A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 2 No. 5 – May 1916
THE "DEW DROP LECTURE"
(Reference was made some time ago, in answer to an inquiry in the Question Box, to the famous "Dew Drop Lecture" used years ago in the work of the Grand Lodge of Mississippi. Just why it was called by that name is hard to know, but it speaks for itself. There was a tradition to the effect that it was written by Albert Pike, but that is not correct — it having been used long before his time. We take pleasure in reproducing it here, in response to a number of requests, from "The Blue Lodge Text Book" of the Grand Lodge of Mississippi, adopted in 1874 — by the kindness of Brother Frederick Gordon Speed, Grand Secretary. The lecture is not now a part of the regular work of the Mississippi Jurisdiction, but it is frequently used even today.)
GEOMETRY, the first and noblest of sciences, is the basis upon which the superstructure of Freemasonry is erected. Regarding man as a rational and intelligent being, capable of enjoyment and pleasure to an extent limited only by the acquisition of useful knowledge, our Order points him to the study of the Liberal Arts and Sciences and to the possession of knowledge as the most befitting and proper occupation for the God-like endowments with which he is gifted.
Indeed, all who frequent our Masonic Temple, are charged to labor faithfully in the wide and unbounded field of human improvement, from which they are assured of reaping a most glorious harvest, a harvest rich in happiness to the whole family of man, and in manifestation of the goodness of God. Your attention is especially directed to the science of Geometry, no royal road, 'tis true, but to one prepared with an outfit it must prove more attractive than palace walks by regal taste adorned.
The ancient philosophers placed such a high estimate upon this science that all who frequented the groves of the Sacred Academy, were compelled to explore its heavenly paths, and no one whose mind was unexpanded by its precepts was intrusted with the instruction of the young. Even Plato, justly deemed the first of the philosophers, when asked as to the probable occupation of Deity, replied, He geometrizes continually.
If we consider the symmetry and order which govern all the works of creation, we must admit that Geometry pervades the universe. If, by the aid of the telescope, we bring the planets within the range of our observation, and by the microscope, view particles too minute for the eye, unaided, to behold, we find them all pursuing the several objects of their creation, in accordance with the fixed plan of the Almighty.
By Geometry we may curiously trace nature through her various windings to her most concealed recesses. By it we discover how the planets move in their respective orbits and demonstrate their various revolutions; by it we account for the return of the seasons and the variety of scenes which each season displays to the discerning eye; by it we discover the power, wisdom and goodness of the Grand Artificer of the Universe, and view with delight the proportions which connect the vast machine. Numberless worlds are around us, all framed by the same Divine Artist, which roll through the vast expanse and are all governed by the same unerring law of nature. Is there not more truth than fiction in the thought of the ancient philosopher, that God geometrizes continually?
By geometry He rounds the dew drop; points the pyramidal icicle that hangs from thatch-bound roof; bends into a graceful curve the foaming cataract; paints His bow of beauty upon the canvas of a summer shower; assimilates the sugar to the diamond, and in the fissures of the earth-bound rocks, forms georgeous caverns, thick-set with starry gems. By it He taught the bee to store its honey in prismatic cells; the wild goose to range her flight, and the noble eagle to wheel and dart upon its prey, and the wakesome lark, God's earliest worshipper, to hymn its matin song in spiral flight. By it He forms the tender lens of the delicate eye, rounds the blushing cheek of beauty, curves the ruby lips and fashions the swelling breast that throbs in unison with a gushing heart. By it he paints the cheek of autumn's mellow fruit, forms in molds of graceful symmetry the gentle dove, marks the myriad circles on the peacock's gaudy train and decks the plumage of ten thousand warblers of His praise that animate the woody shade. By it he fashions the golden carp, decks the silvery perch, forms all fish of every fin and tribe that course the majestic ocean, cut the placid lake or swim in gentle brook. Nay, more, even the glassy element in which they dwell, when by gentle zephyrs stirred, sends its chasing waves in graceful curves by God's own finger traced in parallel — above, beneath, around us, all the works of His hands, animate and inanimate, but prove that God geometrizes continually.
But if man would witness the highest evidence of geometrical perfection, let him step out of the rude construction of his own hands and view the wide o'erspreading canopy of the stars, whether fixed as centers of vast systems or all noiselessly pursuing their geometrical paths in accordance with the never-changing laws of nature. Nay, more, the vast fields of illimitable space are all formed of an infinitude of circles traced by the compass of the Almighty Architect, whose every work is set by the Level, adjusted by the Plumb, and perfected by the Square. Do this, my brother, and you must admit with Plato, that God geometrizes continually, and be assured with Job, that He who stretcheth the earth upon emptiness and fixeth the foundation thereof upon nothing, so it cannot be moved, can bind the sweet influence of Pleiades or loose the bands of Orion.
A survey of Nature, and the observation of her beautiful proportions, first determined man to imitate the Divine plan, and study symmetry and order. This gave rise to societies, and birth to every useful art. The architect began to design, and the plans which he laid down, being improved by experience and time, have produced works which are the admiration of every age.
The lapse of time, the ruthless hand of ignorance, and the devastations of war, have laid waste and destroyed many valuable monuments of antiquity on which the utmost exertions of human genius have been employed. Even the Temple of Solomon, so spacious and magnificent, and constructed by so many artists, escaped not the unsparing ravages of barbarous force. Freemasonry, notwithstanding, has still survived. The attentive ear receives the sound from the instructive tongue, and the mysteries of Freemasonry are safely lodged in the repository of faithful breasts. Tools and instruments of architecture, and symbolic emblems, most expressive, are selected by the fraternity to imprint on the mind wise and serious truths; and thus, through a succession of ages, are transmitted, unimpaired, the most excellent tenets of our institution.
The Temple of Solomon was wrought according to a Divine plan by practical workmen. Freemasonry is not a theory, neither a mere speculative plan incapable of practical application. It must be wrought into beauty and effectiveness by the skilled workmen who are Freemasons in truth.
— Wm. F. Kuhn. A Basket of Chips.
* * *
Wm. Philip Moss 32°, Missouri
Age, and time, and cloudy skies, —
And quiet eveing, when twilight dies;
The sweet contentment of stars above;
And breezes that fan our ardent love.
In the calm silence, not a word;
Above our gentle heartbeats, nothing heard;
Our tired souls, in abguish bound,
And starting at each hush of sound.
Dropping to space — a falling tear.
Long shadowed lanes of great tranquility
That shine with dews of silent memory —
Wher naught but splendour strays,
The beauteous light of other days;
And shrubs along these desert isles —
No reflection e'er sweetly smiles
Where bushes weep their lasting tears,
Of sorrows, and jots, of unforgotten years,
Alas! could I but see, —
What holds our future's destiny.
On distant peak, bright Heaven seems —
With faith and Hope's Eternal dreams,
Within whose still, unshadowed waves,
Ride years of sorrow, and the grave;
The anguishes of fate that forever turn,
The pangs of love, in our hearts do burn,
We hear no answer, from on high,
But whispers, sweet, are calling —
"Alas!" we hear them sigh.
"Each to his narrow home, must go,
The will of God hath made it so."
Soon you, and I, must take our place —
Without dishonour or disgrace;
Let's go to Him, our God above,
To dwell in sweetest peace, and love.
MASONRY IN WAR-TIME
Bro. W. C. Shelley, Virginia
A RARE and precious document was recently brought to light by Brother W. C. Shelley, of the Grand Lodge of Virginia, and one which reads like a passage from Holy Writ in the light of the war now raging. It is an address issued to the Masons of South Carolina in 1862, during the Civil War, by David Ramsey, then Grand Master of Masons in that Jurisdiction. We commend it to Masons of every Rite everywhere, and to men of no Rite, as showing that, once at least, in the stress and struggle of a gigantic strife our mystic tie held true and tender when all else was broken.
Grand Master Ramsay at the time was just 33 years old. His address was published March 25, 1862. Masonry was strong throughout America at that time, but, Col. Shelley says, "there was not at any time during that war any war among Masons. All Masons performed their civil and political duties as they saw them, whether North or South of the Ohio river, but none of them ever lost sight of the fact that Masonry was a fraternal organization, universal in its application, and independent of political, personal or sectional conditions."
FALLS IN BATTLE
Grand Master Ramsay himself entered the army of the Confederacy, and in the year following his address fell in battle in the charge for the recapture of a bastion of Battery Wagner, on Morris Island.
Published, as it was, says Col. Shelley, during the bitterness of war, it was immediately circulated by the Grand Master of Masons of the State of Maine, into whose hands by some accident it came, and in printed form was ordered to be hung on the wall of every Masonic lodge in that State, an order which was obeyed.
NEW COPY WAS OBTAINED
"As the Worshipful Master of Columbia Lodge at Clarendon, Virginia," says Col. Shelley, "learning of this address and so highly appreciating its sublime sentiments, and especially the manner in which it was accepted by the Grand Jurisdiction of the State of Maine, which was the very antithesis of South Carolina in that troubled period, I wrote to South Carolina for a copy in order that my lodge might hang it upon its walls also, but none having been retained there, was referred to Maine.
"The Grand Secretary of that Grand Jurisdiction referred me to the publisher, who had printed the copies ordered by the Grand Master of Maine in 1862, and from him, of the four copies remaining in his possession I obtained one, which has been hung upon the walls of my lodge and is uniformly read by some one of the brethren at each annual election immediately preceding such election. St. Paul never expressed himself better!"
"If Our foreign brethren," Col. Shelley added, "could rise to the sublime sentiments expressed by David Ramsay and the grand response made by the State of Maine, Masonry would find an exemplification quite worthy of all it claims."
EXTRACT FROM THE ADDRESS
The address, in part, follows:
"The Grand Lodge, anxious for your prosperity and desirous that, as members of the great mystic family, you should preserve in unfaded brightness the light of Masonry which had been intrusted to your keeping, did heretofore address an encyclical letter of advice and of admonition. In the last Grand Communication, moved by like feeling, it made request of me to direct another letter unto the same purpose.
"I republish and affirm the former letter for your guidance in all respects therein set forth; as to other general doctrines, my brethren, the masters of lodges will admonish you, it is your duty and should be your pleasure to hearken diligently and observe their precepts. Special matters remain concerning which I have to charge you.
"Walk circumspectly in the present evil time, ever mindful of solemn undertakings on your part in the presence of Almighty God; be faithful in observance thereof toward all and singular the brethren, whether these be met in lodges dedicate or only known to you by divers means, in darkness or light, in health or sickness, in wealth or want, in peril or safety, in prison, escape or freedom, in charity or evil-mindedness, armed or unarmed, friend or seeming foe, and as to these, most certainly as toward brethren, when Masonically met on, by or with all due and regular intercommunication and intelligence. You have registered words which can not be unspoken or recalled, antedating as they will survive all disturbances among men and turmoils in state; words which in fullest force and meaning should be ever present unto you in thought, utterance and deed.
ADMONISHED OF FLIGHT OF TIME
"Time with its affairs will soon to every one be past. We are at labor for a short while only in the work of Him who hath no respect of persons, building us, if meet, into another and an enduring temple; if vouchsafed unto us to be so edified, it will never be regret to remember any good deed done in the name of a common Master and Father to whatsoever brother, even him whom the profane would call an enemy. If we do good to those who love us and do good unto us. what more do we than other men? I charge every one of you, in the name of our Supreme and Universal Master, to be mindful how you are bound in certain duties whereunto you have called Him to witness your obligations and performance, who will hereafter judge. I charge you, in His great name and in view of His final day, suffer not the disputes and broils of men to impair the harmony which has existed and will exist throughout the fraternity; for, whether or not you put to shame the teachings of our craft, they can not be annulled; nor, despite evil members, who may pain us, can the body of our faithful brotherhood be annihilated or destroyed, or even so much as paralyzed.
"Let us not hear among us that there is war, that strife and dissension prevails; as Masons it concerns us not.
"Speak no ill of your brethren; if you have aught against one, suffer not your anger to get the mastery of your troth. If any, deeming that their personal desires of advancement or gain have been hindered by a brother, clamor unto you, heed them not when they speak apart; consider that it is unmasonic and unmanly to take amends by backbiting and slandering; hearken not to such, nor be covinous, joining together and complotting, whereby brethren, unheard and undefended, may be injured. There are such among you; of such make no further observation than to shun their errors.
AVOIDANCE OF CRITICISM
"Except unto themselves, blame them not for speaking; nor blame those of whom it is spoken; listen not to one nor repeat to the other; let the great Searcher of Hearts alone decide on right or wrong. Judge not when but one accuses and the other is absent. You do gravest wrong as men not even called Masons should you act on partial judgments severely formed. Nevertheless, should the wrong be done unto you, forgive even when misjudged; forgive as you hope to be forgiven. Above all things, give no cause of offense; see that your brother has no just complaint against you; walk erect and upright, in fact, as well as appearance, Masons. Remember wherein to be zealous to give aid, counsel, protection; lend attentive ear, preserve a faithful breast, having withal a ready and true heart. If it be ill to speak evil, by how much more is it to do evil.
"It were useless to write unto you save to remind you of these things, and but for my office sake I should not warn or counsel or command; for speaking without vain humility, I best know how much I have of error and regret, how much I have to learn and listen; I was constrained to write, and that not as one having authority of himself, but such as was placed in his hands to write doctrine approved among us at all times.
TRIBUTE TO HIS BRETHREN
"I laud and honor you, brethren, for many things, and chiefly forasmuch as you have been diligent in your work of faith, hope and charity. You have been and are constant in well doing; some among us have gone astray, but even these wandered from our fold, and erred not within its sacred bounds; their condemnation is of themselves and not of us. You may say without boastfulness that you have fulfilled your undertakings in your lodges unto all whencesoever coming in our common name. So continue, and not for praise of men, but looking forward to the time when your example will confirm future good deeds in good or evil days, and also looking forward beyond all time to the well done of our Master who is in heaven.
"And may the Supreme Grand Architect of the Universe ever have you in His holy keeping. May brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue cement you in the bonds of peace and fellowship."
* * *
WORDS OF JESUS
Wonder at the things before you. He that wonders shall reign, and he that reigns shall rest.
In whatsoever things I discover you, in these will I also judge you.
Ask for the great things and the small shall be added to you; ask for the heavenly and the earthly shall be added unto you.
On the same day He beheld one working on the Sabbath and said unto him: O man if thou knowest what thou art doing, blessed art thou; if thou knowest not, thou art a transgressor of the law.
Where there is one alone, I am with him. Raise a stone and there they shall find me; cleave the wood and there I am also.
The world is merely a bridge; ye are to pass over it, and not to build dwellings on it.
My mystery is for Me and for the sons of My house.
— Unwritten Saying of Jesus, by David Smith.
* * *
A confiding of troubles is disloyalty to one's own powers of endurance.
A woman would rather be miserable with the man she loves than happy with the man who loves her.
The men who have something of the woman in them are the most lovable, and the women who have something of the man in them are the least so.
Sulking is the mental application of vanity to our own sores.
— A Prig's Philosophy, by B. Belton.
* * *
Among my fellows, whom the Craft has set
Shoulder to shoulder with me, I pursue
My daily occupation, what is due
From man to man, from man to God, and yet
No fear lest I my wages may not get:
For firm established stand I in the true,
And labor e'er that benefits accrue
All, whom in seeking Truth I would abet.
So seek I God along a winding way
That leads me, aided by the tools at hand,
Through Nature, Science, to the very stars,
That add more light unto my path. The day
Shall surely come when, passed are all the bars,
Refreshed, Before Him I shall humbly stand.
— H. W. Ticknor, Florida.
DISCUSSING THE PREVIOUS QUESTION
Bro. R. I. Clegg, Ohio
"TIDES EBB AND FLOW TWICE IN THE TWENTY-FOUR HOURS."
WHEN I ran across this reference some months ago in The BuilderI promptly made a note of it for future comment. But man proposes and man procrastinates. Since then several of the brethren have mentioned the matter, and thus there is less than ever for me to say about it. Nevertheless, not all the interest has been squeezed out of the original query.
First of all, I beg of our Editor to be patient with me when I respectfully demur to his use of the word "exaggeration" as applied to sundry items, "errors" in his opinion, that have for "emphasis" crept into our practices. While I will not deny that much of what we say and do is open to attack upon one ground or another, yet I must confess that there are several points of primarily a mystifying character that on extended inquiry have disclosed a very reasonable basis. So frequently has this been the case in my own experience that I am now the slower to assume that a puzzling expression may be but an error.
Certainly there are examples most perplexing. Take the 47th proposition. Gow, in his "History of Greek Mathematics," points out that the Pythagoreans were opposed to the shedding of blood. But the sacrifice of a hecatomb is commonly understood to imply the death of oxen or even a greater offering. It may be that the followers of Pythagoras adopted the rule as to blood spilling after the Master of their School had shown his appreciation bloodily of his great discovery. I will not dogmatize on the subject. In fact, I confess I wonder why as much or more is not said by us of Euclid as is reported of Pythagoras.
Then, too, there is the maiden weeping beside the broken column. I am not yet ready to answer all mine own questions about that striking symbol that come to mind.
Having pointed out a few of the other difficulties in the way of the student, let us return to the tides. If there be any doubt as to the sequence twice in the day, then consult the scholarly article in the "Encyclopedia Brittanica." Probably that authority will be sufficient to demonstrate the accuracy of the phrase as applied to certain places.
Some inquiry into "imprecations" long ago led me to collect a number of significant instances that will, I am sure, be of interest to the brethren in general. Particularly should these be noteworthy to the correspondents who have already considered the "tides" reference in these columns.
Death by slow drowning where the tide ebbed and flowed was once by legal authority established as a proper punishment. There is even of record an instance where to be cast into the sea after mutilation was prescribed for those who by the imprecations of their own mouths had invited its application should they be forsworn.
Consider the following: In the curious ordinances which were observed in the reign of Henry VI for the proper conduct of the Court of Admiralty of the Humber, are enumerated various offenses of a maritime connection and their due punishments. To adhere closely to the character of the Court, and to be within the proper jurisdiction of the Admiralty, the punishments were generally inflicted at low-water mark. Be it further understood that from the year 1451 the Mayor of Hull also officiated as the Admiral of the Humber.
Andrews, in his exceedingly interesting study of "Bygone Punishments," tells us of the ordinances that were to be enforced by the Admiralty of the Humber. Among them were these: "You shall inquire, whether any man in port or creek, have stolen any robes, nets, cords, etc., amounting to the value of ninepence; if he have, he must be hanged for the said crimes, at low-water mark."
"If any person has removed the anchor of any ship, without licence of the master or mariners, or both, or if any one cuts the cable of a ship at anchor, or removes or cuts away a buoy, for any of the said offenses he shall be hanged at low-water mark."
Remarkable as are these references from the standpoint of our investigation, they do not comprise the whole of the material left to us by the Admiralty of the Humber. The Court at its regular sessions consisted of "Masters, merchants, and mariners, with all others that do enjoy the King's stream with hook, net, or any engine." The latter word, be it understood, had a broader meaning than is now usually applied to it. But the Court being assembled for obligation they were thus addressed:
"You, Masters of the Quest, if you or any of you discover or disclose anything of the King's secret counsel or of the counsel of your fellows (for the present you are admitted to be the King's Counsellors) you are to be, and shall be, had down to the low-water mark, where must be made three times, O Yes! for the King, and then and there this punishment, by the law prescribed, shall be inflicted upon them; that is, their hands and feet bound, their throats cut, their tongues pulled out, and their bodies thrown into the sea."
The reader will see that there is a distinction in some way between the two sets of criminals, those guilty of divulging the Royal secrets, and those convicted of moving a buoy — a river or sea mark comparable with a landmark in importance. Hanging has so usually been deemed the most ignominious of deaths that the student may right here ask himself, why it was that the disloyal "Counsellor" was not choked by the rope rather than killed by the knife and the wave. However, we will not just now discuss the relative enormity of the two crimes, save only to say that there is, I believe, a distinction made between the two classes of persons; a difference indeed of much interest to Freemasons. Of this I shall say a word or two later.
Turn we now to an excellent book: "The Customs of Old England," by Snell. On page 225 is this still more pertinent paragraph:
"Suppose that a thief had been taken in the soken, stocks and a prison were in readiness for him; and he was thence carried before the Mayor to receive his sentence, but not until he had been conveyed to Fitzwalter's court and within his franchise. The nature of the sentence, to which the latter's assent was required, varied with the gravity of the offense. If the person were condemned for simple larceny, he was conducted to the Elms near Smithfield — the usual place of execution before Tyburn was adopted for the purpose — and there 'suffered his judgment,' i. e., was hanged like other common thieves. If on the other hand, the theft was associated with treason, the crime, it was considered, called for more exemplary punishment, and the felon was bound to a pillar in the Thames at WoodWharf, to which watermen fastened their boats or barges, there to remain during two successive floods and ebbs of the tide."
That franchise enjoyed by Fitzwalter was bitterly resented by the Freemen of London. On the feast of St. Matthew, in 1347, it was announced to the Common Council that these franchises "were wholly repugnant to the liberties of the City." One thing he seemed willing to concede, and that strangely enough was the particular point we have been considering, the slow drowning of traitors at the double turn of the tides.
Note also the comment that Snell offers in another place:
"This punishment (by drowning), which was most likely of Scandinavian or Teutonic origin, was not confined to the soken in which the Fitzwalters exercised jurisdiction. In the Cinque ports it was the privilege of freemen condemned on a capital charge to be drowned in the sea, whereas nonfreemen suffered the usual penalty of hanging. At Hastings and Winchelsea, however, this distinction is said not to have existed; at both places all executions took place by drowning."
There is an article by Cuming Walters on "The Stool of Repentance" which has reference to the old idea of punishment involved in the double tides, albeit not intended for the taking of life but of inflicting severe penance:
"The nuns of St. Bridgets Convent were made to undergo a particularly barbarous penance in olden time for the most trifling of peccadilloes. A steep high rock projects over the sea at the Howe of Douglas, and can only be climbed with much difficulty. Half way up is a hollow, and near the top a chair-like cavity. The offending nuns were brought to the foot of the rock when the tide was out, and compelled to climb the rock, and sit in either the lower or higher chair until the tide ebbed and flowed twice. It was a terrible predicament. The climber was always in danger of falling into the sea, and the exposure to the elements, especially when the incoming waters were roaring through the cavities, was enough to stagger the firmest resolution."
Much more could be said but this is perhaps all that need be told in print. My brethren will read between the lines. To me the quaint expressions of the Fraternity are to be cherished. Of such is the oblong square. Hidden beneath them are rich mines of bygone practices, of olden philosophy and early ethics. Let us lay hands upon the ritual with reverence. What may seem a blemish may be a relic to be revered, not ruthlessly removed for destruction.
Furthermore, as to criticism in general. Surely I am not presumptuous in urging that the Society encourage vigorous independence of research. Let us all avoid what may not inaptly be termed the sheepwalking school. For example, there are those who hold that certain characteristic Christian allusions have of recent date, comparatively, been grafted upon an unsectarian organization. Is it impossible that the tendency has been the other way? Perhaps the fragments now remaining are but the remnants of a Craft ceremony peculiarly rich with the impress of Christian Knighthood. Reflections such as these are by no means presented with any claim that they are easily proven. At best they are suggested as fair grounds for further inquiry. Investigation and independence are essential to our satisfactory progress. The last word has been said on no Masonic topic at last reports. There is much to do. Let tolerance prevail.
* * *
A VISION OF THE FLAG
(An International Anthem.)
I gazed beyond the strife of alien brothers,
And a vision of the glories yet to come.
I saw a flag in the breeze unfurl —
A blessed flag —
That unfurled, and unfurled, and unfurled,
And I gazed in rapture, in realization, and in wonder.
I saw one star unfurl —
And then another, in the blue,
The blessed blue of the sky;
Stars of a golden light;
And of the soul's magnitude.
One star for each land and country
Was in this flag that covered all —
And then I looked again —
And knew that I was gazing at the Heavens.
Not that we should love our country less,
But that we should love our whole world more.
— Julian P. Scott.
A MASONIC MYTH IN THE MAKING
Bro. R. J. Lemert, Montana
ONE of the most annoying things with which the student of history is obliged to contend is the tendency of writers, even those of high repute, to accept without careful investigation the statements of alleged fact made by their predecessors. Especially is this true, it is painful to admit, among writers upon Masonic topics. A few generations ago the most weird fables were dispensed as gospel truth, and often writers did not hesitate to blend groundless hypothesis with unquestioned fact in such fashion as best to uphold their own contentions, regardless of the confusion which such action on their part must inevitably introduce among later investigators. The older Masonic literature teems with statements which are not susceptible of proof, and yet one is loath to disregard them utterly, because of the possibility that such proof may have existed at some previous time, and may have been accessible to the authors of the questionable statements.
Perhaps no single branch of Masonry presents more obstacles to the conscientious investigator than does the early history of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite and the part played by its reputed founder, Frederick the Great. I use the word "reputed" only in deference to those fair-minded students who are not yet convinced that the Prussian monarch authorized the compilation of the Grand Constitutions of 1786 — not because I personally am sceptical; for after giving most careful consideration to every scrap of evidence available, including the latest and perhaps the most painstaking brief for the negative, Dr. Wilhelm Begemann's pamphlet entitled "Der Alte und Angenommenne Schottische Ritus und Friedrich der Grosse," published in 1913, I still prefer to accept the conclusions of Brother Albert Pike, that Frederick really was the founder of the Rite in thirty-three degrees.
Yet it cannot be denied that many of the things told of Frederick by those who have sought to establish his lifelong connection with the Masonic institution are questionable if not flatly untrue; and it is of one of these myths that I desire to speak to the readers of The Builder.
A number of years ago my old and valued friend, Brother Edwin A. Sherman, 33d Hon., of Oakland, Cal., now deceased, sent me a copy of an address which he had delivered some years before, on St. John the Baptist's Day, 1889, "Upon the History of the Antagonism and Assaults of the Papacy Against Freemasonry and Free Government." In the course of the address he referred to Frederick the Great and his connection with Masonry, and to demonstrate the high valuation set by the renowned monarch upon our institution Brother Sherman made the following statement:
The superior of the Dominican convent at Aix-la-Chapelle Father Greineman, and a Capuchin monk, Father Schuff, were trying to excite the lower classes against the lodge of Masons at that place, which had been reconstituted by the mother lodge at Wetzlar. When Frederick heard of this, he wrote the following letter, dated February 7, 1778, to the instigators: "Most Reverend Fathers: Various reports, confirmed through the papers, have brought to my knowledge with how much zeal you are endeavoring to sharpen the sword of fanaticism against quiet, virtuous people called Freemasons. As a former dignitary of this honorable body, I am compelled, as much as it is in my power, to repel this dishonoring slander, and remove the dark veil that causes the temple we have erected to all virtues to appear to your vision as a gathering point for all vices. Why, my most reverend fathers, will you bring back upon us those centuries of ignorance and barbarism, that have so long been the degradation of human reason? Those times of fanaticism, upon which the eye of understanding cannot look back but with a shudder? Those times in which hypocrisy, seated on the throne of despotism, with superstition on one side and humility on the other, tried to put the world in chains and commanded a regardless burning of all those who were able to read?
"You are not only applying the nickname of masters of witchcraft to the Freemasons, but you accuse them to be thieves, profligates, forerunners of antichrist, and admonish a whole nation to annihilate such a cursed generation.
"Thieves, my most reverend fathers, do not act as we do, and make it their duty to assist the poor and the orphans. On the contrary, thieves are those who rob them sometimes of their inheritance, and fatten on their prey, in the lap of idleness and hypocrisy. Thieves cheat; Freemasons enlighten humanity.
"A Freemason, returning from his lodge, where he has only listened to instructions beneficial to his fellow-beings, will be a better husband in his home. Forerunners of antichrist would in all probability direct their efforts towards an extinction of divine law. But it is impossible for Freemasons to sin against it without demolishing their own structure. And those be a cursed generation who try to find their glory in the indefatigable efforts to spread those virtues which constitute the honest man. — Frederic."
This letter interested me. If a genuine letter of the Prussian monarch, it clearly indicated that at least so late as 1778 Frederick had no hesitancy in avowing his connection with Freemasonry, and did not scruple to champion its cause when attacked by its ancient enemy. Desirous of verifying Brother Sherman's statement, I wrote him for his authority, but as several years had passed since the delivery of the address, he was unable to refer me to his source of information.
In 1902 the History Publishing Company of San Francisco issued an elaborate volume bearing the title "Masonic History of the Northwest," on page 150 of which is to be found the letter in question, word for word as quoted by Brother Sherman. It is preceded by the following statement:
That we may understand the Masonic character of Frederick the Great we give the following: In the year 1778, during our American revolution, Frederick the Great * * * found trouble in his own dominions, which he promptly suppressed. The superior of a Dominican convent at Aix-la-Chapelle (Father Greineman) and a Capuchin monk (Father Schiff) were trying to incite the lower classes against the lodge of Masons at that place, which had been reconstituted by the mother lodge at Wetzlar. When Frederick the Great heard of this he wrote the following letters to the instigators, dated February 7, 1778:
The source of this I have not been able to trace. It may have been taken from Brother Sherman's address, or both may have been copied from a common original which I have not yet encountered. At any rate, the compilers of the history appear to have been convinced of the authenticity of the letter, for they used it without qualification of any sort.
I found several references to the disturbances incited by the two ecclesiastics named by Brother Sherman. In Thory's "Acta Latomorum," edition of 1815, Vol. I, 141, under the events of the year 1779, is the following:
March 26 — The magistrate of Aix-la-Chapelle caused the publication of an ordinance in which he called attention to the excommunication pronounced against the Freemasons. He interdicted their meetings, and decreed a fine of 100 florins d'or for the first contravention, and 200 for the second; and 300 florins, in addition to banishment, for the third, against those who permitted lodges to be opened in their premises. As a consequence of this decree the Dominican Louis Greineman and the Capuchin Schuff attempted to excite a popular movement against the Freemasons at Aix-la-Chapelle. They denounced them in their sermons as ungodly and infamous, and as conspirators against the state religion, and imputed to them all the crimes of the Templars. Many were attacked in the streets, and others were pursued. The Loge de la Constance and the brethren of Aix-la-Chapelle caused an energetic reply to the calumnies of the reverend fathers to be inserted in the Courrier du Bas-Rhin of May 5 and 22, 1779.
In the appendix to Ragon's "Ritual du Grade de Compagnon," undated, page 67, under the heading "Persecutions eprouvees par les Francmacons," is the following:
1779 — The magistrates of Aix-la-Chapelle interdicted Masonic meetings. Then Louis Grimman, a Dominican, born at Mayence, and Father Schaff, a Capuchin, preaching in that city the first during Lent, and the other on April 11, anathematized the Masons and exhorted in public: "Exterminate this accursed brood!" Public assaults resulted from this. ( See the Courrier du Bas-Rhin of May 5 and 22, 1779, and the Monde Maconnique, March, 1860, page 684.)
I have not been able to consult either of the publications cited by Ragon, but in my bound volume of L'Univers Maconnique, published by Brother Cesar Moreau in 1837, at column 169, I encountered this further reference to the persecutions:
In 1779 the Freemasons were persecuted publicly at Aix-la-Chapelle. In the churches the people were sworn to hatred against them. A Dominican, Louis Greineman, and a Capuchin, named Schuff, did not hesitate to belittle their characters as ministers of a God of peace by uttering these abominable words: "Exterminate this accursed brood!"
Thus far, it will be observed, there is no word regarding the rebuke said to have been administered by the king. But searching further, I discovered something more satisfying in the Official Bulletin of the Supreme Council for the Southern Jurisdiction, Vol. IX, published in 1889 under the direct supervision of that distinguished scholar, Brother Albert Pike. On pages 249 to 251 appears the following, presumably reproduced from the London Freemason:
Editor Freemason: Attacks on Freemasonry lack neither in antiquity nor untruthfulness, as you may gather from the accompanying letter, a copy of which was handed me last night. It was translated from the Berlin "Daily" by Bro. Jos. Z. J. late of Civil Service lodge No. 148, of the city of Quebec, and printed and presented by W. Bro. W. H. Little, W. M. of St. Andrew's lodge No. 6, Quebec. Bro. Little, who is a good printer and a zealous Mason, appends the following footnote:
"Does this letter require any further comment? We think not. The letter is too clear, and at the same time so forcible, so precious, that it would not be considered too much if the same were made to stand forth in golden letters on the wall of every lodge room."
I recommend it to the attention of your intelligent readers.
I am, &c., yours fraternally, — Robert Ker, Trinity Church,
R. W. Grand Chaplain of the Provincial of Quebec. Quebec City, Dec., 1885.
Then follows a version of the letter quoted by Brother Sherman, varying slightly in verbiage, but no more than might be expected of two independent translations.
This seemed fairly sound authority, for the London Freemason is usually accurate in its statements, and then it was that I myself fell into the very error which I have decried in others; for I cribbed the letter of Frederick bodily from Brother Sherman's address and used it in one of my printed lectures — that one entitled "Catholicism and Freemasonry," many thousands of which have found their way into circulation. So I stand as "equally guilty with the rest," for, as I am about to demonstrate, there is every reason to believe that the letter is fraudulent.
But I am not the latest offender. There is some comfort in this knowledge. On January 24, 1912, the German Freemasons celebrated the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Frederick the Great, and shortly after that event the distinguished Brother E. Koettlitz, grand archivist and librarian of the Supreme Council of Belgium, prepared a valuable paper entitled "Frederic II, un Roi Franc-Macon," which contains a great amount of valuable matter touching Frederick's Masonic connections and activities. In the course of this paper Brother Koettlitz says:
Let us cite, for example, the typical letter that he addressed to the Capuchins an order of Franciscan friars belonging to the Roman Catholic church, who had attacked Freemasonry:
Then follows another version of the famous letter, varying from the translations given by Brother Sherman and Brother Pike in minor particulars only. Brother Koettlitz's paper was translated into English in April, 1914, by Mrs. Katharine Pratt Horton, of Buffalo, N. Y., and embodied in the Proceedings of the Council of Deliberation of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite for New York for 1914, the letter under discussion appearing on pages 249 and 250 of that volume.
Brother Koettlitz's address is also published, in part, in The New Age Magazine for May, 1915, the translation there given providing us with still a fourth version of our letter, identical in all material regards with the other three.
A short time ago I had occasion to look up certain matters connected with the Adonhiramite Rite of Masonry, a system which enjoyed a considerable vogue in France and perhaps in Germany in the latter portion of the eighteenth century, and which is still practiced by a number of lodges in Brazil, and possibly in other South American states. The best authority on this rite is the little book entitled "Recueil Precieux de la Maconnerie Adonhiramite," the first edition of which was published anonymously in 1781. The authorship has been ascribed both to Baron de Tschoudy and Guillemain de St. Victor, but as Tschoudy died in 1769 it is probable that the attribution to St. Victor is correct.
My own copy of this little book is of the edition of 1787. To my great interest I encountered on pages 103 to 115 a section devoted to "Violences exercees contre les Francs-Macons," containing what purports to be, and probably is, a correct reproduction of the two letters published in the Courrier du Bas-Rhin on May 5 and 22, 1779, referred to by Thory and Ragon. The first of these letters, while not lacking in interest, has no direct bearing upon the alleged letter of Frederick. It is a communication addressed under date of April 13, 1779, by the brethren of the Loge de la Constance of Aix-la-Chapelle to their brethren in other cities, reciting the persecutions to which they were being subjected by reason of the fanatical preaching of the two priests, Grieneman and Schuff, and asking that prayers be offered and representations made in proper quarters in their behalf, to the end that protection might be accorded them by some unnamed personage. The name is left blank, but it is not an unfair presumption that the king of Prussia was meant.
The second letter, however, seems to establish the fraudulent character of the letter ascribed to Frederick, and I therefore append my own translation in full:
Extract from the Courrier du Bas-Rhin, May 21, 1779. Letter to the Reverend Fathers Greineman, theological lecturer in the Convent of the Dominicans of Aix-la-Chaplle, and Schuff, Capuchin, preacher at the Cathedral of said city.
My Very Reverend Fathers: Various reports, confirmed by the public prints, having informed me of the ardor with which you have exerted yourselves to unsheathe the sword of fanaticism against certain tranquil, virtuous and respectable persons, called Masons, I must, as a former dignitary of their venerable order, repulse, so much as lies in my power, the calumny which outrages it, and endeavor to free your eyes from the thick veil which leads you to see and depict the temple which we elevate to the virtues as the receptacle of all the vices.
My very reverend fathers, do you seek to bring back upon us those centuries of ignorance and barbarity which were for so long a time the reproach and the shame of the human spirit? Those times of fanaticism, toward which the eye of reason cannot look back without horror? Those times when hypocrisy seated upon the throne of despotism, between superstition and folly, gave the world to the steel, and burned indiscriminately as sorcerers all who knew how to read? Not only do you apostrophize the Masons by this name of sorcerers (a senseless name, shameful evidence of the imbecility of our ancestors and which proves nothing), but you accuse them further of being swindlers, sodomites, ungodly persons, precursors of antichrist; and you charitably exhort an entire people to exterminate this accursed race.
Swindlers, my reverend fathers, never charge themselves, as we do, with the duty of assisting the poor and the orphaned swindlers rather demand of them contributions, despoil them of their heritages, and grow fat upon their spoils, in the bosom of sloth and hypocrisy; swindlers, in short, befool mankind — the Masons educate them.
Assuredly, sodomites are not proper persons to fill the estate of good fathers of families, but a Mason who returns from his lodge, where he has received only lessons tending to the good of humanity, is in his home a better father and a better husband. Precursors of antichrist would beyond doubt exert all their efforts to destroy the law of the Most High; but Masons can never attempt this without at the same time overturning their own edifice. Finally, you denounce them as an accursed race, whom it is necessary to exterminate. Compare this judgment with that which has been pronounced upon them by a prince whom the wisest men of the century have with unanimous voice surnamed the Solomon of the North:
"His Majesty is happy to assure you in his turn that he has always interested himself in the happiness and prosperity of an assembly which finds its chief glory in the indefatigable and uninterrupted propagation of all the virtues of the honest man and the true patriot
"Potsdam, Feb. 7, 1778. — Frederic."*
This style is very different from yours, my very reverend fathers, and if one of the greatest princes has testified so preciously that Masonry is the school of all the virtues of the honest man, in what class are to be ranked those who persecute them, and who cry, "Become converted!"? To whom, my reverend fathers, best applies this advice to become converted? Is it those who, uniting to taste the purest sweets of humanity, recommend unceasingly union, peace and fraternal love, or those who cry "Aid us to exterminate them!"? Is it the love of peace, O ministers of a God of peace, that has led you to compromise certain members of your regency in the hearing of all, by demanding of the assembled people if justice could be properly administered by them? The indulgence of your magistrates on this occasion proves at least that they are more peaceable than you. But without discussing the question whether or not it is permissible for a minister of religion to erect himself a tribune of the people, learn, my very reverend fathers, that Masons have always sworn to maintain and follow the laws, to be faithful to their country, and that the first obligation of a Mason is to perform the duties of the station in which heaven has placed him. By this you may see that our oath is not the pact of thieves, as you have dared advance from the seat of truth; and when you shall have become better instructed in our statutes you will doubtless imitate the Masons, who leave the world in peace.
No, my reverend fathers; never have Freemasons troubled states; rather has this been the act of the fanatics. Never have they dealt death to those who did not think as they do. They serve faithfully their princes; they obediently allow themselves to be governed by them; they respect them, and they have never counted a Jacques Clement among their brethren. You should reflect upon the fact that among these same Masons whom you treat as swindlers are to be counted all the princes of Europe, with the most powerful and most honest people of their states. The king of Naples, you reply to me, has allowed the Masons to be persecuted. That is true; but he was not then their brother. He has become so since, and he protects them. The secular rulers are not the only ones whom Masonry has honored; and you surely are not ignorant, my very reverend fathers, that it counts in its ranks a pope, several cardinals, certain Dominicans even, and a number of Capuchins. I have often participated in the work of the lodge with religious men every order. I have found there able preachers and honest men, who, upon leaving our assemblies, went to edify their auditors, but did not say to them, "Assist us to exterminate them!"
I am, and I have the honor to be, with that candor inseparable from good and free Masonry, my very reverend fathers.
— S. F. B.
Master of a lodge situated four miles from Babylon, this 16th day of the fifth month of the year of the Great Light, 5779.
It is scarcely necessary to comment upon this letter. It speaks for itself. No one can doubt that it is the original from which was framed the apocryphal blast of righteous wrath attributed to Frederick the Great. Down to the little quotation from a possibly authentic letter of the famous monarch, this letter is almost identical, word for word, allowing for differences in translation, with the fraudulent one.
And it is not to be suspected that any portion of the last-quoted communication, save only the fragment in quotation marks, is from the pen of the Prussian ruler. He would scarcely style himself "the Solomon of the North," nor call himself "one of the greatest princes." Clearly, it was written by the master of one of the lodges of Aix-la-Chapelle, who chose to veil his identity under the initials "S. F. B." The expression, "a lodge situated four miles from Babylon," amounts to nothing. It may prevent us from identifying the lodge of which S. F. B. was master, but further than that it need not concern us. Such mystification was common among Continental Masons in the eighteenth century. Many Masons thus concealed their identity from the profane, when writing books or articles for publication, partly because of clerical persecutions, and partly because it was not thought necessary to take the public into confidence. Even the little book from which the foregoing extract is made, the "Recueil Precieux," was, as has been said, published anonymously; and its place of publication was not openly disclosed. The title page merely states that it was published "At Philadelphia, at the house of Philarethes, street of the Square, at the Plumb."
The "typical letter" of Frederick, as Brother Koettlitz styles it, which has given satisfaction to so many of us, cannot be regarded as other than a fraud. And the tale of his indignation at the aggressions of the two fanatical priests of Aix-la-Chapelle, if based on no better evidence than this, must be relegated to the category of myths.
*At the bottom of page 112 of the "Becueil Precieux" is a footnote, referring to the above letter signed by Frederick, in which it is stated that the original of this letter, addressed to the Loge de l'Amitie at Berlin, is preserved in its archives, and is to be found in its entirety in the Gazette Litteraire of that city, folio 726, of Feb. 23, 1778.
* * *
THE WORSHIP OF MARS
Oh! base apostasy, for words too great!
False Christendom the Prince of Peace has spurned;
Its heart despoiled of love, and filled with hate,
Now unto Mars, the god of war, has turned.
Grim struggling forces charge and counter charge;
Good men and horses by the thousand fall;
But as the gruesome list of death grows large,
The lords of war for other thousands call.
With deadly rifle shot and cannon boom,
The mortar's roar, and madly screeching shell,
And stifling vapors adding to the gloom,
The earth seems changed into a very hell.
Then deadly submarines the seas infest;
Swift aeroplanes drop bombs from over head;
Great navies for supremacy contest
And many hearts are filled with constant dread.
The howling, savage dogs of war turned loose,
Men's bitter curses rise above their prayers;
And, disregarding every call to truce,
They drench with blood the world's great altar stairs.
Imposing churches, built for prayer and praise,
And dedicated to the Prince of Peace,
Professing Christians madly storm and raze —
Oh God! when will such false pretensions cease?
But still the god of war is not content,
"More sacrifice of life," he loudly calls,
And when the air with murd'rous sounds is rent,
He laughs the while the flower of manhood falls.
He grins as little children shriek in fright,
And helpless women wring their hands and cry;
Exultantly he shouts his base delight,
As men, enraged, rush on to do — or die.
And mountain-like the debts, by war incurred,
Which people over-taxed, must help defray;
And backs will ache, fond hopes be long deferred,
While jaded nations monstrous war debts pay.
And this, the fruit of our apostasy,
Swift death, great debts, and gaping, ugly scars
Distressing turmoil, both on land and sea,
Is what, in part, we pay to worship Mars.
Aghast we look upon the ruin wrought,
And to the God of love most humble pray,
That we, through wide and awful suffering taught,
May never more the Prince of Peace betray.
— E. A. Coil, Marietta, Ohio.
American Union Lodge, No. 1.
* * *
MY QUEEN, THE SOUL
Life may be likened in a parable to a simple citizen who married a princess of the royal blood. Even if he made her to eat of all the delicacies of the world, and gave her every delight, he could never fulfill all his obligations to her. Why? Because she is the daughter of a line of kings. Thus also, whatever a man may do for his own soul, he can never do all that is required of him, because the soul of man is from on high."
— Rabbi Levi.
DEATH IN THE DESERT — THE STORY OF A POEM
Bro C. M. Schenck. Colorado
(One of the most pathetic of the poems of Albert Pike is entitled "Death in the Desert," in which he imagines the last, bitter hours of a friend and Brother Mason who was wounded and left to perish on the old Santa Fe trail in the wild days of Indian war. It first appeared in a tiny volume of "Prose Sketches and Poems Written in the Western Country," published by Light & Norton, Boston, 1834 — the earliest, and now the rarest, piece of his writing. What lay back of that poem is told in the following article by a kinsman of the Brother whose fate the poem describes so vividly.)
IN reading that exceedingly interesting work "Leading Facts of New Mexico History," by Mr. R. E. Twitchell, my eye caught the foot note on page 135 of Volume 2, relative to the various Santa Fe caravans that crossed the plains, which quotes from "Chittenden's History of American Fur Trade," as follows: "1832 — fall and winter of this year, attacked by Indians Canadian January and lost all their property and one man."
Josiah Gregg in his "Commerce of the Prairies" (Vol. 11, pp. 48-53), presumably referred to the same party. He states that three or more men lost their lives. One of the three was a kinsman of mine, of whose life and death the following sketch is found in "Rev. William Schenck, His Ancestry and His Descendants," by A. D. Schenck, (1882 pp. 80-85), which may be of Masonic interest:
"Colonel William Rogers Schenck was born at Cincinnati, then in the Northwestern Territory, 20 Oct., 1799. In 1802 his father, Gen. William C. Schenck, removed and settled permanently at Franklin, now in Warren County, Ohio, where the son remained with him, receiving such education as the place and times afforded, until he reached the age of about eighteen years, when he was sent as a clerk to Mr. Martin Baum, a wealthy merchant of Cincinnati, and an intimate friend of Gen. Schenck.
As a young man, William was noted for his wit and social qualities, a genial companion and something of a poet; some of his effusions are to be found in a work entitled "Gems from American Poets."
After the death of his father in 1821, he returned to Franklin to take charge, as co-executor with his mother, of the family estate. And he then and there established himself in business upon his own account as a merchant, his store being on Front Street, between Second and Third Streets. Not being satisfied with this business, he removed with his family to Lebanon, in Warren County, Ohio, and commenced the study of law with the late Thomas Corwin, and was admitted to the bar, but never practised as a lawyer.
He took a great interest in the militia, and held various commissions as an officer therein. After having been captain of the cavalry, he was commissioned as a lieutenant-colonel, Second Regiment, Second Brigade, the 16th of January, 1823. He was afterwards colonel of this regiment, his resignation being dated the 15th of November, 1826, "he having been an officer of said regiment for five years."
On the 24th of October, 1822, he entered the Masonic fraternity, was "passed" on the 26th of the same month, and "raised" to the degree of a master Mason on the 27th of the following month. In 1826 he was the secretary of his lodge, Eastern State, No. 55, of Franklin, Ohio. His father was the first master of this lodge upon its organization in 1819, and his uncle, Garrett A. Schenck, was at the same time the junior warden.
On the 3d of February, 1831, Colonel Schenck left Cincinnati to engage in the Santa Fe trade, a business then in its infancy. He went from St. Louis by way of Independence to Santa Fe during that year. One of the same party was the late well-known General Albert Pike, of Washington, D. C. This party consisted of seventy-five men in all, and was fitted out by Carter Bent, Frederick Billen and Mr. Holliday, the train consisting of ten wagons, all but one drawn by oxen, and left St. Louis on the 10th of August, Independence between the 5th and 10th of September, and got into Taos, some on one day, some on another, between the 9th and 15th of November of that year.
General Pike writes: "In September, 1832, I left Santa Fe and Taos with a trapping party, descended the Picos, crossed the Ellano Estacado, and ultimately reached Arkansas. During my stay of near ten weeks I saw Mr. Schenck very often, and we continued to be on terms as intimately friendly as we were while crossing the plains. He told me a thousand things about himself and his relatives, the course of his life, his success and reverses; but all have passed out of my memory, for until now, no one has spoken to me of him in fifty years. He was a man of cultivation and acquirements, of fine intelligence, cordial and genial, a pleasant companion and firm friend, sadly out of place in such a country as New Mexico was at that day, among the citizens of the United States residing there. I left him in Santa Fe, and after I had been for a time in Arkansas I heard of his having been wounded and left to die on the prairie, and wrote and published some lines of verse respecting it, which were seen by his relatives, and caused them to write to me for such information as I could give."
In the fall or winter of 1832-33, a party consisting of twelve men started to return from Santa Fe. This party met with a terrible calamity, an account of which is given by Josiah Gregg in his "Commerce of the Prairies," (Vol. 11, pp. 48-53), as follows:
After three or four days of weary travel over this level plain the picturesque valley of the Canadian burst once more upon our view, presenting one of the most magnificent sights I had ever beheld. It was somewhere in this vicinity that a small party of Americans experienced a terrible calamity in the winter of 1832-3, on their way home; and as the incident had the tendency to call into play the most prominent features of the Indian character, I will digress so far here as to relate the facts.
The party consisted of twelve men, chiefly citizens of Missouri. Their baggage and about ten thousand dollars in specie were packed upon mules. They took the route of the Canadian River, fearing to venture on the northern prairies at that season of the year. Having left Santa Fe in December, they had proceeded without accident thus far, when a large party of Comanches and Kiowas were seen advancing with the treacherous and pusillanimous disposition of those races. The traders prepared at once for defense; but the savages having made a halt at some distance, began to approach one by one, or in small parties, making a great show of friendship all the while, until most of them had collected on the spot. Finding themselves surrounded in every direction, the travellers now began to move on in hopes of getting rid of the intruders; but the latter were equally ready for the start, and mounting their horses, kept jogging on in the same direction.
The first act of hostility perpetrated by the Indians proved fatal to one of the American traders named Pratt, who was shot dead while attempting to secure two mules, which had become separated from the rest. Upon this the companions of the slain man immediately dismounted and commenced a fire upon the Indians, which was warmly returned, whereby another man by the name of Mitchell was killed.
By this time the traders had taken off their packs and piled them around for protection, and now falling to work with their hands, they very soon scratched out a trench deep enough to protect them from the shot of the enemy. The latter made several desperate charges, but they seemed too careful of their own personal safety, notwithstanding the enormous superiority of their numbers, to venture near the rifles of the Americans. In a few hours all the animals of the traders were either killed or wounded, but no personal damage was done to the remaining ten men, with the exception of a wound in the thigh received by one, which was not at the time considered dangerous.
During the siege the Americans were in great danger of perishing from thirst, as the Indians had complete command of all the water within reach. Starvation was not so much to be dreaded, because, in case of necessity, they could live on the flesh of their slain animals, some of which lay stretched close around them. After being pent up for thirty-six hours in this terrible hole, during which time they had seldom ventured to raise their heads above the surface without being shot at, they resolved to make a bold sortie in the night, as any death was preferable to the fate which awaited them there. As there was not an animal left that was at all in condition to travel, the proprietors of the money gave permission to all to take and appropriate to themselves whatever amount each man could safely undertake to carry. In this way a few hundred dollars were started with, of which, however, but little ever reached the United States. The remainder was buried deep in the sand in hopes that it might escape the cupidity of the savages; but to very little purpose, for they were afterwards seen by some Mexican traders making a great display of specie, which was without doubt taken from the unfortunate cache.
With every prospect of being discovered, overtaken and butchered, but resolved to sell their lives as dearly as possible, they at last emerged from their hiding place, and moved on silently and slowly until they found themselves beyond the perlieus of the Indian camp. Often did they look back in the direction where from three to five hundred savages were supposed to watch their movements; but much to their astonishment, no one appeared to be in pursuit. The Indians, believing no doubt that the property of the traders would come into their hands, and having no amateur predilection for taking scalps at the risk of losing their own, appeared willing enough to let the spoliated adventurers depart without further molestation.
The destitute travelers having run themselves short of provisions, and being no longer able to kill game for want of material to load their rifles with, they were soon reduced to the necessity of sustaining life upon the roots and tender barks of trees. After traveling for several days in this desperate condition, with lacerated feet and utter prostration of mind and body, they began to disagree among themselves about the route to be pursued and eventually separated into two distinct parties. Five of these unhappy men steered a westward course, and after a succession of sufferings and privations which almost surpassed belief, they reached the settlements of the Creek Indians, near the Arkansas River, where they were treated with great kindness and hospitality.
The other five wandered about in a great state of distress and bewilderment, and only two finally succeeded in getting out of the mazes of the wilderness. Among those who were abandoned to their fate and left to perish thus miserably was a Mr. Schenck, the same individual who had been shot in the thigh, a gentleman of talent and excellent family connections, who was a brother, as I am informed, of the Hon. Mr. Schenck, at present a member of Congress from Ohio. The following is a poem mentioned by General Pike, written by him upon hearing of the fate of his unfortunate friend:
* * *
DEATH IN THE DESERT
The sun is sinking from the sky,
The clouds are clustering round the moon,
Like misty bastions, mountain high;
And night approaches, ah! too soon.
Around me the dark prairies spread
Its limitless monotony.
And near me, in wide sandy beds,
Runs water salter than the sea,
Bitter as tears of misery.
And now the sharp, keen, frosty dew,
Begins to fall upon my head,
Piercing each shattered fibre through;
By it torturing wound with fresh pain is fed.
Near me lies dead my noble horse;
watched its last convulsive breath,
And saw him stiffen to a corse,
Knowing like his would be my death.
The cowards left me lying here
To die- and for three weary days
I've watched the sunlight disappear;
Again I shall not see his eyes;
Upon my dead heart they soon will blaze.
Ah, God! it is a fearful thing
To be alone in this wide plain,
To hear the hungry vultures wing,
And watch the light of my existence wane.
Am I, indeed, left here to die?
Alone! Alone! It is no dream!
At times I hope it is. Though nigh,
Already faintly sounds the stream.
I must die! and fierce wolves will gnaw
My corse before the pulse is still,
Before my parting breath I draw.
This doth the cup of torture fill;
This, this it is that sends a thrill
Of anguish through by inmost brain;
This thought far bitterer than death;
I care not for the passing pain,
But fain would draw in peace my last, my parting breath.
And here, while left all, all alone,
To die, (how strange that word will sound)
With many a bitter, mocking tone,
The faces of old friends come around.
They tell of one untimely sent
Down to the dark and narrow grave
By Honor's code; of old friends bent,
With grief, for causes that I gave;
And leaning on each misty wave,
I see the shapes I loved and lost
Gather around, with deep dim eyes,
Like drowning men to land uptossed.
And here one mocks, and my vain rage defies.
Dear God! my children, spare the thought!
Bid it depart from me, lest I
At length to madness should be wrought,
And cursing Thee, insanely die!
Hush! the cold pulse is beating slow —
I see death's shadow close at hand;
I turn from sunset's golden glow,
And looking toward my native land,
Where the dark clouds, like giants, stand,
I strain my eyes, and hope perchance,
To see, beneath the calm cold moon,
Some shape of human-kind advance
To give a dying man the last and saddest boon.
In vain, in vain! No footstep comes!
All is yet lone and desolate;
Deeper and darker swell the glooms,
And with them Death and eyeless Fate.
Now am I dying. Well I know
The pains that gather round the heart,
The wrist's weak pulse is beating slow,
And life and I begin to part;
Vain now would be the leech's art;
But death is not so terrible,
As it hath been. No more I see!
My tongue is faltering! Now all's well!
My soul, 'tis thine, oh Father, take it unto
* * *
Hereafter! O we need not waste
Our smiles or tears, whate'er befall;
No happiness but holds a taste
Of something sweeter, after all: —
No depth of agony but feels
Some fragment of abiding trust, —
Whatever Death unlocks or seals
The mute beyond is just.
— James Whitcomb Riley.
* * *
THE HIDDEN GLACIER
There is no time for hate, O wasteful friend:
Put hate away until the ages end.
Have you an ancient wound? Forget the wrong.
Out in my West a forest loud with song
Towers high and green over a field of snow,
Over a glacier buried far below.
— Edwin Markham. "The Shoes of Happiness."
SOME DEEPER ASPECTS OF MASONIC SYMBOLISM
Bro. Arthur Edward Waite, England
There are two ways in which the Master Degree may be thought to lapse from perfection in respect of its symbolism, and I have not taken out a license to represent it as of absolute order in these or in any respects. This has been practically intimated already. Perhaps it is by the necessity of things that it has recourse always to the lesser meaning, for it is this which is more readily understood. On the other hand, much must be credited to its subtlety, here and there, in the best sense of the term. There is something to be said for an allegory which he who runs may read, at least up to a certain point. But those who made the legend and the ritual could not have been unaware of that which the deeper side shows forth; they have left us also the Opening and Closing as of the great of all greatness — so it seems to me, my Brethren — in things of ceremony and ritual. Both are devoid of explanation, and it is for us to understand them as we can.
For myself it is obvious that something distinct from the express motives of Masonry has come to us in this idea of Raising. The Instituted Mysteries of all ages and countries were concerned in the figuration, by means of ritual and symbolism, of New Birth, a new life, a mystic death and resurrection, as so many successive experiences through which the Candidate passed on the way of his inward progress from earthly to spiritual life, or from darkness to light. The Ritual or Book of the Dead is a case in point. It has been for a long period regarded by scholarship as intimating the after-death experiences or adventures of the soul in the halls of judgment, and so forth; but there are traces already of the genesis of a new view, chiefly in the writing of Mr. W. Flinders Petrie, according to which some parts at least of this great text are really a rite of initiation and advancement, through which Candidates pass in this life.
THE BOOK OF THE DEAD
If I am putting this rather strongly as regards one important authority, it is at least true to say that he appears to discern the mystical side of the old Egyptian texts, while there are others, less illustrious than he, who have gone much further in this direction. It is very difficult for one like myself, although unversed in Egyptology, to study such a work as "Osiris and the Egyptian Resurrection," by E. Wallis Budge, without feeling very strongly that there is much to be said for this view, or without hoping that it will be carried further by those who are properly warranted.
So far as it is possible to speak of the Kabiric Mysteries, there was in those an episode of symbolical death, because Kasmillos, a technical name ascribed to the Candidate, was represented as slain by the gods. Some of the rites which prevailed within and around Greece in ancient times are concerned with the idea of a regeneration or new birth. The Mysteries of Bacchus depicted the death of this god and his restoration to light as Rhea. Osiris died and rose, and so also did Adonis. He was first lamented as dead and then his revivification was celebrated with great joy. There is no need, however, to multiply the recurrence of these events in the old Mysteries nor to restrict ourselves within their limits, for all religions have testified to the necessity of regeneration and have administered its imputed processes. That which is most important — from my point of view — is the testimony belonging to Christian times and the secret tradition therein.
THE CHRISTIAN MYSTERIES
Of course, to speak of this it is necessary to trend on subjects which at the present are excluded, and very properly so, from discussion in a Craft Lodge, when they are presented from a religious and doctrinal angle. I shall not treat them from that standpoint, but rather as a sequence of symbolism in the form of dramatic mystery, alluding slightly, and from a philosophical point of view only, to the fact that in certain schools they are regarded as delineating momentous experiences in the history and life of man's soul. That new birth which conferred upon the Eleusinian mystae the title of Regenerated Children of the Moon — so that each one of them was henceforth symbolically a Son of the Queen of Heaven — born as a man originally and reborn in a divine manner — has its correspondence on a much higher plane of symbolism with the Divine Birth in Bethlehem, according to which a child was "born" and a son "given," who, in hypothesis at least, was the Son of God, but Son also of Mary — one of whose titles, according to Latin theology, is Queen of Heaven.
The hidden life in Egypt and Nazareth corresponds to the life of seclusion led by the mystae during their period of probation between the Lesser and Greater Mysteries. The three years of ministry are in analogy with the Temple-functions of the mystagogues. But lastly, in Egypt and elsewhere, there was the mystic experience of the Pastos, in which the initiate died symbolically, as Jesus died upon the Cross. The Christian "Symbolum" says: — Descendit ad inferos: that is, "He descended into hell"; and in the entranced condition of the Pastos, the soul of the Postulant was held or was caused to wander in certain spiritual realms. But in fine, it is said of Christ: — Tertia die resurrexit; "the third day he rose again from the dead." So also the Adept of the Greater Mysteries rose from the Pastos in the imputed glory of an inward illumination.
THE MYSTICAL FACT
There was a period not so long ago when these analogies were recognized and applied to place a fabulous construction upon the central doctrines of Christian religion, just as there was a period when the solar mythology was adapted in the same direction. We have no call to consider these aberrations of a partially digested learning; but they had their excuses in their period. The point on which I would insist is that in the symbolism of the old initiations, and in the pageant of the Christian mythos, there is held to be the accurate delineation of a mystical experience, the heads and sections of which correspond to the notions of mystic birth, life, death and resurrection. It is a particular formula which is illustrated frequently in the mystic literature of the western world. Long before symbolical Masonry had emerged above the horizon, several cryptic texts of alchemy, in my understanding, were bearing witness to this symbolism and to something real in experience which lay behind it. In more formal Christian mysticism, it was not until the 16th century and later that it entered into the fullest expression.
Now, that which is formulated as mystic birth is comparable to a dawn of spiritual consciousness. It is the turning of the whole life-motive in the divine direction, so that, at a given time — which is actually the point of turning — the personality stands symbolically between the East and the North, between the greatest zone of darkness and that zone which is the source of light, looking towards the light-source and realizing that the whole nature has to be renewed therein. Mystic life is a quest of divine knowledge in a world that is within. It is the life led in this light, progressing and developing therein, as if a Brother should read the Mysteries of Nature and Science with new eyes cast upon the record, which record is everywhere, but more especially in his own mind and heart. It is the complete surrender to the working of the divine, so that an hour comes when proprium meum et tuum dies in the mystical sense, because it is hidden in God. In this state, by the testimony of many literatures, there supervenes an experience which is described in a thousand ways yet remains ineffable. It has been enshrined in the imperishable books of Plato and Plotinus. It glimmers forth at every turn and corner of the remote roads and pathways of Eastern philosophies. It is in little books of unknown authorship, treasured in monasteries and most of which have not entered into knowledge, except within recent times.
THE PLACE OF DARKNESS
The experience is in a place of darkness, where, in other symbolism, the sun is said to shine at midnight. There is afterwards that further state, in which the soul of man returns into the normal physical estate, bringing the knowledge of another world, the quest ended for the time being at least. This is compared to resurrection, because in the aftermath of his experience the man is, as it were, a new being. I have found in most mythological legends that the period between divine death and resurrection was triadic and is spoken of roughly as three days, though there is an exception is the case of Osiris, whose dismemberment necessitated a long quest before the most important of his organs was left finally lost. The three days are usually foreshortened at both ends; the first is an evening, the second a complete day, while the third ends at sunrise. It is an allusion to the temporal brevity ascribed in all literatures to the culminating mystical experience. It is remarkable, in this connection, that during the mystic death of the Candidate in the Third Degree, the time of his interned condition is marked by three episodes, which are so many attempts to raise him, the last only being successful.
Two things follow unquestionably from these considerations, so far as they have proceeded. The interest in Operative Masonry and its records, though historically it is of course important, has proceeded from the beginning on a misconception as to the aims and symbolism of Speculative Masonry. It was and it remains natural, and it has not been without its results, but it is a confusion of the chief issues. It should be recognized henceforward that the sole connection between the two Arts and Crafts rests on the fact that the one has undertaken to uplift the other from the material plane to that of morals on the surface and of spirituality in the real intention. Many things led up thereto, and a few of them were at work unconsciously within the limits of Operative Masonry. At a period when there was a tendency to symbolize everything roughly, so that it might receive a tincture of religion — I speak of the Middle Ages — the duty of Apprentice to Master, and of Master to pupil, had analogies with relations subsisting between man and God, and they were not lost sight of in those old Operative documents. Here was a rudiment capable of indefinite extension. The placing of the Lodges and of the Craft at large under notable patronage, and the subsequent custom of admitting persons of influence, offered another and quite distinct opportunity. These facts notwithstanding, my position is that the traces of symbolism which may in a sense be inherent in Operative Masonry did not produce, by a natural development, the Speculative Art and Craft, though they helped undoubtedly to make a possible and partially prepared field for the great adventure and experiment.
THE OLD CHARGES
The second point is that we must take the highest intention of symbolism in the Third Degree to some extent apart from the setting. You will know that the literary history of our ritual is rather non-existent than obscure, or if this is putting the case a little too strongly, it remains that researches have so far left the matter in a dubious position. The reason is not for our seeking, for the kind of enquiry that is involved is one of exceeding difficulty. If I say that it is my personal aspiration to undertake it one of these days, I speak of what is perhaps a distant hope. That which is needed is a complete codification of all the old copies, in what language soever, which are scattered through the Lodges and libraries of the whole Masonic world, together with an approximate determination of their dates by expert evidence. In my opinion, the codices now in use have their roots in the 18th century, out were edited and re-edited at an even later date.
I have now brought before you in somewhat disjointed manner — as I cannot help feeling — several independent considerations, each of which, taken separately, institutes certain points of correspondence between Masonry and other systems of symbolism, but they do not at present enter into harmony. I will collect them as follows: —
- Masonry has for its object, under one aspect, the building of the Candidate as a house or temple of life. Degrees outside the Craft aspire to this building as a living stone in a spiritual temple, meet for God's service.
- Masonry presents also a symbolical sequence, but in a somewhat crude manner, of Birth, Life, Death and Resurrection, which other systems indicate as a mystery of experience.
- Masonry, in fine, represents the whole body of its Adepti as in search of something that has been lost, and it tells us how and with whom that loss came about.
These are separate and independent lines of symbolism, though, as indicated already, they are interlinked by the fact of their incorporation in Craft Masonry, considered as a unified system. But the truth is that between the spiritual building of the First Degree and the Legend of Solomon's Temple there is so little essential correspondence that the one was never intended to lead up to the other. The symbolism of the Entered Apprentice Degree is of the simplest and most obvious kind; it is also personal and individualistic. That of the Master Degree is complex and remote in its significance; it is, moreover, an universal mythos. I have met with some searchers of the mysteries who seem prepared to call it cosmic, but I must not carry you so far as this speculation would lead us, and I do not hold a brief for its defense. I am satisfied in my own mind that the Third Degree has been grafted on the others and does not belong to them. There has been no real attempt to weld them, but they have been drawn into some kind of working sequence by the Exhortation which the Worshipful Master recites prior to the dramatic scene in the last Master Degree. To these must be added some remarks to the Candidate immediately after the Raising. The Legend is reduced therein to the uttermost extent possible in respect of its meaning, though it is possible that this has been done of set purpose.
It will be seen that the three aspects enumerated above/fall under two heads in their final analysis, the first representing a series of practical counsels, thinly allegorised upon in terms of symbolical architecture. The Candidate is instructed to work towards his own perfection under the light of Masonry. There is no mystery, no concealment whatever, and it calls for no research in respect of its source. Its analogies and replicas are everywhere, more especially in religious systems. It is a reflection of the Pauline doctrine that man is or may become a temple of the Holy Spirit. But it should be observed in this connection that there is a rather important-though confusing mixture of images in the address of the Worshipful Master to the Candidate, after the latter has been invested and brought to the East. It is pointed out to him that he represents the cornerstone of a building — as it might be, the whole Masonic edifice but he is immediately counselled to raise a superstructure from the foundation of that corner-stone — thus reversing the image. That of the corner-stone is like an externalization in dramatic form of an old Rosicrucian maxim belonging to the year 1629: — "Be ye transmuted from dead stones into living, philosophical stones."
From my point of view, it is the more important side of the symbolism; it is as if the great Masonic edifice were to be raised on each Candidate; and if every Neophyte shaped his future course both in and out of Masonry, as though this were the case actually, I feel that the Royal Art would be other than it now is and that our individual lives would differ.
* * *
Desires are pulses of the soul
That lead us on to acts unknown,
If reason stands not at the goal,
Our actions make us to atone.
Desire is thirst that's never filled;
Of every act it is the mother;
Direct these cravings, be well skilled.
For every one creates another.
However rich we may become,
The nameless wants are always there,
And so it is from sun to sun,
This ceaseless urge from ev'rywhere.
There are no limits to desire,
For endless worlds about us roll; But that to which we all aspire,
Is realization of the soul.
— A. B. Rugg, Minn.
* * *
My mind lets go a thousand things,
Like dates of wars and deaths of kings,
And yet recalls the very hour —
'Twas noon by yonder village tower,
And on the last blue noon in May
The wind came briskly up this way,
Crisping the brook beside the road;
Then, pausing here, set down its load,
Of pine scents and shook listlessly
Two petals from that wild-rose tree.
— Thomas Bailey Aldrich.
THE POLITICAL PSEUDOMASONRY OF SPANISH AMERICA
Bro. F. De P. Rodriguez, Cuba
UNDOUBTEDLY the article of Bro. Hemenway on "The Relationship of Masonry to the Liberation of Spanish America," published in one of the past numbers of The Builder, is an splendid one, very ably conceived and well written. Researches in Latin Masonry are not very often met with at present, and if confined to the Masonry of Spanish America, they are rarer yet. It is for that reason that Bro. Hemenway's work pleases me so much; had the Brother been one of us, of course, his effort would have been appreciated; but as an Anglo-Saxon he has made us to contract a debt with him which I shall try to pay, in part, perhaps, as this field of investigation has been searched by me since many years ago.
As Chairman of the Committee on Correspondence of my own Grand Lodge of Cuba, I have become accustomed to the stereotyped phrase used by many Knights of the Round Table when reporting on our Proceedings: "As our education has been sadly neglected and not possessing any knowledge of Spanish, we are unable to say anything about Cuba, their Proceedings are a sealed book to us." That may be plain talk, and somewhat unfraternal too, but when we find a Mason as Bro. Hemenway who can look over our literature we become pleased; more yet, elated, and thank the Lord to have met him in our way.
I shall in this article go over the ground surveyed by Bro. Hemenway, and in a next one shall discuss the most curious of all the societies we ever had in Cuba, which went under the name of The Black Eagle, with which I am very familiar.
It seems to me that Bro. Hemenway sympathizes with the Argentinian and Chilean nucleus who believe General San Martin was a superior patriot to Simon Bolivar. That matters not. Perhaps the principal source of his information was General Bartolome Mitre's "History of San Martin," noted as supporting that opinion, but more recent works, as, for instance, Mancini's "Life of Bolivar," present the matter the other way. As for me, being no South American, I am completely neutral; both were heroes, and both deserve the blessings of their countrymen; only I consider it a duty to express Bolivar's views regarding our Institution, either good or bad as they were.
General Miranda, as carefully described by Bro. Hemenway, was the brain of the South American Revolution; he was an extraordinary man, although some what theoretical in his plans; had he been a little more practical he would have attained success. As a fact, he ran over all Europe an exile from his country; his sword was offered to half a dozen nations; is it true that he fought for American Liberty? Whether he did so or not, that does not detract from his interesting career. The certain case was that he started the most famous of Spanish American revolutionary clubs that ever existed, but it was not exactly original, since two years before, (1795), a similar club existed in Spain, in Madrid, the very capital of the nation. It was named Junta de Villas y Provincias, but it was soon surpassed by Miranda's creation: the Gran Reunion Americana, as it was named when originated at its cradle in Grafton Square, Miranda's London home, where the parent body remained for many years. But when introduced into Spain, the seat for it chosen at Cadiz, the chief commercial center of Spain in those days, the name was changed, first to Caballeros Racionales, next to Sociedad de Lautaro; and later, when transferred to South America, adopted its final and most permanent name LOGIA DE LAUTARO. It was in the Cadiz branch that the most eminent patriots of South America were initiated, Bolivar and San Martin among them.
The organization of the Lodge is well described by Bro. Hemenway, but as to its connection with Freemasonry, mentioned by Garcia Calderon, it was not legally so. Masonry was a means of obtaining the end entertained by the Society; the members never claimed to be Masons. The Society was composed of five grades or degrees, the first three were identical to those of Masonry, as exemplified in the Scottish Ritual, and they were so rendered as a probation of the candidate in order to impress on him the habit of keeping secrets and to develop discipline and solidarity. The proper degrees were the upper two. In the fourth degree the obligation was very plain: the member swore, by all means, to defend the independence of the Spanish colonies; and in the fifth and last degree a democratic credo was exposed, the member taking the oath of never accepting as a legal government any one that was not the resultant of popular election, and this to be de facto and de jure republican. That they were not Masons can be proved by simply observing how they called themselves: countrymen, never brothers. The Lodge of Lautaro was organized at Buenos Aires on the arrival there of San Martin, in 1812, and flourished three consecutive years, nearly disappearing in 1815, after an unsuccessful effort to snatch the government of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata from the Committee of three that held it. It must be noted that Rivadavia, afterward President of the Republic, was a most energetic opposer of the Lodge. In 1816 the Lodge of Lautaro reappeared in Mendoza, where San Martin had retired, and soon afterward was traced in Chile, declining there never more to be noticed.
This Lodge is the most curious political society with which Masonry has tried to go hand in hand; it may not have had a large existence, but, if nothing else accomplished, it supported and carried all over Argentine and Chile the patriotic spirit of Liberty and Independence. It served its purpose there because the soil was fertile. Was it of any good at Venezuela or any of the northern colonies of the South American continent? Surely not; there the seed was not sown in the right soil. I shall examine now the causes.
At the same time that San Martin was entrusted to carry the Society to the South, Bolivar was appointed to do the same in the North. Bolivar was a Mason, initiated in Paris at the age of 21 years, in a lodge the name of which has not been reported, and was induced to do so by the exertions of his teacher, Don Simon Rodriguez. After the death of his young and beautiful wife, Dona Teresa del Toro (his own cousin), Bolivar fell in a state of despondency very hard to overcome; he passed a time in which his behavior was shameful, a complete debauchery, almost licentiousness. Don Simon, under whose care he was, after trying every means to cure him of his malady, sought to have him enter Masonry, and in this he succeeded.
After his initiation, Bolivar experienced a radical change; he was cured, but, unhappily, he never acknowledged the benefit he had received from our order; and many years afterward (1828) he expressed to his secretary Lacroix a very poor opinion of us; he said: "I have also been curious to see the inside of Masonry, causing myself to be raised a Master in Paris, that sufficing to convince me of the ridiculous of so an ancient society. I met in the Lodge some extraordinary men, many fanatics, many more impostors, and a great number of deceived fools. Masons are like grown boys, playing with signs, tricks, Hebrew words, ribbons and bands. Nevertheless, politicians and deceivers can obtain something out of that secret society, but in the present condition of civilization of Colombia, a state of fanaticism and prejudice, it does not avail to use Masonry, because in exchange for a few partisans in the lodges I should have raised against me the hate and censure of the whole nation, pushed against me by the friars, who would accept the pretext to incite public opinion against Freemasonry. (1)" It is painful to note how Bolivar was so ungrateful for our Order, although it is true that his words show the key of the nonsuccess of either Masonry or the Lodge of Lautaro in Venezuela or Colombia; their people were not prepared for Liberty then and Masonry was impotent to do it.
Bolivar, charged to spread the Lodge of Lautaro in his own country, did not attain it and had to content himself with starting the Sociedad Patriotica, an almost public Revolutionary Society; of course inefficient, living a very short time. The Liberator himself had to fight very hard against the fanaticism and ignorance of his own countrymen, witness Don Jose Domingo Diaz who explains in the following way the attitude of Bolivar during the earthquake of March 26, 1812: (2) "The priests from stands in the public squares were reproaching the faithful in so furious and unjust a manner that Bolivar, coming out from among the ruins of the convent of San Jacinto, could not refrain, on hearing one of those preacher's calumnies, that, sword in hand, pushed the clergyman down occupying his place, and with that beautiful oratory, so common to him, addressed the citizens, calming them and asking from them confidence in the merciful God. He ended his speech by stating that, 'If Nature opposes us and helps the tyrant we shall fight against Nature too and make her obey us,' In 1822 he also addressed a series of letters to the Bishop of Popayan, describing the progress of religion from colonial times to those of the Republic."
He was no retrograde, by any means, but we lament that he had so poor an opinion of us; he had no spare time to go deep into Masonry; he was too much meddled in politics to pay us much attention; he was not sufficiently acquainted with our practices. His passing through French Masonry was like a lightning flash, neither there was then any show of Masonry in Colombia; she came afterward with the Spanish army; had Bolivar had time to come close to our Fraternity he might have changed his mind.
What a difference between the heroes of Mount Vernon and San Mateo! True, but never forget that they moved in different societies, between Virginia and Colombia, and as they were in those times, the difference was immense. Now a radical change has beenwrought, and Freemasonry has begun to benefit that country.
So much for the role that Masonry played in South America in the beginning of the XIX century. Whatever the outcome, it deserves to be studied carefully and with love. Now, I pray all of you to accompany me to the Pearl of the Antilles where I shall show you something new and worthy to be recorded. Only give a short time to sharpen my pencil and go forward, fear of submarines in these shores.
(1) Diario de Bucaramanga, by Lacroix.
(2) Recuerdo sobre la Rebelion de Caracas, by Jose Domingo
* * *
WHAT IS MASONRY
The only religion of Masonry is to believe in God and to obey the moral law; its only politics to be peaceable subjects of the civil powers and obedient to the laws of the land in which we live. The Great Light of Masonry must be her only creed, the Constitution of our country its only political platform.
— Grand Master Fitch.
* * *
THE MYSTIC TIE
One cannot hold another down in the ditch without staying in the ditch with him; in helping the man who is down to rise, the man who is up is freeing himself from a burden that would else drag him down. For the man who is down there is always something to hope for, always something to be gained.
— Booker Washington.
* * *
ON THINKING GLAD
Never mind a change of scene —
Try a change of thinking.
What if things seem sordid, mean,
What's the use of blinking?
Life's not always storm and cloud,
Somewhere stars are shining.
Try to think your joys out loud,
Silence all repining.
By degrees, by thinking light,
Thinking glad and sweetly,
You'll escape the stress of night,
Worry gone completely.
Get the habit looking for
Tapping gaily at your door —
Surest cure for fretting.
Needn't fool yourself at all.
For there's no denying
E'en above a prison wall
Song birds are a flying.
Wherefore hearken to the song,
Never mind the prison,
And you'll find your soul ere long
Unto freedom risen.
* * *
THE POWER OF VIRTUE
I think there is some reason for questioning whether the body and mind are not so proportioned, that the one can bear all which can be inflicted on the other; whether virtue cannot stand its ground as long as life, and whether a soul well principled will not sooner die than be subdued.
— Samuel Johnson.
* * *
WORK THAT LIVES
"If we work upon marble, it will perish; if we work upon brass, time will efface it; if we rear temples, they will crumble into dust; but if we work upon our immortal minds — if we imbue them with principles, with the just fear of God and love of our fellow men, we engrave on those tablets something which will brighten for all eternity."
— Scottish Rite Bulletin.
* * *
Let me be a little kinder,
Let me be a little blinder
To the faults of those about me,
Let me praise a little more;
Let me be when I am weary
Just a little bit more cheery —
Let me serve a little better
Those that I am striving for.
Let me be a little braver
When temptation bids me waver.
Let me strive a little harder
To be all that I should be;
Let me be a little meeker,
With the brother who is weaker.
Let me think more of my neighbor
And a little less of me.
Let me be a little sweeter —
Make my life a bit completer,
By doing what I should do,
Every minute of the day.
Let me toil without complaining,
Not a humble task disdaining;
Let me face the summons calmly
When death beckons me away.
— Detroit Free Press.
Bro. J. L. Carson. Virginia
REGIMENTAL lodges were the pioneers, the missionaries of the Craft — Asia, Africa, Australia, America, Canada and the Continent of Europe, owe much to this source of Masonry, particularly the Royal Arch and Knight Templar Degrees.
The first military lodge ever warranted was No. 11 on the roll of the Grand Lodge of Ireland. It was issued in 1732 to the old "1st Foot" then the "1st Royal Regiment," now the "Royal Scots Regiment," and the succession of traveling warrants from the Grand Lodge of Ireland outnumbered those of all the other constitutions put together.
The earliest regulations dealing with these field lodges are to be found in the Irish Code of 1768, which incidentally contain the first attempt at limiting the jurisdiction of each Grand Lodge to its own country.
Our soldier brethren were allowed to work Masonry at any place where their regiments were stationed, but they were not allowed to initiate civilians in any district where a regular lodge was warranted nor could a civilian lodge initiate a soldier if there was a lodge in his regiment. Indeed, since 1850, no army lodge could initiate a civilian under any circumstance.
The histories of these old travelling warrants would be most interesting reading, but "the fortunes of war" have left few of the army lodge records available to the student of Masonic history.
In the officers' mess of the Forty-sixth Regiment of Foot, in a glass case is preserved a Bible with the following inscription:
"On this sacred volume Washington received a degree of Masonry. It was twice taken by the enemy, and both times returned to the regiment with all the honours of war."
In 1788 when the Forty-sixth was engaged in the hostilities between England and America, this Bible was taken by the regiment from the house of people called West when in New Bedford, Mass., but how this family Bible got from Fredericksburg, Va., where we know Washington received his first three degrees, and fell into the hands of the Wests in New Bedford, Mass., is still an unexplained Masonic secret.
We know that the lodge chest of the Forty-sixth, covered by warrant No. 227, granted in 1752 by the Grand Lodge of Ireland, fell into the hands of the Americans, and General Washington returned it to the regiment in charge of a guard of honor. In 1805 this same lodge chest fell into the hands of the French at Dominica, and was returned the year after by the French government. In 1822 this chest was lost in India and was rediscovered in 1829 and returned to the regiment.
AGAIN IN AMERICA
We find the Forty-sixth with its lodge, No. 227, again in America in 1834. In 1855 this lodge joined the Grand Lodge of Canada and adopted the name, "Lodge of Antiquity." In 1869 at the formation of the Grand Lodge of the Province of Quebec, the first lodge on roll is "Antiquity," No. 1, the old No. 227, of the Forty-sixth Foot, while Lodges No. 2, "Albion," and No. 3, "St. Johns," were both formerly in the Royal Artillery.
At one time military lodges were very popular, some regiments carrying two and often more travelling warrants. Ten lodges were at work in the Revolutionary War. Two lodges accompanied the American army during the Mexican War, while over a hundred dispensations for lodges are supposed to have been issued during the Civil War. Cannot some of our grand old veterans tell us something of some of these?
NONE IN STANDING ARMY
There are, however, no lodges in the standing army of the United States at present, and out of the many hundreds that were at one time active in the British army, only about ten are now at work, many having become stationary in military garrisons, or dropped out of their regiments to swell the ranks of the Grand Lodges all over the world just as No. 227 did.
All the military lodges working under the Grand Lodge of Ireland, and most of those owing allegiance to the Grand Lodge of Scotland and the Ancient Grand Lodge of England, carried what was known as "Black Charters," or "Black Warrants," covering such degrees as "Past Master of the Chair," "Excellent" and "Superexcellent," "Royal Arch," "Union Band," "Ark," "Mark Man," "Mark Master," "Knight of the Sword," "Knights East and West," "Jordan Pass," "Prussian Blue," "Knights of Malta," "Red Cross," "Knight Templar." In fact they had no limit, and the power to give degrees seemed to have been limited only by their knowledge of the ritual. The most popular degrees, however, were the "Royal Arch," "Red Cross," and "Knight Templar."
About military lodges much of the information saved to us is as brief as the following memo., written opposite Lodge No. 170, by a Grand Secretary on 6th of January, 1809:
"Box and furniture lost at St. Croix, members all lost or dead or disposed of, but Brother Geo. Baxter, Quartermaster."
Every branch of the service had its lodges. Infantry, cavalry and artillery and many of the lodges had numbers identical with those of the regiment, such as the Foot Regiments, 4th, 18th, 25th, 30th, 42d, etc., and the 4th, 12th, and 7th Dragoons had warrants with similar numbers. Again some lodges took the territorial names of the regiments to which they were granted, such as "North Hants," "West Norfolk," "Argyle," and "Inniskilling" Lodges.
In 1804 Lord Moira was colonel of the "27th Iniskilling Fusiliers" and Master of the lodge established in the regiment by the G. L. of Ireland, No. 213.
Some lodges, proud of a great victory or battle in which the regiment at some time took part, selected such names as "Waterloo," "Niagara," "Minden," "Gibraltar." The latter lodge, No. 39, was formed during the seige of "The Rock."
FESTIVAL OF ST. JOHN
The festival of St. John, 1775, was observed by members of Lodge 156 in the 8th Foot in their rough barrack room on the east side of Niagara River. For gallantry in the War 1775 to 1780 this regiment was given the word "Niagara" on its colours.
The lodge in the "7th Queens Own" adopted the name "Queens," the "Fusiliers" Lodge was with the 21st Fusiliers, and the 26th Cameronians had the "Cameronian" Lodge. Some lodges adopted the names of their colonels, as "Whites," "Barrys," and "Rainsford" Lodges in the 30th, 34th, and 44th Foot.
Before a lodge could be established in a regiment the consent of the commanding officer had to be obtained, and it often happened that the new colonel revoked a former permission and closed the lodge, as happened to the lodges in the 85th Foot, the 3d Dragoon Guards, and many others.
Militia regiments had their lodges, and at one time every regiment of militia in Ireland had its lodge or lodges.
After the Irish Rebellion, 1688-1690, many of the Irish troops entered the French service. In the regiment of Colonel Walsh was a St. John's Military Lodge, supposed to be one of these militia warrants. The oldest lodge on the French Grand Lodge roll today is "Lodge De Parfaite Egalite, 1688. Regt. Irlandes De Walsh."
The Edinburgh Defensive Band Lodge was formed in the Scotch Volunteers, and on their disbandment became a fixed lodge under the same name, as also did "The First Volunteer Lodge of Ireland," No. 620, established in 1783. For sixty years the members wore the lodge uniform — "the dress be black trousers and coat satin-faced, and velvet collar, with white vest, satin facings colour of uniform." At the great Masonic Bazaar, held in Dublin in 1892 to assist the Masonic Female Orphan School when over $100,000 was realized, the "First Volunteer Lodge of Ireland" showed the old "colours," and two drums of the regiment, and had a wax figure of one of the volunteers in full uniform.
Captives from our regiments abroad formed lodges, and in 1805 the Ninth Regiment embarked at Cork in the transport "Ariadne," which was wrecked on the coast of France, when the lodge lost its chest, warrant, etc., and the officers and men saved from the wreck were made prisoners of war, and held at Valenceinnes from 1806 to 1814, where a captive lodge was formed by our good brethren, and Sergeant Edward Butler seems to have been the mainstay of the lodge. It is recorded that on January 25, 1814, "the brethren were all dispersed," and "Brother Butler brought the lodge to England."
LODGES OF PRISONERS
Prisoners of war confined in Great Britain on parole, frequently met in the civilian lodges that held warrants where they were located. In Bandon, a small town in the south of Ireland, many French prisoners joined the "Ancient Boyne Lodge," as they did in Selkirk (Scotland), where twenty-three were enrolled, and at Leeds, in England, the French prisoners formed a lodge of their own in 1760.
Lodge 617, in the "Thirty-second Foot," was an "officers lodge," the Thirty-second had several other lodges besides, and with this same regiment was Lodge 73, a "noncommissioned officers lodge." The Fiftyfirst Foot had also an "officers lodge" attached to it. No private could be initiated in the "officers lodge."
GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND
"The Grand Lodge of all England," which started in the city of York, 1725, and died 1790 (the adherents of which were the only veritable York Masons) warranted one solitary military lodge in 1770 to the Sixth Inniskilling Dragoons. This gallant regiment had three other warrants, one each from the Grand Lodge of Ireland, the "Ancient" and the "Modern" Grand Lodges of England. One of these warrants, No. 557, lost out in the Peninsular War, when the enemy observed Masonic emblems on the chest and ordered its return under a flag of truce in charge of a guard of honor. The band of this regiment preceded the members of the Lodge "Appollo," York, England, to divine service on St. John's Day, 1786.
The "Thirty-eight Foot" and the Fifth Dragoon Guards in 1795 were granted duplicate warrants by the Grand Lodge of Ireland, "the original having been taken by the French"; indeed the Dragoons claim to have lost Masonic chest, warrant, jewels and all.
A lodge in that famous Dragoon regiment, the "Scots Greys," known as "Scots Greys Kilwinning" Lodge, lost its warrant, lodge chest and jewels in the wars previous to 1770.
"Minden" Lodge, 63, in the "Twentieth Foot," was founded in 1748, lost in 1772, revived in 1812, lost again, 1836, again revived at Bermuda, 1844, and finally lost its lodge chest containing warrant, records and jewels in the Indian mutiny.
GRAND LODGE OF SCOTLAND
At the centenary of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, 1836, the two lodges of that renowned Scotch regiment, the "Forty-second Black Watch," were in attendance, and as the reports of the ceremony quaintly recorded, "Attracted admiration alike for their martial appearance and Masonic behavior,"
The "Twenty-fifth Foot" lost its warrant, chest and ecords at Munster, in Germany, and they were never covered, but a "new chest and contents" was conseated at Berwick-on-the-Tweed in 1763.
It was a common practice for a military lodge on having a station to grant a civil warrant (a copy of its own often carrying the same name and number) to the brethren remaining behind, as did Lodge No. 128, when having Hindostan. "Fuzilier Lodge," No. 33, granted civil warrant when removing from Tasmania. "Sphinx Lodge," in the "Twentieth Foot," left the "Lodge of 'okohama" in Japan after it, the first lodge in that country. The "Kings Own," in Fourth Regiment, left civil lodge of nineteen members behind in Port Louis 'auritius in 1858.
AUSTRALIA AND THE PHILIPPINES
Lodge 227, in the "Forty-sixth Foot, did the pioeer work in the Australian colonies about the year 16. Lodge "128 Gibraltar" made the first Mason in India, and founded many lodges in Hindostan. It lost, chest in the Peninsula War, but the enemy returned to the old regiment intact. Lodge No. 69, Gallo Neuva Malate, in Manila, is called "the Cradle of Ameran Masonry in the Philippine Islands." It was opened y Colonel W. C. Trueman, Master of the North Dakota military Lodge, working under dispensation in 1898 at Manila.
IN SOUTH AFRICA
During the "Boer War," 1899-1902, Lodge No. 516 (E. C.), was completely annihilated. Composed of burghers, they were called out to a man on the outreak of hostilities, and every officer of the lodge and every active member was killed.
The "First Royals" left a lodge behind them at Albany (N. Y.), in 1759, and if time and space peritted quite a number of instances could be recorded of Lodges and Grand Lodges in both America and Canada wing their origin to the military lodges most of which wed allegiance in their ritual to the "Anglo-Irish," or Ancient" Grand Lodge, establishing the "Ancient", working, which was the same as that of Irish and Scotch Grand Lodge.
MASSACHUSETTS AND CANADA
In 1768 Lodge "St. Andrews" of Boston, joined with the military lodges then on that station in forming what was known as the "Grand Lodge of Boston," and Brother Doctor Joseph Warren, who was afterards killed at the Battle of Bunker Hill, was appointed by the Grand Lodge of Scotland "Grand Master of the Continent of America."
In 1757 Lodge 74 on the register of the G.L. of Ireland, on leaving Albany, granted an exact copy of its warrant to some resident Freemasons. This lodge, Mount Vernon," now holds third place on the G. L. roll of New York.
In 1760 the soldier Masons in Wolfe's victorious army (for seven of the regiments had field lodges) met in an old barrack-room, thus commencing a work in a new soil which led to the formation of the first provincial G. L. of Quebec under Lieutenant Guinnett, of the Forty-seventh Regiment.
IN NEW YORK
The Twenty-second Foot lost its Irish warrant in the Mississippi River in 1759, got a Scotch warrant in 1759, took part in the formation of the Grand Lodge of New York. This G.L. was formed by six military lodges, with others, and received a warrant as a provincial Grand Lodge in 1781 or 1782. Most of the G. L. officers being army men left with their regiments, but after the war this body assumed the title of the Grand Lodge of New York.
Lodge, "Zion, No. 1," attached to the "Sixtieth Royal American Regiment," established in 1764, afterwards became Zion, No. 10, on the roll of the G. L. of Canada in 1806. In 1819 it became 62 in the G. L. of New York, and No. 3 in 1826. At the formation of the Grand Lodge of Michigan it again became Zion, No. 1.
But I must bring this paper to a close by recommending those brethren who would like to pursue this subject further to read Brother Gould's "History of Freemasonry," and "Military Lodges, The Apron and the Sword or Freemasonry Under Arms."
* * *
Hark! the fatal hour is pealing,
Secrets dread to all concealing,
Secrets deep to thee revealing.
Lo! within the gloomy portal
Shalt thou not complete thy circle,
And the mortal be immortal.
— A. S. MacBride.
* * *
THE THIRTY-THIRD DEGREE
Now every thing that Russell did, he did his best to hasten,
And one day he decided that he'd like to be a Mason.
But nothing else would suit him and nothing less would please
But he must take and all at once the thirty-three degrees.
Well, he rode the — oh, that is, he — really, I can't tell.
You either mustn't know at all, or else know very well.
He dived into — well, never mind. It only need be said
That somewhere, in the last degree, poor Russell dropped down dead.
They arrested all the Masons and they stayed in durance vile,
Till the jury found them "Guilty" when the judge said with a smile,
"I'm forced to let the prisoners go, for I can find," said he,
"No penalty for murder in the thirty-third degree!"
— From "Rimes to be Read."
(The Builder is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his own name and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another; but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its own merits.)
"Freemasonry is the subjugation of the Human that is in Man, by the Divine; the conquest of the Appetites and Passions by the Moral Sense and the Reason; a continual effort, struggle and warfare of the Spiritual against the Material and Sensual. That Victory — when it has been achieved and secured, and the conqueror may rest upon his shield and wear the well-earned laurels — is the true Holy Empire."
— Albert Pike.Morals and Dogma
LOOK now at the two figures in the frontispiece. Like Jekyll and Hyde, in the Stevenson story, we seem to have seen them ourselves, not in a dream, but in the light of open day. There should be no need to say that they portray the long, lonely fight which each man has with himself, and the one victory most worth the winning. Self-conquest, the mastery of our lower nature by loyalty to the highest laws of life, is the first concern of every man, whoever he may be. Some few win this victory all at once, and fewer still achieve it once for all, but win it we must if life is to have any dignity, worth or meaning.
"Trust no future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, act in the living present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!"
Life is no holiday, no clever book, no valley of tears, but always and everywhere a war of the soul against dust, a fight hand to hand and foot to foot. Every inch of the ground is disputed and must be conquered and held, by trench fighting if in no other way, without parley and without compromise. While we may wonder why things are so, none the less we must take things as they are and make the best of them, lest they make the worst of us. It must be that He who set us here in the midst of conflict knows that only by struggle can we become strong, else life would have been differently arranged. At any rate this is the fact: life is ever a war, and no man can win the fight for another, and no man can win it alone.
Therefore, it behooves us so to command our forces that our fight for a better life may be a victory in the end, since it is our duty not to be better than others but to be better than ourselves. Often we have met defeat and humiliation; again it has been a drawn battle, with the honors even; and sometimes the joy of victory has been ours. But, forgetting the scenes which are behind, and abjuring all ideas that bid us bow to evil as inevitable, let us lift a clean flag to the winds and vow to stand by it or die. It is a solitary battle. Between us and those dearest to us there flows a "salt, unplumbed, estranging sea," as though each soul were an island by itself. Ever the forces surge to and fro, and while others may cheer us by influence and example, we must win the trophy singlehanded by the help of Him whose we are.
Some men have a harder fight than others, and some few seem to have no battle at all. Such was Emerson, in whom one finds no sense of moral weakness, no prayer for forgiveness, and seemingly no moral defeat. His victory was won for him before he was born by a clean-minded, right-loving ancestry. But where there is one Emerson there are millions of men, like Burns, to whom every day is a desperate battle with hardly a moment of truce. If we fall, let us admit our folly, lest we be like Tomlinson, in the Kipling poem of that name, who sinned so unoriginally that he was not fit for the company of honest sinners. When he knocked at the gates of hades Satan refused to admit him on that ground that, by his own confession, some one else had been to blame for all his sins. Instead, he sent him back to earth with a message to the sons of man:
"That the sins they do two by two,
They must pay for one by one."
By the same token, our many defeats should teach us charity for those who fail and fall, remembering that every man fights a hard fight against many odds — some a much harder fight than others.
There is a strategy of the moral life. By the time a man is thirty, he ought to know where he is weak and mass his forces at that point, taking no risk through lack of vigilance or diligence. There must be no relaxing of effort, no letting go to have a fling, nor should we forget those deadly dull moods of depression and lethargy — such as cost Jean Christophe the worst defeat of his life. Instead, there must be the most austere discipline with ourselves, the better to harden what is soft within, and to keep alive in us what James called "the faculty of effort." Evermore the way of life is by the way of Heavenly Death — the death, that is, of all that is unheavenly within us — that the Divine may rise and reign, and character crown our days.
There is nothing for it, Brother, but a fight to the finish. Yes, even though Birnam Wood come to Dunsinane, still must we fight, like Galahad, and all the more valiantly for that we know it is a Siege Perilous. "Courage, my comrades, the devil is dead," said Denys of Burgundy. But there is a greater courage still: it is fighting the devil who never dies, until the devil in us all shall die. This is not the courage of despair, but of hope and faith that by conquest of ourselves shall Evil be slain, though only in a fair, far time and by erores of the deaths of us and of our kind.
"This is the Happy Warrior, this is He
That every man in arms should wish to be."
* * *
CHARITY NEVER FAILETH
Surely, if money gifts occur first to mind when Charity is mentioned it is a token of degradation, much as such gifts are often needed. That was not the Charity of which St. Paul wrote, though from the higher Charity the lower should come freely and without stint. No, the praises of Charity have been sung most sweetly, and the practice of it most beautifully revealed by those who had neither silver nor gold. Dear old Thomas Browne, so quaintly wise, so archaic of phrase yet so sweet of soul, wrote long ago:
"I hold not so narrow a conceit of this virtue that to give alms is only to be charitable or think a piece of liberality can comprehend the total of Charity. There are infirmities not only of body but of soul and fortune, which do require the merciful hand of our abilities. It is no greater Charity to clothe the Body than to clothe the Nakedness of the Soul."
True, deeply true, and this higher Charity we must keep always in mind and heart. There are times when the offer of money is an insult, when a man needs a word of cheerCa word so often on the lips of Jesus — more than he needs a bag of gold. There is an impoverishment of soul which sorely needs the merciful ministry of sympathy, and in the great and terrible trials of life, when the sea of death divides and we must face the bitterness of separation, nothing but love can help us. And those other ills, some of them worse still, when our loved ones meet moral defeat, when slander assails, when hope is thwarted, it is love that we need. Indeed, we need brotherly affection in the days of our happiness almost as much as in the days of our grief.
There are those who would do away with Charity in behalf of Justice, but that is to err. Justice we must have, first, last and always; without it society is chaos, and the life of man is a long-drawn tragedy. But when Justice has been attained in the social order, when "the numberless dreams of all the dreamers of the world" have been fully realized, there will still be need of Charity. While we are on earth sorrow and suffering will remain, and the Good Samaritan must be about his benign labors. The old thinkers used to discuss whether Faith and Hope would abide forever. They concluded that Faith and Hope are tabernacles to be taken down at last, but that Love is not a tabernacle, but a Temple which will abide unto everlasting.
What we need now and always we must give freely to others, judging them gently as we would wish to be judged, offering healing sympathy to the wounded of heart; and this Divine Charity must go with us into the next world, and be there, as it is here, the shining path by which we come at last to the white City of God.
"In all His works abroad
The heart benevolent and kind,
The most resembles God."
* * *
MASONRY IN BUSINESS
By Masonry in business we do not mean the use, all too frequent, of Masonic connections and affiliation for self-advantage — a thing which deserves contempt and the indignation of right-thinking men. Far from it. Instead, we mean the application to life in all its relations of the spirit and principles learned in the Lodge. If those principles, so applied, do not make a man more just, more scrupulous, more considerate, more courteous, and therefore more efficient in his business, they are of little worth. Slowly men are learning that Righteousness is common-sense, that Brotherhood is good business, and it is for Masonry to lead mankind in the conquest of industry by the spirit of service and the practice of integrity. This is not putting a money value on Masonry; it is putting a Masonic value on money. It means, not the desecration of Masonry, but the consecration of business and industrial life, which is always the last realm to yield to the impress of a moral ideal.
Masonry does its work in the world through Masons who are loyal to its spirit and who incarnate its ideals. Finally and at bottom every man is what his thinking is, because, by a law of the mind, ideas find their way into acts. If sordid ideas preside over the tragic procession of human vice, that fact should only serve to emphasize the power over man of great and valid ideas. Since it is true that life answers to the kind of ideas held in the mind, Masonry, by fixing great and authentic truths in our hearts, and holding them there until they lay hold of us and fashion us after their design, is working at the foundation of a nobler business life, juster and more merciful laws, and a social order in which men may live and live well, "with malice toward none" and with justice for all.
* * *
AS OTHERS SEE US
Ye editor must be allowed to express his gratitude for the generosity and goodwill of Brethren who have written articles about him and his work in recent months. The article by Brother Waite in the Occult Review, last August, was noted in these pages, because of its fine tribute to the Grand Lodge of Iowa. The appreciation by Brother H. L. Haywood, published in Unity, last November, and now the gracious estimate by Dr. Albert Dawson in the Christian Commonwealth, of London, Feb. 9th, leave us quite speechless. Frankly we must admit that we recognize the man whom these Brethren have drawn, not as a present reality, however, but as the man we ought to be, who has given us more trouble than all other men put together. Some day, by the good grace of God, we may overtake that fellow and get even with him for making us so miserable betimes — some day, if not here, then out yonder in that City on the Hill. For the benefit of such as may be interested it may not be amiss to state that the sermons of ye editor are now to be published regularly in the Christian Commonwealth, London, as they have been in this country for some six years past.
* * *
THE PREPARATION ROOM
Several articles are soon to appear in these pages dealing with the history of the Ritual, with special reference to the Webb ritual in this country, and the changes which it suffered or enjoyed in its adoption by various Jurisdictions. The first article will be by Brother Shepherd, of Wisconsin, followed by another from Brother Lemert, of Montana; and we hope the field will be thoroughly cut and shocked before it is finished. In this connection it has been suggested that we have a page or a department devoted to ritualistic discussion, so far as such questions can be discussed in print — and they can be, if due caution be taken to veil from others what is understood by Masons — and with this suggestion we heartily agree. At any rate, we are confident that the story of the Webb ritual and its vicissitudes will lead to some profitable discussion — so mote it be.
THE AUTHOR'S LODGE
MOST heartily do we congratulate the Author's Lodge, No. 3456, London, on the wealth and worth of the first volume of its Transactions, now just come to hand by the kindness of the Secretary, Brother Algernon Rose, 2 Whitehall Court, London, S. W. This Lodge, consecrated Nov. 16,1910, is unique, we believe, in Freemasonry, in that it is made up for the most part of men of letters who are also men of the Craft, and its founding, largely due to the influence of Brother Max Montesole, was regarded as a red-letter day by all Masonic students. At first it was proposed to issue a journal, but fearing that such a venture "was doomed to disappointment," they adopted the wiser course of publishing a series of volumes preserving the essays read and discussed — the first of which lies before us.
It is a delightful volume, both in the dignity of its form and the richness of its contents, albeit we can make only brief note of it at present, reserving more specific and critical review for a later issue. Very appropriately the first essay is by Brother Montesole, first Master of the Lodge, and has to do with the Third Degree, tracing it chiefly to Hebrew esoteric sources — the Zohar, which professed to contain the Kaballah — as is now so much the fashion. There is a fine sketch of Anthony Sayer, first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of England, followed by a charming essay by the Secretary leading us "From Labor to Refreshment." Class Lodges, the Guild of Help, an Explanation of the Jewels, notes on Early French Lodges, Freemasons' Lodges Among French War Prisoners, Masonry and Music, the Cable-Tow, Operative Masonry — by Dr. Carr — a Speculative Philosophy, the Temple Symbolism of India — by Dr. T. M. Stewart, of Ohio, the only American represented in the volume — the Masonic Remains at Pompeii, Elias Ashmole, the Two Pillars: such are some of the subjects discussed — not forgetting the ever-present, much-written theme, "What Is Masonry?"
Truly this is a tempting list of themes, and the essays treating them are still more tempting, and we are sure that many members of this Society will want to read them. The membership of the Author's Lodge numbers over eighty, including some of the most distinguished men of the Empire, and its meetings are looked forward to with interest, as might be expected, as much for the spirit of comradery as for the discussions. We can easily believe that the words of the editor are true when he says: "To belong to such a Lodge is to find multitude in solitude, to be unconscious of loneliness when most alone, to be able to people the desert ways with familiar faces, and sow the waste places with quickening fellowship." May it be so for many a day, each year adding to the numbers of the Lodge and to its growth in influence and power for good.
* * *
THE GREAT LANDMARK
We have been much interested in a lecture on "The Landmarks of Masonry," delivered by Brother A. J. Faulding, while Master of Unity Lodge, London, and now published in a neat booklet by the Lodge. The lecturer selects Dr. Mackey's list of twenty-five Landmarks, but disposes of twenty-four of them in a few sentences, giving his whole attention to the great Landmark which calls for "Belief in the existence of God." Seldom have we read a nobler discussion of this first truth, which is also the last, from which we venture to quote the following sentences:
"The Freemason who speculates on the Great Architect of the Universe cannot fail to concede that we are compassed about and assisted by a great cloud of witnesses: the spirits of just Masons made perfect, who, though unseen, still live for the better helping of those who are the living stones in the true Temple of Mankind. These, then, are some of the speculations which arise as one contemplates the basic statement found on these great Landmarks, and we must all feel profoundly grateful to our Order for having given us the great joy of realizing the intimate concern of the Divine Creator with His Universe: that, though He is outside His work, as the human architect is apart from the building he designs yet superintends, so the great Architect is cognizant of all the details of His creative art, and will cease not in His scrutiny until the completion. Surely there never was so satisfying a definition as that we decipher on our Landmark."
But it is hardly satisfying as thus stated, for the idea that God is apart from His work as a human builder is outside his building is a notion belonging to a time long gone, and quite foreign to the deeper thought of our day. Transcendent He is, immeasurably greater than our thought or dream, yet none the less does He live in his world, and in these "strange souls that dwell in clay," revealing the greatness of the soul, explaining its hunger for the Infinite, and lending authenticity to its instincts and intuitions; for in Him we "live and move and have our being." These two aspects of the Infinite Mystery must be held together, that each may illumine the other and light our human way.
* * *
Reader, did you ever court your best girl by the aid of a ouija board? If not, then you have missed something, as we can surely testify. But suppose the eerie board should suddenly begin to tap out poems, plays, stories, as well as jokes and sparkling humor, all purporting to come from a sweet Puritan girl who died more than a hundred years ago, what then? Well, such is the fact as told in the book entitled "Patience Worth," by C. S. Yost, editor of the St. Louis GlobeDemocrat. Its subtitle calls it "A Psychic Mystery," and so it truly is, equally for the high literary quality of the messages and for the manner of the sending. As to the latter we do not speak — each one has a right to his view — but we do know that the messages never once sink to the commonplace; they are aglow with flashes of genius, revealing a distinct and lovable personality, and a high form of art. Truly, there are more things in this world than are dreamed of in any philosophy.
* * *
The papers say that J. T. Trowbridge is dead. How many memories that name brings back across the years from the lost land of boyhood, when we read his stories, none better than "Darius Green and His Flying Machine," — which must have suggested that other riproaring, rollicking story by Mark Twain. Later we read his autobiography, called "My Own Story," a gracious record of friendship, and the story of an interesting life. How little did he expect to live to see his fantastic story of the Flying Machine come true, as he was permitted to do. It must be more than fifty years now since Tennyson, in Locksley Hall,
"Heard the heavens filled with shouting,
And there rained a ghastly dew
From the nation's airy navies
Grappling in the central blue," —
but this was only a prelude in his vision to the coming of the "Parliament of man, the Federation of the world." Heaven grant that the whole vision may yet be fulfilled, and that we who have looked upon the greatest and most terrible of wars may see the dawn of peace.
* * *
ARTICLES OF INTEREST
Light in Masonry, by Frank C. Higgins.Masonic Standard.
Economics of Masonry, by W. W. Garton.Masters and Past Master's Lodge, New Zealand.
Early History Grand Lodge of Ohio.Bulletin Sanford Collins Lodge, Toledo.
Astronomical Side of Masonry.Masonic Home Journal.
The Genius of Masonry, by John Boden.American Tyler-Keystone.
Origin of Templary.The Freemason, Toronto.
Charles Whitlock Moore.New England Craftsman.
The Supremacy of the Bible, by Ye Editor.Biblical World.
Transactions Author's Lodge, London. Kenning & Son. $2.00.
Four More Steps in Masonry, by J. L. Travis, Savanah, Ga. 25 cents.
Ballads of Courageous Carolinians, by M. D. Haywood, Raleigh, N. C. $1.00.
Jews in the Eastern War Zone, American Jewish Committee, New York. 50 cents.
Three Master Masons, by M. A. Pottenger, St. Joseph, Mo. $1.50.
Immortality, by H. R. Mackintosk. Hodder and Stoughton, London. $1.50.
Notes on Religion, by J. Chapman. L. J. Gomme Co., New York. 75 cents.
California the Wonderful, by Edwin Markham. Hearst's Internation Library Co., New York. $2.50.
Patience Worth, by C. S. Yost. Henry Holt & Co., New York. $1.40.
* * *
YET AM I NOT FOR PITY?
For me there are no cities, no proud halls,
No storied paintings — nor the chiselled snow
Of statues; never have I seen the glow
Of sunset die upon the deathless walls
Of the pure Parthenon; no soft light falls
For me in dim cathedrals, where the low,
Still seas of supplication ebb and flow;
No dream of Rome my longing soul enthralls.
But oh, to gaze in a long tranced delight
On Venice rising from the purple sea!
Oh, but to feel one golden evening pale
On that famed island from whose lonely height
Dark Sappho sank in burning ecstasy!
But once — but once — to hear the nightingale!
Yet am I not for pity? This blue sea
Burns with the opal's deep and splendid fires
At sunset; these tall firs are classic spires
Of chaste design and marvelous symmetry
That lift to burnished skies. Let pity be
For him who never felt the mighty lyres
Of Nature shake him thro' with great desires.
These pearl-topped mountains shining silently —
They are God's sphinxes and God's pyramids;
These dim-aisled forests His cathedrals, where
The pale nun Silence tiptoes, velvet-shod,
And Prayer kneels with tireless, parted lids;
And thro' the incense of this holy air
Trembling — I have come face to face with God.
— Ella Higginson.
THE QUESTION BOX
In the March issue you referred to Cumont's Mysteries of Mithraand his Oriental Religions. Will you be kind enough to tell me where I can get those books? — W. S. L.
From the Open Court Publishing Co., 122 South Michigan Ave., Chicago. The price of the first is $1.50; of the second, $2.00. The smaller book on Mithraism, Its Principles and Ritual, by W. J. P. Adams, is published by the same company, and costs 50 cents.
* * *
THE DEVIL, YOU SAY?
Brother Editor: — Do you believe in the Devil? For myself, I am like David Harum, "Mebbe I do, mebbe I don't." Yet sometimes I feel the need of him to explain the way things go in this world.
— J. H. N.
Believe in the Devil? No, we never had any confidence in him at all, leastwise not since we read his biography as written by Brother Paul Carus, entitled "The History of the Devil From Earliest Times to the Present Day." (Open Court Co., $6.00). As you see, it is a very elaborate life-story of his Majesty, Satan — finely illustrated, too. Sometimes, in this world of war, when the morning paper is a haunting horror, each issue telling of some brutality more terrible than the rest; sometimes we feel like the poet who said —
"The Devil's kingdom has come,
Ill is the news we tell;
The Devil's will is done
On earth as it is in hell."
* * *
The other day I heard some lines quoted called "My Symphony," I believe, written by Channing. If you recall them I should be glad to see them in The Builder.
— R. E. C.
They were written by W. H. Channing, and run as follows: — "To live content with small means; to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion; to be worthy, not respectable, and wealthy, not rich; to listen to stars and birds, babes and sages with open heart; to study hard; to think quietly, act frankly, talk gently, await occasions, hurry never; in a word, to let the spiritual, unbidden and unconscious, grow up through the common — this is my symphony." There is an exquisite exposition of this Symphony by N. D. Hillis, entitled "Right Living as a Fine Art," published by Revell Co.
* * *
MYSTICISM AND MODERN LIFE
Brother Newton: — If you have not seen the new Book by President Buckham, "Mysticism and Modern Life," I am sure it would interest you very much.
— G. W. S.
Many thanks. The little book you name is one of the best brief studies of Mysticism we remember to have seen, showing that if a man has any religious life at all, unless it be mere tradition, he is, in so far, a mystic — mysticism being, as we have often said, only a big word for the deep truth that the kingdom of heaven is within us. Among other things in the little book we note the following, (p. 71): "That which men are hungry for is a sane and heartfelt mysticism. They want contact with spiritual realities. It cannot but be evident, even to an outsider, that the hold, for example, of Freemasonry lies largely in the appeal to the mystical."
* * *
I would thank you to help me, if possible, to some information as to the biography of Bernard Conlin, who assumed the stage name of William Jermyn Florence. He was a prominent comedian and a close associate of Joseph Jefferson, but I fail to find any record of his life. Was he a Mason?
— I. M.
Conlin, who legally changed his name to Florence, was born in Albany, N.Y., July 26th, 1831, and died in Philadelphia in 1891. He began his stage career at Richmond, Va., in 1849, as Peter in "The Stranger." He excelled in Irish parts, though for a brief time he was associated with Booth, playing Macduff to his Macbeth. He returned. however to Broughton's Lyceum, and to Irish roles. For the last three years of his life he was associated with Jefferson in the "Rivals" and in "Heir-in-Law," taking the part of Sir Lucius in the former and that of Homespun in the latter. He was not a Mason, but a Roman Catholic. (See National Cyclopedia of Biography, Vol. 2, pp. 381-82; also the Autobiography of Jefferson; and you might look into "Other Days" by William Winter.) Indeed, you might drop a line to Mr. Winter, who knows everything about everybody on the old American stave.
* * *
MORRIS APRON LECTURE
Some time ago I heard part of a presentation Apron lecture and was told that it was written by Bob Morris, and I would like to know where I could get it. You may answer through The Builder, if you choose.
— E. M.
A full and documented account of the Preston-Webb "work" in America — including a sketch of the Morris version of it — will soon appear in these pages, and will throw much light on the variations of ritual in this country. We believe the Macoy Company, New York — 45-49 John street — publishes the Morris version of the ritual. If our Brother does not find what he is looking for in that volume, we shall be glad to publish a copy of the Morris Apron lecture.
* * *
A SONG OF DEGREES
The beautiful Song of Degrees — for so we entitled it — sent to us without the name of the author and published in the last issue, was written, as we now learn, by Brother E. P. King, of Atlanta, Georgia; a fact which many of our readers will be glad to know. In reply to our request that, if he had any other songs of like quality humming in his heart,The Builderpages are always open, he writes:- "I am so occupied with my work that the humming has little or no opportunity to burst into song, and simply croons a low note to the real me. I have no desire for notoriety, and fully realize my limitations, but should you at any time need a 'space filler' of a few inches, I might be able to send, if not a bunch of roses, at least a few falling leaves."
* * *
It seems to me, Brother Editor, that you — and Brother Pound, too, for that matter — have hardly been just to Dr. Oliver when you again and again refer to his imaginative Masonic history. But perhaps I am wrong.
— G. K. L.
Assuredly, neither Brother Pound nor ye editor intended to be unjust to so noble and useful a Masonic scholar as Dr. Oliver, to whose services Brother Pound paid such a fine tribute in his lecture, published now in his "Philosophy of Masonry." We did, however, point out that Dr. Oliver belonged to the uncritical period of Masonic Research, and, like many others, accepted as fact much that was only legendary. Howbeit, in his "Freemason's Treasury," (pp. 220-22) Dr. Oliver reminds us that he did not intend his statements to be taken literally, as history, but merely as symbolical traditions, and that when he spoke of the gray antiquity of the Order, tracing it back into Paradise, it was its truth that he had in mind — and truth is eternal. Even so; but it is a pity, as Brother Hughan remarked, that he did not make that statement earlier, "for no one has done so much as he to foster the delusion he now seeks to dispel." (The English Rite, p. 11). The late Brother Gould was wont to say that "The Revelations of the Square," by Oliver, had done more injury to real Masonic Research than any other book ever written. A few, however, seem to have understood Oliver from the first, among them Brother E. T. Carson, of Cincinnati ("Freemason's Repository," 1880). His failure to make clear the distinction between the truth of Masonry and its history as an organization, led to the confusion.
* * *
THE VALUE OF LEGEND
Just here lies the answer to the Brother who writes us to assist him in preparing a paper on the value and meaning of Legend in general, and of Masonic legends in particular. Legend from the Latin Legere, to read, harks back to the custom of the church in the Middle Ages, and earlier, of reading the traditional life of a Saint on the anniversary of his birth — hence the Golden legend of the Lives of the Saints. So used, a legend meant an edifying tradition which had grown up spontaneously and uncritically around some historical personage, and which, though lacking, for the most part, in historic verity, was valuable in the revelation it makes of the spirit and life of the people and time that produced it. So it is with Masonic legends. They are valuable, not as history, but as giving the spirit, the tendency, the mind of the age in which they arose. Legend, it may be added, differs from Myth in that the latter is pure fiction, while the former ordinarily develops about a real personage.
Indeed, dear old Sister Legend, whose shadow has haunted History since ever time began, has not had due credit for her services. To be sure, she has a vivid imagination, and does not hesitate to embellish the facts to suit her fancy; but she has something to tell us, nevertheless. At once the blessing and the bane of history, she must be listened to with care, and we cannot believe all that she says, but much would be lost if we mistook her for an idle old gossip. Poets and men of letters are very fond of her recitals, and often, by her aid, they tell us more truth than sober History can convey. Brother Gould, at the beginning of the earlier chapters of his great History of Masonry, has some very timely and wise remarks on this subject of legend. (See aiso Leckey's "History of Rationalism in Europe," and "Myth, Ritual and Religion," by Andrew Lange). Always we must seek for that in the age, and in human nature, which gave rise to a legend, and then we are not far from the truth.
* * *
In the Miscellanea Latamorum for Jan., 1916, Brother O. D. Street, of Alabama, points out, what we had noticed, the parallel passages in the History of Masonry, by Findel, and the History of Masonry, by Steinbrenner, showing that the latter obviously "lifted" whole passages from the former. At least it seems so, since not only paragraphs, but entire pages, betray almost literal identity of phrase. Still, Brother Street does not accuse Steinbrenner of plagiary. Nor do we. Nevertheless, it is rather puzzling, and we write this note in the hope of having the matter cleared up in behalf of Brother Steinbrenner, of whom we should like a fuller account. Our edition of the Steinbrenner History bears date of 1863, and in the preface we find the following:- "Claiming no merit for himself, save only the diligence with which he has gleaned from others, he has, therefore, no apology to make, nor motive to offer, for publishing this work, but the one which has influenced him throughout, in the course of his labor, that of being useful to Masonry. He hopes he has not labored in vain." The Findel history seems to have been published in Germany in 1861, and the first English translation in this country in 1865 — another edition in English appearing in London in 1869 and 1871. Who translated the Findel History in this country? Was it Steinbrenner himself? These are interesting questions, and we shall appreciate any light from any source, the more so because we wish, if possible, to relieve Brother Steinbrenner of all ground for adverse criticism.
Dear Sir and Brother: — I observe in the letter box of The Builderfor March, a question raised by a correspondent in reference to the Masonic connection of Daniel O'Connell.
If the brother making this enquiry will procure part 2 of the proceedings of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, volume 24, for the year 1911, he will find an excellent article contained therein from the pen of the gifted brother, W. J. Chetwode Crawley, Grand Treasurer of the Grand Lodge of Ireland.
Doubtless the brother will have access to a copy of the Q. C. proceedings, but in case he finds a delay in obtaining a c opy of the part I have referred to, I will make a brief reference from the article in question.
"On moving to Dublin, O'Connell was called to the Irish Bar, 19th May, 1798, and in the following year we meet the first specific record with his connection with Freemasonry. On 2nd April, 1799, his name along with twenty-five others, was entered on our Grand Lodge Register as a Master Mason of Lodge 189 Dublin.
"Owing to the method of registration in force at the time and the deplorable brevity of our Deputy Grand Secretary, worn out with age and infirmities, the exact day of Daniel O'Connell's initiation cannot be ascertained from the Register."
The article I refer to, gives particulars of his activities, in the Craft, and the records referring to his severance from the Fraternity are given in full.
Doubtless the proceedings of the Q. C. mentioned are in the possession of the Editor, and if the subject warrants any copious extracts, perhaps these might be reprinted in an early issue of "The Builder."
Wm. Douglas. Canada.
* * *
THE POWER OF THE "WORD"
"In the beginning was the Word" — the Idea. So we will begin by quoting The Builderor quoting some of the thoughts from The Builder: "Masonry ought to stand for something better than a ceaseless round of ritualistic work and some spasmodic charity." Bro. C. O. Ford, Mich. Page 63, Feb. number.
"A lack of development of the Soul, or Spirituality, is responsible for most, if not all, of our improper actions as living bodies." Bro. Silas H. Shepherd, Wis. Page 30, Jan. number.
"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. * * * There is 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?" Editor. Page 30, Jan. number.
This last quotation is such a close "bull's-eye" that we hope many will listen to the sound of the gong and take note of its tone. We do not remember of any such straight talk in the ritual or degree lectures, although Masonry is in desperate search for this very Truth.
The first quotation uncovers a weakness of the fraternity where naught but the material growth of the Order is in evidence. In this daily routine we think our feet are on solid ground, yet this "solid-ground" is up among the little stars sailing around and around by way of the North pole; a "polar expedition" that the very degrees we take seem to illustrate, for the earth in her orbit ever faces the East and revolves toward the Light daily.
The second quotation seems to point a reason for all our "improper actions," and suggests that spiritual development is lacking. Most of us will agree.
The third quotation gives the remedy in brief and direct language. It points out that we are not "living bodies" but "living souls," and this distinction between the Spiritual and Material should be clearly brought out in Masonic teaching. "The Divine Word abiding in the heart" is the reflection of the nure Divine idea in the consciousness of the man, and as nothing Divine could, by any possibility, be lost, this true idea should be inculcated at every point, and a clear understanding of the two departments of the Square and Compass be distinctly taught.
Is spiritual understanding, or material gain our underlying motive? "A man cannot serve two masters," (Luke 16, 13) but he can, and should to the best of his ability, "render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's and unto God that which is God's."
"But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him." (1 Cor., 2,14).
"Beloved, NOW are we the sons of God." (1 John, 3, 2).
You see it makes a big difference whether we are conscious of being a living body. or a living soul. The Masonic idea of a "living stone" should be clearly defined. Stones belong to the square, the symbol of matter, and a "Spiritual Stone" is a contradiction of terms, unless we see the analogy between a stone and Spiritual Truth, as typified in "The Rock of Ages." Analogy is used in Scripture so much that Masonry naturally falls heir to it. Mental gymnastics are splendid exercise for those who can see it so, and not so, at the same time; but the mental summersaults in Masonry should be simplified, if the Truth is really intended to be given. If we state that the mouth of a man is like the mouth of a river. with no explanation, there are some that would see no resemblance, and so when the soul is referred to as a "pure Virgin" and mother of the Christ idea, — the true light, — everybody thinks it is profane history, never seeing the truth that the Soul which is never born, but IS. the pure feminine principle, — the woman and the mother, — needs no initiation, for she it is that reflects the Divine Mind, and will ralse the man to her consciousness when he "Espouses" Her and knows her for his better self; not half way, no half about it she's the "whole thing," for she reflects the true light. By the inspiration of the Soul the truth is revealed. "How else has God ever revealed truth to man?"
These truths were given to the world some years ago in many books. Masonry should be among the first to foster and spread them, but she must know the truth herself, and the full meaning of both points of the compasses bare and covering the square. The spiritual sweep of the compass has no limits; progress does not stop because we affirm that the real man reflects the perfect mind of God. Inspiration and analogy are keynotes of Masonry, and we can begin with the idea, — Word, — of a Divinely perfect consciousness, ever present and at hand, that knows no evil or mistakes, a suffieient "guide" who has the "pass" to all knowledge, so that we need "fear no danger." If God is, He has always been, and the first command is "Thou shalt have no other Gods before me"; that is, — I take it, — have no other pattern or ideal but Divine perfection, goodness and love. This is the decorator of the temple, (the body). The story of king Solomon will help if seen in allegory and analogy. The name is not Solomon in the original Hebrew. But it delighted the ancients to give their heroes heavenly names with attributes of the Sun-God.
The power of the Word consists in the understanding of the divine principle called "Christ," but this word is so associated with a historical personality that some other term, like Spiritual Consciousness, or whatever, so we get the idea that we can reflect ideas direct from God. "We forget that God, himself, starts some things. He started 'Truth' but we play marbles with it." (Masonic Efficiency). Bro Chas. N. Mikels, Ind. March number.
Accurately stated, God IS Truth, but the truth of relativities we know, is only analogous to it. Temporary facts, and Eternal Truth, are quite opposite concepts.
In the case of Solomon, God talked to him in a dream, (it might be a good plan for Masonic students to consider this kind of dream). But not so with Enoch, who "walked with God three hundred years," or Elijah, who did not take the trouble to go through the process of death; or Saul, who, like Jacob was given a new name.
There is little need, however, of going back so far from our modern times. We have the testimony of "Sojourner Truth," a Negro slave woman who was given her freedom in 1817. She had no school education but used to say to others: "You read books; but God talks to me," and "I can love even de white people." An account of the work of this woman is given in the New England Magazine for March, 1901
Reference might also be made to Tennyson, Walt Whitman, Emerson, Longfellow, and many others of our own time who sing the song of Immortality. Tennyson writes:
"And more, my son! for more than once when I
Sat all alone, revolving in myself
The word that is the symbol of myself,
The mortal limit of the self was loosed,
And passed into the nameless, as a cloud
Melts into heaven."
These words of Longfellow are often quoted: "There is no death; what seems so is transition."
Walt Whitman writes: "Swiftly arose and spread around me the peace and knowledge that pass all the argument of the earth,
And I know that the hand of God is the promise of my own,
And I know that the spirit of God is the brother of my own, And that all the men ever born are also my brothers and the women my sisters and lovers."
Thus is immortality proven to the individual, and it seems as if this was the proper work of Masonry, for it starts the candidate with this expectation and the degrees indicate it, but are of no effect, the spiritual understanding of the work is "lost" and that is all there is to anything. Arguments about Lodges, and Authorities, will only delay the great question that Masonry weakly passes on to "future ages."
Arthur B. Rugg, Minneapolis.
* * *
SYLVANUS COBB'S MASONIC STORIES
Dear Brother Newton: — I note in The Builder, just received, question as to a book written by Sylvanus Cobb, Jr., which is supposed to have a Masonic flavor or tendency. The title of the volume is "Alaric, or the Tyrant's Vault," being a story of ancient Syracuse. It is true that this book is in parts almost startling to a Mason because of phraseology, and particularly as to description of initiation into a mystic society of artisans and builders. I have been many times tempted to write of the same, as it seems to be generally unknown.
Readers who are now middle-aged will remember with pleasure how as boys they followed the hair-raising situations that Cobb put into his romances. He was the son of a Universalist minister, born in Maine in 1823, and died in 1887. Most of his work was done for the old New York Ledger, and I find that the book in question was first copyrighted in 1858. It was put out in cheap form — paper-covered — in 1889, by the G. D. Dillingham Co., of New York. No doubt copies can be picked up in the cheaper second-hand book stores — as mine was secured. I would say to your correspondent that the Symbolic-Degrees rather than the Royal Arch are followed in this melodramatic story.
Truly and fraternally yours,
Jos. E. Morcombe, Iowa.
* * *
THE CALIPH OF BAGDAD
Dear Brother Newton: — In reply to note in question box about Sylvanus Cobb Jr., let me say that "The Caliph of Bagdad," now out of print, and which was originally published in the New York Ledger of 1868, as the "Mystic Tie of the Temple," is of interest to Masons who have taken the cryptic degrees and to others.
I possessed a copy of it, but it has been lost and I know the book to be exceedingly scarce. Other of Brother Cobb's Masonic stories are "Alaric" and the "Keystone," and a few short stories. I don't think Brother Cobb has been adequately appreciated by the brethren.
I have in my meagre library a "Memoir of Sylvanus Cobb, Jr.," by his daughter, published for the family, 1891, which devotes a chapter to his Masonic work. He was a member of all the bodies in both rites and served in many as presiding officer, being Master of Norway Lodge No. 18, Maine, five years
From all I can gather Brother Sylvanus Cobb, Jr., was a loveable man, a zealous and upright Mason and everything included in the title of "Christian gentleman."
S. H. Shepherd, Wis.
* * *
TAKING MASONRY SERIOUSLY
Dear Sir and Brother: — Under the title "Taking Masonry Seriously" in the March issue of The Builder, you quote a letter from some brother of the Ancient Craft who is evidently imbued with the idea that men belonging to the Masonic Fraternity should have no other fraternal activities, or stated conversely that active members of other societies are not fit participants in the solemn ceremonies of the Ancient Craft.
The writer speaks for thousands of the Craft who, like himself, are "Jiners" and who believe that in widening the sphere of their fraternal activities they have carried out the real underlying principle of Masonry.
Truths are worth while wherever found and Masonry however sublime its precepts and ceremonies has not a monopoly on Wisdom or Ritualism. As you are aware, many believe that the atmosphere and associations of the Campus are as valuable a part of the college course as a perusal of the curriculum, and why is not the social side of Masonry to be taken into equal consideration? The attempt to make of it a Fetich, a semi-religious organization, an anti-papal political machine are all I conceive, foreign to its real purpose, which is to draw men cioser and to teach Liberality of ideas and to maintain ever, Free Speech and Free Thought.
To say that because a man is elsewhere ardent in his pursuit of truth he cannot be a good Mason is absurd. The writer has a passion for Fraternalism and for the comparative study of ritnals and their tendencies. He is a member of all bodies of the Masonic Fraternity, both York and Scottish, the Mvstic Shrine and the Acacia Fraternity, the Eastern Star and White Shrine of Jerusalem. He is also an Elk, an Eagle, an Odd Fellow, a Moose, Red Man, Owl, Modern Woodman, Yeoman and a half dozen others, in several of which he has passed the chairs and in each of these he has received light and a better conception of his duties to his fellows.
Is this prejudicial to his Masonic standing? It is said of Sir Walter Scott as he lay dying, requested his son-in-law, Lockhardt, to read to him. "From what book," inquired Lockhardt. "At this hour there is but one book," replied Scott.
Your correspondent evidently entertains a like conception of the Masonic Fraternity. To me Masonry is one of the many the greatest, the most profound, but after all, of value only as it brings us in contact with human hearts and helps us to know each other better and when it assumes any other role or its adherents seek to make of it something to be worshipped, it is no longer democratic but aristocratic and foreign in its tendencies to the American ideal.
Approach Masonry seriously, aye, in all conscience but with an open mind, free from hope of gain or pride of knowledge. Neither the ritual, nor the personnel of the membership, nor the "Big time and big eats" are Masonry. Each is only a part and together they make a harmonious whole. But above all, let us draw our circle not to shut out but rather to include all worthy mankind.
G. A. Kenderdine. IOWA.
* * *
THE ETHICS OF THE BALLOT
My Dear Brother: — Here is a record that furnishes food for thought and which needs to be "read, marked, learned and inwardly digested" by the members of our noble fraternity. I present it as an abstract subject for discussion in "The Builder," if you will agree, omitting all reference as to locality, please:
An application for initiation and membership, recommended by two Past Masters, was received by a Masonic Lodge. A committee of three was appointed to investigate the character and standing of the applicant, the chairman of which being a Past Master.
In due time the committee reported favorably under the strict regulations now in force in this State for the guidance of investigation committees. A ballot was spread and respread and the petition declared rejected.
In the course of several months the petitioner re-applied for admission, his petition being signed by the Worshipful Master and a recent Past Master. A committee was appointed and in due time reported favorably. This report was endorsed by the employer of the applicant, who had known him for the past ten years, endorsed by a brother in good standing who had known the petitioner for twenty-two years, and by a brother who had known him for five years. All of whom gave the petitioner the highest qualifications as a man. The ballot was spread and respread and again the applicant declared rejected.
The petitioner was a comparatively young man, married happily, socially quite popular, identified with at least two financial institutions in the locality in which he has spent the larger part of his life; strictly honest and temperate — clean-cut.
It may be taken for granted, under the circumstances, that but one cube rejected this petition upon each occasion. It is evident, also, that the ballast was not defective.
The following questions naturally arise:
- "May the cause of rejection be considered a just one?"
- "Did the rejector do right in keeping his reason, or supposed reason, to himself?"
- "Was it not his duty to report his information to the investigating committee?"
- "Is it just and honorable for the Lodge and the applicant to be thus treated?"
- "Under the circumstances, who is apt to suffer the most harm, the Lodge or the applicant?"
- "Should Masonic brethren stand in fear of a cube when honestly and justly presenting an application for a friend, or should such fear ONLY act as a warning to brethren who sign applications thoughtlessly?"
This is a delicate subject to discuss, but does not its very delicacy demand a better understanding among those who practice charity, maintain a tongue of good report, etc.?
George Middleton, P. M., New Jersey.
* * *
I do not fear to tread the path that those I love have long since trod;
I do not fear to pass the gates and stand before the living God.
In this world's fight I've done my part; if God be God He knows it well;
He will not turn His back on me and send me down to blackest hell
Because I have not prayed.aloud and shouted in the market-place.
'Tis what we do, not what we say, that makes us worthy of His grace.
— Jeannette Gildar
* * *
Equality we understand far differently from the French. The French thought their nobles all too tall to mix with common mortals, so they shortened them by a head. They levelled down, we level up.
— G. W. Speth.
* * *
THE WISDOM OF WAITE
The man who prays to be delivered from the evil man asks to be saved from himself.
Believe in the great things, practice mansuetude and sweetness.
It is not becoming that those who were born in the palace should build cabins in the desert.
The consolation which carries us along is that, seeing there is but one true road no one can err therein.
Do not despise the trifles, but do not let them deceive us.
Those truths which most call for expression are those also which exceed it.
The soundings of the deep are beyond the plummets of the senses.
There is a great past behind us, and the future is great in front.
The life of earth is an experience of things unfamiliar: the after life is a renewal of the old familiarity.
That which is not known is that which we have forgotten.
The greatest work in the world is that of building bridges.
He who has found his soul is never alone.
Beyond the symbol of the old beliefs stretch the great fields of faith.
It does not signify that the way is long, if it is that which leads home.
— Collected Poems.
* * *
"Oh! how the spell before my sight
Brings nature's hidden ways to light:
See! all things with each other blending —
Each to all its being lending —
All on each in turn depending —
Heavenly ministers descending —
And again to Heaven up-tending —
Floating, mingling, interweaving —
Rising, sinking, and receiving
Each from each, while each is giving
On to each, and each relieving
Each, the pails of gold, the living
Current through the air is heaving;
Breathing blessings, see them bending,
Balanced worlds from change defending,
While everywhere diffused is harmony unending!
(From Goethe's Faust.)
* * *
THE MAXIM OF CHARITY
Confucius was asked: "Is there any one maxin that ought to be acted upon throughout one's whole life?" He replied: "Surely the maxim of charity is such: — Do not unto others what you would not the should do to you."
— Confucius, by Lionel Giles.