A Journal for the Masonic Student
Published Monthly by the National Masonic Research Society
Vol. 13 No. 12 – December 1927
MASONIC CHARITY IN AMERICA
Bro. E. E. Thiemeyer, Research Editor
IT is almost immediately apparent that there are difficulties in the way of any attempt to compare English Masonic charitable activities with American. If we should endeavor to analyse the latter in the manner adopted by Bro. Gilbert W. Daynes in his article on Masonic Charity in England, we would be confronted with the task of writing not an article but a book, and a sizable volume as well. In treating the English side of the question there is only one Grand Lodge to be considered, but in this country there are forty-nine jurisdictions which would require consideration. There are wide variations in the amounts expended for charity by the various American Grand Lodges which make any attempt at generalization almost impossible. It is necessary, therefore, that certain things be taken for granted, and that other matters receive no mention whatever. The purpose of this article is not so much to show what we are doing as to throw some light upon what we are not doing.
So far as existing American Masonic charities are concerned they may be grouped under three or four heads. By far the most important is the Masonic Home — we are not interested in the others. Almost every jurisdiction in this country maintains some sort of an institution for the care of the aged and the orphans. These homes are designed to fill the same need as the English institutions, but whether or not they do so is a matter of considerable doubt. There is not much that can be done for those who are approaching the end of their span of life. Their requirements are, in most cases, limited. The providing of a comfortable and congenial home, with opportunities for recreation and amusement, is about all that can be offered. It seems that the American Mason is as capable of providing this need as is his English brother. Capability is not really the criterion, we are as capable of doing anything in the way of charity as efficiently and effectively as the Masons of England, but the question is, Do we measure up to our capabilities? There is some question on that score even in the case of our homes for the aged. It is not necessary to enter into that phase of the matter at this time. For the present it may be granted that our Masonic Homes, so far as this function is concerned, are equal to those of the Grand Lodge of England.
When it comes to the orphans an entirely different problem confronts us. There is an obligation to those of our brotherhood to see that their children are fitted to become useful members of society. The ramifications of that problem are too numerous for detailed analysis. The American Masonic Homes depend largely upon the public school systems for the education of their charges. This is somewhat different from the practice prevailing in the Royal Masonic Institution for Boys, and the similar school for girls. These homes are really boarding schools. The children are given a good education, even to training in a trade or profession if the student shows ability along some particular line. So far as the writer has been able to learn, there is nothing of the kind in American Masonry. It is certainly true that an education is provided, but it is only an education of sorts. Usually it ends with high school, and in some cases a course in a business college finishes the schooling. This is not really first class equipment for the struggle for existence which is to follow. The reason for this practice is not far to seek. There are too many organizations, you may say, or the funds are lacking. Perhaps both of these are true, but one is reminded of the story of why a man could not buy an automobile. He had thirty reasons according to his own confession. The first one was that he did not have the money, and the other twenty-nine made no difference.
According to the latest proceedings published by two American Grand Lodges, one of them considered among the three wealthiest jurisdictions, and the other just about average on this score, the total income for Masonic charities, meaning by this, homes and charity funds, was approximately $650,000. The total membership of these two jurisdictions is approximately 320,000. In other words, these two jurisdictions comprise slightly over 10 per cent of the total membership of the Craft in America, and since they are above the average in wealth, they may be fairly taken as a criterion for the rest of the Masonic Fraternity in America. In order to make the estimate as favorable as possible we will take the expenditure of $650,000 as 10 per cent of the total spent by all jurisdictions, and adopt the usual estimate of the number of Masons in this country, namely 3,000,000. We then have the interesting fact that 3,000,000 Masons spent a total of six and one-half million dollars for organized Masonic charity, an average expenditure of $2.17 per member.
Let us make a comparison with the English figures. According to Bro. Daynes, the three Royal Masonic Institutions, for Boys, for Girls, and the Benevolent Institution, had an income last year of $1,120,000 in round numbers. The United Grand Lodge of England has an approximate total of 250,000 members. We thus arrive at an average expenditure among the English Masons of almost $4.50 per member. Remember this fact, it is important, THE ENGLISH MASON SPENT MORE THAN TWO AND ONE-HALF TIMES AS MUCH FOR THE MAINTENANCE OF THEIR HOMES AS THE AMERICAN BROTHER SPENT IN ALL ORGANIZED GRAND LODGE CHARITY. Are you proud of that?
When we take all English Masonic charity into consideration the figures are even more impressive. The total revenue of the English charities during the last year was approximately $1,450,000, an average of almost $6.00 per member. At the present time we are, not interested in the other funds, but there is food for thought in the mere fact that there are such things as the English Benevolent Fund in existence.
The picture of American Masonic Homes in comparison with those of England would, perhaps, be more interesting if it were interpreted in another way. A country with twelve times as many Masons as the Grand Lodge of England is spending, in caring for its aged and orphans, approximately four times as much money. There is one other interesting feature that has thus far been left out of consideration entirely. The English Masonic Homes are not supported by per capita taxes automatically deducted from the annual dues of the members. The funds are acquired chiefly by subscription, and apart from any dues paid by the members to their lodges.
The question of what individual lodges do for their distressed brethren or their dependents has been left out of consideration in both English and American instances. The discussion has confined itself wholly to organized Grand Lodge charity.
In view of these facts it seems apparent that it is time for an awakening in the American bodies. A question may be asked in conclusion: Is American Masonry spending for the erection of massive temples and costly edifices money that should be spent for charity? In doing this are we not listening to our ritual exhortations to practice charity and misinterpreting them so that in fact we preach charity and practice vanity?
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"UNDERSTANDEST THOU WHAT THOU READEST?"
Bro. C. Gordon Lawrence, Canada
THERE are two great text books in Freemasonry. They were commended to your attention early in your Masonic career. Without some knowledge of them you can never become proficient in our art, nor can you share largely in our mysteries. They are the Books of Nature and of Revelation.
From the Book of Nature we may learn much about the character of our Supreme Architect. Evidences of a wise and mighty plan present themselves to the enquiring mind. We learn that the Great Spirit who was the Builder was the Designer as well. The beauty of the design bears witness to the spirit of an artist.
From the immensity of space we learn of His infinite greatness. From the immeasurable power of natural forces; the sun's power to hold all the innumerable worlds in place; the irresistible power of the tides; the terrible power of the earthquake. From such as these ye learn how omnipotent is their Author. From the certain succession of day and night, summer and winter; from the regular return of the planets in their courses, we learn how orderly is the mind of the Great Designer. From the glory of the sunset, and the wonder of the snowflake, and the sigh of the night wind, we know that in Him wisdom and strength are combined with beauty. "The sun's look and the sea's voice and the earth's wonderful breath" all bear the impress of the Divine Artist.
THE MYSTERIES OF NATURE
The Book of Nature is beyond our limited comprehension. Mankind has proceeded but a little way in an attempt to read it. After all the centuries we are still like little children just beginning to learn the art of reading. But our efforts receive constant encouragement. Before the dawn of history men in Chaldea and Egypt had begun to study the stars. At last the telescope was invented and turned toward the sky. "I have seen farther into space than any other man," said Herschel. "I have seen stars so far away that the light from them can only reach the earth after a journey of many years."
An undreamed-of section of Nature's Book was opened for us by the invention of the microscope. Louis Pasteur and others, who were still at work when we were born, uncovered for us the infinitely small. In the days of the Hebrew psalmists it was considered a grand experience, rare no doubt to the Jew of that day, to "go down to the sea in ships and see the works of the Lord and His wonders in the deep." But we live to see even greater wonders in a single drop of water.
Chemistry, in the modern sense, is an entirely new science. The discovery of radium by Curie is only the better known of many equally wonderful that have been made in our lifetime. Elements and forces entirely new to us must now be taken account of in our reading of Nature's witness to her Creator, and a restatement of natural philosophy becomes necessary.
We shall never exhaust the treasures of the Book of Nature. Our little day ends before we have fairly begun the task. The multiplicity of interests that have arisen from the division of labor distracts our attention.
THE VOLUME OF THE SACRED LAW
There is also to be studied the Book of Revelation. "As a Mason, you are to regard the volume of the Sacred Law as the great Light in your profession." The Book of Nature shows us God portrayed in the inanimate part of the universe. In the Book of Revelation we see Him reflected in the mind of man. But the image is not constant. It changes according to the ability of mankind to reflect it. In the words of Robert Browning, it "decomposes but to recompose again."
In the early ages of history the almighty nature of the Deity was uppermost in man's mind. He is realized then as a terrible person who must be satisfied and propitiated with costly sacrifice. In that stage of revelation the human attitude to the Creator is that of fear.
There came in the course of time the realization that the infinite might of the Creator is controlled according to a purpose. He is not subject to whims nor sudden fancies. He does not act from caprice nor from spite. His purpose is right and His character is that of righteousness. With this development in man's idea of God there came the problem how to explain what appears to be the unfair treatment afforded to many whose lives are apparently exemplary. The inscrutable mystery of pain still remains to taunt us. But notwithstanding difficulties insuperable men came to believe that God is altogether upright and holy.
At last the ideas of might and holiness are supplemented by a discovery of His tenderness and mercy. To speak of the dawning consciousness as a discovery is only to look at the development from man's side. If you prefer to say that God revealed these truths about Himself, you imply that the human mind had become sufficiently qualified to receive them. The Divine Master does not pass His apprentices to a higher degree until they have made themselves fit to receive it. The mystery of the Divine tenderness could not have been communicated to those who had not yet been initiated into the knowledge of His righteousness. "To him that hath shall be given," for he alone has the ability to receive.
By God's tenderness is meant His sympathy with and provision for the weak and the unfortunate; His pity for the wayward and the oppressed. The Book of Revelation proceeds to record that in the reign of Caesar Augustus came One who penetrated more deeply into the mysteries than any before and who assures us that "God is Love."
The human mind had all through the ages been qualifying itself to perceive new features of the Divine countenance. The human character had been coming gradually to such a state that it could more adequately receive an impression of the Divine. Mankind is ever trying to place itself in proper position to receive an ever grander expression of the Most High. To attain to that proper position is man's part of the great process. Always in the mind of the Master there is the desire to enlighten the suppliant. Always in the suppliant there has been something to hinder complete vision. Who knows how often by a Hand unseen the human race has been guided along the path of progress? Achievement is no less human because it has been inspired from on high.
AND THESE TWO AGREE
So we have, my brothers, these two great Books of Nature and of Revelation. They each proclaim, but in a tremendously grander style, just what we have tried to express in hymns and psalms and music and ceremonial, viz., the greatness and the holiness and the loving-kindness of that Great Spirit in Whom we "live and move and have our being." Freemasonry requires of us a due attention to them both. Neither alone is sufficient for proficiency in our art. It may be (let us say it reverently) that neither is yet complete. God, we may be sure, has not yet exhausted His resources. The Great Designer has plans (is it not likely?) that are not yet outlined on His Trestle Board. Why should we suppose that He has ceased to plan, and to create, and to adorn? Why should we suppose that we have received already all that He has to reveal? Because the first degree is wonderful may not the next be more wonderful still? This little taste of life has afforded its achievements, its triumphs, its satisfactions. Here in the midst of numerous hindrances, with a desire for the better only faintly experienced, we have never the less enjoyed at least a glimpse of the Light Supernal. But awaiting our fitness to appreciate them are all the possibilities that can originate in the loving mind of an Infinite Parent.
HOW SHALL WE UNDERSTAND?
On a certain occasion an officer of a royal household was returning from a pilgrimage to the Temple, and "sitting in his chariot he read Esaias the Prophet." There approached him one who courteously enquired, "Understandest thou what thou readest?" His reply was that which comes to your lips as you attempt these great text books in Freemasonry, "How can I except someone should guide me?" The bewilderment which overwhelms us as our eyes are opened to the Light, our inability to comprehend the Heavenly Wisdom, our fear of misinterpreting what concerns us so greatly, these compel one to ask that "someone should guide me."
The Guide, my brothers, is never lacking. Along a path unknown, led by a Hand unseen, mankind proceeds on its way toward perfection. For the Architect is Himself the Builder, the Author is Himself the Interpreter, God is Himself our Guide.
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MANKIND has a curious habit of using tabu names for things of religious import, and this is as true of the uncultured savage as of civilized men; or perhaps the stress should be the other way about, it is as characteristic of ourselves as it is of primitive man. A few samples will suffice to show that this is true. A priest seems much more exalted than an elder, which is all the term properly means, and more so is a bishop than the simple overseer who was chiefly charged with the finances, such as they were, of the early Church. We speak of the font, which is but a spring or fountain, and of the chalice when we mean a cup. But perhaps these terms are too ecclesiastical to count. Then what of the Scriptures, which are merely writings, or the Bible, which is simply the books?
A tendency so universal must surely have an equally comprehensive source in human nature. Those things that are sacred or holy, that mean most to us in our inner lives, are not easily or lightly spoken of; and as language changes (as every living language is constantly doing) conservatism clings to old names for holy things, till at last they have become obsolete and we have forgotten practically what they really mean. This instinctive tendency is in itself a wholesome one, but it may easily lead to barren formalism, to a complete divorce of religion from common things, and the separation of those higher conceptions and ideals that alone make our daily life and its drudgery and petty interests ultimately worth while.
It is in this way that at the end of the year we celebrate the festival of the Nativity, scarcely realizing that we are using a word borrowed from another language that means simply "the birth;" and birth is very much a matter of common life — a matter of stable and byre, and hovel and slum, as well as of the palace and the palatial modern hospital equipped with all the resources science has placed at our disposal. Birth is a thing that concerns us all, as much as meat and drink, and raiment, and houses and lands and cold cash, and sleep and death. Whether we speak figurative]y of the birth of events or ideas, or literally of living beings, of souls clothed in flesh and blood, birth implies ever the relation of parent and offspring, mother and babe.
Beginnings and endings — that is for the individual. Endings and beginnings — so for life as a whole, which goes on from generation to generation. Are the two separate, or are they but different points of view? Does the individual begin absolutely at birth and end finally as such in death? We do not know, at least not as we know that two and one make three, or that day comes with the rising of the sun. Whether there be an ultimate essential difference between knowledge and belief is a question of philosophy, but practically there is a plain distinction. We believe perhaps — or perhaps not — but we do not know. Now, it seems, we may not know — but we can believe.
Thus, it would seem, it has ever been. Prehistoric man buried his dead with food and fire, weapons and ornaments. Why? There is no record to tell us what he thought or believed, but what he did tells us silently that, perhaps, in some dim fashion he looked for a new beginning after the end — a beginning anew. Mors janua vitae, "death the gate of life," death is birth into new life. And this was not only guessed at for man himself, but it was seen to be true also of nature; and, confirmed by correspondences and analogies, the guess grew into belief. To say the belief was first a guess is to say nothing of its truth and validity. All discovery is born of guesswork, surmise is confirmed by evidence, conjecture leads to experiment, and so to knowledge, even of the most rigidly scientific type. Man guessed, and then believed; perhaps in this case without sufficient proof, that is a point each must determine for himself, but at least it seems as if it were in some sort of necessity.
In the midst of winter, when the warm pleasant days were gone like a dream, and the sun retrograded further and further to the south, and the nights grew longer and longer, it might well seem that the end had come, the end of all things, the winter to be followed by no springtime, the night never to be dispersed by another dawn. How should man know? Even though summer they are dead, and of the dead it is not necessary to had followed winter before within his memory and that speak evil. They were part of the world against which of his fathers, was that proof that it would continue so both Jew and Christian bore testimony and they had to do? It is not logical proof and he did not know. be fought with any weapon at hand. But looked at in What wonder if he resorted to magic to renew the life the perspective of history, they were but stages — stages that was necessary to his life, to bring it again to a new birth? And when the days did again begin to lengthen, visibly and palpably, and the sun to rise higher every day, it was little wonder that here was set the beginning of the new year.
But countries and climates differ. In eastern lands and in the south, the seasons are not the same as we know. It is the coming of the rain that is so ardently desired, that causes the earth to blossom and become fruitful. In the north it is the return of the sun. Christmas, the birthday of the Lord, is a western feast, that spread eastward. The heathen Angles and Saxons of Britain, so the Venerable Bede tells us, kept the feast and called it modra niht, the night of the mothers.
The Mothers! How strange — and yet is it? We are reminded how all over the ancient world, behind the pantheon of the gods of Olympus, ranged in their ordered hierarchy, existed the worship of the nameless Mothers. We hear of them in scattered references and stray inscriptions, but no contemporary record has revealed the mystery of the rites performed in their honor. In villages and obscure cities they were worshipped, and here and there they emerged into the light of day, and stood veiled and mysterious with the other deities. Demeter at Eleusis, and Bona Dea, the good goddess, at Rome. But of their rites none ventured openly to speak. In Asia was the Mountain Mother, worshipped in caves and on rocky peaks — she was one and many, here Cybele, there Artemis of the Ephesians, many breasted and nurse of all life. Astarte, too, or Ashtoreth, as her name appears in the Old Testament, the abomination of the Gentiles. What are such as these to us? Once they had living and powerful cults. Carrying over the crude naivete of primitive thought into a high culture they became, in their orgiastic rites, rather incitements to evil than expressions of fundamental human needs. The Prophets and the Apostolic fathers denounced them bitterly and vehemently. But now they are dead, and of the dead it is not necessary to speak evil. They were part of the world against which both Jew and Christian bore testimony and they had to be fought with any weapon at hand. But looked at in the perspective of history, they were but stages — stages from which some were already passing. Let us remember that any cult may deteriorate and decay, even the highest, and that other forms of the worship of the mothers were refined and spiritualized apart from Christianity. The figures of Isis suckling the infant Horus, and Krishna in the arms of Devadetta. Not wholly spiritualized indeed, nor in the minds of all devotees. But it is not fair to judge possibility and trend by the conservatism of peasants, whether in India or Egypt or modern Europe, whether of heathen cult or Christian.
The early church was not interested in such things as anniversaries. The first day of the week commemorated the Resurrection; and the Passover in its Christian guise, became the feast of Easter. Even in the second century and later the remembrance of the Birth was not only deprecated but opposed. It was of no importance; the Epiphany — the showing forth, the revealing or exhibition — of Jesus as the Christ to Jew and to Gentile in the persons of the shepherds and the wise men from the East and to the multitude at Jordan where John baptized — this first became a day of observance. The objection against the remembrance. of the Nativity was that the birth-days of the Emperor, who was also a god, were celebrated as a religious festival. Perhaps, too, in the background lay an unexpressed fear of the parallel between those dark veiled Mothers of mountain crag and rocky cleft, of the wild maenads (who were matrons, not maids) and that gentle mother who brought forth her first born in the stable at Bethlehem, and laid Him in a manger "because there was no room for them in the inn."
Beginnings and endings; endings and beginnings. The old Mothers died; they faded into vague figures of folk-tale and folk-observance, hags, witches, vampires, and their place was taken by Mary, the mother of the Lord according to the flesh. Did they die? Or have they survived in a new and more spiritual avatar? Or did the Virgin inherit from them part and place, as the younger generation ever does from the elder? That they were figures of myth and mysterious ritual, while Mary was a young woman of Judah, of the lineage of King David, who lived in the time of the Emperor Augustus, makes no difference; many a real person has become a figure of tradition and myth. Perhaps in some degree a mythology grows up about every human being who is remembered. But in this case the parallels between the child born to be savior, and redeemer, and His mother, and those earlier mothers and their sons that men had projected and externalized from their needs and yearnings and their ideals and hopes, was too deep and too far- reaching to be denied, and little by little the symbols of the old came back, more or less changed and disguised, and attached themselves to the central figures of the new faith.
It is surprising when we come to examine closely how little we are definitely told in the Canonical Gospels on the subject when compared with the wealth of detail supplied by legend. St. Matthew tells us of the doubts of Joseph and how they were resolved by an angel who appeared to him in a dream. He also tells of the magi who had seen a star and had come from the east to worship the new- born king. St Luke relates how the annunciation was made to the Virgin Mary, and how it was that she and her husband came to Bethlehem — because of a census ordered by the Roman government. And how the night of the birth other angels told it to certain shepherds. Meagre material, it would seem, to serve as foundation for the superstructure erected upon it. The earliest representations of the Birth are from the Catacombs; they are not many. Here the mother is represented seated, with one, two or more figures, representing the magi, offering gifts. She is clothed as a Roman matron, while the men are in Phrygian dress. Phrygia was hardly "the East" from Palestine, but it was far east of Italy, and so it served. In the fresco, a reproduction of which is shown in Fig. 6, there are two bearing gifts. In another fourth century painting, from a tomb, there are four symmetrically disposed, two on each side of the seated mother. St. Luke says nothing of the number of wise men who followed the star, but he mentioned the three gifts which very early took on symbolical import, gold, frankincense and myrrh, and soon it was taken for granted that they were three who bore them. It was supposed also that in their own lands they were kings; and then the symbolism was carried further and they were supposed to be of different racial stocks to represent the better all nations and languages, and of different ages to represent all states and stages of human life. In a fifth century relief at Ravenna they have thus become three, but they are still all young and in Phrygian cap, cloak and trousers.
In another relief, now in the Lateran Museum (Fig. 2), which is probably fourth century, they are shown as three, but other details have appeared. The mother is seated, the swaddled babe, absurdly disproportionate in size, lies in the manger under a low shed roof before which stand an ox and an ass. Between the crib and the mother is a young man with a crooked staff who is probably one of the shepherds. Behind the three "easterners" is an elephantine camel as a further label to designate who they are and whence they came. Thus early did the two main types of representation of the mother and the child appear. Perhaps one of the earliest of the crib is a fresco from a tomb in the cemetery of San Sebastiano. It is very crude, and shows the babe alone with the heads of an ox and an ass seen over it. In a fragment of a sarcophagus of about the year 340, the babe lies on what seems to be a low mound (perhaps a pile of hay!), by it is a young man with a curved rod in his left hand who seems to beckon others who approach. Then come the ox and the ass, and then the first of what may have been several shepherds. The first only remains, and the hands of another behind him holding a branch of laurel. The mother does not appear in either of these, and in this they are almost, if not quite unique. And indeed, even here she may have been shown originally in the parts of the work now lost.
Since the Renaissance, representations of the circumstances of the Nativity have been of three points — the annunciation to the Virgin by the Angel Gabriel — the vision of Joseph is rarely if ever treated; the adoration of the shepherds in which the babe lies in a manger, or naked on the ground; and last the homage of the three kings, in which the mother seated holds the child in her arms. Often the stable has by this disappeared, or become a palace, and the Virgin is crowned and clothed in royal robes. But the quaint wood-cut by Durer, shows stable, ox and ass, and the exotic camels. Here the three kings are of different ages and races, the youngest being a negro. In Fig. 5 by the same artist is the Nativity. One elderly shepherd worships at a distance from the kneeling mother, while Joseph draws water from the well. The buildings are half ruinous and represent such a wayside hostelry as presumably might have been found near Nuremburg in his day. But Durer was not typical though he reproduced the type, even the dilapidated buildings and the pitcher of water were traditional details with a long history behind them, perhaps also the tree growing on the ruined wall. In the beautiful picture by Tintoretto at San Rosso in Venice, the mother seated on the hay in a loft above the stalls where an ox is lying, lifts the covering from her babe lying beside her to show it to the wondering shepherds and shepherdesses, while the light from the opened heavens streams through the broken roof, where the beams make three crosses, a dark foreboding of the future.
In the painting of da Fabriano, now in Florence (Fig. 3), another conception is seen. Joseph is asleep, the ox and the ass are lying down. The mother alone adores the babe. In the distance the angel is awaking the sleeping shepherds. The stable is here a cave, and this was another traditional detail.
The ox and the ass were appropriate enough. The mother laid her babe in a manger we are told. A manger implies a stable, a stable implies the animals. But there were other reasons, or other meanings. Two generations ago it would not have been necessary to explain that every passage in the Old Testament that would bear it was given a Messianic interpretation, was supposed to be prophetic. Perhaps it was so, even when there is obvious contemporary meaning enough. In Isaiah is that wonderful millennial passage in which occurs the verse
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid, and the calf, and the young lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.
But it is in the first chapter that it is said
The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib, but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.
So it seemed that even the ox and the ass came to adore the new-born king, while the ruinous building signified the end of the old dispensation, of the stiffnecked people who rejected their Lord. But perhaps there was also a dim memory of sacred animals connected with the Mother. Diana of the Ephesians suckled beasts as well as men. We can never be sure when a tradition is wholly dead.
From the Renaissance onwards, artists observed more or less, according as they broke the fetters of tradition, the unities of time and space in their representations of the birth. But by the eighth or ninth century a grouping had become stereotyped that persisted even to the fourteenth century and later. Of this the two reliefs shown in Figs. 1 and 7 are early and late examples. In them the mother reclines in the center, beyond her is the babe lying in the manger, behind that again stand the ox and the ass. Above are angels, one of which on the right speaks to the shepherds, whose sheep and goats, which again are made symbolic, occupy the lower right-hand part of the group. Below on the left sits Joseph, generally in an attitude of depression, and with an expression of doubt and despondency. Under the mother are two women who are engaged in washing the new-born babe. All these details constantly reappear. Often enough the star is shown, sometimes the three kings with their gifts, as in Fig. 7, where they are still in Phrygian garb. In Fig. 1 this space is unusually occupied by the annunciation. The dove is shown descending upon the veiled woman who listens to the angel. There is another strange feature about this relief of which no explanation has been given. The figure which by all analogy should be Joseph has horns distinctly showing on the head. By itself it might be taken that Joseph had been replaced by Moses, who was often thus represented owing to a mistranslated text in the Vulgate. The colossal Moses of Michael Angelo is horned. But here we have more than horns, from under the shrouding cloak appears a cloven foot. Was the doubt that Joseph had felt concerning the chastity of his affianced bride here made to symbolize the doubt and fear of the Adversary at the birth of the Redeemer who was to destroy his kingdom? It is hard to say.
If Giovanni of Pisano had any such thought as this it is another indication that with the growing feeling for historic unity this traditional aspect of Joseph was felt to be incongruous with the rejoicing at the birth. In the later groups of this type his expression is changed, and later his attitude also, though for a while he remains seated in his corner. But he is now made to look at the mother and child with wonder and reverence and love.
The two nurses or midwives have no warrant in scripture, though they constantly appear. Like the ox and the ass they seem appropriate enough, but it is to be doubted if so persistent a detail was derived merely from its congruity. It is probable that they are taken from the Apocryphal gospels, in some of which two midwives are made to give unwilling testimony to the virginity of the mother. But the washing of the infant, wrought by Giovanni with such loving care and truth to life, recalled another aspect of the Epiphany — the baptism at Jordan.
There were two other details that appeared very early, one of which is well known, and the other has hardly ever been noticed, though artist after artist put it in. The first is that the stable became a cave. There are strange compromises in composition in order to combine a rude or ruined building with a rocky cleft or grotto. But often the building disappears entirely. Again we are haunted by the parallel — the mountain mother, Bona Dea, worshipped in the form of a stone — the earth mother whose sacrifices were offered in a pit — heroes whose mothers bore them in caves — Mithra who was born of a rock, and whose rites were celebrated in caves.
But it is impossible to think that the cave of the Nativity derived directly and consciously from this. Undoubtedly it was introduced as a bit of realism, when pilgrimages to the Holy Land became frequent and many knew as a fact that the birthplace at Bethlehem was shown in a cave. Was there any genuine tradition of a real fact here? Had it been locally handed down from generation to generation? Again it is impossible to determine, all that can be said is that caves are common in Palestine and that they have been, and are, frequently used as stables and sheepfolds. Yet on the other hand it is precisely in Asia Minor that the Mountain Mother was supreme, and the mystic birth in a cave celebrated for unknown ages.
The other detail is less persistent as it is less prominent; indeed only by considering a series of such representations does its presence make itself felt; and that is the tree. In Fig. 1 it does not appear in the group, but is shown at the right in the form of a geneological or Jesse tree — showing the ancestry of the Lord. In many others it is, and probably the artist thought it no more, a natural adjunct of the scene. Yet there it is again and again — Durer puts it in. In very early representations its presence is more obvious because of the work being more crude. In Fig. 3 is the sapling against which the sleeping Joseph seems to lean. Fig. 7 seems at first sight to be exceptional for its period; in other ivory carvings of the same type it occurs again and again, but closer inspection shows on the winding ledge what is probably intended for a budding bush or shrub. And finally, in that early fragmentary relief mentioned above remain still the hands of a figure holding a laurel branch, here conceived, doubtless, as the sign of victory. But generally the Christian intended the tree of life guarded in Paradise and now again made accessible to mankind, or else that other tree which legend said grew from seed of its fruit planted by Adam, out of which, in the fulfillment of the ages the cross was constructed. But again, behind all this there is the disturbing memory of the tree in the mother cult. The Asherah, and the green trees on the mountain tops spoken of in prophetic denunciations, the pine tree of Attys — but what need to go further. Again the parallelism disproves nothing, only it sometimes causes wonder whether true prophecy was found only in the pages of Holy Writ.
The story that is so briefly and allusively told in the Gospel clothes itself inevitably in images of our own experience. Tell it to a child and it thinks at once of such things as it has seen — a barn behind the house, with horse or cow stalls. And in the experience of men at large traditional memory has so predominant a place, that the details of old legends could not but creep in. Barred out consciously at the door they came in unobserved by cracks and crevices. The evangelists were interested chiefly in the life and death of the Lord; at first, writing as they were for those who even if they had not seen him with their own eyes may have had converse with those who had, the birth was taken for granted. But later came those who could not believe that the God- head would have stooped to the material world, who held that His body must have been an illusion, an appearance, or at least composed of some higher and more spiritual substance, and that He appeared suddenly, without parentage or human relationship; and then it became necessary to insist that He came into the world as every man. As He Himself said, men seek for signs and wonders, and none are vouchsafed. Why should they be? The miracles lie in the facts, the common things, of daily life. Throughout the ages mankind had looked for a child to be born — a child who should grow in strength and wisdom, and go forward and do the things that his fathers had not been able to do. And in the fullness of time the child was born, who was to be Savior, the Christ, whose name was to be Wonderful, the Prince of Peace. Thus through the centuries the story has been repeated, and set forth in painting and sculpture, as the artist was able. Hieroglyphics, picture writing, all of it, on different levels. Mnemonics for each to clothe from his own memories. The mother raising herself on her couch to look at the wonderful baby in its manger cradle, still all her own; or adoring in the stillness of the night while others sleep. Common events in every life, repeated a thousand times every day in palace and hovel, yet ever new and miraculous, could we but understand.
Birth is an initiation, a bringing to light, a revelation of hidden mysteries. All rituals symbolize it, according to the cultural level either crudely and with direct realism, or obscurely and with refined allusions. To enter upon any new path is in a sense a new birth, to take new responsibilities, to come into new relationships, to learn new truths, to enter upon mysteries. But to be reborn or twice born implies also death. Here again is a circle, the turning wheel of life — or of the law. Death and birth — birth and death. Wherever we make a beginning one follows on after the other, and it matters little where we begin, at least so far as the symbolism is concerned. Out of darkness into light. Out of the light of day into the darkness of the tomb and thence to be reborn to new life. There is initiation and initiation. Formally and ritually into the knowledge of formal mysteries; really and spiritually so far as we may — so far as we earnestly seek. The Christian is baptized into the Way, the washing of water symbolically represents the cleansing from sin, the entering on a new life, a new search. It is an initiation ritually, it may be the beginning of one in truth and reality. Initiation is a beginning, in ire, to go, to enter in. So the Latin conceived it; but to the Greek it was the end, telos, the completion, the consummation, perfection; thus St. Paul wrote of those who were perfected, initiated. And he set forth a yet deeper symbolism, that baptism was a ritual death, shared with the Lord, in which the old was left behind, and a new creature born. But he, like all teachers and prophets, was concerned with the reality and not the form.
So the shepherds watching their flocks by night saw the heavens opened and the glory of God, and heard the angelic choir singing — "Peace on earth, good-will towards men." Or as the Vulgate has it, "Peace on earth to men of good-will." To them comes that peace that passeth understanding, that the world does not give nor can it destroy. But other versions have another reading. Peace on earth, content to mankind — contentment — eudokia — satisfaction, fulfillment — because a babe had been born and was lying in a manger. And they rose up and came with haste and found Mary, the mother and her child, he that was to come, the Desire of all Nations.
* * *
THE ESSENES IN MASONIC LITERATURE
Bro. R. J. Meekren
IN the second volume of THE BUILDER it was stated, in an answer to a question regarding this mysterious sect, that Da Costa was the first (in his sketch of a history of the still more mysterious Dionysian Architects) to trace the genealogy of Freemasonry through the Essenes. This is yet another instance to prove how difficult it is to discover when a given opinion first arose, and the danger of making definite pronouncements in such cases. Da Costa wrote in the first decade of the nineteenth century; the first mention of the Essenes in connection with Masonry that the present writer has been able to find (and it is highly improbable that there will be anything very much earlier discovered) is in 1730. It is to be found in that rare and curious work, A Defence of Masonry, published anonymously in December of the above year. It has since been proved that the author was Martin Clare, who was Junior G.W. in 1735, and who, owing to a careless and misleading utterance of George Oliver, has been confidently supposed by later writer to have been an early "tinkerer" with the ritual.
The Defence of Masonry is obviously written by a man of considerable learning, and one who was a forerunner of all the school of students who have sought to explain the usages of the Craft by references to religious and other customs gathered indiscriminately from every possible source. Unfortunately he was not an accurate scholar by any means, and it seems very probable that he may be ultimately responsible for a number of statements which have been repeated time after time but which have no foundation in fact. One example is the account given of the death of Hipparchus the Pythagorean. It is not directly connected with our subject, but Josephus (one of our two chief authorities) describes the Essenes as being like the Pythagoreans; a statement, however, that is only to be taken as a descriptive analogy suited to the Roman public for which he wrote, and not as implying that he thought, or intended to assert, any connection existed between them. The passage here referred to in Clare's work runs as follows:
... there was a false brother, one Hipparchus, of this sect [the Pythagoreans], who, out of Spleen and Disappointment broke through the Bond of his Oath, and committed the secrets of the society to writing, in order to bring the Doctrine into contempt. He was immediately expelled the School as a Person most infamous and abandoned, as one dead to all Sense of Virtue and Goodness; and the Pythagoreans, according to their custom, made a tomb for him as if he had been actually dead. The Shame and Disgrace that justly attended this Violation of his Oath threw the poor Wretch into a Fit of Madness and Despair so that he cut his Throat and perished by his own Hands, and (which surprized me to find) his memory was so abhorred after Death, that his Body lay upon the Shore of the Island of Samos and had no other burial than in the sands of the sea .
If this surprised the author, it certainly surprises us still more when we find that the authority he gives, Book V of the Stiomateis of Clement of Alexandria, says no more than the following, and this merely as a casual illustration to the subject he has in hand:
Indeed they say that Hipparchus the Pythagorean being accused of writing the [esoteric teaching] of Pythagoras in plain terms was expelled from the school, a pillar being raised for him as though for one dead....
The words in brackets do not appear in the original Greek, but are understood from what has immediately preceded this sentence .
It is hard, however, to think that the author of the Defence deliberately fabricated the additional details. He cites also Iamblichus and Porphyry, both of whom wrote lives of Pythagoras. The latter, unfortunately, has not been accessible, so that it has been impossible to see if anything to the point is to be found in it. Iamblichus, however, does say something of a certain Hipparchus, it was not an uncommon name. This is in a rather lengthy rebuke or exhortation addressed to him by one Lysis, which begins thus:
lt is reported that you philosophize to everyone you may happen to meet, and publicly, which Pythagoras did not think fit to do. And these things indeed, O Hipparchus, you learnt with diligent assiduity, but you have not preserved them ... [from the vulgar or common herd presumably]. If, therefore, you will abandon these [practices] I shall rejoice; but if not you will be dead in my opinion ...
The remainder of the speech has nothing more to the point but merely goes on to give the arguments for not teaching the esoteric parts of philosophy without strict discipline and proving of character beforehand, and Hipparchus is not again mentioned by name. Nevertheless the beginning certainly does sound like an official reprimand with a veiled threat of condign punishment. In another place Iamblichus tells us that any disciple or student who failed to "make his grade," or who was deemed unsuitable for other reasons, either intellectual or moral, was loaded with gifts of gold and other wealth from the common treasury and dismissed from the school; after which a pillar was raised for him as if he were dead, and if they met him afterwards they pretended he was a stranger. This form of rejection of the unfit disciple would most likely be used for the expulsion of an offending initiate also. Still we have here no suicide, or leaving the body on the seashore. A little further on, however, there is a brief remark on a person called Hippasus, who was said to have belonged to the school, and "divulged and described the method of forming a sphere from twelve pentagons," in consequence of which
he perished in the sea, as an impious person, but obtained the renown [i.e. in the profane world] of having made the discovery.
The most charitable supposition, and inherently the most probable, too, is that the passage in the Defence was written without verification of the references, and that several different passages had been confused in the author's memory. His general purpose in writing might also excuse some departure from his authorities, if under cover of that he really intended (as seems certain) to convey a special meaning to the initiated. But however legitimate this might be in itself it was dangerous, as the event has proved; for unlearned and careless and enthusiastic writers have copied and recopied it as literal fact. In any case it shows the necessity of caution in accepting what he says later on about the Essenes.
This latter is all comprised in one paragraph of some length, and as authority for the statements made the Vita Contemplativa of Philo and the Antiquities of the Jews of Josephus are cited. Curiously the most detailed description of the Essenes given by Josephus is not in this work, but in the Wars of the Jews; and in the Antiquities he refers to this account as a reason for not in that place describing the sect at length; which is another indication that Clare quoted from memory. But the matter in the last part of the paragraph is all taken from Philo, and does not deal with the Essenes at all, but with the Therapeutae of Egypt. Of course, it has been often asserted that they were one and the same organization with the Essenes, but the fact remains that Philo speaks of the Essenes as living in Palestine and the Therapeutae in Egypt, and gives no indication whatever that he regarded them as the same. Besides, the Therapeutae admitted women to their society which the Essenes did not, and further, they anointed themselves with oil in the usual Oriental manner, while oil was regarded as a defilement by the Essenes. It therefore seems impossible to suppose any close connection between the two sects. The passage of especial interest in the paragraph under discussion is as follows, the italics are in the original:
But before he was receiv'd as an establish'd Member, he was first to bind himself by solemn obligations and Professions, to do Justice, to do no Wrong, to keep Faith with all men, to embrace the Truth, to keep his Hands clear from Theft and fraudulent Dealing, not to conceal from his Fellow-Professors any of the Mysteries, nor to communicate any of them to the Profane, though it should be to save his life; to deliver nothing but what he received [of these mysteries, presumably] and endeavour to preserve the Principle that he professes. They eat and drink at the same common Table, and the Fraternity that comes from any other place are sure to be received there; they meet together in an Assembly, the Right-hand is laid upon the Part between the chin and the Breast and the Left-hand let down straight by their side. All this is very specific, and very exciting. Let us follow it up and see what has been done with it by later writers. The Defence was reprinted with the second edition of Anderson's Constitutions in 1738, and thus its contents were widely disseminated though the original work practically passed out of existence. One curious mistake was perpetuated, which definitely proves that the editor, James Anderson, did not verify the author's references; nor have we seen that it has been noticed elsewhere. The author of the Defence cites Josephus' Antiquities, Book VIII, Chapter 2, for the account of the Essenes mentioned above. As a matter of fact this chapter tells us about the wife of Solomon, his wisdom and riches, and his correspondence and treaties with Hiram of Tyre for the building of the Temple, while the first reference made to the Essenes comes in a much later chapter and, as already noted, his principal account of them is in another work altogether. The other authority given is Philo's Vita Contemplativa but no specific reference is given .
In his Lexicon of Masonry Mackey has the following statement, under the heading "Essenes":
Philo, of Alexandria, who in two books written expressly on the subject of the Essenes has given a copious account of their doctrine and manners, says that when they were listening to the secret instructions of their chiefs, they stood with "the right hand on the breast a little below the chin, and the left hand placed along the side." A similar position is attributed by Macrobius to Venus when deploring the death of Adonis....
He does not, however, give any reference for this last statement. The first part is certainly not a literal copy of the passage in the Defence any more than of Philo. We now learn, also, that the attitude was one employed by the Essenes, and assumed by inferiors when listening to their superior, and that they are standing. Also that the hand is now laid on the breast, whereas before it was on the part between the breast and the chin, which one would naturally take to be the neck.
The Lexicon was published in 1855; in the article on the same subject in the later Encyclopaedia this passage was deleted for some reason, though otherwise the account was expanded. Perhaps in the meantime Mackey had looked up the original! Before coming to that, however, we will give another quotation from a well-known English Masonic author, John Yarker. In his Arcane Schools (page 157) he gives us yet another development — he says:
When addressing their Chiefs they stood with their right hand below their chin, and the left let down by the side.
The Chiefs are now dignified by a capital letter! But the phrase "let down by the side" is peculiar, and reminds us of that in the Defence, "and the Left-hand let down straight by their Side." It is not quite a natural way to describe the attitude in the modern usage of the English tongue, and it looks almost as if Yarker had followed Mackey, but with the Defence version in his mind at the same time. Yarker gives no references at all, but he goes on to say that "a select class of the Essenes were termed Therapeutae," which is simply baseless guess-work hazarded in favor of a theory, though again it is possible he took the opinion from someone else. It is only a step from saying the Therapeutae were the same as the Essenes to saying they were a higher degree. Whatever the arguments may be worth for the hypothesis that the latter were an Egyptian branch of the Essenes, recruited from the Hebrews resident in that country, and they are certainly far from conclusive to say the least, as we have seen there is no shadow of reason for supposing them a select class or inner circle of the sect. Rather the reverse seeing they admitted women.
It is now high time to go to the original and see what Philo actually did say. He is describing the Assembly of the Society, at which, as has been said, women were also present, though separated by a screen from the men, just as was customary in the Christian Church at a later time. He says:
On the seventh day the various members meet for common worship. They arrange themselves according to age, sitting on the ground, the right hand between the chest and the chin, but the left tucked down along the flank. The senior recluse then delivers an address to which all listen in silence .
If Mackey did look this up it is no wonder he so completely dropped his earlier statement. But then he should have said so and exploded the fairy tale. It would be interesting to know who first adorned the tale by inserting in the account given by the author of the Defence, which is accurate enough so far as it goes (though misleading by its omissions) the detail that Philo was describing a posture taken, or gesture made, while standing? It was not like Mackey to have drawn on his imagination in such a case. So far no earlier version has come to light, but in view of the difficulty that dogs every attempt to discover the real origin of any assertion or statement of this kind, this is in no way conclusive that Mackey was the culprit; it is most probable he copied it from someone else.
As another instance to show how easy it is to make a slip, no less an authority than Robert Freke Gould, in the first chapter of his Concise History (it remains unamended in the Revised Edition), makes the following statement:
That two members of this singular sect, on meeting for the first time, at once recognized each other by means of signs,
and as the paragraph in which this occurs begins:
The references to the Essenes by ancient authorities are brief and unsatisfactory. We leal n, however, that, etc.,
the reader natural]y concludes that the points in the summary that follows had direct authority in these brief references of ancient writers. Bro. W. Wynn Westcott in his paper on the subject before Quatuor Coronati Lodge  says that "in a recent letter" (1915) Gould admitted that he could not give "any original authority for this statement." If he had been able to do so it must have been from some document hitherto unknown to students. It was evidently a case of "Homer nodding," the reiterated statement copied by one uncritical writer after another slipped in by accident.
That the Essenes would naturally be thought of by Masons seeking to find traces of the lineage of their Fraternity was really inevitable. The articles in THE BUILDER this year by Prof. Strauss are proof enough, for he built up his hypothesis without knowledge of the fact that it had ever been advanced before. If, as he maintains, their proper name in their own country was Banaim, Builders, he has produced another argument, one that, so far as we know, Bros. Yarker and Rosenbaum alone among Masonic writers have touched upon, and Yarker did not develop it at all. He got the suggestion apparently from de Bunsen, who so far as the present writer is aware was not a Mason. It is supposed by this last that a tradition passed from the "Egyptian and Jewish Gnostics" into Christianity, and that "it had the doctrine of a spiritual development which transformed them into living stones, hence denominated Banaim or builders, that is of a bodily temple, and therefore they neglected the material temple of Jerusalem."
Presumably he had in mind the allusions of St. Paul to building, and living stones, and to Christ as the "headstone of the corner." The coincidences are indeed striking and they have been freely used in framing the rituals of the various grades superposed on the three symbolic degrees. But returning to Gould's statement about the Essenes, where did his idea that they had secret signs for recognition come from?
They were a sect of the Hebrews at about the time of the beginning of the Christian era, but they were more than a sect, for they were organized in an ascetic or monastic fraternity. This at least seems quite clear. Also they had apparently a form of initiation, including a baptism and an oath. They wore a white garment, by Masonic writers freely called an apron, but which was probably a loin cloth, and carried a paddle or hatchet. This latter was probably very small and easily portable; its use (for the curious who do not know) is given in the Book of Deuteronomy in Chapter 23, verse 13, though there it is described as being part of the spear, the weapon of the nomad herdsmen, probably an enlargement of the butt. Besides this they had grades; a secret teaching imported "figuratively," which is of course taken to mean by allegories and symbols; and finally they aided and assisted each other, and strange members were welcomed and greeted as if well known.
The combination of all these points is too attractive an analogy to Freemasonry not to have found supporters; and in the manner only too frequently exemplified, inferences were drawn and glosses freely inserted in the text, which were then copied as if it all came from the original.
Let us now consider the peculiar attitude or gesture described by the author of A Defence of Masonry; his interest in it is evidently that he supposed it to have some ritual significance (as perhaps it did) and that it might have been used as a sign for recognition, like the bending of the ankle by which Lucius in the Golden Ass recognized the priest of Isis. Add to this the statement of Porphyry that
... though meeting for the first time, the members of this sect at once salute each other as intimate friends ,
and the thing was done. Nothing more was needed than to put the two together and we have evidence conclusive — to the uncritical — that the Essenes had signs and tokens just the same as Freemasons. The trouble is that the second statement quoted says nothing whatever about the means of recognition but is confined solely to the way in which stranger members were received. It does not exclude such private means of course, but neither does it imply them or require them; while if there were such signs, there is no reason whatever to suppose that one of them was the attitude taken in the assembly, squatting Oriental fashion, on the ground, the knees drawn up, the left arm under the outer garment down by the side, and the right hand up near the left shoulder — if anyone doubts the description let him try it by sitting down on the floor with a dressing gown wrapped round cloak wise. Whether a ritual posture or not, it is a very natural one.
In spite of all this we cannot dismiss the Essenes entirely, as at least a subject of interest to Masonic students. Though it is really impossible to make out any direct connection between them and Freemasonry — an institution indigenous to Northwestern Europe so far as anything is certainly known of it — nevertheless Essenic sect has the twofold interest of being a fraternity possessing certain mysteries and of being native to the country in which Masonic traditions and myths are centered. The Essenes come on the stage for a little while and then vanish. It cannot be said dogmatically that they existed before we first hear of them, but it would be very improbable that they had no antecedents. Even if their organization was not much older than the record we have, we may yet on socio-psychologic grounds almost certainly postulate some previous institution on which it had been modelled, and from which a tradition had filtered down more or less directly. To pursue this speculation would exceed the limits of the present article, but it may be recalled that the late Bro. W. Simpson in a work  published nearly thirty years ago, advanced the hypothesis that the Book of Jonah was based on the myth or narrative version of an initiatory rite, and collected references that tend to show that such rites may have existed from early times among the Hebrews. Whatever may be the final judgment on this hypothesis, it is at least a very interesting one, and as the book in question has been long out of print the subject might well form the basis of some future article.
In conclusion it may be pointed out that the final reasons for disbelieving in any connection between the Freemasons and the Essenes lies in the very considerations which have been taken by the advocates of the theory as pointing to its probability. The traditions of the Craft all point to the Holy Land, Jerusalem, the Temple, to Jewish rites and sacred teachings, while its mythical heroes bear Biblical names. If all this were a real inheritance it would be impressive. Unfortunately, the further back we can trace the mysteries of Masonry, the poorer they become in this material and the richer in elements that belong to ritual survivals of a Western European type. The conclusion is obvious that the Hebrew element is largely adventitious, and it is almost completely demonstrable that by far the greater part of it has been borrowed and adapted during the strictly historical period of Freemasonry, or more precisely since 1730. This however can only be dogmatically asserted here, the proof must be sought in the story of the evolution and development of the Masonic and quasi-Masonic rituals and their symbolism, whenever that can be written.
- As the Defence of Masonry is professedly a reply to Masonry Dissected, the best seller of the day (it had run through four editions in the preceding three months) we may suppose that Martin Clare so framed this passage as to administer a sound slap to Samuel Prichard, who describes himself on the title page of his pamphlet as "late member of a Constituted Lodge." The curious story told by Laurence Dermott of the fate of one Tom Tadpole, whom he asserted to be the author of The Three Distinct Knocks, and the unhappy end of the "learned gentleman that wrote the pamphlet entitled Boaz and Jackin" who "in a fit of jealousy cut his throat on Thursday, the 8th day of September, 1763," seem to have been actuated by similar motives. These are related in a note to the "Address to the Reader" in Ahiman Rezon. ↩
- For the text of this passage and the translation the writer is indebted to his friend (and brother) Prof. F. G. Vial. B.D., D.C.L., who has made an especial study of the works of Clemens Alexandrinus. ↩
- The passage intended is apparently in chapter 3, but it gives very little information. ↩
- Hastings, Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics v. Therapeutae. ↩
- A.Q.C., Vol. 28, p. 73. ↩
- Gould, History of Freemasonry, Vol. 1, p. 28, note 5 (Yorston Edition). ↩
- Simpson, The Jonah Legend. ↩
* * *
JOSHUA BEN JOSEPH
Bro. L. F. Strauss, Massachusetts
THIS article has already appeared in the "Banner of Israel," but Bro. Strauss regards it as an important link in the development of his researches as set forth in the two articles on the Essenes which appeared in THE BUILDER for May and July respectively, and has obtained the permission of the publishers of the above-mentioned periodical to reproduce it here. It will, we believe, be interesting as it views familiar things from a point of view that is probably unfamiliar to many of our readers.
The congregation is assembled in the synagogue at Nazareth. The law, the books of Moses are laid on the altar. The adult members of the congregation are called up by their names to assist according to custom in the reading of the law. Now the name of Joshua ben Joseph resounds clear and distinct, and there steps forward a figure in human form, clad in the garments of the men of his time.
What did he look like? What was the outward appearance of that figure which came forward at the call of Joshua ben Joseph? Thousands of artists have exercised their imagination trying to conjure up a figure, a face that would correspond to the conception in the minds of millions of the being which has become their guide, their model, their hope and refuge and which when on earth answered to the call of Joshua ben Joseph.
His parents were pious Jewish people. Mary, his mother, presented herself at the Temple in Jerusalem for purification according to the prescribed ceremonies after the birth of a son; she presented her son for redemption within the prescribed period. At the time of his "barmizfa" — a ceremony scrupulously observed by orthodox Jews in our own day — the boy is brought to the Temple in Jerusalem. After this ceremony which in a way corresponds to the Christian practice of confirmation, a boy is recognized as a member of the congregation; he has a vote, a voice in the assembly; from now on he is responsible for his own actions. This fact readily explains the silence of the Gospels in regard to the parents of Jesus when relating the subsequent career of Joshua ben Joseph, the Messiah, or Jesus, the Christ.
Where were spent the years between his twelfth year, the time of his "barmizfa," and his thirtieth year, which marked the beginning of his career as teacher, as guide of the human race and the Light of the World? Traditional Jewish lore makes him join the Order of the Essenes.
If the knowledge of the whereabouts of Jesus between his twelfth and thirtieth year were necessary to the sons of men, it would have been given.
The annals relating the life of Jesus deal mainly with his acts that took place between his thirtieth and thirty-third year. In these annals we are presented with a most graphic account of the sayings and doings of a most extraordinary being who was walking up and down the hills and valleys of Judea, "doing good," healing the sick, exhorting to righteousness and proclaiming the glad tidings that the Kingdom of God is at hand, that it has come.
In answer to the question, "Art thou he that should come, or do we look for another?" he points to the fulfillment of the signs that were to mark his coming. In answer to the definite question, "Art thou the Messiah?" the answer is, "I am."
The annals given to the world of the life of Joshua ben Joseph, known the world over as the Lord Jesus, or Jesus of Nazareth, give us a very brief account of his career. While we have four separate records, these present in but a slightly differentiated form a few details in the life of the most wonderful being that ever visited our earth in human form. There are some things in connection with these records that will strike a thinking man as strange, very strange even when considered from the human standpoint.
The nature of man is selfish; our own personality projects itself often unconsciously, sometimes even against our will, into our thoughts and works. The writer of a book wants first of all to impress his personality upon the minds of others. Now, the very opposite attitude do we find in the writer or writers of the Gospels, the biographies of Jesus. In place of self-glorification we find self-depreciation and a self-effacement that has no analogy in human history. It matters not whether the Gospels are the work of his immediate disciples or the work of their followers. Disciples or followers sink completely into the background before a great luminous figure that has stood, and stands today, as the Light of the World.
How high Joshua ben Joseph must have towered above his contemporaries can be seen in the self-related actions of his chosen disciples. How little they could understand. How crude, how small, was their mental, moral and spiritual capacity when placed by themselves alongside their Master! The much praised Peter — what a braggart! The sons of Zebedee thinking most of all of their own place in the coming Kingdom!
There is no reason to suppose that this self-depreciation was intended, or that the writer was conscious of any self-depreciation. One aim can be distinctly recognized, and that is, to present the Master in as truthful a light, in as graphic a manner as possible.
This self-depreciation is not natural, is not human, and must be looked upon, when considered from a human standpoint, as a factor in a super-human that is a divine guidance in the giving of the narratives which we call today the Gospels.
In connection with this, I wish to emphasize the fact that "the things of the Spirit" are "spiritually discerned." The natural man receiveth them not, is utterly incapable, unfitted, to grasp the inner meaning of life, the essence of religion, the relation of man to his God. From this it follows that in order to derive any benefit from, or to have an insight into the message revealed in the Gospel, spiritual discernment is an absolute prerequisite.
Rabbi A. Levi once said before the Congregation Keneseth Israel: "About 1897 years ago (it is not known at what part of the year) there was born in Nazareth, to humble Jewish parents, one Joshua ben Joseph, or Latinized, Jesus. At the age of twelve he appeared in Jerusalem and saw enough to leave an indelible impression on his mind. Nothing is later heard of him till the age of about thirty. He then appears in the role of a reformer opposed to the formalism of the Pharisees and the materialism of the Sadducees. He traveled around after the manner of teachers in Israel, preaching his belief in Moses and the prophets and his conviction that heaven and earth might pass away but no jot or tittle of the law would. He appeared to have been a believer in the mission of Israel to be a blessing to humanity."
Human intellect sees in Joshua ben Joseph an ideal man. We use once more the words of Rabbi Levi, who, after referring to the execution of Joshua, or Jesus, for which he blames the Roman governor, declares: "Thus thro' the hatred of the Roman governor there was condemned to an ignominous death, one of the noblest teachers in Israel, one of the brilliant glories of the Jewish people; but he was a man, an ideal man, he was not God, he was godly. He was not the Son of God, but the son of God as all men are.... Do we reject him? Never as a pious reformer, as a conforming Jew, as a brother worthy of profound esteem, respect and love. Do we then accept him? Never as a God, the Son of God, or the Messiah."
Rabbi Levi here states the position of millions of Jews. It is the position based on human reason, the conclusion formed by human intellect unaided by the spiritual eye. Yet even human intellect can see, or can be made to see and in fact has seen something more.
Let us look with the mental eye at the successive visible scenes following the execution of Joshua ben Joseph.
"Smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered." How well do these words of Zachariah describe the situation. The Rabbi has suffered a most ignominous death. No miraculous interference had prevented the execution of the Great Teacher as some of his disciples had confidently expected. Their cause was irretrievably lost. The man in whom they had so much confidence was defeated.
Hope, the last human anchor, was gone. Despair, black despair, filled their hearts. We read, "The disciples fled," eager to seek a place in which to hide their shame and confusion.
And then there took place a miracle, the only undisputed miracle in all annals of human history, indisputable, on account of its visible effects in our own day. A coward is changed into a hero, a small band of trembling fugitives into a troop of heroes, who went fearlessly to the four corners of the earth and conquered a hostile world. What power had wrought this miracle? Let us give the explanation and conclusion formed by Jewish intellect: "That the movement did not end with the crucifixion, but gave birth to that belief in the risen Christ which brought the scattered adherents together and founded Christianity, is due to two psychic forces that never before had come so thoroughly into play. First: the great personality of Jesus which had so impressed itself on the people of Galilee as to become a living power even after his death. Second: the transcendentalism or other-worldliness in which these penance doing saintly men and women, of the common classes in their longing for godliness, lived. In entranced visions they beheld their crucified Messiah expounding the Scriptures for them, and breaking the bread for them at their feasts, or even assisting them when they were out on the lake fishing .
"It was not the living but the departed Jesus that founded the church ."
The question now arises, what produced these "psychic forces that never before [or ever afterward] had come so thoroughly into play?" Could these "psychic forces" which revolutionized the world, and overcame the Roman Empire, have been generated through hallucination?
Human mind, the unspiritualized intellect, cannot help but recognize a force which "never before had come so thoroughly into play." What generated this force? What answer has the rationalist to this question? The effect of hallucination? But not even a Hindu yogi tries to satisfy hunger through conjuring up a picture of food.
Again: "It was not the living but the departed Jesus that created the Church." The "departed" Jesus! How could the "departed" Jesus have done this when "dead," if he had been a man, a dead man? Will some rationalist answer this question?
At another place in the Jewish Encyclopedia we read: "There are utterances of striking originality and wondrous power, which denote great genius. He certainly had a message to bring to the forlorn... to the lost sheep of the house of Israel , to the outcast, to the lower classes, to the 'Amharez,' to the sinner, to the publican; and whether the whole life is in reality a poetic imagination, in him the Essenic ideal reached its culmination."
We might agree with the writer in the Jewish Encyclopedia when he says: "To explain the mental and moral greatness of Jesus, his wonderful career, the logical thinker need not recur to the hidden ways of mysticism; a careful study of his historical environment will readily account for that extraordinary phenomenon." We must not forget that he was the child of an extraordinary people, a people that had been set aside thousands of years before for a great specific purpose; a people at whose start its legislator held up the ideal: "Ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests and an holy nation. Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy."
As already stated, up to the time of his execution, there is nothing in the life or career of Joshua ben Joseph that human reason cannot explain, or explain away.
The pivotal point, the crux of the question comes when the unprejudiced and sincere mind considers the situation that took place after his execution. These scenes cannot be explained away from the rationalist's standpoint because their effects are clearly visible, not only in the nineteen hundred years which have passed and gone, but they are seen and felt all around us, they are manifest in the hundreds of millions of human beings to whom no name is dearer and sweeter than the holy name of the Lord Jesus, whose profane pronunciation they call blasphemy.
As I am writing these lines I wonder what it was that caused the writer in the Jewish Encyclopedia to say, "It was not the living but the departed Jesus who created the Church." Now if such were the case could there be any other explanation than that he had triumphed over death and was at the seat of power? Must not then his mission have been from God? Must he not have been the Messenger promised to our ancestors thousands of years ago; must he not have been in truth the Messiah who was to become the Light of the World?
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A CURIOUS MASONIC WATCH
Communicated by Bro. G. M. Reade, Minnesota
PROBABLY a good many brethren have had their attention drawn to "Masonic" watches that are now being supplied by those firms that manufacture and supply Masonic charms, jewels and so on. The advertisements would lead anyone to suppose that this was an entirely new idea; and perhaps so far as the designers and manufacturers are concerned it may be. However, this is not so. Our eighteenth century brethren were very partial to these Masonic watches. In those days mass production was yet unknown, and each watch was an individual work of art and craft, made entirely by hand. Many of these designs were most elaborately wrought. The old watch and clock makers spared no pains upon their work, and it made no difference whether it was on the exterior or the interior working parts. In some old clocks the very wedges that keyed the frame together were filed into ornamental curves, and engraved with designs almost too small to be seen without a glass, while the wheels instead of having straight and plain spokes were cut out into beautiful and fanciful patterns of pierced work, filed out with the true artist's care.
This tradition still persisted in the eighteenth century, and in watches of the period the covering plate, or "cock" that protected the movement was highly ornamented with pierced designs and engraving. It was only natural that some should receive Masonic designs, either specially to order, or to attract Masonic purchasers. The second of the illustrations gives a good idea of a watch of this type. There are hundreds of such movements to be found in museums.
The first illustration shows a watch which is perhaps now quite unique, though originally it had a mate. It is in the possession, or rather in the care, of one of the lodges in Belfast, Ireland. The present owner is the great-grandson of the man for whom it was made, a Bro. Edwards who was an aide de camp to General Stopford in the Peninsular War. It was made by a watchmaker named Bannerman, who apparently had left his work bench and listed for a soldier. Whether he made it during the campaign or not does not appear, but it is possible. Nor do we know if he was a Mason. Bro. Edwards designed the face himself, and gave Bannerman the order to make the watch for him to this design.
It happened after their return home, that Bro. Edwards was at a Masonic banquet at which the then Duke of Suffolk was also present, and the latter happened to see the watch and said, "Halloo, Edwards, what have you there?" Bro. Edwards handed it to him and told him about it and at the Duke's request a second watch was made identical in every respect. These two were the only ones. Whether the second is still in existence is unknown.
The arrangement of the emblems is very skilfully and appropriately done, and the putting the sun in the place for "high twelve" is very ingenious, while outside the minute circle below "low" six is the crescent moon and stars.
The description is as follows: In the center is the circle and parallel straight lines. The point is represented by the main pivot for the hands. Below is the letter "G" and above the volume of the Sacred Law. The first figure is a single column of the Doric order, with what appear to be flames issuing from the capital. This may refer to the pillar of fire in the wilderness. In the margin above it is the trowel. Two is represented by the two brazen pillars of the porch of the Temple, adorned with network and surmounted by globes. Above it is the square ashlar. The enamel has been chipped and cracked here and the ashlar is not easy to make out. Three is made of the three burning tapers or lesser lights. The margin has here been broken away so that the emblem above is lost. Four is made of a Doric column and a pair of calipers. The object above is unrecognizable. Five is the square, and in the margin are the "emblems of mortality." Six is composed of the Charter or Warrant in a roll, a dagger or sharp instrument and a Corinthian column. Below is the moon and stars. Seven is ingeniously formed from the compasses and ladder with "three principle rounds." The margin is broken here, too, so that the second emblem is missing. Eight consists of the folding twenty-four-inch rule or gauge, and a two-legged derrick from which is suspended a perfect ashlar by means of a lewis. Though partially broken, we can see plainly the sprig of Acacia and the hill top. Nine is made of three columns, Doric, Ionic and Corinthian, the two latter crossed. The two black marks in the margin are indecipherable and appear to be injuries or holes in the enamel. Ten is built up out of a long-handled "setting maul," a gavel and a chisel. The emblem above appears to be the beehive. Eleven is composed of the square, level and plumb, and above them the 47th Proposition of Euclid. Twelve, as before mentioned, is symbolized by the sun, above which is the All-seeing Eye.
If the second emblem at figure ten is really intended for the beehive, and it looks much more like it in the original than in the reproduction, we have two symbols now no longer in use in Great Britain but which have always been in use in America, the second being the trowel. On the other hand there are the lewis and chisel which are still explained in the former country but which seem never to have been known in this.
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THE LAND OF BEHEST
Bro. F. Benson, Illinois
AT this season of the year the thoughts of all Christians are directed toward a little country on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. It is scarcely two hundred miles long and from East to West probably does not average more than seventy-five. Not only does the Christian world revere this almost insignificant area on the Earth's surface, but it is the Holy Land for the Jew, Greek, Moslem and Christian alike. Geographies call it Palestine, our Old Charges or Manuscript Constitutions refer to it as "The Land of Behest" and add that it is now called the Country of Jerusalem.
It is indeed remarkable that one of the world's smallest countries should have been the battlefield of so many nations for thousands of years, and that for its possession has been shed the blood of countless multitudes. All this has been done for religion, not one faith, but many. The paradox lies in the fact that, in spite of its gory history, this country was the birthplace of the Prince of Peace. To this event do modern Christians owe the fact that their eyes are turned toward the Holy Land during the present season. Whether Jesus the Christ was actually born on Dec. 25 we do not know, and after all does it make any difference? The Nazarene lived and died for humanity Modern Freemasonry should be existing for the same cause. The feast of Christmas has come to be considered an occasion for rejoicing and for the exercise of good will toward all. It is the time of year when we dream of Brotherly Love, of peace on earth and good will towards men. It should not be necessary for the Mason to have such a season since the practice of this virtue should be a part of his endeavor the year round, but it hurts no man to be reminded occasionally that there are others on this mundane sphere and that a part of his thought should be directed towards them.
"The little town of Bethlehem," the birthplace of Christ, and so the birthplace of Christianity, lies a short five miles to the southward of the Jaffa Gate to the Holy City. A splendid road passes through the Plain of Ephraim, and suddenly the well, where tradition says the "three wise men" stopped to water their camels and saw reflected in the water the star which led them to the manger of the Christ-child, comes into view. Farther along is the Tomb of Rachel, the wife of Jacob and the daughter of Laban. This spot is one revered by Jew, Christian, and Mohammedan alike. Then comes Bethlehem, which means "House of Bread," and which besides being the scene of the Nativity was the childhood home of David and the scene of the beautiful story of Ruth, his great-grandmother.
The accompanying illustration is somewhat deceptive, as at a casual glance Bethlehem seems to lie in a valley. In reality it is upon a hill in the center of a gigantic cup, and the "Little Town" overlooks several valleys, one of which is still known as the Field of the Shepherds.
An interesting feature of a visit to Bethlehem is the Church of the Nativity, built about 330 A.D. over the cave reputed to be the very stable in which Christ was born, and on which spot the Romans had formerly built a Temple to Jupiter. The outside of the church is very simple and plain, but on the inside there are forty-four huge Corinthian columns, taken from the pagan temple that earlier stood on the site. The building has the appearance of being very old and the pagan columns lend dignity and simplicity to the whole. Steps lead down to the grotto now called the Chapel of the Nativity, and where the manger is still shown. The cave is about forty feet long by twelve wide and ten high. It has stone walls and a marble pavement. Near the altar is a silver star in the pavement with the Latin inscription Hic de Virgine Maria Jesus Christus natus est. It was in this cave, so the tradition says, that the angel warned the Holy Family to flee to Egypt.
Not far from Bethlehem are the pools of Solomon which, as the picture indicates, are fairly well preserved, though the masonry shows indications of their great age. The rugged nature of the country is plainly visible in this illustration.
Jerusalem itself is sufficiently interesting to warrant an article of its own. It was originally named Salem, and later Jebus. Doubtless its present name is derived from a combination of the two. It is built on two hillsides and the valley between, with deep gorges all about it.
The present site has seen some eight cities, so that the streets upon which Christ walked are in some places a hundred feet or more below the present level but the old street lines remain. The two hills on which the city stands are Mount Moriah and Mount Zion, each about 2500 feet above sea level. The place is a natural fortress. Its present population is about seventy thousand, of which probably forty-five thousand are Jews, ten thousand Moslems, and fifteen thousand Christians, the great majority of whom are Greek Orthodox. All of the modern section, more than half of the city, both in extent and population, is outside the walls which fenced the "Old City." These walls are in splendid condition and built of a yellow limestone, which is as well the material for most of the old houses of the city. The walls are about forty feet high and from twelve to fifteen feet thick, level on top with watch towers at short intervals. Some of the rocks were actually put in place by the masons of Solomon, Herod and Agrippa. Of the eleven gates only six are open, the others having been walled up many years ago.
Through the gate called "Golden," one finds his way to the holiest of the many holy places in the city. Mount Moriah is venerated by the three religions which are prevalent among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Surrounded by a rock wall and containing about thirty-six acres it composes about one-sixth the area within the city walls. It has been a place of religious sanctity for thousands of years. Here Abraham was about to sacrifice his son Isaac when he was shown the ram caught by its horns in the thicket; here David built his palace and erected an altar unto the Lord; and here, too, King Solomon built that Temple, which has been marveled over by succeeding generations. To this spot was conveyed the cedar from Lebanon which formed so large a portion of the structure and which was floated down the sea coast to Joppa, thence carried overland to the seat, of building operations on the Mount.
Much of the enclosed area is now open, but it is all paved, and there are beautiful colonnades standing in the open court. A magnificent marble pulpit is erected in the court which is used for services on certain feast days when the mosque is wholly inadequate for the accommodation of the vast crowds, sometimes numbering more than twenty thousand. These buildings and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre suffered much damage in the recent earthquake. The Mount is some 2,400 feet high and still rises in three separate terraces as it did in Solomon's time, and these are yet designated the Court of the Gentiles, the Court of the Israelites and the Court of the Priests, though it is centuries since the Temple worship ceased.
Near the northwest corner of the enclosure stands a beautiful minaret on the site, it is said, where the Roman soldiers rescued St. Paul from the mob. This spire is plainly visible in the left and to the rear of the accompanying illustration. At the opposite corner is a subterranean structure now known as the "Stables of Solomon." It is reached by a short stairway, and has over a hundred massive stone columns. If built by Solomon, it was probably used by him as a storehouse, but there is no doubt that it was actually used as a stable by the Crusaders. Inside this area is the Mosque El Aksa. It was formerly a Christian Church and is the largest single structure in Jerusalem, measuring 272 by 184 feet.
The object of greatest interest on Mount Moriah at this time is this Mosque of the Caliph Omar. It is built over the rock which was probably used as a threshing floor in ancient times by Orman the Jebusite, and which marks the site of offering on this sacrificial hill. The rock is directly under the great Dome of the Mosque, and still is in its original position and natural state, being in fact the apex of Mount Moriah. It is about six feet high and sixty feet long by twenty to forty feet wide. Although the rock is fenced off by a high wooden railing and a circular grill or screen of iron erected by the Knights Templar, which no one is permitted to enter, the grooves across the face to carry the blood from the sacrificial offerings of olden times are still visible. It was from this rock that the Prophet Mohammed, sitting on his favorite horse, ascended to heaven, horse, rider and all. The Mohammedans vouch for the veracity of this statement. It is also believed by the followers of the Prophet that Gabriel will stand on this rock and blow his trumpet on Judgment Day and that all souls will immediately rush there to be judged by Mohammed and Christ. Under it is a cave, in which is a well, called by the Moslem the Well of Souls.
The Mosque was built about the year 700, but it was enlarged by the Crusaders who thought it was King Solomon's Temple. It was while occupying the Temple that some of the Crusaders formed the Order of Knights Templar. It was again enlarged by the Moslems about 1600. The Dome of the Rock stands on an irregular platform some ten or fifteen feet high, with marble steps leading up from the Cardinal Points, and terminating in beautiful arcades, over a pavement of marble mosaics and flagstones. The building has eight sides and is a perfect octagon set in a circle 177 feet in diameter. Each side measures sixty-six feet seven inches in length. The lower portion of the building is covered with marble slabs and the upper with glazed and colored porcelain tiles in the Persian style of the sixteenth century, while on the frieze are cut verses from the Koran. The dome is one hundred fifteen feet high, nearly as large as the dome of the United States Capitol, and is of a greenish copper color; it is surmounted by a crescent of gold. The building on the inside, on account of the iron grill work, gives one the impression of being circular. The roof and walls on the inside are covered with glass mosaics and beautiful arabesque carvings. The roof is supported by marble columns, probably taken from the temple built by Herod, and the floor is of marble, but covered with very rich Turkish rugs. There are also beautifully carved arches over the metal doors, and the light filters in through stained glass windows, which gives a soft and mysterious illumination to the interior, and especially is this light pleasing as it falls on the marble pulpit.
The Dome of the Rock is regarded as a perfect specimen of Byzantine Architecture and has been copied in many parts of the world. In the Temple area there are, in addition to the buildings mentioned above, Moslem schools and dwellings, and there are several altars in the open court.
The area is regarded by the Moslems as so sacred that neither dogs nor smoking is permitted within it. It is said that no Jew will enter this section lest he might walk on the sacred ground which the sanctum sanctorum of King Solomon's Temple once occupied. One is inclined to think of this spot on the day that the Queen of Sheba, from the Southland, with her great retinue, paid a visit to the wise and sometimes wicked King Solomon. She presented him with 120 talents in money, many precious stones, and great stores of spices, but the wily old King only put a little more gold dust in his flowing hair to make it sparkle in the sunshine, poured a little more perfume on his robe of state, exhibited proudly his gold chariots, diamond crown, many warriors and servants, gave the "old lady" a big feast, wished her a pleasant trip back home, and bade her a fond farewell, for with his seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines he was as satisfied to spend his last years on the throne wickedly as he had been to pass his first years as a ruler wisely. That is, judged by our modern ideas concerning morality.
The Holy City, in fact the entire country of Palestine, is rich in Biblical lore. There is, perhaps, no more interesting place in the world, but above all the interests of modern Palestine the fact that it was the birthplace of Christianity, with all that that means, stands out most forcibly.
* * *
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
* * *
THE STUDY CLUB AGAIN
A CERTAIN brother, who shall be nameless, being sufficiently familiar with the Editorial Staff to treat it with undue levity, insists that it is pure waste of time to write editorials as nobody ever reads them. At times we fear there is more painful fact than jest in the assertion. Another brother recently complained of the change in the Study Club Department, saying that from a sort of post-graduate course it had descended to the kindergarten level, apparently not having read what we said about it last month. Surely the advanced students owe a fraternal duty to those brethren who are in the kindergarten class, to use his term, and to assist them to obtain further light by easy stages. At least, we frankly admit, without the financial support of those in the kindergarten and the elementary grades we should not be in a position to do much for the post-graduate students.
As we said last month, the new departure is an experiment, and if not successful will not be continued. In fact the department would probably be eliminated. The proper place for advanced articles is in the body of the. magazine. We may add, for the benefit of those who were interested, that the authors of the Study Club articles during the past two years intend to continue the series. The next subject to be taken up will be the Lights of the Lodge. We gladly forgive our critic in this case because of our gratification in finding that there was one member of the Society who read the Study Club articles with interest and appreciation.
* * *
"THE SHADOW OF THE VATICAN"
IT may be as well to explain once more what these articles are and what the purpose of the author is in publishing them. He is, as we have said, a priest of the Roman Church. He is one of those — of many, so he believes — who are dissatisfied with the administration of the affairs of his Church in this country, with the autocratic methods of its rulers, and the abuses and intrigues to which they give rise. He is writing primarily for the members of his Church with the hope that perhaps some redress may be found. His criticisms must therefore be read as those of a friend however severe they may seem. It may be well to repeat that we are fully satisfied that he has no personal motives, no axe to grind, no grudge to satisfy. He is not one who has had reason to feel that he has been passed by in preferments, or that he has suffered any personal injustice. We have no hesitation in saying that we believe that his object is simply what he says it is, the faint hope (for it is very faint) that his open criticism may lead to some crystallization of the latent discontent that he believes to exist among the members of his Church in the United States, which will lead to a relaxation of the present Italian domination, to something more of self-determination and to a reform of the worst of the abuses of which he complains.
The articles, then, being addressed to members of the Roman Church by one of themselves, what have we to do with it?
The author would have greatly preferred to publish them in some Roman Catholic periodical; but unfortunately that was out of the question. He, therefore, tried the secular press and found that that was equally impossible. He was given to understand that it would not do to offend the Church, of which it seems the press of the United States is mortally afraid. It is a serious allegation, but one that has been made before, more than once. And we can say that facts have come to our knowledge, since the manuscript was first submitted to us, that go to show that not only are the daily newspapers afraid to publish anything that might offend the Roman Church, no matter how true it may be nor how much the interests of the public might demand it, but that even the more weighty and serious magazines and reviews have the same fear. Furthermore, the author found that it would be difficult to publish it in book form unless he took all the expense and risk upon himself and acted as his own publisher. That was the situation so far as he was concerned, and he bad practically given up hope of his work ever seeing the light of day.
Now a man can write an article or a book criticizing the Methodist, or the Episcopal Church, or Christian Science, or the system of public education, or the Army, or the Navy, or the Government, and he will have no special difficulty in finding an editor or a publisher to accept it. Any institution in the country, and the country itself, can be freely criticized — but the agents of publicity fear to touch one favored organization. Why?
The answer is fairly simple. Leaving aside those periodicals and publishing houses that are controlled by Romanists, there is a fear, justified or not, that the members of the Church in question will act as a unit to injure the business of such publicist in any and all of the many ways that this can be done by concerted action. There is no need to enumerate them here, it is enough to say that it needs little imagination to see that the financial effects might be serious.
It may be that in certain quarters religious intolerance still survives. There may be Protestants in this country who still believe Romanism to be idolatry, and who apply to it all the prophetic denunciations of the Old Testament, and the Apocalyptic ones of the New concerning the Scarlet Woman, and Babylon the Great, but truly we do not think there are very many, or that they have much weight. If there be any uneasiness in the minds of non-Romanists, and there is evidently a good deal, it is due precisely to such situations as the one just described. It is not religious antagonism or intolerance that exists, the Roman Church is not viewed with apprehension as a church or a religion, but as a potential political power with aims quite alien, even if not necessarily opposed, to those of the state.
Let us say here as distinctly as possible, for the benefit of those who read hastily, that we are not here asserting that it is so, all we say is that many believe it to be so. That is the situation from the public point of view.
What then is our position in the matter as Masons, as an organ of Masonic research?
We stated editorially last May that
... numbers of Masons in this country think and take for granted that Freemasonry is an anti-Roman Catholic institution.
We repeat it. Regardless of the fact that there is no warrant for such an opinion in any ritual, code or constitution in any Grand Lodge in the United States, regardless of the fact that every Mason who has any knowledge of what Masonry is or stands for, knows that it is not so, it is yet true that a very large number of the members of the Fraternity simply take it for granted that it is anti-Roman. And this brings the matter within the purview of any organization engaged in Masonic education. And that is the situation from THE BUILDER'S point of view.
Yet perhaps not quite all. It may be objected that it would have been sufficient to have merely repeated once again that Freemasonry in religious matters as in politics is neutral, that tolerance of all opinions and beliefs is incumbent on the Mason. But this has been done scores and hundreds of times. Every Masonic orator says it on almost every occasion; every Masonic journal repeats it every so often; and, such is the working of the human mind, often enough the very brethren who in one situation believe that Masonry is antiRomanist will in another applaud these same sentiments or even give utterance to them.
When a man seeks medical advice concerning some symptom, a persistent pain in the eyes, let us say, or a sore that will not heal, the physician is not content to give him an opiate or a salve. He makes a full examination of his patient's physical condition. It may be the symptoms betoken the advance of some serious disease. It is evident that merely repeating that Masonry is tolerant and neutral has only a narcotic effect. The underlying causes of the situation need inquiring into.
THE BUILDER takes no sides in the discussion, nor are we responsible for the opinions of the writers of the articles we have published. Our part was merely to make reasonably sure that they knew what they were talking about and kept within the limits of courtesy and fair criticism. We have rejected a number of other articles that did not in all respects meet these requirements or were not relevant to the problem. The address of Theodor Masaryk that appeared in the October number did in places verge on the savage, and is perhaps also not entirely just, but it is at least by a man brought up in the church he attacked, and who, by his own confession, sought to remain in it. Our chief reason for reproducing it was to exhibit how largely this forecast of twenty years ago has been falsified in the event. He thought the Church was in a decline, that the then comparatively recent formulation of the dogma of Papal Infallibility was going to be increasingly detrimental to it. Instead there has been a revival, especially since the war; the Church is becoming, it would seem, more aggressive; and internally, Ultramontanism, the Italian dominance, seems stronger than ever. It is precisely that centralization, that autocracy of Rome, that gives rise to the abuses and tyranny which Dr. Cadius (and others) hold to be detrimental to the spiritual activity of his Church, and that also inspires many non-Romanists with the fear that the Roman Church is a sort of army of occupation controlled from a foreign country. A revival of nationalism, of some measure of self-government of the Church in different countries, would seem to be calculated to remove the complaints of the one party and the apprehensions of the other.
Bro. A. J. M., whose letter appears in the correspondence columns, is inclined to question the relevance of the two articles on schools and marriage in the Province of Quebec. This rather brings home the fact that THE BUILDER is to an extent not always realized an international journal. We must grant that from the Canadian point of view they are not particularly et propos, because conditions are rather different there. We believe that it is those who have the least contact with Romanists who fear them most, and who are most intolerant. There is no doubt that Protestants and other non-Romanists in the Province of Quebec are less concerned about alleged intrigues and far-reaching plans to dominate the country than those of Ontario, where they do not live so intimately with their Roman Catholic fellow-citizens. And there is a moral to be drawn from this fact. Familiarity is said to breed contempt, but it also leads to friendliness. One cannot well go on suspecting and fearing people whom one finds in daily life to be kind and honest neighbors — at a distance one can imagine anything. Furthermore, as the two articles mentioned show incidentally, and it could easily be confirmed with a wealth of evidence, the non-Romanist in Quebec feels perfectly secure. The Roman Church does not interfere with him or his concerns, he is perfectly free in the pursuit of happiness and well being in his own way. Whether it would continue so if Quebec was a sovereign state or not is another question, but a purely academic one, and communities are not, as such, interested in academic questions.
Another difference between Canada and the United States is that the Roman Church is in the former country practically identified with the French Canadian people. Canada is engaged in the difficult and idealistic experiment of harmonizing two races and two cultures and two languages, each of which necessarily must modify the development of the other, but neither of which has any right to dominate or obliterate the other, nor yet the power to do so. It is doubtful if the British statesmen, who a hundred and more years ago were responsible, had realized the difficulties whether it would have been attempted; but whether blundered into or not the experiment was worth making.
In a Roman Catholic country, the state must inevitably in some way recognize the church. In recognizing it, it to some extent controls it. Even in republican France the government makes reciprocal arrangements with the Church, and it has a real power of influencing and modifying the temporalities of the Church, which is all that the state is interested in. But in such a democracy as the United States the position is quite different. The state cannot recognize any church, and therefore cannot exert any control over its affairs. If, therefore, and the whole question lies in this "if," the members of any church or any society, act as a disciplined unit under their leaders in all public affairs they may easily obtain the influential position of holding the balance of power. It was precisely the apprehension of such an eventuality that led in many quarters to condemnation of the Ku Klux Klan quite as much as alleged acts of overriding the laws and usurping quasi-judicial powers. But if a purely American organization may be judged and condemned on this ground, why not one that is governed and controlled by a foreign authority? It all depends on the "if," on a question of fact; do the members of the Roman Church act as a political unit?
It is on this question of fact that Dr. Cadius will, we believe, throw some light. He presents a picture of the working of the Church from within. Such an account will give much more direct information than any amount of observation from without. The question of course will still remain how far it is an accurate picture, and just what bearing it may have on the problem as a whole. We are not judging or thinking for members of the N.M.R.S. nor for Masons generally. All we can do is to provide such material as seems relevant to the question, and to exercise such care as we can that the authors are responsible.
A final question may be asked. Supposing that on investigation it is found that the apprehensions and the disquiet felt by so many have some real justification, will any advance have been made towards removing that erroneous opinion existing among ill-informed members of the Craft that Masonry is as an institution hostile to Romanism? It must be confessed, the issue in that event would appear doubtful. But that cannot be helped. If a man's eyes are troubling him, his physician may find that it is not new glasses he needs but a course of treatment for indigestion. Clear thinking will solve the question; but it is necessary to think before one can think clearly. American Masons must learn to distinguish between their obligations as Masons and their duties as citizens, and not lay the burden of the latter upon Freemasonry as some seem inclined to do.
It had been our original plan to begin the publication of this series of articles in the October number of THE BUILDER. It would seem that a word of explanation is due to our readers. Certain obstacles arose, and the date was set on to November. Unfortunately the hindrances were not all removed in time to get it into that issue. It then seemed better to defer it to the beginning of the coming year, for the obvious reason that the whole series would thus be in one volume.
We regret this delay very much, but it may be that some advantage will arise from it. The series will all be in one volume, and it has been decided to make the several installments longer than was originally planned so that the conclusion will appear not much, if any, later than was originally intended.
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CANDIDATES for the mysteries of Freemasonry are supposed to be men of mature age, of reasonable intelligence, of good character, and sufficient ability to at least earn their own living and expend their earnings at their own discretion for themselves and their families, if they have families. Seeing that these are qualifications necessary for the candidate, one would suppose that Freemasons in general form a body of mature men, of reasonable intelligence, and so on, down to being able to spend their own money at discretion. Very quaintly, however, it is being asserted in various quarters, and the chorus seems to be growing, that when these mature men of average intelligence, etc., etc., are gathered, organized, or congregated into a lodge that they no longer have these qualities, and that consequently their powers of discretion should be limited by new laws, regulations, decisions and rulings in addition to those we already have. In other words, we are in the presence of a new Landmark in the making. Lodge funds are to be used only for Masonic purposes.
One argument advanced sounds very well. Money paid into the lodge treasury in the way of dues and fees is "in the nature of a trust fund." If it be dissipated by payments for non-Masonic purposes, however innocent or worthy in themselves, what is to happen when a need arises for the exercise of relief — when some brother falls ill and requires assistance — when he dies and his family are left destitute? Some lodges, very few unfortunately, like the wise virgins in the parable do make preparations for future contingencies. Some put aside all initiation fees, others a percentage of their receipts, others budget a certain sum each year to go into a reserve for such purposes. But here is the amazing thing. Masonic funds being as it is said in the nature of trust funds cannot be used except for Masonic purposes. A contribution to a hospital, to a local or national charity, to a fresh air fund is not Masonic. But banquets, entertainments, cigars, furniture, fixtures are Masonic. A lodge may spend all its money without reproach for these and their like. It may even go into debt for them, and the surveyors of Landmarks say not a word. But imagine their outcry if any misguided lodge were to borrow money to contribute to some charitable or benevolent cause.
After all, what business is it of anyone else what the members of a lodge choose to do with their own money? They are free to fix what amount they please for annual dues. A minimum sum they must have to meet the amount due to the Grand Lodge, what more they may choose to add to that is their own affair. And it being their own money it is equally their own affair how they spend it — whether on Masonic suppers and cigars or un-Masonic charities. Has the exercise of benevolence to those in distress become an un-Masonic action? Is it un-Masonic for a group of Masons to collectively engage in a charitable action?
The question of lodge reserves is another matter entirely. If a Grand Lodge enacted that its constituent lodges should set aside a certain amount annually for every member of the lodge, or so much for every candidate initiated, that would be a different matter. Most Grand Lodges, however, have deemed it better to have a collective reserve under Grand Lodge control. But outside of such specific enaction it really seems an unwarrantable interference with the plain rights of a lodge to rule how it shall expend its own money; especially to forbid it to spend it for charitable or benevolent purposes.
Nowhere else in the world but in America has such dictation ever been dreamed of. In all other countries Masonic lodges frequently contribute to such objects, and it is considered most proper that they should. A lodge whose members collectively act in this way will not be likely to fail in its obligations to distressed brethren.
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THE NORTHEAST CORNER
Bulletin of the National Masonic Tuberculosis Sanatoria Association
Incorporated by Authority of the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, A.F. & A.M.
Masonic Temple, Albuquerque, N.M.
OFFICERS AND BOARD OF GOVERNORS
Herbert B. Holt, Grand Master, President
Richard H. Hanna, Vice-President
Jaffa Miller, Vice-President
Francis E. Lester, Vice-President
Wilbur L. Elser, Executive Secretary
Alpheus A. Keen, Secretary
John W. Bowman, Treasurer
Robert J. Newton, Editor, Publicity Director N.M.T.S.A. Las Cruces, New Mexico.
MASONIC TUBERCULAR RELIEF
IN my Annual Address to the Grand Lodge of New Mexico in February last, in discussing this movement I made the following observations:
My faith in our Fraternity is strong enough to cause me to believe that if given the opportunity, through the sanction and cooperation of the Masonic leaders of the several Grand Jurisdictions and the officers of all other Masonic bodies, every American Freemason will gladly contribute at least $1.00 per year for the relief and hospitalization of our brethren and the members of their families who are afflicted with tuberculosis.
The responsibility for the financing of this work and for salvaging Masonic lives and homes in such manner, rests primarily upon the Grand officers and leaders of American Grand Jurisdictions, and upon the officers of all Masonic bodies.
In the name of our sacred and binding obligations, and in the name of our afflicted brethren from whom is emanating the Grand Hailing Sign of Distress, I implore the Masonic leaders of thought and action to extend to our brethren this opportunity to practice the great teachings of our Fraternity and to aid in financing this humanitarian movement.
Millions of dollars are garnered in the treasuries of Grand Lodges and constituent Lodges; and more millions in the treasuries of other Masonic bodies, and in those of organizations affiliated with or claiming some connection with Freemasonry. These millions are growing into more millions. Why this great accumulation of wealth? For what useful purpose is it designed? Is it for the construction of costly Temples or to enable the Craft adequately to finance some great work for the relief of, and genuine material service to, the Fraternity and humanity?
Shall we continue to levy assessments for the erection of great Masonic edifices and Memorials, while closing our purses and shutting our eyes to the distress of our sorely afflicted brethren and turning a deaf ear to appeals for funds in aid of a relief program designed upon a National scale, the financing of which would require the contribution of but the insignificant sum of $1.00 per annurn by each American Freemason? Shall not a comparatively small portion of the accumulated and hoarded wealth of the Fraternity be annually contributed to a general fund to be administered as a sacred trust by the Sanatoria Association, organized by the Masons and controlled and directed by representatives of each Masonic Grand Jurisdiction, for the benefit and relief of our afflicted brethren and their families? Are not the lives of Freemasons, and those of their wives and children, more valuable to the Fraternity and to America than mere wealth alone? Aye, are they not wealth itself?
I quote the words of the poet, Gray, in his beautiful "Elegy in a Country Churchyard":
"Ill fares the land, to hastening ills a prey.
Where wealth accumulates, and men decay."
Following the Chicago Meeting, acting under authority there conferred, an appeal was made for contributions, upon the basis of fifteen cents per capita of Masonic membership. Before Masonic bodies had time to act upon the appeal, we had an opportunity to purchase a Sanatorium in El Paso, Texas, in first-class condition, for about fifty cents on the dollar of its real value.
The cost, including furniture and equipment, would have been $75,000.00. Our first appeal was immediately supplemented with a full statement concerning the opportunity to acquire a "going hospital, wherein immediately to commence our work of relief."
These appeals were made to every Masonic Grand body, including the Scottish Rite, the Shrine, the Grotto, and the General Grand Chapter of the Order of Eastern Star. The response was negligible.
Shortly thereafter the great Mississippi Flood became a menace, and the brethren of the states directly affected were compelled to make plans for the relief of those who were, or would be, in distress. More than $500,000.00 was contributed to Flood Relief, and the Cause of Masonic Tubercular Relief was lost sight of in this dramatic disaster. Freemasons contributed liberally to aid flood sufferers and to replace property losses, but would not or did not visualize the necessity and duty and obligation to respond to an appeal for aid in the effort to save Masonic lives, Masonic families and Masonic homes.
In my aforesaid address to the Grand Lodge of New Mexico, in discussing our first appeal the following observations were made, to-wit:
The economic phase of our problem affords an interesting study, and provides convincing and conclusive evidence of the importance and value of salvaging the health, the lives and homes of our tubercular brethren; but the controlling and actuating motive is and should be OUR OBLIGATION.
Our appeal for funds with which to finance the work will demonstrate, during the present year, whether or not American Freemasonry has a soul. It will demonstrate whether or not we observe the letter or the spirit of the law; for: "Faith without works is dead."
Our first appeal for funds, upon the basis of fifteen cents per capita, calls upon each American Freemason to contribute at least the price of one good cigar for the assistance and relief of his sick brethren. The cost of attempting to collect this sum from each individual would be prohibitive. Hence we ask that each Masonic body contribute that amount from its treasury, in which event there will be no expense of collection. If there are no available funds in the treasury, we ask that each Masonic body circularize its membership, either constituent Lodges or individual members, asking for voluntary contributions. We believe that such action will provide average contributions far in excess of fifteen cents per capita.
If, during the ensuing year, contributions from all Grand Lodges average fifteen cents per capita, the total sum contributed will equal $487,500.00. With this amount it is proposed to construct an initial or first hospital unit of one hundred bed capacity, at an estimated cost of $250,000.00; to set aside $100,000.00 for the first year's operating expense; and an equal amount for home relief work, and hospitalization in existing sanatoria, pending completion of the Masonic Sanatorium; to continue the educational and publicity campaign and to carry on the administrative work.
My remarks upon this subject concluded as follows, to-wit:
Some Grand Jurisdictions are wealthier than others and are financially able to care for their own members, whether they do or not. According to our conception of Masonic obligations, they are binding upon us, no matter where a needy brother may be found; our obligations are not limited by State lines or by any other boundaries. We are, or we should be, one common brotherhood. Shall we continue as forty-nine separate organizations, not interested in each other's problems, and not interested in our own brethren if they wander from their homes? Or shall we unite as one family to care for those who have fallen by the wayside, who are down and out through no fault of their own?
A national organization has been perfected and a plan outlined, a Design has been placed upon the Trestleboard, whereby succor and relief may be afforded to our tuberculous brethren. If they are longer neglected their blood will be upon our hands.
It has fallen to our lot to speak for these brethren of our "Grand Lodge of Sorrow." They are a great, inarticulate mass, scattered in thousands of homes throughout this great, free and wealthy land of ours. They cannot personally make their plea to the Fraternity. Therefore, in their name we have made a plea to the Masons of America, to stretch forth their hands to aid our fallen brethren and to assist in raising them again, to stand among us as men and Masons.
In the great true heart of American Freemasonry is to be found the answer to our appeal.
Many and varied have been the reasons assigned by the various Grand Jurisdictions which have declined or failed to join the organization or to respond to the appeals for cooperation and financial assistance.
There has been borne in upon our minds the conviction that jealousy upon the part of certain leaders of the Masonic Service Association has engendered a spirit of antagonism, or lack of sincere, genuine cooperation. It has also been demonstrated that numerous Masonic leaders are fundamentally opposed to a national organization of this or any other character, and believe in zealously safeguarding the sovereignty of each Grand Jurisdiction, and limiting Masonic relief work of every and any character strictly within the confines of their several jurisdictions, coupled with the assertion that they will take care of their own tuberculars within their own borders if they will stay at home and that they will even take care of their own, thus afflicted, who may migrate to more favorable climates in the hope of obtaining relief; but as to the latter assertion, our experience has demonstrated that its fulfillment is the exception rather than the rule; and I am confident that this statement can be corroborated by the experience of other Grand Jurisdictions within the confines of the great "Tuberculosis Triangle." It is contended by some opponents of the association that the admittedly superior climatic advantages of the arid and semiarid Southwest are not essential to the treatment and cure of tuberculosis; but it is a noteworthy fact that statistics have revealed that by far the larger percentage of tuberculars who have migrated to those regions were advised so to do by their local physicians.
It is not my purpose to discuss or argue with reference to the two schools of thought upon this subject. Suffice it to say that the basic and primary purpose and object of the association was not the establishment of Sanatoria in any particular section of the country, but to arouse the Fraternity to a realization of the impelling obligation and imperative necessity to organize upon a broad national scale to deal with the great problem. It should be remembered that tuberculosis is an infectious and communicable disease, wherein it differs from certain other diseases to which the human flesh is heir and the death toll from which is great; and it should also be remembered that tuberculosis is a great menace to the children of the adult brethren or parents who may be afflicted with the disease and that it is highly important to educate the public as to the best means not only of prevention but for cure.
Other opponents of the project urge that the movement is a departure from the fundamental teachings of the Order, chief among which is training the individual Mason to practice individual charity.
It seems to me that one of the fundamental teachings is service; and that the character of the service demanded by the magnitude of the tuberculosis problem is such as to render it imperatively necessary to organize upon a basis and scale commensurate with the magnitude of the situation now confronting the Masonic Fraternity.
One of the greatest difficulties encountered has been that incident to the succession in the leadership of the various Grand Jurisdictions. Grand Master Charles F. Roberts, of the Grand Lodge of the District of Columbia, aptly said:
Times change and men change with them. Grand Masters come and go, with varying ideas of the relative values of matters in which our Fraternity is concerned. What seems important to me may not be so regarded by my successors, but we have the comforting assurance that the policies and ultimate purposes of Freemasonry are fixed, and that necessarily the efforts of all are directed towards the same worthy end.
It is not my purpose here to challenge the sincerity of any brethren whose opinions differ from mine or from those entertained by my intimate associates in the conduct of the affairs of the association. For them as men and Masons I entertain the highest respect and fraternal regard but from my viewpoint it seems deplorable that American Freemasonry cannot unite in this great cause, and contemplation of the apparent apathy and indifference, and inability or unwillingness to envision the cause from a broad national standpoint, "maketh the heart sick."
The sanatorium which we had an opportunity to purchase in El Paso and which should now be in operation as the "First National Masonic Sanatorium," was purchased by a Catholic Nursing Order, and is now rendering service as a Catholic Sanatorium. It was financed in short order, without fuss or feathers; there was an immediate and adequate response to the call for the requisite funds.
It has been said that the establishment of such a Masonic Sanatorium would constitute a standing invitation for migratory consumptives. The answer is: suppose this were true; are we not organized for the great fundamental purpose of contributing as largely and expeditiously as possible to the relief of our tubercular brethren and members of their families afflicted with the dread disease, in the effort to salvage and restore them to health, activity and economic production at the earliest possible date? Time will not permit an elaboration of the economic features of the problem. Suffice it to say that upon the basis of statistics of the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company of New York the total economic loss from the death of 4,309 American Freemasons who die each year is over $93,000,000.00.
The foregoing observations indicate that the prospects for the successful consummation of our work of organization are not encouraging at the present time; but "Rome was not built in a day" and it may well be that several years must elapse before our hopes are fully realized.
However, as a result of the campaign of education, there has been stimulated in many jurisdictions a marked degree of activity in the line of tubercular relief work.
Defeat is not recognized or admitted. The facts are thus laid before your organization; and your advice and counsel are solicited as to the best method for attaining the great objective. Your members have studied and worked upon relief problems, and by virtue of their knowledge and experience should be able to offer invaluable suggestions.
The abandonment of the movement would be tantamount to admitting that Freemasonry cannot function outside of Jurisdictional lines, or upon a national scale; that its protestations are as "sounding brass and tinkling cymbal"; that it does not practice what it preaches; that it has been "weighed in the balances" and found wanting, and that it is incapable of that degree of cohesion and coordination essential to dealing efficiently and effectively with the existing situation. American Freemasonry is on trial, and will stand or fall according to the final answer to our sick brethren, standing in the Northeast corner, pleading for help, which has been so long withheld and the failure to render which has resulted in the death of so large a number while we have debated among ourselves.
How many more Masonic lives will be sacrificed, how many more Masonic homes will be destroyed before the sleeping giant of American Freemasonry arouses to meet the need and to fulfill our sacred obligation?
What is your answer, what do you advise and what will you do?
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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.
An Educational Committee and Its Work
THE Grand Lodge of Saskatchewan, through its Committee on Masonic Study and Research, has been bringing to the attention of the Craft in that jurisdiction various matters relating to the Craft degrees. The last year was devoted to the Second Degree, the preceding one to the Entered Apprentice ceremony and the present season is to carry the work through the Third Degree.
The program for the current year is quite comprehensive and is reprinted below to enable our readers to know what is being done in that locality as well as to assist existing Study Clubs in the arrangement of programs. References, as recommended by the Study and Research Committee, are included for convenience.
NOVEMBER — Opening Third Degree. Review of previous degrees.
Ward's M.M. Handbook, p. 16.
Meaning of Masonry, p. 124.
DECEMBER — Preparation, Exception, Prayer, Circumambulation.
Sanderson's Examination, p. 79.
Mackey's Symbolism, p. 141.
Street's Symbolism, p. 144.
JANUARY — Obligation, Points of Fellowship.
Sanderson's Examination, p. 81.
Street's Symbolism, p. 155.
FEBRUARY — The Legend of the Degree.
Ward's M.M. Handbook, p. 74.
Mackey's Symbolism, p. 228.
Haywood's Symbolism, p. 268.
Address of M. W. Bro. Thornton given in full in the book of Essays published by the Regina Masonic Research Club.
MARCH — Sprig of Acacia, Eccl. xii, The Lost Word.
Sanderson's Examination, p. 91.
Mackey's Symbolism, p. 249.
Street's Symbolism, pp. 157-161.
Haywood's Symbolism, p. 256.
Ward's Moral Teachings, p. 57.
APRIL — Apron, Working Tools.
Ward's M.M. Handbook, p. 62.
Street's Symbolism, p. 145.
MAY — The Completed Temple. The qualifications of a M. M. or when is a man a M.M.
Ward's M.M. Handbook, p. 106.
Mackey's Symbolism, p. 86.
JUNE — Closing Third Degree. Summary of the Symbolism of the Third Degree.
Ward's M.M. Handbook, pp. 101 and 106.
Sanderson's Examination, p. 58.
The Committee further recommends that each of the above subjects be consulted in Mackey's Encyclopaedia.
The following books are kept by the Grand Lodge and are recommended by the Committee:
Sanderson's Examination of the Masonic Ritual.
Haywood's Symbolical Masonry.
Wilmhurst's Meaning of Masonry.
Moral Teachings of Masonry.
As a guide to the method of treating the various subjects the Committee has supplied the following outline covering the November topic:
"The opening of a lodge in any degree is of the greatest importance, for, depending entirely upon how well that duty is performed will the work of the degree be appreciated and become of personal benefit. Although lodge work is carried on by the assembled brethren we should not forget that the meaning is personal and individual, each degree only adding to and strengthening that of the former degree, reaching its climax when the candidate passes through the valley of the shadow of death to behold that bright and shining morning the meaning of which the Master is at some pains to make plain to the Master Mason who henceforward is expected to follow that light implicitly.
"Going back then to the First Degree we discover that: The candidate is prepared without the lodge — is admitted to a lodge already opened by the method used in that degree. He is in darkness (without knowledge) and is to be trained or taught that the degree is only a preparatory school in which is exhibited symbolically all things that he must avoid, and also those he must practice and emulate in order to be in a fit and proper state to be advanced to the Second Degree and permitted to explore into the secrets and hidden mysteries of nature and science; and it may be here asserted by the experience expressed by all ancient initiates — without true preparation the laborer labors in vain, for nature does not give up her secrets for any purpose less noble than for the highest benefits of mankind.
"Having learned that the purpose of all nature is for the benefit of mankind and that even man must sooner or later pass through another great and mysterious change to another life the opening ceremony of the Third Degree prepares all his mental processes to pass through the ordeal; an ordeal that is beautifully told but of its real significance the raised or resurrected Master Mason alone can tell for no two receive quite the same impression yet once assembled with their brethren the result would apparently be the same.
"It will at once be apparent to the student who analyzes the motive of each degree that a detailed opening of the lodge in each degree is the only one that can be of value to the 'seeking' Mason, for the reason that the mind is raised by complete and successive stages to an appreciation of the final epoch and transition to another life.
"To come out of the turmoil and strife of our everyday life, to rush into a serious contemplation of the higher and sacred truths which Masonry attempts to unfold to its members is impossible without the three steps of opening which are the means of inducing that peaceful, quiet and contemplative attitude necessary to Divine union."
References: Any brother preparing a paper on this subject should first read one or more of the following books: The Meaning of Masonry by Wilmshurst; The Magic of Masonry by Powell; Ward's M.M. Handbook.
The circular letter sent to all lodges by the Committee on Masonic Study and Research embodies the following suggestions for arousing interest in the programs.
"It might be possible for neighboring lodges to adopt similar programs and then on one or two meetings arrange a fraternal visit, the visiting lodge giving the paper and the home lodge leading in the discussion.
"After a paper is given it is important to get a discussion on the topic as it is generally acknowledged that this does as much if not more good than the paper itself. In order to facilitate this work it is suggested that a copy of the paper be given to the Brother, who is to lead the discussion, a few days before the actual meeting. This gives him a chance to emphasize the points that appeal to him, to look up any references he may wish, and be in a position to offer the friendly criticism that causes a general discussion.
"It is essential too to have a 'question box' at each meeting and your Committee are prepared to take care of any questions that come up which cannot be answered by any brother present."
The work of Masonic Education in the Jurisdiction of Saskatchewan seems to be most ably handled. The above outline of their program for the coming year is comprehensive, and the material furnished with it seems to carry a number of concrete suggestions which might be adopted to advantage by many American Grand Lodges.
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The books reviewed in these pages can be procured through the Book Department of the N.M.R.S. at the prices given, which always include postage. These prices are subject (as a matter of precaution) to change without notice; though occasion for this will very seldom arise. Occasionally it may happen, where books are privately printed, that there is no supply available, but some indication of this will be given in the review. The Book Department is equipped to procure any books in print on any subject, and will make inquiries for second-hand works and books out of print.
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FREIMAURERISCHES LESEBUCH, Eine Einfuhrung in das Freimaurerische Schriftum Band II, by Dr. August Horneffer. Published by the Verein Deutsches Freimauer, Leipsig. Boards, analytical table of contents, 183 pages.
THIS "Freemason's Reader" is highly interesting and instructive. In it we are given enlightening glimpses into the German Weltanschauung, there is no real equivalent for the word in English; the German world-view, way of looking at things, may serve. The work is made up of a selection of speeches and addresses made by leaders in the realm of German thought and life, by scientists, philosophers and statesmen. Of course a statesman may speak like a scientific philosopher, and conversely a philosopher may be scientific and even statesmanlike.
The student of psychology will find much valuable material, material that constitutes a striking body of evidence for the supremacy of the subjective over the objective world — "things are not what they seem"; that is, things exist for the individual as they impress themselves mediately through his prejudices, predilections, and according to his understanding, upon the inner man, the ego, or, according to Prof. Freud, the superego.
Of quite special interest are two addresses, the one by Kaiser Wilhelm I in 1853, when he was fifty-three years old, and the other by his son, Kaiser Frederic I, in 1883, at the age of fifty-one. What a contrast! The latter is sufficiently brief to be quoted in full:
We must not rest in our search, our examination and exploration. We ought not to maintain or support the traditional simply because it has become valuable, and dear to us, as a heritage, because it has become a cherished habit. As far as we are concerned we should ever be mindful of the principle, not stagnation but progress.
A similar contrast is presented to the reader in an address by Johan Gottlieb Fichte in 1803, and a discourse by Dr. Horneffer, the editor of the book, in which he enunciates a set of ideas or doctrines. Fichte says:
Just as, in the eyes of a Freemason, the earthly purpose is to the eternal, the heavenly purpose, so is the profit, interest and advantage of the state in which he (the Mason) lives to the profit and advantage of the whole of humanity. . . . In his (a Mason's) inner being, patriotism and internationalism are inwardly united, the two are in a definite relation. Patriotism actively constitutes internationalism, humanity constitutes the idea, the ideal. The first is appearance, the second the inner side of the appearance, the invisible in the visible world.
The ideals presented by Dr. Horneffer are very widely different:
Germanization and Humanization are one and the same thing. There is no abstract humanity....
The Master of Nazareth stood above patriotism as an ideal only in so far, and because, he was more than human. In so far as he was human he was a child of his time. For every people internationalism must be conformed to patriotism. . . .
For this reason we German Freemasons are opposed to political equalization just as we reject human equalization. God has made us Germans....
Our author here represents, mirabilissime dictum, the general attitude, the standard, the ideal of a large majority of the human race, but in the opinion of the present writer this was not the ideal of the founders, the pioneers of our organization, the Fraternity and Society of Freemasons; and it was not the ideal of, nor is it in accord with the teachings of Him from whom we learned to say, "Our Father, Who art in Heaven." For if He is our Father, then all human beings are brothers in fact; and of this He gave us one great lesson, one great example when He washed His disciples' feet.
L. F. S.
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AN OUTLINE INTRODUCTION TO THE HISTORY OF RELIGIONS. By T. H. Robinson, D. D. Published by the Oxford University Press (Milford). Cloth, 244 pages. Price, $2.15.
THIS is an admirable book for those interested in the origins and the comparative study of religions. There is an increasing body of seekers after true knowledge as opposed to the knowledge of dogmatic assertion. The latter of course has its value which varies in proportion to the truth it contains. But a true student cannot remain satisfied under any tutelage which precludes investigation and discussion.
Fortunately, Dr. Robinson is not dogmatic. He is meticulously careful in avoiding statements of preference. One feels that he is bent only on eliciting facts, allowing them to speak for themselves.
But there is more in the book than facts; there is the correlation of them. The arrangement of material follows a plan that is both logical and natural. One cannot claim that it is also chronological because, in dealing with the primitive ages of human development, it is not always possible from the evidence to state the time-order of religious progress; in the strictly historical periods other considerations carry more weight than mere chronology. In order to illustrate this latter point, let us turn to the concluding chapters of the volume (vii-ix). Chronologically, Islam is the latest monotheistic phenomenon. Yet it is not by any means the most significant in wealth of content, or in evolutionary power. Islam is a static religion. Accordingly the author treats of Islam first, and reserves the place of honor to Christianity as the climax in an age-long spiritual pilgrimage (pp. 178-207; 208-244). No one nurtured in the bosom of Christian civilization will quarrel with him for that.
Those who have browsed among the pages of Frazer's Golden Bough and read carefully Otto's Idea of the Holy will be interested in the author's treatment of the feelings and beliefs which group themselves about such words as mana, psyche and pneuma, anima and spiritus. The discussion arises in the course of a masterly review of the various types of theory which are based on the available facts of primitive religion (pp. 30-46). In this section the author also separates clearly the belief in the prolongation of life after death from the religion of primitive man. Monotheistic faiths exhibit the two in close conjunction, belief in the continuity of life here and beyond the grave depending upon belief in God. But the evidence seems to indicate that originally these two lines of thought, or better, instinct, were collateral and independent of one another.
Although Hebrew history and prophecy are the special province of Dr. Robinson, his statement of the monolatrous conditions of pre-exiled Israel does not appear convincing. While many scholars will accept his affirmation as descriptive of the religion of the masses, the teaching of Amos and Hosea is undiluted monotheism (pp. 102-3; 167-171).
Nevertheless it may be said that the book is lucid, eminently readable (with occasional gleams of humor) and strongly to be recommended not only to beginners in the study of religion, but also to more advanced students who desire to see the subject of their investigation presented in a concise yet panoramic form.
F. G. V.
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HOW TO WRITE: A Book of Helpful Suggestions on Various Phases of Writing. Published by the Corona Typewriter Company, Inc., Groton, New York. Price, $1.25.
"THIS book, if you follow its suggestions carefully, will make money for you." Indeed a most enticing sentence with which to open a volume!
Yet truth compels me to admit that it is one of the best little books I have ever read on the subject. Above all, it is intensely practical; it tells in simple and well chosen words just what you wish to know. It is the sort of book which every magazine editor prays his contributors will read before burdening him with manuscripts such as I have seen in my day.
Brue Barton contributes a chapter on "Developing a Style." It is as terse and to the point as his own well-read editorials. Ray Long, now vice-president and editor-in-chief of the International Magazine Company, which publishes, among others, such magazines as "Good Housekeeping," "Harper's Bazaar" and the "Cosmopolitan," presents a chapter, "The Writing of Fiction," which prompts one to drop his work and start right out on one of those fine ideas which come in the silences of the night but which fall so flat after the next morning's breakfast. Mr. Long's articles are illustrated by practical examples, and leads one to the chapter on "How to Prepare a Manuscript," so that it will possess the ear marks of a professional writer and have a better opportunity of acceptance.
The little book closes with a bibliography of literature on writing. The titles are excellent ones, really selected with care, and not put in merely to fill the space.
The volume is recommended to all writers, especially to those of the Masonic Craft, even though contributions to Masonic literature are not productive of the money which is promised in the introduction of How to Write. But perhaps efforts to produce Masonic literature may be good practice for manuscripts of a more remunerative nature, for, after all, it is continuous practice which develops a writer. Even Masonic scribes are paid occasionally for their labors; I speak from experience!
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THE ROYAL ROAD TO ROMANCE. By Richard Halliburton. Published by The Bobbs-Merrill Co., Indianapolis. Cloth, table of contents, illustrated, 3,99 pages. Price, $5.25.
THE fact that Mr. Halliburton's first book was published two years ago may be reason enough for not noticing it in review columns of the press. It would doubtless be more timely to make mention of his later work, but it is of so little importance compared to the earlier effort that the preference is given to The Royal Road to Romance, an interesting and thoroughly enjoyable book.
Mr. Halliburton, a Princetonian, enjoys the plague of the wanderlust. The choice of words may be criticised in the above sentence, particularly by those who are plagued by the same desire for wandering, but in this case the word "enjoy" describes the sensation more nearly than any other. The author had the craving for travel and actually satisfied it and therein does he differ from most of us.
The story can be told in few words, but the author consumes a volume of almost 400 pages and not one of them should be omitted. The present writer would not object if the narrative were carried to twice its length. It is no more than the adventures of a young collegian filling the interval between school and the business world with a "vagabond voyage around the world," to use a phrase of his predecessor, Harry A. Franck.
The trips of Franck and Halliburton differ in many ways. Their itineraries are not the same, and their observations show marked differences in character. Franck is a student of life and his tale palls at times because of his minute descriptions of customs, though the tale is interesting nevertheless. Halliburton, on the other hand, is a romanticist and revels more in the beauty of a landscape than in the peculiarities of its people. Both are keen observers; both are college men, and both gained their desired ends. Their aims were different and their tales vary accordingly, but this is not the time for such comparison.
To enumerate all of the bright spots in the journey of Halliburton would require more space than is available. It is impossible to forget his ascent of the Matterhorn, possibly because when the summit was reached Halliburton was awed by the scenery while his companion was engrossed in the more prosaic thought that there was one place in the world where it was possible to spit a mile. Paris is interesting primarily because it recalls places and events and not for any unusual happenings in the tale. The visit to Andorra, a little republic in the heart of the Pyreness, is a fascinating bit of narration, and Gibraltar furnishes anecdotes enough to satisfy anyone.
All of this is overshadowed by the night spent on top of the Pyramid of Cheops. A foolish prank you may think, but none the less a stopping place on the Road to Romance. It is no more than a way station however, because we are enthralled by the beauty of the Taj Mahal and a night spent in its gardens. Romance must have been in the air that night, but for the satisfaction of a craving for romance could anything have been more healing than the Valley of Kashmir? There is the romantic ballad, one of the Indian Love Lyrics, you must know it, the Kashmiri Song, it is one of the most romantic bits of music I know, and from Halliburton's descriptions the country lives up to its reputation.
The narrative follows the established rules of story telling, and leads to a climax in Japan, but not before the author has had many interesting adventures in the South Seas. The midwinter ascent of Fujiyama alone is the most thrilling adventure of all and in some ways the, most romantic.
So far as the book itself is concerned there is little to say, except that it is up to the standard set by the narrative. It is well bound and printed on a good quality of paper. The illustrations are well done and copious in quantity. The Royal Road to Romance is a book everyone should read and it is suitable for presentation purposes.
E. E. T.
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ARS QUATUOR CORONATI, Vol. xxxviii, Parts I and II .
THE Quatuor Coronati Lodge and its Secretary and Editor, Bro. W. J. Songhurst, are to be congratulated on the progress being made in catching up with the arrears in publication, due to the war and the consequent period of depression. At the present rate of progress the normal state of affairs may soon be looked for. During the year 1925 W. Bro. J. Heron Lepper was Master of the lodge, which, it is needless to say, is one of the highest honors in the select circles of Masonic scholarship. We trust that many of our readers will make the acquaintance of the valuable History of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, recently reviewed in THE BUILDER, of which he and Bro. Philip Crossle are the joint authors.
The first paper in the two parts under review is one by Bro. Boris Telepneff on Russian Freemasonry in the reign of Alexander I. The history of the Craft in Russia is very obscure, and any new light upon it is very welcome. The first definite historical starting point seems to be the Provincial Grand Mastership of Gen. James Keith. He was appointed in 1740 by his brother, the Earl of Kintore, then Grand Master. He had been in the service of Russia for some years at the time of this appointment.
During the reign of Catherine II, Masonry seems to have flourished greatly, in the higher social circles especially. There are rumors that Paul I, who succeeded Catherine in 1796, was a Mason, but they are unsupported by any real evidence. It was at this time that the Knights of St. John were driven from Malta (1798) by Napoleon and an attempt was made to reestablish them in Russia. Paul I took up their cause, and is said to have made all the Masters of Lodges in Russia promise him personally never to open a lodge without his permission, and in return made them Knights of Malta. Freemasonry thus became dormant, or at least concealed any activity that may have existed. When Alexander followed Paul there were great hopes that the lodges might be permitted to resume their labors because of the new Emperor's known liberal tendencies. In 1803 the prohibition against secret societies was relaxed in the case of the Masonic Fraternity, and Alexander himself became an initiate.
There were two tendencies manifested in the Craft. One towards Christian mysticism, the other following French liberalism, and presumably also the scepticism that went with it. To these were added the Swedish system, which derived directly from the Rite of Strict Observance. This, as is well known, was an exclusively Christian system, and still is for that matter. The government found this apparently a useful instrument and favored it accordingly while the lodges under French influences were regarded with suspicion.
However even those lodges which were approved were under strict supervision; all were required to furnish lists of members, times of meetings, and so on. Bro. Telepneff thinks that this had the effect of driving some of the more liberal lodges underground.
The Swedish Strict Observance, with its absolute subordination, enslavement it might almost be called, of the Craft degrees to the higher grades did not appeal to the German and Germanophile element, with the result that Schroeder's rite was introduced. This and Fessler's rite were at one in seeking to return to the "original plan" of Masonry and restoring directive power to the Craft proper. The result was much dispute between the opponents of the "High Grades," and those who supported them in their privileged position. The disagreement reached such a pitch that in 1815 two Grand Lodges were formed out of the members of the Directorial Grand Lodge Vladimir, which before this was at least nominally the ruling body of the Craft. It is impossible to give even a sketch of the story of these two bodies. The one holding by the Swedish Rite was more cohesive, but much the weaker numerically. The other attempted no supervision of its constituents, who were free to work as they saw fit. Bro. Telepneff points out the gradual deterioration that set in, both in spirit and in the quality of membership. The final result was that many Masons became thoroughly dissatisfied with the developments and some even communicated their fears to the government and advised the suppression of the whole organization. It would seem that the lodges did not actually become political centers, but they did, apparently, in many cases, serve as stepping stones or antechambers to secret societies of a revolutionary type. The Emperor, after much hesitation, finally issued a decree closing all the lodges, and in August, 1822, the last meeting was held to hear the edict read and to act upon it and thus pass out of existence. The real reason for this was not the decree, but the fact that the spirit had departed from the Russian Craft and only the shell remained to crumble at the first shock.
Students of the ritual will be interested in a very full account that is quoted from the Russian author A. P. Stepanov of the form of admission in 1817 in a Russian lodge. It tallies closely with the briefer accounts given by Tolstoi in some of his works, and is parallel to French forms of the same period.
The following paper was one by Bro. Geo. W. Bullamore on the Antiquity of the Third Degree. This was pretty severely handled in the ensuing discussion, especially by Bro. Daynes. In his method, however, there does seem to be some justification for Bro. Bullamore. The facts are all pretty well known by this time to all students of Masonic origins, and those new ones that have occasionally turned up in recent years are nearly all of the same kind as some one or more of those previously known. The problem is very much that of the archeological expert who tries, for example, to reconstruct a Greek vase from a miscellaneous heap of pottery fragments. In museums such reconstructions can sometimes be seen where the pieces are fastened to a core of plaster or other material, and many of the fragments perhaps do not even touch the surrounding ones. We have a number of isolated scraps of evidence and the problem is, to find some pattern into which they will all fit. Items that really connect exist, but there are many that stand by themselves; and presumably reconstruction will always be hypothetical, and depend on the imagination and preconceptions of the individual.
The bias that Bro. Bullamore exhibits, and it has affected many besides him, is that of trying to find evidence for things that developed later than 1730 before that date. Leaving aside his suggestions regarding the Knights Templar, he seems quite seriously to hold that "Mark" Masonry existed, at least in the form of a class of Masons he denominates "Mark Fellows," and he quotes Bro. Vibert's surmise:
That in operative days the mark was not selected or conferred without some sort of formality conducted in open lodge.
Some formality we may indeed surmise, as the minutes of Mary's Chapel and other like records indicate. The newly entered Mason selected his mark, and it was "booked," and a fee was paid to the Clerk for doing so. As the author of the Confession remarks:
The day that a prentice comes under the oath he gets his choice of a mark to put upon his tools, by which to know them.... Hereby one is taught to say to such as ask the question, where got you that mark? A. I laid one down and took up another.
Which, cryptically, alludes to the fact that the fee for registration was "one mark Scots." Here we have a simple formality, but hardly a ceremony. The most probable hypothesis to account for the use of "Mark Masonry" is that it was a deliberate attempt to preserve the custom of choosing a mark, once universal and as much a matter of procedure as registering the apprentice's name, but which with changed conditions had gradually lapsed.
Bro. Bullamore's theory seems to be that there were three kinds of Masons, each with a fraternity and ceremonies and secrets of its own, the plain Masons, who seem to be the same as the layers; the Mark Fellows, who were stone-cutters and carvers; and the Masters who were architects. By an amalganiation of these elements he would account for our present three degrees. To revert to our illustration of piecing broken pottery, it seems rather like increasing the size of the core in order to find places for all the fragments far enough apart so that no one could say positively that some intervening part is not conceivable that would connect them. Naturally the only way to disprove such a reconstruction is to find some other arrangement that brings the pieces closer together, and perhaps puts some of them in actual contact.
Rather much is made in the paper of the introduction of the chisel in the 12th century. This undoubtedly marked an epoch in technique, but the use of the chisel does not mean that the axe or gavel-hammer was discarded. It continued to be used for roughing out the work and would form part of every mason's kit. Early ornament was not worked with the axe but with the pick, and in effect the pick was chisel and mallet in one — only it needed far greater manual skill, just as the adze needs far more skill than the plane. On the other hand work could be done with the chisel that would be practically impossible with the pick, so that, as has happened in other crafts, a new tool lessened the skill of hand necessary but opened new avenues of development.
One more thing only can be touched on: in his reply at the end of the discussion Bro. Bullamore advanced some evidence that seems on its face to indicate that the "book" mentioned in most of the Old Charges, upon which the oath was taken, was not the Bible, nor even the Gospels, but the book or roll of the Charges itself. This opens up a new question altogether, and one that needs further discussion.
In Part II there is a paper by Bro. W. J. Williams on Alexander Pope, and another by Bro. J. Heron Lepper on Irish Ambulatory Warrants with the rather romantic title of "The Poor Common Soldier." Both are of very great interest. It may surprise most people to learn that Pope was a Roman Catholic and even more to learn that in addition he was a Freemason. However, as Bro. Lepper stated in the discussion up till about a hundred years ago, the majority of Masons in Ireland were Roman Catholics, and Bro. Williams pointed out in his paper, the Grand Master was himself a Roman Catholic in the year that the name "Alexr. Pope" first appears in the list of members of the lodge at the "Goat at the Foot of the Hay Market."
It was the late Bro. Chetwode Crawley who first suggested that the Alexr. Pope of the list referred to was the well known poet. Bro. Daynes, who always proves himself a most vigilant critic, points out that Bro. Williams has not brought us at all nearer to certitude on the point. Pope is not a rare name, nor yet is Alexander. There is no proof that the Freemason was also the poet. But Bro. Williams, in his reply, said he had merely taken the suggestion for whatever it might be worth, and showed from Pope's writings that, whether a Mason or not, he freely satirised the Craft and its members.
Bro. Lepper's paper adds a lot of new information regarding military lodges, many of which came to America at one time or another, and were very influential in shaping the form that Freemasonry took in this country when it declared itself independent. A very interesting argument is offered that the lodge Parfaite Egalite registered under the Grand Lodge of France, as belonging to "the Regiment of Walshe" may have had some documentary proof of its claim to have been constituted in 1688. Originally this was an Irish regiment in the service of James I and which later fought for James II against William of Orange in Ireland. From thence what was left of it went to France and entered the service of the French King. As Bro. Lepper says if students of Trinity College in Dublin were joining the Fraternity in 1688 why not (and indeed a fortiori) the soldiers?
This part concludes with the account of the annual summer outing of the lodge in 1925 by Bro. Lionel Vibert. This time the visit was made to Dorset, which is a country rich in antiquities of all periods, from prehistoric times to those that in comparison are but of yesterday. The members of the lodge who made the pilgrimage seem, as usual, to have had a very interesting and enjoyable time.
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IN THE PILLORY. By John Bond. Published by the Fellowship Forum, Washington, D. C. Cloth, illustrated, table of contents, 76 pages. Price $1.10.
IT seems strange that anti-Catholic propaganda so often falls into the same errors as pro-Catholic publicity. That such is the case is strikingly illustrated in the present volume. There is no need to go into great detail, but the underlying principle of all propaganda seems to be the publication of facts, expurgated to meet certain needs. In other words it is generally impossible to say that a bit of pro-something or anti-anything publicity is fallacious in its premises if the propagandist knows his business. The facts may be absolutely correct, founded upon the best of historical evidence, and yet be so written as to give a false impression. This is, of course, not deliberate lying, but it is the very essence of the science of propaganda.
In the Pillory is clearly an illustration of this type of publication. The book is well written, devilishly clever in its construction, and doubtless will succeed in its purpose. John Bond is by far the best writer on the staff of The Fellowship Forum. He has a way of telling the truth, as far as he goes, and the result is far more effective than the blatant criticism so often seen in the pages of some periodicals. The book deals with the Pope Alexander VI, Roderigo Borgia. The reputation of the fumily is too well known to require much comment. Their dissoluteness is known on every hand and when it is expressed in modern English the effect is enormous. The impression is gained immediately that any organization which permitted such license and immorality is, and cannot help but be, as immoral at the present time. That is precisely what Bond wants to convey.
Before more is said I should like to make the statement that I hold no brief for the Roman Church, but I do like to see fairness in criticism.
It has been said that we cannot understand a man until we know the times in which he lived. There is the secret of Bond's book. Instead of telling anything about the moral standards of the fifteenth century, he proceeds to allow us to judge by modern rules of conduct. That Alexander VI was worse than even his times seems possible, but it does not appear that he was very much worse. There have been other churchmen who had illegitimate children, others who poisoned those who stood in their way, and doubtless others who indulged in the Bacchanalian orgies which characterized Alexander VI. These were not so severely criticised, and their escapades are not so we known. The mediaeval period was steeped in this sort of thing.
The book should be read by everyone. It is interesting, but it needs an historical background of the period to modify the effect of the horrors depicted. It must also be remembered that the "Counter-Reformation" was really a great reformation in the Roman church, even if not on lines that Protestants would approve. It would also be possible to argue that if it had occurred earlier there would never have been any Protestants. However, in the nature of things, when the corruption had so completely affected the central organization, the impulse to reform could only be supplied from without, which made the revolt labelled "the Reformation" a necessary antecedent.
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THE SON OF MAN AND THE NEW NATIONS. Published by the Danite Publishing Co. Paper, 24 pages.
WE are not familiar with the precise creed of the Danite organization, and it is not easy to fathom the meaning of this pamphlet. It seems to be rather eclectic, based upon the Bible, especially the apocalyptic parts, Revelations and the more obscure prophets. But with this is apparently material drawn from the Kabbalah, Alchemy and other mystical schools, including Astrology. Vegetarianism seems to be also part of the creed which would there parallel Buddhism. The end of the world, or day of judgment, seems also to be looked for, though not exactly in the traditional way apparently, while California it seems is to be the center of a new world order in the millennium to come.
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THE FOUNDERS OF THE REPUBLIC. By Claude G. Bowers. Paper, 36 pages. Twentieth Century American Novels, by William Lyon Phelps. Paper, 28 pages. The Foreign Relations of the United States, by Paul Scott Mowrer. Paper, 34 pages. A Study of English Drama on the State, by Walter Prichard Eaton. Paper, 32 pages. Published by the American Library Association, Chicago. Price, 35c each.
THESE are reading courses, each prepared by a recognize authority in the special field. They are component part of a much larger group of pamphlets published by the American Library Association under the general heading Reading With a Purpose. It is the design of each of these courses to sketch briefly the field to be covered and to suggest certain books which will enable one to gain a working knowledge of the subject without following the haphazard practice so common among readers generally. There is no intention upon the part of the compilers of these reading curricula to limit the list to those books of which mention is made, but merely to suggest a point from which to begin a systematic study of any particular subject. It is only natural to suppose that anyone who read the books prescribed will find references to other works which will encourage him to delve deeper into the subject he has chosen. A strong recommendation for following these courses is the moderate price of each of the books recommended and the fact that all of them will be found in any good public library. It is not necessary to buy the texts, though it does seem likely that anyone having a real interest in any of the subjects will want to own those books which are mentioned in the course, as well as others which may suggest themselves. The average total cost of the books to which reference is made is between $20.00 and $25.00 for each course.
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THE QUESTION BOX & CORRESPONDENCE
THE WAYFARERS' CLUB IN ARIZONA
The Wayfarers' Club, located at Whipple, Ariz., was organized Dec. 1, 1920. Its membership consists of Master Masons who are patients at this U.S. Veterans' Bureau Hospital, and who are suffering from tuberculosis, ex-patients, physicians at the hospital and a few subscribing members from brethren who reside in Prescott. Patients in this hospital come from all states of the Union, and only about 5 per cent from the State of Arizona.
Initiation fee is $1 and dues are 50 cents per month. Patients not drawing compensation or those whose financial conditions will not permit, pay no dues.
The assistance of this club is extended to all sick or disabled Master Masons, whether members of the club or not.
The purpose of this club is to care for their more unfortunate brethren, distribute flowers, speak words of cheer and perform those acts of kindness and brotherly love which their home lodges are unable to do on account of their distance from the brethren.
To accomplish this, it is necessary to have funds with which to work. The various Masonic bodies in this state and from afar have contributed from time to time to this work. At present our funds are low, and we are taking this method of appealing to you for assistance.
There are no salaried officers in this club and the following statement for the fiscal year, July 1, 1926, to June 30, 1927, will give you an idea of bow our funds are used:
|Balance carried over||$118.79|
|Dividends from defunct bank||130.18|
|Stationery and printing||46.75|
|Entertainment, charities, etc.||388.91|
This club is sponsored by Aztlan Lodge, No. 1, Prescott, Ariz., and has upon various occasions been given the approval of the Grand Lodge of Arizona, whose officers are honorary members of this club.
To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize with their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries, to relieve the distressed, and to restore peace to their troubled minds, is the great aim we have in view.
If this work appeals to you, if you believe in it, if you want it to be done, may we not hear from you at an early date?
C. W. BANGS, President.
W. H. MARSHALL, Secretary.
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THE TEUTONIC CROSS
In your July issue W.B.S. asks in regard to the origin of the Teutonic Cross, which he finds used in the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry.
The Teutonic Cross is known in heraldry as the Cross Potent. It is also known as the Cross of Jerusalem, although the latter is usually shown with four small crosses added, one in each angle.
The Cross Potent acquired the name Teutonic Cross through its use by the German pilgrims. The Teutonic Order was organized in Jerusalem about 1190. Their dress was a mantle with a Cross Potent embroidered in gold. Emperor Henry VI gave them the black Cross Potent. Later King John, of Jerusalem, added to this a Double Cross Potent, gold. Then Emperor Frederick Il added an Imperial Eagle in an escutcheon in the center of the cross.
This cross is described in heraldry as "A Cross Potent, sable (black) charged with another Cross Double Potent, or (gold) and surcharged with an escutcheon argent (silver) bearing a Double-Headed Eagle sable (black)."
J. H. Logie, California.
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I do not see what object is to be gained by "attacking" the R. C. Church. I feel that the Masonic Order and the R. C. Church are so diametrically opposed that there can never be any rapprochement between them, and the antagonistic attitude of recent articles will do much to disturb that neutrality which has existed between the R. C's and Anglo-Saxon Masonry for some years. I cannot help expressing the fear that politics may possibly be at the bottom of this anti-Catholic campaign and, if such is the case, then it strikes me as not only a very dangerous movement, but contrary to the principles of the Order as a non-political institution.
You will not, I am sure, think that I would bar all references to Roman Catholicism in a Masonic journal. In a research magazine I think that they should be confined to the contacts made between the two organizations in their historical aspect, or in the exposition of divergence in their respective dogmas.
I do not see what the article on the Quebec school question or that on the Quebec marriage laws has to do with Masonic research, though, of course, of great general interest. I think the first article dealt very fairly with the subject, but the second seems dangerously critical of the Quebec Bench. To attempt to deal adequately with the paper would necessitate looking up some of the recent annulment cases, and would be much better handled by a lawyer, but I will make a few general observations.
The paragraph headed "The Limits of Ecclesiastical Authority" is a true statement of the case, but I do not agree with the writer's conclusions that the decisions have gradually acquired quasi-civil authority.
There is a tendency among those unfamiliar with the Code — particularly amongst newcomers to the Province — to criticise it in other particulars besides marriage, but familiarity with it engenders respect. This has been my own experience.
The article in the Code concerning impediments to marriage reads ... the other impediments recognized according to the different religious persuasions ... remain subject to the rules hitherto followed in the different churches and religious communities.
I recall that a very recent decision annulled a marriage between two of the Jewish faith because of an impediment recognized by their Church.
The solemnization of marriage confers certain civil rights upon the parties contracting it, which remain, even if the marriage is not, recognized by the various religious communities (not necessarily R. C.). For example, unless a contract is made before marriage, the parties become common as to property (i. e., on the death of one of the consorts, the other takes half of the estate. This is putting it roughly). Surely, if persons find themselves married in the eyes of the law by a marriage unrecognized by their Church, it is but equitable that they should be able to sue for an annulment of that marriage, and the civil rights created by it.
The practice of declaring marriages null and void ab initio has always existed in Quebec, certainly since the promulgation of the Code in 1866, and the grounds, as I have shown above, are not confined exclusively to Roman Canon law, nor is it true to say that "the Courts still occasionally grant annulments of marriage for reasons other than those recognized by the State." Further I find no reference in the Code to "undue influence" or "duress" as grounds for annulment.
What objections can be raised to a marriage being annulled "on a number of grounds other than those recognized by the rest of the Dominion?" Quebec is a sovereign state in matters of marriage, the provinces retaining control at the time of confederation. Art. 185 of the Civil Code reads: "Marriage can only be dissolved by the natural death of one of the partners; while both live, it is indissoluble." Consequently no action for divorce can lie in the Quebec courts. If a petition for divorce goes to the Federal House, it is granted on division only, the R. C. members voting against every petition.
I have developed criticism of this article more than I intended, and am afraid that my comments are not very well ordered.
A. J. M., Canada.
The above is part of a letter to the Editor. As our correspondent suggests that perhaps the author of the article referred to may not fully appreciate the situation, we may say that Prof. Vial is a native of the Province of Quebec; that he was born and educated in Quebec city, where the English speaking residents are a very small minority, and that he has a very wide acquaintance with French Canadians both in town and country, and that there is no one who is less likely to "attack" the Roman Church. Neither is THE BUILDER attacking it, as we have once more explained in the editorial columns. At the same time Bro. A. J. M. gives another point of view that requires consideration.
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THE KNIGHTS OF MALTA
Since THE BUILDER has given to its readers a good deal of information about the Knights of Malta and since one branch of Masonry confers this degree, it may be of interest to Masons to know the correct way to address the Master of the parent stem of the Knights of Malta. This is especially true since recently the Pope of Rome has introduced into this country this most exclusive order which in Europe admits only nobles of high and long degree.
Up to the 17th century the members of the college of cardinals were addressed as "Most Illustrious" and "Most Reverend." In the forepart of the 17th century Pope Urban VIII ordered that the cardinals (princes of the church), the electors of the Holy Roman Empire and the Master of the Order of Malta, should have the title of "Eminence" and should be so addressed.
In 1806 the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved as it was feared that Napoleon would make himself Holy Roman Emperor. This left this title of honor only to the members of the Sacred College and to the Master of the Knights of Malta.
As the Knights in this country belonging to the Roman branch are mostly millionaires and considered equal to the members of the oldest European nobility, should their Master, and themselves by courtesy, personally be addressed as "His Eminence"?
Burton E. Bennett, Washington.
A further letter has reached us from Bro. Bennett containing a newspaper clipping of an Associated Press report describing the marriage of Princess Anna of France to Prince Amedo of Savoy on Nov. 5 of this year. The point of interest in the present connection is that the bridegroom is said to have been in the uniform of a Lt.-Col. of Artillery and "wearing his many decorations, chief of which was the Order of Annunciata and the Order of Malta."
In regard to the question raised as to the proper title of address of the members of the Order in the United States we have no information at hand. If any of our readers knows the answer we should be pleased to insert it as a matter of curiosity.
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It would seem that in my recent articles I have failed to make my position clear. Bro. R. J. Meekren on page 304 of the October BUILDER says: "It would seem in fact that Bro. Briggs really holds that only those professing belief in the creed of one of the Protestant denominations are properly eligible to Masonry."
Permit me to say I do not hold any such opinion. Freemasonry has nothing to do with the creeds — we leave these to the churches. All I insist upon is that a man shall accept Masonic fundamentals.
Before I was initiated in Cooper Lodge, No. 36, at Boonville, Mo., in December, 1879, 1 had stated in my petition that I was a firm believer in the one living and true God. Early in my Masonic career I was taught that no man, especially a Freemason, should ever engage in any great or important undertaking without first invoking the aid and blessing of Deity. I was told that in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth, that the Holy Bible was one of the Great Lights, that it was God's inestimable gift to man, and it was commended to be the rule and guide of my faith and practice. Since then I have served as Worshipful Master, High Priest and Commander. I was elected Grand High Priest in 1894, Grand Master in 1899, and am now Grand Prelate of the Grand Commandery of Missouri. I have been President of the Convention of Anointed High Priests of Missouri and Sovereign of St. Andrew's Conclave, No. 11, Red Cross of Constantine, have been a Royal and Select Master since March, 1888, and a member of Ararat Shrine since June, 1889, and for a number of years a 32 degree Scottish Rite Mason. I have attended five Convocations of the General Grand Chapter of the United States, have visited Grand Lodges of other states and seen the Masonic degrees conferred in other Grand Jurisdictions and have yet to learn that the instruction given me when I was initiated has become obsolete.
But on the contrary the Grand Lodge of Missouri has always stood by these fundamentals. During the past year I installed the officers of seven lodges. In each instance I required the Master-elect to admit "that it is not in the power of any man or body of men to make innovations in the body of Masonry." The man who does not accept these fundamentals ought not to petition a lodge for admission.
There may be many good men who do not believe what Freemasonry teaches. Let them make fraternities of their own. Let them found the Grand Imperial Order of Snollygosters and take in every good fellow who does not like to retain God in his knowledge, but Freemasonry is good enough and broad enough for me. I am not willing to accept any doctrine of Human Brotherhood which has not as its basis the Fatherhood of God. On that rock Freemasonry builds and stands secure.
C. H. Briggs, Missouri.
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THE HOLY CROSS
It is a striking coincidence that the college fraternity to which I belong bears a strong similarity in symbolism to the Lodge of the Holy Cross, of the Island of St. Croix, Danish West Indies. The fraternity "Sigma Chi" founded in 1855 at Oxford, Ohio, uses a white cross as its main emblem. This without its academic and fraternal symbols is a facsimile of the main emblem of Lodge of the Holy Cross, instituted at the aforesaid location in 1779.
G. N. Black, Ontario.
While the coincidence is certainly striking and perhaps Bro. Black is entitled to draw the conclusion that there may be some connection between the lodge and his college fraternity, I am inclined to think that he is carrying the symbolism a bit too far. I too, am a fraternity man, though not a member of Sigma Chi. I recollect several years ago hearing Dean Thomas Arkle Clark of the University of Illinois, one of the best known and most thoroughly posted men in the field of college fraternities, make reference to the fact that a great many colleges used a cross in one form or another as a part of their emblem. It was his opinion that the cross almost always symbolized the crucifixion. A student of symbology will agree that this is most likely in a Christian country. Perhaps Bro. Black is as familiar with college fraternity badges as the writer and it will not be necessary to mention more than Alpha Tau Omega, Sigma Nu, Phi Delta Theta, the last uses a sword which is no more than a modified cross, to call to mind the similarity. It is perhaps coincidental that the Sigma Chi cross and that of the lodge are the same, but I am firmly convinced that a better and more likely source for the symbolism would be the New Testament and not the lodge at St. Croix.
E. E. T