A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 5 No. 1 – January 1919
LINES DEDICATED TO THE CEDAR RAPIDS CONFERENCE.
It is but a little distance,
In this silly flight of years,
'Twixt the path that leads to laughter,
And the road that leads to tears.
'Tis the shortest, sweetest pathway,
Through this silly flight of time;
It is but a tear- and laugh-way,
Filled with music and with rhyme.
There's a feast of joy tomorrow,
There's a funeral dirge today;
And the sombre shades of sorrow
Cast their shadows where we play.
And the smile that's born in gladness,
Pure and limpid ere it start,
With a wail of pain and sadness,
May come sobbing from the heart.
So, the song that lifts the curtain
From the backward flight of years,
Brings a smile but too uncertain —
Half of pleasure, half of tears.
Then let us laugh in sorrow,
Let us bathe our smiles in tears;
For we cannot count the morrow
In this silly flight of years.
Let us laugh with one another,
While we strive for human weal;
Let us weep, my friend and brother,
For the wounds we cannot heal.
In the great unknown Hereafter,
In the better, brighter day,
Surely sobs shall yield to laughter,
For it is our Father's was.
But here 'tis but a handbreadth
In this silly flight of years,
'Twixt the path that leads to laughter
And the road that leads to tears.
But whether in tears or laughter,
Let us build the best we can;
For the Here and the Hereafter,
And the Brotherhood of Man.
By Bro. Henry A. Grady
D.G.M. of North Carolina
Cedar Rapids, Iowa,
Nov. 28, 1918.
* * *
THE CEDAR RAPIDS MASONIC CONFERENCE
MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED STATES
Bro. Geo. L. Schoonover. Grand Master, Iowa
HE WOULD be a seer, who would have attempted to forecast what the result of the Cedar Rapids Conference would be. And he who would interpret that result now that the Conference is a matter of history, must have been present, have felt the mellowing influence of the voices clad in khaki, have realized that this Fraternity of ours, far from forgetting its glorious accomplishments of the past is taking them to heart and applying its age-old principles to the problems of the present. More than this, he must also appreciate and not undervalue that element of conservatism which has come to us of today from the days of old, that close adherence to first principles to which we are obligated and which, from one viewpoint, is the very genius of our Masonic system.
Withal, he who would understand the Cedar Rapids Conference must focus his mental vision, not upon the three days of this meeting, but the century and a half of Masonry in America, and the century and a half of development of a national consciousness within that America itself. As we stand in the sunlight of the great awakening which these years of war have brought to America we wonder at the days and years which went before. Our whole civilization has been reborn, as it were, and our newly-opened eyes are still blinded by this wonderful brilliancy of accomplishment — a national accomplishment of which we did not know we were capable.
It would be surprising indeed if these slow-moving but irresistible forces could have accomplished their wonders in Masonry without travail. On the surface there was little indication of their working. But he who has observed with care the tendencies of late could not be blind to them. Here was a great Fraternity, grown so rapidly that its functions of life-maintenance overshadowed all else. Its men of action were bound down by detail — the never-ending grind of degrees to be conferred upon the thousands who flocked to our gates. What wonder that there was only a dulled and half-efficient transmission of the deeper impulses of the ordinary member to those who have been the leaders of recent years — and those leaders themselves sapping their energy to accomplish the extraordinary duties which both patriotic and Masonic instinct told them they owed to their assaulted Country.
Reproach is not the proper word to use in speaking of the lack of prompt appreciation by Masons of what Masonry could do in a crisis like that of these two years. "My Country comes first!" is but a natural war-cry for a Mason, and we all know why. And not until the new and arduous duties of patriotism had in a measure become a part of the day's work did any of us really begin to ask ourselves what Masonry as an institution ought to be doing. We had been content to do as we had been taught to do, guided by the ancient charges of loyalty, and we did not stop to ask ourselves whether these turbulent days offered to our Institution a duty.
Those who first felt the burden of this new responsibility raised their voices with caution, lest they might have misread the trestleboard of Fate. Presently they began to make solemn inquiry. Then came a great, an awful conviction, that a new day had brought new ties and responsibilities, and that they must be met. Brought together at the Government's call, a few of the leaders of the Craft tried to study the problem, at Washington, last December. Undigested opinion did not visualize the problem, yet. But down in New York, with a constant stream of our young men in khaki passing before their eyes, on their way to Europe to fight the battles of Democracy, and a presently returning stream of physical wrecks making mute appeal for brotherhood, there awoke at last to realization, full realization, the Masonic leaders of that great Jurisdiction. The genius of doing things responded to the appeal, and those leaders began to visualize what Masonry's problem really was, and went to work to see how they might act in the premises.
They applied to the Government for permission to act as their consciences told them they ought to act, and as a knowledge of what this Brotherhood of ours was worth to a man in his hour of trouble dictated would be a practical method of acting. "For whom do you speak?" was the query of the officials. "For Masonry" was the response. "For the Masonry of New York?' "Yes." "But we cannot recognize State organizations."
Then came the New York Conference, called to meet the immediate need, and meeting it, in part. The paths leading from that Conference have been troublous. That part of the story must come in a later chapter. But the need was finally visualized, and the Grand Jurisdictions of America generally got behind New York in their plan of solving it. The weak link in the chain was that they did not make that plan their own. Co-operation was promised, on the other side of the water. It might have worked, had the plans then proposed been successfully begun in France. Why they were not so begun is still another story, which THE BUILDER will tell, in due time.
And so May turned into June, and September followed August and July, with no tangible results. Diplomacy was trying to solve the difficulties in the way, so that harmony might prevail. It is to the interest of Freemasonry that the whole story shall be told, and told it shall be. Those who would indict our Fraternity for its apparent indifference must reckon with that story.
The writer was elected Grand Master of Iowa in June, 1918. As the months went by, smatterings of the truth, hints of the reason why things were going as they were crept into his official correspondence. A brief trip East brought knowledge of a part of it. Perhaps impatience is my middle name. Be that as it may, the information coming from overseas the latter part of September, and the insistent challenge to me, as the official head of Iowa Masonry to do something definite, caused my outburst of October third last, the letter to my fellow Grand Masters which appeared in the November issue of THE BUILDER.
In a very brief time my correspondence showed that others had received the same challenge, and were as deeply moved by the apparent need for action as I was. Wherefore, on November 1, I called a Conference of Grand Masters and Representatives of the several Jurisdictions to meet in Cedar Rapids on November 26th to 28th, hopeful that opinion would there crystallize into action. The kind of action which seemed to me necessary was that the New York plan should be made actually National, by its specific adoption, and that the Masonic Fraternity should definitely make it impossible for us to be placed again in the humiliating position we have occupied for more than a year. The challenge to us, and the opinion of us which I feared did not come from the public. It came from our own — our boys in khaki, who knowing our doctrine and our teachings, but not knowing our discouragements and our trials, would be prone to ask us why those teachings had not been put into practice in their behalf. It seemed to me it was time to put on perpetual record the defense which was ours, and at the same time to insure our Fraternity against future indictments of like character, by organizing ourselves so that, in times of emergency, we might have a National Voice.
And so we met together on that eventful morning of November 26th, 1918. Thirty-six Jurisdictions we represented definitely. Twenty-two were there in person, represented by about fifty leaders of the Craft. Fourteen others regretted their inability to come, but expressed themselves as favorable to action. Influenza kept many away. But they sent us their good will — sometimes expressing their infinite trust in us. Mindful of this trust and of our responsibilities, we tried to do God's work for Masonry. He had promised that "where two or three are gathered together in My name, I will be in their midst and bless them." We believe now that He kept His promise.
The following is a list of Grand Masters and Representatives who were present:
|Delaware||A. Victor Hughes||Grand Master|
|Florida||T. Picton Warlow||"|
|Idaho||George Lawler||Past " of Washington (Rep. Grand Master)|
|Illinois||Austin H. Scrogin||Grand Master|
|Arthur M. Millard||President Masonic Employ. Bureau|
|Iowa||Geo. L. Schoonover||Grand Master|
|Newton R. Parvin||Grand Secretary|
|Frank S. Moses||Past Grand Master|
|Louis Block||" " "|
|Fred W. Craig||" " " and General Grand High Priest|
|Charles C. Clark||" " "|
|W. A. Westfall||" D.G.M.|
|Ernest R. Moore||" "|
|Louisiana||George A. Treadwell||Grand Master|
|John A. Davilla||Grand Secretary|
|Rudolph Krause||Past Grand Master|
|Maryland||Chas. C. Homer Jr.||Grand Master|
|Michigan||Hugh A. McPherson||" "|
|Lou B. Winsor||Grand Secretary|
|George L. Lusk||Past Grand Master|
|Charles A. Conover||General Grand Secretary General Grand Chapter|
|Minnesota||Wm. N. Kendrick||Grand Master|
|John Fishel||Grand Secretary|
|Geo. N. Stowe||Dep. Grand Master|
|Montana||E. M. Hutchinson||Grand Master|
|Nebraska||Ambrose C. Epperson||Grand Master|
|John A. Ehrhardt||Past Grand Master|
|Robert E. Evans||Past Grand Master|
|New York||Wm. S. Farmer||Grand Master|
|Robert Judson Kenworthy||Grand Secretary|
|Robert H. Robinson||Dep. Grand Master|
|Townsend Scudder||Past Grand Master|
|Wm. C. Prime||Rep. G.L. England|
|North Carolina||Henry A. Grady||Dep. Grand Master|
|North Dakota||Henry G. Vick||Grand Master|
|Walter L. Stockwell||Grand Secretary|
|Capt. Chas. I. Cook||United States Army|
|Oklahoma||Joseph W. Morris||Grand Master|
|Wm. M. Anderson||Grand Secretary|
|Pennsylvania||Louis A. Watres||Past Grand Master|
|Rhode Island||E. Tudor Gross||Grand Master|
|Frederick I. Dana||Treas. Masonic War|
|South Carolina||J. L. Michie||Past Grand Master|
|South Dakota||Geo. A. Pettigrew||Grand Master|
|C. L. Brockway||Grand Secretary|
|Tennessee||Samuel W. Williams||Past G.H.P.|
|Utah||Arthur C. Wherry||Senior Grand Warden|
|Washington||George Lawler||Past Grand Master|
The first day was spent in surveying the situation. One after another the brethren who by fortune of circumstance had been brought in intimate touch with one or another feature of the problem spoke to us. It was a day of chastening of spirit. Fact after fact came out, incontrovertible, proving conclusively that General Apathy, Selfishness and Disunity were the three assassins of Masonic accomplishment. To each was charged a portion of the guilt. If apathy within the Craft was offset to a degree by selfishness within and without the ranks of our Fraternity, it soon became apparent that the heavier portion of the blame lay with Disunity.
Ere the evening session closed, all were convinced that the way of future accomplishment led to the broad highway of co-operation. To reach it meant the removal of Disunity. With a sweetness of spirit eminently characteristic of brethren desiring to dwell together, this third and most treacherous enemy was done away with. An organization was declared by unanimous resolution to be the prime necessity to avoid like complications for all time to come, and a committee was charged with the responsibility of finding the type of organization which would at once accomplish the vital needs of the present and provide a way for like accomplishment for the future, without interference with the established usages and customs of the Fraternity, as exemplified by and in our present Grand Lodge organizations.
There was no dissenting voice when it was suggested that the only way to meet both of these conditions lay through organization for Service. Masonic service it should be and must be. And so it came about that at the afternoon session of the second day there was presented for consideration in committee of the whole, a proposed Constitution for the Masonic Service Association of the United States. The tentative Constitution follows:
THE CEDAR RAPIDS MASONIC CONFERENCE
Whereas, The several Masonic Jurisdictions in the United States of America have been invited to attend a Conference of Grand Masters at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on the 26th, 27th and 28th of November, 1918, for the purpose of considering and taking action in respect of the present war emergency and the opportunity for Masonic service in connection therewith; and
Whereas, Twenty-two Jurisdictions have responded to said call, and fourteen Jurisdictions have expressed-their approval, in general terms, of the purposes of said Conference, and have given assurance in writing, of their support through their respective Grand Masters; and
Whereas, It has been made clear to said Conference that the Masonic Fraternity will be enabled to render more efficient service to mankind and to fulfill its mission among men by bringing about a more perfect cooperation among the several Masonic Grand Jurisdictions of the United States; and
Whereas, It is apparent that there is a pressing need of Masonic service among the men with the United States forces overseas during the period following the signing of the armistice and peace and reconstruction, at home and abroad, the duration of which is wholly problematical; and
Whereas, The assembled representatives of Grand Lodges have by their unanimous expression agreed that the need for service is real; that the opportunity is present and compelling and that they unanimously desire to participate in and render a more satisfying service, and that to fail to take some affirmative action in this matter at this time will lead to irretrievable injury and impairment of the Fraternity's future usefulness; and
Whereas, It is the sense of this Conference that plans be now tentatively formulated for effective service wherever and whenever the opportunity and need to render the same shall be present, said plans to be submitted to the several Grand Jurisdictions for consideration and action thereon; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That there be organized the MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED STATES, a voluntary association of Masonic Grand Jurisdictions of the United States of America, for Service to Mankind.
All Masonic Jurisdictions of the United States of America shall be entitled to membership therein on equal footing on expressing their approval of this constitution and acceptance of the responsibility and privileges outlined therein. Any member shall be entitled to withdraw at any time on ninety days' notice, provided it shall have complied with all of its assumed obligations. Such notice shall be delivered by registered mail to the Secretary at his post office address.
The object of the Association shall be the Service of Mankind through education, enlightenment, financial relief and Masonic visitation, particularly in times of disaster and distress, whether caused by war, pestilence, famine, fire, flood, earthquake or other calamity; and presently and immediately ministering to, cherishing, comforting and relieving the members of the Fraternity, their dependents and others engaged in the United States forces, in the present great war, wherever they may be stationed and upon whatever duties engaged in the service.
For the purpose of administration the United States is divided into departments as follows:
NEW ENGLAND DIVISION
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
NORTH ATLANTIC DIVISION: CORN BELT DIVISION
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
SOUTH ATLANTIC DIVISION
- District of Columbia
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
GREAT LAKES DIVISION:
NORTH PACIFIC DIVISION:
SOUTH PACIFIC DIVISION:
- New Mexico
Upon the occurrence of a disaster of greater magnitude than a local calamity, the Grand Masters of the several Grand Jurisdictions within the department, in which the said disaster shall occur, shall appoint a committee to survey the need, appraise it and report forthwith its findings to the department. The department shall thereupon take action on the report of the committee to the end that the fund necessary shall be provided and properly disbursed.
The Association may enter into correspondence and affiliation with similar agencies in other lands or under other governments, the better to teach the Fatherhood of God, and to promote the Brotherhood of Man.
The powers and duties of the Association may be enlarged or curtailed from time to time; but no member shall be bound thereby without its express assent.
Each department shall meet annually on a date and at a place to be fixed by it; or oftener if it shall so determine. A meeting may he called at any time on the request of three Grand Jurisdictions. A general meeting, of all departments. shall be held triennially on the eleventh day of November, or oftener on the call of ten Grand Jurisdictions. Notices of the time, place and object of the meetings shall be issued by the Secretaries.
At each meeting, departmental or general, a presiding officer shall be elected by ballot, for the purposes of the meeting. Each department shall select a Secretary whose duties shall be to keep the records and attend to the correspondence of the department.
The sole officer of the Association shall be the Secretary who shall be selected at the general meeting, or during the pleasure of the Association, and his functions shall be purely clerical.
Realizing also that there must be some practical way of knitting together the immediate efforts to vitalize the New York Plan, as well as of getting the principles embodied in the above Constitution before the several Grand Lodges of the United States, and having them interpreted in the spirit in which they were adopted, an Executive Commission was authorized to perform these important duties, in the following resolution:
Resolved, That in order to carry out and effectuate the objects specified in the Constitution this day adopted, and for the purpose of meeting the instant need of service to the soldiers and sailors overseas, a Commission of fifteen be appointed with Grand Master Schoonover of Iowa as chairman thereof; said Commission to be selected as far as possible according to their geographical situation; which Commission shall have in charge the entire work contemplated in said Constitution, in respect to the men engaged in overseas duty.
Resolved Further, That the said Commission be authorized to enter into immediate correspondence with the several Grand Jurisdictions here represented, and with those who shall hereafter adopt said Constitution; and, in a general way, exercise the functions of an administrative body, until such time as a set of by-laws may be adopted by said Association.
Resolved Further, That this Commission be known and designated as "The Executive Commission of the Masonic Service Association of the United States." Of the fifteen members of the Commission, ten have already been appointed, the naming of the rest being dependent upon future developments. Besides the chairman, Past Grand Master Townsend Scudder of New York is named as the Overseas Commissioner, in charge of all activities deemed advisable on the other side, and the following brethren:
- George L. Schoonover, Grand Master, Iowa, Chairman;
- Robert Judson Kenworthy, Grand Secretary, New York;
- Hugh A. McPherson, Grand Master, Michigan;
- A. C. Wherry, Senior Grand Warden, Utah;
- Charles C. Homer, Jr., Grand Master, Maryland;
- E. Tudor Gross, Grand Master, Rhode Island;
- Walter L. Stockwell, Grand Secretary, North Dakota;
- George A. Treadwell, Grand Master, Louisiana;
- T. Picton Warlow, Grand Master, Florida;
- George Lawler, Past Grand Master, Washington.
Of the spirit of exaltation which pervaded the Conference, from its beginning to its end, little can be told in cold type. Iowa welcomed the delegates in the spirit of "The Rose of Sharon," which was sung by the Consistory Quartette. It became the official song of the Conference, and was sung over and over again. When the first informal vote was taken upon a resolution which denoted action, and was in fact the first indication of the sentiments of the men there gathered, every hand was raised in the affirmative. Applause grew into cheers, while strong men wept, their quivering lips restraining tongues that could not cheer. The vote taken upon the tentative Constitution to be presented to the Grand Lodges for their action was likewise unanimous, the roll call being by States. A declaration to that effect was greeted by the entire Conference, without suggestion, rising to sing America. And again the tears mingled with the cheers. It may be truthfully said that not a single hour of any session but was characterized by cheers and tears. The spirit of exaltation never left the conference room. Not a word was spoken in rancor. The Spirit of Brotherhood was never more present at any gathering. Every one weighed his words, conscious of the responsibility resting upon him. Only one story was told during the entire sessions, and that dealt with George Washington's position in the constitutional convention. Always the atmosphere was electrical, with a gentleness and consideration given to every speaker; his humor was appreciated, his broad-mindedness conceded, his earnestness and sincerity taken for granted. In a word, to have been privileged to sit in this gathering was to be allowed a glimpse into Utopia.
The action of the Conference was wholly informal, resting upon no buttress of law, and everyone knew it. No pretense was made that the action taken was binding upon any Grand Jurisdiction until that Jurisdiction chose to make it so. The individuals simply gave expression to a unanimous opinion that Masonry ought to consider the line of action indicated, and if deemed reasonable and wise, it ought to act upon it. There the matter was left, each Brother present binding himself to go forth and interpret the action to his own Grand Lodge in the spirit of the Conference.
It is interesting to note that the Grand Lodge of Georgia, which was holding its annual communication at the same time as the Conference, consequently having no delegates present, but which had been apprised of the subjects to be discussed, sent the following telegram:
"Grand Lodge closed today. Endorsed your convention unreservedly. Authorized Grand Master to appropriate funds needed."
The Grand Lodge of Texas, meeting the week following the Conference, took action substantially after the same manner, arranging also for the official attendance of its delegates at the meeting to be held in November, 1919, providing a sufficient number of Jurisdictions approve the action taken at the Conference so that a working organization is assured.
Likewise the Grand Lodges of Alabama and South Carolina have endorsed the project.
The first triennial meeting of the Masonic Service Association, if said organization is approved by 15 or more Jurisdictions after all have had opportunity, will be held on Liberty Day, November 11, 1919, as proposed in the tentative constitution.
Thus is formally presented to the Craft an opportunity to ally itself for any mission of mercy that may occur. Education and enlightenment, as provided for in the objects listed, should go a long way toward unity of thought and action in the directions which are the basic and fundamental purposes of the Institution. I do not personally believe that an alliance of our Grand Lodges after this manner, permitting the voice of brotherhood to be raised in time of need and the hand of mercy to be extended when men suffer, can be considered unmasonic by any Grand Jurisdiction. I do not believe that, if our action is properly understood and interpreted, there is any Mason in America who will not be willing and anxious that he may help to support it. Control by law is not intended or expected — the Conference unanimously passed a resolution that "nothing in the formation of this organization shall be construed as a move toward the organization of a National Grand Lodge." Opportunity is afforded, however, for fraternal intercourse of the warmest and most intimate kind, and in time of emergency, the Voice of Masonry may speak, and action may be had in an organized way, for the amelioration of distress.
That the Craft will accept the opportunity tendered to them in the spirit which governed the Conference itself, is all that can be expected, for that spirit was ideal. Those who participated do not believe that the Voice of Masonry, raised in behalf of a humanitarian service will be a harsh, discordant voice. They believe that it will be expressive of all the gentleness and altruism embodied in the spirits of its votaries, and they are not afraid of the result.
To summarize the spirit and the attitude of the Conference, and to make its action fit into the history of American Masonry in what I believe to be its proper niche, one needs but to quote the words of Brother Edwin Markham:
"He drew a circle that shut me out,
Heretic, Rebel, a Thing to flout;
But love and I had the wit to win;
We drew a circle that took him in!"
* * *
I NEED NOT FEAR
If I live a life that is clean and square
And love my fellow man,
And lend him a hand to help him bear
His burden whenever I can,
I need not fear what the future holds,
Nor what the reward shall be,
For the mighty love that all enfolds
Will most surely care for me.
If I speak a word of good cheer to one
Whose sorrows have borne him down,
And I give him new hope to journey on
And change to a smile his frown,
I shall not dread when the shadows fall
And the end of life draws near,
For that wondrous love that shelters all Will drive away my fear.
For my life is measured by what I mete,
And I earn my own reward,
So the love I give makes my heart complete,
And through it I gain the reward.
For whether I dwell in a house by the road
Or far from the haunts of men,
If only my love makes bright the abode
No fear shall enter it then.
— Author Unknown.
* * *
THE RED CROSS COMES
Lest we forget the simple joys,
The kindly thoughts, the human tears,
The harmless laughter and the song,
We knew in other happier years,
Lest we grow hard, and cruel and cold,
And being young, our hearts are old,
Held in the grasp of death undied,
The Red Cross comes to fill again,
The cup of mercy long since spilled;
Bids in our hearts the birds to sing,
Reviving joy that anger killed.
* * *
SEA AND FIELD LODGE NO. 1
Brother William C. Prime, New York
Brother William C. Prime was born at Yonkers, New York, October 21, 1870, was graduated from Princeton in 1890, admitted to the Bar in the State of New York in the Spring of 1893, after studying at New York University Law School.
He was initiated, passed and raised in 1899, and has never had time to interest himself in other Masonic activities than Craft Masonry, to which he has devoted a large part of his time and resources. It may be that he is devoid of curiosity.
Brother Prime has been active in the affairs of the Grand Lodge of New York for many years, being at different times District Deputy Grand Master, member of various Committees, Judge Advocate, and now Representative of the Grand Lodge of England near the Grand Lodge of New York, as well as a member of the War Relief Administration and of the Grand Master's Committee on Plan and Scope of Masonic Service during the War.
He is an active practicing lawyer, and very busy in the things which interest him, of direct speech and rather quick thought.
THE United States of America entered the great war on the side of the Allies on April 6, 1917. On the first Tuesday of May following, the Grand Lodge of New York held its Annual Communication, which was marked by enthusiasm, deep interest in, and support of the war and of the cause of the Allies, but fortuitously, and yet, strangely enough, so new was the war and our participation therein- -so inchoate our plans and appreciation of the duties and responsibilities that would be involved that practically no consideration — certainly no adequate consideration — was given to the duties and responsibilities that would rest upon Freemasonry in connection therewith, and with the participation in the war of thousands of Freemasons from the State of New York.
Grand Master Penney, early in the month of July following, appointed a "Committee on Plan and Scope of Masonic Service during the War," to advise with him and suggest the course to be pursued, and legislation to be enacted to meet the emergency. The plans of the Government for the construction of a great army had been formulated and were in process of development. Camps and cantonments were established at Syracuse, Fort Niagara, Madison Rarracks, Plattsburg, Yaphank, and Pelham Bay, within the borders of the State, and men were also located at Fort Totten, Fort Slocum, Fort Jay, Fort Hamilton and Fort Wadsworth, in the process of training. Enlistments were being made rapidly. The draft had been authorized and was about to be carried into effect. The army was mobilizing. Numbers of men, candidates for Masonry, elected, and upon whom none, or only some, of the Masonic degrees had been conferred by lodges outside our borders, were being sent into the State for training. Appeals from sister Jurisdictions for assistance in the matter of conferring degrees upon their candidates in this situation were pressing and no machinery was provided by our Constitution for assistance of candidates who had received no degrees. This Jurisdiction is one of the few in the United States which does not, and never has authorized one lodge to confer the first degree for another, in or out of the State. What to do for ourselves, for the sons of Masons who were entering the service and were soon to be dispatched overseas; for men, sons of Masons or otherwise, who were desirous of allying themselves with the Fraternity and who had little or no time to attend upon lodges in ordinary course, sorely perplexed. What should be done to protect, stabilize and upbuild the moral fibre and standard in the men thus turned from home, business, and ordinary pursuits and thrust into a new life under strange conditions, without safeguard, as it seemed, occupied the Committee and required its most careful consideration. Nothing could be done without legislation, and the Constitution of the Grand Lodge provided that legislation could be enacted only at an Annual Communication. Another Annual Communication would not occur until May, 1918. How to solve the problem was a sore trial.
Frequent sessions of the Committee with the Grand Master were held during the summer of 1917, and resulted in the formulation of a report, bearing date the 10th day of September, 1917, recommending, among other things, three salient points:
- Adoption of War Regulations, looking to the abbreviation of formalities, in connection with the conferring of the degrees on candidates in the Service and making possible the conferring of the three degrees in one session by special dispensation of the Grand Master, previously obtained;
- The organization in cantonments, training camps, on vessels, in regiments or other Military units of Sea and Field Lodges, if the Grand Master should see fit, at home or abroad, with authority to make Masons, and under such regulations as to dual membership, or multiple membership, inspection, and control, as should seem proper, and the extension by all appropriate means through Deputies, representatives, or otherwise, to and among members of the Fraternity engaged in the Country's service, of the influence of Freemasonry, and the rendering to all sick and distressed, such aid, comfort and relief as should seem best and proper; and,
- The prompt accumulation of a Masonic War and Relief Fund, of at least one million dollars, to prepare for the burden of dependent parents, widows and fatherless, which, it was anticipated, would soon become apparent.
To the end that these suggestions should be carried into effect and made legal, the Grand Master reconvened the 136th Annual Communication of the Grand Lodge in session September 10th, 1917; the report of the Committee on Plan and Scope was read, accepted, and its recommendations adopted.
Thus machinery was devised, and preparation made for our own immediate needs, but the legislation did not extend so far as to provide a method of solving the problems of sister jurisdictions in respect of their men within our territorial borders.
Lodges promptly and busily became engaged in Masonic service of all kinds under the war regulations, and could perform full and ample service for candidates from other Jurisdictions within our borders who had already been initiated. But there were large numbers of men within the State, and constantly more were coming, who had been elected, but not initiated and others who had not even been elected, and who were most zealous in their quest of light. The Grand Master early decided, owing, in part, to the experience which he discovered had been had with Military Lodges in the Civil War, against the establishment of Sea and Field Lodges with regiments or on ships. His inclination was strongly in favor of the fostering of Masonic Clubs or conferences among the men in the Service overseas, but those, valuable as it might be, would not serve as an instrumentality for conferring Masonic degrees, nor would they afford, within the State of New York, a means of complying with and satisfying the prayers of sister Jurisdictions for assistance.
By and with the advice of his Committee on Plan and Scope, he determined, by virtue of the power in him vested, and in pursuance of the spirit of the resolution of the Grand Lodge in reconvention respecting Sea and Field Lodges, to organize Sea and Field Lodge No. 1, by his special warrant, as his own creature with an extraordinary authority to meet the emergencies arising through the war, and, on October 6, 1917, signed the warrant, creating the lodge and nominating its seven officers sufficient to establish and equip an Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft, or Master Mason Lodge, as might be necessary, from the Master to and including the Junior Deacons, with authority to hold Communications in the City of New York and elsewhere, as might be necessary, to adopt such by-laws and regulations for the governance of its proceedings and labor, subject to his approval, as it might see fit to confer upon candidates who had been elected members of a regular chartered lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York and who had actually enlisted or been drafted or commissioned officers in the United States Forces in the present great war, the three degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry without the usual interval and without the usual proof of suitable proficiency in preceding degrees; to elect, initiate, pass and raise, without the usual formalities and requirements of chartered lodges, candidates, resident of the State of New York who had actually enlisted or been drafted or commissioned officers in the United States forces in the present great war, who applied therefor in writing and who satisfied the Master and Wardens of said lodge that they were qualified, and who were about to be sent out of this Jurisdiction on duty; and to initiate, pass or raise candidates who had actually enlisted or been drafted or commissioned officers in the United States forces in the present great war, residents of other States who had been initiated or passed or, who, having been elected members of regular lodges in their respective States, had not been initiated, upon request of the Grand Master. Membership or officership in said lodge was expressly permitted, without affecting existing membership or officership in a regular chartered lodge.
The original warrant did not authorize this lodge to initiate for another lodge in the State of New York, but only to pass and raise candidates of such lodges, but early in November, 1917, in compliance with obvious necessity therefor, a supplemental warrant covering authority to initiate for another lodge in the State of New York was issued, making the scope of the lodge's authority substantially as set forth in the above summary. The warrant designated as Master, a Past Grand Master most active in the affairs of the Craft in the State, and all the other officers designated were most actively concerned in the affairs of the Grand Lodge, and most, if not all, officers thereof.
The lodge being authorized to transact its business and conduct itself without the usual formalities and requirements of chartered lodges, devised its own ritual, patterned essentially after the standard ritual of the State of New York, with certain radical modifications suited to its necessities and purposes. It will be noted that its authority in respect of the election of candidates eliminates the ordinary methods of investigation and balloting, and substitutes satisfaction of the Master and Wardens as to the qualifications of the candidates. All of its personnel are persons busily engaged in the affairs of life. It is without machinery to investigate or to instruct. Its method, without going into extensive detail, has been to satisfy itself of the desirability from a high Masonic point of view, of material, and the approval in writing, by the Master and Wardens, of the application is followed by a formal ballot by show of hands, the lodge but formally ratifying, for the sake of the record, the primary act of approval by the Master and Wardens who are the sole arbiters.
It would be difficult for any Masonic genius, or company of geniuses, to contrive in a brief space of time by mere concentration and thought, without experience, a method of conduct and ritual and scheme of ceremonies which would be satisfactory or adequate. Much thought was, of course, given to this subject before the lodge sat, but naturally its method of performance has been a matter of development, and a composite of the judgment of those among its personnel most interested and qualified to advise. It sat first in the Scottish Rite Parlor in the Temple in New York on October 10, 1917, and conferred the three degrees in one session on five candidates, including a son of the then Grand Master. Since that date it has sat thirty-five times, always in the City of New York, and has conferred the degrees on seven hundred and forty-three candidates, of whom four hundred and thirty-nine have been its own material, one hundred and eighty-five candidates of lodges within the State of New York, and one hundred and nineteen candidates of lodges without the State. Fifty-seven of its candidates have been under the age of twenty-one years, all blood sons of Master Masons, for each of whom a special and separate dispensation was first granted by the Grand Master.
It has allied with itself as Associate Members all of the Grand Master's Committee on Plan and Scope and certain additional members whose zeal and devoted service naturally identified them with the lodge. Seventeen of its personnel are members of the War Relief Administration, lately organized by the Grand Lodge to administer the War Relief Fund.
It was prophesied before the lodge first sat, that its service would be more holy, serious, and beneficial than that of any other symbolic lodge then known. The prophecy has been more than realized. The harmony, consecutiveness, propriety and symbolism of its performance is conspicuously unique. Attendance at its functions is by invitation only. The performance of its service requires approximately three and one-half hours. None come to scoff, but all stay to pray.
As is natural the musical feature of its sessions is of a strikingly high order. Appropriate selections are used in the successive stages, which have been chosen with regard also to their symbolism and fitness to the lodge purposes.
The opening ceremonies include the carrying of the colors and the singing of two verses of "My Country 'Tis of Thee," the second verse composed in Canada since the commencement of the war, with particular reference to the men in the Service, commencing, "God save our splendid men." In the First degree, at the reception, is sung, "Guide Me, Oh Thou Great Jehovah," to the tune "Autumn" suggesting to thoughtful men, "Fortitude," it being the air played by the band to stimulate brave men when the "Titanic" sunk. The second section of the Third degree opens with a verse of "I Would Not Live Alway," and the lodge is closed with the hymn, "Oh, God, Our Help in Ages Past." To each candidate for the First degree, is presented an apron, and to each candidate who is raised is presented a Bible in which is printed a pledge to which each candidate is required to subscribe at the end of the ceremonies, but which is read to him and assented to immediately after his reception in the First degree, which is as follows:
"We undertake to maintain our part of the war free from hatred, brutality, or graft, true to the American purpose, and ideals. Aware of the temptations incidental to camp life and the moral and social wreckage involved, we covenant together to live the clean life and to seek to establish the American Uniform as a symbol and guaranty of real manhood.
"We pledge our example and our influence to make these ideals dominant in the American Army and Navy."
All the lodge's surplus funds, over expenses, are devoted to the Grand Master's War Relief Fund, and it takes up at each session a Dole for this purpose. From both sources the fund has been enriched to date by more than $6,500.
The legislation referred to at the opening of this account was the primary step taken by Freemasonry in the United States of America to meet the duties and opportunities resting upon it in this war (and while no other jurisdictions, so far as the writer is aware, have met the situation as broadly and fully as has New York, a number have been inspired to take action along similar lines in certain respects.) Three jurisdictions have organized Military Lodges attached to regiments. Several are engaged in raising funds and making plans for the administration thereof. Most have modified, for men in the service, the rigidity of the regulations respecting the interval between degrees and the requirement of proficiency, and some, which have not done this for themselves, have legislated to recognize and approve as valid for them, Masonic service performed by Sea and Field Lodge No. 1 in accordance with its methods, which is valid in the State of New York.
It may safely be observed that men like Masonry; and it is better, by far, that this Ancient Love should be modified and modernized to suit the pressing needs of the time, than that its beneficent influence should be denied men in dire need of its kindly office because of inflexible adherence to tradition and ancient practice.
The good which this war service of Freemasonry has accomplished, is accomplishing and will accomplish, is beyond anyone's capacity to estimate. No harm of any kind has been, or can be suffered by Freemasonry as a result thereof. On the contrary, it has proven an ideal union between ministry, the ministers and those ministered to, to the glory of God and the eternal betterment of mankind.
* * *
Janus was invoked at the commencement of most actions; even in the worship of the other gods the votary began by offering wine and incense to Janus. The first month in the year was named from him; and under the title of Matutinus he was regarded as the opener of the day. Hence he had charge of the gates of heaven, and hence, too, all gates, Januae, were called after him, and supposed to be under his care. Hence, perhaps it was, that he was represented with a staff and a key, and that he was named the Opener (Patulcius), and the Shutter (Clusius).
— M. A. Dwight.
* * *
CORRESPONDENCE CIRCLE BULLETIN — NO. 24
Edited by Bro. H. L. Haywood
THE BULLETIN COURSE OF MASONIC STUDY FOR MONTHLY LODGE MEETINGS AND STUDY CLUBS
FOUNDATION OF THE COURSE
THE Course of Study has for its foundation two sources of Masonic information: THE BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia. In another paragraph is explained how the references to former issues of THE BUILDER and to Mackey's Encyclopedia may be worked up as supplemental papers to exactly fit into each installment of the Course with the paper by Brother Haywood.
The Course is divided into five principal divisions which are in turn subdivided, as is shown below:
- The Work of a Lodge.
- The Lodge and the Candidate.
- First Steps.
- Second Steps
- Third Steps.
- Working Tools.
- Religious Aspect.
- The Quest.
- The Secret Doctrine.
- The Grand Lodge.
- Ancient Constitutions.
- Codes of Law.
- Grand Lodge Practices.
- Relationship to Constituent Lodges.
- Official Duties and Prerogatives.
- The Constituent Lodge.
- Qualifications of Candidates.
- Initiation, Passing and Raising.
- Change of Membership.
- The Mysteries — Earliest Masonic Light.
- Study of Rites — Masonry in the Making.
- Contributions to Lodge Characteristics.
- National Masonry.
- Parallel Peculiarities in Lodge Study.
- Feminine Masonry.
- Masonic Alphabets.
- Historical Manuscripts of the Craft.
- Biographical Masonry.
- Philological Masonry — Study of Significant Words.
THE MONTHLY INSTALLMENTS
Each month we are presenting a paper written by Brother Haywood who is following the foregoing outline. We are now in "First Steps" of Ceremonial Masonry. There will be twelve monthly papers under this particular subdivision. At the head of each installment will be given a number of "Helpful Hints" consisting of questions to be used by the chairman of the Committee during the study period which will bring out every point touched upon in the paper.
Whenever possible we shall reprint in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin articles from other sources which have a direct bearing upon the particular subject covered by Brother Haywood in his monthly paper. These articles should be used as supplemental papers in addition to those prepared by the members from the monthly list of references. Much valuable material that would otherwise possibly never come to the attention of many of our members will thus be presented.
The monthly installments of the Course appearing in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin should be used one month later than their appearance. If this is done the Committees will have opportunity to arrange their programs several weeks in advance of the meetings and the Brethren who are members of the National Masonic Research Society will be better enabled to enter into the discussions after they have read over and studied the installment in THE BUILDER.
REFERENCES FOR SUPPLEMENTAL PAPERS
Immediately following each of Brother Haywood's monthly papers in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin will be found a list of references to THE BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia. These references are pertinent to the paper and will either enlarge upon many of the points touched upon or bring out new points for reading and discussion. They should be assigned by the Committee to different Brethren who may compile papers of their own from the material thus to be found, or in many instances the articles themselves or extracts therefrom may be read directly from the originals. The latter method may be followed when the members may not feel able to compile original papers, or when the original may be deemed appropriate without any alterations or additions.
HOW TO ORGANIZE FOR AND CONDUCT THE STUDY MEETINGS
The Lodge should select a "Research Committee" preferably of three "live" members. The study meetings should be held once a month, either at a special meeting of the Lodge called for the purpose, or at a regular meeting at which no business (except the Lodge routine) should be transacted — all possible time to be given to the study period.
After the Lodge has been opened and all routine business disposed of, the Master should turn the Lodge over to the Chairman of the Research Committee. This Committee should be fully prepared in advance on the subject for the evening. All members to whom references for supplemental papers have been assigned should be prepared with their papers and should also have a comprehensive grasp of Brother Haywood's paper.
PROGRAM FOR STUDY MEETINGS
- Reading of the first section of Brother Haywood's paper and the supplemental papers thereto. (Suggestion: While these papers are being read the members of the Lodge should make notes of any points they may wish to discuss or inquire into when the discussion is opened. Tabs or slips of paper similar to those used in elections should be distributed among the members for this purpose at the opening of the study period.)
- Discussion of the above.
- The subsequent sections of Brother Haywood's paper and the supplemental papers should then be taken up, one at a time, and disposed of in the same manner.
- Question Box.
Invite questions from any and all Brethren present. Let them understand that these meetings are for their particular benefit and get them into the habit of asking all the questions they may think of. Every one of the papers read will suggest questions as to facts and meanings which may not perhaps be actually covered at all in the paper If at the time these questions are propounded no one can answer them, SEND THEM IN TO US. All the reference material we have will be gone through in an endeavor to supply a satisfactory answer. In fact we are prepared to make special research when called upon, and will usually be able to give answers within a day or two. Please remember, too, that the great Library of the Grand Lodge of Iowa is only a few miles away, and, by order of the Trustees of the Grand Lodge, the Grand Secretary places it at our disposal on any query raised by any member of the Society.
The foregoing information should enable local Committees to conduct their Lodge study meetings with success. However, we shall welcome all inquiries and communications from interested Brethren concerning any phase of the plan that is not entirely clear to them, and the services of our Study Club Department are at the command of our members, Lodge and Study Club Committees at all times.
QUESTIONS ON "THE WORKING TOOLS OF AN ENTERED APPRENTICE."
What can you add to the quotation from Carlyle? What particular accomplishment of man is cited by Bergson to distinguish man from brute? In what manner do the tools of the brute differ from those of man? How has man's superiority over the brute developed? Where does man's superiority lie?
What is the key to Masonry's use of the "working tools"? What is their use? How are they symbolized? What is the ultimate design to be accomplished by the use of the working tools of Masonry? Can a Mason shape his own destiny or be instrumental in shaping the destiny of others without the aid of his Masonic working tools?
Why is not the newly initiated candidate at once intrusted with all the working tools or implements of Masonry? With what tools is he intrusted and instructed in the Masonic application of, in the Entered Apprentice degree? in the Fellow Craft degree? in the Master Mason degree?
What is a "twenty-four inch gauge"? Of what is it the symbol, in our Monitors? Give the Monitorial exposition of the twenty-four inch gauge in the language of the standard "work" of your Grand Jurisdiction. What reference to it was made by the old writers in connection with Saints Ambrose and Augustine and King Alfred? Do you agree with what Brother Haywood says regarding the right use and division of time? If not, why not?
What is your definition of "Time"? What definition of it does Brother Haywood give? Does Time symbolize to you opportunities to be grasped and improved upon? Who wastes time, the laggard or the successful man? Do you consider it a waste of time to attend the Study Club meetings of your lodge or Study Club? Are you wasting time by not attending these meetings? Are you applying the twenty-four inch gauge to your time as did Abraham Lincoln and Albert Pike and other busy men?
What is the fundamental reason for so many men devolving into "human failures"? How may we protect ourselves against becoming failures in life? How has man heretofore divided his actions? What test should we apply to our actions? What foundation are Masons laying for the morality of the future? What great secret have we to learn from the twenty four inch gauge?
What was the symbolism of the gavel in the Middle Ages? Whence was this symbolism derived? Of what was the gavel a symbol in Scandinavian mythology? What other peoples attribute to it the same symbolism? What is the Masonic derivation of the gavel? Give the Monitorial reference to the gavel as used in the standard "work" of your Grand Jurisdiction. Is the common gavel a symbol of authority? How is it distinguished from the implement of authority wielded by the Master of a lodge? What functions are combined in the common gavel? What is Mackey's explanation of its probable derivation?
What use did the operative masons make of the common gavel? What is a "knob" on a stone? an "excrescence"? What do these suggest to Brother Haywood? Do you agree with him in his deductions? If not, why not?
Does Masonry demand more from its members in the foregoing respect than do other organizations of their members or employees? What is the first lesson to be learned by a soldier, or an employee of a corporation? Why must they learn this lesson? Is "team work" and "cooperation" necessary to the success of a lodge? of a Grand Lodge? of Masonry as a whole? Could Masonry successfully cope with the questions which are arising each day in connection with the great work of reconstruction which the world is now facing, without some such united organization as the recently-launched "Masonic Service Association of the United States"? Did the necessity of "team work" and "cooperation" demand the organization of such a Body?
Mackey's Encyclopedia: Gavel, p. 290; Twenty-Four Inch Gauge, p. 811.
THE BUILDER: Vol. I — The Twenty-Four Inch Gauge, p. 94. Vol. III. — Gavel, p. 79; Twenty-Four Inch Gauge, p. 79. Vol. IV. — Gavel, p. 156.
Bro. H.L. Haywood, Iowa
PART XI — THE WORKING TOOLS OF AN ENTERED APPRENTICE
"Man is a tool-using animal, weak in himself, and of small stature, he stands on a basis, at most for the flattest-soled, of some half-square foot, insecurely enough; has to straddle out his legs, lest the very wind supplant him. Feeblest of bipeds! Three quintals are a crushing load to him; the steer of the meadow tosses him aloft, like a waste rag. Nevertheless he can use tools, can devise tools; with these the granite mountain melts into light dust before him; he kneads glowing iron, as if it were soft paste; seas are his smooth highway, winds and fire his unwearying steeds. Nowhere do you find him without tools; without tools he is nothing, with tools he is all."
THUS writes Thomas Carlyle, who was not always as Masonic as he is here. It would be difficult to state in language more forceful the whole philosophy underlying the Working Tools of Masonry, albeit reference might also be made to Henry Bergson, who wrote his "Creative Revolution" many years after Carlyle had penned his "Sartor Resartus," and when new light had come, and men had grown wiser in science. In his book, which is the most original discussion of Evolution since Darwin's "Origin of Species," Bergson shows that nothing more distinguishes the man from the brute than his use of tools. The brute has his tools built into his own body and consequently can neither modify nor change them; the beaver's teeth, the spider's spinnet, the eagle's talons, the lion's claws, in every case the brute's tool is a part of the brute's anatomy, with the result that its operations are confined within very narrow limits. But man makes his own tools, can modify or change them at will, and is always free to adapt himself and his work to ever-changing need; from this has arisen man's superiority to the brute creation for he can use his tools upon himself and thus change his own nature as well as the external world. Accordingly, Bergson defines a man as "The animal that makes things," and he is careful to show that man's superiority lies in his power to work upon himself as well as upon things.
Here, in this last clause, is the key to Masonry's use of Working Tools. In no case are they instruments to be used on external things, though they are symbolized by the tools of the operative builders; in which every case they are mental or moral forces with which a man may reshape himself into a mystic temple, and help reshape society into a great Brotherhood. With the implements thus understood, no man or Mason can ever hope to build except he be equipped with his kit of tools.
But some tools are simpler in use than others, and better adapted to simpler work; therefore the Craft has wisely distributed the implements among the degrees, in recognition of the candidate's increase of skill and responsibility; in the First degree the Apprentice is given the Twenty-four Inch Gauge and Common Gavel; in the Second degree the candidate is allowed the Plumb, Square and Level; while the Master Mason, in token of his task in completing the building work, is given the Trowel. Necessarily the tools of the Second and Third degrees will be treated in their corresponding places; in this connection we are interested only in the working tools of an Entered Apprentice.
The Twenty-Four Inch Gauge. This is nothing other than an ordinary two-foot rule such as may be found in use among stone-masons of today; as such we need not go far to seek its origin or dive deep to find its meaning. Our Monitors make it the symbol of time well systematized, and our older writers have often referred to Saints Ambrose and Augustine and to King Alfred as exemplars of the wisdom of devoting eight hours to the-service of God, and distressed worthy brethren, eight hours to their usual vocations and eight to rest and refreshment. This reading of the symbolism may be accepted without reserve, but is not this right use and dividing of time itself suggestive of that wider use of law and order so necessary in the life of the individual and the world?
What time is in itself we do not know, perhaps we shall never know. But in every life it is nothing other than our opportunity to live and work. We have our alloted span of existence; we have our allotted task; our wisdom consists in making one fit the other. Time flows over some men as water flows over a stone; to others a single hour may bring a new depth of experience and open out new vistas of vision. It is not the least among the secrets of genius that the great mind understands the value of the odd moment or the spare hour. Many Illinois lawyers between 1840 and 1860 found their days eaten up by their practice; Abraham Lincoln was as busy as the others but he managed in his spare time to learn Whites' Geometry by heart, to study the technique of politics, and to master every phase and angle of the Slavery question. There were only twenty-four hours in one of Albert Pike's days, even as in ours; he made of himself, in spite of a thousand handicaps, one of the profoundest scholars of his day — antiquarian, linguist, jurist, philologist, what not; he "found the Scottish Rite a log-cabin and left it a palace"; he plowed his influence into America, and all because he knew how to apply the gauge to his time.
Much of the waste and confusion of human existence arises from men's failure to measure their work by some standard or rule; they float down the stream like chips, take things as they come and go, and suffer themselves to be blown this way and that like a derelict at sea. Their days are as mere heaps of stone to which no quarryman has ever brought his tools. He who has learned how to transform time into life, deals with circumstances as an artist uses his materials; he has ever before him a plan laid out on his mind's tracing board; he selects his materials and appoints each to its appropriate function, fitting and shaping all according to his design.
What is the standard by which we may test our work? What is the measure of rightness? For many centuries we have been dividing our actions into two opposing tables, one made up of good actions, and one of bad. When we have desired to learn whether or not some proposed action was good or bad we searched for it in the two lists. But this morality by code is rapidly breaking down for we find that a deed will be guilty under some circumstances, innocent under others. If I shoot a man for assaulting my family I do right; if I shoot a friend in a quarrel I do evil. The one test which we can apply to any and every action is, What is its effect on life~ If it enlarges, exalts, ennobles, if it makes life more musical, more worthful, more rich, it is good; if it cramps, corrupts, debases, defiles, it is evil. This is life morality and every evidence indicates that it is to be the morality of the future.
And it is also, I believe, the morality of Masonry, as symbolized by that Working Tool which would teach us how to transform time into life. He who learns this use of it need ever regret the passing of "every year," for every year will but add honor to his head and riches to his heart until the end comes when time will lead him to eternity.
"Old time will end our stay,
But no time, if we end well, will end our glory."
The Common Gavel. In the Middle Ages the gavel was a symbol often made use of by religious bodies to signify possession, a meaning derived, perhaps, from the ancient custom of throwing a gavel (or hammer) across a field to claim ownership. In the Scandinavian mythology it was Thor's hammer and stood for power, often seen in the thunderings and lightnings by which that dread god split the rocks and destroyed the trees. It is similarly used, we learn from Murray-Aynsley (A.Q.C. Vol. 6, p. 51) by New Zealanders, the Maoris, and Channel Island savages. In Masonry it has other meanings, being derived from the tool used by the workmen in dressing a stone to the desired shape.
As a Working Tool it must not be confused with the Master's hammer which, because it stands for his authority, is often called the "Hiram," in commemoration of the authority wielded by the First Grand Master. It is a tool with one sharp edge and combines the functions of the hammer and the chisel. When looked at from the end, with the cutting edge turned up, it has the appearance of the gable of a house, and this suggested to Mackey that it may have been derived from the German "gipful," or gable. However that may be it is a tool for shaping and not for breaking and is therefore not an emblem of force, as some have fancied, though it is obvious that force must be employed to use it.
According to the Monitorial explanation, "The Common Gavel is an instrument made use of by operative masons, to break off the corners of rough stones, the better to fit them for the builder's use; but we, as free and accepted Masons, are taught to make use of it for the more noble and glorious purpose of divesting our minds and consciences of all the vices and superfluities of life, thereby fitting our bodies as living stones, for that spiritual building, that house not made by hands, eternal in the heavens." In other connections we are told that the gavel was used by operative masons to break off the knobs and excrescencies of stones in order to shape the rough ashlar into the perfect ashlar, or finished building stone.
A "knob" is an inequality in the stone itself; an "excrescence" is some foreign substance clinging to it. It may appear fanciful but this has suggested to me those vices and inequalities in us men which spring on the one hand from heredity and on the other from environment. By the first we are influenced by our ancestors or parents; by the latter we are shaped, in some degree at least, by our surroundings. In either case, and however derived, each of us finds in his nature some trait of temper or temperament, some bias of mind, some. trick of action, or other irregularity, that brings us into conflict with our fellows. In so far as these are not essential to right character Masonry demands that we trim them off in order that we may "fit in" with the Fraternity.
In this our Institution asks no more than does the world at large or other organizations, for all the cry today is for team-work and cooperation. The member of a regiment, the employee of a corporation, must learn to subordinate himself to the whole lest the perversity of the individual destroy the whole. Individualists may cherish their differences in behalf of self-distinction, but the wise man will learn to adjust himself to, and control his idiosyncracies in behalf of the needs of order. This is in no sense the debasing of every man to the dead level of mediocrity for it is in and not apart from, social life that real individuality is born.
* * *
Life is an offering, that is all
And the ultimate glory of its call
Is that 'tis hardly worth a tear
Save as 'tis given, freely, here —
Save as from it we pour and pour
As the alchemist provides the more —
Save as on the "waters cast"
The "bread" that will return at last —
Save as we give it all away
To find ourselves, some day — some day.
— L. B. M.
* * *
CALIFORNIA'S RECOGNITION OF FRENCH MASONRY
REPORT OF THE GRAND LODGE COMMITTEE
AT the annual communication of the Grand Lodge in 1917 the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:
Whereas, It is pre-eminently desirable that the "Universality of Masonry," no less than the "Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man" shall be something more than an empty phrase; and
Whereas, The readjustment of the world's affairs that will result from the conflict now raging will justify, if it shall not require, a reconsideration of the judgments rendered in the past concerning what were believed to be fundamental differences between Anglo-Saxon and Latin Masonry; now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That a Special Committee of five members of this Grand Lodge be appointed by the Grand Master to report at the next annual communication some plan whereby, if possible, the breach between French and Anglo-Saxon Masonry may be healed without the sacrifice on either side of any essential principle or matter of conscience; and, be it further
Resolved, That any inhibition upon the right of visitation heretofore imposed by this Grand Lodge be, and the same hereby is, modified insofar as it may be necessary to allow and permit our brethren to hold Masonic intercourse with the Masons in France, Belgium and Italy, and to visit any of their lodges.
The Grand Master appointed William Rhodes Hervey, Bradford Webster, Charles Albert Adams, George F. Rodden and George W. Hunter a Special Committee to make the report provided for in the resolutions.
Immediately after entering upon its task the committee was confronted with grave difficulties arising out of the disturbances resulting from our present state of war, lack of authentic and detailed information relating to the subject matter, and the widely variant attitudes assumed by Grand Lodges respecting French Masonic powers. Because of these difficulties your committee finds itself unable at this time, notwithstanding its serious and diligent efforts, to comply with the requirements of your resolution. However, it may be profitable to present a discussion of the subject and respectfully to recommend a present course of action for the Grand Lodge of California without presuming in any degree to indicate the attitude which should be assumed by any other Body, or remotely to suggest the propriety of similar action by any other Grand Lodge of the great family of Anglo-Saxon Masonry.
The work entrusted to your committee is one of vital importance at this time. More than 5,300 members of California Lodges have enlisted in the military or naval service of our great government, and thousands more, in all probability, will soon join the colors. Many of these Masons are already serving in France, and our brethren will be sent in increasing numbers to that distant land. California Masons are companions in arms with French Masons who owe allegiance to Bodies with which this Grand Lodge has no fraternal relationship. These men are engaged in the same high enterprise in behalf of honor and civilization, their brave hearts beat in unison, they confront the same foe and equal dangers, and the ashes of many of them will commingle in the sacred soil of France, which is being hallowed by their blood. They are entitled to exchange and enjoy all the royalties and generosities and amenities of Masonic fellowship and social intercourse unless some insurmountable barrier of conscience lifts between them.
We are face to face with new and unusual conditions in the Masonic world. Our soldier brethren in France are unfamiliar with the points of difference which separate the Anglo-Saxon Masons from their French brethren, and they are entitled to have this vexed and difficult question settled or to be advised of the reasons for a continued separation. The French Bodies have made overtures for recognition. It seems our plain duty to leave nothing undone that can consistently be done to cement more firmly the bonds of universal brotherhood. We desire, in this report, to lay before you the facts pertinent to this inquiry and to point out the obstacles which must be overcome if French Masonry is to be recognized by this Grand Lodge. We regret that this report will be found lacking in definiteness, but authentic information is not always available and many aspects of the question under consideration are veiled in obscurity. We believe the statements herein contained, gathered from many sources, to be facts in the case, although we cannot, in every instance, prove their authenticity.
FRENCH MASONIC POWERS
There are three Grand Bodies in France exercising authority over the degrees of symbolic and Ancient Craft Masonry, to-wit: the Grand Orient of France, the Grand Lodge of France, and the Independent and Regular National Grand Lodge of France and the French Colonies. These three Bodies are independent of each other and exhibit differences in method and principle. It appears that very little is known about French Masonry by the members of the Craft, and the fugitive items in the Masonic and secular press on this subject have not always dealt fairly with our French brethren, and oftentimes have echoed the complaints and misrepresentations of the enemies of Latin Masonry. The history of these powers may be briefly summarized as follows:
- The Grand Orient. It is claimed that a lodge of Masons was organized at Dunkirk in the early years of the eighteenth century, but we have been unable to verify such facts. It appears that the first lodge actually known in France was that established in Paris in 1732 by Lord Derwentwater. In 1735 certain lodges at Paris applied to the Grand Lodge of England for the constitution of a Provincial Grand Lodge, but the petition was refused for political reasons. The Grand Lodge of England reconsidered its action and in 1743 granted authority for the organization of a Provincial Grand Lodge under the name of the Grand Loge Anglaise de France. We have been advised that the constitution of this Grand Lodge was modeled on that of the Anderson Constitutions of 1723. Soon after the organization of this Grand Body differences arose between the Parisian and Provincial lodges and there ensued years of turbulence. In 1775 the Grand Lodge declared its independence of the Grand Lodge of England and changed its name to Grande Loge de France, and excluded all the Provincial lodges from its membership. It seems that this body recognized only the first three degrees of Masonry. The difficulties between the Parisian Grand Lodge and the Provincial lodges seem to have been finally healed and all the factions of French Craft Masonry were united in 1771, in which year a new constitution was adopted and the Grande Loge de France was merged into the Grand Orient of France. It appears, however, that soon a faction arose which repudiated the merger or change and perpetuated the existence of the Grand Lodge, which engaged in a struggle against the new Grand Orient until 1779, when the Grand Lodge was finally and completely united with the Grand Orient. In 1804 a second Grand Body was organized, but by treaty was soon after merged into the Grand Orient. Even a cursory inquiry into the history of the Grand Orient is sufficient to impress the student with the belligerent and controversial nature of the body, and there is reason to believe that the internal conflicts in the Grand Orient are probably responsible for the existence, at this time, of more than one ruling Body of Craft Masonry in France. Yet it must be borne in mind that even in England schisms in Masonry were the outstanding feature of its early history, and that in 1753 there was a division into two Grand Lodges — the Ancients and the Moderns — which were not united until 1813.
It seems that the Grand Orient, at an early date, assumed control over the "higher" degrees of Masonry, and we read that in 1804 it entered into a controversy with the Supreme Council of France, an organization of Scottish Rite Masons which seems to have originated in France in 1760 under the name of the Rite of Perfection, and in 1805 agreed upon a treaty by which the sovereignty and independence of the Supreme Council was recognized over all degrees above the eighteenth, while the Grand Orient was agreed to have full power over all the degrees up to and including the eighteenth. This treaty was not sufficient to produce the desired harmony, and soon after its ratification renewed disturbances began because of the violations thereof by the Grand Orient. However, the Grand Orient has continued for more than a century the strongest and most influential Masonic power in France, and, according to recent reports, today rules over 465 subordinate lodges with 35,000 members.
- The Grand Lodge of France. It appears that the Supreme Council of the Thirty-Third Degree for France organized the Grand Lodge of France in 1804 to administer and control the lodges working the first three degrees of Masonry, although some authorities contended that this Grand Lodge was a survival of a faction of the Body that was united to the Grand Orient in 1779. Our information respecting the history of this Grand Lodge, from the time it claims to have been organized until recent years, is so obscure that we can not give any details of its career. It appears, however, that the Grand Lodge was reorganized in 1894, but remained a subsidiary or an instrumentality of the Supreme Council of France until 1904, when it became a sovereign and independent Body. Its independence from the Grand Orient seems to date from 1895. From the fact that the Grand Orient claimed jurisdiction over all degrees under the eighteenth, and that the Supreme Council possessed jurisdiction over the degrees above the eighteenth, it is difficult to understand how the Supreme Council gained jurisdiction over the Craft degrees so that it might relinquish the same to the Grand Lodge, except upon the theory that strife continued between the two great Masonic powers in France, and that, notwithstanding the treaty they had made, each continued to confer and rule the first, second and third degrees. Not being able to trace the history of the relations between these powers, we assume that the independence gained by the Grand Lodge of the Grand Orient in 1895, and of the Supreme Council in 1904, terminated what must have been a long quarrel. We believe that, by reasons of violations of the treaty of 1805, from 1841 both the Grand Orient and the Supreme Council conferred and ruled Craft degrees, and that the Supreme Council relinquished control over the degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry to the Grand Lodge in 1904. The Grand Lodge is said to have 136 lodges, with a membership in excess of 8,500. It is interesting to note that one of these lodges, "Anglo-Saxon No. 343," works in the English language, and that its members are mostly British and Americans, and we are happy to state that fraternal good will has existed uninterruptedly between these Grand Bodies since 1904. The Grand Lodge claims jurisdiction over only over the first, second and third degrees of Masonry.
- The Independent and Regular National Grand Lodge of France and the French Colonies. This Body was founded in December, 1913, and has been recognized by the Grand Lodges of England, Scotland and other countries. It was organized by three lodges which withdrew from the Grand Orient, and it appears that at the present time the jurisdiction of the new Grand Body extends over three or four lodges, with a membership of less than 200 Masons. This Body claims to be the only regular Grand Lodge in France, and we are informed, has modeled itself upon the laws and principles of the Grand Lodge of England. It has been more than once intimated in high places that this is hardly a new Grand Lodge, but rather a sort of colonization in France of new lodges under English patronage. It seems to us that this body may be considered a negligible quantity until a longer life and greater growth may justify the attention of the Masonic world.
RELATIONS WITH GRAND ORIENT SEVERED
Very early after its organization, the Grand Lodge of California seems to have recognized or considered itself in fraternal correspondence with the Grand Orient of France, and under date of May 1, 1852, Prince Lucien Murat, Grand Master of the Grand Orient of France, addressed the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of California, announcing his election and extending fraternal greetings, and stating the desire for co-operation and future existence of firm and friendly relationships, which letter was answered in a corresponding fraternal spirit by Grand Master Charles M. Radcliff. In 1858 Grand Master N. Greene Curtis received an invitation from the Grand Orient of France to send three members to that Grand Body in order that more intimate relations might be established. The Grand Lodge of California approved of the plan to establish permanent interchange of representatives. In 1859 the learned Grand Secretary, Alex G. Abell, reported the receipt of the bulletins of the Grand Orient of France and its calendars, and also furnished the Grand Lodge with a translation of a letter from the Master of Lodge La Clemente Amitie in Paris. Our report for 1861 shows a continued friendly correspondence between the Grand Orient of France and the Grand Lodge of California.
In 1856 the Foulhouze-Cerneau Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite was organized in Louisiana. Two of the subordinates of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana withdrew and joined the illegal and spurious Supreme Council. The Grand Orient of France refused recognition to the Foulhouze-Cerneau Council and denounced the same as irregular and clandestine, but ten years later in 1868, the Grand Orient of France, undoubtedly ignorant of the true conditions existing in Louisiana and misled by its zeal in behalf of a wide tolerance and liberty of conscience, accorded recognition to the spurious Council, whereupon the Grand Lodge of Louisiana severed fraternal relations with the Grand Orient, after protesting its action. In order to give emphasis to its objection to the invasion of its jurisdiction, the Grand Lodge of Louisiana presented its grievance to the other Grand Lodges of the United States, and in a short time thirty Grand Lodges severed fraternal relations with the Grand Orient of France. In 1869 the Grand Lodge of California, because of this hostile and unlawful action of the Grand Orient of France, suspended all Masonic intercourse therewith. In 1872 the Grand Orient of France, while still persisting in its unwarranted invasion of the rights of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, addressed the Grand Lodge of California, expressing a desire to renew fraternal relations and to submit a report concerning the difficulty with the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, declaring that the Grand Orient could not change its conclusions, but hoping that the American Grand Lodges might reconsider their decrees of interdiction. The spurious and irregular Supreme Council, which was the original cause of the severance of fraternal relations between the American Grand Lodges and the Grand Orient of France, had long since ceased to exist, and upon its demise the violation of the Grand Orient of the territorial jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana ended. That the Grand Lodge of Louisiana at this time has no grievance against the Grand Orient of France is emphatically demonstrated by the fact that on February 5, 1918, the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, by an unanimous vote, repealed its edicts of non-intercourse with the Grand Orient of France and arranged for an exchange of representatives.
REASONS FOR CONTINUANCE OF BREACH WITH GRAND ORIENT
If the only differences between the Grand Orient of France and the Grand Lodge of California were those growing out of the invasion of the territorial jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, then there would be no obstacles in the way of immediate establishment of full fraternal relations with the Grand Orient of France. It appears, however, that after the dissolution of relations in 1869, certain changes were made in the constitution of the Grand Orient of France which are now the subject of controversy. For several years the Grand Orient discussed the proposition of striking all reference to the Deity from the rituals and the constitution. In 1877 the Grand Orient, after a year of serious deliberation, by a vote of 135 to 76 lodges, resolved to make the change in the constitution. It seems that prior to 1849 the constitution and rituals of the Grand Orient were essentially the same as they stand today. In 1849, probably because of growing closeness of political relations with Great Britain, the Grand Orient amended its laws and practices so as to more nearly conform to those of the Grand Lodge of England. We understand that, following the English model, the Grand Orient adopted the following rule in 1849:
"Freemasonry has for its principles the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, and the solidarity of mankind."
In 1877 this provision of the constitution was repealed, and in lieu thereof the following was substituted:
"Whereas, Freemasonry is not a religion, and has, therefore, no doctrine or dogma to affirm its constitution, the Assembly adopting the Vaeu IX., has decided and decreed that the second paragraph of Article I of the constitution shall be erased and that for the words of said article the following shall be substituted:
"Freemasonry, an essentially philanthropical and progressive institution, has for its object the pursuit of truth, the study of morality, and the practice of solidarity; its efforts are directed to the material and moral improvement and the intellectual and social advancement of humanity. It has for its principles, mutual tolerance, respect for others and for one's self, and absolute liberty of conscience. Considering metaphysical conceptions as belonging exclusively to the individual judgment of its members, it refuses to accept any dogmatic affirmation. Its motto is: 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.'"
Upon making this change in the constitution, the Grand Lodges in English speaking countries then in fraternal relations with the Grand Orient, dissolved the same, and many of the Grand Lodges in the United States, although having already severed relations because of the Louisiana incident, protested the action of the Grand Orient. The attitude taken is not easily understood when we remember that many protesting Grand Lodges held fraternal relations with the Grand Orient prior to 1849, and that the announced principles of the Grand Orient subsequent to 1877 were practically identical with those avowed in the years preceding 1849. The most plausible explanation is that the Grand Orient was under suspicion after the violation of the Jurisdiction of Louisiana, and that instead of according full faith and credit to its actions, other Grand Bodies looked askance upon all its doings. It is needless to add that our French brethren made the most sincere explanations of their action and were astonished and grieved at the fraternal discord that ensued.
The Grand Orient explained that by its action in 1877 it merely reverted to the Anderson Constitutions of 1723, which are everywhere recognized as the common law of Masonry. These Constitutions appear under the title "The Charges of a Freemason" in our Blue Book, at page 342. Article I reads as follows:
CONCERNING GOD AND RELIGION
"A Mason is obliged by his tenure to obey the moral law, and if he rightly understands the art he will never be a stupid atheist, nor an irreligious libertine. But, though in ancient times Masons were charged in every country to be of the religion of that country, or nation, whatever it was, yet it is now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that religion in which all men agree, leaving their particular opinions to themselves; that is, to be good men and true, or men of Honour and Honesty, by whatever denominations or persuasions they may be distinguished; whereby Masonry becomes the centre of union and the means of conciliating true friendship among persons that must have otherwise remained at a perpetual distance."
The Grand Lodge of England adhered to these Constitutions until 1815, when it changed the article by inserting the word God in a number of places, but these changes were not adopted by the Grand Lodges in the United States. The Grand Orient, however, did in 1849 make changes to correspond with those made by England in 1815, and then in 1877 reverted back to the original basis of 1723.
The French Masons have been roundly denounced and abused by Grand Lodges and Ecclesiastical Powers as godless and atheistic. It is illuminating to examine their views of the charge.
The Committee urging the adoption of the proposed amendment said in 1877:
"Who is not aware, at this moment, that in advocating this suppression no one among us understands himself as making a profession of atheism and materialism. In regard to this matter every misunderstanding must disappear from our minds, and if in any lodge there should remain any doubt in reference to this point, let them know that the commission declares without reservation that by acceding to the wish of Lodge No. 9, it sets before it no other object than the proclamation of absolute liberty of conscience."
Brother Frederic Desmons, a Protestant minister of reputation and high character, who was nine times President of the Grand Orient of France, strenuously urged the adoption of the amendment, and later said:
"In suppressing the formula respecting the G. A. of the U. we did not mean to replace it by a materialistic formula. None among us in proposing this suppression, thought of professing atheism or materialism, and we declare formally and emphatically that we had no other end in view than to proclaim absolute liberty of conscience."
Brother Maricault, the reporter of the committee on amendment of the law, in recommending a postponement in 1876 of the question, made the following statement:
"Your commission has recognized that bad faith alone could interpret the suppression demanded as a denial of the existence of God and the immortality of the soul; human solidarity and freedom of conscience, which would be henceforth the exclusive basis of Freemasonry, imply quite as strongly belief in God and in an immortal soul as they do materialism, positivism, or any other philosophic doctrine."
By "solidarity" Brother Maricault and his brethren mean "brotherhood of man."
The Grand Secretary of the Grand Orient wrote to an English brother as follows:
"The Grand Orient of France has not abolished the Masonic formula, 'To the glory of the Great Architect of the Universe,' as you appear to believe, still less have they made profession of atheism. In their general assembly of September, 1877, they purely and simply proclaimed absolute liberty of conscience as a right belonging to every man, and out of respect for this liberty they expunged from their Constitution a dogmatic formula, which seemed to a great majority of the members to be in contradiction with liberty of conscience.
"In modifying an article of its statutes the Grand Orient of France by no means intended to make profession of either atheism or materialism, as would seem to be understood. No alteration has been made either in the principles or the practice of Masonry; French Masonry remains what it has always been — a fraternal and tolerant brotherhood."
We are informed that French Masons contend that prior to 1877 the Book of Constitutions had lain upon the altars, and that it was interpreted as the "Book of the Law" or "Volume of Sacred Law." In some quarters we find the claim made that the Bible was taken from the altars of French lodges because of the attacks of the Catholic church on Masonry in that Republic, and that because the Bible was used on the altars of the Church, Masonry could not place it upon its altars and remain consistent in its defense of the rights of conscience. It appears that no change of practice with reference to the Bible has been made by the Grand Orient for nearly a hundred years. We understand that the Grand Orient is neither deistical nor atheistical, but tolerates the widest liberty of conscience and is not sectarian or dogmatic in matters of religion; and that both the Grand Orient and the Grand Lodge open and close their lodges and obligate their candidates "to the glory of the Great Architect of the Universe."
NO BREACH WITH GRAND LODGE OF FRANCE
The Grand Lodge of California has never entered into fraternal relations with the Grand Lodge of France, and thus far we have had no occasion to protest its principles or practiced. The Grand Lodge of France stands before us today seeking our fraternal recognition. It exhibits the principles of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite in matters of religion, recognizes the existence of God, requires the "Book of the Law" upon its altars, prohibits religious and political discussions, and exercises jurisdiction of only the three degrees of Symbolic Masonry. It recognizes the concurrent jurisdiction of the Grand Orient in its territory.
THE SPIRIT OF FRENCH MASONRY
Your committee are satisfied that the brethren of the Grand Orient and the Grand Lodge of France are actuated by a splendid Masonic spirit, and exemplify in an honorable and unmistakable manner the principles of brotherly love, relief and truth. We think the most recent communications received by us from these two Bodies will fully justify our opinion. In these times, which are particularly trying to the souls of the men of France, when their people have been burdened and decimated by a dreadful war, and after their Masonic powers have been scorned and repudiated by Anglo-Saxon Masonry, the two great French powers have taken the opportunity to address communications to the Grand Lodge of California breathing in every line the aroma of friendship and fraternity. These letters are as follows:
GRAND LOGE DE FRANCE
Rue Puteaux 8 Paris CONSEIL FEDERAL
O∴ de Paris, July 20, 1917 (E. V.)
The Grand Secretary,
The Grand Lodge of California,
Masonic Temple, San Francisco.
Dear Sir and Very Worshipful Brother:
The landing in our country of the vanguard of your army, which is crossing the ocean to unite with us in the great struggle for the freedom of the world, is an event of momentous import. It has aroused within us the thought that it is highly desirable that our ancient institution, which has always stood for liberty, should celebrate this manifestation of brotherhood by drawing together of the bonds of fraternal esteem and affection, which unite Freemasons all over the world.
With this thought in our minds, we are writing to extend to your Grand Lodge an invitation to enter into official relations with us and to cement those relations by an exchange of representatives.
The Grand Lodge of France was constituted in 1804 by the Supreme Council 33rd for France and the French Colonies, to administer and control the lodges working the three degrees of Craft Masonry. In 1904, as a result of friendly negotiations with the Supreme Council, became a sovereign and independent body.
As an integral part of the A.A.S.R., our Masonic principles are those common to the Rite in general as set forth in the declarations of the convents of Lousanne of 1876. We have 136 Lodges working under our jurisdiction, among them one — the Anglo-Saxon 343 — which works in English, and the members of which are almost exclusively British and American.
In the hope that you will agree with us that such a union as we propose will appear all the more in harmony with the ideals of our Order, if realized in the hour when the brethren of our two countries are shedding their life-blood in common for the triumph of justice and civilization, we are,
Yours faithfully and fraternally,
LE GR. MAITRE, General Peigne.
LE GR. ORATEUR,
LE GR. SECRET. GENERAL,
LE GR. TRESORIER.
* * *
16, Rue Cadet, Paris,
October 12, 1917.
Worshipful Sir and Brethren: The world-wide conflict for the liberation of oppressed nations and for the triumph of the principles of justice and liberty in which a good many allied countries now take an effective part, has assembled on French soil most of the glorious, armies fighting for right, who are now to be joined by an imposing contingent of your noble country.
In the first rank of these gallant troops, their arm strengthened by their ideal, we are sure to find, more numerous every day, Freemasons of the United States of America, and we have thought of offering them, as soon as they arrive in the French capital, a warm, fraternal welcome becoming amongst brother Masons.
Under the auspices of the Grand Orient of France our worshipful "La Fraternite des Peuples" has formed a reception at the Temple of the Grand Orient, 16, Rue Cadet, a real Masonic home. Here your brethren will always find devoted Masons, speaking their language, ready to answer all inquiries and furnish any useful information they may require; to assure them a fraternal help in all circumstances, to keep in touch by corresponding with them, to visit them in case they are ill or wounded, to serve as intermediary between them and their relatives, etc.
The usefulness of this central bureau will at once be apparent to you, not only for our brethren who are in the army, but also to those near and dear to them and who in their thoughts will follow them across the Atlantic, and who will know that they are not left to themselves and abandoned amongst the dangers of every-day life, but that a fraternal and helping hand is always extended to them in case of need.
We therefore ask you to kindly inform the brethren of your Worshipful Lodge and their relatives that in applying to us they will always find us ready to be of use to them, and happy to render them any service within the measure of our means and capabilities.
Please communicate this letter to the different lodges under the jurisdiction of your Grand Lodge.
We are, worshipful sir and brethren, yours most fraternally and sincerely, for and on behalf of the
MASONIC BUREAU FOR ALLIED ARMIES IN FRANCE.
(Signed) W. M. A. BESNARD,
F. D. P. 16, Rue Cadet, Paris.
* * *
All the Grand Lodges in English-speaking countries tenaciously adhere to the principle that each Grand Lodge is sovereign and supreme throughout its territorial jurisdiction, and that an invasion of the territorial jurisdiction of any Grand Lodge by another Masonic power is an act of hostility and operates to place the usurper outside the pale of fraternal recognition and brands it as an outlaw. This is a salutatory doctrine, and in English-speaking countries at least should be vindicated and perpetuated. In the Latin countries the doctrine of exclusive territorial jurisdiction does not obtain, but in those countries each Grand Body is sovereign and supreme, not throughout the territory it occupies, but over its subordinate lodges and their members. This explains why the Grand Orient of France and the Grand Lodge of France, occupying the same territory, are in fraternal and friendly relations each with the other. It does not seem necessary to the integrity and maintenance of our doctrine of exclusive territorial jurisdiction that we shall force the same upon our brethren of the Latin countries of the world who prefer to give their adherence to a different doctrine, which suits them better and under which they seem to live together in Masonic peace and fraternal concord.
THE CALIFORNIA POLICY RESPECTING RECOGNITION
In 1913 the Grand Lodge of California adopted a certain report and recommendation made by the late M.W. Edward H. Hart, Chairman of the Committee on Correspondence, and thereby fixed the tests to be applied by the Grand Lodge of California in the matter of recognition of other Grand Lodges. These tests are as follows:
First, The Grand Body seeking recognition must be regularly formed by subordinate lodges which trace their origin to regular and legitimate Ancient Craft Masonry.
Secondly, the Grand Body applying for recognition must hold undisputed sway as the acknowledged Supreme Power in Ancient Craft Masonry in the territory in which it claims jurisdiction, and must not render allegiance or obedience, in any sense whatsoever to any other Masonic power, or Supreme Council, but must be absolutely sovereign and supreme within its territory. As a necessary corollary of this condition, it must recognize the exclusive jurisdiction of all other Grand Lodges in their respective territories, and shall not presume to project its authority or sovereignty into the territory of any other Grand Lodge.
Thirdly, The Grand Body applying for recognition as a sovereign Grand Lodge of Ancient Craft Masonry must confine its authority, and the exercise thereof, to the three degrees of Craft or Symbolic Masonry.
Fourthly, the Grand Body applying for recognition must recognize and support the Ancient Landmarks, which include, particularly, the Three Great Lights, and belief in God, and the immortality of the soul.
An application of the foregoing rules promulgated by the Grand Lodge of California to the Grand Orient and the Supreme Council of France shows that no recognition can be given to these Bodies without a change f the policy of this Grand Lodge. The Grand Orient is regular in its origin, but its sway as a supreme power is acknowledged only by the lodges of its obedience, and in its territory it has concurrent jurisdiction with the Grand Lodge of France. It does not appear to be invading the jurisdiction of any regular Grand Lodge, and does not expressly and in terms profess a belief in God and the immortality of the soul. The Grand Lodge of France more nearly meets these requirements than does the Grand Orient, for, as heretofore stated, the Grand Lodge confines its jurisdiction to the three degrees of Symbolic Masonry and it exhibits the Three Great Lights and obligates its candidates and opens and closes its lodges with appeals to the Great Architect of the Universe, and requires the "Book of the Law" upon its altars, but it may trace its origin to a Supreme Council having jurisdiction over many degrees instead of to Ancient Craft Masonry.
PRECEDENTS OF TODAY
Since the great war came to America, many Grand Lodges of the United States have been seriously and earnestly considering the matter of fraternal relations with the French bodies. At the time of formulating this report several Grand Lodges have not held their annual communications for 1918, but the action taken by some of the Grand Lodges during this year is significant of the widespread desire for harmonious relations with France, and is indicative of ultimate concord between the Grand Lodges of France and those of the United States.
The following Grand Lodges have resumed fraternal relations with the Grand Orient of France: Louisiana, Rhode Island, Iowa, Kentucky, New Jersey.
The following Grand Lodges have recognized and entered into fraternal relations with the Grand Lodge of France: Louisiana, Rhode Island, Iowa, Kentucky, District of Columbia, New Jersey and Nevada.
The following Grand Lodges, in addition to California, have enacted laws permitting their members to visit the lodges and hold fraternal relations with the members of the obedience of the Grand Orient and the Grand Lodge of France: Alabama, New York, New Jersey, Utah, Indiana, Georgia, Florida, Manitoba, Colorado and Nevada.
Notwithstanding the attitude assumed at different times in the past by the Grand Lodge of California with respect to the recognition of Grand Bodies of Masonry in Latin countries, the time has now arrived when there must be a new examination of the question and a revision of former judgments. Our past judgments correctly reflected our best thought, but now a new spirit broods over the world and the conditions growing out of the great war compel us to change some of our rules and earlier determinations. The time has arrived when our brethren demand that the reality of universal brotherhood be substituted for empty words, phrases and expressions; that we be neither confused nor misled by catch words for which we have developed an almost superstitious reverence. Now is the time for our institution to show a broad catholicity of spirit and not to reject any Masonic power which holds sway over the affections of men and engages the attention of the world, if that power displays the principles of brotherly love, relief and truth, and is working for the benefit and happiness of humanity, and bases itself upon eternal and immutable principles of Freemasonry.
Masonic scholars and jurists are divided in their opinion respecting the recognition of French Masonry. The members of one group contend that there can be no recognition of these powers because: (a) they are not sovereign and supreme within their territory; (b) that the lodges of obedience of the Grand Lodge of France do not trace their origin to regular Ancient Craft Masonry; (c) that the Grand Orient exercises power over degrees other than the first three degrees of Symbolic Masonry; (d) that the Book of Constitutions, instead of the Holy Bible, is found upon the altars of the lodges; (e) that a belief in God and the immortality of the soul is a landmark and is fundamental in Masonry. This group contends that when a Mason ceases to express a belief in Deity, he ceases to be a Mason. It also asserts that an open Bible is an indispensable part of the furniture of the lodge, and that these requirements are immovable landmarks. We know that until recently most of the Grand Lodges in English-speaking countries were to be found espousing these principles, and they were supported by innumerable determinations, precedents, statutory enactments and utterances of the sages of the Craft.
However, there is the second group, which is constantly growing in size and importance, which has made new evaluations and formed new conclusions since the war has thrust this subject into prominence and caused a demand for a better and wiser solution. Your Committee feels that it is in harmony with the thought and spirit of this second group. The requirement that lodges must derive mediately or immediately from regular organizations of Ancient Craft Masonry does not find universal adherence among Grand Bodies. The application of the doctrine would serve to arrest the growth and development of Masonry in many parts of the world, and might forever destroy the possibility of universal Masonry. No harm could be done by adopting the principle of recognizing, in countries where no Symbolic Grand Lodge exists, the lodges and members of a legitimate and regular Supreme Council. If we deny the legitimacy of lodges originally founded under the Supreme Council or Grand Orient system, then a large part of the territory of the world must, perforce, remain unrecognized, and we could have no relation with the Masons of South America, France, Italy, Greece, Spain, Belgium and other countries, in all of which lands are Supreme Councils recognized by the two Supreme Councils of the United States. It seems to your committee that a just rule to apply to the Masonry of Latin countries would be to recognize lodges and Masons of any country where no Grand Lodge of Symbolic Masonry exists, provided such lodges and members are of the obedience of a jurisdiction recognized by the Supreme Council of that country, and such Supreme Council is affiliated with the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States.
With respect to acceptance on the part of the Grand Bodies in Latin countries of the principle of concurrent jurisdiction, we do not see why the Grand Lodge of California cannot tolerate the self-determination of this subject by such Bodies. It is true that the Grand Orient and Grand Lodge of France have not at all times, nor do they now in all respects, comport themselves in accordance with the standards which we have set for-the regulation of our principles and practices, but we have no more right to demand that they accept the principle of exclusive territorial jurisdiction than they have to demand that we accept the principle of concurrent Grand Lodge jurisdiction. Our Latin brethren seem to live in fraternal concord under the rule they have seen fit to adopt, and we are persuaded that the Grand Orient of France and the Grand Lodge of France, notwithstanding their adoption of this jurisdictional peculiarity, are not weakened in their Masonic powers, and they are doing a great Masonic work in behalf of the distressed, of the brotherhood of man, of the welfare of humanity and of the advance of civilization.
On the subject of the exercise of authority over degrees of Masonry other than the first three, we merely direct your attention to the fact that the Grand Orient of France, prior to 1877, ruled more than three degrees of Masonry, that it placed the Book of Constitutions, instead of the Bible, upon its altars, and operated under the same form of government as that in force at the present time, and yet, for generations prior to that date, it enjoyed the recognition of and held fraternal relations with the mother Grand Lodge of the world — the United Grand Lodge of England.
Religious dogmatism was not introduced into Masonry until 1760, when the Holy Bible was, on motion of Preston, [Preston could not have introduced this motion, as he was not made a Mason until 1762. — Editor] made a landmark, and as dear as this alleged landmark is to the hearts of American Masons, we cannot thrust outside the pale of brotherhood good men and true who have not followed this innovation in the body of Masonry. The form and nature of our rituals as the same have developed through the years have operated to fix m the minds of English-speaking Masons the belief that Masonry is a religious institution, and that the Bible is a necessary part of the furniture of a Masonic lodge, yet the ritual itself is not fundamental, and "its biblical nature is largely due to chance that made its chief compilers a French Huguenot and a Scotch Presbyterian. * * * This Holy and apparently indispensable book is quite unnecessary for the validity of a lodge which is neither Christian nor Jew." If there has been a departure from the Ancient Constitutions, we, and not our French brethren, have drawn away from them asserted a dogmatic landmark.
When we arrive at the ultimate and basic cause of the estrangement of the Anglo-Saxon Masonry and the French Masonry, we find it to consist in the religious test applied by the English-speaking lodges and renounced by the French lodges. The Grand Master of Louisiana, in addressing the Grand Lodge in 1918, said:
"I submit, my brethren, that in the misconception of the position of our French brethren regarding their interpretation of Masonic philosophy, English-speaking Masonry is clearly in the wrong, and we as Masons, should be ready to admit it. While French Masonry is religiously tolerant, it is not in itself a religion in the restrictive sense of the word. It proclaims no dogma; it demands no profession; it respects all opinions, and in that tolerance is an exemplar of that true religion which is the basis of Freemasonry — the brotherhood of mankind, which leads us through love of our fellowmen a spark of His own divinity — to the love, honor and glory of the Great Architect of the Universe."
It is held by many of our best thinkers that no man's creed or religious observances should be made an issue in any matter indirectly connected with religion; that Freemasonry is not a religion and, therefore, a religious test should not be applied to it, and that while it is perfectly competent for any Masonic body to require such confession of faith from its own members as it deems expedient, yet it should not refuse the name of brother to those who act on truly Masonic principles, but do not demand any confession of religious faith as a condition of membership.
It is not possible for us, as deeply attached as we are to our rituals, forms and professions, to affirm with any surety the attitude that we would take on the subject of religion, if we were unhappily situated in a Catholic country, in the midst of an antagonistic population and subject to the vicious and continuous attacks of powerful ecclesiastical and illiberal influences. Our brethren in France suffer from slanderous reports and accusations and are the objects of hatred and persecution. They should have our sympathy and we should strive to view with brotherly concern the measures they have in good faith adopted. Because references to the Deity have been stricken from the French Constitutions and the Bible does not lie upon French altars, your Committee has no more right to pronounce French Masonry godless and atheistic than it has to assert that the people of the United States are godless and atheistic because there is no reference to the Deity in their Constitution, or that the schools of our country are atheistic because the Bible is not taught therein. We are not disposed to reverence the religious sentiments nor admire the Christian kindness of the German militarists, no matter how loudly and frequently they call upon God; but, on the other hand, we believe in the charity and tolerance and brotherly love and love of liberty of our valorous French brethren, who have omitted the name but not the service of God from their rituals and Constitutions, and who are fighting for the very essence of Freemasonry. Noble France is in the very forefront of the great fight for humanity and is aiding in no uncertain or impotent way the great cause of Masonic brotherhood and the universality of Freemasonry. We are very hopeful that our French brethren, having been brought into new and intimate relations with their American brethren, will in the near future, out of a new-born love for us, and inspired by a fraternal desire for a closer spiritual union, alter their Constitutions and rituals to more nearly conform to those which bind in fraternal bonds the hearts of more than a million American Masons.
It is the belief of your Committee that the Grand Lodge of California should retain the policy it adopted in 1913, hereinbefore set out, as the test to be applied to any Grand Lodge of an English-speaking country seeking our recognition, but that such test should not hereafter be the measure applied to Grand Lodges situated in the Latin countries of the world. That each application for recognition made by a Grand Lodge or Grand Orient located overseas or in South America should be considered by this Grand Lodge on its merits, and that if it appears that such Grand Body exercises authority over the three degrees of Symbolic Masonry, and is recognized as a sovereign power over its lodges and members, and exhibits its adherence to the principles of brotherly love, relief and truth, and is engaged in the promotion of the happiness of mankind and the brotherhood of man, then, unless objections of a character other than dogmatic appear, such Grand Body should be entitled to recognition. We believe that the Grand Lodge of California should labor unceasingly in behalf of the universality of Masonry and should strive to promote fraternal relations between all the legitimate powers of Masonry in the world, and to this end should examine into the regularity and Masonic character of the Grand Bodies with which it is not now in fraternal correspondence.
Your Committee respectfully recommends the adoption of the following:
- That the action taken by this Grand Lodge in 1869, by which fraternal relations with the Grand Orient of France were severed and forbidden, be, and is hereby repealed.
- That the Grand Lodge of California is hereby declared to be in fraternal accord and relation with the Grand Orient of France, and that an exchange of representatives be requested of said Grand Orient.
- That the Grand Lodge of California is hereby declared to be in fraternal accord and-relation with the Grand Lodge of France, and that an exchange of representatives be requested of that Grand Lodge.
- That the principles enunciated by this Grand Lodge in 1913 as tests for the recognition of other Grand Lodges, be, and the same are applicable only to Grand Lodges of English-speaking countries, and that as to the Grand Lodges and Grand Orients of other countries, each application be considered upon its merits with relation to the situation of the applicant and with a view to doing full and complete Masonic justice.
- That the permission granted by resolution in 1917 to our brethren to hold Masonic intercourse with the Masons in Belgium and Italy and to visit any of their lodges, be continued until the further order of this Grand Lodge.
* * *
When your weary feet shall have reached at last their toilsome journey's end
It will be to you the priceless gift of your best and truest friend, —
'Twill be nature's way to speak to you the word that sounds the best
When she kisses you her fond good-bye and sweetly whispers,
—L. B. Mitchell, Michigan.
* * *
"WORDS AND REALITIES"
Bro. Joseph Fort Newton, England
Being thoughts evoked by the Report of the Committee on Recognition of Foreign Grand Lodges of the Grand Lodge of Missouri.
THE REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE OF THE GRAND LODGE OF MISSOURI ON THE RECOGNITION OF FRENCH MASONRY
In reference to the question of fraternal relations with the Grand Orient and the Grand Lodge of France, as suggested by the Grand Master in his address, your Committee regrets the necessity of differing with our Grand Master in this matter. The Grand Lodge of Missouri has twice refused to grant recognition, for reasons fully set forth in each report. No additional reason or data has been submitted to the Committee to cause it to change its mind.
Because our country is an ally of France in this great war does not constitute a reason or justification for the recognition of irregular Freemasonry. This war is a national struggle for the principles of Democracy as against Aristocracy, and a philosophy of life that is the father of barbarity. This war is not a Masonic war; we, as Freemasons, are heart and soul in this war to assist France to save and maintain her national existence and not to propagate Freemasonry by the recognition of irregular organizations that once were Masonic.
There is no more reason for the recognition of the Grand Orient or the Grand Lodge of France, than for the Methodists, Presbyterians, or any other church to throw aside its creed, and admit men of no faith or belief, merely because members of such a church, as patriots, are with France in her struggle.
Your Committee cannot conceive of such a paradoxical condition of recognizing as Masonic, because of the war, an organization that we would not and could not recognize in times of peace. We cannot make Masonic irregularities regular, neither can it place its seal of legality upon illegality.
It is true, as stated by our Grand Master, that in 1856, the Grand Master of the Grand Orient said: "Our tenets are, God, the immortality of the soul and brotherly love." Would that the Grand Orient had remained true to this noble and inspiring declaration, but in 1877 Freemasonry of France fell. She struck from her constitution these tenets, divorced God and faith in the immortality of the soul, and enthroned Reason as its God.
In 1877 the constitution of the Grand Orient of France declared that, "The basis of Masonry was a belief in God and the immortality of the soul." This basis was deliberately stricken out and there was substituted therefor the following: "The basis of Freemasonry is freedom of conscience."
The reason for this radical departure was explained by one of the leading Frenchmen, that the old declaration was a barrier to the admission of many distinguished men. May we ask, what was the barrier to-which men, seeking to become Freemasons, objected? It could be nothing but a belief in God and the immortality of the soul. When a man does not believe in God and the immortality of the soul, what is he? Is he not an atheist? Has a professed atheist ever been initiated into a lodge in Missouri? No. Shall we, therefore, stultify ourselves now, because of the war', by recognizing an organization that calls itself Masonic, yet has stricken from its constitution a belief in God and the immortality of souls?
The Grand Orient and the Grand Lodge of France have never receded from this action, taken in 1877, nor reaffirmed her Constitution prior to 1877. The specious arguments or excuses for her action in 1877, that it was due to the oppression of the hierarchy and priestcraft of the Catholic church, will not bear investigation. Because of the religion of Jesus Christ has been abused and misused is no argument for the rejection of the purity and genuineness of the teachings of the Great Master.
The excuse for this atheistic Freemasonry in France is puerile. There is no excuse, however specious the pleadings of her champions may be, for the striking from her constitution belief in God and the immortality of the soul. When the first Grand Lodge of Masons was born in 1717, its declaration of religious belief was distinctly Trinitarian Christianity. In 1723 when the Anderson Constitutions were adopted Trinitarian-Christianity was changed, because "it was deemed expedient to bind men to that religion in which all men agree." What was this religion in which all men agree? It surely was not in a denial of God, but it was a belief in God, divested of all sectarian bias.
Has the Grand Orient and the Grand Lodge of France returned, as some of their champions declare, to this simple faith of the Mother Grand Lodge of the World? No, but it has deliberately stricken out the religion in which all men can agree and has not returned to first principles. Religion means God, atheism means godless.
A few years ago this Grand Lodge recognized the National Independent Grand Lodge of France and her colonies. Why? Because the three lodges, a constitutional number, that formed this Grand Lodge, refused to remove the Bible from its altars, and also required a belief in God. This Grand Lodge exists today in France and it is the only one that has not deviated from the great principles of Freemasonry. It is an active Grand Lodge.
Your Committee can state that one of its lodges, at Rouen, has conferred by request, the degrees on one of the boys of Cosmos Lodge No. 282 of this city. Anglaise Lodge, Paris, has been visited by the Masons of this country and they found it working and occupying quarters in the Temple. Jeane D'Arc, Anglaise and other lodges are legitimate lodges and under the jurisdiction of the National Independent Grand Lodge of France. This Grand Lodge is recognized as legitimate and regular by the United Grand Lodge of England and by the Grand Lodge of Missouri.
Shall the Grand Lodge of Missouri, who has stretched her fraternal hand across the seas to the only legitimate Grand Lodge in France, stultify herself by giving recognition to the Grand Lodges of France to which the National Independent Grand Lodge refused to bow her knee in godless recognition? No. The Grand Lodge of Missouri must be true to her best traditions, faithful to the heritage of nearly one hundred years; she cannot play the traitor to the National Independent Grand Lodge of France by the kiss of affection and also guide the hand that would stab her in the back.
Your Committee can but repeat what it said one year ago:
"Your Committee holds now, as it has in the past, that a belief in Deity and the 'Open Book of the Law' on our altars is the very fundamental principle of the Fraternity of Freemasons. To recognize anything else means chaos and anarchy. For this reason, your Committee must again deny recognition to the Grand Lodge of France and the Grand Orient.
"Your Committee is not unmindful of the heroic struggle in which the soldiers of France are now engaged. As citizens of the United States our hearts beat in unison with the brave men of that country, and as citizens of the great Republic we have pledged our all to the people of the Republic of France. The ashes of the heroes of our country and of France may mingle in the blood-drenched soil of that fair land, the grass may grow green over their graves and the flowers may bear beautiful testimony to the valor of men battling in a common cause. We are willing to make the sacrifice, and sincerely hope and pray that out of it will be born a new Grand Orient, which will recognize the God who gave them victory, and will replace on its altars that book which has been the solace, comfort and stay of her own soldiers on the battlefront and in death itself."
WM. F. KUHN,
CHARLES C. WOODS,
JAS. W. BOYD,
WM. A. HALL.
FOR THE brethren whose names are signed to this Report, as well as for the position which they set forth so ably and sincerely, I have the utmost respect. Nevertheless, with the utmost good will I must dissent from it. If from one point of view the writers of the Report seem to have a strong case, from a larger outlook they have no case at all. In point of fact, it is a difference about words, not about realities; and this is a day when every institution that is to observe the modern world must face realities.
True, "this is not a Masonic war"; but Masonry, if it is not hopelessly immobile and antiquated, will be profoundly influenced by it. Neither was it an American war — America did not start it, and she tried honorably and patiently to keep out of it. No, it was a world war, and never again will the world be the same. Little issues about which men were so talkative a while ago are forgotten, and we wonder why they ever agitated us.
America found that the historic policy of friendly aloofness was obsolete. She not only entered the war, she entered the world — and Masonry, if it is to have the great future to which it is entitled, must do the same. No island of the sea, however remote, but has felt the shock of war. No man, woman, no child on earth but have had extra burdens laid on their backs by reason of it. The world has been together as never before into a brotherhood of peril, pain, and immeasurable sorrow, and the one.thought in all minds is how to organize the future so as to prevent another disaster of like kind. A League of Nations? Yes, but a League of Nations without a League of Masons would show that our Institution is unequal to the deinands of an advancing world.
As it is, there are things that Masonry cannot do, influences it cannot wield, voices it cannot utter, moral demands it cannot make, services it cannot render, because it is divided; because it has no real sense of world unity, opportunity, and obligation. Even British and American Masonry, the one derived from the other, and having so much in common, have not made themselves felt and heard as they might have done; and the war has made us see the handicap. This is the more strange because Masonry, by its very genius — to say nothing of its claims — is an international institution, and should render a real service as such. Against this opportunity, which is also an obligation, no argument can long hold, least of all when it is a mere difference about words.
When in 1877 the Grand Orient of France removed the Bible from its altar and erased from its rituals all reference to Deity, it was disfellowshiped by nearly all Grand Lodges. The implication was that our French brethren were stupid, irreligious atheists, and at such a thought the Masonic world held up its hands in holy horror, whereas they should have made some effort, at least, to understand their brethren before withdrawing fellowship. Were the French Masons atheists? No! The writer of the article on Masonry in the "Catholic Encyclopaedia" saw the real situation, and he is much fairer to the French Masons than their own brethren have been. He understood that the act of the French Masons did not mean that they were atheists, out that they did not believe that there exist atheists in the absolute sense of the word. He quotes Albert Pike in proof of his point:
"A man who has a higher conception of God than those about him, and who denies that their conception is God, is very likely to be called an atheist by those who are really far less believers in God than he." (Morals and Dogma, p. 643.)
Thus, Pike goes on to say, the early Christians, who said the heathen idols were not gods, were accounted atheists, and accordingly put to death. Socrates suffered a like fate, as many have done since, victims of the same blindness. Just so, French Masons, like Plutarch, held that no conception of God is better than a dark, distorted conception which wraps men in terror; and they erased a word which, for them, was synonymous with spiritual autocracy and degrading superstition — erased it the better to seek unity of effort and freedom of thought in behalf of a nobler faith.
One may feel that their action was unwise, but it behooves us to understand their position and point of view, lest we be found guilty — and, indeed, we were guilty — of a petty bigotry in regard to a word when the reality is common treasure. Our brethren in France were engaged in a heroic and desperate fight against Latin ecclesiasticism and they needed the aid of all free and forward-looking men to bring about the overthrow of that power and the separation of Church and State. Wisely or unwisely, they erased from their rituals a word made hateful to them by its associations with the perversions of that ecclesiasticism, not because they were atheists, but because they denied that such a caricature of God is God — denied it, because they held a nobler, truer, purer conception of "the Nameless One of a hundred names.” The truth is that we simply deserted them at a time when they most needed our sympathy and the reinforcement of our brotherly regard.
How strange that I, a Christian minister, should thus be arguing in behalf of my brethren in France, and defending them against the charge of atheism. Yet it is so, and so it should be, because the landmark for which our French brethren fought is of far more importance than any technicality as to the word by which we shall describe the indescribable all words being but symbols of a truth too great for words. And the same is true as to the "Open Book of the Law" on our altar. Some of us love it, live with it, expounding it in as many keys and tones as we can command; but we know that it is but a symbol of that larger Will of the Eternal which no book, nor all the books in the word, can contain its fullness. There is whole book in the Bible in which the name of God does not appear. Yet the thought of a Supreme Being is there, and the sustained suggestions of His providence, as it is in the rituals of French Masonry. If only men could get behind words to the realities!
"Slowly the Bible of the race is writ,
And not on paper leaves nor leaves of stone;
Each age, each kindred, adds a word to it,
Texts of despair or hope, of joy or moan."
A living word of God has been speaking to us in this "long-lived storm of great events", if we have ears to hear and hearts to heed; a word not only for our personal life, but a word calling us to a new comradeship, a new unity of friendship of peoples. Masonry must listen to that Word and follow it, undertaking new adventures, or it will be left behind among the outworn things that are no longer of use to the heroic, pathetic, aspiring, unconquerable soul of man. Such is the new atmosphere, the new demand, asking not for criticism, but for appreciation, for intelligent sympathy and understanding — an air native to Masonry and friendly to all its true interests and endeavors.
* * *
THE HUMAN INTEREST OF HISTORY
IT MAY be that some of us have come to think of history as one of the hardest and driest of subjects: if so I am quite sure it is because in school we read so-called histories which were mere chronicles of wars, rulers and political events interspersed with numberless dates, all of which we were compelled to learn by heart. If we think of such a book as being a history let us hasten to disillusion ourselves for in matter of fact there is no other thing more fascinating, more entrancing, than a real history, a record of the past, or some part of the past, written by a man fully informed, endowed with imagination and gifted with "the divine power to use words." A book in which the past lives again, in which we meet, as in a drawing room, with the mighty ones who have swayed the tides of events, and with the nameless multitudes of our fellows who wrought here on this strange earth a while then vanished like shadows into the unseen — what could strike on the mind with such power! what could more excite the emotions!
Unlike fiction, history is a record of actual occurrences; for that reason alone it is necessarily more interesting than any work of fancy because there is never anything so strange, so mysterious, so unexpected as a fact. Jack London drew from his fancy a picture of some arch-villain, with his mind set on ruling the world, discovered a deadly disease bacillus and then mounted an aeroplane to scatter it over enemy lands: does that tale grip us half so closely as the true account of Pasteur's discovery of the germ origin of disease? does it impress us half as much as the tale of how the belligerent in this present war have devised unheard of schemes for dealing death to their foes?
Moreover, history, even a history of some one period of the past, is always a larger, richer canvas than any work of fiction. Tolstoy's "War and Peace," Hugo's "Les Miserables," Sienkiewicz's trilogy of Polish novels, Balzac's "Comedie Humane," Eugene Sue's series of historical novels, these contain more characters and develop a larger series of actions than any other works of modern story-telling, yet how meagre they are, how almost microscopic they appear, when laid alongside Gibbon's "Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire" or Motley's "Rise of the Dutch Republic"!
If the fictionist's story of one's life, and that an imaginary life, can interest us, how much more the biography or the autobiography of some strong personality that has actually lived, how much more history as a whole which is nothing other than the biography of the human race! I believe that if a man will read Professor Breasted's "Ancient History" or Winwood Reade's "Martyrdom of Man" (of this book Cecil Rhodes said, "It made me what I am!") he will agree that there is not any novel of such gripping entrancement, he will agree with Henry James, himself a novelist, when he says, "The least significant footnote of history stirs me more than the most thrilling and passionate fiction. Nothing that ever happened in the world finds me indifferent."
One of the secrets of the interest of history, once we have discovered that interest, is that it enables each of us to become a traveller, such a traveller as no globetrotter ever was or ever could be. We would consider it a rare privilege could we go today from country to country and have experience of the various peoples of the earth in all the variety of their daily lives; but through history we can travel not only over the world as it is now but over all the world as it has been, over all the lands and into all the nations, thousands and thousands of them; we can escape out of our own century into every other century. We can enter the caves of the troglodytes, there to watch them at the queer occupations which men pursued in the beginnings of things; we can go thence to the Egyptians, the Medes, the Parthians, the Babylonians, the Grecians, the Chinese, the Hindus, the Romans, the Jews; we can enter the council chambers of all the kings, follow all the wars, go on voyagings to unknown places, we can go up and down and in and out whithersoever we will! All English readers have been spellbound by Chaucer's old tale of the motley pilgrims who went to Canterbury: but what a mightier pilgrimage is that which passes before the man who reads the records of the past! All the vanished peoples that have ever lived, in all the fantastic variety of their costumes and manners, coming from the four quarters of the earth, will pass before him in a pageant which, for its subduing solemnity, its tragic grandeur, its infinite interest as far surpasses the utmost reach of imagination as Shakespeare surpasses the idle tale told by the fireside on a winter night.
But history is practical as well as interesting. When the scientist would carry out his experiments he goes into a laboratory, equipped with all necessary apparatus, and there tests his theories by experimentation. Well, what the laboratory is to the scientist, history is to the student of human nature and all the varied activities of the race. In it we can see every theory of government, of religion, of politics, of sociology, or art and conduct being tried out; we can see the world making experiments of its own hypotheses; we can note what succeeds, what proves of value, and what, on the other hand, proves worthless. Learning this we can ourselves be on guard against errors, for many of the notions, the heresies, the highflown theories which often bid for attention to-day are nothing other than ancient fallacies long exploded, the ghosts of which have come again in a new and deceptive disguise. A wise man's mind will refuse to embrace that which the experimentation of the race has once and for all shown to be an error.
It seems that no theory has ever been too fantastic for men to try; oftentimes these theories have been clung to, in a desperate effort to make them work, for thousands of years, after which long period of trial men have been compelled to acknowledge them untrue. Such was astrology, which so many multitudes held to for so many thousands of years; such was alchemy, with its unnatural attempt to wrest gold from the base metals; after these two things have been tried so thoroughly what man in his senses will undertake them again? Yet there are many other errors which men still accept, which they may still preach and promulgate, that have been as decisively disproven in the laboratory of history; and one who knows what has been tried in the past will be the last one to be led astray by them in the present, for history enables us to avoid futile effort! Nothing protects us more against the errors of the present than a thorough knowledge of the past; to see what has been done in history's laboratory is to help us, to a very great extent, from attempting the impossible and that is a thing of the very greatest practical value.
It was one of Emerson's favorite ideas that each individual mind is a kind of epitome of all history: there is a little Napoleon in each of us; the Shakespeare of the dramas speaks to a Shakespeare latent in the reader; the wars, the national movements of the past, reveal, as in a mirror, that which goes on in our own minds. There may be something fantastic in this idea, we may agree that it is over-stated, for no individual can possibly have such capacities for experiences as the race has had; nevertheless, there is surely an element of truth in it, for history does help us to understand ourselves, not only for the reason that Emerson gives but also because each of us is but a part of which the race is a whole.
The greatest utterance of the nineteenth century, someone has said, was the saying by Herbert Spencer that "Humanity is an organism." August Comte was expressing the same idea when he called humanity The Great Being. What an idea it is! Humanity is an organism, the individual is but one cell in that organism: as a cell in the human body could not possibly comprehend its own functions except through a knowledge of the body as a whole, so we cannot understand the purposes, the ideals, and the functions of our own individual existence except we know something of the race as a whole. In history we see our race not as a multitude of separate units but as a living whole, as a great organism, and thereby we can the better comprehend our own individual lives. Unless a man knows the road the race has travelled he cannot know the road he himself is travelling; unless a man knows what it is that the race is striving to do he cannot know what is his own larger private duty. To know ourselves we should know the career of that Great Being of which each of us is so microscopic a part.
Because the race is an organic unit we must think of all time and of all racial experience as an unbroken continuity: for our rough every-day convenience it is necessary to divide time into the past, the present and the future: but in reality, as needs not be said, there is no such division: time is a flowing stream and there is not a break from the beginning to the end: yesterday flows into to-day, to-day will flow into the future. What is grows up inevitably out of that which has been: what will be grows out of that which is.
How foolish, therefore, to speak of the past as dead! Much of it has been forgotten: much of it, because of the limitations of our minds, must be ignored, but not for that reason has any of it ceased to be: the past is living still so that what men thought and said and did in the beginning of things will live and function and bear influence in the world until the end is ended.
And because time is an unbroken continuity, because the past continues to live on into the future, we must see that what we call civilization is nothing other than one great task at which all peoples have been laboring and on which all present and future generations must continue to labor. We cannot cut ourselves off from the work of our fathers; we cannot wipe clean the slate and begin anew. Civilization may be likened to one of the old cathedrals not one of which was designed by any individual or completed by one group of men, but grew into shape out of the minds of many minds and the labors of many generations: the workers of one period laid the foundations, those of the next period put up the walls, the following generation built the roof and dome, and others coming still later completed the spires and hung the bells. So it is with that massive, that almost infinite structure of civilization; its foundations were laid in a far foretime and ever since, generation after generation, countless men have labored at the racial task: nor is the task yet in sight of completion, if indeed it can ever be completed: our generation has its part to play, even as our children will have their part, and their children, theirs and so on until the last generation of men that may live. In short, we cannot understand the present, its problems or its duties, except we know the past.
The unbroken organic unity of all history, this, it seems to me, is the central law, the deep inner truth of all history. When Bossuet delivered his famous oration on Universal History he used the phrase, "the concatenation of events," suggesting thereby that every event is tied to every other event that has preceded it as one link in a chain is bound to all the other links: it is by this insight, and by this alone, that we can understand history aright. No world occurrence operates alone; as the red and white corpuscles of the blood flow through the whole blood stream and pass through every part of the body so every historical influence passes into relationship with all other influences and thus is the life of the race a living whole.
You can test this for yourselves by trying to get at the roots of any great epoch; you work your way back to what seems to be the beginning of that epoch only to discover that its beginnings link on to a preceding epoch until at last your search will lead you back to the beginning of the racial life; even there you can not stop for the race's beginning links on to the lower orders out of which the race evolved, and those lower orders in turn rise up out of the bosom of nature, and nature rises up out of the Eternal Mystery out of which all things have come. In a true sense the whole world is the cause of every event that happens inside the world; the entire universe itself conspired to produce everything that lives in it.
Thus it turns out that each of us individuals can understand himself only as he sees himself as a part of the stupendous whole; any other perspective is a false perspective; so also with any given period of time; that period must be studied against its own backgrounds else its meanings will entirely escape us.
All of us, I believe, have discovered this to be true of the Great War which has already constituted itself as an historical epoch second to none in importance. To understand the War we must understand that modern Europe out of which the War grew. The story of Poland and Russia, the struggle of the Slavs in south-eastern Europe, the evolution of the Balkan situation, the history of Turkey, the development of a united Germany out of the numerous little German kingdoms of seventy-five years ago, the work of Bismarck, Disraeli and Cavour, the industrial revolution, the founding of America, the Franco-Prussian War, these are but a few of the numerous subjects with which we should be familiar if we are to know the causes and issues of the Great War in all their fullness. Therefore is it that no subject is at the present more worthy of study than history; and in proportion as the War grips us with its interest so will we find that history itself, which is the mother of this War, which is the mother of us all, will have for us a human interest far beyond that of any other subject with which our minds can deal.
All that I have said about history in general is most certainly true of Masonic history in which myself and readers are surely most interested. How interesting it is only those know who have read it, at least, those who have hit upon the real histories of it; our own past is organic; beginning with the Men's House in far-off days, coming on down through the Mysteries, the Comacines, the medieval builders, and all the rest, it hangs together as a living whole; to understand any part thereof requires that we know something of the entire body. And for us, also, our own history has been a kind of laboratory in which experiments have been made; many things have been tested and found living and perpetually worthy of worth; other things have been found wanting. Therefore, to understand our problems in the present it is very essential that we have a comprehensive grasp of the past.
There is no need to particularize but I cannot refrain from indicating one lesson which we have learned in the laboratory of very recent Masonic history. We are all regretting that our fraternity with its nearly two million members was not able to achieve greater things in the course of the war; have we inquired the reason for this? Is it not because we are forty-nine Masonries rather than one Masonry? How could the government deal with forty-nine separate jurisdictions? If we are to learn anything from our own past surely we must see that the time has come for the establishment of some kind of a loose but efficient clearing-house where through all the Blue Lodge jurisdictions of the country can discharge their combined influences. Not for a moment is it proposed that any Grand Lodge is to be shorn of any of its own authority or power! far from it! but, as the Secretary of this Society has so well said in a recently published communication, it is possible to build up some kind of a League of Grand Lodges so as to enable Masonry, whenever the occasion requires, to speak to the country in one voice. If we can, in these days, achieve the formation of such a League, we shall be thereby enabled to add a chapter to the history of American Masonry which will its future will never forget.
— H. L. Haywood.
* * *
ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES
When the scoffers scoff, and the mockers mock,
And the knockers stand at the side and knock,
Just roll up your sleeves and buckle in,
And stick to your task, and you're bound to win.
If the thing's worth while you are sure to hear
The doubters doubt and the jeerers jeer;
For never a victor has arisen yet
But somewhere the jibes of the wise has met.
So, deaf to the scoffers, just work along,
And stick to your dream till you know it's wrong,
And toss them a smile when you hear folks mock;
It's a healthy sign when the knockers knock.
— Detroit Free Press.
* * *
Edited By Bro. H. L.Haywood
The object of this Department is to acquaint our readers with time-tried Masonic books not always familiar; with the best Masonic literature now being published; and with such non-Masonic books as may especially appeal to Masons. The Library Editor will be very glad to render any possible assistance to studious individuals or to study clubs and lodges, either through this Department or by personal correspondence; if you wish to learn something concerning any book — what is its nature, what is its value, or how it may be obtained — be free to ask him. If you have read a book which you think is worth a review write us about it; if you desire to purchase a book — any book — we will help you get it, with no charge for the service. Make this your Department of Literary Consultation.
"MASONIC NOTES" — A NEW JOURNAL
MASONRY evolved out of the experience of the race; it began when civilization began and has maintained itself, under a thousand disguises, ever since; linking onto many other worthful institutions, ramifying into all other fields of thought and endeavor, equipped with a symbolism in which is embodied the loftiest and best ideas and ideals; as an influence it is endless, and as a field for study it is inexhaustible. For this reason every attempt to present its claims, to interpret its teachings, and to tell its story is to be welcomed, from any source whatever, and in any form; in a field so large there is room for a multitude of laborers; one student helps another; one book or periodical lends assistance to every other book and periodical.
Therefore is it that we bid God-speed to "Masonic Notes," the latest comer among Masonic Journals; there is no need to describe it nor to explain its purposes because its founder and editor has done this well in his introduction to the first number, (November, 1918,) which is as follows:
A short foreword is necessary to explain the advent of this new Masonic publication and to give the reasons which have prompted me to launch it.
In May, 1911, the late Brother E. L. Hawkins, author of "A Concise Cyclopaedia of Freemasonry," brought out a small serial in England called "Miscellanea Latomorum, or Masonic Notes and Queries," with the idea of facilitating intercommunication between Masonic students on matters of interest. Any subscriber who was looking for information on any point (not of too esoteric a nature) connected with the various Masonic degrees vitas at liberty to send a query to the editor. This query was published, and so came to the notice of others who might be in the position to submit a reply, which would appear in a succeeding issue. In addition, brief notes on Masonic matters of general interest were included.
Brother Hawkins stated in his introductory letter that his object in putting forward the scheme was partly to supply a want that he thought must exist and partly to create a want that he thought ought to exist if it did not. The result was gratifying, and the publication continued until Brother Hawkins' death in April, 1913.
In August of that year, Brother F. W. Levander started a new series of the same publication, bringing out nine copies each year, and this was continued successfully until Brother Levander died in December, 1916.
My intention is to issue this serial on the same lines, but I must make it quite clear that this is an entirely independent publication, and has no connection whatever with the former work. I feel that there is a great need for a small periodical of this nature, and believe that I am in a good position to launch it into the Masonic world. Being a student of Masonic history and ritual in England for many years, I am well acquainted with Masonic work in that country, and have been brought into touch with many Masonic centers both in the Dominion and in the United States since my advent to this country in 1916.
There are a great number of small differences between the work in England and that in America, which are of particular interest at the present time, when there are so many Canadian and American Masons overseas. The bonds between the Grand Lodges of the various Allied Powers have never been stronger than they are now, and a work such as this, which will bring Masons on both sides of the water into contact, cannot fail to be of interest to a great many.
I shall endeavor to get subscribers in as many countries as possible, in order to get varied views on the points which will arise.
Queries on all degrees will be welcome, provided they are not of too esoteric nature. Notes of general interest are also invited, but in this connection I should state that the intention is to exclude all current Mason history, as the publication of this matter is already sufficiently provided for, and I do not wish to compete with the regular Masonic press or the Transactions of any literary lodge. The serial will also include a Sale and Exchange column for Masonic books, etc., through which subscribers can give notice of their wants without charge. Nine copies will be issued during the year, and the subscription will be one dollar per annum, payable in advance.
Brethren who join during the year will receive all previous numbers published in that particular year. In order to encourage Brethren to place the periodical in the hands of likely subscribers, I will send it free for one year to any Brother who sends in three subscriptions; in other words, four copies will be given for the price of three.
The future of this publication depends more upon the subscribers than it does upon the editor, and I will take the opportunity of asking those who read this issue to introduce it to friends whom they think it may interest. Specimen copies will be provided on application. At the same time, I wish to thank those who are helping to introduce the publication into new spheres.
C. C. Adams,
Royal Military College,
All communications with regard to this periodical should be addressed to the editor,
CAPTAIN C.C. ADAMS, M.C., R.E.,
* * *
THE ANCIENT MYSTERIES AGAIN
"The Mystery Religions and the New Testament," by Henry C. Sheldon. Published by the Abingdon Press of New York and Cincinnati. 50 cents, net.
Dr. Sheldon begins with the following description of the Ancient Mystery Cults: "The word mystery' was the name of a religious society, founded, not on citizenship or kindred, but on the choice of its members, for the practice of rites by which, it was believed, their happiness might be promoted both in this world and in the next. The Greek word 'mustarian' does not, of its own force, imply anything in our sense of the word 'mysterious,' that is to say, obscure or difficult to comprehend. That which it connotes is, rather, something which can only be known on being imparted by someone already in possession of it, not by mere reason and research which are common to all."
The cults, which are thus described, were in vogue in the Greek and Roman world all during the early period of Christianity and there are many who have traced, or who have sought to trace, their influence over the new faith. The author of this little volume undertakes to examine this supposed indebtedness.
He begins by an acknowledgement of the meagreness of our sources of information. What we do actually know about the Mysteries, however, shows that they borrowed much from each other, were voluntary brotherhoods, placed more importance in liturgical rites than in moral teachings, employed magic, were somewhat pantheistic, and were usually based on some nature myth. Each had its own peculiarities but such were the elements common, more or less, to all.
Dr. Sheldon admits that there are many apparent points of agreement between these cults and Christianity; they emphasized the importance of a future life, used many rites similar to those employed by the Christian churches, taught theories comparable to the eschatological doctrines of the church, and one and all led men into allegiance with a divine person. But while all this may have prepared men for Christianity it does not imply, the author argues, any very great indebtedness on the part of Christianity. These features are pretty common to all forms of religion.
The contrast between Christianity and the cults is far more striking than their agreements. They were occult in nature, Christianity was open to all, irrespective of race or sex; it made no use of nature myths but set forth a God altogether above nature; it gave little or no place at all to the use of magic, and built its system on a very strong moral foundation; moreover, it sprang from its own unique origins and did not, as the Mysteries, indiscriminately borrow from other religions.
Dr. Sheldon shows that St. Paul employed many terms in use among the Mysteries but holds that these same terms were familiar to philosophers, to other religions, and to the Hebrew literature in which St. Paul's mind was so steeped; therefore it cannot be shown that he deliberately borrowed from the cults. And even where his terms are the same as theirs, the ideas behind the terms are altogether different; by "initiate” he did not mean what the Mysteries meant, nor by "baptism," "regeneration," “gnosticism," and so on. "Anyone," our author says, "who can discover in their bizarre and variegated mythology an equivalent for the Pauline doctrine of redemption must be gifted with peculiar eyesight." What is said of St. Paul, he holds, is still more true of the unknown author of the New Testament writings attributed to John.
In this general position Dr. Sheldon is in substantial agreement with the recognized authorities on the subject, such as Kennedy, Cumont, and Foucart. His study is elementary in form and size but it is of value to those who desire a little introduction to a vast and fascinating topic, especially to those who are Masonic students; for the Mysteries, as we all know, stand in the line of those early organizations through which our Fraternity traces its genealogy. The volume has nothing to say about Masonry, of course, but it throws many sidelights on our origins, or supposed origins, and may therefore be cheerfully recommended to our readers.
* * *
A LITTLE BOOK ABOUT A GREAT TEACHER
"The Teachings of Jesus," by Harris Franklin Rall. Published by the Abingdon Press of Cincinnati and New York at 75 cents, net.
Often we have been asked by our readers to recommend a little handbook of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth; willing as we try to be in all such service we have hesitated to approve any book because so many of them are either too technical for laymen or such as to entirely ignore all the findings of modern biblical scholarship; here, at last, is a volume of 200 pages which can be most heartily vouched for at the entrance to every broad and well-informed mind.
Dr. Rall has divided his study into twenty-six chapters in text-book fashion; at the end of each is a short series of questions and suggestions so as to aid those who care to use the manual in class work; but those who care for neither text-book nor class manual will find it always interesting, often illuminating, and fearless in its positions. The dogmas about which we wrangle so much and of which we know so little are either in the background or entirely absent; and, while the technicalities of a scholarship are not permitted to encumber the pages, the book itself implies thorough training on the part of its author. Dr. Rall's "Life of Jesus" had a very wide and richly deserved success; we predict as much for the present volume.
* * *
With aching hands and bleeding feet
We dig and heap, lay stone on stone;
We bear the burden and the heat
Of the long day and wish 'twere done.
Not till the hours of light return
All we have built do we discern.
— Matthew Arnold.
* * *
THE QUESTION BOX
THE BUILDER is an open forum for free and fraternal discussion. Each of its contributors writes under his own name, and is responsible for his own opinions. Believing that a unity of spirit is better than a uniformity of opinion, the Research Society, as such, does not champion any one school of Masonic thought as over against another, but offers to all alike a medium for fellowship and instruction, leaving each to stand or fall by its own merits.
The Question Box and Correspondence Column are open to all members of the Society at all times. Questions of any nature on Masonic subjects are earnestly invited from our members, particularly those connected with lodges or study clubs which are following our "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study." When requested, questions will be answered promptly by mail before publication in this department.
LODGE AND MEMBERSHIP STATISTICS OF THE UNITED STATES.
Where can I find statistics relative to the number of Masons in the United States, also the number of lodges?
R. H. A, New Jersey.
For the information of our New Jersey brother as well as others to whom the figures may be of interest, we give below a statistical table taken from the Illinois Grand Lodge Proceedings for 1918:
|District of Columbia||341||1916||10,526||355|
|Total U. S||15,038||1,850,570||72,432|
* Figures 1917
* * *
THE AMERICAN REPRESENTATIVES AT THE ARMISTICE CONFERENCE
I am enclosing a clipping referring to General Pershing, General T. H. Bliss, Admiral W. S. Benson, Admiral Henry T. Mayo and Colonel E. M. House, the representatives sent by President Wilson to the armistice conference in France. How many of these men are Masons?
— W.W. D., West Virginia
Our latest information concerning General Pershing is to the effect that he was dimitted but has since been reinstated in the Blue Lodge and is now in good standing. We are trying to confirm this and also to secure his Masonic history and hope to have it for the February issue.
A Washington member of the Society to whom we referred your query advises us that while he has been personally acquainted for many years with General Bliss and Admiral Mayo, he does not think they are Masons. This same brother, who has sailed the seas with Admiral Benson, says that he is a "converted" Roman Catholic by marriage. He was raised a Methodist and has several brothers who are Masons.
* * *
A HIGH PRIEST IN NEED OF HELP, AID AND ASSISTANCE.
Can you help me? I have just been elected High Priest of my Royal Arch Chapter and want to revive it during the coming year. There has been a woeful lack of interest in the work here for several years and it has been difficult to secure sufficient attendance for a quorum at the meetings. What plan can you suggest to get the members to turn out and to interest the officers in learning their ritualistic work?
— C.B.G., Indiana.
Companion, there are others in the same boat with you. There surely must be a number of Past High Priests among the 50,000 readers of THE BUILDER who will give those who have been selected to preside over their Chapters for the coming year, the results of their experiences in such matters.
Come forward, Companions, with your suggestions!
* * *
MATERIAL FOR A SAINT JOHN'S DAY PROGRAM
Will you kindly assist me in arranging for a program for St. John's Day, December 27th, in naming a few appropriate subjects for the occasion and works of reference from which to obtain the material?
— J. B. California.
"The Two Saints John," in Gould's Concise History tells how our Fraternity came to make use of the festivals dedicated to these men. Brother Newton's "The Builders," contains some valuable notes on the same. They may be used to represent law and light.
"The Meaning of Masonry." Ask Brother Newton R. Parvin, Grand Librarian, Iowa Masonic Library, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to send you Brother Newton's two pamphlets.
"Masonry and the War." From the files of almost any Masonic periodical you can get material for such a talk.
"Masonic Study: Its Pleasures and Practical Value." THE BUILDER has carried a number of articles on this, all of which could be drawn upon for materials and suggestions. A speaker could give an interpretation of some symbol or rite in order to give a demonstration of his theme. I have done this before many lodges and Grand Bodies and have found it very acceptable.
A biographical study of Pike or Webb would also be of interest and value; nearly any Masonic library could furnish books and other materials. H. L. H.
* * *
MATERIAL FOR A LECTURE ON THE FELLOW CRAFT DEGREE.
Are there any articles in back numbers of THE BUILDER on the ritual of the Fellow Craft degree? I am to make a talk before the Masonic Club of our State University and want some worth-while data for these bright Master Masons.
— W.G.B., Texas.
- Volume I (1915). — Page 7, "The Philosophy of Masonry — William Preston."
- Volume II (1916). — Page 239, "The Winding Stairway."
- Volume III (1917). — Page 76, "The Geometry of God: A Masonic sermon."
- Volume IV (1918). — Page 175, "What a Fellow Craft Ought to Know."
* * *
UNIVERSITY MASONIC STUDY CLUB OF AUSTIN, TEXAS
We know you will be interested in learning of the Masonic Study Club organized by the Masons of the University of Texas. This new project has brought forth much favorable comment from all parts of the State and aroused such intense interest in such a short space of time that it is almost unbelievable. The nature of the Club and the great enthusiasm it has created for Study Clubs among Masons may exert such an influence as to stimulate the formation of similar clubs throughout the State. Our Club has an excellent start and promises to prove valuable in many ways.
The "University Masonic Study Club” had its inception at a meeting of members of the faculty and students of the University who had been called together for this purpose on November 7th, at the Scottish Rite Cathedral. I had only seen a few Masons personally, the most of them responding to a notice published in the college paper to the effect that a Study Club for Masons would be organized on the above date. To my surprise more than twenty brethren appeared at the preliminary meeting. After short talks by Brothers W. T. Pfaefflin, District Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Texas, and Grover Hartt, it was decided to form the "University Masonic Study Club" and the following officers were duly elected:
- E. E. Dunlay, President.
- Grover Hartt, Vice President.
- W. S. Hendrix, Secretary-Treasurer.
At the following meeting, held on November 22nd, the organization of the Club was completed with the adoption of a Constitution, a copy of which I will send you later. We followed the suggestions contained in the January, 1917, issue of THE BUILDER in drafting our Constitution.
At this meeting Brother W. G. Franklin addressed the Club on the "First Degree in Masonry."
We will study in as systematic way as we can, following this outline: Ritual, Symbolism, History and Jurisprudence, elaborating as much as time will permit. It will be our plan to give a birds-eye view this year, instead of a very intensive study, as we do not have very much material at hand.
Those of our members who return to their homes during the vacation periods will advocate the establishment of Study Clubs in their home lodges.
We are asking brethren who are well versed in Masonry to deliver lectures on particular topics, sufficient time being given them to prepare their papers. A general discussion will follow each lecture, and questions will be invited from any or all brethren present. By this method we expect to have interesting and profitable meetings and to have every one feeling at the close of the meetings that their time has been well spent.
Our Club is different in character from any other Study Club that we know of. Its membership consists not only of Masons attending the University but also those interested in the aims of our Club and the welfare of the University. Our Club will not effect Austin alone, but a great part of the State of Texas. A feature which we shall endeavor to impress upon our members is that they shall endeavor to spread the Study Club idea throughout the State of Texas at every opportunity. To my mind there are great possibilities before us. With expert guidance and advice we expect our project to result in great good.
I have been instructed to write to you for information and assistance. How may our Club obtain the benefits of your special circles and advice? All suggestions will be thankfully received and tried out. We are new in this work and need assistance.
— E. E. Dunlay, Texas.
(Editor's Note: The Masons of Austin are to be congratulated on the organization of the "University Masonic Study Club," and we hope to be able to give the readers of THE BUILDER further information concerning their activities in an early issue. Special literature covering the Society's "Bulletin Course of Masonic Study,” which has been running in the Correspondence Circle Bulletin section of THE BUILDER for the past year, has been furnished to the officers and members of the Club and they will doubtless become one of the N.M.R.S. family as soon as they have had opportunity to digest our plan in detail. This special literature concerning our Course of Study has not appeared in the columns of THE BUILDER for certain reasons, but is available to all members of the Society who may request it.)
* * *
THE PLANS OF A 1919 MASTER
I am getting a great deal of good out of the articles in THE BUILDER. What a fine thing it would be ii every officer in each lodge would become a member of the N.M.R.S. and read those instructive and interesting articles. But most of them give the excuse that "they are busy in learning the ritual and conferring degrees," and have no time to study Masonry.
It may not be the right thing to say, but sometimes I think a period of "dull times" would be a boon to our great fraternity, as it would give many of us time to study and might be an incentive to Masters to contrive plans to interest their members and strengthen their attendance at "business meetings" of the lodge where now nothing but routine business is transacted.
I am serving as Senior Warden of my lodge this year, and if the custom of the past is followed I shall probably be chosen to preside next year. Therefore I am preparing to stimulate the attendance by giving short talks on the history and symbolism and various other aspects of Freemasonry whenever the occasion may merit. Your Study Club proposition appeals very strongly to me, but I am finding it difficult to interest the other officers of my lodge in this direction as the greater portion of our spare time is taken up in visiting and conferring degrees and attending Lodge of Instruction one night each week, where only the ritualistic work is taught.
I have memorized the two lectures "What An Entered Apprentice Ought to Know," and "What a Fellow Craft Ought to Know," by Brother Hal Riviere, which have appeared in recent issues of THE BUILDER. I hope he will soon let us have his promised article on "What a Master Mason Ought to Know," as his papers are excellent and just what I have been looking for for a long time.
Sometimes I fear I may get "cold feet" in endeavoring to put into effect my plan of enlightening our members in the meanings of our ritual and ceremonies, as some of the venerable Past Masters of my lodge may accuse me of "making innovations in the plan of Masonry," or infringing on some of the so-called "ancient landmarks."
However, I am going to make the attempt and hope to be able at a later date to write you of my success.
— A. J., Kansas.
* * *
"READY TO BE TRIED AGAIN"
The question of our Louisiana brother in regard to this condition or situation of a brother who is in the training camp of Masonry, coming as it did, coincidentally in the October issue of THE BUILDER containing my effort entitled "Ready to be Tried Again," was certainly very interesting to me.
But what gives the matter a still keener interest to myself especially is the fact that in Michigan we use the term "ready" instead of "willing." Would it not appear that the word, while it means all that can be implied in willingness, seems to court in a kind of challenging, confident, earnestly expectant way what the more passive form does not?
Herein is indeed a beautiful study, either in its literal or symbolic sense. In this connection I would say that in all the answers of the three lessons in Masonry the initiate is given the advantage, that is, the wording is such that he is anticipating in those answers the loftiest conception that the mere form can imply.
And this gives me the opportunity to say that if some well-balanced brother on the literal and symbolic interpretations — such as is beautifully exemplified in the answers to our Louisiana brother, — would take up the literal and symbolic meanings of the three degrees in Masonry it would be much more interesting and practical to more readers than are many of the long, studied articles of a research character.
The three lessons in Masonry given to the initiate while he is yet on trial, while he is yet dependently seeking, while he is in every sense supposed to be in a qualifying relation to the Order, are the stepping stones to the future of most men's Masonry, which, if not made the most of for what they stand for in this plastic, susceptible relation, the loss in most cases will be irreparable.
Realizing this as a fundamentally qualifying factor to the best that can obtain in Masonry, it is a wonder to me how few jurisdictions make the third obligatory even on conditions. These three lessons, well learned and comparatively well understood mean more to the average Mason than all he ever gets afterward.
— L. B. Mitchell, Michigan.
* * *
MASONIC JEWELRY VS. MASONIC EDUCATION
In my endeavors to interest Masons in the study side of Masonry I have met with quite a number who, after spending their money for the "high degrees,” so-called, think more of buying costly watch charms with double-headed eagles, maltese crosses, etc., than of the idea of endeavoring to find out the meaning of the ceremonies which they have passed through. To cover themselves with Masonic jewelry places them in the ne plus ultra stratum of Freemasonry, in their estimation.
I say this advisedly, because I have had these high degrees myself, but at the same time I have been a student of Masonry for over forty years, and I would not exchange my little Masonic library for all the Masonic jewelry that one big Mason may adorn himself with.
I like THE BUILDER, and at the close of each year I get the copies bound in book form. I also appreciate the personal interest which the officers of the Research Society take in the individual members. If we wish to know anything concerning any Masonic subject we write the Society and always get the information if it is possible to obtain it.
Wishing you God-speed in the great work,
— O. B. Slane. Illinois
* * *
SIMON FRASER CONFERRED FIRST ROYAL ARCH DEGREE IN VIRGINIA
The minutes of Lodge No. 4, Fredericksburg, VA., for December 22, 1753, inform us: "Which night the lodge assembled. Was present, R.W. Simon Fraser, M.G.," etc., and that three brethren were raised to the degree of Royal Arch Masonry.
THE BUILDER for November, in that most interesting paper on "Military Lodges" by Brother Lawrence, states that Sir Simon Fraser, Colonel of the 78th Highlanders was a provincial Grand Master in 1760. Would it be possible that this is one and the same person? The name is not an every-day one.
The Simon Fraser of Fredericksburg mention was a visitor for that night only, and conferred the Royal Arch degree for the first recorded time in Virginia.
— Joe L. Carson, Virginia
* * *
"THE ORIGINAL SAMARITAN"
I was much pleased when I noticed an item in a recent issue of THE BUILDER relative to the Cable Tow, the first sentence of which mentioned an early reference in the Bible, I Kings, xx-31. This fact was made the subject of a poem entitled "The Original Samaritan," on page 37 of my "Poems of The Temple,” and other parts of this same biblical chapter show even more striking references to this Masonic story of an Israelitish king who, instead of putting to death a conquered foe, announced, to the astonishment of his servants, "He is my brother, go ye and fetch him," invited him to ride in his chariot, and made a friendly treaty with him; yet this son of Omri was of another race and not even an Israelite, much less a "brother" other than a brother of the mystic tie.
"Deeds of honor, glory, beauty,
Over many pages spread,
Show the searcher after knowledge
Paths through which out truths have led.
Oft in allegory hidden,
Overlooked by careless scan,
Still, in glorious beauty, showing
Man's fraternity with man."
— L. A. McConnell, Colorado.
* * *
The reading of Masonic literature — which embraces the history, philosophy and symbolism of Masonry — will beget a large concept of its beauties as well as the fuller knowledge of its true worth as a factor in human affairs.
True, ritualism has its place in the economy of the institution — but it is of a subordinate character; and its object is to awaken the dormant faculties in the votary. But, on the other hand, reading tends to educate and cause the neophyte to reflect upon the possibilities within the scope of its work for the upbuilding of character, and enlarging opportunity for the exercise of those glorious virtues which have emblazoned its escutcheon for untold ages.
Nothing strengthens the Craft like unto the education of its members; to make them more useful citizens, and more dependable Craftsmen. Thus they will be better fitted to play their part with credit to themselves and honor to the Fraternity: for they will be more able to uphold its doctrines and extend its benign influence.
— Bulletin of the Los Angeles Masonic Library.
* * *
THE TERMINAL TRIANGLE
Liberty of thought that has been to men denied
By that intolerance which ne'er with men divide
The right to read the way to human destiny
Save in the ways wherein its creeds may point the way.
Equality, that means a tolerance that springs
From motive to accord to all the right of things
That by the Golden Rule may be worked out to give
That which is due to those who in its spirit live.
Fraternity, the word that holds all other terms
By which this old, old world in sorrow slowly learns
That men and natigns in true Brotherhood must live
Before the wage, their dues, then can in full, receive.
— L. B. Mitchell, Michigan.