Learning Masonry

For insertion into desktop publishing Lodge Newsletters, etc. 
Excerpts from the book:
Labour and Refreshment, Edited by J. S. M. Ward, M.A., The Baskerville 
Press, Limited, 161, New Bond Street, London, W.I, 1926. 
- from the Masonic Grand Lodge Library of Texas, 715 Columbus Ave., Waco, Tx. 

Learning Masonry

"Young men facing death every day naturally were prone to take a
more serious interest in life than would have been the case had
they been merely following their ordinary business avocations, and
it is well known that there was an enormous influx of men into
Freemasonry during, and immediately after, the War.  These new
recruits, who are now beginning Masonically to feel their feet,
take their Masonry seriously, and want to know what it is all
about. Thus those who will take the trouble to prepare a paper or
speech dealing with the things which really matter in Masonry are
assured of an intelligent and interested audience.


Bright and green, and there is no more brilliant green than that of
the acacia, according to the legend its roots were planted in
corruption, and to us it thus symbolises the resurrection of the
soul from the mortal husk which once contained the man.  Therefore
it is to us a symbol of the Resurrection, and for this reason is
thrown into the grave of a departed brother when he is buried with
Masonic ceremonies.



Now, how comes it that symbols and tokens from mysteries that were
old when Babylon was young, play a part in the ceremonies of an
Order that comes to us as the survival of a Mediaeval Craft Guild,
and were kept in it by those who reformed that Order, that no man
then knew whence they came? May we suggest a possible reply.  We
have seen that much of the old Mysteries  still survives in the
hearts of peasant folk, even in this twentieth century,  in the
land that was one of their classic homes, though not their only
home. It is impossible that this survival was a good deal stronger
in the year 640 A.D., at which date we know that the great building
guild from which Mediae- val building guilds originate, was already
an organized and recognized society?  If so, may not this
"honourable mystery of the Craft of Builders" have taken up and
used, for its purposes, the signs and tokens of the older Mysteries
that were still a living power in the world of their day?

"The Ancient Mysteries in Modern Greece,"  Rev. W. A. Wigram, D.D., P. 28


I am about to compare the root idea of Freemasonry with that of
Democracy, for I presume we all adhere to the belief that the
foundation of Freemasonry is Brotherhood.  Theoretically, that is
the basic idea in Democracy.  But both Masonry and Democracy show
extremes in their interpretation of that term "Brotherhood."  One
party reluctantly admits that since all men were born in the image
of God, we are therefore brothers.  The opposite extremists declare
that all men are born "free and equal," or if not, so it should be.
These latter lean towards the socialistic view.

"What is "Brotherhood" in Freemasonry?,"  Bro. V.S. Stevens, of the Toronto 
Society of Masonic Research, P. 34

Inequality of Intellectual grasp.

Taking a leap through space and time, let us consider Europe of the
Middle Ages......Through a peculiar combination of the secrets of
the Crusading Knights with their own technical secrets, the
Builders' Guild achieved a certain preeminence.  Envies on the part
of other Guilds were soon mani- fested, but these were very minor
in comparison  with the jealousies of the greater competing
monopolists, church and state.  Some led to bitter perse- cutions,
but in other cases, even monarchs themselves became promoters of
the art and have not thought it derogatory from their dignity to
exchange the sceptre for the gavel.  Thus we see Freemasonry again
aligning itself with institutions whose very existence depend upon
an inequality of intellectual grasp.

Bro. V.S. Stevens, of the Toronto Society of Masonic Research, P. 38


One readily admits, as Mackay says, that "it is one of the most
beautiful features of the Masonic institution that it teaches not
only the necessity but the nobility of labour.  We learn to
apportion the hours of our day to their proper objects, we learn
that skill without exertion is of little avail, we learn that
perseverance is necessary to establish perfection."  But we also
know that such philosophy is often abused by suave employers who
have the reins in their hands, who drive to sweating and apply such
a salve.  But Mackay goes on to say that Masonry does\Inot\iteach
the equality of useful- ness of different forms of labour, but
merely the inherent value of useful activity.  The individual
places himself or is placed by circumstances on his economic,
intellectual or spiritual level, but, on any level, he can learn
the lesson of the trestle board, "the acknowledged symbol of divine
law, in accordance with whose decree labour was originally
instituted as the common lot of all; and therefore the important
lesson....is that to labour well and truly, to labour honestly and
persistently, is the object and chief end of all humanity....."

Bro. V.S. Stevens, of the Toronto Society of Masonic Research, P. 40.