THE BUILDER MAGAZINE
A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 2 No. 1 – January 1916
THE RELIGION OF ROBERT BURNS
Bro. Gilbert Patten Brown, Mass.
ALL men possess some real worth. Creed is an invention of man. Genius is a gift of God to man. The very name "genius" signifieth original, unacquired gifts, born gifts: from the Latin of Gignor, to be born; or, older still, from the Greek of Gennao, to generate, to produce. A man may be a good historian, a grammarian, or a commentator: only a man of genius can be a painter, a statuary, or a poet. The poet is an original thinker. Whenever we find a man of rare intellect working out his own destiny, and showing himself mighty among his contemporaries, we are benefited by having come in contact with such a person. In one of that type is a fineness of nature. He is usually a seer. They have lived in all ages and have been found among all races of men. They belong to no particular class or creed and are usually deeply religious in their own way of reasoning. The gentleman of this monograph is without question Scotland's greatest son. He taught the world through his poems the difference between religion and creed.
"The rank is but the guinea's stamp
The man's the gowd for a' that."
Possibly no poet ever lived who possessed that original style and uniqueness of composition as Robert Burns, whose eyes first saw the light of this world on the twenty-fifth day of the rough old warrior January, 1759, in the quaint little village of Alloway. The cottage, under whose historic roof he was born, is still standing. The old parish books of records, dimmed with age, show his ancestry to have been of the best blood of Ayr and Alloway. The following is a brief account of this old (Celt) family: "Lawful son of William Burns of Alloway and Agnes Brown, his spouse," and "baptized by Mr. William Dalrymple: witnesses, John Tement and James Young."
MADE A MASON
The youthful days of Burns were spent amid rural surroundings, thus giving his young brain an opportunity to read of the philosophy of life from the open pages of the book of nature. His playmate in school was his modest brother Gilbert. The poet's maternal grandfather, Gilbert Brown, was a farmer, and known for his upright living, also his deep religious convictions. He differed from the creed of his forefathers as did the poet. Before arriving at manhood Burns became firmly grounded in the faith of "the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man." While a youth he had witnessed a funeral as conducted by the institution of Masonry. That sight he had never forgot. In beauteous Tarbolton, Ayrshire, was St. David's Lodge, No. 174, whose membership consisted of the "substantial, upright, and honest gentlemen" of the neighborhood. An extract from the pages of records of that historic body, under the date of July 4, 1784, reads:
"Robert Burns in Lockly was entered an apprentice." Signed, "R. Norman." And, under the date of October 1, the record reads, "Robert Burns in Lockly was passed and raised, Henry Cowan being Worshipful Master, James Humphrey being Senior Warden, and Alex Smith, Junior; Robert Wadrown, Secretary, and John Manson, Treasurer; John Tammock, Tyler, and others of the brethren being present."
MORE LIGHT IN MASONRY
Robert Burns became extremely interested in his new and most fraternal home. The lessons he had learned therein had a very welcome place in his heart, and in a short time he wished for "more light in Freemasonry," by being made a regular "Royal Arch Mason." In due season he made application for further advancement in the ancient mysteries of the Institution. It is by the aid of the minutes of the old "record book" of "St. Abb's Lodge" of Leymouth, and under the date of May 19, 1787, that the author is able to give the following to his fraternal readers:-
"At a general encampment of St. Abb's Lodge, the following brethren were made Royal Arch Masons: Robert Burns, from the Lodge of St. James, Tarbolton, Ayrshire; and Robert Ainslie, from the Lodge of St. Luke, Edinburgh. Robert Ainslie paid one guinea admission dues; but, on account of Robert Burns' remarkable poetical genius the encampment agreed to admit him gratis, and considered themselves honored by having a man of such shining abilities for one of their companions."
Previous to Robert Burns being made a Master Mason, St. David's Lodge, No. 174, and St. James' Lodge were consolidated under the name, "St. David's Lodge, No. 174, Ancient Freemasons," and later separated, each Lodge claiming their pride, "Bobbie" Burns, to hold membership therein.
Throughout Scotland the 24th of June is generally observed by the Masonic fraternity. In 1786 and in the early part of June, Brother Burns, being somewhat anxious to have a large attendance on the 24th (St John's Day), sent to his brother Mason, the Dr. John Mackenzie, a beautiful notice in poem form. It pleased its readers.
THE MASTER'S APRON
The attendance on that "St. John's Day" was large at renowned St. David's Lodge, and a more proud Freemason never stood in Masonic cloth than Robert Burns as he extended the warm hand of friendship and brotherhood upon that occasion. He was a frequent and most welcome visitor to Masonic meetings in many places of "Bonnie" Scotland. The following is from his talented pen:-
"There's many a badge that's unco braw
Wi' ribbons, lace, and tape on:
Let Kings and Princes wear them a'
Gie me the Master's apron
The honest craftsman's apron
The jolly Freemason's apron,
Bide he at hame, or roam afar
Before his touch fa's bolt an' bar,
The gates of fortune fly ajar,
'Gin he wears the apron.
For w'alth and honor, pride and power
Are crumbling stanes to base on:
Fraternity should rule the hour
And ilka worthy Mason,
Each free accepted Mason
Each ancient crafted Mason.
Then, brithers, let a halesome sang
Arise your friendly ranks alang.
Gude Wives and bairnes blithely sing
Ti' the ancient badge wi' the apron string
That is worn by the Maste Mason."
Our own William Cullen Bryant in his address at the Burns birthday centennial festival, Astor House, Nevi York, Jan. 25, 1859, spoke at length on Burns. The following is but a brief extract from his well-timed remarks:
"Well has our great poet deserved this universal commemoration, for who has written like him? What poem descriptive of rural manners and virtues, rural life in its simplicity and dignity, — yet without single false outline or touch of false coloring, — clings to our memories and lives in our bosoms like his 'Cotter's Saturday Night'? What humorous narrative in verse can be compared with his 'Tam O'Shanter'? From the fall of Adam to his time, I believe, there was nothing written in the vein of his 'Mountain Daisy': others have caught his spirit from that poem, but who among then, all excelled him? Of all the convivial songs I have ever seen in any language there is none so overflowing with the spirit of conviviality, so joyous, so contagious as his song of 'Willie brewed a Peck o' Maut.' What love songs are sweeter and tenderer than those of Burns? What song addresses itself so movingly to our love of old friends and our pleasant recollection of old days as his 'Auld Lang Syne,' or to the domestic affections so powerfully as his 'John Anderson'"?
The religion of Burns was truly the religion of a poet. "An irreligious poet is a monster," he said. "I despise the religion of a fanatic, but I love the religion of a man." So advanced has become the age of reason that these words alone make Burns mighty among the world's greatest philosophers. A true poet is a religious man. He sees goodness in all things: the works of Deity are to him ever visible.
Years ago Scotland alone celebrated the birthday of Burns; but to-day people of many races, creeds, and tongues hold services commemorating that eventful day. We find many preachers of to-day laying their sacrifice of praise on the sacred altar of his cherished memory. Even the creed egoist or the race despot cares not to make war upon the name of Robert Burns. Form to him was nothing, sect had no welcome in his heart. The peddling politicians of sectarianism played upon his tender feelings, and, while he was yet young, forced him into arguments upon theological lines. In later years he frequently declared to the effect that the theological brawlings of his early life were not to be counted against him as hostile to religion. For true religion his respect was marked. See his philosophy in these lines, —
"In ploughman phrase, God send you speed,
Still daily to grow wiser;
And may ye better reck the rede
Than ever did th' adviser."
He wore no commercial smile, nor did he frown upon the riches of others. He was never known to speak disrespectfully of Jesus of Nazareth.
The following four lines are but a fragment of his poem as paralleled by him to the eighth chapter of John:-
"Then gently scan your brother man,
Still gentler sister woman;
Tho' they may gang a kennin' wrang,
To step aside is human."
For the sake of the songs of Burns the rational world has forgiven his sins.
Robert Burns died July 21, 1796, and was buried five days later at Alloway Kirk, Ayr. No grave in all Scotland is more cherished by the visitor than that of Robert Burns, who had many faults and who like all men made many mistakes in life, but whose tender heart gave to humanity some of the sweetest messages since the Sermon on the Mount, and whose name will live as long as biography has a charm for the children of men.
THE SWEET SINGER
Thus do we find Robert Burns to have been a very religious man. Many of his poems are sermons worthy to be cherished by all lovers of literary worth. He frowned upon no man for his form of worship of the Deity. He despised the selfishness of man in commercial life:
"The poor, oppressed, honest man
Had never sure been born
Had there not been some recompense
To comfort those that mourn."
Again he says:
"Great Nature spoke, with benign
'Go on, ye human race
This lower world I you resign
Be faithful and increase.'"
To the memory of his daughter who died in 1795 he wrote two verses, one of which is as follows:
"To those who for her loss are grieved,
This consolation's given:
She's from a world of woe relieved
And blooms a rose in heaven."
One of his truest friends was John Bushby, who was known for his faith in God and his honesty of purpose in worldly affairs. At his grave Burns wrote:
"Here lies John Bushby, honest man!
Cheat him, Devil, if you can."
"Burns' Day," January 25th, is becoming a popular day of celebration, when, by those who love the tender side of humanity, race and creed are forgotten.
* * *
THYSELF IN CONTROL
From the Katha-Upanishad.
Know the Self to be sitting in the chariot, the body to be the chariot, the intellect the charioteer, and the mind the reins.
The senses they call the horses, the objects of the senses their roads. When he (the Highest Self) is in mlion with the body, the senses, and the mind, then wise people call him the Enjoyer.
He who has no understanding and whose mind (the reins) is never firmly held, his senses (horses) are unmanageable, like vicious horses of a charioteer.
But he who has understanding and whose mind is always firmly held, his senses are under control, like good horses of a charioteer.
He who has no understanding, who is unmindful and always impure, never reaches that place, but enters into the round of births. But he who has understanding, who is mindful and always pure, reaches indeed that place whence he is not born again.
But he who has understanding for his charioteer, and who holds the reins of the mind, he reaches the end of his journey, and that is the highest place.
* * *
"One of the first lessons taught a Mason is prayer, and what a mockery it is for a man to pray to the great God whose name he profanes. One reason why Masons lose interest is that they were not first made Masons in their hearts."
Bro. J. L. Carson, Virginia
Although Ireland cannot boast of having had a Mason's Guild of its own, many of the cathedrals, churches and monasteries established up and down through the country were built by bands or companies of skilled workmen belonging to such guilds who came into "The Kingdom of Ireland" from across "The Channel."
The Cathedral of The Holy Trinity (now Christ's Church), Dublin, was built 1157-1230 by a company of such workmen from Somersetshire; Grey Abbey in the County Down was erected by a body of the brotherhood of operative builders from Whitby 1190 to 1200; builders from Southwark erected St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, about 1210; and Saint Mary's Church, Youghal; Saint Nicholas' Church, Carrickfergus; The Abbey Church, Bangor; County Down, and many others were "fitly framed together" by members of some of the skilled brotherhoods of operative Masons from across the Irish Sea, whose camps or lodges scattered over the face of the land, account for the large number of St. John's Lodges pre-existing the establishment of the Grand Lodge of Ireland.
That Speculative Masonry existed in Ireland previous to the Grand Lodge era we have ample proof. Of course, the early St. John's Lodges were purely operative, gradually becoming speculative, but at what date this change occurred, or of the circumstances leading up to the change, we have no intimation or knowledge. This we do know: that as early as 1688 Speculative Masonry was known and understood in Ireland. In that year John Jones in his tripos delivered at the commencement exercises of The University of Dublin, delivered before a mixed assembly of University men and prominent Dublin citizens, referred to Free Masonry in such terms as to leave no doubt that a general and wide-spread knowledge of the principles of the speculative element of our society were fully understood.
A LADY FREEMASON
In 1712 at Doneraile House County Cork, where a Speculative Lodge was being held in the Mansion of Lord Doneraile, The Right Honourable Betty St. Ledger, afterwards Mrs. Aldworth (sister of his Lordship), was admitted a Freemason, (she being the only Lady Freemason ever regularly initiated into our society, her initiation is one of the romances of Freemasonry.)
In 1717 at least four of these St. Johns or "Time Immemorial Lodges" met in the City of London with Antony Sawyer as Grand Master and inaugurated the first Speculative Grand Lodge of the World, The Grand Lodge of England. So in the year 1725 (or earlier) The St. Johns Lodges of Ireland united to form The Grand Lodge of Ireland, the oldest daughter of the Mother Grand Lodge.
The Dublin papers of 1725 inform us, that on the 26th day of June, that year, the Grand Lodge of Ireland attended a public ceremony, parading the Streets of Dublin "on a most magnificent scale," from the same source we also learn that on the 28th of June "the Master and Wardens of the Ancient and Honourable Society of Freemasons were chosen, and the Right Honourable Richard Earl of Ross was elected Grand Master," after the installation "there was a splendid dinner consisting of one hundred and fifty dishes," "after dinner and music they went to the play where Mr. Griffith," (the Comedian, who was also the Grand Secretary) "and the Honourable Society sung a song in praise of Freemasonry." All this does not look as if it was "the first day out" for our ancient Irish Brethren, but as all the old records of the Grand Lodge have been "lost, strayed, or stolen," the exact date of the origin of this Grand Lodge cannot be definitely fixed, nor the number of Lodges assisting thereat. The "Munster Records," however, are the first authentic records of any Grand Lodge in Ireland, informing us that a Grand Lodge met at Cork on the 27th of December, 1726, The Honourable James O'Brien, third son of William 3rd Earl of Inchquin, being elected (3rand Master, and Springett Penn, Great Grandson of Admiral Penn and Grandson of the famous Pennsylvania Quaker, Deputy Grand Master. On August 9th, 1731, Lord Kingston, who had been elected Grand Master of England 1728 was elected Grand Master of the Grand Lodge in Dublin. He had also been elected in 1729 Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Munster; his acceptance of both important Irish offices served to fuse together the two bodies in 1731, into the Grand Lodge of Ireland as it stands to this day, proving the connection and good feeling then existing between the Premier Grand Lodge of England and the Grand Lodges of Ireland.
FIRST IRISH CONSTITUTIONS
In 1730 John Pennell transcribed and rearranged Anderson's Constitutions for the Grand Lodge of Ireland, making them the first Irish Constitutions, thus showing the identity of the systems of the Mother Grand Lodge of the World, and her eldest daughter the Grand Lodge of Ireland, previous to the establishment of the Grand Lodge of the Ancients, which deriving its ceremonial work, and methods of organization from the Grand Lodge of Ireland, was rather an offshoot of that Grand Lodge than a seceder from the Premier Grand Lodge of England.
In 1740 Laurence Dermott was initiated in Lodge No. 26, Dublin, and in 1746 was its Worshipful Master; he afterwards migrated to London and was practically the organizer of the Grand Lodge of the "Ancients." He was early appointed Grand Secretary and afterwards Deputy Grand Master, introducing the Irish working and all its methods of procedure, dubbing the followers of the premier Grand Lodge of England as "Moderns."
The Irish Craft and the Grand Lodge of the "Ancients" therefore worked pure ancient Masonry, holding fast to the "original intention" and the Ancient Landmarks, while the Modern Grand Lodge by its innovations, its errors of omission and commission, ran the risk of covering the landmarks with so much quasi-Masonic rubbish as almost to obliterate them altogether.
In 1766 Grand Secretary Crocker when changing his residence in Dublin lost a "small hair trunk" full of Grand Lodge records, and in 1801 Alexander Seton the newly appointed Grand Secretary, took the full of a "Hackney Coach" of manuscripts, books, and records from the home of Brother Crocker, which have never since been traced or recovered. Any student of the history of Grand Bodies can realize this loss; all the history of the Grand Lodge of Ireland previous to this late has been laboriously gathered together from outside sources. Alexander Seton (a Dublin Barrister) who captured the old records, left himself by this and his many irregularities as Grand Secretary open to a Chancery Suit, that ever famous Irish Orator and Brother Mason, Dan O'Connell (The Liberator) being Junior Council for the Grand Lodge. The suit went against Seton who immediately set about fomenting trouble for the Grand Lodge of Ireland.
FRILLS AND FEATHERS
At this period all known and many now unknown degrees were being worked in the Irish Lodges under no other authority than the Blue Lodge warrants. In fact, the power to grant the higher degrees was only governed by the ability to confer them.
The Grand Lodge of Ireland therefore set about cutting all the "frills and feathers" from the Blue Lodges confining them to the first three degrees. Seton seized this as a pretext to agitate the provincial Lodges, misrepresenting the attempts of the Grand Lodge to bring the High Grades under a central control, set about the establishment of a rival Grand Lodge in Dublin known variously as "The Grand East of Ireland," "The Grand Lodge of Ulster," and "The Grand East of Ulster." The central and main plank in their platform being "that it appears to us that the innovations lately proposed to be placed on the High Masonic orders are unnecessary, inasmuch as these orders have hitherto enjoyed uninterrupted tranquillity without any ostensible head or controlling power." In 1805 about 200 Lodges revolted following Seton into the "Grand East of Ulster." Things for a time looked serious, but the Grand Lodge after a five years' struggle came out on top. By wise and liberal legislation speaking volumes for the good sense of the rulers of the Craft the effect of the schism died out with astonishing rapidity, and its very memory was speedily forgotten by all but the few students of Irish Masonic history. The History of the Grand Lodge of Ireland since this date has been the history of most other Grand Lodges. It had its ups and downs, its days of prosperity and adversity, but its Traditions, History and Ritual have been handed down pure and undefiled, and the glorious banner of the Craft still flies over a contented and prosperous jurisdiction.
The present Ritual was first adopted by the Grand Lodge in 1814. John Fowler "who had a master mind for ritual" exemplified the working before the Grand Lodge, and it was then and there decreed that "the work of John Fowler and no other" be the fixed standard for all future time. Fowler's exemplification introduced no novelties, omitted no essentials, simply put into concrete form the then existing but somewhat mixed ceremonies as they had been handed down from the beginning. Edward Thorp, a pupil of Fowler's, carried on the good work for many years. The late Judge Townsend and Harry Hodges, as well as our good Brother W. J. Chetwode Crawley, received their Masonic ritual from Brother Thorp, without "evasion or equivocation." R.W. Brothers Townsend, Hodges and Crawley have given of their best to the Grand Lodge of Instruction, so that the claim of the Grand Lodge of Ireland for the accuracy of its pure ancient Freemasonry is no vain boast. "Strict verbal accuracy" is demanded where there is neither a printed or written, recognized or unrecognized monitor or textbook, and this is the system by which this demand is attained.
A Brother in a Subordinate Lodge who shows ability and inclination to master the ceremonies, is nominated by his Lodge to attend the Grand Lodge of Instruction in Dublin. If he obtains a certificate of proficiency he becomes instructor to his Lodge. Two of the ablest of these ritualists in each province are annually elected Provincial Grand Instructors, who make regular visits to the Grand Lodge of Instruction, also visiting the Lodges in their province where no brother holds an instructor's certificate, or to any Lodge as instructed by the Provincial Grand Lodge or requested by the Subordinate Lodge. If "strict verbal accuracy" is demanded, so also is "strict uniformity of Masonic Clothing," no apron, jewel, or decoration other than those appertaining to the first three and Past Master's degree being allowed to be worn in a Blue Lodge. This rule is insisted upon in the case of visiting Brethren as well as members of the Lodge. The Grand Lodge meets in Dublin annually, the Grand Master being a life appointment and the Grand Officers the appointment of the Grand Lodge and the Board of General Purposes.
The Board of General Purposes arranges and decides almost all business details for the Grand Lodge, so that its decisions are usually a cut and dry ratification of the rulings of the Board of General Purposes. Provincial Grand Lodges meet quarterly, the Provincial Grand Master, usually a life appointment, is the nomination of the Grand Master. The Provincial Deputy Grand Master being the nomination of the Provincial Grand Master, it thus transpires, that the office of Provincial Senior Grand Warden is the highest elective position in the gift of the Irish Brethren.
"The Jewels" of Irish Masonry are the Masonic Orphan Boys School, the Masonic Female Orphan School, and the Victoria Jubilee Masonic Fund, all of which are supported with the generosity and good will characteristic of the Irish Freemason at home or abroad, for "Charity suffereth long and is kind."
The first Military Warrant (No. 11) ever issued by any Constitution was granted on the 7th of November, 1732, to the First Battalion of the Royal Scots Regiment by the Grand Lodge of Ireland. Through the medium of these Military, Travelling, or Army Lodges, of which the Grand Lodge of Ireland and her Sistel Grand Lodge the "Ancients" issued many hundreds, Freemasonry reached the limits of every British possession, and claim may be laid for the lion's share in the spread of Freemasonry through the length and breadth of the English Speaking world.
In Ireland the Royal Arch was known as early as 1743, and the degree of Knight Templar in 1758. Tradition and generally accepted Lodge gossip leads us to believe both these degrees were worked in connection with Blue Lodges or as distinct organizations long previous to these dates. Many, if not all the Regiments stationed in Ireland having Military Warrants, adopted these degrees and worked them without let or hindrance under their ordinary Blue Lodge Warrants, thus s creating what were called "Black Warrants;" hence we account for the spread of the Royal Arch and Templar degrees as well as those of Blue Masonry, wherever these regiments were drafted.
The Grand Lodge of Ireland issued the first Grand Lodge Certificate ever handed a Mason by his Grand Lodge. The first of these certificates that ever crossed the sea was carried by Laurence Dermott and exhibited with pride by him in the Grand Lodge in London, thus proving his identity, and his ability to perform all the Masonic Ceremonies as worked in Ireland at that date. Warrant No. 1 of the Lodge meeting at Mitchellstown, Co. Cork, is the oldest existing document of its kind ever issued by any Grand Jurisdiction. Mitchellstown was on the estate of and near the Mansion of Lord Kingston, Grand Master; thus we account for its being warranted to that village. It is quite possible it first met in the Mansion itself. This Lodge claimed to have worked as a regularly constituted St. John's Lodge for fifty years previous to the issue of its Grand Lodge warrant. For many years these St. John Lodges held aloof from the Grand Lodge and did not apply for regular warrants of Constitution. In 1840 we find the following advertisement in the public newspapers: "Such Lodges as have not already taken out warrants, are ordered to apply for them to John Baldwin, Esq., Grand Secretary to the Grand Lodge, or they will be proceeded against as rebels." Indeed it was a frequent cause of riot and disorder when the "Regulars" or members of Lodges having received Grand Lodge Warrants, and the "Bush," "Rebel" or "Hedge" Masons, as those belonging to unwarranted Lodges were called, met at fairs, markets and funerals, trailing their coats down the center of the street, each claiming their regularity and yelling "If you want to raise a row or a ruction just tread on the tail of me coat." And I say to the readers of "The Builder," if you want to raise either of the aforesaid ancient ceremonies, just say a bad word about the Grand Lodge of Ireland, and I'm with you.
* * *
ON THE FAIR DAY
God went into the market-place of the world on a great fair-day. All the stalls were kept by priests, who kept crying — the crowd:
"Which god will you buy?"
"Mine is the only true god."
"Hold to the god of youl ancesters."
"My god compromises with sin and sells you indugences."
"My god is easy-going."
"My god is profitable."
"My god is fashionable."
"Come buy with gold."
"Come buy with observances."
"Come buy with trumpetings."
And God turned wearily away and said to the stars: "How long it takes mankind to grow up."
— Elizabeth Gibson Cheyne.
REFLECTIONS ON THE PHILOSOPHY OF ALBERT PIKE
Bro. Frank W. Ellis, Iowa
FREEMASONRY has been defined as a science which includes all other sciences. The study of Morals and Dogmawill lead to a keen appreciation of such a definition and that it is not only the most concise but one of the most comprehensive and furnishes an illustration of the immense scope of Morals and Dogma.
Dogma, according to Pike himself, is to be construed as doctrine or teaching, and so we have in Morals and Dogmaa book which comprehends Masonic morality and teachings; usually expressed in a more scholarly and dignified way as Pike's Philosophy of Masonry.
The Philosophy of Masonry, or any particular Masonic writer's philosophy, means the unfolding of the wisdom of Masonry. That is, we as Masons use the term philosophy as a science which treats of our particular system of teaching. We gather this knowledge or wisdom as a science or a philosophy from numerous sources; one can safely say it flows from innumerable fountains. Symbols, allegories, legends, occurrences from the Bible and many dramas, dress this wisdom attractively. The meaning of the symbols, the pictures produced by its allegories and legends and Bible occurrences make clear the lessons of Masonry which are called Masonic Philosophy. Why, certain symbols and allegories and occurrences teach these lessons, carries us into a broader and more diversified domain of philosophy, yea, even into the storehouses of knowledge of all time, which means a research that only the sage or profound scholar can ordinarily undertake. It might be well to remark, however, in this connection, that, given a fairly calm judgment and good mind, such a research will produce a scholarly result in one not blessed with book knowledge attained in colleges or schools. If the ordinary mind of the ordinary Mason is not roused or stimulated to activity for deep learning, he can nevertheless acquire and absorb the Masonic meaning and come to a Masonic understanding of the all instructive, all fruitful and all entrancing beauties of the symbols, the pictures made by the allegories and occurrences depicted in Masonry. And when he gazes into the limpid depths of the streams that flow from these fountains and interprets and construes their songs and harmonies, the note that strikes his responsive chord is not difficult of comprehension.
THE PURPOSE OF MASONRY
It is not the purpose of Masonry to supplant or supersede religion. Masonry is only a help to religion. It is to teach us to have a firm belief in God and the immortality of the soul. Masonic philosophy has this end in view, and works for that consummation. Belief in the unity of God and immortality of the Soul is its basic, fundamental law, its eternal lesson and foundation. Its morals follow necessarily as a postulate, inevitably as a sequence. It is not the purpose of this paper to endeavor to strike the keys in perfect harmony with all the conceptions of Pike, borrowed or original, in his moral teachings or his philosophy, but rather to find some of them as one would hold to his ear the shell listening for the faint refrain of the cadences of the sounding deep. It is an effort to pluck and inhale the perfume and observe the beauty of some only of the flowers which grow in the garden of the Philosophy of Morals and Dogma.
Undoubtedly, as learned scholars have declared, the philosophy taught in Morals and Dogmais the reduction of all forces or impulses, spiritual and material, to dependency for their existence upon the Absolute. The Being who is Being, always was Being and always will be Being. The universe with all its ramifications, including life and inanimate matter, came from or emanated from God, the Absolute. Interpret our individual tenets as we may, nevertheless they lead to the final Unity, which is the Absolute. That as a necessary deduction from this doctrine of all springing from or owing existence to the Absolute or God, there is a doctrine of harmony arising from the action of contrary forces in everything, whether spiritual or material.
DOCTRINE OF EMANATION
The doctrine of the Absolute was taught by nearly all sages, philosophers, savants, oracles and learned men of all time. It was the doctrine of nearly all the esoteric institutions of all ages. And Pike skillfully deduces from the writings of nearly all learned men the theory of the operation of contrary forces producing harmony. Most commentators on Pike are content to state his philosophy in the most meager way or as a key to understand his Morals and Dogmaand refer you to a study of his work, which is complimentary not only to his philosophy but also to the wealth of learning with which his pages glisten.
A cold or unadorned statement of the Doctrine of Emanation of everything from God, or the Absolute, and that such emanations or manifestations operated by the combined action of contraries, is an arid and barren harvest of the poetry and beauty and wisdom of Pike's philosophy. Such is the doctrine of the philosophy of Pike, and bare mention of it may be a sufficient clew or hint or incentive for the learned and the scholarly or the philosopher. It does not suffice, however, if we are to stimulate the ordinary Mason to a study of Pike's philosophy of Masonry. His philosophy is set in many constellations each composed of many different stars, many of the first magnitude.
The doctrine of the Absolute, if it may be called such for brevity, is not a new philosophy. It is older than written language and stretches away back to the first method of teaching by symbols and yet further into the dim recesses of remote and unknown antiquity when mortal thought first took form; if indeed it was not a part of the first mortal thought and there had its origin. Belief in God has been intuitive always. It is instinctive, a part and parcel of humanity, if perchance it is not more and came from communion with God by the patriarchs.
Harmony as a product of spiritual action must be the law of creation of all things because it could not be otherwise. That sacred subject cannot be solved by the human mind for the reason that it deals with the infinite which is above and beyond the human mind. Just so, the blue sky is a name only because it is not there. We look into infinity which the human eye cannot see. Neither can the human mind comprehend the operations of the Infinite. The grace and loveliness of Infinite Creation producing exquisite harmony in every form and shape and mould stimulates the human mind to endeavor to penetrate its mysteries, and every force of the human brain is strained to comprehend. It is the far and futile hope of science. It has agitated the highest and best and brightest and most profound intellects of all time who have endeavored to explain it by every symbol that the ingenuity of man could invent. Language, which is itself a symbol of thought, has been exhausted and tortured, to give clearness to an explanation. But all in vain. Human reason has its limit in human understanding. Pristine Truth is not within the purview of man's comprehension.
GOD AND IMMORTALITY
For the ordinary man the philosophy of Masonry as taught by Pike can bring him belief in the Unity of God and Immortality of the Soul resting upon human reason and human faith. This Pike's philosophy teaches its student on nearly every page. One can read and. study Morals and Dogmaand discard the particular doctrine of every philosopher mentioned therein or to whom reference is made, and even the philosophy of the Book itself, and still its pages fairly teem with and pour forth a radiance of morality, founded upon the logic of immutable laws, which light the way to the goal of human perfection, or the Utopia of human excellence, because they are based or founded upon our law; — the Unity of God and Immortality of the Soul.
Why the morality of mankind, whether in an individual or nation, is founded upon these immutable principles is our philosophy. Pike warns us again and again that nature does not explain, that simple things only are explained. The revelation itself, while revealing, conceals because it cannot be otherwise. A real mystery is not a mystery because it is understood by only a few, the select. It is a mystery for the reason that it cannot be explained by language, for if it could be made plain or evidenced by words it never would have been a mystery, and would have been exposed when born. Hence, symbols convey a meaning which can exist only in the thought and in the mind or in the judgment of the intellect. Multiplying words does not reveal them. That process only covers or conceals them. For instance, in nature we know only the effect of fire, we do not know the cause. We know the effect of lightning or electricity, but not its cause. We may be able in such phenomena to discover the combination of the elements which compose them, but what acts upon these elements to produce the effects is a mystery yet unsolved. Likewise, another mystery, it does not seem that our comprehension, our wisdom, is intended to solve them. The more we use words to explain the insolvable, the unknown and the inscrutable the more we re-cover them with an opaque cloak or veil.
FORCE OF ELECTRICITY
God and the Immortality of the Soul are far more hidden and impenetrable to the human mind than movement of matter. Fire and electricity are matter because it takes time for them to act. The marvelous force of electricity which comes and goes, with its terrifying effects, almost instantaneously, a cataract of fire from the sky, nevertheless is visible and takes time. The shrouded and obscure ether which we call void or space, by its friction, or for some other cause, retards light because though light travels with inconceivable rapidity time is consumed before it reaches the earth from the distant stars.
Our human reason is perhaps partially defined as meaning proof. Proof appeals to the judgment, to the intellect, in such manner as to be convincing. In other words, reason is, in our mind, the certainty of some existence or phenomena we can appreciate and understand. We all know there are such material things as dew, light, earth, plants, moon, stars, sun and buildings, trees or objects of any kind, or rainbows, or clouds or colors because we see them. Science explains many things indisputably. Many other effects we feel. We are certain that such things are true and that they exist. Our reason makes them known to us.
When reason ceases we must rely on faith, whether faith precedes or follows reason or operates with it simultaneously. A faith that is blind, that is covered or a matter of habit or an inheritance, is not a real faith. We should have a faith founded upon reason, that is, the certainty of conviction that never fears or trembles at the approach of doubt. Otherwise we are groping in the dark or walking in the shadows or in a perennial mist or fog.
STARS OF FAITH
Faith in God and the immortality of the Soul is one of the stars of first magnitude in the constellations which form the entire Philosophy of the Morals and Dogma, as it is in any philosophy of Masonry. Can we acquire by any philosophy a real conviction based upon never yielding faith? Or must we abjure wisdom and always falter through the darkness? Or can we find a reason for the faith within us? Pike says, yes! Many other learned men say the same. Why? The Bible is a reason for faith and is entirely sufficient for many thousands. There can, however, be no harm in cumulating reasons for faith, if there can be any such piling up of proof outside the Bible. Likely, to all the proof for faith is there, if we would but find it.
The most appealing foundation for a faith founded upon reason is nature. Nature teaches by symbols; it does not explain. By analogy, if not otherwise, the lessons of Nature will produce an unyielding and inevitable faith. Nature, the Universe, is the work of the Absolute, the evidence of the thought of the Cause of Causes, God. Matter is never destroyed. The soul or spirit of man is from the Supreme Light and is indestructible by every demonstration of the Infinite.
The philosophy of Pike, aside from certain profound conclusions, aside from its beautiful lessons of morality, and aside from its innumerable excursions into the theory of every effort at government and social problems and their effect, and aside from the worked over and quoted philosophy of the sages and scholars, reveals a lesson to the ordinary mind of the ordinary Mason so bright, so resplendent and so lovely as to be fascinating, even though he does not pretend to be metaphysical. And this is so whether or not Pike uses that lesson as an illustration or argument for his final consummation and whether original or borrowed or moulded in the crucible of his astounding mind.
FAITH AND REASON
Faith standing parallel with reason are certainly two of the great columns which Pike's philosophy constructs. Exercise your reason or judgment to make your faith strong. If your faith in God and immortality is proved to you, it is immutable and unchangeable! The strongest winter winds of doubt will never make it cold or frosty, the hottest tropic blasts of vacillation will never make it shrivel or shrink, and no atmosphere of hesitation can ever warp or change its melodious cogency. The fixed certainty of faith must be acquired by yourself. It is yours instinctively and it needs only its refinement and education to make it manifest to you. All the accumulated knowledge of all the libraries of the world are powerless to transfer faith from their pages to your mind, but only one book may create in you that inestimable human gift; but without even one book you may gather the harvest of faith from one seed of wisdom planted by nature.
The great, so called, concealed mystery of Masonic philosophy is revealed by faith. The meanings of its symbols are made obvious by faith. When once acquired the conqueror may see the seven steps of the ladder, and as he climbs, looking upward, the clouds break, the horizon broadens and the light shines more and more clearly until it becomes the refulgence of certain immortality. Such a faith will reconcile existing evil with God's absolute wisdom and goodness. Faith with reason are not alone for the profound scholar sitting perched upon a pinnacle of inaccessible seclusion, but they are also for him who toils in the valley or works upon the mountainside, if his thoughts scale the heights along the way that nature has blazed with perpetual tokens. So reads the philosophy of Pike. Read, and reflect. Stimulate your mind by reading and exercise it by reflection.
THE SPAN OF LIFE
The span of life is so brief, that the wonderful mechanism of man seems hardly worth while, but when we come to consider the wonders of nature; that the most minute forms of life like the infusoria or the animalcula, some of which live for an hour or a day only, and on the other hand the unspeakable and stupendous duration of the solar systems, we can gather some idea or conception by comparison of the microscopical and infinitesimal importance of man. It is largely this appreciation of the insignificance of self that leads to a real appreciation of the marvelous magnitude and prodigious phenomena of nature. Time blots out material life as we crush an ant with our heel or as a blotter takes up the ink. The brevity of life has been the theme of the bard and the inspiration of the philosopher. Every lesson of morality and truth and the virtues have been painted and sung and prosed from the inspiration of the shortness of life and the insignificance of man. However, because life is short and self is nothing is not a reason to decline to make the most of life. To improve our moral nature and find the means of multiplying our beneficence and to use our best effort for the improvement of our spiritual nature by the worship of the Grand Architect of the Universe, the interpretation of God's writing on the great pages of the Book of Nature and the amelioration of the evils of mankind are the great work of Masonry through its Philosophy. The pages of Pike shine with this philosophy and faith and reason, and apparently contraries working co-ordinately, are its beacon light. True there are many coruscations rising and falling, from and to the great central radiance or light of faith in God and the immortal Soul founded upon reason. For illustration let us take two quotations from Pike.
THE MIRACLE OF LIFE
"Here are two minute seeds, not much unlike in appearance, and two of larger size. Hand them to the learned Pundit, Chemistry, who tells us how combustion goes on in the lungs, and plants are fed with phosphorus and carbon, and the alkalies and silex. Let her decompose them, analyze them, torture them in all the ways she knows. The net result of each is a little sugar, a little fibrin, a little water — carbon, potassium, sodium, and the likc one cares not to know what.
"We hide them in the ground; and the slight rains moisten them, and the Sun shines upon them, and little slender shoots spring up and grow; — and what a miracle is the mere growth! — the force, the power, the capacity by which the little feeble shoot, that a small worm can nip off with a single snap of its mandibles, extracts from the earth and air and water the different elements, so learnedly catalogued, with which it increases in stature, and rises imperceptibly toward the sky.
"One grows to be a slender, fragile, feeble stalk, soft of texture, like an ordinary weed; another a strong bush, of woody fibre armed with thorns, and sturdy enough to bid defiance to the winds; the third a tender tree, subject to be blighted by the frost, and looked down upon by all the forest; while another spreads its rugged arms abroad, and cares for neither frost nor ice, nor the snows that for months lie around its roots.
"But lo! out of the brown foul earth, and colorless invisible air, and limpid rain-water, the chemistry of the seeds has extracted colors — four different shades of green, that paint the leaves which put forth in the spring upon our plants, our shrubs and our trees. Later still come the flowers — the vivid colors of the rose, the beautiful brilliance of the carnation, the modest blush of the apple, and the splendid white of the orange. Whence come the colors of the leaves and flowers? By what process of chemistry are they extracted from the carbon, the phosphorus, and the lime? Is it any greater miracle to make something out of nothing?
ACID AND ALKALIES
"Pluck the flowers. Inhale the delicious perfumes; each perfect, and all delicious. Whence have they come? By what combination of acids and alkalies could the chemist's laboratory produce them?
"And now on two comes the fruit — the ruddy apple and the golden orange. Pluck them — open them! The texture and fabric how totally different! The taste how entirely dissimilar — the perfume of each distinct from its flower and from the other. Whence the taste and this new perfume? The same earth and air and water have been made to furnish a different taste to each fruit, a different perfume not only to each fruit, but to each fruit and its own flower."
"We are all naturally seekers of wonders. We travel far to see the majesty of old ruins, the venerable forms of the hoary mountains, great water-falls, and galleries of art. And yet the world-wonder is all around us; the wonder of setting suns, and evening stars, of the magic springtime, the blossoming of the trees, the strange transformations of the moth; the wonder of the Infinite Divinity and of His boundless revelation. There is no splendor beyond that which sets its morning throne in the golden East; no dome sublime as that of Heaven; no beauty so fair as that of the verdant, blossoming earth."
One of these paints with language colored as highly as the foliage and flowers and with an aroma as beguiling as the perfume of his flowers, the force of material agencies like air, earth, water and light. Another comprehends the wonders of the sky, like the countless lamps of heaven hung out at night, or the wondrous beauty of the chromatic sunset which could only be painted with colorings from the angels' studio.
THE ETERNAL LAW
The fact that the earth is spherical, which we should never forget, and therefore has no beginning and no end in our minds, is symbolical of its Author; furthermore, its most material part, its dirt, is part even of the great celestial plan of the Universe and in combination with other agencies is obeying the same law of harmony as the solar systems or the same impulse or cause which agitates the human mind to think or the muscles to move or the worm to live.
Here again the lesson, the same eternal immutable law governs the growth of the blade of grass or the trembling leaf as it does the overarching heavens in which is displayed the refulgence of the midday sun or the calm glow of the moon or the patient reflections from the planets or the peaceful scintillations from the distant stars.
Faith is founded upon the sphere which our reason tells us has no end and no beginning; the highest and most perfect symbol and expression of harmony. The Soul, a manifestation of the infinite, indefinable, insolvable, the great mysterious gift from God — we cannot understand without solving the impossible and drawing aside the dark veil which covers immortality. If we cannot have demonstrated to us by indubitable proof one manifestation of the Infinite, the absurdity of any finite comprehension of the Infinite or Absolute is apparent. Faith is a human necessity, without it there is only a combination of fortuitous circumstances which we blindly call chance. Faith is the result of the reason and works with it hand in hand, as "light and darkness are the eternal ways of the Universe," now unfolding the morning dawn, or the brilliant day, now painting the heavens with beautiful colors and now shrouding the earth like the realms of Erebus, as a never ending panorama of eternal harmony. Faith is the companion and friend of reason and each are different but dependable one upon the other as the hemispheres of the brain. The arc of one is the arc of the other. They are both a part of the same circle which comprehends everything. The blade of grass is a part of the circle and so is the milky way, vast in extent and distance, yet only a pathway in the heavens. Space above is equal to space below. Space is balanced whether you stand upon the earth or upon the sphere so far away that its light has not yet reached us. The zenith and the nadir, the most remote points in the imagination, are also centers of circles so far away that space or distance become immeasurable as the immeasurable becomes the illimitable. The same unchangeable laws govern and control the throb of your heart as guide the destinies of the heavenly bodies whirling along on their voyage through space. Appreciate this and faith springs spontaneously from the reason! Science has demonstrated the unchangeableness of these laws. Nature reiterates again and again in the noiseless revolutions of the spheres or in the silent continuous growth of trees the immutability of these laws in thousands of years of never changing perfection. Faith is born from the reason that sees and appreciates the logical never ending panorama of nature's calm and peaceful and serene operation through the law of harmony in all cycles of infinite time.
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"Do not consider the principle business of the Lodge to procure fun and entertainment for its members; but to neglect to provide for entertainment at all is still worse."
"FATHER" TAYLOR: MAN AND MASON
(In its issue of last April the New England Craftsman published an interesting sketch of "Father" Taylor, one of the Chaplains of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in the last generation. Taylor was early interested in Freemasonry, having joined the Corner Stone Lodge at Duxbury, as the records reveal, March 6th, 1820, and he loved the Order to the day of his death. In the days of the anti-Masonic fanaticism, when many withdrew from the Fraternity, and its members sometimes slunk into meeting hastily, with caps pulled down over their faces, Taylor used to strut into the entrance with his hat tilted back on what he called his "organ of obstinancy." Good Bishop Heddin — under whose obedience, as a Methodist, he labored — tried to stop Taylor from marching in Masonic processions, to avoid occasion for stumbling, but to noavail. Taylor marched all the more boldly, and the Bishop said, "Well, Eddy will wear his apron in spite of us." Taylor was afterwards a member of the Columbian Lodge, Boston, constant in his attendance, and his prayer at the opening of the Lodge when the anti-Masonic excitement was at its height, was never forgotten: "Bless this glorious Order; bless its friends; yes, bless its enemies, and make their hearts as soft as their heads." He was also a Knight Templar of the Boston Commandery. We believe the Brethren will enjoy a further account of Father Taylor, who was not only a great Mason, but one of the most remarkable men of his day — perhaps the greatest natural orator America has known. — The Editor)
ROBERT Collyer tells of attending a prayer meeting one bright May morning in the old Hollis Street church, Boston. Cyrus Bartol — author of that remarkable book called "Radical Problems" — was the leader, and after a brief pause in the meeting he spoke to a man well on in years who was sitting on a front seat who rose to his feet. There was a rustle in the meeting, and a light of expectation in all faces, like the breath which touches the leaves in a garden. Collyer bent forward and heard a strangely sweet voice speaking about Doves. He had seen them that morning on his way to the meeting, crowding to a window to be fed by some friendly hand, and the sight reminded him of the words of the prophet: "Who are these that fly as doves to the window?"
As the speaker warmed to his theme, the old church seemed to be full of doves — one could hear the soft whirr of their wings. They came crowding in from the New England woods and the dove cotes at the North End — doves of the prophet's time, white and purple, out of the heavens and into the heavens. Then somehow those who listened were doves, come at the Father's call that morning to be fed from his hand, or longing to plume their wings and fly away and be at rest. It was the enchantment of pure genius — a pentecost of flying doves — and Collyer wist not who had wrought the wonder. So he asked a man who sat near him who it was, and the man answered, astonished that any one in Boston should ask such a question, "Why, that is Father Taylor!"
Collyer was a young man, and after the meeting Bartol introduced him to Father Taylor. The lad held out his hand shyly, and the old man did not offer his in return. Instead, he opened his great arms, caught the boy in a warm embrace, and kissed him. Thereafter they were friends to the end. That was Father Taylor — "Jeremy Talyor in butternut," as Harriet Marteneau called him — and the only man on this side of the sea Charles Dickens went to hear on his first visit; the man who charmed Jenny Lind, the elder Booth, Webster, Emerson, Everett, and all who heard him; and whose smile was so bright that his little daughter made up her mind that this was what made the flowers open in their living room.
LION AND LAMB
Edward Taylor was born on Christmas day in Richmond, Virginia, 1793 — into a forlorn world, because his mother, a Scotch governess, passed out of life as he came in. The little "bundle of a baby" fell into the care of a black mammy, whose love and gentleness ever after haunted his heart. Like Moses, drawn out of the bulrush ark, he was a foundling of providence, dowered with the mysterious power we call genius. He was a ruddy child, as of red earth the first Adam was made — a sort of lion, if one looked at him through the glasses of Darwin, but a lamb also, having the subtility of the serpent in his intellect and the sweet foolishness of the dove in his heart. Like the elder Booth who wanted prayers over some dead pigeons, so Taylor held funeral services over chickens and kittens who departed this life, and used not only persuasion, but a whip to gather his audience of pickinninies and put them in proper frame of mind — though the lash was doubtless as gentle as the oratory was wonderful. When he was seven he was one day picking up chips for the good woman to whom the charge of him had fallen, when a sea-captain passing by asked him if he did not want to be a sailor. Instantly he left the chips, ran to the house and shouted, "Good-bye mother," and was off sea as cabin boy.
In the biography of Taylor — by Gilbert Haven and Thomas Russell — the next ten years are called "a blank," and they were no doubt a hard experience, to which he rarely referred. Years later when he was taken by a friend to visit Dr. W. E. Channing, on leaving the house he observed to the friend, "Channing has splendid talents; what a pity he has not been educated!" By which he meant, no doubt, that there is a kind of education not to be obtained from books — such as he had acquired in the university of winds and waves, through whose long and trying curriculum, with many sharp examinations, he had passed. For ten years he endured hardness as a good sailor, and we next see him wandering on a Sunday morning into the Park street church, Boston, and leaving it with a hunger in his heart to be able some day to appeal to men like the great preacher he heard there.
STRANGE WARMING OF HEART
Another Sabbath found him in a Methodist chapel, and his heart was strangely moved by one who probed to the depths of that latent conscience and remorse which probably lie somewhere in the background of every soul. As he was going out a good man grasped his hand — as Methodists have a way of doing — and asked him about his soul. This was a double surprise, for the boy wanted human sympathy and here it was, and he was not aware until then that he had such a thing as a soul. And the upshot of it was that he was converted in the good old Methodist way — that is, converted all over, set on fire, all icicles melted and all sins burned up. It was the memory of this high and sunny hour that led him to tell his Unitarian friends that they were trying to raise wheat in the Arctic Circle, and that they might as well try to heat a furnace with snow balls as to save souls in their way.
In the war of 1812 Taylor went to sea on the Black Hawk, a privateer. She was soon captured by our friends the enemy, and her crew were sent as prisoners to Halifax, Nova Scotia. There was a rebellion among the boys when the chaplain read the prayers to them for King George, so they would not hear him. Taylor was known to be "a praying man" and he was asked to take the chaplain's place. He was quick and ready to do this, and after a time it dawned upon the boys that one who could pray so well might also preach, because, as they argued, it was only the difference between talking on your knees and on your feet. But Taylor could not read and he was puzzled about finding a text. The problem was easily solved. They found a Bible and one of the boys would read at haphazard until some text struck fire. So, reading one day, they came upon the words, "A good child is better than a foolish old king," and Taylor said, "That will do for a text," and he launched out into a story of our glorious Revolution, set them all afire, and came down heavily on foolish old King George to the vast delight of his audience. From that time he was chaplain on a prisoner's ration while the other man drew the pay.
YE ARE SPIES
Released from prison, the young apostle could not hide his light under a bushel — for that would have burnt the bushel, so he became an exhorter at the meetings on Methodist Alley. And the good Methodists — wise in this as in many things — were for giving him a license as a local preacher, despite the fact that he could not read; and two church officers were sent to hear him. Taylor was not supposed to know of their presence, but a kind friend told him, and he took for his text, "By the life of Pharoh ye are spies." All the same he was licensed to preach on a salary of nothing a year and board himself — the conditions on which I preached the first year of my ministry, and I am sure now that I got the best of the bargain! To make his board Taylor hired out to a peddler in Ann street, who sent him down the coast with a load of tin notions. He came to Saugus in his journey, disposed of his wares, and then was moved to preach — sold his tins first, mark you, and preached afterward, not before — and won the heart of a dear old lady, who took him to her home, taught him how to read, and gave him the love of a mother. Later Amos Binney tried to send him to a theological school, but he stayed only six weeks and could stand it no longer.
EDWARD AND DEBORAH
So a full license was given him, and he was sent to Marblehead to take charge of an infant church there. And there he met Deborah, a maid to win the love of any man, and soon the young prophet was vastly in love. Shortly after he was moved to Hingham — four miles away — and one day he went up on the hill to gaze toward Marblehead, with a telescope to assist his heart, when in a flash the thought struck him and he leaped to his feet with the cry, "Bless my heart, this is our wedding day and I forgot all about it!" It was long after the hour set, but Deborah knew that if Edward ran he would run only one way. Still, one wishes that we had a report of their meeting next morning, to see how genius rose to the high demand when he told her how it was. They were married, and there was no need for the minister to say tor better or worse," for there was no worse — it was all and always for the better.
At Duxbury, where he and Deborah lived, he disturbed the long-enduring slumber of that fine old town, and some of the ministers were jealous of him. One of the ministers — the Unitarian pastor, meeting Taylor on the street, said, "So young man, ye have come to preach in Duxbury, have ye?" "Yes," replied the young man, "the Lord bid us preach the gospel to every creature." "To be sure," snorted the old man, "but he never said every critter should preach the gospel, sir," and went away in wrath. And next Sunday Taylor prayed that every white hair on that old man's head might be hung with a jewel of the Lord. He also prayed, specifically, that the Lord might "bless meek Burr, and proud Pratt, and save wicked old Alden, if you can!"
About this time, 1828, the good Methodists began to feel concern for those "who go down to the sea in ships," and it was surely the good God who guided them in selecting Edward Taylor for this ministry. He began in a dingy chapel on Methodist Alley, but the room was soon too small — many people from fashionable churches going to hear a man with a golden voice and a heart of fire. Nathaniel Barret; a Unitarian layman, wrote notes to a hundred of his friends, mainly of that faith, calling them together. He laid the matter before them, and it was decided to build a new meeting house for Taylor. So the Unitarians built a chapel for the Methodist evangelist, and that was in accord with the eternal fitness of things. They asked Taylor what he wanted, and he said they might leave out the Corinthian columns and give him the shavings. But they gave him, instead, of their best, and that was none too flood..
A WALKING BETHEL
The chapel was built in the shape of a ship, in dark finish, with low ceiling, ample and inviting. Behind the pulpit an artist hung a painting of a ship in distress, stormed tossed and driven. Taylor called this temple "Bethel," remembering the ladder of Jacob whereon angels ascended and descended in a dream that was also a prayer. And Edward Everett called Taylor himself "a walking Bethel." Two sailor boys stood in front of the chapel one day, and one who could spell proceeded to make out the name over the door: "B-e-t, that's beat; H-e-l, that's hell, here's where the old man beats hell, let's go in." And they came in numbers, a wilderness of wild human souls, and the genius of Taylor shone like a beacon in the night. But so many others came that he had to make a rule that the sailor boys should be seated first, and if they filled the seats the rest must stand. Sailor Jack saw the point, and sat on his dignity.
To the sailor boys he was a friend and father, and so it came about that he was called "Father" Taylor — and a higher tribute was never paid to a Christian minister. Taylor had the freedom of the city. He knocked at every door, Orthodox, Episcopal, Catholic or Radical, and everywhere he was welcome, and everywhere he was at home, being large enough, and wise enough, to see the good in every faith. By the same token, he would have no doors to his pulpit, and one day when a minister refused to enter because Henry Ware, a Unitarian, was to sit there — a way some men had in those days of proving that they were Christians, by failing to be gentlemen — Taylor prayed fervently: "Lord, there are two things we need to be delivered from in Boston — bad rum and bigotry. Which is the worst Thou knowest, I don't, Amen." When some one said in his hearing that Emerson would surely go to hell, he cried out: "Go there! Why, if he went there he would change the climate and the tide of emigration would set in that way."
THE GREAT ORATOR
Of all American orators he was the most original and inimitable in his genius and style. If you would know by what spell he swayed men, the cultured equally with the unlearned, read the little essay on Father Taylor by Walt Whitman, in "November Boughs." There you will see, as far as such things can be put into words, why it was that great actors when they came to see "how he did it," forgot what they came for and retreated behind their pocket-handkerchiefs to hide their sobs. There were great orators in Boston — Everett with his studious grace, Webster with his majesty, and Choate with his oriental fancy — but no one carried men away in a chariot of fire as Taylor did; and this power in him surprised no one more than it did himself. He was a possessed man, and in his rapt moods he became a live transparency in which men saw those things of which it is not lawful to speak. And, joined with this, was that winged wit, that fine and sure sanity, that common sense which his heavenly genius glorified. Here are some of his sayings:
"A man should not preach like he had killed somebody," he said when a brother was too solemn.
He compared getting ready to preach to fermentation: "When the liquor begins to swell and strain and hum and fizz; then pull the bung!"
"When a man is preaching at me I want him to take something hot out of his own heart, and shove it into mine — that is what I call preaching."
One day, preaching on amusements, he paid eulogy to Jenny Lind as "the sweetest song-bird that ever alighted on our shores." A man sitting on the pulpit steps asked if a person dying at one of her concerts would go to heaven. Taylor's eyes became two points of green fire, and he said: "A good man will go to heaven, sir, die where he may, and a fool will be a fool wherever he lives, though he sits on my pulpit stairs."
A man caught in the Millerite craze insisted on telling the sailor boys to get their ascension robes ready, as the world was coming to an end, and Taylor cried out, "Cut his boot-straps and let him go up, so the meeting can go on!"
"Emerson, I think, is the sweetest soul God ever made, but he knows no more about theology than Balaam's ass knew about Hebrew grammar. There seems to be a screw loose in him somewhere, but I never could find it, and listen as I may, I can find no jar in the machinery."
WIT AND WISDOM
To a minister who had taught the dogma of infant damnation, he said: "It's no use, brother, preaching sermons like that, because if what you say could be true, your God would be my devil."
"Webster is too bad to trust with anything good now, and too good to throw away; he is the best bad man I ever knew."
"Niagara is like the love of God; it never freezes up in winter, never dries up in dog days, and you never come to it for water and go away with an empty bucket."
And so, like a Niagara, the stream of his wit and wisdom flowed on, leaping, sparkling, and seemingly inexhaustible, until it emptied into the great sea. In April, 1871, he passed on — or over, as the French say — going out with the ebbing tide, as "an old salt" should. Just before he died some one said: "There is rest in heaven, and you will soon be there."
"Go there yourself," he said, "I want to stay here."
"But think of the angels, all waiting to welcome you," he was told.
"I don't want angels, I want folks." And then in an instant the old radiance returned and he said: "Angels are folks, too, and ours are among them."
So passed the waif, sailor, privateersman, prisoner, and preacher — a big, fiery, fatherly, joyous man whose heart God had touched — and Boston paid honor to one of her first citizens, if not to the greatest natural orator that ever lived. And there was sorrow on the sea, for many a sailor boy felt a lump climb into his throat and a strange tightening about the heart, when he learned that Father Taylor was no more.
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MASONRY AND RACE PATRIOTISM
One of the lessons of the past year is the inadequacy of nationalism as a humanizing and civilizing force. Men are killing each other in Europe for no other reason than that they are living under flags of different colors and on opposite sides of imaginary boundary lines. There is no ground in nature or reason for their flying at each others' throats. Patriotism is no virtue when it dwarfs the sympathies and narrows the soul's horizon; it is simply bigotry and selfishness, and becomes a menace to the world. John Paul Jones, America's first naval hero, called himself a citizen of the world, and though a Scotchman by birth fought for the Colonies because he thought they stood for a wider patriotism than had obtained before. He stood for America because he regarded America as standing for man as man. His enthusiasm was for the human race rather than for a nation. Love of country is a noble passion, but not as noble as the love of man. The Christ looked beyond the boundaries of land and race and threw the cords of his sympathy and affection around the world.
Masonry has a distinct interest in this, and has played a big part in its promotion in the past. It has an opportunity for the assertion of world-patriotism so unique and inviting that it amounts to a mission. Brotherhood is among our fundamentals; the ties that bind us are fraternal and natural and are embarrassed by no consideration of flag or clime. There is no such thing as an alien Mason; we are all brethren wherever we live and by whatever national name we may call ourselves. We can put fresh emphasis on this in these days of strife and hate. The American Mason has the opportunity of a millenium to teach and live the brotherhood the order stands for. Whatever barriers may separate Masons of the countries at war the American is on terms of fraternity with them all and can help them back to the same fellowship with each other.
Brother John A. Marquis, President of Coe College
* * *
"The world judges Masonry by the public walk of those who compose its membership. If that walk is crooked, the institution is not held blameless."
* * *
BUILDING AND BUILT UPON
"I am afraid you may not consider it an altogether substantial concern. It has to be seen in a certain way, under certain conditions. Some people never see it at all. You must understand, this is no dead pile of stones and unmeaning timber. It is a living thing. When you enter it you hear a sound — a sound as of some mighty poem chanted. Listen long enough, and you will learn that it is made up of the beating of human hearts, of the nameless music of men's souls — that is, if you have ears to hear. If you have eyes, you will presently see the church itself — a looming mystery of many shapes and shadows, leaping sheer from floor to dome. The work of no ordinary builder!
"The pillars of it go up like the brawny trunks of heroes; the sweet flesh of men and women is moulded about its bulwarks, strong, impregnable; the faces of little children laugh out from every corner stone; the terrible spans and arches of it are the joined hands of comrades; and up in the heights and spaces are inscribed the numberless musings of all the dreamers of the world. It is yet building — building and built upon. Sometimes the work goes on in deep darkness; sometimes in blinding light; now under the burden of unutterable anguish; now to the tune of great laughter and heroic shoutings like the cry of thunder. Sometimes, in the silence of the night-time, one may hear the tiny hammerings of the comrades at work up in the dome — the comrades that have climbed ahead."
Bro. Charles Rann Kennedy.
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FREEDOM'S GOD'S DESTINY FOR MAN
If there did not exist a God, the protector of innocence and liberty, I would prefer the condition of the lion, ranging uncontrolled the desert and the forest, to that of a captive at the mercy of a mean tyrant, who, an accomplice of his crimes, will provoke the anger of Heaven: but no; God has destined man for freedom. He protects him, that he may exercise the heavenly gift of free will. — Simon Bolivar
THE PERFECT YOUTH
Bro. Geo. W. Warvelle, Ill.
Our action of last year, confirming the decision of the year preceding relative to the eligibility of maimed candidates, has attracted much attention and produced widely varying opinions. In the main, however, the opinions are favorable and it is certain that the precedent we have set will be followed in many jurisdictions. I use the word "precedent" advisedly, for no jurisdiction had before then taken so radical a position with respect to physical requirements. Rut, all that was needed was a leader. Illinois, to its honor, assumed the office, and many will follow.
In Pennsylvania candidates must be physically faultless. In Washington, it would seem, much the san1e rule prevails, but in most of the jurisdictions an imperfection of the body or loss of a member will not debar a candidate if by artificial aid he is able to "conform to the requirements of the ritual." Last year the Grand Chapter of Washington approved a decision to the effect that "a brother with one foot off at the ankle, otherwise a sound man, although he has an artificial foot" is not eligible for the Chapter degrees.
Where this rigid rule of exclusion prevails the palpably unfraternal character thereof is usually defended by a recourse to the "ancient landmarks." It seems almost unnecessary to say that there are no ancient landmarks of Royal Arch Masonry and about the only ancient requirement for exaltation is, that the candidate must "have regularly passed the chair." In fact, the present rule of physical perfection, as applied in the Lodge, is mainly due to the strict interpretation by American ritualists of the old laws of the operative society. In England physical defects or deformities create no bar to the admission of candidates whose moral character is sound. And this is in consonance not only with fraternal spirit but with reason. To deny admission to a maimed candidate, however worthy he may otherwise be, is an act utterly at variance with the principles of Freemasonry as a speculative institution.
NEW AGE, NEW TESTS
Commenting upon this subject, Comp. J. L. Seward, of New Hampshire, makes the following pertinent remarks:
"Capitular Masonry has no landmark aside from its dependence upon symbolic Masonry. It simply requires that an applicant shall be a Master Mason. It leaves the requirements for symbolic Masonry in the hands of that branch of Freemasonry.
"At the same time, we believe that the landmarks with respect to physical qualifications in symbolic Masonry should be interpreted with regard to the age in which they were originated, and with respect to the original purpose. The purpose was to initiate men who were most fit for the work in hand. At that time it was operative stone work, requiring strength, muscle and excellent bodily development. How is it today? What do we require of a modern Mason? We should still require that he be qualified for our work. But what is our work? It is wholly of a moral, charitable and intellectual character. Physical perfection, as it is called, develops good athletes, pugilists, ball players and circus performers. Even our modern colleges and universities are greatly overvaluing men of this stamp. Do Freemasons wish to be understood as placing the emphasis of the qualifications upon a standard so low and so grossly coarse? Doubtless a certain regard should be had for the physical condition of an applicant, but that should be minimized in comparison with the emphasis which we ought to place upon the moral and intellectual qualifications."
About the best argument for the abolition of this useless and unfraternal requirement, that has come to my notice, is made by Comp. Arthur E. Stevens, G. H. P. of Michigan. Commenting thereon he says:
"What is this law of physical perfection and from whence did it derive its origin?
"The law of the old charges which declares that a candidate must be a perfect youth, 'having no maim or defect in his body,' was a practical rule adopted by operative Masons, not for any symbolic reason, I take it, but merely for utilitarian reasons.
"The medieval guild of Catholic builders for whom the old charges were made was a body of superior workmen jealous of its position. It considered itself better than any local guild or ordinary masons, as it was, for its members constructed works of stone which the average mason of this day could not undertake. It did not want any apprentice who, when he had learned his trade and arrived at manhood, was not the equal in skill and physical ability of his fellows. From their viewpoint physical perfection was as important or more so than moral perfection. This was practical and operative, not symbolical or mystical.
"The working tools of the operative mason have become to us symbolic of spiritual truths and the physical perfection required of the ancient apprentice should become to us but a symbol of that moral and spiritual perfection which we demand in our candidates, with due allowance for the essential imperfection of human nature. But even this view need not be considered in Royal Arch Masonry. Those who apply to us for further light are of necessity Master Masons, and if they have proven themselves to be morally such as we are authorized to receive what right have we to debar them from Capitular Masonry?
"The argument has often been made that a man should be able to prove himself a Mason in all the ways provided.
"Presuming a brother maimed has become a Royal Arch Masonr and granting that he could not in all the ways provided prove himself one, does Capitular Masonry suffer. Is the brother forced from the companionship of his own Chapter, where he undoubtedly will find the most pleasure to be derived from his membership? Or will he not be incited by the fact of his physical disability to so perfect himself in Masonic knowledge that if necessary he can make himself known as a Royal Arch Mason to the satisfaction of the most critical examiners? Or if he can not, will not the loss be his and his alone?
"Companions, can we think that we are bound to deprive our unfortunate brother of the privilege of such additional light in Masonry as we are able to furnish, because in ancient times operative masons chose only those who were sound and capable of handling and setting stones? Or even, if in our conscience we believe that Master Mason Lodges are bound to take physical disability into consideration, are we also bound to believe that Chapters should do the same? I do not believe that you so think and I therefore recommend that Article 10 of the Constitution be amended by striking out Section 4, and that Sections 5, 6, 7 and 8 be renumbered as 4, 5, 6 and 7 respectively."
THE OLD CHARGES
I am pleased to report that Grand Chapter rose to the occasion and effected the reform the G. H. P. recommended.
The foundation for the modern theory of faultless physical condition of candidates, is based on that part of Anderson's compilation of the Ancient Charges which reads as follows:
"No Master should take an Apprentice unless he be a perfect youth, having no maim or defect in his body, that may render him incapable of learning the art, of serving his Master's lord and of being a brother."
The development of the theory into what we may call the "American rule," is largely due to the comments and interpretations of the late Cornelius Moore. His edition of the Old Charges was for years received by American Lodges with the reverence paid to Holy Writings and his commentary was regarded as almost inspired.
To be consistent, however, the advocates of th perfect youth doctrine should exclude from the congregation of the faithful all old, infirm and maimed Craftsmen. That is, the same rule that debars the admission of the "imperfect" youth, should work the exclusion of the worn-out, disabled or maimed within the fold. The reasons which apply in the former case are equally cogent in the latter. There are many aged brethren who, by reason of physical infirmity, are utterly unable to give the signs, or even to see them, or, perhaps, to hear the word. They are quite as incapable of "proving themselves" as the candidate without hands or feet or who has lost "the end of the little finger of the left hand." How can they practice the "art" or "serve their Master's lord." Out upon them for a parcel of imposters.
* * *
THE GIFTS OF GOD
When God at first made Man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by;
Let us (said he) pour on him all we can.
Let the world's riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span.
So Strength first made a way;
Then Beauty flow'd, then Wisdom, honour, pleasure
When almost all was out, God made a stay
Perceiving that alone, of all his treasure, Rest in the bottom lay.
For if I should (said he)
Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature,
So both should losers be.
Yet let him keep the Rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness;
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast.
— George Herbert.
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The one great lesson taught in Masonry is to do something, and in doing that something, bless somebody else.
— T. S. Parvin.
MASONRY AND THE MYSTERIES
Bro. Geo. F. Greene, Michigan
It may seem strange to many Freemasons, and some may ask Why? the operative masons, architects, and builders, should have ever been considered as special guardians of the Mysteries of Freemasonry, as it is claimed they were during the middle ages.
To understand this clearly, it must be remembered that the ancient mysteries were generally celebrated in peculiarly constructed Temples, or else in artificial caverns constructed for the purpose; consequently, in order to present the drama of initiation impressively, many secret chambers, passages, doors and other secret devices, had to be constructed within the interiors, in order that the impressive ana spectacular effect desired in the initiation might be produced.
It was an absolute necessity that the priests should employ skilled labor for this purpose, and, it was also an ahsolute necessity that it should be that of the initiated, in order that the secret preparatory work should not be revealed, and for this work only cunning workmen were chosen.
It is said that in Pompeii there is a rediscovered Temple of Isis, showing a secret stairway by which the priests could climb unseen, to an opening inside of the "veiled statue of the goddess," and there talk through her marble lips to her followers, giving them warnings, and uttering oracles of wisdom. The researchers also came to a place where the floor, or ground, had been made in such a manner that it would rise up and down like a wave, caused by some mechanical device, that had been contrived by the skill of the ancient and trusted initiated workmen.
What was known as the "Cave of Trophonius," was noted for its interior mechanism, resembling the female generative organs as the womb of Mother Earth. Those who came to consult the oracle, placed themselves before a small aperture, which was made in such a manner that it symbolized their being "born again ;" as soon as they were seated, the aperture opened noiselessly, and their whole body was drawn inward by some invisible power, to what was supposed to represent another world.
There, after learning certain lessons in the new life, they were supposed to die, and to be returned to the place from whence they came. What actually transpired inside was never revealed by the person on his return, but he was pale and exhausted, as though some great and severe ordeal had been passed through.
The architect of this wonderful cave, who was Trophonius, after whom the cave was named, was, with his brother Agemides, the architect of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi.
Together they designed all the mechanism, and the secret arts, parts, and points, which related to the Material Mysteries that were intended to be practiced within its walls. Secrecy was imperative, therefore the priests, fearing that the secret construction might be revealed, and their duplicity discovered, told them to wait eight days for their money. During that time they were poisoned, and were found dead in their beds.
When the Mysteries were discontinued by the religion of the Roman Empire, and the priests were no longer allowed to practice their arts, it was these skilled operative builders alone, that were still held together by their initiation, and were not bothered, because they never practiced priestcraft.
Finding that Temples, and other structures, still had to be built and repaired, they naturally kept up their associations, and their secret arts among themselves, and, as they had a monopoly of Temple building, they assumed an independence and consequence, upon which followed the favor of princes, and others high in authority, who desired their expert services to build complicated structures. Thus, having use for their secret organization, they naturally kept up and preserved the occult ties which united them formerly so closely in the Mysteries, and whose emblems, signs, and legends they became the last custodians of, after they had ceased to be celebrated by the priests; and, never having had the higher secrets communicated to them, it becomes doubtful if the real meaning of the secrets are known today even by the priests of the Orthodox Church; or, are claimed by anyone, in their entirety, outside of the Adepts of India.
Thus originated, without doubt, the traveling free masons of the middle ages, who have left so many traces of their wonderful skill in the building art.
They surely had, and used, in their initiation, the rudiments of the ancient Eleusinian Mysteries after they were abolished by Valentinian.
No doubt they became corrupt, and the secret meaning of the symbols was lost; but, that the present initiation of Free Masonry is derived from this source is almost certain, because none of the Pass Words are in French, English, or German, or any other modern language, as would have been the case had they been originated in modern times; instead they are all Egyptian, Chaldean, Hebrew, or Hindoo.
From their wording they prove that they were used when the Sign Leo was in the Summer Solstice, and that was 4500 years ago. But the Verbal Form of our Ritual is another matter; there is no question but what that is a modern invention.
If we would learn to view modern Freemasonry from a rational standpoint, and study to understand its mystic legends and allegories in their substance, without any regard to the modern language in which they are clothed, and investigate the meaning of its ancient ceremonies, its signs, symbols, and emblems, paying no regard to the erroneous modern explanation, we might be able to learn something to our advantage.
Beyond doubt the bases of all the ancient mysteries were identical, and had a common origin; which was known as the "Secret Doctrine," and which is still claimed to exist in India among the Hindoo Adepts.
The claim that this religious base is from the actual history of events, as they really took place in the world, must, and will be abandoned by the few really intelligent people who still cling to it.
Free Masonry especially, cannot afford to be placed in a false light by religious fanatics, or longer allow them to foister upon its members, false doctrines, or creeds of any kind. Our Light added to the coming Light will make the way plain. So plain in fact "that he who runs may read."
* * *
WHAT WASHINGTON SAID
Contemplating the internal situation as well as the external relations of the United States, we discover equal cause for contentment and satisfaction. While many of the nations of Europe . . . have been involved in a contest unusually bloody, exhausting, and calamitous, . .; in which many of the arts most useful to society have been exposed to discouragement and decay; in which scarcity of subsistence has embittered other sufferings; while even the anticipations of a return of the blessings of peace and repose are alloyed by the sense of heavy and accumulating burdens, which press upon all the departments of industry, and threaten to clog the future springs of government, our favored country, happy in a striking contrast, has enjoyed general tranquillity — a tranquillity the more satisfactory because maintained at the expense of no duty. Faithful to ourselves, we have violated no obligation to others. — President Washington, in his Address to Congress, December 8,1795.
* * *
FLAKES OF OUR FATHERS
Flag of our fathers, out of our heritage woven,
Flag for a city of hope, forever young,
Fling to the winds of earth our ageless challenge,
Skyward in you man's faith once more is flung —
Still may the ships come riding home, thronged with alien faces
That yearn with light disguised, that glow with unsuspected powers;
Till our fortunate eyes, grown old, look up and see you waving
Welcome to younger days and newer dreams than ours.
— John Erskine.
* * *
"So to the calmly gathered thought,
The innermost of life is taught;
The mystery dimly understood,
That love of God is love of good;
That to be saved is only this —
Salvation from our selfishness."
— J.G. Whittier.
* * *
LIFE'S LITTLE DAY
Life's little day is fading fast; upon the mountain's brow the sinking sun is gleaming red; the shadows lengthen now; the twilight hush comes on apace, and soon the evening star will light us to those chambers dim where dreamless sleepers are. And when the curfew bell is rung, that calls us all to rest, and we have left all worldly things, at Azrael's behest, O may some truthful mourner rise, and say of you or me: "Gee whizz! I'm sorry that he's dead! He was a honey bee! Whate'er his job he did his best; he put on all his steam, in every stunt he had to do he was a four-horse team. He thought that man was placed on earth to help his fellow guys; he never wore a frosty face, and balked at weeping eyes; the hard luck pilgrim always got a handout at his door, and any friend could help himself to all he had in store; he tried to make his humble home the gayest sort of camp, till Death, the king of bogies, came and slugged him in the lamp. I don't believe a squarer guy existed in the land, and Death was surely o ff his base when this galoot was canned!" — Walt Mason.
* * *
THE DEMOCRATIC CHRIST
The times are gone when only few were fit
To view with open vision the sublime,
When for the rest an altar-rail sufficed
To obscure the democratic Christ.
* * *
Perceiving now his gift, demanding it,
The benison of common benefit,
Men, women, all,
Interpreters of time,
Have found that lordly Christ apocryphal,
While Christ the comrade comes again — no wraith
Of virtue in a far-off faith
But a companion hearty, natural,
Who sorrows with indomitable eyes
For his mistreated plan
To share with all men the upspringing sod,
The unfolding skies —
Not God who made Himself the Man,
But a man who proved man's unused worth —
And made himself the God.
— Witter Bynner.
MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
Bro. Geo. W. Baird, P.G.M., District of Columbia
BARON VON STEUBEN
THIS beautiful group is situated at the northwest corner of LaFayette Square, in Washington. It was modeled by the famous sculptor Albert Jaegers, at a cost of $50,000, which Congress appropriated in 1903. It was unveiled in 1910 with official ceremonies, on which occasion the President of the United States (Brother W. H. Taft) and the German Ambassador made the principal addresses.
General Von Steuben was held in high esteem by Washington, the whole Army, and by Patriots generally. He so endeared himself to the people, as well as the Army, that he was almost worshiped. He gave up his German title of Nobility, to become an American citizen and was of us as well as with us, which distinguishes him from the hyphenated class, or from the adventurers.
Many pronounced this group of statuary as the finest in the Capital City; it shows the General heavily cloaked, as at Valley Forge, where he drilled and whipped raw troops of the Continental Army into shape. The sash thrown over his shoulder is reminiscent of his service on the staff of Frederick the Great: his hand rests lightly on the hilt of his sword: he is shown as if following the unfolding movements of the troops.
On the base in high relief is a group called "Military Instruction," which represents Von Steuben's life work; the work for which the American Nation remembers and honors him, drilling the Continental Army. An experienced soldier is instructing a Youth in the use of the sword.
The second group — also in high relief — is "Commemoration" in which "America is teaching Youth to honor the memories of her heroes: a foreign branch is grafted onto the tree of her National Life: She welds to her heart the foreigner who has cast his life into the weal and the woe of her people, employing the idea of unity and fraternity of all Nationalities under the guidance of the Great Republic."
Von Steuben was picked out by the French Minister of War (St. Germain) as the man best suited to introduce into the untrained American Army the discipline and training so much needed: For this purpose he was introduced to Dr. Franklin in 1777, and he consented to come to America and aid in the American Cause. To Von Steuben is due the credit of training the Continental Army.
Von Steuben remained in the United States and became a citizen in good faith; relinquishing his German rank and title to Nobility. He brought with him his Masonic Affiliation, with the rank of Past Master, to Holland Lodge in New York City, and attended the communications frequently, entering into the joys of the lodge. He became a member of a church, in New York City and identified himself with the people, in a democratic way.
* * *
To new Members: Announcements regarding the Society's activities will usually be found on the inside back cover of The Builder. Old members will please note that those who desire to bind their volumes may have title pages on application. Apply to Secretary.
Of course, if you ask and insist, in the words of Hiawatha, "I will answer, I will tell you"; but perhaps the lines explain themselves —
"These few lines, which look so solemn,
Were just put in to fill the column."
(The following bit of reminiscence, taken from an article entitled "The Mason as a Citizen," by Brother Silas W. Power, of Kansas, in the London Freemason, illustrates those truly Masonic virtues, Silence and Circumspection.)
There was another religious sect at Wheaton, a village in northern Illinois, which conducted a college, and taught that Masonry and all secret societies emanated directly from Satan himself. They differed from the other church people in this respect, that they worked at the anti-Masonic idea all the time. About thirty-five years ago they called an anti-Masonic convention in the town where I lived. Several hundred delegates attended, arid the citizens were asked to provide accommodation in their homes for the delegates. My parents were asked and consented to entertain a couple of the delegates, and for a week we had with us a minister and a farmer, and we gave them the best we had in the house. My father never wore any Masonic charms or emblems; there were no charts or diagrams hanging on the walls giving his Masonic history, or anything to indicate that the family believed in Masonry. The delegates, especially the minister, were filled with the spirit, and at every meal the minister turned the conversation to a discussion of the evils and sinfulness of Masonry. It vexed and worried my mother that she could not induce my father to reply to their denunciations of Masons, or to say anything on the subject. Every night he accompanied his guests to the meetings in the public hall and listened to the speeches and addresses. In one of them President Blanchard, of Wheaton College, declared with great emphasis that it was impossible for a Christian and a Mason to exist in the same skin. Although my father was an elder in the Presbyterian church, this did not seem to ruffle him in the slightest.
On the last day that the delegates were there the minister remarked to my father at the table that, as the latter was somewhat prominent as a lawyer, and had served on the bench and in public life, it was odd that he had never been approached and asked to join some secret society. My father turned to him and said: "My dear Sir, I have been an Odd-Fellow for thirty-five years and a Mason almost as long." The farmer dropped his knife and fork with a scared look, as if it had just occurred to him that he had been in great danger of his life during the past week. The minister, though somewhat disconcerted, was able to "come back" with a profuse apology for having discussed the subject during his entertainment, but was told that he need not apologize, because nothing he had said had given offense. The minister then inquired why my father had never controverted his arguments or stood up for Masonry. The reply gave great satisfaction to the members of the family, if not to the guests. It was this: "My dear Sir, I paid not the slightest attention to anything you said on the subject for the simple reason that I knew you were talking about something concerning which you were as ignorant as an unborn babe."
* * *
IF WE ONLY UNDERSTOOD
If we knew the cares and trials,
Knew the efforts all in vain,
And the bitter disappointment,
Understood the loss and gain —
Would the grim, eternal roughness
Seem — I wonder — just the same?
Should we help where now we hinder?
Should we pity where we blame?
Ah! we judge each other harshly,
Knowing not Life's hidden force —
Knowing not the fount of action
Is less turbid at its source!
Seeing not amid the evil
All the golden grains of good;
And we'd love each other better
If we only understood.
Could we judge all deeds by motives
That surround each other's lives,
See the naked heart and spirit,
Know what spur the action gives —
Often we would find it better
Just to judge all actions good;
We should love each other better
If we only understood.
— Rudyard Kipling.
* * *
"Souls are built as temples are;
Sunken deep, unseen, unknown,
Lies the sure foundation stone.
Then the courses framed to bear,
Lift the cloistered pillars fair,
Last of all the airy spire,
Soaring heavenward higher and higher.
"Souls are built as temples are,
Here a carving rich and quaint,
There the image of a saint;
Here a deep hued pane to tell,
Sacred touch or miracle,
Every careful, careless touch,
Adds to the little, mars the much.
"Souls are built as temples are,
Inch by inch in gradual rise,
Mounts the layered masonry;
Warring questions have their day,
Kings arise and pass away
Still the temple is undone,
Still completion seems afar.
"Souls are built as temples are,
Based on truth's eternal law;
Sure and steadfast, without flaw,
Through the sunshine, through the snows,
Up and on the temple goes,
Every fair thing finds a place,
Every hard thing lends a grace,
Every hand can make or mar,
For souls are built as temples are."
— Susan Coolidge.
THE BIRD OF TIME
WHAT is more familiar than Time, and yet what is more elusive and obscure? Who knows what it is, save as we may say that it is a measured portion of that Eternity in which we live now and always? It ticks in the clock, it shrieks in the factory whistle. Busy men tell us it is money, and lazy men try to kill it. Poets picture it as a tyrant, a robber, an old man with a scythe, who, were we never so fast, will overtake us and finish us. And yet, if Time catches us, we never catch it. So fleeting it is that we neither see it nor hear it, and while one writes and another reads it is gone into that unreturning past, leaving no echo of its footstep.
At any rate, the Bird of Time is ever on the wing, and its flight, always noiseless, has brought us once more to a New Year, with its anniversary of the Beginning and the End. Few of us are willing to have the past back and live life over again, unless, indeed, we could start wiser than we were and so avoid the old mistakes. No, ours is the glory of going on and still to be, leaving the low-vaulted past for wider and sunnier mansions of the soul. Evermore our faces are set toward the future, with its wonder and surprise, or, perhaps, its sorrow and defeat. Yet we well may pause betimes, as one year goes and another year comes, while Father Time changes the reel in the greatest of all moving picture shows.
And so, looking back down the Road to Yesterday, we hope that in the New Year no one of our Brethren will suffer any ill that money cannot heal. For the rest, the law and the prophets contain no word of better rule for the health of the inner life than the famous adjuration: "Hope thou a little; fear not at all, and love as much as you can." After all, it is a wise wish, when you think of it, since the things which money cannot cure are the ills of the spirit, the sickness of the heart, and the dreary, dull pain of waiting for those who return no more. Men do their work, act out their little parts in the great drama, and vanish. Only the eternal things remain, like the earth beneath and the sky above, and God lives and reigns, albeit His Providence leaves room for human improvidence, else we were not men but puppets in a phantom farce. He only is wise who lives for the things that abide, seeking the truth in love, serving his fellow men.
Thus I stand in the Great Forever
With Thee as Eternities roll;
Thy Spirit forsakes me never,
Thy Love is the Home of my Soul.
* * *
New Year is a time not only to make resolutions, but also to lay plans with hope and forward-looking thoughts, and in this spirit The Builderwould lay before the Members of the Society a few of its plans for the year. Only two of its plans for the old year went awry: the article on German Masonry by Brother Carus, owing to his severe illness; and the most recent researches of Brother Ravenscroft in the history of the Comacines, due to the distractions of war, taking so many of his business associates away to the army. His article will, however, appear during the New Year, and will be of unusual value and importance in making clear the descent of modern Masonry from the greatest order of builders the world has ever known.
Among the studies planned for the incoming year, is a series of papers by Brother John Pickard, of the University of Missouri, tracing the evolution of architecture, showing, by the mute witness of buildings from earliest time, and the signs and tokens which they reveal, the fact of an order of builders through the ages. These papers will be illustrated, and will give our Members a vivid picture of the origin and growth of the great art of building, as well as a story of the builders. Also, Prof. Hiram Bingham, director of the Peruvian expedition of 1914-15 under the auspices of Yale University and the National Geographic Society, will tell our Members what he found in Peru of interest to the Craft. Thus we break ground in new fields of original research, and the findings of two of our Members will be eagerly awaited.
Furthermore, we are to have three lectures on the symbolism of the first three degrees of Masonry, by Prof. Roscoe Pound, of Harvard University, whose lectures on the Philosophy of Masonry so delighted our Members in the early months of last year. Our Members know what to expect from Prof. Pound, and we predict that his lectures will do much to redeem the field of Masonic symbolism from the confusion which has so long hovered over it. Along with these lectures, Brother C.C. Hunt, one of the finest students of Masonry in Iowa, will begin at the beginning, take the novice from the time he enters the Lodge, and lead him through the first three degrees, pointing out and explaining the things he meets — so far as this may be done in print — preparing our younger Members for the great lecture by Brother Arthur Edward Waite, which will be one of the treasures of the year.
There will be a discussion of the question of Physical Qualifications of candidates by Grand Master Johnson, of Massachusetts, who is an authority on Masonic Jurisprudence, and whose forthright way of writing has such a wide appeal. Brother O.D. Street, of Alabama, will give a critical study and appreciation of George F. Fort as a Masonic historian, accompanying the sketch of Brother Fort by his brother. Brother Shepherd, of Wisconsin, has made a study of Masonic Homes in the United States, after the manner of his study of the Landmarks, which will bring together information and suggestion of great practical value.to the Craft everywhere. Ye editor hopes to begin his essays in study of Albert Pike betimes, and also a little series of studies of the deeper meaning of Masonry both in its symbolism and its service to men in the culture of character and gracious living.
Finally, to name no other features, the Society proposes to issue during the year a photographic reproduction of the rarest and most unique Masonic book in the world, the only copy of which known to be in existence being in the Library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, entitled, "The Old Constitutions Belonging to the Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons, Taken from a Manuscript Wrote about Five Hundred Years Since; Printed in London, and Sold by J. Roberts, in Warwick Lane, 1722." This document antedates, as will be seen, the Constitutions of 1723, and its reproduction will be a work of art prized by all who love and value the old title deeds of the Order.
* * *
"The memory of Burns!" cried Emerson, "I am afraid heaven and earth have taken too good care of it to leave anything to say. The west winds are murmuring it. Open the windows behind you, and harken to the incoming tide, what the waves say of it. His songs are the property and the solace of mankind." It is given to but few men thus to live in the hearts of their fellows; but today, from Ayr to Sidney, from Chicago to Calcutta, the memory of Burns is a sweet perfume. It is more than a fragrance; it is a living force, uniting men, by a kind of Freemasonry, into a league of liberty, justice, and pity. His feet may have walked in a furrow, but the nobility of manhood was in his heart, the genius of melody in his voice, and on his face the light of the morning star.
If ever of any one, it can be said of Robert Burns, that his soul of sweet song goes marching on, striding over continents and years, trampling kingdoms down. He was the harbinger of the nineteenth century, the poet of the rights and reign of the common people. The earth was fresh upon the tomb of Washington when that century was born; it discovered Lincoln and buried him with infinite regret. But its victorious melody first found voice in the songs of a Scotch peasant. It is by all agreed that Burns was a lyric poet of the first order, if not the greatest song-writer of the world. Draw a line from Shakespeare to Browning, and he is one of the few tall enough to touch it. His qualities were fire; tenderness, vividness, rollicking humor, sweet-toned pathos, simplicity, naturalness — qualities rare enough and still more rarely blended. But he was first a man — often sinful, but always utterly honest — whom we love as much for his weakness as for his strength, for that he was such an unveneered human being; and his fame rests upon verses written swiftly, as men write letters; songs as spontaneous, as artless. and as lovely as the songs of birds. He touched with delicate and joyous hand the deep and noble feelings of old Scotland, and somewhere upon the variegated robe of his song will be found embroidered the life, the faith. the genius and the hope of his native land.
More than all, his passion for liberty, his affirmation of the nobility of man, his sense of the dignity of labor, his pictures of the beauties of nature, of the pathos of the hard lot of the lowly, of the joys and woes and pieties of his people, find response in every breast where beats the heart of a man. It is thus that all men love Robert Burns, for he it was who taught us, as no one has taught since Jesus walked in Galilee, the brotherhood of man and the kinship of all breathing things. That which lives in his songs, and always will live while human nature is the same, is the touch of pity, of pathos, of melting sympathy, of love of liberty, of justice, of faith in man, in nature, and in God Call uttered with simple speech and a golden voice of music. His poems were little jets of love and pity finding their way up and out through fissures in the granite-like theology of his day and land.
Here are songs that came fresh from the heart of a man whom the death of a little bird set dreaming of the meaning of a world wherein life is woven of beauty, mystery and sorrow; a man who had the strength of a man and more than the mercy of woman. A flower crushed in the budding, a field-mouse turned out of its home by a ploughshare, a wounded hare limping along the road to dusty death, or the memory of a tiny bird that sang for him in days agone, touched him to tears. His poems did not grow; they awoke complete. He saw nature with the swift glances of a child — saw beauty in the fold of hills, in the slant of trees, in the lilt and glint of flowing waters, in the faces of wayside flowers, and in the mists trailing over the heather. The sigh of the wind filled him with a wild, sad joy, and the lovely grace of a daisy moved him like the memory of one much loved and long dead. So the throb of his heart is warm in his words, and it was a heart that carried in it an alabaster box of pity.
Such was Robert Burns — a man passionate and piteous, compact of light and flame and beauty, and his song flows out on this crusty old world with the joy and wonder of springtime. Long live the Spirit of Burns! If it could have its way with us, every injustice, every cruelty, every despotism would fall, and every man would have room to stretch his arms and his soul. Would God that by some art we could carry his song of pity and of liberty into all the dark places of the world, till life is holy everywhere, and pity and laughter return to the common ways of man. Dark as the world is, hideous with the woe of war, black with injustice and greed and lust, we yet have hope of the fulfillment of the prophetic vision of Robert Burns — the Poet Laureate of Masonry:
Then let us pray, that come what may —
As come it will, for a' that —
That man to man, the world o'er
Shall brothers be, for a' that.
* * *
THE PHILOSOPHY OF MASONRY
Our Society has a right to be proud of its first published book, "Lectures on the Philosophy of Masonry," by Brother Roscoe Pound, Carter Professor of Jurisprudence in Harvard University, and Deputy Grand Master of Masons in Massachusetts. These lectures, which appeared in the first five issues of The Builder, are now gathered into a volume neatly printed and bound, with pictures of the men studied, to which the author has added a preface, a bibliography, and an index. Prof. Pound dedicates his little book, which will be a classic among Masons, to Brother Henry H. Wilson, Past Grand Master of Masons in Nebraska, with these lines from Manu:- "Let not the student who knows his duty aright give anything to his teacher before he return home; but when he is about to perform the sacrifice on his return, let him give to the venerable man according to his ability." Just so many a young Mason in times to come will feel with regard to Prof. Pound himself, offering a sacrifice of gratitude for a great Masonic teacher. The lectures will be reviewed for our pages by Brother Francis W. Shepardson, of the University of Chicago, after which ye editor will have his say in appreciation of both the book and its author. Alike in matter and form this volume is worthy of any University, and the Society reckons it a great honor to issue it as the first of its published volumes.
* * *
We rejoice to report a great response to the idea of a Correspondence Circle among our Members, as revealed by piles of letters full of enthusiasm and suggestion. There is manifest a disposition of the Brethren to take up and thrash out some very vital practical problems now before the Fraternity and the age; such as sectarian influences in the public schools, the question of a national Grand Lodge, the need of uniform legislation as to the qualification of candidates, Masonry and occult philosophy, comparative Masonic jurisprudence, and the like; and we believe that in such a circle we can discuss these questions and really get someway toward a solution of them.
* * *
The next issue of The Builderwill be a Washington number, devoted, in large part, to the life and Masonic character and service of our first President, with special reference to the proposed Washington Masonic Memorial Temple to be erected at Alexandria, Virginia. It will carry a magnificent picture of Washington, in four colors, being a reproduction of the William Williams painting which hangs in the halls of the Alexandria-Washington Lodge.
* * *
Answering many inquiries, we are glad to be able to say that Edwin Markham, the great poet of Brotherhood in America, is a Mason, and will be one of our contributors in the near future. He was our guest only the other day, and is deeply interested in the spirit and purpose and aspiration of this Society. Ye editor will soon present a little study and appreciation of Brother Markham, the better to tempt our Members make friends with the man who has set the goodly, gracious gospel of Brotherly Love to music as no other has done in our day.
* * *
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
- Why is it that everything must not be told to everybody and why and how did Jesus practice this? Page 57.
- Why does God and Nature hold back secrets while it is so easy to receive them if one in truth investigates? Page 57.
- When does nature reveal her secrets to man? Why? Page 57.
- Why should the highest truth be withheld from the multitude? Page 57.
- What method did Jesus pursue in transmitting his knowledge? How did he explain his methods? Page 57.
- What does tradition affirm throughout the ages, relative to secret teaching? Page 58.
- What is the Secret Doctrine or the Hidden Wisdom? Page 58.
- Does the objection to secrecy in regard to spiritual truths hold good? Why? Page 58.
- What was "the right to admission" to the Secret Teachings in the ancient times? Page 59.
- How reconcile "the kinship of mankind and the unity of mind" as the clue to understanding the resemblances between the teachings of widely separated peoples and the secret teaching of Jesus? Page 21, 58.
- If, "Without development, the teachings of the sages are enigmas that seem unintelligible, if not contradictory, requiring insight and fineness of mind to appreciate and assimilate them," (63) would it not be plausible to infer, that, the hidden fraternity of initiates, withhold the teaching of the higher truths which they possess, from those only who are not duly and truly prepared? Page 59.
- Did the high moral secret teachings of the Secret Doctrine belong to those "duly and truly prepared" or were they the property of the public at large? Page 59.
- If the hidden teaching is an open secret to the world, why call it a hidden teaching? Page 61, 63.
- Why was a Secret Teaching necessary in ancient times? Page 62.
- What is the Secret Doctrine as taught by the ancient mysteries or by modern Masonry? Page 63.
- How may the hidden teaching be described? Why? For what reason is it kept hidden even to this day? Page 63.
- When does man know the Secret Doctrine? Page 69.
- Which secrets were known only to the few in ancient times? Page 73.
- What is said of secret orders, existing in Constantinople, Greece and Rome similar to modern Freemasonry centuries prior to Christ? Page 79.
- Why did they have different secrets for each degree in the days of operative Masonry? Page 145.
- What do the signs and grips of Freemasonry serve? Page 244.
- Is Freemasonry a secret order? Page 243, 244.
- What is the Oath of Secrecy in the Harleain MSS? Page 126.
- When will the innocent secrets of Freemasonry be laid bare, its missions accomplished and its labor done? Page 244.
- What is the great and what the real Masonic secret? Page 293, 298.
- What Discoveries did Socrates make, relative to human nature and the unity of mind? Is this confirmed and to what conclusions does it lead? Page 20, 21.
- What is the Spirit of Masonry? Page 283.
- What will be the result when the Spirit of Masonry has its way on earth? Page 290.
- What is said of man's thoughts as compared to flowers and fruits? Page 19.
- What became of Typhon, slayer of Osiris? Page 45.
- How have the greatest teachers of the race regarded the highest truth? Why? Page 57.
- What makes one ready to receive the truth? Page 57.
- The pupil being ready and the teacher found waiting, what will result? Page 58.
- Can fitness for the finer truths be conferred? Why not? Page 63.
- On what does all our human thinking rest? Page 70, 269, 270.
- In the beginning why was it that all the arts had their home in the Temple? Page 74.
- What did the simple tools of the "Builders" teach in regard to life and hope in death? Page 83.
- What opportunities contributed to the Masons becoming more tolerant than other people? Page 100.
- Who did Sir Albert Pike ascribe the authorship of the Third Degree in Freemasonry? Page 193.
- What grounds have we to believe that truth will triumph, Justice will reign and Love will rule the race? Page 234.
- When Masonry is victorious upon earth what will become of every tyrant and bastile? Page 290.
- Why is it that man really is what he thinketh? Page 294.
- As a man thinketh so is he? Page 295.
- How long have the working tools of a Mason been used as emblems of truths? Page 29.
- When, where and how were the working tools of the Mason used, prior to our era? Page 29.
- In the pursuit of wisdom what must one make use of? Page 30.
- What kind of an army invaded England in the year 1066 and what did they do? Page 120.
- Name some of the Generals of the Revolutionary War who with Washington were Freemasons. Page 225.
- Who swore in Geo. Washington as President of the United States and on what Bible did he take the oath? Page 226.
- What was the loyalty of Masons, North and South, to the cause of Masonry during the Civil War? Page 229.
- Why is Freemasonry worth more than our combined army and navy for protection of the United States of America? Page 230.
- What has time proved that "The House of Wisdom" must be founded upon? Page 247.
- What is the real cause of War? Page 287, 288.
- What strange contradiction does history show as to the meaning and purpose of war and strife? Page 287.
- What will become of women and the children when the Masonic teaching is understood and lived up to by all? Page 290, 291.
- What is the status of Freemasonry in the United States today? Page 230.
- What dangers threaten the United States today? Page 231.
- What part did Masonry have in establishing the greatest of all republics, the United States? Page 208, 222 to 226.
- Who was the first to utter the name "The United States" and what is said of him? Page 225 note.
- How were the United States conceived and dedicated? Page 224.
- Why do we speak of the United States as "the last great hope of man?" Page 226.
- What is the status of Freemasonry in the world today? Page 231‑232.
* * *
ABOVE THE BATTLE'S FRONT
St. Francis, Buddha, Tolstoi, and St. John —
Friends, if you four, as pilgrims, hand in hand,
Returned, the hate of earth once more to dare,
And walked upon the water and the land.
If you, with words celestial, stopped these kings
For sober conclave, ere their battle great,
Would they for one deep instant then discern
Their crime, their heart-rot, and their fiend's estate?
If you should float above the battle's front,
Pillars of cloud, of fire that does not slay,
Bearing a fifth within your regal train,
The Son of David in his strange array —
If, in his majesty, he towered toward Heaven,
Would they have hearts to see or understand?
..... Nay, for he hovers there tonight we know,
Thorn-crowned above the water and the land.
— Vachel Lindsay.
(George Eliot said that with a New Year, as with a new friend, one can begin new things; and that is true even in The Library. Hereafter, in response to a multitude of requests, the prices of books received or reviewed will be noted, along with the names of the publishers. By this means we wish to save our members the double labor of writing to ask us the prices of books, and ourselves the labor of furnishing information that may as well be furnished once for all. We take occasion to say once more, for the benefit of new Members, that the Torch Press Book Shop, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, will secure any book mentioned in our pages, especially old Masonic books, and those published abroad — such as the first book reviewed in this issue. As said before, our only interest in the Torch Press Book Shop, is to bring good men and good books together, and that is not always easy to do, because so many of our Masonic classics are out of print. At the request of the Society, the Torch Press is making search for the best Masonic works, old and new, and will assist our Members in securing them as fast as they can be found. Happily, the Society will soon be in a position to handle this part of the work itself, not for profit, but for the benefit of its members, as will shortly be announced).
HERE is a Masonic book of the right sort, one of the best we have met in many a long day, entitled "Speculative Masonry: its Evolution, and its Landmarks," by Brother A. S. MacBride; being a series of lectures delivered at the Lodge of Instruction in connection with Progress Lodge, Glasgow, Scotland, revised and condensed by a Committee appointed by the Lodge. Think of having a Lodge of Instruction to inquire what Masonry is, whence it came, and how it may be used for the culture of character and the service of humanity! Fortunate the Lodge which listened to lectures so scholarly yet so simple, so accurate in their digest of the best Panasonic research, and, better still, so aglow with that noble and clear-seeing idealism without which Masonry is nil and life itself is as bare as a winter landscape. Alike in matter and form the lectures are an inspiration and a delight, and we do not hesitate to recommend them most earnestly, and without qualification, to the Members of this Society.
Idealism, not occultism, is the great note of these lectures, and the author makes clear how world-far those two things are apart both in spirit and method. Masonry, as the author interprets it, has its roots, spiritually, in the ancient, high, heroic Quest of the Ideal, which is the chief fact with regard to man, at once the wonder and the glory of his life upon earth. That quest, as persistent as it is revealing, has always taken the form of searching for that which is lost, as Isis searched for the body of Osiris, as Venus cried for her slain Adonis on Mount Libanus, as the Knights of the Round Table went in quest of the Holy Grail. Thus, in every age and land, the pursuit of the Moral Ideal has called into existence innumerable societies, and of these the Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, the World has seen. Therefore age cannot wither it, nor custom make stale its infinite variety of suggestion, inspiration, and appeal, while human nature is yet haunted by lovely shapes of what it ought to be.
"Masonry does not exist to combat any particular evil, to solve any special problem, to advance any particular cult, or to propagate any precise dogma in the outer world. It does not claim to possess any patent pill for the evils of humanity nor does it propose to build an Utopian State of political freedom and economic happiness. It is not for social fellowship, although that forms, and in many quarters forms too prominent, a part of it. It is not constituted for the exercise of benevolence only, although that occupies no insignificant place, both in its precepts and its practice. It teaches no science, yet science holds an important position in it. It favors no philosophic school, yet a profound philosophy permeates its system of symbolism. It instructs in no special art, yet in it all arts are honored. It has no religious creed, yet religion forms its foundation and crowns its pinnacles. It is not the product of any age, nor the work of any nation. It is the evolution and growth of centuries and has received contributions from many diverse races and peoples.
"The Mission of a gunshot is death and destruction; of a rocket-line, life and preservation, of the University, knowledge; of the Church, salvation; of Masonry, the building of the Ideal Temple. The Quest of the Ideal we find in Masonry at every turn. The travel from West to East, like the Earth to receive the life-giving light of the Sun; the working of the rough Ashlar, into the form of the perfect Ashlar, the mystic Ladder, reaching up to the cloudy Canopy; the sacred Stair, leading to the mysteries of the Middle Chamber; the lost key-stone perfecting the secret Arch; the lost Word, that will make a true Master; the destroyed temple, that is to be restored; all symbolize the throbbing, yearning, seeking of the human heart for something better and happier than the actual world around us. But the grand ideal in Masonry, to which all the rest is subsidiary and contributory, is that which represents the soul of man as a Holy Temple and dwelling place of the Most High. This ideal has, no doubt, been expressed by poets, prophets and philosophers, but in Masonry alone has it been made the basis of an organization, having a system of instruction, as unique in form as it is rare in history."
Such a book tempts to quotation, as much for the beauty of its phrase as for its deep-seeing insight; and if we emphasize its radiant idealism it is because, as we have said, the quest of the Moral Ideal is the great secret of Masonry, its sovereign mission, and the soul of its symbolism. Is Masonry today true to its ideal? The author answers with a sad No, because so many Masons, while glorifying their order in terms bordering on the bombastic, do not enough consider that Masonry is a life to be lived, an opportunity to serve, an instrument for the culture of faith and fineness of soul; and because too many mistake the quest for office for the quest for the ideal. What is the remedy? It lies in the ballot box, by which we ought to keep out of the Fraternity men who regard it as a kind of secret club, a game of horse-play, who care nothing for its higher aims and ideals, and who have no time to study its meaning and give themselves to the service of its purpose.
As has been said, these lectures give a lucid and simple digest of the conclusions of the best Masonic scholars as to the origin and evolution of the Order, following closely the findings of the great Research Lodges of England. They are very fruitful, also, in studies of symbolism, the best chapter, perhaps, being that discussing the Law of the Square, a synopsis of one section of which will appear in these pages, the better to tempt our Members to read further. Very interesting, too, is the essay on the Landmarks of Masonry, which the author defines as "certain established usages and customs that mark out the boundary lines of the Masonic world, in its internal divisions and in its relation to the external world." Respect for usages which give form to our Fraternity is vitally important, and so must move midway between a radicalism which invites destructive innovation, and a superstitious worship which prevents progress. So our author argues in his essay on Landmarks and Progress, the while he reminds us that the Temple of brotherhood and peace is the great landmark of Masonry, to build which we must use every art at our command and all the powers with which we have been endowed. In one of the poems added to the volume, we read these lines:
What is a Mason? It is he
Who builds upon the Square,
Whose heart beats true to God and you
And all that's good and fair,
Who builds, as can, to Heaven's plan
The Temple of Humanity.
O! that's the heart of his great Art,
And this alone, we proudly own
To be the noblest Masonry.
* * *
The biography of Bishop Henry Codman Potter, by George Hodges, shows us the growth, maturity and ripe fruitfulness of a really great American, who was also a noble Freemason. He united sturdiness of nature with fineness of spirit, practical capacity with deep religious passion, and the fullness of his activity in many fields is an inspiring record. Bishop Potter was made a Mason while in Troy, in 1866, joining Mt. Zion Lodge, No. 311. He was a Chapter Mason and a Knight Templar, as well as a member of all the Scottish Rite bodies of New York. He served as Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of New York in 1895,1896, and 1897, and in the last named year was crowned an honorary 33rd degree Mason in Boston. He held that Masonry has a much greater mission than even its most devoted adherents dream of today. Looking back into the past, he saw how much has been accomplished by Masonry; but he foresaw the development of a still greater Masonry in the future, more useful to man, wider in its scope, and more fruitful in its good to society.
"I am bound to own," he said, "that if originally I had not been attracted to Masonry by its value as what may be called a universal social solvent, I might never have sought its fellowship. I was, at an early period, about to travel in foreign countries, and I was assured that as a Freemason, I should be recognized and considered, when otherwise I might not be. Well, I found, by happy experience, that that assurance was true. Once, and again, when the emergency seemed to disclose no other way out of a dilemma, I have solved it by revealing myself as a Mason: and it is a noteworthy fact that never anywhere did I make that disclosure without finding other Masons to recognize and respond to it "
* * *
THE RESEARCH MAGNIFICENT
No doubt many of our members have read the story called "The Research Magnificent," by Herbert Wells, a story typical of our time and of the sparkling brilliancy of the man who wrote it. It reveals a young man starting out in quest of the kingly life, and if his quest often leads him into situations that border on the fantastic, it comes near making him sublime. Despite his aurora of invisible visions, the hero meets with dragons in the way — three ruffians, we might call them — the first of which is Fear, which he conquers, not without difficulty, by facing it at any cost. After fear came Passion, and he did not come off well in his encounter with it, making a mess of his marriage and concluding that the kingly life is incompatible with domestic ties. Fleeing from one ruffian, he meets another — Jealousy — which gives him the fight of his life. The story is rich in ideas, vivid, varied, depictive, running the whole gamut of thought and suggestive wonder, but somehow it is all very sad; for a research which begins without God must needs end in futility. Indeed, the man goes all over the world, from China to Russia, but never finds himself, and having no faith in an Infinite Idealist his idealism seems the vainest of all vain things.
* * *
THE WORLD AND HIS WIFE
One of the most unforgetable plays of recent times — recent, at least, in its translation into English — is "The Great Galeoto," by Jose Echegaray; a tragedy of idle, unmalicious gossip, perhaps the only one of its kind ever written. There are three characters in the drama, a husband, his wife, and one of their friends, a young man to whom both are sincerely attached. Outsiders, looking on, make remarks, not intended to be evil, but evil in their suggestion. After a little one can see the serpents crawling into that garden of friendship, and hear them hiss. At the end the husband lies mortally wounded in a duel, while his wife and friend are driven to evil by the clatter of idle tongues. The villain of the play is that many-headed monster, "They say," everybody, and so subtle is the power of mind over mind that the infection spreads, and all are stained. William Winter, in writing of the play, recalled the rhyme which Edwin Booth made a law of his life:
If a tranquil mind you seek,
These things observe with care:
Of whom, and to whom, you speak,
And how, and when, and where.
* * *
"A man's life is laid in the loom of time to a pattern which he does not see, but God does; and his heart is the shuttle."
* * *
"You must be a sovereign over yourself, king over your own passions, a to ue Mason, neither intoxicated by success nor depressed bv defeat."
THE QUESTION BOX
Dear Brother Newton: — I am much interested in Masonry and in the work of the Research Society, and wish I could do more to help, but my religious work interferes. . Be assured that you have my goodwill and God's speed.
— J. H. F.
For which many thanks. By all means be loyal to your church and its labors, but have a care lest you take too narrow a view of what religious work is. It is wonderful what vitality there is in old errors, and in what forms they reassert themselves from age to age. Any work done in the right spirit is religious work, whether it be ploughing corn or preaching a sermon. Never forget the great passage in "The Cloister and the Hearth," in which Margaret tells Gerard of the atheism of regarding one part of life as sacred and another as secular. Remember, also, these words from our noble Masonic poet, Edwin Markham:
For each true deed is worship; it is a prayer,
And carries its own answer unaware.
Yes, they whose feet upon good errands run
Are friends of God, with Michael of the sun;
He is more pleased by some sweet human use
Than by the learned book of the recluse;
More than white incense circling to the dome
Is a field well furrowed or a nail sent home.
More than the hallelujahs of the choirs
Or hushed adorings at the altar fires
Is a loaf well kneaded, or a room swept clean
With light-heart love that finds no labor mean.
* * *
THE WORST THING
Brother Editor: — Having told us what the greatest thing in the world is, perhaps you will also tell us what is the worst thing in the world. Let us have it.
— O. J. S.
It is unnecessary. Whoso has not read "The Four Men: A Farrago," by Hilaire Belloc, has missed one of the most delightful books of its kind ever written, full of wit, humor, vagarious fancy and far-flung philosophy. It tells of the travel in Sussex of a Poet, a Sailor, a Grizzlebeard, and the Author, from Oct. 29th to Nov. 2nd, 1902. These travelers talk, and one of the themes they discuss is the question as to "The Worst Thing in the World." They decide that the death of love, the fading of friendship, the breaking of the ties that bind human hearts, is the worst thing in the world. With this our Brother may not agree; but if we were right in our analysis of the greatest thing in the world, then its opposite, its negation, is the worst of all calamities.
* * *
JOHN A. JOYCE
Dear Brother: — In the July issue of The Builderyou mentioned, among Articles of Interest, an article regarding Col. John A. Joyce, a Poet and Freemason, which appeared in the London Freemason. I am interested and would like to see what it had to say. Col. Joyce was a personal friend of mine, and resided in my father's family for about two years before he passed away. He was a devoted Mason, raised a Roman Catholic, a cousin of Cardinal Gibbons, and the first of his family to leave the church for generations. He was a Mason some forty odd years. You can see my interest in the matter.
— F. E. H.
The article appeared in the London Freemason, April 17th, 1915, unsigned, and is very brief. It confirms what Brother Hodge says about Col. Joyce having been raised in the Roman church, stating that he was born in Shraugh, Ireland, in 1842, but was raised in Kentucky; that he was trained for the priesthood, but abandoned it for the army. One of his best known poems was, "There Is No Pocket in a Shroud," suggested by the funeral procession of Commodore Vanderbilt. The article makes no mention of his long discussion with Mrs. Ella Wheeler Wilcox as to which one wrote the famous lines, "Laugh and the world laughs with you", but he had the opening words of the poem carved on his tombstone as his own. As Brother Hodge lives in Washington, he might refer to the files of the London Freemasonin the library of the House of the Temple.
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TWICE IN TWENTY-FOUR HOURS
Dear Brother Newton: — In the December BuilderI notice that some Brother wants to know "in what part of the world tides ebb and flow twice in twenty-four hours." If the Brother is really in earnest, you may assure him that right here in Washington, D.C., the tide ebbs and flows practically twice in twenty-four hours. In the Tide Table published by the United States for December 2nd, 1915, I find the following record: — A.M. tides, High water 3:25, Low water 9:38; P.M. tides, High water 4:00 Low water, 10:49. There are a few places on the earth where, owing to local conditions, such as strong prevailing winds and peculiar coast configuration, the tides do not ebb and flow twice in twenty-four hours; for instance, in the Mediterranean, there are no perceptible tides; and in the Gulf of Mexico, there is but one perceptible tide in twenty-four hours. But in nearly every other place on earth, the tides do ebb and flow twice in twenty-four hours.
— H. P. M., Washington, D.C.
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I am a minister and have preached several sermons to Masons, and I would appreciate your suggestion as to the best books to help me in the preparation of such sermons. It may be that you know of some especially good books that are in point.
— J. H. H.
There are many such books; such as The Spirit of Masonry, by Hutchinson;The Masonic Sermonsof Dr. Oliver;The Religion of Freemasonry, by H. J. Whymper, with an introduction by W. J. Hughan;Speculative Masonry, by A. S. MacBride;The Church and the Lodge, by Brother Coil, Marietta, Ohio,The Mission of Masonry, by Madison C. Peters, and so forth. Subscribe for the Monday edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, and you will find, occasionally, a magnificent Masonic sermon from Brother S. Parkes Cadman, one of the Grand Chaplains of the Grand Lodge of New York.
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Dear Brother: — In my humble opinion the great danger menacing symbolic Masonry in our country is the growing desire to Christianize it, in order to accommodate it to our religious desires. Symbolic Masonry must preserve its universality to survive. We have our Christian orders appended to Masonry, in which we may enjoy to the fullest extent our religious opinions; but any attempt to graft Christianity upon Lodges destroys an important Landmark and breaks a link in the fraternal chain encircling the world and embracing every creed.
— A. H. G., Hardwicke, New York.
With this we fully agree, albeit we doubt if there is any strong tendency in the direction indicated by Brother Hardwicke; at least, we have not observed it. That question was settled at the time of the union of Grand Lodges, in 1813. Up to that time there had been a decided tendency to graft Christianity upon Masonry. Nevertheless, if a Brother wishes to interpret Masonry, and particularly the Third Degree, in Christian terms, that is his right; as it is the right of another to interpret it differently. Only, he should not insist that his interpretation is the standard of Masonic fellowship.
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THE LOST WORD
Dear Brother: — In your September issue you make reference to the Lost Word. May I add that Prof. Y.G. Warren, a teacher of the Hebrew language, says: — The first spoken word means, "Who causest the son to live." I also add this little poem on the Lost Word. Scottish Rite Masons cannot fail to read between the lines:
There is a word unknown to lost tradition,
A sacred word Freemasonry reveres;
There is a word whose syllables are spoken
Only in bated breath to list'ning ears.
It is a word awakening true devotion,
Though shadowed by the mystery of years;
A word whose unutterable translation
Lies hidden till the Cubic Stone appears.
— O. B. Slane Illinois.
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SOUL AND BODY
I would like that Brother Silas Shepherd, of Wisconsin, would answer the following question: — Has the soul anything to do with the improper action of living bodies? Fraternally, S. Simone California.
Dear Brother Newton: — I do not know that I comprehend fully the question which Brother Simone asks, but venture the answer that a lack of development of the Soul, or spirituality, is responsible for most, if not all, of our improper actions as living bodies.
With best wishes and fraternal greetings.
Silas H. Shepherd, Wis.
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Brother Editor: — In the correspondence column of The Builderappears another reference to Thomas Paine. Perhaps Brother G. P. Brown can give his authority for the statement he makes that Thomas Paine was entered, passed, and raised in St John's Regimental Lodge, the first Masonic body to be constituted among the revolutionary troops. He made the statement in the Masonic Observer, Jan. 31st, 1914, in an article entitled "The Patriotism of Thomas Paine." I have often wondered if Brother Brown had authority for many of his statements.
Cordially and fraternally,
Silas H. Shepherd, Wis.
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THE MOTHER GRAND LODGE
Referring to the article by Past Grand Master J. W. Eggleston on the grand Lodge of Virginia, published in the June issue of The Builder, and the reply thereto by Grand Master Johnson, of Massachusetts, Brother J. G. Hankins, editor of the Virginia Masonic Journal, says in a letter:
"Past Grand Master Eggleston has never said that Virginia had the first Grand Lodge, nor does he claim that we are 'The Mother Grand Lodge.' — this being my own doing in writing the title of the article. He only says that we are the oldest, and by reference to Dove's History of the Grand Lodge of Virginia given by Brother Johnson as an authority, it appears that "the St. John's Grand Lodge remonstrated against the encroachments of its rival, the 'Massachusetts Grand Lodge,' and both these against the Ancient York Lodge. It was not until the 5th of March, 1792, that these difficulties were settled, when the two Grand Lodges met for the last time, and formed a union," etc.: and so it appears clearly to me, at least, that this latter date is the beginning of the present Grand Lodge of Massachusetts; though we have to admit that it may have had a Sovereign Grand Lodge earlier — March 8th, 1777 — as stated by Brother Johnson and published in Dr. Dove's History of Grand Lodges."
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My dear Brother: — I was much interested in the note in the October issue of The Builderfrom a Brother who stated that he believed he had found in Leviticus a reason why Masonry has for so long refused to admit men who were physically imperfect; as well as in your reply thereto. May I say that the Grand Lodge of Michigan, some three years ago, gave the subordinate Lodges in its jurisdiction authority to accept such men if they so desired, and that to my knowledge our Blue Lodges have exercised that privilege — some of the men so admitted being among our most able and useful Masons. Undoubtedly the Lodge which believes that the internal and not the external qualifications are what recommend a man for Masonry, finds that a man with a wooden leg is of infinitely more value to the Fraternity than a man with a wooden head.
C. O. Fords Michigan.
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THE RITE OF MEMPHIS
What is the legal standing in this country of the Rite of Memphis? If it is of good standing in this country, from where does it derive its authority?
— F. A. B.
The Rite of Memphis — Consisting, at first, of ninety-one degrees to which one other was subsequently added, and claiming to be the sole depository of pure and primitive Masonry — has no legal standing at all in this country, if by that is meant the recognition of American Grand Lodges. There is no specific legislation on the subject, so far as we are aware; the Rite is simply ignored. It is, however, recognized by the Grand Orient of France, as one of the eight systems of Rites working under the obedience of that body; but it is not allowed to confer any degrees beyond the first three.
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JACQUES DE MOLAI
l am a member of DeMolai Commandery and have carried on a search for several years trying to find a record of DeMolai's coat of arms. One source of information says that he belonged to a noble family, while another gives him from common birth. Can you help me in the matter?
— O. F. S.
The authorities in the Library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa seem to agree that DeMolai was of noble birth, of the family of the lords of Longvic and Raon, in Burgundy, born in 1237. However, strict search in and about the several appartments of the Houses of Longvic and Raon has revealed no facts about their coat of arms perhaps because very little was written about heraldry prior to 1400. If the fact of the noble birth of DeMolai, and the family with which he was connected, put our Brother on the track of discovery, we shall be glad — and perhaps he will give us the result of his further research.
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ROYAL ORDER OF SCOTLAND
I understand that the Royal Order of Scotland is a legitimate branch of Masonry in the British Islands. Is there any body of this Order working in this country which derives its authoritv from the British body?
— O. F. S.
Yes; there is a Provincial Grand Lodge of the Royal Order of Scotland working in this country, of which the late Brother James D. Richardson was commander, succeeded, we believe, by Brother Leon Abbott. Brethren admitted to this Order have their patents signed by the Earl of Kintore, Edinburgh. It is affiliated, not with the Scottish Rite, but with what is popularly called the "York" Rite, and only Royal Arch Masons are eligible to its fellowship.
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- What is the meaning of the word "free" in Freemasonry?
- What is the significance of the word "Worshipful" as applied to the Master of the Lodge?
- Why does the Master wear a hat?
- Is a man a Mason who has taken only the Entered Apprentice degree?
- Why was the Blue Lodge dedicated to the holy Saints John?
— J. H. H.
- Freemasons in the olden time were free to go to and fro where their work called them, instead of being bound by law to live and work in one town, as Guild Masons were. They were also free from any obligations of taxation, and other restrictions, because of the importance of their art. It ought to mean for us, many things much deeper.
- Merely a title of respect and in nowise implying the object reverence which some silly critics of the order want to imagine. The French Lodges use the word "venerable" instead.
- As a symbol of the authority granted him by his Brethren. (See The Builder, Vol. 1, p. 120.)
- A man is not really a Mason, qualified to work as such, until he has received the third degree.
- Perhaps because they were two mighty teachers of Righteousness and Love which are the foundations of the Lodge. (The Builder, Vol. 1, pp. 166, 309.)
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THE THREE GRIPS
What is the symbolism of the grips of our three degrees? It has seemed to me that this is a matter passed over with little thought.
— J. L. B.
Certainly the raising of a man was not intended merely to inform him that Masonry cherishes a belief in immortality. No man needs to be briefly told that by anybody what he wants is to learn how he may become assured that his soul is not an evanescent breath. Perhaps the symbolism of the grips may be stated in this manner:
Science, assuming that the seat of the soul is the brain proceeds to lay bare the brain, dissects its hemispheres, traces its convolutions and nerves. Then it subjects the brain of a dog to the same tests, and finds that it and the brain of man are alike. Chemistry takes up the task, dissolves analyzes, and by all means at its command reduces both brains to their essential elements. From both it obtains the same elements, found everywhere else. Science, so far from proving the immortality of the soul, lays down its instruments, its acids, confessing that it cannot even prove that there is a soul. Not by that grip can man be raised from a dead level to a living perpendicular. Logic then tries to demonstrate that the soul, in its nature is indivisible, and indestructible, and so must be immortal. Plato, Cicero and the rest formulated this argument but if they convinced others, they did not convince themselves. Doubts returned. Always, at the most critical point upon which the conclusion depended, there was a juggling of words. Not by that grip can man be raised to walk an newness of life. There is left the mighty grasp of faith — the profound, fixed, ineffaceable conviction of the soul itself; the very voice of God speaking within; the Divine Word abiding in the heart. How else has God ever revealed truth to man? How else could he? Since we know that there is a God, we as surely know that we are not the butts of a cynical and sarcastic omnipotence, but akin to Him — the soul a little brother to Him whom it seeks; and that our convictions, coming from Him, are true and trustworthy. And by this reach and grasp and power of faith we are quickened into eternal life.
HISTORY AND CHARITY
It is said by some that our Free Masonry came from the Mason's Guilds of London. For the benefit of the young Mason, I will give a few of the earliest records of Speculative Masonry and a glimpse of Masonic Charity.
I believe that Masonry, from what I have read of it, has existed from time immemorial, and that some of the most intelligent men of all ages have been associated with it. The true Masonry of our ancient brethren was the knowledge of the worship of the true God. This piety was the cause of so many churches and monasteries being erected for the worship of God. Gould says the time that church building was at its zenith, was during the first part of the Fourteenth Century, when in England alone twelve great buildings were under construction.
To say that Free Masons were at one time all of the mason's trade is a gross error, because it is said that all of the Kings of Scotland, and most of the Noblemen, were Free Masons. In our present system of Speculative Masonry, the earliest authentic record of a non-operative being a member of a Masonic lodge, occurs in a minute of the Lodge of Edinburgh, under the date of June 8, 1600. John Boswell, the Laird of Auchinleck, was present and attested the minute by his mark. Of 49 members in the Lodge at Aberdeen, date 1670, less than one-fourth were of the mason's trade. The members were clergymen, surgeons, merchants, and three were noblemen. In the records of a Presbyterian Synod, in 1652, it is declared that ministers of that church had been Free Masons in the purest times of the Kirke.
To Scotland is the honor due for our present system of degrees in Freemasonry. The legend of the Third Degree was not known in England, until it was given to the Masons of London by Anderson, a Scotch Presbyterian minister, who also compiled the first constitution for the Grand Lodge of England. The Scotch system was known in Ireland before the landing of William of Orange, at Carrickfergus, in 1690. William said he liked the Freemasons because their aim was always to build up, never to tear down. For that reason he ordered that their aprons be bordered with blue, in imitation of the blue sky of Heaven. This is said to be the origin of the blue border often seen on Mason's aprons.
In our own beloved land, where there are more Freemasons than in any other country in the world, some of the best men in days gone by, as well as now, have been members of our fraternity, viz: Gen. Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Gen. Warren, Andrew Jackson and Henry Clay. The last three named were all Grand Masters.
We are proud of the record of Masonry handed down to us. It comes without a stain on its fair name. We are making Masonic History; let us see to it that the record that we make will stand the test of the Overseer's Square, so that those that come after us, may read of the good deeds that we performed and be thus encouraged to better things, so that the good name of Masonry may be known in every household throughout the civilized world, and the spirit of Masonic Charity be imbued in the hearts of the people.
Hutchinson, in his "Spirit of Freemasonry," published in 1814, has this to say of Masonic Charity: "In order to exercise this virtue, both in the character of Masons and in common life, with propriety, and agreeable to good principle, we must forget every obligation but affection, for otherwise it were to confound charity with duty. The feelings of the heart ought to direct the hand of charity. To this purpose we should be divested of every idea of superiority and estimate ourselves as being of equality; the same rank and race of men. In this disposition of mind, we may be susceptible of those sentiments which Charity delighteth in; to feel the woes and miseries of others with a genuine and true sympathy of soul. Compassion is of heavenly birth; it is one of the first characteristics of humanity. He whose bosom is locked up against compassion, is a barbarian; his manners are brutal; his passions as savage as the beasts of the forest. If we give only to receive, we lose the fairest objects for our charity; the sick, the captive and the needy. The rule is, we are to give as we would receive; cheerfully, quickly and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers. The objects of true charity are merit and virtue in distress; persons who are incapable of extricating themselves from misfortunes which have overtaken them in old age; industrious men, from inevitable accidents, rushed into ruin; widows left in distress, and orphans in tender years left naked to the world. There is another kind of charity, which we as Masons should practice. We should shroud the imperfections of our brothers; even the truth should not be told at all times, for where we can not approve we should pity in silence. What pleasure or profit can there arise by exposing a brother's weakness? To exhort him, is virtuous! To revile him is inhuman!! To set him out as an object of ridicule, is INFERNAL!!!
True Charity is the Key-stone of Speculative Masonry. We should be charitable to all men, whether Masons or not. The whole world has a claim upon our kind offices. Every Mason should be a good man, and practice the divine precepts of Truth and Justice. It should never be possible for it to be truthfully said by any one, that they had been defrauded or wronged by a Free Mason.
Let us all remember, and at all times, that each one of us is a pillar of this great institution, and that when we allow ourselves to go into a state of moral decay, we are damaging the Structure, and thus weakening its usefulness.
— W. C. Willox, Washington.
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THE BODY OF MASONRY
Dear Brother Newton: — As you invite opinion on the question asked by Bro. W.G. Coapman in the December Builderas to the meaning of an affirmative answer to the question, "You admit that it is not in the power of any man, or body of men, to make innovations in the Body of Masonry?" I submit my opinion that it means the Spirit of Masonry, so well illustrated in the article on Symbolism by Bro. J. Otis Ball in the same issue. As far as I have been able to learn, the first printed regulation to this effect appears in Preston's "Illustrations of Masonry," a copy of which (14th Edition, 1829) lies before me; and the wording is the same as in the Code of Wisconsin with the exception of the word innovation used by Preston which is used in the plural — innovations — in the Wisconsin Code. "Innovations in Masonry" can hardly mean its forms, ceremonies of the wording of its ritual, because all these have been changed to a greater or less extent in the period of which we have definite knowledge. The "revival of 1717" was a change in one sense. Wm. Preston, if the author of the phrase in question, was in this and also in other ways changing the lectures and work. To be consistent, he could not have regarded them "innovations in Masonry." Thomas Smith Webb, who is generally considered the founder of the American Rite and a teacher of the Preston "work," abridged and "changed the arrangement of the lectures," and has the plaudits of thousands of Masons who are opposed to "innovations in Masonry." Jeremy Cross even went so far as to call a beautiful word-picture of his own, "Masonic tradition," and a recent revision of the ritual in one of our sister Jurisdictions gives changes made in a ceremony the antiquity of tradition, when we know the year and month the change was made. The word "Power," if used in the sense of "ability to do a thing," would make it certain that the meaning of the regulation referred to something more vital than words and forms. If used in the sense of "authority to do a thing," it also meant something more than the ritual, because it is generally conceded that the Grand Lodge is a body of men who have power to say what forms, ceremonies and ritual shall be used. If changes in form and ritual are innovations, many of the talented Brethren of the past have been great offenders for many of the changes since this regulation was adopted.
Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin.
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AN OLD CHARTER
Dear Brother: — The discovery has been recently made by members of Hiram Lodge, No. 1, of this city, that the much cherished original charter of the old Hiram Lodge issued through Provincial Grand Master Thomas Oxnard in 1750, is perhaps the oldest extant Masonic Lodge charter in the United States. Hiram Lodge, although dating back to 1750, is not the oldest Lodge in the country, but charters antedating it have become lost or destroyed. This charter was issued at the request of David Wooster, first master of Hiram Lodge, and regarded as the father of Masonry in Connecticut, and under the charter the old Lodge was registered under the Grand Lodge of England. The original charter reads as follows:
T. OXNARD, G. M.
To all and every the Rt. Worshipful Brothers and Fellows of the Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons, now residing at or about New Haven, in the Colony of Connecticut, in New England, or that may hereafter reside there, THOMAS OXNARD, Esquire, of Boston, Provincial Grand Master of North America, sendeth greeting.
Whereas, Application hath been made to us, by our truly worthy and well-beloved brother, Captain David Wooster, and divers other worthy brothers now residing in or about the said New Haven, praying that we would empower them to congregate and form themselves into a regular lodge of Masons:
Now, Know Ye That in consideration thereof, and by virtue of the power committed to us by the Rt. Honorable and Rt. Worshipful Grand Master of England, we do hereby appoint and empower our true and faithful brother, Captain David Wooster to be the first master of the first lodge in New Haven aforesaid, and do hereby order that he summon (as soon as may be) all the Free and Accepted Masons in or about said Colony of Connecticut (taking special care that they have been or shall be all regularly made) to meet, and together make choice of two wardens, that to them may seem meet; and that the said lodge shall meet in a convenient place in New Haven aforesaid on such days as shall be most convenient; and that the said lodge do annually, on the lodge night immediately preceding the Festival of St. John the Evangelist, choose from among their members, one master and two wardens, to rule the said lodge, with other officers necessary to the good order thereof; and further, that they strictly keep and observe all and every the rules and regulations contained in the printed Book of Constitutions, (except so far as they may have been altered by the grand lodge, at their regular communications), with such orders as they may receive from us, or our deputy, or from the grand master and his deputy for the time being; and that the master and wardens of said lodge do transmit to us, in writing, a list of the members of said lodge, with the places of their abode, and the stated days and place of meeting.
Given under our hands and seal, at Boston, this 12th day of November. A.D. 1750, A. L. 5750. By the grand master's command.
HUGH M'DANIEL, D. G. M.,
BENJ. HALLOWELL, S. G. W.,
JOHN BOX, J. G. W.,
CHAS PELHAM, G. S.
I thought that this old charter might be of interest to you, and perhaps worthy of a place in The Builder. Wishing you every success, I am
Yours very truly,
W. E. Mumford, Brardon, Conn.
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NO MORE REMEMBRANCE
Dear Brother: — Certain allusions in well-known obligations, and particularly in the penalties thereof, have occasioned me no little thought, and after long consideration of the matter I have come to this conclusion — that a deeper reason underlies it. From time immemorial there has been a belief in a life hereafter and our entry into it through a resurrection. The ancient belief in resurrection was based on several items essential to it — first and chiefly, that the body should be kept intact, hence the sorrow of Isis over the mutilated body of Osiris. Hence the embalming of the body by the Egyptians, and the use of the coffin and shroud in our day. Any dismemberment of the body, even after death, would preclude such resurrection, and therefore the attainment of the life hereafter. Death itself, inevitable to all, was a fate all had to meet. It would come sooner or later, and to be brave and fearless was not such a punishment as it was to be excluded from the possibility of resurrection, and thereby entry into the life beyond. Reminiscences of this old belief remain to this day. The allusion, that no more remembrance may be had, is significant of this same feeling or belief. I have been unable to find anything along this line in any book available, but offer it as my conclusion or suggestion.
Sincerely and fraternally,
Adolph H. Weber, California.
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SWORD AND TROWEL
The Trowel is mightier than the Sword, for although the sword may be endowed with all the strength and cruelty of the great god of war, and though it may level proud cities and lay waste great empires, murdering the fathers, ravishing the mothers and daughters, and starving the babies, yet its strength is only temporary; it is an implement of destruction and as such can have no permanent place in the great scheme of the universe.
But the Trowel, the humble tool of the builder, replaces all the material edifices destroyed by the sword; it rebuilds homes and cities, and spreads prosperity over the face of the land. But more than this, it carries a message of Brotherly Love and affection to all peoples, and there will come a time when, by its influence, all animosity and hate will pass away and wars will be no more. Love will rule the universe, and liberty and justice will walk hand in hand with might; tyranny and oppression will disappear from the face of the earth, and all men will know themselves as Brothers. Then the Mason's Trowel will have fulfilled its destiny. Almon S. Reed, Iowa.
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ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Physical Qualifications of Candidates, by M. M. Johnson.New England Craftsman.
German Freemasonry in the War, by Gustav Diereks.American Freemason.
The Grand Orient of France, by G. W. Baird.The New Age.
The Origin of Templary.The Freemason, Toronto.
Freemasonry and the War, Albert Churchward.London Freemason.
Relation of the Masonic Orders of Christian Knighthood to Ancient Craft Masonry, by W. F. Kuhn.American Tyler-Keystone.
England and its Allies as Freemasons, by Fred Armstrong.American Freemason.
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Speculative Masonry, by A. S. MacBride. D. Gilfillan & Co., Glasgow. $1.50.
The Philosophy of Masonry, by Roseoe Pound. National Masonic Research Society, Anamosa, Iowa. 75 cents
The First Degree, by A. W. Gage. National Masonic Research Society. 15 cents.
The Lord of Misrule, by Alfred Noyes. F. A. Stokes Co., New York. $1.60.
Ancient Mysteries and Modern Masonry, by C. H. Vail. Macoy Co., New York. $1.00.
Ancient Constitution. Macoy Co., New York. $1.00.
Antiquities of Freemasonry, by George Oliver. Macoy Co., New York. $1.00.
Making of an Americana Library, by A. E. Bostick. Little, Brown Co., Boston. $1.00.
Browning, How to Know Him, by W. L. Phelps. Bobbs-Merrill, Indianapolis. $1.50.
Still Water Pastorals, by Paul Shivell. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston. 75 cents.
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With Thee a moment! Then what dreams have play!
Traditions of eternal toil arise,
Search for the high, austere, and lonely way
The Spirit moves in through eternities.
Ah, in the soul what memories arise!
And with what yearning inexpressible,
Rising from long forgetfulness I turn
To Thee, invisible, unrumored, still:
White for Thy whiteness all desires burn.
Ah, with what longing once again I turn!
— A. E.
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TRUTH DEEPER THAN DEATH
God has tormented me all my life. He will not let me alone. He is necessary to me, if only because He is the only Being whom I can love eternally.
Brother, a new man has risen in me. He was hidden in me, but would never have come to the surface if it had not been for this blow from heaven. I have only one fear now — that that New Man may leave me.
We are all responsible for all. I go for all, because some one must go for all. Out of our great sorrow we shall rise again to joy, without which man cannot live nor God exist, for God is joy.
— Feodor Dostoevsky.