A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 14 No. 6 – June 1928
A MILITIA OF MERCY
Bro. R. J. Newton, Texas
BEGINNING in December, 1921, at the Annual Communication of the M. W. Grand Lodge of Texas, an effort has been made to unite the forty-nine Masonic Grand Jurisdictions of the United States, and other Masonic bodies, in a national humanitarian service organization to provide home relief and hospitalization for tuberculous Freemasons and tuberculous members of Masonic families.
More than six years have passed and the effort has not succeeded. When it is remembered that American Freemasonry did not unite during the World War for welfare work among the soldiers, at home and abroad, perhaps the failure to secure united action by the Craft in this work of salvaging sick men, women and children, who have some claim upon the Fraternity, cannot be charged to those who have worked for years in the face of heavy odds and every discouragement, to arouse the Craft to a recognition of the need for unity of action against tuberculosis, the greatest enemy of the American home today.
A strong sentiment has developed among the leaders of the Fraternity against any kind of national Masonic association, or organization. Perhaps they have good reason for such sentiment and we have no space to devote to argument to meet their opinions. The sentiment of the rank and file, the great inarticulate mass of American Freemasonry, may differ from the leaders' wishes and opinions, but it is difficult to secure any expression of their desires.
The National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Assoclation secured the interest and approval of twenty-six Masonic Grand Masters, who either accepted a place on the Association's Board of Governors, or appointed a representative upon the Board. Failure to win the approval and financial support of their Grand Lodges resulted in withdrawal from the Board and caused its disintegration. By eliminating the words, "national" and "sanatoria" from the name and by changing its plan of organization and curtailing its purposes, the Masonic Tuberculosis Association hopes to secure some measure of cooperation and financial support from Masonic bodies for a modified program of relief work.
Apparently it will become increasingly difficult to secure continuity of interest and action in any national Masonic association of official character, no matter what its aim or purpose. The different objections raised by the rulers of the Craft to any form of national activity are too numerous to be recited here. Some feel that any national association might develop into a national Grand Lodge, or create sentiment in favor of a national Grand Lodge, and few or none look with favor upon such an institution. Some contend that each Grand Jurisdiction and every Masonic Lodge should care for its own sick and help its own needy. However, few are doing so on an adequate scale, and few are making plans to do so. Where hospital care and home relief is provided in the home state, it leaves unsolved the problem of helping those who have migrated, and who will later migrate to the Southwest, seeking the benefit of the milder climate of that section.
In the face of proof of the need for a Southwestern Tuberculosis Sanatorium to save the lives of sick brethren from many states, and in spite of appeals for financial assistance for them, few Masonic leaders were found who would recommend that their lodges, or Grand Lodges unite in financing the erection, or purchase and operation, of a national tuberculosis sanatorium located in the Southwest.
So the effort to unite Masonic Bodies in the establishment of a tuberculosis hospital has not met with success. The final appeal made by the Tuberculosis Sanatorium Association was for funds with which to purchase an existing hospital in the city of El Paso, Texas which could have been purchased for $65,000 and which would have housed approximately one hundred patients. The response to this appeal was almost nil. The Sisters of St. Joseph purchased this hospital and it is operating today as St. Joseph's Sanatorium and rendering good service. Apparently little difficulty was experienced by the Sisters in financing the purchase and operation of this institution.
THE MASONIC TUBERCULOSIS ASSOCIATION
The Grand Lodge of New Mexico will again appeal for financial help to all Masonic Bodies. They will not ask contributors to assume any part of the responsibility for management or to undertake to give continued support for the relief work they will undertake to do through the Masonic Tuberculosis Association. The latter will do what it can with the funds thus contributed. The movement to provide relief and hospitalization will not die, because it is the right thing for Freemasonry to do and it will be done. It must and it will be carried on, by those who believe in it, until it comes to a definite and successful conclusion.
In the past it has not been possible to appeal to Freemasons individually to assist in tuberculosis relief work, which was under the auspices of a purely Masonic body or association, because the approval, or consent of the bodies to which they belonged first had to be secured. It is now proposed to enlist the brethren, and other men and women, who believe in the principle of brotherhood, of relief and charity, and who have a real desire to serve their brethren and their fellows in an organization for humanitarian work.
THE ORDER OF THE HOSPITAL
Good men and women in sympathy with practical movements for the good of humanity, are invited to become Founder-Members of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, which is a modern American revival of the ancient brotherhood which succored Pilgrims and Crusaders from the dawn of the Christian era, developed into the great medieval Order for the care of the sick and helpless, and serves the people of many European countries today.
Fraternity and charity to our own — in that respect the "Knights Hospitaller" will be in a sense similar to other fraternities with whose work you are familiar. But beyond that, and filling a place in the nation, our state and our community which no other fraternal organization has ever sought to fill to as great an extent, it is planned to lend a helping hand to sick and suffering humanity.
A National Sanatorium in the Southwest for consumptives — Protestant General and Special Hospitals in the large centers of population — relief of the sick, the poor and the helpless in our own home towns, through our own efforts and by cooperation with existing public and private organizations and institutions for public health and charitable work — all these and more are embraced in our program.
Anyone contributing any amount to the organization expense of the Order will thereby become eligible as a Founder-Member. The fee for initiation into the Preceptory, or Lodge of the Brethren of St. John, is five dollars, payable upon application. The fees for the four Orders of Knighthood are five dollars each, payable when conferred.
Wives, daughters, mothers and sisters of male Founder-Members will be admitted for one-half these fees. Later the fees will be increased. The dues will be small.
The "Knights Hospitaller" in various countries, except that they work each in their own way to achieve worthy ends of relief, are not under any common authority; in some countries they are altogether Catholic, in others Protestant. The Order in America, as in England and Prussia, is established as a Protestant organization. All Protestants of good character, eighteen years of age and over, are eligible to be elected members, and pending the establishment of Priories and Preceptories in the various cities and towns, application may be made direct to the Grand Commandery.
Our country needs this Order, and the time is not far distant when those who now enroll will be justly proud of the fact that they were Founder-Members of it.
THE PURPOSES OF THE ORDER OF ST. JOHN
Planned to fit the needs of any American community, large or small, is the program of the Hospitaller Order. Some part or parts of the following plan may be adapted to the needs of the smallest village or the largest city. Members of the Order will study the needs of their communities and seek to meet them as an organization in a practical way. Our motto is "For the service of humanity" and it is our purpose to help people help themselves.
To propagate the principles of the Christian religion and to practice the teachings of the Founder of Christianity.
The encouragement and promotion of all works of humanity and charity in the relief of sickness, distress, suffering and danger, by the founding of institutions for such purposes under the auspices of the Order, and through cooperation with existing organizations and institutions in such work; to instigate movements, either state, county or municipal for the public relief of distress; and to cooperate with existing organizations having these aims in view. And finally, the extension of the great principle of the Order: Pro Utilitate Hominum.
The establishment, and maintenance of a National Tuberculosis Sanatorium in the Southwest for the care of members of the Order, Masons and others.
To secure public provision for the care of indigent, migratory tuberculars.
The establishment and operation of General and Special Protestant Hospitals, and, in particular, of Maternity and other hospitals for the care of women and children, in cities where the local branch of the Order may be able to maintain such institutions.
The provision of Clinics and Dispensaries for the care of out-patients of hospitals.
The support of Visiting Nurses for home visitation and care of the sick.
The foundation of Training Schools for nurses and hospital workers.
The establishment and operation of Convalescent Homes.
IV. PHYSICAL TRAINING
The securing of Special Schools for the care and education of physically defective children.
The establishment and operation of Training Camps for the physical education of men and women, boys and girls.
V. HEALTH EDUCATION
The instruction of the Protestant public in the elementary principles and practice of nursing and hygiene, especially of the sick room.
VI. FIRST AID
The instruction of persons in rendering "First Aid" in case of accident or sudden illness and in transport of the sick or injured, and the promotion of popular instruction in methods of caring for sick and injured in peace and war.
VII. PUBLIC HEALTH WORK
To do all things which will promote the health and well-being of our home communities and of members of the Order and such other persons as may need or desire its services.
VIII. WAR WORK AND CALAMITY RELIEF
To furnish aid to the sick and wounded in war or during any calamity, and the promotion of such permanent organization for this purpose as may be at once available in time of war or in the event of any calamity.
The organization of Ambulance Corps and Nursing Corps.
The manufacture and distribution, by sale or presentation, of ambulance material, and the formation of ambulance depots in or near the centers of industry and traffic.
IX. RECOGNITION OF SERVICE AND BRAVERY
The award of Medals or Badges and Certificates of Honor for Humanitarian Service and for saving human life at imminent personal risk.
The formation of City or Town branches of the Order to extend and carry out its purposes as above stated and as enlarged and developed in the future.
PLAN OF ORGANIZATION
The following is an outline of the form of organization of the "Knights Hospitaller":
The unit of the Order is the Preceptory, or Lodge of the Brethren of St. John, the local branch, which consists of all members of the Order residing in and about the city or town where the Preceptory is located.
The duties of the Preceptory are relief of the sick and the poor of its city or town; aiding the Priory in the establishment and operation of a General or Special Hospital and in securing necessary public, state, county, or municipal hospitals, and aiding the Grand Commandery in the establishment and operation of a National Tuberculosis Hospital and in securing public tuberculosis hospitals; health education and first aid instruction of all members; public health work, campaigns for cleaner cities, etc.; cooperation in the Order's work in time of war; relief work in calamities; and the carrying out of the general purposes of the Order.
Three or more persons may secure the establishment of a Preceptory in their community by first joining the Order and then filing their petition for a charter.
The Priory is the union of all Preceptories in one or more counties, or in a certain designated territory or part of the State having within its area one of the large centers of population in which the Order plans for the establishment of a General or Special Hospital.
It will be the duty of the Priories to establish and operate General and Special Hospitals or to contract with existing hospitals for the care of the sick, including both pay and charity patients, with preference in the admission of patients to members of the Order and their families, Masons and Protestants.
Every State and Territory of the American Union and all countries in North and South America will be a Province of the Order, under the supervision of a Provincial Prior who will have administrative jurisdiction over all work of the Order within its boundaries.
THE GRAND COMMANDERY
The sovereign authority of the Order rests in the Grand Commandery, which will determine the policies and direct the work of the Order throughout the United States, its Territories, and other countries, direct the National Sanatorium, which shall be conducted for the care of persons suffering from tuberculosis with preference in the admission of patients to members of the Order and their families, and Masons and Protestants, and grant charters to Priories and Preceptories.
The Preceptories will be authorized to confer the First Degree only — the Lodge of the Brethren of St. John. The four Knightly Orders will be conferred by the Priories. The Honorary Orders of Knighthood and Grand Crosses will be conferred by the Grand Commandery.
ST. JOHN'S HISTORY
The Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem, although one of the most ancient of existing societies, with Grand bodies in several European countries, has not previously been organized in America.
Medieval legend sets the beginning of the Order in the days of the Maccabees, with King Antiochus as the founder and Zacharias, father of John the Baptist, as one of its first Masters. A hospital existed in Jerusalem, with rare interruptions, from the very earliest centuries of the Christian era. This hospital was in the charge of the "Poor Brethren of St. John."
In the eleventh century there existed a Latin hospital, established by Charlemagne. This was destroyed by the Saracens in 1010, and in or about the year 1023, certain merchants of Amalfi purchased the site and built thereon a new hospital for pilgrims, dedicated to St. John the Baptist. From that day the Order ceases to be legendary and becomes historical.
This hospital at Jerusalem rendered important service to the Crusaders, and after the Holy Land fell into the hands of the Christians great gifts of land and treasure were made to it and the "Poor Brethren" became the "Knights of the Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem."
Originally the Order was purely eleemosynary, but later it took up the armed defense of pilgrims as a part of its functions and became an aggressive military force, joining in the defense of the Holy Land. It grew in strength and importance and branches were established in all parts of Europe, with the highest nobility of all countries serving in its ranks. Though originally instituted to serve a local need at Jerusalem, it became a universal society.
While the Knights Templar, which were also in existence at that time, were a purely military organization, the Hospitallers were primarily a nursing brotherhood, and although this character was subordinated during their later period of military importance, it never disappeared. In all their establishments the sick gave orders and the brethren obeyed. The Hospitallers, moreover, encouraged the affiliation with their Order of women, who devoted themselves to prayer and nursing the sick and wounded.
In 1291 the Holy Land had ceased to be in Christian hands and the Order was expelled. In 1309 it was established in Rhodes, which island was its home for more than two hundred years. From 1529 to 1798 its headquarters were in Malta. It was virtually destroyed in 1798, but was later reconstituted in various European countries and has grown in strength and usefulness until the present day.
The Order now exists in Germany and Italy as Roman Catholic bodies and in England and Prussia as a Protestant organization. The English body, which had then been several hundred years in existence, was chartered by Philip and Mary about 1550 and was rechartered by Victoria. It numbers among its members the royalty and nobility of England and rendered important service during the Great War through the St. John's Ambulance Association. It maintains at the present time a hospital in Jerusalem.
The Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem is now established in America as a Protestant organization. The primary purposes which it hopes to accomplish, according to its articles of incorporation, are: (1) The establishment and maintenance of a national hospital for the care of tubercular patients; (2) the establishment and operation of general and special hospitals throughout the United States.
The national headquarters of the Order will be maintained in the Advertising Building, St. Louis, Missouri. Local branches will be formed and chartered in all parts of the country to carry out these purposes.
The Order of the Hospital of St. John asks for the cooperation of all brethren, and the members of their families, who wish to serve their fellow men.
Older than the Order Of the Temple, tracing its lineage back to the dawn of the Christian era, and with a record of continuous service up to the present day, the Hospitaller Order has a long and glorious history of service and sacrifice in behalf of the poor, the sick and injured.
The work of the Order will not be limited to the care of the tuberculous. Nor will it be entirely limited to the members of the Order, to Freemasons and members of their families, or even to Protestants, although primarily designed to serve them. There is a great need for more, and larger, general medical and surgical hospitals in the cities and towns of America. There is a great need for Special Hospitals, for tuberculosis patients, for heart disease, for maternity cases, for cancer patients, for chronic and incurable cases of all kinds, etc. There is a great need for convalescent homes. These and other institutions may be provided by local branches of the Order of St. John according to local needs and according to the ability of the local branch of the Order to meet such needs.
In many cities and counties the local branch of the Order may take the initiative in securing, or cooperate in securing, county or municipal provision and support for the hospital needs of the city or county through bond issue campaigns, etc.
Many cities and counties need the services of clinics, or of additional clinics, and of public health visiting nurses. These may be provided by local branches, or county or municipal provision of same may be secured by local branches.
Many of the smaller cities and towns have no organized charity work and in such places the local branch of the Order may undertake to do the work usually carried on by Charity Societies.
A working branch of the Order can render great service and meet many needs and enlist its membership in every line of charitable, public health and social work, if it recruits a large membership and secures necessary finances.
The Order of the Mystic Shrine has been called "The Playground of Freemasonry." Today it is more than that because of its great service to childhood in its hospitals for crippled children. Perhaps the time may soon come, when the Order of St. John, whose membership will be largely composed of men and women with Masonic affiliations, or who are in complete sympathy with the principles and teachings of Freemasonry, may be called the "Service Branch" of the Craft, its "Life-Saving Crew," or "Red Cross Unit"; its "Ambulance Brigade or Hospital Corps." It may become, in truth, Freemasonry's "Militia of Mercy."
And this, even though membership in St. John is not based upon Freemasonry, or limited to Freemasons There are many men and women, who are Freemasons at heart, who will be glad to enlist in any way that they may serve the Craft, even though afar off. The qualifications for St. John are the same as the qualification for Freemasonry, in every respect, except the physical.
An Order like St. John, with its marvelous historical and religious background, whose chief objective is "Service," could not function, or succeed without admitting women to membership. They played an important part in the work of the Old Order in Europe and the Holy Land. They will likewise render great service in the New Order.
All men and women, who believe that any Brother or Sister, who for any reason is in distress, should be aided, with the primary object of helping them to help themselves, are members of the Order of the Hospital of St. John, AT HEART. They will be welcomed as members, IN FACT.
* * *
GENERAL JAMES OGLETHORPE: BENEFACTOR AND FREEMASON
Bro. Gilbert W. Daynes, Associate Editor, England
AMONGST the many outstanding and remarkable personalities of the 18th century there is one whose association with Freemasonry gives him a more than passing interest to the members of the Craft. James Edward Oglethorpe the youngest son of Sir Theophilus Oglethorpe (1650-1702) of Westbrook Place, near Godalming, Surrey was born in the Parish of St. James, Westminster, London, on the 1st June, 1689. It has been stated that he entered the English Army as an Ensign in 1710, but there is a regimental tradition, based upon old MS. Lists of Officers, that he received his first Commission in the 1st Regiment of Foot, or Grenadier, Guards in 1706. It is believed that his entry into the Army was through the influence of the Duke of Marlborough. He soon saw service abroad, but returned to England some time before the 9th July, 1714, when he matriculated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He could not, however, have continued his undergraduate course with any regularity, because we find him a Captain-Lieutenant of the 1st Troop of the Queen's Life Guards, and leaving England to join the Army of Prince Eugene, whose aide-de-camp he became before the close of the same year. He served with distinction throughout the Turkish Campaign, and was present at the siege and capture of Belgrade, in 1717. In connection with this campaign, James Boswell, in his life of Dr. Samuel Johnson, relates that, at a dinner on the 10th April, 1772,
The General told us, that when he was a very young man, I think only fifteen, serving under Prince Eugene of Savoy, he was sitting in a company at table with a Prince of Wirtemberg. The Prince took up a glass of wine, and, by a fillip, made some of it fly in Oglethorpe's face. Here was a nice dilemma. To have challenged him instantly, might have fixed a quarrelsome character upon the young soldier: to have taken no notice of it might have been considered as cowardice. Oglethorpe, therefore, keeping his eye upon the Prince, and smiling all the time, as if he took what his Highness had done in jest, said "Mon Prince (I forget the French words he used, the purport, however, was ), that's a good joke; but we do it much better in England;" and threw a whole glass of wine in the Prince's face. An old General who sat by, said, "Il a bien fait, mon Prince, vous l'avez commencé:" and thus all ended in good humour.
After peace had been concluded between the Emperor and the Sultan, in 1718, Oglethorpe returned to England. On the death of his brother Theophilus he succeeded to the family estate at Westbrook, and resided there for some years. In October, 1722, he was elected one of the Members for Haslemere, in Surrey, and represented that ancient Borough and Market Town in Parliament continuously for 32 years. Lecky, in his History of England, in the 18th century, says of him:
Though a man of indomitable energy, and of some practical and organising talent, he had no forensic ability, and he was both too hot-tempered, too impulsive, and too magnanimous to take a high rank among the adroit and intriguing politicians of his time.
Oglethorpe would probably have remained an undistinguished member of Parliament had he not devoted his energies to improving the conditions, in London prisons, for prisoners for debt. This subject he made preeminently his own, and, by what he accomplished in the amelioration of that great national evil, became, perhaps, the most notable of the philanthropists of his day.
At this period imprisonment for debt was the cause of a vast amount of misery and ruin; and until Oglethorpe turned his attention to the matter glaring abuses in connection with its enforcement went on unchecked. In 1716 it is estimated that about 60,000 debtors were incarcerated in English and Welsh prisons. The mortality amongst these wretched victims was very high. Oglethorpe's notice to this appalling state of affairs was attracted, apparently, by the imprisonment in the Fleet of a friend of his, Robert Caster a man eminently skilled in Architecture, and the author of The Villas of the Ancients Illustrated, a costly folio produced in 1728 who had fallen from affluence into hopeless debt. Owing to his inability to pay even the accustomed fees of the Warder of his prison he was consigned to a house in which smallpox raged, where he contracted the disease and died. In 1729 Oglethorpe secured a Parliamentary enquiry into the terrible conditions obtaining in the Fleet and the Marshalsea, which was afterwards extended to those of other goals. A Prison Visiting Committee of 14 members of the House of Commons, with Oglethorpe as Chairman, was appointed. The Committee commenced their labors by visiting the Fleet and examining some of the debtors. It may be noted in passing that amongst the prisoners examined was Sir William Rich, Baronet, who was a Freemason, having been a member of the Lodge at the Fleece in Fleet Street, London, in 1725. Many atrocities were revealed as the result of the three Reports of this Committee of Investigation, and their exposure put a stop to much barbarous and deliberate illtreatment; although Bambridge, the Warden of the Fleet, and other gaolers, who were indicted for their treatment of prisoners, were acquitted for lack of sufficient evidence.
Oglethorpe's endeavors in connection with prison reform did not exhaust his activities. A pamphlet entitled The Sailor's Advocate was first published in 1728. This was attributed to Oglethorpe, and in it the evils of impressment and other abuses countenanced by the Admiralty were clearly exposed. On the 31st July, 1731, he was created an M.A. at his University. During the same year he was elected a Director of the Royal African Company, of which the King was Governor, and in the following year became its Deputy Governor.
The Prison Inquiry with its disclosures — particularly the hard lot of prisoners for debt — brought to Oglethorpe's attention the problem of pauperism generally; and with a view of solving this problem he became the pioneer of, and took the leading part in, the movement which resulted in a Royal Charter being granted for a new Colony in America south of the river Savannah called Georgia, after King George II. In February, 1730, Oglethorpe met Viscount Percival, then M.P. for Harwich, in the Lobby of the House of Commons, and gained his sympathies with regard to this project. Thereafter long and protracted negotiations took place between the promoters and the Government. At one time it looked as if nothing would materialize, and Lord Percival in his Diary, early in 1732, states that he told Horatio Walpole, when discussing the matter:
We apprehended there was still a distrust that we sought our private advantage, whereas we had no view but serving the public, and I did not know how we came to be such knight-errants.
However, on the 9th June, 1732, a Charter was at last granted to Viscount Percival (afterwards 2nd Earl of Egmont); Edward Digby (eldest son of the 5th Baron Digby); George, Lord Carpenter; James Oglethorpe, M.P.; George Heathcote, M.P.; Thomas Tower, M.P.; Robert Moor, M.P.; Robert Hucks, M.P.; Roger Holland, M.P.; William Sloper, M.P.; Sir Francis Eyles, M.P.; John Laroche, M.P.; James Vernon, Commissioner of Excise; William Beletha; John Burton, D.D.; Richard Bundy, D.D.; Arthur Blaford; Samuel Smith; Adam Anderson, and Captain Thomas Coram. Several of these gentlemen were Freemasons. For instance, George, Lord Carpenter was a member of the Lodge at the Horn, Westminster, in 1723, becoming Senior Grand Warden in 1730. Roger Holland acted as Junior Grand Warden on 13th April, 1732, although the name of his Lodge is unknown. John Laroche was, in 1731, a member of the Lodge at the Prince Eugene's Head Coffee House, St. Alban's Street. Mr. George Heathcote may perhaps be identified with the Mr. Heathcote of the Lodge at the Rummer Tavern, Charing Cross, and Mr. James Vernon may perchance be the Mr. Vernon who was a member of the Lodge at the Bedford Head, Covent Garden. It is also quite likely that some of the other Trustees were Freemasons, as we know James Oglethorpe to have been, although there is no record of then having been initiated. As will appear later on in this article there are records in the Colony of Georgia proving that Oglethorpe was a Freemason, but at present we have no evidence to show when or where he was made. In view of the interest taken by the Grand Lodge of England in this scheme of colonization, and the cooperation Oglethorpe received from well-know Freemasons, it is reasonable to suppose that he was made in England prior to the granting of the Charter in 1732.
In 1732 Oglethorpe published A New and Accurate Account of the Province of South Carolina and Georgia, and also An Essay on Plantations; or Tracts Relating to the Colonies, wherein he expounded his theory as to the advantages and general object to emigration. The settlers for the new Colony were selected from the unfortunate but worthy indigent classes who had failed in England, and also from the oppressed and persecuted Protestant sects from Europe, particularly those from the Bishopric of Salzberg. In addition, the Colony was intended to exercise a civilizing and missionary influence upon the surrounding Indians, while inserted in its Charter was a most memorable clause absolutely prohibiting the introduction of slaves. One further clause may be quoted, which shows quite clearly the character and ideas of the promoters:
And for the greater ease and encouragement of our loving subjects and such others as shall come to inhabit in our said colony, we do ... grant establish and ordain that forever hereafter there shall be a liberty of conscience allowed in the worship of God to all persons inhabiting ... our said province, and that all such persons except Papists shall have a free exercise of their religion, so they be contented with the peaceable and quiet enjoyment of the same, not giving offense or scandal to the government.
The Trustees were to receive no salary, payment, fee or profit from the undertaking, nor be able to obtain any grant of land in the Colony.
Deputations were granted by the Trustees to influential people to enable them to collect money on behalf of the scheme, and subscriptions came in freely from private persons of every rank, as well as from various public institutions. The government supported it, and the Duke of Newcastle (himself a Freemason) and others remitted their fees of office upon the granting of the Charter, amounting to some hundreds of pounds. Southey, in his life of John Wesley, says:
No colony was ever established upon principles more honourable to its projectors: nor did the subsequent conduct of the Trustees discredit their profession.
Freemasons added their contributions to the rest. From the Newcastle Courant of the 30th December 1732, we learn that a Lodge, which does not appear to have ever come upon the roll of the premier Grand Lodge, "ordered a considerable sum of money to be distributed among the poor families sent to Georgia." A little later a subscription from all the Lodges under the premier Grand Lodge was organized for the same purpose. In the minutes of the Quarterly Communication, held at the Devil Tavern, Temple Bar, on Tuesday, 13th December, 1733, it is recorded:
Then the Depy Grand Master opened to the Lodge the Affairs of Planting the new Colony in Georgia in America, and having sent an Account in Print of the Nature of such Plantation to all the Lodges, and informed the Grand Lodge That the Trustees had to Nathaniel Blackerby Esqr. and to himself Commissions under their Common-Seal to collect the Charity of this Society towards enabling the Trustees to send distressed Brethren to Georgia where they may be comfortably provided for.
Proposed that it be strenuously recommended by the Masters & Wardens of regular Lodges to make a generous Collection amongst all their Members for that purpose.
Which being seconded by Br. Rogers Holland Esqr. (one of the said Trustees) who opened the nature of the Settlement, and by Sr. William Keith Bart. who was many Years Governour of Pennsylvania by Dr. Desagulier, Lord Southwell Br. Blackerby and many others, very worthy Brethren it was recommended accordingly.
The Depy Grand Master and Br. Blackerby Treasurer informed the Grand Lodge that they would wait upon the Noblemen, and others Persons of Distinction, who are Members of this Society; for their Contribution to the charity of Georgia.
On the following 18th March, a further resolution was passed, at a Quarterly Communication held at the same place, which was as follows:
Resolved That the Masters of all regular Lodges who shall not bring in their Contribution of Charity Do at the next Quarterly Communication give the reasons why their respective Lodges do not contribute to the Settlement of Georgia.
The Grand Festival was held on the 30th March, and the next Quarterly Communication recorded was on the 24th February, 1735, but in the minutes of neither of these Meetings are there any references to this matter. Thus, from Craft Records, we cannot tell the extent of the support given by the Freemasons to this deserving object. There seems, however, little doubt that this Colonization had the special sympathy and active support of the Brotherhood, no doubt on account of those Brethren who, headed by Oglethorpe, set the enterprise in motion.
On the 1st November, 1732, a meeting of the Trustees was held at which it was resolved that a civil government should be established at Georgia; that the first town to be erected should be named Savannah; that powers under seal should be entrusted to James Oglethorpe; that a surgeon and apothecary should go with the first settlers; and that the Rev. Henry Herbert son of the late Lord Herbert of Cherbury a Church of England Clergyman, should go a voluntary chaplain until a paid Clergyman could be supported and found. After attending this meeting Viscount Percival records in his Diary:
Thus, I hope, with the blessing of God, this noble, charitable disinterested and profitable design to the nation will take root and flourish, having taken all possible care for its success.
At length the move westward took place, and on the 16th November, 1732, Oglethorpe sailed with 35 families (comprising 120 persons) in the ship, Ann, commanded by Captain Thomas. They embarked at Gravesend, and arrived at Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, on the 13th January, 1733. The only casualties on the voyage were the deaths of two children, both under three months old. Oglethorpe thus became the first Governor of Georgia, a position he retained for nearly 20 years, and throughout that period not only received no salary or recompense, but expended large sums out of his own private fortune.
By the 31st January, 1733, the settlers had arrived at the site of the future town of Savannah. They set to work to clear the site for the buildings to be erected and Oglethorpe at once got on terms of amity with the Indian tribes, who inhabited the district. On 12th March he wrote to the Trustees as follows:
This province is much larger than we thought, being 120 miles from this river to the Alatamaha. The Savannah has a very long course, and a great trade is carried on by the Indians, there having above twelve trading boats passed since I have been here. There are in Georgia, on this side of the mountains, three considerable nations of Indians.... One of these is within a short distance of us and had concluded a peace with us, giving us the right of all this part of the country: and I have marked out the lands which they have reserved to themselves. Their King comes constantly to church, is desirous to be instructed in the Christian religion, and has given me his nephew, a boy who is his next heir, to educate.... We agree so well with the Indians that the Creeks and the Uchees have referred to me a difference to determine, which otherwise would have occasioned a war.
This same month the new Colony was visited by three or four residents of South Carolina, one of whom in an account of his experiences wrote:
Mr. Oglethorpe is indefatigable, and takes a vast deal of pains. His fare is but indifferent, having little else at present but salt provisions. He is extremely well beloved by all the people. The title they give him is Father. If any of them are sick he immediately visits them, and takes great care of them. If any difference arises he is the person who decides it. Two happened while I was here, and in my presence, and all the parties went away to outward appearance satisfied and contented with the determination. He keeps a strict discipline; I neither saw one of his people drunk nor heard one swear all the time I have been here. He does not allow them rum, but in lieu gives them English beer. It is surprising to see how cheerfully the men go to work, considering they have not been bred to it. There are no idlers here; even the boys and girls do their part. There are four houses already up, but none finished; and he hopes when he has got more sawyers to finish two houses a week. He has ploughed up some land, part of which is sowed with wheat, which is come up and looks promising. He has two or three gardens, which he has sowed with divers sorts of seeds and planted thyme, with other pot herbs, and several sorts of fruit-trees. He was palisading the town round, including some part of the Common. In short, he has done a vast deal of work for the time, and I think his name deserved to he immortalized.
In due course the town of Savannah was erected, to be followed subsequently by other settlements, such as Abercorn and Ebenezer, when other parties from England and the continent of Europe had followed, including many of Count Zinzendorf's Moravians.
On the 10th February, 1734, the first Lodge of Freemasons in Georgia was organized and became known as "The Lodge at Savannah." The founders seem just to have met together, without any formal ceremony of constitution, and to have appointed James Oglethorpe as their first Master, an office he seems to have held until he left the Colony about nine years later. He was succeeded, in 1743, by Noble Jones, who was the first initiate of the Lodge, having been made between the first Meeting and the 25th March, 1734. The formal Constitution of the Lodge did not take place until 1736, after the arrival of Roger Lacey. In Anderson's Constitutions of 1738, amongst the "Deputations sent beyond Sea," there is the following entry:
Weymouth Grand Master granted ..... Another to Mr. Roger Lacy, Merchant, for constituting a Lodge at Savannah of Georgia in America.
The only other Masonic reference to Oglethorpe that I can find is contained in A Memoir of General James Oglethorpe by Robert Wright, published in 1867, in which it is stated:
There is, or before the late strife there was, in Savannah a Bible his gift to a Masonic Lodge.
Oglethorpe spent a busy 15 months in exploring portions of his Province and organizing such parts of it as were being settled. There were defensive posts to be selected and manned. The town of Savannah had to be laid out, not merely for the present, but with an eye to its future possibilities and magnitude. The settlers had to have buildings erected for them as speedily as possible. Then, too, the neighboring State of South Carolina had to be visited and numerous points settled, besides many meetings with the Indians and arranging treaties with them. As the Colony grew, and fresh settlers arrived, judicial and administrative powers, at first exercised by Oglethorpe alone, had to be delegated to others competent to carry them out.
In March, 1734, Oglethorpe committed the charge of the Colony to Mr. Thomas Causton, the Trustees' Storekeeper, with the title of Bailiff, and proceeding via Charleston, South Carolina, returned to England, arriving in June, 1734. He received a great welcome on reaching London. In the Gentleman's Magazine Mr. Urban offered a prize for the best design for a medal to commemorate Oglethorpe's benevolence and patriotism. It was subsequently cast, but after a few specimens had been struck off the die was destroyed.
Whilst in England Oglethorpe obtained two statutory enactments for the benefit of the new Province. One was an Act prohibiting the importation and sale of rum, brandy and other distilled liquors, and the other was an Act for rendering the Province of Georgia more defensive, by prohibiting the importation of black slaves or negroes. Governor Belcher of Massachusetts, and a brother Freemason, strongly approved of these measures, and in a letter to Lord Egmont stated:
I have read Mr. Oglethorpe's State of the New Colony of Georgia once and again; and by its harbours, rivers, soil, and productions, do not doubt that it must in time make a fine addition to the British Empire in America; and I still insist upon it that the prohibitory regulations of the Trustees are essential to its healthy and prosperous condition.
On the 20th October, 1735, Oglethorpe sailed from Gravesend, and was accompanied by John and Charles Wesley — the Methodists who were to superintend the moral and spiritual welfare of the Colony. Although the vessel got as far as St. Helens it was detained for several weeks by bad weather, and it was not until the 10th December that it finally stood out to sea, arriving at Georgia on the following 4th February. Charles Wesley did not stay long in the Colony, and was back in England in December, 1736. His place was subsequently taken by George Whitfield, who reached America in May, 1737. In the following year John Wesley, too, returned home to answer certain complaints made against him, and his commission seems to have been revoked. George Whitfield has preserved an interesting note upon Freemasonry, which Dr. Richard Rawlinson copied and forwarded in the following letter to his friend and Masonic brother, Thomas Towle of London:
As you preserve all relating to the Subject of Masonry I send you this from Mr. Whitfields Continuation of his Journal Lond. 1739. Oct. pag: 6.
Savannah in Georgia Friday 24 June 1738
To the great surprise of myself and people was enabled to read Prayers and preach with power before the Free Masons, with whom I afterwards dined, and was used with the utmost Civility. May God make them servants of Christ, and then, and not till then will they be free indeed.
What notions this Gent has of the Craft you may guess by his surprise and wish.
I am Sr. Yours to command,
13 Jany 1738/9 R. R.
It was during this decade that Alexander Pope immortalized James Oglethorpe by extolling his abundance of that Masonic virtue Charity. In his Imitations of Horace, Epistle ii (1733-1737), Pope wrote these well-known lines:
One driven by strong benevolence of soul
Shall fly like Oglethorpe from Pole to Pole.
Back once more to the Colony, Oglethorpe was kept busy adjusting differences, satisfying discontented settlers and superintending the formation of several new settlements, including the town of Frederica. A considerable part of his time was spent investigating and dealing with the problem of defence against the Spaniards, including conferences with the Spanish authorities. Peremptory demands by the Spaniards for evacuation of part of the territory occupied by the settlers created further difficulties, and brought Oglethorpe's military qualities into full play. Troubles from within also added to Oglethorpe's anxieties. It was at this juncture that he received the following letter from Mr. Verelst, the Trustees' Secretary:
The Earl of Egmont, Mr. Vernon, and Mr. Thomas Towers give their service to you, and they with the rest of the Trustees have directed me to renew their desire for your presence in England as early as may be, for the approaching session of Parliament, which is expected to meet about the middle of January next; for without your presence they have no manner of hopes of any further supply, and then Georgia will be in a melancholy state.
This letter had its effect, and on the 29th November, 1736, Oglethorpe once more left America. When back in England he enlarged upon the Spanish danger. His Majesty sanctioned the raising of a corps for the protection of Georgia, and appointed Oglethorpe General of all his forces in Carolina as well as in Georgia. He was also appointed Colonel in that year, and on the 5t July, 1738, Oglethorpe, for a third time, embarked for Georgia.
On his reaching the Colony, Oglethorpe at once resumed control. In November, 1738, an attempt was made on his life by some mutinous soldiers, but it fortunately miscarried, the soldiers being caught and the ringleader executed. An arduous task now fell to Oglethorpe's lot, but by gaining the goodwill and friendship of the Indians, and thus creating a strong bulwark between the Colony of Georgia and the neighboring Spanish Colony, as well as by his clever defence he saved Georgia from the Spaniards during the years that followed the outbreak of the Spanish War of 1739.
Owing to serious financial matters Oglethorpe, in July, 1743, once more crossed the Atlantic. The English Government, by failing to honor his bills, cast a very heavy monetary burden upon Oglethorpe, from a part of which apparently he was never relieved. William Stephen was left in charge of the Colony as Deputy Governor, subsequently becoming President of the Colony when a form of civil government was established under a President and four Councillors. Lecky, in summing up Oglethorpe's rule over Georgia, says:
The administration of Oglethorpe was marred by some faults of temper and of tact, but it was on the whole able, energetic and fortunate.
John M. Bolzius, a pastor who accompanied some of the Salzburg refugees to Georgia in 1734, in his Journal, speaks of Oglethorpe, during the period just closed, as
a Man having great reverence for God and his holy Word and Ordinance; a cordial love for the servants and children of God; and who desired to see the name of Christ glorified in all places.
On the 15th September, 1744, at the age of 55, Oglethorpe married Elizabeth, only surviving daughter and heiress of Sir Nathan Wright, Baronet, of Cranham Hall, Essex.
Just as Oglethorpe was about to return to America once more the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745 broke out, and, promoted to the rank of Major General, he was attached to the forces of the Duke of Cumberland. He was repulsed, with some loss, at a minor engagement at Clifton in Westmoreland. His conduct in connection with this reverse became the subject of an enquiry by Court Martial in September, 1746; but although he was acquitted his military reputation suffered. On the 13th September, 1747, he was promoted Lieutenant Colonel, and was finally raised to the rank of General on the 22nd February, 1765.
Upon returning to England Oglethorpe resumed his place in Parliament, and after the Rebellion was over was continually in his place. In 1749 he was successful in getting an Act passed exempting the Moravians in England from the necessity of violating their religious convictions. About 1765 he ceased to sit in the House of Commons having failed to get re-elected. Throughout his Parliamentary career he was thoroughly independent and consistent. His political principles were high Tory, but he was a loyal subject and a strong advocate of the Protestant Succession. Bills for the benefit of commerce and the amelioration of grievances received his wholehearted support, and his success may be gauged by what he effected rather than for what he said.
In 1749 Oglethorpe was a candidate for the Royal Society. His Certificate of Candidature reads as follows:
The Honourable Lieutenant-General James Oglethorpe of Lisle Street, London.
A gentleman well versed in Natural History, Mathematics, and all branches of Polite Literature, being desirous of becoming a Member of the Royal Society, we whose names are underwritten do from our personal knowledge of him and his great merits recommend him as one who will be a useful member and every way qualified to promote the designs of our Institution.
This Certificate of Candidature was signed by William Hanbury (1728), Cromwell Mortimer, M.D. (1728), Peter Collinson (1728), Mark Catesby (1733), Sir Hans Sloane, Bart. (1685, and P.R.S. 1727-1741), Charles, Lord Cadogan (1718), and Martin ffolkes (1714, and P.R.S. 1741-1752). Oglethorpe was duly elected on the 9th November, 1749, and was admitted a week later. Such interest as he had at first in the Society must have subsequently evaporated, as on the 9th June, 1757, he was in arrear with his Subscriptions, and the records of the Society show that, as a consequence, he was "Ejected out of the Society."
In the later years of his life Oglethorpe was the friend of Johnson, Boswell, Goldsmith, Burke and Reynolds, several references being made to these friendships by Boswell in his Life of Dr. Samuel Johnson. Even before he became acquainted with the Doctor he was an ardent admirer of his works. In May, 1738, Johnson published his poem, London, and according to Boswell,
One of the warmest patrons of this poem on its first appearance was General Oglethorpe, whose "strong benevolence of soul," was unabated during the course of a very long lifethough it is painful to think, that he had but too much reason to be cold and callous, and discontented with the world, from the neglect which he experienced of his publick and private worth, by those in whose power it was to gratify so gallant a veteran with marks of distinction. This extraordinary person was as remarkable for his learning and taste, as for his other eminent qualities; and no man was more prompt, active, and generous, in encouraging merit.
In 1768 Boswell published his Account of Corsica, and shortly afterwards he tells us that the General called on him and said, "My Name, Sir, is Oglethorpe, and I wish to be acquainted with you." Continuing Boswell tells us:
I was fortunate enough to be found worthy of his good opinion, insomuch, that I not only was invited to make one in the many respectable companies whom he entertained at his table, but had a cover at his hospitable board every day when I happened to be disengaged; and in his society I never failed to enjoy learned and animated conversation, seasoned with genuine sentiments of virtue and religion.
In passing I may mention that James Boswell was certainly a Freemason under the Scottish Constitution, and was one of those who subscribed to Wellins Calcott's Candid Disquisitions on Masonry, published in 1768.
The friendship between Boswell and Oglethorpe no doubt brought the latter into close touch with Dr. Johnson, and from 1772 onwards there are several references by Boswell to Dr. Johnson dining with the General. For instance, on Friday 10th April, 1772, Goldsmith being amongst those present, an interesting discussion on duelling took place, the General asserting that "undoubtedly a man has a right to defend his honour." He also took part in a controversy concerning apparitions, and quoted from his military experiences. Then, again, at a dinner in April, 1778, we learn that "General Oglethorpe declaimed against luxury." The last recorded occasion was in 1783 when Boswell states that "the General said he was busy reading the writers of the middle age." Some two years later, on the 1st July, 1785, General James Oglethorpe died at Cranham Hall in Essex.
Smollett, in his History of England, refers to Oglethorpe as "a gentleman of unblemished character, brave, generous and humane." Robert Wright, when summing up the General's life in his Memoir, before quoted from, states:
Oglethorpe's was no selfish benevolence; his sympathies were not absorbed by his own schemes; he was ever ready to assist the worthy, in whatever form was best suited to their wants or desires. Few books of merit were published in his time to which he did not subscribe in many cases for several copies, and while he liberally contributed to public charities, his private benefactions were considerable.
And thus we take leave of a man and a Mason whose life was one of singular variety and usefulness, and throughout which the principles and tenets of the Craft shine forth with steady brilliance.
The following works were consulted: Encyclopedia Britannica, Boswell's Life of Johnson, Lecky's History of England in the 18th Century, Turberville's Men and Manners of the 18th Century, Wright's Memoir of General James Oglethorpe, Transactions of the Historical Society, 4th Series, Vol. VI, and A.Q.C. Vol. XI. The quotation from the Records of the Royal Society was kindly supplied by the Assistant Secretary of the Royal Society.
* * *
THE DEGREES OF MASONRY: THEIR ORIGIN AND HISTORY
Bros. A. L. Kress and R. J. Meekren
IN discussing the visit of Dr. Desaguliers to the Lodge of Mary's Chapel, and his reception as a brother, fully "qualified in all points of Masonry," Murray Lyon says that the fact that the members of the lodge and the learned Doctor
... so thoroughly understood each other on all the points of Masonry, shows that either in their main features the secrets of the old Operative Lodges of the two countries were somewhat similar, or that an inkling of the novelty had already been conveyed into Scotland.
Not impossible, of course, however unlikely it may seem, supposing a novelty to have existed. In this case some of those present who had received it might have assisted; but it is all guess-work, and guess-work founded on conjecture at that, for there is no proof that any new degree had then been invented. The very first known allusion to an invention is that in Dr. Stukeley's diary, under Dec. 28 of the following year, 1722, where he speaks of making two friends members of the Order of the Book, or Roman Knighthood.  Even if the Master's part was deliberately fabricated there seems no reason that has so far appeared to make us suppose it was done before August, 1721, the date of this occurrence.
Lyon also advances another argument in the following passage:
Some years ago, and when unaware of Desaguliers' visit to Mary's Chapel, we publicly expressed our opinion that the system of Masonic Degrees which for nearly a century and a half has been known in Scotland as Freemasonry, was an importation from England, seeing that in the processes of initiation and advancement conformity to the new ceremonial required the adoption of genuflexions, postures, etc., which in the manner of their use the country being then purely Presbyterian were regarded by our forefathers with abhorrence as relies of Popery and Prelacy .
Whatever weight this psychological consideration may have is all against the acceptance of a novelty from England, so at least it seems to us. The country was not less Presbyterian in 1721 than in the years before that. There is really far more likelihood of "genuflections" having survived in an old secret ritual to which each individual was introduced separately and to which he got accustomed in the corporate atmosphere, than in the acceptance of such ceremonies by the Craft en masse, or at least by lodges, as an importation from another and prelatical country. In saying this we are not here advancing any alternative hypothesis, but only that, without the entirely conjectural premises imagined by Lyon, the natural conclusion from the facts cited would be this, that whatever the Masonry of London in 1721 may have been, it was sufficiently like that of Scotland to enable a member of the premier Grand Lodge to "work his way into" the "head lodge" (as the Schaw Statutes call it) of the Northern Kingdom. Gould  says of the incident that it
... may mean that Desaguliers passed a satisfactory examination in all the Masonic Secrets then known in the Scottish metropolis, or the words italicized [i.e. in all points of Masonry] may simply import in Masonic phrase that the two parties to the conference were mutually satisfied with the result.
This seems, whether so intended or not, to throw a cloud of innuendo over what in itself seems fairly clear. The phrase in the minute book is sufficiently in line with our present terminology to make very good and obvious sense. Gould's two interpretations either mean the same thing, in which case one was only a paraphrase of the other and hardly worth while, or else they imply, the one that Desaguliers may have been in possession of Masonic secrets unknown in Mary's Chapel, or that other considerations besides those included in our phrase, "strict trial and due examination," were taken into account (such as, for instance, his known position in the London organization) and that actually there may have been little or nothing in common, esoterically speaking, between them. Gould, in a number of places, both in his History and in various essays and articles on the subject, insists on the difference between English and Scottish Masonry at this period, and it might almost seem that his intention here was to lessen the force of a record that implies there was no essential difference in ritual matters. Certainly the natural implication of the whole record is that Desaguliers was formally and Masonically examined; such an examination would necessarily be in a mode that would also satisfy the examinee of the right of the examiners to question him. And finally the phraseology used does not indicate the slightest recognition of any deficiency of Masonic information in Mary's Chapel.
Gould seemed to depend entirely on Lyon for his estimate of the esoteric side of the early Scottish Craft, and it is now necessary to see what the considerations were from which the latter drew his conclusions. The first in order, and one that he dwells on repeatedly is the following provision in the Schaw Statutes. These it must be understood were formulated by the King's Master Mason in his official capacity, and had the force of law; although like all such regulations they were based on the customs and usages of the trade; and it may be added that the various provisions run closely parallel to those of the Old Charges. The passage in point is as follows:
Item, that na maister or fallow of craft be ressauit nor admittit wtout the numer of sex maisteris and twa enterit prenteissis, the wardene of that ludge being ane of the said sex and that the day of the ressauyng of the said fallow craft or maister be ordlie buikit and his name and mark insert in the said buik wt the names of his sex admitteris and enterit prenteissis, and the names of the intendaris that salbe chosin to everie persone to be alsua insert in thair buik. Providing alwayis that na man be atmittit wtout ane assay and sufficient tryall of skill and worthynes in his vocatioun and craft .
On this Lyon remarks:
The presence of so many masters was doubtless intended as a barrier to the advancement of incompetent craftsmen and not for the communication of secrets with which entered apprentices were unacquainted, for the arrangement referred to proves beyond question that whatever secrets were imparted in and by the Lodge were, as a means of recognition, patent to the intrant .
The last sentence seems somewhat obscure, but we take it that here the "intrant" is the candidate for the mastership, and that it means he already knew the secrets. He goes on to say:
The "trial of skill in his craft," the production of an "essay piece," and the insertion of his name and mark in the Lodge book, with the names of his six "admitters" and "intendaris," were merely practical tests and confirmations of the applicant's qualifications ... and the apprentice's attendance at such an examination could not be otherwise than beneficial to him because of the opportunity it afforded for increasing his professional knowledge.
To this one is inclined emphatically to dissent. Presence at an examination may help a prospective candidate in several ways to prepare to pass one himself, but not very much in gaining skill and knowledge and the apprentice's instruction was in the hands of his intenders. This could hardly have been "professional" instruction, which he would receive in due course working for his master. Another point in the clause of the statutes referred to the requirement of the essay and examination comes last, as a proviso, and might be taken quite naturally as referring to a prior condition that had to be met, more especially as it is laid down at greater length in a preceding clause. Further, the reference to intenders does not read as if it referred to those who had instructed him as an apprentice, who were now being discharged, but as appointed to instruct him as a fellow of craft. But in what should he need instruction, seeing he had just passed an examination as to his professional fitness?
He refers to this again  after having given some typical excerpts from the minutes of Mary's Chapel ranging from January, 1600, to March, 1603. He notes that in such of these items as refer to the passing of fellows and masters that the custom of the lodge agreed with the old Statutes of 1598. Then a little later he makes the statement that
The attendance of apprentices in the lodge during the making of a fellow-craft is confirmed by the minutes of Nov. 26, 1601, Nov. 10, 1606, Feb. 24, 1637, and June 23, 1637. This fact demolishes the theory propounded by the representatives of the Grand Lodge of Scotland at the Conference on the Mark Degree, held at London in April, 1871 viz., that apprentices "were merely present at the constitution of the Lodge" for the reception of fellows of craft or masters, but "were not present during the time the business was going on."
Only one of these four critical entries is given by him, which runs as follows:
Tertio Martij 1601. The qlk day Blais Hamilton, prenteis sum tyme to Thomas Weir, present warden and frieman and burges of Edinbruch, is admittet and ressavit in fallow of craft of the massoun craft, and he's done he's dewitie in all poyntts as effeirs, to the satisfaction and contentment of the dekyn, warden, and haill Mrs. of the said craft undersubscriving and marking; and upon the haill premisses the said Blais Hamiltoun askit and tuik instruments fra me notar publico underwritten the scribe. Ita est Mr. Gibsone no'rious. 
The signatures and marks of those present, other than the secretary, are not given. Hamilton evidently received from the latter a legal instrument or certificate of the fact that he had been admitted a master, which would entitle him to the freedom of the trade in the city of Edinburgh. The point of the entry from Lyon's point of view must lie, not in its form, which is quite normal, but in the fact that it can be demonstrated that some one or more of those who signed it or appended their marks can be shown to have been at the time only apprentices. Thus if the name of such an individual be found in an earlier minute which records his being entered as an apprentice, and again in a later one as being received as a fellow, then it would follow that when he attested the intervening record he was an apprentice and present at the proceedings. He does not mention however the name or names in point.
Nevertheless it is not obvious how such records, whether few or many, demolish the theory alluded to above. To do so logically requires an unexpressed premise. Put formally the argument runs
N. or M. was an apprentice. He signed the minutes.
Therefore, an apprentice was present during the whole proceedings of the lodge.
It is obviously a non sequitur as it stands, and requires the introduction of some such step as this:
Everyone signing the minutes was present in the lodge throughout the whole proceedings.
Quite obviously this would be a pure assumption, though of course it might be in any given case a true one. Nevertheless the fact that Masonic lodges all over the world, outside the United States (and in the United States before 1830 or thereabouts) require in theory the presence of all grades when the lodge is formed and opened, and that those of a lower degree retire when there is any work to be done in a higher one, and return when that is concluded, it would seem that the theory of the Scottish representatives at the Mark Degree Conference is not disproved by these minutes, though they do not, of course, establish it. But it remains a possibility.
One more assertion is made by Lyon in favor of his thesis, and that is that apprentices were sometimes elected to the chief offices Deacon or Warden of the Lodge of Kilwinning. He cites no record but seems to promise it later on in his work, though this we have been unable to discover. Gould however  refers to an account in the Freemason's Magazine for 1863 of this old lodge, as a reference in support of the same assertion, and in another place  he states that the Earl of Cassilis was elected a Deacon (principal officer) though not received as a Fellowcraft till the next year. This gentleman distinguished himself, by the way, at the battle of Marston Moor, fighting for King Charles I. Ashmole was also in the Royalist service, acting as a Quarter Master at Oxford, the Royalist headquarters, while Col. Mainwaring, who was initiated with him at Barrington, was in the Parliamentary forces. The possible significance of these and like facts — Robert Moray or Murray, for example, was initiated by some members of the Lodge of Edinburgh at the siege of Newcastle a few years before — has, curiously enough, never been emphasized. There may have been other and more practical reasons than mere curiosity, or desire for good fellowship, that prompted these men of high social position in stormy political periods to seek to unite themselves with a widespread fraternity. However, returning to the subject in hand, it certainly seems that the election of an earl, who had just joined the lodge, to the chief position was at least exceptional, and probably a purely formal honor. It seems that an active deputy was also elected to do the work. There have been cases where a lady has been appointed honorary colonel of a regiment, but it is not to be supposed that she would know very much about its administration and discipline. The position of the apprentice was by the nature of the case subordinate, and his election to preside over a lodge would be exceptional even if the question of degrees be left entirely out of consideration. Each such case would have to be judged on its merits. Gould insists very strongly on the differences between the Masonries of the two kingdoms, and we believe there was a great difference; but it lay rather in their organization and their relationship to the body politic than in the esoteric secrets, whatever these may have been. The lodges in Scotland seem to have taken the status and functions, to a varying extent, of gilds, a status and function that was really foreign to their original character and purpose, and this led to all kinds of compromises and complications. Thus it seems that grown men, though fully competent professionally, and actually employing other men, and even having apprentices of their own, in some cases ranked only as Entered Apprentices . Such individuals could have been apprentices only in a purely formal sense, and were in fact small masters, without the "freedom" of the city. When matters got into such an abnormal state the further anomaly of choosing an apprentice to preside does not seem so extraordinary. We have then to consider its real bearing on the claim that receiving a "fellow craft" involved no further esoteric ceremony.
In the two cases cited by Gould  the latter was where a nobleman was chosen, apparently in his absence, and a deputy elected to do the work. This hardly seems a safe instance to build on. In the other we are told that apprentices were "not infrequently" chosen to preside pro tem, when the Deacon was absent. This again is not conclusive, and could hardly be so unless there were a definite record of an apprentice acting as Deacon or Warden when other apprentices were received as fellows. This would certainly be an amazing anomaly in any case, whether there were secret ceremonies or not.
There is just one more point to be made before we pass on from the consideration of Lyon's views; and that is why did the Schaw Statutes, and other regulations based on them, insist that no one was to be received as a fellow without at least six masters and two apprentices? Lyon's suggestion as to the masters is possible enough from the practical point of view, but there is no practical reason for the apprentices being there. The supposition that it was for its educative value is simply ridiculous. Lyon was unacquainted (at least he gives them no consideration) with the vestiges of ritual evidence that have come down to us. It certainly seems that this regulation merely embodied a ritual requirement. If so it is quite impossible to say what the presence of apprentices really implied from the bare record that they were there.
SUMMARY OF LYON'S ARGUMENT
We have given so much space to Lyon because his conclusions have been largely used by the other proponents of the single initiation hypothesis in its various forms. And it may be as well to briefly summarize his position. He insists that the legal requirement for the presence of apprentices when a fellow or master was received is proof that there were no ritual secrets involved peculiar to the higher rank which were unknown to the lower. This is really the chief foundation of his argument. He further deduces from the bare and laconic references in the early records of the old lodges and from the fact that in some cases individuals has apparently "made masons" single handed, that the ritual or ceremony must have been of the barest and simplest character, consisting (we judge, though has does not definitely say so) of the administration of an oath of secrecy and the communication of a word, which may also have been accompanied by a grip, and possible a sign or signal of some kind. He minimizes the effect of the few minutes that seem to hint at something more as being exceptional, although he uses the equally exceptional cases, of men ranking as apprentices being chosen to preside in the lodge, to support his own contentions. He also advances a psychological argument based on the Presbyterian prejudices of the Scotch which would tend to make them object to "genuflexions"' and other like ritual elements, as Popish and superstitious, and that in consequence they would not have employed anything of the kind in their form of "entering apprentices," or "making masons," though he does not seem to think that this prejudice would have tended to hinder the adoption of such ritual practices imported from England in the eighteenth century!
HUGHAN'S THEORY OF DEGREES
From Lyon we go next to William James Hughan. It must be remembered that all the brethren we have mentioned were partially contemporary with each other. It does not appear, so far as we have been able to discover in their work, that Oliver ever corresponded with Lyon and Hughan, but he did with Mackey and Albert Pike, and these two latter brethren were in touch with them. The views of all four were thus, apparently, worked out more or less in communication with each other before they were published.
Hughan's name is associated chiefly in connection with the manuscript Constitutions or Old Charges. Although sundry copies had been previously published in the Masonic press, in full or in part, he was the first to issue a critical edition of as many as were then known. In a paper read before Quatuor Coronati Lodge in 1897 he says that he and Lyon had been working on this subject for over thirty years, and that it was their considered judgment that
... until the second decade of the last century  there was but the one simple ceremony never were brethren required to leave the lodge because a higher degree was to be worked for which they were not eligible but whether Apprentices, Fellow Crafts or Master Masons, all were equally entitled to be present, irrespective of any notion of Degrees whatever. In other words, so far as we can determine, in the light of duly authenticated facts distinct and separate Masonic degrees are never met with, alluded to, or even probable, prior to 1716-7 (circa) .
He goes on to say that he believes in the great antiquity of the Fraternity, in the continuity of the Freemasonry of today with that of the Middle Ages, but insists that "the antiquity or continuity of Freemasonry is one thing, and that of Degrees quite another." In which statement all must agree. The paper referred to contains a summary of the argument and the kind of evidence on which his opinion is based. In matters of this kind reference to the original documents is really essential for complete judgment; with the best will in the world to be fair and impartial a writer's selection of evidence will be colored by his own views. This we painfully realize in trying to fairly summarize the arguments of these brethren with whose conclusions we do not ourselves agree.
A CHIEFLY NEGATIVE ARGUMENT
Hughan states his purpose as being that of examining "the chief arguments in support of the alleged antiquity of two or more distinct Masonic ceremonies," so that in a sense it is rather critical than constructive. His criticism can be more compendiously handled when we reach the arguments on the other side, at present we will pick out the evidence offered for his own view that has not already been mentioned in presenting Lyon's argument. Yet, as Dr. Chetwode-Crawley pointed out in discussion, his conclusion does seem to rest more on lack of positive evidence for, rather than unambiguous evidence against, which makes it very difficult to summarize his argument. He says:
As to the proof of the existence of two or more separate degrees in England, prior to the last century, where is it to be found? Certainly not in any of the "Old Charges" which were the common property of the Lodge Company, or Fellowship, and were more specifically addressed to the Apprentices though all grades were addressed therein: "Brethren and Fellows" included all the craftsmen in the Lodge when the scroll was read; an examination of the text of any or either of these ancient documents exhibiting the fact that three classes were then recognized and usually termed Apprentices, Fellows (or Journeymen) and Masters; the last of the trio sometimes meaning a Master Mason (being a skilled workman or employer) and at other times the Master of the Lodge, according to the context, and as illustrated in my "Old Charges of the British Freemasons," 1895.
These old Regulations reminded the senior brethren of their duties as well as instructed the neophytes. Had there been distinct degrees during the 17th century, it is not easy to explain such a uniform silence thereon in all these scrolls, particularly in the later versions containing the "New Articles," first met with about two hundred years ago. .
From this extract the negative character of the argument can be seen. The assumption is that had there been two or more secret ceremonies appropriate to the two or more grades that are mentioned, they too would have been distinctly spoken of. This is possible, but hardly certain, especially as there is only the barest allusion to anything esoteric, other than trade secrets, in any case. So little, indeed, that it would be even possible to argue, except for some of the latest documents, very close in date to the period in which degrees do appear, that there was absolutely nothing of this sort implied. Another point that might be made is that these "scrolls" seem to have been used in some places after the critical period, and it might be argued if used then in conjunction with a degree system why not before? But this could of course be countered by saying it was in such cases due to the inconsistencies consequent to a period of transition.
He refers to the initiation of Robert Moray at Newcastle, by certain members of the Lodge of Mary's Chapel, present with the army at Newcastle in 1641. The minute runs as follows:
At Newcastell the 20th day off May 1641. The quilk day ane serten nomber off Mester and others being lafule conveined doeth admit Mr the Right Honerabell Mr Robert Moray, General quarter Mr off the Armie off Scotlan, and the same bing aproven be the hell Mester off the Mesone of the Log off Edenbroth, quherto they heaue set to ther handes or markes. 
The important part of this may be modernized and Englished thus:
The which day a certain number of Masters and other [members] being lawfully convened, did admit [as] Master the Rt. Hon. Mr. Robert Moray, Quartermaster General of the Scottish army, and the same being approved by all the Masters of the Masons of the lodge of Edinburgh they have set thereto their hands or marks.
Hughan comments on this by saying that
The title of Master, thus conferred, was complimentary only, not a "degree," for even at the "making of masters" then, and for many years subsequently, the presence of two Apprentices was necessary to make the ceremony complete.
For this he refers to the provisions in the Schaw Statutes that have been already discussed in dealing with the position of Murray Lyon.
He then goes on to the initiation of Elias Ashmole at Warrington some five years later. The entry in the diary is as follows:
1646, Oct. 16, 4:30 p.m. I was made a FreeMason at Warrington, in Lancashire, with Coll. Henry Mainwaring of Karincham in Cheshire. 
There is no further allusion to the Craft till 1682 when he attended a lodge at Masons Hall in London on March 11, having received "a summons to appear" the previous day. He says:
Accordingly I went, & about noone were admitted into the Fellowship of Free Masons, Sir William Wilson Knight, Capt. Rich: Borthwick, Mr. Will: Woodman, Mr. Wm. Grey, Mr. Samuell Taylour, & Mr. William Wisc.
I was the Senior Fellow among them (it being 35 years since I was admitted). There were present beside my selfe the Fellowes after named:
There is no need to give these names here, but he concludes by saying they all dined.
... at a Noble dinner prepaired at the charge of the New accepted Masons.
Regarding this Hughan remarks:
Ashmole was made a Freemason in 1646, and other gentlemen were likewise "accepted" in 1682, whatever that may mean; just as we read later on of other receptions at Alnwick, Scarborough, York, etc., but there is not the slightest reference to more than one ceremony, neither do we ever meet with entries of meetings at which Apprentices were excluded because of not being eligible for a higher degree.
And he goes on to say that "we know there were visitations" by members of English and Scottish lodges between the two countries so that there "must have been some common basis to work on." From which it would follow apparently that there being no more than one degree in Scotland there was only one in England. This however is not explicitly stated, and it is obviously not conclusive. A Scottish E.A. might visit an English lodge today and be present all through the proceedings if there were no work in a higher degree.
It will be noted that Hughan says that certain "gentlemen were 'accepted' in 1682." Ashmole speaks of them as the "New accepted Masons," but he previously said they "were admitted into the Fellowship of Free Masons," and in the next sentence uses the same word of himself. What is obvious is that Ashmole became a Fellow when he was "made" in 1646, and that the candidates on the later occasion were also made, or admitted Fellows. But Hughan says that to suppose there were two ceremonies performed on the same occasion, two degrees conferred at once, "is wholly fanciful."
He then refers to the lodge at Chester mentioned by Randle Holme, and the "Accepcon" discovered by Conder in the records of the Mason's Company of London, but we get only further instances of individuals being "made" or "accepted." He quotes Conder as authority that in the records of the Mason's Company the term master often described "one able to undertake work as a Master of his Art or Craft," and that
There is no evidence of any particular ceremony attending the position of Master Mason; possibly it consisted of administering another and a different oath from the one taken by the apprentice on being entered and presented by his Master. 
In commenting on this Rylands (also a member of the Mason's Company) said in a note to this article:
On being made free the man became a member of the Company and a fellow of the Craft, though this term is never used in the Books at the same time he was "admitted to be a Master," Mason understood, as he was not Master of anything else. 
This is important, as it shows that the impression these two authorities had gained from their close study of the records of the London Company was that Mastership, if it were not merely another name for the same status as Fellowship, was the necessary qualification to become a Fellow.
To return to Hughan, he next refers to Plot's often quoted account  and the note made by Aubrey respecting the "adoption" of Sir Christopher Wren  in which as in the records of the Mason's Company there are no references to a second degree. As both authors were non-Masons this does not seem to carry much weight. The next reference is to the Alnwick minutes and orders, the latter dating from September, 1701. The fifth of these requires:
Thatt noe mason shall take any Apprentice [but he must] enter him and give him his charge within one whole year after.
And the ninth runs
There shall noe apprentice after he have served seven years be admitted or accepted but upon the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel .
Michaelmas, Sept. 29, was the day these "orders" were confirmed and is called the "Gen  Head Meeting Day." Hughan says that the minutes, which run from 1703 to 1757, contain:
Not even a solitary reference to Masonic degrees, the "admittances" (or Initiations) from first to last being recorded in the customary manner.
He adds that this lodge (which was to the last operative in character) never surrendered its independence though "there was undoubtedly a common bond" between it and lodges under the newer regime. As for example a visitor was present at a meeting on Christmas Day 1755 from Canongate Kilwinning Lodge of Edinburgh, long after the three degree system was established elsewhere. The inference does not seem altogether to support Hughan's opinion.
Indeed Gould remarks, in his History, that throughout the entire series of the Alnwick records, with the obscure exception of the twelfth of the "Orders," there is nothing from which, taken by themselves, even "by the greatest latitude of construction," it could be inferred that secrets of any kind were communicated to the brethren of this lodge. It would almost seem that this proves too much. If no esoteric secrets are referred to at all, except in one rule which might well be understood as referring only to trade and personal affairs, how is the absence of degrees supported by these records? The apprentices were "entered and charged," the fellows were "made free and admitted," that is definitely recorded, but no hint is given as to what was implied by these phrases. It seems open to any interpretation. The point is quite important; the records have to be interpreted in any case, and such interpretations are inferences. No one inference is more "fanciful" than another if made with due regard to logic.
- Gould. History of Freemasonry, Vol. 3, p. 40, note 6. ↩
- Lyon. History of the Lodge of Edinburg, p. 153. ↩
- Gould. Op. cit., Vol. 3, p. 17, note 3. ↩
- Lyon. Op. cit., p. 10. ↩
- lb., p. 17. ↩
- lb., p. 74. ↩
- Ib., p. 73. ↩
- Gould. Op. cit., Vol. 3, p. 56, note 3. ↩
- Ib., Vol. 2, p. 15. ↩
- Lyon. Op. cit., p. 31. ↩
- Gould. Op. cit., Vol. 2, p. 14, and Vol. 3, p. 56. ↩
- Ars Quatuor Coronatorum, Vol. 10, p. 127. ↩
- lb., p. 128. ↩
- Lyon. Op. cit., p. 98. ↩
- The entries are given in full by Gould. Op. cit., Vol. 2, p. 264, and also Concise History, pp. 112 and 116. ↩
- Conder. Hole Craft and Fellowship Masons. ↩
- A.Q.C., Vol. 9, p. 36. ↩
- Gould. Concise History, p. 119. See also the larger History. ↩
- Ib., p. 120. ↩
- Gould gives the Alnwick Statutes in full. History, Vol. 3 p. 14, et seq. ↩
- Hughan. Masonic Sketches and Reprints, American Edition p. 112. Also Gould, Concise History, p. 191 and the larger work Vol. 3, pp. 23 and 153. ↩
* * *
THE LEGEND OF THE CROSS
By Bro. Charles H. Merz, Ohio
WHILE there is no symbolism of the cross to be found in the early degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry, probably because it was regarded by the inventors of these degrees only in its character as a Christian sign, yet we find it referred to under the name of the "rode" or "rood" in the Halliwell MSS. of the 14th century. The early Operative Masons made frequent allusions to it and in the high degrees it forms an important symbol.
No matter what interpretation be given to it, it must always prove an interesting subject for study.
The unconsciousness that the cross had any other relation than that pertaining to the crucifixion of Jesus illustrates a prevailing lack of historical knowledge. Far back in the twilight of the pictured history of the past, the cross is found on the borders of the River Nile. A horizontal piece of wood fastened to an upright beam indicated the height of the water in flood. This is one, so-called, origin of the cross.
The cross has been revered by every nation as an emblem of life and regeneration. It bespeaks evolution in religion. It is the product of time, beginning with one thing and ending with another. It is found in Peru, Egypt, India, Assyria, Chaldea, Babylonia, China, and Phoenicia.
The figure of a man seems inseparably connected with the cross but this figure was a later addition. It had its origin with the Hindus who portrayed the god Vittoba as a man crucified in space. The Secret Doctrine states that not one of the world's Saviours actually suffered death on the cross, that crucifixion is a spiritual and not a physical fact in nature, symbolizing a sacrifice.
The early Christians revered the cross as the way of the truth and the life. They had no knowledge of a crucified Saviour. Jesus was worshipped as the lamb. In the course of time the lamb was pictured as leaning against the cross. About the year 680 A.D. it was decided to substitute the man for the lamb. It is stated that the earliest figure on the cross was one crucifix presented by Pope Gregory to Queen Theodolinda of Lombardy. It is certain that while the cross as a sacred or mystic symbol dates from the remotest antiquity, and its use as an instrument of punishment is scarcely less ancient, there was no connection between the two before Christianity.
The symbolic cross of many shapes may be resolved into four primitive forms:
- The Greek cross found on Assyrian tablets, on Egyptian and Persian monuments, and on Etruscan pottery.
- The crux decussata or oblique cross, vulgarly called St. Andrew's cross, no less common in ancient sculptures.
- The Latin cross or crux immissa, found on monuments, coins, and medals, before Christ.
- (d) The tau cross, crux commissa, or patibulata, a mystic symbol of very ancient origin, probably a phallic emblem, thought by archaeologists to be the oldest form, the Greek cross being its double.
- (e) The crux ansata, the tau cross combined with a circle, as in the hands of the Egyptian divinities the symbol of life and immortality.
There are extant many legends of the cross. The Talmud, held by the Jews in as high esteem as the Bible, contains hidden in its depths innumerable pearls and many priceless treasures. At the same time it contains many passages whose conceits are puerile. It presents many strange mixtures of history interwoven with fiction, as well as many curious illustrations of the Masonic system.
The following Mediaeval legend will prove interesting and instructive:
Adam was weary of life and longed to die. Calling his son, Seth (Sut, Set or Typhon), he said: "Go to the gates of Eden and ask St. Michael to send me some of the oil of mercy God promised me when he thrust me out of Paradise." Seth replied, "I know not the way." "Go by the valley that lieth to the eastward," said Adam. "There is a green path along which you will find blackened footprints, for where my feet and the feet of your mother trod in leaving the Garden, no grass has since grown."
Seth found the gate guarded by an angel with a sword of fire, but he was allowed a glimpse of Paradise. He saw a fountain through which the water rolled in four mighty rivers. Before the fountain was a gigantic tree, bare of leaves and fruit. Around its trunk a terrible serpent had writhed itself, burned the bark and devoured the leaves. Beneath was a precipice that reached to the depths of hell. The only human inhabitant was Cain, who strove to climb the tree to re-enter Paradise, but the roots, as if instinct with life, turned around the murderer, even penetrating his flesh. Appalled, Seth raised his eyes to implore mercy and gazed at the top of the tree. Its head reached into heaven, its branches were covered with flowers and fruits, and, most beautiful of all, a little babe was listening to the songs of seven white doves circling 'round him, and a woman, more glorious and lovely than the moon, bore the child in her arms. The angel refused the oil of mercy, telling Seth that it could not be bestowed until 5,500 years had elapsed, but, in token of future pardon, he gave him three seeds from the Tree of Life, and commanded him to bury them with his father.
When Adam heard the message, he laughed for the first time since his transgression, and said: "Oh, God, I have lived long enough. Take my soul from me." Adam died the third day after Seth's return, and his sons buried him in the Valley of Hebron. The seeds produced three saplings, which marvelously became one, yet were distinct in nature. This sapling Moses found and plucked as his rod. As the prophet was punished for his presumptuousness in not calling upon God when he smote the rock the second time, he was not permitted to carry the rod into the Promised Land, so he planted it in Moab.
David, being moved by an angelic vision to transplant it to Jerusalem, sought for it three days before he found it. On his way to the Holy City, divers miracles were wrought, sick were healed, lepers cleansed, etc. The monarch planted it in that part of his garden to which he repaired for private devotions. He begirt it with twenty rings of sapphire and built a wall around it. In time the tree became gigantic, and Solomon desired to use it as a column in the Temple but cut it as they might, the workmen found that it became miraculously either too long or too short for their purpose. In anger it was thrown aside. A woman named Isbylla sat upon it to rest. Suddenly her clothes took fire, and she prophesied that Christ should hang upon that beam. Whereupon the Jews beat her to death and then threw the beam as a footbridge across a stream that it might be trampled under foot. When Balkis, the Queen of Sheba, visited Solomon, she refused to walk over it, but worshipping it, took off her sandals and forded the stream. And she declared to Solomon that upon that holy wood the Savior of Adam and his posterity would suffer. Thereupon Solomon commanded that the beam should be overlaid with silver, gold and jewels, and placed it over the doorway of the Temple which faced the rising sun. Solomon's grandson, Abijah, coveting the treasure, stripped the adornments from the wood, and, to conceal the theft, buried the beam in the ground. A spring welled forth from the spot, which in after times was known as the Pool of Bethesda, and the angel to whom was committed the care of the sacred wood at times "troubled the water," and the tree, giving forth its virtues, healed the sick.
At the time of the crucifixion of our Lord, the wood floated to the surface, and from it the cross was formed, in which were four species of wood, the palm, cypress, cedar, and olive. When St. Helena, the mother of Constantine, visited Jerusalem, the spirit having infused into her the wish to discover the cross of our Lord, she called together the wise men and Elders of the Jews, who, much fearing, sought anxiously among themselves what this assembling could mean. one of them, Judas by name, said: "I know that she wishes to learn where is the wood of the Cross upon which Jesus was crucified, but beware lest ye reveal it, for as soon as the Cross shall be found, our law will be done away. I have learned from my forefathers, one of whom, Zaccheus, was the father of Stephen."
But the Jews agreed upon no account to reveal where was the wood of the Cross. But when the Empress terrified them with threats of death by fire, they pointed out Judas as a just man and the son of a prophet who was skilled in their law and traditions. The old man being obdurate, St. Helena commanded him to be cast into a pit, to starve until he disclosed the truth. He endured the agony of hunger for six days; on the seventh he yielded and led the Empress to Calvary. Upon the sacred mount was a temple of Venus that Satan had subtly caused Hadrian to build in order that when the Christians came to that spot to worship, they might be charged with adoring the pagan goddess. Judas, having prayed, the earth trembled and a fragrant odor was diffused. St. Helena commanded the pagan temple to be destroyed and the ground ploughed up. Then Judas began to dig vigorously, and at the depth of twenty feet he found three crosses. They could not, however, distinguish the Cross of Christ from that of the thieves. And about the ninth hour, a dead man was carried by and Judas laid the first and the second cross upon the dead man, but he moved not. Then he laid the third cross upon him, and he came to life. Judas was converted by this miracle and later became Bishop of Jerusalem. St. Helena desired the nails that held our Savior to the Cross, and Bishop Quirlachus, having prayed, the nails immediately appeared upon the ground, glittering like gold. The Empress adored them and placed one in the crown of her son, Constantine; another was forged as a bit or placed upon the bridle of his war horse in verification of the Prophet's words: "In that day shall be upon the bells (bridles) of the horses: Holiness to the Lord." (Zech. xiv20.) The third nail she reserved for herself, but, being in a dangerous storm in the Adriatic, she threw it into the sea, which until that time had been a whirlpool. Some say there was a fourth nail which was placed in the statue of Constantine.
The Cross she divided; part she sent to her son, and the rest she enclosed in a silver shrine and left it at Jerusalem, and she appointed the Feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross to be celebrated every year. Chosroes, King of the Persians, subdued all the kingdoms of the East. Coming to Jerusalem, he fled, terrified, from the sepulcher of the Lord yet he carried away the portion of the Lord's Cross left there by St. Helena. Wishing to be adored as a god, he built a tower of gold, silver and precious stones, and placed therein images of the sun, moon and stars. Giving up the kingdom to his son, Chosroes, he enthroned himself in the tower as the Father, and put' the Cross on his right in place of the Sun, and a cock for the Holy Spirit.
Then the Emperor Heraclius came with a mighty army to recover the Cross. They met by the Danube, and the two princes fought on the bridge, agreeing that he who was victor should dispose of the army of the other. Heraclius, commending himself to God and the Cross, won the fight and immediately the whole army of the Persians became Christians and were baptized. Heraclius offered to Chosroes that, as he had revered the Cross after a fashion, his life should be preserved. Refusing this, Heraclius straightway beheaded him, but because he had been a king, he ordered him to be buried. The tower was destroyed, but the gold and precious stones the Emperor gave to the churches the tyrant had destroyed. Heraclius took the Cross to Jerusalem. As he would have entered the gate, the stones of the gate descended and closed the gate like a wall. The angel of the Lord appeared, holding the sign of the Cross, and said, "When the King of Heaven went to His passion by this gate, He went not arrayed as a King on horseback, but humbly upon an ass." Then the Emperor took off his shoes and took the Cross of our Lord and bore it humbly to the gate. The gate opened and the precious tree of the Cross was reestablished in its place.
* * *
BOARD OF EDITORS
R. J. Meekren, Editor-in-Chief
E. E. Thiemeyer, Research Editor
Louis Block, Iowa
Robert L. Clegg, Ohio
Gilbert W. Daynes, England
Ray V. Denslow, Missouri
George H. Dern, Utah
N. W. J. Haydon, Canada
R. V. Harris, Canada
C. C. Hunt, Iowa
Charles F. Irwin, Ohio
A. L. Kress, Pennsylvania
F. H. Littlefield, Missouri
Joseph E. Morcombe, California
Arthur C. Parker, New York
J. Hugo Tatsch, Iowa
Jesse M. Whited, California
David E. W. Williamson, Nevada
* * *
ST. JOHN OF JERUSALEM
WE wish to draw especial attention to the article on an earlier page by Bro. R. J. Newton. The Order of St. John during the centuries has been known by many names. As most of our readers know it still exists in three acknowledged branches, while a fourth also claims continuous descent.
The curious thing is that the Papal Order and the Protestant Bailiwick of Brandenburg are both hostile to Freemasonry. The first because it is papal, the second because it is aristocratic, and the German aristocracy are now engaged in an anti-Masonic movement, apparently in order, first, to excuse the failure of their oligarchy in the disasters of the war, and second, to aid a national-royalist movement with the aim of reestablishing their privileged position. Yet the Order began with a group of men who devoted themselves to the far from pleasant task of caring for the sick. It was only by accident and force of circumstances they became a military order. And though this change did come they never forgot, as the Templars did, their original purpose. To care for the sick and protect the weak and helpless.
The new Order of St. John of which Bro. Newton tells us makes no pretentions to antiquity. It was founded under analogous circumstances to the older one. Those who organized it saw numbers of pilgrims seeking health, destitute and helpless, and they banded together to aid them. Being all, or nearly all, Masons they were familiar with the story of the ancient Knights of St. John, and thought, appropriately enough, that to emphasize the example of those truly Christian men of eight hundred years ago, they might adopt the same name; for really to them, as Masons, it had a double significance.
Since it began to be seen that the effort to meet the tubercular problem in the Southwest through an official organization was likely to fail, we have received letters from many correspondents asking if it would not be possible to form some more flexible association that would not be hampered by the precedents and traditions that hem our Grand Lodges in so strictly. Owing to the self-abnegation of the Order of St. John we hardly knew of their existence. As Bro. Newton tells us, the members agreed to stand aside and give the N.M.T.S.A. a clear field. Now that they have taken up their task again we cannot see how better those brethren who have been interested can help than by affiliating with it.
Its object and purpose is both Masonic and Christian in the widest sense. Among the many societies and fraternities that exist for social purposes, for amusement or for show, this aims at service. Service to those who need it most. It is organized to cooperate in any possible way with existing means for combatting sickness; and while it aims in the future to found its own hospitals, it plans, to begin with, to use funds collected to assist needy brethren to obtain treatment through existing agencies. What may be done in the future remains to be seen, but something can be done now through even the smallest contributions.
* * *
A PLEA FOR UNITY
THE problem of the universality of the Craft on its practical side, that of recognition, is perhaps the most highly controversial of any question before us today. It is not only a matter of disagreement, but of disagreement with heat. For this reason it is apt to be avoided and passed over, except by those who hold extreme views, and do not care whether they disturb fraternal good feeling or not.
The appeal for unity issued by a very influential group of Masons in Holland deserves serious consideration. The "Great East" of the Netherlands is Masonically most respectable, in age and in its Constitution. It is fully recognized by the British Grand Lodges, and if any of our American Jurisdictions fail to do so it is without any adequate reason. Yet insistent as the Masons of Holland are upon those Landmarks which we regard as a sine qua non, they are more tolerant than we are. They realize far better than we can the conditions under which the Masons of other European countries have labored and suffered and they are not prepared to excommunicate them.
Really we have paid no attention to the character and qualities of the men to whom we deny the name of Mason, we have stood rigidly upon the letter of our interpretation of the law. We have been ready to believe the worst slanders their enemies have invented about them, we have refused to take any steps towards a reconciliation. And most curious thing of all, looked at objectively, we have been very much inclined to glory in this attitude.
The unrecognized Masons of Europe have maintained a most dignified attitude. They have been reviled, and described in most unflattering terms. They have never responded in kind, They have been refused all fraternal amenities, yet they have never refused to assist an Anglo-Saxon Mason in distress. They have done it without any question. It was enough for them that he was a Mason.
The question is, are we really satisfied with this situation? Could not some way out be found to heal the breach of unity? Our histories praise the efforts of those who healed the schism between the Ancients and Moderns a hundred years ago — in the face of the bitter opposition of extremists on both sides. Will historians of a hundred years hence have cause to praise us — or not?
* * *
PLURAL MEMBERSHIP AND RESEARCH
THE question of the advantages and disadvantages of restricting the membership of the individual Mason to one lodge only have been debated pro and con from several different points of view. In our opinion the objections to plural membership are not very weighty; the one chiefly dwelt upon by those who oppose it is the difficulty it would create in compiling Grand Lodge statistics. In fact it comes down to one particular difficulty, that of being able to tell exactly how many men are members of the Order. Far be it from us to decry the value of exact knowledge in such matters, but, valuable as statistics of all kinds certainly are in their place, it does nevertheless seem as if those who object upon this ground are seeing the matter out of true perspective. They would hardly, we presume, be prepared to maintain that the primary object of the Masonic Institution is to produce statistics, or that the chief function of Grand Lodge machinery is to compile membership lists. These things are obviously very secondary, and while they naturally and properly bulk very largely in the minds of those whose official duty it is to keep the records, yet even these brethren would hardly be prepared to say that the higher objects of Masonry should give way and be subordinated to them. And besides this it is far from clear that there is any insuperable difficulty in devising means to keep exact tally of the totals where plural membership may be permitted; but we do not wish to go into that aspect of the question here.
The Grand Lodge of New York at its last communication accepted the report of a committee that had been investigating the question and enacted certain amendments to its code recommended by the committee, the effect of which is to enable a New York Mason to belong to two (but not more than two) lodges in the state at the same time. The committee seemed to feel that to belong to three lodges at once might be, in some unspecified way, a source of some kind of danger. Still a step forward (or backward) towards greater freedom has been taken. In by far the greater number of cases the brother desiring to affiliate with a second lodge will be moved by a desire to retain membership in his mother lodge, and to have at the same time the privilege of membership in the place of his residence. But though this will probably be the principal motive for a time, it is possible that it may open the door to that bogey of many good brethren, the "class lodge."
The term seems to have been unfortunate in that it has been assumed that the only meaning it had was that of lodges graded according to the standards of "society," the "four hundred" or its local equivalent. The class lodge in this sense we actually have with us, more or less, in every large center of population, only as it is not so called it is not recognized as such. The class lodge is a lodge of Masons who have some special bond of interest. Men, as a rule, do not group themselves according to social rank, and the kind who do are not likely to be Masons, even in name. The class lodge in the sense of the term in which it is intended to be understood, can hardly exist where Masons cannot belong to more than one lodge at a time. Most members of class lodges (where they exist) are also members of other lodges. Most of them join their class lodge by affiliation, and retain their connection with their mother lodge. A physician can affiliate with a lodge of physicians, an architect with an architects' lodge, but equally the railroad man, the electrician, the carpenter, might also have lodges of their own. There is no more harm in such interests drawing Masons together in lodges than outside them, so long, and the proviso is important, as they are not obliged to belong only to the class lodge if they would enjoy the privilege.
We quite expect that objection will persist in view of the unfortunate associations the name has been given in the minds of most American Masons. There is one kind of class lodge, however, that no one has yet objected to, and that is the one devoted to study and research. No more than any other kind of class lodge can the research lodge exist unless dual membership at least is permitted. They have been attempted in different states where this was not allowed, but in no case successfully. Either the Constitution stood in the way, or not enough Masons could be found who were willing to dimit from their old lodges to join the new one. But with dual membership the door is opened wide, and we are looking forward, as one of the first and most important results of the action of New York, to seeing a Research Lodge established there that may worthily emulate the labors of those in other parts of the world.
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THE STUDY CLUB
A pamphlet on "How to Organize and Maintain a Study Club" will be sent free on request, in quantities to fifty.
THE PURPOSES OF A STUDY CLUB
AT a recent conference of Masonic librarians and educators held in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a detailed report of which will appear in a forthcoming number of THE BUILDER, Study Clubs were quite generally discussed. There was a wide divergence of opinion as to what should be expected of these groups, though there was very little of a tangible nature that developed in the discussion. This was not due to the fact that no decision could be reached, but to the fact that this particular phase of the question was not the principal theme. Such opinions as were brought to light were merely incidental.
The purposes and ambitions of Study Clubs are more or less clearly defined. The aim most generally accepted and most widely known is, of course, to teach the members of the group something about Masonry. There are other less appreciated purposes which will come in for their share of the discussion a little later.
The first thing to be considered is the fact that, generally speaking, in a newly organized Club the members are in what might be termed the kindergarten stage of Masonic knowledge. They have, to begin at the very beginning. Before the Club can hope to accomplish very much along other lines, it must acquaint its members with the fundamentals. The usual beginning is the symbolism of the ritual, leading into the history of some of the symbols, the general history, and the jurisprudence and philosophy of the Craft. When a point has been reached where all of the members know the basic facts in these subjects we are ready to branch out and do something else.
As a matter of fact a great many Study Clubs die at this point, simply because they lack initiative to find other fields to conquer. There is plenty to be done and it is only a question of finding the tasks particularly suited to the needs of the individual organization. Some things suitable in large lodges would be impracticable in a smaller group. It cannot be hoped that any brief article could suggest all possible ways in which the Club could serve the lodge. All that can be desired is to make some suggestions that will assist the members of Study Clubs in finding their proper place and in enabling them to continue their work.
In the first place, there will be in any group a few men, perhaps only one or two, who will be interested in delving into the more recondite phases of research. Such members should be encouraged. Their researches will be of benefit to the Club and will enable those who, through lack of time or inclination, find it impossible to go into the deeper phases of the subject, to learn more about the Craft without doing a vast amount of reading and digging. These more advanced students should be given opportunities to present their findings to the Club at large. Let them read papers at some of the meetings. Such a practice will help to avoid the danger of falling into a rut and developing a cut and dried routine which might grow boresome. If they are in need of material the National Masonic Research Society is ready and willing to help if they will only ask for what they want. If they care to submit their manuscripts to us for publication we will be glad to consider them.
There will doubtless be new members coming on. These men will be fresh and will have to begin at the bottom. The older members can assist them in making a start. An occasional meeting, as many as are required by the influx of new members, can be set aside for a discussion of more rudimentary phases of Masonic Study. Even the members who have been over the same ground will find many new things cropping up. There will be additional discussion which will doubtless bring to light questions which have not been raised before.
One large lodge in a central western state has a Study Club meeting each week. One meeting each month is devoted to the Entered Apprentice Degree, one to the Fellowcraft and the balance to the Master Mason Degree. All of the candidates are invited to attend the meetings devoted to the degree they have just attained. This may work very well in a large lodge where there are five or six or more candidates each month. A variation of the plan could be adopted even to a very small body. As an illustration let us go to the other extreme. In a small country lodge where perhaps there are only one or two candidates each year, as these candidates progress up the Masonic ladder, Study Club meetings could be devoted to the degree they had attained. All variations between these extremes are possible. One advantage of such a plan lies in the fact that each candidate is formally initiated into the Study Group. He gets the habit early in his Masonic career and becomes a real prospect for membership.
A question and answer service might be maintained. The lodge bulletin, if one is published, will furnish a medium for answering queries, or they can be answered in open lodge. Members of the lodge will frequently propound questions which cannot be answered on the spot. These can be referred to members of the Study Club for report. There are a vast number of Masons who have questions in their minds, but who do not ask them because they don't know anyone who can give them the answer. These queries will come to light if the brethren ire told that members of the Study Club will be glad to investigate and report back at the next meeting of the lodge. A Master willing to devote a small amount of time each meeting to a service of this sort will find attendance bettered because of an increased interest in the meetings. There is something new coming up every evening. The brethren generally will soon become interested in these discussions, and not only will the lodge prosper through this new interest, but the Study Club will gain new members.
A variation of this scheme is to invite the members of the Study Club to present programs before the lodge. Either one speaker could consume the whole time allotted, or several short talks might be given. Subjects are plentiful and there is no danger of draining the well dry.
While it may seem that we have drifted somewhat from our original topic actually we have not. The illustrations cited are simply methods by which the Study Club may increase its field of usefulness. They are all illustrations of how a secondary aim of Study Clubs can be carried out. As soon as the members of the group become sufficiently proficient they should start out on a campaign of assisting their less informed brethren along the path they have followed. More precisely, the Study Club should first teach its own members, and then become a center for the teaching of others.
It is an old axiom that one cannot teach everything he knows. A man's knowledge of a subject must be greater than his spoke or written word about it. As the Study Club progresses, and a it sets out upon its campaign of teaching, it must be born i mind that the teaching group must keep ahead of the pupils Don't, therefore, lose sight of the fact that you must progress in the Study Club as well as in the lodge. Vary your field, when you seem to have exhausted one subject begin on something else. No one person can hope to know all that is known to the human race, and no one Mason can hope to know all there is to know about Masonry. Masonic Research is one way of seeking after light — like the symbolic search of the fraternity, the quest is endless.
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AN APPEAL FOR UNITY
IN September, 1924, several brother Freemasons belonging to the jurisdiction of different Grand Lodges met together in The Hague in order to discuss the following questions:
- What is it that keeps Freemasons, who are spread over the whole world, divided?
- In what manner can the dissension be altered into unity?
Their discussions led to the compiling of an appeal, translated into four languages, and signed by the members of the gathering, in which they submitted for consideration, a solution of the two points which have been and still are the principal cause of estrangement, viz., recognition of the Grand Architect of the Universe, and the attitude adopted by Freemasons in regard to political and religious questions.
Although in no way commissioned by the Grand Lodges to which the Brothers belonged, and although their gathering was in no way of an official character, they nevertheless hoped, in view of their earnest endeavors, to be allowed to take the liberty of presenting their appeal before all the recognized Grand Lodges for their consideration, and to be able to depend on their support.
It would occupy too much time and space to give in full all the replies we received to this appeal. Much, very much enthusiasm on the one hand, doubt and a reserved attitude on the other. Both answers were greatly appreciated. Others apparently considered it not worth the trouble even to acknowledge receipt of the summons and to reply Why not? It was not egotism which caused us to make these endeavors! Are not Brotherhood and Tolerance the two great signs which distinguish Freemasonry from the profane societies which exist on ethical, philosophic and philanthropical grounds? Then why not stretch out a helping hand to those who because of the apparent lack of forbearance, apparent lack of brotherhood, want to try to alter it into an all-binding solidarity?
It therefore appeared, on the one hand, from the answers received from the Grand Lodges, that the need of more unity and combination was generally recognized, whilst at the same time, on the other hand, practically no help could be hoped for from those sources in order to obtain a solution as we had hoped. The objections appeared to devolve principally upon the following:
- Did some of the Grand Lodges, members of the Association Maçonnique Internationale, think that we had encroached upon the path of the A.M.I., and that the attainment on the desired union ought to be left to that society?
- Were they of the opinion that our endeavors would be in opposition to the Ancient Landmarks?
Neither of these two objections is just.
Far from underestimating the value of the steps taken by the A.M.I., the originators of the appeal intended that their endeavor should support the efforts of the A.M.I. towards creating unity between the Grand Lodges. The fact of the meeting of the originators having no official character is sufficient to prove that there was no question of competition with the A.M.I. It is clear, therefore, that there must be some misunderstanding.
This is also the case with the objections in regard to the Landmarks.
None of the originators had the slightest intention of meddling with them in the least.
Thus here again a misunderstanding.
Will this therefore say that because the support of the Grand Lodges cannot with certainty be relied upon, a fresh endeavor to attain the ideal must immediately be dropped? The writers of this letter do not think so. The object, viz., the unity of the members of the Order, is too important.
By reason however of the experience gained, as outlined above, we conclude that the way in which we went to work was not the right one. At least it is clearly shown that it was a mistake for us to first approach the boards of the Grand Lodges themselves with a view to obtaining their support. We forget that these bodies are bound by their own rules and statutes, and if they thought that the appeal was in any way in conflict with those statutes and rules, no matter how sincere the object of the appeal, they could not give their support.
It appears to us, however, that the desire to attain concord between the Grand Lodges is paramount throughout the whole of the Brotherhood of Freemasonry. How could it be otherwise? Wherever a desire for unity expresses itself, no matter in which walk of life, the Brotherhood of Freemasonry cannot remain behind. The harmony among brethren of all countries must be advanced, should Freemasonry not wish to be considered a lie.
We now think it advisable to follow another path, viz., that we, together with some earnest and foremost Brothers in other countries, gird up our loins to grow by common study more acquainted with the reasons that prevent today the effectuation of the so hoped for concord between the Grand Lodges and with all that may unite us, in order to get a better view of the road the Grand Lodges have to go in the future.
Nowadays everywhere in the world the opinions about these subjects are different and the manner in which they are treated is different too. The cause may be looked for in the difference in nationalities, national characters, history and the personal surroundings of the members of the Order. Everyone has the same ideal but the point from which they view the ideal is different, according to the race to which they belong, the country in which they were born, the surroundings among which they were reared. It is as if each one takes a different road, yet all these roads lead to the same goal.
These surmises are reciprocated in the words of Anderson: that "a mason is obliged by his tenure to obey the moral laws and if he rightly understands the art he will never be a stupid atheist, nor an irreligious libertine," and also "although in ancient times masons were charged to be of the religion of that country, it is now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that religion in which all men agree, leaving their particular opinions to themselves."
If the Order takes this principle and builds thereon it will become a centre of unity by quickening friendship between people who would otherwise remain divided. Vide Anderson in his Constitutions of 1723.
However much the efficiency of the Constitutions may be altered, yet the quoted words hold their full power; we ought to take their meaning in and revive it among the great Brotherhood of Freemasons. Alas, on the contrary a great many of them do not understand that meaning any more. Partly hence the lack of agreement among us.
Another reason of that discord is the fault which has gradually arisen in some Grand Lodges, in making the Order and the Lodges subservient to special politic interests and special religious dogmas. For the sake of harmony among us, it ought to be avoided. If there is anything what tends to disharmony in the lodges, discussions on dogmatic and political subjects will do. The Order is great enough to respect every opinion regarding religion as well as regarding polities (in the sense of party polities). But because of this, because the members must be free to exercise their own opinions in this respect, such subjects ought to be kept out of the lodge, in any case it ought never to influence any resolution passed in lodge. They ought to be prohibited in lodge.
We wish to recommend the above to your earnest consideration.
If you, like us, are convinced that unity must obtain instead of the dissension prevailing at present, we would request you to give your whole-hearted support to our efforts towards this end. In our opinion the best way to obtain unity are efforts to induce in words and in writing the positive idea of Freemasonry to the consciousness of all Freemasons spread on the surface of the earth, that little by little the hearts of the brethren may approach each other more and more.
Therefore, in the first place, we would request you to work with us, insofar as to use your power in your Masonic circle to lead the thoughts of your fellow brethren towards the bridging over of that gulf which keeps the brethren divided, so that this Masonic idea may obtain more and more supporters, which in the end must lead to an increase in peace and happiness among the peoples of the earth.
We therefore urgently request you to take the necessary steps to arrange for the following questions to be considered and answered by one or more eminent united brethren in your circle to be selected by you:
- Ought not the Order of Freemasonry which is spread over the surface of the earth to set the example for the Building of a Temple of Humanity founded on Love, Harmony and Justice?
- What must and what can be done to counteract the dissension which exists also internationally in our own community?
- What must and what can be done to give Freemasonry which has "Brotherhood" at the head of its ideals a prominent place in the growing community of active lovers of peace outside the Tessellated Border?
- Would you be prepared to give us active help by:
- Causing these questions to be the subject of consideration in the lodges in the jurisdiction of your Grand Lodge and, if possible, giving same your personal direction, and
- Advising us as briefly but at the same time as completely as possible of the result of such considerations?
Finally we bring to your attention, that the questions mentioned above may be answered in as detached a way as possible, also that narrow national views should not be considered the only decisive ones, in order that a conclusion may be drawn which will satisfy Freemasons in all countries.
In this way we hope to establish through our agency an international, intellectual and spiritual contact, however without putting anyone under the least obligation or binding you in any way. We suggest that discussions on these points will meet other questions, asking your attention, f.i.: What is the real value of our symbols and rituals in regard to our work? Are rituals and symbols only accidental or do they constitute the starting point of our work? Is there any practical aim to be pursued by all Grand Lodges in order that in the future human society may be ruled by the Masonic idea of Humanity?
We propose forming the replies received from you into a sort of pamphlet to be printed and sent to the brethren in all countries We do not believe it impossible that our effort may involve the issuing of a periodical to be published regularly though on unfixed dates, apt to imbue the hearts of the brethren with the ideal of the universal brotherhood.
With sincere fraternal greetings.
A. Ariens Kappers, Merchant and Consul, Amsterdam.
Rev. A. E. F. Junod, Late Ministered Wassenaar near The Hague.
Colonel W. A. F. G. Bolken, Amersfoort.
H. Carpenter Alting, Late Director of the Civil Service of the Dutch East Indies, The Hague.
A. J. Hooiberg, Librarian of the Great East of the Netherlands The Hague (VanBeuingenstraat 12), to whom your letters maw be addressed.
The Hague. March. 1928.
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The following from The Fortnightly Review of St. Louis, Mo., for May 1, 1928, will probably be of interest to readers of THE BUILDER. The Fortnightly Review is an exceedingly high class Roman Catholic periodical of a religious and literary character. The item here reproduced should not be taken as representative of the general nature of its contents.
Under this title [Masonic Satanism] M. Pierre Colmet, in La Revue Internationale des Societes Secretes (Paris, Nov. 13, 1927, Vol. XVI, No. 46), quotes from a circular letter issued by Charles Bernardin, member of the Conseil d'Ordre of the Grand Orient of France and Master of the Lodge "Amis de la Verite" at Metz, through the Masonic journal Acacia, a passage in which that worthy asserts that one of his best friends, a monk who died three years ago in good standing in the Catholic Church, became a Freemason in his youth, and not only continued his affiliation with the Masonic sect after his ordination to the priesthood, but rose to high dignity in the Order, and did not hesitate to deliver consecrated hosts to Freemasons for purposes of desecration.
"This priest," says M. Bernardin, "was no fool; quite the contrary... Whom did he deceive? The Church. No doubt about that? Us? And why?" He adds that his object in pointing out this case is to encourage his fellow Masons to search the records of the Masonic Order for traces of other renegade priests who disobeyed the Church and incurred excommunication by affiliating with Freemasonry.
M. Colmet, who is an Anti-Masonic author of note, prints this horrible story under the title "Satanisme Maçonnique." He finds it not at all incredible in view of many similar cases for which he says there is authentic proof. He refers to twenty such cases, among them that of the Abbe Boullan, whose life has lately been published by the Librairie Chacornac, of Paris, under the title, L'Abbe Boullan, sa Vie, sa Doctrine et ses Pratiques Magiques. Boullan was the prototype of "Docteur Johannes," a character in Huymans' Labas.
As regards the circular letter of M. Bernardin, M. Colmet points out two interesting points: first, this prominent Freemason's open avowal that consecrated hosts are still sought for by Masons and that he (Bernardin) himself did not hesitate to accept specimens from the apostate monk to whom he refers; secondly, that in spite of the respect he professes for his ecclesiastical accomplice, he did not fully trust him. M. Colmet thinks that this distrust was founded not on the character of the renegade priest, but on the suspicion that the hosts he gave to his Masonic friends for purposes of "ritual profanation," were not validly consecrated. "He suspected this wicked priest either of having drawn back before this terrible abuse of the sacerdotal power and to have merely pretended to give up the body and blood of his God, or perhaps, of not having had, because of his unbelief, the strict intention necessary for the efficacious use of the sacramental formulas."
That the so-called "Black Mass," at which these hosts are supposed to be used, still takes place under the auspices of the Grand Orient of France is confirmed, according to M. Colmet (who cites as his authority the venerable founder of the Revue Internationale des Societes Secretes, Monsignor Jouin), by the recent testimony of a dying woman, who positively declared that she had attended several such ceremonies performed by apostate priests, for which she herself had furnished the hosts, and that the reason why hosts were stolen from Catholic churches for this abominable purpose was that the Masons themselves do not trust those priests.
The whole thing points to a dark chapter in the history of human perversion, and if the statements quoted above were not based on such good authority, we should hesitate to take notice of them.
In the number for May 15, appears a letter signed Sacerdos, part of which we quote below. The "great fakir" alluded to is presumably Leo Taxil, whose real name is said to have been Gabriel Jogand. The extraordinary hoax he perpetrated has very largely been forgotten, but we believe La Revue Internationale des Societes Secretes must have had his inventions in mind.
The letter of Sacerdos, addressed to the editor of The Fortnightly Review, says:
In your article of May 1 on "Masonic Satanism" you wind up by saying: "If the statements quoted above were not based on such good authority, we should hesitate to take notice of them."
While reading this, I could not help thinking of that great fakir (I do not recall his name) who wrote years ago several volumes on "The Three Point Brethren." You remember what great excitement his writings caused, and how he was finally exposed. It seems that periodically horrid tales make the rounds about Satanic cults and Masonic secret machinations. I remember, when I was a boy going to high school, a somber, darklooking house in a side alley was pointed out to us as being the gathering place of Masons, and as a temple wherein the devil was worshipped. We would avoid passing the place, and when we did pass it, a shudder would go through me.
About 30 years ago, the daily papers were writing about a house in the city of Paris, where devil worship was practiced. Even the pictures of the place were published and some of the scenes inside. At that time I was preparing for a trip to Europe, and I copied the address of that particular place and took it along, with the picture of the place. When I was in Paris, I made it a point to investigate. But I could not find the address given in the paper. I inquired in the neighborhood, and no one knew or had ever heard of such a place. So the whole thing must have been a sensational humbug......
The remainder of the letter describes a Montmartre Cabaret with the lurid name the cabaret of Heaven and Hell." It seems to have been a silly and disgusting place intended to take in and take the money of visitors to Paris seeking thrills in an imitation underworld provided especially for their benefit. It of course has absolutely nothing to do with Freemasonry.
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The criticism in the January number of THE BUILDER, of Bro. J. S. M. Ward's discussion of the descent of the Freemasons from the "Companions," in the collection entitled From Labor to Refreshment, is another one of the "cock-sure" pronunciamentos by one who is as equally guilty of inaccuracies as the one he accuses of that fault.
Gould says in his Concise History of Freemasonry, page 60:
The literature of the Companionage that has sprung into existence since 1839, seems to me remarkable in itself, and when taken with the allusions to the society of much older dates a problem is presented, its possible derivation from the same sources of origin as our Freemasonry, which though doomed to slumber in the present, will yet, I hope and believe, be partly if not wholly solved in the future.
Not only is Ward correct in asserting that Freemasonry came to us through the "Companions," as Gould intimidated, but he is also right in saying that they had the Legend of Hiram.
This is shown conclusively in Les Origines Compagonniques de la Franc-Maçonnerie by M. Henri Gray of Paris, and published in L'Acacia, the organ of the Grand Orient of France, which I have translated into English and for which I have vainly sought a publisher.
As so few Masons know anything about the "Companions" I may quote, from my introduction as translator, the following passage:
The Compagnonnage was and is a trade-union of several trades, existing today in France, which is mystical in its tendencies and so secret in its nature that it existed for centuries in France, almost unknown. Since 1725, when Freemasonry is said to have been established in France, it has lived there alongside the Masonic bodies, practically unknown to most of the Masons of that country.
The word "Compagnonnage," according to the French dictionary, means "trade-union" while the word "Compagnon," from which it is derived, means "companion, associate, colleague, fellow, journeyman or trade-unionist."
In France the regular second degree of Masonry is called the degree of the "Compagnon" and hence corresponds to our Fellowcraft Degree.
From time to time as knowledge of their existence leaked out they were exposed to the persecution of Church and State. Some of their practices were condemned, as far back as 1541 by an edict of Francis I.
It is therefore not strange that the reviewer of Bro. Ward's work should be ignorant of the historical fact that the Faculty of the Sorbonne (Theology) in 1655, in their printed condemnation of the acts of the Companions of France as sacrilegious, brought out the fact that the Companions claimed to have been organized by King Solomon himself at the building of his Temple and the Companions of the rival and seceding bodies, the Children of Maitre Jacques and those of Pere Soubine, brought the charge against the Children of Solomon or Traveling Companions (Masons) that it was they who killed Hiram and in proof of their statement appeared clad in white gloves "in token of their own innocence."
Another peculiar fact is that the Freemasons of France do not prepare their candidates for initiation as we do in America, but the Companions do so at the present day.
If we consider the term "Companion" as used in the Royal Arch, with the statement of Dr. Oliver that the Royal Arch was brought from France by Andrew Michael Ramsay in 1730, the year Gould says he was in London to receive membership in the Royal Society and his degree of D.C.L. at Oxford, we may get some idea of what happened. If we could only get hold of Father Helyot's monumental work, Histoire des Ordres Monastiques, Religieux and Militaires, which Gould says Ramsay read and which appeared when Ramsay was in Paris publishing his "Life of Fenelon," we might find the source of many of the higher degrees, so-called, which later appeared in France and which Ramsay is said by French historians to have formulated. This contained an account of the Companionage and the condemnation of the Faculty of the Sorbonne.
Henri Gray in his work says:
Strictly speaking all ancient gilds, fraternities, brotherhoods, etc., that are not in possession of the Solomonic legend are not to be confounded with the Companionage.
For that reason, be concludes the Regius poem is of Germanic origin, since Freemasonry is of the Rite of Solomon while the Four Crowned Martyrs' bodies are of the North of Europe and did not possess the legend of Solomon and of his Temple, the property of the Masonic society.
As Gould points out on page 88 of his Concise History in relation to the statement of Perdiguier that he thought the story about Hiram was a Masonic invention:
It should be borne in mind that Perdiguier was neither a Freemason nor a stonemason of Solomon ... Also a propos of chien [dog], a title bestowed on all the Companions du devoir, he [Perdiguier] says, "It is believed by some to be derived from the fact that it was a dog which discovered the place where the body of Hiram, architect of the Temple, lay under the rubbish, after which all the companions who separated from the murderers of Hiram were called chiens or dogs."
This shows the Hiramic Legend imbedded in the customs of the warring bodies. In the Old Charges, from the time of Charles Martel and King Athelstane, down to the great fire of London in 1666, the French Companions composed of stonemasons, carvers and sculptors, came over to England bringing their legend of Hiram. They were an organization of the South of France where the Pointed Arch (the Gothic Style) was introduced by Foreign Companions from Palestine, as Prof. Hayter Lewis, P.M. of Quatuor Coronati Lodge, points out in Gould's Concise History. Henri Gray says in this regard:
Those who are authors of books on the Companionage, studies and works of history on the subject, and who are not members of the Society of Freemasons have reached the conclusion that in ancient times the Companionage and Freemasonry were one and the same thing. The specialists in the history of labor and the working classes, like M. Levasseur for example, who do not embarrass themselves at all with the mysterious side of the two societies, think the same also. For them the mystery is only the form. That which is more serious to them is the real purpose for which the workers have been led to form secret associations. Among these scholars there does not seem to have been a single doubt as to the identity, in the beginning, of Freemasonry and the Companionage.
He has also tersely described the Companionage by a definition which fits the Operative Masons equally well.
The Companionage is a society of workmen who connect its legendary formation back to the construction of the Temple of Solomon and of which the most ancient members were the stone cutters.
And he as a Freemason adds, "On these two points the Companionage holds an interest for us."
Much more might be said on the subject and it is the hope of the writer that some day his translation of Henri Gray may be printed, as there are many facts therein which are not known to English speaking Freemasons, especially the Masons of America who have obtained their conceptions of Masonry largely from the work of English writers.
It was the Companions of France who brought their legend of Hiram to England, especially after the strike at the building of the Cathedral church of Orleans in 1287, when the church authorities tried to catholicize the workers of France, and the Foreign Companions from Italy and Greece, many of whom were non-Christians, left the work. They only had to travel about fifty miles to, be in English territory which at that time extended from Normandy down to Marseilles, diagonally across France, when Edward I was King of England, the king who Ramsay said had brought the Masons back from Palestine with him. There is a prolific field here which has been well cultivated by Henri Gray.
C. F. Willard, California.
I have re-read what I said in my review of Bro. J. S. M. Ward's article in Labour and Refreshment on the subject of the Compagnonnage, and I do not find any "cocksure pronunciamento" as stated by Bro. Willard, or evidences of dogmatism, which perhaps would be a kinder expression to use in a discussion of a Masonic subject.
I simply stated that Bro. Ward supported the claim that the Compagnonnage possessed the Hiramic Legend, and within the narrow limits of a brief review, examined some of the evidence put forward by him. While such an examination may have leaned towards the counter-viewpoint, there was no definite opinion expressed by me. Indeed, in view of Bro. Gould's statements "How long before the year 1840 the legend of Hiram (or Adonhiram) had obtained currency among the stonemasons of the divisions ... must remain a matter for speculation" (Con. Hist. Rev. Edn., p. 42), and "whether, in 1839-41 it was of ancient, or comparatively modern date, is a point on which opinion may possibly be divided" (Ibid. p. 44), I would hesitate to dogmatize. Whatever may be the value of the review it has fulfilled a purpose in directing attention to this most interesting subject, and drawing a useful contribution from Bro. Willard.
Bro. Willard emphatically supports Bro. Ward's assertion that Freemasonry came to us through the Compagnonnage, but he is unfortunate in his quotation from Gould's Concise History to support his own statement that this authority intimated such was the case, for "its (i.e., the Compagnonnage's) possible derivation from the same sources of origin as our Freemasonry" is not the same thing at all.
I was fully aware of the condemnation of the organization by the Doctors of the Sorbonne in 1655, but the fact that the Companions claimed to have been organized by King Solomon at the building of the Temple does not prove the existence of the Hiramic Legend any more than the legend of the Craft in the M.S. Constitutions does. Nothing further as to legend save that as to its origin, appears in the Sorbonne disclosures.
One of the difficulties which beset the enquirer into the question of the possession of the legend is that pointed out by Bro Vibert, of distinguishing "between references to Hiram as the architect and builder, and the definite narrative with which we are familiar and which alone constitutes the Hiramic Legend."
The Hiramic Legend does not seem to be definitely mentioned as being in the possession of the Compagonnage until after the establishment of Freemasonry in France. Mere was a legend of a murder, and, as it was almost an invariable thing, from very early ages, and among all peoples, to connect a tragedy with every building of importance, in fact or in legend, as pointed out by the late Bro. Speth, it would be surprising, indeed, if the Compagnonnage, from the very nature of its personneI, and its claim to originate from the building of the Temple, had not such a legend. The question narrows itself to this, who was the victim?
Bro. Count Goblet d'Alviella says "it is not inadmissible that a fellow, initiated by chance into some Masonic lodge, would impart to his "companions" the information that he has learned the real name of their first Master, and that this name is Hiram or Adonhiram; but the new name would only be accepted if there was a previous legend to which it could attach itself. The science of Mythology teaches us that names are much more easily altered or exchanged than legends. The hero varies, the myth remains." Might not this previous legend have been that of the murder of Maitre Jacques? Against this view, however, there is the evidence, apparently sufficient, in the opinion of Bro. J. E. S. Tuckett, that Hiram and Jacques both play some part in the legend of the foundation of the Compagnonnage. But even a story rightly belonging to one might, he says, in process of time, became transferred to the other.
Bro. Willard refers to the fact that the mode of preparation in France differs from that practised in America. The French Masons, however, prepare much as the "Moderns" did in 1760 and probably earlier, and the fact that the "Companions" of today conform to our method, if this be a fact, is of no value to our present enquiry, for they may have borrowed from the Craft. What would be of value is the determination of the custom in each body prior to the introduction of Freemasonry into France.
Bro. Willard is unhappy in quoting Dr. Oliver's statement that the Royal Arch was brought from France by the Chevalier Ramsay in 1730, for in The Freemason's Treasury (Lecture xlvii, p. 298) Oliver himself admits that the supposed evidence on which that assertion was founded is groundless. He is, however, inaccurate in stating that Gould asserted that Ramsay had read Helyot's Histoire. What Gould did say was this: "In 1714-19 Helyot's great work ... was published at Paris. The third volume contains the History of the Order of St. Lazarus of which Ramsay was a Knight. Who can doubt that he read it?" (Hist., Vol. 3, p. 343, Yorston Edn.)
In regard to the last paragraph of Bro. Willard's communication I confess myself at a complete loss to understand precisely what he means. What difference could it have made in the year 1287 if the Companions did only "have to travel about fifty miles to be in English territory?" The argument seems to require us to understand that the English were non-Catholics, but surely Bro. Willard does not mean to imply this. While it is probably true that there were in remote corners, and under cover, many survivals of paganism, yet everyone was professedly a Christian, and all Christians in Western Europe were "Catholics." And though it is also undoubtedly true that the Church then, as now, suspected all secret organizations, and was quick to impute heresy, there would have been no greater liberality in this regard under English rule than under French.
A. J. B. M.
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No. 4. THE ROYAL SOMERSET HOUSE AND INVERNESS LODGE. By Dr. A. W. Oxford. Published by Bernard Quaritch, London. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, appendices and index. 316 pages. Limited edition, published by subscription at 2.12.6.
THE mere mention of No. 4 on the rolls of the Grand Lodge of England should cause every Mason to pay attention, if nothing more. Practically everyone knows that four lodges met and "revived the Quarterly Communications" which grew into the present Grand Lodge organization. Naturally, therefore, when No. 4 is mentioned the hearer wonders whether this was one of the Four Old Lodges. The answer is that it was and is. It was the fourth of the four, the one which met at the Rummer and Grapes Tavern in Channel Row, Westminster. It subsequently moved to the Horn, and came to be known as the Old Horn Lodge, No. 2, after the demise of the lodges originally Nos. 2 and 3. On Jan. 10, 1774, it was united with, and took the name of, the Somerset House Lodge, which was founded in 1762. At the Union in 1813 it again became No. 4 and has held its original number to the present day. Prior to this it was variously numbered 4, 5, 4, 3, 2. Though it might be proud to have been listed as No. 2 and to bear that designation today, what could be more appropriate than that 217 years after the Union of the Four Old Lodges that No. 4 has its original number. In spite of the fact that this is largely a matter of chance (the vagaries of English lodge numeration are too complicated to be noted here) certainly Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge is more fortunate than Antiquity, No. 2, which finds itself in the peculiar position of being the oldest of the Four Old Lodges, and still not enrolled as No. 1.
This mention of Antiquity leads us to note the fact that the present Nos. 2 and 4 are the only ones of the Four original lodges which are still in existence. Some years ago Bro. W. H. Rylands wrote the first volume of a history of No. 2. More recently, within the past year in fact, Bro. Firebrace has produced the second volume, and the intention is to reprint the first volume which from the first has been very scarce, in sufficient number to enable those who have the second volume only to complete the set. Thus it is that we have had a history of the other of the Four Old Lodges which is still working. It is most fortunate that No. 4 should also decide to give its history to the world.
We have seen that the Old Horn Lodge amalgamated with that of Somerset House in 1774. It maintained its identity under this name, with fourth place on the roll, until Nov. 25, 1828, when it was united with the Royal Inverness Lodge, which had been established in 1815, and its name was changed once more. By permission of H. R. H. the Duke of Sussex, the then Grand Master, it became Royal Somerset House and Inverness Lodge, its present title. The lodge is acting by "immemorial constitution," a privilege it shares with Antiquity, No. 2, and Fortitude and Old Cumberland, No. 12. Its history from the earliest days is, therefore, a part of the history of Freemasonry.
It might here be said that Dr. Oxford intends his work primarily for the members of the lodge. As a result, we are told, it is written in a form quite different from what it would have been adopted had the intention been to cater to the general reader. The present writer has no idea what different form Dr. Oxford may have had in mind, unless it be that he would have adhered more closely to the existing minutes of the lodge. Such a plan would have given Masonic students generally the opportunity to quote exactly from the minutes, instead of from Dr. Oxford's resume of those documents. There would have been advantages in this, but it would of course have been accompanied by a distinct loss of readability. As the work stands it is intensely interesting. It avoids the constant repetition which makes the reading of actual minutes so dull. In fact, the reviewer found the work of such absorbing interest that he read it in one sitting. A unique experience, with any other Masonic work of equal length and standard of scholarship.
Unfortunately the first extant minute book of the lodge begins in 1783. This leaves a great gap in the early years of the history that must be filled in from other sources. The history of the lodge, and of Somerset House Lodge up to the time of the amalgamation in 1762, and from there to 1783, has been reconstructed from the records of the Grand Lodge and other sources. The resume of the minutes from that date has already been mentioned as of great interest. Included in the work is a list of the members of the lodge taken from various sources. There will be occasion to mention some of these later.
The precise date of the formation of No. 4 is unknown, but Dr. Oxford thinks it was not earlier than 1712. It could not, of course, have been later than 1716 because we find the Four Old Lodges holding a preliminary meeting in that year at which it was decided to revive the Quarterly Communications and Annual Feast the following year. At first the lodge seems to have met on the third Friday in each month; a little later the date was the second Thursday.
At the time of the revival the membership of No. 4 was 71, as compared with 22 for the lodge at the Goose and Gridiron, 21 for that at the Appletree, and 15 for that at the Crown AleHouse. Perhaps it is not strange, therefore, that No. 4 seems to have played a most important part in early Grand Lodge affairs. Aside from this majority strength, however, the character of the membership of No. 4 seems to have been an important factor in its dominance of the new organization. The first list of members shows not more than two who were, or might have been, operatives. The balance were of high social rank, peers, officers of the Army, Magistrates, members of Parliament, several of them connected with the Royal Household, and one of them the Envoy to the Court of Sweden. Perhaps, therefore, it is not strange that three of the most famous men in Masonic history held their membership in No. 4. George Payne (Grand Master in 1718 and 1720), the Rev. J. T. Desaguliers (Grand Master in 1719 and Deputy Grand Master in 1723-4-6), and the Rev. James Anderson, who produced the first two editions of the Book of Constitutions in 1723 and 1738, respectively, were all members of the lodge which met at the Rummer and Grapes in 1716. In later years we find the name of Thomas Dunckerley, who played a prominent part as the founder of Somerset House Lodge in 1762 on board H.M.S. "The Prince," on which he was then the gunner.
On June 24, 1727, the Grand Master nominated Payne, Folkes and Sorrel, the first and third being members of No. 4, "to be three of the Committee of Seven for Managing the Bank of Charity." At the same time he nominated Nathaniel Blackerby to be Treasurer.
Blackerby was also a member of No. 4. This office he held until April 6, 1738. The reason for his resignation is very interesting and is quoted in full.
It was proposed and carried that the Treasurer should give and find security for the money in his charge. "The Treasurer then stood up and thanked the Brethren for the honour they had done him in continuing him so long their Treasurer, but told them that he could not be insensible to the Indignity offered him in the above Resolutions and the ill-treatment he had met with in the Debate and that he resented the same in the highest manner. And then resigned his office of Treasurer and promised to send next morning to the G. S. a Draught on the Bank for the Ballance in his hands." He was never again present at Grand Lodge.
No. 4 was not slow in showing its confidence in its old member, for the London Daily Post of April 22, 1738, states that "On Thursday last there was a numerous appearance of Persons of Distinction of the Society of Free and Accepted Masons at the Lodge held at the Horn Tavern in New Palace Yard, Westminster, when his Grace the Duke of Richmond having resign'd the Mastership of the said Lodge, by the unanimous Consent of all the Members present, Nathaniel Blackerby, Esq. (the late Treasurer of the whole Society, formerly Deputy to the Lord Kingston, when Grand Master, and also to his Grace the late Duke of Norfolk) was chosen Master of the Lodge."
The Treasurer's accounts were not quite in order, for his successor reported on April 13, 1739, that the balance handed over to him included "promissory Notes 16.18." It was "ordered that the Treasurer do cause Application to be made for the payment of the said Notes for 16.18."
On June 30, 1739, "the Treasurer informed the Lodge that he had caused Application to be made for the Payment of the Notes for 16.18 mentioned in the Minutes of the last Q.C. And thereon found that the same were Promissory Notes under the hand of Br Batson payable to Br Blackerby the late Treasurer and were taken by him some years past instead of so much money due to the Gd Charity."
Batson, a member of No. 4, had been Deputy Grand Master from 1731 to 1734.
Following this controversy the attendance of the lodge officers at Grand Lodge was very irregular, and owing to this non-attendance "at the general meetings of the Society," the lodge was off the roll for four years, being restored in 1755.
There are many other points one would like to discuss which are raised in this really fascinating history. To even mention them would occupy altogether too much space. The History of No. 4 is so closely interwoven with the History of Modern Freemasonry that the field opened by this single volume has contact with almost every branch of Masonic research.
There are only three hundred copies of the work available. Brethren who are desirous of adding what will be an almost priceless possession to their libraries have need to hasten if they would not find the supply exhausted.
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THE QUEST OF THE GOLDEN STAIRS. By Arthur Edward Waite. Published by the Theosophical Publishing House, London. Cloth (4to.), table of contents, 176 pages. Price, $3.85.
"A MYSTERY of Kinghood in Faerie," so runs the second title. It is not a fairy story, but a story of faerie, which is not quite the same thing. It is the story of a mystic quest, and itself a mystery because of its many meanings, and meanings within meanings. It is an allegory, if one will, but not an allegory with a simple interpretation. Preeminently is it one that each must read as he can, and interpret according to his own knowledge. It is worth reading for its beauty alone; like a song in an unknown language, the melody alone may give pleasure, or bring tears — while yet the words may he far more than the music if one but knew them. It may be that youth will not have experience enough of life to fully understand the story that is told. Age may have lost the power of vision. Who then may interpret it? Perhaps the old who have remained young at heart, possibly youth to whom sorrow has too early brought the knowledge of the years. But, one would judge, prosperous middle-age will understand as hardly as a rich man can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
Bro. Waite has, during a long life, patiently investigated every path that gave promise of leading out of the present world of material things — the world of desire and decay and death — into what is beyond. All the schools of occultism, magic and mysticism, and everything parallel or analogous to them. He has written of them indefatigably, so that the very list of the titles of his books is amazing. He has written with the meticulous accuracy of the scholar but concealed it under a style of the highest literary art. He has written mystical poems with much of the same quality as this book of Quest, which indeed is a poem in prose. It may be, seeing that in one of his most recent works he intimated that the task he had set himself was done, at least so far forth as a man may hope to finish — it may be that, "under veils," he has told the story of his own seeking. Indeed it could hardly be else, in some sort at least; yet it is not very significant, for the truth of life and spirit is wide and many faced, and can only be told in allegory and symbol. Then if the tale be true for the teller it is true for the hearer also, each seeing his own particular truth.
Be this as it may, it would he absurd, both in the strict sense of impossible and the colloquial sense of ridiculous, to attempt to explain or interpret such a work as this. Those who have loved will understand, those who have had sorrow will know, for love and sorrow each impose a quest.
Something may be said of the means used to the end. They are simple, like the singing of a bird. That is much; it were better if one knew the language of birds, but for that one must taste the dragon's heart, as in the ancient tale of Sigurd. This tale has some power of gramarye, it takes us straight into an enchanted land, far from the sordid world of every day. Far? "To him who can open a door which leads within to Faerie the end is everywhere" and "There is no Faerie but Faerie, and it is not there but here." And yet again, "From over the way, from anywhere over the way, out of a great distance, to those who are meant for Faerie, comes Faerie at the appointed hour."
The effect is produced largely, it would seem, by a certain inconsequence of description, studied or instinctive, which continually intrudes upon the story, like leitmotives in the music of Tannhauser or Parsifal. Description largely of English landscape, it might seem, by or near the narrow sea, and this, as by some spell, leads straight, as the voice of the nightingale did an earlier poet, to those
... magic casements on the foam
Of perilous seas in faerie land forlorn.
But this land is not forlorn or perilous, even though it has
a darksome forest of fir-trees ... an worn chapel, bidden in a little hollow, overgrown There also flourished the deadly night-shade, be monk's hood, with other plants of bale, exhaling unhallowed incense in the dews and darkness.
But chiefly it is a bright and beautiful country, as when in the beginning of the quest we are told that the Prince was
… moving presently through the middle place of a woodland, where the linden whispered secrets and beneath it were sweet waters which answered in light and shade. Many secrets are held in the deep brown wells of Faerie. He came in his faring to a clear and shining pool. A host of red foxgloves in Faerie congregated about the marge.
... he went betimes through the forest to visit the Haunted Well. Who follows the lizard's track shall come to the spring's, source; but he found that the well was dry, and all that he saw was a green lizard crawling among the stones. ... It was, a bright, bright day, running with golden hours. O tales told by the throstle and birds that chant legends: there was singing of birds everywhere; and the wind, full of scented secrets,. whispered and crooned among answering leaves, and dappled shadows on grasses. It might have been eventide when silence fell for a space, and then the shrill voice of a lark pealed in the empyrean without stint in its ecstasy. There are worlds beyond wells in Faerie, and wells in the world of song. A fountain deeper than these unlocked in Prince Starbeam's heart and flowed over in saving tears. So opens the heart in Faerie, and so in other where.
They prepared the body of the Master for his cold bridal of the grave. "Lay me not down at the West: I would look to the East in Faerie." Was it Death on a white horse which rode through the marish chase in the light of the setting moon? Was it Death that rode in splendor? Was it Death in radiant armour that passed from the room of death, with echoing footclanking on stone stairs? Who brought the ghostly to the old porch of the House? Who carried the Banners before, which flowed and plunged in the mist? And whither, of your mercy, turns the Path of Souls which leads to the Bright Land under a Bright Sky? Is this the World of Faerie or do we look for another?
Because of a Magic Ring the Prince is pursued and hunted by enemies:
But yesterday and today and — as it seemed — forever the chase went on. I have heard that he hid among bracken while horses and riders passed; I have heard that he crossed the water; there are rumors of wreck and rescue, whether on lake or sea. I have heard of wooded valleys, and he tarried in the valleys of silence. ... There are houses in lonely woods and grey towers by very secret meres which keep the memory of his presence....
But at last the fugitive came
… to the bleak shore of the lonely ocean, when heavy clouds covered the face of heaven. The receding tide took out the cold gray sea, a penetrating mist began to fall....
Towards the ending of the Quest
They were following a narrow path which went up a certain hill. O storied hills and mountains far away; at the hill top they saw through unmeasured distance the lights of a long promontory going out into the sea. In the wind and moonlight they went down that hill and they came to the Dream Tower, the place of sleep and vision, the sleep and trance of Faerie.... O path of dreams and path of knowing of dreams; who tells in the morning glory a dream by the light of the moon?
One more description. The Prince
... passed through the forest as one who goes unawares but straight to the destined place.... Wait until the trees of the forest begin to speak in the heart.... He heard the leaves as they whispered; he heard and understood. He knew that he moved on the threshold of strange new things to come. 'The morning glory of bindweeds shook their bells at him, telling of secret ways and things beyond thought in the forest. He knew not the hour or the day, except that the time of the end stood at his door of life.... O the wild light, the wine light, the light of the earth and air: they tinctured and scented his way. The wisp light, the gold light through lattice work of leaves wrote words of strange meaning as it filtered through glens and hollows. The air that breathed through lattices was air that brought a message; the message contained a secret; the secret needed a key; but the key was in the heart of the pilgrim.
But it is enough and more. Those for whom the book is written will understand. To begin picking out passages is not to know when to stop. Yet one must conclude:
For the Lion and the Lamb are at peace in Faerie, the Dove is in the Eagle's nest; there are golden waters, rivers of waters of gold, footmarks of enchantment, wings for rainbow flight; there is a Spirit of the woods beside me clothed in green samite, singing through a herb garden of savours; And this is the very end — I bear my faithful witness — to the Quest of the Golden Stairs and the Way of a Crown in Faerie.
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CHRISTIANITY, PAST AND PRESENT. By Charles Guignebert. Published by the Macmillan Co. Cloth, analytic table of contents, 507 pages. Price, $3.85.
THE author is Professor of the History of Christianity in the University of Paris. His position and previous work guarantee the quality of the present volume in regard to scholarship. Nothing is said about a translator on the title page, so that we may suppose that it was either written in English in the first place, or that Prof. Guignebert made his own translation. An occasional phrase or sentence here and there rather bears the last supposition out, where the construction is not really English nor yet quite like a too-literal translation from a French original. But there are very few of these places, and in general the style is decidedly vivid and graphic, especially considering the subject of which it treats.
The position of the author is that of the critical school, which treats the phenomena of Christianity quite objectively and without belief in its divine character or origin. Though believing Christians seldom make the distinction, this attitude is quite different from that of the enemy of the church, or of religion. The latter uses the critic's work as an armory where he finds his weapons — but so also does the Christian apologist if he be abreast of the times. This does not mean that the critic is always right, or even right at any time, for that matter.
Though the author endeavors to explain away everything of a supernormal character he is yet very sympathetic in his treatment. One supposes that his general position would be that religion in some form is a psychological necessity for mankind collectively, and that, as being so purely human and natural, no man should scorn it even if he has peeped behind the scenes, and knows the strings and rods which move the puppets on the stage. An Olympic attitude, which will annoy some religionists much more than the bitter attacks of professed atheists and self-styled rationalists.
The book is divided into three parts. Many Protestants might feel like condoning the first one for the sake of the last. The first part deals with primitive Christianity — the person of our Lord, his character And work, as reconstructed by the critic, and then the transformation of an insignificant Jewish sect into a world religion through its fertilization by Hellenistic philosophy and theosophy. It is headed the "Creed and the Church." The second part treats of the Mediaeval period under the heading of "Theology and the Papacy." The last takes us from the Reformation to the final triumph of Ultramontanism in the Vatican Council. The author, though it must not be for a moment supposed he ignores or is uninformed regarding Protestant and other non-Roman churches, does regard things from a viewpoint in which the Roman Church is central and perhaps most important. This is only natural, and perhaps inevitable under the circumstances. Everyone is limited and biased by his own environment in some degree. Which is equally true of critics as of authors.
To readers who have not some acquaintance with the progress of Biblical criticism, and history of religion, much of the Introduction, and the first part of the book, will seem rather incomprehensible and perhaps disturbing. It is not easy to accept the objective attitude towards things which really count in our own lives. However, we must allow for the presumed basic metaphysical premises of the author, that there cannot be any divine element in any form of religion. This being done, the picture drawn may help even the most ""fundamental" believer to distinguish between essentials and non-essentials in his own inherited system of beliefs. Religions are social organisms, they do grow, evolve, decay and die. They have important resemblances to each other which are concealed in the traditional attitude that "my religion is the only true one and every other is utterly false."
But granting all this, to the present reviewer (here revealing objectively his own presuppositions) the account given of the life and death of the Carpenter's Son seems much like a blind man writing a treatise on optics. If the great majority of men were entirely color blind, their descriptions of things seen would be found lacking in an essential element to the abnormal individual who was not. As his, contrary-wise, would seem fantastic and absurd to the majority.
The picture of Christ as a Gallilean of the lower class, uneducated but with an urge to take up the role of a prophet in order to announce the immediate coming of the Day of Jehovah, the Day of Vengeance on the enemies and oppressors of Israel, has its own difficulties. These are not concealed by the author, though he does not dwell upon them. So also, his reconstruction of the steps by which a reforming "Adventist" sect of Judaism grew into the Catholic Church again presents other difficulties. We must be frank. There are difficulties every way we turn. That is one unique thing at least about the crucified Nazarene — no explanation seems fully adequate and satisfying It is something like a mathematical expression, containing an incommensurable quantity. We can write it in many ways. We may transform it so that a, b, or c, or x, or y is the incommensurable, and take our choice. But whatever we do the surd remains somewhere. After all it may be that the explanation arrived at by the early Hellenistic Fathers and the Doctors of the Church is no more unintelligible objectively than that of the most thorough going rationalist. It all depends on our primary conceptions of the universe. If we take it to be an order or system in which there is no place for the divine, for leading or guidance or even concern, on the part of a supreme intelligence or personality, then we must make the rationalistic hypothesis do as best we can. It would seem that too often the critics, who are seldom metaphysicians, do not see this at all. For one thing, most of the defenders of orthodox conceptions are equally oblivious to such considerations, and insist on non-essentials even more strenuously, sometimes, than upon the essentials.
The second part of the work covers the ground that is more or less familiar to everyone who has read anything at all about Church History, though the author has brought out with exceptional clearness the purely human and social tendencies which later on caused the development of the papacy. The tendency of every religion, as with every other social motive, is to evolve an organization, or we may say, an organism. The living principle of a religion, the emotions experienced in common, the insight or visions of some communicated to others, crystalize into a body of beliefs which may later be systematized into a formal creed. Then ritual will develop, and a hierarchy; and inevitably all these external things, which form the body of the religion, are taken as of divine origin, and necessary. Just as a man thinks of his hands or feet as part of himself, even though he may know quite well that his body began in an undifferentiated gerin cell, and that he may lose limbs and organs and still continue to live and work without any deficiency in his personality. So in a religion it is the simple believer and the mystic who are the source of its life, even though the organization may develop and harden to the point where it is practically dead-like the finger nails and epidermis of a man, or the scales of a snake or fish, or the shell of a mollusc. These are the products of living activity, but there is no life in them and they have become inert, and subject to mechanical forces and laws only. In a religion the organization ceases to be spiritual and becomes secular and worldly. It is precisely as it reaches this stage that those who benefit by it are most insistent as to the divine, origin of the whole machine; which in a sense is true enough if the divine governance of the universe be granted — only at this stage the defenders of the status quo (and their privileges under it) conceive divine operation in the most mechanical way. The author says the church
… ought not to have let her official doctrine be confined and cramped in formulas that were too abstract and unyielding. Finally her organization should have preserved some elasticity and not have become set hard and fast in a uniformity incapable of adapting itself readily to the varying needs of the men of different nationalities who constitute the Christian body. Just the contrary however occurred.
This is put hypothetically as if it had been a matter of conscious decision and choice. In reality of course it is a natural development, apparently an inevitable one. Institutions evolve as unconsciously as the living organism grows.
Thus step by step the papacy developed, becoming a true monarchy, tending "more and more toward narrow centralization" with "pretensions without limit and an autocracy beyond control." That revolt against the system which we call "The Reformation" was very incomplete and one-sided in many ways, precisely because it was a revolt, and was developed in a state of war. Protestantism, to group, as the author says, "quite artificially, all the various churches born of the opposition to Roman pontificalism" turned to polemic rather than to seeking for truth for its own sake, and tended to react from everything distinctive in the older system regardless of its value. The counter-Reformation of the Roman Church, resulting in the reformulation of doctrine by the Council of Trent, reacted again from Protestantism, and as the author judges the result, succeeded in so hardening and crystallizing the Roman system that no real growth or development was thenceforward possible. The Index was established to guard the mental innocence of the faithful from contamination, and a catechism prepared "which states the faith in accurate, if not lucid formulas, accessible, if not intelligible to all."
The Chapter on Liberalism is most interesting and valuable. It sums up the opposition between "clericalism" and all free search for truth, whether in science or history. This opposition, constant and violent, has produced the natural result. Says the author:
It would be foreseen that constantly meeting the church as an obstacle the liberals and the scientists would be led to pause and ponder over her, make a tour of inspection and put her solidity to proof; in other words, that they would verify the grounds of the pretensions made by theology to tell the sole truth and to impose it everywhere.
Unfortunately scientists and liberals are also human, and they, like the Protestant reformers before them, also reacted — and rejected truth and error together. Many of the theoretical conclusions of scientists as to the nature of the universe, as many judgments of Biblical critics, are ultimately based on the unconscious and uncriticized assumption that there is and can be no divine influence in the world.
In the last chapter the last state of the Roman Church is discussed. This will perhaps be the most interesting in the whole work to the general reader. The author finds that
The official church is dominated by the letter and by superstition; she has become incapable of holding her own effectively against them and she no longer seems to believe that any attempt to do so is to her interest. This is, indeed, equal to submission to her own death. ... As a matter of fact the orthodox systematic theology does not receive any solid support from the majority of the faithful, who cling to the practices of religion alone, and no longer try to comprehend its dogmas.
In other words ignorance is the rampart behind which the Roman Church defends herself. Ignorance of doctrine, and everything else so far as possible, on the part of the mass of believers, while the clergy have to be trained in an atmosphere from which the "air and light from the world without" are carefully excluded. For deprived of all means of re-adaptation to modern knowledge the Church
...can do no more than reassert itself. It does so by publishing in an incessant stream books of apologetics more or less well composed, which [however] are hardly read by any but those who have no need of them.
This immobility of death that be sees is only spiritual. He is fully aware of the great activity of the Roman Church, of its forward movement all over the world.
She has modernized her ways ... taking as her pattern the measures usually adopted in political struggles. She makes use of aggressive newspapers which feel no scruples concerning Christian charity and delicacy. ... She has put her confidence in the influence of the press, and so, in addition to her own journals she directs or inspires numerous publications of all kinds carefully edited to suit all stages of development and culture.... Finally she has her own electoral policy and her political directives. She takes a hand in the great game played by the various parties centered round every government. In particular she tries to retain her influence in the education of the young, or to recover it where she has lost it.
And this, of course, with the keenest appreciation of the fact that her strength lies in the ignorance of the great mass of her members.
He writes specially of France and European countries, but he adds:
The hour is approaching when the battle will be waged as eagerly in England, the United States and all countries in which the Church feels herself menaced by state schools which are laïc and unsectarian.
This activity is, as he says, one of the most interesting of post-war world phenomena. It has secured Catholics "more consideration and gives them better standing" and has strengthened their political position greatly.
All this is flattering and it may be of practical importance to an extent it would be risky to exaggerate, but what advantage does Catholicism itself derive from it? Are its dogmatic assertions re-established by it in their full value in the judgment of a greater number of human beings?
It is, in other words, spiritually dead or dying, but remain a huge and powerful machine, the sheer inertia of which will carry it for a long time yet. This is a judgment that the believer in Christianity will not be wholly ready to accept how ever completely he may reject the peculiarly Roman dogmas The Spirit moves "where it listeth" and its influence and power are incalculable.
It is too bad that so important a work should be disfigured by so many annoying evidences of lack of careful editing. There are a few typographical errors; as Vanini, who was born in 1586, is said to have been executed as a heretic in 1919! But the mistakes specially alluded to, and which are hardly excusable, often make the sense of the passage obscure. As on page 391 there is an unwanted preposition in the sentence "express alike of the economic wretchedness ..." On page 435 we have, "It is well to remember that Voltaire, who minded the appelation 'I'Infame,' looked carefully, nevertheless, after the devotional needs of his Ferney peasants." The sense of the passage seems to demand that the phrase "who minded" should be understood as "who delighted in" or "gloried in." There are also many places where a plural subject has a singular verb or vice versa, and other like evidences of lack of care in the final preparation of the manuscript. These disfigurements should be remedied in the second edition, which it is certainly to be hoped will be found necessary, as it is a work that should have the very widest possible distribution.
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THE SYMBOLISM OF THE GODS OF THE EGYPTIANS. By Dr. T. M. Stewart. Published by the Baskerville Press, London. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, index, 120 pages. Price, $4.25.
SYMBOLISM in all its branches is a subject of intense interest to all Freemasons. The reasons for this are not so deeply hidden as it may seem at first thought. Quite early in the Masonic ceremony the candidate is taught that the Fraternity is a "beautiful system of morals, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols." Almost immediately the thinking candidate begins to wonder about the symbolic import of the ritual. Even the older members of the Craft are seeking the symbolic light. No question is so frequently heard in gatherings of Masons as what is the meaning of this or that portion of the ceremony.
Since this is true it is not surprising that any book dealing with the subject of symbolism is welcomed by the members of the Craft at large. One of the beauties of teaching by symbols lies in the fact that the individual is entitled to interpret the lessons according to his own views. This is also one of the principal dangers of the method, for symbols, while they may be subject to individual interpretation, must be construed along certain well defined lines. Variation within certain limits is permissible, but the basic boundaries must be known and care exercised not to overlap the limits of propriety — symbolic propriety.
This leads us to another point, and one which is of particular importance in connection with Bro. Stewart's work. There is a school of Masonic scholars of which Bro. J. S. M. Ward is perhaps the foremost exemplar which believes that Freemasonry has its roots in the initiation ceremonies of primitive peoples. This group of anthropological workers finds evidence sufficient to satisfy themselves of the existence of Masonry from the most remote times. They find resemblances not only in Ravage ceremonials, but in the religious rites of the Chinese, Hindus, Egyptians, Hebrews, Greeks and other races of higher cultural development.
Bro. Stewart, while not explicitly stating such a thesis, implies the existence of Freemasonry among the Egyptians. He uses freely the wording of the Masonic ritual in explaining the symbolism of the Egyptian gods. This is most unfortunate, since it tends to lead the unsuspecting reader to fall into a trap which is only too much in evidence in the path of the unwary. As an illustration of what is meant by the foregoing may the writer cite from an incident from personal experience? At a Masonic gathering a few years ago the principal speaker, a clergyman, made the assertion that history teaches us that Freemasonry descended from the Egyptians. The writer challenges any Masonic student to produce one bit of evidence that will withstand the tests of historical criticism and that will prove Masonry's descent from the Egyptians, and just for the sake 0 argument the Greeks, Hebrews, Hindus, Chinese, and more primitive races may be included. That there is a lot of inferential evidence must be admitted; by following the comparative method, so fruitful in ethnological and anthropological research, we are led to suspect that there may be some truth in the assertion that Masonry comes down to us from the most remote antiquity. But there is a wide difference between saying that Masonry may have evolved out of the dim past, and flatly stating that it has developed through countless ages and that history proves this development.
Many things can be inferred, and much good result from the inferential method of research, but with all members of the anthropological school of Masonic research, including Bro. Ward and Bro. Stewart, we find fault, and a serious fault at that. Their evidence is presented, for the most part fairly, though the present writer has found cases where quotations were not quite accurate, but even that may be passed over at this time, we are all liable to err. But granting that the facts are as stated, the conclusions drawn are not presented to the reader with that fine distinction between possibility, probability and certainty which characterizes the true scholar. Why should men who are indulging in research in fields where all conclusions are to some extent doubtful at the best, and where any opinion is based only upon partial evidence, and where definite and conclusive proof can never be obtained, express their views as facts instead of as probabilities? What right has any one to say that the Masonic Fraternity is known to savages simply because they happen to make a sign closely resembling a Masonic sign, or because they have a rite of circumambulation which parallels ours? Numerous instances equally as pointed could be cited as illustrations of what is meant.
Dr. Stewart in his book now under discussion has developed a symbolic system about the Gods of the Egyptians which is in accord with Masonic teachings. But by the use of Masonic language in defining his symbols, a practice greatly to be deprecated, he has given the impression that Masonry is descended from the Egyptians. There is no doubt but that there are parallels in Masonic symbolism and Egyptian teachings, but that is no reason for assuming, or even appearing to assume, that the religion of the Egyptians, which seems to have consisted of a symbolic searching after spiritual enlightenment, and which according to Dr. Stewart consisted of three grades, which he calls degrees, is identical with Masonry and this is true no matter how closely the two systems resemble each other.
It seems that from very remote ages one of the chief characteristics of human intelligence has been a seeking after immortality. Races and peoples have conducted the search in very different ways, they have been striving to reach the same goal, and it is not at all surprising that there has been a constant duplication of effort with widely divergent systems of symbols, but with many varying symbols having precisely the same meaning, and still further with the same things adopted by different peoples to convey the same meanings. It is not surprising that the serpent, regardless of locality, has been made the symbol of death and resurrection, or rebirth. All snakes enter a period of lethargy, shed their skins and come forth as seemingly new creatures. Is there any reason for believing that the Egyptians, or any other race had such a hold on the sum total of human intelligence, that they were the only ones to discover a significance in this natural phenomenon? It seems much more reasonable to presume that the human mind working along the same lines arrived at the same conclusions in different parts of the world. Lack of communication and interchange of ideas would account for much in the way of duplication of symbols.
Too much space has already been devoted to a discussion of matter somewhat extraneous to Bro. Stewart's book. The work is valuable to the student of symbology, not so much for anything new that it brings out, but because it does give in comparatively brief form the symbolic system of the Egyptians. This system is developed along mystical lines. Bro. Stewart is of the opinion that the Egyptians were monotheistic, and that all of the minor gods were merely manifestations of the one supreme deity. Just how he reconciles this theory with the fact that all of the gods were worshipped is hard to understand. It looks to the present writer as though the system was comparable with that of the Greeks. That it was polytheistic and that one particular deity was merely the ruler, the chief, or king of the other gods. Even Dr. Stewart's work, in spite of his assertions of monotheism, bears out this view.
For this and like reasons, the reviewer would hesitate to recommend the work to any reader who is not in possession of a clear critical faculty, and some general knowledge of the subject as a guide. The work is too valuable to be ignored, and at the same time too misleading to be read without caution and due attention. It must be read with an open mind and in a sufficiently leisurely manner to enable one to analyze the value of the work. The evidence adduced must be weighed carefully and one must question every assertion of fact. Only by doing this can one separate the wheat from the chaff and gain arty benefit from the reading.
E. E. T.
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CONCORDIA: DER GEDANKENKREIS DER LEHRLINGSGRADES. (Ideals for the Apprentice.) Alfred Unger, Berlin. Cloth, index, 203 pages. Price, $2.25. (Also bound in paper.)
THIS book presents the latest information, gives a good picture of the German Masonic world. We have here a graphic account of interest to ordinary readers, as well as to the most. learned psychologist, scientist and even philosopher. Some features of the picture presented are highly interesting, deeply instructive and therefore ought to be widely distributed.
The book, besides a number of philosophical observations and idealistic suggestions, contains eighteen orations by leading German Masons, delivered on festive occasions to the German members of the Craft. Our orators in their mental flights again and again reach those lofty heights from which are seen, alongside the material, commercial, mercenary struggle of the genus homo upon the physical plane, some strange scenes and landscapes, in which the inner eye recognizes the country promised by the Religious Teacher to those that love Him, keep His commandments, do their duty, Build now their House for their future domain.
Some of our German orators remind their audiences that for building successfully the builder must ward off the allurements of Lust, Greed and Pride; must overcome the attacks of three vicious Highwaymen.
As already stated our book contains eighteen orations, and places before the reader a judicious selection of the ideals of German thinkers, leaders in the realm of Freemasonry. The best oration — in the opinion of the critic — is by Bro. August V. Reinhardt. This brother, in his oration entitled "The Ideals of the Mason," gives as his leading question, "What is the destiny of man?" and answers: "To become like unto God." We are here reminded of the Master's answer, "Is it not written in your law, I said Ye are Gods?"
But there are two sides to most questions. This statement brings ante oculos the late Rev. Charles Crane, the father of the well known living Masonic orator, the Rev. Henry Crane. Charles Crane, in answer to frequent declarations by the present writer, "There are two sides," never failed to answer: "Yes, a right side and a wrong side."
In this our book we meet a few strange exemplifications of German presumption. We read on page 195, Unsere deutsche Freimaurerei steht nicht auf der fast beschamend elementaren Stufe wie die in America: "Our German Freemasonry is not at such an almost shamefully low level as that of the United States."
Now, philosophy teaches that good, bad, high, low are relative terms, belong to the realm of subjectivity. We are here reminded of the most popular song in Germany: Dentschland, Deutschland Uberalles: Germany, Germany above everything. In one lecture the audience is treated to a part of the song, Deutsche Sitte deutsche Treue deutscher Muth und deutscher Sang: German costumes, German manners, German courage, German song.
Patriotism may become pride. Pride, even national pride, constitutes a fall, a bow to our third Highwayman, to the one that gives the fatal blow.
The oration by Bro. Reinhald Taute Gera constitutes another most vivid illustration of "There are two sides," and the answer, "Yes, a right side and a wrong side."
We are given instructive features, elevating thoughts and logical reasonings, but we read also:
Some say that Masonry has a Christian foundation only, demonstrated by the fact that the Bible is presented as the Great Light. How then can we admit as Masons, Israelites or Mohammedans?
Le monde est une chose bien strange, says Moliere. In the lodge it is always the Old Testament that is presented to the hands of the candidates, and should not these German Freemasons reflect? Consider: not only the Old but also the New Testament was written by Jews, Israelites, Hebrews, Semites. "A name, what's in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Strange, the fact that Jesus (Joshua ben Joseph), the Apostles, Paul, the two Saints John were Jews, seems altogether unknown in the Christian world, seems hidden in the deepest "subconscious unconsciousness" even of Protestant Ministers, Bishops, Cardinals and Popes.
Another feature of the other side: By some of our German orators, the year 1717 is given as the beginning of Freemasonry. This supposition constitutes a kind of parallel to the reasoning which makes Luther nailing his "protest" in the year 1517, the beginning of Christianity.
L. F. S.
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AN HISTORICAL SKETCH OF ST. ALBAN'S LODGE. By Bro. Henry T. Smith. Privately printed for the Lodge. Paper, illustrated, 44 pages.
IN this small brochure we find another of the short lodge histories which are becoming increasingly popular. These works will doubtless be of inestimate value to the research workers of the future.
The most interesting feature of the present work is the fact that the first Master of St. Alban's Lodge (1913) is now a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Canada. He is also a Catholic.
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THE RECORDS OF ANTIQUITY, No. 2
WE are informed that the reprint of the first volume of the Records of the Lodge of Antiquity No. 2 is very shortly to go to press. The second volume by Bro. C. W. Firebrace was reviewed in THE BUILDER in July of last year. By subscribing now Masonic students and libraries can make sure of obtaining copies. We understand that those who have not purchased copies of the second volume may obtain the two when the reprint is issued for £4 4s. 0d. net. This, with duties and carriage, will probably make the cost to American subscribers approximately $30. It is needless to inform members of the Society that this is an opportunity that will not occur again, and that the complete work will inevitably increase in value in the future.
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SCHILLER AS FREEMASON
For a long time any proof of Schiller's affiliation with Freemasonry has been lacking. Only in 1911 the Masonic press published a letter of Sept. 9, 1929, in which two members of the lodge in Rudolstadt regret the discontinuation of their lodge, which had been honored by Schiller's membership in it. However, the records of this lodge do not show anything in regard to Schiller's initiation, yet this cannot be taken as denial. But Franz Luedke in the "Literary Echo" furnishes a new proof of Schiller's Masonic affiliation. It is a poem, which the poet Anton v. Klein, born in 1746, published on the occasion of Schiller's death, and which in its caption refers to the passing away of the Masonic Brother Schiller. Klein, who met Schiller in Mannheim, was business manager of the palatination "German Society," with which Schiller was affiliated in 1784. He induced Schiller to write "Don Carlos" in iambic meter, and may have interested him for Freemasonry, because Schiller's Letters About Don Carlos show that the poet was much occupied reflectively with the ideals of Freemasonry.
[Translated from Auf der Warte by Bro. R. I. Clegg, Illinois]
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THE QUESTION BOX & CORRESPONDENCE
CONCERNING A TITLE
In June, 1925, THE, BUILDER advertised Gibson's "Builders of Man or the Story of the Craft." My publishers at once wrote to Gibson whom we had threatened with legal proceedings for this infringement of my title. He replied that he knew nothing about your advertisement. I wrote to you on July 1, 1925. As a result a correction was printed in the August number, on the last page.
I am more than surprised to see that in the May, 1928 number you have again infringed my title and repeated the advertisement of Gibson's book with the title he was made to withdraw. I must ask you once more to correct the advertisement. Gibson himself is dead, but that is no reason why THE BUILDER should try to unload their stock of his book under a description which infringes my rights.
Lionel Vibert, England.
The correction referred to appeared on page 256 of Vol. XI, and ran as follows:
We have received information of an error in the title of a work given in our book lists in the June number. When the book was first published it was under the title as given in our catalog, The Builders of Man: The Doctrine and History of Masonry, or the Story of the Craft. The secondary title was later changed to the Romance of the Craft.
We tender our apologies to Bro. Vibert. The repetition of this slip is as annoying to us as it is to him. It was due in the present instance to the preparation of the copy for the advertisement from an uncorrected catalog card. The personnel of the Book Department having been completely changed since 1925 there was no one with any recollection of the matter.
In justice to the Society, however, we must add that the Book Department has no stock to unload. As Bro. Vibert explains, the publishers changed the title page of the work in consequence of his threatened action. So far as can be discovered no copy of this work under the title objected to by Bro. Vibert, has ever been sold through the Society. The publishers are, we suppose, a reputable firm, and would have called in any unsold copies of the work in its first form; and we are quite sure that the author, a Clergyman of the Church of England and an Honorary P.G.S.W. of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, was quite innocent of any intention of infringing upon the copyright of a brother Mason. At this time, it is impossible to find out exactly how the mistake arose, but most probably the title was taken in the first place from the publisher's original announcement, and no one ever noticed that it did not agree with the title page of the book, which naturally is always referred to by the short title only, The Builders of Man. It is, by the way, a very valuable work in its own field, and has not had the attention it deserves.
* * *
I have read with pleasure, as usual, the April number of THE BUILDER. I believe I should, however, offer further information regarding the question of Bro. L. D. of Missouri regarding the French Masonic Obediences. There is indeed some error in the reply. It is possible that the Grand Lodge of Missouri has refused to recognize the Grand Lodge of France because the latter does not work with the Bible, but in the case of other jurisdictions, though this may be the motive advanced, it is not the real one. The Bible on the Altar does not constitute a [universal] landmark, because French Freemasonry has never officially used it, which nevertheless did not in the past interfere with relations between it and the other Masonic powers of the world. And even today, the United Grand Lodge of England, rigorist as it is, exchanges representatives with the Grand Loge Alpina of Switzerland, the lodges of which, for the greater part, do not use the Bible.
What has caused all this trouble in the relationship of French Freemasonry with that of Anglo-Saxon countries was the suppression in 1877 by the Grand Orient of the formula "To the glory of the Grand Architect of the Universe." Rightly or wrongly this action was taken in other countries to have been a declaration of atheism. And although the Scottish Rite continued to observe its ancient traditions without "proclaiming it on the housetops," American ignorance concerning conditions in France has confounded both the same condemnation. But I would not speak of American ignorance, for it is evident that your Masonry numbers among its members many who are informed of the difference which exists between the Grand Orient and the Grand Lodge of France. Still the great majority of American Masons evidently know nothing of French Freemasonry. Little by little, however, information is spreading, and the Grand Lodge of France (Scottish Rite), which invokes the Grand Architect of the Universe and which permits its lodges (though without making it obligatory) to use the Bible, is not only recognized by the Grand Lodges of the States to which you allude but also, by others. The following is the list of its official relations with America: In Canada, the Grand Lodge of Manitoba; in the United States, the Grand Lodges of Alabama, Arkansas, California, the District of Columbia, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah; in all seventeen.
When the other jurisdictions come to make an honest and impartial investigation, there is little doubt that they will join these mentioned, to the end that Masonic union may be completely re-established between the two countries.
Your reply counts among French Obediences the National Grand Lodge, and you remark that it is recognized by the Grand Lodge of England. How should it be otherwise seeing it is but a daughter institution in disguise, planted in our territory? This Grand Lodge calls itself National in order to impress Masonic powers in other countries. In truth, except for the titular Grand Master and a few Frenchmen who are there to aid the illusion, its lodges are composed of foreigners, English in a very large majority.
I do not wish to attack this Grand Lodge, we are too tolerant to even wish it any harm, but it is a little unfair upon its part to call itself National. And this has no other purpose than to mislead Masons in other countries, for here it deceives no one. On this point, as upon every other point mentioned in this letter, it is easy to furnish proof.
There are in the United States some Grand Lodges, as that of California, which have allowed themselves to be taken in by the professions of this Grand Lodge. The fact that it is recognized by the Grand Lodge of England, and puts the Bible on its Altars, has seemed to them sufficient reason for this, when in reality there were more important questions to consider; the nature of its working and its quality as French. Now this status of a French Obedience it in reality does not possess. In my opinion the Grand Lodge of France should refuse relations with Grand Lodges that recognize it, for it is in reality what you call Clandestine.
The reason that the Grand Lodge of England refuses to recognize the Grand Lodge of France is because the latter refuses to sever its relations with the Grand Orient, which it considers schismatic. The Grand Lodge of France, though it has steadily refused to follow the errors of the Grand Orient, is not able to consent to break with it. This would be a fatal action in the face of the attacks to which Masonry is subject in France by the Catholic Party. Above all ritual questions stands that of the "front" that must be maintained against an implacable enemy, an enemy our division could not fail to embolden and strengthen. We do not desire that the Clerical Party in France should reduce French Freemasonry to the point to which Fascism has brought the Freemasonry of Italy.
I greatly wish I could make the Masons of your country realize this situation. I do not despair of this, and the time will come, I hope soon, that all your Grand Lodges will render justice to the loyal attitude of the Grand Lodge of France to the traditions of Freemasonry as it has received them.
Albert Lantoine, France.
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THE GRAND LODGE OF FRANCE
In reference to the item in the April number of THE BUILDER, page 128, under the heading, "French Freemasonry," I submit the list of American Grand Lodges that are in fraternal relationship with the Grand Lodge of France. In addition to those you mentioned, Alabama, California and Manitoba, there are: Arkansas, District of Columbia, Iowa, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, Utah and Kentucky.
Louis Goaziou, Colorado.
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THE ARK OF THE COVENANT WITH ISRAEL
The article with the above heading in THE BUILDER for May reminds one of Dr. Albert Taylor Bledsoe's comment on a book written by a Frenchman: "He gives us some new things and some true things, but his new things are not true things, and his true things are not new things."
Bro. Bennett tells us that the serpent of brass which Moses made "was worshipped from the time of the Exodus until David established his capital at Jerusalem and continued to be worshipped there until at least 700 B.C."
The simple statement in II Kings, eighteenth chapter and fourth verse that Hezekiah "brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made; for unto these days the Children of Israel did burn incense to it, and he called it Nehushtan" hardly warrants the sweeping claim that it was worshipped from the Exodus to 700 B.C. "Nehushtan" means "a piece of brass."
Again he says "the most reasonable and satisfying explanation as to what the Ark contained is that in it was the bones of Joseph." We can concede that this is new but not that it is true.
The bones of Joseph were taken out of Egypt and the Ark was made in the wilderness. Several articles are named as having been deposited in the Ark, but not the bones of Joseph.
Further on he says of Joseph, "He had become a god to Israel." We admit that this is new but do not believe it is true. There is no proof that the Israelites "had spiritualized Joseph into their great God, Yahweh, whose symbol was his bones."
Of the Ten Commandments he says there are two statements "in the Bible that contradict each other." Here we must join issue. The two accounts in Exodus and Deuteronomy differ slightly in verbiage but are in no sense contradictory. He says, "Critical Bible scholars agree that the Ten Commandments in their present form date from some five hundred years after the time of Moses." Here again we dissent. Some critical scholars may hold that view but there is no general agreement to that effect among them. There are strong commonsense statements that are a sufficient answer to the critics that are trying to minimize the work of Moses and assign the Pentateuch to a period later than the days of David.
- The Pentateuch does not name Jerusalem.
- The term Lord of Hosts is not in the Pentateuch.
- Music formed no part of the Mosaic Ritual.
Until David's day Jerusalem was a Jebusite stronghold. He conquered it and made it the capital of his kingdom. When you tell me that the so-called Five Books of Moses took form long after Jerusalem became the glory of Israel, the Holy City of God's chosen people, and yet its very name does not appear in these books you are presuming on my credulity.
Again the term Lord of Hosts runs through Old Testament literature. These five books which do not contain it are certainly older than those portions in which it so frequently appears. Further David was known as the "sweet singer of Israel." Music, instrumental and vocal, became prominent from his day in the worship rendered by the Israelites. We are asked to believe that there were literary forgers long after David's day, so skillful as to invent a ritualism which they falsely assert took form hundreds of years earlier in the days of Moses, and to give it an antique form kept, out of it all reference to music which was then so prominent in Hebrew worship. My answer is "tell it to the Marines, the Sailors won't believe it."
C. H. Briggs, Missouri.
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In the Question Box Department in the April, 1926, issue of THE BUILDER, under the heading "The Cable Tow," the opinion is given in the last paragraph that the explanation given in the ritual makes the symbolism apply to the strength of the obligation. What is meant by the expression "the strength of the obligation"?
The dictionary definition of the word "obligation" most applicable in one sense is "duty imposed by promise." But it seems to me that when we speak of the obligations taken at the altar we do not mean the "duty imposed." A connection has been made between the candidate and the Fraternity. The obligations (three) are the promises made by the candidate whereby a duty is imposed upon him. The first set of promises made a strong tie (connection); the second set doubles the strength, making the tie stronger, and the third set makes a three-fold tie. The word "obligation" as you use it seems to convey the idea of "contract" or "promise."
The symbolism of the ritual, leaving out the question of position, seems to apply not so much to the strength of the promises made as to the bond or tie that binds the candidate to the Fraternity.
A. E. T., Manila, P.I.
The expression Bro. A. E. T. quotes we acknowledge was rather hazy and indefinite. The sense intended was the binding power or nature of the obligation. The word itself means "a binding," obligare in Latin is to tie up, and ligamentum is a band, cord or string. It would thus have been more definite, and perhaps more accurate, to have said simply that the C. T. was a symbol of the Obligation.
We do not however quite see the force of our correspondent's remarks about "a duty imposed by promise." The duties are imposed by the promise or vow after the individual has made it. This does not at all affect the voluntary nature of the act of promising or vowing; but once that act has, been performed the obligation rests upon him and imposes these duties. Nevertheless we do not think that there is any real difference between us, we are merely trying to say the same thing, each in his own way.
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THE SHADOW OF THE VATICAN
May I ask whether the important articles by Dr. Leo Cadius, published this year in THE BUILDER, are to be made available in pamphlet or book form? I believe that these articles should be given the widest circulation possible, as they are a testimony from inside the Church as to the conflict between its principles and purposes and our American ideals.
T. M. B., Massachusetts.
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I should very much like to obtain a copy of the Symbols and Legends of Freemasonry by J. Finlay Finlayson, which is now out of print. If any reader has a copy of this work he would like to dispose of I should be glad to communicate with him.
C. E. Martin, c/o THE BUILDER.
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SET OF THE BUILDER FOR SALE
I have all copies of THE BUILDER, of which 1915, 1916, 1917 are bound. All in good condition. Force of circumstances make it necessary for me to dispose of these. Will accept any reasonable offer.
Charles Miller, California.
Those interested may address Bro. Miller in care of THE BUILDER.
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THE AMERICAN FREEMASON
I am trying to complete a set of the American Freemason, founded and edited by Bro. Morcombe. If any readers of THE BUILDER have in their possession copies of this periodical that they would be willing to dispose of, I should be very glad to hear from them.
M. A. Barr, Muscatine, Iowa.