THE BUILDER MAGAZINE
A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 1 No. 7 – July 1915
Bro. Geo. W. Baird, P.G.M., D.C.
HISTORY is often perverted in its memorials, and memorials are the enduring evidences which impress the minds of generations and generations.
Few people take the trouble to snake careful inquiry into even current events. Most of us read the head-lines in the daily papers, and form hasty conclusions. Life is too short, we say, to delve into details of much that is passing. The head-lines are often ambiguous, and sometimes are contradicted in the text below them.
A monument or statue to memorialize a man usually invites attention to his most important act, and this is never lost sight of either by its projectors or by the artist.
In the Capital of the Nation there are, in the Parks and Streets, more than 50 memorials of heroes, idols, and events besides those under cover in the Public Buildings. Though more than half of these memorialize men who were Masons, there is no Masonic emblem nor word to indicate it, with one exception.
Enthusiasts are making history. It has been said there is nothing true in history excepting the dates: but it still continues.
The first statue erected in Washington was that of Columbus, sculpted by the great Persico, situated on the buttress on the east side of the Capitol. It shows Columbus in the armor and the uniform he wore, as a discoverer, and the memorial is called Discovery. The bust is a replica of one in Madrid, modeled during the life of Columbus, and believed to be a good portrait. But, not satisfied with this, the Knights of Columbus, Ancient Order of Hibernians et al. secured al appropriation from Congress of $150,000 to erect an other statue of Columbus which is shown in a cloak such as is worn by Monks, and even the portraiture is not at all like that of Persico's statue. This is all the more remarkable since it has been pretty well prover that Columbus was a Spanish Jew. Certainly he never wrote excepting in the Spanish Language.
But our essay is upon the effigies in the Parks of Washington, which memorialize Freemasons, though that quality may be incidental.
So many of these memorials are of military men that the stranger at once gets the idea that we are a terribly war-like people, while we claim to be peace lovers.
Some of these memorials are dual: there are two of Washington, two of Lincoln, and two of Columbus.
The first and greatest is that of Washington. An obelisk, square, upright and perfect, plain on the outside, white and smooth; but on the inside there are sculptured memorial stones, presented by States, Grand Lodges, Foreign Governments, Societies and individuals. The site was selected by Washington himself, and is on the exact meridian of Washington City, a mile due east of the Capitol, and is due south of the Executive Mansion (now called White House.)
It was intended to build it by subscription, and to make it 600 feet high; the highest structure in the world: but the subscriptions ceased before the Civil War came on, when the obelisk was but 54 feet high, and work ceased. The corner stone was laid by the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia on the 4th of July, 1848, and it was dedicated by the Grand Lodge in 1885.
In 1882 Congress made an appropriation to finish the Monument, and it then passed into Government possession. It was determined that the foundation was not strong enough, and Col. Thos. L. Casey, of the U. S. Engineers, was accorded high honor for the masterly manner in which he accomplished the difficult work of underpinning and strengthening the foundation, which he did before adding a single course of stone. The shaft is 55 feet square at the base and 555 feet high. Its weight is estimated at 81,120 tons. The walls, at the base, are 15 feet thick. There is now an elevator in the monument, so its ascent is not hard. There is a spiral stair case reaching nearly to the top from which stairs the many memorial stones may be examined.
Among the first contributions were beautiful stones from Masonic Lodges, from the States, many cities, Societies, etc.
The memorial stones, up to the present, number 151, but the Secretary of War has recently refused the Grand Lodge of Louisiana the privilege of placing a stone, and has said he will permit none others excepting from States.
|From Militia Companies||6|
|From Fire Companies||8|
|From Labor Unions||8|
|From Benevolent Societies||1|
|From Masonic Bodies||24|
|From the Red Men||2|
|From the Odd Fellows||10|
|Sons of America||1|
|S. of T.R.I.||1|
|Schools and Colleges||9|
|Washington Light Infantry||1|
|Ancient Order of Hibernians||1|
|Sunday Schools and Churches||3|
Masonic Memorial Stones are from the Grand Lodges of District of Columbia, Ohio, Kentucky, New York, Maryland, Illinois, Alabama, Pennsylvania, Virginia; and from Mt. Lebanon Lodge of Pa.; La Fayette Lodge of N. Y.; Washington Lodge of Roxbury, Mass.; and Naval Lodge of D. C.
There were, at that time, only 30 States in the Union, but, it will be seen, not all of the Grand Lodges in those States presented Stones.
Many of the stones are beautifully sculptured and lettered and bear the names and rank of the Grand Officers. Some have patriotic and endearing inscriptions appropriate to the subject
* * *
THE MASONIC SIGN
What fact more conspicuous in modern history than the creation of a gentleman? Chivalry is that, and loyalty is that. The word gentleman must hereafter characterize the present and a few preceding centuries, by the importance attached to it, is a homage to personal and incommunicable qualities. An element which unites persons of every country; makes them intelligible and agreeable to each other; and is somewhat so precise that it is at once felt if an individual lack the Masonic sign, cannot be any casual product. It is made of the spirit, more than of the talent of men, and is a compound result, into which every great force enters as an ingredient, namely, virtue, wit, beauty, nobility, power.
* * *
He who has no ambition is like an ax without edge.
When you know yourself thoroughly, you know every one else.
The last step must be as steady as the first in climbing a hill.
Youth jumps and slips; age picks its steps and crosses safely.
Be as cross to yourself as you are to others; as sweet to others as to self.
If you insist on everyone being like you, look in the mirror.
With learning, as with weeds, get at the root.
Prejudice is the thief of persuasion.
— J.S. Thomson.China Revolutionized.
* * *
THE MEMORIAL TO WASHINGTON
Address Delivered Before the George Washington Masonic National Memorial Association
Bro. J. Claude Keiper, P.G.M., District of Columbia
I am bidden by the Worshipful Master of Alexandria-Washington Lodge to speak of the work of the Washington Memorial Association, whose avowed purpose it is that here in Virginia, not greatly distant from the place of his birth, nigh to the home he loved and cherished, the hallowed spot where his ashes repose; here in Alexandria, the community in which his Masonic virtues were best known and best regarded, and where he presided as Master over the labors of his brethren, here, even in the shadow of the church in which he worshiped, there shall rise a memorial to the only man in all our history who was at the one time Master of his Masonic Lodge and President of the United States, a national memorial to Washington the Mason, a Craftsman who in no respect was ever unworthy of his work.
It is not my purpose to present to you statistical abstracts of the progress of the movement, the number of grand jurisdictions which have approved it, nor the amount of the fund so far collected for the purpose of the Memorial. These matters, important though they best may well be left to the consideration of the devoted men who constitute the Association and who are giving freely of their time and their talents in what is to them a labor of love.
Monuments commemorative of the patriotism of Washington, his valor and prowess as a military leader, memorials designed to perpetuate his wisdom and virtue as a statesman have been erected throughout all our land by a loving and grateful people, but nowhere, so far as I know, save in the hearts of his appreciative brethren, has there been erected a memorial of the character contemplated by this Association.
Need I say more to justify the work in which it is engaged? It is true that Masonic memorials to individual brethren are comparatively rare and this is not because our Fraternity has been influenced by a desire to conceal from public knowledge who among the Nation's great have wrought greatly for the upbuilding of the Craft. I take it that it is rather because Masonry has recognized the truth that idealized conceptions in bronze and marble, however beautiful in themselves, can avail little to add to the luster of a name or embellish an achievement, and further that as an ancient and honorable institution it would be inconsistent with its dignity to be boastful of the connection with it of any man, however distinguished his career or exalted his station. It is our boast that in Masonry all are on the one plane of perfect equality, and a remarkable illustration of this is found in the life of Washington himself, concerning whom there was published a few weeks ago in one of the Boston papers an incident telling how he, the General of the American Army, was one day observed seated in the tent of an Army Lodge as a mere member while a corporal presided therein as Master, exemplifying thereby the basic principle of our Fraternity to which I have alluded, a principle announced with undying emphasis by that other great Virginian when he wrote into the Declaration of Independence, the assertion that all men are created equal.
Therefore it is that the Association for which I speak does not approach the erection of this Memorial with the primary purpose of gratifying a vainglorious spirit. It is true that one of the results of its work will be the proclamation to all the world of Washington's connection with Masonry. But there are other and higher aims and there will be other and higher results. One of them will be wholly utilitarian, for within the memorial building will be provided a place of safe deposit for the priceless relics that now adorn the Lodge room of the local Masonic bodies. And what a splendidly personal interest in him do they inspire in us as we reverently gaze upon them! More than that. How strong will be their appeal, how profound their impression upon the brethren from the East and from the West, from the North and from the South, as they gather in after years at what I hope and believe will be the shrine of Freemasonry in the United States, the Mecca toward which will be set the feet of Craftsmen in ever-increasing thousands.
To present properly another result let me go back to that time, now more than 150 years gone, when, as a young man just attaining his majority, Washington first learned of Masonry and its truths. Can any one doubt that its beneficent teachings exerted a powerful influence upon a mind and character already predisposed toward them by inherent morality and integrity? An influence that was strongly felt and plainly manifested in the formation, upon allied principles, of a government in whose making there were associated with him so many Masons. Therefore it is that this Memorial will symbolize more than his connection with our fraternity, proud of it as we are and may rightfully be; therefore it is that over and above all mere personal considerations it will stand a living monument to the benign influence of Masonic teachings in the formation of a great government, under which millions of free people have found happiness, obtained justice and through which, under the providence of God, they and their posterity shall long enjoy the blessings of untrammeled liberty.
My friends, seated here tonight on the natal day of our revered brother and gathered for its appropriate commemoration, I beg you to indulge me a moment further as I ask you to go back with me in imagination to a similar occasion, exactly 90 years ago, when Alexandria-Washington Lodge, on February 21,1825, entertained one of Washington's best loved associates in the War for Independence, General La Fayette. You are familiar with the details. Picture for yourselves that devoted friend of Liberty entering the Lodge room clothed in the Masonic habiliments of Washington. Picture the subsequent assembly around the banquet table and listen to the toasts proposed. First, as a matter of course, was one to Washington, extolled as "First in cabinet, first in the field and first in the principles of Masonry." Then one to the President of the United States, James Monroe, whose name will ever be affectionately associated with the doctrine of preserving American soil for the propagation of the principles of American liberty. And then one to "Our Illustrious Brother and Guest, La Fayette. His brethren take peculiar pleasure in receiving him in that Lodge over which their beloved Washington was pleased to preside." And now hearken to the response. Note that it might well have been a prophecy of our present undertaking as he says, "The Masonic Temple of Alexandria, and the illustrious, venerated name under which it has been consecrated." Surely in closing I can leave with you no higher wish than that this saying of nearly a century ago may become the animating and inspiring watchword of our whole Fraternity until its efforts to erect a national memorial to Washington the Mason shall be crowned with complete success.
THE MYSTIC LADDER
Translated From The Spanish By The Late Bro. Edwin A. Sherman
THE mystic ladder pertains particularly to us as Knights Kadosh, as the type of our order. It is composed of two ascents or supports that remind us of the compact which took place between Philip the Fair and Pope Clement the V, and the strength of that union which was given against our predecessors. The reunion of the two ascents or supports, and the seven steps of which it is composed, give an exact idea of the seven conditions which Philip imposed on Beltian de Goth, when he was Archbishop of Bordeaux, to be seated in the chair of St. Peter, when he obligated him to participate in the destruction of the Knights Templars.
And so you likewise complete your obligations and swear implacable hatred to the enemies of that Order which was the pattern of all the virtues; and we now have the obligation of employing all our forces for the total ruin of evil and priestly tyrants, upon whose heads must fall the blood of Jacques de Molay and his martyred companions.
After the death of Benedict XI, which occurred on the 6th of July, 1304, the cardinals assembled to elect a new Pope, and were divided into two bands, one French and one Italian.
Philip the Fair, King of France, had projects which he could not carry out without the assistance of the Pope who should be elected. His party fomented the divisions in the conclave to favor his designs. He ordered search to be made for Beltian de Goth, then Archbishop of Bordeaux, and in the conference which took place he informed him of his projects and the power he had to elect him Pope, affirming that an oath would be required of him to execute seven propositions which would be made known to him excepting the seventh which he had guarded in reserve until the moment of its execution. Devoured by the heat of his ambition to be seated on the PONTIFICAL Throne, that Prelate accepted the bribe and sold himself.
Philip made known to him the first six conditions, which are foreign to the history of our order: and after having exacted and received his oath for the execution of the seventh, and holding as hostages the brothers and nephews of Beltian, the Archbishop arrived in effect to be Pope, and took the name of Clement V. He established his see at Avignon, in France, where he put in execution the first six conditions which he had accepted. When the favorable moment arrived for the execution of the seventh, Philip the Fair declared that it consisted in the total extermination of the Knights Templars throughout all Christendom, which was done as far as possible in his power, and that of the monarchs with whom he was allied.
Clement adopted the following ruse: He first caused a new crusade to be preached in Europe, and even in Syria; he then sent the following letter to Palestine to the Grand Master of the Templars and Hospitaliers:
"We inform you, my brethren, that we have been urgently solicited by the Kings of Aragon and Cyprus for aid to the Holy Land. We order you to come to France as secretly as possible, to deliberate with us. You will also be careful to bring with you large sums to equip a numerous army."
Jacques de Molay, Grand Master of Templars, obeyed the injunctions of the HOLY FATHERS; but Foulques de Villeret, the Grand Master of the Hospitalliers, occupied with the siege of Rhodes, could not quit his army, and thus delayed the ruin of his Order. The unfortunate De Molay sailed for France, and by a trap, fell into the hands of his enemies. The Pope had agreed that the Knights of the Temple should be arrested at the same time, in different Christian Kingdoms, and that they should be handed over to the Inquisitors as suspected of heresy: that their property should be seized in the name of the church and that they should be put to death at the stake and upon the scaffolds, after having been put to the torture to make them avow to imaginary crimes.
The execution of this frightful plot was not deferred: the Pope informed the King of Aragon, Castile and of Portugal to annihilate the Templars, and on the day appointed they were all arrested and plunged into the dungeons of the Inquisition. The iniquity of the Judges was such that they pardoned a murderer named Squin de Florian, who had been confined with a Knight Templar, because he deposed that his companion had revealed to him the crimes and impurities at the reception of Templars. Squin de Florian, the robber and assassin was received at a public audience by Philip the Fair and Pope Clement the V, laden with presents and glorified for his religious zeal.
After such encouragement to informers, thousands of them arose on all sides and the duties of the Inquisitors became easier.
They were also sufficiently encouraged by Philip the Fair and Clement the V who presided over an auto da fe. In Italy, Austria, Spain, and particularly in France, a prodigious number of scaffolds were erected, which consumed the unfortunate victims of the cupidity of a Pope and the avarice of a King.
So perished the gallant De Molay, the last Grand Master of the Templars, and his brave companions in arms, betrayed, imprisoned, tortured and cruelly slaughtered by order of the Head of the Church and the Kings of the realms.
These bloody executions having terminated the two execrable tyrants divided between themselves the riches of the Templars. Philip kept the land and Clement took all the ornaments of gold and silver, and the coined money, which enabled him to reward the infamous panderings of his nephew and the Countess de Foix.
But God had at last marked the end of the term of this criminal existence. Whilst the Pontiff was being transported to Bordeaux his malady increased; they were obliged to stop his litter at Roquemare on the Rhone, in the Diocese of Nimes, where Clement died on the 20th day of April, 1314.
As soon as Clement the V had closed his eyes, his treasures were pillaged. The cardinals seized on enormous sums of coined money. Bernard, Count de Lornogne, nephew and minion of the dead Pope, carried off chalices and ornaments worth more than a hundred thousand gold florins ($5,347,000.) The Countess de Foix stole as her share all the jewels of the HOLY FATHER, and there were no minions nor mistresses of the Cardinals who were not enriched by the spoils of the Sovereign Pontiff.
Jean Villani says that "in the midst of this disorder in which every one was so desirous of pillage, they only left an old traveling mantle to cover the dead body of Clement, and that was in part consumed by a candle falling on the bed where it lay."
For two whole years the Christian World was surrendered to the most deplorable anarchy. Philip the Fair followed Clement to the grave and the summons to them by De Molay at the stake "to meet him at the Bar of God within one year" had been fulfilled. (Philip IV, the Fair, was born at Fontainebleu, France, in 1268. He came to the throne in 1285. Crowned at Rheims Jan. 6th, 1286. Died Nov. 29th, 1314, from an accident while hunting.) In 1316 James de Ossa (or "Jimmy Bones" as he was called) was elected Pope, by himself placing the tiara on his own head, proclaiming himself Pope, by the name of "John the twenty-second," on the 21st of September of that year. He established the infamous "Apostolic Chancery" with a scale of prices for indulgences for every sort of crime which by its extortion and greed prepared the way for the light and dawn of the Great Reformation in the 16th century, until the sun of Liberty burst forth at last over the world, creating new Nations on the Continent of America, which free men and Freemasonry, amidst blood and tears, have consecrated as their own and our own beloved Scottish Rite, from the birth and organization of the American Republic and Nation, the United States of America, which can never be dissolved. Cato Perpatria.
HOW TO STUDY FREEMASONRY
Bro. R. I. Clegg, Ohio
(In the Symposium on this subject, the final installment of which was published in our last issue, the writers dwelt, at our suggestion, particularly upon the manner in which groups of students might enter upon the many phases of Masonic study to best advantage. Herewith Brother Clegg brings us, out of his wealth of Masonic experience, much that the individual student may do for himself, and by himself. We know from our correspondence that his article answers a question which from the beginning has been uppermost in the minds of many of our members, and answers it in a most practical way. As to method, Brother Clegg's presentation of the subject is simple and easily followed, whether one has fellow-workers near at hand or not. The material for study, as outlined, is as authentic as it is interesting, and therefore of great importance. Also, he shows what needs to be kept in mind, that those hard-working, practical men who do so much to strengthen and perfect the organization of Masonry, though they may not be learned in books, are Masonic students and builders. — The Editor. )
No easy task is it to give an answer that will fit all cases. Everything depends upon the Freemason who is to do the studying of Freemasonry and upon the particular angle of Freemasonry that appeals to him. For that matter, how many of us would think alike as to what was most interesting and most important? Even as to definitions of Freemasonry itself our ideas will not uniformly run on parallel tracks.
So right here we may for convenience sake just as well say that for the purpose of what I am about to set down at this time I will take Freemasonry to be anything that has especial relationship to Freemasons. He that knows himself to be a Freemason (and any member of the Craft fully knows how to apply the needful tests) will also be aware that when Freemasonry is mentioned here by me it relates specifically to him and to such as he and to none other.
Having already mentioned in these columns the very real difficulty of preparing a narrow and precise definition of Freemasonry that will meet the attacks of the most critical, I shall now as in the foregoing attempt make it broad enough to include all possible points of interest to the brethren.
Just as we have seen the awkwardness of meeting everybody's requirements as to the subject matter, so too we find that there is variety galore in the students themselves. There are those Freemasons whose ideas about the study of Freemasonry are singularly restricted. They associate study with textbooks. To their view the studious Freemason is necessarily a bookworm. The fact is that some most studious Freemasons are not book lovers.
Many of what I may term the executive class of Freemasons are devoted students of the Craft and of every branch thereof. Of this office-holding class filling all sorts of ritualistic positions and responsibilities there is included a countless array caring little and heeding less the historical accounts of the genesis of the various governing bodies. To them the present and the future are of paramount importance. Engrossed as they are in their personal affairs of business and the steady flood of labor in initiations and in allied services, they have no time to spare for literary enjoyment or for actual bookish research even if by any possibility they could create in themselves a taste for it.
Research to a large extent they may pursue and yet not be aware of it as such. Circumscribed as they are by the devotion of their energies to the consideration of the fraternity's progress as bounded by their own career and their own affiliations, these men oft write with no uncertain pen records of lofty worth. Look you! What a wealth of study is woven into the construction and the financing of the Masonic buildings myriadly dotted over this broad land of ours! What eloquent histories are imperishably graven into these monumental memorials! Every stone therein is an eternal tribute to the zeal of the few or many students banded in the brotherhood of Freemasonry and whose joy it was to house their ceremonies in a fitting home.
Furthermore, every man holding office in our mystic circle, or expecting to at some time have an office and meantime preparing himself to fill the place he anticipates, is to that extent a student and very often an ardent student of Freemasonry.
It will thus be seen that there are various grades of Masonic students. We have those whose chief concern is with the immediate present and the near future, and then again we have those who look further afield. How then shall we prepare a course of instruction that meets all the requirements of the worthy brethren already mentioned and that will also serve for those who seek to plumb other and deeper depths? And that is not all the difficulty. How shall we take due care of the many who have little to spend on books and who must therefore make the most of a very limited outlay. Neither can we overlook those of the unselfishly ambitious whose thoughts run lavishly toward the founding of a library to be an appropriate adjunct to some Masonic edifice of highest quality and purpose.
Begin at the beginning. Let us first assume you have no books.
- Get a Bible. It is easily first of all books in or about Freemasonry. Preferably select one that opens out flat at any page. Very many inexpensive Bibles are freely supplied with maps and other helps to the better understanding of the text. A good Concordance is an excellent handbook to the convenient study of the Bible. The Concordance is very useful in locating a text of which you may not be able to remember more than one or two significant words. You will find Biblical references to Solomon's Temple particularly interesting in Chronicles and Kings, and on careful study you will probably agree with me that a second Hiram, doubtless a relative of the first, was on account of some mishap to his predecessor called in to finish the work.
- Get the Masonic Codes published by the Grand Lodge and the other Masonic bodies in which you hold membership. Many a time there arises a knotty little question that provided you have the information at home will enable you promptly to satisfy yourself as to the law. Very many of the references will be found to throw a flood of light upon the development of our jurisprudence. But whatever Codes you collect, omit not the one of your own Grand Lodge. That is the fundamental Masonic law next to the moral code of the Scriptures.
- Get the Standard Monitor of your State. Some Monitors are much more extended and elaborate than others. Especially do I admire the one prepared by P. G. M. Wm. M. Shaver, of Topeka, for the Grand Lodge of Kansas. On the Apron Lecture it is unusually valuable. But be sure and possess the one approved by the Grand Lodge of your own State if you desire the one only.
- Get the Concise History of Freemasonry written by Brother R. F. Gould.
- Get the Concise Cyclopedia of Freemasonry compiled by the late Brother Hawkins.
Both of the above books are inexpensive and splendid possessions. Gould's larger History and Mackey's really comprehensive Encyclopedia are highly desirable additions to the above list but they are high in price, though fully worth all they cost.The History of Freemasonry and Concordant Ordersis delightfully written and is a scholarly work. Mackey and Singleton's Historyis in the same category. Gould's Concise Historywill fill all the student's wants for some time.
So far I have paid attention to the larger class. I have weighed the possibilities open to the brother whose desire runs easily ahead of his modest pocketbook. We have contemplated something less than a ten-dollar expenditure. Let us now deal briefly with those whose means are more ample.
- Write to the Secretary, Brother A. G. Pitts, Equity Building, Detroit, Mich., for a copy, it costs only ten cents, of the Masonic Curriculum reprinted by Palestine Lodge. This is the work of the late George Speth of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, the justly celebrated research body of Masonic students. If you can obtain all the books cited by Brother Speth you cannot but possess a very useful working library.
- Write to Brother Frank Marquis, President of the Masonic Library Association at Mansfield, Ohio, for a list of the volumes collected by that enthusiastic body. The catalogue contains most useful notations to many of the books and the list forms an example and a guide.
Please note that to secure all the foregoing works would demand much time and about two thousand dollars for books.
- A subscription to the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, 2076, of London, will bring a lot of information every year. Many of the Masonic bodies on the membership list published by the Quatuor Coronati Lodge issue publications of their own that are of decided importance. These are such treasures as the works printed under the auspices of the German Union of Freemasons, the Lodges of Research at Manchester and at Leicester, England; the several Lodges of Installed Masters at Leeds and elsewhere in England; the Masters and Wardens Lodge at Christchurch, New Zealand; the Masonic Bureau at Neuchatel, Suisse (Switzerland); the Masonic Library Association at Cincinnati, Ohio, and so on.
- President Scott Bonham of the latter organization prepared some years ago a little handbook containing suggestions on the buying and the reading of Masonic works, and he has also in the same treatise a very good compilation of Masonic words that are frequently mispronounced.
- Let me not overlook a series of three cards devised by Robert H. Corey, Registry Division, Post Office, Cincinnati, Ohio. These cards list the topics that are of greatest pertinence to the young Freemason and they may even be profitably handed to him one by one as he receives the lodge degrees. These lists are admirable. As was to be expected, they give references to such books as are easily obtained from the local Masonic library.
A good Masonic friend of mine once told me of having invested some twenty-five dollars in books on Freemasonry and yet he could never get up interest enough to read them. Evidently something else was wanted that he did not buy with the books. Books are only a part of the thing. A taste must be cultivated for the information.
My friend, himself, had out of his long experience a fund of Masonic data that was and is very interesting to me. Undoubtedly there were angles of Freemasonry that would have been entertaining and instructive to him.
What then was the fault with the books that he bought? They did not fit. His purchase was no more appetizing to him than you would expect any job lot of books to be to him or anyone else. Thus it is obvious that the peculiar tendencies of the individual brother must be taken into consideration or the road to learning will be dry as dust.
Therefore take notice that a worker in the Royal Arch cannot but be keenly interested in the pamphlet on the Chapter Degrees prepared by Dr. Wm. F. Kuhn of Kansas City. There is much charm in the books by Addison and Porter for the Knight Templar. Robertson's Cryptic Riteis exceedingly attractive to the devotee of the Council. Brockaway's History of Aurora Gratahas Scottish Rite importance far beyond the membership of that century-old landmark among Eastern Masonic keepers of the faith. Ravenscroft's book upon the Comacines is in all too small compass the effort of a Freemason of standing among antiquarians to dig out of the remote past historical truths of consequence to all of us. The many essays of George W. Warvelle of Chicago on the Council and the Chapter and the Red Cross of Constantine are unique and ever to be treasured by the fortunate to whom they travel. In the same class are the productions of Librarian J. F. Sachse of the Grand Lodge Library at Philadelphia. Of the several productions of General Albert Pike they are all to be coveted, especially by the Scottish Rite Mason. These are but specimens of what may profitably be added to the possessions of the brother whose peculiar interests and connections require special information.
And finally, my brethren, let me not overlook in closing the "Builders," by Brother Joseph F. Newton. It is charmingly written and enumerates many references to further sources of Masonic light. Of general appeal to all Freemasons it may well be deemed one the first selected for the founding of a home library.
ON THE NATIONAL MASONIC RESEARCH SOCIETY
Bro. Robert Tipton, Iowa
THE day in which we live is presenting for Masonry an unequaled opportunity for service. By reason of the many problems we are facing, Masonry can serve the common good as never before. The riches of her Holy of Holies she can bring as a benign gift for the uplift of man. Her truths can be told on highway and byway and her transcendent hope for the abolition of human strife which in this latter day is measured so much in blood and tears is not too far away to be realized. Her task indeed is gigantic, but are her resources not mighty? And truth and justice are eternally on her side. The establishing of the gracious world-wide brotherhood must no longer be conceived of as a "far off divine event." Masonic idealism with its triune basic principle of freedom, toleration, and justice incorporated in the economy of states, nations and empires, alone furnishes the foundation upon which friendship, morality and brotherly love can become possible.
To create that human and divine enthusiasm that will bring a mutual understanding of the rights of men and nations stands then as the pre-eminent mission of Masonry today. We rejoice in the knowledge of the part that Masons have played in great movements of enlightenment in history. It is with sadness that we mark how the noblest and bravest of our order have had to suffer for their conviction, how they were stoned, starved and crucified. They lived when it required an unusual degree of physical as well as moral courage to be a Mason. Let us hope that their glorious example of heroism and their deathless passion for truth has not been in vain, and may we, inspired by their zeal and love, be as true to our visions and ideals, ready if needs be, to lay down our lives for them. Happily it is rare that our modern prophets and teachers of truth are muzzled, but there stalks throughout the land a mighty spirit that is opposed to the truth as Masons see it, and history grimly warns us of the fanaticism of bigotry and its cruelties and persecutions, so to awaken and teach and tell the truth that the world might be better, because of its having lived, I conceive to be the great purpose of the National Research Society.
We can all then expect much, and heartily welcome the new society with its brilliant coterie of leaders. In the spirit of scholarship, on the lofty plane of reason governed by the spirit of charity, fairness and common sense can we alone hope to convince the world of the rightness of Philosophy and Religion and Government as Masonry declares it. I prophesy today that the new society will prove to be, in Masonry, the most powerful agency of any for the realization of the universal ideal, if our loyal and generous support is graciously and unselfishly given.
The fundamental appeal of the new society is for the education — the higher education, if you please — of Masons in all that pertains to Masonry. To insure an efficient understanding of the place of the order in modern life through a studious research into the traditions and work of the order, is its first great care. As I view its mission the task assumes religious proportions. Can that indeed be called anything else but religion, which enjoins us to govern our life and work by that of which the Holy Bible, square and compasses are the symbols. The society then is assuming a most serious and solemn engagement for the good of the order.
I presume it to be a common experience among members of the Craft to find frequently among the brethren a regrettably limited conception of the nature of Masonry. And no doubt there frequently is to be found an unpardonable ignorance. Masonry. I feel, has become popular and cheap and some of its glory has become shadowed by pins and badges. Quantity has come to obsess quality. What if we had today to face the sore trials of our Masonic forebears, think you that you would find among the Craft, those whose physical and moral courage you question? It is a weighty tie that binds us and such a one that demands the highest human excellence. Masonic culture demands an intellectual morality, and this presumes capacity and desire for learning on the part of the Masonic aspirant. Are we then asking the unreasonable when we insist that our brother should know something of the traditions, history and influences of the order. The wilful ignorance of the mission of the order, especially when we find it among professors and ministers and others who should manifest the scholarly instinct, is unpardonable. I confess it often provokes me to question why they ever joined the order. Equally sad to me is that enthusiastic Mason who sees nothing in the order but its lip service, and who, having acquired such literal proficiency in the lodge ritual, tries to convey the impression that the first, midmost and last of Masonry rests in the possession of a good memory and a fair measure of dramatic instinct.
It seems that a subtle form of Pharisaism has crept into our midst — which makes much of pots and pans and loud exclamations to the disparagement and neglect of the more abiding things, the fruits of the spirit of our noble order. It becomes pathetic when we view the instability of our Pharisaism. Some one has said that the use of common Masonic terms — hoary with age — frequently are void of meaning to these much lauded proficient Masons. What, it is asked, is the meaning of Cowan and Cable tow, and before the question those who have been solemnly instructed to inculcate the principles of learning stand open mouthed in amazement, and it is surely quaintly humorous if not ludicrous to often listen, as some of us patiently do, to the sepulchral voices of many reverent Master Masons solemnly speaking the words they have not the slightest knowledge of their meaning. It is worse than the pious nonsensical chanting in the Latin of an ignorant priest. I for one shall be happy to welcome the movement that will strive to banish the antiquated terminology and render our ritual into easy unambiguous English. This, however, is but a minor feature after all but it serves to indicate the predominant feature of our order to so many Masons. To a multitude of initiates I often fear the Craft is nothing but a big club, something from which to acquire prestige, a sort of a mutual aid society without the usual embellishments of commercialism — good enough as a religion since its observances are on a religious plane, yet not religion. O, I tell you the absurdities of conception born of ignorance is appalling. Let us wake up and rudely shock the Craft into the sobriety of thought that will make every man understand how serious and holy a thing it is to be a Mason, and how necessary a knowledge and love of Masonry is to the need of the world.
The National Research Society is heralding a new day and Masonry is to be congratulated on the response of her sons — her scholar sons — whose great hope and supreme desire is to make scholars of all Masons — for in character the New Society is a University, and it, leaders for the most part are University bred men whose single passion is the good of the order, and more, even convincing the world by its words and deeds that Masonry is for the world. I have no desire to be iconoclastic and it may seem that I have been so, in arraigning the deficiencies I see in our midst. I plead to but one ambition, even the laying on Masonic hearts the fact that we are too indifferent to the deeper nature of our Order, and that the work of the new Society necessitates the loyal support of every man in our midst. In this alone appears to me to be possible the invigorating of our organic life so that we may vindicate before the world our claim to being the greatest benefactor of the race.
* * *
Let us learn to be content with what we have. Let us get rid of false estimates, set all the higher ideals — a quiet home; vines of our own planting; a few books full of the inspiration of genius; a few friends worthy of being loved, and able to love us in return; a hundred innocent pleasures that bring no pain or remorse; a devotion to the right that will not swerve; a simple religion empty of all bigotry, full of trust and hope and love — and to such a philosophy this world will yield all the joy it has.
— David Swing.
A MASONIC LESSON FROM A RAINDROP
Charles N. Mikels, P. G. M. Of Indiana
The Sun was created a long time before it was even partially understood. Those who were blind thought that its purpose was to "dispense light." Much was said about light. Somebody learned that Sahara was a desert and yet had an ocean of light. The desert lacked something practical.
Then people conceived the idea that maybe the Sun had more than one purpose; that it made heat and power; that heat and power were necessary to make light serviceable; that heat made raindrops and raindrops made power.
Unintelligent observation nearly spoiled the reputation of the Sun. He seemed to many, to peep over the horizon simply to flirt with the wavelets of the sea. He stimulated them until they were ready to fly to pieces. He called them pet names in vibrations so rapid that human ear could not register them. The wavelets wanted something genuinely hot. They wanted to get near something which had a burning heart. Finally the sea submitted to a change of form and part became something better. The sea vaporized and the vapor aspired to the Sun.
This Maker of Light caused a never-ending modification of conventional water. The vapor climbed on steps of air until it obscured the light of the Sun itself. Then it received "a new name" and was called a Cloud.
Even the clouds are misunderstood. They drift and drift until they strike against a cold and fruitless mountain top. The immovable mountain could not understand a change. The cloud meant to softly caress the mountain and moisten its dry brow, but there was no welcome. The clouds were chilled. This drifting dust of the sea shrank and crowded together in sensitiveness; centralized in sympathy; had no real helpfulness until it did centralize. A raindrop fell as a result.
The cloud died in giving birth to a raindrop. While it fell, a sunbeam from the heart of the Sun, shot into the raindrop, ran around its walls, saw that it was an improvement over the sea and came out a rainbow of Hope with a message of Change. It seems odd that God cannot be satisfied with things as they are but must put on a policy of change. Even a rainbow changed sunbeam.
Crazy with disappointment, the raindrop started down the mountainside, homesick for the sea. It traveled in foreign countries. It dodged around boulders which hindered its progress. No immovable "forms" could stop it. It saw other homesick raindrops and "joined" them in a common purpose. Enough of them form a tricklet, a streamlet, a rivulet, a river, yet a river is nothing but a few million heart-sick raindrops sprinting for their cradle in the sea.
A raindrop has a "rough and rugged road to travel from the mountain top of yesterday to the sea of tomorrow. It is little but it is mighty. It is slow, but is persistent. Harness a raindrop to the horns of Gravitation and it will dig a canyon. But what use has the world for a canyon, a big gash in the bosom of earth, which has to be bridged or stop travel? A canyon is a purposeless, brainless, heartless monument to waste energy until you make another change.
Fraternalize a raindrop, a grain of sand and a changed sea shell and you can dam a canyon which is an unused opportunity. Then you can turn the canyon's liquid energies into heat and light and power. You have to add head and heart and hand to do it. You put the hoe of purpose into the hands of intelligent method under the direction of common-sense and imagination, to get a new result out of old forces in a new way.
Twin raindrops as alike as two peas, did two things. One acted conventionally and caused waste. The other sprung an innovation and warmed the world.
There is a lodge room on the banks of the Niagara River, in which to learn many mysteries. Its covering is a clouded canopy or starry-decked Heaven. Many have paid an initiation fee in car fare and hotel bills to visit it. A few people "work" there. A few return. The great majority of initiates never come back. All wear an indistinct memory as a badge of membership.
The Falls are one of the mysteries of God. Many have admired its age. Some have been awed with its tireless voice of Omnipotence. Others marvelled at its unmastered might. Generally people had no practical purpose when they went there and had none when they left. The river was nothing but raindrops and the Falls were nothing but a jump of raindrops which could not wait.
After the centuries had grown weary with waiting for God to tell some man what is the great mystery of the Falls, an innovator stood on the same spot and saw the same sights. The waste challenged his wit and opened his heart. God whispered to him that the Falls were meant to be used, and not looked at merely. Wonderful, age-old mystery! Practice, and not theory!
This spectator talked about changing the situation. Every sightseer who had no ideas, called him crazy. This particular spectator decided that God created Niagara River and Niagara Falls for a practical purpose; that the purpose had never been seen or had been forgotten; that God never meant waste of time or opportunity or power.
In his sincere simplicity this unconventional, unsophisticated soul had heard of people who said often and far and wide, that the thing they most desired was "light," "more light," "further light." He thought that they meant it, but they didn't; they merely wanted to talk about wanting it. There it was running away, enough to answer their wildest dreams and not a soul would permit the answer to their own wishes because it came in a new way. They did not see the end from the beginning. They had no imagination. They did not know how. The idea was too big for them to grasp easily and at once.
This sightseer was obsessed by the thought that he had had a wireless message from God; that he alone understood the situation. He suggested that some of these Niagara raindrops be diverted to practical uses instead of stereopticon views.
What a storm of indignation broke upon his head! Change is never practical in prospect. An established change is a habit. The Falls were perfect as they were. Let well enough alone. They are as they were yesterday. That is good enough for tomorrow. He was laughed at but the laugh did not take. He fought first to get the world used to the idea. It did get used to his thought. Nothing can head off, permanently, the reign of a sound idea.
This fellow, who was of no official importance, argued that a practical engineer should dream out the details of a practical plan to cause raindrops to manufacture and deliver light and to deliver heat and power with light. He argued for a constructive instead of a "stand pat" policy. He argued that men with burning hearts should replace men who sit on the brakes of progress. He argued for a central light plant instead of the raindrop system. Everybody said that there could be none, because there had been none. But there was.
What difference did it make to this innovator that the President, Senators, Congressmen, Governors, Legislatures, all the officiary of habit, were against him! What difference did it make because those who want ideas digested and fed to them as if they were young mental robins, insisted on sleeping in comparative darkness, on the brink of a good thing! It was his business to wake them. He was talking about the purposes of God. God wanted the world to actually and really have more light, heat and power.
The world did not care what God wanted. People wanted that to which they were accustomed. The bottomless canyon of habit intervened. Niagara Falls had always been "an ancient landmark" of waste, and waste is a virtue when it is old enough.
People of petrified purposes fought him, doubted him, hindered him. The dynamic heart of this custodian of God's purposes of helpfulness, hammered the idea into the heads of men for their own good. He literally hammered, repeated, reiterated until he forged the key of attention which opened the door to their brain cells so that an idea could walk in. He aroused interest; study followed; purpose ripened; judgment acquiesced; some assisted. Everybody knows what happened. The right was permitted to prove that it was right. The right prevailed. The logic of efficiency conquered. The raindrops were commanded to turn aside. They co-ordinated for the benefit of man. These sovereign, independent raindrops were organized and directed by a combination of masterful intelligences possessed of a combined purpose.
More light and heat and power followed. Everybody is used to the idea today, hence it is safe. Men of those days shied at this practical idea of helpfulness just as western broncos shy at a stray page from the Bible. The bronco does not understand the Bible. He never tried. If he knew anything he knew that the usual place for a page of the Bible is in a property room of a Church, home or Lodge. An active page from the Bible in a strange place has to be explained to men even.
God has plenty of time to wait and he has plenty of patience. Man has but three score and ten years so he has to be in a hurry to see ideas bud, blossom and bear fruit. The persistence of this dreamer of innovations, made him a pest to all whose heads were asleep.
And yet all but this dreamer were mistaken. It did not hurt the world nor mar Niagara Falls to change its purpose and plans. There was less light when these raindrops had no leadership. Light is applied theory. It is intelligent practice. Heat is not frenzied fancy. It is useful every day and not merely on Saturday night on or before full moon. Power is not fiction. It is fact, helpful fact. It is sane to secure more light, to secure aggressive heat, to increase power by change.
With the potential power of a river of God's, Masonry has rambled and twisted through the bed of two speculative centuries without the direction of organized premeditation. To change the figure, it has plowed a great furrow in history. But it never had a headplowman who knew anything about intensive farming.
Masonry has stood pat in the face of God's manifest policy of evolution, and has prided herself on the fact. It even glories in repeating words, phrases, paragraphs, degrees which have lost their fitness like the Fellow Craft's degree.
Four or five times in these centuries, some incarnation of Fortitude, has dared to challenge the perfection of Masonry just as Preston did. He was an innovator. He was a Masonic heretic demanding the light of education. He made a change, a radical change, a helpful change. We are used to his change now, so we forgive him, we applaud him. New styles in thoughts, ideas, practice and purposes are no more popular than new shoes. Maybe the shoes will not fit. When soles wear out, you have to get new ones or go to bed and sleep.
Preston jarred the brain cells of his co-temporaries. He compelled them to think. He compelled them to think when they did not wish to think, of things with regard to which they did not wish to think. So did Krause, Oliver and Pike. They should have been expelled as disturbers of the age-old peace. Why in the world, did they not let well enough alone? Wasn't Masonry growing in numbers fast enough; collecting initiation fees enough, wearing badges enough, building enough Temples? What more could you want! Practical purposes of the heart are less easily understood than practical purposes of dollars.
Your National Masonic Research Society isn't an innovation. No one need to be afraid. You have simply jumped back one hundred and fifty years to get a little of the purposes of Preston. You have resurrected a part of a dead purpose. He talked of education in general. You talk of Masonic education in particular. This purpose is narrow enough to be safe. Certainly you are safe. God is probably applauding you while we fear lest you let the logic of Truth guide you fearlessly, no matter where it takes you. You might find out what God meant Masonry to do and be and how.
You cannot prevent our learning at least one thing from Preston, Krause, Oliver and Pike. They slipped the straight jacket of habit from their minds and hearts. They proved that there is a mental peace which is stagnation.
Masonry has an unpremeditated and unspeakable responsibility because it has permitted nearly 2,000,000 men in this country alone, to pass its ritualistic doors. If Masonic Truth is being eagerly, frequently, heartily, personally incorporated in the lives of 90 per cent of these members, under the direction of Grand Masters, Past Grand Masters and Grand Lodge Officers, Masonry is a practical, vitally effective fraternal order and these officers should be crowned with "Well done."
If you have to drum up quorums, apologize for lack of attendance and interest when degree work is done, if scarcely 10 per cent of the 2,000,000 members get under the influence of Masonry at all, there is a lack of heat and power at least.
Sovereign raindrops running independently through a channel of habit, without real purpose, without practical plans, without power, without head, call for another of God's inspired changes.
Runaway raindrops are an emblem of waste. Waste is inefficiency. Masonry is a progressive science if there is progress. Does it fit the modern heart or is there a lot of lost motion? Is Masonry efficient? Could it be made better? Can you make it better? Will you make it better? How?
The first thing to do is to get your Masonic bearings. Understand it as it is. Is Masonry efficient?
* * *
THE MYSTERY OF WORDS WELL SAID
There is a mystery of words well said,
And many labor in that craft; but few
Avail to win the worship which is due
The Master, of his work accredited.
To some the days their own fulfillment bear,
Night healeth all their languors, and content
Sweetly attends their task's accomplishment —
A measured portion, and an equal care.
But these are not the Master — not the priest
Of those high mysteries of words well said;
But lesser workmen, toiling in his stead:
For evermore his travail is increased
Until that he shall frame that greater Word
Whereat, sublime and perfect, walks the Man;
As once where Pison and Euphrates ran
Eastward from Eden, garden of the Lord.
— John Edmund Barss.
* * *
THE INNER LAW
For the commandment is not hidden from thee; neither is it far off. It is not in heaven that thou shouldst say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it to us, that we may hear it, and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.
— Deuteronomy XXX.
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THE POWER OF LOVE
Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and myself have formulated empires. But upon what did we rest the creations of our genius? Upon Force. Jesus Christ alone founded his empire upon Love, and at this moment millions of men will die for Him.
* * *
Bro. Frank L. Haycock
ANOTHER year has ended: another year has commenced. If the old year has had its lessons for us, let us hope the new will have even more. And though we may not hope to make Masonry different, or more than what it is, and has been, we may still strive to come in closer contact with its principles and precepts, and seek its secrets still deeper, that we may have a better understanding of its hidden meaning.
For there is a hidden meaning yet. Let no brother presume to have grasped the meaning of all of our ceremonies: let no one think that the lectures so far as they go in our three degrees of symbolic Masonry are even intended to convey the true meaning of our initiatory ceremonies.
In Masonry, as in the arts and sciences, "there is no Royal road to learning." What we learn we must seek for: what is buried we must uncover.
But as was the case with our traditional sprig of Acacia, the place is marked, the way is pointed out, the line is drawn that we may or must follow. If we lose the road it is our own fault. If the real secrets persist in remaining heled, we must dig if we would find them. Rubbish must be cleared away. Our highest reasoning powers must be invoked; and the best that is in our intellect be brought to bear.
As I went over in my own mind what I might have to offer to the brethren on this occasion, I was minded to give it the title "Foundation Stones"; and later I was reminded of a little verse from our Great Light; and the thought struck me that any discourse pertinent to Masonry, must of necessity, partake somewhat, if not fully, of a moral or at least of an ethical nature; and I wondered if a text would be out of place. If not, then the text I would take, or rather the text I would in my humble way endeavor to enlarge upon, is in Proverbs, and reads, "In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths." And in Proverbs also by the way, there is another verse that is applicable, which says, alluding to wisdom and understanding: — "Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace." This verse is a poetic gem by itself, but the thought in it is far grander than all the poetry that was ever written.
To those whom I fail to impress with what I am about to say, I would recommend a reading of that beautiful book of Proverbs, especially the 2nd, 3rd and 4th chapters.
When we leave the Apprentice degree behind, with its teachings of Morality and Virtue, and arrive symbolically at the foot of the winding stairs, many things are pointed out to us that demand our close attention if we would improve our opportunities. Unfortunately, it seems, there is so large a scope covered within a short time dealing with the different arts and sciences, that even with the closest concentration, most of us are unable when we hear it, for even many times, to retain or grasp its connection with Masonic principles.
This is confirmed in my mind by an incident that occurred in this very Lodge many years ago, when. I heard one of the principal officers of our Grand Lodge remark, speaking of this degree, that, he "could write a better degree himself."
But when within the middle chamber, the meaning of the letter "G" is explained to us, we should then begin to conceive the true import of the meaning of various things. I shall always contend, that while the lodge may be as its members make it, Masonry itself is founded so firmly, and rooted so deeply in enduring verities, that if all of one lodge, or of many lodges should depart almost wholly from everything Masonic, but its forms and ceremonies, yet no one could justly say that Masonry is as Masons make it. It is the fact of its "Foundation Stones" that I seek to show — the fact that it has endured so long conclusively proving their existence.
All through this degree the attempt is made to link together, operative and speculative Masonry; and we are told near the end, speaking of geometry and architecture, "Geometry, the first and noblest of sciences is the basis upon which the superstructure of Masonry is erected."
To my mind, that does not mean just what it says. The superstructure of Masonry was never erected upon a simple science; but, the application of geometry to the science of astronomy did, by determining the fact of a regular and systematic order in the movements of the heavenly bodies, inspire in men's minds a greater, firmer, and a larger respect for a supreme governing power whom we sometimes term the Grand Artificer of the Universe.
Later we are told: — "A survey of Nature and the observation of her beautiful proportions, first, &c —
This idea of a foundation is something that all men have inherently considered. We have always sought to know what was at the bottom of things. It is natural for man to turn to the acquisition of wisdom when purely animal wants and desires are satisfied. In this one thing more than in anything else, man differs from the rest of the animal kingdom. And, as one generation thrives upon the gathered knowledge and accumulated wisdom of those who have been before, we pay our debt to humanity by adding a little bit more and passing it to posterity.
The first architect, what of him? His first structures were made with the idea of stability and security, if we are to believe the tales told of the cave-men. Then probably came rude huts with growing trees used as corner posts, poles from one to the other, and other poles on them, a covering of wild grass or skins for roof, brush woven together for walls. As architecture advanced, men were not satisfied with what was purely for utility in dwellings and structures, and the idea of ornamentation crept in; and this at times in the past has been carried to such an extreme, that the cheap and gaudy embellishments of certain periods would seem ridiculous in a building of today. Some of our plainest structures, that follow symmetrical lines, we now consider the most pleasing to the eye.
But even in our towering buildings with their noble spring of arch, piercing of sky-line, heavy cornice, and symmetrical ornaments, do we, in admiring their general pleasing effect to the eye, consider what the architect was forced to consider! namely, the solid foundation on which it must rest, and the strength so cunningly hidden, to form the support of its towering superstructure? A tall, beautiful building, shorn of what goes to make up its general finished appearance, has about as much beauty as a hay rack. The extreme height of some of the structures of today, demand extremes in foundations, and these go deeper and yet deeper, and the builder is but following natural laws in his plans and provisions.
And here is the lesson that architecture teaches to Masons — that we should embellish and adorn our minds with useful knowledge; but that our principles should conform to the laws of God, as the architect's plans conform to the laws of nature and of physics. The Masonic edifice is founded on firmest supports, else we could not build thereon. We cannot build without starting squarely over and upon these underlying truths and fundamental principles.
As it is with Masons, so with all society and the State as a whole; for what is good for Masons is good for all. Masonry may be big enough some day to embrace all mankind. I have no doubt but what it will when mankind shows itself worthy. I believe that Masonry in its inception, (that is, modern Masonry) was intended to be helpful to society, to improve the social state, through inspiring in men's minds, the necessity of considering the existence of a supreme Being who was all wise — who had prescribed laws for all human acts — who, to discourage men from attempting to rear an artificial state, had so arranged things that men might not with impunity ignore the least of his laws — that any infringement, any departure from what the "great intelligence" had said should be, would result only in confusion and suffering.
As one writer has put it, "the core and essence of our belief is, that there is in social relations, as in physical relations, a law, an order, a law which everywhere coincides with the divine law, an order which shows intelligence and beneficence."
As society grows and becomes more complex, we, who superintend the building must, if we are true Masons and real builders, go more and more to the bottom of things — seek further and further for the governing laws which we are taught exist — endeavor with all the intelligence at our command to interpret the true meaning of the search for the "Master's word."
The higher we go in the scale of civilization, the deeper we must delve into the question of what supports it, just as, the higher the architect goes up with his structure, the deeper he must go down with foundation.
I consider it a privilege and an honor to be placed with a society whose fortune it is to make men wiser, better, and consequently happier. It should be a noble work, and to do it and do it well, the "foundation stones" should be sought out and securely placed.
If our acts, either as an individual or as a Lodge, or in the State and the community as a whole, will bear the supreme test of having "acknowledged Him" let us not think it strange that the result is misery and suffering, and poverty with all its attendant ills.
We are but children of one Father, Brotherhood and interdependence are but facts in Nature. Our simplest reasoning powers, following the lines of least resistance, are our surest guide, and lead us into safest paths. One writer has truly said "No consecrated absurdity could have stood its ground in this world, if the man had not silenced the objections of child."
Vanity makes fools of us all. Who are we anyway, that we should do aught but be guided by our Creator in all our ways? Does any man come into this lodge, subscribing to his belief in the existence of, and acknowledging that he puts his trust in a Supreme being, imagine that he has any powers whatever, except those with which he is endowed by God? All that man is existed before he ever saw the light. The very elements that compose his physical being were tangible matter long ago; and may have been used by other earthly inhabitants, and may be so used again and yet again.
If man has power independent of what he draws from nature, or if his inner intellect is other than a part of God, then indeed we all are gods. But such is not the case, "As a swallow darting through thy hall, such, O! King is the life of man."
In this world we live in, nothing escapes, nothing elementary is ever, or has ever been, waste or, destroyed.
We do not change the form, location, and shape of things. In this short life of ours we either do, or do not, add to the sum of human knowledge; and what more laudable than to study who we are, where we came from, why we are here, and what it is intended that we should do? How may we better pay our debt to those who were before us, than to bequeath to those to come, a larger store of understanding, something to assist them in the problems that will constantly confront them?
If we build upon the sands, or if we use not "foundation stones" true and tested, then our lives have been for naught, our work of no avail. We not only have done nothing, we have made accomplishment more difficult for those who follow us, as they must first wreck what we have built and lay the foundations true and solid, in order that the fabric of that temple, erected to God, and dedicated to the holy Saints John, may rise true and plumb, and endure forever in the Kingdom of God.
(The Builderis an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another; but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its own merits.)
THE TRESTLE BOARD
AFTER six months service as Editor of the journal of this Society, it may not be amiss to look back for a moment and see how far we have come and what has been done, keeping in mind the original designs on the Trestle Board. Detailed report of the activities of the Society has been made by its Secretary, and what we give here are some impressions which have come to us in the course of our labors. Editors have their troubles, so we infer from the preface to the Masonic Calendarof the Province of Buckinghamshire, England, in which the Editor of that volume says:
"They say a reasonable amount of fleas is good for a dog — keeps him from brooding over being a dog, maybe. And so I suppose a reasonable amount of worries is good for an Editor — keeps him from brooding over being an Editor, maybe. With some Secretaries gone to the war and others gone to the dogs, with some of the old ones that are left gone out of their senses and some of the new ones never having had any senses to go out of, the compilation of the Calendar for 1915 will stand out forever it my memory as one of those rugged hilltops, like measles and matrimony and first cigars, which one does not want to have to climb more than once during life's weary pilgrimage."
Happily we have met no such fate, albeit our experiences have been sufficiently varied and laborious to keep us from brooding over being an editor, and from taking on any airs by virtue of that fact. Of course we have had our difficulties, as we expected, but our labors have been delightful, if somewhat exacting, and use would fain believe not altogether in vain. Meantime, the fact that stands out like a star is the enthusiasm and co-operation of the Craft in an enterprise which they are now certain is one of great importance and promise, and to which they lend their earnest support. The wonder is that the difficulties have not been greater, for it was a new and untried undertaking, and if they have not been as trying as anticipated it is due to the deeply felt need for such a Society, and to the remarkable response to its appeal in behalf of the Study Side of Masonry.
Chief among our delights has been the closer contact with Masonic students from one end of the land to another, and beyond the seas, and their quick recogniton of the need and purpose of this Society. When we began our labors we knew only a few of our fellow-workers in the field of Masonic study, but they have made themselves known and have shown their readiness to serve, offering the choice results of their researches. Besides, they have undertaken arduous tasks at our request, the fruits of which the Craft will harvest in due time, and not a few of them have responded to our need, often on short notice, with articles of the first order of worth. They have been wise in counsel, fruitful in suggestion, and in all ways possible have made us aware of their interest and eagerness to assist in a labor which means so much for the better understanding of Masonry and the better ordering of its thought and endeavor.
Meanwhile we have learned many things — a fact which some of our Brethren will be glad to know, for they have told us that we have much to learn, including not a little which we still think is not so — and one of them is the obvious need for real scholarship and clear thinking in Masonry. The London Freemason notes with amazement, not unmixed with amusement, that an American Lodge listened to an extensive paper upon "Jesus Christ — A Mason," and remarks that "American Masonic journals have published, in ten years or less, more nonsensical imaginative rubbish than English Masons would tolerate in a century." English journals, it adds, closed their columns against a number of incredulous fallacies some years ago. Perhaps this criticism is justified, and if so, it does but emphasize the necessity for this Society and its journal which seeks, with the aid of the best Masonic students of the land, to clear the air and set authentic Masonic truth in the light.
Absurdities there are in plenty, as we can testify — they have beseiged us, clamoring to be heard — and to deal with them asks for skill and patience. Some would shut them out entirely, as the Freemason has done; others would explode them on the spot, and thereby wound the feelings of good but misinformed men; but some of us prefer to meet them gently and with charity, the while we tell the truth so simply and plainly that they can be seen for what they are and put where they belong. Admit that every kind of fantastic nonsense is being taught in the name of Masonry, it only shows how much work lies before Masonic students and serves as a challenge to them to bestir themselves in behalf of sound learning and the spread of the truth. What the late Robert Gould did for Masonic history must now be done, especially in America, for Masonic symbolism and philosophy, and in this difficult labor The Builderhopes to have no small part in the years to come.
Not much can be done in six months towards working out the program outlined in the Foreword to The Builder. Nevertheless, a beginning has been made, and Masons everywhere are coming to realize that such a program, if worked out — as it can be, and will be in time — will permanently influence the future of American Masonry in ways which no man can measure. In the presence of this possibility, we may well renew our vows to keep inviolate the Masonic inheritance handed down to us, turning neither to the right nor to the left from the path marked out by ages of experience, and never for a day forget the great design drawn on the Trestle Board of The Order. While we are writing essays, editing journals, discussing symbolism and philosophy, let us always remember that the best thing about Masonry is that it wins the homage of elect youth, teaches them to pray to the God in whom their fathers trusted, and upon the open Bible which their mothers read asks them to take oath to be good men and true, chaste of heart and charitable of mind, to build their characters upon the homely old moralities, and to estimate life by its sanctity and service.
Masonry is not everything; it is a thing as distinctly featured as a statue by Phidias or a painting by Angelo. Perpetuating the Men's House of primitive society, it is a world-wide fraternity of God-fearing men, founded upon spiritual faith and moral truth, using the symbols of architecture to teach the art of building character; a historic fellowship in the search for truth and the service of man, whose sacramental mission it is to make men friends and to train them in righteousness, liberty, and charity. By as much as this mission is fulfilled, by so much will humanity be healed of the wounds of war, the crime of greed, the shame of lust, and all injustice and unkindness.
* * *
So unqualified an endorsement of the aims of this Society and the ideals of its journal — as well as the spirit of its Secretary and its Editor — as that given by the Grand Lodge of Indiana at its last communication, in the special report on the Study Side of Masonry, is of far-reaching significance. It was gracious and most encouraging, and it means much to have two such Grand Jurisdictions as Iowa and Indiana give their sanction to a movement for Masonic education truly national in scope, and whose purpose it is to promote good-fellowship, free discussion, sound learning, and practical efficiency in Masonry. No doubt other Grand Lodges will take due notice and govern themselves accordingly, as we believe they realize, what ought by this time to be plain, that this Society is no scheme for the floating of a magazine, but the largest organized body of Masonic students in the world, founded by the authority of the Grand Lodge of Iowa to diffuse the kindly light of Masonry.
* * *
We regret that the second chapter of the "Early History of Masonry in America," by Grand Master Johnson of Massachusetts, has been delayed, owing to the pressure upon our columns; but it will appear in due course, setting forth the claims of the old Bay State in forthright manner. Interest in the Society has grown so rapidly, and articles have come so thick and fast, that it is not always easy to select where there is so much that is good and timely. None the less, every article, every suggestion, every question — of which there are a multitude — receives due consideration, and if the Editor is not always able to reply to his correspondents at once, he begs his Brethren to believe that it is not humanly possible to do so
* * *
As this issue of The Builderwill reach its readers on or before Independence Day, we call special attention to the address of Brother Keiper, Past Grand Master of the District of Columbia, on the Washington Memorial to be erected at Alexandria, Va., because of the admirable and impressive way in which it states the spirit, purpose and symbolism of that enterprise. The speaker portrays the movement in its higher and deeper meanings, as a proposal to build not simply a monument to a great man and Mason, but to uplift a shrine whither pilgrim multitudes may go and renew their homage to the Spirit of Masonry which found embodiment in the Constitution of this Republic, and vow new allegiance to the principles of civil and religious liberty which Washington and his Masonic compeers wrought into the organic law of this nation.* * *
Dear Sir and Friend: — If it had not been for poor health and pressure of work, I would have written last month in regard to the misstatements contained in Professor Pound's lecture about my father in the April number of The Builder. It is incorrect to say that my father did not enter Harvard because he was too poor: I have stated the truth briefly in the biographical sketch of him in the introduction to the volume of his poems, but shall amplify it somewhat in my Life. But I cannot wait for that to contradict the assertions about his connection with the Indians in the Civil War. At first I was very indignant that Prof. Pound should have revived that old slander; but, on reflection, I concluded that it was well that I should have a chance to refute it. It is absolutely untrue.
My father did not go into the Indian Territory to raise regiments to fight in the Confederate Army against Union troops; nor did he voluntarily take them into the battle of Elk Horn. He went to the Indian Territory as Commissioner from the Confederate States to make treaties with the Indians, and succeeded so well that he was made Brigadier General in conmand of that Territory. He made a stipulation, however, which was agreed to by the Confederate government, that the Indians were not to be called out of the Territory to fight, but were to be organized solely for defense, in case of invasion. The Major-General commanding the Trans-Mississippi Department broke this agreement, and ordered my father to join him with all the forces under his command. My father protested bitterly, stating that some of the Indians were not civilized or disciplined, and it would not be possible to prevent them from fighting in their old savage way. His protests were over-ruled and his advice flouted; and the blame was left on him. It was this and other high-handed proceedings of other Commanding Generals, that caused him to resign from the Confederate Army.
I heard some of these facts from my father himself, and the rest from members of his staff, especially from Major Fayette Hewitt, who after the war was made Quartermaster General of the State of Kentucky by Governor Stevenson. I feel sure you will give as wide publicity to this correction as to the erroneous statement, which casts such a reflection upon my father's memory.
Very sincerely yours
Lilian Pike Roome.
* * *
TK AND THE GREAT SCHOOL
Dear Brother: — have read with much interest your review of "The Great Work," by TK. I, too, have read the book more than once, and have also studied somewhat the writings of other men along somewhat the same line. My greatest interest has centered around the problem of demonstrating the future life — that is, the continued existent of the individual after physical death. I note your statement, "Moreover, he (the editor) holds that this kind of search for certainty is not only useless, but dangerous, in that it is seeking for something which is manifestly not ordained for humanity." Would it be presumptuous if I asked you to further elucidate this passage in your review? It would be most interesting to me, and, I think to others who have studied the problem if you give us further instruction along the line of the following questions:
- Why is the search for evidence of the fact of another life (after physical death) useless and dangerous? Could you give us any positive information along this line? Have you proven it as positively as you assert it?
- Upon what evidence do you base your very positive statement that this knowledge is "manifestly not ordained for humanity?" You will note that your statement does not seem to be the assertion of a belief, but the word "manifestly" would seem to indicate that you have demonstrated its accuracy.
My reason for making this request is this. TK states very positively that evidence of the fact of a life after death is obtainable, and offers to enable the student to make the demonstration of the truthfulness of his assertions. If, therefore, you are correct, he is most assuredly wrong. If he is right, then it must be that you are in error. While I have not proven that he is correct, yet I firmly believe that he is. Inasmuch, however, as I recognize that belief is of very little importance as compared with actual knowledge, I am very anxious to gain all the information possible on this subject.
You also state that no evidence of the existence of the Great School is forthcoming. Before making this statement did you make a request of any member of the Great School for any evidence along this line? Your statement would leave one to infer that it is not possible to obtain this evidence. Is that a fact? I have understood from one of his friends that TK is willing to discuss with others matters pertaining to the School, and he has stated in his magazine that he is willing to meet men in the interests of science. Have you tried to meet him? If there is no such School, then TK is a liar, and I have been wasting my time in reading his books. Moreover, if he is lying, he should be exposed. His statements, as you know, are as positive as those which you make, and are not attributed to mere belief. Besides, from the nature of the thing he must know whether or not this Great School is in existence, since he claims to be a member of it.
If, on the other hand, he is correct, it would seem that he should not refuse a reasonable request for information. Seriously, I believe that the matter here touched upon would be of interest to a good many Masons, for TK's books are pretty widely read among the Craft. I know personally a good many Masons who feel that his Great Work is, indeed, the greatest Masonic book ever written; and if this rapidly growing estimate is incorrect, The Builder, in my opinion, could do no better work than to stop it.
Sincerely and fraternally,
Joe Fennell, Jr., Kentucky.
(Many thanks for this straightforward letter. Taking first things first, let it be said that the immortality of the soul is the polar expedition of philosophy, as it is the polar star of faith. There is a sense in which it may be said to be scientifically demonstrated, in the same way that all the great conceptions of science and philosophy are true — because the integrity of the human mind, and the rationality of human experience, make its reality a necessity. (Brother Fennell will be interested in a chapter on this subject in a recent book, "Is Death the End?" by J. H. Holmes.) Now as to the questions which he formulates so concisely:
- Never once did we intimate that all search for evidence of the fact of another life, after physical death, is useless and dangerous, but only that specific kind of uncanny search, and other methods of like sort, recommended by TK — that is, inducing a state of consciousness or unconsciousness, by means of ascetic practices, in which the mind leaves the body and travels in the unseen world and works and receives the wages of a Master. With all possible respect, we still hold such methods to be dangerous to body and soul alike, if for no other reason, that they think to find the truth by putting the mind of man to sleep, or at least by setting at naught its greatest powers and achievements. Moreover, such methods are useless as to results, first, because they have not yet revealed any important or substantial fact. Second, they are not needed, for that Eternity is here, we live in it, and the sky begins at the top of the ground. When a man lives as becomes a citizen of Eternity, life discloses its own eternal quality, and death is seen to be only an incident in the immortal life.
- Surely the age-long experience of humanity, and of its loftiest and finest minds, is worthy of consideration. Time out of mind, men of all ages and races have been seeking certainty as to a life beyond death — trying to prove what they cannot help believing — but they have not found it to their satisfaction. Is it not "manifest," then, that it is not ordained that man should attain to actual knowledge of what lies behind the heavy drapery of death? Also, is it not clear, as we have tried to point out in our review, that such an arrangement is not only a fact, but that it is wisest and best? There are those who would throw the grand old Bible out the window, but Masons are not of that ilk. It lies open on our altar, and if we look into it as we should it will tell us the truth — that "the just shall live by faith."
Concerning the alleged Great School, it is beside the mark to tell us to go and talk it over with TK in his office. Nor is it necessary to call him a liar or any other ugly name. TK may sincerely believe that such a Great School exists, that it has existed from time immemorial, that it has records, as he says reaching back beyond the time of Moses, that it has a monopoly of all high truth and has superintended the education of the human race: he may believe all this, and more besides, but that does not make it so. Fifty thousand men may believe it, still that does not make it true. If such a School exists, having in its keeping such astonishing documents, it ought to be an easy matter to convince the scholars of the world of that fact. Nor is it a thing to be talked over in whispers behind closed doors in a dark room, or in a back alley. When we ask for proof, ask to have the documents Produced, it is surely "a reasonable request for information," the more so when it purports to possess the Lineal Key to the origin and story of Masonry.
There is a sense in which we may say that all seekers after truth constitute a kind of secret School, a united but unincorporated fraternity, who recognize one another without hesitation or hindrance in every part of the world. (See the beautiful Valediction to the Collected Poems of Edward Waite, descriptive of this sodality in quest of attainment and light.) But that is not what TK has in mind. No; as Brother Fennell says, his language is too specific and positive to be a mere statement of opinion or belief; he affirms as a fact that such a Great School actually organized, has existed in all ages, and possesses records running back into the darkness of prehistoric time, and that Buddhism, early Christianity, and Freemasonry are so many efforts of that Great School to instruct the race and lead it into the light of truth. If Brother Fennell accepts all this on the ipse dixit of TK, that is his right, and no one will say him nay; but he ought not to be impatient with those of us who ask for some semblance of evidence.
There is much that is wise and true in "The Great Work," especially in the thesis which the author sets forth so logically and cogently in the earlier chapters of the book. Albeit, his thesis is neither new nor revolutionary, but has in one form or another been familiar enough from the days of Aristotle down to our own. Therefore we should read the book, like all other books, with discrimination and care, accepting what approves itself as reasonable and is justified by the facts. But if we take the book as it is, without criticism and without proof, we may as well burn the books of the late Robert Gould — to name no other — and go back to the days when Masonic history was a tissue of fables, and each writer tried to outdo the rest in reciting the most fantastic legends.
If we have written earnestly about this matter, it is because we are in earnest about it. For TK himself — a noble and gracious man, we make no question — and for Brother Fennell and all those who follow his leadership we have the utmost respect and fraternal goodwill. Nevertheless, we believe that while the "Great Work" has done good, it has also done great injury to the cause of authentic Masonic research — not intentionally so, but actually so in fact — in that it has started many Masons on the wrong track, and would, if it were accepted as a standard, expose the Order to just ridicule. As Brother Fennell has said The Buildercan do no better work than to show that "the growing estimate of the book is incorrect" — no better work, indeed, unless it be to bring Brethren to discuss the matter with the same freedom and frankness as Brother Fennell has done in his good letter, and as we have tried to do in our response. — The Editor.)
* * *
"MAGNA EST VERITAS ET PRAEVALET"
Dear Brother. — In the May issue of The Builder, in the article on the early History of Masonry in America, by Grand Master Johnson, of Massachusetts, the following erroneous statement appears:
"Brother Sachse, the learned historian and librarian of Philadelphia, has kindly informed me that confirmation of the assertion that Masonic meetings were held in Boston in these early days is to be found in the library of the American Philosophical Society."
I have never met Brother Melvin M. Johnson personally nor mentioned the year 1720 in this connection to any one. What I did say to Brother Niskerson and Davis upon different occasions was that I had at one time found a reference to Freemasonry in Boston, in the early thirties of the eighteenth century; it may have been in 1730, or a couple of years later; the date however was prior to 1733. The first I knew of this statement about 1720, was in the September Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. I at once wrote to Brother Johnson asking him to correct this statement, and I have his letter to me under date of February 15th, 1915, wherein he states:
"I have rewritten my Address on the Early History of Masonry in America in several rather important particulars, and furnished it to Brother Newton for publication in The Builder. I shall see to it, however, that the statement quoting you is made accurately, as I have requested that he send me the proofs for revision."
I see now that this has not been done: in the interest of truth, I will ask you to correct that misstatement. "Magna est veritas et praevalet."
Very fraternally yours,
Julius F. Sachse, Philadelphia.
(Perhaps this error occurred in our office, by not catching all the corrections indicated by Brother Johnson. If so, we are very sorry. When Brother Johnson has finished stating the case for Massachusetts, we hope that Brother Sachse, or some one else, will set forth the claims of Pennsylvania with equal force of fact and logic. When that is done, we hope to have a word in regard to this much debated matter, the more because Brother Johnson thinks he caught us napping in the Builders. — The Editor.)
* * *
SLIPPED A COG
Dear Brother: — In your reply to a question about the influence of Masonry in Latin-America, did you not slip a cog? Fosdick has a chapter on French Masonry in this country, but I do not find anything touching upon Latin-America. The uninitiated in this subject might run over much without seeing it. The key is found in the influence of Francisso Miranda who formed La Gran Reunion Americana in London, of which a branch was The Sociedad de Lautaro, or "Caballeros Racionales." Among the books touching upon it may be mentioned Pennington's "Argentine Republic," Hirst's "Argentina," and Chisholm's "Independence of Chile," especially the last named.
The librarian of the Northwestern University has just returned from two years not fruitless search for historical materials in South America. The books brought are almost entirely in the Spanish and Portuguese tongues. In the hour I spent while they were unpacking I found three chapters dealing with the matter, in Mitre's Life of San Martin, and of Bolivar.
Henry B. Hemenway, Evanston III.
(For once we thank the good stars for having slipped a cog, if it has induced Dr. Hemenway to break his silence, for he is an authority on all matters pertaining to Latin-America, including its Masonic history. Now that the ice is broken, if Brother Hemenway does not give us the result of his researches, we are tempted to refuse ever again to play in his backyard, or climb his apple tree. Surely such a terrible threat will induce him to write the article we wanted him to write for The Builderwhich will be most welcome he may be sure. Brother Lemert of the Masonic Lecture Bureaux has also made some researches in this interesting field, and we shall be glad to know his findings. — The Editor.)
* * *
O. HENRY'S LAST POEM
(Found among his papers after his death.)
Hard ye may be in the tumult
Red to your battle hilts;
Blow give for blow in the foray,
Cunningly ride in the tilts.
But when the roaring is ended
Tenderly, unbeguiled —
Turn to a woman a woman's heart
And a child's to a child.
Test of the man if his worth be
In accord with the ultimate plan
That he be not, to his marring,
Always and utterly man.
That he bring out of the tumult,
Fitter and undefiled,
To a woman the heart of a woman —
To children the heart of a child.
Good when the bugles are ranting
It is to be iron and fire,
Good to be oak in the foray —
Ice to a guilty desire.
But, when the battle is over
(Marvel and wonder the while)
Give to a woman a woman's heart
And a child's to a child.
* * *
If I, from my spyhole, looking with purblind eyes upon the least part of a fraction of the universe, yet perceive in my one life's destiny some broken evidences of a plan, and some signals of an over-ruling goodness, shall I then be so mad as to complain that all cannot be deciphered?
— R.L. Stevenson
* * *
God must be glad that one loves his world so much —
I can give news of earth to all the dead
Who ask me: — last year's sunsets, and great stars
That had a right to come first and see ebb
The crimson wave that drifts the sun away —
Those crescent moons with notched and burning rims
That strengthened into sharp fire, and there stood,
Impatient of the azure — and that day
In March, a double rainbow stopped the storm —
May's warm, slow, yellow moonlit summer nights —
Gone they are, but I have them in my soul!
— Robert Browning.
* * *
A FRIEND IN NEED
"A friend in need" — my neighbor said to me —
"A friend indeed is what I mean to be;
In time of trouble I will come to you,
And in the hour of need you'll find me true."
I thought a bit and took him by the hand:
"My friend," said I, "you do not understand
The inner meaning of that simple rhyme,
A friend is what the heart needs all the time."
>— Henry van Dyke.
* * *
EACH HIS OWN HELL
Let this much be stated as to those who deliberately and willingly sell their birthright for a mess of pottage, making a brazen compromise with what they hold despicable, lest they should have to win their bread honorably, men need to spend no declamatory indignation upon them, They have a hell of their own; words cannot add to the bitterness of it.
— John Morley
"IN A NOOK WITH A BOOK"
(In spite of the fact that many books have piled up waiting for attention, while we have been reviewing "The Great Work" — or, some insist, reviling it — we are glad to sit still while Brother Lobingier, of Shanghai, China, reads a page from Zola; the more so because he comes from afar, and also because what he reads contains within it a striking suggestion of the necessity for Masonic Research and for the deepening and better ordering of Masonic thought. Of course, Zola did not know Masonry from the inside, else he would not have thought of it as a rival Church, much less a sect competing with other sects. Nevertheless, the point he raises asks for deep pondering, and never more so than today.)
EMILE ZOLA ON MASONRY
The late Emile Zola was proposed for membership in the French Academy but, largely thru prejudice, he failed to attain that coveted distinction. Nevertheless, if not an "immortel" he was at least an "intellectuel" and his novels, which were much on the "problem" order, exerted a powerful influence not only in France but thruout the civilized world,
It is interesting as well as profitable to learn the attitude of such a man toward our ancient craft. M. Zola evidently knew only the continental variety and that entirely from the outside. In his celebrated novel entitled "Rome" (part of a famous trilogy including "Lourdes" and "Paris") M. Zola thus describes his hero's (and probably his own) conception of the subject:
"Freemasonry had hitherto made him smile; he had believed in it no more than he had believed in the Jesuits. Indeed, he had looked upon the ridiculous stories which were current — the stories of mysterious, shadowy men who governed the world with secret incalculable power — as mere childish legends. In particular he had been amazed by the blind hatred which maddened certain people as soon as Freemasonry was mentioned. However, a very distinguished and intelligent prelate had declared to him, with an air of profound conviction, that at least on one occasion every year each Masonic Lodge was presided over by the Devil in person, incarnate in a visible shape! And now, by Cardinal Sarno's remarks, he understood the rivalry, the furious struggle of the Roman Catholic Church against that other Church, the Church over the way. Although the former counted on her own triumph, she none the less felt that the other, the Church of Freemasonry, was a competitor, a very ancient enemy, who indeed claimed to be more ancient than herself, and whose victory always remained a possibility. And the friction between them was largely due to the circumstance that they both aimed at universal sovereignty, and had a similar international organization, a similar net thrown over the nations, and in a like way mysteries, dogmas, and rites. It was deity against deity, faith against faith, conquest against conquest: and so, like competing tradesmen in the same street, they were a source of mutual embarrassment, and one of them was bound to kill the other. But if Roman Catholicism seemed to Pierre to be worn out and threatened with ruin, he remained quite as sceptical with regard to the power of Freemasonry. He had made inquiries as to the reality of that power in Rome, where both Grand Master and Pope were enthroned, one in front of the other. He was certainly told that the last Roman princes had thought themselves compelled to become Freemasons in order to render their own difficult position somewhat easier and facilitate the future of their sons. But was this true? Had they not simply yielded to the force of the present social evolution? And would not Freemasonry eventually be submerged by its own triumph — that of the ideas of justice, reason, and truth, which it had defended through the dark and violent ages of history? It is a thing which constantly happens; the victory of an idea kills the sect which has propagated it, and renders the apparatus with which the members of the sect surrounded themselves, in order to fire imaginations, both useless and somewhat ridiculous. Carbonarism did not survive the conquest of the political liberties which it demanded; and on the day when the Catholic Church crumbles, having accomplished its work of civilization, the othe: Church, the Freemasons' Church across the road, will in a like way disappear, its task of liberation ended. Nowadays the famous power of the Lodges, hampered by traditions, weakened by a ceremonial which provokes laughter, and reduced to a simple bond of brotherly agreement and mutual assistance, would be but a sorry weapon of conquest for humanity, were it not that the vigorous breath of science impels the nations onwards and helps to destroy the old religions."
Masons as well as Catholics may find little to indorse in this. But does it not contain material for serious reflection? Particularly does it not strengthen the position of those who would lift Masonry above the plane of mere ritualism? It is certainly true, as the famous novelist here suggests, that the only institution with a future is one which ministers to some real human need.
Charles Sumner Lobingier, 33rd Degree Hon.
* * *
I am eighty years of age, and have read with much interest your address to "The Patriarchs." Perhaps you will be kind enough to tell me what you think is the best book on old age.
— J. K. P.
Beyond doubt the best, bravest, wisest book on old age is "Over the Teacups," by Oliver Wendell Holmes, both because of the sweetness of its spirit, and for the fact that Dr. Holmes was an old man when he wrote it. We once heard a dear old lady say that she was willing to live as long as she could keep her front teeth and her sense of humor. Well, she lost her teeth — and got new ones — but she never lost her sense of humor. Nor did Dr. Holmes. You will also enjoy "The Round of the Clock," by W. R. Nicoll, which discusses each period of life, with the names of great men and what they did at different ages. It is a very delightful and fruitful book of essays.
* * *
I regard it as the duty of the Master of every Lodge to urge The Builderupon the attention of his Brethren. As a method of furthering the work and spirit of Freemasonry, may I suggest that in each issue you publish a column of pithy, instructive, quotable paragraphs relating to the Craft and its work, so that the Lodges which desire to do so may carry the message in whole or in part to the Brethren by means of notices and communications.
— L. S. P.
Thank you for so good a suggestion, which we shall keep in mind. Perhaps some Brother will take this delightful duty as his share of the work; he would find it congenial and inspiring. We nominate Brother Parvin, if he is not too busy, for he has more treasures of this kind stored away in his mind than ever any magician of the East dreamed of. Do we hear a second? — it is carried unanimously!
* * *
What caused the break between the Catholic Church and the Masonic fraternity?
— N. R. M.
Rightly to answer your question would require a whole article. Perhaps you cannot do better than get two pamphlets by Brother R. J. Lemert, of the Masonic Lecture Bureau, Helena, Montana, entitled "Catholicism and Freemasonry" and "A Sign and a Summons." They sell for fifteen cents each, and will furnish you with a brief and vivid historical discussion of the question.
* * *
In the Builders (page 61) there is a note in which you say that Schure, TK and Dr. Buck are misleading. That is rather severe, is it not? Please explain further what you mean.
— H. H. J.
How the text and the note to which it refers could be so misunderstood is hard to know. The discussion has to do with the Secret Doctrine and the claim of some, as in the case of Schure, that Jesus was an initiate of some ancient School of Masters from whom he learned his Gospel. Since this is all a conjecture, without even a hook upon which to hang an item of evidence, we said it is misleading; and added, "though not intentionally" so. Furthermore we pointed out that those who have led our race furthest along the way to the Mount of Vision were initiates into eternal truth, not by grace of some coterie of esoteric experts, but by the grace of God and the divine right of genius.
* * *
Please tell me the origin of the feasts of the two Saints John among Masons, and something of their meaning.
— W. B. N.
Of the Masonic feasts of St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist much has been written, but to little account. In pre-Christian times the Roman Collegia were wont to adopt pagan deities as patrons. When Christianity came, the names of its saints — some of them martyrs of the order of Builders — were substituted for the old pagan gods. Why the two Saints John were chosen by Masons — instead of St. Thomas, who was the patron saint of architecture — has never been made clear, though legend has been busy in trying to explain it. None the less, it is in accord with the fitness of things, since John the Baptist was a stern prophet of righteousness, and John the Evangelist the Apostle of Love. Righteousness and Love — righteousness of character, and love of God and man — surely those two words do not fall short of telling the whole duty of a man and Mason. Howbeit, these two feasts, coming at the time of the summer and winter solstices, are in reality older than Christianity, being reminiscences of the old Light Religion in which Masonry had its origin.
* * *
Some of us have come to depend on The Builderto tell us what books are worth while, not only in Masonry, but in other fields as well; and you have not failed us once. What in your judgment is the best novel of the year?
— H. P. C.
It would be hard to find anything in recent fiction of more real power and worth than "The Harbor," by Ernest Poole, not only for its fresh and vivid insight, and its skill in drawing character, but also for its symbolism. And don't forget to read the article on "Quack Novels and Democracy," by Owen Wister — himself one of our master novelists — in the June Atlantic Monthly. It is worth going miles to read.
* * *
ARTICLES OF INTEREST
A Poet and Freemason: John A. Joyce.London Freemason.
Indian Art and Architecture, by Edith K. Harper.Occult Review. June.
A Plea for Masonry, by C. H. Merz.American Tyler-Keystone.
"Grand Lodge of all England" at York, by J. S. Carson.Virginia Masonic Journal.
"Father Taylor" Chaplain of Grand Lodge of Massachusetts,New England Craftsman.
Original History and Symbolism of the Mark Master Degree, by John Fishel.Masonic Observer.
Last Days of John Paul Jones, by G. P. Brown.The Trestle Board.
* * *
Spoon River Anthology, by E. L. Masters. Macmillan Co.
The Bible and the Anglo-Saxon People, by Wm. Canton. E. P. Dutton & Co.
Poems of Progress, by J. H. West. Tufts College Press, Boston.
The Mysticism of Music, by R. Heber Newton. G. P. Putnam's Sons.
The Divine Mystery, by Allen Upward. Houghton Mifflin Co.
Religion in the Making, by Samuel G. Smith. Macmillan Co.
* * *
CONTINUATION OF QUESTIONS ON "THE BUILDERS"
Compiled by "The Cincinnati Masonic Study School."
1–70 | 71–149 | 150–205 | 206–274 | 275–337 | 338–400 | 401–461
- Which art is considered in the study as presented in "The Builders" and what is it called? Page 5.
- Is the idea recent or old as regards: "Tools and implements of architecture teach wise and beautiful truths?" Page 27.
- Where did all the arts have their home in ancient times, and how were they diffused? Page 73.
- Why is it thought that from the beginning architects were members of secret orders? Page 73.
- For what length of time has architecture been related to religion? Page 73.
- What is said of the Colleges of Architects? Page 82, 83.
- What famous Collegium was uncovered in Pompeii in 1878? Page 83.
- How are the emblems of Roman College of Architects now regarded by those who know their meaning? Page 84.
- Were all members of the College of Architects, Christians? Page 85.
- What led to the persecution of Master Masons and the breaking up of the College of Architects and their expulsion from Rome? Page 85.
- Who are supposed to have been the missing link between the College of Architects of ancient Rome and the Cathedral Builders? Who and what were they? Page 86, 87.
- What happened when the College of Architects were broken up and expelled from Rome? Page 86.
- What is said of the designers of the great cathedral, who were they and who executed the work? Page 89.
- Do you regard Fergusson's hostile criticism of Freemasonry, in his book, "History of Architecture," as prompted by knowledge or ignorance of the orders Page 90.
- To whom is honor as designers of great Edifices due and who wrongfully received the credit? Why? Page 98, 99. Why does this statement bear weight? Page 98, 99, 114, 115.
- What comparison is made between the Cathedral Builders and the Guild Masons? Page 97.
- How did the Cathedral Builders characterize the menace of ecclesiasticism, and the abuses current in the church? Page 99.
- What does the English writer, Hope, say of the Freemasons in regard to their effort to enrich architecture after Roman times? Page 115.
- Who instructed the ecclesiastics of the middle ages in architecture? Page 114.
- When and how did the Gothic style of architecture come to be introduced? Page 120.
- Which of the Arts is considered the most exalting? Page 153.
- In what years did the Masons build the famous London Bridge and the Westminster Abbey? Page 123.
- What is said of how the ancient Brethren set about to build an abbey or cathedral? Page 135, 136
- In building a cathedral or any other building what part of the work was done by the apprentice, the Fellow and the Master Masons each? Page 137.
- What reference, to the principle of acting on the square, have we dating back to the fifth century before Christ? Page 30.
- How far back is the oldest classic of China (The book of History) which has Masonic references? Page 29.
- What proof do the early Roman and later English style of buildings offer as to the antiquity of Freemasonry? Page 98.
- What is said of the legend and the antiquity of Masonry? Page 110.
- In what year do we find the first trace of Masonry in America? Page 206.
- Was Robby Burns a Mason? Page 226.
- What is said of Masonry being older than any living religion and what caused it to become the great Brotherhood that it is? Page 233.
- Why has Freemasonry been permitted to become old? Page 244.
- What is an atheist? What is an agnostic? What is materialism? Page 267, 268.
- What lies upon the altar of Masonry? Page 265, see also 261 note.
- What references are there in the Bible, relative to the materials and working tools of the Mason? Page 31, 32:
- What large stone was the emblem of Buddha among the Hindus? Page 28.
- What is said of natural and artificial barriers in relation to the Brotherhood of Man? Page 288.
- Was there early Masonic teaching in China in symbolical building? Page 31.
- What was the condition of affairs just before the Christian Era? Page 50.
- To whom did primitive Christianity appeal and where was it seldom given a hearing? Page 85, 221, 221 note.
- When and what condition made it possible for the church to influence Masonry? Was it entirely successful? Page 101.
- When did Freemasonry break with the Roman Catholic Church and why? Page 101, 102.
- What induced the Grand Orient of France to remove the Bible from its Altar and erase from its ritual all reference to Deity? Page 261, Note 1.
- What caused the church to arouse its animosity toward the Masons? Page 122.
- What is the meaning of Cowans and Eavesdroppers? Page 138.
- Why is Masonry more than a political party, social cult or church, and why do some men give up their church when they enter Masonry? Page 230, 251, 252.
- What was the testimony of Cicero in regard to happy hopes for the hour of death by a man's learning in the house of the hidden Place? Page 52.
- What did Confucius Teach? Page 29.
- What is said of Masonic Charity in the year 1733? Page 188.
- What services did the Comacines render? How were they organized and governed? What were their symbols, regalia, and of what were they the keepers? Page 88.
- Whom and in what capacity did the Comacine Masters serve? What was their creed? Page 101.
- What is said of the records of old craft Masonry and what period do they cover? Page 102. Did they confer more than one degree?
- What was the purpose of Old Charges and Constitutions? Page 102, 103.
- Where can detailed information, relative to the Old Charges, be found? Page 103.
- Why was the name of the Master-artist omitted from the Old Charges of Masonry? Page 109.
- What makes the "Old Charge" of 1723 memorable? Page 177, 178.
- When do the "Old Charges" begin their account of Masonry in England and about what years? Page 116.
- What is the "Charge" as contained in the Constitutions of 1723?
- What is said of vanished civilizations, where art and science and religion reached unknown heights? Page 6.
- When were the "Old Constitutions" revised? Page 204.
- Why does a man refuse to think of death as the gigantic coffin-lid of a dull and mindless universe descending upon him at last? Page 25.
- What is one of the hotly debated questions in Masonic history? Page 141, 196, 197.
- Who does Albert Pike say framed the three degrees of Masonry and why? To whom did they communicate these secrets? Page 193.
- Was the legend of the Third Degree known prior to 1717? Page 149.
- In what years did friction arise among the Masons of England, what was the reason and how does it happen that in spite of all this Masonry goes steadily marching on? Page 214, 215.
- Why the "York" rite? Page 216 note.
- What makes a man aware of that divinity within him? Page 270, 293.
- What was taught by the Druids as far north as England in regard to life after death? Page 49.
- Why would it be wrong or what good would it do for one who understood the mysteries and the secrets contained to give or try to give them to any one who was not "Duly and truly prepared" to receive them? Page 59.
- What is said of the Dionysian Artificers? Page 72.
- What is said of the mysteries as practiced by the Dionysian Artificers? Can it be verified? Page 77, 78.
- What is known of the Druses now inhabiting the Lebanon district? Page 78.
- What result flows from bigotry and dogmatism? Page 273.
- Describe the transition we call Death. Page 278.
- What Masonic emblems are found carved on ancient sarcophagi? Page 83.
- What does Emerson say that God and Nature does for us? Page 57.
- What are the real foundations of Masonry both Material and Moral? Page 15.
- How did man think out his Faith? Page 27.
- What is the sure proof and prophet of life's own high faith? Page 270.
- In former times what sort of freedom did Masons enjoy in contrast to the other people? Page 88.
- What is the difference between the Freemason and the Guild-mason? Page 98.
- What was the difference between the conformity and uniformity during the Middle Ages in regard to freedom of thought, etc.? Page 100.
- When did Benjamin Franklin become a Freemason? Page 200, 207.
- How did Masonry help to shape the institutions of this Continent? Page 222, 224, 225.
- What is the most fundamental of all truths after we examine the foundations of Masonry? Page 260, 261.
- Will Freemasonry ever swerve one jot from its ancient and eloquent demands till all men are free in body, mind and soul? Page 272.
- What in times past was a higher crime than murder? Page 273.
- Why does Masonry make all mankind free with whom it comes in contact? Page 273.
- What makes men free? Page 271, 272, 273, 274, 275.
- 146a. What is the result of Despotism? Page 273. Of Bigoted Dogmatism? Page 273.
- What is the faith of humanity? Page 279.
- State the relation of Real Friendship to Masonry. Page 284 to 290.
- If those who doubt and deny are to be wooed to the faith, if the race is ever to be led and lifted into a life of service by what art must it be done? Page 291.
(Continue to Questions 150–205)
* * *
BUILDING THE BRIDGE AT TWILIGHT
An old man, going a lone highway,
Came at the evening, cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide,
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
"Old man," said a fellow pilgrim near,
"You are wasting your strength with building here:
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
Why build this bridge at evening tide?"
The builder lifted his old gray head —
"Old friend, in the path I have come," he said,
"There followeth after me today
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me,
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim —
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!"
* * *
WANTED, A MAN
Ah, God, for a man with heart, head, hand,
Like some of the simple great ones gone
Forever and ever by,
One still strong man in a blatant land,
Whatever they call him — what care I? —
Aristocrat, democrat, autocrat — one
Who can rule and dare not lie!
* * *
Hearken the eager strife —
Hustle and hurry, morn till night;
Calm content, or fear and fright.
Somewhere a frown, somewhere a smile,
Making the world glad all the while.
Faith in the Goodness ruling all,
Hope in the future's glad'ning call;
Darkness cov'ring the face of earth,
Clouds replacing the rosy mirth.
Here a bubble of childish joy,
There a beggar — of Fate the toy.
Wealth and poverty, side by side,
Spirit humble, and pandered pride.
Kings and classes, the great and small,
Years recording the rise and fall,
Done to the lyre, the drum and fife.
This is existence, with mystery rife —
We call it life!
— Wm. Eben Schultz, Conn.
* * *
THE VOICE OF GOD
Stern Daughter of the Voice of God!
O Duty! if that name thou love
Who art a light to guide, a rod
To check the erring, and reprove;
Thou, who art victory and law
When empty terrors overawe;
From vain temptations dost set free;
And calm'st the weary strife of frail humanity!