A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 3 No. 8 – August 1917
THE FAITH THAT IS IN THEM — A FRATERNAL FORUM
Edited by Bro. Geo. E. Frazer
President, The Board of Stewards
Harold A. Kingsbury, Connecticut
Dr. Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri
Geo. W. Baird, District of Columbia
H. D. Funk, Minnesota
Frederick W. Hamilton, Massachusetts
Dr. John Lewin McLeish, Ohio
Joseph W. Norwood, Kentucky
Silas H. Sheperd, Wisconsin
Jos. W. Eggleston, Virginia
M. M. Johnson, Massachusetts
John Pickard, Missouri
Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin
Oliver D. Street, Alabama
S. W. Williams, Tennessee
Joe L. Carson, Virginia
T. W. Hugo, Minnesota
F. B. Gault, Washington
C. M. Schenck, Colorado
Contributions to this Monthly Department of Personal Opinion are invited from each writer who has contributed one or more articles to The Builder. Subjects for discussion are selected as being alive in the administration of Masonry today. Discussions of politics, religious creeds or personal prejudices are avoided, the purpose of the Department being to afford a vehicle for comparing the personal opinions of leading Masonic students. The contributing editors assume responsibility only for what each writes over his own signature. Comment from our Members on the subjects discussed here will be welcomed in the Correspondence column.
QUESTION NO. 4: "Shall the several Grand Lodges issue charters to Military Lodges during the period of the great war? If so, shall each jurisdiction issue such charters as it pleases, or shall all the jurisdictions informally agree that not more than one charter shall be issued for each regiment in active service? If not, shall American Grand Lodges permit their members to attend French and Belgian lodges during the period of the war?"
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A Father and His Mason Son.
The formation of Military Lodges should be encouraged in every possible way. My son, a Mason, now in the Officers' Training School qualifying himself for active military service, I feel as a father and a lifelong Mason, should have the privileges and benefits of the Order while in the army of his country. There should be an agreement of some sort, formal or informal, among the Grand Lodges standardizing as far as practical the issuance of these charters, and the requirements or conditions under which such charters may be granted and other exigencies that usually arise under Military conditions. The whole matter ought to receive the immediate and earnest attention of all Grand Lodges and provisions made for such organizations and the attendance upon any and all true Masonic Lodges wherever the soldiers and sailors of our country may be called to follow our flag. As to whether a charter shall be issued each regiment it seems to me that is a matter that depends upon the membership in the regiment and the active interest in the Order and in the Military provision for Masons. In some regiments there might easily be more members than one Lodge would serve to advantage while in other regiments there might be an insufficient number. But that is a part of the detail that can easily be met as occasions arise.
F. B. Gault, Washington.
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Grant Charters Where Requested.
In my judgment it is expedient that Grand Lodges found Military Lodges for each regiment in active service provided there be a request from the members of the regiment for a charter. I think permission to attend French and Belgian Lodges will develop the international spirit.
H. D. Funk, Minnesota.
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Avoid Narrow Technicalities.
A Grand Lodge should issue Charters to Regiments or Men of War as they see fit. Any agreed on restriction would be all right, but in case a Regiment is raised by some particular state, the Grand Lodge of that State should have jurisdiction. I would permit Masons to visit wherever they could, and avoid any narrow technicalities. It'll do them good and do good to the Lodge visited.
T. W. Hugo, Minnesota.
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French Masons Not Our Brothers.
The various Masonic Jurisdictions should informally agree that not more than one charter shall be issued for each Regiment in active service. American Freemasons can not attend Belgian and French Lodges, because such Lodges are not recognized as legitimate. The Grand Orients of France and Belgium have abolished belief in God as a prerequisite to membership and cut out the Great Landmark altogether. They are not strictly speaking Masonic bodies.
H. R. Evans, Washington, D. C.
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My opinion is opposed to the granting of charters to Military Lodges during the period of the present war. The reasons which appeal to me are the probabilities of the frequent shifting of troops which would prevent continuity of officers or membership and the difficulty of securing quarters where the requisite safeguards might surround the work. I believe that most of the advantages presumably sought might be obtained through fraternal associations without the privileges and responsibilities of Lodge organization. The idea of permitting the members of American Lodges to attend Belgian and French Lodges during the period of the war appeals to me strongly. Francis W. Shepardson, Illinois.
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Three Positive "No" Votes.
1st. Shall the several Grand Lodges issue charters to Military Lodges during the period of the great war? No.
2nd. If not, shall American Lodges permit their members to attend French and Belgian Lodges during the period of the war? No.
Military Lodges may have been, and doubtless were, justifiable in the English, Irish and Scottish regiments prior to and during the Revolutionary war in this country and also during the war of 1812. Such Lodges may also have been justifiable in the United States Army during the Revolutionary war, the war of 1812, and, in a few instances, during the Civil War, but conditions have changed. In the periods mentioned Masonic Lodges were few, but today a Masonic Lodge can be found in every hamlet and town in the United States. The Masonic soldier, wherever stationed in this country, has the privilege of Masonic visitation and fellowship; nothing of Masonic privilege or interest can be added by having a Lodge of his own connected with the Regiment. It is very questionable if the best interests of Freemasonry can be conserved by organizing Military Lodges.
The Grand Lodge of Missouri does not recognize the Grand Orient of France, the Grand Lodge of France or the Grand Orient of Belgium; hence a Freemason whose membership is in a Lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Missouri can not visit a Lodge under the jurisdiction of the Grand Bodies above mentioned. Special permits can not be given.
Wm. F. Kuhn, Missouri.
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Military Lodges should not be chartered without providing that they should initiate, pass or raise none but members of their own commands, and that they should not hold meetings in foreign territory of a recognized Grand Lodge without official permission. Virginia permits dual or even multiple membership, so that the members of a Military Lodge would not have to leave their home Lodges.
Each Grand Lodge should act for itself as it sees fit. Any attempt at concert of action would tend toward a surrender of that independent sovereignty which can not be too jealously guarded.
As to permitting Masons to visit French or Belgian Lodges, that is a matter for each Grand Lodge to settle for itself. There is a difference between visiting foreign Lodges and permitting foreign Masons to visit our Lodges.
My own idea is that instead of chartering Military Lodges it would be better to permit Masonic clubs, not authorized to make Masons at all. They would answer for all Masonic intercourse and raise no questions. The plan seems to work well at many universities already.
To sum up, I prefer clubs, along the lines of the Acacia Fraternity, but would not object to Lodges, provided their activities were restricted as above, and provided members were not required to withdraw from their home Lodges.
Jos. W. Eggleston, Virginia.
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A Military Lodge of 1898.
I am heartily in favor of the charter of Military Lodges during the period of the war. This was done in American army of the Revolution, and is today being done by all of the belligerent countries, with much success, and certainly each jurisdiction should issue such charters as it pleases. Soldiers of each regiment might not find it convenient to have the Grand Lodge back home hold pow-wows when they do not know conditions, and unless we had a National Grand Lodge or an Emergent Masonic Congress, I do not see how the fifty Grand Lodges could decide upon one course of action.
I do not believe American Grand Lodges will give specific permit to members to attend French or Belgian Grand Lodges, but I see no reason why this should not be done, even though the majority of our jurisdictions do not recognize these foreign Masons. Only two jurisdictions recognize the independent Grand Lodge of France, and none of them recognize the regular French Grand Orient or French Grand Lodge. Several do recognize Belgium though the great majority do not, and neither does England. But by leaving it to the members of Military Lodges to be chartered to decide for themselves what is true Freemasonry according to the ancient landmarks, America will have a chance to do a great deal in bringing about world solidarity and better understanding between Masons.
I may mention that during the Spanish-American war my own state chartered a Military Lodge which went to Cuba, and I think it is largely in consequence that we recognize Cuba, Costa Rica, Porto Rico and Peru.
Whenever Masons go into another country and really get into social and business relations with the Masons of the country, experience has shown that they are not so ready to believe all of the wild tales told about foreign Masons coming from unreliable sources.
Louisiana has done good work and is still doing good work in bringing about real relations with Masons scattered through South America and not recognized by a great many jurisdictions in the United States.
I would like to suggest that if we literally obey the landmarks without regard to red tape imposed by the Grand Lodges and acted upon on the spur of the moment without due investigation, there seems to be no good reason why American Masons might not visit a lodge not in fraternal relations with one of the American Grand Lodges. This would seem reasonable, because the American Grand Lodges are in relation with each other. Thus, if the Philippines, Louisiana and New York have given fraternal recognition to San Salvador, why should the rest of the country prohibit fraternal visits? My own state for example (Kentucky), recognizes only English speaking Masons, with the Latin jurisdictions mentioned above, yet I do not conceive that I would violate my obligations despite that fact, were I a member of a Military Lodge, or even merely a traveler, should I visit a Belgian Lodge, because at least eight other American lodges recognize Belgium. The same way with Hungary, which is recognized by Alabama; Egypt, recognized by Arizona; Portugal, recognized by Arkansas; Denmark, recognized by Missouri and New York; Germany, recognized by a dozen states; Greece, recognized by Arkansas and North Dakota; Holland, recognized by eight jurisdictions; Italy, recognized by four jurisdictions. I recently was introduced to a French Freemason by one of our regular Masons and I had quite a pleasant chat, and the Frenchman convinced me that Americans generally have been believing a great many things about France that are not so. If we are brothers in War, why not brothers in Masonry?
J. W. Norwood, Kentucky.
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Military Lodges are almost as old as the institution of Masonry. In America, following the example of the British, Lodges were to be found in the Colonial troops and there is still to be found a certain cave in Virginia where Washington met with his Lodge during the period of the old French and Indian Wars. Robert Freke Gould in his scholarly work on Military Lodges mentions ten as working in the Army of the Revolution. The pioneer of these was St. John's Regimental Lodge deriving its warrant from the Provincial Grand Lodge of New York under date of July, 1775. Among the others was "American Union" which "moved as a pillar of Light in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey." Then there was Army Lodge No. 27 of the Maryland line. This was warranted by the Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, in 1780. Washington Lodge numbered two hundred and fifty brethren. All of these ten Lodges were actively at work during the whole period of the protracted struggle for American Independence and upon the rosters were such names as George Washington, Major Generals Knox, Green, Moultrie, Putnam, Stirling, Sullivan, Lincoln, St. Clair, Montgomery, Worcester, Wayne, Lee and Pinckney. All of the Brigadier Generals were Masons except two. Lafayette was raised in one of these Military Lodges by Washington at Morristown, New Jersey. The gallant French Marquis stated afterwards that he never fully enjoyed General Washington's implicit confidence until after he became a Mason.
When the American Army went into Mexico two Military Lodges accompanied the expedition. Of the Generals, Wm. J. Worth was a Mason, as also John A. Quitman who after the occupation of Mexico City became Military Governor. General Quitman was also Grand Master of Mississippi.
The prominent Masons participating in our Civil War were as distinguished as those of Revolutionary days. On the Masonic Roster were George B. McClellan, Winfleld Scott Hancock, N. P. Banks, John A. McClernand, John A. Logan, George E. Pickett, Robert E. Patterson. Benjamin F. Butler, Robert Anderson, Thomas H. Benton, and others. There were Field Lodges in both Union and Confederate Armies. Says Gould: "The experience of that great conflict was decidedly unfavorable to their utility. The practice was to issue dispensations. When regiments in which they were held were mustered out, or their individual membership retired to civil life, the lodges ceased to exist." More than one hundred dispensations for Military Lodges were granted during the Civil War. The Grand Lodge of Indiana granted as many as thirty-three of these.
During our War with Spain in 1898 formal dispensations for Military Lodges were granted by the Grand Lodge of Kentucky and the Grand Lodge of North Dakota. Some of our most prominent Masons of that day were President William McKinley, General Nelson A. Miles, General Russell A. Alger, General William R. Schafter, and Admiral Schley.
In the light of our past experience, there is every reason for American Grand Lodges to charter Military Lodges during the present war. Of course the number should be limited.
At the present writing, all indications strongly point to long participation by the United States in the Strife of the Nations. France sustained the greater part of the initial fighting while her ally Great Britain was "getting ready" for the fray. The French Army has suffered so severely, been so depleted, that her Reserves of 1918, mere lads of seventeen, have been called to the tricolor. Not for many months may France hope to sustain her hard-won front unaided. All that gallant men could do to drive the barbarian from her terrain, Soldiers of France have done, and the best blood of the Nation as many times before in history has been sacrificed to the Prussian steel.
To the youth of America, our first Conscripts of 1917, has fallen the great privilege of filling the breach and holding the battle line won foot by foot by the Old Guard of France. To our own Boys in Khaki falls the honor of sustaining the American Flag first planted on foreign soil at Vimy Ridge. And not until the united American and British Armies have forced the barbarous, Huns back upon their own accursed terrain, meted out to them in full portion the utter ruin, the havoc and the desolation they carried into Belgium and France — not until the flags of the Allies are borne in triumph Unter den Linden to float from the Kaiser's Kennel — can Peace come to the world, unless the unexpected should happen and that is quite improbable.
With several years' sojourn upon foreign soil tolerably sure, there will be many dreary weeks and months in the trenches. What more or better calculated to sustain our soldier's souls through the ennui and monotony of camp life, than the Light of Masonry, the meeting of brethren in a regimental lodge? To many sorely tried heart the Five Points of Fellowship will prove an open sesame. There will be an outlet to many inner confidences only to be imparted "upon the Square."
As to issuance of charters it would be unwise for Grand Lodges to issue such indiscriminately. Rather an agreement between the several jurisdictions limiting their dispensations to one for each regiment, and in some cases one for each division as circumstances indicate.
It would be a distinct step ahead for our Grand Jurisdictions to permit the brethren under their control to visit French and Belgian Lodges. After the dark days of stress the craftsmen of these two countries have had to endure, it would be perfectly Good Masonry to accord these foreign brethren full and free recognition. International relations are now permanently changed. There is now less need for a fraternal line of demarcation. Masonry like other Constructive World Forces, must soon meet many demands for Charity Best results will follow the extending of the Universality of our Institution. Our overseas brethren look wistfully to America for fraternal help and recognition. Upon our answer depends the whole future of Continental Masonry. Let American Masons offer the same fraternal and moral support to the craftsmen of France and Belgium as our Administration has accorded these respective Nations. Masonry must align its forces, gather in its own the world over, if it would meet the new problems presented and exert the full measure of its illimitable wealth and resources. Let us in fact as well as in numbers become the most powerful constructive force in all the world. Attainment of this ideal will make ours a Power to be reckoned with, render quite impossible any such bête noir through which the world is passing at this moment. Could Masonry today align the craftsmen in a thunderous protestation against War, not even William and his myriad myrmidons would dare say them NAY.
Our only complaint against French Masonry has been the removal of the Great Light from its altars. For this there were reasons as every Masonic scholar knows. Many times the kaleidoscopic changes in French Politics placed Masonry under the ban. There were haphazard meetings of the craft in lodge rooms previously prepared for police raids and their sequelae, uncompromising persecution. Many of the regular fittings of the lodge were absent in these hastily improvised quarters, where personal safety was a prerequisite. Continental Masonry, especially among the Latins, more particularly among the French, has ofttimes been face to face with serious situations. On such occasions our Institution has had to fight for its very life. By the same token, Latin and French Masonry has been driven to play politics if it would live, and due allowance must be made for a quondam departure from certain old landmarks, under such circumstances.
Because nowadays we Masons do not as prior to 1717 openly specify Christianity "or the religion of the country in which we live" as a primary requirement of membership, makes most of us none the less good Christians. By the same argument, because France does not necessarily require a declaration of faith in the G.A.O.T.U. from a petitioner for degrees, does not necessarily make all French Masons Atheists.
The time will never be more fitting for American and English Masons to heal their continental brethren, Masonically. If needs must, to facilitate matters we can close our eyes to a technical departure from the landmarks. If we would extend our power for good, we must draw to us our own throughout the world. Let us draw upon our Masonic Charity and accord full and free recognition to the Masons of France and Masons of Belgium who have won the right of recognition ;n the long fight for Liberty. Ours to remember We are Masons All — All for One, One for All.
Every energy of a world-united Masonry will soon be needed to repair damages done, succor our halt and maimed brethren, and cast our bread upon the waters for the widows and the orphans. Once united under the Great Lights of Liberty and Masonry which are synonymous, any recurrence of a cataclysm like that through which we are passing will be impossible.
John Lewin McLeish, Ohio.
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Three "Yes" Votes.
Shall the several Grand Lodges issue charters to Military Lodges during the period of the great war? Yes.
If so, shall each jurisdiction issue such charters as it pleases? Yes.
If not, shall American Grand Lodges permit their members to attend French and Belgian lodges during the period of the war? Yes.
C. M. Schenck, Colorado.
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Grand Lodge Action Necessary.
I favor the granting of charters to Military Lodges for the duration of the war. I would not say restrict the number allowed each regiment to a single Lodge, but only one Grand Lodge should grant charters for the same regiment.
If regiments are organized by States, then the Grand Lodge of that particular State should have exclusive jurisdiction of that regiment, unless it or its Grand Master declines to charter Military Lodges. In that case, any adjoining Grand Lodge should be at liberty to act. These details could be easily arranged by correspondence of the Grand Masters or by a Grand Masters' Conference.
Your last question whether American Grand Lodges should permit their members to visit French and Belgian lodges during the war is a large one. It opens up the whole vexed question of "recognition." I can not say that, with the present Lights before me, I favor it, though I should be delighted to see a complete understanding among American, French and Belgian Masons.
It will doubtless be found that Grand Masters are powerless to act in most jurisdictions in the matter of chartering Military Lodges or in authorizing fraternal visitation of French and Belgian Lodges, and that Grand Lodge action will be necessary.
O. D. Street, Alabama.
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Let Masonry Bind the Allies.
This is an exceedingly interesting question! If our Military brethren demand the "Comforts" of Masonry in their Regiments why should they be denied? The matter of territorial jurisdiction need not stand in the way; to my mind this is the one and only objection.
Each Grand Lodge should grant charters to Regiments hailing from their Jurisdiction, making a ruling that only men of that Regiment should be initiated.
In this way a Regiment on foreign service becomes its own territorial jurisdiction, and if the needs of the service call for more than one Lodge, let the charter be applied for with the knowledge and consent of the others. The courtesy of visiting and receiving visitors should be extended and encouraged between Grand Jurisdictions which are in fraternal recognition, of which each Lodge could be kept advised. If this Great War is going to bind America and her Allies closer together, why should not Masonry be one of the bonds? Freemasonry owes its existence largely to the Military Lodges of the Revolutionary period; the trowel and the sword are old companions, and future generations may again bless their union.
J. L. Carson, Virginia.
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Closer Relations Needed.
I see no reason why the several Grand Lodges should not issue charters to Military Lodges during the period of the great war. Such action has been common in past wars and seems to have been productive of excellent results.
It seems to me that it would not be possible, with our lack of general organization, to arrange for anything like a parceling out of the regiments among the several Grand Lodges. In my judgment each Grand Lodge, or Grand Master, would have to use its own judgment in action upon petitions for dispensations or warrants.
I do not see how our American Grand Lodges can consistently permit their members to visit the French Lodges, as unfortunately the English, and I believe most of the American Lodges, are not in relation with French Masonry. I sincerely hope that out of this war will come a closer relation between the American and English Masons and their Brothers on the Continent.
Frederick W. Hamilton, Massachusetts.
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History Justifies It.
It is my opinion that should the need of Military Lodges arise it should be met by the several Grand Lodges. The need of more than one Lodge in a regiment would hardly occur, and caution should be used not to exceed the actual need.
History affords ample justification for the granting of charters to Military Lodges, and where granted with due consideration of the need and carefulness in the choice of its Master and Wardens and with the understanding that it must use the utmost care in not interfering with the Masonic jurisdiction where it may be stationed, would promote the practice of Masonic principles when they were most needed and at a time when Masons are removed from the refining influences of home with watchful mother, affectionate sister or loving wife and daughters. Even though the several Grand Lodges permitted their members to visit the French and Belgian Lodges, (which, until a broader conception of Freemasonry is more generally diffused, is of doubtful accomplishment), the failure of Americans to understand the language spoken would make it a real symbolic Masonry; very fine for the Masonic student but hardly filling the requirement of the soldier.
There may have been cases which made it questionable as to the advisability of chartering Military Lodges, but there have also been cases where there was an abuse of Masonic principles in regular lodges. A Military Lodge composed of just and upright Masons, zealous to uphold the principles and practice the virtues of Freemasonry, and fulfilling their duty to their country by offering their lives, can reflect nothing but credit on our time-honored Craft; while denying them the privilege would be an unnecessary hardship, and many a brother would feel that should he die in a distant land, even the last rites of Masonry would not be given him.
The Masonry of the heart as well as the head tells us to grant the worthy soldier brethren charters when the need is sufficient.
Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin.
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Let This War Free Masonry.
It is very trite to say that this great war is changing the face of the world, but it is a deeply true saying. No age has seen such a religious revival as has swept France since 1914; no age has seen such industrial progress as England has accomplished in her factories since 1914; no age has seen such patriotism as Belgium has evidenced since 1914; no age has seen one hundred millions of human beings grasp liberty as has Russia since 1914. The cost has been, and for months will yet be, most terrible. The cost demands results. This is the time for Masons to live Masonry or else Masonry becomes an outworn ritualism. Our petty territorial jealousies must not prevent our brothers in the trenches from a full enjoyment of the solaces of the Craft. Blind misunderstandings must not separate us from our heroic brother Masons of France. This is the hour for American Masonry! Rising in the beauty of vital truth she must free Masonry from outworn barriers. Let us give full recognition to Masonry in Belgium, in France, yes, and in Germany. The Square and Compass should know no restrictions that will divide the allies of democracy. The Grand Masters of American Masonry have the responsibility and the opportunity; American Freemasons look to them for epoch making leadership. We do not dare to fail this hour.
George E. Frazer, Illinois.
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THE SYMBOLISM OF NUMBERS
Bro. H. A. Kingsbury, Connecticut
THAT metaphorical road along which the Mason travels in his progress through the degrees of the Blue Lodge is flanked upon each side by many, many road signs directing his attention to various by-paths leading to interesting fields of investigation and study. A large number of these signs have been at least partially obliterated by the destroying hands of the Prestons and the Webbs but, however it may be with those directing the student's attention to Sun Worship, Persian Mysteries, Egyptian Mysteries, Symbolism of Geometrical Figures, Symbolism of the Bible, and so forth, there is one series of signs the units of which have not had their legends even partially obliterated, and which all still plainly bear the same direction to the traveler — "To the Study of the Symbolism of Numbers." Yet, in spite of the frequent repetitions of this direction, many Masons hurry along, not even realizing that there are any such signs and totally neglecting a field of study that, as even the below-given short excursion along one of these paths ought to show, is well worthy of cultivation.
Only the numbers one to ten inclusive will be here considered and, of those, only the most important — Three and Seven — will be at all expanded upon, as to treat each of the ten at all fully would convert what is intended as little more than a brief synopsis into a lengthy treatise.
That all of the numbers from one to ten are respectively referred to in Masonry, and presented for contemplation, can be shown by many examples, and the discovery of them furnishes an interesting and instructive occupation for the student. To take one set of references only — one of the sets brought forward by the Lodge itself — the briefest consideration calls to mind that:—
There is one Master; there are two Wardens; three supporting Pillars; four sides to the Lodge, marking the Four Cardinal Points; five elected primary officers; six Jewels; seven operative working tools necessary to the symbolic building of a proper Lodge, i. e., the six usual Working Tools plus the Compasses; when the Lodge is in the form of the Double Square (as it should be) the two Squares present eight right-angles; there are nine primary officers, excluding the Tyler, and ten primary officers in all.
First, to review most briefly certain phases of the significances of these various numbers except Three and Seven, and, then, to take up Three and Seven for somewhat detailed consideration:—
One, the Monad, is the symbol of the Male Principle in Nature.
Two, the Duad, is the symbol of the Female Principle in Nature. It is also the symbol of Antagonism, of Good and Evil, Light and Darkness, Osiris and Typhoon.
Four is the number of the Tetragrammaton or Four-Lettered Name which, in the original Hebrew, consists of four letters. Scriptural references to this number are very frequent. Out of the Garden of Eden flowed four rivers. Zechariah saw four chariots coming from between the mountains of brass. Ezekiel saw four living creatures each with four faces and four wings. And St. John saw four beasts.
Five, made up, as it is, of the first odd number, rejecting unity, and the first even number, is the symbol of that mixed condition of order and disorder existing in the world.
Six is the number of the angles of the Six-Pointed Star formed by the two interlaced Equilateral Triangles and, so, calls attention to that ancient talisman, the Seal of Solomon or Shield of David.
Eight, the cube of the first even number, was held by the Pythagoreans to signify Friendship, Prudence, Counsel, and Justice. Christian symboligists consider it the symbol of Resurrection because Christ rose on the eighth day, that is to say, the day (Sunday) after the seventh day (Saturday).
Nine is the number of the angles in that Triple Triangle formed by placing three equal Equilateral Triangles with their apices meeting in a common point and the Triangles radiating from that point with the angle separating each Triangle from the next equal to sixty degrees — the jewel of the Prelate of the Templars. As the Equilateral Triangle is the symbol of Deity so the Triple Triangle composed of three Equilateral Triangles is the symbol of the Triple Essence of Deity or, to the Christian, the Mystery of the Trinity.
Ten, being the number of the dots in the Tetractys, calls the attention of the student to that great Pythagorean symbol. This number is the symbol of Perfection, and for this reason — it is the sum of the numbers Three and Seven.
THE NUMBER THREE
To cite more than a few of the very large number of references in Masonry to the number Three could serve no useful purpose, as it is far better that the student investigate the matter for himself. But, for a few of the more obvious examples, it will be noted that there are three occurrences of each of the following: degrees in Craft Masonry; Great Lights; Lesser Lights; Fellowcraft's Working Tools; Movable Jewels; Immovable Jewels; Supporting Pillars, and lighted Cardinal Points. Also there are all the various incidents of Three that follow directly from the fact that there are three degrees, as three positions of the Square and Compasses, and so forth.
Three, among practically all the ancient peoples, was considered the most significant of all the numbers and was, in many of the ancient religions, the number of certain of the attributes of many of the gods. For example, Jove's thunder bolt was three-forked, and Cerebus, the dog of Hades, had three heads. The Druids' ceremonies contained many references to it. And in the rites of Mithras and in those of Hindustan are many important references to it.
Three, as the sum of the Monad and the Duad, is, symbolically, the result of the addition of the Male Principle, symbolized by the Monad, and the Female Principle, symbolized by the Duad, and, thus, plainly becomes the symbol of the Creative Power. It is also the symbol of the three-fold nature of Deity — He who comprises the Generative Power, the Productive Capacity, and the Result, and who is the Creator, the Preserver, and the Destroyer.
THE NUMBER SEVEN
As stated by Mackey, "the symbolic Seven is to be found in a hundred ways over the whole Masonic system." This statement is so true and the discovery of those many references is so interesting and profitable to the student that no attempt is made here to gather them together. But no student who neglects to make an effort to discover them can get out of Masonry all that it has to offer him.
Seven is referred to in practically all of the ancient religions. There were seven altars before the god Mithras. In the Persian Mysteries there were seven caverns. The Goths had seven Deities and in the Gothic Mysteries the candidate met with seven obstructions. References in the Scriptures to Seven are almost innumerable. To cite but a very few:—
Noah had seven days notice of the commencement of the Deluge. The clean beasts were taken into the ark by sevens. The ark came to rest on Mt. Ararat in the seventh month. The intervals between the dispatching of the doves from the ark were seven days each. Solomon was seven years building the Temple. And the Temple was dedicated in the seventh month, the feast lasting seven days.
The few examples given above of the occurrences of references to the number Seven indicate the peculiar veneration in which that number has been held from the most ancient times. Its different symbolical meanings are nearly as numerous as the different systems of religious philosophy in which it occurs. But, to the Mason, following the teachings of "our ancient friend and brother, the great Pythagoras," it may well be the symbol of Perfection, this significance being plainly derivable from the fact that Seven is the sum of the numbers Three and Four, the numbers of the two perfect figures — the Triangle and the Square.
In concluding it is emphasized that the above statements of the significances of the various numbers are but a very small proportion of the many that might be made. There are many symbolic meanings assigned to each of the numbers and, by investigation, each student can find, among that large number of interpretations, at least one meaning for each number that will appeal to him and which will imbue Masonry with new life and new interest and will help to convert what has, perhaps, become (through no fault of Masonry) a "dry as dust" series of actions and words into a living system of instruction in morals, philosophy, ancient history, and symbolism.
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LIVE OUT THY LIFE
A creed is a rod
And a crown is of the night;
But this thing is of God:—
To be a man with all thy might;
To grow straight in the strength of thy spirit,
And live out thy life in the light.
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RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY
Bro. J. George Gibson, England
Recently there have appeared certain, and I may say almost numerous papers, which have dealt in a kind of way with this subject, although not invariably as clearly as might have been expected from a consideration of the names of the writers. And it has appeared that there must be something to allow for in the fact that the very approach was not quite so definitely an attempt to deal with the matter on its own merits as an attempt to treat the subject comparatively. In order that Masons may see at once just what is the relation of the Craft to both these experiences or studies may we not try first of all to know exactly what Religion is, and what Philosophy? And a description or definition should be such that it will not only agree with the totality of the functions of each, but will also exclude all else. May I then at once venture to define Religion as "That course of life which is lived in reference to the authority of the Supreme Creator and Ordainer of the Universe." The usual Masonic description of the LORD as the Great Author of the Universe is not enough for Masons, and does not take in much that is essential and indispensable. If we substitute Architect for Author we do not improve things very much. A Religion cannot continue in reference to something which has been and IS NOT. We cannot refer all our lives to antiquity. There must be something, or some being now existent and life-giving whom we may worship and serve. The death of the King sets free the subject. Only the continuance of that King in his successors maintains the authority. If the Supreme Being created and then left the active work of the world in other hands having no reference to Himself then we cannot serve. Consequently we cannot serve tables, nor books, nor traditions, nor antiquities of any kind whatsoever. You cannot found a religion upon the VSL unless that Book is venerated as the Word of a living Author and King. Religion is a vitality and needs a vital Spirit, or it soon becomes a mere ritualism. If once upon a time there was a real Triune, but now that has been left out of all account, the 3, 4, 5 triangle means nothing vital to Masons. If, however, there now is to be identified the same triune, the matter is altogether different. Religion is the life of the present that is lived in reference to the Supreme living Spirit of the Present. Grant the fact of a presently living triune of the Divine and we have at once the reason for the present religion that is built upon the Faith that accepts the fact of the authority for the Life that is true religion. The WORD that once lived but is now dead has no authority over the life of the modern mind. But if that WORD did not die but lives ever, then religion is vital in reference to that WORD. Traditional accretions may have beclouded our view of the Ancient Fact of the Divine Life, and the superstitions that are born of these accretions may bewilder us at times. But so long as the inner light of our Conscience and spiritual experience is pure and prevailing we may leave the superstitions to take care o themselves or give place to the light of TRUTH. The words of the VSL may seem to lend themselves to meanings that are out of accord with the Truth at times, but only to those in whose heart and life there is not the approach of a RELIGION. We may read what we like into the Sacred Volume, but to the pure all things are pure; and if we approach the Word we find the WORD whatever the words may seem to mean. We cannot make a greater mistake than by supposing that because the words may appear to be archaic the WORD is inapplicable to the life of a religious experience. We may even have differing opinions as to the Scriptures; but there are in all the varieties of our view and vision outlines that are common in every human experience. This is the experience of the Mason; and this is the reason why all Masons have regard and veneration toward the VSL.
It seems strange, but really the old view of a hostile Science is disproved by human experience, since the very Religion which so many are willing to trace to superstition is derived from Philosophy. Is this heresy? That philosophy as well as Religion may be called progressive we do not deny. And we further are prepared to assert that the very first religious desire proceeded from the revelation that followed philosophical study. Even the fear which some are so ready to describe as the origin of religion could not exist without the study of things as they appeared to the first inquirer. Philosophy is the love of and the search for WISDOM rather than that for mere knowledge. Its birth as a study we may find pictured in the Eden Story. The mother of the Religionist then is Philosophy, and as Philosophy has not yet concluded her work so the nature of Religion must be capable of further light. This implies no disrespect to the wording of the VSL, for since the modern criticism proceeded there has been a light shed upon the very wording of the Sacred Law which has many times over increased the glory of the ancient writings of all ages. Nay, the very authority of philosophy is not doubt, but Faith. Philosophy is not only iconoclastic, but is reverent and filled with the desire to find only the Truth. In the realm of Religion the services of Philosophy are beyond value.
It may be said, though without truth, that Revelation is here slighted. It is nothing of the kind. Revelation is a function of the Divine, and philosophy but makes the natural and wise use of its transcendent approach. The Authority for Revelation speaks in dreams, which one man understands and another treats as a symptom of a disordered mind. It speaks of mysteries that philosophic study can elucidate but credulity obscures all with. He who is seeking Wisdom finds it in all obscurity: he who seeks anything else is often apt to get lost himself. The ignorant religionist observes phenomena, but cannot classify and relate them. The student from that which is seen feels his way to that which shall appear. The superstitious find the ancient scroll and press it to their bosom as something sacred though not understood of the people. The scientist gathers other similars together and arranges all so that from the totality of the product of research there comes a fine truth and a new light upon the old way of pilgrimage.
Even outside the relations of Masons to the VSL we find Philosophy enlightening the path of the simple. In the field of practical theology of late years there has been going on a strongly marked conflict between the old and the new schools of thought. This has been little more than the war that must take place between the obscurantist and the credulous in every school when the eyes of philosophy are turned upon the newer manifestations of the revealed religion. It is the old order changing and giving place to the new. It implies no conquest of the orthodox by the heretical. The upshot is the enlightenment of the old orthodoxy by the light that superstition had covered with a bushel of prejudice. A consequence is that what older forms of thought permitted are now seen to be out of question in the life of one of the illumined. And the things which once were regarded as the whole law and everything, are made to stand revealed as but a very small part of it. What once was an act of benevolence is now but the merest duty of a Mason. How wonderfully has the incidence of life changed during the last twenty years. We can remember that the area of the religious life was very circumscribed. Today there is the greatest difficulty in finding space for a merely secular act. The altars which once were barely tolerated in church are to be met with in the forum and in the home. Standards are revised in regard to all the functions of Man's life.
Even Religion itself is not respected in the same superstitious way as formerly. Its authority is no longer the custom of the Fathers, for we have examined its demands by scientific methods and are convinced that its authority is in the NOW as much as it ever was in the will of the ancients. There is less perhaps of the sounding of the charge against SIN in the method of the enlightened; but the grip Man is taking of the neck of shame and iniquity is none the less tenacious. In every department of life, in all the walks of Man, in each of the experiences of the Human mind it is more and more evident that an enlightened Religion is a stronger power than all superstition could boast. Never was the VSL held in such veneration as it is now, for never as now did men learn to read by the Spirit and break away from the tutelage of the mere letter. Religion depends today as never before upon true and reverent Science; and the greater and more truly we find philosophy opening out the vistas of Religion the better will that religion be. For religion at its best is the corolla of Philosophy.
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TO BUILD A MAN
To build a house or build a man is very much the same:
You have to think, you have to plan, you cannot build by guess.
The same foundation you began before you built the frame
A man must have before he can arise to a success.
Build then upon the solid earth with fundamental things —
Courageous faith and solid worth that do not change or fail
A lot of work, a little mirth, and fellowship that brings
The brotherhood of man to birth whatever ills assail
And on that good foundation rear the man you mean to be,
On life's hard road a pioneer for other men who toil,
A temple of both love and cheer in your community,
A house to others very near upon the common soil.
With faith in men that does not tire, keep blazing in your heart
A constant beacon to inspire the hearts of others, too.
When hopes of other men expire, when all their dreams depart,
Give them a brand from your own fire to kindle them anew.
And you shall stand a shelter then to ev'ry passer-by
A hospice unto other men who journey down the way
To set them on their feet again the road again to try —
A house of help and comfort when the pilgrim goes astray.
What were a house, admittance to its fellowship denied?
What pleasure such a house to you, whose roof you do not share?
What were a man who never threw his own heart open wide
That men their courage might renew, rebuild their visions there?
Build such a house by such a plan in such a life as this
No single creed or single clan forbidden to your breast,
Your house a waiting wanigan when men the highway miss,
Your heart a hearth where any man shall be a welcome guest.
— Douglas Mallock.
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THEY WAIT FOR YOU
Look not, O friend, with unavailing tears
Into the Past — look to the brave young years!
Look to the Future: all is there in wait,
All that you fought for by the broken gate —
The faith that faltered and the hope that fell,
The song that died into a lonely knell.
It is all there — the love that went astray
With bitter cries on that remembered day;
The joys that were so needed by the heart,
And all the tender dreams you saw depart.
Nothing is lost forever that the soul
Cried out for: all is waiting at the goal.
— Edwin Markham.
* * *
Be useful where thou livest, that they may
Both want and wish thy pleasing presence still.
Kindness, good parts, great places are the way
To compass this. Find out men's wants and will,
And meet them there. All worldly joys go less
To the one joy of doing kindnesses.
— George Herbert
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To live or to die apart is beyond the scope of the individual destiny, for in the eye of God each man that lives is the keeper not of his own but of his brother's soul.
— Ellen Glasgow.
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THE PILLARS OF THE PORCH
Bro. John W. Barry, Grand Master, Iowa
In cut No. 34 is shown the rock beneath the dome. It is the sacred rock, the threshing floor of Ornan — the spot upon which Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac. Under the rock is a large cavern, believed to be the sepulchre of the Kings of Israel from David to Hezekiah.
When the very foundations of buildings are no more, the contemporaneous coins used as money often remain and afford valuable information. While the Jews coined but little, especially in the earlier times, yet there are some of value to the matter under consideration. In 65 A. D. the Jews revolted against their Roman governors, and A. Eleazer, a Jewish high priest, issued coins upon which is a representation of the Temple. See cut No. 35, from Madden's Jewish Coinage. Its value to the question in hand is found in the fact that it was the work of a Jewish high priest for the Jews, at a time when the inspiration of the Temple was needed, and that the temple so shown is in harmony with the buildings heretofore described. It will be noticed that this Jewish high priest in preparing a coin that might help inspire his countrymen to heroic deeds for their liberty, did not show a temple with pillars projecting above it like twentieth century smokestacks.
There are two other views of the Temple, which on account of their growing use in lodge work will be given here. In cut No. 36 is shown Solomon's Temple by Rev. T. O. Paine, of Boston, who has written and published a most superbly illustrated book on the subject, showing the Temple in radically different light from any previous conception of it. You will note that it is wider and wider toward the top. He claims that, as above shown, it corresponds with "Holy writ" to the very minutest detail. He makes Jachin and Boaz eighteen cubits high, and gives even the weight of the metal in the shafts as thirty tons each. Cut No. 37 shows the Jachin or Boaz as, he says, they are described in the Bible.
James Ferguson, an eminent architect of London, has issued an exhaustive work entitled "The Temples of The Jews." He submits scale drawings of Jachin and Boaz, showing them to have been eighteen cubits high. To Herod's Temple he gives particular attention and submits three elaborate drawings of it. One of these drawings is used in slides showing "The Holy City," and is given now to make it clear that it is not intended to represent the Temple of Solomon. though the pillars in its porch are eighteen cubits high, as in Solomon's. It is seen in cut No. 38. Ferguson is responsible for the central building only, and for nothing else shown.
Heretofore attention has been directed to such buildings as were in point. However, there is another line of evidence entitled to our highest respect. It is the opinions of Masonic investigators, Bible students, and architects, each of which classes having considered Jachin and Boaz worthy of very careful research and painstaking investigation. Naturally that which appeals to us most strongly is the —-
OPINIONS OF MASONIC INVESTIGATORS
Eighteen cubits is the height assigned to Jachin and Boaz in "The Symbols of Masonry," by Jacob Earnst, a Mason of high degree, and on pages 266 and 267 he continues as follows: "In our rituals we have heard them referred to as thirty and five cubits in height, with chapiters of five cubits, which conveys the idea that they were forty cubits in height — a very inconsiderable degree of altitude in proportion to their circumference, and not consistent with the rules of architecture, and which certainly gives a very erroneous impression."
Albert G. Mackey, in his "Encyclopedia of Freemasonry," says that the pillars of Jachin and Boaz are very important symbols. He devotes seven columns to their discussion; shows that they were eighteen cubits high, that they were within the porch and supported the entablature, and adds: "It is evident, from their description in Kings, that the pillars of the porch of King Solomon's Temple were copied from the pillars of Egyptian temples." See pages 583 to 587, inclusive. In corroboration of Earnst and Mackey, might be cited a few other Masonic authorities, thus: Jeremiah Howe, page 416; Reynold's Mysteries of Masonry, page 348; Mackenzie's Royal Masonic Encyclopedia, page 565; George Kennig, page 561, and, in short, as I verily believe, all others that ever wrote on the subject.
Because of the important symbolism and because of the peculiar and possibly somewhat obscure statement in Chronicles III-15, Jachin and Boaz have been most attractive subjects to Hebrew students and commentators on the Bible. While they differ in many particulars regarding the Temple, yet they all, so far as I could examine, are agreed that the true height of Jachin and Boaz was eighteen cubits. Smith's Bible Dictionary (Vol. 1), page 688, puts it as follows: "The front of the porch was supported, after the manner of some Egyptian temples, by two great brazen pillars, Jachin and Boaz, eighteen cubits high, with capitals of five cubits more." In like manner might be cited, confirming eighteen cubits as the true height, the following: Philip Schaff (Vol. IV), page 2314; J.T. Bannister's Temples of the Jews, page 107; James Hasting's Bible Dictionary, page 308; McClintock & Strong's work on the Bible, pages 725 and 841; William Whiston, Joseph B. Lightfoot, T. O. Paine, and others beyond the limits of my time or your patience.
No ancient building has been so fruitful a source of discussion among architects as Solomon's Temple, and though their opinions vary widely in many particulars, yet as to the true height of Jachin and Boaz, their views coincide. Eighteen cubits is the height agreed upon, and James Ferguson, before referred to, who has given exhaustive study to the Temple of Solomon, submits a scale drawing showing the height to have been eighteen cubits, and says: "This height, with the other members, makes the whole design reasonable and proper." See his "Temples of the Jews," page 157. E. C. Hakewill, page 55 of his work on the Temple, confirms this view. Also F. H. Lewis, G. E. Street, R. S. Poole, and in fact all without exception, so far as I could learn, who have investigated the subject.
What may be called the direct evidence regarding Solomon's Temple is confined to Josephus and the Bible. But on the point under consideration both sources are full, complete, and conclusive. In "The Antiquities of the Jews," by Josephus, page 251, Book VIII, Chapter III, the most renowned work of Hiram Abiff is thus described: "Moreover this Hiram made two hollow pillars, whose outsides were of brass; and the thickness of the brass was four fingers breadth, and the height of the pillars was eighteen cubits, and their circumference twelve cubits; but there was cast with each of their chapiters lily-work, that stood upon the pillar, and it was elevated five cubits; round about there was net-work interwoven with small palms, made of brass and covered the lily-work. To this was also hung two hundred pomegranates in two rows. The one of these pillars he set at the entrance of the porch on the right hand and called it "Jachin," and the other at the left hand and called it "Boaz."
The Bible, the one all-sufficient witness, has been reserved until the last. The Bible record is in four separate books, and three of them are so clear as not to admit of a doubt. The fourth, when but the single verse is read, is not so clear, but in connection with the other verses of the chapter is equally specific, therefore, for the better understanding, the verses in connection will be given:
II. CHRONICLES, III-10 TO 15, INCLUSIVE.
10. And in the most holy house he made two cherubims of image work, and overlaid them with gold.
11. And the wings of the cherubims were twenty cubits long, one wing of one cherubim was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house, and the other was likewise five cubits, reaching to the wing of the other cherubim.
12. And one wing of the other cherubim was five cubits, reaching to the wall of the house, and the other wing was five cubits also, joining the wing of the other cherubim.
13. The wings of these cherubims spread themselves forth twenty cubits, and they stood on their feet and their faces were inward.
14. And he made a vail of blue and purple, and crimson I fine linen, and wrought cherubims thereon.
15. And he made before the house two pillars of thirty five cubits high, and the chapiter that was on the top of EACH of them was five cubits."
In verse 11, the wings of the cherubim are said to be twenty cubits long, meaning the united length of the four wings. Again, in verse 13, the wings are given as twenty cubits, but as before, the meaning is the united length of the four wings. In the same way the two pillars are given as thirty and five cubits high, meaning, as in the case of the wings, the united length of the two pillars as they stood in the porch. The language is very precise. Notice: "Two pillars of thirty and five cubits high"—not each, but the two together. And then following immediately this: "And the chapiter that was on the top of each of them was five cubits high." Where is the warrant here for the statement so familiar to us all, namely: "They were each thirty and five cubits in height, adorned with chapiters of five cubits, or forty cubits in all?"
At the first blush, there is a slight discrepancy, for if the pillars were each eighteen cubits high, then would their united length or height have been thirty six cubits instead of thirty-five? Hebrew scholars and other investigators have almost uniformly accounted for this apparent discrepancy as follows: At the joint of the chapiter and pillar, the chapiter overlaps the pillar a one-half cubit, making the united length of the pillars, as measured standing in the porch, appear to be thirty-five cubits. A few others contend that the pillars were sunk into the base or foundation, so that when measured standing in the porch their united height appeared to be thirty-five cubits. It would seem that a one-half cubit lap at the top would be too much, and it is, therefore, probable that both contentions are right, except that the lap at the top was only four or five inches, and the sinking into a socket at the base about the same, making nine inches or a one-half cubit. Recent explorations in the Troad carry this compromise view almost to a demonstration. The Troad, made immortal by Homer's Iliad, contains the city of Assos, lying a short distance north of Smyrna, Asia Minor. Here in 1881-2 J. T. Clarke, in behalf of the Archaeological Institute of America, excavated a large tomb, corresponding in every detail to the tombs of the kings at Jerusalem, and dating from the seventh century B.C., and also a temple contemporaneous with that of Solomon. There is still standing there a doric pillar, sunk into the foundation and held in place by lead poured round the base, much as water mains are now joined. (See reports of the Archaeological Institute of America.) Assuming that Jachin and Boaz were set this like this Assos pillar, then is the apparent discrepancy in the Bible fully accounted for by a column contemporaneous with the Temple of Solomon, and still standing, at Assos.
However, the height of Jachin and Boaz is given in three other books of the Bible, and is not mentioned in any other place than as here indicated. The statement is so clear that no explanation or outside reference is needed. Hear and weigh this testimony:
FIRST KINGS, VII-15. "For he cast two pillars of brass of eighteen cubits high apiece, and a line of twelve cubits did compass either of them about."
SECOND KINGS, XXV-17. "The height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, and the chapiter upon it was brass."
JEREMIAH, LII-21 AND 22. "And concerning the pillars, the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, and a fillet of twelve cubits did compass it, and the thickness thereof was four fingers; it was hollow and a chapiter of brass was upon it; the height of one chapiter was five cubits, with network of pomegranates upon the chapiter round about, all of brass. The second pillar, also, and the pomegranates, were like unto these."
The foregoing Bible records are so precise, each witness so confirming the others, that together they must carry conviction to every one that can believe the evidence of recorded history. But even were there no Bible records, the circumstantial evidence adduced is so strong that the main facts would be apparent. For to the men who could construct such a building as Solomon's Temple must be accorded full and accurate knowledge not alone of the best buildings of their time, but of the best building methods as well. Think of it, here is a building thirty feet wide, ninety feet long, and forty-five feet high, and from the drawings alone its several parts are made to size and shape in the mountains and quarries, and, when assembled, they fit with such perfect accuracy and all is so well done that the building stands four hundred and nineteen years, and no doubt would be standing today had it not been wantonly destroyed in war time. At least contemporaneous buildings are still standing, and the Dome of Rock, on the site of Solomon's Temple, has already stood nearly two thousand years. It would, therefore, be reasonable to conclude that the builders of Solomon's Temple had full knowledge of the temples on the Nile, and no building has ever been found there or elsewhere in which the pillars of the porch were higher than the building. Why then charge the builders of Solomon's Temple with such a blunder?
Again, so well was Solomon's Temple constructed, so excellent architecturally that it was for centuries the type of Grecian architecture, and was many times duplicated in its main architectural features. A few contemporaneous buildings remain to us to this day, as have been shown, at Paestum and other points, and in no case are the pillars of the porch higher than the main building, but in every case are in strict accord with the Bible records of Solomon's Temple, confirming and demonstrating the proposition that Jachin and Boaz were as given, "eighteen cubits high apiece."
* * *
A little philosophy inclineth a man's mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion.
* * *
ST. JOHN'S DAY IN HARVEST: 1717
Bro. Silas H. Shepherd, Wisconsin
It is a custom to celebrate the anniversary of certain events which have, to a great extent, produced results of lasting good. If we were to celebrate the anniversary of all the great events in the history of the world we would have occasion to celebrate early every day of the year; but we limit these celebrations to those nearest our interests.
In Freemasonry, St. John's days are, by our customs and usages, set apart as days on which "festival communications" may be held. St. John the Baptist's Day, 1917, is the 200th anniversary of the formation of the Grand Lodge of England, the Grand Lodge from which every regular Grand Lodge either directly or indirectly derives its authority, and we may well celebrate the 200th anniversary with appropriate allusion to the events which then transpired and the conditions which then prevailed.
It would be most welcome knowledge to every Masonic student to know just what transpired at the so-called "revival" 200 years ago. We are, however, seriously handicapped in our studies of that important event by having no contemporaneous record of it. The record we depend upon is contained in the second edition of Anderson's "Book of Constitutions" (1738) and reads as follows:
"King George I. enter'd London most magnificently on 20 Sept. 1714. And after the Rebellion was over A. D. 1716, the few Lodges at London finding themselves neglected by Sir Christopher Wren, thought fit to cement under a Grand Master as the Centre of Union and Harmony, viz., the Lodges that met,
"1. At the Goose and Gridiron Ale house in St. Paul's Church-Yard.
"2. At the Crown Ale-house in Parker's-Lane near Drury-Lane.
"3. At the Apple-Tree Tavern in Charles-street, Covent-Garden.
"4. At the Rummer and Grapes Tavern in Channel-Row, Westminster.
"They and some old Brothers met at the said Apple-Tree Tavern, and having put into the Chair the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a lodge) they constituted themselves a Grand Lodge pro Tempore in Due Form, and forthwith revived the Quarterly Communication of the Officers of Lodges (call'd the Grand Lodge) resolv'd to hold the Annual Assembly and Feast, and then to chuse a Grand Master from among themselves, till they should have the Honor of a Noble Brother at their Head.
"Accordingly, on St. John's Baptist's Day, in the 3rd year of King George I., A.D. 1717, the Assembly and Feast of the Free and accepted Masons was held at the foresaid Goose and Gridiron Ale-house.
"Before Dinner, the oldest Master Mason (now the Master of a Lodge) in the Chair, proposed a List of proper Candidates; and the Brethren by a Majority of Hands elected Mr. Anthony Sayer, Gentleman, Grand Master of Masons (Mr. Jacob Lamball, Carpenter, Capt. Joseph Elliot, Grand Wardens) who being forthwith invested with the Badges of Office and Power by the said oldest Master, and install'd, was duly congratulated by the Assembly who pay'd him the Homage.
"Sayer, Grand Master, commanded the Masters and Wardens of Lodges to meet the Grand Officers every Quarter in Communication, at the Place that he should appoint in his Summons sent by the Tyler."
Among the regulations which were adopted at this meeting the most important was, "That the privilege of assembling as Masons, which had been hitherto unlimited, should be vested in certain Lodges or Assemblies of Masons convened in certain places; and that every Lodge to be hereafter convened, except the four old Lodges at that time existing, should be legally authorized to act by a warrant from the Grand Master for the time being, granted to certain individuals by petition, with the consent and approbation of the Grand Lodge in communication; and that without such warrant no Lodge should be hereafter deemed regular or constitutional." This regulation may be considered as the most far-reaching in its effects of any rule that has ever been made by Masons for their government; it is the foundation of OUI present jurisprudence in regard to regularity. It is also of historical importance, as it states that the privilege of assembling had been "hitherto unlimited."
Three years after the formation of the Grand Lodge, in 1720, Grand Master Payne compiled the "General Regulations," the 39th of which contained the following: "Every Grand Lodge has an inherent Power and Authority to make new Regulations or to alter these, for the real Benefit of this ancient Fraternity: Provided always that the old Land Marks be carefully preserv'd." This regulation clearly shows a spirit of conformity to a basic law of an ancient Fraternity.
The organization of the Grand Lodge in 1717 was called a "revival" by the writers of the 18th and some of the writers of the 19th century, and implicit faith was placed on the statement that Sir Christopher Wren was Grand Master of a Grand Lodge that existed prior to 1717 and that he had neglected the fraternity; but there is no evidence that Wren was even a Mason and therefore none that he was Grand Master and there is great probability that he was not. The "formation" or "organization" of the Grand Lodge of England seems to be a more definite and appropriate expression of what actually happened; for we are told by Anderson that they "constituted themselves a Grand Lodge pro Tempore in due form" as their first act.
This formation or organization of the premier Grand Lodge has been termed a "gigantic blunder" by a deep thinker and learned student of Masonic fundamentals. He believes that the principle of co-operation was subordinate to an "organization." We are sometimes in doubt as to where the happy medium lies, and are inclined to believe we have it in the Freemasonry of today. We know its weakness and its limitations, but they are the weakness and the limitations of the individual and not the Fraternity. Its principles are basically sound and if perverted it is mainly due to two causes, viz: the Masonic politician and the careless investigating committee. Organization is a necessity and where men are associated with each other it is necessary that they give up a certain amount of personal freedom for the greater and more glorious liberty of all. We do not wish to infringe on freedom of thought. The Freemason is, first of all, an intelligent, free moral agent, and, so far as his Freemasonry applies to the building of his own "Temple of Character," he is free to interpret its laws, rules and regulations for himself; but when he associates with others in the work of teaching the neophyte and in the general labors of the Lodge he is subject to self imposed restrictions which he voluntarily assumes.
From an historical standpoint the year 1717 is the most important in Masonry. It is the date which divides the laws of Masonry into the ancient customs and usages and the modern regulations, laws and edicts; it also in a great measure divides the known from the unknown, for previous to the formation of the Grand Lodge in 1717 we had but few authentic facts on which we can rely. Brother G. W. Speth, in his splendid "Masonic Curriculum" describes the need of a chart for the use of the Masonic navigator on the sea of Masonic history, and, after giving his opinion of the value of Gould's "History of Freemasonry" as such a chart, says:
"We rise from the perusal of this book with one fact tolerably well impressed upon our minds, viz., that in the middle of our ocean lies an island, A. D. 1717, the period at which our Craft underwent a reorganization of some sort; and we are conscious that between this island and our own shores lies a tract which is fairly well mapped out, but that beyond it extends a waste with scarcely a sounding more than approximately indicated, stretching away into the distant past. Our first effort must be to gain a clear insight into this past: we shall not altogether succeed, and we shall possibly never even approach the shore at the other side, although we may be able to fill up many blanks, to discover solid ground here and there, mark the probable flow of the current and take some additional soundings."
Brother R.F. Gould in his masterly essay on "Masonic Symbolism" says: "I conceive that there is ground for reasonable conjecture, whether the Symbolism of Masonry, to a considerable portion of which, even at this day, no meaning can be assigned which is entirely satisfactory to an intelligent mind, must not have culminated before the very earliest dawn of its recorded history. Also that it underwent a gradual process of decay, which was arrested but only at the point we now have it, by passing into the control of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717." Symbolic and traditional knowledge was of great importance to the ancient world and it has been handed down through the centuries, a priceless gift of the past to the present. Many of the most important truths of philosophy survived the dark ages through hermetic, Rosicrucian and Masonic sources; but with the invention of printing and later the popular thought which came with the Reformation, men no longer relied to such an extent on symbols and allegory; printed history replaced oral traditions and the methods of the ancient form of instruction were replaced by ones more adaptable to the conditions of the progressive age which was born with the invention of printing and gradually developed a spirit of moral, political and spiritual freedom which found its most pronounced expression in the English Revolution of 1688. Taine says,* "With the constitution of 1688 a new spirit appears in England. Slowly, gradually, the moral revolution accompanies the social: man changes with the state, in the same sense and for the same causes; character moulds itself to the situation; and little by little, in manners and in literature, we see spring up a serious, reflective, moral spirit, capable of discipline and independence which can alone maintain and give effect to a constitution." Although the reaction of the rule of the sober, long-faced, never-laughing puritan was carried to the opposite extreme and vices seemed to be the most prominent trait of the Englishman of the Revolution and the decades that followed it, there was an inner consciousness of moral responsibility which was so well expressed in the writings of Addison, DeFoe, Pope, Berkeley and others and which eventually found expression in their act as well as their thoughts. Protestant thought was not new thought, but an expression in different form of the Wisdom of the ages. Restraint of action and liberty of thought are the cornerstones of civilization. Freemasonry has been laying these cornerstones in every age and in many lands from time immemorial. The Charge in the 1723 "Book of Constitutions" concerning God and Religion could not have been written until the world was ready to receive it. It was taught by Masonic symbol and allegory from time immemorial, but in 1723 it was given to the world as one of the fundamental principles of the Fraternity.
It is my humble opinion that the fundamental principles of Freemasonry have come down to us from a very remote antiquity and have been taught by symbolical, allegorical and at times perhaps by hermetical methods and that we as individual craftsmen are most of us, as yet, only entered apprentices in the full comprehension of Freemasonry and that the Craft in 1717 needed an adjustment to meet the changed condition which society had undergone.
That this organization of 1717 was not perfect and that its efforts to unite men of every country, sect and opinion were sometimes fruitless is evidenced by the schisms that have since become a part of Masonic history. These weaknesses are not, however, the weakness of Freemasonry, but the failure of its votaries to apply themselves with freedom, fervency and zeal to the task of subduing their passions and the duty of improving themselves in Masonic knowledge.
The Mason who has studied the events bearing on the formation of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717 knows that its foundation was laid in the basic principle of the "Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man" and he will endeavor to prove to the profane world through his own actions that the Freemason is a builder — a Builder of Character.
*Taine's History of English Literature, Chapter 3.
REFERENCES — Hist. of Eng. (Macaulay); Real Hist. of the Rosicrucians (Waite); Hist. of Freemasonry (Gould); Arcane Schools (Yarker); Collected Essays (Gould); Preston's Illustrations; Hist. of Eng. Literature (Taine); Historical Notes on Freemasonry (Baxter); A Masonic Curriculum (Speth); Philosophy of Religion and History (Fairburn).
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A PLEA FOR ACTION
Bro. Jos. C. Greenfield, Georgia
THE American nation is today aflame with patriotic fervor. We are at war with the greatest military nation in the world. The vast majority of the citizens of the United States approve of that war, and irrespective of political affiliations, stand solidly behind the National government in all the steps it has taken and is still taking, to prosecute the conflict to a successful conclusion. Flag raisings, patriotic gatherings, the blare of bands and the marching of armed men, have aroused the people to a height of enthusiasm never before reached.
The best blood of the country is flocking to the colors; the training camps for officers are overrun with applications from men of intellect, character and business and financial standing; the hoarded moneys of the people, both rich and poor, have been placed at the disposal of the Government, as evidenced by the tremendous over subscription to the Liberty bond issue; our women have caught the spirit of the times and are cooperating with the food commission, with the Red Cross Movement, and with any and every other agency in which their services can be enlisted.
What is the great Masonic fraternity doing as a potential factor in the solving of the problems that the National crisis has pressed to the front?
I know many have enlisted, but they did that as American citizens and not as Masons. A few Lodges, and perhaps a Grand Lodge or two have subscribed for some bonds. I have waited expecting that those who control the National Grand bodies would issue a call to labor. But I have waited in vain. Subordinate bodies keep grinding out members of a more or less advanced degree, but the Grand bodies have not made any attempt to use the vast forces at their disposal for any phase of the National good.
What can the Craft do? Many things. One of the most important is the moral atmosphere that could be thrown around the various camps. Here at different points, from half a million to two million men will be gathered. These camps will be composed of all kinds of men. The proper surroundings are most important. The public prints have lately been filled with stories of the rotten conditions that have afflicted one of our naval training cantonments. The harpies of the under world flock to such places — they fatten on the bodies and souls of men. Can the Masonic fraternity assume a better work than the correction of these evils?
Can the Supreme Councils of the Southern and Northern Jurisdiction, the Grand Encampment of Knights Templar, the General Grand Chapter and the Imperial Council of the Shrine, do a greater work for the order, for humanity, for America, for God, than keeping clean minds and pure bodies in the men we send out to fight our battles?
It has been reported that one-third of the men in European armies suffer from private diseases. I do not know whether or not this is true. I hope not, but cannot America point out the way to more exalted manhood? The Masonic fraternity should be something more than a Mason-making institution. It should be a man manufactory — and what higher service can it do for the land than safeguarding the men who are offering themselves as food for German cannon.
We have existed for hundreds of years. We have performed great charities, and have received full credit for them. We have in a measure taken care of those of the household of faith. But we have never seen the country in the hour of such national need as at present.
We are living in perhaps the darkest hour of the world's history and the dawn has not yet appeared. Let the Royal Craft rise to the needs of the hour. Let those whom we have placed in high position, and to whom we have been taught to look for inspiration and leadership, issue a clarion call to action. Do they doubt their right to do so? There are times in the life of an individual and a nation, when old methods must be relegated to the rear and new precedents be set. The duty is upon us and we should rise to the occasion.
And just as sure as there is a Divine power controlling and directing all things, just so sure will the rank and file of the craft endorse any steps along these lines, and rallying as a unit to the banner of the Compass and Square, will follow whithersoever it leads, and Masonry will emerge from the conflict purer, better nobler, for its labors for the order, our country and humanity. BUT LET US DO SOMETHING!
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THE GILD AND YORK RITES
Bro. Charles Hope Merz, Ohio
Charles Hope Merz, A.M., M.D., Sandusky, Ohio. Born at Oxford, Ohio, father was Master of the Masonic Lodge there for a number of years; received his education at Miami University, Oxford, afterward graduating from Wooster, Ohio, University in 1883; graduated from the Medical Department of Western Reserve University in 1885; has practiced his profession in Sandusky since that time, his son Charles Merz is Washington correspondent of the New Republic and one of its Editors; Past Master of Science Lodge No. 50; member of Sandusky City Chapter R. A. M., Sandusky City Council R. & S. M., and Erie Commandery K. T.; has written for Masonic Journals for a number of years; author of two brochures that have attracted wide attention—"The House of Solomon" and "The Transition in Masonry"; has lectured extensively before Lodges in various parts of the country; active in Masonic Research, Charter Member of the National Masonic Research Society; Honorary Life Member of the Cincinnati Masonic Library; was Associate Editor of the Bibliophile, Member of the Magian Society of New York; First Master for life of Lodge No. 24, Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers and Bricklayers, Leicester, England, he is the American Secretary of this Society; Member of the Lodge of Research Leicester, England; President of the Masonic Library Association and of the Society for Masonic Research, Sandusky, Ohio. Dr. Merz's greatest activity has been along the line of lectures on Masonic Symbolism which have called forth favorable comment wherever they have been heard. He has in preparation two works on Masonic subjects that will appear during the coming winter.
THOSE who claim that "Freemasonry, as we know it, is in no wise derived from Operative Free Masonry," are indulging in a belief not only contrary to that of the most advanced Masonic authorities of the day, but one presenting many points insufficiently attested and uncorroborated by documentary or other evidence.
To accept for one moment the suggestion that a system so complex and curious and embracing so many have phrases and customs, so many impressive symbols, and ceremonials, cleverly regulated and reduced to system, was framed by a number of individuals met rather to originate such a wondrous system, imposes our credulity. The traces of antiquity are too numerous to be overlooked or ignored.
Speculative Freemasonry is defined as "a beautiful item of morals, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." Operative Free Masonry is the practice, by the Craft, of tectonic art — the science of building terms and other important structures, a working in stone, accordance with "the ancient usages and established customs of the Gild or Company." Beyond doubt Operative Free Masonry was originally a Religion and Trade combined — and there was and is a great deal more in Operative Free Masonry than mere work in stone.
Condel, in his "Hole Craft and Fellowship of Mary" throws a great deal of light on Operative Freemasonry. He states that the Worshipful Company of Masons of London was the connecting link between the tMonastic Architects and the present Society of the Accepted Masons. That the Traditional and Oral teachings existing in Britain in the 12th and 13th centuries were preserved by this Company after the downfall of the church in 1530 until 1717. That it is the only demonstrable source by which the old Constitutions of the middle ages reached the Speculative Masons, and that it is only in connection with this Company that any mention of Speculative Masonry is made in London in the 17th century or of any Society meeting for the fostering of Symbolic Masonry.
This Worshipful Company of Masons in 1646 underwent an esoteric division into a body of "Accepted" Masons — persons in no way connected with the Craft and Operative or Free Masons. Later the words became synonymous, to distinguish strictly Speculative from Operative Masons. So the Mason's Company may be said to have been in a dual condition — Speculatives and Operatives.
As early as 1620, and perhaps earlier, certain members of the Mason's Company met to form a Lodge for Speculative Masonry, and this act, given by the records of the Company, concerning its "accepted members," is the earliest record of 17th century Masonry in England. In 1472, the Company was granted a Coat of Arms, which has served as the foundation for all subsequent corporations connected with Masonry, whether Operative or Speculative. The motto on the Coat of Arms is of the greatest importance. In the original grant, no mention is made of the motto, but since early in 1700 it has been "In the Lord is all our trust" — the motto in use today by the Worshipful Society of Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers and Bricklayers. The first Company was known as The Fellowship of Masons, and to this Fellowship the grant was made in 1472, but about 1530 the title was changed to the Company of Free Masons. The Company of Masons of the City of London, in its early days, practiced and was acquainted with all the moral teachings of the Fraternity, and when the Monastic Gilds fell into chaos, the London Company of Masons preserved the ancient traditions of the Gild, and amongst its documents a copy of those MS. traditions, with the object of keeping the old order of things alive, and thus assisted in handing them down to the 17th century Society of Free and Accepted Masons, which revived the old order some time between 1680 and 1700. One thing is very certain; up to about 1700, the Company and Society were hand in hand, but after that date, the connection ended; and there is nothing show that Speculative Masonry had a place in the thought of the members of the Company.
For thousands of years Trade Gilds, Castes, Societies, Companies and similar Institutions have been in existence, and in London alone there are some eighty existence at the present day. To carry out its system, each Trade Gild divided its members and also its methods into grades or degrees, and the officers and workmen were instructed in that particular portion of the Art or Craft which belonged to the respective degree of which they were members. Consequently it will be evident that to obtain the full knowledge of any trade, a person must begin as an Apprentice in the low grade and, by skill and attention to duty, gradually work up to be a Master or chief ruler of his Gild. The number of grades or degrees varied according to the practical requirements of the trade; but in each instance, it followed that if a young man desired to work in any of the trades, he must belong to the Trade Gild, as the members, would neither teach nor work with an outsider.
An analysis of the "Compositions" of fifteen trades, ranging from the year 1400 to 1700, including the Weavers, Glovers, Brewers, Tailors, Joiners, Carpenters, Goldsmiths, Smiths, Pewterers, Plumbers, Glaziers, Painters, Cutlers, Musicians, Stationers, Bookbinders, Basket-makers, and the Bricklayers, Tilers, Wallers, Plaisterers and Paviors, shows that an Apprenticeship was common to all. Many of them had an obligation binding the members to the "Society, Brotherhood, Fraternity and Company," and protecting the trade and esoteric secrets. A number of them used Apprentice Indenture papers, and had chests with three locks and keys. They were not to disclose the secrets of the Company nor were they to slander or misuse one another. These fraternities that met at various places, when the plate was brought out of the three locked chest, and the clerk sat at the table with the books of the Gild, all sworn men to do loyally and honorably and keep the secrets of the fraternity — there was something more than the spirit of a trade protection Society to animate their doings. None had repaired to tavern or tippling house on Sunday or holiday during the time to divine service: none said to another "Thou lyest" or "Art false." A Gild of Operative Free Masons still exists, as does the Mason's Company of London.
In all the Ancient Charges there is evidence of the commencement of moral teachings and of secret signs. The Regius MS. (1390) recommends implicit truth. The Harleian MS. (1670) mentions "several words and signs of a Free Mason to be Revealed," which may be communicated to no one "except to the Masters and Fellows of the said Society of Free Masons, so help me God." Here followeth the worthy and godly oath of Masons. The MS. by King Henry VI says, "some Maconnes are not so virtuous as some other menne, but for the moste parte they be more gude than they would be if they were not Maconnes."
In the 17th century or earlier, private gentlemen and Army Officers began to be admitted as members of the Society of Free Masons in England and Scotland — John Boswell, Esq., was a member of St. Mary's Chapel Lodge, Edinburgh, in 1600. Robert Morey, Quarter Master General of the Scottish Army, was made a Mason at Newcastle in 1641. Elias Ashmole, the Antiquarian, and Col. Henry Mainwaring were made Masons at Warrington in 1646. Morey was a Scotch Covenanter, Ashmole was a Royalist and Mainwaring was a Parliamentarian. In 1647 Dr. Wm. Maxwell joined the Lodge at Edinburgh. The minutes of St. Mary's Chapel Lodge record that Boswell attested his "mark" at the meeting on June 8, 1600. The Earls of Cassilis and Eglington were initiated in the Lodge of Kilwinning in 1670.
The full title of the existing Society of Operative Free Masons is, The Worshipful Society of Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers and Bricklayers. The Rough Masons and Wallers are inferior Craftsmen, doing rougher work than that done by Free Masons. They are not Fellows of the Lodges of Free Masons, but may be regarded as Associates, having ceremonies of their own. They are regarded as "scabblers" and their work is not "in course." They are allowed to enter the First Degree or Apprentice stone yard, but not the Second or Fellows yard.
The Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers and Bricklayers (known as the Tilers and Bricklayers), are also three separate and distinct Companies. Lambert, in his "Two Thousand Years of Gild Life," gives the history of the Fraternity of Bricklayers, Tilers, Wallers, Plaisterers and Pavers of the City of Hull. The Ordinances held by this Fraternity, 1598, are very interesting. They had One Warden and two Searchers, to be chosen "yearlie, for ever upon mondaie Sennitt after Sainte James daie the apostle." They were to show reverence towards "the worshipfull of the towne." Secrets of the town were not to be disclosed. Reverence to be shown toward the Warden. The Warden and Searchers not to be misused in words or deeds. One brother shall not "in anie wise misuse another in words." Absence from meetings and at the "hower" appointed was forbidden. Not to be absent from the election nor from the election dinner. Not to "lawe out" with another. The Warden was not to "forbeare any man offending." Servants were to learne good manners and resorte to divine service. Secrets of the brotherhoode were not to be opened or disclosed. No apprentice to be taken for less time than seven years. Not allowed two apprentices at once. None to "resorte to the; ale-house nor cardes in time of their worke." None to do any "worke before he have ended his first worke." None to be free unless serving seven yeares. To resort to the "buriall of anie brother dieinge." Indentures to be inrolled.
The title, Worshipful Society of Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers and Bricklayers, composed of so many distinct trades is at first sight surprising, but on investigation it will be found that it was not an uncommon state of affairs in the 17th century. In Kendall, in 1667, the 12th Trade Company comprised Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Plaisterers, Slaters and Carpenters. In Oxford a Company was incorporated in 1604 called "The Company of Free Masons, Carpenters, Joiners and Slaters of the City of Oxford." In Gateshead a most curious conglomeration of trades was incorporated by a Charter of Cosin, Bishop of Durham, in 1671. The Trades enumerated are Free Masons, Carvers, Stonecutters, Sculpturers, Brickmakers, Tilers, Bricklayers, Glaysers, Penterstainers, Founders, Neilers, Pewterers, Plumbers, Millwrights, Sadlers, Bridlers, Trunckmakers, and Distillers."
At Edinburgh, the incorporation of St. Mary's Chapel at one time embraced a great variety of Trades, such as Sievewrights, Coopers, Upholsterers, Bowmakers, Slaters, Glaziers, Painters, Plumbers and Wrights, as well as Masons. Later there were only two in the Union, the Wrights and the Masons, and finally these separated, each becoming a distinct Corporation.
The greatest interest centers in Durham, where we find the combination of Trades to be the same as the one under discussion. In 1594, Bishop Matthew Hutton incorporated the "Rough Masons, Wallers and Slaters." In 1609 Bishop James confirmed their Bye Laws and Ordinances, in which they are designated as "Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Tylers and Plaisterers." On April 16, 1638, Bishop Morton gave a new Charter to the "Company, Society and Felowshipp of Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers and Bricklayers." The Bishops of Durham were Counts Palatinate, so Charters originated from them.
These Operatives became Free men of the City, which conferred many rights and privileges upon them, and many of the gentry of the country became honorary members, regarding it as a great distinction, just as today, many members of the mercantile and professional classes become Free men and Liverymen of the Trade Companies of London.
The Mason's Company of London was incorporated in the second year of Henry IV (1411) and was granted Arms in the 12th year of Edward IV (1473), which Arms are still used by them. Conder gives the date as 1472. The Slaters, though not a recognized Company, have their Arms. The Paviors is a small London Company. The Plaisterers were incorporated in 1501 and the Tilers and Bricklayers in 1508. Various disputes have arisen among these Trades and others of a kindred nature as to what was their respective work. In 1356, 1615 and 1632, these differences became very acute. In 1677 the Worshipful Society of Free Masons, Rough Masons, etc., received a Coat of Arms which still hangs in the Gild Hall at Durham, and which is a combination of the Arms of the several Trades. In chief, on the dexter side are those of the Masons: in the centre, those of the Slaters: on the sinister side, those of the Paviors: below on the dexter side, those of the Tilers and Bricklayers. The Arms in each case are similar to, if not identical with, those of the London Companies. In London, the use of the word "Free," in Free Mason, was allowed to lapse toward the end of the 17th century. This was because it had ceased to be a distinction when members of all the other London Companies were equally free, and probably because the Free Masons had ceased to include Rough Masons, etc., in their Corporation. About 1655-56, London and Westminster Free Masons dropped their association with other Trades. On this point accurate information is difficult to obtain. In 1871, after the passage of the Trade Union Act, the Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters and Paviors began to leave the Free Masons, and since 1883 have held meetings of their own.
Operative Free Masons are divided into two classes, "Straight" or "Square" Masons and "Round" or "Arch" Masons, and each class is divided into seven Degrees or Grades. A man may belong to one of these classes only, never to both, although he may be transferred from one to the other, if the Masters so order it. When a man is apprenticed, he selects the form he intends to follow. The square is the symbol of the "Square" Mason, and the Compasses the symbol of the "Arch" Mason. Blue is the color of the former, and red the color of the latter. Each one of the seven Degrees has its own special secrets, working rules and technical instruction.
The Degrees are: 1, Apprentice to the Craft of Free Mason. 2, Fellow of the Craft of Free Mason. 3, Super Fellows who have their Mark. 4, Super Fellows who are erectors on the Site. 5, Intendents and Super Intendents or Menatzchim. 6, Passed Masters. Those who have passed the technical examination for the position of Master. Also known as Harodim. 7, The Grand Masters, of whom there are three.
Space forbids anything more than an outline comparison of the Rituals of the Worshipful Society of Free Masons (Gild) and the old York Rite, taken from a Ritual that dates from 1726, and which, from its Operative tendency and the apparent detachment of the Third Degree, is evidently derived in the first place from such a ceremony as the Annual Drama of the Operatives, and in the second place from the Ritual on which the London Third Degree was founded about 1728.
Worshipful Society of Free Masons (Gild).
1° Apprentice. Indentured for 7 years to a member of the Lodge. When approved, receives a well known pass and is led to the porch of the Lodge. Takes a short obligation of secrecy so that in case he is "barred," his lips are sealed. Here the Treasurer sees that he deposits his fee and the Doctor that he is sound. He bathes and dons the toga. The Deacon prepares and refreshes him. The ceremony does not differ greatly from our own, but an actual collection is made for him, where ours is symbolic. He is taught how to hold the chisel and hew the rough Ashlar. He is girded with an Apron on which are the rule, chisel and maul. He is a Brother for seven years but not a Free Mason.
2°. Fellow of the Craft. He gives a month's notice of the expiration of his 7 years, and requests to be made a fellow of the Craft. Upon which inquiries are made as to his character. If accepted, he attends on a Saturday at High XII, and after his Indentures are torn up, and his cord or bond taken away, he is admitted with a pass, grip and word into a Lodge of the 2°. He receives as his working tools, the plumb, level and square, in addition to those of the 1°. The Master tests him with an Ashlar Cube and the gauge and he is himself tested by it. It is an exemplification of the ancient Oriental lines—"O, square thyself for use, a stone fit for the building is not left in the way." The obligation includes that of our 3°, and the old Charges prove that this was the case in ancient times.
3° and 4°. Super Fellows. These are Marked and taught fitting and marking, so that the stones can be erected on the Site which has been consecrated holy ground.
Tools, Chisel and Maul.
Drama. The Wor. Soc. of Free Masons (Gild) has its annual ceremonials of several sections. (1) It begins with the organization of the entire levy at the erection of the Temple, and there is an examination of all the duties and details from the 7° down to the 1°. (2) Next we have the method of fixing the centre and four corner stones with a symbolic sacrifice. (3) The chief rite is a Passion-play on Oct. 2nd annually. It follows very closely all the details of the old York Rite, but there is no Concealment. The three traitors also relate to K. S. all the details of their acts, which come more appropriately than when related by the Master. Sentence is passed on the three and the mob deals with the 12. At the end, the members beg K. S. to appoint a new G. M. M. and he appoints Adoniram, and he, as in the old York Rite, establishes a new lodge of "Passed Masters," a body of men who are examined and found competent in the ordinary duties of an architect. (4) An example against negligence — a lost corner stone. (5) The Dedication. (6) A search for the vault which contains the centre. When building he 2nd Temple, they find the column and the plans, carry away same, also a certain scroll .
5, 6, 7°. Superintendents (3300) Passed Masters (15) Grand Masters (3). The name of H. A. occurs only in the 7°. The annual drama, when the Charges are brought out and read, is an entire history of the construction of Solomon's Temple.
York Rite. In opening an Apprentice Lodge, there are the tools of a working Apprentice, ladder, etc., and the rough Ashlar is placed before those of the 1°. There is an obligation of secrecy before preparation, a part of which is that he carries some papers to prove that the "tongue of good report" has been heard in his favor. Ceremony proceeds much like that of the Gild, and the obligation is equally strict in both. The Master actually sets him to hew the rough Ashlar, though no doubt it was mainly symbolical. He is invested with a plain lamb-skin apron, the bib covering the breast with "the flesh side inwards." He gets his 2° in a month by this Rite.
All signs of an Apprentice are removed, and the square, level and plumb take their place, also the Perfect Ashlar Cube. He makes three rounds that his skill (as a supposed Operative) might be tested. At the 1st round the J. W. hands him the plumb rule to test the uprightness of his column. The 2nd time, the S. W. hands him the level to try the horizontal position. The 3° round, the Master hands him the square and tells him to examine and test the Perfect Ashlar and prove its cubical dimensions. The investiture is turning down the bib of the apron. Thus it represents the one now in use. Some old lines on the letter G and the noble science of Geometry conclude the reception.
These have no relation with Grand Lodge Masonry: they are Mark Man, and Master, of old, two Degrees, now one degree in two parts. All the old Operative Lodges conferred a Mark. It was struck out as useless in 1717.
3°. Casual Master. The Lodge is opened in the F.C. Degree and the Candidate takes the Gild 2° O; B., our 3°. The last part of the ceremony then proceeds somewhat abruptly. A clock or bell strikes XII to represent certain things related in the Modern and Ancient Gild Rites. The relation does not differ materially from that now used, but is full of much dramatic action. The ritual corresponds very closely to the rites used by Aeneas to the Manes of his defunct friend. At the close, Solomon, to reward 3 of the F. C., appoints the Officers of a "Casual Lodge of Masters" (a sham lodge of 12) to be held in permanence. J.J.J. are tried and sentenced with their three penalties. Then Adoniram is appointed successor and founds a new Lodge of Perfect Masters. The Casual signs which occurred at the "cause," are worked up to close the Lodge.
Royal Arch Degree of the Ancients. Contains same details, and is unquestionably a degree of dissidents and extends to the Installation of the three Principals.
Installation. As modern Freemasonry has no Art to rule, these exist only in name, as Wardens, Chair Masters and Grand Masters. In the North Country (England) Lodges, which were of Operative character and origin, were ruled by the Harodim or Passed Masters.
In every Degree of Operative Masonry, the Candidate is admitted in the toga candida of the old Romans, a white cloak open at the breast to show the wounds received in battle by the applicant who sought a post. In all the Degrees the Candidate is treated as a Living Stone. He is rough dressed in the 1°, polished as a cube in the 2°, perfected in the 3°, and erected as a stone in the Living Temple in the 4°. The three remaining Degrees have their Rituals, but as their names imply, they are rulers of the work, and their Ritual deals with abstruse geometrical problems and the details necessary to construct important buildings. As bearing on the Operative phase of the question, I desire to submit an Apprentice Indenture Paper, which explains itself. This paper is exactly similar to one submitted to the readers of the Ars Quatuor Coronati, Vol. III, by Brother John Yarker.
The Worshipful Society of Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers and Bricklayers.
Lodge "Leicester," No. 91. Established at Leicester, England, 1761.
THIS INDENTURE WITNESSETH, That Charles Hope Merz, M. D., of Sandusky, Ohio, U. S. America, doth put himself Apprentice to the Worshipful Society of Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers and Bricklayers (York Division), to learn their Art and with them, after the manner of an Apprentice, to serve from the day of the date hereof until the full term of SEVEN YEARS, from thence next ensuing and fully to be completed and ended: during which said term, the said Apprentice his said Masters faithfully shall and will serve, their secrets keep, their lawful commands everywhere gladly do: he shall do no damage to his said Masters nor see it to be done of others: but to his power shall let, or forthwith give notice to his said Masters of the same: the goods of his said Masters he shall not waste, nor lend them unlawfully to any, hurt to his said Masters he shall not do, cause or procure to be done: he shall neither buy or sell without his said Master's leave.
Taverns, Inns or Ale-houses he shall not haunt: at Cards, Dice or Table or any unlawful game he shall not play: nor from the service of his said Masters day or night shall absent himself, but in all things as an honest and faithful Apprentice shall and will demean and behave himself toward his said Masters and all things during the said term. And the said Masters (and their successors from time to time), the said Apprentice in the Art and Mystery of a Mason which they now use shall teach and instruct or cause to be taught and instructed in the best way and manner that they can, finding and allowing unto their said Apprentice sufficient meat, drink, washing, lodging and all other necessaries during the said term and one pair of New Shoes yearly and aprons.
AND for the true performance of all and every the covenants and agreements aforesaid, either of the said parties bindeth himself and themselves unto the other firmly by these presents.
IN WITNESS whereof the parties above said to this Indenture, interchangeably have set their hands and seals this twelfth day of August, one thousand nine hundred and twelve.
Charles Hope Melz, Apprentice.
Clement E. Stretton, 1st Master Mason.
Edward Peacock Male, 2nd Master Mason.
R. Ogden, 3rd Master Mason.
Harry Smith, Clerk to the above said Lodge.
(Seal) Harry C. Bauer, Registrar.
Signed and Delivered by the above named in the presence of John Yarker.
There is no question but that originally Masonic Degrees were applicable to any nationality, as is the case in the Operative ceremony today, but after Christian times and the acceptance of the Jewish Scriptures, Solomon was adopted as the type of the highest builder and wisest of men, and therefore a Judaic Commemoration ceremony was added outside of or as an explanation of the Degrees.
The Grand Lodge of England in 1911 published an historical note by W. Bro. John P. Simpson, B. A. P. A. G. Reg., which said: "The ritual of Freemasonry as far as the First and Second Degrees are concerned, is in part, no doubt, derived from the ceremony of the early Operative Gilds."
The note would have been more accurate had it said mainly derived from the Operative ceremony — also the Third and Mark Degrees. The Third Degree was an afterthought as regards Speculative Freemasonry. As formulated in 1717, and laid down in the First Book of Constitutions, there was no Third Degree. A Mason became a Master only when he became Master of a Lodge. The ancient Charges in the present Book of Constitutions will suffice to make this quite clear and this paragraph is the same today as it was in the First Book of Constitutions in 1723, Sec. 4, Par. 2. "No brother can be a warden until he has passed the part of a fellowcraft, nor master until he has acted as warden, nor grand warden until he has been master of a lodge."
And the present Book of Constitutions has a foot note added to this section which does not appear in the Book of 1723 but was added in 1815: "N. B. In antient times no brother, however skilled in the Craft, was called a master mason until he had been elected into the chair of a lodge."
From the comparison of the Gild and York Rites previously shown, it would appear that the Speculative Third Degree is based on the Operative Rite, as it is an adaptation of the Annual Ceremony of the Operatives on Oct. 2nd, when they commemorate the slaying of the Third Master Hiram Abiff, a month before the dedication of the Temple, celebrated on Oct. 30th.
It would make the present paper too long to discuss this question farther. Speculative Freemasonry has a survival of Operative Free Masonry in the Three Principals of the Royal Arch. In the English Rite, the position of the Grand Master, the Pro Grand Master and Deputy Grand Master in Grand Lodge, is a survival of an ancient custom and they are seated very much in the same manner as K. S., H. K. of T. and H. A. were.
It is not a difficult matter to trace the origin of the Royal Arch Degree. In laying the foundation of the Temple of Solomon, in the Commemoration Ceremony of the Operative Gilds, a vault was constructed, six cubits below the floor. Over the centre was erected a Pedestal, in which were the plans and a Scroll, on which were inscribed the first lines of Genesis. This foundation was laid out on the "Five Point System" and the centre being fixed, it is guarded by four men armed with swords in one hand and building tools in the other. When the fugitives returned from Babylon, the centre of Solomon had to be found, and the laborers were set to find the vault and report to the Passed Masters who had to report to the Three Grand Masters. When the vault was found, three Passed Masters descended and brought forth the plans and Scroll, which every Arch Mason brings away today. The reviewers of this Degree could not understand why modern Masonry had only one Grand Master while the Gilds had three. They therefore gave the three Principals all the attributes of the original builders of the first Temple. They held as their attributes, three rods, (3, 4, 5), by which they could form a square building or a 3 to 1 Temple. The Royal Arch Principals have sceptres instead of rods and the private reception of these Principals and their secrets is almost identical with those possessed by the representatives of S. K. I., H. K. T., and H. A. Were the Pro Grand Master called H. of T. and the Deputy G. M., Hiram Abiff, we should at once be correct.
The Drama of all the Mysteries has been of a spiritual nature, calculated to teach man to conduct his earthly career in such a manner as to attain eternal life, and the Candidate has always personified a God, slain and risen from the dead.
A Rite that transformed into a Drama the career of our Saviour, was practiced by the Monks and Masons at York, when Athelstan granted them a Charter. There is no record of a Hiramic legend at that time. The Greeks and Romans introduced into Britain from Egypt a system of Trade Mysteries. These were later modified into orthodox Christianity by the Culdees, a Monkish fraternity who occupied Scotland, Ireland and Wales and who taught and governed the Gilds during the Saxon period. As related previously, there was engrafted upon the plain and simple Anglo-Saxon Constitution of Masonry a series of Semitic legends that probably came direct from Palestine through the French Masons, who traveled from France to England from time to time. It is in France that we find the earliest allusions to Solomonic legends.
Dr. James Anderson was Chaplain of St. Paul's Gild in 1710. In the year 1714 he proposed that men of position should be admitted to a sort of honorary membership, and the accounts of that and the following year show seven fees of five guineas each. He was expelled from the Worshipful Society of Free Masons for his disloyalty. All the time St. Paul's work was in operation, the Gilds met at High XII on a Saturday, but Anderson changed the time of meeting to 7 o'clock on Wednesday evening, at the Goose and Gridiron, and in 1715 the Operatives found that their old pass would not admit them. They complained to Sir C. Wren and Edward Strong and the dissidents were struck off the rolls. This is the reason why Anderson states that Wren "neglected" the Lodges.
We can readily see what Anderson "digested." He made the Apprentice in a month instead of seven years. He dropped everything of a technical nature, including the ceremonies of Mark Mason. He built a moral Institution on the Mystery Society of the Ancients — not Free Masonry, but an imitation of it — as he retained only so much of the old Rites as suited his purpose.
There was no quarrel at York that separated the Operatives and Speculatives. The former continued to hold their meetings at High XII on a Saturday and the latter withdrew and met in the evening, and their Ritual retained much of the Operative customs not found in the Ritual of 1813.
Anderson never possessed the higher secrets of the Masters VIId. We find this record: "At the Speculative Grand Lodge of England, held Sept. 29th, 1721, The Duke of Montagu, as Grand Master presiding, His Grace's Worship and the Lodge finding fault with all the copies of the old Gothic Constitutions, ordered Bro. James Anderson, M. A., to digest the same in a new and better method."
It is very certain that the present 3° or Master Mason was unknown in London and unacknowledged by the Grand Lodge before 1730. London undoubtedly derived it from York and there is strong evidence to show that York had modelled it about 1726, adapting it from a source outside of actual Degrees of work, hence London may have had it in 1728 for there was no rivalry between the North and South of England at that time and communication was friendly. This is further confirmed by the fact that York has always been looked upon as the seat from which modern Freemasonry emanated, and this all over the world, for all Masons who lay claim to the Ancient Ritual refer its origin to York.
In his "Arcane Schools," Yarker says: "In all these years the old Operative Gilds of Free Masons have continued their work without changing the secrecy of their proceedings. They have their Lodges in London, Norfolk, Derbyshire, Holyhead, Leicester York, Durham and elsewhere. Of late years they seen to have become disgusted with the vain pretensions of modern Speculative Freemasons and under authority of their co-equal Grand Masters of the South and North, have, to some extent, relaxed the secrecy of their proceedings." Again he says, in speaking of Speculative or modern Freemasonry, "many parts are quite incomprehensible, even to learned Freemasons without the technical part which only the Gilds of the Free Masons can supply."
A careful and unprejudiced examination of the two Rituals will go far toward convincing the Masonic student that Speculative Freemasonry is irrefutably based upon and has many close resemblances to Operative Free Masonry. The Operative ceremonies are actual and concrete and refer to realities, while the Speculative ceremonies and allusions are symbolic and abstract and refer to idealities. The actual must pre cede the symbolic, for the latter to have reference an, meaning, and the concrete must exist before the abstract can be conceived. The realistic must exist before the idealistic can be built upon it. The reason for many of the Speculative ceremonies can be found in the Operative Ritual, but the Operative ceremonies get no elucidation from the Speculative Ritual.
It would be a pleasure to go into this subject more fully were space to permit. The writer hopes to publish at an early date the Ritual of the Operative Free Masons. In the meantime, any additional information will be gladly furnished upon request. Facts have been given where they have been related as such, without any desire to impose upon the reader's credulity.
* * *
This brilliant sphere—
A fairy looking-glass Large as a tear—
Mirrors the things that pass,
Or far or near. Small though it be,
It holds the sun and moon;
Of skies with stars o'erstrewn—
A mimic sea—
Itself, this magic orb
Is inly lit
With secrets that absorb
Man's utmost wit.
Souls thus might shine
Ere vanishing like dew:
O would that mine
Such transient glory drew
From depths divine!
* * *
Both folly and wisdom come upon us with years.
* * *
Bro. Joseph Fort Newton, England
AS an Ambassador from Masons in America to their Brethren in Britain, I have the joy to report a most gracious welcome. Indeed, such cordial and brotherly love was worth crossing the sea, even in war-time, to enjoy. Last summer, while I was here on a visit, there was a little restraint, if I mistake not, between us, owing to the attitude of America in the world-war. At least I felt it to be so, perhaps beyond the fact, due to my own irritation at our national policy. But that has now melted away even from my imagination, and an American enjoys the warmest welcome everywhere, and nowhere is it more delightful than within the circle of Masonic fellowship.
For example, it was my honor to attend a session of British Lodge, at which a number of the men of America Lodge were guests, met to celebrate the advent of America into the war and the closer relations between the two countries. It was a gathering never to be forgotten. The meeting was held in Free Mason's Hall, on Great Queen's Street, and was well attended. British Lodge is one of the oldest Lodges in England, being No. 8 on the Grand Lodge list, — older, in fact, than the American Republic — and it was fitting that it should take the initiative. After a brief business session — and all business is transacted on the First Degree — the Third Degree was conferred in full form. Of this I may not write, of course, except to say that the work is very different from the ritual of any jurisdiction known to me in America — so different that, if I had not known what degree it was, I should have had difficulty in recognizing it.
As usual, the Lodge meeting was followed by a banquet, and it was while at table that the addresses were delivered — it being my honor to speak for America. It was like a family reunion, and all felt that the drawing together of these two great nations means unpredictable things for the future of civilization. One in arts and aims and ideals, they are now for the first time one in arms, fighting for a common cause in a spirit of comradeship which is worth more than all diplomatic alliances. The real American will now meet the real Englishman, and the real Scot, and when those three men know each other things will be different on the earth, and the future will be better. It seems to me prophetic of a new federation of nations which must include, at last, even our enemies, in the fellowship of a nobler world-society. A favorite hymn over here now is a joint national Anthem, the first lines of which run as follows:
"Two Empires by the sea,
Two peoples great and free,
One anthem raise.
One race of ancient fame,
One tongue, one faith, we claim
One God, whose glorious name
We love and praise."
By the time these words are read, the centennial of the founding of the mother Grand Lodge — the bicentennial — will have been celebrated. Elaborate preparations are now being made to that end, albeit not so elaborate as they would be but for the war — the shadow that hangs over everything. The details have not yet been announced, but there are to be at least two meetings in Albert Hall, which seats, I am told, some ten thousand people; and to see that Hall full of Masons on such a day will be a picture that will never fade. Ye Ambassador is to have the honor of attending those meetings — except, of course, the one on Sunday morning, when he will be engaged in his pulpit at the City Temple. And so, in his next "official communication" he will be telling what an Iowa Mason saw at the centennial session of the Grand Lodge of England.
Meantime, he makes note of another centenary — the tercentenary of the birth of Elias Ashmole, described by his biographer as "the greatest virtuoso and curioso that ever was known or read of in England before his time." As astrologist, alchemist, herald, antiquary, engraver, his thirst for knowledge was insatiable. He was made an M. D., had Government offices, became an early Freemason — one of the first Accepted Masons of whom we have record, in his "Diary" — followed the Rosicrucians, and had "the true matter of the philosopher's stone bequeathed to him as a legacy." His large library of printed books and MSS. he handed over to Oxford University. As the final load departed he wrote: "The last load of my rarities was sent to the barge and this afternoon I relapsed into the gout." A humorist, too! His birthday was remembered at Oxford on May 23rd.
From across the great waters I send greetings to all my Brethren, and especially to the members of the Research Society, in which I have an abiding interest and concern. I shall be telling them of Masonry and its workings on this side, from time to time, and after the awful war is over, I hope to meet many of them when they visit the Motherland.
JOSEPH FORT NEWTON.
The City Temple,
London, E. C.
* * *
Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident; riches take wings; those who cheer us today will curse us tomorrow; only one thing endures — character.
— Horace Greeley.
* * *
MASONRY IS SERVICE, CONTINUOUS AND SINCERE
PLEASE see the Worshipful Master of his Lodge as he wanted to be buried with his Mother. A few of us subscribed $75 and now have his body temporarily in a vault." This is part of a brother's letter sent from a few hundred miles distant. It explains much. You will understand right away that the Editor closed his desk at once and spent the afternoon seeking more light on the situation.
After a personal talk with the Master and Secretary of the Lodge named, which by the way was not the Editor's Lodge at all, and from an inspection of the records new and old, it was discovered that the dead brother received his dimit exactly forty-nine years ago!
Where has the brother stood since that dimit was granted? Has he not up to and even subsequent to his death received Masonic benefits although not subscribing to any Lodge? Actually it does seem that under the circumstances the granting of the dimit made the member free of all dues and of all Lodge duties for life and entitled by that document to benefits of almost every Masonic kind.
Another case came along one evening at Lodge. At the Master's request the Editor went out in answer to a telephone call, the message being that a Mason was dead. He was not a member of any local body of the Craft. At the house we found a couple of Masons, one a relative of the dead brother and also well known to the Editor as a member of a local Lodge. Both brethren spoke highly of the dead brother. Evidently he was a man of worth, a Mason of estimable qualities.
"Did the family desire a Masonic funeral?"
Well, no. Already they had arranged for the burial and had not contemplated a Masonic service. But the widow thought on account of her husband's membership the local fraternity should be advised of his death. She felt sure it would have been his desire that the brotherhood have an opportunity to attend the funeral.
Frankly the Editor agreed to this reasonable suggestion and said he would at once notify the Lodge of which the husband and father was said to be a member. On going down to the Temple to make a report he was directed to proceed with his plan. Accordingly he so advised the Lodge by telegram of the death and asked for instructions.
A reply did not come by wire, as you might have supposed; the answer came leisurely by mail. Neither was it quite what was expected. It said that the deceased's name had over twenty years ago been taken off the roster of that Lodge!
However, a few brethren did attend the funeral. For he was assuredly a good husband and father, and it was not seemly that they who as wife and children had loved him should have their confidence shaken by any assurance or even a hint that he was not to be recognized as a Mason of the highest standing. For this deception, if so it must be adjudged, may we be forgiven. If weak, it was well meant.
Only quite recently the Editor was asked what should be done when a member from another State had suddenly died and the widow sought to have a Masonic funeral given the remains.
"Is he a Mason?"
Everybody thought so but no one could recall ever seeing him in a Lodge.
"Has any search been made among his papers?"
Yes, and the curious part of it was that nothing could be found to show his membership.
"Did he ever say where he was made a Mason?"
Sure he did, but nobody knew more than the name of the town, one of the largest in the land.
Oh, very well, then wire the Grand Secretary of that State and every Lodge Secretary in the city.
Alas, the only telegram that came back telling of any acquaintance with the dead said that he was "an unaffiliated Mason," an expression not any too easy to puzzle out to a clear conclusion in a hurry.
These three instances, by the way, are all of comparatively recent experience, within the past twelve months in point of fact.
Ah, it is not for the Editor to say much more than that somehow it does not seem impossible to make it certain that all men, claiming to be Masons, shall in truth be what they say.
Is a dimit intended to be anything more than a ticket to show that the authorized holder thereof has paid the price of admission and has been received into fellowship but wants to change his pew? Surely a dimit is not a release from all demands the fraternity may make. May we not deem it a note soon due, and one never to go to protest? Maybe a uniform law on the subject could be drafted that would be so straightforward and meritorious as to warrant its adoption by all official Freemasonry.
Of those once members who to their loved ones dissemble and cloak their severance with Masonic relations little need be said. Their position is unmistakably dishonest. It places the family in a false light when of all times they require sympathetic assistance, just when they are leaning with full reliance upon a right no longer theirs to expect.
Lastly, what of those who have been ignorantly — we would like to say, innocently — imposed upon? What of those who have winked at such deceit?
Do we not need a revival of that serious view of Masonry when none were recognized but those proved true?
There are those who cannot make themselves known as Masons save by stretching the tests almost to breaking. He that cannot show himself to be a Mason should not be recognized as such. None should recognize any as Masons until they have received knowledge of ample qualifications.
Wearing Masonic jewelry is not evidence except as to the ability to get such decorations. Our tests are old but, they wear well. They are sure. They will save annoyance; yes, sorrow. Be careful to try them before assuming any naked assertion to be substantial as proof.
Furthermore, the examination of Masonic qualifications is not a street or office enterprise. There is but one really ideally suitable place, the Lodge; and but one fully competent authority, the Master, to order it made. Thus it is that where but few are prepared to examine and these seldom have the chance, the many will go unchallenged. All the more reason therefore of caution with new acquaintances, and as has been shown even old acquaintances merit circumspection and Masonic silence in the absence of lawful information.
* * *
HOW DID YOU KNOW HIM TO BE A MASON?
Competent and cautious Senior Wardens thoroughly satisfy themselves at the Lodge communications that all present are fully qualified to remain. They know the duty incumbent upon them, a responsibility not to be shelved. They will not wait until the last moment before convincing themselves that every one within the doors is all he professes or appears to be.
At that stage of the proceedings the successful officer will be as courteous as he is cautious. Should he be in the dilemma of determining the status of any who have entered the room and taken seats prior to the opening of the Lodge, he will at once confer with the Secretary and other well-informed brethren. He will then approach the strangers with a proper grasp of the situation.
In these days of large lodges there is always the danger of failing to recognize all the members of the same Masonic body. What an embarrassing thing it becomes when knowledge is denied openly or semi-privately of the standing of a visitor who later turns out to be of one's own family of the faithful. Long will that chagrin endure. Lucky is the Senior Warden who escapes the ordeal without inflicting also upon the unsuspecting visitor a sore experience, a soreness due, it may be confessed, to the infrequent visits he has made but for which he may not be at fault because of absence from the neighborhood or like reasons over which he has had no control.
So unpleasant a situation, bad as it is, does not compare with the stinging thorn planted in the consciousness when a visitor proves undeserving of the confidence reposed in him. Negligence repentent bitterly bites into the recollection of a blundering examination or of a mistaken memory that passed the opportunity by without critical search. None too exacting is the closest scrutiny.
He that warily recalls the just claims of the whole Craft upon him will not be lured into hasty acceptance of a mere casual acquaintance as being necessarily a Mason, worthy and well qualified.
Let us not shirk the whole duty that waits upon responsibility. If it be ours to examine and to try an applicant for Masonic recognition, then we should aim at proper information and see that we get it.
What is here said applies to the Examining Committees as well as to the Senior Wardens. Yes, circumspection is always in order within and without the Lodge to every unknown claimant of brotherly benefits.
Prudence pays, if only in peace of mind.
* * *
MASONIC SERVICE A SOLACE IN OLD AGE
Free-Masonry, if one loves and venerates it and devotes himself to its service, will illuminate with content the autumn and winter of his life, will enable him to live well and happy, and to die with contented resignation; and the flood of its radiance will crown his grave with the splendours of a glory neither transient nor illusory.
I firmly believe that there is nothing which will, in self-approval, comfort and consolation, so well remunerate a man, when the days of his life are shortening to the winter solstice, as faithful service in the true interest of Free-Masonry. If in those darkening daye when past successes and acquisitions no longer dazzle the judgment, and their glamour no longer glosses over failures and faults and errors, one can be sure that he has done all that circumstances and necessities and other exigencies have permitted, to purify and strengthen, to exalt and magnify Free-Masonry, he win hardly regret the Past or lack content and peace of mind in the Present.
I do not with leniency and indulgence judge myself. I know of much wherein I have failed and erred, and that I might have done much more and done it better for the Rite, the interest whereof I have had so much at heart. But such is the story of every man's life. I am not weary of the work, and shall not be; until I can work no longer. How could I be, when I have had for almost thirty years the support, the confidence and the affection of my associates in the Supreme Council and of the Brethren in general throughout our wide Jurisdiction. I can wish for each of you no better fortune than this, that the skies of his life's evening may be made as bright as mine are, by grateful remembrances of encouragement and sympathy, and acts of loving-kindness, on the part of the Dead whose memory is dear to him and honoured by him, and of the living whom he loves.
And this I do wish each of you with all my heart.
Albert Pike, Grand Commander.
* * *
"THE HOLE CRAFTE OF MASONRY"
THE various trades of early England, as, everybody knows, were organized into gilds, or craft associations. Owing to the importance of its functions the builders', or mason's, gild always held a high place among these societies; indeed, in many cities it may be said to have dominated local affairs. For this reason several of these builders' gilds lasted through the centuries, a few of them still existing at this present time. This is true, at least, of the mason's organization in London known as the "Worshipful Company of Masons of the City of London." Organized in 1220 or earlier it has maintained an unbroken existence through these more than seven hundred years and meets as of old in its headquarters.
For a long time Masonic scholars have been interested in this Mason's Company because in it they found a connecting link between the Speculative Masonry of today and the Operative Masonry of old days. Historians not a few have endeavored to trace the origin of Freemasonry to all kinds of early movements:,the ancient mysteries, the Essenes, the Culdees, the Knights Templar, the Hermeticists, the Rosicrucians, and what not. But the best equipped scholars of the Order have insisted that the Fraternity as we now have it developed out of the old builders' gilds which once were so powerful in England. Those holding this view have considered the records of the Mason's Company of London of the highest importance because in them they have been able to trace the gradual evolution of the rites and customs of the ancient architects into the symbolical ceremonies of the modern Blue Lodge. Inasmuch as it gives us these records and traces this evolution Edward Conder's book, "The Hole (ancient spelling for "Whole") Crafte of Masonry" may rightly be considered one of the authoritative and important works in Masonic literature.
Brother Conder was born in London, January 7, 1861, and was initiated into Masonry in 1892. In the course of time he became a member of the "Inner Circle" of the Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research, London. Having studied much in the early history of England (he was Fellow of the Society of Antiquarians) he won so high a place among his associates in that great society of Masonic scholars that he attained to the Master's chair, the greatest honor, perhaps, that can be conferred upon a student of Masonry. Many of his published papers attracted attention but his history of the Mason's Company of London gained him his widest fame. He was peculiarly fitted for this undertaking because lie had been made a Master of the Company in 1894.
It was at about this time that the "Court of Assistants and Freemen" of the Mason's Company appointed him to write a sketch of the history of the organization. His "original intention was to compile a pamphlet of some twenty or thirty pages," but he found such a pile of facts scattered through old records and unpublished manuscripts that his "pamphlet" grew into a volume of more than 300 pages. For this let us be thankful because it gave us one of the most valuable and interesting of all Masonic works. If it; and others like it, were more widely read we would be saved from so many of those half-baked and ill-informed theories concerning our origins which do now so much scandalize the intelligent student!
The "Hole Crafte" is divided into four parts, preceded by a brief introduction. In the first part the author presents a lucid account of the earliest beginnings of Masonry, tracing the story from Egyptian architecture down to the builders of the Middle Ages. This part serves as a helpful guide-book to a vast and bewildering field.
In the second part he throws together the scattered fragments of information concerning the early builders' gilds that are to be found in early English traditions and histories. This portion of his story covers roughly the two centuries between 1000 and 1200. For the sake of brevity he throws this into chronicle form after the fashion of early writers, leaving the facts to tell their own story, and an interesting story it is.
Thereafter he publishes many portions of the written records of the Mason's Company itself, beginning with the year 1620. The Company once possessed earlier documents than these but they were destroyed by fire. Unfortunately this part of the book does not lend itself to easy quotation else we would include in our present account a number of excerpts which throw badly needed light on the origins of much that is in our own rituals. The reader must turn to the volume itself, which, fortunately is not difficult of access.
Part four of the volume is in the nature of an appendix and gives us an inventory of the books and manuscripts now in possession of the Company; a list of its Masters and Wardens; a catalog of its "Livery Lists" (the members entitled to wear uniforms); and a list of the clerks that have had charge of its records. The first chapter of this part is of the most interest to us because in it Brother Conder develops a theory as to the origin of the term "Free" Mason. Briefly put, his idea is that the term came down to us from the sculptors of old time, they having been called "free" masons because they worked without plans, just as we still call a man a "free hand" draughtsman who does not work with drawing tools as an architectural draughtsman does. This theory has not found acceptance among the scholars but it is as sound as some of the theories that have.
The theory that modern Masonry descended from ancient practical architecture has often been set forth by our writers but on very slender evidence; in this volume we are offered the facts on which the theory rests. It may be too much to say that Brother Conder has DEMONSTRATED the theory but he has come as close to doing so as any writer thus far. He himself, writing in his introduction, has given this as the chief significance of his work:
"The Worshipful Company of Masons of the City of London enjoys, besides 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.
"I will not venture to assert that the Mason's Company of London was the only channel by which the old constitutions of the middle ages reached the Speculative Masons of 1700. Yet, so far as London is concerned, it forms THE ONLY DEMONSTRABLE SOURCE; and, as far as we know, it is ONLY in connection with this Company that any mention is made of Speculative Masonry, as existing in London during the 17th century, or, in fact, of any society of citizens meeting together for the purpose of fostering symbolical masonry."
* * *
When the Master of all Good Poets makes up his diadem of early 20th Century singers he will surely not consider as the least jewel of the lot the name of John Masefield. This man, at once very young and very old, as all true poets are, has given us a number of volumes of verse which will not soon die, containing as they do authentic gleams of inspiration, sentences written out of life rather than reflection, and pages born of experience rather than books. It is the sea, perhaps, that he has most loved out of the divine largess of nature, the sea, and the ships that are the legitimate children of the sea. There are poems in "Salt Water Ballads" wherethrough there blows the veritable wind, and whips the wild spray, and smells the salt. But that other sea, equally profound and almost as mysterious, which we call the human soul, he has also traveled, with what result those know best who have read his tragedies, "The Widow in the Bye Street," "Good Friday," "The Tragedy of Nan," and "The Everlasting Mercy": in the last named volume there is a description of a "conversion" which has almost become classical in religious literature.
But poetry did not exhaust the seemingly inexhaustible resources of this English mind. He surprised us all by furnishing to the "Home University Library" one of the best brief studies of Shakespeare in the language. When one true poet interprets another, the stars have found a blessed conjunction!
And now comes his prose narrative of the Gallipoli campaign. It will not do to describe it lest the reader be robbed of his own toys of discovery; but if you will recall the story of that venture in blood and war, if you will then try to imagine what that experience would naturally have become while passing through the soul of John Masefield, you will begin to anticipate the character of this book.
"Later," he writes, "when there was leisure, I began to consider the Dardanelles Campaign, not as a tragedy, nor as a mistake, but as a great human effort, which came, more than once, very near to triumph, achieved the impossible many times, and failed, in the end, as many great deeds of arms have failed, from something which had nothing to do with arms or with the men who bore them. That the effort failed is not against it; much that is most splendid in military history failed, many great things and noble men have failed. To myself, this failure is the second grand event of the war; the first was Belgium's answer to the German ultimatum."
This volume was published by the Macmillan Company early in this year, at $1.35.
* * *
The Open Court Publishing Company, of which Brother Paul Carus is the head, has won the hearty regard of impecunious students through its various series of low-priced books and reprints. Of these it is probable that the score or so of volumes belonging to the series "Religions, Ancient and Modern" have been of greatest service, though that is not to forget the paper editions of the philosophical and religious classics. Of this "Religions" series no volume will hold greater interest for the Masonic student than the little brochure on "Mithraism" by W.J. Pythian-Adams, since there are those who find hints and prophecies of Freemasonry itself in that ancient Mystery Cult.
Mithras is first heard of as a god in Northern Mesopotamia, 1350 years before our era. Beginning his "career" as a subordinate deity he is at last exalted to equality with Ahura-Mazda himself by Artaxerxes in 408 B.C. When the Persian Empire was overthrown in 331 B.C. the Mithraic Cult was dispersed over Asia Minor from whence it gradually invaded Rome. There it took firm hold and soon became one of the reigning religions of the Empire, growing popular under Marcus Aurelius and even winning as an initiate the Emperor Commodus. Being especially in favor with the soldiers it grows in power until in 211 of our era the Emperor Caracalla permits a shrine to be constructed under his Baths. Suffering a blow through the triumph of Christianity in 312 it is revived under Julian only to be extinguished through the imperial edict of Theodosius in the last years of the Fourth Century.
Surely a cult which enjoyed so long a career must have contained much truth within its teachings! Indeed there are those who believe that much which passed into Christianity itself during the first four centuries of its history flowed out of Mithraism. However that may be, the fact remains that the students of initiation will find many rich pages to reward a reading of its story.
* * *
THE QUESTION BOX
LORD BYRON, GRAND MASTER OF MASONS IN ENGLAND 1747-1751
Dear Brother Editor: Not long ago at a Lodge meeting I made the statement that Lord Byron was once Grand Master of Masons in England and that some of the first New York Lodges had derived their charters from England during his incumbency in office. A good Brother thought I was mistaken about this. He could not think Lord Byron had ever been Grand Master in England. — J. A. Jenkins, Colorado.
The official "Calendar" of the Grand Lodge of England shows that "William, Lord Byron," was elected Grand Master of Masons in England in 1747, serving in that capacity until 1752 when he was succeeded by "John, Lord Carysfort." In Hughan and Stillson's "History of Freemasonry and Concordant Orders" we are informed that Francis Goelet was appointed Provincial Grand Master for New York in 1751 by Lord Byron, Grand Master, but it is not known if Provincial Grand Master Goelet authorized the formation of any Lodges. Harrison was the first active Grand Master, succeeding Goelet in 1753 and serving for eighteen years. During his term of office the following warrants were granted: St. John's No. 2 (now No. 1); Independent Royal Arch, No. 8 (now No. 2); St. Patrick's No. 8 (now No. 4); King Solomon's No. 7 (extinct); Master's No. 2 (now No. 5); King David's (moved to Newport, Rhode Island, and now extinct). Also five others not satisfactorily accounted for. Warrants were also granted to other Lodges outside of New York, some in Connecticut, one in Detroit, Michigan, and one in Newark, New Jersey.
* * *
RITUAL OF THE SWEDENBORGIAN RlTE
Brother Joseph Hollrigl, New Hampshire, requests information concerning the ritual of the Swedenborgian Rite. After careful search and many inquiries we have been unable to locate a copy of any ritual ever used by the Swedenborgian Rite, or even to convince ourselves that any such ritual was ever printed. If any member can throw any light on this matter will he please speak up?
Beswick, in his "Swedenborg as a Mason," argues that the Swedish occultist was an initiated Mason and father of a rite but this is vigorously opposed, and we think with telling effect, by Dr. Tafel's great work, "Documents Concerning the Life and Character of Swedenborg." The curious reader will find other material in the New England Craftsman, vol. 3, p. 205; The Tyler-Keystone, vol. 26, p. 32; Finders History; Reghellini's work on French Masonry, and A. Kohl's "The New Church and Its Influence on the Study of Theology in Sweden."
Here is an important subject that will lead a student into many fascinating fields. Why won't some brother send us an article on "Swedenborg and His Alleged Masonic Connections?"
* * *
COMPASSES OR COMPASS
Dear Brother Editor: In visiting Lodges in various Grand Jurisdictions I have noticed that in some they refer to the Holy Bible, Square and Compasses, while elsewhere the word used is "Compass." Which is correct? — A.O., California.
A few years ago, Brother O.N. Wagley, one of the Board of Custodians of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, made inquiries concerning the use of the words "Compass" and "Compasses" in the various Grand Jurisdictions of the United States and the replies received indicated that the usage of the two words was about evenly divided among the Jurisdictions. The Oxford Dictionary says the word is now generally used in the plural. "Compasses," as does also the Century. A defense of the usage of each word from some of our members in whose rituals they respectively occur might be interesting.
* * *
"HAIL" OR "HELE"
Dear Brother Editor:,A question has arisen in our Study Club as to the derivation of the word "Hail." I have been informed that its use is obsolete except in Masonry and that the correct spelling is "hele.",R. S., North Dakota.
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word "hele" as meaning "to hide, conceal; to keep secret," and "to practice concealment, keep a secret, keep silence." Also see Mackey's Encyclopaedia, revised edition, Daze 313.
* * *
BALLOT FOR AFFILIATION
Dear Brother Editor: — In what Grand Jurisdictions of the United States is a unanimous ballot required on a petition for affiliation? — J. C., Iowa.
A unanimous ballot is required on petitions for affiliation in all Grand Jurisdictions in the United States, except Wisconsin and Iowa. See article on "Dimits," page 134, The Builder, May, 1917.
* * *
RITE OF ADOPTION
Brother Editor: — I have read with much interest your article "Masonic Training of the Young" on page 159 of the May Builder in regard to a Louveteau (Lewis) and as I believe this can be made the means of binding some of our boys closer to Masonry and also renewing the means of binding some of the fathers, I will thank you to advise me where I can obtain a complete copy of the ceremonies, instructions, obligations and prayers. — Wm. L. Abbott, N. C.
Write Brother John H. Cowles, 33°, Secretary General, 16th and S streets N.W., Washington, D. C., for a copy of "Offices of Masonic Baptism, reception of a Louveteau and Adoption," by Brother Albert Pike. The price, we believe, is $1.00.
* * *
"PASTOR" RUSSELL — MONISM
Brethren: — Will you be so kind as to let me hear your particular opinion or share me some information about the reliability of the "Studies in the Scripture" (set of six bound volumes) edited by Pastor C.T. Russell and also about the Charles W. Russell's Advanced Monism (there is a league in the United States). Have long ago heard pale references of both. Sincerely and fraternally, P.R. Panlilio, Angeles, Pampanga, P.I.
Our candid opinion is that the "Studies in the Scripture" are valueless from the standpoint of the modern thinker. "Pastor" Russell, as he called himself, performed a real service in leading many thousands of our American people to study the Bible; but, unless all modern Biblical science has gone helplessly astray, his own Biblical interpretations were wild of the mark. The Bible is a field of such breadth that it has been divided among scholars into many specialties; for this reason it is unsafe to follow any one interpreter, even though he may be infinitely better equipped for the work than Mr. Russell. If you are sufficiently interested we shall be glad, as best we can, to offer you an outline for Bible study based on authoritative works.
We are unable to tell you anything about the "Advanced Monism." If you will write to Brother Paul Carus, 122 So. Michigan Ave., Chicago, he will be able to give you any information desired about Monism.
* * *
NATIONAL AFFAIRS FROM A EXEMPLAR VIEWPOINT
Action Taken by the Grand Commandery of Pennsylvania, Knights Templar, adopted at Sixty-Fourth Annual Conclave Held in Pittsburgh, May ''2, 1917.
At time of our last Annual Conclave, the same war conditions were rampant in Europe and on the seas as exists today but sustaining a position of Neutrality, no matter what our views may have been as to right or wrong of contest, it was our duty to hold our peace.
Now after all the happy years of peace that we have enjoyed, and the hope of future peace for all time to come, for which we longed, we have been forced into war's awful holocaust against our wish or desire.
One of the warring nations has ruthlessly swept aside every thought of the laws of God and Humanity. Treaties have been violated, our right to freedom of the seas denied, our ships and property destroyed, and the lives of our citizens sacrificed without explanation or apology, until we could do nothing else than to take up arms if we would maintain even a semblance of self-respect and a right to be ranked as a Nation. We were compelled to enter the war as a last resort. We found that we must assume our share of the risks and dangers to aid in compelling a fuller understanding of rights among Nations, and what we believe to be our God-given right upon land or sea.
Patriotism, loyalty to government and to our flag, are found running through every Masonic degree. It is, therefore, deemed especially fitting that this great Order of Christian Knighthood should show to the world our loyalty to Country, our faith in God, and our love and veneration to our Flag, and all it stands for before the nations of the world.
Therefore, the Grand Commandery of Pennsylvania assembled in its Sixty-fourth Annual Conclave held in the City of Pittsburgh, pledges to our President, our National and State Administrations, and all in authority in this war waged for God and Humanity, our moral and physical support to the end that our National Dignity and Honour may be maintained and a peace brought once more into the world, founded upon the ideal of true Democracy, and recognizing the foundation of our Great Republic resting upon the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man.
May God maintain the right!
This is no time to quibble or to fool;
To argue over who was wrong, who right;
To measure fealty with a worn foot-rule;
To ask: "Shall we keep still or shall we fight?" The clock of fate has struck; the hour is here;
War is upon us now, not far away;
One question only arises, clarion clear;
"How may I serve my country, day by day?"
There is no middle ground on which to stand;
We've done with useless pro-and-con debates;
The one-time friend, so welcome in this land,
Has turned upon us at our very gates.
There is no way, with honor, to stand back —
Real patriotism isn't cool — then hot;
You cannot trim the flag to fit your lack;
YOU ARE AN AMERICAN — OR ELSE YOU'RE NOT!
LEE S. SMITH
THOMAS F. PENMAN
* * *
THE PROBLEM OF FOOD CONSERVATION
To all Fraternal Organizations and other Societies. The entire world is alarmed over the shortage of food and the high cost of the necessities of life.
The Farmers have been warned and advised to increase their acreage of food-stuffs, and all other persons to cultivate all idle lands, to plant seeds and grow vegetables in their gardens and yards. This is a patriotic call to every citizen, to economize at the one end, by conserving our foodstuffs from unnecessary waste, and at the other end, to increase the production of the same.
The idea being to have sufficient food that we may live, and by the double process of saving and of increased production to bring the cost of living within the means of people whose earnings are small.
The Banker tells us that "A penny saved is a penny made," and it is equally true that a pound of meat, a bushel of grain, or anything eatable saved, is just the same as that much more of food made or produced.
After this long introduction, I sincerely and humbly appeal to all Orders, Societies and Associations of every kind throughout this great Country from now and until this cruel war is ove to forego the giving of all Lodge or Society dinners, suppers, etc. Considering the thousands and thousands of Lodges of all kinds and other Societies and Organizations of all kinds who are in the habit of entertaining their members with suppers, etc., it is easy to be seen the enormous wastage annually of millions and millions of pounds of food unnecessarily consumed, and amounting to millions and millions of dollars.
Think again of the great population needing it, this wastage would feed. Then think of this great wastage, added to the increased production, how much more plentiful and how much greater would be the reduction in the cost of all foodstuffs!
Then think of these many Millions of Dollars, saved by the Lodges and Societies, laid aside in their Treasuries to meet the great calls of suffering Humanity for assistance, which will come from all points of the Globe.
Having been a Mason for forty-six (46) years, I naturally would like to see the Masons of this Country initiate this movement, but I think the question so broad and serious that all should agree to co-operate in the best way possible to attain the end here sought.
I trust this article will appeal to all Societies in this Country so that a start may be made and some action taken through their Committees in a general appeal.
Will our Masonic Bodies be the first to act or will some others take the initiative? In either case I believe the Country would be equally and as sincerely grateful.
If the "Four Cardinal Virtues" mean anything, NOW is the time to practice them.
Therefore, let us do our duty towards making food so plentiful that none will suffer from the want of it.
This is a matter so momentous that as one of humble station in life I have hesitated in its publication, but everything must have a beginning, and being beyond the age to render physical service I offer the next best thing in my power — my sincere and heartfelt advice which I most deeply and devotedly feel, if accepted in the same spirit as offered, will be of very great benefit to our Country and our Fellowmen.
Chas. Millhiser, 32°, Richmond, Va.
* * *
CRYPTIC MASONRY AND THE COMMANDERS
Dear Brother Editor: — Brother J. Angus Gillis in his recent article in the January Builder on "Cryptic Masonry and the Commandery" writes as follows:
"Masonry is a progressive science consisting of a series of degrees, and as practiced in the American system is divided into branches, or rites, which when taken together, form the complete American System of Freemasonry."
I would like, as a seeker after light, to know what Bro Gillis calls the American Rite? He says later in his article "Cryptic Masonry is the top of ancient craft Masonry and Templary is the top of the American system of Free Masonry. Templarism is a trinitarian institution; Free Masonry is not otherwise its membership would be restricted and its universality destroyed. While so-called Masonic Knighthood is confined to Freemasons it is not a part of any Masonic rite nor is it a part of Masonry. Free Masonry in the United States emanated from the two early English Grand Lodges and all its authority is derived from one or the other, and the original (Moderns) Grand Lodge specifically stated that its Masonic system consisted of three degrees only; while the newer Grand Lodge (Ancients) incorporated the Holy Royal Arch into its systems. When in after years these two amalgamated they decreed that Freemasonry should consist of three degrees, E.A., F.C., and M.M., together with the Holy Royal Arch. Yet the strong prejudice of the Moderns against this intrusion of the Royal Arch into the system of Masonry persisted until finally an agreement was reached to place the Royal Arch under a separate organization and retain the three degrees ONLY in Free Masonry. Any attempt to ingraft a Christian order upon the body of Masonry can be nothing else than a blow at its universality and is a distinct attempt to stamp, or impress, a creed upon an institution priding itself upon toleration, which has heretofore invited men of every greed and race to join its ranks and thus consummate a worldwide brotherhood. This universality is the real excuse for the existence of the Order today.
For myself I am a Scottish Rite Mason and a Knight Templar, but I hold they are both entirely separate from Freemasonry although the prerequisite for both is membership in a Masonic Lodge and therefore I look upon them as subordinate, or we might go further and say co-ordinate orders but not a part of the body of Masonry. Reductio ad absurdum why not incorporate the Shrine and the Grotto into the American Rite!
— A. H. G. Hardwicke.
* * *
HOW THE MASTER SHOULD BE ELECTED
To the Editor: — The opinions expressed in the Fraternal Forum confirm me more and more in the belief that my former conclusions in this matter were about correct, namely, that neither plan should be adopted, that the saving grace of common sense should always be exercised and that a happy medium — combination of the two plans — is the only one that can best conserve the interests of the Lodge as a whole.
Such has been the course pursued by the Grand Lodge of Iowa. There have been all told forty-nine different Grand Masters. Of this number, thirteen of them were elected from the floor, twenty-two had served as Grand Senior Warden, and fifteen as Grand Junior Warden.
There can be no doubt of the fairness as well as the great advantage of selecting the Masters from those who have shown themselves competent as Wardens, so that I believe that where character and competency are what the exalted position demands, then the Master should be selected from the Wardens, but there should be no hard and fast rule in this, so that in case some one should become a Warden, who has not developed the proper kind of material for Master, the Warden should feel no slight upon him if the Master were selected from the floor.
As to the committee on nomination, I think that would be unwise and that the procedure as suggested by Bro. Johnson of Massachusetts is the correct one to be pursued.
John W. Barry, Grand Master, Iowa.
* * *
LEST WE FORGET
Dear Bro. Editor: — In your April issue I note Bro. Keplinger of Illinois makes an excellent point when he urges that all Masonic Research articles be accompanied with citations from authorities consulted. As he uses my own derelictions to illustrate his point, which I unhesitatingly confess, possibly I may be pardoned for calling further attention to the matter.
It would seem that all of us ought to turn over a new leaf and from now on enter into the spirit of research with a determination to do better in the future. No one has insisted more than myself on just the very thing urged by Bro. Keplinger, and behold I am of the chiefest of the sinners.
There are a large number of very sincere students of Masonry, who have spent years in accumulating data of considerable value, and yet have failed to properly index and preserve their references. While this does not make their work absolutely valueless, it puts them in the position of self-assumed "authority" which their natural modesty would not claim.
It reminds me of J. J. Montague's lines on "Leaks" in the Boston American,
"Somebody told it to somebody else,
And somebody else to somebody else,
And somebody told it to me."
There is a word of course "on the other side," which I offer, not as a personal excuse or in defense of myself or others, but as a suggestion of the difficulties we will have to overcome in the future.
For example, in gathering my own data, I once accumulated a large library which is now the property of my lodge in another city. I visited other libraries in various parts of the U.S., made copious notes and today these notes are perhaps stored in a dozen places or completely lost, having been thrown away as worked into articles.
This slipshod method I believe to be common to the writing fraternity as barrels and barrels of reference and data seldom give the housewife any pleasure.
I recall in particular the subject of "Chinese Masonry." Heaven alone knows where all my references are now. This has popularly been written of in Masonic research as supposedly connected with the modern "Triad Society" because less than 100 years ago somebody in India wrote to somebody in Scotland an article which was copied by somebody in America that has been handed on down to the present time — as a bunch of speculation.
Among my references and authorities convincing me that the Triad Society had nothing whatever to do with Chinese Freemasonry, were included the insignia symbols and signs of both organizations, very unlike. One was a personal interview with an American visitor to a Chinese Lodge. Another is a note concerning an English officer whose life was granted him by a Chinese Mandarin in the early days when China was a closed country to Europeans. The Englishman and the Chinaman knew each other as Brother Masons, though their systems were separated by thousands of years.
But anything I should now write on the subject would lose real research value for lack of authority. It would be interesting indeed for the origins of Freemasonry to be traced as far back as written history and legend go with all the proper citations of where confirmation may be had. It would take a life time of research to accomplish it, but I feel that some day it will be done. At present our antiquarians are chiefly concerned in comparing certain curious coincidences and similarities.
For example, the Gild System has left us many old manuscripts, the Kabbalists and Hermetic philosophers a perfect hodgepodge of hundreds and even thousands of books containing references to the elements of what now form the Masonic degrees. The first two centuries the Christian writers are exceedingly rich in material. Every religion and everything that is known or discovered about "the ancient mysteries" will have to be checked up. Then we reach the known limit of recorded history and the beginning of the alphabet which takes us into the realm of archaeology, inscriptions on monuments, oral legend, mythology, and so on back.
This requires a study of modern remains of living fraternal orders among primitive peoples. There have been some attempts along these lines by Churchward, Wehster, Lang, LePlongeon, and others. But taken all in all, the work of each is separated sometimes by centuries from everything else.
I would propose that we begin with the present day, map out the past into sections and assign a section to some one or more brothers interested and see what results would be obtained. In this way we might establish some authority of our own, unless each of us already has made up his mind as to what he is going to find and intends to find whether or no.
J. W. Norwood.
* * *
ADAMS AND MADISON
Dear Sir and Brother: — In the Correspondence section of the November number of "The Builder," under Roll of Honor, John Quincy Adams is mentioned in the list of Presidents of the United States who were Masons. I believe this designation incorrect. John Quincy Adams was one of the most active Anti-Masons of the Morgan period and made the assertion, repeatedly, that he had never been a member of the fraternity. Without referring to the authorities of the time, allow me to quote from Mackey's Encyclopedia: "Mr. Adams, who has been very properly described as a man of strong points and weak ones, of vast reading and wonderful memory, of great credulity and strong prejudices, became notorious in the latter years of his life for his virulent opposition to Freemasonry. He hated Freemasonry, as he did many other things, not from any harm that he had received from it or personally knew respecting it, but because his credulity had been wrought upon and his prejudices excited against it by dishonest and selfish politicians, who were anxious, at any sacrifice to him, to avail themselves of his commanding talents and position in public life to sustain them in the disreputable work in which they were enlisted. In his weakness, he lent himself to them. The result was a series of letters abusive of Freemasonry, directed to the leading politicians and published in public journals from 1831 to 1833. A year before his death they were collected and published under the title of "Letters on the Masonic Institution." Some explanation of the cause of the virulence with which Mr. Adams attacked the Masonic Institution in these letters may be found in the following paragraph contained in Henry Gassett's "Catalogue of Books on the Masonic Institution."
"It had been asserted in a newspaper in Boston, edited by a Masonic dignitary, that John Quincy Adams was a Mason. In answer to an inquiry, Mr. Adams replied 'that he was not and never should be.' These few words undoubtedly prevented his election a second time as President of the United States. His competitor, Andrew Jackson, a Freemason was elected." Whether the statement contained in the italicized words be true or not, is not the question. It is sufficient that Mr. Adams was led to believe it and hence his ill will to an association which had, as he supposed, inflicted this political evil upon him and baffled his ambitious views."
In a letter dated Quincy, 22 August, 1831, John Quincy Adams states that his father had never been initiated in the order and says, in effect, that the report that he was a member, probably gained currency from a complimentary answer of his father to a friendly and patriotic address from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts. The elder Adams, however, always appeared to hold a favorable opinion of the order and remarked upon the character of his friends and other excellent men who were members of the society.
I have before me a printed copy of a reputed letter of James Madison, dated Montpelier, Jan. 24,1832. It contains this statement: "I never was a Mason and no one, perhaps, could be more a stranger to the principles, rites and fruits of the institution."
Nelson L. Finch, New York.
* * *
As the whirlwind in its fury teareth up trees and deformeth the face of nature, or as an earthquake in its convulsions overturneth cities, so the rage of an angry man throweth mischief around him, danger and destruction wait on his hand.
But consider, and forget not thine own weakness; so shalt thou pardon the failings of others.
Indulge not thyself in the passion of Anger; it is whetting a sword to wound thine own breast, or murder thy friend.
If thou bearest slight provocations with patience, it shall be imputed unto thee for wisdom; and if thou wipest them from thy remembrance, thy heart shall feel rest — thy mind shall not reproach thee.
Seest thou not that the angry man loseth his understanding? while thou are yet in thy senses, let the madness of another be a lesson to thyself.
Do nothing in thy passion; wilt thou put to sea in the violence of a storm?
If it be difficult to rule thine anger, it is wise to prevent it; avoid therefore all occasions of falling into wrath, or guard thyself against them whenever they occur.
A fool is provoked with insolent speeches, but a wise man laugheth them to scorn.
Harbor not revenge in thy breast; it will torment thy heart, and disorder its best inclinations.
Be always more ready to forgive than to return an injury: he that watcheth for an opportunity of revenge lies in wait against himself, and draweth down mischief on his own head.
A mild answer to an angry man, like water cast on the fire, abateth his heat; and from an enemy he shall become thy friend.
Consider how few things are worthy of anger, and thou wilt wonder that any but fools should be wrath.
In folly or weakness it always beginneth; but remember, and be well assured, it seldom concludeth without repentance.
On the heels of Folly treadeth Shame; at the back of Anger standeth Remorse.
— R. A. M. H., New York.
* * *
THE HOME OF ROBERT BURNS
Though Scotland boasts a thousand names
Of patriot, king and peer,
The noblest, grandest of them all
Was loved and cradled here.
Here lived the gentle peasant-prince,
The loving cotter-king,
Compared with whom the greatest lord
Is but a titled thing.
'Tis but a cot roofed in with straw,
A hovel made of clay;
One door shuts out the snow and storm,
One window greets the day.
And yet I stand within this room,
And hold all thrones in scorn,
For here, beneath this lowly thatch
Love's sweetest bard was born.
Within this hallowed hut I feel
Like one who clasps a shrine,
When the glad lips at last have touched
The something seemed divine.
And here the world through all the years,
As long as day returns,
The tribute of its love and tears
Will pay to Robert Burns.
— Robert G. Ingersoll, Aug. 19,1878.