SYMPOSIUM OF PAPERS CONTRIBUTED BY MEMBERS OF THE CIRCLE

(PART SIX)

INTRODUCTION

Wor.Bro. R. A. L. Harland, P.M., Lodge No. 1679

It is my privilege as President of the Circle to introduce to members the sixth part of the excellent symposium of Papers contributed in response to the invitation issued by the Governing Council, as follows:-

"THE MISSION OF MASONRY IN A CHANGING WORLD" by M.W. Bro. Francis J. Scully, M.D., Past Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Arkansas, U.S.A.

"MASONIC LIGHT" by Bro. Rev. R.Gledhill, M.A., B.D., Hope Valley Lodge No. 3397

"SOME THOUGHTS ON THE TRACING BOARD OF THE SECOND DEGREE" by W.Bro. C.M.de Beer, Travellers Lodge, No. 5820, E.C., Johannesburg, South Africa.

I would like to take this opportunity of congratulating the authors of the Papers already included in this Symposium upon the high standard of their contributions. I would also again remind members that manuscripts submitted will be welcomed by the Governing Council and will receive careful consideration with a view to being read at a meeting of the Circle and subsequently included in the Transactions.

"THE MISSION OF MASONRY IN A CHANGING WORLD" by M.W.Bro. Francis J. Scurry, M.D., Past Grand Master, Grand Lodge of Arkansas, U.S.A.

The need for a sustaining force in a changing world has become evident to every thinking man, and particularly to us as Masons. Masonry offers a philosophy of life that can maintain, support and inspire men, not only in times of stress, but in their hours of leisure as well. Masonry has a mission in the world today. It can do much for men in their search for the Light that can bring them peace and happiness, which is the goal of every man.

We are living in a world that is changing rapidly. It presents not only a rare opportunity, but a definite challenge for the Masonic Fraternity to justify its purpose as a constructive force in character building, and as a philosophy of life that will enable men to rise above material things and find happiness and contentment in spiritual enlightenment.

The tempo of life today, while speeding up the production of materials and equipment, has markedly increased the tension of every day living. It has, however, shortened the working hours for most people, and has consequently given them more leisure time. How that leisure time is employed is most important.

We are living in a time of turmoil and uncertainty. No longer is there a feeling of security, nor the certainty that the future will hold a time of comfort and ease for us. It is a time of stress.

Stress is difficult to define. It is not fear. rather it implies tension, arising from a conflict within ourselves or a combat with circumstances, that the issue is uncertain, that the outcome may be unsuccessful, and that the individual is fully aware of that situation. It is certainly one which arouses the feeling of an unending and unyielding struggle.

Stress presents a real problem today. You are all familiar with the impact or pressure of our present day speed of living. In times past, life went by in a more leisurely manner, news travelled slowly. Stories of war and disaster reached the ears of the people long after the event had lost its dynamic power and no longer carded any sense of personal relationship. But today it is different. The events of yesterday in the far-flung corners of the world are headlines of next morning's newspaper, or the radio or television may present them to the listener within an hour of their happening. It is remarkable that man has been able to survive this sudden change in life's tempo. It speaks well for the adaptability of man. Most of these developments have come within the past fifty years. Many of you may remember the beginnings of these discoveries and inventions which we now use so casually, yet which have so radically altered our very existence. The radio, television, movies, automobiles, and airplanes have opened wide our vision as to how the rest of the world lives. These things have not only enriched our lives, but have added greatly to the tension of life. It calls for a day to day, even an hour to hour, regulation and adjustment of our bodily reactions to enable us to meet and cope with the world today.

The problem brought by stress may come to children, but it is certain to come to the youth and to the mature man. The youth finds the responsibilities of life looming before him. To middle age is brought a struggle to maintain one's position and to advance in one's chosen work. The more civilized peoples are affected to a greater degree than the primitive tribes, for their greater understanding of the meaning and possibilities of events makes a greater conflict in their minds and in their lives. For them continued stress without relief, or a time of relaxation, is indeed a serious problem.

Continued stress without periods of rest may produce marked changes in the body. We all know of executives in charge of large business interests who develop high blood pressure or a coronary attack in their struggle to keep abreast of the tide of business today. Others acquire indigestion, a nervous breakdown or vascular disorders in their effort to keep up with the busy stride of work. Even in the home, stress may have its effect, because of the complexity of duties, responsibilities and social pressures which combine to bring a never ending load for each twenty-four hours. It is remarkable that man has been able to survive, let alone keep up with the pace set before him.

What can be done to relieve this stress?

Can we remove stress from the world?

No. Life today requires that man must work, work with competition, and with increased speed and skill if he is to succeed. It is said that the only place where there is no stress is in Heaven, for in Heaven there is no hunger, no money, no marriage, and no personal ambitions. But heaven on earth is still a vision in the far future.

Can we remove stress from the individual?

No. everyone cannot succeed. Since material possessions and wealth are now considered the measure of success in life, this type of success can come to only a small percentage of the population. Not everyone can reach the top. We cannot give everyone a raise in salary, a better home, a smarter car, in order that he may succeed.

Can we treat the individual for the effects of stress?

Perhaps. Medical science has come a long way in the understanding of the problem. A whole new field of medicine, called psychosomatic medicine, has been developed to study and treat such cases. The individual must be brought to a realization of the cause of his disability, and make an adjustment before it is too late. One must often look to a higher power than ourselves to break the chain of events which hold us in the swift race we must run in this day and time.

Can we prevent the effects of stress?

Yes. This offers the greatest opportunity. Prevention is by far a better plan than any cure. The secret is to arrange for a time away from the pressure of one's work, a time of leisure, a holiday time, a time which we can spend in any way we like.

THE IMPORTANCE OF LEISURE

A time of leisure is not necessarily a period of idleness. Rather it implies a change - a change from the routine hours of work and tension to a more pleasurable occupation. We do not speak of a machine as being at leisure, but as being idle, because it does not have life. Human beings are not machines though industry would make men so. As long as life is present in the body, the brain continues active, even when we are asleep, because the circulation, respiration and digestion must be kept active or we cease to live.

Most individuals who have been active in their business or profession cannot accept enforced idleness, but must have something to occupy their minds. Some pleasant activity is the answer to the time away from routine work. It implies work that is done in accordance to one's own desire, taking one's own time to carry it out, and completing it to one's own satisfaction. Leisure is therefore a time of relaxation with a pleasurable occupation after a period of strenuous work, a period in which the brain is still employed but not driven under pressure. Only leisure can rehabilitate the over stressed mechanism of the mind. Leisure time is a time for

THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS

Our forefathers fought and won for us our liberty, and then drew up that remarkable document, the Constitution of the United States of America. As we read it we find that it does not guarantee happiness - only life, liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. It is up to each of us to seek his own happiness, by whatever method or plan he may find best.

Happiness is the dream of every man. It means more than just the satisfaction of animal needs - such as food, water, shelter and safety, The happiness we seek is something higher, more complete, more satisfying - something that will fill our lives and last always.

How shall we find this dream of happiness? How can we reach this goal we have set before us? What can we do to obtain this happiness? What things contribute to this pursuit of happiness?

Some believe that if they have plenty of money to do what they wanted, to buy everything they could use, to travel where they wanted, to live a life in leisure they would be supremely happy and would ask for no more. Yet those who have accumulated great wealth are not always happy. Money has become the object of the search and happiness is lost on the way. Great wealth or vast possessions more frequently bring anxiety and responsibility than happiness. Of course, moderate wealth does allow one to have leisure time, which is so valuable in the pursuit of happiness, but wealth alone does not guarantee happiness.

Others think a life dedicated to some interesting field of work or research would be the answer. We all know that we must work, but too often we look on the other man's work and think what an interesting life he must lead, that if we could only change places we would find happiness. Work well done, however, is often its own reward. There is a satisfaction in accomplishment and a joy in achievement. Work gives us the opportunity to earn our leisure and in that leisure we can seek our happiness.

Some would place fame or recognition for some special quality or ability, for some unusual accomplishment, or some daring deed as the basis for finding the happiness we seek. Yet such honour or notoriety is fleeting. Men soon forget the heroes and benefactors of yesterday. This happiness is too temporary to answer our quest.

Others would be satisfied to possess great power, the right to rule and to govern as their idea of happiness. Ambitious men have grasped power, trampling on the rights of others to gain their selfish ends. But have these powerful leaders, dictators or tyrants achieved real happiness? We have only to look in the pages of history to find the answer. Alexander, who conquered the then known world, cried because there were no more worlds to conquer. Napoleon, who became Emperor of France and conquered most of Europe, finally lost everything and died a prisoner on a lonely island. More recently Hitler and Mussolini, whose brief abuse of power, brought the world to its present state of chaos. Not only did they not find happiness for themselves but they put far in the future the day of happiness and peace for men and the nations of this earth. Once power is grasped by such despots they must strive and fight to maintain their pinnacle of glory. There is no time to rest, no time to enjoy the power they have gained, they have found no true happiness.

Many have found happiness in hobbies, or in interest in some special field such as hunting, fishing, golf, music, painting, a collection of stamps or of books, etc. These are the interests to occupy the leisure time which is so important to us. If these hobbies are properly used they can bring happiness. But such hobbies and interests should be developed while we are still young and still at work to bring the best results. One may find it difficult, when one refines, to take up a hobby as a new venture. To suddenly reverse the trend of life, giving up our usual employment, and taking up something new, may bring stress, just what we are trying to avoid. It is better, if possible, to try out one or more of these hobbies as we go along, to find out what we like, then the transition will be more gradual and more successful. Life is a continuous process of adjustment, day by day. If we fail to make these adjustments, then we lose our inner peace. It is best to plan and prepare for one's leisure activity, while engaged in carrying on our life's work. Then these outside interests will be brought into the pattern of life and ready to be used when we come to our days of leisure or retirement. At that time they can be expanded and amplified to give pleasurable employment for each day. There are so many things you have wanted to do and places you have wanted to see. Your leisure time then will not present the question, "What will I do with my time?", but rather it will be, "Where has my leisure time gone?" There are friends to visit, books to read, church meetings, lectures, concerts to attend, travelling to do, and a hobby to enjoy. Your leisure time can be completely filled with happiness, if properly planned.

These interests may or may not bring a financial reward, that is not as important as the joy of doing something one wants to do, even if it is only for the sake of satisfying one's own curiosity about the world in which we live.

Friends can mean much to us in our pursuit of happiness. We all prize our friends and could not live without them. We enjoy their company in good times and count on them in times of need. But our closest, friends cannot guarantee our happiness. They are human as we are, with all the frailties and ambitions that we have. Yet we must not despise the fellowship of men, for that fellowship may help us over a rough place on life's highway. We, as Masons, know this to be true.

Perhaps faith, faith in something greater, something higher than we are, faith in God, the Creator of all things, the Supreme Architect of the Universe, can be the answer to our pursuit. Our faith need not mean that we must retire from the world and wrap ourselves up in a veil of isolation to obtain our happiness. We must continue to live in the world of today, and, with faith, find joy in the present and hope in the future.

The Philosophers of old sought for the philosopher's stone to find the answer to man's destiny. We, as Masons, have sought for the Word, the Truth, the Light which will bring us the answer to all our questions and provide us with peace and wisdom. Each one has come to the end of his quest to find that happiness comes from within and not without. It rests on faith, faith in God, who is the giver of all happiness that is real and lasting.

Fame, fortune and all material things are the gift of God, but we must not permit them to take God's place in our lives and become gods before Him. They are not, in themselves, evil or mere vanities of life. They can be useful only when we can dispense with all of them, and still find happiness in our faith. God intended man to enjoy his brief day on earth. By faith we can have it so.

Each day is a test of our faith. Any philosophy of life that does not prepare us for every day living, for old age, for death, and for life beyond the grave can bring only disillusionment. Any philosophy of life that does not prepare us for the inevitable stress, the difficulties and tragedies of life is in vain. We must build a philosophy that will enable us to meet life as we find it, with a firm belief that there is a guiding hand that will eventually bring us the real happiness we seek.

HOW CAN WE ACHIEVE THIS GOAL OF HAPPINESS?

We must create our happiness out of the environment in which we live, out of the trials, the difficulties, the daily round of duties as well as the pleasures and fun, much as the bee seeks honey not only from the flowers of the fields, but also from plants we call weeds. It must be created out of the everyday happenings, the little things that go to make up the life we live day by day. We depend too much on the great events, the unusual happenings, such as graduation from school, a new job, marriage, or a trip to some distant land, to bring happiness instead of finding enjoyment in the small things that happen to us in each day as we go along through life. Some find happiness in the song of a bird, the antics of a playful squirrel, or the woods in the afternoon with the rays of sunshine streaming through the leaves. It is these little things that count.

Happiness does not depend so much where you are as how you look on life. It is a matter of viewpoint. Some look down and see only the dirt and squalor, the evil of life, the difficulties and poverty, and all that is dark and hopeless. Others look up and see the mountains in the distance all clothed in a beautiful green mantle of trees, the blue sky above with fleecy clouds passing by, and then up to the glory of all that is good and wonderful.

One day a man, passing a new building under construction, stopped to ask three men, who were working there, this question: "What are you doing?" The first answered quickly, "I'm digging a ditch." The second stopped and then said, "I'm putting in time until I can find a better job." The third, looking up for a moment, replied, "I'm building a cathedral." It is all a matter of viewpoint. We must do what is before us; what we are doing today is our very life. We must make it something fine and worth while. We must learn to look through the darkest night and see the rays of the sun of the new day. Too often we have our eyes fixed solely on the future, and forget to see or look on the world as it lies around us.

We must resolve that today is the day, not some day in the future when we will have our happiness. Too often we forget that the only moment of time we can be sure of is now. We must live this very day, giving our attention, our enthusiasm and our energy to this day in which we are living, and not let our anxiety for tomorrow rob us of our happiness today. For tomorrow is the day we worried about yesterday and all is well. At times it will take every ounce of strength to master this day, but it will not be wasted if it brings us the joy of living. One cannot live in the past, for it is gone beyond recall; one cannot live in the future, for it is not yet here; one can only live today, and this day well lived can be a day of real happiness.

Today is a bit different from yesterday, our ideas are fresher and newer than they were a day ago. With each new day we receive the supreme gift of life, the most precious gift that the Creator can bestow. Each day brings a challenge to make it a better day than yesterday.

The opportunity is ever present. But we must be prepared or it will be lost. It is now, not some day in the future when we have a new job, more money, more leisure, or have achieved the goal of our ambitions. It is now.

There can be no happiness without faith. Happiness is like unto the Kingdom of Heaven, it is to be found within us, not in some far distant land. We must develop that depth of feeling to help us understand that deep within us is the one who counts, the one is you and me, whose happiness comes with the knowledge of our unity with Him. This inward joy is not at the mercy of outward circumstances, because it is based on faith, a faith that gives meaning to life, and brings peace and contentment, even in times of suffering and sorrow.

But the goal cannot be reached without effort. There must be a desire and a will to succeed. A man can travel only as far as his desire leads him. It must be strong enough to brush aside every obstacle. If there is a will, a way can always be found. With faith all things are possible.

Happiness is only half won unless we share it with others. Complete happiness comes as a reward for services to others, for the performance of our duty to our fellowmen, for our efforts to make the world a better place for each and all of us to live in. We must be ever ready to help the needy.

From all these we build a philosophy of life, that by faith and vision we can make our leisure time a time of happiness and usefulness, even if it is only an hour away from our work, a holiday, or a time which we have looked forward to when our work is done. There is a joy in simply being alive, to be able to find happiness in the little things of life as we go along life's journey, giving us the opportunity to share our happiness with others. This happiness we can have today, happiness that is ours, ours to enjoy, and ours to share,

THE MISSION OF MASONRY

Masonry has long recognised that men need guidance in their search for light. Through the years our Fraternity has presented the ideal of perfect manhood, the ideal man, true to God, to his country, to his neighbour and to himself. It has been a great spiritual guide to the higher and nobler concepts of life. Masonry has opened the door to happiness for many men. It can mean much to you.

Masonry is a philosophy of life, teaching equality of men, a belief in the one true and living God, in the resurrection and in life everlasting. It is not a religion as it has no creed or dogma, yet its precepts and principles are based on the great truths found in the Volume of the Sacred Law we place on our Altar. Masonry is next to the church in the building of men's character, to make better men, the best that each man can become, the better to serve his fellowmen.

It presents a fellowship not equalled in any other organization. In Masonry a man is not regarded for his wealth or rank, but only for the fine qualities of his character, and for his desire to be of service to mankind. It is a fellowship, however, that we are inclined to overlook in these days when each hour is crowded with the demands of work and pleasure. It is time that we gave more thought to this wonderful fellowship, so generously given and so easily lost. With our meetings so often crowded with ritualistic work we are prone to neglect the very purpose for which we are taking men into our Fraternity. Time must be set aside for the enjoyment of that fellowship. The ritualistic ceremony is simply a means of bringing the Brother into our fellowship. Let us not forget this important fact.

To be worthy of this fellowship we ourselves must be friendly. We must have a sincere regard for our Brethren, showing a sympathetic understanding of their way of life, holding a tolerant judgment of their actions and expressing our outspoken praise for their service, while they are still in our midst. Let us give our earnest attention to this important Tenet of our Fraternity. Brotherly Love is more than just an empty phrase, to be heard and soon forgotten. It has a most significant meaning for each of us who are united by this fellowship in the bonds of a declared faith in God.

More and more Grand Lodges are coming to the realization that their members must be taught something of the history, traditions and purposes of our great Order, the meaning of its symbols, an explanation of its tenets and precepts; all are necessary for a proper understanding of the place of Masonry in our lives and in the world about us. With this knowledge and understanding Masonry can do much to advance this fellowship amongst men of all nations and bring happiness into their lives.

With shorter working hours today, men have more leisure time to devote to the interests of Masonry, to take a greater part in that glorious fellowship that is theirs for the asking, and to attain that happiness which is the object of our search.

Masonry has another mission that could mean much to our nation and to the world in which we live. It could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world today, to make life worth while, and to bring happiness to the people of this earth. There are nearly 4,000,000 Masons in the United States alone. Just think what a great influence Masonry could have if all of us carried out into the world the great precepts taught us at the Altar, and made them part of our lives. What a change it could bring to our homes, our communities, and to our nation. I do not mean that Masonry, as an organization, should take a stand for some particular programme, but for each member to so live and act that his light would shine before men as a living example of true manhood. Then justice and equality would prevail.

There can be no progress without faith, there must be a spiritual enlightenment in men. We must carry the torch to spread this faith, to banish fear and to reverse the trend to materialism that now menaces the peace of the world.

Perhaps the story of the Transfiguration in the Volume of Sacred Law may suggest a way. As we read the account of this unusual and momentous event, we find Peter, James and John ascending a high mountain with Jesus. Reaching the top, they knelt to pray, and then, before their eyes, they saw Jesus transfigured, his raiment white and shining, and his face as radiant as the sun, and they beheld him talking with Moses and Elijah. Peter was so overwhelmed that he wanted to build three tabernacles on the mountain top to commemorate the occasion, and to relive the rapture and ecstasy of that inspiring moment. But Jesus said no, and brought them down from the mountain to mix with the world. There was work to be done, there was a message to be brought to the world. As Masons we have found the Light at our Altar. Let us not make our asylum a retreat from the world with our Altar as a tabernacle where we may worship by ourselves. We, too, must carry forth the Light to bring happiness and peace to the world. This is the challenge to every Mason in the world today. Let us not fail.

"MASONIC LIGHT" by Bro. Rev. Rolf Gledhill, M.A., B.D., Hope Valley Lodge No. 3397

"All the world's a stage", said Shakespeare. Most of us play our part as best we can. We put on a brave show. We may have our personal problems, our own private fears and worries, but we hide all these behind a mask, and show the world a pleasant face. This may be necessary, but when we come into Masonry, we face up to the real situation. We have finished with pretence and make-believe. Here we learn the truth - the real truth about ourselves. It is depicted so vividly in the initiation ceremony: "a poor candidate in a state of darkness." With stumbling steps we blunder on. What does it all mean, where are we going?

Most people prefer not to ask those questions. Better forget, better try and fill in the time pleasurably, and see what tomorrow will bring. Masonry compels us to think, to face up to this challenge. It makes us realise that we are in darkness, that we are uncertain of the way. And so when the master asks us what is the predominate wish of our heart, we cry out that we wish to be restored to light. We want to see, to know, to understand.

When we are allowed to see, we are also informed that it is more than seeing with our eyes, there are certain emblematical lights, there are inner meanings beyond what the eye can see.

An artist has been defined as one who sees both the visible and the invisible. This is why he excels over the camera. The camera can only copy. The true artist, as he copies a likeness, also includes a meaning and an interpretation. If, for instance, he is painting a face, he will give you not only the features, but also the character of the person he paints.

"This world", said Tauler, "is like some fruit, such as a plum or an apple; and it has its rind-men, its pulpmen, and its core or kernel-men. All live with the same faculties, only the first live merely on the surface of things, while the last perceive how the outer form is determined by the central life within".

In Masonry we are concerned with the central life within. "Light" is given us to see and understand. It is an inner light revealing life's true meaning.

What does this new light reveal? you may ask. First and foremost Masonry begins by showing you your true self: not the self the world see, not the outward form, not the mask we wear. To compel us to realise this, at our initiation our clothes (part of the mask) are taken from us. Money and metal is also removed so that we may know that we are not concerned with what money can buy. We are not thinking of outward things, but only with the real self.

Only too often we know how in everyday life the outward and unessential things become all important. Instead of a person having possessions they sometimes possess him. Sometimes we are told that we possess a soul which we may cultivate. Masonry gives us the true picture. We are essentially spiritual beings who possess for a time a body. This truth is taught in the putting on of our aprons - they symbolise the human body. We put on our aprons, and we put them away. The apron does not give us the complete picture of a human body, nor does the body tell us all there is to know about a person. We are immortals who put on and put off a body. There is far more about us than this apron-body. Though this body is important (as reminded when first invested) and told never to disgrace this body, if we treat it with respect, it will never disgrace us.

Before we were given this picture of our true self we were asked to take vows of fidelity. The penalty mentioned for those disloyal to their vow may sound barbaric. Has this, you may ask, anything to do with one's due self?

(1)Burial. Masonry has inherited the wisdom and the picture language of the ages. In pre christian days the correct burial of the dead was a most sacred duty. One of the ancient Greek legends (Antigone) tells how a princess willingly sacrificed her life in order to give her brother a proper burial. Only so could his soul find rest. Bodies of slaves and criminals were thrown indiscriminately in a hole or well. In making his obligation, the initiate declares that he is aware that violation of his vow means that his b ... will be b....... in the sands of the sea at a point where there is a constant ebb and flow of the tide ... never for one single day is there peace and quiet ... the ever moving sea denotes continual restlessness. The body will never be at rest. Behind the outward form is the inner meaning. To be disloyal to one's true self means we shall never know inner peace.

(2) Tearing out the tongue. This may offend modern ears. And so it may seem the more surprising if I tell you that in the V. of the S.L. (Psalm xii, 3) it is God who tears out the tongue by the roots. A study of the tongue as described in the V. of the S.L. is most revealing. The most numerous references say it is deceitful. Gathering together in one group the many references we have this picture: The tongue "loves devouring words, is boastful, perverse, causes mischief and strife, it can even kill, its sting is compared to a scourge, a razor, a sharp sword, it is full of potentialities for evil, it can poison the whole body. Only those who realise the real situation can make any progress.

There is within the Hebrew psalter the details of the 15 steps in a Jewish initiation. They are called the "Songs of Ascent" (Psalm 120 and following). With each step forward the candidate gets nearer and nearer God's presence. We are concerned only with the first step. The candidate would recite his newly-found knowledge as he progressed.

His first essential step on this journey was concerned with the control of the tongue (Psalm cxx, 2). We have the same test at our initiation. We vow ourselves to secrecy. We will be masters of our tongue. This is a first and essential step on our journey of understanding. God will root out, will destroy, that which hinders spiritual progress.

May I end with this picture given us in the ceremony of initiation?

Instead of blindly blundering on in darkness, not knowing whither we are going, we ask for, and receive, enlightenment. We learn that we are, in essence, immortals who wear for a time a body. How to wear it aright is all important. We learn that we must control the tongue: this is the first step in our journey of spiritual understanding. We promise we will steadily persevere, and that in strength we will lay a foundation stone for a new building worthy of the builder, and acceptable to the G.A.O.T.U.

SO MOTE IT BE

"SOME THOUGHTS ON THE TRACING BOARD OF THE SECOND DEGREE" by W.Bro. C.M. de Beer, Travellers Lodge, No. 5820, E.C., Johannesburg, South Africa

"When 'Buddhi' absorbs our Egotism (destroys it) with all its 'Vikaras', Avalokitesvara becomes manifested to us, and Nirvana, or 'Mukti' is reached, Mukti being the same as Nirvana, i.e. freedom from the trammels of 'Maya' or illusion." (H.P. Blavatsky - "Secret Doctrine".)

The explanation of the tracing board of the second degree starts with the words:

"When the Temple at Jerusalem was completed..."

It can be assumed therefrom that the whole charge refers to the near-perfected man, the man ready to be raised so as to be one with God.

"Its costliness and splendour became objects of admiration to the surrounding nations........"

The word costliness is here probably to be interpreted as "worthiness", and the surrounding nations would allude to the non-initiates, the cowans.

"The two great Pillars which were placed at the porchway or entrance. . ."

which were the more remarkable and more particularly struck the attention, can then be presumed to refer to the visible (or noticeable) attributes of the initiate, i.e. his qualities of heart and intellect - mind and heart blended to perfection to produce the balanced individual, "perfect in all its parts". These qualities would be visible not only in the bearing, composure and even features of the initiate, but more especially in his dealings with his fellow men and in his service to the community. (Egyptian Pharaos, Greek Philosophers, etc.)

"The pillars were made of molten brass..." (Job xxviii, 2 and xxx, 22-23.)

Physical and mental cravings, the whole earthly made pliable and malleable by the fire of initiation and the discipline of mind and body.

". . . cast in the plain of Jordan, in the clay ground between Succoth and Zeredatha. . ."

probably refers to the limitations of the physical (clay grounds) and psychical world wherein we live and have to learn. More literally it may refer to the Essenes, who are thought to have lived along the banks of the river Jordan.

". . . the superintendent of &e casting was H.A."

it is with the applied will of the mind that we must discipline our instincts, just as finally the mind, the I, has to efface itself and "die" to allow the involution of the higher self, the overself, Godhead.

". . . the height of those pillars was 17 1/2 cubits each. . ."

the conjoined height thus being twice that figure, i.e. 35 cubits, which adds up to the trinity of the two united columns, the ten shephiroths and the 22 arcanes of the tree of life.

". . . 12 in. in circumference. . .

the 12 signs of the Zodiac, the 12 tubes of Israel.

". . . four in diameter. . ."

the four letters of Jehova, the four elements in Astrology, the four beasts of the Apocalypse.

"Being formed hollow, the outer rim or shell was four inches or a hands breadth in thickness. . ."

the four alchemical elements with their common quintessence at the basis of their composition, the four fingers of the hand with the thumb able to cover the base - and to touch every part and the top - of each finger. Formed hollow: take the rim or shell away, and there is nothing left, nothing ... but the constitutional rolls, in other words : the law, the verb, the beginning and the end.

"Network, lily-work and pomegranates . . ."

the unity produced by the blending of the purity of the heart with the fertility of the mind.

Only once the canopy was thrown over the two pillars with their globes depicting respectively the celestial and terrestrial globes was the building complete. In other words, the conjoining of the celestial and terrestrial pillars refers to the initiate's knowledge and understanding of the material as well as of the spiritual worlds (the latter pervading the former and the former merely being a reflection of the latter). It is only in the globes that the pillars differ: in the microcosm as in the macrocosm, all is one. By the knowledge and understanding of both these realms would the initiate come to this realisation of UNITY.

"The Egyptian Bondage" would be the shackles of the material world from which the candidate must free himself before he can receive the initiation at the hands of those who went before him to the top of the winding staircase.

"The pillar of fire and cloud..." that which will be enlightenment to the worthy adept will seem but confusion to the unworthy and unprepared groper after magic, the cowan, the ephraimite.

"At the building of King Solomon's temple an immense number of masons were employed, divided into E.A. and F.C."

Not M.M. as these have completed the building already and are, henceforward, identified with the rulers of the world. Thus, whilst all men can claim their divine heritage, few are those who reach the porchway of the temple and ascend the winding staircase to the middle chamber. Yet it is only "with the centre" that we can be raised and become M.M.

The Ephraimites now cross the river Jordan and give battle "to partake of the rich spoils with which Jephta and his army were then laden".

The immense powers that the candidate will have under his control after completing his initiation, i.e. after completing the building of the temple, are envied and desired by the, dark forces of destruction who give battle all the way. The path of initiation is thus fraught with danger. The Ephraimites will try to impede progress and, indeed, where possible, will do so by fire and complete annihilation (so that no trace or remembrance of so vile a wretch may longer be found among men, especially M.M.). The higher the candidate proceeds, the more severe the penalty should he fail.

Having to leave "plenty" behind in anticipation of having to completely divest himself from "worldly possessions", how better could the candidate weigh his thoughts and his actions than by checking whether earthly cravings still motivate those thoughts and actions? The most tenuous attachment to "Maya" will disqualify him, he cannot proceed, the Junior or Senior Warden will stop him on the path.

By the stirring of God, manifested in the dual powers of will (movement) and love (the "word")

--trinity, three steps, three rule the L.

we shall in time obtain, by the perfect blending of heart and intellect

--five steps, five hold a L.

working on the physical and physical levels of bodily materialisation, a re-union with the fountain-head, having obtained the right of entry into the middle chamber by virtue of ultimate perfection, being without scruple (guiltless) and without diffidence (fearless) as a little child.

--but perfection only in seven, by descend into and ascend out of the bodily temple.

Then shall we meet God face to face and, adoring Him, become One with Him "till time shall be no more."

EXCEPT YE BE CONVERTED AND BECOME LIKE LITTLE CHILDREN YE SHALL NOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

In the macrocosm as in the microcosm.

The night is dark, an invisible shadow enfolds the world, as the moon (soul) lies between the earth (body) and the sun (universal spirit, ruling the ever present day).

By moving away from that position the Moon gradually enables the rays of the Sun to reflect towards the Earth till, finally, the full moon sails through the skies in silvery splendour, bathing the earth in soft and glorious light.

So will the soul of man, gradually preparing itself to absorb the devine influence of the G.A.O.T.U., and keeping the clouds of improper thoughts from its sky, finally be fully enlightened by the universal spirit to share the splendour and to shine as the stars, for ever and ever.

The moon governs the night by permission of the ruler of the eternal day, reflecting that day into the night:

THE LIGHT OF A MASTER MASON IS DARKNESS VISIBLE.