow-Crafts accordingly,"
Lyon concluded that Desaguliers had come to Scotland on a missionary
There can be but one opinion as to the nature and object of Dr. Desaguliers'
visit to the Lodge of Edinburgh. In the interval between his initiation in
London and his affiliation as a member of the Scottish Fraternity, he had been
a prime mover in instituting the English Grand Lodge; and had in conjunction
with other learned craftsmen been engaged in the fabrication of a "Master's
part," in the preparation of a constitution for the newly formed body, and in
the catechetical arrangement of its lectures (9).
goes on to say that he was no doubt "animated by a desire for the spread of
the new system" and that it appears probable that, through his social
position, he had influenced the attendance of the Provost and Magistrates and
other city magnates to apply for entrance to the Masonic fellowship "in order
to give a practical illustration of the system "with which his name was so
closely associated," and goes on to say
.... it is more than probable that on both occasions the ceremony of entering
and passing would, as far as the circumstances of the Lodge would permit, be
conducted by Desaguliers himself in accordance with the ritual he was anxious
comment on this we must say that there seems to be a good deal of conjecture
in this statement, especially for a member of a school of Masonic research
that so strenuously objects to conjectures when made by others. All we are
told definitely is that the officers and members of Mary's Chapel found
Desaguliers "qualified in all points of Masonry" whatever that may have meant
exactly to the "Clerk, Ro. Alison," who recorded it. "All points" seems to
suggest something more than a single word as the solitary secret of Masonry.
It is true that Lyon himself says (10):
. . if the communication by Mason Lodges of secret words or signs constituted
a degrees term of modern application to the esoteric observances of the
Masonic body then there was, under the purely Operative regime, only one known
to Scotch Lodges viz., that in which, under an oath, apprentices obtained a
knowledge of the Mason Word and all that was implied in the expression.
What was implied by the expression is more fully set out just before:
But that this talisman consisted of something more than a word is evident from
"the secrets of the Mason Word" being referred to in the minute-book of the
lodge of Dunblane, and from the further information drawn from that of
Haughfoot viz., that in 1707 the word was accompanied by a grip.
Lyon therefore seems to admit, rather grudgingly it would appear, for he does
not put it definitely, that what was known as the "Mason's Word" by the world
at large, (11) implied a secret ceremony exceedingly "bare and simple" though
and certain accompaniments, such as the grip definitely mentioned at Haughfoot,
and possibly (or probably?) a sign or signs. Such a set of secrets might well
have been all that was meant by Alison's phrase "all points of Masonry."
But Lyon proceeds to conjecture that Desaguliers not only wanted to propagate
the new secrets alleged to have been fabricated by himself and others in
London shortly before, but that he exemplified (as we should say) the new
"part" or degree, at the two following meetings. Now the record apparently, at
least as quoted by Lyon, does not even say he was present, though we must
allow that the Doctor's visit most probably did have some connection with the
rather exceptional influx of highly placed Candidates. The fact that
Desaguliers had been invited by the authorities of the city of Edinburgh to
give them advice, as a scientific expert on hydraulics, on a proposed system
of waterworks would account for it in part. This fact, which, apparently, was
not known to Lyon, tends very much to lessen the probability of the
supposition that the "learned Doctor" was there chiefly in the capacity of a
propagator of new degrees. That he was something of what in America would be
called a ritualist would seem to follow from the fact that he was chosen,
according to Anderson, to act as Master of the "Occasional Lodge" in which the
Prince of Wales was made an "Enter'd Prentice and Fellow Craft" at Kew on Nov.
5, 1737, but as Gould points out (13) the statement that he was the
"fabricator" of a "Master's Part" is itself pure conjecture, based upon
nothing more than the further purely hypothetical supposition that such a part
was fabricated, and that such an outstanding figure in the new organization,
from his ability and education, might plausibly be supposed to have had a
finger in the pie.
may conclude, it would seem, considering all the facts, that Desaguliers was
present at these two subsequent meetings of the Lodge of Mary's Chapel; it may
be safely said indeed that it would have been strange if he were not; but that
he took a prominent part in whatever ceremonies were performed is pure
guesswork; and that he exemplified the ritual of a quite new degree seems
impossible, for he would first have had to communicate it to the officers and
members of the lodge before it could be given to the candidates. The more the
point is considered the more impossible it is seen to be. why should the
conservative members of this ancient lodge, who had such a "guid conceit" of
themselves, accept a novelty from a "Southron" ? And except as a novelty,
which he, as one of its inventors, could communicate as he pleased, he could
hardly have given it, for the very simplest form imaginable of any Master's
part that corresponded to our Third Degree would need at least three to carry
it out. On this ground alone Lyon's theory would seem impossible.
(1) Gould, Concise History, Revised Edition, p. 261.
(2) Oliver, Revelations of a Square (1855), Chap. 4, p. 91. He says the
"refractory brethren . . . commenced the practise of a species of Freemasonry
unknown in former times. They instituted a novel degree, which they called the
Royal Arch, compounded out of a portion of the third degree, and from various
continental innovations, which gave them a vast advantage in the minds of
curious and unthinking persons, over the pure and ancient system practiced by
the old Grand Lodge" (i. e., the "Modern" Grand Lodge), and he intimates the
same thing in other places. See his Origin of the Royal Arch Degree and
Discrepancies of Masonry.
(3) Gould, op. cit. pp. 235 and 252.
(4) The statement in the text needs modification of course. Though it is far
too big a subject to dispose of in a note yet it may be said here that there
was a shadow of a right. Had the first Grand Lodge remained an annual Assembly
of all Masons in London, and restricted its jurisdiction to the London area it
might have claimed, on the basis of the Old Charges, to be the sole arbiter of
things Masonic within its own limits.
(5) Hughan, English Rite, p. 123.
(6) Gould, op. cit. p. 100. See also his larger History.
(7) Ahiman Rezon, second edition, Address "to the Gentlemen of the Most
Ancient and Honorable Fraternity."
(8) Lyon, History of the Lodge of Edinburgh, p. 150.
(9) Ibid p. 151.
(10) lbid. p. 23.
(11) Gould, op. cit. p. 182, gives three instances between 1649 and 1691 where
the phrase was used by non-Masons.
(12) Gould, History of Freemasonry, Yorston edition, vol. 3, p. 38.
(13) Ibid, vol. 3, p. 39
The Kabala and Freemasonry
BRO. L. F. STRAUSS, Massachusetts
THE BUILDER for May, 1927, there appeared an article entitled The Essenes; in
July was published Freemasonry and the Essenes; in the January number 1928
appeared an article entitled The Kabala. These three articles constitute a
kind of introduction to this one.
Whence! Whither goest thou?
This question audible on top of a mountain, in the depths of a valley, on the
shore of the ocean, becomes especially impressive when the wanderer in a dark
night from the summit of a hill catches the first glimpse of the rising sun,
or when standing on the shore of the ocean he or she watches the King of Day
coming out from the bottom of the sea. At such a moment a luminous ray seems
to fall into the innermost depths of the human soul and a something in our
being seems to obtain a momentary glimpse of a strange, mysterious land filled
with most wonderful things and promises. For the production and the obtaining
of such a glimpse, once upon a time, long, long ago, and for the Eleusian
mysteries had been instituted.
After such a glimpse and the song of the birds how cheerful, the sight of
grass, of bush and tree, of flower and blossom, how brilliant and how
cheerful! How glorious to a Grecian youth this hour was! Demeter appeared in
the most charming garb. Proserpina lovingly extended her luminous arms; the
wanderer, the candidate, stood bewildered. The inner illumination, the outer
intoxication is expended; the ancient initiate awakens and finds himself in
the realm of grim and hoary Pluto. A modern investigator in a similar
condition would have recourse to the most recent paragraphs found in Freud, or
having a predilection for metaphysics, he would theorize about
supra-consciousness, and the subliminal self.
name, what's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." As
Goethe said: Und wo die Begriffe fehlen da stellt ein Wort zur rechten Zeit
sich ein; when concepts are lacking names are substituted. The story is old,
oh so old! Philosophized over by thousands of demagogues in rhapsodies ! What
does it mean? For human guidance in the domain of philosophy we will recommend
Heraklitos, Plato, Spinoza, Kant, William James. In the domain of metaphysics
we will give Pythagoras, Jacob Boehme and Swedenborg.
THE BLINDNESS OF THE HEART OF MAN
From time immemorial the Power from on High has been working to arouse in the
heart of man a realization of the importance of this question: Whence and
whither? As an answer, as a means for an end, religion has been substituted.
Special messengers have brought the glad tidings: "Glory to God on High and
Peace to Men of Good Will."
Has all this been in vain ? A strange, a very strange story, an impressive
warning, is recorded in the Book of Books: the story of a deluge in which all
flesh was destroyed except Noah and his three sons. A most wonderful
explanation or rather elucidation of this "catastrophe" is given in the Kabala
from which Freemasonry has its nomenclature and its symbolism. In
commemoration of this event we are given a most hopeful promise and as a token
of this promise the is presented with the seven-colored rainbow.
Freemasonry presents to the valiant wanderer some most beautiful scenes, and
in one is given a strange act and in the midst of this act we hear in a most
impressive, or what is intended as a most impressive, tone of voice, the word,
Oh, how they have longed to whisper, to shout into the ears of the helpless
sons of men, the proper, the divinely revealed directions which lead to The
vain? No. But how undeveloped is the ear, how dim is the eye, how primitive
the intellect, how weak the will, how slow the step of the hesitating
wanderer! The zealous guide reproves and encourages; with an aching heart he
exclaims like unto the Apostle Paul. "Ye are still babes and cannot stand
After this introduction we will now come to our subject, to the secrets
enshrined in the Holy of Holies of an organization formed by the genus homo
and known to the sons of men by the name of Modern Freemasonry.
What a strange, what a wonderful panorama is here presented to the eye, what
strange words are whispered into the ears of the wandering candidate! Never
has the ingenuity of man worked so assiduously, so strenuously, so
mysteriously in order to stir to activity hands and feet, to inspire with
renewed zeal the heart and mind, to arouse at least a sincere desire for
But the Angel sighs and the Devil laughs: "Love’s labor lost." We even hear or
read in print: "Honorificabilitudinatibus." What does this mean ? Who cares to
There comes here an awful, baffling question. What is greater, the intensity
of ignorance or the degree of indifference? But courage! Onward, onward!
whispers here an inner voice.
THE WONDERS OF THE COMMONPLACE
child is born, a human child; the eyes open, the child sees, it feels, it
hears, it tastes, it smells. Mother and father furnish whatever is needed for
the sustaining of life; of life, to an outside observer, still unconscious.
The child, the new member of genus homo, finds him or herself in a world in
which he or she soon feels perfectly at home, in which home everything is so
simple, so natural, so self-evident. Cause and effect, action and consequence,
work and compensation, merit and reward. How simple, how natural everything is
and seems. Strange? What is strange? Does not every eye see the same things
the same way?
chick comes from an egg. This always was and this always will be. The average
farmer's wife, the most intellectual savage, cannot be influenced by the most
brilliant eloquence, the most logical reasoning, to see here anything strange.
The flights of Colonel Lindbergh, how wonderful they seem now to the eye when
seen in the paper, to the ear when heard in a discussion. In a short, in a
brief span of time when airships will sail daily, when airplanes will be as
common as autos are today, how simple, how natural will they seem. They will
have become just as simple, just as natural as the telephone, the telegraph,
Now again to our subject: O son of man, whence and whither? The answer, the
true answer, the only answer of real value, is old, very old; divinely
revealed it has been given to the genus homo thousands, thousands of years
Why has this answer not been made public property ? Why was it not proclaimed
in a loud voice ? Why was it not written or printed in letters black or golden
on papyrus or on sheets of modern paper?
Why do Plato and Origen inform us that whenever they had to choose between
stating anything so plainly that some not yet ready might understand, or so
obscurely that some ready would fail to grasp, they, Plato and Origen,
preferred obscurity to plainness of speech or script ?
This awful oath of secrecy administered to the candidate in Freemasonry !
There comes to the mental eye a wonderful scene: a Teacher, speaking from the
top of a mountain to an eager audience: "Do not give that which is holy unto
dogs. Do not cast pearls before swine lest they turn and rend you and their
second state is worse than their first." Strange, very strange this
declaration of the Master seems to the uninitiated, the great multitude.
a preceding article entitled "The Kabala" (the recognized textbook of
Freemasonry), this writer intimated that the wish is father to the thought. In
his opinion the time had come when some of the secrets so carefully veiled in
Greek mysteries, in the Hermetica, by Plato, in the Kabala and in the shrine
of Masonry may, can, shall be given to the sons of man.
Now comes the question, which secrets ? How much? In what dress?
WILLIAM JAMES, A TRANSCENDENTAL THINKER
This writer also affirmed in a former article that William James, the
recognized foremost American thinker, had, in the last ten years of his life,
through his own mental unfoldment, aided by providential factors, come to an
understanding of this our Universe, of its origin and destiny; close, very
close, to the tenets, the teachings, the doctrines proclaimed and reflected in
the Kabala, the textbook of Freemasonry.
providential factors we may consider: First, the father of William James was a
Swedenborgian minister, a learned theologian; second, the training received by
William James included physics, physiology, materia medica, psychology and
metaphysics. The psychological views, theories, doctrines of James have become
tenets in the textbooks on psychology in European schools and colleges; the
metaphysics of William James have been woven into the textbooks of philosophy
in our schools of theology. Understood? In the opinion of the writer,
one-tenth. The third providential factor is this: William James became an
investigator of Psychic Phenomena and an Associate and for one period
President of the Society for Psychical Research. Fourth providential factor:
William James in the last ten years of his life became familiar with the work
of Theodore Fechner.
FECHNER THE FOUNDER OF PSYCHO-PHYSICS
The Encyclopedia Britannica calls Theodore Fechner the "Father of
Psycho-Physics" and in the article on Metaphysics, after treating the reader
to four pages of closely printed extracts from his doctrines, it remarks: "We
have dwelt on these curious metaphysics of Fechner because it contains the
master key to the philosophies of the present moment."
Gods ! A living illustration of the fact that some things printed even in the
Encyclopedia Britannica may not constitute the truth and bringing a warning,
an admonition, "do not judge others by yourself." The philosophy of Fechner is
appreciated, his doctrines, his Weltanschauung is accepted, is endorsed, by
the writer of the article on metaphysics in the Encyclopedia Britannica, is
accepted by William James, by some theosophists, by L. F. Strauss, and
possibly a few others; but there is today, as far as this writer can find out,
in this our world, on this planet Earth, no school, no textbooks on philosophy
or theology where the Weltanschauung, the doctrines, the tenets, the theories
of Theodore Fechner are presented.
Oh, there is one admirer, even follower: Elwood Worcester, Rector of Emmanuel
Church, in the city of Boston. In the preface of his book, The Living World,
This book owes its existence, its substance, and whatever merits it possesses
to one of the greatest and least appreciated thinkers of the 19th century,
Theodore Fechner. The effect of his personality and of his thought meant a
turning point in my life and his influence has deepened in the passing years.
Fechner, like Balzac, was so absolutely original and so far in advance of his
time that his words fell on unheeding ears.
The greatest of Fechner’s works can be compared only with the sacred books of
the nation. They are inspired and they contain a true revelation of God.
have called it the Living Word in memory of the ZendAvesta which Fechner
believed to have that meaning.
The Weltanschauung, the main tenets of Fechner, are given in his final work
entitled "The Daylight View" versus "The Night View." Fechner indicates that
he considers his own interpretation of life and of human destiny as a
"Daylight View" when compared with the other now-existing philosophies and
Now again The Kabala.
the contents of the article The Kabala published in the January number of THE
BUILDER we will add a few things that recently came ante oculos. George
Frederick Parsons says:
That Balzac must have studied the Kabalists is quite clear. They taught,
however, that matter, heat and motion were in fact condition of matter. But
then the Kabalists held what modern science cannot bring itself to, namely,
that between spirit and matter there is no real barrier, that spirit informs
all matter, etc.
Macoy Masonic Publishing Company seems to recognize something of special merit
in the book entitled Comte de Gabalis, by De Pillars, a French priest and
nobleman. We will select from this book a few gems that should bring
enlightenment or at least food for thought.
its original form the system of esoteric Masonry was identical with that of
the Kabala (1)....
The Cabala, a sacred book of the Jews, is an occult interpretation or key to
the Scriptures and contains explicit revelation of the art of communing with
spirits. Tradition states that it has been transmitted from Adam and Abraham
by a continuous chain of Initiates to the Hebrew race today. The Cabala can be
read in seven different ways. Its inner mystery has never been written, but is
imparted orally by Hierophant to disciples. In its original form the system of
esoteric Masonry was identical with that of the Cabala. . .
who seeks divine knowledge will surely find it, for the divinity in man ever
strives to render unto him his lost birthright. No sincere efforts to solve
God's mysteries passes unheeded by the Silent Watcher within....
are but a little part of God. .
The philosophers told that the relation of God the Creator to His creation has
been the same in all ages, that all creeds evolved by man are but man's
concept of this religion and in no wise can alter it; that the truth regarding
the fatherhood of God, sonship of His messengers, the great teachers of
humanity and brotherhood of all His creatures, is superior to creeds and
religions and will unify them when once comprehended. In love we find the
secrets of divine unity. It is love that unites the higher and lower stages
and uplifts everything to that stage where all must be one. . .
The Kabalist acts solely according to the principles of nature, and if strange
words and symbols are sometimes found in our books they are only used to
conceal the principles of natural philosophy from the ignorant.
These ignorant, tristissime dicta number 9999 out of a 10,000 of the genus
homo, and 999 out of 1000 members of Freemasons (in the opinion of L. F.
Strauss) belong to the same category, that is, to the ignorant. We will
restate one baffling question: what is greater, the density of ignorance or
the degree of indifference ?
Continuing our quotations from the Comte de Gabalis:
and my Father are one. .
Agla is here used for the ineffable name of the Sun behind the Sun which is
the last word in Masonry. . .
call upon Thee, O Living God Radiant with Illuminating Fire! O Unseen Parent
of the Son! Pour Forth Thy Life-Giving Power and Energise the Divine Spark!
Enter into this Flame and Let it be Agitated by the Breath of Thy Holy Spirit.
Manifest Thy Power and Open for Me the Temple of Almighty God which is within
this Fire. Manifest Thy bight for My Regeneration, and Let the Breadth,
Height, Fullness and Crown of the Soul Appear, and May the God Within Shine
may quote here the following passage from the poet Browning:
Truth is within ourselves, it takes no rise From outward things, whatever you
may believe: There is an inmost center in us all Where truth abides in
fullness and around, Wall upon wall, the gross flesh hems it in, This perfect
clear perception which is truth, A baffling and perfecting carnal mesh Blinds
it and makes all errors, and to know Rather consists in opening out a way
Whence the imprisoned splendor may escape, Than in effecting entry for a
light. Supposed to be without.
The discovery of radium upset the scientifically established principles of
matter; the thirty-seven primary substances, although predicated, analyzed
most learnedly and explained, yet melted and disappeared into an airy nothing
and are today no longer printed in the textbooks of our schools and colleges;
the Doctrine of Relativity not yet analyzed, and in the opinion of this writer
not understood, modified (according to the Encyclopedia Britannica our
conception of the law of gravitation formulated by Sir Isaac Newton. How small
and insignificant these changes of tenets, these modifications of opinion and
belief will appear when compared with the "revolution" in the mind of man,
even in the minds of scientists, philosophers and theologians, when the secret
doctrines of the Kabala will have been given to the world. We will give one
change which is to be expected: the scientific parlance about the temperature
and its changes upon this our planet; the explanations given for the greater
heat in British Columbia when compared with the temperature in Labrador; of
Ireland when compared with corresponding latitudes in Russia or Sweden; the
Gulf Stream, the Japanese current! Who laughs? Generations yet unborn will
smile at some of the tenets in our school books, just as we smile today at
some of the strange explanations given in the textbooks of our fathers,
concerning this phenomenal world. The Doctrine of Evolution; the ignorance of
scientists was pointed out by this writer in the words of William James,
printed in the July number of THE BUILDER last year, and it was pointed out
that here also the teachings, the doctrines, presented in The Kabala would
supply the deficiency, correct errors of scientists, philosophers and
There are more things under heaven and on earth than are dreamt of in your
After a careful deliberation and consideration it was decided to give as a
first introduction to our Kabala, in place of Kabalistic nomenclature, the
Weltanschauung of Theodore Fechner and then present to the reader the
elucidation of this Weltanschauung by William James, America's greatest
brief extract from the Encyclopedia Britannica on Fechnerian philosophy:
The Day-view is the view that God is the psycho-physical, all-embracing, the
law and consciousness of this world. It resembles the views of Hegel and Lotze
in its pantheistic tendency. But it does not, like them, sacrifice our
personality, because, according to Fechner, the one divine consciousness
includes as a large circle includes small circles. By this ingenious
suggestion of the membership of one spirit of another, Fechner’s Day-view also
puts nature in a different position; neither, with Hegel, subliminuting it to
the thought of God's mind, nor, with Lotze, degrading it to the phenomena of
our human mind but identifying it with the outer appearance of one spirit to
the other spirit.
Here follows an interpretation of the foregoing by the author of this article:
This, our planet, called Earth, Mother Earth, is a conscious, struggling,
rejoicing, sorrowing, evolving Being. Our bodies are parts, a part of the body
of this, our Mother Earth. Our ego, our self, our consciousness, our suband
supra-conscious self is a part of this, our Mother, or Father of this planet
called the Earth. The physical part of this planet is a part of the solar
system; the solar system is a part of this, our Universe, sometimes called the
Infinite. Now, the consciousness of Father and Mother Earth is a part of the
consciousness of the Holy, Holy, Holy Being, that ensouls this solar system;
this solar Universe and this solar system, this our Universe constitutes our
Father Who is in heaven.
THE TRUTH BEHIND PANTHEISM
The Word in our Bible, the Logos of Heraklitos, of Philo, of John the Elder
and of Paul, the Apostle of the Gentiles: "There is no death." All forms of
life, even the animal and vegetable kingdoms have a continuous existence in
the bosom of Mother Earth and in this bosom resides the force that makes this
our world go its round in a predetermined way in a given direction. William
James said in his Hibbert Lectures in 1899:
The vaster orders of mind go with the vaster orders of body. The entire Earth
on which we live must have, according to Fechner [and the Kabala as well], its
own collective consciousness. So must each sun, moon and planet. So must the
whole solar system have its own wider consciousness in which the consciousness
of our Earth plays a part. So has the entire starry system as such its
Later on James says also:
The earthsoul he passionately believes in, he treats the earth as our special
guardian angel; we can pray to the earth as men pray to the saints (2).
Let us now return to Fechner himself:
Quite similarly then we must suppose that my consciousness of myself and of
yourself, although in their immediacy they keep separate and know nothing of
each other, are yet known and used together in the higher consciousness, that
of the human race, say into which they enter as constituent parts.... Think of
the Earth's beauty, a shining ball, sky and sunlit over one-half, the other
faded in starry night, reflecting the heavens from all her waters, myriads of
light and shadows in the folds of her mountains and windings of her valleys,
she would be a Spectacle of rainbow glory, could one only see her from afar as
we see parts of her from her own mountain tops. . . . The landscape is her
face, a peopled landscape, too, for man's eyes would appear in it as diamonds
among the dewdrops. . . . Every element has its own living denizens. Can the
celestial ocean of ether whose waves are light, in which the Earth itself
floats, not have hers higher by as much as their element is higher, swimming
without fins flying without wings, as by a half-spiritual force through the
half-spiritual sea." . . . . Yes, the Earth is our common guardian angel who
watches over all our interests combined.... Where is no vision the people
perish. Few professional philosophers have any vision; Fechner had vision.
Satis! Satis! Quod sufficit. NOTES
(1) Comte de Gabalis, page 4, Commentary by the Brothers.
(2) The reader may compare this with the ideas expressed in Bulwer Lytton's
esoteric novel, Zanoni.
The Chief Workman
the clash of different theories of the origin of Freemasonry one thing seems
to be universally accepted, and that is that our Speculative Fraternity in
some way derives from the organization of the working stone masons of the
Middle Ages. The connection between the two, however, is very far from being
agreed upon, and three or four different methods or types of explanation may
be distinguished. Perhaps it might be better to say that there are two chief
tendencies, each of which is again subdivided. One group holds that a
Speculative system was always the possession of the Operative Craft, the
extreme traditionalists believing that everything that exists now always
existed, while others would contend only for some embryonic germ of symbolism
that began to develop as the Operative features died out. On the other hand
are those who, having a supreme contempt for the mere artisan, or mechanic,
however skillful he might be in his work, hold that everything of a
Speculative nature was deliberately imported by superior men, philosophers,
mystics, occultists, aristocrats or what not, for the purpose of transmitting
their teaching or executing their purposes, using the Operative organization
as a mask or veil. These again may be subdivided into those who would set the
period of this introduction of an alien purpose into the Craft far back in the
centuries, perhaps in the time of the Crusades, perhaps even earlier, while
others would put it at a more recent date, say towards the end of the
seventeenth century, or even later.
such cases, the fewer facts we have at command the wider is the scope of
speculative fancy in propounding hypotheses. The more we learn about the
subject the more difficult it becomes to discover an explanation into which
all the facts will fit without straining or distorting them, yet at the same
time the greater becomes the probability of the accuracy of the interpretation
that does coordinate them. For this reason those who are interested in the
fascinating problem of origins cannot afford to neglect the history of
architecture, and especially the architecture of the Middle Ages. And, for our
special purpose, the problem of the architect must not be neglected.
Unfortunately there is much misunderstanding on the subject, and indeed not a
little downright misinformation also. Many years ago J.W. Papworth, an English
architect, published an essay on the Superintendents of English Buildings in
the Middle Ages. It appeared in the Transactions of the Royal Institute of
British Architects in 1887, and though reprinted later, is exceedingly
difficult to obtain. Since then other writers have taken up the subject, but
mostly in a form not readily available to the non-professional seeker for
information. In Mr. M. S. Briggs' recent work, The Architect in History, much
information of a most valuable character is put into popular form. The work is
interesting and suggestive from the first to the last page, but the part
dealing with the Middle Ages is of especial value to the Masonic student.
Mr. Briggs is himself an architect, and while this puts him in many ways in an
especially advantageous position to deal with the subject, it may also have
some disadvantages, notably that of finding some difficulty in seeing the wood
on account of his proximity to the trees. However when he says that
.... the design and erection of every large and complicated building in the
past involved the control of some masterbrain, that no group or committee
could have taken its place,
will be agreed that he is speaking as an expert and that his opinion must be
given the fullest consideration.
order to do justice to what he has to say later it may be well to give another
quotation dealing with the meaning of the term, or rather with function of the
architect. After some discussion of various definitions, and a disclaimer of
any attempt to venture on the "thorny topic" of the difference in scope
between architecture and building, he says
most of us, Ruskin's definition that, "Architecture is the art which so
disposes and adorns the edifices raised by man . . . that the sight of them
contributes to his mental health, power and pleasure" is far preferable to Sir
Gilbert Scott's dictum that, "Architecture, as distinguished from mere
building, is the decoration of construction." The latter view, constantly
fomented by Ruskin himself, did infinite harm to English architecture in
Victorian days, and is still too common among the general public, but
especially among engineers, who persist in regarding an architect primarily as
one who applies ornament to structures.
quotes Ruskin again where he states only a sculptor or painter can be an
architect, and then gives his own conception
. . that the architect is simply one who designs buildings and superintends
their erection: they may or may not be "ornamental," but to constitute works
of architecture they must be both well proportioned and well constructed.
this it would almost seem that the author had not fully analyzed his own
conceptions. The first clause of his definition is perfectly clear, but then
there seems little in it to differentiate the architect from the engineer;
architecture would be only a specialization of engineering arising from purely
external and practical reasons, similar to those that give rise to the
differences between other branches of engineering. But when he brings the idea
of proportion into architecture, he is adding something to the function of the
architect which does really differentiate him from the engineer. The designing
done by the architect is of a different character, it not only includes good
construction and adaptation to the purpose, but also the effect from an
aesthetic point of view and thus something like the "ornamental" of Ruskin and
Scott, to which he so strongly objects, has crept in unawares.
is quite the thing now-a-days to have great scorn and contempt for Ruskin, but
it may be that the grounds for this are largely not in what Ruskin meant, but
what he was supposed to mean, both by his disciples and his critics. He wrote
and lectured so much and over so long a period that it was hardly possible for
him to have been always consistent, and his own highly artistic method of
expressing himself led him to emphasis and exaggeration in many cases where he
had some special purpose in view or particular point to make. A writer is
entitled to be judged by the whole of what he has said, but the more he has
written the more difficult will be the task of doing this, and the more
probability that he will be judged by some partial utterance that has
impressed itself on the critic. Ruskin seems to have regarded architecture as
sculpture on a large scale, and certainly in all his criticism of art he
always emphasized the importance of the proper disposition of "masses" which
one can only take to be essentially the same thing as proportion. So that the
architect becomes one who conceives and plans and superintends the erection of
structures that are well proportioned. And that essentially brings his work
into the circle of the "fine arts," however close he may be to the frontier of
mere building or engineering.
THE PROBLEM OF AESTHETICS
But this brings us to the root of the general problem of which that of the
function of the architect is but a special case. What is the relationship
between the artist and the artisan, between making something useful and making
the useful thing also beautiful? Prehistoric man carved his bone implements in
such wise that we can see in them real elements of taste and beauty, though it
is sometimes not easy to realize their utilitarian character. Modern savages
do the same. Indeed it would seem, making a sweeping generalization, that
mankind tends always to make the things that he most needs, also the things
Consider all through the ages, the care and pains taken in ornamenting
weapons, especially in times and places where weapons were of the highest
importance to the individual. That the buildings most important to a community
should be those on which the greatest pains are taken to make beautiful,
imposing, magnificent, is but an outcome, it would appear, of this general
tendency. The artist always begins by being an artisan; or it may be put the
other way about with equal truth. There has probably been no social
organization where the divorce between the two things has been so complete as
it is in our own civilization, characterized as it is by the
super-specialization due to the employment of machinery and its logical
outcome in mass production.
begin with, the individual with the innate capacity to make things can make
anything within the scope permitted by his circumstances. The great artists of
the Renaissance were not freaks, or even exceptions, except in degree.
Leonardo, Michael Angelo, Cellini could turn their hands, and their minds to
anything. In the chronicles of the Hebrews we are told of more than one
craftsman who was able
.... to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver and in brass, and
in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all
manner of workmanship.
This was probably a set formula to describe such an artist as those mentioned
above, a master workman; and, as Mr. Briggs points out, the qualifications
that Vitruvius desiderates make it
. . evident that an architect was expected to be at least a
Jack-of-all-trades, if not an Admirable Crichton,
under the Roman Empire.
From what we now know of the evolution of culture, it can be actually shown
that trades and professions to use our terms were differentiated along
different lines in different periods and places. Societies develop like living
organisms, and specialized occupations come into existence and are transformed
into something else in obedience to growth and changes in the whole body
politic, whether the unit be large or small. Specialization is a
characteristic of organized society, it is developed partly through the
differences in aptitude in gifted individuals, but much more by the inertia of
the habits of the mediocre majority. The larger the unit of society becomes,
the more specialization is found as a general rule. In a pioneer settlement
every man learns by necessity to do almost everything required. In a modern
city there is hardly a person who makes or does anything in its entirety
excepting perhaps those we call "artists" and even they seldom, even for
affectation's sake, make the instruments of their art for themselves.
WHO WERE THE MEDIAEVAL ARCHITECTS?
This being so, the search for the men who functioned as architects do now is
beset with additional difficulties. While reason compels us to acknowledge
that every great building must have had its master workman, its "chief
carpenter" if we take the word architect in its primary signification, where
are we to look for him in any given case? Was he a professional man or an
artisan? Was he solely a designer and superintendent, or was he also a
craftsman? Was he trained specially or did he emerge from the rank and file
owing to chance or superior ability? But these questions cannot be answered
till we have first investigated the structure of the social organism and the
lines of cleavage, or of development, which specialization followed. For
example, the College of Pontifices of ancient Rome by their name were bridge
builders did they ever build bridges? Were they responsible originally for the
sacred bridge over the Tiber, and then through the magical and religious
ceremonies annually carried out in connection with it gradually evolve into a
body of priests? We cannot say, for priests they were as far back as even
legend goes, only the incongruous name is left to excite our curiosity. In our
own days we have seen the village blacksmith developing first into a mender of
bicycles and then into a garage man. It is clear then that when we go seeking
the architect in history we must beware of looking only for a man with a
"professional" training, receiving "fees" instead of wages, and limiting
himself entirely to the making of plans and superintending their execution.
This state of affairs is not a necessary one, it is not dictated by the nature
of things, however natural it may seem to us. Really it is quite an arbitrary
arrangement, and many other possible divisions and combinations of functions
are possible for those who build, and it is probable that at some time or
other during past ages most of them have actually been in effect.
will follow also that from different allocations of function and
specialization modes of training will vary likewise. At bottom there are only
two ways of learning an art, that of apprenticeship and that of pupillage or
in other words of the workshop and of the school. And really in essentials
these are the same, only in the one the apprentice is made as useful as
possible in real work, he learns new things as occasion calls for them in that
work. In the school, on the other hand, the work is only an exercise and is
otherwise without purpose, while the training is systematic and the time
required is thereby shortened. We today tend more and more to teach everything
by the method of the school, it has manifest advantages, but what is not
always realized, it has disadvantages, too. One constant tendency is for the
school to drift away from practice, and become an end in itself.
PROFESSION OR CRAFT?
may reasonably assume that in the past the designers and superintendents of
great and important edifices were trained as apprentices, except where there
are specific grounds to suppose the contrary. In some form or other this is
the natural way for youth to learn how to work. But there is one thing which
seems to be almost everywhere taught only, or chiefly in schools, and that is
reading and writing. In such primitive modes as the hieroglyphs of Egypt, the
cuneiform alphabets of Mesopotamia and the ideograms of Chinese, to learn to
read and write is a long and arduous process, and is indeed an occupation in
itself. On account of the importance of records to government, the scribe is
inevitably brought into close contact with the chiefs and rulers of the
community, and almost as inevitably tends to share in administration. Thus the
knowledge of letters becomes almost everywhere the equivalent of a profession.
however alphabets were simplified the time necessary to become "literate" is
reduced, and a tendency is then observable for all upper classes to learn to
read and write, and from that naturally to gain acquaintance with what has
been recorded in writing in the past. Thus literacy becomes a mark or test of
social rank and the status of an occupation may be judged by the fact that
those who follow it are or are not able to read and write. Historically this
is the basis of the difference between those occupations we call professions
and those designated crafts and trades. A lawyer or physician must be able to
read and write, a carpenter or blacksmith may be illiterate and yet a
perfectly competent workman.
From this criterion, rather than from the confusing records of the value of
his remuneration in wages or fees, we may judge the status of the architect in
ancient times. The architects of ancient Greece were not only able to read,
but very frequently themselves wrote books on the subject of their profession.
And under the Roman Empire, as has been already mentioned, Vitruvius insists
that the architect should have a thorough general education, the equivalent in
fact of university training today. Even in the Middle Ages when literacy was
rather the mark of the ecclesiastic than of the gentleman there are
indications that architects not infrequently had this qualification; which
raises quite a number of questions that in the preset state of our knowledge
would not be altogether easy to answer.
APPRECIATION OF BEAUTY IN THE PAST
The fact that architects in ancient times were modern enough to write books
about their work brings up another problem. What were their ideals? What was
their conception of their work? Did they distinguish architecture from "mere
building?" There is a disposition in some quarters to suppose that they did
not. Mr. Briggs quotes a recent author, F.P. Chambers, who does not believe
the Greek artist had "any highly developed aesthetic gifts" and he bases his
opinion on the fact that such descriptions of buildings as have come down to
us are concerned only with their size, materials and cost. Mr. Briggs tells us
that he finds it difficult to accept such a radical view; although later on he
is himself inclined to emphasize the absence in existing records of any
reference to aesthetic feelings or ideals among mediaeval craftsmen. This
really opens up the whole problem of aesthetics, and its relations to the
other departments of human activity, far too big a subject to be discussed
parenthetically. Nevertheless certain things must be taken into consideration
in order to fully appreciate the position of the architect. It is highly
probable that many races, perhaps most peoples below a certain cultural level,
have no conscious idea of seeking for beauty for its own sake. Possibly it was
the Greek mind that first considered and discussed the idea of beauty as a
thing by itself. It is also possible true, that except in a highly
self-conscious civilization, men never do clearly distinguish beauty from
fitness or adaptation to an end. But even if all this be granted it is a very
different thing from saying that there is no perception of the difference
between a beautiful object and one that is not, even when each is equally well
adapted for some utilitarian purpose. This appreciation may be expressed not
in aesthetic terms at all but in those of construction or value. And here we
have as an added difficulty the curious or, if one will, significant fact that
the object that is perfectly fitted to its purpose is usually, or seems so to
us, beautiful in its own right. It is also rather significant that words that
have come to be used to designate the idea of beauty in its various kinds and
degrees seem, in their origin, to mean either good or valuable, well made,
finished or perfected, or else desirable or pleasing. This implies that the
conscious discrimination of beauty is a secondary development, as on general
grounds is to be expected, but it also implies that, vague and indeterminate
as the feeling was, it was nevertheless a powerful factor in all creative
regard to the craftsmen of ancient Greece, and their patrons also, it might
well be argued that they did not speak of beauty in the things they made and
the structures they reared for the simple reason that it was taken for
granted, seeing that there was nothing made by them that was not beautiful. A
parallel might here be drawn with Japan so far as it is untouched by
occidental influences. There too we find a people whose humblest
handicraftsmen work and feel as artists. In fact the dictum of Lao Tse might
be quoted that when people begin to concern themselves with names it is
because they have lost the things, when they begin to speak of virtues it is
because they are no longer virtuous; so we might say that our theories of
aesthetics and our discussions as to the essential difference between an art
and a trade, an artist and an artisan, are due to the lamentable fact that the
world we have made for ourselves to live in is by no means altogether a
Just as we cannot believe that the elegant proportions of Greek monuments
simply happened by chance, without intention on the part of the builders or
appreciation on that of the beholders, so it is impossible to conceive that
the craftsman of the Middle Ages did not find pleasure in the achievement of
his work. Perhaps it was not always fully appreciated for not a little of it
was so placed that it was almost impossible for it to be even seen by anyone
not armed with a ladder, or powerful glasses, had such aids to vision then
been known. The Mediaeval Mason may have been quarrelsome at times, and
indolent so are some artists. He may at times have scamped his work when it
did not interest him. He may have put nothing concerning the proportions or
the elegance or beauty of the buildings he erected into the accounts and
contracts relating to them we would not find much aesthetic appreciation in
such documents today but he must have had some feeling about these things, and
a more or less definitely conscious purpose to embody them in his work, even
if he had not many words for discussing them.
Mr. Briggs gives a list of what he calls fallacies concerning the Mediaeval
architect that are very widely accepted as fact. They are enumerated in
condensed form, as follows:
There was no independent director or architect.
Control was exercised by an artisan, not by "an educated professional man."
plans or working drawings were used.
Design was purely traditional, nothing being borrowed from other countries or
The Masons worked purely for the Glory of God and not for a living.
The "Master Mason" was confined to one job at a time, that he "learned his
trade at a bench, and not in an office or school," that he was usually a monk,
and that he gloried in being anonymous.
would seem rather sweeping to call these points all entirely fallacious, they
seem to be on very different levels in that regard, and indeed Mr. Briggs
qualifies the statement in the next paragraph where he says:
cannot be denied that some of these fallacies have a foundation in fact; but
it is equally certain that they are inaccurate when used as sweeping
fallacy with a foundation in fact sounds a bit paradoxical, but taking the
statement as a whole it is clear enough what is meant. These commonly received
propositions are certainly fallacious if offered as a full presentation of the
facts. The author discusses them in order and it will be convenient to follow
him in this. With regard to the first "fallacy" it would seem as if everyone
must agree on sober thought. There must have been an architect in control at
the erection of every building of any importance, in the Middle Ages as at any
other period, that is, so long as we stick to Mr. Briggs' definition of
architect one who makes plans and supervises their execution. At least
planning and superintendence there must have been by some one. No art was ever
produced by a committee, and the theory of control by a school or a guild is
even more possible. That men of one school, with a like training, will
understand each other better, and so need less directing and instruction must
be granted, but the very feature dwelt on by enthusiasts, the apparent
spontaneity of the greatest examples of Gothic architecture is in truth an
indication of the completeness and adequacy of the control of the master mind.
Incidentally the author quotes Prof. Hamilton Thomson as ridiculing the
Comacine theory. He is one of those who incline to the derivation of Comacinus
from macinus, a mason; co-macini being merely associate or associated masons.
number of other authorities on architecture are also quoted, who in their
laborious and comprehensive researches have found no trace of the existence of
the legendary "travelling Gilds of Freemasons," Prof. Prior indeed saying:
This guild, if it existed, must also have had a supernatural power of hiding
its tracks, for in all our accounts and records are no references which can be
twisted into a consciousness of a Freemason guild.
But here again we must make sure we know exactly what is the "subject of
discourse." Prof. Prior and the other authorities quoted cannot be understood
as denying that there were guilds and other associations of Masons and other
craftsmen concerned with building, for that would be to imply that they had
not even superficially made themselves acquainted with the evidence. What they
deny is the often repeated statement that the builders of the Gothic
cathedrals throughout Europe were a closely organized body of men, acting
under a highly centralized control, like an army, and like an army sent hither
and yon without reference to national frontiers at the behest of the
authorities of the Church.
the other hand the organizations that we know did certainly exist, do seem to
have had a faculty, if not a supernatural one, of keeping themselves very much
in the background. Indeed we might say that it is in some sort only by
accident that evidence of the existence of the associated Steinmetzen gilds in
Germany, the Compagnonnage in France, and the Freemasons in Britain came to be
known to the world at large a world never very much interested in the matter
it may be added.
WAS THE FREEMASON A MERE MECHANIC?
After a rather lengthy but valuable discussion of the terms used for the
person exercising the functions of architect, and having arrived at the
conclusion that in England the most usual one was "Master Mason," Mr. Briggs
comes to his second "fallacy" that the mason was an artisan rather than an
artist or professional man. But here it would seem that supporters of both the
opposing views are thinking in terms of the present day divisions of labor.
With us a profession is entered deliberately. A young man decides to be an
engineer, architect, artist or sculptor, and he trains for that career from
the beginning. Mr. Briggs justly concludes that as the Master Masons, or at
least those who had ability and had gained some reputation, were clothed and
treated as gentlemen, they therefore held a position equivalent to
professional status. But it does not follow from this that they started with
that status, or even the expectation of it, as a "gentleman apprentice" does
in a modern engineering works. The author hardly comes squarely to grips with
this point. It would seem to be something like the evolution of the merchant
or manufacturer. As soon as he is doing business on a large enough scale, he
ascends out of the ranks of humble trades-people and shop-keepers, and enters
more or less easily the upper circles of society.
For those who scorn the "mere mechanic" it must again be repeated that from
the Renaissance on the artisan was depressed, those who controlled and
employed him ceased to have the same training, which inevitably caused
deterioration in the initiative and inventive powers of the craftsman and the
quality of the apprentices. The Mediaeval Mason was a sculptor almost as much
as he was a stone cutter, and while the master workman must have laid down the
general plans, and the type and scope of the mouldings and carving, it is
practically impossible that he could have designed it all in detail the work
itself proves that he did not in many cases. Doubtless he often said what it
was he wanted here or there; but as the modern architect leaves details to
subordinates, so did his predecessor the Master Mason.
regard to plans and drawings the contention that none were used at all is
absurd. But the author admits that it is hardly possible that they were made
in such detail, or so exactly as they would be today. He says justly that the
only explanation possible of such a method of building as that proposed would
be "the inability of the Master Mason to draw" plans. That a man able to
design a building and with the training of a carver and sculptor should be
unable to draw plans would be a contention too absurd for anyone to make. But,
what settles the matter, we not only have contemporary references to plans and
plots and draughts and models, but a good number of them are still in
existence. The interesting portrait of Master Eudes de Montreuil, architect to
the King of France, which is here reproduced, shows him at work upon a plan
drawn upon a roll of vellum, with scale, pencils and drawing pens and inkstand
beside it. An interesting fact is noted from Salzmann's English Industries of
the Middle Ages that does not seem to have gained the attention of Masonic
scholars. This is that there was, at times at least, an adjunct to the working
lodge of the masons which was called the "trasour" or "tracyng house," which
must have been the equivalent of the modern drawing office. Another author, F.
deMely, states that in France the working drawings were made at the site while
the building was in progress, and that they were made on slabs of plaster.
This is a confirmation of the suggestions made in the Study Club last year
(BUILDER, January, 1927) that a surface of plaster would serve very well for
laying out details full size.
The remainder of the fallacies may be dealt with more summarily. The question
of tradition is one in which misapprehension easily arises, as it is not a
clearly defined term. Gothic art was traditional as compared with the
ecclecticism of the present time, but within certain limits there was never a
more original, inventive, daring school of art in the history of mankind. The
tradition indeed made for freedom; the one thing, it would seem, that the
Mediaeval Craftsman could not do, whether he was mason, carpenter, painter,
Wordsmith or armorer, pewterer or goldsmith, was to copy or reproduce anything
exactly. Everything made had in it at least so much of novelty or originality
that it was made rather by eye than by strict measurement which does not at
all mean that the craftsman was unable to make accurate measurements when he
wanted or needed to do so.
For the rest, the Mediaeval Mason was just like other people, he worked
possibly with interest and pleasure, but certainly for his living, and for
fame and reputation. When he had proved his ability and had gained reputation
he was often employed as a supervisor or consultant, and not infrequently had
charge of a number of buildings at once. So far from being always a monk or
cleric, after, possibly, the earliest period, he was generally a layman. He
probably did learn his craft at the bench, but he learned to draw plans on the
drawing floor, or on parchment in the "tracyng house," and finally he was as
normally pleased at having his abilities and his work recognized as other
Mr. Briggs' book is made more useful and interesting by the many illustrations
which are given, several of which have been reproduced in addition to the one
already mentioned. The drawing of the porch of Regensburg Cathedral should
settle once for all the question of plans and working drawings. It is a bit of
work that no modern draughtsman would be ashamed of. The drawing of
scaffolding for the erection of a dome is most interesting. It is later than
our period strictly speaking. The solidity and the care for safety evidenced
by the handrails are hardly what might have been expected. By the way it is
put together it seems more like a permanent structure than temporary work.
The drawing of the apprentice bracket at Gloucester Cathedral was made by the
author himself, and may be compared with that published a good many years ago
in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum (Vol. xii, p. 59). It is supposed to commemorate
the death of the master's apprentice due to a fall from a scaffold. The
bracket has no apparent use, and in its outline takes the form of a square,
which in itself is a curious and perhaps significant fact.
BRO. D.E.W. WILLIAMSON, Nevada
And the land of the Giblites, and all Lebanon toward the sunrising. Joshua,
And Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders and the Gebalites did fashion
them. I Kings, v:18 (R. V.).
And Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders did hew them, and the stone-squarers.
I Kings, v:18 (A. V.).
The ancients of Gebal and the wise men thereof were in thee thy calkers.
THREE thousand Moslems answer the Muezzin's call to prayer today in the
decayed old town of Jebeil on the Syrian coast three thousand, of whom not one
knows that the broken columns in the vineyards and the ruins within the walls
tell of what was once regarded as the oldest inhabited spot on earth. This is
the Gebal of the Bible, the Gubla of the Assyrians, the Byblos of the Greeks,
whence the Gebalites came who aided King Solomon in building the temple at
Jerusalem, and long centuries before Solomon's time it was the KPNY of the
Egyptian inscriptions. (1) In later years it was regarded by all Phoenicia
with the same veneration that Moslems of modern times have for Mecca and until
well within the Christian era was visited by thousands. But among its natives
it remained Gebal or Gubla; and thirteen centuries after Christ, although in
the meantime it had been under the rule of Roman and Byzantine emperors,
Persians and Arabs and Turks, when the Crusaders captured it in 1103 they
found a city there still recognizable under the name of Giblet as the same
once visited in the dim past by Egyptians before the Pyramids were built.
Today, as Jebeil, it is but slightly altered in its sound.
Once this city-state, independent from its earliest existence, and governed by
its own prince, until Pompey seized it and beheaded Cinyras, the last of them,
was to have been the inheritance of the Israelites as part of the Promised
Land, for it is included in the account of "the land that yet remaineth" in
the Book of Joshua [xiii:5], but the Israelites stopped long before they
reached the sea and the next that is heard of the Gebalites (Giblim) is when
it is stated in 1 Kings v:18 that "Solomon's builders and Hiram's builders and
the Gebalites did fashion them (the heavy stones), and prepared the timber and
the stones to build the house." This is the wording of the Revised Version.
The King James's version says "stone-squarers" instead of Gebalites, the older
translaters having confused the word Gibli with one greatly resembling it,
which will be explained during the course of this article, but they took care
to make a marginal note in which they gave the alternative meaning "or
Giblites." The error is principally interesting to Masons because, owing
doubtless to the original misinterpretation in the Authorized Version of the
Bible and not understanding the marginal reference, those who devised one of
the advanced degrees in Freemasonry adopted Giblim (Giblem) as a significant
word. It is also interesting because it seems to have led to so eminent a
scholar as D. G. Hogarth's speaking, in the Encyclopedia Britannica, of these
people as being noted for stone-cutting and ship-building, when as a matter of
fact there is no ancient Egyptian, Babylonian or Hebrew authority for
imagining that they had anything whatever to do with stonecutting up to the
time of the temple or long after, if ever. They were shipbuilders and a
maritime people, and it is characteristic of the unchanging East that their
successors in the town, not improbably their very descendants, are still said
to find a livelihood in the sea.
GEBAL AND EGYPT
The maritime character of Gebal had been recognized for centuries, and it had
long been believed, from the importance of Byblos (Gebal, Gubla) in the Osiris
myth, that it was to this point that Snefru, last king of the third dynasty in
Egypt (about 2900 B.C.), sent forty ships as stated on the monuments. (2)
Egyptologists had agreed that in this or the following dynasty
Egyptians established themselves on the coast of Canaan and had a colony in a
port which was in maritime relation to the coast of Asia Minor. (3)
This belief was fully justified when in 1921 and following years, M. Montet,
the noted French archaeologist, found the remains of an Egyptian temple on a
site that appears to have been a sanctuary even before the first Egyptian
dynasty. The connection was kept up throughout the Old Kingdom until the
temple was badly damaged by fire in the time of Pepi I (2575 B. C.) and the
last traces are lost with Pepi II, who came to the throne in 2535 B. C. The
ships that were sent to Punt (supposedly the present Somali land) in the Old
Kingdom were called Byblos-ships, which Frankfort thinks may have been because
of their being built of wood from Lebanon, obtained at Byblos. (4) There seems
to have been a long period of centuries during which the tie between Byblos
and Egypt was forgotten; but at some time after the expulsion of the Hyksos
from Egypt, probably under the pharaohs of the eighteenth dynasty, it may be
deduced from the report of Wenamon, that the princes of Byblos again
recognized the supremacy of Egypt. Wenamon was sent by Hrihor, high priest of
Amon in the reign of the decadent Rameses XII [about 1100 B. C.], to obtain
cedar of Lebanon for the repair of the sacred barge of Amon at Thebes. He was
robbed of his money and credentials by a prince of the Thekel, one of the
Philistine tribes, and was subjected to many humiliations before obtaining his
timbers. He succeeded in his errand only by recalling to the King of Byblos
the manner in which that prince's ancestors had dealt with the Egyptian
pharaohs in the past and the greatness of the god Amon, which those ancestors
had admitted. Wenamon's account leaves the impression of Byblos as a great
marine city with a prince whose power was widely acknowledged, for when
wrecked in Cyprus and his vessel seized, he threatens the Cyprian queen that
should the crew be killed by her subjects the prince of Gebal will seize and
kill ten crews of hers. The effect of the threat is not known because the rest
of the papyrus is lost. (5) But Wenamon was not the only Egyptian to feel the
contempt of the Gebalite princes, as is indicated by the fact that forty years
before his time a body of envoys sent by the pharaoh to Byblos were detained
there until they all had died some seventeen years later.
Less than three hundred years prior to Wenamon's misadventures a very
different condition of affairs presents itself to the reader, for then a
prince of Gebal paid generous tribute to a ruler of Egypt who happened to be
that strange figure in ancient history, the arch heretic Akhenaton [1375-1358
B. C.], and despite all his pleading the Phoenician prince got nothing in
return. It is an especially interesting historical period because in the
Khabiri, who now appear as invading Syria and Palestine, overcoming old cities
and seizing upon territories, Egyptologists think they perceive the Aramaeans,
a Semitic people closely related to the Israelites; and some writers even go
so far as to see in them the Hebrews, themselves. There is certainly a close
similarity in the two names, for the first letter in the word Hebrew in the
original is "ayin," which has no English equivalent but which at that time
probably was a clearly enunciated aspirate, which may have made the name of
the Hebrews sound as if written Kibri. Be that as it may, in 1890 several
hundred clay tablets were found at Tell el Amarna on the Nile 190 miles above
Cairo and were brought to Sir Flinders Petrie. (6) On being deciphered they
turned out to be state documents, principally letters to the Egyptian ruler
Akhenaton, and to his father, from the kings of Babylon, Assyria and
elsewhere, and from the Egyptian governors in Syria, telling of the revolt in
progress in Syria against Egyptian rule. The advance of the Khabiri was
causing many of the Egyptian governors to desert to the new power.
one of these letters, Ribaddi, prince of Gebal and apparently Egyptian
governor general for Northern Phoenicia, opens the correspondence by telling
of the disastrous invasion of the Khabiri and complaining of the disloyalty of
a certain Abdashirtas. The latter writes asking that Ribaddi be superseded as
governor and protesting his own faithfulness. Zimridi, governor of Zisu,
writes that all the Egyptian cities except Sidon have been taken by the
Khabiri. Akhenaton does not appear to understand the situation for he tells
Ribaddi to send ships and protect the coast cities, but Ribaddi replies that
he cannot because now it is the Khatti (the once mysterious Hittites) who are
attacking and plundering his lieges, and in another letter he warns the
pharaoh that the Khabiri will soon have all the land unless troops are sent
and that Sidon has already gone over to the Mitanni and the Khatti. His
unanswered letters extend over five years, and tell of a tragedy in which
Gebal finally falls after Ribaddi has seen the people sell their children for
food to Yarimatu (which Petrie locates as Laodicea, the modern Latakia, famous
for its tobacco), has witnessed the sale of his own son and daughters and the
ruin of himself and his family. During his absence in Beirut, it is a
significant indication of the independence of the people of his city that they
address a letter in their own name, "the people of Gubla," to the pharaoh,
asking for succor. His own end is not known, but he was probably executed by
the Amizu. who took the town.
THE GODS OF GEBAL
Hundreds of years went by. In the nearby Palestine, David created a great
Jewish kingdom and the magnificent Solomon reigned after him, [building the
temple to which, probably as allies of Hiram of Tyre and Sidon, the Gebalites
sent construction experts. Then the Jewish kingdom was rent and ultimately
destroyed. But during all these years Gebal grew in wealth and importance,
especially as a great religious shrine. In its earliest years Gebal worshipped
a female goddess; this cannot be questioned, for Ribaddi in one of his letters
to Akhenaton says: "May the Goddess of Gebal give power to the King." The
stele of Jehawmelek, king of Gebal, found in the ruins of the town, shows that
the chief deity at or before this time was Ba'alit, the feminine form of a
city god (ba'al), and the strong probability is that this was one of the forms
of the Great Mother of the Gods, combining the attributes of Cybele and
Astarte (Ishtar), who was worshipped in all Mediterranean cities and
surrounding territories, and who was the chief goddess of those ancient cities
of Crete the ruins of which have been excavated by Evans. But even in the
earliest times there was associated with the Great Mother a male god of
subordinate importance, variously known as Attis, Atys, Tammuz and by the
Greeks as Adonis. In some way this originally subordinate deity became, in
course of time, the more important of the two at Gebal (which it may be
necessary again to say is the same as Byblos) and it is possible that there
may have been at least at first some association with the myth of Osiris, but
it is as Adonis that this male deity becomes the great god of Byblos. Close by
is the river Adonis (now Nahr al-Ibrahim), which in the spring of the year, at
the beginning of the rains, runs red (owing it is believed to the red earth
through which it flows in its course), and the people of Syria believed that
it was discolored by the blood of the god. His worship was widespread, even in
Judea, for it is Ezekiel who says:
Then he brought me to the door of the gate of the Lord's house toward the
north, and, behold, there sat women weeping for Tammuz. (7)
Tammuz was the real name of this god, it may be pointed out, and Adonis, his
Greek designation, is simply the Semitic Adonat, "lord," by which title he was
There is some Masonic interest in this worship of Adonis (Tammuz) at Byblos
because several writers on the mysteries of Masonry have thought that they saw
a close resemblance between the rites of the Syrian god at Gebal and those of
the Craft. Says Mackey:
There must evidently have been a very intimate connection between . . . the
workmen of the first temple and the inhabitants of Byblos, the seat of the
Adonisian mysteries. (8)
And he goes on:
The enquiring Mason will readily see the analogy of the symbolism that exists
between Adonis of the mysteries of the Gebalites at Byblos and Hiram the
Builder in his own institution.
Investigation, however, shows that the resemblance is meagre. According to one
version, Adonis was killed by a boar, according to another he killed himself.
Aphrodite mourned so much at his loss that the gods of the lower world (Hades)
permitted him to return to the face of the earth for six months every year,
the other six months to be spent with Persephone in Hades. The ceremonies are
baldly described by Maternus Julius Firmicus (346 A. D.), who in his De
erroribus profanarum religionum say that
a certain night while the ceremonies of the adonia lasted an image was laid
out on a bed and bewailed dolefully. After long lamentations light was brought
in; then the mouths of the mourners were annointed by the priest who
whispered: "Trust ye, holy ones, in your restored god, whose pains have
procured our salvation." Upon which their sorrow was turned to joy. (9)
The account given by Philo, a Hellenist writer of the first century of this
era, shows that the affair was not so quiet. In truth the ceremonies were
sexual orgies without any restraint. In The Golden Bough Fraser has given a
complete description of the rites in which it would be quite impossible to
detect the faintest similarity to any Masonic ceremony. (10) He bases his
account on Lucian's well-known Syrian Goddess.
GIBLIM AND STONE SQUARERS
How the translaters of King James's Version of the Bible happened to select
"stone-squarers" for Giblim is quite easily explained. First, they knew
nothing about Gebal, in all probability. The word, by the way, is regarded by
Hebraists as a possible corruption of the true sound, which it is likely was
as if written Gubb-la. Second, there is in Hebrew a word GBL, which means to
bound, to border (there are no vowels in the original Hebrew writings). So
they probably reasoned that the Hebrew WYGBLWM meant (as Thenius actually
renders it) "and they bordered them," which they would consider to mean
"bordered the stones," i. e. squared them, and therefore they were "stone-squarers."
In his German translation, Luther made no such error but gives the German
equivalent of the Hebrew as die Giblim. The Vulgate of Jerome says: Porto
Giblii praeparavant ligna et lapides, etc. Indeed, Jerome says in his version
that the masons (caementarii) of Solomon and of Hiram only hewed the stones.
"Then," as he puts it, "the Giblites prepared the timbers and stones." The
original translaters into Greek evidently decided that their Hebrew copy of
the original must mean something different from Gebalites, because they took a
Greek word of similar sound and wrote "kai ebalon" (and laid), making the
verse read: "And the sons of Solomon and the sons of Hiram hewed and laid
them" (referring to "the great and costly stones" of the previous verse in the
Greek version). The sense is not very clear in the original, anyone will be
candid enough to admit, but one thing is plain, which is that not on the
Egyptian monuments, not on the stele of Jehawmelek, not on any Phoenician
inscription, not in the Egyptian papyri and certainly not in the Tell el
Amarna letters, is there any reference to Gebal as the home of stone-cutters
and the record shows that the weight of authority is against so translating
the verse in Kings. And it is purely as shipbuilders that they are referred to
by Ezekiel in his twenty-seventh chapter.
(1) Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. XI, 308.
(2) Breasted "History of Egypt," 260, 115.
(3) Sayce, “Ancient Egypt" (magazine), 1923, p 98.
(4) Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, Vol. X, 80 87
(5) Breasted, "History of Egypt," 513 et seq.
(6) The Tell el Amarna letters have been translated in full by Hugo Winckler
and there is a useful summary by Sir Flinders Petrie published under the title
"Syria and Egypt," London, 1898.
(7) Ezekiel viii:14.
(8) Mackey's Revised Encyclopedia, Vol. II, p. 22, "Mysteries of Adonis."
(9) Quoted in Taylor's "Diegesis" and by Jastrow in "History of Religion."
(10) "The Golden Bough" (one volume edition), 335 et seq.
MEEKREN, Editor in Charge
Thiemeyer, Research Editor
I. CLEGG, Illinois
GILBERT W. DAYNES, England
H. DERN, Utah
CHARLES F. IRWIN, Pennsylvania
E. MORCOMBE, California
C. PARKER, New York
HUGO TATSCH, Iowa
M. WHITED, California
E. W WILLIAMSON Nevada
ANOTHER PLAN OF ACTION
the past few years THE BUILDER has undertaken to chronicle the progress of the
effort to secure hospitalization and home relief for tuberculous Freemasons,
and the story of this movement makes interesting reading.
its inception in 1921 in the Grand Lodge of Texas, up to the present time, it
has been a record of which. American Freemasonry cannot be proud, for it has
demonstrated the apparent impossibility of united action by American Grand
Lodges in any national program, no matter how worthy the purpose. There can be
no advantage in discussing the why and wherefore of this fact, but the fact
more than one quarter has come the suggestion that Freemasons, individually,
should undertake to do that which the Fraternity as an organization, or
organizations, cannot or will not do. Many precedents exist for such action.
Many bodies have been formed, and exist, through which Freemasons carry on
certain work, or seek recreation, because the Fraternity does not actually
meet these particular needs. Among such organizations the Shrine and the
Grotto will occur to everyone at once.
seems, therefore, that other and perhaps more serious-minded brethren can, if
they so desire, create an agency which may provide for the needs of worthy
brethren in distress, in addition to and supplementing the aid which may be
given by the Masonic Lodge, and we believe there are many brethren throughout
the United States who will gladly support a movement of this kind whose
primary object would be the relief of the sick and tuberculous Mason.
consideration of this problem we have learned that some Texas brethren have
anticipated us and over four years ago, despairing of securing united action
through official channels, formed an association of Freemasons for the relief
of the sick and needy, under the name of the Order of the Hospital of St.
John, with the special purpose of providing for the migratory tuberculous
brethren who seek the healing climate of the Southwest.
this association had had time to function in any large way, the Committee of
the Grand Lodge of New Mexico advised some of the Texas brethren of their
intention to secure a Charter for the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria
Association and through it to seek the active assistance of the Masonic bodies
of the United States in meeting the problem. The newly-formed Order determined
to "mark time" and await the result of the effort to be put forth by the Grand
Lodge of New Mexico through its incorporated tuberculosis sanatoria
the result of that effort readers of THE BUILDER are familiar, and nothing
further on that score need be said here. The Masonic Tuberculosis Association,
as an agency of the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, will renew the appeal to all
the Masonic bodies of the United States for financial assistance, without any
obligation or responsibility for management or continuous support for
tuberculosis relief work. Such support will be forthcoming to some extent, but
it is doubtful if it will be of sufficient volume to finance the building or
purchase of a hospital. The work will probably be limited to home relief and
hospitalization in existing institutions.
leaders in the organization above referred to have therefore determined that
the time has come to resume activity, and to renew the effort to enlist in
their ranks such Freemasons, and others, who may be in sympathy with the
movement to provide for the needs of the sick and afflicted among their
brethren and who wish to serve them actively as did the Samaritan of the
Scriptures. To all such the Order of the Hospital of St. John extends an
invitation to enlist for the service of humanity.
June issue of THE BUILDER will carry details of the plans and purposes of the
Order formed over four years ago and now entering upon a field of national
usefulness. We believe that the new Order of St. John will provide the avenue
or the agency through which those who are interested in the relief and
hospitalization of our sick and needy, especially our tubercular brethren, can
at last unite and render constructive service.
* * *
is a question that is very seldom explicitly brought up, and that possibly has
never been fully discussed in all its bearings, which seems rather curious
seeing how nearly it touches the interests of a large number of Masons. The
question is, what is proper to be published in a Masonic periodical?
thus in its simplest form it implies the further question, what subjects are
improper in such a publication? And also on what grounds is such propriety, or
lack of it, to be judged? It is when the last questions are asked that
uncertainties begin to arise, for it is probable that most would think the
answer to the question in its primary form too simple and obvious to need any
consideration. Almost any Mason would be ready to give an answer as to what
should be done in any given case, but would hardly know what to say if pressed
for reasons, or at least for general rules on which his reasons could be
Historically there has always existed an element in the Craft averse to any
publication at all of things referring to Masonry. Even the printing of the
Constitutions seems to have been regarded in 1723 as a dangerous innovation,
coming close to a violation of the Landmarks. In many countries there is
strong objection to the publication of any information about lodges or their
membership, excepting only in official proceedings and the like, and in many
jurisdictions this is a matter of definite regulation, with serious penalties
for any infringement of the rule. There has been, however, a steady evolution
in this matter and probably those who object in principle to the printing of
Masonic books and journals are now in a very small minority.
objection of such ultra-Conservatives must command our respect, though
obviously we can hardly agree with them. Their position is based on tradition,
and in an organization that is so essentially traditional as Freemasonry the
conservative has always a right to be heard. But every organization that is
alive, like every living organism, must adapt itself to changes in its
environment. While we must hold to our traditions, we must also modify them
where it becomes necessary to do so for the greater benefit of the
organization. It is needless here to point out how greatly traditions have
been modified in the last two hundred years, but the change, and all it
implies, from an operative to a purely speculative fraternity is enough to
show what is meant. In the face of this transformation the partial lifting of
the veil of utter reserve and secrecy that is involved in the publication of
Masonic books and magazines is but a trifling matter. In any case it has been
demonstrated by experience, that not only has no harm been done to the Craft
by such publicity, but many and great advantages and benefits have resulted
therefrom. Few, if any, would seriously advocate the forbidding of all such
publication by Grand Lodge action.
Granting then that Masonic publications, whether books or periodicals, are
legitimate and proper we come to the question with which we started, what
reserves are to be made in their content, for some reserves there must be.
There seems little doubt that many Masons would be inclined to take for
granted that the same rule applies to a Masonic magazine in the choice of
subjects as is laid down in all our Constitutions in regard to matters
discussed in the tiled precincts of a lodge. It is a most natural thing to
carry these inhibitions over from the one to the other, but a very little
reflection will show that there is no real parallel. One difference is
apparent on the most casual consideration, and that is that certain things are
freely spoken of in lodge that cannot possibly be put into writing, let alone
into print. If the analogy is incomplete in such important matters as this it
would seem to have broken down altogether, for after all it is only an
analogy. With some very few exceptions in the more conservative jurisdictions,
there is no attempt made whatever, either by official supervision or by
regulation, to exercise control in the matter. There is just one reserve that
necessarily applies to every Masonic writer or publicist, just as it does to
every Mason in his everyday dealings and conversation, and that is the
obligation to avoid any revelation of Masonic secrets.
granting that there is no law of general application regarding the matter, is
there any recognized convention or rule of propriety by which we may judge
what is fitting and what is not? And even where some form of official
censorship exists, by what standards should those, on whom the duty falls to
give or withhold permission, make their decisions? The more closely we look
for something of this sort the more difficult it is to answer the question.
Naturally a Masonic magazine, like all class or specialized periodicals, tends
to restrict itself to certain subjects. But this is only a particular instance
of the general law governing all journals that in order to exist they must
publish what interests their readers. One does not look for material of a
purely literary interest in a trade journal, for instance. In an engineering
periodical, or a medical one, we expect articles on professional subjects.
Engineers and physicians as individuals have, like everyone else, diverse
interests of a general character outside their profession but they read their
professional journals only for information on the common interests of their
occupation, and go elsewhere for other matters. Every periodical tends in some
degree to specialization; even those of a general literary character so select
their material that readers soon know the kind of articles or stories they may
expect. It is the same, naturally, with Masonic publications, which may
properly be put in the category of specialist or professional literature. That
is to say, Masonic magazines may naturally be expected to confine themselves
solely to matters connected with Masonry. And having said this it might seem
that the question has been answered.
the answer more than a verbal one? Has more been done than simply to put the
question in different phraseology? What are the matters connected with
Masonry? A trade or professional journal is usually very highly specialized,
and the limits of its field of interests quite distinctly marked. Are there
any such clear delimitations in respect to our own subject? Freemasonry can
hardly be said to be specialized in this sense. It touches the life and
intellectual interest of the members of the Fraternity on all sides. To
mention just a few subjects that have a real or adventitious connection with
it - Architecture, Mathematics, Ethics, Philosophy, Anthropology, History,
Occultism and Comparative Religion. In fact it seems to open up avenues into
every serious interest of human life.
Naturally such subjects are treated from the standpoint of the Craft as a
speculative system, if not explicitly at least implicitly. Those who write as
Masons for Masons may be expected to keep within hail even if they leave the
strict limits of Masonry - supposing such limits exist, which is at least
questionable. So that this restriction seems to be one of treatment rather
than one of subject. And that is a subjective rather than an objective
further question arises: are there any special restrictions on a periodical
especially devoted to Masonic research which do not apply in other cases?
There seems to be some misapprehension about this, natural enough in the
circumstances. The great majority of Masonic students and authors have been
concerned especially with the history of the Craft, and thus Masonic research
has come to be almost synonymous with Masonic history, illogical as this
really is. In fact any subject that has any connection with Freemasonry is a
possible subject for research.
all a matter of treatment. As has been said there are few major subjects that
have not some aspect that is of Masonic interest. Everywhere there are
mistakes and errors to be corrected, new connecting links to be noted,
principles to be established and different opinions to be discussed. And this
equally on the practical side as on the purely speculative. Only one kind of
thing in general may seem inappropriate in a research periodical, what is
rather indefinitely included under the head of "news." Yet even news, when it
is important and of general interest, cannot be wholly excluded, for the news
of today is the history of tomorrow.
it would seem that no restrictions can be made before hand, and that the
governing principle is not limitation of subject but the method of approach.
Masonic Research; What Is It?
is very unfortunate that popular usage has made it necessary to refer to the
acquiring of Masonic knowledge as Research or Study. To the average person
both of these words have connotations which are, to say the least, unpleasant.
There is nothing more natural than for us to associate study with school, and
research has come to have a meaning which is even deeper than mere study. In
other words the individual Mason has come to think that in order to learn
something about his Fraternity he has to return to his school days, that he
must almost begin with the three R's again. The National Masonic Research
Society has doubtless had its part in the development of the terms mentioned.
It has always been our practice to refer to Masonic Research, Masonic Study,
Text Books, and in fact to use many other terms which are associated with
formal study, or words which have little use aside from purely educational
fields. Equally unfortunate is the fact that there seem to be no other words
which will convey the meaning it is desired to express to the average Mason.
The situation is very much like that in which the philosopher finds himself.
He is limited in his use of words to those which are in the language.
Occasionally such a man will coin a word of his own, but generally the
practice is to use a word which is understood by everyone and to assign a
meaning to it which fits in with the author's own idea of things. It is often
necessary to consume pages with such definitions. One of the most difficult
tasks in writing is to make some abstract quality sufficiently concrete for
the general reader to grasp the meaning. The writer may have a conception of
the term in mind, but may be at a loss as to how to put that particular idea
on paper in an understandable way. This is the precise situation in which we
find ourselves when we come to discuss Masonic education. There is no doubt
but that when we mention Masonic Study and Research we do mean the acquiring
of a Masonic education. That naturally sounds like the statement of a
professor offering a new course of study. Really that is precisely what we are
doing, but it is the desire and ambition of the Society, and many of those
interested in Masonic study to make it an informal course, to make it both
interesting and entertaining, and above all to divorce the idea from that of
going to school. Something of what we are trying to accomplish and the way in
which it may be done will be indicated as we proceed. In this way we hope to
show that we are really using two terms which have one connotation in general
usage and quite another when applied to Masonry.
the first place research does not necessarily mean the delving into the nooks,
crannies and out of the way places. That is, of course, what is meant when we
refer to scientific research. If we speak of a man doing research work in
physics, chemistry or any of the sciences, we naturally think of him as having
acquired all of the fundamental knowledge necessary, and having attained that
perfection in his work which enables him to endeavor to travel a bit farther
along than any other man has done. It is precisely that idea of working on the
outskirts of knowledge that makes the difference between Masonic research and
other research. In the one instance the scientist is attempting to deal with
the things outside the realm of all human knowledge. But, in another sense,
from the very first day he began to study his subject, he was doing research
work. He was working along the borders of his own knowledge, gradually
broadening his field, and consequently extending the borders of his own
knowledge until in his field his knowledge equalled that of other people. He
then found himself at a point where books were of no real assistance to him,
and he had to figure things out for himself, because no one had previously
covered exactly the same ground.
You would not think of beginning the study of chemistry with technical works
on radio-activity. You would naturally look for some popular, but authentic
work dealing with the fundamentals of the subject. Let us look at Masonry in
the same light. There is no more reason for the seeker after Masonic knowledge
looking for his elementary training in such works as Mackey and Gould's
Histories, or A.Q.C., than there is for the chemical novice beginning with the
study of atoms and electrons. I think it likely that there never was a man who
passed through the Masonic Initiation who did not find some question raised by
the ritual that he would like to have answered. The ritual is the foundation,
the basis, upon which the whole fabric of the Masonic Fraternity is erected.
Does not that seem to indicate a logical place for a beginning?'
If, then, we should begin with the ritual, how are we to make the start? The
logical place to enter into any field is through the gate. If you were going
into a pasture you would not try to climb the fence, unless that seemed the
easiest way to get in. Even though it did seem easier than walking a little
distance to the gate you might find obstacles in the form of barbed wire and
torn clothing which would have made it easier in the long run to have gone to
a little more trouble at first and found the entrance. The Masonic ritual is
just like a fenced pasture. It has a gate, and it has a fence; in other words,
you have two methods of approaching it. You may endeavor to ascertain its
meaning, or you may seek for its origin. It depends largely upon where your
interests lie which method you follow. It seems to me, however, that the gate
to the study of Masonic ritual is its meaning; the origin must, therefore, be
the fence. If you step immediately onto the first rail of the fence, you are
likely to come away with badly cut hands or torn clothing. It is full of
obstacles which will discourage your entering through that means. Frankly, we
know very little about the history of the Masonic ritual except in a very
general way. You will constantly be running up against blank walls, down blind
alleys, and you will find that with all of your effort you do not cover any
great distance. Returning again to the pasture simile, you have learned that
what seemed the shortest path to your objective has been the most difficult
Suppose now that you walk down the road to the gate and take the smoother way.
You are anxious to learn something of the meaning of the ceremony.
Incidentally it may be stated that this is the field of inquiry which becomes
apparent to by far the larger majority of Masons. There have been more books
of a popular nature treating this phase of Masonic Study than in any other.
Most of them are written in such a way that the ordinary individual can read
them and thoroughly enjoy their contents. This seems, then, the best place for
a beginning. It is very foolish to start the study of anything with the dryer
aspects of the subject. If we begin with the more interesting phases we
naturally stimulate a desire for knowledge which will make the more technical
reading interesting, if not actually fascinating.
This is where general Masonic study differs from ordinary school work. We
begin where we actually want to begin, we learn those things we want to know,
and we gain our pleasure through a feeling of satisfaction that we have
acquired something we really wanted to have.
is not, precisely speaking, a satisfaction; it is more of a stimulation. The
satisfying of our elementary wants leads us to other thoughts. We are anxious
to know more about this, or that, phase of our subject. Then begins the most
enjoyable part of research work. When this stage is reached you have a hobby,
now the only thing left to do is to ride it. Carry it along with you, live
with it, think about it, read about it. you won't find it hard work, but you
will find a welcome relaxation from the routine of the day, and even more than
that, you will find yourself delving into subjects that you may have ridiculed
in the past, and doing it from pure enjoyment. I can recall very well one
experience of my own. When I first started reading about Masonry I ridiculed
the men who searched through musty volumes trying to ascertain whether the
letter "a" or the word "or" was used in a certain place, and then erecting an
argument upon the result. It seemed a tedious proposition, the kind of thing
that would never interest one, though the result did have more than passing
interest after someone else had done the work. It was not more than a year or
two later that I found myself spending hours poring over Anderson's First and
Second Constitutions with precisely the same object in view. Not, of course,
looking for just those words, but at any rate trying to learn whether Anderson
had used the same terms in his second edition as he did in the first. was it
tedious? Not a bit of it. It was a fascinating job. I had an object in view,
and that was the only way in which the object could be attained. The incentive
was present and with sufficient motive no task is too routine to be pleasant.
You may say, that is all right in your ease, but it wouldn't fit mine. But it
does fit yours. You are doing that very thing every day of your life, if you
will only think about it for a few minutes. You go to your office every
morning to do precisely the things that you did yesterday, or the day before,
or the week earlier, and to do them in exactly the same way that you have been
doing them for months and years, perhaps. They are routine matters to you. All
business problems fall into certain categories, and every problem in a given
class is treated in the same way. I should venture the opinion that 95 per
cent of the work done by the average business man is routine, the kind of work
that is mechanical with him, and he does it only because there is an incentive
for him to go on. He wants to live, perhaps to make someone else happy, to
keep his home intact, or any one of a thousand things you might think of.
it is with Masonic research. Things will always reduce themselves to a routine
sooner or later. It cannot be helped. The routine of Masonic study and
research is one of the most fascinating I have yet encountered. It is
furnishing interest and enjoyment to thousands, perhaps even hundreds of
thousands of men. If it is interesting to them why should it not be
interesting to you? Are you missing something that will help you enjoy life
more intensely than you have in the past? There can be no harm in making an
investigation and you may find that there is something in it that will prove
to be of great value to you in many ways.
A MASONIC KINDERGARTEN
The following letter is
from an enthusiastic and resourceful brother in Toledo, Ohio. He has succeeded
in working out in detail the general principle that we always insist upon when
our advice is asked regarding the formation of a Study Club or like
organization: that to be really successful everyone belonging to it must be
put to work, and be given his share in the enlightenment of the brethren.
It is really much more
difficult for a Director to accomplish this than it is for him to arrange for
a series of talks or lectures, and too often the line of least resistance is
followed, with the result so graphically described by Bro. Devine.
It is of course difficult
at a distance to gauge the circumstances of a projected Study Club, with the
result that we perforce have to confine ourselves to generalities in a great
many cases. And besides it is a rather delicate matter to suggest that the
brothers concerned know so little of Masonry that they should start in the
Kindergarten class. It is for them to recognize the fact, and for those who
do, Bro. Devine's plan, with modifications to fit special circumstances, will
prove exactly, what they are looking for.
I have something to tell
you that I think will please and interest you. I would have told you of it
long ago, but wanted to feel sure of the success of the venture, its benefits,
its permanency, and its general results before reporting outside the circle of
the lodge. Here is the story:
Lotus Lodge, No. 625,
Toledo, Ohio, is conducting a Masonic Study Club, and, so successfully, too,
that its progress is attracting the attention of the other Toledo lodges, and
the system adopted bids fair to be copied by them and (if you will pardon me)
may eventually be the plan which will be used in every lodge in the country. I
say this only because the plan is so simple of operation, and yet so effective
that it takes hold immediately - spontaneously one might say - and leaves the
students hungry for information and busy thinking and studying, in my opinion,
forever after, for once having taken hold they cannot let go.
Having read of all your
suggestions in THE BUILDER for organizing Study Clubs, and having heard from
brothers here who are well informed in Masonic symbolism, etc., and yet
knowing of no such clubs operating successfully, except for a short period, I
came to the conclusion that there might have been too much teaching and not
enough studying - too much lecturing and perhaps too heavy material - too much
one-man study, and the others listening – forgetting - and fading out of the
picture. One brother attains a record of being well versed in Masonry - the
others give up hope of ever learning very much; the class disbands and nothing
of a permanent value is accomplished.
How to overcome this was
the problem, and now I am submitting the plan for your opinion on how near we
may be arriving at the solution, giving you as a criterion the results of the
Lotus Study Club.
Simplicity is the
keynote. Fearing that too elaborate a plan to begin with might mean a short
life, then death, I proposed the following, which being accepted we proceeded
to function accordingly.
What it may develop into
as to officers, dues, etc., the future will determine. To get started, to keep
going, to interest, to instruct, to stimulate that interest, to have the class
do the research work, to head them toward the Light, to keep them moving, ever
seeking - this was the desired object, and now here is what has been done in
We meet on regular
meeting nights after business, going into session about 9 p. m.
First Meeting, Feb. 10.
No Teacher. A Director; T. C. Devine.
Present, twelve members,
all with a sort of a let's-see-what-it's-all-about look, not sure of
themselves. This look soon vanished.
Short talk by Director on
Object and Purpose.
Object. To improve myself
To further seek the Light
To learn the meaning of
Masonic symbols, allegory and metaphor.
To learn more about the
work, of the phraseology of the ritual and so on.
Purpose. First, to study
and learn all I can.
Second, to be able to
arise on my feet and explain what I know briefly and intelligently.
Third, to increase my
Five words are given to
look up and to use.
It was impressed on their
minds that no one can speak in public or even converse intelligently without
knowing his subject, and the subject here is Masonry.
There followed a series
of questions. Not to be answered, however, but simply to arouse interest. No
embarrassing questions, no trick questions, no difficult questions. The
purpose is to simplify.
The Director in his talk
asks concerning the First, Second and Third Degrees, from the time of Entrance
into the Lodge until the end; the Points of Entrance, the Cable Tow,
Circumambulation, Divesting, etc., and inserts a constant, "Why?"
Everyone present has one
of these symbols assigned to him to look up, and is told that at the next
meeting he will be called upon to rise to his feet and talk three minutes on
his subject. (Bear in mind that with one or two exceptions these are brothers
who never talked before an audience in their lives, Rough Stones to be made
into Perfect Ashlars.)
The Director then reads a
carefully selected, short article on Symbolism, perhaps a short poem
illustrative of the meaning Of allegory and metaphor. The Director then gives
them a Jewel (at every meeting) to take home with them - a Jewel that cannot
be lost, bought, sold or stolen. They wonder now what sort of a Jewel this is.
The Director then requests them all to rise to their feet, and now a carefully
selected Jewel - from a bound volume of THE BUILDER - of about six or eight
lines, is first read to them, then they are asked to repeat after the leader,
after which he drops out and they recite alone.
The Jewel. Memorized by
We are all like children
playing on the seashore, picking up here a pebble and there a stone, with the
whole ocean of truth unexplored before us. - Sir Isaac Newton.
A few minutes explaining
the meaning of this, the necessity of gathering information from authentic
sources, the proper authorities to seek for data. Then, Goodnight.
So, for the first
meeting. I shall conclude here, and at the risk of fatiguing you continue with
subsequent meetings in another letter, giving subjects assigned, response and
experience to date.
Thos. C. Devine.
THE PENALTY OF THE THIRD DEGREE
the first meeting of our Masonic Study Club one of the brothers propounded a
question that we are unable to answer so I am taking the same up with you and
would thank you for any information you can give us on the subject. The
following is the question: The third ruffian, being a Fellowcraft, described
the penalty of the Master Mason's Degree. How did he know it? M. D. R.,
This question is one that is continually being raised. It would almost seem
that it has been asked at some time or other in every Study Club that has been
organized since the Study Club movement began. For this reason we are going to
try to, show, as clearly as is permissible, how it can be answered. It will be
necessary of course to do this with reserve, and brethren interested will have
to interpret what is said in the light of their own knowledge.
the first place the three degrees give us a story in broken installments, a
good deal of which comes out incidentally and by implication. The story is
that of the instituting of Freemasonry at the building of the Temple.
serious student now takes this story as literally true, but whether regarded
as history or as allegory it is natural that we should demand consistency in
it, that its details should be coherent. The particular point that is raised
in the question is only inconsistent when we confuse the issue and forget what
it is that is being done. Or more plainly it is due to lack of imagination. It
is something as if in a theater watching a Shakespearean drama we held the
apparition of a negro boy in a semi-military uniform offering peanuts and
popcorn (or the more aristocratic chocolate and cigarettes) to be an
inconsistency in the plot of the play.
will briefly touch on the chief points in this story so far as that is
allowable. Its framework comes from the accounts in the Old Testament and
Josephus. We learn that Solomon resolved to build the Temple his father,
David, had projected. He obtained from the King of Tyre materials and skilled
workmen, including an architect and master craftsmen who took charge of the
whole work. At the same time a levy of the tribes of Israel was raised to
supply the labor necessary. These "bearers of burdens" are equated with the
Entered Apprentices, and this really is a grave discrepancy, though not often
noticed. Perhaps we can resolve it by assuming that the most eatable of these
laborers were taught the art of masonry, and became in due time Fellowcrafts.
These two grades we are told were organized, and the organization thus adopted
became later the first and second degrees of Freemasonry. But the story as we
have it goes further than this. It is implied that the architect and the two
kings formed a master's grade, which they only possessed, but which they
promised as a reward to all faithful and diligent craftsmen when the temple
was completed. Of course the three Masters could not be supposed to supervise
every detail of the work, so we are rather obscurely told of a superior class
of craftsmen who acted as foremen or overseers, but it is perfectly clear that
these officials were not Master Masons.
Now the story goes on to tell us that owing to an unexpected and tragic
occurrence the secrets of the Master Mason's Degree were lost, and it became
impossible to carry out the promise that had been made to the craftsmen. The
chief secret of this degree was the Word, and perhaps the stress that is laid
upon this has helped to obscure the fact that not only was the Master's Word
lost, and the other secrets, but also everything else that went with them,
including the ritual and obligations of the rank or degree, whatever we may
suppose them to have been. The proof that this is so, even though it is not
definitely stated, is that the substitute ritual deals with matters that had
not happened when the real one was framed, as we suppose, by Solomon and the
two Hirams in conference. Furthermore these things, the memory of which is
supposed to be perpetuated, were not secret. Had there been newspapers at the
period, they would have been front page stuff with some headlines. They would
be known to the workmen, and to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, women and
children as well as men. There are certain things said to have happened that
we must imagine were kept from general knowledge, but the greater part of what
occurred must have been public in the nature of the ease.
The misunderstanding arises when we confuse two points of view. Actually the
drama is a ceremony being performed in a tiled lodge of Master Masons. But we
must not carry this objective fact into the story, any more than we inject the
peanut and candy boy into the plot of Hamlet. From the point of view of the
story the lodge room, like a stage, represents at different times the Temple,
the country about Jerusalem, even to Joppa, and King Solomon's council
chamber. At no time is it supposed to be a lodge of Masons till the very end,
when we may suppose that King Solomon instituted a substitute master's degree
at the raising of H. A. Certainly up to this point there is no question of a
Master's lodge, for such a thing was, according to our story, non-existent.
There were only two Masters living, while it required three at least to form a
When all these considerations are kept in mind it becomes clear that in the
incident referred to in the question there is no inconsistency, for the
Master's Degree as we know it, the substitute degree, was not then in
existence. What the real one was we are naturally not bold. We must therefore
interpret the history that the character referred to invoked this particular
penalty because he thought the others that had been mentioned were inadequate;
and that afterwards Solomon agreed with him in this and adopted it as a
sanction for the obligation of the new Master's Degree, just as he did various
casual signs made by certain brethren on another occasion.
These considerations are all strictly confined to the internal consistency of
the story or drama taken by itself and on its own grounds. There is besides
this the strictly historical aspect. Reverting to the analogy of the theater,
we have already distinguished the stage and the auditorium, now we have the
point of view of the literary critic, the discussion of the play itself, and
how the author came to write it or if he really did write it and not someone
else under his name. From the historical point of view we ask how did our
present ritual come to develop out of the ceremonies in use in 1730, which
were very different in their details? And confining ourselves to the question
of the penalties, we may say that it would appear that at the time the first
grand Lodge was formed there were none included in the obligation. At that
time it appears that there were only two degrees, and it is not certain that
there was any special form of oath administered in the second or superior one,
which was, by the way, equivalent to Master Mason and not Fellowcraft. But
though the penalty was not mentioned in the obligation it was known that there
was a traditional punishment inflicted on any Mason who broke it, and this
punishment seems to have combined the Penalties now distributed among our
books reviewed in these pages can be procured through the Book Department of
the N.M.R.S. at the prices given, which always include postage. These prices
are subject (as a matter of precaution) to change without notice; though
occasion for this will very seldom arise. Occasionally it may happen, where
books are privately printed, that there is no supply available, but some
indication of this will be given in the review. The Book Department is
equipped to procure any books in print on any subject, and will make inquiries
for second-hand works and books out of print.
ARCHITECT IN HISTORY. By Martin S. Briggs. Published by the Oxford University
Press. Cloth, table of contents, list of illustrations, index, 400 pages.
exceedingly interesting account of a subject about which there is a very great
deal of ignorance and misapprehension. The book gives in small compass what is
known of the status of the architect in the ancient world, with chapters on
those of Greece and Rome respectively. This is followed by one on the Middle
Ages. When the author comes to the Renaissance he limits himself to Italy,
France and England, and for modern times to England only, This procedure being
the necessary result of the fact that to treat the subject fully in every
civilized country would require a series of volumes.
a book that the layman can fully appreciate and should be read by all Masonic
students interested in the pre-history of the Fraternity. The work is
discussed fully at page 139.
* * *
ROMANCE OF REALITY - The Beauties and Mysteries of Modern Science. By Beverly
L. Clarke. Published by Macmillan & Co. Illustrated. 252 pages. Price, $2.40.
is a charming book. It is an exposition for the benefit of the general reader
of the fundamentals of modern science. It makes at least partially
comprehensible for the great mass of people who have neither time nor
opportunity for study of the deeper things of physics and chemistry some of
the mysteries of electrons, atoms, energy, beat, light, electricity,
magnetism, radio, and even that inscrutable puzzle to the ordinary man, the
theory of relativity. The author shows a sense of humor in giving commonplace
similes and comparisons that is entertaining as well as instructive. The book
will not make scientists, and it was not so intended, but it is one of the
very best we have seen to serve the purpose of the author, which was to add to
the sum total of general culture in a small way, and everybody who can get it
should read it.
* * *
FREEMASONRY AT A GLANCE. Answers to 555 Questions. By Reynold E. Blight.
Published by the Masonic Digest. Cloth, index, 67 pages.
think that this convenient little handbook will have to be added to the list
of works of reference that every Study Club should have. It is based on the
author's experience with the work of Masonic Education of the Grand Lodge of
California, and it will meet a real need.
Blight modestly disclaims any pretensions to scholarship, but after all it
requires a good many of the qualities of scholarship to select the material
for a compilation of this kind. And even though the "character of the work
makes unavoidable a seeming dogmatic finality to many of the answers" this is
necessary in the first stages of acquiring knowledge of any subject. It is not
until the student has acquired some elementary knowledge of the subject,
whether Masonry or Mathematics, or History or Chemistry, that he can safely
begin to exercise his own judgment, and criticize the first steps along which
he was led by dogmatic authority.
Certain of the answers we are inclined to think might be amended with
advantage, and we offer the following criticisms rather as suggestions for the
preparation of a second edition, which, if the work meets the response it
deserves, will probably be needed.
not familiar with the California ritual, but for general use, it would seem
more appropriate to put the reference to Ecclesiastes in Q. 40 under the third
degree instead of the first, and Q. 94 which refers to the "Theological
Ladder" in the first instead of the second, though in each case this
arrangement may be correct for California.
54 the French phrase Dien me garde is said to be the origin of the term
Due-guard. An article by Bro. Atchison in THE BUILDER for January, 1922,
supported this derivation, but there is a much simpler and more direct
explanation. In English and Continental ritual forms the brethren "come to
order" at certain times in the proceedings. In some 18th century rituals this
posture is called "the guard" which gives a perfectly straightforward meaning.
The "due guard" would thus be the "guard" proper for that occasion or degree.
It might be added that the use of the word "hele" for covering, roofing,
thatching still persists in English dialect.
111. It is the opinion of a good many students, among them apparently the late
R. F. Gould, that the essentials of the third degree existed as a separate
grade with its own ceremonies, from "time immemorial."
116. It might be added that these Regulations first appeared in the Book of
Constitutions published by Dr. Anderson in 1723.
127. It might be better to modify the statement to "it is said that the
Hebrews always planted Acacia on their graves," for in truth it is very
doubtful if such a custom really existed.
134. In regard to the Beehive as a Masonic emblem Bro. Bullamore in A.Q.C.,
Vol. XXXVI has shown that it was current long before the date of the schism of
the Ancients and Moderns. It was very common in European Masonic designs. The
earliest definite date is on a medal from Brunswick bearing date of 1744, but
it was undoubtedly used before that.
239. Though it was said by his enemies that Cagliostro's real name was Balsamo
it is at least doubtful if this was true.
and 265. In view of Bro. Williamson's recent criticism of the myth of the
Dionysiac Artificers in THE BUILDER it would seem better to recast these
267. It would be more correct to say "What were the Collegia?" or better still
"What were the Collegia Fabrorum?For "Collegium" had as general a meaning in
Latin usage as "society" or "association" has with us. There were "collegia"
of all kinds of people, from the mutual benefit and burial societies of slaves
up to the colleges of the augurs and pontiffs.
268. It might be added that some competent authorities hold that the word
"Comacine" is really a form of "Commacine" or "Commacon," that is, associate
or fellow mason.
280. This is the extreme iconoclastic view of such students as Murray Lyon. It
does not really seem probable, in view of all the evidence, that the form of
"making a Mason" was ever normally merely the communication of a word and
280. While the statement is perfectly true, still the minutes of Mary's Chapel
are antedated by those of the defunct Lodge of Atcheson's Haven.
280. The best authorities are all inclined to agree that Ramsay had nothing
whatever to do with revising the ritual or inventing new degrees, though the
references to the Crusades and Chivalric Orders in his famous oration may
possibly have given others the idea from which some of the new grades were
296. There is an obvious misprint in the name of Sayer, the first Grand Master
310. The "Moderns" had used that term for themselves long before the Grand
Lodge of "Ancients" was formed, and it was not until Dermott began to use it
against them that they objected to it.
402. The reviewer must confess complete ignorance as to the claim that is made
for George Wither as the first Masonic poet. It seems very dubious on general
grounds. He would he inclined to say that Matthew Birkhead, the putative
author of the Entered Apprentice's Song, had a more plausible claim. If poems
with metaphors or figures drawn from the building craft are to be taken as
evidence instances could be found much earlier than the sixteenth century.
406 and 408 might well be consolidated or at least put in consecutive order.
429. It would be more accurate to say that Lord Kitchener was Provincial Grand
Master of the Punjab, there being no independent Grand Lodges in India.
530. While it has been suggested that the Broached Thurnal was a tool, Bro.
Dring has proved practically beyond question that it is derived from Orrial or
Urnal, a kind of free stone once in demand for fine work.
543. This conception of the status of the "Mason's Dame" seems to be drawn
from the Modern Operatives or so-called "Gild Masons." Where the term is used
in the old MS. Constitutions it undoubtedly refers to the Master Mason's wife,
whom the Apprentice, being an inmate of his Master's household, was bound to
respect and obey. It was purely a practical regulation and had nothing
whatever to do with the "lodge."
list of suggestions may seem rather formidable, but really it is less than
four per cent of the total number of questions that they affect. This speaks
very well for the care that has been exercised in the compilation; and in
almost every case the opinion expressed is widely accepted or at least has the
support of some authority, and it is not impossible that the reviewer may be
are one or two misprints which undoubtedly have already been detected by the
author, in the annoying way misprints have of seizing attention after it is
too late to correct them.
* * *
ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH IN THE MODERN STATE. By Charles C. Marshall. Published
by Dodd, Mead & Co. Cloth, table of contents, appendices, bibliography, 339
people will recall the correspondence published in The Atlantic Monthly last
year between Mr. Marshall and the Hon. Alfred E. Smith, an encounter that must
have struck all thinking readers as only a preliminary skirmish. Mr. Marshall
has now deployed his main forces and heavy artillery - to continue the
Perhaps this may suggest a wrong impression - it is not a heavy book; in spite
of the fact that the work is a very complete setting forth of the evidence,
with argument thereupon, it is clearly and interestingly written, and will
hold the attention of the reader from first to last, no matter on which side
of the controversy he may be aligned. Though there is the mark on every page
of the highly trained legal mind, the author has nevertheless succeeded in
presenting his case in such a way that every intelligent reader can follow it
without difficulty. It impresses one, in fact, not so much as the argument of
counsel but more as the impartial summing up of a judge, although, of course,
the work is in a sense ex parte, being professedly the presentation of the
complete and final irreconcilability of the claims of the papacy with the
modern idea of the state. The tone of the argument is beyond reproach in
respect to form; Mr. Marshall treats the Roman Church, its authorities and
defenders, with a constant courtesy and consideration that the reviewer is
inclined to suspect will irritate many of those on the other side even more
than would the bitterness and invective which once disfigured religious and
theological disputes, and which is not entirely unknown at the present time.
This tone is, however, only the natural result of the author's own position as
a member of a church that has always contested the exclusive claim of Rome to
Catholicity. To him, therefore, the Roman Church is Catholic, and the Pope is,
by historical claim, the patriarch of the west, and the schism between the
churches in communion with him on the one hand and the Eastern churches, the
Anglican Communion and, we may add, the Old Catholics on the other, is to be
admission, however suspicious of it ultra-Protestants may be, is the
traditional attitude of the episcopal churches not in communion with Rome, and
has in it nothing of weakness or of concession based on expediency. As is
demonstrated in the book itself, the claims of the papacy form the barrier, a
seemingly impassable one, that separates the Roman Church from the rest of
must not be supposed that there is any discussion of the theological aspects
of the situation, or even any direct argument concerning the validity of the
papal position. Mr. Marshall confines himself consistently and steadily to the
single purpose in view - adumbrated in his Open Letter last year - which is,
to set forth clearly just what the position is, what is claimed by and for the
Pope, and the impossibility of reconciling those claims with the very nature
and idea of the modern democratic state, with especial reference, naturally,
to the Constitution and fundamental principles of the United States of North
America. Probably this is best described in the author's own words. He
. . .
profound veneration for the religion of the Catholic Church, Greek, Roman and
Anglican, East and West, excepting insofar as it asserts a church sovereignty
by divine right as an article of faith or unites itself to the secular State
as the religion by law established,
then he says that the purpose of his work is to
. . .
present the situation between the Church of Rome and the modern State, not
from the viewpoint of any religious or sectarian prepossessions but from that
of the disinterested observer.
as a presentation of this kind is humanly possible one who is not at heart
indifferent to the matter in dispute it would seem that Mr. Marshall has
succeeded in what he set out to do. He takes the theory and principles
embodied by the Constitution of the United States as representing the "modern
State,” and the actual government of the country as a very close approximation
to it. This theory is in a nutshell that of government based on the consent of
the governed. Mr. Marshall does not think that the "modern State," regarded as
an ideal, has yet been embodied in any existing political unit, in which
opinion all intelligent observers will agree with him, and be apparently
desiderates "a further development of both the Church of Rome and the secular
state" to bring about "a synthesis that shall give to the world Christianity
and Democracy in a noble equilibrium." A desire (it can hardly be a hope, at
least not in any predictable future) in which all could agree as a formula had
it been said, "the Church and the secular State." It is not wholly clear
whether this is what is really meant or not.
method which the author has chosen to deal with the subject is to take in the
first place, official Papal pronouncements, such as the Constitution Pastor
Aeternus, the Syllabus of Pius IX, the Encyclical Immortale Dei, and so on,
and then to discuss them in the light of the comments and explanations of
Roman Catholic authorities. The Catholic Encyclopedia is constantly cited, for
example. A glance at the bibliographical list of authors and works referred to
will show how extensively Mr. Marshall has pursued his researches in this
Naturally, in any number of people, whether a religious, social or political
group or organization, there will be varying views as to its tendencies,
principles and aims, and the looser the organization the greater will be the
divergence in this respect. One would look for something very near the
irreducible minimum of uniformity possible in such a highly disciplined body
as is the Roman Church, but strange to say it is not very apparent. At least
it seems difficult to get any Romanist to admit that any given citation has
authority, or that it means really what the ordinary usage of language would
lead the inquirer to think. If theologians or canonists be quoted we will be
told they do not speak for the Church, if papal utterances are referred to we
are warned that they are to be understood in the light of the explanations of
theologians and canonists. It perhaps would be unkind to say that the doctrine
of the Roman Church is as elusive as that of a political party, but the
difficulty is a real one to any fair minded controversialist, and one wonders
what is the use of such minute definition in dogmatic teaching if it cannot be
cited as final in regard to the position taken by the Church, as such, on any
given point. All the resources of language have been used, apparently, in such
documents as the Pastor Aeternus, to take one example, to make explicit the,
most tremendous claims on behalf of the Pope, of spiritual and temporal
sovereignty over all Christians - all baptized Christians, that is - and then
the utmost ingenuity of the keenest and most subtle minds is expended in
showing that such statements do not bear the significance that the careful and
precise language in which they are framed would lead us to suppose.
Practically this is very convenient, the papal utterances always remain in
reserve, but an interpretation can be produced at any moment that modifies
them to meet the exigencies of any particular case. And then such
interpretations can always be repudiated as being merely individual and
without authority. Let us hasten to say that this state of things is not
unique, but we naturally expect to find it in associations, religious or
otherwise, that make no claims to divinely guided inerrability.
present time not only the practicability, but the theoretical validity, of the
theory of democratic government is being called in question throughout the
world. It may be that the present forward movement, observable in all
countries, on the part of the papacy, is closely connected with this, that it
is another symptom of the unrest and discontent that seethes under the surface
of our occidental civilization. That there is such a forward movement is
obvious enough to anyone who has kept even superficially in touch with the
course of world events. Only a few years ago, actually, it seemed to everyone
that we had reached a practical modus vivendi in regard to the relations of
religion and politics - church and state. There was a state of equilibrium,
even if hardly to be described as a noble one. But that no longer seems to
exist. The relationship of the religious groupings of men to those of purely a
political nature seem yet to be far from being harmonized. The case is a
simple one when in fact the allegiance of the citizen falls in a grouping that
is conterminous with his religion. In a savage tribe, in the City State of
ancient Greece, in Republican Rome, this is the situation that we find, and so
long as it continues the problem does not arise; even the most acute minds
hardly even perceive its existence. The "tolerance" of the modern state is not
in origin due to a scientific analysis, and a separation of distinct and
disparate things, but is historically a compromise based on bitter and
protracted struggles to suppress "heresy" and "false religions." Struggles
carried in some cases to the point of extermination of the dissidents, and in
fact only successful where carried to that extreme. Thus the question arises,
is this separation of religion and government really the final ideal, is it
anything more than a compromise, not based on principle but on mere
expediency, which will require modification and perhaps negation as
circumstances change? It is too big a subject to be more than mentioned here.
But in fact civil government seems truly to have sprung from the practice of
religion, or, if that seems too sweeping, at least the two things have sprung
from the same root; and they have, until only yesterday in the history of the
race, always been inextricably mingled. Kings were originally priests or
"medicine men" or representatives of deities, or even deities themselves. As
priests became kings, new priestboods came into being to mediate between king
and people, and in time gained power as they could, and perhaps became rulers
again in their turn. All possible combinations arose; though not until the
rise of the purely ethical religions that accepted converts regardless of race
or caste, was it possible for the modern form of the problem to emerge.
earlier forms of religion were "patriotic," the welfare and existence of the
community, tribe, people, city, nation, were bound up in its observance.
Patriotic religions are by no means wholly of the past. The real religion of
Japan, perhaps of the German Empire before the way, perhaps of the United
States now, is patriotism. It has been said that religion is what men are
ready to persecute others for, or to endure persecution for themselves, and it
may be that so far from being truly tolerant the "Modern State," so far as it
exists in reality, is merely indifferent to the creeds called religious, but
actually has its cult, its national symbols, and fervid loyalties, not to say
idolatries, for which it is prepared even to sacrifice human life upon
matters are however as yet academic, and certainly beyond the limits to which
Mr. Marshall confines himself in the work under review. They are mentioned
only because it is upon this background of the unanalyzed and highly debatable
that the practical question is presented to us in fact. Without some
consciousness of the problems that lie in this background it is difficult to
get a true orientation of the problem that is raised. It is a problem of which
many good people refuse to admit the existence, both Roman Catholics and
others. And while others may admit a theoretical incompatibility between the
two sets of claims, they prefer to believe that the equilibrium of compromise
that seemed so settled yesterday has not been and will not be disturbed. No
one likes to be told disturbing things, and it is human to transfer the
natural distaste for the warning to the person who gives it. Yet it is not
wisdom to refuse to see an approaching conflict, especially if there is the
possibility of taking action to avert it. It is impossible to take such action
without fully understanding the tendencies and motive forces that underlie the
elements of a clash between religious belief, or the rules of an organized
religion, and the State of which, those holding such faith, or belonging to
such church, are citizens or subjects are always present. Such opposition has
occurred even when the majority of the citizens were members of the church -
this because even under the most elastic forms of democracy, and much more so
under other forms of government, it is possible for the two mechanisms to
function out of harmony with each other. Every religion, worthy of the name,
holds some beliefs that its members not only regard as worth living for, but
(in theory at least) worth dying for too, if the need arise. And such beliefs
imply rules of action. And if such rules of action conflict with the laws of
the state then the faithful adherent will say always, "I will obey God before
man, I will keep the divine law before the human law." To the state, and the
remainder of the citizens composing it, such people are fanatics or bigots, or
at the least perverse and misguided enthusiasts. Such were the early
Christians in the Roman Empire, such were the Jews in the days of Antiochus
Epiphanes, such have been many heretics since who seemed to those who did not
share their beliefs to be merely obstinate and perverse. So far, therefore, as
the inherent possibilities of conflict arise it is essentially the same in any
form of belief. Mr. Marshall says more than once, however, that as compared
with the Roman Church, which claims obedience to its laws, other churches only
offer their teaching as opinion. But it would seem that in reality he does not
mean exactly what his expression might imply, for his contrast is not between
religious beliefs, but between sovereignties. Nevertheless it might have been
better to have put it differently. It is not in the kind of claims made for it
that the Roman Church is different from others, though they are distinguished
by their particularity and comprehensiveness, it is not even in the claim that
the state should be subservient to the Church, for Judaism, Mohammedanism and
New England Congregationalism have all made the same claim in their day; it is
not even in the claim of a divinely guided head, set by some miraculous means
beyond the possibility of error, for Mormonism and Doweism, and Lamaism and
many others have had the same feature, it is rather in the special combination
of these elements that marks the Roman position. It is not only a church but
an international political power. It is not only that but a highly organized
autocracy. Thus not only is there the inherent possibility conflict that
exists between any religion and the secular state, but there is the added
possibility of conflict existing in the relations of a foreign or external
authority, and finally, in the democratic state, the possibilities of conflict
between the ideals of freedom and despotism.
is another feature of the situation as it exists in the ,'modern state," as
that is conceived by the author, the state that seeks to separate entirely all
matters concerning religion, all spiritualities, from purely secular and
temporal affairs. It is so far an unrealized, and perhaps unrealizable aim, on
account precisely of the "twilight zones" which the author discusses in his
final chapters, having adopted the term coined by Cardinal Gibbons. But, so
far as this separation has been effected, so far as the state ignores
religion, so far it lays itself bare to control through its own machinery by
any religious body sufficiently strong and well organized, that is, through
normal political methods available of right to all citizens. An established
Church is to some extent a regulated Church. In older countries centuries of
conflict have produced checks of various kinds, concordats, laws of succession
and so on, by which the state protects itself. The pure secular democracy is
open at any time to capture by legitimate constitutional means by an
organization of which it does not recognize the existence. As democracy works
out, a well organized minority that knows what it wants or whose leaders know
what they want - can usually get it.
whatever may be the final outcome of the evolution of the state in the future,
near or distant, one thing is certain, and that is that the Constitution of
the United States presupposes certain principles - as Mr. Marshall puts it,
the "State which Jefferson created" claims that the seat of moral sovereignty
lies in the "Civic Primacy of the People," and he concludes thus:
seat of moral sovereignty in the state must rest either in the Civic Primacy
of the People, which holds itself responsible to everyone, or in the
ecclesiastical primacy of a Sovereign Pope, which holds itself responsible to
no one. The primacy of the People and the primacy of the Pope are the sole
claimants of that moral sovereignty. It cannot rest in both. The choice is
what has already been said it will be apparent that the reviewer at least is
not prepared to admit this antithesis as absolute. The Jeffersonian conception
does not seem to be the final form of the state. But that admittedly is as yet
an academic question. What is quite clear is this, that the people of the
United States, of all creeds, including Roman Catholics, have committed
themselves to a certain form of government, and that being the case, the
question as put does arise. But how it is to be answered is another matter
* * *
OF ROME'S POLITICAL MEDDLING IN AMERICA. Published by "The Fellowship Forum,"
Washington, D. C. Cloth, 125 pages. Price, $1.10.
the exception of the preface of twenty pages, this little volume consists
chiefly of extracts from official reports of the National Catholic Welfare
Council submitted by the Council to the Roman Catholic Hierarchy of the United
States assembled in conference in Washington, D.C., Sept. 22-23, 1920. If we
are informed correctly, said Welfare Council was shortly afterwards dissolved
by the Pope as being prejudicial to the power of the American Archbishops; but
upon remonstration to him by some of the lower hierarchs it was resuscitated
under the name of the National Catholic Welfare Conference. It is by all
accounts a very active and influential concern. It comprises six departments:
(1) The Executive Department, (2) Department of Education, (3) Department of
Press and Publicity, (4) Department of Laws and Legislation, (5) Department of
Social Action, (6) Department of Lay Organizations.
these extracts it is apparent that the National Catholic Welfare Council has
occasionally taken a hand in politics, for instance in the state of Oregon
where it opposed legislation hostile to the private schools. We can see no
wrong in such activities. The American Catholics have a perfect right to
employ campaign literature and the ballot to safeguard what they consider to
be their religious interests.
N.C.W.C. is not a political faction. It conducts a bureau that watches our two
great political parties in the interest of the moral and socio-economic
welfare of the nation in general and in the interest of the Catholic religion
in particular. We recognize in the N.C.W.C. a great political potentiality. If
it should feel called upon in the eventuality of some great national issue to
resort to political action, we credit it with sufficient influence to command
the bulk of the Catholic vote roughly estimated at ten millions. That would
normally decide a national election. Potentially, therefore, the N.C.W.C.
holds the balance of power in national politics. We do not believe that it has
so far seen fit to demonstrate its power as the political action committee of
the American hierarchy. It has taken part only in minor political campaigns,
as in the state of Oregon, and on the whole contented itself with acting as
the political watch dog of the hierarchy. We have no reason to doubt that its
aims are the best and purest and that its work hitherto has been anything but
beneficent or at least legitimate. What may cause a certain discomfort to the
impartial observer is this: the American hierarchy which possesses in the
N.C.W.C. a sharp political sword is arbitrarily appointed to office by the
Pope, a foreign autocrat. It is he also who has created the N.C.W.C. and it
exists only by his permission. It is his political weapon in the United
States. One cannot help wondering at the possibilities of this great dormant
power in the hands of a foreign autocrat. We must hope for the best.
book is unquestionably thought-provoking and is superior to much so-called
literature produced from Anti-Romanist sources. It labors, however, under the
defect that it makes some uncalled for attacks on the Catholic religion as
such and raises exaggerated charges against the papacy. For instance on page
15 it is claimed:
believe enough has already been said to show very clearly that the papacy is
in quest of temporal power, that if it had the might, it would bring America
under its dominion as completely, as tyrannically and as bloodily, if
necessary, as it did Spain in the days of the Inquisition.
author has no cause to question the loyalty of the American Catholics. They
stood the supreme test of it when they wholeheartedly supported the government
in our recent war with Spain, a nation entirely Catholic. To wantonly insult
the Catholic citizens of the country is to create sympathy for them, and this
again simply tends to promote the interests of the Vatican.
author has conclusively proven that the N.C.W.C. is a powerful political
weapon in the hands of the Pope, but so in truth are certain ultra-Protestant
organizations, through their immoderate attacks upon Roman Catholicism. The
one is supported with Catholic money, the others with Protestant money. The
Pope has every reason to be well pleased with both.
* * *
MASONRY IN THE FORMATION OF OUR GOVERNMENT, 1761-1799. By Philip A. Roth.
Published by the author. Cloth, table of contents, indices, illustrated, 187
pages. Price, $2.50.
is one subject that is of perennial interest to American Masons, and that is
the part played by members of the Fraternity in the early history of the
country - indeed at all periods of its history. The little book now under
review will meet a real need, and a copy should be in the library of every
lodge that has such a thing, and every Study Club needs a copy among its works
of reference. Sooner or later questions will arise whether such a figure in
the story of the past was a Mason and if so, where and when was he made, and
what offices did he hold in his lodge or Grand Lodge.
very hard to make the ordinary Mason realize the amount of tedious labor that
is required to gather material of this kifid. They seem to think that the
records of the past are as full and complete and as easily accessible as they
are in this day of card indexes and loose leaf binders. As a matter of fact
records in the old days were very sketchily kept in a large number of cases,
and later no one cared anything about preserving such as were made. It thus
happens over and over again that we know a man was a Mason through some casual
incident, as that he held office in a Grand Lodge, that he had a Masonic
funeral, or that he was spoken of as a Mason by someone in a position to know;
while so far as any lodge records go no trace of his initiation or membership
remains. A case in point is that of John Jacob Astor. We know definitely that
in 1798 he was elected Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge of New York, and
that is the only proof we have that he was a Mason. There are many other
similar cases. It may well be that tradition may be correct that this or that
noted man was a Mason, yet without some definite record it is not safe to
accept mere hearsay. Another source of difficulty in getting at the facts is
the great reserve practiced by Masons in early days. Benjamin Franklin, for an
example, was an enthusiastic Mason, he was Grand Master of Pennsylvania and a
member of the famous Lodge of the Nine Sisters in Paris; yet he never mentions
Freemasonry in his autobiography.
Roth has arranged his material in a very useful way. The text gives us the
history of the period with special reference to those historic figures who
were Masons. As these are mentioned in the text, a biographical footnote is
given arranged on a uniform plan. First a brief sketch of the chief incidents
of the individual's life and at the end, in bolder type, what is known of his
Masonic connections, with the source of the information. For reference a
complete table of names is given after the table of contents.
large number of illustrations have been collected; there is a portrait of
every personage of consequence who is mentioned, and many other old cuts are
reproduced that add greatly to the interest of the work.
as we have been able to test the statements made, the work seems to be
painstakingly accurate. And as the author gives his authorities it will be
always easy to check what is said in any particular instance.
Bro. H. W. Dixon, Grand Master of Wisconsin, has officially approved and
endorsed the book, and while this is in these days rather a matter of form, it
is in this case fully justified, and we can say that it ought to meet with a
warm welcome not only from the brethren of Wisconsin, but also by the American
* * *
SWORDS. By Val Gielgud. Published by the Houghton Mifflin Co. Cloth, 296
pages. Price $2.15.
are fashions in everything, not only in clothes but also in ideas, in science
and philosophy - where the prevailing mode is dignified by the term zeit geist
- but also in fiction, and it is of fiction we now speak.
it is obvious, on reflection, that the tales people make up to tell others
will reflect their desires and aspirations, and the popular tales will be
those that fit the desires and aspirations of the majority. This can be seen
without any instruction in Freudian complexes. In the same way such tales will
be put in the framework of the possible or the real, as that is apprehended by
the story teller and his hearers. In a bygone age the machinery involved magic
and genii and gods from the machine, because they were all believed in as part
of the scheme of things. In the much maligned and despised Victorian era
civilization and convention and propriety and good manners were believed able
to cope with all physical and moral difficulties, and the happy ending was
demanded. But the generation that has been through the war sees things
differently. Civilization is but scenery on a stage, it is only to the
children and the country cousins that it seems real and enduring. Most of us
know too well that it is not. We have seen it shaken, we have seen the flames
of hell behind it, glowing luridly through the lath and painted canvas - and
all this is reflected in the fiction of the day. Disillusionment is the
author of the present work is of Polish descent and of English birth and
education. We guess a grandson of one of the refugees of 1863. He seems too
healthy-minded to be able to acquiesce in pure pessimism, so he picks up the
pieces finally in an almost conventional happy ending, for which he is to be
commended. The latter part of the tale - or rather the tale proper - is
breathlessly thrilling, but the setting of the scenery is done too much in
view of the audience. He has tried to combine a family saga with a tale of
adventure, and technically the attempt is a failure; but it has given him an
opportunity to draw a vivid sketch of pre-war Russia, and after-war Poland, or
at least of the Russo-Polish frontier. The horrors depicted may seem
overdrawn, but we doubt very much if they are. Very terrible things have
happened in Eastern Europe since 1916, and though the author's knowledge does
not seem to be first-hand, it is much of it, we fancy, not more than
secondhand. But perhaps to dwell on this is beside the mark. It can be said
that after glancing through Book I to get some idea of the antecedents of the
characters, one enters upon a really exciting and well told story, in which
the interest grows till the very dramatic end.
* * *
BRIEF HISTORICAL SKETCH OF PORT CREDIT CHAPTER, No. 280. By Henry T. Smith.
author is Grand Scribe E. of the Grand Chapter of Ontario. The Chapter, the
first history of which appears early in its life, was only instituted seven
years ago. But there is some interesting pioneer history connected with the
hall in which it meets, and which apparently is the property of Mississauga
Lodge, No. 524, under the Grand Lodge of Canada in the Province of Ontario, to
give it its full and rather perplexing title. At least it is confusing to
those who do not remember that Canada was originally what is now divided into
the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and which even in the memory of some of
us still living were called Upper and Lower Canada.
district was settled by United Empire Loyalists, people who on this side of
the line were known and hated as Tories. However the hate and the reasons
therefor have long passed, and everyone can admire the great sacrifices made
by these emigrants to the northern wilderness for the sake of their loyalties.
1838 it was decided to build a new Methodist church. The work was carried out
by the settlers with the aid of the Indians. Everything was done locally, even
the nails were forged in the village blacksmith's shop.
memory of pioneer days is rapidly passing away, and it is well that wherever
possible such reminiscences should be recorded in permanent form.
International Masonic Association with headquarters at Geneva is publishing
its Year Book of Universal Masonry (Annuaire de la Maconnerie Universelle).
Owing to various reasons and perhaps lack of available funds, this has not
been published for several years. It contains very useful information and
statistics concerning Masonic bodies in all the countries of the world, drawn
from official sources. The information is given in three languages, English,
French and German. The address of each Grand Lodge is given and a list of the
Masonic Jurisdictions recognized by it. The names and numbers of subordinate
lodges, with the locality of each and the address of the secretary is a useful
feature. It is not confined to symbolic Masonry, but gives also information
regarding the Supreme Councils of the A. and A. S. R. and also Grand Chapters
of the Royal Arch and Grand Commanderies of Masonic Knights Templar. The
subscription price is five francs, Swiss; with postage and duty, probably
about $1.50. We are very glad to hear that this is coming out again, as we
have found it in the past a most useful work of reference; in spite of the
fact that the last edition is now sadly out of date.
Masonic Speech Making, by J. Walter Hobbs. Published by Masonic Record, Ltd.
Cloth, Analytical Table of Contents, 118 pages. Price, $1.50.
REVIEW OF "LABOUR AND REFRESHMENT"'
enclosed letter from Bro. J. S. M. Ward speaks for itself. I have never found
you unfair or refusing to give the other fellow's side even if you did not
agree with him. So I am sending it along . . . If you don't want to use it,
send it back to me and I'll print it.
Field Willard, California.
thanks for your letter of Jan. 31. I was delighted to hear from you after so
long a time. It was very good of you to take up the cudgels on my behalf with
the critic who reviewed Labour and Refreshment in THE BUILDER, but his
strictures on my views on the Companionage are not the section to which I take
most serious exception. His last paragraph on the Passing of the Operatives
contains, I am sorry to say, a deliberate distortion of the facts set out by
me, an action I consider most discreditable to any reviewer, much more to a
phrase is this: "The production of a Minute Book of the Warrington Operative
Stone Masons' Society, founded in 1832, is not evidence of the earlier
existence of the Operative Ritual, and will fail to convince the critics of
the merits of Bro. Stretton's views as Bro. Ward scornfully anticipates."
this the reader of the review is entitled to believe that the only evidence of
the existence of Operative rituals is this Minute Book of the Warrington
Lodge, whereas any person reading my article will find that the Minute Book
was merely one of the corroborative pieces of evidence I produced.
from this being the only evidence, I quote from the actual rituals, still
preserved in the archives of the Amalgamated Union of Building Trade Workers.
The first of these is a written document of uncertain date but clearly
preceding 1834, when it was replaced by printed rituals, and I print long
extracts from it. The second document consists of a small eight page pamphlet
entitled, "The Initiation Parts of the Friendly Society of Operative
Freemasons." It was printed about 1833 or 1834. The proceedings are mostly in
prose and shortened, whereas in the third document, another printed ritual of
about the same date, there are verses, as there are in the written manuscript.
article also quoted from R. W. Postgate, "The Builders' History," who likewise
has definite references to certain ceremonies of initiation. Postgate is a
Trade Union Official, not a Speculative Freemason, and somewhat contemptuous
addition I dealt with the evidence of Mr. William Williams, General Secretary
of the Operative Stone Masons and Quarrymen, who not only showed that
initiation ceremonies connected with a skeleton had at one time formed part of
the Operative Trade Union System, but added that there were still secret rites
carried out by the Quarrymen of Portland.
were the facts on which my article was based, the testimony of a living
witness and of three definite documents, whose exact whereabouts at the
present moment I disclosed, thus enabling any critic to check my statements
with the originals, and this reviewer, because they would tell against his
line of criticism carefully ignores them, thus deliberately misleading anyone
who has not seen the article itself.
candidly it seems to me that THE BUILDER is so utterly biased that it is waste
of time to expect any attempt at fair criticism at its hands.
should like you to get the book and read the article for yourself and see
whether my strictures are not fully justified. If you are subsequently moved
to write to the Editor on the point you would be doing a real service to
Masonic Research. There are two schools of Research, the old one, the
so-called Authentic School, to which the Editor of THE BUILDER seems to
belong, and the new School of Anthropological Research, to which I belong, but
a paper of the position of THE BUILDER should at least refrain from making
deliberate mis-statements, or if you like, at any rate, misleading statements.
Sincerely and fraternally,
J S M
Ward is quite correct in asserting that he has produced evidence of the
existence of a ceremony among Operative masons in the year 1832 - possibly a
little earlier, and if this was the purpose of the article under discussion,
he would be fully justified in his complaint. But he sought to prove, by the
same evidence, the continuous existence of operative lodges, with ceremonial
forms, from the pre-Grand Lodge era "up to 1832." Your reviewer found nothing
in "The Passing of the Operatives" to strengthen the claim "for the truth of
Stretton, and those like him, who claimed that they had found the dying
remnants of genuine Operative pre-Grand Lodge Masonry." It was the particular
emphasis which Bro. Ward laid upon the Minute Book of the Warrington Operative
Stone Masons' Society, and the appeal he made to the magic of the name
Warrington that prompted the criticism.
the MS. and Printed Rituals submitted by Bro. Ward, Mr. Sidney Webb, in his
"History of Trade Unionism" finds them "nearly identical with those adopted by
many of the national unions of the period, and [they] were largely adopted by
the Grand National Consolidated Trades Union of 1834." Mr. Webb agrees with
Mr. Postgate, quoted by Bro. Ward, in thinking that the Ritual was borrowed
from the Woolcombers' Union. Indeed, a similar ritual was published in
Character and Effects of Trades Unions (1834) as that used by the Woolcombers.
Further, there was a striking resemblance between the ceremonies, etc., of the
Leeds Clothiers' Union, established about 1831, and those of the Builders'
Union, the predecessor of the Operative Stone Masons' Society. Mr. Webb quotes
a statement by a John Tester, who had been a leader of the Bradford
Woolcombers' Union in 1825, and who published a series of letters in the Leeds
Mercury of June and July, 1834, that "the mode of initiation was the same as
practised for years before by the flannel weavers of Rochdale, with a party of
whom the thing, in the shape it then was, had at first originated. A great
part of the ceremony, particularly the death scene, was taken from the
ceremonial of one division of the Oddfellows . . . and all that could be well
turned from the rules and lectures of one society into the regulations of the
others was so turned with some trifling alterations." In another letter Tester
says the writer of the lecture book was Mark Warde. Mr. Webb says that Tester
is not implicitly to be believed ' but that it seems probable that the rites
of the unions were copied from those of an Oddfellows' Lodge, with some
recollections of Freemasonry.
have always thought that the distinction Bro. Ward has in mind, which he first
suggested in his interesting and provocative work Freemasonry and the Ancient
Gods, would be more accurately and happily expressed by the terms Historic and
Comparative. Masonic research would be greatly impoverished if the comparative
method was barred. Nevertheless, it must be borne in mind that it can never
give the same degree of certainty that the historical method does, though to
balance this its scope is much more extensive.
would like to say once more that THE BUILDER is not responsible for the
opinions expressed by our reviewers, and we are sure that there is not one of
them but would properly resent any editorial dictation in regard to the way in
which they were to deal with a work submitted to them for criticism.
interested in the subject of discussion may be referred to the article in THE
BUILDER August and September, 1925, by Bro. Springett, and that by Bro.
Meekren in November and December of the same year. Bro. Rippon also
contributed an article to the discussion in February of the following year.
* * *
PAPAL ORDER OF MALTA IN THE U. S. A.
following Associated Press dispatches from New York clear up two points in
regard to the Knights of Malta, or rather the Roman Catholic branch of the
Knights of Malta, to wit: (1) that the Roman branch has established a chapter
in the United States and (2) that in Europe only noblemen are members of this
know there are two other active branches of this order, one in Berlin
dominated by the Hobenzollerns, and one in London of which King George V is
the head. There is also a branch at Vienna, now somewhat dormant, controlled
by the house of Hapsburg-Lothringin. These branches are all legitimate and
trace their origin back to the first founding of the order at Jerusalem during
the first crusade. One has no precedence over another. It was founded as a
charitable order and is known officially as the "Knights of the Order of St.
John of Jerusalem." It is also known as the "Knights of Rhodes" and the
"Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta." The Knights are also known as the
"Hospitallers." The Knights of Malta is one of the oldest, proudest and most
influential orders in the world. No one can belong to it in the Old World
except a mighty nobleman, or in the New World except a mighty personage.
course there are the Masonic Knights of Malta, as there are the Knights
Templar, and Knights and Princes of the Scottish Rite, but no historian wants
to go into their history if he does not want the non-historians to call him
all kinds of names and turn their backs upon him. The first dispatch is as
York, Saturday, April 7 - Cardinal Hayes has been informed by cable from Rome
that he has been named grand protector of the American chapter of the Knights
of Malta by decree of Prince Thuri, sovereign grand master of the order.
Knights of Malta is a Catholic charitable organization and the American
chapter was created last year by Pope Pius XI. In Europe only noblemen are
members of the order.
second dispatch which is from Rome, seems to confirm my idea that the Roman
Catholic Knights of Malta are for the purpose primarily of assisting charities
at Rome. If this is true the European streams have become so dried up since
the war that the Pope has found it necessary to tap the golden streams of
Tuesday, April 10 - Pope Pius today received John J. Raskob, chairman of the
finance committee of General Motors. Mr. Raskob is a charter member of the
American chapter of the Knights of Malta.
pontiff expressed deep appreciation for the contribution of the Knights of
Malta for the upkeep of the Hospital of the Infant Jesus in Rome, in which the
Pope is extremely interested. Since this gift of 500,000 lire (about $25,000)
the institution has been able to care for 400 instead of 240 poor Roman
you consider it advisable to give the readers of THE BUILDER more information
on this subject you are at liberty to publish this letter.
E Bennett Washington.
* * *
page 106 of the April, 1928, number of THE BUILDER Bro. Meekren intimates that
blaest-belg is a later form than blaest-bel. The latter is only a scribal
blunder. He says Zange and Galgen are plural forms. The brother is mistaken.
Galgen happens to have the same form in both numbers, but so do sheep, deer,
fish and many others.
Chester N. Gould, Illinois.
thank Bro. Gould for pointing out the regrettable "scribal blunder" in the
article referred to. "Blaest-bel (i) g" is what should have appeared. Though
even then the final "g" is only representative of the Old English letter.
regard to Galgen I fear I must leave Bro. Gould to fight it out with the
dictionaries. Deutsches Worterbuch of the brothers Grimm seems to bear out the
statement that Galgen is a plural form with a singular (as well as plural)
meaning. Galge is said to be the Middle High German form of the word, and that
Galgen is the neuhochdeutsch; but it is added that it "is still also galge in
the 17th century [aber auch galge im, 17 jahrh.]."
I willingly withdraw; it was suggested as a plural form and I accepted it
without sufficient consideration. Really it heips my general contention that
the idiom under discussion is especially an idiosyncrasy of the English
regard to sheep, deer and fish, and similar words, I should describe them as
singular forms from which, for the sake of euphony (or some other reason), the
plural ending has been dropped. "Sheeps," or rather "ships," is still current
usage in English dialect, however. The plural form "fishes" is in common use
together with the uninflected form, and it would not be easy to formulate a
definite rule as to where one should be used and not the other. I have also
frequently heard the plural "deers" among country people, which I am inclined
to think is a survival of old usage. Shakespeare uses the form "trouts" which
is now never used by educated people.
obvious that in dealing with words of this anomalous character it is quite
possible to class them in different ways according to the point of view. The
group of words dealt with in my article I should describe as plural in form,
while those like "deer" and "sheep" are singular in form, though the two
groups are alike in that the one form serves for both singular and plural
* * *
CORRECT FORM OF THE SQUARE
has been a discussion among some of the brethren in our lodge as to the right
shape of the Mason's square. One brother says that it is wrong to have it
marked with inches as that is a carpenter's square. I would like to know what
you think about it.
question was dealt with in the Study Club for December, 1926, and February,
1927, in the series of articles on the "Precious Jewels." We expect the
brother who thinks there is an essential difference between the carpenter's
and Mason's squares derived his opinion indirectly (if not directly) from what
Albert Mackey says in his Encyclopaedia. We give the passage in full:
SQUARE. This is one of the most important and significant symbols in
Freemasonry. As such, it is proper that its true form should be preserved. The
French Masons have almost universally given it with one leg longer than the
other, thus making it a carpenter's square. The American Masons, following the
delineations of Jeremy L. Cross, have, while generally preserving the equality
of length in the legs, unnecessarily marked its surface with inches, thus
making it an instrument for measuring length and breadth, which it is not. It
is simply the trying square of a stonemason, and has a plain surface, the
sides or legs embracing an angle of ninety degrees, and is intended only to
test the accuracy of the sides of a stone, and to see that its edges subtend
the same angle.
is one of the occasions when this eminent student ventured into a field beyond
his own knowledge, and attempted to decide a matter of fact from insufficient
data. For actually there is not, and never has been, any essential difference
between the squares used by carpenters and stone workers. At least not such
differences as Mackey assumes. He seems to imply that French Masons were
guilty of an innovation in making the square with unequal limbs. This is
rather funny, because the French (and the Masons of Europe generally) have
merely maintained the original form, while English speaking Masonry, or rather
the designers of Masonic jewels and furnishings in English speaking countries,
have introduced a new form for the sake, apparently, of its greater symmetry.
From Mediaeval times up till the end of the eighteenth century all
representations of Mason's squares show one limb longer than the other. In
looking over a series of Masonic designs of different dates it is possible to
observe the gradual lengthening of the shorter limb and the shortening of the
longer one, till it is sometimes difficult to be certain at first glance if
there be any difference between them.
is absolutely no difference in the use of the square in different crafts. In
all the square is used to test work, but also to set it out. And a square with
a graduated scale on it is at times just as great a convenience for the
stonemason as for the carpenter. When workmen made their own squares there
would be no uniformity in size or proportions, and very few would be
graduated, though apparently this was sometimes done. It is rather curious
that the cut which illustrates this article in Mackey's Encyclopaedia actually
shows a square with one limb longer than the other.
* * *
would like to obtain a copy of The Unwritten Word by Dr. Marsh. I do not know
where it was published but if any readers of THE BUILDER know where a copy can
be obtained I should be very glad to hear from them.
Williams, Enterprise, Miss.
Another correspondent would like to obtain a copy of Letters on Masonry and
Anti-Masonry Addressed to the Hon. John Quincy Adams, published in 1832; and
yet another would like to obtain Symbols and Legends of Freemasonry by Finlay