W.Bro. R.A.L. HARLAND, P.M.,
Lodge No. 1679, President of the Circle.

Whence come you?

From the W. whither we have been in search of the genuine secrets (Quest Formula in Masonic Ritual).


In that "Perfect Sermon" which expounds the wisdom imparted by the divine Poimandres or Shepherd of Men to thrice-greatest Thoth, Father of the Hermetic Gnosis, it is declared that Man is "a mighty wonder," having his place in "the blessed station of the midst," so that he knows the things above and the things below, and passes into God's nature as if he were himself divine, as in essence he truly is. So also lamblichus, discoursing "On the Mysteries," affirms that "there is a principle of the soul, superior to all Nature, through which we are capable of surpassing the order and systems of the world."

Of the "Mysteries" alluded to by lamblichus there is in these days much vague talk, especially in relation to Freemasonry, but little real knowledge. There are, however, said to have been seven main Schools - Oriental, Chaldean, Egyptian, Orphic, Kabeiric, Druidic and Mithraic - representing seven streams of tradition, all having a common source in the Edenic Mysteries of the "Golden Age." These main streams gave rise in later times to minor tributaries like the Kabbalists and the Rosicrucian Fraternity out of which, in the opinion of some authorities, modern Freemasonry has sprung as a comparatively new rivulet flowing on from the ancient source. The circumstances under which Speculative Freemasonry originated are lost in obscurity; but this at least may fairly be claimed, that the more impartial the scrutiny to which the available evidence is subjected, the more impossible it is to dismiss the testimony of the late W.Bro. W. L. Wilmshurst and others as mere conjecture. It is, moreover, generally acknowledged by serious students of the Craft system that those who designed Speculative Freemasonry, if not actual Initiates, were greatly influenced by familiarity with current conceptions as to the role of the Mysteries in promoting spirituality; and also that many of these conceptions were, as the result of that influence, embodied in Masonic doctrine and practice. I am, in this apparent digression, really feeling my way towards the crucial problem of the degree of attention which the inner truth and substance of Freemasonry will receive from students within the Craft in the new era which appears to be dawning. We stand now, I believe, on the verge of an era when the Wisdom of the Ages is due to be rediscovered. Every available vestige of its invaluable deposit will be zealously sought out, furbished, set up for contemplation and veneration, and made the nucleus of even greater acquisitions of spiritual treasure. The increasing interest in the subjects of Mysticism and Occultism is one of the numerous indications of the imminent emergence of spiritual science from its long obscuration.

It is a law of spiritual experience that the Gods are ever more willing to communicate themselves than we are to receive their divine bounty. How comes it, then, that blindness and apathy still maintain their sway over our inert faculties; that the sublime potentialities of our Masonic system remain, for the most part, not only undeveloped but neglected, not to say repudiated and flouted as delusions? - "Seek, and ye shall find: ask, and ye shall have; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" (Second Section, First Lecture). This is, at least for us Freemasons, the classic statement of the law I have referred to; at the same time it contains the explanation of its remaining almost a dead letter. The sanctity of our human will remains at any rate inviolate: infirm as it is, it presents to our would-be Benefactors a solid barrier, unless and until, from the quest of Earth's transient shows, it is converted to that of some form of the wealth which defies rust and moth, and thereby fulfils the essential conditions for the conferment of wisdom. In this matter of Illumination, the "predominant wish of the heart for Light," the application of the law of spiritual experience is unmistakeably evident. Truth stands at the door and knocks; but unless we choose to have it opened, the door will remain shut fast. If we do so choose, we, in turn, must knock for, as the Craft ceremonial is effectively designed to portray, the door opens only from within. What does such "knocking" on the door Masonically imply? I will endeavour to suggest an answer to this question by the following consideration of the Quest motive in the Craft system.


Freemasonry, according to the official description, is: "A peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols." The term "system of morality" is usually interpreted as meaning "a system of morals," but Masonic students who are familiar with the Rituals are in the position to determine to what extent they can be said to embody an ethical doctrine, except as side-issues to their Mystery. There is, of course, a very plain inculcation of certain essential virtues; but it is all so slight and obvious, that to speak of Freemasonry as an ethical system is to magnify the subject out of due proportion. Moreover, men do not need to enter an elaborate ceremonial Order to learn morals and study ethics. Elementary morals can be, and are, learned in the outside world; and must be learned there if one is to be merely a decent member of society. The possession of "strict morals," as every Freemason should know, is a preliminary qualification for entering the Order, and a Candidate does not therefore enter it to acquire them after he has been admitted. On the other hand, we do find certain provinces of knowledge recommended to the, study of the Candidate at one stage of his advancement, namely, the "liberal arts and sciences" in the Second Degree. The word "morality," however, in its original, and also in its Masonic connotation, has another meaning; one which carries the same sense as it does when we speak of a "morality-play." A "system of morality," then, is a literary or dramatic way of expressing spiritual truth, putting it forward allegorically and in accordance with well-settled principles and methods ("mores"); it is the equivalent of an "ancient usage" or "use," as ecclesiastics speak of "the Sarum use" or liturgy. We find accordingly, in the Third Degree, illustrations of a great Mystery of Building, together with references to a Secret which has been lost, and a Legend concerning the immolation of a Master of Knowledge who took away with him the "genuine secrets of a Master Mason." What is signified by the Craft Mystery of Building and the "genuine secrets" which have been lost? I would submit that if, quite apart from the Theosophia of Mystical Death and Rebirth put forward under heavy veils in the Third Degree, we are to discover the key to the Mystery, it is in the amazing inference which follows from the Craft Legend relating to the stuitificadon of the Traditional Temple as a House of Doctrine before its erection was finished. We know, from the Legend, that the Master was asked One Question, and that for One Answer which he declined to make the Traditional Founder of Doctrine came to an end of violence; and it follows therefrom that the Great Symbolical Temple was not finished according to the original plans. It is for this reason that symbolically, if not actually, the True Temple still remains to be erected. Meanwhile, in Freemasonry, as in other similar Institutions, we rest content with certain conventional proxies in which we may find, by the profound meaning enshrined in them, that some analogy inheres. It is further to be understood from the Legend that two Kings who at one time represented the Royal Houses of official Grace and Nature knew the canonical answer to the Question, supposing that this had been put under due warrants; but it must be inferred that this was the verbal formula and not the ground-plan of the Mystic guilding. In any case the formula remained "Sacramentum Regis," the Secret of the King, and it follows, still speaking symbolically, that all Freemasonry derives not from a Lodge of Masters but from that of an inferior grade - the so-called Fellow-Craft. Again, the missing formula, by the hypothesis, was a Word of Life, while the "locum tenens," by a contradistinctive analogy, is a Word of Death. Hence it is that the whole of the corporate Fraternity undertakes a Quest which is in correspondence with that of the Round Table; but they move in the opposite direction to that in which the Mysteries repose. In other words, the Craft Journey is undertaken Westwards, instead of to the due East, with the result that the Quest is declared so far to have been abortive. The memorial of this Mystical Quest is, however, "veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols," and its deeper import does not appear upon the surface of the Rituals. This is partly in correspondence with human life itself and the world we live in, which are themselves but allegories and symbols of another life and the veils of another world; and partly intentional also, so that only those who have reverent and understanding minds may penetrate into the hidden meaning of the Craft doctrine. The traditional Quest Formula in Speculative Freemasonry has, therefore, been carefully woven into the text of the Ceremonies of Opening and Closing the Lodge according to the Third Degree, with a twofold purpose; firstly, in order to preserve the witness to the Mysteries in the world, and, secondly, to see that the knowledge is, so far as possible, kept away from the world. Here is a paradox: "In the world, but not of it"; and this is equivalent to saying that the paramount Law of Silence has of necessity a permanent competitor in the Law of the Sign. "How do you know a Brother by day?" asks the cryptic question in the First Lecture (Seventh Section), and the equally cryptic reply is, "By seeing him and observing the Sign"; but the sign observed is obviously not the formal gesture of salute. It is also for this reason that the Closing in the Third Degree gives expression to a loss of the Ages in terms of symbolism which can be voiced by the least literate occupant of the Master's Chair. Yet, so far from making it commonised and a thing of no moment, its deep significance shines through all the veils on the minds of those who come to the Lodge "properly prepared"; for man is not so far lost but that he suffers ever the Great Discontent, which is the elegy of his loss and the prediction of his recovery. The deeper secrets in Freemasonry may therefore be said to exist concealed beneath a great reservation; they are, in fact, disclosed only to those who are willing to act upon the hint given: "Seek and ye shall find." The search will be long and difficult, but great things are not to be acquired without effort and perseverance; and, as each may come to know for himself, there is an Orient from on high which rises on the soul, whereupon the soul turns in the light of "that bright Morning Star" and moves thenceforward in the true and one direction - "towards the East."

I will now say more openly, if not more clearly, that the ideal of the True Temple is in our hearts, and it is there that we build. We do this daily by all the aspirations of our nature; but for want of the lost designs we have not been able to externalise it. No doubt we have faded to live the Life which entitles us to know of the Doctrine; nevertheless, we feel that this is implied and latent in the roots of our being. It is not a head-problem but a heart-problem. A changed "heart" is what is needed, and what alone will suffice for the solution of our perplexities; the realisation that knowledge is not wisdom. The rites and ceremonies of Freemasonry, therefore, may deal in parables and allegories; they may present their particular forms of thought in the guise of a Legend of yesterday; but at least we have conceived enough to be aware that they really enshrine the Legend of to-morrow, the expressed heart of expectation and not a retrospective review. If this is indeed the case, what manner of House was that which, according to the Craft Legend, was planned of old in wisdom and was afterwards finished as best it could be, because treason fell upon the Principal Architect, and because, in the absence of preparation and title, there had been an attempt to take the Kingdom of Rites by violence? Let us seek an illustrative answer from an episode of the Law which was once promulgated in Israel. We learn from the Sacred Writings (Exodus, chapter 32, verses 15-19), that Moses the Prophet came down from the Mount to the Encampment at Sinai bringing with him the Tables of the Law; but he found his rebellious people unqualified for the high doctrine, and before the face of them he broke those Tables. The world was not worthy. It has always been held, however, by the Keepers of the Secret Tradition in Israel, that the doctrine which remained with Moses was not utterly withdrawn by him from the world; there was, according to another Legend of Israel, an Holy Assembly of the Elders who received from the Lawgiver "those mysterious forms and prototypes, the Tabernacle, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Tables of the Sacred Law" and transmitted them in secret, so that they were perpetuated from generation to generation. Afterwards, as related also in the Scriptural record, Moses gave to the people certain other Commandments, but we are likewise told on high traditional authority that these substituted Statutes were shadows only of the Law of the Mount - the code of unruly children, and not of the truly Elect. The parallel to this illustration is that which we know already - the Temple of the Craft Legend, planned "in the bosom of the Holy Mount Moriah," was rendered void owing to a conspiracy among the workmen to obtain "the secrets of the Third Degree by any means, even having recourse to violence." Again the rebellious were declared to be unworthy and unqualified; the "ground-plan" of the Mystic Building was not disclosed; and afterwards certain other "substituted secrets" were approved, "until time or circumstances shall restore the genuine ones." The intimation of the Secret Schools is once more emphasised that somewhere in time and the world there is that which can confer upon the Candidate for Initiation a real as well as a symbolical experience. What part have we otherwise in Freemasonry seeing that we have come out of Israel as others came out of Egypt? Let us seek a further answer from the Prophet Haggai: "According to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you; fear ye not" ( Haggai, chapter 2, verse 5). The records of deep experience are with us from time immemorial; but there are also unwritten testimonies, as if from the beginning of things, which have passed by word of mouth and [eave been cherished in the hearts of the hearers. And no one shall say with truth that they have not filtered down through the ages, are no part of our spiritual heredity, enshrined in subconscious memory and awakened in flashes therefrom. They, too, bring us strange messages beneath the surface sense of the Instituted Mysteries; they are also a voice which is not a voice but another manner of meaning, and we know in this manner what remains to be done in our character as Freemasons. I quote from one Ritual which speaks for all: "To respect the decrees of Providence; to render worship to God alone; and with all humility and patience endeavour to recover the Word."


The keynote of Speculative Freemasonry is sounded forth in the simple Ritual declaration: "To seek for that which is lost." It vibrates, however, three Great Chords: The universal confession of a dreadful loss; the deathless intuition that somewhere "that which is lost" is preserved; and, the Faith that the loss will eventually be restored. This memorial of Loss and Quest carries in its notes the heartache of the world through all its generations; and so from generation to generation goes on the panorama of divine expectation. In the guise of a traditional historic narrative there is promulgated, in the Legend of the Craft, the story of a loss which is commemorated everywhere, but it is never told twice in the same way. Now it is a despoiled Sanctuary; now a withdrawn Sacramental Mystery; now the Lost Word of Kabbalism; now the abandonment of a Great Military and Religious Order; and, as presented in the Masonic version, the age-long frustration of the greatest Building Plan ever conceived. What, then, "rests on the prospect of futurity?" Everything; the Sanctuary is sacred; the King is to return; the Word will be restored to Israel; the Order of Chivalry has not really died; and, at some time undeclared, the Master key to the Building Plan will be recovered. Meanwhile, the testimony of the Mystics is: "Take no thought for the morrow, because it is here and now"; and to this Antiphon the Responsion of the Hermetic Mystery is: "Even so, in the place of Wisdom there is still the Stone of the Wise."

It should now be possible to express what follows from the foregoing in terms of comparative simplicity. As the Masonic legend runs, upon the literal side of it, the purpose of a great King was to erect a superb structure. He was assisted in that work by another King, who supplied the building materials, by a skilful Artificer, whose business was to put these together according to a preordained plan, and by large companies of Craftsmen and labourers. But in the course of the work an evil conspiracy arose, resulting in the destruction of the chief Artificer and preventing the completion of the Building, which remained imperfect from "the want of those plans and designs, which had hitherto been regularly supplied to the various classes of the workmen." What structure is here alluded to? It is, I submit, none other than that "House not made with hands, ' of which all sacred edifices are but the types and symbols; for we know that neither Speculative Freemasonry nor any of the great Instituted Mysteries has designed a rebuilding of material Holy Places. In more precise words, it is the temple of the collective body of Humanity itself; of which St. Paul once said to the Corinthians "Know ye not that ye are the temple of Go? (First Epistle to the Corinthians, chapter 3, verse 16). A perfect humanity was the Magnificent Temple which, in the counsel of the Most High, was intended to be reared in the mystical Holy City (the "Jerusalem which is above"), which, as St. Paul again says "is the mother of us all" (Epistle to the Galatians, chapter 4, verse 26), and of which the old metropolis of Palestine (the "Jerusalem which now is") is taken as the type. The "three Grand Masters who bore sway" at the erection of this Mystic Building, Solomon and the two Hirams, are a triad expressing the nature of the Divinity in manifestation, which is held to possess Three distinct phases, appearing as Three Hypostases or "Persons." These three quasi-historical characters combine to typify the threefold creative method of the Deity; whose "Wisdom" (symbolised by Solomon) contrives our creation subjective and ideally; whose "Strength" (represented by Hiram King of Tyre) and resources project the world of Nature as the material out of which the creative idea is to take shape in the creature; and whose architectonic and geometrical power finally moulds that idea into objective form, perfection and "Beauty." H.A., therefore, is the personification of the third aspect of the Divine creative energy. He represents, in terms of Hebrew mysticism, the Cosmic Builder; the Great Architect "by whom all things were made" and "in whom (as St. Paul says, using Masonic imagery) all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord" (Epistle to the Ephesians, chapter 2, verse 21 ). The name H.A., sometimes given as Adoniram, means the representative or messenger from the Lord ("Adonai") or Father ("Abba"). It is the Hebrew form of the Greek "Hermes," who was also the son of the All-Father (Zeus) and the messenger and intermediary between the gods and men to show men how to live and give them safe conduct through death. In the Graeco- Alexandrian scriptures he is called both Hermes and, Thoth (the Divine Thought or Creative Mind) and appears as the great Initiator and Teacher of hidden knowledge. Students of the Craft traditions will be aware that in some of the "Old Charges" the name of Hermes (instead of Hiram) is introduced into the narrative of the legendary history. H.A., then, Masonically speaking, is the personal aspect of the Third Logos, the "Son of the Widow," Who is also the Creator Lord of the triune (celestial, psychic and material) manifested Cosmos; and, following the uniform procedure of Initiation systems, he typifies in the personal Mystery of the Craft, that member of the Divine triad Who is the Principle of human Exemplars, the "Word" that is "made flesh."

I must next make it clear that the Legend of the Third Degree, in which lies the essence of Masonic doctrine, is an adaptation of a very old one which existed in various forms long before its association with modern Freemasonry. It gives expression to a form of cosmogonical doctrine common to every human race since the beginning of time; a doctrine explaining the genesis, fall, and destiny of man, and accounting for the mystery of evil and disorder with which the world is now afflicted, by a catastrophe which occurred before the world order assumed its present physicalised condition. In the New Testament scriptures this primal tragedy, of which the murder of the Master Builder is a localised echo, is spoken of in the allusion to "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world," but whose "blood" (spirit or life-essence) still permeates the world as a saving and redeeming energy and will eventually restore "the whole creation" to a state surpassing its pristine grandeur. The same doctrine was taught under other veils among all the nations of antiquity. We find it in one of the oldest of the Mystery systems, the Samothracian, where the Craft conspiracy is enacted as the tragedy of a god slain by his fellow gods. In ancient Egypt its equivalent is the legend of the murder of Osiris by Typhon. In Greece it is the dismemberment of Dionysos by the Titans; in Phoenicia the murder of Adonis; the British tradition repeats it in the story of the great King Arthur, wounded and mysteriously concealed through the ages but destined assuredly to return; and the Norse sagas echo it in the death of the god Baldur the Beautiful. In each of these versions the central theme is that of a divine or semi-divine Being or Hero who is opposed and done away with by rebellious "ruffians," and whose loss temporarily checks the preordained advance of human progress, but who will one day emerge from his place of concealment and by restoring "that which is lost" re-establish the broken fortunes of humanity.

The tragedy of the "untimely death" of the Master, as related in the "traditional history" of the craft, is not the record of any vulgar, brutal murder of an individual man. It is a parable of cosmic and universal loss; an allegory of the breakdown of a divine scheme. We are dealing in Speculative Freemasonry with no calamity that intervened during the erection of a building construction work in an eastern city, but with a moral disaster affecting humanity. This was the Fall of Man, and on consulting the Book of Genesis we find the same subject expounded by the narrator in the familiar story of Adam and Eve. They were intended, as we know from the legend, for perfection and happiness, but their Creator's project became nullified by their disobedience to certain conditions imposed upon them. I will ask you to observe that their offence was precisely that alleged to have been committed by the Masonic conspirators; in Masonic language, they where under obligation "not to attempt to extort the secrets of a superior degree" which they had not attained; they had been forbidden to eat of the Tree of Knowledge. And just as Adam and Eve's attempt to obtain illicit knowledge caused their expulsion from Eden and defeated the divine purpose until they and their posterity should regain the Paradise they had lost, so also the erection of the great mystical Temple of the craft was prevented for the time being by the conspirator's attempt to extort from Hiram the Master's secrets, and its completion is delayed "until time or circumstances" restore "that which is lost." It is in this sense that "Paradise Lost" and "Paradise Regained" are equally the theme of Speculative Freemasonry as they were of the poet Milton. Few members of the Craft realise that in giving the S... of H... they are unwittingly testifying to the "fatal catastrophe" by reason of which, as St. Paul says, "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now" (Epistle to the Romans, chapter 9, verse 22). The gesture is really one of dismay upon recognition of the tragic results ensuing from the "original sin;" while the S... of S... is similarly an expression of personal contrition, and one with which each identifies himself with the guilty, as it were, crying: "Mea culpa! mea maxima culpa!"

To deal now with the Quest. Like the Craftsmen in the Legend, we go our different ways in search of that which is lost." Many of us make no discovery of importance throughout the length of our days. We seek it in pleasure, in work, in all the varied occupations and diversions of our lives; we seek it in intellectual pursuits, and, indeed, those who search farthest and deepest are those who become most conscious of the loss. I would here submit, however, that by serious and patient meditation on the Legend of the Craft there is more to be learned as to the nature of human existence than by the summation of all the vaunted results of merely physical investigation. Hiram is slain! The high light and wisdom ordained to guide and enlighten humanity are vanished from the race, but in the Divine Providence there still remains a "glimmering ray" in the East. Moreover, in our benighted state we have our five senses and rational faculties to work with, and these provide the "substituted secrets" that must distinguish us until "by patience and industry" we are again entitled to a participation in the "genuine ones." That "which is lost" is to be found, we are told, "with the Centre." "Why with the Centre?" Because, at the centre of ourselves, deeper than any dissecting knife can reach or than any physical investigation can fathom, lies buried the "vital and immortal principle" that affiliates us to the Divine Centre of all life, and this is never wholly extinguished however imperfect our lives may be. Each of us, therefore, is the sepulchre in which smitten Master is interred; we are in the "grave" of the Master; hence the cryptic manner in which the Ritual furnishes details of the grave of Hiram and indicates to us its location. He is not buried in the "Sanctum Sanctorum" in the same sense that the posterity have all been placed outside the walls of Paradise, for, "nothing common or unclean can enter into the Holy place. What, then, is this "Centre," by reviving and using which we may hope to regain the secrets of our lost nature? We may reason from analogies. As the Divine Life and Will is the Centre of the whole Universe and controls it; so, at the secret centre of individual human life there exists a vital, immortal principle, the spirit and the spiritual will of man. This is the faculty, by using which (when we have found it) we can never err. It is a point within the circle of our own nature; the proton around which our personal characteristics move as electrons; and, living as we do in this physical world, the circle of our existence is bounded by two grand parallel lines;" one representing Moses, the other King Solomon"; that is to say, Law and Wisdom; the Divine Ordinances regulating the Universe on the one hand; the Divine "wisdom and mercy that follow us all the days of our life" on the other. In our present imperfect state, however, our personality is not in true alignment with our spiritual principle. Mentally, morally and physically we are all out of plumb from our "Centre," and this is signified by the secret words whispered in the Third Degree, in uttering which we proclaim to one another beneath the breath the terrible fact that the Master principle of our being has been cut off from us. The means by which the "displacement factor" which now characterises us was caused, and by which it must also be rectified, are indicated in the Third Degree, and great irony lies in the fact that the very tools that slew the Master should be appointed as those with which we are to retrieve our misfortune. The simple truth is conveyed to the aspirant that evil is misapplied good, and conversely good is transmuted evil; that by our errors we may learn wisdom; and return to grace is effected by the right use of what involved us in disgrace.

From this brief review of the Loss and Quest it will be apparent that Speculative Freemasonry is a system of religious philosophy, in that it provides us with a doctrine of the Universe and of our place in it. It indicates whence we are come and whither we may return. It has two purposes. The first is to show that man has fallen away from a high and holy "Centre" to the circumference or externalised condition in which we now live, and to indicate that those who so desire may regain "that which is lost." The second is to declare the way by which that "Centre" may be found, and this teaching is embodied in the disciplines delineated in the three Craft Degrees. The detailed work of these Degrees is a subject outside the scope of this Paper. It must suffice to say, that to find the "Centre," our real self, involves a turning inwards of our previously exteriorised faculties of sense and thought, and an introspective penetration of the outlying elements of our nature. This task is figured by the ceremonial perambulations in the Lodge, and by the path of the winding staircase leading to the Middle Chamber, up which the aspirant must ascend, asking, seeking, knocking, all the way; being subjected from time to time to tests of his progress and receiving, "without scruple or diffidence" such wages of good fortune or adversity as unseen Providence may know to be his due. Every aspirant has also to experience the supreme ordeal of passing "through the valley of the shadow of death," the "divine dark" or unstable psychic region, before finding the Light of light. And so in the Third Degree, the Candidate enters a darkened Lodge and moves through a symbolic nebulous underworld, guided only by the "glimmering ray" of his own intuitive spirit. The incident of attaining Light and self- knowledge is dramatically emphasised in Masonic ceremonial. It is represented by that important moment in the Ritual of the Third Degree when darkness suddenly gives way to full light, in which light the Candidate gazes back for the first time upon the remains of his own past and behold the emblems of his own mortality. He has then (at least in ceremony) surmounted the great transitional crisis involved in becoming raised from a natural to a higher order of humanity. He perceives his temporal organism to have been a "tomb of transgression" in which a great change has been wrought. He has figuratively risen from that tomb, and for him the old grave of the natural body has lost its sting; he knows Life Eternal and lives from the "Centre"; or rather that "Centre" lives in him.


In offering the thoughts expressed in my Paper to the members of this Circle, I will conclude by submitting that the Craft system provides for those capable of appreciating it a working philosophy and a practical rule of life. It discloses to us the scheme of the Universe - a scheme once shattered and arrested but left in the hands of humanity to restore. It indicates our purpose and our destiny. It is a great House of instruction and initiation into the Mysteries of a larger and fuller life. Let us, therefore, value and endeavour to be worthy of its privileges. Let us also be careful not to cheapen our Order by failing to realise its meaning and by admitting to its ranks those who are unready or unwilling make some attempt to understand its deeper import. I enjoin you, Brethren ! think on these things; lift up your hearts; throw wide open the shutters of your mind and imaginations. Learn to see in Freemasonry something more than a parochial system inculcating an elementary morality, performing perfunctory and meaningless rites, and serving as an agreeable accessory to social life. Seek rather to find in it a living philosophy, a vital guide upon those matters which of all others are the most urgent to our ultimate well-being. Reflect well that its secrets which are "many and invaluable" are not upon the surface; that they are not those of the tongue, but of the heart; and that its Mysteries are those eternal ones that treat of the spirit of man. And with this knowledge clothe yourselves and enter the Lodge, not merely the Lodges of our symbolic Craft, but the larger Lodge of Life itself, wherein, silently and without the sound of metal tool, is proceeding the perpetual work of rebuilding the unfinished and invisible Temple of which the mystical stones and timber are the souls of men. Whosoever labourers at this work is called a "son of the Widow," identifying himself with the Master who was "a widow's son of the tribe of Naphtali" (I. Kings, chapter 7, verse 14), which means the tribe of the wrestlers. An ancient Hermetic oracle declares that "the Widow" is veiled, and that to lift the veil spells death. The death signified, however, is of the kind implied in the Third Degree, the elimination of all that is vain, unworthy and unreal in oneself. And for all those who wrestle with this "last and greatest trial" there is prescribed a sign and a cry with which in dire need to invoke the aid of other "sons of the Widow" from behind the veil. In this study of the Quest Motive in Speculative Freemasonry I have attempted to draw aside the veil of allegory that shrouds the doctrine of the craft, the mystical "Mother of us all." But if, as true "Sons of the Widow," we go further than lifting veils of allegory, what may we not hope to find "with the Centre"?