A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 2 No. 12 – December 1916
THE SUPPRESSION OF THE ORDER OF THE TEMPLE
By Bro. Frederick W. Hamilton, Massachusetts
DE MOLAY confessed only to spitting on the cross, denying the other allegations. He seems to have been led to this partial confession, which in a way was an evidence of weakness, by several considerations. One was fear of torture. Although De Molay appears to have been a man of personal courage in the battle field and was capable of dying a painful death with heroic resignation, as we shall see later, he seems to have shrunk from the threat of torture. He was also promised clemency if he would confess and he appears to have believed that a partial confession would open the door to freedom and enable him not only to save himself, but the other Knights. We must remember that De Molay throughout was conscious of his responsibility as Grand Master, and in all his actions he appears to have felt that he must consider not only himself but the brethren of the Order who were under his command. He also feared a definite charge of sodomy aimed against himself. There is no reason to believe that there was a slightest proof for such a charge but De Molay's enemies were active, ingenius, and unscrupulous. They had manufactured a case against him and they had witnesses ready to sustain the charge by perjured testimony. In those days escape was difficult if the tribunal desired to convict and there is little doubt that if De Molay had been tried upon this charge he would have been convicted. No matter how unjust such a conviction, it would have meant death and dishonor. It is no wonder that De Molay was not willing to face this. Under these circumstances he made his confession, but he declared that he would offer satisfactory explanation if only he could be allowed to submit it in person to the King or the Pope. What this explanation probably was we shall see later. It is needless to say, however, that De Molay was not permitted to make it, and his confession was held by his enemies for all it was worth and more.
When Pope Clement heard of these proceedings he was extremely angry. He immediately issued an edict suspending the Grand Inquisitor, and sent a committee of cardinals to investigate and report. Unfortunately, however, the case had gone too far to be stopped, as the King perfectly well knew. Individuals might be punished, but in some way or another proceedings would have to go on. Philip was not in the least daunted by the Pope's anger or disturbed by his interference. He arranged for a conference between himself and Clement which was held in June, 1308. The King, who, throughout these proceedings shows himself to have been much the stronger personality of the two, took the aggressive by demanding of the Pope five extremely unpalatable things.
- Canonization of Celestine V.
- Condemnation of Boniface VIII for heresy.
- A general Council to take into comprehensive consideration the affairs of
- the Church.
- Papal absolution for De Nogaret.
- Removal of the papacy from Rome to Avignon.
Clement yielded with regard to the canonization of Celestine, the absolution of De Nogaret, and the removal of the papacy. This was the beginning of the long residence of the popes at Avignon which is known in history as the "Babylonish Captivity." The condemnation of Boniface and the general Council were two things to which he was entirely unwilling to consent. In return for the relinquishment of these points he did exactly what Philip had foreseen and desired; he abandoned the defense of the Templars.
After considerable negotiation a bargain was struck between the Pope and the King. Two sets of terms were agreed upon, one to be made public but not to bind either the Pope or the King, the other to be kept secret but to be regarded as binding. According to the first, which was a tissue of treacherous falsehoods, the Templars were to be taken from the French-authorities and placed in the hands of the Pope as representing the Church. The property of the Order was to be held in trust by the Church and the proceeds were to be used for carrying on the crusade; that is to say for the purpose for which it was originally intended. The suspension of the Grand Inquisitor and others who had been involved with him was to be removed. The terms of the private agreement were far different. The Church, on the plea that it had no facilities for the care of so large a number of prisoners, was to leave the persons of the Templars in the hands of the King. The properpty, instead of being held and administered by the Church, in trust, was to be held by Philip on behalf of the Church and was to be administered by a Board of Administrators, half of whom were to be appointed by the Pope and the other half secretly appointed by King Philip. In other words, the Templars and their goods were handed over to the tender mercies of the King. Such was the price in humiliation and dishonor which Clement paid for the title of Successor of St. Peter.
The next act in this tragedy was the summoning of a Council to try the Order as a whole. Henceforth here were two processes simultaneously going on, one against the Knights as individuals and one against the Order as a corporation. This gave opportunity for more treachery.
As we have seen, the King had played the game with loaded dice from the beginning and now the dice were loaded even more heavily than ever, if such a thing were possible. A net was spread from which it was well nigh impossible for any one to escape, while the proceedings were extended to other countries. It is not necessary to go into the details of the story of the proceedings outside France. In a general way, so far as the individual Knights were concerned, they were similar to the French proceedings although conducted with varying degrees of severity according to the temper of the several monarchs who were concerned in the matter. Actions against the Order as a whole were covered by the proceedings which we are about to trace.
Knights were summoned from far and near to come to the defense of the Order in its hour of trial. They were asked by the papal authorities to come and speak in its defense and they naturally understood that this implied personal immunity. They soon found, however, that nothing of the sort was intended. When each Knight appeared he was asked if he desired to defend the Order. If he said that he did he was immediately made a defendant, not only in the process against the Order but in the personal process against the Knights. If he took alarm and said that he did not wish to defend the Order, he was held as a witness, liable to examination under torture.
Many Knights, trusting to their immunity as witnesses, withdrew their former confessions which, as will be remembered, were obtained under torture. They withdrew these confessions because they were false and because they desired to defend the Order as a whole against the charges to which they had personally pleaded guilty under compulsion. Considerable numbers of those who withdrew their confessions in this way were immediately burned as relapsed heretics. This, by the way, was the ordinary procedure in those days in the case of dealings with heresy. As a rule there was very little chance for the accused to escape. If he refused to confess he was convicted and burned on the testimony of others. If he confessed and withdrew his confession he was burned as a relapsed heretic. If heconfessed and did not withdraw the confession, he was burned as a confessed heretic. About the only difference was that in the last case he received absolution, which was supposed to save his soul, and was sometimes able to save his property for his family. Moreover, not content with the ordinary partiality of judicial proceedings in those days, the two sets of proceedings were made to play into each other and evidence obtained in either trial was used indiscriminately against the defendants in both.
Interest centers largely around the tragic figure of De Molay. As we have already seen, he had been examined by the Grand Inquisitor in 1306 and had made a partial confession. He was kept in close confinement although he demanded an opportunity to appear before the Pope who, it will be remembered, was the only person in Christendom to whom he owed allegiance, and submit to him an explanation of the acts with which he was charged.
In 1308 he was visited by three cardinals sent by the Pope. He was solemnly assured that he was now in the hands of the Church, from whose clemency and aversion to cruelty and bloodshed everything favorable could be expected. He was promised mercy by both the Pope and the King on the strength of a full and free confession. He renewed his confession, although he did not extend its scope, and threw himself on the mercy of the Church. He was given absolution by the cardinals, was restored to the communion of the Church, and was actually given the sacrament by the cardinals. This was distinctly stated by the cardinals in a report which they made to the Pope.
In spite of all these facts, however, he was not set at liberty, though he vigorously demanded it and urged the fulfillment of the promises which had been made to him.
In November, 1309, De Molay was brought before the Council which was trying the Order. Being asked if he would defend the Order he refused to plead. He appealed to the Pope, pleading the rights of the Order and demanding to be heard by the Pope in person. In response to the charge of idolatry he made solemn affirmation of orthodoxy. Being charged by De Nogaret with having dealings with the Saracens contrary to his vows and to the interests of Christendom, he said that the alleged dealings consisted only of truces and treaties made with them as incidents of warfare and for the sake of saving the Christians in the Orient from disaster. The charge of sodomy was brought up, but was not pressed with much vigor and the prosecution failed to establish it by even plausible testimony. De Molay then demanded to be set at liberty, claiming the failure of the accusations and the promises of both the Pope and the King. The request, however, was denied and he was sent back to his dungeon.
The tedious proceedings against the Order dragged on for three years. Every effort was made to suppress the defense and to discourage or destroy the defendants of the Order. Again and again the chosen representatives of groups of Knights were either executed or silenced. Executions continually took place as the result of the other set of proceedings and care was taken that these executions should be as damaging as possible to the defense of the Order.
The proceedings lasted until May 6, 1312, when the Pope, by a summary exercise of his authority, dissolved the Order. It is important to note that the Order was never condemned. The proceedings against the Order were never finished. While they were still going on the Pope intervened and put a stop to the proceedings and to the Order at the same time. Examination of the evidence shows that the charges were not substantiated, at least in any way which would appear to satisfy modern ideas. It is quite probable, however, that had the proceedings been allowed to come to their natural end the Order would have been condemned. It is difficult to see how the Pope and King could have permitted the proceedings to come to any other conclusion.
The intervention of the Pope was for the particular purpose of saving the immense properties of the Order for the Church. By the law of that day the property of a condemned heretic passed not to the Church but to the State. If the Order of the Temple had been condemned for heresy its immense possessions would have passed to the rulers of the countries in which they were located and the Church would not have touched a penny. Dissolution of the Order, however, without condemnation threw its numerous properties, scattered over Europe and the east, into the hands of the Church. Pope Clement was not so sincere a defender of orthodoxy that he had the slightest intention of taking all his trouble for the purpose of enriching Philip of France and other kings of Europe. He preferred to let the Order go uncondemned, to leave the Knights to the tender mercies of kings and inquisitors, and to save the money for the Church.
In this, however, he was only partially successful. It will be remembered that in France, at least, the King was the custodian of the property of the Templars and he succeeded in keeping a very large part of it. The same thing happened to a greater or less extent in the other countries. The Pope, however, succeeded in getting a portion of the wealth into his possession and a considerable part of this finally found its way into the hands of the Hospitalers. It is not to be understood that the Hospitalers were participants in the proceedings against the Templars. The Order of the Hospitalers was the greatest militant Order of Knights in existence except the Templars and the natural administrator of property given in trust for the crusades.
De Molay remained in prison until December, 1313, when he was brought before three French cardinals. The old vague promises of mercy were made and De Molay once more renewed the old confession again without extending its scope. He was taken back to his dungeon and told that at a certain time the cardinals would make their final decision in the case. Trusting to the repeated promises which had been made, De Molay came before them on March 10, 1314, expecting liberation, probably accompanied by heavy penance and possibly other penalties. To his amazement he was sentenced to life imprisonment. De Molay, it will be remembered, had been in prison for seven years. Whether he had been actually tortured or not is not quite certain, but imprisonment itself was torture in those days and De Molay was not willing to face the prospect of a further imprisonment which could terminate only in his death. He was shocked, angry, and broken hearted at the treachery which he had met at the hands of both State and Church. As soon as the sentence was announced, De Molay arose in his place and retracted his confession, declaring that it was not true, that he had confessed only out of willingness to please the King and the Pope and a desire to help his brethren, and that he now wished to withdraw his confession, proclaim its untruth, and take the consequences. The cardinals, in confusion, adjourned their court until the next day. This was something entirely unexpected and they desired time to think it over.
King Philip, however, had no intention of allowing his prey to escape him or of giving the cardinals the desired opportunity for meditation. That very night De Molay was taken from his prison by a detachment of the King's guards and burned at the stake on a little island in the Seine. In spite of the high-handedness of these proceedings, involving the invasion of the rights of the Church by taking its prisoner from its hands and putting him to death, the cardinals did not dare to raise a word of protest, so great was the ascendancy which the King had obtained over the Pope. It is stated by tradition that when De Molay went to the stake, he solemnly summoned the Pope and the King to meet him before the bar of eternal justice within one year. Whether or not this legend is true, it is true that within the year Clement and Philip were both in their graves.
Whether for good or evil the Order of the Temple was suppressed forever. No other body of men ever enjoyed such wealth, such power, such privileges, and such immunities as had been enjoyed by the Templars. Whether they had used them wisely or not, it is not always easy to say. That they were in a very real sense injurious to both State and Church, we shall probably all agree. That the Templars did not deserve so cruel a fate as that which overtook them seems clearly established. In order to make this point clear, let us make a brief examination of the indictment drawn against the Order and the probable truth, or lack of it, in the charges.
The indictment against the Order contained 117 articles, or counts as we should style them. This great number of counts was partly the result of technical repetitions. In many cases the same accusations were repeated in different forms, the first charging that a specified offense was committed by all of the Knights, the second that it was committed by most of them, and the third that it was committed by some of them.
Stripped of verbiage and repetition the charges came down to the following:
- Denial of Christ.
- Defiling the Cross.
- Requiring indecent kisses from the candidates.
- Denial of the sacrament of the altar.
- Omission of the most significant words from the mass.
- Granting of absolution for sins, even when not confessed, by the Grand Master.
- Exacting an oath never to leave the Order.
- Holding secret conclaves.
- Permission to the members to practice sodomy.
- Actual practice of sodomy.
- Worship of Idols.
- Adoration of a cat.
- Use of cords which had been touched to an idol.
- Murder of candidates for refusing to take the oath of secrecy
- Murder of members for revealing the secrets ofthe Order.
- Confession only within the limits of the Order and not to outside priests.
- Failure to correct or reveal the evils which the members of the Order knew to exist.
- Failure to discharge the duties of hospitality which were incumbent upon the Order.
- Covetousness and rapacity in obtaining possession of the property of others.
The indictment closed by alleging the confessions which we have already considered as proof of the truth of the charges.
It would be tedious, perhaps, to examine the charges in detail, but a few of them should have careful consideration.
We know that the conclaves of the Order were held in secret and that no outsiders were admitted to their ceremonies. That was not a crime, but it was a cause of suspicion.
We have no sufficient evidence either that candidates were murdered for refusing to take the oath or that members were murdcred for revealing the secrets. In this respect, as in some others, the agitation reminds us of the anti-Masonic charges of a later time and especially of those connected with the name of Morgan. Fundamentally the same human characteristics are involved.
Charges of immorality are certainly not substantiated by the evidence. That there were immoral individuals in the Order could hardly be denied. It would be impossible that so large a body of men should be free from unworthy members. It would be rash to deny that there were individual cases of sodomy. The crime was common in the middle ages and has always been the curse of celibate communities. That it was particularly common among the Templars or sufficiently common to blacken the fame of the whole Order is absolutely without proof. Indeed there is very little evidence in the trial bearing at all upon this point.
The charge that the practice was permitted finds absolutely its only shadow of foundation in the fact that a section of the "rule" provides that when there were not sufficient accommodations for each Knight to have a separate bed, two might occupy the same bed rather than that one should lie upon the floor.
The charge of covetousness and rapacity is natural. When a rich noble died and left all his property to the Order his heirs, naturally enough, were not particularly pleased. They doubtless had a good deal to say about undue influence and other things which we hear about today. That the action of the Order was particularly objectionable in this respect does not appear from the evidence.
The charge of parsimony and lack of hospitality was abundantly refuted.
The charge of heresy or the holding of forbidden beliefs was not proved and was always denied by the Knights.
The omission of significant words from the mass or any other form of blasphemy was not only unproved but was vigorously denied by practically all of the witnesses. The charges relating to heresy are denied not only by the testimony of the witnesses but by the entire history of the Order. It is extremely probable that the cosmopolitan character of the Order and the contact of its members with men of many nationalities and of different faiths had the inevitable result of broadening their views and giving them a certain toleration and largeness of personal outlook. It is very difficult for a man who comes constantly in contact with all sorts and conditions of men and with a great number of national and racial types to continue a fanatic. During the whole course of their existence, however, the Knights were the foremost to shed their blood and spend their lives for the Christian faith, that is to say for orthodox catholicism. They were the cutting edge of the crusading armies, rivaled in this regard only by the Hospitalers. Again and again detachments of the Knightswere cut down to the last man fighting for the cross and refusing to surrender to the infidel or even to flee from him. Men do not show such determination as this for a faith in which they do not believe.
As for the matter of confession and absolution. We know that the rule of the Order especially provided that the members should have their own chaplains, to whom they should make their confessions when it was possible to do so. This rule was drawn up by St. Bernard and approved by the Pope. Obedience to it on the part of the Knights could hardly be considered a crime. It was abundantly proved that the Grand Master did not give ecclesiastical absolution. He did have the right to receive disciplinary confessions, to condone offenses against the Order, or to inflict disciplinary penance. This was a purely administrative matter and had nothing to do with clerical absolution. No Grand Master ever presumed to give clerical absolution.
The charge of idolatry arose from a curious misapprehension. It was alleged that the Templars worshiped a brazen head. This head, it was said, had a white beard and rested upon a tall tripod. To this head the Templars were said to pray, and it was charged that the cords which they wore as a part of their habits were consecrated to it by being touched to it. The great church of the Templars in Paris possessed a very sacred relic. It was said to be the head of one of the 11,000 virgins who were martyred with St. Ursula at Cologne. It is interesting to know, by the way, that the legend of the 11,000 virgins rests upon a misreading of an old Roman inscription. The inscription tells of "XI M Virgines." M was read as an abbreviation for "mille" but it was really the abbreviation for "martyres" and instead of being read 11,000 virgins it should have been read 11 virgin martyrs. However, the head in question was believed to be the head of one of the virgins, whether there were eleven or eleven thousand. This head was covered with a white linen cloth and was covered again by a gold or bronze case in the shape of a head. When the case was slipped over the head the linen cloth showed at the base of it. The relic was displayed on special occasions before the high altar of the church, mounted on a tripod. This was the bearded, brazen head which the Templars were said to worship. There were probably reproductions of this reliquary in other Temple churches. It is probable that the Templars were glad to consecrate their cords by touching them to this sacred relic as was a common practice in those days.
The charge that indecent kisses were required is probably true, though not as a universal practice. This appears from a considerable number of depositions. This was done probably from one or both of two reasons. It may have been required as a test of obedience. It will be remembered that the Knight swore the three great vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Obedience was held to be absolute. Once the Knight had sworn he was under this bond and was bound to do without question anything that he was told to do by his knightly superior. His obedience was immediately tested by this requirement. The second reason is almost unintelligible today but is perfectly intelligible to anyone who is familiar with the life and habits of the middle ages. It was a rough joke, and it was the kind of thing that the medieval mind considered funny. Wit and humor as we know them were very rare in the middle ages. Their places were taken by unspeakable coarseness. Anyone who is familiar with the art, literature, and drama of the middle ages is only too familiar with this fact. The more filthy and indecent the story or incident the more it appealed to the rough humor of the time and the louder the laugh which it excited. Contrasts of rough buffoonery with the most solemn incidents appealed to the minds of the people of that age. It was only in accord with the habits of the time that after the solemn ceremonies of the initiation the candidates should be subjected to a bit of foolish buffoonery.
There remains the charge of denial of Christ and defiling the cross. That there was any denial beyond the alleged defilement of the cross does not appear. That the candidates were sometimes, not always, commanded to spit upon the cross or otherwise defile it was confessed by De Molay and seems to be clearly established by other testimony. It will be remembered, however, that De Molay insisted that he could explain the fact, and the explanation appears in the testimony of some of the witnesses. Witnesses usually testified that they did not spit upon the cross but upon the ground near the cross, and some of them testified that when commanded to do so they refused. Those who refused were congratulated upon their courage and told that they would certainly be good soldiers of the cross. In other words the command to defile the cross was a test. The candidate having sworn obedience and having sworn to serve as a defender of the cross was immediately put to the most difficult and trying of all tests, a test which involved conflict of obligations. He was called upon to choose whether he would fulfill his vow of obedience at the expense of his vow of loyalty to the cross, or whether he would carry his loyalty to the cross so far as to break his oath of obedience. It must be remembered that this was an age in which obedience was a virtue and that the efficiency of the Order, or any similar body, depended upon the absolute obedience of its members to the orders which they received. As has already been pointed out the loyalty of the Order to the cross is written in blood on every page of its history, whatever may have occurred at the initiation. Undoubtedly the explanation De Molay would have made, if he had been given opportunity to do it, was the one just indicated, that this ceremonial requirement was a test and entirely void of any deeper significance.
A survey of the charges and the evidence seems to show that the condemnation of the Templars was an act of great injustice and that the suppression of the Order was certainly not warranted by the charges which were brought against it. That the privileges and immunities of the Order worked to the weakening of the state, the impairment of the king's power and authority, the injury of the Church, and the lessening of the authority of the bishops, must be clear to anyone. That both Pope and King breathed easier after the Order had ceased to exist is entirely probable, but that its crimes were such as to deserve the treatment it received certainly does not appear from any facts in our possession or brought out at the trial.
One question will at once arise in the minds of every Mason, "Did the Order survive its suppression and is there any direct connection between the ancient Templars and modern Templar Freemasonry?"
So far as we have any evidence this question must be answered in the negative. Legend states that De Molay appointed a successor and a line of Grand Masters is named connecting the ancient and modern Orders. De Molay had no right to appoint a successor. The election of Grand Master is carefully provided for in the rule of the Order and no provision is made for any other form of procedure under any circumstances. There is no evidence whatever for the authenticity of the list which is sometimes given.
Some of the Templars who survived joined other orders and some of them passed their remaining days in obscurity or imprisonment. There is no traceable connection between the ancient Knights of the Temple and any modern order. The most we can say is that it is possible that the traditions and even the secrets of the Order were cherished by its surviving members after the Order was dissolved. Men do not easily forget things which have been very dear to them, for which they have suffered, and for which they have seen their companions die. That there was any esoteric rule or belief among the Templars, we have no evidence. That there was a certain freedom of thought and breadth of view would be the inevitable result of that cosmopolitanism and contact with the outside world of which we have taken account. It may be that the survivors of the Order, hoping against hope that it might some day revive, may have communicated their hopes, their aspirations, their ritual, their views, and their secrets, if such there were, to their chosen friends and in this way the soul of the Order may have survived until it reappeared in other forms, and its ideas and ideals may have been influential some centuries later in the development of those movements which resulted in the transformation of Masonry from its old operative into its modern speculative form. But all this lies in the field of conjecture. As far as the sober historian can see the Order of the Temple ceased with the edict of May 6, 1312, which absolved the Order, and the tragedy of March 10, 1314, which ended the life of De Molay.
* * *
THE APRON SYMBOLISM
1. More ancient than the Golden Fleece
Whose story shines in classic lore:
Or Roman Eagle--which portrayed
Chivalric deeds in days of yore.
2. More honored than the Knightly Star,
Or Royal Garter, it must be;
A symbol you should fondly keep
From spot and stain forever free.
3. It may be that in coming years,
As time shall all your labors test:
That laurel leaves of Victory
Shall on your brow in honor rest.
4. Yea, from your breast may jewels hang
Fit any diadem to grace:
And sparkling gems of beauty rare
May on your person find a place.
5. Nay more, perchance with coming light,
Your feet may tread the path of fame:
Which in our Mystic order leads
To glory, and an honored name.
6. Yes, on your shoulders there may rest
The purple which we hold so dear:
That ensign which our progress marks
In high fraternal Circles here.
7. But never more can you receive
From mortal hand while here below:
An emblem which such honor brings
As this one--which I now bestow.
8. Until your spirit shall have passed
Beyond the pearly gates above:
May this the "Badge of Innocence"
Remind you of your vows of love.
9. 'Tis yours to wear throughout your life,
'Till death shall call your soul to God:
Then on your casket to be placed,
When you shall sleep beneath the sod.
10. Its spotless surface is a type
Of that which marks a noble mind:
The rectitude of heart and life,
Which in its teachings you should find.
11. And when at last your weary feet
Shall reach the goal awaiting all:
And from your tired nerveless grasp
The working tools of life shall fall.
12. May then the record of your life,
Reflect the pure and spotless white
Of this fair token which I place
Within your keeping here tonight.
13. And as your naked soul shall stand
Before the great white throne of light;
And judgment for the deeds of earth
Shall issue there--to bless or blight;
14. Then may you hear the Welcome Voice
That tells of endless joys begun,
As God shall own your faithfulness,
And greet you with the words, "Well Done.”
— N. A. McAulay.
* * *
EVIDENCES OF SYMBOLSIM IN THE LAND OF THE INCAS
By Bro. Hiram Bingham, Yale University
(Born in Honolulu in 1875, Brother Bingham holds the degree of B.A.from Yale and Ph.D. from Harvard. He was Preceptor in History and Politics at Princeton in 1905. Explored Bolivar's Route across Venezuela and Colombia in 1906-7. Professor at Yale since 1915, also Lecturer in Diplomatic History at Johns Hopkins University. He was a Delegate to the Panama-American Scientific Congress at Santiago de Chile in 1908. In 1909 he explored the Spanish Trade Route, Buenos Aires (Argentina) to Lima (Peru). He was Director of the Yale Peruvian Expedition of 1911. Discovered Vitcos, the last Inca capital and made the first ascent of Mt. Coropuna, 21,703 feet above sea-level. He was also Director of two other Yale Peruvian expeditions, in 1912 and 1914-15. He is the author of the following works: — "Journal of an Exploration across Venezuela and Colombia"; "Across South America"; "In the Wonderland of Peru"; "The Monroe Doctrine, An Obsolete Shibboleth.")
EVER since the publication of Prescott's charming classic, "The Conquest of Peru," that land has been surrounded by more of a romantic halo than any other in the southern continent. The marvelous civilization which the Incas had built up in their mountain fastnesses lacked one essential feature of great importance — the art of writing. There are no written records to give us accounts of what happened previous to the coming of the Spaniards, except such as were prepared by Spanish chroniclers and obtained by them from the mouths of native witnesses. There are no hieroglyphics carved on the stone monuments like those elaborate records that puzzle the Central American explorer.
The civilization of the Incas reached its highest point in architecture and works of engineering. The feats performed by the ancient workmen were of almost incredible magnitude. Apparently they thought nothing of moving for a distance of several miles huge blocks of stone weighing from ten to twenty tons.
Fortunately their architecture was of such a splendid type that extensive examples of it still remain to delight the eye and challenge the intellect. Among these are certain carved boulders which were places of worship, — ancient shrines that attracted pilgrims from far and near. It is generally supposed that these carved boulders antedate the Incas by many centuries.
Although in Inca architecture great attention was paid to right angles, horizontals and perpendiculars, the houses being nearly always rectangular and the more beautiful walls laid out with exquisite artistic appreciation of such principles, there exist in the ancient carvings on the boulders evidences that the megalithic folk — as the pre-Incas are sometimes called — had a high appreciation of the symbolic numbers three, five and seven, and of the significance of right angles, squares and steps.
The most interesting of all these ancient shrines is Nusta Isppana, near Vitcos, in the heart of the Vilcabamba country at the place where Manco, the last Inca, who was set up by Pizarro and rebelled against him, sought refuge. In the words of Prescott, "The royal fugitive took shelter in the remote fastnesses of the Andes."
In 1911 I had the good fortune to be able to lead a Yale-Peruvian Expedition into this region, which is indeed one of the most inaccessible in all the highland country of South America. While our tasks included studies in geology, biology and anthropology, and we were prepared to make reconnaissance maps of this virtually unexplored region, one of our chief objects was the location of Vitcos, the capital of the last Inca.
We were able to locate it because of the description of its principal shrine, the holiest place near Vitcos, which was described as follows by Father Calancha in an early Spanish chronicle. I give a free translation from the chronicle:-
"Close to Vitcos, in a village called Chuquipalpa, is a House of the Sun, and in it a white stone over a spring of water (now called Nusta Isppana) where the Devil appears as a visible manifestation and was worshipped by those idolaters. This was the principal mochadero of these forested mountains. (The word ''mochadero” is the common name which the Indians apply to their places of worship.")
Now let us look at some of the features of this ancient shrine, the principal place of worship in this region. The photographs give a better idea of it than I can in words, but you will notice that on the north side of the rock its face has been cut awav. leaving in relief certain projections. Near the top are three arranged in a triangular position; beneath them is a row of seven — one toward the east being set off at a little distance from the other six, as though of more importance. Below these and leading down to what was formerly a pool of water, are two flights of stairs, of three and five steps. On the other side of the rock; that is, on the south side, is a series of carvings, the most conspicuous feature of which is a large square cut in the solid rock. It is surely highly significant that this ancient shrine which was undoubtedly the most sacred place for a very large extent of country, should have given such prominence to a representation of the square and the mystic numbers three, five and seven.
An event occurred near here at the time of the Spanish Conquest which is also very interesting. It is related in full in the Royal Commentary, of the Inca Garcilasso de la Vega, who was Prescott's chief authority. Manco Inca was at war with the Spaniards from the year following their coming until 1546. Several Spanish refugees, whom one of the chroniclers calls "Fugitive Spanish rascals," having fled from the power of the Pizarros, were living with Manco Inca, in Vitcos.
The Inca to entertain them had prepared a bowling-green near his palace, which was a few hundred yards from this ancient shrine. One day when playing with some of the Spanish refugees, the Inca got into a quarrel with them in regard to the game. One of the Spaniards, who had often lost his temper in playing before, became so rude and insolent toward the Inca that the latter — who was apparently fairly good-tempered — could not stand it. The Incas were sedate an not excitable and could hardly understand the wild fury of the Spaniard over this game. The Inca pushed the Spaniard violently away, bidding him consider with whom he talked in such a rude manner. The refugee, not considering in his passion either his own safety or that of his companions, picked up one of the bowls and struck the Inca on the head so as to kill him.
The followers of the Inca, enraged at the death of their prince, at once attacked the Spaniards, who fled into a house and defended it with their swords until the Incas set fire to the thatched roof and forced the Spaniards to come out. They were then assaulted an killed by the soldiers of the Inca. What followed I shall endeavor to give as nearly as possible in the words of theInca Garcilasso:-
"When the followers of the Inca secured the dead bodies, out of pure madness they would have eaten them raw to show the wrath which they had against them, even though they were already dead. Nevertheless they determined that the bodies should be burned and that their ashes should be scattered downstream in order that there might not remain any trace nor vestige of them. But finally it was decided to cast them out into the fields in order that the birds of the air and beasts of the field might devour them. They decided on this, for they were not able to think of any greater punishment for the bodies."
The enormity of the punishment and its highly revolting character were evidently selected by the Inca nobles as best fitting the enormity of the crime which had been committed in murdering their political and religious chief. To their minds the casting out of the bodies to be devoured by the vultures of the air and beasts of the field was evidently a more horrible penalty than that of having the bodies burned and the ashes scattered so that no remembrance of them might be left. It is surely extremely interesting to learn the details of the punishment which the Incas thought most nearly fitted the most serious crime of which they could conceive.
Another ancient pre-Inca shrine is located not far from the city of Abancay. It is called Concacha and seems to be particularly devoted to presenting the symbolism of steps which are arranged in threes and fives. Unfortunately all recollection of the importance of this shrine and its significance has been lost.
Finally let me call your attention to Machu Picchu and the most beautiful wall that exists in Peru, one of the most beautiful in the world. The photographs do not do it justice, but it is quite evident, I think, that here we have an ornamental wall constructed with the utmost care and art. The general design is that of a square and part of a circle. The blocks of which the wall was constructed were selected from the finest and purest white granite obtainable. Although it was made without steel or iron tools by people who understood only working stone with stone, such was their devotion to the principles of horizontals and right angles that we have this simple form of beauty exemplified to a remarkable degree. There is no cement or mortar used in this construction. The blocks were cleverly keyed together, their interior surfaces not being flat nor square, but irregular. One block fits into another so that the wall must stand or fall as a whole.
It seems evident to me that the ancient race, who left such remarkable monuments in the Andes, must have appreciated some of the essential principles of the Craft. This race still exists. And it is the belief of those of us who have spent most time in the Andes, that the future of the Andean Republics depends on the millions of Indians living there today who are the descendants of the former builders. Unfortunately their present leaders, both civil and religious, have permitted them to become steeped in ignorance and immorality. Their tax gatherers are so interested in the revenue from alcohol (aguardiente) and cocaine (coco) that they willingly overlook the fearful evils which the unrestricted use of these two is working among the majority of their countrymen. With proper laws, suitable restrictions on the use of drugs and liquors, the blessings of education and morality, there is no reason why the great majority of the denizens of the Central Andes should not in time again enjoy some of the blessings of their glorious past. There is strength in the bone and sinew of this fallen race to enable it to be raised to that high level where it once worked.
* * *
When I was King and a Mason — a master proven and skilled -
I cleared me ground for a Palace such as a King should build.
I decreed and cut down to my levels, presently, under the silt,
I came on the wreck of a Palace such as a King had built.
There was no worth in the fashion — there was no wit in the plan-
Hither and thither, aimless, the ruined footings ran-
Masonry, brute, mishandled, but carven on every stone:
"After me cometh a Builder. Tell him, I too have known."
Swift to my use in my trenches, where my well-planned groundworks grew
I tumbled his quoins and ashlars, and cut and reset them anew.
Lime I milled of his marbles; burned it, slacked it, and spread;
Taking and leaving at pleasure the gifts of the humble dead.
Yet I despised not nor gloried; yet as we wrenched them apart
I read in the razed foundations the heart of that builder's heart.
As though he had risen and pleaded, so did I understand
The form of the dream he had followed in the face of the thing he had planned.
When I was a King and a Mason — in the open noon of my pride,
They sent me a Word from the Darkness — They whispered and called me aside:
They said — "The end is forbidden." They said — "Thy use is fulfilled,
"And thy Palace shall stand as that other's — the spoil of a King who shall build."
I called my men from my trenches, my quarries, my wharves and my sheers.
All I had wrought I abandoned to the faith of the faithless years.
Only I cut on the timber — only I carved on the stone:
After me cometh a Builder. Tell him, I too have known!
— Rudyard Kipling.
* * *
By Bro F. Idlerman, New York
IDEAS are expressed only by signs. When ideas he may do so only by symbols. Our a man would convey to his brother his language is but a succession of signs. Words are symbols, signs of an idea. But we as free and accepted Masons choose also to speak to one another by material symbols. These stand for certain truths we hold as necessary to Masonry and fundamental to true manhood. These rods, borne by the stewards, are of value only as they are signs of ideas. As Masons we seek the interpretation of these ideas and desire faithfully to inculcate them in the minds of all who shall hereafter accept our vows.
The first idea they symbolize is that of protection. The stewards, bearing these rods, meet the candidate at the door. He is thus assured that all his interests are to be safe-guarded. He may commit himself implicitly to the stewards, for the emblems of their offlce signify security and protection. This is among the highest comforts of man, to feel the safety vouchsafed by the confident strength of hiS brothers. It is surpassed only by the protection man realizes as he commits himself into the safe keeping of his Creator. David expressed the confidence in such a trust by the symbol of a rod, "When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for thou art with me, Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me."
There is corresponding obligation upon the part of the stewards. The implicit trust of a brother calls for a faithful discharge of your stewardship. The security you afford within the lodge must be widened by the daily conduct in society. Let it never be said of you as Emerson said of some of his generation: "What you are speaks so loud I cannot hear what you say."
The second symbol is progress. You are to meet the candidate, not as stationary guards but as those who shall mark the path of progress as you advance from knowledge to knowledge in Masonry. The advance you assist him in making is unhasting and unresting. You are ever urging him to further light and wisdom. The rods you bear represent the divinely appointed state of man. Truth comes slowly but eternally. Man can never attain to perfect knowledge here. He must always confess "Now I know in part." To indicate by word or conduct that full knowledge is ours, is to arrest the purpose of the Creator in us. To symbolize in unforgettable fashion the progress of the mind toward the light is to render a service of incalculable worth to any man.
The rods symbolize guidance. Neatly imbedded in the head of each rod is a star. From time immemorial the stars have been the guiding fingers for man. He has been guided by them across the trackless desert, through the tangled wilderness and over the snowbound waste of the long Polar nights. The deep sea has not been able to lose the sailor, for the friendly stars have led him unerringly to his port of entry. So the rods are set for the proper and true guidance in the truths of Masonry. But truth cannot exist apart from incarnation. A thousand blazing symbols of metal fashioned bring neither comfort nor light except they live in daily conduct. You who bear the emblem of guidance must of necessity incarnate the moral worth indicated by your high office.
The symbols can only have meaning as they find the translation of their meaning first in the quality of merit in the men who bear them. Your dignity, fidelity and uprightness make meaningful and winsome all the moral virtue of protection, progress and guidance. Other offices, within the lodge, may be invested with more honor but your constant and necessary duties make incumbent upon you a most solemn and serious performance of the work assigned you. As you invest your office with this three fold significance, will you lift it out of mere perfunctory routine into high and noble symbolism. Those who take their first steps in Masonry under your tutelage will catch a vision of the sublimer possibilities and conserve for succeeding generations, the value of our worthy order.
* * *
"He drew a circle that kept me out--
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But love and I had the wit to win;
We drew a circle that took him in."
"Aye! draw ye circlet of love,
To encompass forever
'An heretic, rebel, a thing to flout';
Draw it 'round the wide cold earth--
Religion, races, clans include--
None of earth's creatures, leave standing without."
"Say to warrior, 'pause awhile!'
Benighted soul, 'here is light!'
To ignorance, say, stupidity, fear,
'Come ye, from your narrow house--
Come and ye be made whole again--
Come, learn of THAT, to love and revere.'"
* * *
"Incarcerate mind and thought?
Come sentinels, e'en as the breath of birth;
Seems ever, some must be always without--
It is then, alas! the WAY OF EARTH."
— Dr. M. E. Walton.
Huron, S. D., January 19, 1916.
* * *
THE GREAT PRAYER
The original of this composition is in the G.A.R. Hall Museum at the State House, Topeka, Kan. It was captured during the Civil War, at Charleston, S.C., by a brother of Mrs. S. B. Helmas of Kendallville, Ind. The poem is printed on heavy satin.
THE LORD'S PRAYER
Thou to the mercy seat our souls doth gather,
To do our duty unto thee — Our Father,
To whom all praise, all honor should be given;
For Thou art the great God,- who art in Heaven,
Thou by Thy wisdom rul'st the world's whole frame;
Forever, therefore, — Hallowed be Thy name.
Let nevermore delays divide us from
Thy glorious grace but let — Thy kingdom gome.
Let Thy commands opposed be by none,
But Thy good pleasure and — Thy will be done.
And let promptness to obey, be even
The very same — in earth as 'tis in Heaven;
Then for our souls, O Lord, we also pray,
Thou wouldst be pleased to — give us this day
The food of life, wherewith our souls are fed,
Sufficient raiment, and — our daily bread,
With every needful thing do Thou relieve us,
And of Thy mercy pity — and forgive us
All our misdeeds, for Him whom Thou didst please
To make an offering for — our trespasses,
And forasmuch, O Lord, as we believe
That Thou wilt pardon us — as we forgive,
Let that love teach, wherewith Thou dost aquaint us
To pardon all — those who trespass against us;
And though, sometimes, Thou find'st we have forgot
This love for Thee, yet help — and lead us not
Through soul or body's want, to desperation;
Nor let earth's gain drive us — into temptation;
Let not the soul of any true believer
Fall in the time of trial — but deliver,
Yea, save them from the malice of the devil,
And, in both life and death, keep — us from evil;
This pray we, Lord, for that of Thee, from whom
This may be had — for Thine is the Kingdom,
This world is of Thy work, its wondrous story,
To Thee belongs — the power and the glory;
And all Thy wondrous work have ended never,
But will remain forever, and — forever.
Thus we poor creatures would confess again,
And thus would say eternally — Amen.
* * *
THE ETERNAL SACRIFICE
Wherever through the ages rise
The altars of self-sacrifice,
Where Love its arms has opened wide,
And man for man has calmly died,
I see the same white wings outspread
That hovered o'er the Master's head.
— J.C. Wittier.
* * *
SYMBOLISM OF THE APRON
This fair and stainless thing I take
To be my badge for virtue's sake;
Its ample strings that gird me round
My constant Cable-tow are found;
And as securely they are tied
So may true faith with me abide;
And as I face the sunny south
I pledge to God my Mason's truth,
That while on earth I do remain
My apron shall not have a stain.
This fair and stainless thing I raise
In memory of Apprentice days,
When on the checkered pavement wide,
With gauge and gavel well supplied,
I keep my garments free from soil,
Though laboring in a menial toil;
And as I face the golden west,
I call my Maker to attest
That while on earth I do remain
My apron shall not have a stain.
This fair and stainless thing I lower;
Its 'Prentice aid I need no more,
For laws and principles are given
The fellow-craft direct from Heaven, -
To help the needy, keep a trust,
Observe the precepts of the just;
And as I face the darkened north
I send this solemn promise forth,
That while on earth I do remain
My apron shall not have a stain.
This fair and stainless thing I fold,
A Master Mason now behold,
A welcome guest in every land,
With princes and with kings to stand;
Close tyled within my heart of hearts
I keep all secret arts and parts,
And try to walk the heavenly road
In daily intercourse with God;
As I fate the mystic east
I vow by Him I love the best,
That while on earth I do remain
My apron shall not have a stain.
This fair and stainless thing I doff: -
But though I take my apron off,
And lay the stainless badge aside,
Its teachings ever shall abide,
For God has given light divine
That we may walk opposed to sin;
And sympathy and brotherly love
Are emanations from above;
And life itself is only given
To square and shape our souls for Heaven,
The glorious temple in the sky,
The grand celestial lodge on high.
- Rob Morris.
* * *
THE GREAT LANDMARK
It is an unchangeable ancient Landmark of the Fraternity that there is but one Masonic dogma. We construct a universal religious philosophy thereupon, as a part of which we teach belief in immortality, and endeavor to inculcate other tenets of our profession; but our sole dogma is the Landmark of Belief in a Supreme Being — omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, the creating and superintending Power of all things. No man may be a Freemason unless he is a believer in monotheism. No neophyte ever has been or ever shall be permitted vision of our mysteries or reception of our obligations until he has openly, unequivocally, and solemnly asserted this belief. Beyond that we inquire and require nothing of sectarianism or religious belief. — Melvin M. Johnson.
* * *
CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN — No. 3
Edited by Bro. Robert I. Clegg
Caxton Building, Cleveland, Ohio
OPERATIVE MASONRY — EARLY DAYS IN THE MASONIC ERA
By R. I. Clegg
WE Masons deem Masonry as being peculiarly religious, some Masons indeed being quoted to the effect that in their judgment Masonry is a religion. Who of us but at some time has heard of a brother in his enthusiasm saying "Masonry is a good enough religion for me"? But Masonry itself makes no such claim. At best it stands as the handmaid of religion, in all lands and among all faiths earnestly supporting and serving those accepted convictions of morality in which all good men agree.
As was shown in the paper prepared for the November issue of the Bulletin of the National Masonic Research Society there was a time when in the church and outside these sacred precincts the craftsmen of old gave freely of their money, their numbers, and in fact of all their opportunities to advance the cause of the prevailing religion. It is only fair to suppose that in all other matters these workmen were equally advanced and aggressive. Some of these angles of their organizations and of their methods will be taken up in the present paper.
Perhaps a word or two of special explanation is necessary at this stage. I am dealing with a period when many bodies of workmen copied each other's practices. For one reason of this similarity there was the common source of authority from whence they derived their characters. The Government gave them liberty to proceed for similar objects and in the attainment of these purposes they would no doubt find it very desirable in meeting all the requirements of the law to follow in each other's footsteps. Thus the associations of carpenters, of ironworkers, of goldsmiths, of tanners, as well as of Masons and the other societies, had like officers and laws. Such little differences as crept in were occasioned by the inevitable problems incident to each trade and profession and the successive adjustments of them that periodically called for attention and settlement.
The general construction of these bodies and their operation was known as the gild system. Common to all the recognized trades approved by the Government we can examine it as the exemplar of our own fraternity though Masonry was but one branch of it. I am also of opinion that Masonry has an earlier origin though at this moment I shall not venture into this far distant field of investigation and controversy.
The various crafts were often termed "the mysteries." Subject to the same city and national government it frequently happened that the laws enacted for their control shed much light upon the purposes of the societies and the manner in which they were regarded by the citizens at large.
An old ordinance of the city of London provided suitable punishment for those who were "rebellious, contradictory, or fractious" against the Masters of the Mysteries "that so such persons may not duly perform their duties." The preliminary part of the same enactment throws light upon the purpose of these early craft organizations.
"Item, it is ordained that all the mysteries of the city of London shall be lawfully regulated and governed, each according to its nature in due manner, that so no knavery, false workmanship, or deceit, shall be found in any manner in the said mysteries; for the honor of the good folks of the said mysteries, and for the common profit of the people. And in each mystery there shall be chosen and sworn four or six, or more or less, according as the mystery shall need; which persons, so chosen and sworn, shall have full power from the Mayor well and lawfully to do and to perform the same."
Then follow a series of fines and terms of imprisonment for such as "shall thereof be attained" of interfering with the carrying out of the above plan of craft administration.
Why would the city take so direct an interest in the control of the crafts, you may ask. If so careful a supervision and recognition of the situation is taken then is it not likely that the very same fount of authority would have something to say as to the manner in which the members as well as their officers may be selected?
You may also rightfully infer that the city then held something of the same relationship to the several crafts as is now occupied by the Grand Lodges. Such would appear to have been the case in very large measure. Consider if you please the following ordinance which accompanies the one just quoted in reference to the obedience and respect due to the Masters of mysteries:
"Also, because as well in times past, out of memory, as also in modern times, the city aforesaid is wont to be defended and governed by the aid and counsels as well as of the reputable men of the trades-merchant as of the other trades-handicraft; and from of old it hath been the usage, that no strange person, native or alien, as to whose conversation and condition there is no certain knowledge, shall be admitted to the freedom of city, unless first, the merchants or traders of the city following the trade which the person so to be admitted intends to adopt, shall be lawfully convoked, that so, by such his fellow citizens, so convoked, the Mayor and Aldermen aforesaid, being certified as to the condition and trustworthiness of the persons so to be admitted, may know whether such persons ought to be admitted or rejected; the whole community demands, that the form aforesaid, so far as concerns the more important trades and handicrafts, shall in future be inviolably observed, that so no person in future may against the provision aforesaid be admitted to the freedom of the city."
What Mason worth the name but will say with all his heart that it were well for us now that in selecting material for membership the choice should always be made in a manner to insure the obtaining of those persons upon whom the community may well rely for counsel, for defense, or for government.
Here and there in traversing the directions found in these early ordinances of the gilds we find a glimmer at least by which light has been borrowed for the thoughtful Masons of the present day in making their explanations of various oldtime customs. Who, for instance, has not wondered at that secret that could not be given in the absence of one of the three possessors?
Years ago in a foreign land I went as a boy with my grandfather to the meeting of a trade organization of which he was treasurer. The official chest of the society caught my eye. It contained books and papers as well as other valuables of which I knew little or nothing. These did not particularly interest me. What did attract my especial attention was the fact that the box was secured by three locks. Why three when one was ample for such security as appeared necessary? But it was explained to me that the three keys were in the possession of each of three responsible officers of the organization and that the box could not then be opened unless these three officers with their respective keys were present.
Such a custom is very old. In the reign of Edward II of England, 1307-1327, there was passed an ordinance by the City Fathers of London that "Also, it was demanded that the common seal should remain in future in a certain chest under six locks; of which locks three Alderman should have three keys, and certain reputable men of the Commonalty the three other keys."
That a candidate for Freemasonry shall himself be a free agent is well known and is most desirable. We go further and require him to be freeborn. This does not appear to be a universal demand made of the initiate as in England, for example, the requirement is that he be a "freeman." There is an obvious distinction between the two and our practice in this country substantially exacts that both conditions shall exist.
Here, again, the matter is of very old usage. "For avoiding disgrace and scandal unto the city of London" it was ordained in 1389 "that from henceforth no foreigner shall be enrolled as an apprentice, or be received unto the freedom of the said city by way of apprenticeship, unless he shall first make oath that he is a freeman and not a bondman. And whoever shall hereafter be received unto the freedom of the said city, by purchase or in any other way than by apprenticeship, shall make the same oath, and shall also find six reputable citizens of the said city, who shall give security for him, as such from of old hath been wont to be done.
"And if it shall so happen that any such bondman is admitted unto the freedom of the said city upon a false suggestion, the Chamberlain being ignorant thereof, immediately after it shall have become notorious unto the Mayor and Alderman that such person is a bondman, he shall lose the freedom of the city and shall pay a fine for such his deceit at the discretion of the Mayor and Alderman, saving always such liberty as pertains unto the soil of the said franchise.
"Also, if it shall happen in future, and may it not so chance, that such bondman, a person, that is to say, at the time of whose birth his father was a bondman, is elected to judicial rank in the said city, that of Alderman, for example, Sheriff, or Mayor; unless before receiving such promotion, he shall notify unto the Mayor and Alderman such his servile condition, he shall pay unto the Chamberlain one hundred pounds, to the use of the city, and nevertheless shall lose the freedom, as already stated."
Riley in his edition of the "Liber Albus," the "White Book" of the city of London, further points out some qualifications of the Aldermen of the gild epoch which have an interest in our present study. Says he, "High honor was paid to the Aldermen in ancient times. Indeed, no person was accepted as Alderman unless he was free from deformity in body, wise and discreet in mind, rich, honest, trustworthy, free, and on no account of low or servile condition; lest perchance the disgrace or opprobrium that might be reflected upon him by reason of his birth, might have the additional effect of casting a slur upon the other Alderman and the whole city as well. And hence it is that from of old no one was made apprentice, or at all events admitted to the freedom of the said city, unless he was known to be of free condition."
Contained in the Liber Albus is the oath of the Masters and Wardens of the mysteries. This I transcribe. It will be noticed that there is left a blank for the filling in of the name of the organization to which the testifying officials are accredited.
"You shall swear, that well and lawfully you shall overlook the art or mystery of . . . of which you are Masters, or Wardens, for the year elected. And the good rules and ordinances of the same mystery, approved here by the Court, you shall keep and cause to be kept. And all the defaults that you shall find therein, done contrary thereto, you shall present unto the Chamberlain of the city, from time to time, sparing no one for favor, and aggrieving no one for hate. Extortion or wrong unto no one, by color of your office, you shall do; nor unto anything that shall be against the estate and peace of the King, or of the city, you shall consent. But for the time that you shall be in office, in all things pertaining unto the said mystery, according to the good laws and franchises of the said city, well and lawfully you shall behave yourself. So God you help, and the Saints."
These citations from the legal enactments of the time do not convey all that could and should be said of the middle ages. That is the era from whence we Masons have drawn so freely of inspiration, of ceremonial, and even of phraseology. Romantic were the industrial activities. From the candlestick upon the altar to the pinnacle of the lofty spire reaching high toward heaven, in the buildings of that day and especially the structures housing the worshippers of God, everything was done in the devotion of a simple straightforward truth of workmanship, a practical genius for constructional invention, the practice of a craft direct, faithful and self-respecting.
Says Batchelder: "It was once the glory of art to be of service. It is difficult for us to fully realize the spirit of an age when art was actually practiced by a great mass of people; when carvers in stone and wood, workers in iron, textile weavers, potters, goldsmiths, found daily opportunity and incentive to bring invention to bear upon their problems, to apply creative thought to the work of their hands. It was a time when builders were architects; when workmen were designers; when contracts called for nothing more than sound materials and honest workmanship, — the art was thrown in as a matter of course."
And he further gives us an illuminating insight of the conditions by which these workmen were trained. "The training received by the mediaeval craftsman was peculiar to the gild system of the time. Many of the masters whose names are familiar to us now in our study of the history of art were duly apprenticed to a craft as soon as they could read, write, and count. Often at an age of ten years they went to the home of the master workman, with whom their apprenticeship was to be served, where as was the custom of the time, they lived. The years of apprenticeship were years of hard work, often of drudgery; but in the great variety of commissions undertaken by the shops of the time an opportunity was presented to lend a hand at many interesting tasks. There seems to have been a spirit of cooperation among the various shops and workmen that the keen relentless competition of modern times does not permit.
"After serving his apprenticeship a lad became a companion or journeyman worker, and finally tried for his degree, if it may be so termed, by submitting to an examination for the title of master workman. In this examination he was called upon not only to produce his masterpiece, but to fashion such tools of his craft as were necessary for its completion. The standards of the gilds were so high that to become a master meant the production of a piece of work satisfactory to the judges artistically as well as technically. This completed the education of a craftsman of the time, producing a workman who was encouraged at every step of his training to combine beauty with utility, technical skill with honest workmanship."
Further on in speaking of the versatility of the old craftsmen, he proceeds: "When they in turn became master workmen, we know not whether to call them goldsmiths or bronze workers, carvers or sculptors, painters or architects, for their training was such that they could turn their hands to any of these with distinction. Orcagna could build a church, cut the stone, lay the mosaics, paint the frescoes, or carve the crucifix, and we know not where most to admire him. While Ghilerti was engaged in the production of the bronze doors for the Florentine baptistry, his journeymen were seldom so early at the foundry but that they found him there in his cap and apron. Brunelleschi watched the building of the cathedral from his bench long before he dreamed that it would be his part to crown it with its great dome; and when he and Donatello went to Ptome to study the antique, they replenished their empty purses by following their craft. What manner of architects were these who went to the quarries and picked out their own stones, who superintended the construction, directed the erection of scaffolds, who could teach others how to lay the mosaics or carve the ornament; and during leisure intervals wrote sonnets, built bridges, planned forts, and invented weapons of defense? When a master received a commission to build a church, a municipal palace, a fountain, or what not, he took with him his own journeymen and apprentices; and when the commission was an important one, he gathered about him to cooperate, in a spirit that knew little of rivalry or jealousy, the best master workers of his day."
From this excellent description of the craft in the gild days much may be conjectured of the progress by which Masonry has become what it is today. To some of these angles of discussion I shall later return. That in the Craft there grew up a method of perpetuating the instruction slowly gained by the masters is only to be expected. These secrets of the trade would only be confided to the safe depositories of faithful breasts.
Geometry and symbolism would be as they are now employed by expert designers for practically laying out their work. To me the mosaic pavement always suggests the cross-sectioned paper of the engineer. To me every symbol is an aid to the memory. All there is of Masonry breathes the craft soul of cooperative labor, the means and the machinery to impress upon the receptive mind lessons of moral and physical importance.
We cannot in one such paper as the foregoing connect the middle ages with the transition period marked off for us by the Grand Lodge era ushered in by the celebrated union of 1717.
Neither can we say much if anything now of that far earlier period of these geometrical builders of the Egyptian temples and pyramids, or of the Roman Collegia with its trades union methods, or of the mysteries of Greece and other lands. All have a bearing of much consequence upon our own fraternity.
Freemasonry has inherited by a long line of descent a philosophy and a nomenclature, a ceremonial system, the outgrowth of innumerable heads of the wisest, and of hearts most devoted. Love and wisdom has been showered upon it in abundance. Years of many centuries have dignified it. A hale and useful age for it claims unbounded respect. Service is its purpose, betterment its aim.
Even as the craftsmen of the past loved their craft, and through its medium turned rawest materials into forms of imperishable beauty, so were they cautious in their materials of membership, selecting them wisely and in their choice and government practicing such methods as were approved by civic and national authorities. Yea, so are we compelled by our profession to be equally discreet and skilful. By the correct selection and perfection of every element in the structure do we build aright the edifice Masonic.
NOTES FOR FURTHER RESEARCH UPON OPERATIVE MASONRY
The "Liber Albus" is a compilation from the archives of the city of London. Its references are of date prior to the year 1419. A translation from its original text in Latin and Anglo-Norman was made by Henry T. Riley and published by Richard Griffin and Co. in 1861. Occasionally found in public libraries but is now out of print and only to be purchased through those tireless bibliophiles, the book-hunters of Masonry. My dear friend, the late Scott Bonham, once urged his readers to buy the "Liber Albus" but at that time he was not aware that it was out of usual trade circles and only to be reached through old-book dealers.
My references to Batchelder are to his delightful treatise on "Design in Theory and Practice," published by the Macmillan Co. of New York, London, and Toronto. I quote the 1910 edition.
A most charming book on the gilds is that of the "Gilds and Companies of London" by George Unwin, and published by Methuen and Co., 36 Essex street, W.C., London. From this work I have not borrowed but my essay would have been much improved if I had had occasion to freely quote from Mr. Unwin. His work lends itself more aptly to another paper I have in mind. At present I need only call attention to several points of importance. First there is an excellent bibliographical list from which many references can be drawn to what material may be obtainable in your local libraries or for purchase from the book dealers. In the preface is an outline that may profitably be followed in the study of the gild system not only in Great Britain but on the continent. My Unwin has among his several chapters one dealing with a class of gilds that were neither merchant nor handicraft. Of such was the English Gild of Knights. There was also in France the organization for the preservation of peace, La Commune de la Paix. In purpose and in practice this association strongly resembled the body that provides the legend for the grade of Patriarch Noachite.
I have not quoted from the "Hole Craft and Fellowship of Masons." This book published in 1894 is, I understand, practically off the market. My own copy was secured through the author, Bro. Edward Conder, Jr. In London the book was published by Swan, Sonnenschein and Company, and in New York by Macmillan and Co. In the introduction Bro. Conder says: "The Worshipful Company of Masons of the City of London enjoys, beside the interest attached to it on account of its antiquity and continuity, the peculiar distinction, above all other gilds, of being one of the principal connecting links in that chain of evidence which proves that the modern social cult, known as the Society of Free and Accepted Masons, is lineally descended from the old Fraternity of Masons which flourished in the early days of monastic architecture, now known by the inappropriate title of Gothic. The history of this Company will I think conclusively prove that the traditions and moral teachings of the old Fellowship which undoubtedly existed in Britain in the 12th and 13th centuries, were preserved by the Masons Company of London, after the downfall of the Church, in 1530, until the middle of the 17th century — at which period non-operative masons and others carried on the old Society with considerable energy, their participation culminating, in 1717, in the establishment of a Grand Lodge, and the subsequent rapid formation of Lodges in all parts of the country." Maybe I shall later return to an examination of the evidence by which Bro. Conder proposes to prove his point. It was with such a thought in mind that I purposely refrained from using on this occasion his temptingly quotable volume.
"The Cathedral Builders" by Leader Scott is also not a readily obtainable book. For my own choice I can get along very well with a substitute, "The Comacines, Their Predecessors and Their Successors." Written by Bro. W. Ravenscroft in most readable style — its brevity is the only fault I can see in it. The publisher is Elliot Stock, 62 Paternoster Row, E.C., London. Bro. Ravenscroft shows the symbols of the Comacines have a pertinent interest to Freemasons, as in the case of the lion, the knot of Solomon, the cable tow, etc.
In Mackey's Encyclopedia, published by the Masonic History Co. of New York, look up the following references: Mysteries, Ancient; Osiris, Mysteries of; Egyptian Mysteries; Cabiric Mysteries; Orphic Mysteries; Cavern; Essenes; Comacines; Druses; Druidical Mysteries; Culdees; Chaldeans; Roman Colleges of Artificers; Gilds; Cologne, Charter of; Crusades; Oath of the Gild; Stone Masons of the Middle Ages; Strict Observance; Hund, Baron von; etc.
The Ars Coronatorum or transactions of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge of London have scattered through their scholarly pages much of the keenest degree of interest in this line of investigation. A complete index is very desirable. The series of volumes is also very rare. Stray copies and partial sets are occasionally to be obtained. My reference to the practical use of the mosaic pavement in laying out a building is borne out by a paper in the "Ars" by Sir Caspar Purden Clarke whose experience in the Orient enabled him to see this method actually employed by the Eastern workmen.
My brother engineers may be also interested in the fact that in an interview with the famous builders of bridges, Gustave Lindenthal, he explained the probable method by which the early builders managed to design safe constructions for their remarkably daring edifices, aqueducts and so forth. At that time the structural analysis by mathematical means was of course not so developed as at the present day. A method whereby weights suspended by cords; a sort of inverted balance, probably gave the early builders practical foothold for finding the direction and amount of the forces to be withstood by their structures. Such methods and the general system of proportions for buildings in common use were doubtless transmitted secretly to pupils and sworn associates. Here would be another means for the mutual protection and also for profitable prominence to clients of the craftsmen.
My few suggestions above are by no means intended to exhaust all the sources of information on this subject. There are many others and I do not pretend to have enumerated what some of my brethren will consider obvious and of consequence. But as I shall come back to this topic, and as I hope to deal then with matters mentioned in certain of the foregoing references I take the opportunity of calling attention to them now.
* * *
SMALL LIBRARIES TRAVELING FOR SPECIAL RESEARCHES
As your "Correspondence Circle Bulletin No. 1" seems to invite suggestions as to how Research Society and others may help along the home study, permit me to make this suggestion:
Let there be made up a goodly number of small traveling libraries for different lodges that are willing to pay transportation charges — possibly a small rental as well — composed of books papers and pamphlets bearing upon subjects that individuals care to study about. For instance: I want to study: Early History of Masonry The Unknown Years of the Life of Christ, Masonic Order and The Bible.
Let the great Masonic Library make me up a small traveling library containing matter pertaining to any one or all of these subjects and I will read my fill and write papers that may be read by other brethren, if they desire. Very truly, L.F. Knowles.
Go after the nearest Masonic library, large or small. Put that proposition right up to them. Maybe there is no Masonic library of considerable size in your State but I shall refuse to believe anything of the sort until I am positively shown otherwise. The State that includes within its borders at least one such Mason as Trevanion W. Hugo of Duluth is not likely in any particular to lag in the procession.
But if for any reason there is difficulty in getting the particular books you need, then appeal beyond the confines of your State. The late Scott Bonham, president of the Masonic Library Association at Cincinnati, Ohio, always held that his books were made for use and not to be mere shelf warmers. He delighted to send them to knowledge-seeking Masons. Never did he restrict them to the Masons of his own State. The Grand Lodge of Iowa has also under the skilful guidance of Grand Secretary Parvin at Cedar Rapids, evolved a system of library distribution active throughout the State. While I have no authority to say what the authorities would do in the event of an inquiry coming to them from beyond their jurisdiction I am confident that it would get very cordial consideration and if it were at all possible with due regard to all interests involved I am sure you would be well satisfied with the action accorded you.
Your suggestion reminds me somewhat of the one submitted by Bro. Keplinger of Illinois. He pointed out the desirability of an up-to-the-present study of the Pyramids in their connection with Freemasonry. Both he and you have already done quite a little study along lines of unquestioned importance to your brother Masons. Can I not induce you to put into written form the results of your researches? I do not ask you to attempt to put on record all that you have discovered, a part of the story at a time is all that I would venture to suggest your preparation. Then read it to your respective lodges or to your local study clubs. Then after you have amended it following the discussion it receives, please forward each paper to us.
STUDY CLUBS AND LODGE ORGANIZATION
Have noticed in the September issue of THE BUILDER an open letter to the members by Brother Robert I. Clegg, which I have been much interested in as we have a little "get-together" meeting from time to time, and it doesn't seem that we are working on any particular lines whereby we receive any palpable benefits.
It might be best to describe in detail what our meetings are for. As we live several miles from any organized Lodge of Freemasons, we find it difficult to attend Lodge with any regularity at all; and we have been meeting and trying to get together in a way that might develop into the organization of a Lodge at this place. But we find that it is a hard matter to keep all the brethren interested at the same time.
Now your letter seems to me to open up a way whereby we might develop more interest and at the same time enable us to improve ourselves in Masonry, so if we did in time organize a Lodge, we would be better prepared to perform our Masonic duties.
We will appreciate any suggestions that you might make, and if you think that an organization such as suggested in Brother Clegg's letter would be what we need, I will take steps immediately to see that all those Masons in this vicinity who are not members of the N.M.R.S. become members, as I am sure I would have no trouble in doing so, as they are all as anxious for some common ground to found an organization upon as I am.
Trusting that you can help us in this matter and with best wishes for the success of the whole movement, I am, cordially and fraternally yours. E.F. Wade. Waune. Oreo.
At the moment I do not possess any means at hand of determining the local population available to support a Masonic lodge in your immediate neighborhood. Obviously the best way to keep up the Masonic interest in your locality would be by the organization of a lodge and if this is at all feasible I would urge that you communicate with your Grand Secretary to that effect in order that you may start off in the right way. If, however, for any reason you are unable to do this, then you cannot do better than to hold the present get-together meetings until such time as the other plan may be carried into effect.
Of course you will need to be all the more cautious about every one of you being Master Masons of officially approved lodges. In the absence of any lodge there is not the ready means of knowing through membership there of the standing of all your acquaintances.
Having these preliminaries constantly in mind and with the list of any local members of the National Masonic Research Society, assemble your brethren. Agree upon a few necessary officers. The Secretary is the most important. Select one having plenty of patience, unstinted charity, enlarged energy, constant of courtesy, systematic of habits, punctual and ardent. Granted these and you have a treasure. If you can also have a President possessing a love for the knowledge of Masonry and an ability to draw forth the best that is in his membership and from all other sources, and to do these things with tact and success, you are again blessed. If moreover you have a group of brethren capable and willing to support your officers you have all the elements for proficiency and progress.
But the more I think of your isolation, the more I deem it best that you should have the benefit at the earliest moment of the advice of your Grand Lodge officers as I have already mentioned. They will very probably offer advice whereby you can the better keep in touch with the Masonic work of your jurisdiction and this is indeed very important. This Bulletin of ours will monthly contain papers of instructive quality that may be read at your meetings and I shall be highly pleased to give you any additional information that may be conducive to the improvement of your gatherings.
SYSTEMATIC STUDY OF THE DEGREES
I have realized even since I have been received into this Fraternity the necessity of some uniform plan to study the history and symbolism of Freemasonry. I mean some plan that is not complicated and not too deep for the ordinary Mason who has never been so fortunate as to receive a good education. I am anxious to organize a study club in our little town. It would be hard to get a number interested, but I believe I can do it.
I would like some plan that will start right in on the first degree which will teach its history and the origin of the symbolic meanings. Then advance to the second degree in the same way, and to the Master Mason, etc. I don't mean to run through them briefly, but to go into them in detail.
I believe we could spend all this fall and winter on the first degree, as we would only be able to meet twice each month. I have read the "Builders," and I think it is great, but it might be a little hard for the man to understand who has never done much reading.
I have been much interested in the study of Freemasonry for some time and have been an active worker, and I am willing to join this organization which proposes some plan to educate our members more and more in the teachings of the Order by a systematic study of its history, its tradition, its symbolism, and its meaning.
We, who have been active workers, know the only way to acquire knowledge is to study, and it is surprising, as well as disappointing, the great number of members in our fraternity who have practically no knowledge as to its history and its teaching. So I believe the only way to make this Fraternity become stronger is to encourage more study by the individual member. No, I don't mean it to be the only way, but I mean it will be a great and important step to make it stronger.
So if you can give me a start to organize a study club by giving me some textbook which will deal on the First Degree, or any other suggestion in which you might offer something good, I will make a hard effort to get several members of my Lodge — Novinger Lodge 583 in Missouri — interested in this work.
Trusting I may hear favorably from you, and with best regards, I remain, yours fraternally, C. H. Charlton, P. M., Novinger Lodge 583, Novinger, Mo.
No letter that has so far come to me has more clearly emphasized the necessity for the work undertaken by the National Masonic Research Society than yours. You correctly point out that textbooks are needed. But outside the indispensable Encyclopedia of Mackey what have we? Certain reprints already published by our Society are excellent but they are not exhaustive of the whole subject of Masonry and they do not pretend to be. As we proceed in the work of the Society we shall, every one of us, contribute from all sources information of the exact kind you desire. This task will take time. If you will read critically the little outline I have given for a Masonic course of study in the October Bulletin you will note the range to be covered by a comprehensive textbook.
I have planned a series of papers on Masonry which were announced in the last issue. These have been thought out for the very purpose mentioned by you. They will not in all probability take the degrees in succession because there is some difficulty for me to deal intimately with each degree in print. One must be truly circumspect in committing to the printed page what he knows of the degrees. Perhaps you will do me the favor of advising with me in this regard. How far do you expect me to go? Please let me have the benefit of your reflections on this very important angle of the situation.
Much can be presented to the brethren in this Bulletin. We can discuss the Monitor freely. Sundry significant facts hinging upon the ritual may also be set forth. But the application of many of these particulars must be remade by the brethren themselves. What they already know will shed light upon the additional information, an illumination unknown to the profane. Each of you readers of mine will see how limited I must be in what is here said at any time of the details of the three degrees mentioned by my good brother Charlton.
He is emphatically right. Masonry is the more to a Mason the more he has of it. Masonry grows the stronger upon a Mason the deeper it is planted within him. We are Masons, first and last, because of what is in us. Enlightened knowledge, enlarged humanity, the soul in contact with agencies for good, these are the common aspirations of the brotherhood. Together, brethren!
PLANNING A PRIMER FOR MASONS
For the coming Masonic year it has been talked of in our Blue Lodge to introduce a series of lectures, perhaps as many as a dozen, which will be in the nature of a Masonic education. Feel that subjects should be so chosen and arranged that in a measure one will follow another in logical sequence, the whole being beneficial in many different ways. It is planned to have each about ten thousand words, MSS. of which will be submitted to a committee before delivery, and the whole twelve at the end of the year to be made up in book form, to be presented to each Master Mason as he is raised, thereby furnishing him with a textbook as it were for his future guidance or at least form a primer for his Masonic education. Sincerely and fraternally yours, L.G. Good S.W. Joppa Lodge 362, F. & A.M., Shreveport, La.
My congratulations! You have indeed undertaken a splendid task. That you will perform it admirably and thoroughly is my hearty desire. If there is at any time and in any way an opportunity for me to contribute to so commendable an enterprise I and our Society will be delighted to do anything at our command.
Just how do you propose to go about this project? I am taking it for granted that you will divide the work. To put the burden of this exploit upon only a few or of one or two of the brethren is not easily thinkable, the labor involved is too great.
Maybe you will organize a number of studious Masons who will occasionally assemble to discuss the progress they have made in the preparation of the papers. Such a study club would indeed be a wonderful power for Masonic research.
Some five years ago a Master of my acquaintance decided that once a month at least he would devote an hour at a meeting where a paper should be read. I contributed one of the early papers, the subject being "William Morgan." Since that time the custom has prevailed. Would that all these lectures had been preserved as is the intention of our Shreveport brothers to collect twelve.
That the brethren will hear when they will not read is clear. Bro. Good's plan contemplates both methods. It is an ambitious undertaking, highly creditable and farsighted.
THE LODGE AS A STUDY CLUB
A considerable number of the Masons in Yonkers are heartily in favor of the furthering of Masonic research and study. There is, however, no room in Yonkers for a study club, as Jonkheer Lodge devotes a very considerable portion of the time of its meetings to Masonic history and study.
I believe that better results might be obtained by using the existing Lodges, rather than by starting new organizations in the form of study clubs, and believe that by-laws such as Jonkheer has, would help the matter along in the various lodges. The by-laws read as follows:-
Section 4 — The Master shall cause a portion of the Landmarks, constitution, statutes, and by-laws to be read in the Lodge at the first stated communication after his installation, and at such other times as he shall deem proper.
Section 24 — At least one evening in each Masonic year shall be set apart by the Master for the consideration of matters pertaining to the history, archaeology and antiquities of Freemasonry.
Yours fraternally, D. D. Berolzheimer, 17 Battery Place, New York, N. Y.
It is most gratifying to find lodges so progressive as to have not only provided in their bylaws for definite times and seasons for the study of Freemasonry, its history, its archaeology, and its antiquities, but carry them out to an extent that members can see no necessity for anything additional. Would that all lodges were equally well provided with bylaws requiring the exertion of energy along educational lines.
Pressure of business in most lodges prevents any literary leanings of the kind becoming prevalent. Primarily, the purpose of the study club is to do what the lodge cannot find opportunity to supply. Several lodges may furnish sufficient material in membership to keep one study club a lively point of contact in any community.
If a lodge is in a sparsely settled region and the work of initiation is not weighty there may be many evenings when at the regular sessions study club associations could be happily incorporated under the direction of the Master. Our larger cities do not permit these variations in the proceedings. Work is too voluminous. Some other plan is required in such cases.
A study club to make effective progress should meet often and regularly. An entire evening is not too long for the presentation of a paper and for its careful discussion. A lodge to devote as much time as this to the literary side of Freemasonry must either have considerable leisure left after the conferring of degrees or has a method of conducting its affairs that is not generally known.
I am acquainted with one lodge in New York whose Master had the habit of giving at the meetings a little talk of say fifteen minutes. He was and is an exceptionally well-informed Mason and his addresses were contributions of distinctive value. They could not have the advantage of study club presentation, nevertheless. Time was wanting. Business exacted the minutes. Leisurely aground discussion was precluded. Herein is the need for the study club. Let us know all about the substitutes. We are all lodge members. Whatever the lodge can do to advantage we all want to know the particulars.
MASONS FORGETTING ALL THEY EVER KNEW
Your letter referring to the Correspondence Circle received, and in reply I wish to state that the Bulletin plan is good, and I hope that it will bring lots of brothers together. Presently I am trying to leave the city, therefore I am not in position to take up any Masonic work you speak about, but I hope I will be able to do so in the near future. May I ask what is the difference between a brother Mason who does not remember a bit of the Lodge work and a friend who is not a Mason at all? Respectfully and fraternally, S. Simone, 420 W. 2nd St., near Hill, Los Angeles, Calif.
Not much, truly. But let us not be too critical about the brethren whose interests have in some way become divorced from active thought of Freemasonry. For example, I well remember one brother who came much against his will as a visitor to my lodge. Years ago he had taken the degrees in another State. Immediately after receiving the third degree he went upon the road as a representative of his firm. Since then he had never seen a degree conferred. Everywhere he was told that it was a difficult task to pass a lodge examination. Not feeling sure of his ground he never cared to undergo the ordeal. Many a time in his travels he wished that he was posted properly. At times he went home but his trips there were very short of stay, and then, too, there were other and usually more pressing matters to be handled. In my town he had business with one of the members of my lodge who prevailed upon him to come down and try his best. Some of his story preceded my investigation. He knew enough Masonry for the purpose. An excellent memory had forgotten no essentials. With patience, and he was fully entitled to that at the very least, he convinced the committee of his worthiness. An hour was spent by me afterwards in giving him all the light I could upon various methods of investigation he might meet and he was most grateful. But what shall be said of the brethren who had discouraged him theretofore? I know you will agree with me that a responsibility rests upon us all to see that Masons are informed. When your location permits, Brother Simone, I trust you will take hold of the work in which you have so evident an interest.
FURTHER LIGHT FOR FREEMASONS
The open letter on the back of the September issue of THE BUILDER appeals very much to me and as some of my Brethren have expressed a desire to take up the study of Masonry in a systematic manner I wish you would send me the list of members in my immediate locality and as much information for the formation of a study club as you can.
I am not good at expressing myself, but I wish to say that I find a fund of information and "Light" in each issue.
Thanking you for all that you may be able to do for us and wishing you and THE BUILDER continued success, I am, fraternally yours, A. M. Fluharty, W.M., Morning Light Lodge, No. 384, Manson, Iowa.
Since the publication of the letter in the September issue I have prepared some additional suggestions for study club management that have appeared in the October number of THE BUILDER, and in the November issue of the Bulletin I have carried further the work. I trust that paper may be found of readable character. While only intended to answer a request for light on a hint previously given by me on that particular topic, yet it is on a little explored region of Masonic research and therefore ought to have no abatement of interest because of its pioneering work.
I hope to take up in some detail an orderly consideration of Freemasonry in due season. These forthcoming papers as I have planned them will be of a style straightforward and simple enough to tell the tale Masonic with truth and terseness. Do not hesitate to write me whenever I can throw any further light upon the path. We are all students. Let us each contribute of his best, however poor that best may be.
HOW ONE GROUP OF MASONS HAS GONE TO WORKS
Congratulations on the "Bulletin." I believe its foundation is laid Masonically. Leadership is essential and when that leadership is executed by those who recognize the value of cooperation and draw their designs accordingly I feel a thrill of anticipation of Success.
A leader cannot cooperate with himself. Those who look to him for leadership must contribute their mite.
In this spirit and with a view of letting you know how a little group of students tried to start something, I will try to convey an account of our meagre efforts.
Five of the brethren in our village held an informal meeting after our last stated communication, which was over at 8:30, and decided that we could study Masonic subjects to advantage at occasional meetings.
The first question considered was "what particular phase of Masonic study will be most interesting to us?"
It was decided that each brother state what he was most interested in finding out. One brother wanted to know about the authenticity of the legend of the third degree. In response to his query various Masonic writers were quoted and the point brought out, that, as writing about the esoteric work had ever been considered unlawful we really had little that was definite to base an opinion upon. Attention was also directed to the explanation given the candidate that "Masonry consists of a course of ancient hieroglyphical and moral instruction, taught according to ancient usage, by types, emblems and allegorical figures."
The paper by John A. Thorpe on "Freemasonry, whence it came, etc." was read and discussed. I read a paper I had prepared on "What is Freemasonry and whence came it" which I carefully explained was only my personal opinion. Another brother wished to know where scriptural references to things of interest to Masons were to be found. (See Correspondence in this issue.)
His request was complied with next day and a list of references given him. He promised to prepare a paper on the subject for some meeting of the group.
Another brother wished to know what Masonry was doing now. Your scribe answered that his opinion was that it was trying hard to impress the full import of the answer to the second question of an E.A. on every Mason and that improvement in Masonry meant improvement in physical, mental and spiritual development.
A paper by some member or some article of value was decided upon for future meetings and the general discussion which follows will bring out many points of interest and send us all to our authorities and induce us to search for more light.
I, like many another, am groping around for something definite, but I believe our plan will eventually adjust itself to the capacity and needs of our group.
My personal opinion is that each member of a study group should do his full share in contributing something of educational value in such a manner as to be of interest.
We all have a tendency to follow lines of study of our own; consequently the study of a particular subject at any considerable length would probably become burdensome and uncongenial to some.
At the best the study group is but an occasional gathering to glean the harvest of rich thought derived by the individual effort of its members.
The individuals will benefit in the forum of fraternal discussion and the group will be cemented by additional ties of intellectual brotherhood.
Hoping this has not become tiresome, I am, Yours in the spirit if not worthy in ability, Silas H. Shepherd, Hartland, Wis
P. S. — I am only 42. I expect to know more at 52.
P. P. S. — At times when our study group have nothing definite to work upon I have in view the reading and discussion of the following pamphlets and essays:
Gould's "English Lodges before the Grand Lodge Era.” (Collected Essays.)
Speth's "What is Freemasonry?"
Lemert's "Some of our Ancestors."
Extracts from "A Masonic Curriculum" by Speth.
Pound's "Causes of Divergence in Ritual." (Mass. proceedings, 1915.)
Ossian Langis "Freemasonry and Mediaeval Craft Gilds.' (N. Y. proceedings 1916.)
The reprinted series by the N.M.R.S.
Morcombe's lectures on Symbolism. (Iowa Q. Bulletin, Vol. 3, Nos. 3, 4; Vol. 4, No. 1.)
Selected readings from "Anderson's Book of Constitutions," Preston's "Illustrations," the "Old Charges" and other Masonic classics of value.
Discussion on the articles in THE BUILDER. This is but a brief list of the many things of value. I hope some day to add to and classify.
Perhaps you have a much more adequate list.
A splendid start and a most excellent report is this. That explanation of what is comprised in the improvement of ourself in Masonry would from my point of view be hard to beat. Nothing more terse and true could well be framed. Your list of references for future work is good and fairly comprehensive. In fact you have some that are as yet strangers to me. So go ahead and please let us have further accounts of your progress. I, too, am not yet 52 and have much to learn.
PROFITABLE POINTERS ON PLANS
I am interested in Masonic topics and would be glad to join a club that is devoted to this field. The Correspondence Circle Bulletin should be of great value, not because I place such importance on methods and systems, but it may be the means of inducing the proper kind of organizers and leaders to start clubs.
I am under the impression that the organization and administration of a club is a one man job, and that the interest shown by the members will be due to his ability as a leader, and his anticipation of their tastes and limitations.
The set form of study that might be the most practical to give to city business men would very possibly not suit a lodge of working men of less education. Inspire men that are forceful, popular and systematic, let them organize and do 99 per cent of the planning and work and the club may grow and prosper.
It's a great job for a "Man with a mission," as great a field to do good in as any pulpit offers. A well meaning but poorly talented man would make a failure, regardless of the fact that he might be well informed on Masonic subjects, and such a failure always makes it harder to reorganize.
I am fortunate enough to be aware of my own limitations but there are others in this city, as well as in almost every locality, who could excite as much interest in Masonry as many of the preachers do in church work.
The Builder has demonstrated its ability to find and collect interested men and I hope the Correspondence Circle will meet with equal success in starting the "leaders" to action.
Assuring you of such service as is within my power, and looking forward to the progress of our desires, Fred W. Cochran 220 1/2 West Vernon, Los Angeles, Calif.
It is a task to prepare an outline of study that will fit all needs or hopes, but we shall not despair if we continue to get the interest of such thoughtful Masons as yourself. Please go further, won't you, and tell me how I can best serve you. What are the topics that in your judgment should first get attention? In your intercourse with Masons what have you found to be most desired in the way of information? This is a big country, all manner of men live in it. My own experience with them must be all too limited. Your help toward my better understanding is earnestly invited.
HOW A START IN STUDY CLUB WORK MAY BE MADE
List of members of N.M.R.S. and copies of THE BUILDER containing your letter received. The response to my call was not as large as hoped for, but this did not deter the few of us that were present from starting. We thought best to begin with the tools we had on hand. All present were members of the N.M.R.S., and our Lodge had purchased ten or more copies of Bro J.F. Newton's work, "The Builders," so it was decided to take up the study of this book with the aid of the Questions compiled by the Cincinnati Masonic Study School which are found on page 128 of No. 6, Vol. 1, of THE BUILDER.
For our first study we took up Questions 1 to 14, hunted up the answers before our second meeting at which time the questions were asked, the answer given from memory if possible, if not, it was read. If given from memory it was verified from "The Builders," then each was asked if there was any discussion of the thought presented. The discussions brought out many bits of information and the meeting was voted a success by those present.
For our next meeting, (we meet the 1st, 3rd and 5th Saturday nights in each month), Questions 15 to 29 will be taken up in the same way and so on until we strike a line of thought we want to dig into a bit deeper.
We sent the following letter to those who did not show up at our 1st or 2nd meeting:
Sample of Letter Sent to Prospective Members of a Study Club.
Dear Sir and Brother: — Can YOU answer the following:
What was thought to be the shape of the world by the Egyptians in the early ages?
What is said of the way the Temples of Egypt were built in early times?
What are the real foundations of Masonry?
Give an outline of the Egyptian teachings.
What was the central theme of the Egyptian faith?
What is said of eternity as an ideal of the early Egyptians?
What is said of the Cube, Square and CROSS?
The answer to these can be found in THE BUILDERS by Bro. Jos. F. Newton. Also they will be taken up and discussed along with several others at the 3rd meeting of our Masonic Study Club, Saturday evening, 7:00 o'clock, at my office in Cottingham Bldg. We will be glad to have you with us whether you become a member or not. Fraternally thine,
Trust that you will pardon such a lengthy letter but I thought perhaps that our plans would be a help to others who like ourselves were at a loss as to what and how to begin to study. Fraternally thine, J. A. Stiles, Morganfield Lodge No. 66, F. & A. M., Morganfield, Ky.
Good enough, Bro. Stiles. Fine work, I say. You have done well. Do you find any part of Bro. Newton's book either difficult to understand or do you note any place on which you or your members seek more light than is afforded by the book itself? We all want to make the path easier to travel. In any way we can help, please do not fail to bring the matter to our attention either by letter to Anamosa or direct to me. Meantime, go forward even as you have already done so well.
WHAT ABOUT THE LODGE BEING A STUDY CLUB?
From East, West and South I am getting letters that convince me that in one respect at least I have failed utterly to make myself clearly understood. It is entirely my own fault, too. Here I am emphasizing Study Club organization as something beyond the ordinary Lodge routine. I have put so much weight upon this plan being carried on outside a tyled Lodge that several correspondents write to know why the scheme cannot be handled by the regular Lodge officers and the whole matter conducted on the Lodge-room floor. Of course it can. I'm positively ashamed of myself that I failed so absurdly to make that possibility absolutely clear.
Some Lodges already do this successfully. Several Grand Lodges have considered that very angle of the situation. The Grand Master of Utah said on this point: "I believe a system of Masonic instruction and education can be introduced into our Lodges which will make the Lodge meetings more attractive and interesting, without interfering with the usual work. A carefully prepared and correct exposition of a Masonic subject, or a division or instalment thereof, approved by competent authority, read in open Lodge, and consuming not more than thirty minutes time, occurring say six times a year, would, in my opinion, be a useful and valuable addition to our Lodge proceedings."
So it would, Bro. Cherry. Not the slightest doubt about it, in my humble opinion. But is not six times a year too few? Can we not do better?
It is right here where the difficulty comes in. My notion of keeping up the interest is to plan for study meetings frequent enough to maintain a grip upon the attention of the brethren. At this stage Lodge facilities are prone to fall down hard. Take the average City Lodge. How much time is there to devote to anything outside the "work" and the "business?" When I was Master I found it almost impossible to handle all the initiations, the examinations, the committees, the funerals, the excursions, the charities, and so forth, to my liking without going into the operation of a Study Club Annex or of supplementary lectures. Most Masters of my acquaintance will, I am sure, agree with me.
Where it can be done I do heartily approve of the use of the Lodge for all Masonic instruction that may possibly be given there. There can be no better place. Granted leisure for the purpose and what could be more seemly than the presentation of a suitable essay. An enthusiastic friend once said that he relished and cherished the idea that the makeup of a Masonic body should be such that it would be no rare thing for great discoveries in science to be first announced there, that fine artists of the Craft should there each submit their maguum opus and that every Lodge ought to be a center radiating the best there is in the whole scope of the arts and sciences.
Well, why not?
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By The Editor
WHAT a day was that on which I went to Stratford, to visit a tiny town and a mighty grave! It was like a dream come true, its soft bright hours like the stanzas of a poem in which echoes of unheard music linger. All the way down from London I mused on the mystery of genius, but found no key to the riddle of it. God breathes it; beyond that we cannot go. Dig how you will in the lore of Stratford, no fact, no hint turns up to account for a man whose genius is "an intellectual ocean whose waves touch every shore." It is a mystery the secret of which no one may fathom.
My guide, philosopher and friend took pains that I should see everything, and to best advantage. Climbing into a cab, we turned away from the town out into the country. It was like riding through a park. Hedgerows neatly trimmed, a quaint cottage here and there, apricots on garden walls, birds singing, and over all the dreamy peace of English summer! Where we were going I did not know. Nor did I much care, wishing that the ride might be endless amid scenes so lovely — thinking of a boy who once wandered along these ways. After a little we turned a corner and stopped at a long, low cottage with a thatched roof and tiny windows, and flowers in the garden.
Then I knew where we were and why we had come. It was the home of Ann Hathaway, where the boy had gone a-courting in the village of Shottery. Near the front door is a stone where Dickens once sat musing of that odd romance of long ago, remembering, no doubt, how the boy himself had afterwards said that it would be a good thing if every boy could be put soundly to sleep at fifteen, and not be allowed to wake up until he is twenty-three. Of a truth it would be safer, but think of the fun he would miss! Inside the cottage they show you the old kitchen, with its old fire-place but little changed since Will and Ann sat so close together on the seat near by, whispering all the sweet nothings that lads and lassies say when life is new and love is young.
Thence we drove to Borden's Hill, a mile or more away, from which lay spread out, as in a picture, the town of Stratford, its rows of brick houses, its winding streets, its church-spire, half hidden by trees. It is a scene to haunt the heart forever, and 'tis no wonder that memories of it floated into all the plays and poems of the Bard of Avon. Nor is it strange that Shakespeare came back to this scene towards the end, wise enough to know when to quit and wishing to leave the earth where he had first learned to love it. Down the Hill we went, our next stop being at the house on Henley Street, where the seer was born. Forty thousand people visit that house every year, coming from the ends of the earth to pay homage to a great memory.
No one knows in what room the poet was born, but tradition has consecrated the small chamber facing the street, on the first floor. Names have been scribbled over all the walls. Most of them mean nothing, but one finds those of Thackeray, Keen, and Browning, and in the room above the signatures of Walter Scott and Thomas Carlyle scratched on the window. No new names are allowed to be added. The back room, up stairs, contains the so-called "Stratford Portrait," now declared by Sidney Lee to have been painted from a bust in the eighteenth century. Below is the kitchen, one of the few rooms that has not been changed since the bard was a boy. Two rooms to the right are fitted up as a Museum, and contain early editions of the plays, portraits, and various relics. The Garden, at the back of the house, is filled with the trees and flowers mentioned in the plays.
Passing along High Street we see the house in which Judith, the daughter of the poet, lived for thirty-six years. Further on stands the picturesque half-timbered Harvard House, once the home of Katharine Rodgers, mother of John Harvard — founder of Harvard University. On Chapel Street is the site of New Place, the house in which the poet resided when he returned to Stratford, and where he died. Only the foundation remains. Opposite New Place is the old Guild Hall, where the boy may have seen troops of strolling players perform; in the upper story of which was the Grammar School which he attended. At the end of Church Street we turn into the Old Town road which brings us to the Trinity Church, almost hidden amid trees on the bank of the Avon.
As we entered the Church, two aeroplanes passed over the town, like huge birds. I wondered what Shakespeare would have said. Be sure that fertile fancy, in which Ariel had his birth, would have found a phrase to fit the fact. The Church is interesting in itself, and in its treasures of art, but chiefly, of course, for that it is the tomb of the greatest genius of the English race. As Washington Irving said of it long of old, "The mind refuses to dwell on anything that is not connected with Shakespeare. His idea pervades the place; the whole pile seems but as his mausoleum. The feelings no longer checked by doubt, here indulge in perfect confidence; other traces of him may be false or dubious, but here is palpable evidence and absolute certainty."
Standing by that Grave on the north side of the chancel, I had such a sense of the reality of Shakespeare as I never had before. There, only a few feet below me, lay the actual dust of the Magician himself — divine dust, because his celestial spirit lent it Divinity, revealing all the heights and depths, the tragedy and comedy of this our mortal life. Who can pause beside that grave and doubt the triumph of the soul over death? How could that creative mind, that busy heart, cease to be? It is unthinkable! Only two other spots on earth have touched me with a like sense of the reality of immortality: one is Westminster Abbey, and the other is the grave of Emerson in Sleepy Hollow. As I read the oft-quoted epitaph with its warning, I thought, instead, of that wonderful 146th Sonnet, in which he conquered death before he died.
Nor must we forget the Memorial Theatre — that treasure-house of paintings of the Dramatist and his characters, which is also a library of Shakespearian books. From the top of the tower, reached by flights of steps and ladders, one sees another picture never to be forgotten. The town, the winding Avon, the summer beauty on the hills — it is as lovely as a dream. On one side of the theatre was a park, half full of men wearing the blue-gray uniform of wounded English soldiers — reminding us of the vast tragedy not far away. On the other side stands the Monument, erected in 1888 by Lord Gower — crowned with a giant image of the Poet, surrounded by figures representing Tragedy, History, Comedy, Philosophy.
Of course, we saw the Fountain, the gift of an American in 1887, in honor of the genius of Shakespeare and the jubilee of Queen Victoria. On our way we met Marie Corelli out for an airing — a fat, chubby little lady she is, quite unlike her pictures. Reluctantly, with mingled joy and regret, we took the train for London. Always it is back to London, as of old all roads led to Rome. Now I know what the poet meant in his Rhymes of the Road,
"Go where you may, rest where you will,
Eternal London haunts you still."
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Geometry, that is to say, the science of harmony in space, presides over everything. We find it in the arrangement of the scales of a fir-cone, as in the arrangement of a spider's living web; we find it in the spiral of a snail shell, in the chaplet of a spider's thread, and in the orbit of a planet; it is everywhere, as perfect in the world of atoms as in the world of immensities.
— Henri Fabre. The Cufic of the Spider.
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THE ETERNAL RELIGION
I offer this book to the sight, not of philosophers and wise men of the world, nor of great theologians wrapped in endless questionings; but to the simple and untaught, those who seek to love God rather than to know many things. For not by disputing, but by doing will He be known, and by loving. — Richard Rolle, 1316.
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THE TRINITY IN COLOR
By Bro. S.W. Williams, P.G.H.P., Tenn.
IN the many-sidedness of Masonic study we all have been taught much relative to the NUMBER THREE. Volumes have been written in regard to its mysterious symbolism in its connection with the Religious systems of past ages. Its potency today is shown in the TRINITY OF DEITY — the FATHER, SON and HOLY GHOST — regarded most sacredly throughout the civilized World.
Let us look at it from a different standpoint. The seven colors which form the Rainbow when perfect — RED, ORANGE, YELLOW, GREEN, BLUE, INDIGO and VIOLET — are constructively evolved from what are known as the THREE PRIMARY COLORS — RED, YELLOW and BLUE. From these are all the others formed, WHITE is the presence of all color, while BLACK is the absence of all LIGHT (which makes color possible) and hence, is the absence of all color. Each of THE SEVEN has been awarded a symbolic meaning — but these three PRIMARY COLORS, in their symbolic significance, embrace all that there is in life for Man, from birth to eternity.
Man begins life in the Innocence of Childhood — symbolized by WHITE — the presence of ALL COLOR — because he is "Made in the image of God" and to show his many-sided nature, crowned with an Immortal Soul.
With Manhood, he enters the domain of the first of the primary colors — the RED — which signifies all that is strong and virile in Manhood; the flush of health and the physical force and power to DO and ACT.
When the strength of Man faileth, he is said to be "In the sear and yellow leaf" — hence, YELLOW is the symbol of AGE; and, when "He falleth, like autumn leaves to enrich our mother-Earth" — then it is that he enters the realm of the Blue color, which, as it nears Divinity, gradually loses its strength, being affected by the glorious whiteness of the Light of Heaven, till it becomes the Ultra-Violet — the Honce of the Angels and of those redeemed Souls who have found favor with God.
WHITE denotes PURITY — INNOCENCE — GOD. And every Child that is born into the Garden of Innocence must pass out therefrom, into the World of work and strife, and assume the cares, the responsibilities, and the duties of Manhood, only to fall in the "Sear and Yellow leaf" and, as a reward of his efforts, he enters the BLUE Zone — the Spirit-land — from which he is to pass once more into the PURE, WHITE LIGHT which emanates from the Throne of the Father. The Circle has been completed, — and a Circlet of White, enclosing a triangle of RED, YELLOW and BLUE, would carry our thoughts through life — into Eternity.
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By Bro. C. M. Schenck. Colorado
THE perversity in attaching through preconceived views a wrong significance to signs is illustrated by an anecdote found in several versions and in several languages, (1) (but repeated as a veritable Scotch legend by Duncan Anderson, esq., Principal of the Glasgow Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, when he visited Washington in 1853.)
King James I. of England, desiring to play a trick upon the Spanish ambassador, a man of great erudition, but who had a crotchet in his head upon sign language, informed him that there was a distinguished professor of that science in the university at Aberdeen. The ambassador set out for that place, preceded by a letter from the King with instructions to make the best of him. There was in the town one Geordy, a butcher, blind of one eye, a fellow of much wit and drollery. Geordy is told to play the part of a professor, with the warning not to speak a word; is gowned, wigged, and placed in a chair of state, when the ambassador is shown in and they are left alone together. Presently the nobleman came out greatly pleased with the experiment, claiming that his theory was demonstrated. He said: "When I entered the room I raised one finger to signify there is one God. He replied by raising two fingers to signify that this Being rules over two worlds; the material and the spiritual. Then I raised three fingers, to say there are three persons in the Godhead. He then closed his fingers, evidently to say these three are one." After this explanation on the part of the nobleman the professors sent for the butcher and asked him what took place in the recitation room. He appeared very angry and said: "When the crazy man entered the room where I was he raised one finger, as much as to say I had but one eye, and I raised two fingers to signify that I could see out of my one eye as well as he could out of both of his. When he raised three fingers, as much as to say there were but three eyes between us, I doubled up my fist, and if he had not gone out of that room in a hurry, I would have knocked him down." (Garrick Mallery in First Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology, pages 337-338.)
On record are many stories, related by honest and intelligent men, of instances where Masonic signs have been recognized by North American Indians, and today some well informed Masons believe that Masonry was known to these Indians before the coming of the white man, and that it still exists among them. Of how easy it is to mistake the meaning of signs the Aberdeen anecdote offers a good example. It very often happens that things are not what they seem to be.
One of the believers in Indian Masonry was Dr. Charles E. Stone, a charter member of Yuba Lodge No. 39, of Marysville, California, with whom on the evening of February 24, 1909, I visited his lodge. He was at that time eighty-two years of age, a Knight Templar, and a 33 degree Hon. Scottish Rite Mason.
Among other things which he showed me was an album containing photographs of the charter members of the Lodge. He called attention to the picture of a man named Heath, whose life he said had been saved through the recognition of a Masonic sign by hostile Indians. In reply to my question, "How could the Indians have gained any knowledge of Masonry?" he replied, "Probably from the early French."
In May, 1910, Brother Stone, who died a few months later, (December, 1910), repeated to me in a letter the story which he had told me in the Lodge room, from which letter I will quote:
Marysville, Cal., May 23,1910.
Illustrious Sir and Brother: -
* * * In the year 1867 or 8, Bro. James Heath, a member of our Lodge, came to me and expressed a desire to join the Chapter of which I was an officer, giving as a reason that, a yeas or two before, he, with a party of friends, went on a prospecting trip in the State of Nevada. They had a good camping outfit, a four-horse covered wagon, and supplies to last for several weeks Heath was the driver and was one day left in a beautiful valley while the others went out to prospect.
About 2 o'clock in the afternoon a band of Indians, finely mounted, appeared on a ridge above the valley, and he saw then were in hostile array, and said he hardly knew what to do, but thought if the G.H.S. would ever do any good, now was the time to try it; so he gave it, and the leader of the Indians at once dismounted, stuck a spear he carried, in the ground, and left the band, came down, took Heath by the hand, led him behind the wagon, and, as he expressed it, gave him more grips and signs than he knew, and wave him to understand that his party must leave and return to Virginia City.
The Indians then remained with them a day or two and escorted them out of the hostile country, and until they were safely on their journey and in sight of Virginia City, when the Chief parted with his white Brother, taking his men with him and were soon out of sight.
Bro. Crandell, who was at the time Grand Sr. Warden of our Grand Lodge, told me that, in crossing the plains in 1849 with a large company of emigrants, he and one other man were the only Masons, although there were several families in the company. The Comanches had war parties out, and were very troublesome, and had stolen stock, and killed several people. Crandell and his friend agreed, should the Indians make their appearance near them, to try Masonry as a means of protection. It was not long before they had an opportunity, as a large band came swooping toward them. He and his friend then made themselves known as Brothers, and two or three of the Indians responded and their company was never molested during the journey, and lost no stock; the Indians keeping faith with their white Brothers.
Many years ago I read of a visit made in St. Louis by a delegation of Indian Chiefs, who were on their way to Washington to visit the Great White Father, as they termed the President of the U. S. In escorting these Indians about the city, they were taken to a Masonic Temple which had been recently erected. On being taken to the Lodge rooms, which had been decorated with Masonic Emblems on the walls and ceiling, they showed by signs and other expressions, that they were perfectly familiar with them.
After Bro. James Heath had taken all the degrees in the Chapter, Council and Commandery, he said some more signs were given him by the Indian Chief, and I presume the Scottish Rite Degrees, or some of them, might have been conferred on the Red Man.
Bros. Heath and Crandell's statements, which I had from their oven lips, I have given as nearly in their own words as possible: they made a lasting impression on my mind regarding the universality of our Order, and the protecting care it insures its members "wheresoever dispersed around the globe."
All the Bros. mentioned have passed to the Celestial Lodge above, and I, the Elder Brother, am left to tell their experiences. All were old friends of the '49 period, and we "kept watch and ward together many years."
Referring to my visit he wrote: The candlesticks which you saw used as Altar lights in our Lodge Room, (Yuba Lodge, No. 39, Marysville, California, visited Feb. 24, 1909), were taken from a Buddhist Temples where they had probably been used for centuries, and were used at the institution of the first Masonic Lodge in Japan, under an English Charter, and called Nippon Lodge No. 1. Bro. Charles E. DeLong, our Minister to Japan, was present at that Ceremony, and was by that Lodge presented with the candlesticks, he furnishing others to replace them. Bro. DeLong also presented us the chain armor, spear and banner of a Japanese warrior of the older time. The American Flag, which you also saw, was the first American Flag to be carried through that Island when Bro. DeLong was allowed by that government to make a trip through their country. The flag-staff is of Japanese wood.
Bro. Geo. W. Prescott, who visited Jerusalem and the Holy Land, presented us with the beautiful Corinthian pillar and the gavels. The base of the pillar is marble from the foundation of King Solomon's Temple; the shaft is of the Cedar of Lebanon, and the gavels are of olive-wood from the banks of the River Jordan.
Very truly and affectionately yours,
(Signed) C. E. Stone, 33 degree, Hon.
That Brother Heath thought the Indians understood his sign, and that they were Masons, there can be no question. As to whether his conclusion was correct there is room for doubt.
In Col. Garrick Mallery's paper on "Sign Language Among North American Indians," previously mentioned, on page 530 (Fig. 335) is a picture of an Indian giving a sign which is at least suggestive of the one used by Brother Heath. The accompanying text explains that it is the sign for "Peace; Friendship," made by elevating the hands at arms length above and on either side of the head. Observed by Dr. W. J. Hoffman, as made in Northern Arizona in 1871 by Apaches, Mojaves, Hualpais, and Seviches."
This being so, is it not perhaps probable that the sign given by Brother Heath was interpreted by the Indians to mean "Peace; Friendship"? If the friendly relations established through the medium of the sign, were followed by a good feed and other entertainment, it is easy to account for the Indians remaining with the party for a day or two and then escorting it safely out of the hostile country. You will remember that Brother Heath narrated that the Indian "led him behind the wagon and gave him more grips and signs than he knew," and that in later years the Indian Chief gave him some more signs, and he presumed that "the Scottish Rite Degrees, or some of them, might have been conferred on the Red Man." Of this it may be said that there are but few Masonic signs which are not found, although with an entirely different meaning, in the sign language of the American Indians.
Illustrations of several such signs are given in Col. Mallery's paper above referred to. Note particularly Fig. 290 on page 467; Fig. 293, page 471; Fig. 309, page 487; and Fig. 336, page 531.
In "The New Age" for September, 1910, (pages 244 and 245) in his article on "The Legend of Masonry Among the Osage Indians," Frederick S. Barde says:
"A Scottish Rite Mason who has lived long in Oklahoma was asked if he believed the Osages knew anything of Masonry. He replied instantly that he did, and told of having recognized certain signs used by an Osage who had shown curiousity in examining a Masonic badge. This Osage could not speak English and talked through an interpreter. This Scottish Rite Mason had no familiar acquaintance with the Osages, and admitted that his belief was based largely on surmise, as he did not attempt to hold Masonic communication with the Indian. The observation and belief of this Mason is common to many others. A Mason ignorant of Osage customs and speech, watching attentively a conference of Osages, and departing without inquiry, might be convinced beyond the shadow of doubt that these Indians know something of Masonry.
"All North American Indians have an inter-tribal means of communication, known as the sign language. It is so graphic and comprehensive that two Indians, wholly unable to understand each other orally, may converse easily and with certainty in this language. In it are two signs that correspond without appreciable difference to two of the most important signs of Masonry, both in the degree of Master Mason. Remarkable as it may be, the meaning of these Indian signs is practically the same as their Masonic counterparts, one being concrete and the other more or less abstract
"But unhappily for the Osage legend, or its extension to other Indian tribes, a more inaccurate and misleading statement could hardly be made than to say that the Osages have even the slightest knowledge of Masonic secrets. From the Indian standpoint, one of these signs has a clear origin in a custom peculiar to a powerful tribe when in battle; the origin of the other, speculatively at least, may be traced to a daily phenomenon of nature.
"The accuracy of this conclusion is upheld by Masons of inquiring minds who have lived for more than a quarter of a century among the Osages, speaking fluently both the sign language and the Osage tongue, and who are acquainted with the legend of Osage Masonry. They declare that they never found the least evidence of Masonry among the Osages, and believe firmly that the legend has no stronger foundation than the gestural coincidence between the two Indian and the two Masonic signs."
What the two signs were, I have taken some pains to find out, but am still uninformed.
In his book entitled "Indian Masonry," Robert C. Wright addresses his Preface "To the Brethren of the Craft," and begins it with:
"This work is fraternally dedicated to you. In your kindly charge it is placed, hoping that when it has been measured by the plumb, square and level, it will be found good work, true work, square work, and just such work as you need and may pass to be used in the building up of the real Masonic structure."
Here are a few extracts from the book:
"Some time ago a brother said one day that he had seen Indians give Masonic signs, and this being doubted in spite of the brother's earnestness, an investigation was begun." (p. 1)
"I have had Masons solemnly tell me that they had seen Masonic signs given by Indians and that they were Masons. This can be explained in two ways: first, the Indian had actually become a Mason or had learned the signs secretly from white men as negroes of the south had done- second, those brethren had taken as Masonic, signs made by the Indian for which he intended an entirely different meaning. There is great danger that the civilized understanding is mistaken or forced, and errors are more likely to happen from the hearsay of traders, interpreters and agents, who have made an Indian jargon, and insist that signs of their own making, adopted by the Indians, are universal." (p. 12)
"Signs are very liable to be misunderstood; yet some of them have a startling likeness to ancient Masonic symbols." (p. 16)
"There is no Indian Masonry. There is Indian Masonry. This wide difference I make clear when I say, no Indian Masonry as the average man understands it, but there is a deep Indian Masonry for him who seeks to find it." (p. 108)
"There is no Indian Masonry in that small and narrow sense which most of us think of; that is, one who pays lodge dues, wears an apron like ours and gives signs so nearly like ours that we find him perforce a Mason in any degree or degrees we know, and which degrees we are too prone to watch, just as we do a procession of historical floats, which casually interest us, and maybe a little more so if we can but secure a place at the head of the procession, the true meaning of which we have but a faint idea about. This makes our own Masonry as meaningless as the interpretation of Indian signs by an ignorant trapper." (p. 109)
Dr. Walter Rough. a Mason and an anthropologist who for twenty-seven years has been associated with the Smithsonian Institute, is reported to have expressed himself in so far as Masonry among the Hopi Indians is concerned, as told in the following extract from a newspaper article:
"A Blue Lodge Mason entered one of the Hopi lodges. He came out thunderstruck. "I don't know where he got it," said the Blue Lodge man, "but that Indian buck in there knows as much Masonry as I do." Which is a lovely fable which helps to make guides rich. According to Dr. Hough, there aren't any Hebrew words or Masonic rites to be found in Hopi Pueblos. The resemblance is undeniable, but there is no common meaning or common origin." (Herbert Corey, in Denver Times of Oct. 1, 1913.)
Brother Newton R. Parvin of the Masonic Library at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and Grand Secretary of Iowa, has kindly furnished me with a list embracing thirteen books and magazine articles relating to Indian Masonry, which I shall be pleased to pass on to any of you who wish to delve deeper.
In so far as a settlement of the question whether there was, or is now, any Masonry as we know it, known to uncivilized North American Indians, I will leave it as Stockton did in "The Lady, or the Tiger." You will remember that at the end of the story he told us:
"The question of her decision is not to be lightly considered, and it is not for me to presume to set myself up as the one person able to answer it. And so I leave it all with you: Which came out of the open door, the lady or the tiger?"
(1) This introduction and the version which I shall give you is taken from Col. Garrick Mallery's paper on "Sign Language Among North American Indians," printed in the First Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology (1879-80.)
LIST FURNISHED BY BROTHER PARVIN
Sept. 23, 1913
Barde, F.S., Legend of Masonry Among the Osage Indians. New Age, V. 13; pp. 242, 245.
Bromwell, H. P. H., Masonry Among the American Indians. American Tyler, V. 5; p. 10.
Freemasonry Among the Indians. New England Craftsman, V. 4; p. 90.
Indian Masonry. American Tyler, V. 16; p. 160
Masonry Among the American Indians. Evergreen, V. 3; p. 3.
New Kind of Masonry. American Tyler, V. 15; p. 84.
Newell, C., Masonry of the Red Man. Tyler Keystone, V. 21; pp. 113, 146, 168, 192, 194.
A Possible Relic of Indian Masonry. American Tyler, V. 7; p. 336.
Some Unrecognized Masonry. American Tyler, V. 18 ; p. 404.
Welles, T.F., Freemasonry Among the Indians. Trestle Board, San Francisco, V. 9; p. 31.
Welsh, Indian Freemasonry. Trestle Board, San Francisco, V. 2; p. 178.
Wright, Robert C., Is there Masonry Among the Indians? Tyler Keystone, V. 20; p. 523. V. 21; pp. 8, 28.
Wright, Robert C., Indian Masonry.
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THE TWO ASHLARS BY BRO. F.C. HIGGINS, NEW YORK
Our lodge is in every respect a symbolic workshop, furnished with all the tools belonging to the different grades of workmen, and with a trestleboard upon which are set forth the day's designs and the material upon which the labor of the brethren is to be expended.
This symbolic material consists of the two ashlars, emblematic of the crude material and the finished product, which are placed plainly enough on view in New York lodges, but absent or almost unknown except to students in many other states. The oblong stones and nondescript slabs sometimes seen are noteworthy evidence that the age-old significance of the "cubical stone," which has played such a prominent role in the mythology and mysticism of the past, has almost run to oblivion in the modern craft. These stones should really be perfect cubes. The symbolism of the working tools is completely lost the moment such proportions are lost sight of or ignored. The ancient Hebrews had their own version of the great "number philosophy," which lent sanctity and expressiveness to the number 12. First of all, it was the number of their Twelve Tribes, who were doubtless a symbolical enrolment of all the heads of families under the zodiacal sign of the month in which they were born. It is certainly significant that the patriarchal system was founded upon this number, and later on many other dispositions were made that showed a particular reverence for the Chaldean plan of the universe based upon 12 signs. As one cube possesses six sides each of which is a perfect square, a number of remarkable mathematical and geometrical symbolisms were established based upon the fact that all the numbers, from one to 12 added together produce 78. This number is also the sum of 3 times "26," the numerical value of the "Great and Sacred Name of Jehovah" (JHVH).
As each cube possesses 12 edges, the combined number require a 24-inch rule to symbolize their total outline. The breaking into different mathematical combinations of this supreme number, each significant of some one of the great ruling phenomena of nature, was seen in the symbolism of the use of an operative Mason's gavel in the dressing of building stones.
The grand old mystery name of our Creator, called the Tetragrammaton (Greek for "four-letter name") had as its root the three letters J, H, and V, which as numbers were 10, 5, and 6, or 21, the sum of the added numbers 1 to 6 represented by a single cube.
This fact was made the basis of a curious legend, ought by the wise old rabbis into that marvelous compilation called the Talmud, from which more than a little of our Masonic material has been derived.
The story is of the Patriarch Enoch (Hanok, father Methuseleh), whose name means "the initiator," 10, all accounts agree, lived 365 years, or a "year of years." A remarkable book attributed to him is often alluded to by the Hebrew commentators and early Christian "Fathers"; but no trace of it was ever found until in the last century it turned up in Abyssinia. It has been translated out of that strange African dialect into many tongues. The so-called Book of Enoch contains a remarkable recital of astronomical science as known to the ancients, told entirely in allegorical form, while the history of the Children of Israel is prophesied (?) under the allegorical simile of the remarkable doings of a singularly intelligent flock of sheep which which build a house for their shepherd, the whole reading very much like a children's fairy tale.
The Talmudic legend of Enoch represents him as greatly disturbed at the news of the impending world Deluge," for fear the Name of God should be lost. He accordingly caused it to be inscribed upon a triangular plate of gold, and affixed it to a cubical stone, for the safe keeping of which he caused a series of nine arched vaults to be constructed, one beneath another, at the foot of Mt. Moriah (the holy mountain of the Jews, as Mt. Meru was of the Hindus). The rains came and the flood descended, and so washed the mud and silt over the site that it became completely obliterated.
Centuries later, when King David was moved "to build an house unto the Lord," and actually set his workmen to dig the foundations thereof, the latter discovered the vaults, and descending therein brought to light the long-buried stone.
Tradition also has it that the material of this stone was agate, which would at once connect it with the Hermetic philosophy; for agate, above all, was sacred to Hermes and Thoth or David. The latter, having been a warlike monarch, was not permitted to achieve that which he had begun and so bequeathed the cubical stone to his son Solomon, who made use of it as the cornerstone of the Temple.
The imagery of this is plain enough in the fact that, not in a written or engraved inscription, but in the mathematical proportions of the cube itself, was to be found that wonderful Name which is, as it were, the foundation of the universe, of which man is a fleshly epitome and the Temple on Mt. Moriah a symbolic one.
By knowing the use of the working tools of an E. A. the initiate might begin his labor of hewing and shaping the brute matter at his feet into stones fit for the builders' use; but when he had accomplished his task he was apprised that the symmetry and order it represented in its finished shape was "God": not a god whom he created, but a God whom his patient labor had revealed.
The cube itself was an age-old symbol of the spiritual Man, as set forth in the Mahabarata of ancient India:
A portion of Mine own Self, transformed in the world of life into an immortal Spirit, draweth round itself the senses of which the Mind, is the Sixth, veiled in Matter.
Therefore we find the cube present in all the ancient mythologies, which were but racial cloaks for one and the same wisdom religion, understood by the priests of all countries alike as a symbol of the sixth sign of the zodiac, the characters portraying the great Mother of Wisdom and her divine son Man.
It is the task of the apprentice to break through the shell of matter and liberate the Divine Word that dwells within by opening his own spiritual perceptions to the light of the Logos. As the priceless statues of Phidias and Praxiteles were once shapeless masses of unmeaning stone and the Parthenon a sea-worn crag, until gavel and gage, mallet and chisel, in the hand of inspiration had performed their tasks, so has always been the lesson of the cube in its unshapen and shapen forms to the apprentice Mason.
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MAUNDY THURSDAY --- A TOAST BY Bro. M.F. Funkhouser, Nebraska
The chief claim of an Institution to some is the evidence of its Antiquity; to such the genealogical record of Masonry should be most gratifying. That it should antedate the Christian Era ought certainly to satisfy the most exacting enthusiast, but there are those who insist on even a more remote origin and who never tire of tracing its ramifications through the labyrinths of the Ancient Mysteries of India, Egypt and Greece, and exultingly picture it in detail, surviving, triumphant through all the vicissitudes and mutations of human affairs, outlasting the wreck and havoc of dynasties, the disruption of Empires, the downfall and rise of Republics, witnessing in successive ages the atrocities and death of tyrants and applauding the self sacrifice, devotion and triumph of patriots.
How shall we gauge and measure the merit of such an Institution, with a foundation so broad and deep and firm that it has been thus perpetuated, though ever feared and frowned upon by ignorance and superstition, threatened by bigotry and assailed by intolerance. The jealous hate of despots has attacked it with fire and sword and its followers have been proscribed, persecuted, reviled, loaded with chains, thrown into dungeons and even burned at the stake--martyrs to aspiritual despotism which made Reason and Free Thought crimes, worthy of discipline and severe punishment, instead of a patient hearing and candid exposition.
A sacred trust is attached to this rich inheritance, which we have received from our progenitors. A personal responsibility rests upon us for the preservation of the principles of civil and religious liberty--Liberty, Equality, Fraternity, Free Speech, Free Thought, Free Conscience, Free Press and Free schools should be as dear to us as they were to our departed dead. We too, should be ready and willing to shed our blood, yea even give up our lives, in order that these sacred, God given rights and principles should continue to exist, grow, expand, and be a force and power for good, and that the permanency of our institutions should be established forever in this land of freedom and opportunity, where the air is full of sunlight and the flag is full of stars. Religion, morality and knowledge are necessary to make men happy and respectable, under any form of government. Masonry, as has been well said, is more than an institution, more than a tradition, more than a society. In truth, it is one of the forms of the Divine life upon earth; of no age, it belongs to all time; of no religion, it finds great truths in all. It has touched with grace and beauty the tender virtues of mercy and kindness. Its blessings have been felt in every nation, language and creed, and from its altars constantly arise the incense of a prayerful life. It has always stood for liberty, equality and fraternity. It has instituted no inquisitions, lighted no fires of persecution, antagonized no religion. It stands for the purity of womanhood and the sanctity of the home. As the citizen is the unit of the state, the fireside is the unit of civilization and woman is its Queen. All the higher interests of the race are in her keeping and the honor and chivalry of Masonry are thrown around her.
The essence of Masonry is character, its goal, ideal manhood and its mission is "to teach men to know and practice their duties to themselves and their fellows." (This is the practical end of all philosophy and knowledge.) Its message is the dissemination of moral, political, philosophical and religious truth, and that honor and duty are the beacon lights to guide life's vessel over the stormy seas of time.
It has a history, a literature and a philosophy. It also has a creed, the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of Man and the Immortality of the Soul. Born almost in the very cradle of the race, the antique symbols of Masonry are vessels which have come down to us full freighted with the intellectual riches of the past. In the lading of these argosies are the best from the ports of every age and contain much to prove its claim to be acknowledged as the benefactor of mankind.
When men begin to reflect, they begin to differ. The great problem then is to find guides who will not seek to become tyrants. In Masonry with its faith in man, hope for the future of humanity and loving kindness for its fellows is found a guide who ever endeavors to be beneficent, unambitious and disinterested.
The onward march of the human race requires that the heights about it should blaze with noble and enduring lessons of courage, in which the hope of success and not the expectation of reward, should be the stimulating and sustaining power. Life's length, my brethren, is not measured by its hours and days, but by that which has been done therein for our Country and Mankind.
One of the most marvelous, wonderful, significant and convincing reasons for Masonic perpetuity, is that it is the only institution in the world around whose altars the Christian, the Hebrew, the Moslem, the Brahmin and the follower of every creed (excepting only "that orphan, that waif wandering the midnight streets of time, homeless and alone,"--the Atheist) may on terms of perfect equality, assume our sacred obligations and as brethren unite in prayers to the One God, who is above all others, leaving each of its initiates to look for the foundation of his faith and hope in the written scriptures of his own religion.
The Sages of all the Ancient Races have ever had of necessity, a secret and Holy doctrine, which was not made known to the people at large,--when the stars were worshipped, the Initiates adored that which manifested itself as a star. When Fire and Light were objects of adoration by the multitude, the Adepts worshipped the Invisible Principle from which the Light emanated.
To Masonry, as to other Institutions, there came at intervals, crises when it was deemed expedient and necessary to create higher degrees--a circle within a circle--to whose members alone the chief secrets could be entrusted. At such times infinite care was taken, while seeming to make the whole known to all, to conceal what was necessary by symbols and even trivial explanations, which led away from the truth, instead of toward it.
The Inner circle of the Scottish Rite, modified to suit the modern conditions and requirements, is our Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction, the Governing Body of Our Order to whom we all owe and willingly give loyal allegiance, and from whom we derive our authority to assist in propagating as the highest duty of Citizenship, an unselfish Patriotism, "that spirit of liberty which stifles the voices of despots, turns blind submission into rational obedience, dissipates the mists of superstition, kindles the flame of Art and pours happiness into the laps of the people."
The Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, as now constituted, came into being in 1786 when the Grand Constitutions, which have governed the Rite since that date, were adopted. The number of degrees were increased to 32, with the addition of a governing degree, the 33rd.
This Rite was in existence in France and other countries in Europe prior to 1762 and known as the "Rite of Perfection or Heredom." It was then composed of three degrees of the York Rite and twenty two others, the 18th being the Rose Croix, and the 25th the "prince of the Royal Secret."
Scottish Masonry was introduced into America by Stephen Morin, who held a patent from this Rite of Perfection or Heredom, Orient of Paris, of the date of August 27th, 1761. His title was "Grand Master Inspector." Besides the power to establish a symbolic lodge in America, the Grand Councils authorized him to confer the higher degrees, giving him the rank of Inspector over all the bodies of these degrees, with power of substitution, and to create Inspectors General in all places where the sublime degrees were not established. He confined his labors exclusively to the Scottish Rite and successive Deputy Inspectors were created by him, who in turn granted patents to other individuals.
In April, 1795, John Mitchell was raised to the highest degree in Masonry and created Deputy Grand Inspector General. On May 25th, 1801, Inspector General Mitchell granted equal honors and a similar patent to Frederick Dalcho, a physician of Charleston, S. C., and also an officer in the United States Army. Six days later, on May 31st, 1801, there was organized at Charleston, South Carolina, with Col. John Mitchell as the First Sovereign Grand Commander, and Dr. Frederick Dalcho as Lieutenant Commander, a Supreme Council of the 33rd for the United States of America, which on December 4th, 1802, issued a circular giving the Grand Constitutions of 1786 as the law of its existence and source of power, stating that the same had been ratified by Frederick the Great, King of Prussia and Grand Commander and who had delegated to this First Supreme Council, all the Masonic prerogatives which his Majesty himself possessed.
To America alone the privilege was given for the establishment of two Supreme Councils, while to every other Country in Europe, but one was permissible. There are scattered over the world, in existence and in harmony with our own, twenty-nine regular Supreme Councils, every one of which has, mediately or immediately, flowed from our own Mother Council of the World, the limits of whose jurisdiction embraces thirty states and all the territories, organized and unorganized. This includes the Phillipines, Hawaii, Porto Rico, and the Oriental Empire of Japan, and only through our doors can the Army and Navy gain admission into the ranks of Scottish Rite Masonry. A patent issued by this Body is a sure passport to the confidence of Scottish Rite Masons and commands their respect in all lands and among all peoples.
The Northern Supreme Council was established in August, 1813, and their jurisdiction is limited to fifteen states of the Union, but among these are included the most populous and thickly settled. A thorough understanding exists between the two Supreme Councils and they work together, without friction or jealousy. Since the organization of our Supreme Council, nearly 115 years ago, "the record of those who have been crowned active members is one to which we can point with just pride, not only because of their general high character, the good judgment and discretion displayed and good works done, but also because of the unique fact that not one ever has brought reproach on the Order--their Escutcheon is as bright and untarnished as when they first entered on the scene," exemplifying again the truth of the sentiment that the "noblest monuments that mark the progress of Mankind are not confined to those of marble, stone, and brass, but rather deeds of men."
With such an Institution to inspire enthusiasm and loyalty, such an Ancestry to arouse and stimulate, with such leaders to counsel and direct, with such companions to encourage and assist; if we but earnestly endeavor to do our part of constantly diffusing our messages of wisdom and philanthropy, of philosophy and toleration; of voicing ever an appreciation of the dignity and discipline of labor; of disseminating, with discrimination, the doctrines containing profound truths for every department of life; belief in the existence of God, the Brotherhood of Man, the Immortality of the Soul,-- insisting on and living up to a patriotism as loyal as i~s obedience to the law is unswerving; then we can rest assured that our Grand and Noble Order, clothed in majesty and power, shall continue to move down the great highways of History,--marching at the head of the procession of the World's events, the foremost exponent, teaching by example of civilized and Christianized freedom, its manifest destiny to light the torch of liberty till it illumines the entire pathway of the World, till human freedom and human rights become the common heritage of mankind. For in the language of our late Grand Commander, "the cause of human progress is our cause, the enfranchisement of human thought is our supreme wish; the freedom of human conscience, our mission; and the guarantee of equal rights to all peoples everywhere,--the end of our Contention."
THE WISDOM OF WAITE
The keynote of creation is modesty, and its spirit is that of concealment.
There are depths of the universe which give up strange forms, as the sea gives up monsters.
The light of the true world is darkness unto this.
The universe exists for its intelligences; and for man--in so far as he can use it.
Morality is not the end of life, but rather its beginning.
Covetousness is a cardinal virtue when it is directed to imperishable things.
The secret of eternal life is that of love, and the secret of love is to live in the lives of others, with and for them.
All great books are sacraments, but all readers do not communicate worthily.
Human life is the story of a great secret, but we are slowly unravelling the
— A. E. Waite. Steps to the Crown.
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"PEACE ON EARTH"
LONG ago, over the armed camp of the hard old Roman world, the Angels sang their prophetic hymn, proclaiming "peace on earth among men of good will." How far off it must have seemed in that day, like a faint echo of the bells of the City of God; how far off it seems today, when the earth is red with war and a pall of woe hangs over the race. The world is still in twilight; and from beyond dim horizons comes ceaselessly the thunder of great guns. A hard frostlike surface of gaiety sparkles in our cities; and anxiety turns to laughter or to apathy for relief. After all the ages, the hope of peace on earth seems as vain as all the vain things proclaimed of Solomon.
Nevertheless, the song of the Angels will come true. It is not a myth. It is not a mockery. Surviving ages of slaughter, of hating, of wild injustice, it returns to haunt us, foretelling a better tomorrow, proving in this last defeat its immortality. Because that music is so far off we know that it is not our own, but was sent into the soul of man by a Power as far above all our discordant noises as the stars are above the mist. It means much that we can hear it, despite the mad hell of the hour, and if we cease to love it chaos worse confounded will come again, making the Dark Ages eternal. If the time seems long delayed, we must lay it to heart that the vision will come true as fast as the world fills up with Men of Goodwill — and no faster.
Finally, out of the welter of war, with its blood and fire and tears, its measureless misery and woe, its hideous nightmare of bigotry and brutality, its unspeakable cruelty, its slavery of hate, its orgy of lust, its senseless worship of Force; slowly, surely, sadly, after ages of tragedy are past,
"We shall come, not blindly impelled, but free
To an orbit of order at last,
And a finer peace shall be wrought out of pain
Than the stars in their courses know;
Ah, me! but my soul is in sorrow till then,
And the feet of the years move slow."
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A NATIONAL MASONIC CONFERENCE
How can we best celebrate the founding of the mother Grand Lodge of England, in June, 1917? Looking forward to that day, which ought to give a new date to the history of Freemasonry, we venture to suggest a National Masonic Conference; not a legislative assembly, but a Feast of fraternal goodwill, a Festival of joy and wisdom in which to renew our vows, to cement our fellowship, and to lay far-reaching plans for the better use of Masonry in behalf of all that makes for private nobility and social welfare. Such an assembly, meeting in some central city easily accessible — Indianapolis, for example — representing every part of the country, and every rite and rank of the Order; presided over by that noble and distinguished Mason who for thirty years has been the Grand Master of Maryland; with a program carefully prepared, covering the questions of universal interest, and bringing together the best intellects of the Craft at home and abroad — such an assembly, we say, would give an impetus to Masonry that would be felt for years to come.
Surely, if Masonry means anything at all, American Masons ought to be able to meet on St. John's Day without jealousy and without suspicion, celebrating the greatest event in the story of modern Masonry, and discussing ways and means whereby to make the spirit of Masonry more effective. Indeed, the very suggestion of the possibility of misunderstanding or objection shows how much such a Conference is needed, and how much it may do, equally for a better adjustment of inter-jurisdictional differences and for the promotion of a closer fellowship, a more concerted action, and the mobilizating of the influence of Masonry for the common good. An unofficial, voluntary Conference, drawn together by the spirit and need of the Fraternity, in memory of a great event, planning for a greater Masonry, if not why not? What valid or wise objection can be urged against it? Would not the deliberation of such an assembly report the best thought and practical wisdom of the Order, and mean an advance of Masonry everywhere? We shall be very glad to hear from our Members in regard to this proposal which seems to us to be worth while.
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GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND
Our readers will recall that we wrote last spring regretting the action of the mother Grand Lodge in suspending from Masonic fellowship Brethren of German birth during the period of the war. At a distance it looked as if the Grand Lodge had permitted political issues to invade its sanctuary in violation of its own Constitution, and we confess that it dismayed us. However, as so often happens, when all the facts are know it is the other way round. The fact that did not get into the record, and seemed not to have been mentioned in the discussions, was that German Brethren insisted upon bringing up the issues of the war in Lodge meetings. So much so that it became difficult, in some places, to hold a Lodge meeting in peace — for English Brethren were in no mood to debate such issues, much less in Lodge. Things came to such a state that Grand Lodge was appealed to for relief, and it passed the resolution referred to. No doubt there were Brethren of German birth who had no inclination to inject such questions into their Masonic fellowship, and who suffered hurt by the law. Perhaps another and better way might have been devised, but our point is that the Grand Lodge was intent on keeping all such issues out of the Lodge room, not bringing them in. After visiting England, and learning the situation, we feel that Masons everywhere never had more reason to be proud of the mother Grand Lodge than during the last two dreadful years. Its dignity, its patience, its loyalty to its own great principles were worthy of its great tradition; the more so, remembering the fact that the Grand Lodge of Teutonic countries severed relations with their Brethren in enemy lands at once and out right. So much in view of the fact, and for the sake of making the fact clear.
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Masonry is moral idealism, by which is meant no vague and filmy dream, but a life-like portrait seen in advance of what men and society should be. Ideals, so far from being mere visions, are the most accurate results reached by means of the most painstaking calculation. It stands much in their favor that they come not from the brains of the evil, but from the intellects that are greatest. The greatest minds of each age have pleaded for Liberty because only the great minds can paint in advance the portrait of a free people. Many nations are now in the mire, lacking mind great enough to grasp a lofty ideal. Instead of being a mere romance, an ideal is the long mathematical calculation of a mind as logical as Euclid. Idealism is not the musings of a visionary; it is the calm geometry of life.
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A NEW YEAR PRAYER
O Thou Ancient of Days, whose years are throughout all generations, how frail we are in a world that was before we were born; how fleeting in a world that will last when we are gone. Nevertheless we are Thine, thought into being by Thy loving kindness for some purpose beyond our fathoming, and Thou dost not forsake the work of Thy hands. Therefore we who live in the House of Time lift up our prayer for light and love and life eternal, seeking to know Thee by what we are and what we have in us of the true and everlasting. Waken us to hear in the depths of our own souls Thy voice of gentle stillness telling us that our mortal life has immortal meanings.
Increase our faith as Thou dost increase our years, that the longer we live on the earth the nobler may our service be, the more willing our obedience, the more complete our devotion to Thy will. Grant us to be wiser tomorrow because of the failures of today; more trustful in the future by reason of the doubts that haunted us in the past; more forgiving because we so much need to be forgiven. Quicken our dull hearts to a more lively hope in Thy mercy; sanctify to us whatever may befall of trial or of danger; and grant us to love much, to love all, and most of all to love Thee, our Father and Redeemer.
Mercifully hast Thou brought us to the end of another year, though many who were better than we have fallen into the great white sleep — many of whom we knew and loved. O let us not miss what might be done with the gift of a new year for the service and blessing of our fellows; let us not fail of the beautiful thing that might be made of it. Stir up the gift that is in us; make us wise with insight from on high to discern clearly, to endeavor uprightly, to endure heroically. If we fail much, may we at least learn humility and penitence, and so have a heart of pity and of hope for others who have failed.
Forgive our mis-spent days, and help us to begin a new year with a new heart, a new hope, a new courage, and, if it may be, live more nobly, more faithfully, more kindly, more patiently, touched with a higher and holier purpose. And when the thread of our years is broken, when days and works are done, and the house of our dwelling is dissolved in death, O receive us by Thy mercy into the Home of the Soul, in His name. Amen.
J. F. N.
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A PRAYER IN TIME OF WAR
(The war will change many things in art and life, and among them, it is to be hoped, many of our own ideas as to what is, and what is not "intellectual.")
Thou, whose deep ways are in the sea,
Whose footsteps are not known,
To-night a world that turned from Thee
Is waiting — at Thy throne.
The towering Babels that we raised
Where scoffing sophists brawl,
The little antichrists we praised -
The night is on them all.
The fool hath said — The fool hath said -
And we who deemed him wise,
We who believed that Thou wast dead,
How should we seek Thine eyes?
How should we seek to Thee for power
Who scorned Thee yesterday?
How should we kneel, in this dread hour?
Lord, teach us how to pray!
Grant us the single heart, once more,
That mocks no sacred thing,
The Sword of Truth our fathers wore
When Thou wast Lord and King.
Let darkness unto darkness tell
Our deep unspoken prayer,
For, while our souls in darkness dwell,
We know that Thou art there.
- Alfred Noyes. London Daily Mail.
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THE MISSION OF MASONRY
Masonry also has her mission to perform. With her traditions reaching back to the earliest times, and her symbols dating further back than even the monumental history of Egypt extends, she invites all men of all religions to enlist under her banner and to war against evil, ignorance and wrong. — Albert Pike.
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IT is said that no Englishman understands American politics and that most of them are proud of their ignorance. However that may be, Lord Charnwood is an exception, as may be seen from his new "Life of Lincoln," which is the best biography of our prophet-President so far written in England. Joining a fine historical insight to a singularly lucid style, he portrays the background against which the tragedy of our Civil War must be studied; showing how far back the roots of schism ran in our history. This gives him opportunity to characterize the early leaders of the Republic, an art in which he is an adept, albeit we may not always agree with his estimates — as, for example, his too severe drawing of Jefferson. Still less can we subscribe to his rather low, if not biased, opinion of our Declaration of Independence.
Of Hamilton, whom Talleyrand ranked with Napoleon, he has a very high estimate; and Burr he describes as "an elegant profligate, with many graces but no public principle," — to which all would say Amen. Coming to the great debate that led up to the war, Lord Charnwood tells us that Webster must have been "nearly a great man; he was always passed over for the presidency." Calhoun he regards as the "embodied intellect of his time," but, alas, a man "who is undisturbed in his logical processes by good sense, healthy sentiment or any vigorous appetite for truth," — again a too austere verdict. He accepts the Wolseley estimate of Lee, as a man of majestic presence, of sweet and simple nature; "one of the few men who ever impressed me with their natural, their inherent greatness." So we might go on through a long list, accepting or rejecting one picture after another, each one etched with deftness and skill.
The great subject of the book is, of course, Lincoln, and barring a few minor errors as to his early life, it is a noble portrait, drawn with sympathy, insight, and warm appreciation, without idealization and without eulogy. Lincoln is presented to us as a real man, humble, modest, tender of heart, holding no bitterness, no hate, resisting the matchless generalship of Lee on one side, and on the other dealing with the rankest incompetency of leadership until Grant came to the rescue; struggling against adverse and counter-currents of feeling and events, lied about, defamed, ridiculed by men not worthy to touch his shoes — it is a great story, by whomsoever told, and here it is recited in a manner worthy of its nobility. If the reader will join with this biography the volume of "Personal Recollections of Lincoln," by Rankin, which ye editor edited last year, he will have an unforgetable picture of the man whom Lowell called "the First American."
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So many Brethren have asked about brief introductions to philosophy, that we venture to call attention to one entitled "Initiation into Philosophy," by Emile Faguet, of the French Academy, as one of the best of its kind. It is planned and written for the beginner, and is designed to satisfy the initial curiosity of young men as to what philosophy is, what it has to tell us about life, and what its uses are. As such, it is written in a very lucid and happy style, giving a rapid sketch of the history of philosophy from the time of Thales down to the last century, avoiding as far as possible technical language; giving the keynote of each school of thought, and the main lines followed by each great thinker. "Initiation into Literature," by the same author, does the same service for the rich and picturesque field of poetry, story and drama.
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THE GREEN MANSIONS
One of the greatest living writers — now that Tolstoi is gone — is W.H. Hudson, albeit he is not widely known. Poet, naturalist, philosopher, magician, as a stylist he has few, if any, living equals. As a prophet of the great out-of-doors there is not another like him. Such stories as "The Green Mansions" and the "Purple Land" are books to read more than once, if one wishes to come very close to Mother nature in whose soft arms all must sleep at last. In proof of the spirit as well as the art of man, read this:
"The blue sky, the brown soil beneath, the grass, the trees, the animals, the wind, the rain, the stars are never strange to me; for I am in and of and one with them; and my flesh and the soil are one, and the heat in my blood and in the sunshine are one, and the winds and the tempests and my passions are one. I feel the strangeness only with regard to my fellow men, especially in towns, where they exist in conditions unnatural to me, but congenial to them. In such moments we sometimes feel kinship with, and are strangely drawn to the dead, who were not as these; the long, long dead, the men who knew not life in towns, and felt no strangeness in sun and wind and rain."
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GRAND LODGE LIBRARY
The book to which we referred some time ago, "Treasures of the Grand Lodge of England," by Brother Dr. Hammond, is well along its way to completion, and will itself be a treasure, as we can testify after having examined some of the plates that are to go into it. There will be twelve pages of color illustrations, thirty-two pages of black and white plates, and a hundred pages of descriptive matter by Dr. Hammond, the Librarian. There will be two editions, one expensive and highly finished, and the other more popular — the prices have not been announced. It will no doubt find its way into Lodge libraries all over the land, as a kind of keepsake in celebration of the founding of the mother Grand Lodge.
* * *
The Green Mansions, by Hudson. Alfred A. Knopf Co., New York. $1.50.
Initiation into Philosophy, by Faguet. G. P. Putnams Sons, New York. $1.25.
Those About Trench, by Lewis. Macmillan Co., New York. $1.50
The New World, by Hugh Black. Revell Co., New York. $1.00
Philosophy, What is it? by Jovens. G. P. Putnams Sons, New York. $1.00.
Masonic Instructor, by Rabbi Eno Ytneves. Publisher not named
Aspects of the Infinite Mystery, by Gordon. Houghton, Mifflin Co., Boston. $1.50.
* * *
"GIVE US MEN"
Give us Men!
Men from every rank,
Fresh and free and frank;
Men of thought and reading,
Men of light and leading,
Men of loyal breeding,
The nation's welfare speeding;
Men of faith and not of fiction.
Men of lofty aim in action;
Give us Men — I say again,
Give us Men!
Give us Men!
Strong and Stalwart ones;
Men whom highest hope inspires,
Men whom purest honor fires,
Men who trample self beneath them,
Men who make their country wreath them
As her noble sons,
Worthy of their sires!
Men who never shame their mothers,
Men who never fail their brothers,
True, however false are others;
Give us men — I say again,
Give us Men!
Give us Men!
Men, who when the tempest gathers,
Grasp the standard of their fathers
In the thickest fight:
Men who strike for home and altar
(Let the crowd cringe and falter),
God defend the right!
True as truth, though lorn and lonely,
Tender, as the brave are only;
Men who tread where saints have trod,
Men for Country — Home — and God;
Give us Men — I say again — again -
Give us such Men!
By the Bishop of Exeter
* * *
A LEGEND OF JERUSALEM
There dwelt, so runs the legend, brothers twain,
On Zion's hill long centuries ago.
Below them Jordan's green and fertile plain,
Against the cloudless blue gleamed Hermon's snow,
Westward rose Carmel's purple ridge, and fair
The vine-clad hills, the groves on either hand,
The emerald slopes begemmed with blossoms rare,
The distant glistening sea, the forests grand.
Content they toiled in mutual love and peace,
And being righteous, God upon them smiled,
And blessed their labor with a rich increase,
But unto Ephraim had given no child.
Submissively he saw his hope expire;
Sad oftentimes, yet questioning not God's ways,
Though Reuben's dwelling held his heart's desire,
A son, and daughters fair made glad his days.
Thus sped the years; then came a time of blight,
When labor of the fig and olive failed;
Nor ripening clusters hung on sun-kissed height,
And husbandmen their barren fields bewailed;
Empty the fold, no herd within the stall,
Famine and pestilence walked hand in hand;
Shrouded each home by sorrow's sombre pall,
And voice of mourning sounded through the land.
Each heart was saddened by the other's grief
When the brief toil of songless reapers done,
So scant the harvest, numbering every sheaf,
The sum sufficed not for the need of one;
And each took earnest counsel with his heart
When dawned the feast day set for prayer and praise,
How secretly, some cheer he might impart
To light the gloom of erstwhile joyous days.
Moonlight's soft splendor silvered wave and wood,
And Ephraim, deeming that his brother slept,
Arose and hastening, gained the hill where stood
The meagre, scattered shocks from mildew kept,
A sheaf uplifting from his scanty store
He sighed, "My brother, greater is thy need."
Then to the farther field his burden bore,
Nor dreamed that angels marked the kindly deed.
Reuben had waited also for the night,
And softly, silently, he took his way
Where gaunt and shrunken in the yellow light,
His ripened corn upon the hillside lay.
"Brother beloved," he said, "how rich am I
In ail thy lonely, loving heart doth crave,
Half of this treasure on thy field shall lie
Thou shalt rejoice and say the dear Lord gave."
Thrice had they passed each other in the night,
Intent upon their mission; morning came,
And still, O miracle, O wondrous sight,
The sum of tented sheaves was still the same!
The fourth time, lo! the feet of both were set
In the same path, where shadows interlaced,
And midway, silently, the brothers met,
Each understood, and weeping, they embraced.
And on this hallowed spot, fair Zion's hill,
Jerusalem was built, and to this day
The legend beautiful, the pilgrims tell
To travellers passing up the Holy Way.
MRS. OTTO N. SCHULTE
Ward Place, South Orange, N. J.
* * *
MAKE THE VOYAGE ALONE
You must make the voyage with self alone
Into the beautiful realms of God,
Though it lead you afar and away from home
Into haunts that are seldom trod.
It is nature's plan, it is nature's call,
It is nature's way so true,
And you, the consciousness in it all
Must find what is TRUTH to you.
— L. B. M
THE QUESTION BOX
STORY OF FREEMASONRY
In the September issue of The Builderare several questions on a book called "The Story of Freemasonry." Where can I get that book and what is the price?
— H. H. H.
From Brother John H. Cowles, 16th and S Streets, N. W., Washington, D C. The price is fifty cents. You will find it an interesting littie book.
* * *
RITUAL OF ANCIENT EGYPT
Relative to the inquiry of G. R. D. as to the Ritual of Ancient Egypt, let me say that the "Book of the Dead" has been translated by E. A. Wallis Budge, and is published in three volumes, containing the Egyptian text and an English translation, with illustrations. "Egyptian Ideas of the Future Life," by the same author, is a popular little book with numerous extracts from the Book of the Dead. — D.H.
* * *
THE FIRST IDEALIST
For further information regarding Akhnaton, I would refer G. D. to "Tell el Amarne," by W. M. Flinders Petrie, who discovered the site of Akhnaton's capital which he built after he abandoned Thebes and Amun worship. This work, containing the results of Petrie's discoveries, illustrates and describes the short but brilliant period of mesopotamian influence on Egyptian art and religion. — D.H.
* * *
TALMUD AND VEDAS
I would call the attention of J. A. K. to a small volume entitled "Treasures of the Talmud," by Hershon, which consists of a series of subjects compiled from the Babylonian Talmud. A specimen of the Vedic Literature is to be found in "Rig-Veda," by F. Max Muller. — D.H.
* * *
WHITE AND BLACK
Will you advise me through your pages, (1) What is the present approximate number of Freemasons in the United States? (2) What percent of them are white and what percent are colored?
— O. E. H.
(1) There are, approximately, one million and a half Masons in the United States. (2) The latest facts at hand — 1913 — regarding colored Masons, estimates that they number 91,668; no doubt they may safely be reckoned at one hundred thousand by this time. From which it is easy to figure out the percent.
* * *
What were the Masonic emblems found under Cleopatra's Needle? Are they illustrated anywhere?
— N. W. J. H.
See article in The Builder, Vol. 1, p. 18, by Brother Baird, discussing the emblems found under the Needle when it was moved from Egypt to New York; the article is illustrated. The emblems found were as follows: — A polished Cube of syenite, a perfect Ashlar; a polished Square; rough and irregular block of syenite — a rough Ashlar; axis stone with figures — like a trestleboard; a marked stone; hard lime stone with a trowel cemented to the surface; a lead plummet. For an elaborate account, see "Egyptian Obelisks," by H. H. Gorringe, who had charge of the removal of the Needle, and who includes in his volume full accounts of all obelisks brought from Egypt to Europe, their measurements, inscriptions, and the methods of their transportation.
* * *
I understand that after the Civil War, a few of the Grand Lodges permitted their subordinate Lodges to accept candidates for degrees that had been maimed during the war. (1) Will you please tell me what Grand Lodges did this, and if any of them are still allowing it. (2) Is there any jurisdiction where a man can enter, if he has lost an arm or a leg?
— H. M. M.
(1) Such candidates might have been permitted to enter, though we do not recall any legislation to that end. If done at all it was doubtless by tacit understanding, not by formal law — that is, so far as we are aware. Perhaps some Members can furnish further facts. There was a time, along in the seventies, when Grand Lodges were rather lax on the subject, perhaps for the reason our Brother gives. (2) There are jurisdictions in which a man may enter who has lost an arm or a leg — if he has an artificial limb which permits him formally to fulfill the requirements. We are soon to publish all the facts in the case, covering all the jurisdictions — and it will be an interesting revelation.
* * *
DIFFERENCES OF RITUAL
(1) Is the York Rite and the American Rite for the three degrees one and the same? And is it the Ancient Rite as worked now? (2) Is the ritual of Pennsylvania the same as the Canadian work? (3) What are your views as to the correct work of the three degrees of Masonry? I find there is a vast difference in the work here and the work I have been used to, and it sets a man thinking what is the correct work.
— G. M. T.
As we are soon to publish a brilliant lecture on this subject, it will be sufficient for the present to give very brief answers to these large questions: — (1) There is no "ancient York Rite” now in existence, if by that is meant the work as known in York, England, from whence the name comes. Our American Rite is a modification of a work which has passed through many vicissitudes. (2) There are no doubt as many differences between the Pennsylvania and Canadian work as between the Pennsylvania ritual and that of other jurisdictions in the United States. Pennsylvania adheres, we believe, to the work of the "Ancients" as it was before the union of the Ancient and Modern Grand Lodges in 1813. (3) The best Masonic work is that which best conveys the spirit and truth of Masonry; the ritual which makes the truth Masonry was meant to teach at once most impressive and most luminous. Such differences as exist have to do with matters of detail — everywhere the fundamental principles are the same. So much, awaiting the lecture which will do much to the clear and set us right.
* * *
Was Thomas Jefferson a Mason? Have just been looling over the October Builder, and on page 295 Brother Barry says of Washington's first cabinet, "all Masons but Jefferson." I confess that this rather jolted me, as the impression had always lurked in in my understanding that all but two of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were Masons — one of these two being a Catholic, and the other a Quaker. Clearly Jefferson was neither of these. Yet in the same issue, page 312, I am told that Jefferson was made a Mason in Paris. What is the truth? -
There is no proof, so far as we are aware, that Jefferson was ever made a Mason at any time or anywhere. He may have been made a Mason in Paris, but we asked to be shown. It serves no good purpose to claim as members of the Fraternity men of fame and historic importance — unless the facts are plain and unmistakable. Masonry does not need the patronage of great names, being great enough by virtue of its inherent beauty, its benignant spirit, and its service to humanity. If it can be established that Jefferson was a Mason, well and good — it would show that he was a man of discernment and good sense. It is the man, not the Order, who is honored in such cases.
* * *
ROYAL ARCH LITERATURE
Please let me know where I can procure a little book that would be particularly interesting to Royal Arch Masons.
— J. P. K.
I am preparing an address on the Symbolism of the Keystone, and if you can render me any assistance I will appreciate it very much.
— G. E. P.
Unfortunately, the literature of the Chapter degrees, apart from history and ritual, is very meager and unsatisfactory. Brother Waite — than whom there is no greater interpreter of symbolism now living — has promised to contribute some articles to The Builderon this subject, and they will be awaited with eager expectation. English and American interpretations of the Royal Arch are quite different, as we pointed out some time ago. (The Builder, February and April, 1916.) Of course, we have the "Book of the Chapter," by Mackey; also "The Keystone," by Lawrence (Kenning & Son, 16 Great Queen St., London, W. C., $1.50); and the delightful essays of Brother G. W. Warvelle, Masonic Temple, Chicago — to name no others. What we need very much is a book of the right kind on the symbolism of the Chapter, after the manner of Mackey's book on the first three degrees. As for the Keystone, its symbolism is so obvious, so eloquent, that it ought to be easy to interpret.
* * *
Would you be kind enough to throw more light on the origin of Negro Masonry; whether or not they originally worked under charter granted by some Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons; whether or not they are supposed to have carried with them the regular work in all of the 33 degrees; and the connection, if any, of Prince Hall with regular Masonry. — R.H.
These questions have been the occasion of heated debates in times past, and need not be revived for two reasons: first, because hardly a single new fact can be added to the masterly thesis of the late W. H. Upton on "Negro Masonry," which grew out of a report to the Grand Lodge of Washington regarding the rights and status of Negro Masons. Second, it would bring up once more the vexed questions of recognition, which, as the late Theodore Parvin said, is a question of taste, not of laws. See "History of Freemasonry Among Colored People in America," by Grimshaw, (Macoy Co., New York), also "Prince Hall and his Followers," by G. W. Crawford, The Crisis, 70 Fifth Ave., N. Y., especially the letter by Pike quoted on pp. 84-86. Our Brother will find his questions answered in these books, especially the first.
* * *
THE BIBLE IN MASONRY
Answering a Brother who asks for a list of Biblical allusions in the Masonic rituals, we have found the following; it may not be complete, but it will give him an interesting hour to look them up.
Psalm cxxxiii; Psalm cxviii:22; Ezekiel xliv:1-3-5; Matt. xxi:42; Mark vii:10; Acts iv:11; Rev. ii:17; Matt. xx:1-16; Psalm xxiv; Psalm cxxii; Chronicles vi, vii; Psalm xxiii; Isaiah xiii:16; Exodus iii:1-6; Chronicles xxxvi:11-20; Ezra i:1-3; Exodus iii:13-14; Psalm cxli; Psalm cxliii; Exodus iv:9; Haggai ii:1-9-23; Zachariah iv:6-10; Amos ix:11; Deuteronomy xxxi:24-26; Exodus xxv:21; Exodus xvi:23-24; Numbers xvii:10; Hebrews ix:25; Exodus vi:2-3; John i:1-5; Genesis xiv:12-24; Hebrews vii:1-6 17-20-1; 1st Kings vii:48-50; 1st Kings vii:40; 1st Kings vi:27; Rev. xxii:12-14; Psalm xv; Psalm lxxxvii; 1st Kings iv:1, 5, 6; 1st Kings v:17, 18;1st Kings vii:13-14- Ezekiel xxvii:9; Deuteronomy xxxi:24-26; Exodus xvi:33, 34; Numbers xvii:10; Numbers vii:89; Exodus xxv:40; Ezra iv; Nehemiah iv, v:1-20; Ezra v; Ezra vi, v:1-15; James iv:9-26-27; Matt. xxviv:14-25; Matt. xxviv:36-49; Matt. xxviiv:24-37; Acts iv:15-26; Acts xxxviiiv: 1-5; St. John xix, v:19; St. John xxv:24-28; Ephesians viv:10-17; John xxi.25-26; Psalms xii:1; Psalms xxxiv:17-22; Psalms xliv:6; Psalms xliv:15; Psalms lxxxviii:10-11; Psalms xc:9, 10, 12; Psalms ciii:14-17; I Cor. xv:51, 55; I Cor. xv:56, 57.
E.A. Degree — Amos vii:7, 8.
F.C. Degree — Ecclesiastes xii:1, 7.
M. M. Degree — Psalms civ:14; Amos vii:7, 8.
* * *
SCOTTISH RITE PHILOSOPHY
If you will permit me to ask you a few questions I will be very grateful. I would like to read Pike's "Morals and Dogma," but am unable to comprehend the more philosophical portions of it. What would you suggest as a preliminary course of reading — something in the way of a primer of philosophy. I am an ardent student of the Scottish Rite, and it seems to me that there is a message in it, but at times I wonder if there is. If you will answer these questions for me, it will help me much:- Is there a royal secret? What do you understand by the Holy Doctrine? Could it be supposed that there is any Masonic significance in the opening words of the Gospel of St. John?
— L. S. G.
Thank you, Brother, for so frank a letter — many thousands of Masons would write the same kind of letters, if they were honest with themselves, or cared enough about the matter to bother to write at all. As for "Morals and Dogma," we have been saying of late that hardly any book is more in need of elucidation, and a more ill-arranged book we have seldom encountered. As it stands, it is more obscure than profound — as witness the fact that this Brother, like thousands of others, having received the degrees and studied the book, is uncertain whether there is a Royal Secret and a Holy Doctrine. Nor is it any lack of intelligence on his part. No; something is wrong with our method of teaching, and it is time that we took the matter in hand to devise a more successful — more sensible — way of setting forth the truth which the Scottish Rite has to teach. These words are written, not in a spirit of carping criticism, but by one who loves the Rite, believes in it with all his heart, and would fain do something to make it more efficient in teaching the wise and good and beautiful truth committed to its care. Just because that truth is so important, so emancipating, we must "get it across," 'to use the talk of the street, and make it inhabit the minds of our young men.
Now as to the letter: (1) We have several times mentioned books for beginners in the study of philosophy, one of the best being "Philosophy, What is it?" by F.B. Jovens. (Putnam's Co., New York). Read this along with the lectures of Prof. Pound on "The Philosophy of Masonry," and you will see that the philosophy of Masonry is simply its nature, its reason for being, its uses to the individual and to society. As Kant said long ago, philosophy does not discover truth; it sets it in order, relates it to other truth, and shows its practical value for life. When we ask, What is Masonry? What is it for? How can we use it? we are dealing with the philosophy of it. (2) Is there a Royal Secret? Indeed, yes; the royal secret of life every man possesses — all that Masonry can do is to make him aware of it and how to use it. The great secret of life, that which makes our thought valid, our faith firm, our hope sure and steadfast, what is it? What can it be, save the kinship of the soul with God? Let a man realize that fact — not as a vague theory regarding mankind in general, but in regard to himself — and how different this world is. It lights up like an aurora. (3) What do we understand by the holy doctrine? Why, we expounded it only an issue or so ago, describing it as the Doctrine of the Balance — concerning which we have received more letters of thanks than for anything we have ever written in these pages. (4) Have the opening words of the Gospel of John a Masonic significance? Certainly; in that they tell of one Life in which the Lost Word was found in the only way in which it can ever be found on earth or in heaven. "The word was made flesh," — that is the whole of it; translating the truth into life and character! That is what Brother Waite means when he says, "From day to day we pronounce the Lost Word with our lips, but it remains lost until we utter it with our hearts."
* * *
Dear Sir and Brother: — Having read "The Builder" since its first edition, and appreciating your desire to keep its editorial matter accurate and reliable, I feel assured that you will welcome and accept any corrections that may be submitted by the brethren, after due examination and corroboration by yourself.
Referring to your valuable compiled table on standards of ritual, page 349, November, 1916, edition, I note that you list Louisiana among the States exemplifying "Uniform Work." In this, I can personally testify, you are in error, in that the Grand Lodge of Louisiana recognizes and approves two separate and distinct standards of ritual and work in its Jurisdiction; both what is known as the York Rite and the Scottish Rite rituals are authoritatively exemplified in New Orleans, and I have personally witnessed the conferring of the three symbolic degrees in Lodges of both Rites in that City.
The Lodges permitted to work under the Scottish Rite ritual are:
Union, No. 172, working in English.
Cervantes, No. 5, working in Spanish.
Perseverance, No. 4, working in French.
Dante, No. 174, working in Italian.
Polar Star, No. 1, working in French.
Germania, No. 46, working in German.
All of the above Lodges are chartered, regular Lodges, under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana. Other Lodges in New Orleans work in the York Rite ritual. Both Rites are recognized by Chapter, Council, Commandery and Consistory.
I am further informed that Scottish Rite Lodges exist in New York, Wisconsin and California, under regular charters by the Grand Lodges, but personally I have not visited these Lodges, although frequently in those States when traveling. I declined invitations to visit the New Orleans foreign ritual Lodges for several years, thinking them clandestine, until reliably informed that these Lodges were all "regular," and satisfying myself of this fact by legal information. I would regommend all of my brethren to witness the Scottish Rite symbolic degrees at the first opportunity; assuring that all properly certified Master Masons will receive a Masonic welcome, brotherly hospitality and entertainment of unusual interest to all searchers after more light.
Sincerely and fraternally,
Eugene T. Skinkle, 33d, Chicago.
* * *
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER
Dear Brother Editor: — Will you be so kind as to allow me a short space in your columns that I may defend myself from the blame thrown upon me by a careless brother?
The revival, if I am allowed to call it so, of the Cuban Masonry is a fact; with it came out a thorough literary spurt, and, taking Iowa as a model, a Masonic Manual is being written, inspiring our ideas in the already famous "The Builders" of your ever practical Grand Lodge. Together with it a valiant push was given to our Grand Lodge Library, several thousand volumes are already collected and the existing number of foreign proceedings and official publications carefully rearranged; on that account we came to the discovery of several missing volumes, among them Vol. I of the History of the Grand Lodge of Iowa.
A few lines to the most obliging Grand Secretary, Bro. Parvin, brought the precious work and with it a surprise: the erudite Masonic scholar Joseph E. Morcombe, author of the volume, had done Cuba the great honor of mentioning her in it, but unhappily in doing so he was wilfully deceived by the carelessness of a brother Mason.
In page 48 of the said volume, Bro. Morcombe inserts a paragraph from the correspondence report of North Dakota for 1903, which is intended to be a translation from a part of a previous Masonic Chart published by the undersigned in the Proceedings of Cuba for the year 1900, inserting subsequently the commentaries to it from the Brother correspondent of South Dakota. Unhappily neither of the correspondents are Spanish scholars and the victim of all this has been the over-confident Bro. Morcombe, who in a moment of unmasonic wrath galled me, in the History, inaccurate and as showing an exhibition of ignorance. If Bro. Morcombe should ever glance at these lines I am sure that he will repent of his insinuation, thrown upon me many years ago, but from which I could not before extricate myself, as his excellent History only reached me a few days hence.
So runs the paragraph origin of this digression: "We find a Masonic pedigree, taken from the annual of the Grand Lodge of Cuba, showing the introduction of Masonry into the world. England is given as the root, and the date of its establishment as June 24, 1717. Tracing the paternity of our own Grand Lodge of North Dakota, we find that England chartered Pennsylvania in 1730; Pennsylvania chartered Missouri in 1807; from Missouri sprang Iowa, 1840, and from Iowa, Dakota, in 1862."
South Dakota intends to correct the above, as to the English derivation of Masonry, accepting the theory of the Scotch "Grand Mother Lodge Kilwinning" and, in what refers to the establishment of Missouri, whether it was done by Pennsylvania or Tennessee. Brother Morcombe, remembering the late Bro. Robbins (of Illinois) read the paragraph and probably said: "Masonry that does not speak English is no Masonry at all," and gave full credit to North Dakota, without ever giving a hearing to the modest Latin Mason to whom was adscribed so tremendous misconception, or ever trying to verify the alleged translation, since neither of the Dakota correspondents were Spanish scholars; but in doing so he failed, carrying into partnership the innocent Grand Lodge of Iowa that paid for the History.
I did not say any such a thing as has been gratuitously ascribed to me, it is a question of Light not of Right or less of Might. Had the brethren read the note, inserted in large type at the foot of the chart, no chance for the flogging or ever for this correction were necessary. What I mentioned and the data given is intended for, is the origin of the pioneer or first lodge in which Masonic light shone in all countries. As you can see, this is a very different matter and explains readily why Pennsylvania is referred to. Is it true or not that Pennsylvania chartered Louisiana Lodge, at St. Genevieve, Mo.? Is it true or not that the said Lodge, whether formed by French traders or not, or whether it had to surrender its charter soon afterwards, was the first regular lodge in Missouri? Is it true that Louisiana Lodge was chartered in 1807? If so, as nobody can question, I am right, perfectly right, in my assertions, the same with Missouri as with all the Grand Lodges mentioned.
If we remember, regarding the American doctrine, that any Grand Lodge can gharter lodges in an unoccupied territory, having therefore concurrent jurisdiction in it with all other regular Grand Lodges, how can it be possible to trace a genealogical tree when many parents are to be accorded to an offspring? If any of the Dakota correspondents can do that they will perform a marvel, as no human being can accomplish such a thing. It is also true that all the persons connected with this incident in the States did not take the trouble to verify the data appended; had they done so they gould have arrived to the conclusion that either they were wrong or I had to be sent to a mad house.
More yet, how can any Mason say that a Grand Lodge can charter another Grand Lodge? We, Cuban Masons, novel as we are, cannot commit such a blunder; remember St. Paul and believe that Charity is the greatest of all virtues, and that is what I claim for me in this case.
Hoping that you will consider mine a just cause, and, though convinced, as I am, that among my people many Sancho Panzas can be found, D. Quixote is to be met with not only among Spaniards but among other people also; Cervantes and Shakespeare were undoubtedly very bright stars in the XVI century, no wonder they both died together.
Thanking you for this great favor I am sincerely and fraternally yours,
F. de P. Rodriguez, Cuba.
* * *
THE SECRET, UNIFORM BALLOT
(The following letter is so interesting, so valuable, that we venture to give it to the Craft without permission of the Brethren between whom it passed; trusting two noble hearts to forgive us a seeming disregard for the emenities. If they do not grant us pardon, well, we promise never to do so again — until another letter of equal interest and importance comes our way. Brethren had better have a care about writing sugh instructive letters and letting them pass through this office; for they will most certainly be waylaid — for which we have the example of the British Government.)
Dear Brother: — You may recall that I once wrote you that I would like to give you my real reasons for thinking that Brother Pitt's position on "The Secret, Unanimous Ballot" was entirely wrong and unsupported by facts — that in what I had said previously, I had not gone below the surface. I will epitomize my views as follows:
1. The history of the Craft, during the first century of its existence, has been incorrectly written and only in recent times have the true conditions been brought out.
2. The Premier Grand Lodge of 1717 was responsible, subsequently, for many alterations and variations in the work and practice.
3. The Grand Lodge of Ireland preserved and continued the ancient working.
4. The Ancient Grand Lodge of 1751 also practiced the ancient work and had the hearty support and sympathy of the Grand Lodge of Ireland.
5. The Ancient Grand Lodge, and the Grand Lodge of Ireland, had a predominant influence in the American Colonies, and the work, as practiced in the United States is closer to the work of 1717-23 than that practiced in England today. From which I am convinced that instead of "The Secret, Unanimous Ballot" being an American innovation, the shoe is on the other foot and the Mother Grand Lodge is guilty of the innovation.
With these premises enunciated I will enlarge on them, only remarking here that I will not burden this with references, but every quotation that I shall make is at my hand and can be verified by volume, number and page.
Until comparatively regent time all we knew of the history of the Craft was gathered from the works of Anderson, Preston, Kloss, Findel, Rebold and Oliver, who all followed, more or less closely, in the path marked out by Anderson. Then arose a school of writers, such as Gould, Hughan, Lane, Woodford, Speth, Sadler, Conder and some others who, with infinite patience and a vast amount of skill, separated legends from facts and gave to the Fraternity a knowledge of Freemasonry that proved of rare fascination and a solid groundwork on which to base further studies.
As bearing on the subject under inquiry I would give Brother Chetwode Crawley the first place, (with Brother Sadler as a strong second), and, looking at the changes that were made by the Premier Grand Lodge the best critic we have, as being free to note such changes, without fear of consequences.
From my reading I am convinced that many changes were made in the work by the Premier Grand Lodge; that these changes were primarily responsible for the formation of the Ancient Grand Lodge; that the original work and ancient usages, as practiced 1717-23, were preserved by the Grand Lodge of Ireland and later, by the Ancient Grand Lodge who, avowedly, practiced "Irish" Masonry.
As throwing a side light on "Irish" Masonry it is of interest to note that during the 17th and early part of the 18th centuries, Dublin was as much an English city as any city in England itself. The customs and manners were essentially English and entirely distinct from the rest of Ireland. When the Grand Lodge of Dublin was formed, it was the counterpart of the one in London; the "Constitution" of 1723 were adopted and reprinted as Irish Constitutions; the same Brother served as Grand Master in London and later, in Dublin. Brother Crawley says:
"As far as our researches have conducted us, no difference has been observed between the systems of Freemasonry practiced in England and Ireland before the year 1730. . . after that year, the case begins to change."
In 1730, when Prichard's "Masonry Dissected" was published, it was adopted as the basis of the Irish ritual. As bearing on the authenticity of Prichard's work, two points are to be noted. First, certain words and names were (admittedly) transposed by the Premier Grand Lodge, to detect those seeking to gain admission by posting up on Prichard's work. Second, some few years ago, while seeking to obtain a copy of "Masonry Dissected," and having despaired of success, I wrote a Brother in England asking if he would send me a written copy of the one in his possession. His reply was, "his E. A. obligation prevented him from complying with my request." As the Brother referred to is one of the leading Masonic scholars of the day, and had favored me greatly before and since, I drew my own conclusions, which were verified when I was so fortunate as to secure a copy of the book itself.
But the Irish preferred to follow the original work and have continued to do so to the present time; it was this fact that led me to use the words at the conclusion of my first article — to the Lodges holding under the Irish Constitution must we go today, for the purest Ancient Craft Masonry.
During the stormy times, 1722-1723, in London, the Premier Grand Lodge was the prey of the Stuart and Jacobite factions, each seeking to gain control in the hope and expectation of using it in furtherance of their own political ends, and to the storm and stress of that period may safely be assigned the causes for that departure from Regulation VI, referring to the rule for admission into the Society. The Irish Constitutions of 1730 reprints Regulation VI, from Anderson's Constitutions of 1723 verbatim, and while that of 1741 is a duplicate of the "New Book of Constitutions" of 1738, the practice, as far as "unanimous consent" is concerned, has never varied.
Another point that deserves attention is, that the work in Ireland has never been written or printed, but is passed (literally) from mouth to ear. Brother Crawley says he is "the accredited exponent of our Irish Ritual; the Ritual that served the Ancients as a standard and never was committed to writing. In the next place, that Ritual has been passed on to me by brethren who learned their lesson from the lips of the leaders of the Ancients of the last (18th) century."
From my reading I am thoroughly convinced that Masonry, as practiced in Ireland today, is nearest to the Masonry as practiced just prior and subsequent to 1717, without entering into the question of degrees. Is it not a fair inference that where the esoteric work has been so carefully preserved, that the customs would have been preserved in like manner.
Just a word as to innovations. Gould says: "The book (Constitutions of 1723) introduces three striking innovations. It discards Christianity as the (only) religion of Masonry, forbids the working of the Master's part in private Lodges, and arbitrarily imposes on the English Craft the use of two compound words — Entered Apprentice and Fellow Craft — which had no previous existence in its terminology. Against these deviations the brethren rebelled."
If Article VI of the Old Regulations, had been an innovation, I think it would have been included in the above paragraph.
All this as leading up to one point; that during the latter half of the 18th century, the influence of the "ancients," with its ritual and usages, largely predominated in the American colonies; then there was the influence of the Irish Military Lodges to be taken into consideration, together with the intimate connection existing between the Grand Lodge of Ireland and the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, all stamping Masonry in this country as being very distinct from that practiced in England by the Modern Grand Lodge. Politically, the "Ancients" were more in sympathy with the Colonies in their struggle for independence, than were the Moderns. This also would have its effect when the Fraternity threw off its allegiance — Masonic — to the Mother country. As stated by Brother Crawley:
"It is hardly too much to say that towards the close of the last (18th) century the Grand Lodge of Moderns stood isolated among English-speaking Grand Lodges. Even in the Colonies, where it had been first to plant Lodges, the more democratic organization of the Ancients, aided by the ubiquituous Military Lodges, in which Ireland had such a preponderance, rapidly and surely won its way to acceptance. It has been generally found more convenient to ignore this isolation than to accept the conclusions that must be drawn from it."
Just a few words more and I will close. There is a point that has great weight with me, though it may not appeal so forcibly to others. When Anderson wrote the New Book of Constitutions, of 1738, 15 years had elapsed since he compiled the one of 1723. Prior to that year, no minutes had been kept of Grand Lodge Transactions, and subsequently, but the barest skeleton.
Among English commentators I find the disposition to be very chary of accepting the statements contained in the New Book. No one knows the influences brought to bear on him in his later task, but we do know that changes crept in and in the years, became established usages in the Premier Grand Lodge until 1813 — the year of the Union — when they practically surrendered everything to the Ancients — the plurality of black balls being one of the few usages they saved. Brother Gould uses some very strong language in referring to Anderson's work in the Constitutions of 1738, rather evading the question of veracity by an implication of imbecility, owing to his declining years.
W. B. S.
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THE FAME OF THE CRAFT
(The following editorial from the Kansas City Journal, entitled "A Significant Departure," speaks for itself and also for the good name of the Craft, giving due praise to our Brethren in Georgia for their noble work. It is a pleasure to reproduce it, because the praise is so richly deserved, and, further, because we agree with the wise man who said that "no good thing can be praised enough.")
A recent issue of The Builder, a Masonic publication, gives the details of an interesting and significant extension of the fundamental principles of the Masonic order to include all mankind, emphasizing the brotherhood of man, upon which all the great fraternal orders are based. The Scottish Rite bodies of Georgia have recently located at Atlanta the Scottish Rite Convalescent Hospital for Crippled Children, which is asserted to be the first institution of its kind established by any of the large fraternal orders for the benefit of all who need its services, regardless of fraternal affiliations and exclusively philanthropic in its operation.
As its name implies, it is solely for the cure of crippled children, but no questions of the religious convictions of their parents, or of fraternal connection are asked. No payment is accepted for the services rendered which are along the lines of Kansas City's Mercy hospital. The only considerations are the curability of the little patient and the inability of the parent to pay for surgical and hospital treatment. The best physicians in the South are included in the faculty and The Buildergives many touching instances of remarkable cures already effected.
The project is intensely interesting on its merits, challenging the sympathy of all who want to see the mournful sum of human pain reduced — and particularly those who pity the sufferings of little children. But it is especially significant because it represents a wide departure from the principles and policies of most of the great fraternal and religious bodies — especially the former. Institutions of this sort are maintained by many of the great orders and ecclesiastical denominations throughout the country. All of these do an immense amount of good within the special scope of their membership. There are Masonic and Odd Fellow and Pythian and Woodcraft homes; many of the big crafts have national institutions where aged and dependent members may spend their last days in comfort. There are Catholic and Protestant and Jewish homes and hospitals and retreats and though it is not to be understood that lines are too rigidly drawn, yet some name is inscribed above the portal of most or all of these institutions. These orders and denominations spend in the aggregate tens of millions of dollars, primarily for the relief of members, but the doors of many of these homes and hospitals swing wide for the sufferer or dependent who is not bound to the order or to the church by fraternal or denominational ties. The Scottish Rite experiment in Georgia is, for all that, a pioneer in what is may be hoped will be a movement more generally adopted which, while taking special care for "them of the household of religious or fraternal faith," will nevertheless seize the opportunity to teach the great truth, broader than any order or any denomination, that God is the father of all and that every man is not only the brother of every other man but is his keeper as well. The Scottish Rite bodies of Georgia have reflected immense credit upon themselves and upon the order they represent in blazing the way in which it is hoped many other feet will walk.
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ON THE SEVERAL LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES
The Grammar rules instruct the tongue and pen;
Rhetoric teaches eloquence to men;
By Logic we are taught to reason well;
Music has charms beyond our power to tell.
The use of numbers numberless we find;
Geometry gave measure to mankind;
The Heavenly System elevates the mind.
All these, and many secrets more,
The MASONS taught in days of yore.