THE BUILDER MAGAZINE
A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 7 No. 11 – November 1921
MEMORIALS TO GREAT MEN WHO WERE MASONS
Bro. Geo. W. Baird, P.G.M., District of Columbia
GENERAL RUSSELL A. ALGER
GENERAL RUSSELL A. ALGER was born in Medina County, Ohio, in 1836, and died at Detroit, Michigan, in 1907. He was buried in Elmwood Cemetery, where the memorial shown in the frontispiece of this issue of THE BUILDER, was erected.
His ancestors were English and Scotch. His grandfather, John Alger, took part in many battles of the Revolution. His father was one of the early settlers on the Western Reserve, Ohio, where he emigrated in 1820, sharing in the hardships of the pioneers, and dwelling in a log hut.
Russell Alger was left an orphan at the age of twelve, and became the head of the family, a younger brother and sister depending upon him. He worked for his board and clothing, and was permitted to attend school three months in the year. But he was soon advanced to better wages, and relieved by the thrift of the younger brother and sister. This early thrift and responsibility probably led to the distinguished career which followed, and which the Child Labor Law of today would have prevented. His labor as a farm hand brought him the best wages of that day. He worked his way through the Richfield Academy, sawing wood at night, and doing other chores. At an early age he began to teach school, and this occupation is what probably developed his mind, for there is no better way to reach a good understanding of a subject than to teach it.
He began the study of law in 1857 — an apt student, with acquired and natural application, and no disposition to seek pleasure. After having been graduated in the law, and admitted to practice in Ohio, his health became impaired, and he moved to Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he soon became a leader.
Shortly afterward the Civil War broke out, and Alger enlisted as a private in the Second Michigan Cavalry. He was promoted to a Captaincy and became a Major all within a year. His record as a soldier was brilliant, as might be expected of a boy who had been so early thrown on his own resources. He had served in more than sixty battles and skirmishes during the first year of the war. In October, 1862, he was promoted to be Lieutenant Colonel of the Sixth Michigan Cavalry, and in February, 1863, was made a Colonel of the Fifth Michigan Cavalry. He commanded the first Federal Regiment to reach Gettysburg, and rendered splendid service there. He was commended for bravery by General Custer, and in 1865 was brevetted Major General.
General Alger took up his residence in Detroit in 1866, and became president of two large lumber companies possessing immense estates, which led to fortune. He was an enthusiastic business man, delighting in the employment of men and the development of industries, but expressed disapprobation for "stock speculations," "selling of futures," etc. He said he hasd often tried to make his word his bond, and in this he succeeded, for everyone had implicit confidence in him.
He was a Republican in politics, from the beginning of the party, but was never a candidate for office until 1884 when he became a delegate to the national convention, and the same year was nominated and elected Governor of the State, serving one term and declining renomination.
In 1888 he was brought forward by his friends for the Presidential nomination which, however, went to Harrison.
Alger became Secretary of War in 1897, while McKinley was President, and served with great credit, but feebleness obliged him to resign before the expiration of his term. He corrected many objectionable methods in the War Department, and always in a pleasant way. He was easily approached, always ready to listen to reason, but very determined in his decisions.
General Alger was married in 1861 to Miss Annette Hemy, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and nine children were born to them.
His Masonic membership was held in Corinthian Lodge No. 241, F. & A. M., Detroit, Michigan. He liked to talk Masonry, particularly Scottish Rite, and never lost his interest in it.
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THE MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION OF THE UNITED STATES
Bro. Sam H. Goodwin. P.G.M., Grand Secretary, Utah
THE BUILDER has carried several articles during the past three years, descriptive of the formation and activities of the MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION. This material has not been in the nature of propaganda. The writer has always felt that the merits of the MASONIC SERVICE ASSOCIATION would prove themselves, and that his personality should not be injected into the situation in any Jurisdiction which did not join the Association, as might be the case if THE BUILDER were to sum up the arguments favoring such an association in its columns.
In recent weeks, however, has come to my desk a copy of the report of a Fraternal Correspondent of a certain non-member Grand Lodge which is so absolutely misleading as to justify a reversal of this position. He says:
"The National Masonic Service Association is also pressing for recognition. Some twenty-three American Grand Lodges have given adherence to it. This movement seems to have attained its greatest strength and several Grand Lodges, five at least, which became members of the Association, have given notice of withdrawal."
The facts are that at this writing, October 1, there are thirty-four Grand Jurisdictions which are members of the Association. These are:
- NORTH CAROLINA
- SOUTH CAROLINA
- NORTH DAKOTA
- SOUTH DAKOTA
- DIST. OF COLUMBIA
- NEW HAMPSHIRE
- NEW JERSEY
- NEW MEXICO
- PHILIPPINE ISL.
- NEW YORK
- RHODE ISLAND
Six have joined and withdrawn: ALABAMA, COLORADO, FLORIDA, IDAHO (Rejoined September, 1921), KENTUCKY, WASHINGTON.
The following summary of the arguments for and against membership in the Association is contained in the Report on Correspondence of that eminent Brother, Sam H. Goodwin, P.G.M. Grand Secretary of Utah. Because we believe it to be a fair statement of the case we feel that the brethren of our Grand Lodges, whether members of the Association or not, are entitled to study for themselves and draw their own conclusions.
GEO. L. SCHOONOVER,
Chairman Executive Commission, M.S.A.
PERHAPS the outstanding feature of the year among American Grand Lodges has been the Masonic Service Association. To be sure the flocking of candidates to our lodges, and the heroic efforts of lodge officers to meet this unusual demand for our degrees have been the object of much comment. But this movement has been so far from being dissociated from the Association, that it has really emphasized the need of such work as that contemplated by this organization. The lodges have been making members as never before but the deepening conviction that membership under such conditions is very far from being an unmixed blessing -may be, in fact, a menace has led thoughtful, far-seeing Craftsmen to cast about for means and methods of developing this material, of shaping these rough ashlars for the Builder's use, that they may not presently be found in the "rubbish of the Temple."
As was to be expected, when the question of what to do, and how to do it came up, differences of opinion appeared. Fortunately we are not all cast in the same mold, have not been subjected to the same laws of heredity and environment, and no less fortunately the Masonic Fraternity has within its membership so large a percentage of men who do their own thinking. We do not, cannot see things and measures in precisely the same light. But we may endeavor, if we will, to appreciate the other fellow's viewpoint: no harm can be done at all events by an attempt to ascertain the grounds upon which he rests his conclusions.
The year just closed has witnessed two movements in connection with the Masonic Service Association. One within the Association itself, and to be seen in the efforts made, as it were, to find itself — to survey, and to give some degree of definiteness to the boundaries of the field it is entering. The other has been among the members, or possible members, of this Association. Among these there has been on the one hand a settling of membership upon a firmer basis, a renewal of pledges to cooperate and to support the work. On the other hand, some jurisdictions which had accepted membership tentatively have drawn back for reasons to them sufficient. Perhaps the phenomenon most difficult to understand is the active propaganda carried on against the Service Association by certain erstwhile leaders of Masonic thought in their respective jurisdictions. This opposition has not been very extensive, and we are more than inclined to believe, not very effective.
It is not our purpose here to argue the value of this organization — there are others who can do that much more effectively. We do want, however, to note some of the objections urged against the Masonic Service Association, and then to direct attention to some of the general results, which to us appear to justify its support by all Craftsmen, who believe that the whole is greater than any of its parts, and that unity of effort and not isolated endeavor is the desideratum to be sought.
The principal objections urged by those who have entered the lists against the Association are:
- That there is no call or occasion for such a movement. "There is nothing that can be attained by its existence," says one committee. A rather positive statement, it seems to us, where there may be abundant room for difference of opinion. A careful consideration of the Plan and Scope of the Association, the plans developed later and the influx of members referred to above, seem to contradict the committee's statement.
- That the financial burden entailed would be too heavy to be borne. Taken as a lump sum the amount furnished by any jurisdiction might seem to be considerable. But considered from the membership point of view, the enormous burden of one-half the price of a very ordinary cigar given once in twelve months does not impress us, as it seems to the objectors. We really feel that almost any of us, even though somewhat indisposed, could stagger along under such a tremendous load !
- That the payment of five cents per member for the work of the Masonic Service Association represents "An invasion of the sovereign rights of each Grand Jurisdiction," and "a surrender of sovereign rights and powers of our Grand Body." That would be really fearsome, if there were a scintilla of truth in it. Let us see. Grand Lodge makes the donation of a certain amount for the Masonic Service Association. That amount was suggested only, not demanded, not imposed. Grand Lodge could give it or withhold it or fix on some other amount as it pleases, and if it gives this sum, through its representatives it has a voice in saying how each year's contribution shall be expended. Now, Grand Lodges are getting back of the George Washington Memorial Association. Illinois, Indiana and Washington are giving thousands of dollars to this object; the Grand Masters who made recommendations against the Masonic Service Association are heartily in favor of the work of the Memorial Association: the Chairman of the drive in Illinois to secure "the full quota of $1.00 per member" (not five cents per member) was a member of the committee, which attended the Cedar Rapids Conference and later joined in an adverse report. "Full quota of $1.00 per member"? Did some one suggest that $1.00 per member be raised, and was that "some one" Illinois? Verily, we suspect not. The same "suggestion" reached Utah from outside sources and Utah "went over the top" at once with the full amount and no one ever suspected that Grand Lodge sovereignty was being knocked into a cocked hat. $1.00 per member! That would pay the contribution to the Masonic Service Association for a period of twenty years ! And Utah, as does every other member of the Service Association, has much more to say concerning the expenditure of the five cents given than it does as to what shall be done with the $1.00! Some things are funnier than others — this is one of them. "We love to strain at a gnat," while we gulp down a camel without batting an eye.
- That we do not need it — will get nothing we do not pay for. "We . . . can live comfortably and happily without it"! No doubt that is true if we are content to measure our Masonic responsibilities by what satisfies us and concerns us only. The principle of isolation, the practice of limiting Masonic obligations by state boundaries: these have been outstanding characteristics of Masonic endeavor in the past, and they may continue to be dominating features in some jurisdictions in the future. But we are glad to think that the bulk of the rank and file of Masons and not a few Grand Lodges are coming more and more to an appreciation of that fundamental declaration to be found in the Book, which we insist shall lie on our altars and of the contents of which we know so little: "None of us liveth to himself alone."
- One other objection may be cataloged here in the words of a recent Grand Master (one of those who support the $1.00 assessment for the George Washington Memorial Association, but sees bankruptcy in a five cent contribution for the Masonic Service Association): "It (the Masonic Service Association) is such an organization as is contemplated in the term General Grand Lodge." The absurdity and absolute groundlessness of this charge disarms one, the conditions whence it springs are so hopeless: what can one say? We shall do no more than to quote a few words from the Grand Secretary of North Dakota: "The persistence with which they dig up ghosts and skeletons of General Grand Lodges, which have been positively and finally laid to rest by the Masonic Service Association, would lead us to believe that there is no such thing in their minds as honesty of Masonic purpose."
Without undertaking to argue the points, the following are some of the general and desirable result coming from the Masonic Service Association:
- t has disclosed the existence of a remarkable unanimity in thought and point of view among the Craft and the Grand Lodges of this Country. How else can we account for the favor with which the idea of organized, unified service has been received?
- It has given unmistakable emphasis to the conviction that the era of "Words, words, more words, no matter of the heart," is passing and that the time has arrived when Masons must "Suit the action to the word," if they are to keep peace with themselves and retain the respect of the world.
- It has shown that the Masonry of this Country will have none of the General Grand Lodge idea. Those who profess to see in this organization a General Grand Lodge in the making, or, "a wedge" that will open the way for such, we are confident represent few besides themselves.
- It has given unmistakable confirmation to the conviction that a majority of American Grand Lodges, and we doubt not of American Masons, believe in coordinated effort directed to the accomplishment of definite ends.
If no other results were accomplished, those here named are ample to justify the organization and the support of the Masonic Service Association.
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ROMAN CATHOLICISM AND FREEMASONRY
Bro. Dudley Wright, England
ON SEPTEMBER 25th, 1865, a further fulmination against the Freemasons was launched by the Roman Pontiff, Pius IX, an Allocution delivered in a Secret Consistory, the document being known from its first two words, Multiplices inter. It was worded as follows:
"Venerable Brethren: Among the numerous machinations and artifices by which the enemies of the Christian name have tried to attack the Church of God, and sought to shake and besiege it by efforts superfluous in truth, must undoubtedly be reckoned the perverse society of men called Masonic, which at first confined to darkness and obscurity, now comes into light for the common ruin of religion and human society. Immediately that our predecessors, the Roman Pontiffs, faithful to their pastoral office, discovered its snares and frauds, they considered there was not a moment to lose in holding in check by their authority, and in striking and lacerating by an admonitory sentence as with a sword, this sect pursuing crime and attacking holy and public things. Our predecessor, Clement XII, by his Apostolic Letters, proscribed and rebuked this sect, and dissuaded all the faithful not only from joining it but also from promoting or encouraging it in any manner whatever, since such an act would entail the penalty of excommunication, which the Roman Pontiff can alone remove. Benedict XIV confirmed by his Constitution this just and legitimate sentence of admonition and did not fail to exhort the Catholic Sovereign Princes to devote all their effort and all their solicitude to repress this most immoral sect, and defend society against a common danger. Would to God these monarchs had listened to the words of our predecessor! Would to God that in so serious a matter they had acted less feebly! In truth, neither we nor our fathers would then have had to deplore the many seditious movements, the many incendiary wars which have set the whole of Europe in flames, nor the many bitter misfortunes which have afflicted and still afflict the Church. But the rage of the wicked being far from appeased, Pius VII, our predecessor, struck with anathema the sect of recent origin, Carbonarism, which had propagated itself, particularly in Italy, and inflamed by the same zeal for souls, Leo XII condemned, by his Apostolic Letters, not only the secret societies we have just mentioned, but all others, of whatever appellation, conspiring against the Church and the civil power, and warned all the faithful to avoid them under penalty of excommunication. Nevertheless, these efforts of the Apostolic See have not had the success expected. The Masonic sect of which we speak has not been vanquished or overthrown; on the contrary, it has so developed itself that in these troublous days it exists everywhere with impunity, and carries an audacious front. We have, therefore, thought it our duty to return to this matter, since, perhaps from ignorance of the guilty intrigues clandestinely carried on, an erroneous opinion may arise that the character of this society is inoffensive, that its institution has another object than that of succouring men, and assisting them in adversity, and that in this society there is no need to fear for the Church of God. But should this not comprehend how this sect departs from the truth? What is the object of this association of men belonging to all religions and every belief ? To what end these clandestine meetings, and the rigorous oath exacted from the initiate, binding them never to reveal anything of what may be discussed? Wherefore that unheard of atrocity of penalties and chastisements which the initiated bind themselves to accept should they fail to keep their oath? A society which thus avoids the light of day must surely be impious and criminal. 'He who does ill,' says the apostle, 'hates the light.' How different from such an association are the pious societies of the faithful which flourish in the Catholic Church! With them there is no reticence, no obscurity. The law which governs them is clear to all; clear also are the works of charity practised according to the gospel doctrine. Thus it is not without grief that we have seen Catholic societies of this nature, so consolatory and so well calculated to excite piety and succour the poor, attacked and even destroyed in some places, while, on the contrary, encouragement is afforded to secret Masonic societies, so inimical to the Church of God, so dangerous even for the security of kingdoms.
"Venerable Brethren, we feel pain and bitterness to see that when it is requested to rebuke this sect according to the constitutions of our predecessors, some persons show themselves indulgent, almost supine; whereas, in so grave a matter, the exigencies of their functions and their charges demand that they should display the greatest activity. If these persons think that the Apostolic Constitutions, fulminated under penalty of anathema against occult sects and their adepts and abettors, have no force in the countries where the said sects are tolerated by the civil power, they are assuredly very greatly in error. As you are aware, Venerable Brethren, we have already rebuked, and now anew rebuke and condemn, the falsity of this evil doctrine. In fact, can it be that the supreme power of pastoring and guiding the universal flock which the Roman pontiffs received from Christ in the person of the Blessed Teacher, and the supreme power they must exercise in the Church, should depend upon the civil power, or could they for any reason be constrained and done violence to thereby? Under these circumstances, for fear lest youth and unthinking men should allow themselves to be led astray in principle, and for fear our silence should offer any opportunity of protecting error, we have resolved, Venerable Brethren, to raise our apostolic voice, and confirming here in your presence the constitutions of our predecessors, on part of our apostolic authority we rebuke and condemn this Masonic society and the other societies of the same description, which, although differing in form, tend to the same end, and which conspire overtly or clandestinely, against the Church or legitimate power. We desire that the said societies should be held proscribed and rebuked by us, under the same penalties as those which are specified in the previous constitutions of our predecessors, and this in the sight of all the faithful in Christ, of every condition, rank, and dignity, and throughout all the earth. There remains now nothing wanting to satisfy the wishes and solicitude of our paternal heart than to warn and admonish the faithful who should have associated themselves with sects of this character to obey in the future wiser inspirations, and to abandon these fatal counsels, in order that they may not be dragged into the abyss of eternal perdition. As regards all others of the faithful, if they wish solicitude for their souls we strongly exhort them to be upon their guard against the perfidious language of sectarians, who, under a fair exterior, are inflamed with a bunting hatred against the religion of Christ and legitimate authority, and who have but one single thought and single end, viz., to overthrow all rights, both human and divine. Let them well understand that those affiliated to such sects are like the wolves which Christ our Lord prophesied would come disguised in sheep's clothing to devour the flock; let them understand they are of the number of those whose society the apostle has also forbidden to us, eloquently prohibiting us from even saying unto them — Hail!
"May the All-Merciful God, hearing our prayers, grant that with the aid of His grace the insensate may return to reason, and those who have gone astray be led back to the path of justice. May God grant that after the suppression of the depraved men, who, by the aid of the above-mentioned societies, give themselves up to impious and criminal acts, the Church and human society may be able to repose in some degree from such numerous and inveterate evils!
"In order that our vows may be heard, let us also pray to our Mediatrix with the All-Clement God, the Most Holy Virgin, that Mother Immaculate from her birth, to whom it has been granted to overthrow the enemies of the Church and monstrous errors. Let us equally pray for the protection of the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, by whose glories built this noble city has been sanctified. We have confidence that with their assistance and aid we shall the more easily obtain what we ask of the Divine bounty."
It is problematical whether Pope Pius IX would not have stayed his hand, or his pen, if he had possessed the foreknowledge of the storm of criticism, satire, derision, and ridicule which his puerile denunciation aroused in all sections of the public press throughout the land, but infallibility is not a term inclusive of foreknowledge. Courteous attention is always accorded the opinions of the heads of all religious bodies by the members of the "fourth estate," even when they travel beyond the bounds of reason, but here there was a general consensus of opinion that, in common parlance, the Pope had made himself "look silly," and many papers did not hesitate to express this opinion in the plainest possible language.
The Times in a leading article wrote:
"The telegraph informed us a few days ago, as much to our surprise as to our satisfaction, that the Pope, in Secret Consistory, had delivered an allocution denouncing all secret societies, and particularly the Freemasons and the Fenians. Although we knew that the Roman Catholic clergy were uniformly hostile to the Fenian movement, we could hardly have expected that the Pope himself would come forward with such vigour and promptitude to render us a service at such an opportune moment. The text of this unexpected allocution has now reached us, and will be found today in another column of our impression. It will be seen that though it does not denounce the Fenians by name, it is directed against all secret societies 'by whatsoever name called, which conspire against the Church and civil power.' There have been few secret societies which answer to this description more exactly than the Fenians; and the Roman Catholic clergy, it has been amply proved, had as much reason as any other class of the community to assist in the suppression of this disorderly brotherhood. We may, therefore, congratulate ourselves on having for once the cordial assistance of the Pope in our Irish policy. We cannot but be very much obliged to so exalted a personage for thus going out of his way to support us against the machinations of Mr. Stephens and Mr. John O'Mahoney. We are, indeed, somewhat afraid that these conspirators and their American allies will derive more satisfaction from the dignity of being by implication made the subjects of a Papal allocution than they will be afflicted by the tremendous denunciations which are launched against them. Nevertheless, it cannot but be well, as far as it goes, that the head of the Roman Catholic Church should have formally supported his subordinates in denouncing these foolish and wicked conspiracies. Our New York correspondent lately informed us that among the extraordinary hallucinations of Fenianism in America was a rumour that a special order had been issued from Rome, expressed in true papal Latin Fenianos non esse inquietandos. If anything can disabuse an Irish-man of a favourite delusion, or induce an American to relinquish a smart fabrication, the rumour in question ought to be effectually dispersed by this papal thunderbolt.
"But in thus expressing our acknowledgments to the Pope for his well-intentioned services, we must, at the same time, indulge our surprise at the main purport of the document before us. The denunciation of Fenianism is, as we have said, only implied incidentally. The Papal thunders are more immediately directed against a very different society; and if the allocution is to have any effect it will somewhat diminish the satisfaction with which we receive it that it consigns to perdition, along with the Fenians, all the members of a society which is as numerous in England as in Ireland, and which spreads its ramifications over almost every country in the world. This unhappy society is none other than that of the Freemasons. 'Among the many machinations,' says the Pope, 'by which the enemies of the Christian name have dared to assail the Church of God, to destroy and sap it by methods alien from the truth, must doubtless be reckoned that wicked association of men called Masonic.' Such an alarming exordium will probably be as surprising to the Freemasons as to every one else; but it is only an appropriate introduction to the vehement denunciations which follow. Freemasonry is a 'dark society — the enemy of the Church and of God, and dangerous even to the security of kingdoms.' If Freemasons do not give up their 'wicked assemblies' they must expect to be 'hurried along into the abyss of eternal ruin.' They 'are kindled with an ardent hatred against the religion of Christ and legitimate authority.' They are the wolves in sheep's clothing of whom it is predicted in the Gospel that they would come to devour the flock. They have lost their reason, their acts are 'impious and criminal' and their errors 'monstrous.' The Popes, it appears, have long ago detected their snares and deceptions, and one after another have resolved, 'without losing a moment' to 'strike and lacerate with a sentence of excommunication as with a sword this sect breathing crime and attacking civil and sacred life.' No fewer than four pontiffs appear to have launched their thunders against these enemies of all enemies of all justice and religion, and nothing can exhibit the intense iniquity of the society in a stronger light than that it has survived these excommunications and in these distressed days everywhere shows itself and lifts its audacious front.' The paternal heart, therefore, of the present Pope compels him to suppress these wicked men and relieve society from such enormous and inveterate evils; and terrible are the punishments which he threatens for this benevolent purpose. In the first place, all the Freemasons are in danger of eternal ruin, and all the other faithful must refuse them any countenance if they would avoid sharing their fate. They are to be interdicted from all Christian society, for the Pope assures us that they are the very persons with whom the apostle forbids us to eat, or so much as to exchange salutation. Finally, the divine aid, and that of the Virgin and the Apostles, is solemnly invoked, and the Pope concludes by expressing his conviction that with such assistance he shall succeed in extirpating this abominable association.
"We cannot but ask ourselves in simple astonishment — what does all this mean? Is the Pope inspired or frenzied, or is he merely practising his Latin so as to keep his hand in for the Emperor Napoleon when he commences the withdrawal of his troops from Rome? The Pope, we know, in Secret Consistory, talks neither English nor any other modern language, and it may be that this astonishing fulmination is only his way of saying that he disapproves of Freemasonry. We are all more or less familiar with the Freemasons. We know that they have an elaborate organization, and call each other long names, that they wear upon occasions very strange aprons, that they preserve certain antiquated ceremonies, and, above all, that they give very good balls and excellent dinners, and are generally a very hospitable and liberal set of men. We know, again, that the Freemasons profess to take certain solemn oaths, and to be in possession of some secrets which explain the whole mystery of political society upon architectural principles, or something equally magnificent. But as to assertions that they devote themselves to 'unheard-of atrocities of penalties and chastisements in case they should break their oath,' we feel pretty sure the Pope must be misinformed. We have never observed that they were oppressed by any such weight as would necessarily hang over their minds if they were at all times conscious that a single inadvertence would expose them to such tremendous danger. It would require, in fact, even in a Roman Catholic, a very strong faith in the infallibility of the Pope to accept his description of this Society. Indeed, we sincerely condole with the Roman Catholics if they are to be absolutely debarred, for the future, from enjoying Masonic hospitality. Must the faithful, as a French journal inquires, immediately cut their Masonic friends, and refuse them even a distant bow? Freemasons, so far as we know anything about them, are neither revolutionists nor atheists. If we are not mistaken, Lord Palmerston himself is one of their number, and the late Marshal Magnan, one of the pillars of the new French regime, was the head of the Order in France. What can the Pope be thinking of to select this innocent and convivial association for these tremendous denunciations? If he had simply consigned all the Fenians, in so many words, to eternal perdition unless they, immediately repented and revoked their wicked errors before the nearest priest, the allocution might have appeared to possess some point, some justification. But what have the Freemasons done to provoke such a demonstration? It is said that the Archbishop of Paris lately gave great offence at Rome by attending the funeral of Marshal Magnan. The Archbishop was probably profoundly ignorant of the wicked devices of the Marshal and his fellow Masons, and ordinary observers must avow themselves equally in the dark. In truth, it reminds us of Jupiter thundering in a clear sky, to witness these rattling thunderbolts let loose upon so unobtrusive a society as the Freemasons. Jupiter, like Homer, must, we suppose nod sometimes, and the Secret Consistory must, one would think, have gone to sleep, and this allocution must have been delivered and have been listened to in a dream.
"We have, in short, often had occasion to remark, that the Papacy is either greatly above or greatly below the level of common sense. In the present instance, we have not much hesitation in deciding in which category the papal allocution is to be placed. We can only explain such an uncalled for burst of pontifical wrath on the supposition that the Pope is profoundly ignorant of the circumstances of modern life and society. In Italy, indeed, where the excessive jealousy of the Church tends to invest even the most innocent combinations of men with a political meaning, it is possible that even Freemasonry may assume some definite character of antagonism to the papal pretensions. But that the Pope can think it worth this violent allocution only proves how completely he is in the dark as to the real influences which are actuating men's minds. It is not Freemasonry, nor any other secret society, which has withdrawn from Catholicism so much of the intelligence of Italy and all Europe, and has robbed the Papacy of its ancient possessions. It is simply that general advance of free thought and of personal liberty which has exposed at once the unfounded character of the papal claims and the injurious nature of their assumptions. Ridiculous, in some respects, as are such exhibitions, it is impossible not to feel a certain melancholy when we behold the Papacy thus fighting in the air. In former days it at least knew in what direction to strike, and its blows were as well aimed as they were vigorously delivered. At the present day it appears to have lost at once its sagacity and its vigour. It is blind to its real danger, and its language is as impotent in its violence as its blows are feeble and misplaced. It lives in the world of four centuries ago, and judges alike of men and of events by a medieval standard. If the Pope could but leave the Vatican for awhile, and place himself in one of the real centres of modern life, in London or Paris, or even in Florence, he would discover at once that he had been living, writing, and speaking entirely in the clouds. Such societies as the Freemasons may have been formidable a few centuries ago, but they are of about as much importance to the course of civil and religious life as any other of the now extinct associations of the middle ages. With a similar blindness to his real position, the Pope is said to be firmly convinced that the French troops will never be withdrawn from Rome, and he obstinately refuses, therefore, to come to terms with the only government which, when that inevitable event takes place, can afford him any effectual protection. He and his Church resemble nothing so much as the city to which they cling. A new world has grown up all around them, and they remain venerable but decaying monuments of an ancient but now overthrown empire. The very foundations of Catholicism are sapped, its temporal and spiritual dominion is passing away, and the Pope vaguely conscious of some impending danger, summonses a Secret Consistory and launches his excommunications against Freemasonry!"
The Liverpool Mercury was even more trenchant in its criticism of this absurd document, and its comments could not have afforded much satisfaction to the Roman Catholics in the northern Midlands. Its leading article on the Bull was as follows:
"The recent papal allocution against the unfortunate Freemasons is one of the very oddest things we have come across for a long time. All of a sudden, without any imaginable why or wherefore, just when the queer but harmless fraternity of Freemasonry is about the very last subject in men's thoughts, the Holy Father comes out with a tremendous volley of anathemas in the best style of ecclesiastical Latinity, against a set of people of whom the world knows nothing worse than they have an uncommonly eccentric way of promoting certain very innocent and laudable objects. When all mankind is thinking about Schleswig-Holstein, or the cattle plague, or the cholera, or President Johnson, or the Fenians, or the bank rate of discount, or the Italian elections, or some other topic of intelligible mundane interest, infallibility flares up into a blaze of holy wrath against a respectable (though rather funny) body of men who are chiefly known by giving good dinners and wearing curious aprons, and who have never been credibly accused of doing or meaning harm to any living creature. What, in the name of all that is rational, is the pother about? What horrid crimes have the Freemasons been perpetrating or meditating? There do happen to be secret societies in the world — our own Fenians, for instance — against which a little papal invective might seem not absolutely out of place; yet His Holiness has not a word to say about Fenianism, unless some remote allusion to it can be faintly detected under one or two of his sonorous generalities. But what have the poor Freemasons done to bring down on their heads this lava torrent of denunciation and abuse? What on earth can it all mean? We are told that our Archbishop Manning, from a loyal wish to do the British Empire a good turn, asked His Holiness to launch a handsome fulmination against the Fenians, and that this Allocution is the result. If so, the Archbishop must be considerably pleased. Can it be that His Holiness has made a mistake, misunderstood the drift of the archiepiscopal suggestion, and hurled his thunders in the wrong quarter?
"We are not going to pause for a reply, for we might have to pause for a long time. We have not the slightest expectation that infallibility will so far condescend to human weakness as to explain its own oracles. All that we are permitted to know is that these Freemasons are the most wicked wretches that ever conspired, in a favourite phrase of the papal vocabulary, to 'violate all laws human and divine.' They are pernicious, perverse, impious, immoral, audacious, criminal, and perfidious, depraved, and all the other ugly adjectives known to allocutionary billingsgate. They 'pursue crime and attack holy things.' They 'give themselves up to impious and criminal acts.' They hold 'fatal councils,' and make it their business to drag others into the same 'abyss of eternal perdition' to which they are hurrying themselves. They have but one single thought and single end, namely 'the overthrow of rights, both human and divine.' They are at the bottom of all the mischief that is and has been in the world for at least a century or two. To their account must be set down the many seditious movements, the many incendiary wars, which have set the whole of Europe in flames, and the many bitter misfortunes which have afflicted and still afflict the Church.' Such is the papal reading of the philosophy of modern history. It is a sin and shame that civil governors should tolerate these implacable foes of all that is good and holy. The venerable pontiff cannot contain himself for rage when he remembers how they and their abettors have been excommunicated over and over again, and yet nobody seems to mind it. Clement XII put them down; and Benedict XIV put them down again; and so did Pius VII; and so did Leo XII; and yet they are not really put down at all, but flourish more exuberantly than ever, 'existing everywhere with impunity and carrying an audacious front.' What can have possessed the 'Catholic sovereign princes' that they have not devoted all their efforts and all their solicitude to repress this immoral sect and defend society against a common danger? However, let it be hoped that Catholic sovereign princes and the faithful generally will be roused at last to a sense of their perils and their duties. Henceforth let it be quite understood that these horrid Freemasons, one and all, are excommunicated, and that their guilt and its punishment are shared by all who 'promote or encourage them in any way.' These wolves in sheep's clothing 'are of the number of those whose society the apostle has forbidden to us, eloquently prohibiting us from saying unto them, Hail!' No true Roman Catholic from this time forward must so much as say, 'How do you do?' to an acquaintance of the aproned fraternity. It really is not quite so clear as one could wish that there would be any particular sin in a true Roman Catholic killing the first Freemason he meets. It is at least certain — as far as infallibility can make it — that the Freemasons are the arch enemies of the Church, religion, law, government, truth, morality, and everything else which men count sacred, and that all the heresies, seditions, revolutions of modern times may be traced to the machinations of this thrice accursed sect. With that stupendous perversity civilized society persists in seeing nothing in Freemasonry but a somewhat fantastic sort of benefit society, organized for purposes of charity and good fellowship!
"This is really imbecility in excelsis. The force of infallible folly surely could no further go than in launching this prodigious piece of ecclesiastical thunder against a body of decent gentlemen, whose 'machinations,' though they may begin (for aught we know) with a droll ceremonial which frightens raw novices half out of their wits, end in nothing more terrible than good cheer and a mutual benevolence fund. The Pope's last is certainly his best. We have had many curious allocutions in our time, but this beats them all. Serious comment on such a heap of stark, raving nonsense is impossible. The spectacle of absurdity in a towering rage, a silliness foaming at the mouth, is one that at once defies and disarms criticism. There is nothing to be said of it except that it is a pity that an ancient institution which has outlived its day cannot make a more respectable preparation for its inevitable end. The temporal power of the papacy is justly doomed as an offence against civilization, a wrong to Italy, and a scandal and hindrance to the very religion whose name it takes in vain; but no chivalrous enemy can desire that it should make itself unnecessarily ridiculous. We sincerely sympathize with those multitudes of enlightened and right-minded Roman Catholics to whom it must be unutterably painful to them to pity a pontiff whom they would fain, if possible, reverence."
The Dublin Evening Mail was no less scathing in its comments. A short leader in that paper said:
"We echo in our columns today the last peal of thunder from the Vatican. It is designed to frighten the Freemasons; but it only makes known the force of the now impotent thunderer. Amid the empty sound and puerile verbiage of this allocution, a whispered confession of real motives tells the tale of the crime of Freemasonry in papal eyes: 'A false opinion may arise that the end of this society is inoffensive, and that this institution has no other end but to succour men and to aid them in adversity, and that the Church has nothing to fear from this society. Who, however, does not understand that this is far from being the truth? What does this association of men of all religions, of all creeds, mean?' It is truly strange that, wrapped up as it may be in any amount of fustian, the secret design of the Vatican heart is never successfully concealed in an allocution. Nothing can be more true than that the papal power has everything to fear from every peaceful and kindly 'association of men of all religions and of all creeds.' It is, therefore, the thunder is directed against a form of association which peculiarly tends to unite men in bonds of charity, mutual tolerance, and good will. The present allocution is, in fact, not merely a denunciation of Freemasons, but a practical comment upon the Roman reading of the divine proclamation of 'Peace on earth, good-will to men.' Pio Nono and his Secret Consistory proclaim, according to their version, 'Peace on earth to men of good-will,' but only to those whose will is good towards the papal system. Carried out to its logical end, the proposal 'to strike and rend' as with a sword 'the Masonic Society' is an anathema against all forms of union or association between men of different creeds — it is an edict of non-intercourse among fellow subjects, kinsmen, friends."
The Gloucestershire Chronicle prophesied an early downfall of the Papacy, based upon an estimation of its apparent effete and decadent condition:
"There are some constitutions," the writer said, "which, when about to break up through old age or some heavy infirmity, betray traces of their earlier vigour by bursting forth at times into paroxysms of passion as impotent as they are ridiculous. This seems to be the case with the Pope, who, some time ago, in a secret consistory held at Rome, delivered an allocution, or, more properly, an anathema, chiefly against the Masonic Society, and also against 'all other societies, of whatever appellation, conspiring against the Church and the civil power.' Europe is rather astounded; it can hardly believe its eyes when the explosive document is thrown before it. Various reasons are assigned for the papal thunder in a clear sky, for the revival of absolute dictation to the governments of the world, as though the spiritual power of the papacy were this day an acknowledged fact, in full supremacy, when the truth is it is nothing more than a feeble voice issuing from a throne both spiritually and temporarily shaken almost to dissolution.
"Some allege the Pope takes this left-handed way of administering a heavy blow to the Emperor of the French, because he is about to withdraw his troops from Rome, and has also countenanced Masonry in France; in this manner revenge the Emperor's withdrawal of his military protection and planting a spiritual thorn in the bosom of his subjects. This has always been the subtle policy of Rome, to make mischief between sovereigns and subjects; she scatters a few religious seeds of discord, and rejoices to set a spiritual at variance with the temporal allegiance. A small spite this, now, especially in our age; but the allocution is full of little cat-spittings, so to speak. Again, it is said, the Archbishop of Paris stands rebuked for having attended the funeral of Marshal Lamoriciere, who was formerly the Grand Master of Freemasonry in France; also that Dr. Manning, being desirous of obtaining the Pope's denial of any sympathy with Fenianism, suggested a denunciation of all secret societies, thus believing the net would be large enough to haul in the Fenians together with Freemasons and Carbonari; lastly, it is stated the allocution is a sort of protest against the decline both of the faith and influence of the Church in Italy, as though the falling-off were to be traced, not to the inherent weakness and corruption of Rome herself, but to the 'perfidious nature of sectarians, who, under a fair exterior, are inflamed with a burning hatred against the religion of Christ and legitimate authority and to have but one single thought and single end, viz., the overthrow of rights both human and divine.' It is possible some truth may underlie every one of the motives thus suggested; at any rate, 'Rome has spoken,' and if all the world attended to Rome's senile mutterings, every Freemason would be excommunicated, in the blessed company of Fenians, Carbonari, bandits, and brigands.
"The holy horror of the Pope at Freemasonry is depicted in very strong language, with a remarkable display of ignorance, and a total unconsciousness of history. He describes it as 'that perverse society of men, vulgarly styled Masonic, which at first confined to darkness and obscurity, now comes into light for the common ruin of religion and human society.' He calls it 'a most immoral sect.' At its door he lays 'the many seditious movements, the many incendiary wars, which have set the whole of Europe in flames; as also the many bitter misfortunes which have afflicted and still afflict the Church.' He speaks tremblingly of 'Clandestine meetings,' 'rigorous oaths,' an unheard-of atrocity of penalties and chastisements to be inflicted upon the perjured Mason; and he winds up with an emphatic conclusion: 'A Society which thus avoids the day must surely be impious and criminal.'
"We could add a few more choice specimens of papal eloquence, but these are sufficient for our purpose, unless, indeed, we might be tempted to give our Masonic readers the opportunity of knowing what a disgusting, outlawed, and excommunicated set of vagabonds they really are, as seen through the infallible microscope. 'Let them well understand that those affiliated to such sects are like wolves, whom Christ our Lord prophesied would come disguised in sheep's clothing to devour the flock; let them understand they are of the number of those whose society the Apostle has also forbidden to us, eloquently prohibiting us from even wishing them god-speed.'
"Now, these are truculent expressions which are sufficient to raise the hair on the head of those benevolent gentlemen — there are thousands of them — who, thinking no harm, sit down to dinner after the labours of the lodge are concluded, and drinkings; a glass of wine to all good brethren scattered over the face of the globe, believe they are friends with the world. What a dreadful portrait has the Pope drawn of them, in revolutionary costume, eager to slay, burn, and destroy! Now, none would imagine after reading the allocution, that at the close of the eighth century, the popes conceded to the Masons of Como the exclusive monopoly of erecting churches; they were associated as a craft or brotherhood; they were invested by papal bulls with extensive privileges; they were subject only to their own laws, and were untaxed. 'The lodges of the north' built Strasbourg and Cologne cathedrals; they were encouraged and protected by ecclesiastical authority; Europe abounds with their labours, and the marks of their secret craft are still upon the stones, just as they are Masonically accepted this day. William of Wykeham and Waynefleet, both Bishops, were Grand Masters in England; several of our own Bishops, both past and present, have been Masters of lodges. What then becomes of the Pope's history, and of what force are his denunciations? Masonry has always remained the same; its principles are unchanged; the symbolical teachings were the same in the Como lodges as they are this day in London; the secrets are the same; the ceremonies are identical. The simple fact is, when the Masons ceased to be working societies, and were unnecessary for building churches, Rome threw Masonry on one side, like a useless glove. More than this, Rome will never suffer any intellectual movement over which she has lost the control. But Masonry laid down the trowel and the hod, practically, and confined itself to the speculatively teaching, which was once marvellously united to every stone in building; then the Church of Rome quarrelled with the institution because it presumed to work out a system of morality and religion upon the same foundation of revelation with the Church, but quite distinct from the Church, yet in agreement with the fundamental doctrines of the Church, at the same time not interfering with any Mason's allegiance to the Church. The cause of offence was that this was done without consulting or admitting any ecclesiastical authority. This is the secret of Rome's unmitigated hatred of Masonry; it is her insatiable desire to govern the whole machine of thought and action by priestly hands; while justice and inquisitors exist, the Pope can scarcely with a grave face inveigh against clandestine meetings, rigorous oaths, and the atrocity of penalties and chastisements! We are as certain that the monstrosities imputed by the Pope to Freemasonry are as false as that Freemasons have anything to fear from the Virgin Mary, 'to whom,' says the Pope, It has been granted to overthrow the enemies of the Church and monstrous errors'; or that the Pope will be 'protected by the blessed apostles, Peter and Paul, in his crusade against Freemasonry.' One great principle of Freemasonry is not to interfere with the peculiar religious forms of belief professed by any of its members; armed with this neutrality the Freemason will listen without hatred to the invocation of saints to come down and extinguish the institution; he will only be sorry that such an excess of mistaken zeal should be so uncharitably exercised; for we read in the news-papers the assemblies of Freemasons are already disturbed by ignorant Roman Catholic mobs, who are ready to back the Pope's mild language with any amount of physical assistance.
"We know a considerable amount of prejudice exists against Freemasonry even in this country, perhaps chiefly because feminine curiosity remains unsatisfied, or because an exclusive law shuts out the public. For its harmlessness and innocence we might summon the testimony of the many eminent characters in the world who have sanctioned its proceedings from manhood to old age with their countenance; for its benevolence, we can only point to the noble charities sustained from year to year with unostentatious munificence; for its influence we can appeal to the friendly understanding among Masons, and to their kindly offices one towards another. We are told by those who have pursued the real symbolical science of Masonry that it is a fascinating study, demanding the fullest exercise of the mental faculties; that it applies the old scriptural system of instruction by emblem and figure to the acquisition of moral and scientific truths, which are grouped together, engage the memory and captivate the imagination. This, we believe, is the real work of Masonry, and, no doubt, where people have the requisite gifts, nothing can be more lofty or improving, but, in the absence of such qualities, the general body of Masons is content with superficial knowledge; the brethren know enough to come in and out of the lodge, they are ready with their money for any emergency; they will give to good fellowship; there is a freedom of thought which delights them when they are confident they are speaking in the bosom of the family where there is no skeleton and no misinterpretation of the language used. This is the English aspect of Freemasonry — a set of open-hearted, good-humoured, charitable fellows, brimming over with benevolence, thinking no evil, somewhat mystified with signs and words, but on the whole merry and wise. How different from the Pope's idea! Slouched hats, dark clothes, daggers, manifestos shrouded in vapour, conspirators deadly against popes, and kings and saints, and churches."
The scathing and adverse comments were by no means limited to English newspapers. Much space could be occupied with extracts from various foreign newspapers on the Pope's allocution, but two only must suffice. La Siècle wrote:
"A million of our fellow-citizens are struck with the most terrible engine which the representative of God upon earth can dispose of. It is true they perform their ordinary business just the same as though interdicted from fire and water. The worst that can happen to them is that they cannot be sponsors if they should be asked to do so; but this is an occasion which does not often present itself, and they may find consolation in the circumstance that it will save them the cost of comfits. What interest can the Church of Rome have in thus exposing the impotence of its spiritual chastisements and the complete indifference with which modern society hears the rumbling of the Church's thunder? What man will give up the title of Freemason, or who will hesitate to become a member of a lodge, through fear of excommunication? The era of these papal thunder peals has passed, and the Papacy should renounce these miserable parodies of the past which had its grandeur."
More expository from the Masonic point of view was the criticism of the New York Reporter in which paper the following article appeared:
"Freemasonry has been denounced and suspected, in consequence of its being a secret Order. Secrecy in all things, where secrecy is maintained, is not only consistent with innocence, but is also imperatively enforced by necessity, as well as demanded by every consideration of policy. The direct benefits flowing from Masonry are, of course, intended for, and should be participated in, only by its members — by those who have been regularly initiated into its mysteries and contribute to its support. They are secured by a knowledge of universal language, which is used as a test of brotherhood. This universal language (universal to Masons) is, under no circumstances, communicated to the world at large. The words and signs of it are secret; for to communicate them would at once destroy its utility. And, strange as it may seem to the uninitiated, our Society professes to have no secrets beyond these. There is little, very little, in the lodge to gratify the eye of the inquisitive. We do not tempt them with offers to unfold some mighty mystery; we can impart to them no superhuman wisdom; we possess not the elixir of life, nor the philosopher's stone, nor the spells of the Tarshun; we cannot and do not profess to be bound by any ties but such as are consistent with our duty towards ourselves and families, our neighbours, our country, and our God.
"About the general end of lodge transactions, every one can know as much, as any of its members; but fear of any apprehension on this subject, we would briefly state that nowhere are order and decorum more strictly enforced than in our lodges; our business there is charity and brotherly communion, the admission of candidates, and the transaction of such other matters as necessarily pertain to every association. Now, all this is of such a character, that it may with great propriety be kept to ourselves. We are brothers — members of a large family — met for the purpose of transacting our own business, with which the world has no concern; and why should the world be permitted to witness its disposition? Does a needy brother receive assistance, it is not for us to vaunt it, and it might not be agreeable to him to proclaim his wants before strangers, or to have the fact of his being relieved published; and it would certainly be impolitic and uncharitable, by publicity, to trammel the discussion of character; and how could the announcement of the rejection of candidates for our confidence be otherwise than prejudicial to us, by exciting enmity and dissatisfaction in the world. We seek not coalition with the world, made up of a thousand creeds; our objects are few, and their pursuit is quiet and secret; and we have, as Masons, naught in common with the mass of mankind. We do not meddle with politics, nor the extension of the creed by proselytism; we seek only to cultivate the social virtues among ourselves, to benefit each other by deeds of love, and indirectly to benefit the world by our own improvement."
(To be concluded)
* * *
THE EVERLASTING NECESSITY FOR BROTHERHOOD
Had mankind from the day of the flood, steadily followed some of the lessons taught them by the industrious bees, had they associated themselves together in lodges, and taught and faithfully practiced Toleration, Charity and Friendship; had even those of the human race done so who have professed the Christian faith, to what imaginable degrees of happiness and prosperity would they not have attained! to what extreme and now invisible heights of knowledge and wisdom would not the human intellect have soared! Had they but practiced Toleration alone, what a Garden of Eden would this earth be now! Blood enough has been spilled for opinion's sake, to fill the basin of an inland sea! Treasure enough has been expended and destroyed to have made the world a garden, covered it with a network of roads, canals and bridges, and made its every corner glorious with palaces; and the descendants of those who have been slain would have thickly peopled every continent and island of the globe.
The earliest of all lessons taught mankind was the necessity of association; for it was taught in unmistakable terms by his own feebleness and weakness. He is an enigma to himself.. Launched, blind and helpless, upon the great current of Time and Circumstance, he drifts, like a helpless vessel, onward to eternity a mere atom.and mote of dust, clinging to infinity, and whirled along with the revolutions of the Universe. He knows nothing truly of himself and his fellows. His utmost effort never enables him to get a distinct idea of his own nature, or to understand in the least degree the phenomena of his mind. Even his senses are miracles to him. He remains feeble as a child. Between him and the future is let down a curtain, dark, palpable, impenetrable, like a thick cloud, through which he gropes his way and staggers onward. At every step Destiny meets him in some unexpected shape, foils his purpose, mocks at his calculation, changes the course of his life, and forces him into new paths, as one leads a blind man by the hand; and he never knows at what unexpected moment the arm of Death will be thrust suddenly forth from behind the curtain and strike him a sharp and unerring blow.
The sudden shifting of a wind, a few cold drops of rain, an unseen stone lying in his path, the tooth of an unregarded serpent, a little globe of lead, the waving of a rag near to a shying horse, a spark of fire on a great boat of a dark night, upon a wide, deep river; all are to him Death's messengers, and overtake him with a peremptory fate. Stumbling over some object at every step, he needs constant sympathy and unremitting assistance. Fortune smiles today and frowns tomorrow. Blindness or palsy makes the strong man an infant; and misfortune, disaster and sad reverses trick him like gaunt hounds, lying in wait to seize him at a thousand turnings.
Unfortunately, the obvious truth that every man either actually needs, or will at some time need, the charitable assistance, or, at least, the friendship, the sympathy, the counsel, and the good will of others, like other truths, produced but small effect upon the early human mind. Pressed by the urgent necessities of the moment, by which alone, ordinarily, men's actions are governed, they did associate themselves with communities, and institute civil government, as often, perhaps, for purposes of aggression as of defense or other associations. We hear and know nothing for very many centuries, and then, except where the light of Masonic tradition reaches, dimly and obscurely only, as in the case of the Eleusinian Mysteries; whose purpose we can merely guess at from the faintest possible revelations, — hardly able to say more than their forms and ceremonies bore a faint resemblance to some used in our time-honored institution. It is highly probable that they had a philosophical and religious rather than a charitable object.
— Albert Pike.
* * *
AN APRIL MORNING
Once more in misted April
The world is growing green.
Along the winding river
The plumy willows lean.
Beyond the sweeping meadows
The looming mountains rise,
Like battlements of dreamland
Against the brooding skies.
In every wooded valley
The buds are breaking through,
As though the heart of all things
No languor ever knew.
The goldenwings and bluebirds
Call to their heavenly choirs.
The pines are blued and drifted
With smoke of brushwood fires.
And in my sister's garden
Where little breezes run,
The golden daffodillies
Are blowing in the sun.
— Bliss Carman.
* * *
THE COMACINES — THEIR PREDECESSORS AND THEIR SUCCESSORS
By Bro. W. Ravenscroft, England
THE COMACINE LODGES
AND NOW let us endeavour to trace the constitution of these Comacine lodges, and to ascertain something of their relation to the world at large.
It is capable of proof that in the seventh century the Magistri Comacine were a properly organized body, having different degrees of rank. The higher order were called Magistri, and were competent to act as architects. With and under them worked the Colligantes: these appear to have consisted of novices and craftsmen. These Magistri Comacini are first mentioned by name in the laws of the Longobard King Rothairis (A.D. 652).
In the under church of S. Clemente at Rome there is a fresco of the tenth century which shows the master mason directing his men, and some think they can discern beneath the toga a master's apron. For my own part, although I looked carefully for it, I should not like to say it is undoubtedly there; but be this so or not, there is no mistaking the Master who is named Sesinius, and who somewhat angrily directs his men, calling them sons of Pute. Under the life of S. Clemente, Voragine in the Golden Legend gives a different version to the Masonic traditions of Sesinius, but which scarcely corresponds with the fresco.
An Italian writer, referring to these guilds (Cesare Cantu Storia di Como), says: "They were called together in the Loggie (hence Lodge) by a grand master to hear of affairs common to the order, to accept novices, and confer superior degrees on others. The chief Lodge had other dependencies, and all members were instructed in their duties to the society and taught to direct every action to the Glory of the Lord and His worship — to live faithful to God and the government — to, lend themselves to the public good and fraternal charity." "Strength, force and beauty were their symbols; Bishops, Princes, men of high rank who studied architecture fraternized with them." "From the tenth to the thirteenth centuries grand masters took oaths of discretion and fidelity. Masters coming from other lodges were received and employed, Apprentices were not paid in the same manner as Craftsmen, and all questions were settled in Council."
One other authority under this head may suffice — Signor Agostino Segredio, who, in his work on the building guilds of Venice, says:
"While we are speaking of the Masonic Companies and their jealous secrecy we must not forget the most grand and potent guild of the Middle Ages, that of the Freemasons; originating most probably from the builders of Como (Magistri Comacini), it spread beyond the Alps. Popes gave them their benediction, monarchs protected them, and the most powerful thought it an honour to be inscribed in their ranks; they with the utmost jealousy practised all the arts connected with building, and by severe laws and penalties (perhaps also with bloodshed) prohibited others from the practice of building important edifices. Long and hard were the initiations to aspirants, and mysterious were the meetings and the teaching, and to enable themselves they dated their origin from Solomon's Temple."
Some go so far as to say these guilds of craftsmen in the Middle Ages expanded their ritual to the extent of giving to their working tools moral, and even spiritual, significance. That may be a not unlikely outcome of their system, but whether so or not, they had their symbols, without doubt. This is illustrated in a house at Assisi having the date on its door 1405, but perhaps of greater antiquity, shown to this day as that of the Comacini, and on the keystone to the entrance is still to be seen carved the open compasses containing a rose. This badge also, together with a Masonic square, the Comacini have left on the castle at Assisi, where also they worked.
But the greatest distinguishing badges of the order are the endless knot and the Lion of Judah. The endless knot appears to mark off the work of the earlier when the more elaborate carvings and the richer details of later centuries prevailed. This endless knot is to this day one of the most beautiful and interesting of ornamental details in connection with the carving of stone, and while its pattern is varied in many ways, its principle is one and the same throughout. It consists generally (mainly, indeed, but not always) of a cord of three strands — sometimes of two — and this cord generally is without beginning or end; sometimes, however, it has a beginning and end, but without a break, and its interlacings are so intricate as to give it the name of "Intreccia."
It is to this day known in Italy as King Solomon's Knot, and finds its place on the surface of arches, in the capitals of columns, on altars, tympana, arcades and panels, but perhaps in its most beautiful development, in screens. Those in S. Clemente at Rome are wonderfully fine, and, be it remembered, as we shall see presently, this ornament comes home to us in our Celtic crosses and monumental slabs. It is not disjointed like some Byzantine surface decorations, but consistent to its character throughout. It is everywhere the badge of the same Brotherhood — the sign-manual of the same Guild of Craftsmen. The symbolic allusion in this remarkable badge would appear to be the inscrutable character of the Divine Being whose ways are past finding out, and whose existence is without beginning or end — an unbroken unity. Whether the three-fold strands have reference to the Trinity in such unity or not, it is impossible to say, but such would be by no means an unlikely thing; or the allusion may have been to the threefold cord which is not quickly broken.
One is struck by the extraordinary amount of this ornamentation to be found in Italy, much still in situ, and one would almost say still more in fragments, built into walls and varied in character to a remarkable degree. The churches about Como, chiefly, perhaps, that of S. Abbondio, have some rich illustrations of the Comacine knot-work. When we remember that the two great pillars which stood at the entrance to King Solomon's Temple were adorned with network as well as other devices, we get at least a suggestion that here may be the origin of King Solomon's knot, and this is emphasized by the fact that there stands in the court of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem a pillar having a basketwork capital with this identical interlaced pattern. Does it not look very much as if the traditions of the network had lingered and found expression again in this product of a later age?
It is interesting in passing to note that the Romans had a similar, but less intricate pattern in a great deal of their paving, and might not that have been in their day the working out of a "Temple tradition" received through the Etruscans, and the type of the fuller knot developed by the Comacines? As regards the Lion of Judah, there is more difficulty; indeed, there is here the mystery which enshrouds all the grotesque work of the Middle Ages, whether lions, griffins, or other monsters. Leader Scott would have us believe the lion here is the type of Christ, and that when columns are on the back of lions, as at Pisa and Siena, they represent our Lord as the Pillar of Faith, springing from the tribe of Judah; while, when surmounting the column, He is figured as the Door, the latter being the earlier form — viz., that which prevailed from before A.D. 1000 to 1200, while the former held from A.D. 1200 to 1500. This all fits in with such representations as at Monza, where the lion is nursing a lamb; but when, as at Assisi or Siena, the lion is eating man or animals one wonders how this symbol applies. This wonder is increased by finding lionesses and cubs, as at Siena. True, it may be that some such representations in a rough and coarse way may suggest the absorbing power of Christianity, or convey something akin to what we read in the Apocalypse about the "wrath of the Lamb." But if Ruskin and others who have studied the subject can only guess at a meaning for these strange creatures, we must be content to leave the mystery unsolved.
One wonders, however, why, if the association with King Solomon's Temple is so manifest in the knot, the lions should not have their relation to the same beasts which adorned the approach to King Solomon's throne. And it must not be forgotten, again, that the Hittites' influence is in the oldest piece of sculpture in Europe — viz., the lions at Mykenae; while the Etruscans also attempted representations of the king of beasts, generally as guardians of a gate. Slate tablets also found some years since at Abydos represent lions devouring captives. Tolerably certain, however, it is that the lion of the later Comacines' work had some reference to Christ, and found its way, as the badge of the Brotherhood in some form or other, into most of their more important buildings .
Other ancient badges (for the Comacines were full of symbolism, whether in planning or decorating their buildings), such as the pentalpha and the hexalpha, they had, and these can be traced back to centuries before Christ. And then there are the Mason marks, which from their position can only have been for the identification of work with workmen, and which we find to be identical in churches as far apart as Cefalu, in Sicily, and Canterbury, Lincoln, etc.
COMACINE INFLUENCE IN THE BRITISH ISLES
And now, before we reach the closing part of our theme, let us refer again to the influence of the Comacines on the architecture of the British Isles, for I think it can be demonstrated that such really did exist, and to a quite remarkable degree.
Let us keep in memory a few facts:
First, that with the Roman legions there came to our shores Lodges of Artificers. They in time became Christian, and probably built the Romano-British churches, of which we have already seen there were a considerable number in our land — one, as is well known, at Silchester. Then we get a slacking off in many directions when the Romans left our shores, and after that the inroads of Pagan Saxons gradually obliterating, although not wholly destroying, the influence of Christianity — at any rate, driving it westward until it was almost extinct in the Saxon kingdom. Then, be it remembered, the trend of the Christian migration was to Cornwall, Wales, and Ireland, where in all these districts the Christian faith was kept alive, but cut off from intercourse with Europe, and especially with Italy, except by the open sea.
Then we know that such communication by sea was maintained, and, indeed, existed at least 700 years before the time of Christ. We further find that the Christian Church of Ireland sent the Culdees to Scotland, and thence Christianity spread to the Northern Kingdom, quite before the time of St. Augustine. These Culdees, by the way, are said (Gould's Freemasonry) to have had connection with the Romans in Britain, and to have learned the art of building from their Collegia. They also had the endless cord.
Now all this being so — and let it be emphasized that the districts we are now considering were practically cut off from the civilized world, except by the open sea, by the Pagan Saxons — what do we find? In every one of these countries, even to Northumbria, but practically nowhere else in Great Britain, the Comacine knots, in some cases of two, in some of one, strand only. Also in a few instances the Chi Rho, so abundant in Italy; while in Ireland we get the round towers, about which so much has been speculated, and which are so strikingly similar to those of Ravenna.
It may be said that the surface ornament, of which we are chiefly speaking now, was but the development of the Runic ornament of the Scandinavian, the answer to which is: These are Christian; and while similar ideas may have been carried to the Scandinavians by the Phoenicians, with whom they had early intercourse (and these latter held traditions of Solomon's Temple), it is far more likely it came to our western shores by direct intercourse with Italy.
With regard to the question as to how the Round Towers came into Ireland, Leader Scott's book says: "In the first place, where can similar towers be found dating from times contemporary? The answer is decided in Italy: in Ravenna and Lombardy, from the date A.D. 300 to the fifth and sixes centuries; and they show just that Eastern touch which distinguishes the Byzantine Roman Architecture of Ravenna, and has caused authors to seek the origin of the Round Towers farther east than Italy." Again, with reference to the Solomon's knot, the same author says: "By the ninth and tenth centuries the Irish Cross had reached its full development — it was no longer a sign or slab, but a beautiful upright sculptured Cross, with a circle crowning it like a halo, and suggesting the eternity of the human Cross of our Saviour." St. Patrick, Ireland's great missionary, too, A. D. 375-464, was of continental origin on his mother's side, and Miss Margaret Stokes tells us a great deal about the intercourse between Italy and Ireland — enough to show that it was very direct and complete. Indeed, in her interesting book entitled Six Months in the Apennines, she seems to have renounced the theory that the interlaced work on the Irish crosses and other such devices originated with the Irish or their predecessors, and is forced to the conclusion that from the number of Irish saints who visited or settled in Italy were transmitted to Ireland that which they already found to be in existence in the country of their adoption. St. Patrick, moreover, obscure as in many respects his doings may be, undoubtedly travelled in Italy, and was for some time in the monastery on Lerinus, an island just off Cannes, in the Mediterranean. St. Columbanus also was an Irish saint, and about 613 came to Italy, where he became a very important person, both as a Churchman and a scholar. In Old Cornish Crosses Romilly Allen remarks the connection between Italian and Cornish details.
So much, then, for our western shores. We turn to Saxon England, and have already seen that St. Augustine in A.D. 598 brought over with him several of the community of the Liberi Muratori, and to this it may be added that in 604 he wrote to the Pope asking for more architects and workmen, and these Gregory sent him. Further, it is remarked by the Rev. W. Miles Barnes that the Saxon font in Toller Fratrum Church, Dorset, and the eighth-century well-head at the office of the Ministry of Agriculture, Rome, are decorated with precisely similar interlacing bands in three strands, bordered by a cable moulding. Again, in 601 Pope Gregory sent Paulinus and others to England to assist in missionary work, and this Paulinus is called Magister, implying he was an experienced architect as well as a missionary, and he had his hand in Lincoln and York, the latter a church of basilican type. About this time also the crosses of England began to have interlaced ornamentation, and the Church of St. Andrew at Hexham, built by Wilfred of York, was basilican in its character, with its apse at its west end. More might be said as to phrases and words which indicate Comacine influence on Saxon work, as also to striking similarities in the character of such work — e.g., the round arched external arcades with shafts, capitals and bases, as at Comacina and Bradford-on-Avon — but time and space will not permit; and, in concluding this part of our subject, we may well ask the question: If the Christianized Saxons did not get the ideas of building from Romano-British traditions — and that is not at all likely — whence did they receive them? Surely from the Continent; and if from there, especially during the time when Gregory was Pope, the only conclusion we can regard as reasonable is that either men of a guild who were in favour with him were employed, or Saxon ecclesiastics who had graduated in their schools executed the important works of their day in England. Probably both conclusions are correct, and similar arguments might be applied to the connection between the later developments of architecture in England and Italy.
We have reached the last part of our study. Can we claim that the great Masonic body of to-day in England, America, and the Colonies and Dependencies of the British Isles, are legitimately descended from the Comacines? Through the building guilds of the Later Middle Ages we can, for they were the offspring of that body; and notwithstanding that in 1717, as already stated, our modern Freemasonry was remodelled largely on the regulations of the German Steinmetzen (themselves descendants of the Comacines), yet this by no means proves that it grew out of it. On the contrary, we claim that what happened was an existing corporation or corporations, growing yearly less and less operative and more and more speculative, was finally recast in 1717. This is borne out by the following:
In the Aubrey MS. we find: "Sir William Dugdale told me many yeares since that about Henry the third's time the Pope gave a bull of diploma to an company of Italian architects to travell up and downe over all Europe to build churches. From those are derived the fraternity of Freemasons. They are known to one another by certain signes and markes and watchwords; it continues to this day. They have severall lodges in several countres for their reception, and when any of them fall into decay the brotherhood is to relieve him, etc. The manner of their adoption is formall and with an oath of secrecy." Again, in the year 1375 the term Freemason first appears in the records of the City of LOndon, and this is meant to apply to operative masons who are free of certain taxes, restrictions, etc., and free to travel in time of feudal bondage.
An Italian book, quoted by Leader Scott, 1788, describes the institutions, rules, and ceremonies of Freemasons, and begins with Adoniram, who had so many men to pay at the building of the Temple that he had to divide, them into three classes — novices, operatori, and magistri — each of which class had secret signs and pass words, so that wages could be fixed and imposture avoided. It is significant that these classes existed in the Roman Collegium and the Comacine Guilds, the latter of whom are described in an ancient MS. as Libera Muratori (Free Wall-builders).
Let us briefly sum up our argument.
- Centuries before Christ and the founding of Rome, a race of Hametic descent spread along the Mediterranean shores, and afterwards became known in Syria and Asia Minor as Hittites, in Greece as Pelasgoi, and in Italy as Etruscans.
- Hittites were engaged in building the Temple at Jerusalem, the fame of which spread far and wide.
- The Romans learned their arts of building, decoration and pottery, etc., from the Etruscans, who were the same race as the Hittites, and carried with them some at least of their traditions.
- In Rome developed Collegia of Artificers, and in early Christian days these had traditions of King Solomon.
- At the downfall of Rome the Guild of Artificers left and settled in the district of Como, holding as their centre the island of Comacina.
- That thence they spread their influence over all Western Europe, and even to our own shores.
- That they merged into the great Masonic Guilds of the Middle Ages.
- That, as these guilds died out, their forms and ceremonies were preserved to a great extent in our Masonic lodges — at any rate, under those of the English and American constitutions.
One word in conclusion. Masons more than others will be able to judge adequately the similarity between ancient rite and modern practice. This is inevitable in a subject such as this.
Surely the bidding prayer of English and American Freemasonry must put into prominent rank those grand originals, the Quatuor Coronati, and close upon them, in order of merit, the Comacines.
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NOTES ON ENGLISH FREEMASONRY
Bro. Francis E. White, Grand Secretary, Nebraska
R∴ W∴ Bro. Francis E. White, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska, attended the special session of the Grand Lodge of England, June 23rd, to June 30th, 1919, to commemorate the ending of the World War, as guest of the Grand Lodge of England. The following article is a part of his report to his own Grand Lodge last year. It is recommended to our readers as containing an exceptionally full and detailed account of the machinery of the Grand Lodge of England, and its subordinate bodies. Bro. White has a barrel full of things to say about Masonry but he is so modest a man it is next to impossible to persuade him to appear in public. It is to be hoped that, now that he has once appeared in the columns of THE BUILDER, he will come again.
THE GRAND LODGE of England consists of the Grand Lodge Officers and what is known as subscribing Past Masters, (a subscribing Past Master is one who pays annual dues, including the four shillings a year for benevolences) and the Masters and Wardens who are in office.
Grand Lodge meetings are held quarterly, officers are elected annually. The following only are elected: The Grand Master and the Grand Treasurer. These officers are elected by the Craft, (members of the Grand Lodge). All other officers are appointed by the Grand Master, annually, excepting the Grand Secretary, who is appointed only in case of a vacancy, and holds office so long as his services are satisfactory to the Grand Lodge. The same rule applies to the Grand Tyler.
The attendance at quarterly meetings is about 800 members. The Grand Master does not deliver an address, but may make communications on some special subject. The Pro Grand Master presides and transacts business in the absence of the Grand Master. If both these officers are absent, I assume the Deputy Grand Master would preside. No mileage and per diem, nor expenses, are paid to members of the Grand Lodge.
The Grand Lodge, on ordinary occasions, is in session for from one to two hours. The special Grand Lodge meeting which the delegates from overseas attended, seemed to me more like a church than a Masonic lodge. There is no moving about, no whispering; the utmost decorum is observed, and the closest attention is paid by all members of the Grand Lodge to what is presented for consideration.
There is a Director of Ceremonies, one Deputy Director and twelve assistants, who conduct, with the aid of stewards, all ceremonies, and much attention is given to these features. Every little detail is arranged for in advance and carried out with dignity, order and precision. In all ceremonies we witnessed, which included the conferring of the three degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry, installation ceremony, and the constituting of a lodge, no Monitors were seen. Every officer knew just what he was to say and how he was to say it, and he required neither aid nor prompting.
The income of the Grand Lodge is derived from investments, fees for initiation, dispensations, and warrants. Fees for warrants for new lodges are about $75 fees for dispensations to confer degrees on more than two candidates at one time, $2.50; the same fee for a meeting of a lodge at a time different from the one regularly provided for, or to change the place of meeting, or to wear Masonic clothing in public.
The permanent investments of the Grand Lodge are about $9,000,000. The real property is about $1,000,000, not including buildings used for charity, such as the three Royal institutes, one for boys, one for girls and one for aged people.
All appointed Grand Officers are required to pay an honor fee. This runs from $25.00 to $50.00.
The only fees collected by the Grand Lodge from the subordinate lodges, or the brethren, are for what is known as their benevolent fund. These consist of 4 shillings (96 cents), payable quarterly, for members in London, and one-half of this amount for members in Provinces in England.
A lodge that has existed continuously for 100 years is entitled to a centenary warrant, for which it pays $50.
The numbers of members of the fraternity belonging to English lodges is estimated at 250,000.
The Board of General Purposes has thirty-six members presided over by a President; eight members are appointed by the Grand Master, twelve are elected by lodges in London, and twelve are elected by lodges outside of the City of London. Eight members of the board retire each year. The board holds its meetings monthly. It is divided into six regular committees, and special committees are appointed when needed.
The duties of the board are to consider everything for the upkeep of the Grand Lodge, finances, care of buildings, complaints (grievances). — They have a right to suspend members of lodges. They recommend legislation and consider all matters that are presented to the Grand Lodge. All of their acts are subject to the approval of the Grand Lodge. The board makes its report by its president at the quarterly meeting of all of its acts, but these do not become law, or go into effect until approved at the quarterly meeting following (quarterly meetings do not include the Grand Festivals). A pamphlet is issued by the board and sent to each lodge ten days before the quarterly meeting. It contains a report of the work of the board, and the business that is to be presented for consideration to the Grand Lodge.
There are about 800 chartered lodges in London and it is estimated that there are 50,000 Freemasons belonging to lodges in that city. The average number of members in a lodge is about sixty, and a little more in the country lodges. Among the 800 chartered lodges in London, seven of them are what are known as Temperance lodges, that is to say, lodges where neither spirituous liquor, wine, beer, or anything of an intoxicating nature is used. I visited one of these lodges and they seem to be very enthusiastic about the temperance feature of it. Some of the brethren in conversation with me, said that the desire for temperance in lodges was gradually growing and would hereafter be increased.
A brother may belong to as many lodges as he is willing to pay dues to. One member belongs to thirty lodges. By dispensation, a brother can be Master of more than one lodge at the same time.
The minimum fees for the degrees are about $20; fees generally are about from $20 to $25. Lodges meet generally only in the winter months, an average of five stated meetings a year. They do not hold many meetings after April or May, and begin again in September or October.
The Grand Stewards' Lodge has no number (the only one under the English constitution). The lodge is entitled to rank before any other lodge. The members of the Grand Stewards' Lodge must be Past Grand Stewards. There are nineteen lodges that nominate a Grand Steward yearly. These, and previous members appointed, make up the lodge. Their Masonic clothing is scarlet. The duty of the Grand Steward is to arrange for the quarterly meetings, assist in the ceremonies, and arrange for the Grand Festival and to pay any deficit that may arise from it. There are Past Masters' lodges, consisting of Past Masters only, and they do no work except on request.
There are lodges of instruction. They are not regularly chartered, but work under some chartered lodge, which is responsible for all they do. They pay no benevolent fund to the Grand Lodge, but do a great deal of charity work. The fee for affiliation from brethren who belong to English lodges is about $1.25. If a petition for affiliation comes from a lodge outside of the Grand Jurisdiction of England, the petitioner is required to pay the same fee as for initiation.
They also have Provincial Grand Lodges. There are forty-six of them, presided over by a Grand Master, who has a Deputy and a full set of officers. Provincial Grand Lodges meet annually, but can meet oftener. Their meetings can be attended by any Master Mason. Provincial Grand Lodges legislate on all local matters, but if it relates to the constitution, must be approved by the Grand Lodge. All Provincial Grand Lodges are governed by laws made by the Grand Lodge.
They have what we might call class lodges, that is to say, a lodge composed entirely of members in a certain line of business, such as wholesale butchers, hatters, clothiers, etc.
They also have lodges for nationalities, such as Scotch, French, Italian, etc. In the last named lodges, the language of the nation is used. They also have school lodges.
There are a number of military lodges. The number has been limited to one in a regiment. Formerly a military lodge could not receive petitions from one one below the rank of corporal. This regulation has been changed, and anyone can petition the lodge, regardless of rank.
Masonry is not as popular with the masses of the people as it is with us, but the Freemasons of England prize their Masonry very highly, and are willing to devote an abundance of time and ability to make it a success. I think this may be said of all the officers and members
Dues in a majority of the lodges in London (including dinners), run from (in lodges with four or five meetings a year), $20 to $25. What they term non-dining members dues are from $5.00 to $7.50.
By giving fourteen days' notice the Master can call an emergency meeting for the purpose of balloting on a candidate. No special dispensation is necessary. The Master has full discretion in the matter.
A brother is automatically excluded when three years in arrears with his dues (temporary legislation was affected during the war to preclude such exclusion of brethren on war service). A lodge may also exclude a brother for un-Masonic conduct under the provisions of Rule 210 but one is pleased to be able to say that this power has very seldom to be taken advantage of. In either case, such excluded brother can seek membership in a new lodge, but of course he must produce a certificate stating the condition under which he left any lodge to which he may have belonged.
Exclusion for other causes than for non-payment of dues is about the same as our law. A brother can appeal to the Grand Master and he has the power to set the sentence aside, but a brother may be suspended by a higher authority.
The Grand Lodge law provides that not more than three black balls shall reject, but the lodge can fix the number necessary, at from one, two or three.
There are several kinds of rituals, partly in cipher, but there are no official rituals. The lodges select what they want and purchase them from their Masonic publishing houses. The Grand Lodge has not recognized any of them. It believes only in the mouth to ear way of transmitting the work. However, it does not seem to be able to stop the use of the cipher ritual entirely. I saw no monitors or rituals in use in any of the lodges. In all of the work that I witnessed, the full ceremonial and the conferring of degrees was delivered from memory and was exceedingly well done. The ceremonies all seemed to be contained in the cipher book. Much more attention is paid to ceremonies by our English brethren, and less attention to the work, than with us. Conferring degrees is much more simple. They give all of the essentials, but not much explanation of the symbols, etc. The working tools and the working chart are about the same as we have them. Not much is required in the way of proficiency. No general memorizing of lectures; they do something on this line, but depend more on words, signs, grip and documentary evidence, and if these are correct, it seems to be satisfactory. The opening and closing ceremonies are a little shorter than ours. Otherwise, with a little difference in the phraseology, it is much the same.
Not much is required in the way of examination of visitors, except the essentials in each degree. Reliance is placed in documentary evidence and personal avouchment. Without one of the last two named, I seriously doubt whether anyone could visit an English lodge. Visiting by unknown brethren is not general or promiscuous, as with us. It is generally expected that visitors will wait for an invitation, which can be obtained from some friend, a member of the lodge.
Among the things that most deeply impressed me as a visitor, was the equality that seemed in evidence in all lodge meetings and Masonic gatherings. The brethren seemed to truly meet upon the level. No class or distinction was evident among them.
Another important feature is the way our English brethren look upon a Masonic lodge. It seemed to me as if it were in a good deal the same light as they would look upon their homes. They gladly welcome all whom they find to be people of character and standing, and when they are satisfied on this point, visitors are made very welcome. A few of the Masonic lodges that I visited looked like a kind of family affair. A percentage of the petitions that I heard read, came from, say, a father recommending his son, or a member recommending his son-in-law or some other relative, and in view of the fact that the lodges are small compared with ours, these things bind the brethren together in a bond which is no doubt very close indeed.
The lodges that we visited commence work at about 5 or 6 o'clock in the afternoon, and the work is all disposed of in less than two hours, and they take up the social features of Masonry as they understand it, and practice it. They are generally at dinner about 6:30 or 7 o'clock, and if they are like the brethren that we met on occasions of this kind, they are certainly an extremely happy, jolly, lot of fellows. We were made to feel that we were really one of the brethren assembled, and we were expected to enjoy what they had to offer in the fullest measure. They do not go in for long speeches at these banquets, with tiresome talks and the relating of old stories. They have a few toasts and these are responded to by singing the national anthem, or some hymn. We were told on the way over that our English brethren do not believe in long talks. A few witty remarks after a toast, seem to suit them better than an oration that spreads all over the face of the globe and gets you nowhere.
The programs for the banquets that we attended were largely on the same lines. First, we were briefly but cordially and heartily welcomed in a few words, expressing the great pleasure it was for our English brethren to meet the brethren from over the sea. The first toast was "The King and the Craft," drunk standing. After the toasts were disposed of one verse of the National Anthem was sung. The second toast was "The President of the United States," drunk in the same manner, and the singing-of one verse of "My Country 'Tis of Thee." The third toast was, "Our Visiting Brethren From Over the Seas." This toast was responded to with a great deal of enthusiasm, much applauding, and even some cheering, and one or two of the American brethren and perhaps one of the othe over-seas brethren, would respond. Then would come one or two local toasts, generally about the lodges that we were visiting, or something along that line, and by 10 o'clock we were dismissed.
I visited all three of the Royal institutes and found them all well furnished, and the residents receiving proper care. The Royal Institute for Girls is more is the nature of a private school. The girls, so far as I could note, are fed, clothed and educated. They weal uniforms, and in going through their exercises, which they did for the entertainment of the visitors, presented a very pretty appearance. The uniform as I remember it, was blue, with a red belt, low or oxford shoes, dresses of a proper length, and closing properly buttoned at the neck. The idea, as I understand it, is to turn out from the Royal Institute young women of good character and good habits, and fully prepared to enter the battle of life, with a good prospect of being successful. The whole of the present teachers have all passed through the school.
The Royal Institute for Boys is run on the same lines as the Girls Institute, but the boys do not wear uniforms. I have always been opposed to uniforming children at Masonic Institutes, but after seeing the picture of the girls at the Royal Institute for Girls in England, my opposition nearly disappeared.
"The Freemason" of London, in its issue of January 10, 1920, gives a total for the last twenty years of the donations to each of the three principal benevolences under the direction of the Grand Lodge of England, the Boys' School, the Girls' School and the Royal Beneficent Institution. This total is 2,327,171 pounds, equal to about $14,000,000.
I make no comparison between our efforts at charity, and those of our English brethren, but I do believe there are some lessons we could learn from them. Particularly the segregation of the boys and girls, not only hang them in separate buildings, but in separate towns or cities. Our English brethren in their long and extensive experience, I believe have found this the only way to proceed with safety. Let us follow their example, profit by their experience, and make the change as soon as possible, and not wait until some results follow, that we would all regret but could not cure.
I was under the impression when I went to England, that Masonry there was largely dominated and controlled by Royalty. This I learned was a mistake. Freemasonry is patronized by Royalty. All Past Masters who are in good standing, are members of the Grand Lodge, and they elect the Grand Master. It is however a long time since anyone but a member of the Royal family, was Grand Master. The fact that their constitution provides that where a Grand Master is a Prince of the Royal Blood, he can appoint a Pro Grand Master, shows that someone outside of the Royal family could be elected Grand Master.
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THE ANCIENT AND ACCEPTED SCOTTISH RITE
Due to the increased interest in Masonry following the organization, of the Grand Lodge of England in 1717, many new degrees were invented. About 1754, a body of Masons in Paris selected a group of twenty-two degrees, which, with the original three, constituted what was known as the "Rite of Perfection." These degrees were later adopted by the Grand Lodge of the Three Globes in Berlin and thus came under the patronage of Frederick the Great.
In 1761 a patent was granted to Stephen Morin, authorizing him to carry the "Rite" to America. Bodies were established at Kingston, Jamaica, by him, and at Albany, New York, and Charleston, South Carolina, by deputies appointed by him. The lodge at Albany failed to prosper and soon ceased to exist. The Sublime Grand Lodge of Perfection established by Deputy Isaac DaCosta at Charleston in 1783 was the body from which later our Supreme Council was established. In 1786, it is said, the Grand Constitutions were promulgated by Frederick the Great, as Grand Commander of the Order of Princes of the Royal Secret. By this document his Masonic prerogatives were deposited with a council for each nation to be composed of "Sovereign Grand Inspectors-General of the Thirty-third and last degree of legitimate Freemasonry, limited in numbers to that of the years of Christ on earth." Two such councils were provided for in the United States.
On May 31, 1801, there was organized in Charleston, a Supreme Council of the Thirty-third Degree for the United States of America, the Mother Council of the World, having for its supreme law the Constitution of 1762, the Grand Constitutions of 1786 and the Secret Constitutions. The first Sovereign Grand Commander was John Mitchell.
On August 5, 1813, the Supreme Council of the Northern Jurisdiction was established by a special deputy from the original Supreme Council. By a treaty between the two Supreme Councils, consummated in 1827, the jurisdiction of the Northern Supreme Council was limited to the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. The remaining states and dependencies form the Southern Jurisdiction.
Of the thirty-three degrees included in the Rite, but twenty-nine are exemplified in its bodies in the United States, Great Britain, Canada and Chili, the Supreme Councils in these jurisdictions disclaiming any jurisdiction over the degrees of Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason. Elsewhere, Scottish Rite Masonry is practically the only Masonry known and all of the degrees are conferred in accordance with the ritual of the Rite.
The Ineffable degrees, as conferred in the Southern jurisdiction, begin with the Fourth and extend through the Fourteenth, and are conferred in Lodges of Perfection. The Historical and Religious degrees begin with the Fifteenth and extend through the Eighteenth, and are conferred in Chapters of Rose Croix.
The Chivalric and Philosophic degrees begin with the Nineteenth and extend through the Thirtieth, and are conferred in Councils of Kadosh.
The Official degrees are the Thirty-first and Thirty-second and are conferred in the Consistory.
The rank of Knight Commander of the Court of Honour is not a degree, but a ceremonial of Investiture established by the Supreme Council to point out and to honour those brethren who have deserved well of the Rite.
The thirty-third degree is conferred only by the Supreme Council. It is executive in character. It is only conferred as an Honorary or Official degree on those who as the result of faithful or distinguished service in the Rite, are deemed worthy.
The rank of Grand Cross of the Court of Honour is conferred on a very limited number who, by exceptional service have merited this distinction. In the Northern jurisdiction the grouping of degrees into "bodies" differs slightly from that in the Southern jurisdiction.
The degrees from the Fourth to the Fourteenth are conferred in Lodges of Perfection.
The Fifteenth and Sixteenth degrees are conferred in Councils of Princes of Jerusalem.
The Seventeenth and Eighteenth Degrees are conferred in Chapters of Rose Croix.
The Degrees from the Nineteenth to the Thirty-second are conferred in the Consistory.
There is no rank corresponding to either Knight Commander of the Court of Honour or Grand Cross of the Court of Honour in the Northern Jurisdiction.
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Beauty is the mark God set on virtue. Every natural action is graceful. Every heroic action is also decent, and causes the place and the bystanders to shine.
— R. W. Emerson.
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THE STUDY CLUB
The following paper is one of a series of articles on "Philosophical Masonry," or "The Teachings of Masonry," by Brother Haywood, to be used for reading and discussion in lodges and study clubs — From the questions following each section of the paper the study club leader should select such as he may desire to use in bringing out particular points for discussion. To go into a lengthy discussion on each individual question presented might possibly consume more time than the lodge or study club may be able to devote to the study club meeting.
In conducting the study club meetings the leader should endeavor to hold the discussions closely to the tenet of the paper and not permit the members to speak too long at one time or to stray onto another subject. Whenever it becomes evident that the discussion is turning from the original subject the leader should request the members to make notes of the particular points or phases of the matter they may wish to discuss or inquire into and bring them up after the last section of the paper is disposed of.
The meetings should be closed with a "Question Box" period, when such questions as may have come up during the meeting and laid over until this time should be entered into and discussed. Should any questions arise that cannot be answered by the study club leader or some other brother present, these questions may be submitted to us and we will endeavor to answer them for you in time for your next meeting.
Supplemental references on the subjects treated in this paper will be found at the end of the article.
THE TEACHINGS OF MASONRY
Bro. H. L. Haywood, Iowa
PART V — RITUALISM AND SYMBOLISM
REPETITION is of the essence of ritualism; and since nothing can sooner grow stale or inept than repetition we find many persons who think of ritual as meaningless stage play. To go through the same performance over and over, to say the same words in the same way, and often not even to know the meaning of these actions and these words, is not that rather childish? This question, we take it, has come home to numberless Masons, especially American Masons, for in this country we have so prized originality, novelty, and individuality that we all have a tendency to despise and to fear ceremonial. It may be well for us to reflect a little on ritual, what it is, what it does for us, and why we may all, individualistic as we may be, frankly and intelligently uphold it as having a just right to a major place in the functionings of a Masonic lodge.
Do you grow weary of seeing and hearing the ritual? If so, why? Do you believe it would add to your interest in Masonry to have no two meetings the same? If a man were to taunt you with being a part of a mere "ritual mill" how would you justify yourself?
Man's being has been shaped by a Universe that loves repetition and ceremonial; the inspiration to ritualism is everywhere. Night and day everlastingly succeed each other; the four seasons continue their endless circumambulations, like the candidate about the lodge room: the stars move about in their fixed orbits, the tides rise and fall, moons wax and wane, seedtime and harvest come and go, growth is followed by decay, birth is succeeded by death, and even the comet, once deemed the most capricious of all the major objects of creation, has been found to return upon his own path forever. As man gradually became aware of the tirelessness of these cyclic changes, and as he discovered how his own life was linked thereto, he was filled with awe, and himself learned to form processions, to move in the rhythms of the dance, and to devise solemn religious ceremonials in the hope of discovering the secrets of the Universe. Miss Jane Harrison, in her "Ancient Art and Ritual," has given us a lifelike picture of early man in his rude ritualisms and has taught us to see that to ritualize is in man's nature, and that no amount of rationalizing will ever eradicate from his soul his penchant for thus expressing his thoughts and his emotions.
Can you give other examples of repetition in Nature? Did you ever read Herbert Spencer's famous chapter on "rhythm"? What did ritual mean to ancient man? What connection is there between our drama and ancient dancing and ritualism?
Accordingly, the society in which a man finds himself from his birth on is filled with the elements of ceremony. When the child is born we have a christening; when it enters church it is confirmed; it is taught to kneel when it says its prayers; it is instructed how to comport itself at meals; when the wedding day comes, the neighbours are invited for a formal ceremony; and death is sealed by a "service" which must usually be as much like the ceremony in universal use as possible. When we meet or part we shake hands; the gentleman tips his hat to the lady, and we all arise when a guest or a stranger enters the room. Our courts and legislative assemblies have ceremonies of their own, we learn to keep step when we march to war, and the most informal public assembly insists on some semblance of order. All these things are of the essence of ritual, and hard would it be to give a purely rational justification for them, but there is something in us that demands them.
Give other examples of ritualistic elements in society. Can you name the great churches that make a large use of ritual? What part does ritualism play in Roman Catholicism? What other kind of "Catholicisms" are there? Do you enjoy being a part of ceremony? Why?
Although the social psychologist has not yet explained this penchant there is one advantage of it which lies on the surface where we all can see: ritual floats a man out of himself, and gives him a sense of a larger personality. The boy playing in a band, the soldier marching with his company, the youth moving with his athletic team, the adult in a parade — in these, and in numberless similar instances, the individual forgets himself, and is swept by emotions which seem to him grander and more worthful than his own habitual petty private feelings. The enlargement of the individual consciousness into a group consciousness, that, if we care to adopt psychological lingo, is the secret of the prevalence of ritualistic ceremonies. If we will apply this fact to the use of ritual in the Masonic lodge we shall be better able to appreciate and to understand its practice there.
How do you explain the appeal of ritualism? Why, for example, does a Roman Catholic enjoy participating in a ceremony carried on wholly in Latin? Have you had the experience described in the paper as being "floated out of yourself"?
By having a ritual as the basis of lodge work the lodge is saved from the caprices of the individual, and from the dictatorship of some masterful leader. Suppose that on each night that a degree is conferred the degree were to consist of a speech by some brother, or by one of the officers, and that this speech would be new for each occasion. For a time this might be refreshing and novel but after a while the speeches would lose their interest or would become stereotyped, simply because there are so few men that can make a successful speech. The same would hold true of any form of initiation that might dispense with a ritual: the failure of the individual, or the committee, entrusted with the ceremony; or the crankiness of some man determined to have things his own way, or the low quality of it all, would come in time to disgust everybody. The churches in their present day experience illustrate this, for those religious groups that have wholly depended on the preacher to the exclusion of religious ritual are finding their attendance to fall away. The individual soon wears out: but a rich and many-sided ritual, evolved through generations of usage, full of glancing lights, shadows, and mysteries, is never at the mercy of individual caprices or individual failures.
But it must not be supposed that a ritual, at any rate our Masonic ritual, excludes novelty, and the opportunities for the individual to add to the richness of it all, for there is always room for the member of the degree team to improve the work by his better rendition of it, by his vocal interpretation, by masterful gestures, by superiority of costume, and every lodge has opportunities to show its own genius to the full by way of better equipment and furnishings: moreover, for those who are able to give a speech there is usually plenty of opportunity. The repetition of our ritual does no more destroy individuality than did the constant repetition of "Rip Van Winkle" destroy the winsome personality of Joseph Jefferson.
Also it may be noted that a ritual, at any rate such as ours, is far richer in meaning and power than would be the production of any one man; it has been shaped by many hands; its wisdom has come from many minds, and from ages of experience; the art of it has ripened through time like the tints of a mountain-side: there is in it something profounder than any work of one person.
How could Masonic work be carried on without rituals? Do you believe that most of the Protestant churches need more symbolism and ritualism in their services? In what way is ritual an aid to worship? How could your own lodge improve its presentation of the work? How did ritualism arise in Freemasonry ?
It is by means of the ritual that Freemasonry maintains its own identity. Why have some of our Protestant churches changed out of all recognition since their inception? Because it has been left to each leader to shape things very much to suit himself: a succession of private interpretations has overlaid the original message. It would be so with us were it not for our ritual: that ritual of course was changed, but so little, and so gradually, that tonight the young man who takes his First degree will say and do things very much as the young man did several hundred years ago. Also, it is a satisfying thing for the young man tonight to feel that what he is doing in a lodge in the United States some other young man is doing across the world, and other young men, here and elsewhere, will do for ages to come. And when that young man is witnessing in his old age the initiation of his favourite grandson it will bring the tears to his eyes to see and hear just what he saw and beard on the night of his own initiation. Thus it is that it is by means of the ritual that the Fraternity keeps its identity and holds fast to its members the whole world over, and is able to escape dissolution by the washings and the attritions of time.
Furthermore we may say, though there is little room to say more on so rich a subject, that the ever-lasting repetition of the same ritual means that every word becomes associated in the mind of each Mason with varied experiences. The fixed element in the life of the lodge is like a solid rock on which the coral build, or like an old homestead which gathers associations from the generations that have lived in it.
And this ritualistic element, being something that almost any man can learn, excludes no man from participating in the lodge activities. If each lodge meeting meant a speech, or a new program, or some novelty, only a few gifted men could ever take a part. As it is there is not a member so ungifted that he cannot at least join the side lines in the battery of acclamation when a candidate is brought to light.
Were there more space for our thoughts twice as much could be said. It is sufficient to recall to our minds how great a treasure we have in our ritual, composed as it is of riches drawn from all parts of the world and from all ages: and to know that it is the Order's great secret of vitality, undying youth, and — this perhaps has not been sufficiently suggested — of a genuine originality of individual development. For there can be no freedom for a man where there is not also the strictest regulations.
If all the stars were to take to novelty, and move freely about like birds in the air; if all the familiar things about us were suddenly to lust after originality and begin rapidly each to become something else, we should have a great insanity and no Universe at all, and in such an imbroglio freedom, spontaneity, originality, individual liberty would vanish, for where order is not freedom cannot be.
Do you agree with the paper in saying that Masonry maintains its identity by means of the ritual? How does a great political party maintain its identity? How long does a political party exist as a rule? How long has Masonry lasted? Have you found the Masonic ritual to grow in meaning through seeing it again and again? How would you explain the fact that a fixed order is necessary to individual originality? Does anarchy make for individual freedom?
Of Symbolism even more can be said than of Ritualism far it has been more universally in use, and is capable of a much wider application. Symbols were the first speech of man. Before words and letters were devised pictures were drawn to convey thoughts, and arbitrary signs were made to stand for many things. Nearly all primitive language is symbolical language, for "the voice of the sign," as Robert Freke Gould has described it, can be understood by children and savages. And in our own present day society, after the use of words has been refined almost infinitely, symbols remain in use on every hand. The crepe on the door is the sign of death; a ring stands for the engagement of a man and a woman, or for their wedding; the lily signifies Easter and immortality, and the employment of buttons, badges, heraldic devices, flags, and what not, is endless. If one could trace a human life through every detail of its existence from birth to death, he would find that human existence is all covered over with symbols, like the Red Man's tepee.
How do you explain a symbol? Give as many examples as you can of the symbolisms you have encountered during one day's experience. Is a flag a symbol? When did flags first come in use? What did the Greeks and Romans use for flags?
There is nothing arbitrary or simple-minded in the use of a device so universal, neither is there any difficulty in discovering why it is that symbols are so native to us all.
For one thing, a symbol does not exhaust itself so quickly as words. There is mystery and depth in it, an infinity of suggestiveness, an incitement to new approaches of thought. Suppose, for example, that we should substitute a set speech to convey to a candidate the lesson inculcated by the drama of Hiram Abiff! The mere abstract ideas could be thus expressed but how soon they would lose their power over the Man's mind! As it is, no man can witness the symbolical presentation of the tragedy, even for the hundredth time, without finding himself in a new mood, or in the possession of new thoughts. There is something inexhaustible in the symbol, so that it will live long after many languages have died. It keeps saying; to us, "You have rightly guessed this meaning, and that; but I have a thousand other meanings you have not yet hit upon."
This suggests another of the best uses of symbolism. We cannot learn the message of a symbol with a merely passive and receptive mind, because it is of the genius of symbolism to hide as well as to reveal. When a thing is conveyed to us in clear simple words, or in plain pictures, such as one sees in the movies, there is no need that one make a great effort of his own mind to comprehend it all; but when a symbol is put before us, and we have a reason for securing its message to us, our own minds must act, for no symbol wears its meaning on its sleeve. Its value for us is like gold hidden away in the mountain — the miner must dig for it. And that in itself is a virtue, because many men are cursed by the refusal to use their own faculties. They go through the whole of their lives parroting other men's thoughts, and such a life is necessarily lacking in the pleasure of making mental discoveries, which is one of life's sweetest joys.
All the greatest things, love, friendship, death, immortality, religion, patriotism, etc., speak to us through symbols. A flag fluttering at the head of a column of soldiers will stir us as can no oratory: a cross will suggest more about death than any sermon. Perhaps this is because the symbol has so many avenues through which to reach the mind; it partakes of the qualities of the picture, of acts, of sounds, of words, and of ceremony, and because of its wide use and great antiquity there cling about it untold associations.
Have you ever tried to decipher the meanings of our Masonic symbols? How many of those symbols can you name? How would you set about to explain the meaning of the apron? What advantage is there in the fact that each man must think out for himself the meaning of a symbol? Do the ritualistic churches leave it to each member to discover for himself the meaning of their symbols? In what way does Freemasonry differ from those institutions ? What other institutions make a large use of symbolism?
A symbol, unless it is one invented by some individual in a purely arbitrary way, is usually understood everywhere; it speaks a universal language. A circle to us means "infinity," because it has neither beginning nor end. It means the same thing in India and Japan. It meant the same thing to men who lived before the dawn of history. Freemasonry could never have become a worldwide institution had not its ritual been an assemblage of symbols, had not it learned long ago to teach by means of emblems and symbols. If its teachings were set down in a book that book would have to be translated from language to language, never a satisfactory process; speaking in symbols its language is "understanded of the people" everywhere.
Also, the symbolical character of the teaching of Freemasonry has tended toward that intellectual tolerance which is one of its glories. There can be no dogmatic and official interpretation of a symbol to compel the unwilling assent of any mind; the symbol's message is, by virtue of its very nature, fluid and free, so that every man has a right to think it out for himself. Of Masonic teachers and scholars there have been many — Oliver, Preston, Pike, Mackey, and others equally as honourable to our history — and these have given us noble interpretations of Masonry, but no Mason is ever compelled to accept them unless he choose. In a great Order which teaches by means of the living "voice of the sign" there never can be a pope.
Which reminds us that symbolism in itself is no infallible thing, and not the whole of wisdom. Just as there are good books and bad, and good men and bad, so are there good and bad symbols, and each one must keep toward all symbolisms an active and critical mind. We must always discriminate.
Did you ever read Rudyard Kipling's story, "The Man Who Would be King"? If so, how does it teach the fact that symbols are a universal language? How would you yourself illustrate that fact? in what way does symbolism make for intellectual toleration? Are any of the Masonic symbols failures as such? Are there any you would care to have dispensed with? Why?
After studying the philosophy of symbolism under the leadership of the foregoing hints it will be well for the student or the study club to investigate a further question: What rule shall, we go by in trying to interpret Masonic symbols? What was said of each member's right to think out the symbols for himself did not imply, of course, that he ever has a right to interpret a Masonic symbol without thinking, or that he can ever discover a true interpretation without due regard for what others have thought of it. That procedure would be not free thought but an absence of thought. I myself believe, and have found in practice the soundness of, the historical principle of interpretation. By this is meant that if we undertake to interpret some symbol we must first try to learn what that symbol has always meant to the Fraternity during times past. If we ask ourselves, for example, what is the meaning of the square and compass, we should try to discover when that symbol came into use in the Fraternity; why it thus came into use; what it then meant, and then we should try to learn what the Fraternity has understood by this symbol during the subsequent centuries. This would save us from an interpretation based on ignorance, or arbitrariness, or our own crotchets, and it would also throw new light for us on what Freemasonry as a whole means.
How have you interpreted the Masonic symbols? Have you any rule to go by? Does the use of a rule of interpretation interfere with the right of private interpretation? If your son were to be initiated into the First degree tomorrow how would you go about explaining to him what it all means? How would it benefit the whole Order if all its members were to undertake to find out what the symbols mean?
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The following references will furnish much interesting material on the subjects touched upon in the preceding paper by Brother Haywood.
Mackey's Encyclopedia (Revised Edition):
Esoteric Masonry, p. 249; Exoteric, p. 257; Ritual, p. 627.
The series of ceremonies combined into a system forms the ritual which in the inner or outer aspects becomes esoteric or exoteric accordingly. Ritual is the method of instruction by which the means of recognizing one another is taught the newcomers among the Brotherhood, the signposts by whose light we are directed to the scientific and philosophical treasures of the Craft and the wealth of associations in the evidence and encouragement toward Masonic progress submitted to the initiate by the lodge.
Emblem, p. 240; Symbol, p. 751; Symbol, Compound, p. 752; Symbolic Degrees, p. 752; Symbolism, The Science of, p. 754.
The distinction between emblems and symbols is explained and the inter-relation of them as the very alphabet of the Craft is made clear and helpful. These are the very beacon lights by which the Writers and expounders of ritual blaze the way to proficiency. They are aids to the memory, suggestive reminders of important lessons, features that as the very elements in the face of an old friend make Freemasonry known and beloved.
Hiram, p. 329; Hiram or Huram, p. 329; Hiram Abif, p. 329; Master Mason, p. 474; Temple, p. 766; Temple of Ezekiel, p. 767; Temple of Herod p. 767; Temple of Solomon, p. 767; Temple of Zerubbabel, p. 769; Temple, Symbolism of the, p. 774; Workmen at the Temple, p. 857.
We cannot learn too much of the Third degree nor of the many matters suggested to the thinking Freemason by the mere mention of it. Brother Haywood points out so much indeed on which so little can be properly said in print that the above references are offered to supply what this commentator would fain deal with more fully if Masonic propriety permitted.
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OUR STUDY CLUB PLAN
"The Bulletin Course of Masonic Study," of which the foregoing paper by Brother Haywood is a part, was begun in THE BUILDER early in 1917. Previous to the beginning of the present series on "Philosophical Masonry," or "The Teachings of Masonry," as we have titled it, were published some forty-three papers covering in detail "Ceremonial Masonry" and "Symbolical Masonry" under the following several divisions: "The Work of a Lodge," "The Lodge and the Candidate," "First Steps," "Second Steps," and "Third Steps." A complete set of these papers are obtainable in the bound volumes of THE BUILDER for 1917, 1918, 1919 and 1920, and the remaining papers of the series may be had in the 1921 bound volume which will be ready for delivery early in December. Single copies of 1921 back numbers are not obtainable, our stock having become exhausted.
Following is an outline of the subjects covered by the current series of study club papers by Brother Haywood:
THE TEACHINGS OF MASONRY
General Introduction. — A. Reasons for a course explaining what the "teachings of Masonry" mean. — B. How one can arrive at his own Philosophy of Masonry. — Conclusion. The Philosophy of Masonry is not a study of philosophy in general, but such a study of Masonry as a philosopher gives to any great intellectual problem.
- The Masonic Conception of Human Nature.
- The Idea of Truth in Freemasonry.
- The Masonic Conception of Education.
- Masonic Ethics.
- Masonry and Industry.
- The Brotherhood of Man.
- The Fatherhood of God.
- Endless Life.
- Brotherly Aid.
- Schools of Masonic Philosophy.
This systematic course of Masonic study has been taken up and carried out in monthly and semi-monthly meetings of lodges and study clubs all over the United States and Canada, and in several instances in lodges overseas.
The course of study has for its foundation two sources of Masonic information, THE BUILDER and Mackey's Encyclopedia.
HOW TO ORGANIZE AND CONDUCT STUDY CLUB MEETINGS
Study clubs may be organized separate from the lodge, or as a part of the work of the lodge. In the latter case the lodge should select a committee, preferably of three "live" members who shall have charge of the study club meetings. The study club meetings should be held at least once a month (excepting during July and August, when the study club papers are discontinued in THE BUILDER), either at a special communication of the lodge called for the purpose, or at a regular communication at which no business (except the lodge routine) should be transacted — all possible time to be devoted to study club purposes.
After the lodge has been opened and all routine business disposed of, the Master should turn the lodge over to the chairman of the study club committee. The committee should be fully prepared in advance on the subject to be discussed at the meeting. All members to whom references for supplemental papers have been assigned should be prepared with their material, and should also have a comprehensive grasp of Brother Haywood's paper by a previous reading and study of it.
PROGRAM FOR STUDY CLUB MEETINGS
- Reading of any supplemental papers on the subject for the evening which may have been prepared by brethren assigned such duties by the chairman of the study club committee.
- Reading of the first section of Brother Haywood's paper.
- Discussion of this section, using the questions following this section to bring out points for discussion.
- The subsequent sections of the paper should then be taken up and disposed of in the same manner.
- Question Box. Invite questions on any subject in Masonry, from any and all brethren present. Let the brethren understand that these meetings are for their particular benefit and enlightenment and get them into the habit of asking all the questions they may be able to think of. If at the time these questions are propounded no one can answer them, send them in to us and we will endeavor to supply answers to them in time for your next study club meeting.
The foregoing information should enable study club committees to conduct their meetings without difficulty. However, if we can be of assistance to such committees, or any individual member of lodges and study clubs at any time such brethren are invited to feel free to communicate with us.
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THE RECEDING TIDE
FOR THREE YEARS now the Fraternity has been enjoying a renaissance. A new breath, like that which passes over the numb earth in the spring-time, has gone over the Masonic world and set the flowers to growing, the trees to burgeoning, and made the sap of life to mount in the most withered limbs. Masons everywhere have rejoiced in a new sense of corporate power.
The signs of all this have been unmistakable. More new temples are now under way, or in project, and they a finer and more costly lot of buildings than one would have dared to hope for ten years ago. The community which was once proud of a temple that cost a quarter of a million is now paying for a million dollar edifice to house its Masonic bodies. Membership is on the increase, or rather has been until lately, as will be presently noted. The nation has a Masonic administration; and an increasing number of cities feel the impact of Masonic power in school boards and other branches of municipal life. Grand Lodges are attempting new enterprises, and a score of movements are consequently now under way which would have proved impossible ten years ago. In the past two or three years several new auxiliaries have been launched under what now seem to be most favorable auspices, notably those for boys of Masonic parentage. A new spirit is manifest in the Masonic press, and new enterprises are under way in that difficult field. One of the most significant of these is the Fellowship Forum, issued fron Washington, under the direction of some of the ablest men in the Fraternity: this national weekly, which is devoted to the fraternal interpretation of world events would be a credit to any institution in existence. And so it goes. Evidently a new life is sprouting out of the ground.
It is impossible to play the Jeremiah at such a time as this. But there is one word of caution which wise Masons speak, and which it will be well for all Masons to heed, more especially those brethren who, because of their office, carry the responsibility for lodges. According to our statisticians the peak of increase was reached last January. Since then the rate has been dropping toward normal, and it is very evident that the extraordinary rush for Masonic initiation will be over by this winter. Those who bear this in mind should also remember that many young men entered our portals under the stress of war excitement and that a percentage of these may not sustain their interest. From now on, or at least this will apply to this winter, the number of those suspended for N.P.D. will increase in something like a rate to correspond to the abnormality of the recent increase.
The wise will take note and govern themselves accordingly to these indisputable facts. The small lodge and the young lodge should take in sail a little, and make their plans to fit normal times. Large lodges should make sure that they can finance their building plans before letting contracts. There is no need to be caught by the shrinkage of income (comparative shrinkage, that is to say) unprepared, especially when the figures are available. Above all, no lodge should be carried away by enthusiasm for expansive enterprises to such an extent as to jeopardize its powers for Masonic relief. All the temples and all the projects are secondary to that. Every dollar spent to help the needy is worth two dollars spent for any other purpose.
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Some of the most solid and constructive work being done anywhere in the Craft stands to the credit of Employment Bureaus. The record is one of which a government might be proud. And if the story could be written of all the men who have thus been enabled to find their feet again; of families which by the Bureaus' aid have been kept together; the boys and girls that have been saved from child labor, and the crime that has been averted, it would fill a great volume alive with human interest, human sobs, human tears, and no Mason could read it without feeling that, after all, the treat claims which Masonry makes for itself are abundantly justified. And if there be one who believes that, good as this work is, it is not the proper function of a lodge, but should be turned over to civil agencies, let him recall the fact that it is a Mason's duty to help a brother in distress. If the being out of work is not distress that hard word has no meaning at all. And if it be Masonic and kindly for one man to help another to find work, how much better still is it where that service is rendered by trained and experienced agencies with all the resources of the Craft behind them!
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MASONRY'S COUNTLESS ACTIVITIES
American Masonry is engaged in countless activities. During the Great War every Grand Lodge in the nation took its glorious part in relief work of some kind. At the present time a great majority of Grand Lodges are undertaking some form of Americanization efforts inspired by the belief that to make men good and true citizens is the best way to prevent much crime, disloyalty, and bad behavior. One Grand is now carrying on a crusade against the social Another is founding a system of dormitories in its university. A third is devoting most of its effort a Masonic home which it hopes to make the mode its kind. Others are deep in educational schemes, — Masonic education, that is. In the Northwest, AntiBolshevism is very much in the air. And so it goes, ad infinitum!
One is sometimes led to wonder where the limitations of Masonic activity should be set. What is Masonic duty and what is not? What are Grand Lodges in existence to do? Should Masons lay on their conscience all the ills of the time? Is Masonry responsible for the cleansing of every stall in the Augean stable?
A story — told as a true narrative — went rounds of the churches a few years ago which is here very much in point. The thing happened a year or two after Walter Rauschenbush had published his "Christianity and the Social Crisis," and preachers everywhere were being carried away by the crusade for social justice and reform. One of the general conventions of a very large denomination was deluged by resolutions and speeches urging the church to assume this burden and that with a view of ridding the world of some evil until it seemed that there would be a "world task" for every individual member. At last an elderly brother secured a hearing long enough to say this: "Brethren, as I was coming out here to this convention city, I noticed everywhere large billboards which told us in strong language that the babies of the United States are everywhere crying for Castoria. I submit to you, that if the babies of the country are thus crying for Castoria it is the duty of the church to see that they get it."
It may be that Grand Lodges are running amuck with the reform passion and undertaking a hundred things that do not at all lie on the shoulders of us Masons. Be it so! Such is a noble weakness, and a thousand times better than the old smug days when the Craft gloried in its seclusion and aloofness like a monk on the Thebaid. The Grand Lodges that try impossible things will soon weary of their fruitless endeavors; and those that undertake too many efforts can abandon such as they cannot carry. No harm will be done.
Those who tend to grow bewildered by the numberless calls being made upon the Craft can find safety in the very sound principle that in such matters experience must guide, and that nobody can say in advance what a Grand Lodge should or should not do in its efforts to do good. Conditions differ over the country differ more than we may think, and it can be safely left to each Grand Lodge to meet and solve its own problems, which are often peculiar to itself. It will not bring disgrace upon the Fraternity if it overdoes itself in trying to help mankind. The world never has to wear itself out giving thanks for such venial mistakes, for such mistakes are not often made.
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PUBLICATIONS WANTED, FOR SALE, AND EXCHANGE
We are constantly receiving inquiries from members of the Society and others as to where they might obtain books on Masonry and kindred subjects, other than those listed each month on the inside back cover of THE BUILDER. Most of the publications wanted have been out of print for years. Believing that many such books might be in the hands of other members of the Society willing to dispose of them we are setting apart this column each month for the use of our members. Communications from those having old Masonic publications will also be welcomed.
Post office addresses are here given that those interested may communicate direct with each other, no responsibility of any nature to be attached to the Society.
It is requested that all brethren whose wants may be filled through this medium communicate with the Secretary so that the notices may then be discontinued.
By Bro. George D. MacDougall, New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, Canada: "History and Cyclopaedia," by Oliver and Macoy; "A Concise Cyclopedia of Freemasonry," by E. L. Hawkins, "Masonic Facts for Masons," by W. H. Russell; "Genius of Freemasonry," by J.D. Buck; "The Traditions, Origin and Early History of Freemasonry," by A.T.C. Pierson; "Illustrations of Freemasonry," by Wm. Preston; "The Spirit of Freemasonry," by Wm. Hutchinson.
By Bro. D.D. Berolzheimer, 1 Madison Ave., New York, N.Y.: "Realities of Masonry," Blake, 1879; "Records of the Hole Craft and Fellowship of Masons," Condor, 1894; "Masonic Bibliography," Carson, 1873; "Origin of Freemasonry," Paine, 1811.
By Bro. Ernest E. Ford, 305 South Wilson Avenue, Alhambra, California; Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, volumes 3, 6 and 7, with St. John's Cards, also St. John's Cards for volumes 4 and 5; "Masonic Review," early volumes; "Voice of Masonry," early volumes; Proceedings Grand Council of California for the years 1877, 1878 and 1879; Transactions Supreme Council Southern Jurisdiction for the years 1882 and 1886.
By Bro. Henry H. Klussmann, 310 Monastery St. West Hoboken, New Jersey: "The Masonic Eclectic," volumes 1 and 2, published by Masonic Publishing and Manufacturing Co., York, N. Y.; "The Historical Landmarks and Other Evidences of Freemasonry," by George Oliver, D.D., published by Masonic Publishing Co., Wm. T. Anderson, 3 East 4th St., New York, N.Y.
By Bro. David E. W. Williamson, P. O. Box 754, Rerno Nevada: Perdiguier's "Livre du Compagnonnage," and W.H. Rylands' "Freemasonry in the Seventh Century," quoted in Gould's "Concise History of Freemasonry."
By Bro. H. Sandelands, 9258 91st St., Edmonton, Alberta, Canada: "The Spirit of Freemasonry," by Wm. Hutchinson; Signs and Symbols," by Dr. G. Oliver; "Symbolical Teachings of Masonry and Its Message," by T. M. Stewart; "Sidelights on Freemasonry," by J. T. Lawrence.
By Bro. Silas H. Shepherd, Hartland, Wisconsin, "Catalogue of the Masonic Library of Samuel Lawrence," "Second Edition of Preston's Illustrations of Masonry."
FOR SALE OR EXCHANGE
By Bro. Silas H. Shepherd, Hartland, Wisconsin, "Stray Leaves from a Freemason's Note Book," by George Oliver. This volume also contains "Some Account of the Schism showing the presumed origin of the Royal Arch Degree." Univ. Mas. Lib. edition. Price $3.00. "Lights and Shadows of Freemasonry by Robert Morris. (Fiction and anecdotes.) Price $3.50
By Bro. F.R. Johnson, 3425 East 61st St., Kansas City, Mo., "The History of Freemasonry," by Robert Freke Gould, published by the John C. Yorkston Co., silk cloth binding, first-class condition, four volumes, $17.00; "History of Freemasonry," by J.W.S. Mitchell, P.G.M. of Missouri 1844-45, full morocco binding, $15.00; "The History of Freemasonry," by Albert G. Mackey, seven volumes, practically new, $30.00; "The Standard History of Freemasonry," by J. Fletcher Brennan, published in 1885, one volume; "Gems from the Quarry," by John H. Brownell, Editor of the American Tyler, 1893, $6.00; "Antiquities of the Orient Unveiled," by M. Walcott Redding, 1877, $5.00; History and Cyclopedia," by Oliver and Macoy, full morocco binding, $10.00.
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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.
"EUREKA" AND THE FORTY-SEVENTH PROBLEM
What is the real origin of the expression "Eureka," and how did it get into the ritual?
An extract from the article on Archimedes in Dr. Thomas' Biographical Dictionary says that Archimedes, the greatest geometer of antiquity, was born in the state of Syracuse, Sicily, about 287 B.C., and was of Greek extraction. He is supposed to have been a pupil of Conon of Egypt, and a relative of Heiron II, King of Syracuse. He enjoyed the favor and patronage of Heiron and of his son Gelon. Among a few recorded incidents of his life is the following: He was consulted by the king in regard to a gold crown which the latter suspected to be alloyed with silver by a fraudulent artificer. While he was pondering the mode of detecting this fraud, he immersed himself in a full bath-tub, and, with the thought that the water which overflowed must be equal in bulk to his body, he discovered the mode of ascertaining the bulk of the crown compared with an equally heavy mass of pure gold. He was so transported with joy that he ran home undressed, exclaiming, "Eureka (or, rather, Heureka), I have found it!"
"A Manual of the Lodge," by A. G. Mackey, (1863 edition), gives the explanation of the 47th Problem of Euclid as we have it in the present monitor of Wisconsin.
"The Freemason's Monitor," by Thos. S. Webb (1806 edition), has the same explanation as at present.
Preston's "Illustrations of Masonry" does not enumerate the emblems but states that this section "illustrates the hieroglyphical emblems restricted to the Third degree." In a note by George Oliver in the 14th edition (1829), he says, "Amongst these hieroglyphics we find the Pot of Incense as an emblem of a pure heart, the Bee Hive as a symbol of industry; the Hour Glass to point out the rapidity of time, and the Scythe to convince us of the uncertainty of human life; the Anchor and Art to invigorate us with hopes of future reward; the Sword of retributive Justice; the All-seeing Eye; the Three Steps of Youth, Manhood and Old Age, &c., &c." It would be interesting to know if the 47th Problem of Euclid was one of the &c's. As far as I have been able to see representations of 18th century charts and floor cloths, there is no pictorial representation of the 47th Problem.
So far as I am able to verify, the earliest mention is by Webb in his "Monitor," and the earliest pictorial representation is in Jeremy Cross' "Masonic Chart" of 1819.
It would appear doubtful if A. G. Mackey believed in the truth of the ritualistic expression of Pythagoras making the exclamation "Eureka," as he does not mention it in his article on Pythagoras in his Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry in telling of his being credited with the discovery of the 47th Problem.
As noted by Brother Shepherd in his paragraphs above, the ritualistic account of "Eureka" is evidently very much mixed. It was not Pythagoras who exclaimed "Eureka," but Archimedes. Pythagoras would not have sacrificed an hecatomb of oxen because he was a vegetarian, taught the transmigration of souls, and forbade his disciples to practice animal sacrifice, and there is no way of proving that it was Pythagoras who discovered the Forty-seventh Proposition, which proposition, by the way, is the Forty-seventh Theorem in Euclid's first book. Vitruvius attributed it to him, and so did many ancient writers; but Plutarch says — and there are other writers of that day to agree with him — that the Egyptians knew and used the Proposition long before Pythagoras was born. To some of the Egyptian schools, it seems, the base, or 4, represented Osiris, the male principle; the perpendicular, 3, represented Isis, the female principle, and the hypotenuse, or 5, represented Horus, the offspring.
Bro. G. W. Speth remarked about it that "for 160 years at least we have had that symbol and do not yet understand it," but it is almost certain that we have had it for a longer period than that. In one of the earliest editions of his Constitutions Anderson had the Proposition printed on the cover — he himself never tired of brooding over it. "It is the foundation of all Masonry if properly observed," he said once, and again he spoke of it "as that amazing Proposition which is the foundation of all Masonry." Masonic symbologists have studied the Proposition most exhaustively. Bro. Hoffman wrote a whole book about it. Bro. Sydney T. Klein wrote a great essay on the subject, "The Great Symbol," which was published in the Transactions of the Lodge Quatuor Coronati, volume 10, page 82, quite the best essay, in the writer's opinion, that now exists on the matter. R.W. Billings says of it that "it contains perhaps more than any other geometric figure the power of variation, and we have by no means exhausted its fertility of change." He gives 100 examples. In it one can find the jewels of the Worshipful Master, of the Senior and Junior Wardens, the apron, the square, the tau cross, cross, etc. Its high place among the geometrical symbols of the Craft, in both ancient and modern times, may very well be due to its complexity, its almost infinite susceptibility to use.
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ORIGIN OF THE NAMES "HIRAM ABIFF"
What is the origin of the name Hiram Abiff?
The name from which "Hiram Abiff" originated is found only in the Chronicles version of the building of Solomon's Temple, and in that version, it so happens, the name occurs in three different forms. In II Chronicles, 2:11, it is given as Huram-abi; in II Chronicles, 4:11, it is given as Huram; and in II Chronicles, 4:16, it is Huram-abiu.
"Abi" or "Abiu" meant "his son," or "right-hand man," or trusted counsellor."
To explain the inconsistencies in the account of this Hiram, who must be kept distinct from Hiram King of Tyre, and to explain the differences in nomenclature, Hebrew scholars have invented the most ingenious theories, none of which has as yet been generally accepted. You will find the whole matter very exhaustively canvassed in Brother A. S. MacBride's "The Four Hirams of Tyre," the second part of which appeared in THE BUILDER for April, 1917.
In studying all matters concerning the Temple of Solomon it is wise to remember that the version given in our ritual has come to us from many sources other than the Old Testament — that the tragedy of Hiram Abiff, as you will know, is not found at all in the Old Testament.
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MASONIC AFFILIATIONS OF BROTHER JOHN GARFIELD EMERY, NATIONAL COMMANDER OF THE AMERICAN LEGION
Can you tell me if the new National Commander of the American Legion, John G. Emery, is a member of the Masonic Fraternity?
We are informed by Brother Lou B. Winsor, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Michigan, who personally conferred the Scottish Rite degrees upon brother John Garfield Emery, the new National Commander of the American Legion, that Brothel Emery is a very enthusiastic Mason. He is a member of York Lodge No. 410, F.&A.M., and De Molai Commander No. 5, K. T., of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and has served as Captain General of that Commandery for several years. Brother Emery's Scottish Rite membership is with DeWitt Clinton Consistory and coordinate bodies.
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CHIEF JUSTICE W. H. TAFT MEMBER OF A CINCINNATI LODGE
Please inform me if Ex-President William Howard Taft, who has recently been appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, is a member of the Masonic Fraternity.
William Howard Taft is a member of Kilwinning Lodge No. 356, F.&A.M., Cincinnati. He was made a Mason "at sight" in 1909, shortly before his inauguration as President of the United States, an account of which will be found on page 49 of the 1916 bound volume of THE BUILDER.
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GROUP PICTURE ON $1 U. S. TREASURY NOTE OF NO MASONIC SIGNIFICANCE
Has the scene depicted in the upper left hand corner of the face of the $1.00 U.S. Notes, series of 1917, any Masonic significance?
If so, will you kindly give me the history connected with it, the name of the artist or engraver who is responsible for it, and any other facts in connection with it which may be at your disposal?
C.E.K., New York.
We shall say "no" until somebody brings forth some tangible evidence to the contrary, such as the word of the designer of the picture.
The event depicted is of no Masonic significance, and as for the attitudes of two or three of the characters they seem to be purely accidental. The gestures and postures cannot, except by a liberal stretch of the imagination, be identified with any Masonic sign or gesture. Whatever similarity there is, is doubtless purely a matter of coincidence. You can prove this by reference to any group picture in which there is a great deal of action — somewhere among the characters you will find a man in an attitude or using a gesture that reminds one of something Masonic.
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ORDER OF THE EASTERN STAR
In your opinion do you consider the Order of the Eastern Star a sectarian or a non-sectarian fraternity? Has it a real connection with the Masonic fraternity?
M.S., New York.
It depends very much on what you mean by "sectarian." If you mean an organization devoted to some one religion, or resting on some one religion, then the answer is that it is not sectarian, because it is neither Jewish nor Christian. Its principles, tenets, and spirit, however, seem to have more in common with Protestant Christianity than with any other faith.
It is not a Masonic organization in any sense of that word, except the loosest, which would cover the whole family of societies associated with or similar to Freemasonry, such as the Shrine, the Grotto, the Sciots, the Rosicrucians, the Acacia Fraternity, etc. But in every stricter sense, in the legal and historical definitions, the O.E.S. is not a Masonic body.
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NO REPORT OF NEW DISCOVERIES ON THE SITE OF SOLOMON'S TEMPLE
For a number of years our lodge has been a subscriber to THE BUILDER, but if anything has ever appeared relative to the long-looked-for discoveries, expected by all Masons, when the Allies displaced the Turks in the Holy Land, at the site of the Temple on Mount Moriah, we have missed it. If you have anything of interest on the subject we would appreciate a reference so that we might look up the matter.
If any such revelations have been made they have not yet been brought to our attention. Should any brother know of any such he will confer a boon upon us all by communicating the same to THE BUILDER.
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BLACK AND WHITE MASONRY
In a little book I was reading recently I came across a reference to "Black and White Masonry." It seemed to me that the writer must have in mind something about Negro lodges, but I could not be sure, so write to you for information.
G.T.S., West Virginia.
Your author no doubt referred to the Knights Templar. In early days in Scotland the Order, owing to the custom of wearing black and white, came to be called "the Black and White Masons." According to the traditions, the Templars wore white in the period when they flourished, but changed it to black after the execution of the last (historical) Grand Master, Jacques de Molay.
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What is meant by "Emulation Working" and where is it used?
L.M.P., South Carolina.
In the Masonic systems under the jurisdiction of the Grant Lodge of England several forms of the "work" are in use, the Grand Lodge leaving it to the subordinate lodge to make its own choice. Among these forms are the "Ritus Oxoniensis" or "Oxford Working," "Stability Working," "the Scottish Working," "Emulation Working," etc. Among these the last named seems to be the most popular, and dates from an early time, probably from about 1814 or 1815, soon after the Union was effected between the "Ancients" and the "Moderns."
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THE TROWEL DID NOT ORIGINATE FROM THE TRIANGLE
Have you any reference that would substantiate that the origin of the Trowel was from the Triangle?
I.C., New Jersey.
It is as certain as such matters can be that there never has been any connection between the triangle and the trowel. In the first place, there are no facts to suggest such a connection; in the second place, it is unreasonable to suppose such a thing because the two things are of so disparate a nature. The trowel has a place among our working tools because it was used by Operative Masons. The triangle is one of our symbols because it is a part of geometry. The idea was suggested, it may be guessed, from their similarity of form, but this is purely accidental because many trowels are round, or partly round, and therefore unassociated with triangulated forms.
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CUSTOMS OF MASONIC BURIAL
Please give me some information on customs of Masonic Burial.
It is quite impossible in the space available to give you the data on this subject, for there is no end to the matter. THE BUILDER has in preparation an article on the subject. If you need your information at once consult an article on "The Funeral Rites and Services of Freemasonry," which was published in Albert Mackey's "The American Freemason," Vol. 2, No 28, April, 1860, page 390 of the bound volume. The source of most of our present day customs will be found in Preston's "Illustrations of Masonry." Webb's Monitor, first published at Albany in 1797, was, so far as this matter is concerned, based on Preston.
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THE BEST ANTHOLOGY
Pardon me for asking you a question that doesn't have any connection with Masonry. Can you tell me what is the best collection of modern poems?
In our humble judgment, Burton Stevenson's "The Home Book of Verse" easily bears the palm among all anthologies. It is amazingly complete, even to the extent of including a long section of most excellent humorous verse. Whatever has been of most worth from the medieval songsters to Walt Whitman and Carolyn Wells will be found there.
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THE SITE OF SOLOMON'S TEMPLE
Do the Jews now have a temple on the site of Solomon's Temple?
They do not. Three times the temple was built and destroyed, the last time by Titus in A.D. 70, after which it was never again rebuilt. For centuries the upper spaces of Mt. Moriah were left desolate, washed by the rains, and blistered by the suns, until at last almost every trace of the original structures was lost, so that scholars still dispute as to the identical spot where the original temple stood. The Mohammedans have a mosque there now, called "The Dome of the Rock," and the hill itself is sacred to them, as it was to the Jews, because according to their traditions it was from this same hill the Mohammed made his ascension into heaven.
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In glancing over an old Masonic book I encountered the term "Geomatic" Mason. This has aroused by curiosity: who or what were the "Geomatic" Masons?
The term is still in use among lodges of Scotland and was once, as was also its complementary term, quite common. The term means "a gentleman, or speculative, Freemason," as opposed to "domatic" which means "an operative, or practicing, builder." In the Lodge of Aberdeen, where the two kinds of Masons lived side by side until quite recent times, it was the custom, until 1840, to select the Master from the Domatics, and the Senior Warden from the Geomatics. In his essay on Time Immemorial Lodges Gould says that the former of these two customs has been in force since 1670.
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Mackey refers two or three places in his Encyclopaedia the Cathari but doesn't tell us much about them. Can you give me more information? Were they in any way connected with ancient Freemasonry?
F.P.L., New Jersey
The doctrine at the heart of ancient Zoroastrianism was dualism. The good god Ormuzda made perpetual warfare on the bad god Ahriman, and vice versa. The Jews were evidently much influenced by this, when they were in Babylonia during their captivity of 586 B.C., for their notion of a Satan was no doubt inspired by the old Persian Ahriman. Later on this same dualism was inherited by Mithraism, the great religion which crowded Christianity so closely during the third and fourth centuries of our era. After Mithraism had passed, the conception was taken up by Manes and imbedded at the heart of his system of religion, which came to be known after him as Manichaeism. Also, the same doctrine was built into Paulicianism, another great heresy which was exceedingly strong in the eastern parts of the empire, especially at Constantinople. Paulicianism and Manichaeism both took roots in those regions and remained stubbornly alive for many centuries. This dualistic conception of things gradually made its way eastward through Italy until finally it found lodgement in the south of France where it passed through a new development, being fused with orthodox Christianity and other elements, and becoming known as Catharism.
In the twelfth century the Cathari grew to such vast proportions that the Roman church began to take action against them. They were at last subjected to a very fierce purging of persecution. This persecution compelled them to adopt methods of secrecy for the sake of protection. They had pass words and grips and used esoteric methods of teaching and propagating their ideas. The "perfect" among them had a peculiar dress. One feature of which was a "cord" something like our Cable Tow.
The Cathari shared many things in common with the Waldenses and the Albigenses but must not be confused with them.
Their points of interest to a Mason are these: that they became a secret society; used symbolic methods of teaching; wore a costume, some points of which were similar to our own; were opposed to ecclesiastical tyranny; and constituted a large fraternity in southern Europe which stood for much liberty of thought, though it must be also mentioned that had they ever succeeded in gaining control of things they would have had as little mercy on their foes as did the popes. You will find a very excellent account of the Cathari in Lea's "The Inquisition of the Middle Ages," Volume I.
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MASONRY IN JAPAN
Is Masonry gaining a foothold in Japan?
A foothold, yes, but not much more. What the status is among the natives is a matter on which THE BUILDER would welcome information. There are a few English lodges there. They operate under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of England and comprise five subordinate lodges, as The District Grand Lodge of Japan.
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I read with a great deal of interest the article in the March number of THE BUILDER on Masons' Marks. Have just finished reading an article entitled "The Orkneys and Shetlands — a Mysterious Group of Islands," in the February issue of the National Geographic, published by the National Geographic Society of Washington, D. C. On page 205 are the pictures of two stones; on these stones are inscriptions and emblems. The emblems I believe would be interesting study to the author of Masons' Marks, as well as others interested in Masonic research work, as among the emblems are skull and cross-bones, and just above this a right hand grasping a setting maul, coffin, hourglass, spade, square, and other emblems which I do not recognize.
V.V. Mason, Wisconsin.
The author of the article in question himself gives a reasonable interpretation of the symbols, which banishes any idea that they may possibly have been of Masonic origin. On page 217 he says:
"The tombstones no longer pave the Cathedral, but many of them have been set up along the walls. They are frequently decorated with the skull and cross-bones, the skulls being invariably greatly enlarged on the left side, because of the Orcadian belief that the spirit took its departure from the left ear. (Then follows a long translation of some of the inscriptions, not material in this connection). The picture represents Death breaking the urn of Life with an arrow. A flame bursts forth from the punctured vessel, from the tip of which the soul flies away in a northwesterly direction. An hour-glass with the sand run out, a sun-dial, two spades, and a coffin complete the doleful ideogram." The illustrations are on page 205.
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THE ROMAN CATHOLIC ARTICLES
I am much interested in the letter from Brother Bingay in the issue of THE BUILDER for September and, with your permission, should like to refer to some of his remarks concerning myself, or, rather, concerning the articles appearing in your magazine over my name.
I agree heartily with his statement that men must either co-operate or fight, and the Craft is waging no war against Roman Catholicism, nor has it ever done so in the whole course of its history. Masonry has never acted on the offensive, but very frequently it has found it necessary to be armed for defense in as efficient a manner as possible. I do not know whether Brother Bingay is a regular reader of the Roman Catholic press but if so he will surely admit that there never was a time when it was more essential for Masons to be armed for such defense than the present.
Brother Bingay says that a Roman Catholic cannot be a Methodist or a Mohammedan. Certainly, he cannot, but the analogy is an imperfect one. Methodist and Mohammedanism are two religious creeds, each with tenets opposed to Catholicism. Freemasonry may be the handmaid of religion, but it is not a religious system, nor even a creed in the general acceptance of that term. Its tenets are such that men of all religions who believe in the existence of the Eternal (I must confess to a liking for old Moses Maimonides' definition), such belief demanding the corollary of immortality, can join in the ceremonies of the Craft without any violence to or denial of his own religious tenets. Not long since I sat in lodge between a Jew and a Mohammedan, while there were present at the same time, to my own personal knowledge, Episcopalians, Methodists, Congregationalists, and, at least, one Parsee and a Buddhist. Yet we all joined in the same ritual and sang together heartily the opening and closing hymns.
Freemasonry is not an anti-Catholic Order. Nor is it the enemy of any religion. I venture to join issue with Brother Bingay when he says that my articles will "provide ammunition for the bigoted and narrow-minded on both sides." Such, at all events, is not my object. My aim is that Masons may be well-informed as to the battery of guns and the power of the ammunition which is still directed against them. The reason why in my articles I have published all the Bulls from the earliest one is that they are all in force and binding upon Catholics of the present day. I do not think I have "harped incessantly" upon them. The Popes that came after Clement have done that in such a manner as to render it unnecessary for me to do more than reproduce their statements.
Has Brother Bingay read of the instance which has occurred in Canada within the last two or three months, how that a French Canadian Past Grand Master was, just before his death, made to renounce Masonry in order that he might receive the last rites of the Roman Church? Does he not know that such incidents in Canada are by no means rare?
In my articles I have avoided denunciation and controversy and have confined myself to the plain, unvarnished historical fact and statement. Unfortunately, it is historically inaccurate to say that Roman Catholicism has no quarrel with Masonry: at least, it has for more than two hundred years ever sought to make one. Although Burke, as a Protestant, could speak and write in favour of toleration, the words quoted by Brother Bingay could never have been uttered by a Catholic, whose view-point is admirably stated in the words of G. Bernard Shaw as quoted by Brother Bingay. But if Roman Catholicism has ever made it a point and practice to quarrel with the Masonic Craft since its organization in the early part of the eighteenth century, the Craft has never retaliated nor has it sought to do more than (as, in a humble manner, I am endeavouring to do at the present moment) defend itself against insidious attacks as well as open persecution. This is not a case, as Brother Bingay seems to infer, of dealing with individual "bigots in the Catholic Church." The warfare against Masonry is conducted with all the powerful machinery at the disposal of the Catholic Church and under the complete direction of the whole Roman hierarchy.
Dudley Wright, England.
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CROSSES EXCAVATED NEAR TUPELO, MISSISSIPPI
I am enclosing you two crosses which were plowed up in fields near Tupelo, Miss. We would be glad to have you examine them and give us your opinion as to their origin and if they have any historical value.
We have read Mackey to see what he says of each; also, our own history which refers to the battle here (Tupelo, Miss.) and at Cotton Gin Port on the Tombigbee, between the French and the Choctaw Indians against the Chickasaw, and conclude these were either medals of some kind of insignia worn by Masons, K. T., or Roman Catholic priests who may have lost their lives here May 22, 1731.
Three such crosses have been found, one with three arms, one with two, and one with one, the last of which has been misplaced.
These were excavated near Tupelo, supposed to have been on the route followed by De Soto. For information I am enclosing a clipping (see below) giving a tradition of De Soto's contest and travels through Lee County, formerly west part of Pontotoc County. Colbert, the Indian chief, had a settlement on Caonewah, four miles west of Tupelo.
W. F. Riley, Mississippi.
The following, mentioned above, was written by E. T. Winston, Pontotoc, Miss., Feb. 19, 1917. Unfortunately it does not appear on the clipping in what paper:
For several years I have been interested in the various theories proposed as to the identical spot upon which Hernando De Soto first saw the Mississippi River, as well as the route he traveled to reach that destination.
More than a decade ago, while loitering along the street in Pontotoc, the late Col. James Gordon, who was getting into his buggy to drive out of town, hailed me with an invitation to "Jump in and drive down the road a piece." After I was seated with the Colonel in his vehicle he told me of the Indian tradition he had heard when a boy of the Spanish camp where De Soto and his men had made their first halt after the disastrous battle in their winter quarters at Chicaca, about fifteen miles south of Pontotoc. Permit me to say here that the Indian traditions are considered quite as reliable as the chronicles of the historian.
To mark the site of this camp was the object of Col. Gordon's drive, and he wanted me as a witness to the location. The spot is about one and a half miles southeast of Pontotoc, in a valley about half a mile from the traveled road and the old Indian trail. The Spaniards had evidently sought this retreat to escape pursuit from the Indians, but the latter came out from Chicacilla, routed the adventurers from their camp and again sent them on their journey.
Chicacilla was doubtless in the northern environs of the present town of Pontotoc, for a well-authenticated tradition has it that the land has been cleared in this vicinity for at least 200 years; the extinct white settlement of Victoria was located there and this settlement doubtless succeeded an Indian habitation.
After leaving Chicacilla, or the camp south of there, the Spaniards doubtless continued northward, "crossing a savanna," which is the Ingomar country, and came to the "bank of a small river, near a ford." This description fits New Albany where there was a stockade, and the Indians came out and gave the Spaniards their last battle. The Spaniards seem to have gotten the better of this skirmish, for they drove the Indians across the river, though of recent years it has been revealed there was loss of Spanish life and property. When the K. C., M. & B. Railroad was built through this section, the graders excavating through the hill just west of New Albany, dug up a quantity of bones, saddle trees, buttons, buckles, coins, etc., evidently of Spanish origin, and of no conceivable location there except as relics of the De Soto expedition.
It will be observed that the Indians, as well as experienced travelers like De Soto, sought the best available footing for their trails through the wilderness. So it was that De Soto took the "ridge trail" from the Tombigbee to the Chickasaw settlements of Longtown. He could have proceeded westward from Chicaca, but the low, flat country makes it impracticable at that season of the year. Hence the crossing of the Tallahatchie at New Albany to strike the trail from the "Chickasaw Old Fields" and along the foothills as I conceive it, to the Chickasaw Bluffs.
That De Soto found sloughs, lakes and almost impassable streams, roads, etc., on the upper route is granted. But with his sagacity and experience he would not have turned into a tangled jungle of wilderness and come upon the Father of Waters in an isolated spot as the place in Tunica County, cited by my friend and excellent historian, Dr. Dunbar Rowland. He must have had some other object in view than straggling around through a wilderness, and a better knowledge of the country than to select the worst of routes.
No more reasonable theory presents itself to me than that De Soto, in turning westward, wanted to see old Chicasa who lived in Memphis. Chicasa was doubtless one of the two chieftains that led the Chickasaws in their migration to this country. It is generally believed that they came from Mexico, and as De Soto was with Cortez in the memorable conquest of Montezuma he either wanted to know of the old Indian something of the routing into Mexico, and so back to civilization, or he listened to tales of golden wealth to be found beyond the Rocky mountains and headed in that direction.
The lust of the ancient Spaniards for gold is well known, and we may imagine the grim satisfaction of Chicasa, especially if he was a warm personal friend of Montezuma, found in giving De Soto an "ear full of dope" on the size of golden nuggets to be found in the Rockies, and so sent him on the wild goose chase that ended so disastrously.
(Editor's Note — The crosses are almost certainly of religious origin and use. At that date it is highly improbable that any group of Spanish adventurers would have been Freemasons. Moreover, the crosses are not analogous to any used by Masons of any grade or time. Perhaps some of our readers can enlighten us on the subject.)
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PRESIDENTS AND GOVERNORS OF TEXAS WHO WERE MASONS — A CORRECTION
On page 207 of the July, 1921, issue of THE BUILDER in my list of Presidents and Governors of Texas who were Masons there appears the name of A. J. Hamilton, Governor in 1865, as a member of Palestine Lodge No. 31, Palestine, Texas. I now find that Governor Hamilton was not a Mason and his name should therefore be stricken from the list.
S. M. Bradley, Texas.
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Necessity never made a good bargain.
— Benjamin Franklin