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IN KNOWLEDGE LIES STRENGTH
American Canadian Grand Lodge, A. F. and A. M.
Third printing - December 1991
This educational pamphlet has been prepared by the Grand Lodge's Committee on Education and Lodge Services, and approved for final publication by the Grand Lodge prior to the Annual Communication held in April 1982.
In presenting this Masonic education system for publication, the Committee acknowledged, the basic source material...the educational' booklets published by the Grand Lodges of New York, South Carolina, and Minnesota, as well as the, Pamphlet entitled "Tried and Proven", published by the Masonic Service Association of the United States.
In compiling this pamphlet, these sources were drawn on freely by the Committee, and it is with an expression of gratitude and thanks for those inspired works that this Grand Lodge publishes this first edition for the use of its constituent' lodges and members.
Frankfurt/ Main Jess Minton
October, 1982 Grand Secretary
A. F. & A. M.
WITHIN THE UNITED GRAND LODGES OF GERMANY
HERMANNSTRASSE 39 6000 FRANKFURT/M.
23 April 1982
To all members of the
American Canadian Grand Lodge, A.F. & A.M.
"In Knowledge Lies Strength", my motto during my stewardship of our American Canadian Grand Lodge, certainly seems to be an appropriate title for this system of Masonic education. However, strength can only be derived from this program when used as recommended on the following pages, without deletions or major changes.
I sincerely hope that you will use this program to shed Masonic light to the brethren in our constituent lodges, thus strengthening your Lodge, this jurisdiction, and Freemasonry in general.
My deep appreciation is hereby extended to V. Worshipful Brother T. Wade Elrod, Past District Master, and the members of the Committee for Lodge Services and Education', who all worked many months to compile this program. Furthermore, I express my heartfelt gratitude to Worshipful Brother Herbert E. Peterson and the members of Truth and Friendship Lodge No. 828 who took it upon themselves to have the first one hundred copies of this program printed, enabling one free sample copy to be distributed to each constituent lodge during the Annual Communication of Grand Lodge held in Bad Kissingen on this date .
Fraternally and sincerely yours,
The essentials of the Lodge System of Education are:
a. The system is brief.
b. The instructions are given to the candidate starting before the initiation and continue after raising to the sublime degree.
c. A total of four programs are planned.
d. The system will be offered to each lodge and, if adopted, can be given with minimum study and work.
Its purpose is simple: The candidate is a stranger to Freemasonry and Freemasonry a stranger to him. It is not merely a Lodge that he joins, but a world wide Fraternity touching millions of lives in hundreds of countries; with a history stretching back over many centuries, an intricate system of laws, a large number of purposes, ideals and obligations; many rights, privileges and duties, the Ancient Landmarks to be preserved, the whole carrying on a program of activities of great variety.
It is too much to expect that without guidance any man shall be able to make himself at home in such a society or, unaided, take his proper place in the Lodge work with credit to himself and honor to the brotherhood. He has a right to expect that the Lodge gives him much of the information he needs .
It is necessary that new Brethren become imbued with the spirit of Freemasonry and believe in, as well as understand, its purposes and ideals. Not only the candidate profits, the Lodge is strengthened from having new members who, from the beginning, are able to take part in its activities; who are likely to become regular attendants and who can quickly grasp the aim and purpose of the Lodge's endeavors, and they come in already prepared to work.
This system will take advantage of at least two publications already published by the ACGL: Greetings to a Mason's Lady and In The Beginning. These booklets will be given to each member during the conduct of the System of Lodge Education. The System will be no burden on the Lodge. All the lessons have been researched and printed in complete manuscript format. One need only to read his part several times before presentation in order to understand the content. The candidate need only listen; he has no books to read, no papers to write, nothing to memorize; it adds nothing to his burden of mastering the lectures.
April 1982 Fraternally and respectfully
1. The Worshipful Master appoints a committee of three or five Master Masons with experience, knowledge and tact, who feel a genuine interest in their work.
2. After a petition has been favorably balloted upon, the petitioner is notified to meet with the committee at a time and place to be specified.
3. At this meeting the committee will give him such instruction as he needs to enable him to receive the first degree in a proper spirit, and furnish him such information as will give him a clear understanding of what kind of society it is he is about to enter. The wife should be encouraged to be present.
4. The candidate will meet with this committee three more times, once after each of the degrees. These meetings will be only for the committee and candidate.
5. At every opportunity the candidate should be encouraged to ask questions and enter into the discussions.
6. The committee members are required to confine themselves to their subject as it is written.
(Preceding the First Degree)
The purpose: to introduce the candidate to Freemasonry and prepare him to receive initiation. Entering a strange country, his teachers impress upon him that becoming a Mason is not a frivolous undertaking, and that Initiation, Passing, and Raising are not perfunctory ceremonies but important steps. He will learn that Freemasonry is a life to be lived, not a set of hollow forms to be hypocritically observed; that he must first become prepared "in his heart". Also, he will learn that in the committee he has guides and friends to whom he can come for counsel.
For these purposes five papers are printed for the use of the committee and one booklet is given to his Lady and one to him.
1. A Short History of Freemasonry and the ACGL (In The Beginning).
2. The Qualifications.
3. The Machinery and Organization of a Lodge.
4. The Powers and Functions of the Worshipful Master.
5. The Duties and Privileges of Lodge Membership.
6. Greetings to A Mason's Lady (booklet given to Wife).
(Following the First Degree)
The candidate's initiation has been an experience very different from what his anticipation had pictured it; he feels mystified by a ceremony unlike anything he has ever seen; the language has been strange, the symbols unusual. An Entered Apprentice, he wonders what he is to do next and, what his duties and privileges are. The purpose of the meeting is give him an interpretation of the Degree, describe what an Apprentice can and cannot do, and prepare him for the next step. To this end the following five subjects are provided:
1. The meaning of the term "Entered Apprentice".
2. An interpretation of the Ritual of the First Degree.
3. The Tenets. (Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth.)
4. Symbols of the First Degree.
5. Duties, Privileges and Limitations of the Entered Apprentice.
(Following the Second Degree)
The Degree of Fellowcraft is a great degree, crowded with importance, and its explanation offers a golden opportunity to present all aspects of Freemasonry's appeal to the intellect; education is its heart. The candidate is now midway in his journey. Having participated in two degrees and met with his committee twice, he feels more at home. If he came with the secret expectation that initiation would be a kind of hazing, full of pranks and horseplay, or a painful ordeal, he has learned better.
The Liberal Arts and Sciences, assisted by the five senses, climb the symbolical steps to a Middle Chamber, wherein wisdom is found. The committee, therefore, will emphasize the philosophy of Masonry, its great teachings, its messages of education. For this purpose these five subjects are provided:
1. Meaning of the Term "Fellowcraft".
2. Interpretation of the Ritual of the Second Degree.
3. Symbols and Allegories of the Second Degree.
4. Duties and Privileges of a Fellowcraft-
5. The Teachings of Masonry.
(Following the Third Degree)
Too often a candidate is permitted to drop from sight immediately after he has received the Third Degree, not even examined in its work, but compelled to find his way as best he can. It is the most critical period in his Masonic career. If the Lodge gives him encouragement he will develop into a working Mason; otherwise he is likely to lapse into chronic indifference. His initiation is only a beginning. He needs to know and to understand his duties as a Master Mason; What are his rights, privileges, and his financial obligations; he should be taught how to visit other Lodges; he needs information about Grand Lodge, the traditions of the Craft. At no other time in his Masonic career will he be so eager to learn, as in the impressionable period immediately after the Third Degree.
In its fourth meeting the committee has a golden opportunity to help one who has just become a member in name to become a Mason in fact, in the sense that throughout his Masonic career he will continue serving and working for the Craft. To this end, the following five subjects are herewith provided:
1. Interpretation of the Ritual of the Third Degree.
2. Symbols and Allegories of the Third Degree.
3. The Legend of Hiram Abif.
4. The Laws and Landmarks.
5. The Duties, Privileges, and Rights of a Master Mason.
Introduction of Course to the Candidate
By the Chairman
In an attempt to familiarize you with the elementary background of the real meaning and objectives of Masonry, five papers and two booklets have been prepared, each having a direct bearing on your preparation for initiation. We trust that you will listen attentively to these papers and read the booklets in order that the ceremonies which you are about ' to witness and experience may mean the most to you, and that the symbolism which you will see exemplified on that occasion may be significant and impressive. These subjects are: A Short History of Freemasonry and the ACGL (you will be given the booklet "In The Beginning" to increase your knowledge of Masonry as it pertains to the ACGL in particular). 2. The Qualifications. 3. T-he Machinery and Organization of a Lodge. 4. The Powers and Functions of the Worshipful Master. 5. The Duties and Privileges of Lodge Membership. and 6. Your wife will be given a copy of the booklet "Greetings to a Mason's Lady" in which many interesting and necessary items of information can be found.
We five brethren will attempt to interpret these subjects in a logical meaningful manner and should any question arise in your mind, whether prompted by the addresses of from a preconceived idea, be perfectly frank to state your problem. Our purpose is to discuss these questions as they arise.
A SHORT HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY AND THE ACGL
In the book of human history Freemasonry has a chapter of its own. When you become a member of this Lodge it is a chapter you will wish to read, as much for its own fascination as for the light it will throw upon your path as you , progress in Masonry. A little of that story will enable you better to understand the three steps of initiation which lie before you.
In all ages and in all lands men have formed secret societies, made use of ceremonies of initiation, employed symbols, emblems, and means of recognition. When freemasonry came into existence (nobody knows how many years ago) it inherited much from such societies. Along your path of -initiation you will encounter ancient rites and symbols, sacred to us partly because of their great antiquity.
The oldest existing written record of our Craft is a manuscript written by some unknown brother in England, about 1390, nearly six centuries ago; but the document itself, known to be copied from one much earlier, shows that even then Freemasonry was very old.
At the time this document was written nearly all Freemasons were Operatives. Evidence indicates that "Freemasons" were those builders of a superior skills who designed, supervised and erected the great cathedrals and other marvelous structures-
Operative Freemasons designed the buildings; dressed the stones from the quarries and laid the floor, set up arches, pillars, columns, and buttresses and built the roof; carved the decorations; made and fitted the stained-glass windows into place and produced much of the sculpture. Their work was difficult; it called for a high degree of skill and genius, and required much knowledge of mechanics and geometry as well as stone-masonry. They were among the great artists of the Middle Ages.
The training for such work called for a long period of severe discipline. Boys, sound in body, keen in mind, and of good reputation, at the age of ten or twelve, were apprenticed to some Master Mason for a number of years, usually seven. This Master Mason was such a boy's tutor, his mentor, guide and coach who taught him both the theories and the practices of the Craft. At the end of his apprenticeship the youth was required to submit to exacting tests of his proficiency before being accepted into full membership in the Craft.
When a number of Freemasons worked together on a building over a period of years they organized one or more Lodges, which might meet in a temporary building or in one of the rooms of the uncompleted structure. Such a Lodge was governed by a Master assisted by Wardens; it had a Secretary to keep its book, a Treasurer to keep and disburse its funds, a charity chest from which to dispense relief to the members in distress, and to their widows and orphans It met in regular communication, divided its membership into grades, admitted members by initiation--in short, it was in many essentials what a Masonic Lodge is today.
The beginner in the builder's art was called an Apprentice; when he had served as such a sufficient time to give evidence of his fitness, his name was entered in the Lodge's books, after which he was called an Entered Apprentice. At the end of his seven years of apprenticeship he was called into open Lodge, his conduct was reported, and he then had to prove his skill by producing what was called a "Master's Piece." Hitherto he had been on probation, if he passed his test satisfactorily he was made full member of the Craft. Then he stood on an equality of duties, rights, and privileges with all others, a Fellow of the Craft--the word "Fellow" meaning full membership. In the sense that he had now mastered the theories, practices, rules, secrets, and tools of his trade he was called a Master Mason. Bear these historical facts in mind as you take your Entered Apprentice Degree, and the parallels of Masonry and life will be readily recognized.
Completing their work in one community the Freemasons would move to another, setting up their Lodges wherever . they worked. Other types of Masons were compelled by law to live and work in t ' he same community year in and year out, and under local restrictions. A number of our historians believe that it may have been because they were free from such restrictions that the Gothic builders were called "Freemasons".
Such was the Fraternity in its Operative period; and as such it flourished for generations. Then came a great change in its fortunes. Euclid's geometry was rediscovered and published, thereby revealing many of the Mason's trade secrets. The Reformation came and among others, the Gothic and Romanesque style of architecture began to die out. Social and religious conditions underwent a revolution. These and some other factors made it difficult for Operatives to follow their trade and brought about a decline in the Craft. As a result, during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries FreeMasons became so few that only a small Lodge here and there clung to a precarious existence.
At some period in the dim and distant past Freemasons began to accept non-Operative members. Gentlemen with no intentions of becoming builders, who for social reasons, or from interest in the Craft's ancient customs, were received as "Accepted Masons." At first there were few of these, but as time passed their number increased, until by the early part of the eighteenth century they were more numerous than the Operatives and were more influential.
The Craft then took a step destined to revolutionize it and to set it on a new path of power and magnitude. On St. John the Baptist's day, June 24, 1717, four old Lodges of London and Westminster met in London and organized a Grand Lodge, and on the same day selected their first Grand Master, Most Worshipful Anthony Sayer.
Within a few years of that date the Craft had completed the transformation from an Operative Body into a Speculative Fraternity (by "Speculative" is meant Masonry in a moral, or symbolical sense as you will learn more fully in the Fellow Craft's Degree); reorganized their ceremonies of initiation into the three degrees of Entered Apprenticeship, Fellowcraft, and Master Mason; collected and collated the old Masonic manuscripts known as the York Constitutions; and codified them into the first book of Constitutions. Very soon thereafter it was chartering Lodges in many countries, including the United States, Canada and Germany. The London Grand Lodge is usually considered the first or premier Grand Lodge, though it is questionable if the Grand Lodge at York, England does not have a prior claim. In 1751 another Grand Lodge was organized in England. Prior to that, Grand Lodges had been set up in Scotland, Ireland, and on the continent.
American Lodges were under the charge of Provincial Grand Lodges, which were ruled by Provincial Grand Masters appointed by the Grand Lodges of England, Scotland, or Ireland.
As a result of the Revolution, one after another of the American Grand Lodges became sovereign and independent. At that time the advisability of organizing one Grand Lodge for the whole United States was discussed, but the Craft in its wisdom abandoned the scheme, and the plan of having an independent Grand Lodge for each state finally prevailed.
Thus as the years passed one Grand Lodge was organized in each state, sovereign within its own limits, no other Grand Lodge having any right to control Masonic affairs within that state. Today in the United States there are forty-nine Grand Lodges, one for each state (except Hawaii) and one for the District of Columbia.
Here in Germany the organization of Masonry assumed a slightly different path. While recognizing the sovereign power of each Grand Lodge, the five Grand Lodges in Germany united to form the United Grand Lodges of Germany. The American-Canadian Grand Lodge is one of the Five Grand Lodges within the United Grand Lodges of Germany.
Speculative Freemasonry did not spring full-formed out of nothing in 1717, but came as a gradual expansion of Operative Masonry. Through an unbroken line we can trace our lineage back to those builders of the early Middle Ages. We too, are Masons, except that instead of erecting material buildings, we build manhood; their tools we have transformed into emblems of moral and spiritual rules and forces; their practices and secrets we have embodied in the Royal Art of Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. Their rituals, mellowed, enriched, and made more beautiful with the passing of time, we employ in the entering, passing, and raising of our candidates. All that was living and permanent in their Craft we have preserved to use in behalf of good will, kindliness, charity and brotherhood among men.
Such is our heritage, and, as you enter into it, you will discover, it inexhaustible in its interest, life-long in its appeal, a power in your life to enrich, to ennoble and to inspire.
In order for you to have a special knowledge of the History of the American-Canadian Grand Lodge, or the ACGL, you may keep this copy of this booklet, In The Beginning. It has been prepared for Masons in this jurisdiction so that they will have a better understanding of our Grand Lodge and its beginning.
In as much as the ballot box, indicated that you possessed the qualifications required of a petitioner, you may question the need of giving any further heed to the subject. But qualifications are not merely a test of petitioner's fitness to become a Mason. In a larger and more important sense they determine also a man's fitness to remain a Mason.
These qualifications are two kinds, internal, and external. One of the internal qualifications is that a petitioner must come of "his own free will". The necessary corollary of this is that no Mason shall solicit other men to petition for membership.
Another internal qualification is that a petitioner shall come uninfluenced by mercenary motives. He is not to expect that in the Fraternity he will find business or professional advantages for himself, and no brother already in membership has any right to solicit such favors from him. Both of these qualifications are "internal" because they have to do with motives, and only a man himself can know what his motives are.
The external qualifications may, for the sake of convenience, be divided under four heads:
1. PHYSICAL. A petitioner must be a man in the full sense of the word. To be eligible for the degrees he must be able to conform to all the ceremonies required in the work and practice Masonry. No person can undertake all the Masonic obligations unless he has reached years of discretion and is legally responsible for his acts. This rules out a young man under age, an old man in dotage and a fool.
2. MENTAL. The mental qualifications are not expressly defined, though a number of Grand Lodges demand that a petitioner be able to read and write English. But they are implied, and are as binding as though explicitly expressed. Much is taught a Mason; much is demanded of him; it is impossible for him to understand such teachings, or to meet the demands, unless he possesses at least average intellectual ability.
3. SOCIAL. By these are meant all that have to do with citizenship and a man's life as a neighbor, as a member of his community. He must be "well recommended"; that is, possess a sound reputation among those who know him best. He must be a good citizen, and one who is obedient, as the Old Charges express it, "to the Civil Magistrates."
4. MORAL AND SPIRITUAL. A mason must be a "good man and true." a man of honor and honesty. So imperious are the Fraternity's moral requirements that to think of a Mason as not devoted to integrity and rectitude of character is a contradiction of terms.
It is required of a petitioner that he believe in a Supreme Being. It is expected that all Masons practice tolerance, and that no petitioner be questioned as to the peculiar form or mode of his faith, and he must not question his brethren.
In this list of qualifications is a portrait of the Mason drawn by the Fraternity. That portrait is official. It is vital that you grasp this fact in your endeavor to arrive at a true understanding of Freemasonry.
The qualifications stand at the center of the Craft, expressing standards, describing who may be Masons in reality, and setting before us the goal of all Masonic endeavor. It is not sufficient that a man shall possess such qualifications for the mere purpose of petitioning for membership; to promote the interests of the Craft they are required of us all, all of the time, so long as we remain therein.
You have been elected to. receive the Entered Apprentice, or first, degree of Masonry. In due course we hope you will become a member of this Lodge with full membership rights. It will be of assistance to you to learn how a Lodge is organized and what its machinery is. Much about a Lodge is secret, to be learned only through initiation; what is now told you is written in the Code of our Grand Lodge.
A Lodge is an organization of seven or more Master Masons duly assembled, with the Holy Bible, Square and Compass, and a Charter or warrant empowering them to work, where they may confer the three degrees of Masonry and carry on such activities as are necessary to its proper administration.
Authority is conferred by a Charter issued by a Grand Lodge. You will later be shown the Charter of our own Lodge. It was issued to us by the United Grand Lodges of Germany.
A Lodge may retain its Charter only as it obeys the laws of the Grand Lodge and works according to the traditions and ancient usage’s and customs of the Masonic Fraternity.
A Lodge is governed by the Grand Lodge according to laws laid down in the Constitution or Code. Local regulations and rules of its self-government are embodied in its by-laws.
Each Lodge in this jurisdiction has at least eleven officers, five of whom are chosen by ballot. These are the Worshipful Master, Senior Warden, Junior Warden, Treasurer, and Secretary. They are elected at the first stated communication in September of each year. Prior to the installation, the Master-elect appoints the Senior Deacon, Junior Deacon, Chaplain, two Stewards, and Tiler. Additional officers such as Marshall, Master of Ceremonies and Organist may also be appointed. Each Lodge will have several Committees which are also named by the Master-elect.
The primary executive power of the Lodge is vested in the office of Worshipful Master.
The Senior Warden is the second ranking officer. If the Worshipful Master is absent, the Senior Warden presides in -his place; if, through absence or inability, the office of Worshipful Master becomes vacant, the Senior Warden succeeds to all his prerogatives and duties until the regular election is held. The Senior Warden has other duties which you will learn at another time.
Next in rank is the Junior Warden, who governs the Lodge in the absence or inability of the Worshipful Master and Senior Warden, and has charge of the Craft during refreshment.
In addition to its officers a Lodge has various standing and special committees. A Lodge may also have a board of trustees. The trustees are elected.
The meetings of the Lodge are called "Communications," and are of two kinds, Stated (or Regular), Special (or Called). Stated Communications are held at regular intervals on dates set by the by-laws of the Lodge. Called or Special Communications convene at the will and pleasure of the Worshipful Master.
Before Receiving the degrees a petitioner must pay an initiation fee as fixed by the Lodge by-laws, subject to the limitations of the Grand Lodge. When he becomes a member he must pay annual dues, also fixed in the by-laws, subject to the same limitations. These fees and dues comprise the principal sources of income of a Lodge, though the Lodge may also receive income from endowments and other sources. For each member the Lodge must pay annual Grand Lodge dues except as otherwise provided by the Code.
In brief outline and to the extent to which you can now understand it, such is the machinery and form of organization of a Masonic Lodge.. It conveys only a hint of the rich life and manifold activities of a Lodge as a member knows them.
Each year two Grand Lodge Communications are held and presided over by officers substantially the same as those just enumerated. You will become, in time, directly and indirectly, vitally concerned in the entire machinery of the local and Grand Lodge operation since any Master Mason may attend the Grand Lodge Communications.
THE POWERS AND FUNCTIONS OF THE WORSHIPFUL MASTER
You have already learned that the principal officer of a Lodge is called the Worshipful Master and, as you are yet unfamiliar with the language of Masonry, this may sound strange, but as you progress in the Craft you learn that it is singularly accurate.
"Worshipful" means "worthy of honor" and as such the Master is entitled to the honor and respect of every member of his Lodge; "Master means that he is, in strict truth, The Master, not, as in so many other societies, only a presiding officer, but a controlling executive with many sovereign rights. As you progress in Masonry and devote yourself to serious study you will come to fully understand why this is so.
His powers and duties are, broadly: (1) to congregate his Lodge upon any emergency; (2) to summon its members; (3) to see that the duties of the officers are faithfully performed; (4) to discharge appointed officers for sufficient cause. But it is only when we begin to examine his office in detail that we discover the full scope of his powers and functions.
It is a prerogative of the Worshipful Master to convene his Lodge either for Stated Meetings, at times provided in the by-laws, or for Special Communications, which are called by him for special business. When the Lodge is convened he is to set it at work and to give its members proper instruction for their labor. It is not necessary for him to request or to persuade the Lodge members to do their duties; he may order them, and they are under obligation to obey him.
It is his prerogative to preside at the meetings of his Lodge. The only exception to this is when the Grand Master, or a representative officially appointed by him, takes the gavel of authority. Then the right of the Master is superseded for the time being. The Master may choose a brother to preside temporarily during his presence. The Master may not be denied his right to preside, nor may such power be taken from him so long as he holds office, except by the Grand Master or the Grand Lodge.
When the Master is installed the Charter is given into his keeping and he is henceforth responsible for its custody and for transmitting it to his successor. A Lodge cannot be legally convened, opened, nor transact business unless its Charter is present. The Master determines what business, aside from routine, shall come before the Lodge, in what order, and the manner in which it shall be conducted. This is a more important responsibility than it may appear, because only certain kinds of business may legally be brought before a Lodge. The members may not always be familiar with Masonic law and hence may not know whether a given matter is Masonic business or not. It is for the Master to decide, and this power is a Lodge protection against possible violation of Masonic law. It is a duty of the Master to supervise all ritualistic work.
He should himself be able to take any part; he should be able to instruct and train others; and he should supervise the work as a whole to see that it is properly carried out according to the ritual recognized and authorized by the Grand Lodge.
Many matters of business or social functions may arise which do not fall within the province of any elective or appointive Lodge officer; to carry on such work, committees are necessary. Not the least of the Master's responsibilities is his power to appoint all committees.
Brethren in sickness or distress are the Master's particular charge. If he cannot visit all of them it is his duty to appoint others to do so, and in general to see that the Lodge properly discharges its duties to its unfortunates.
At this stage of your journey we do not expect you to carry all these details in your mind, but we hope that this presentation will impress on your memory the fact that the Master's is the most responsible office in Masonry, except that of Grand Master.
The Master is indeed master of his Lodge, its chief executive, its head, vested with great authority, entrusted with great powers. But there should be nothing arbitrary, nothing willful in his use of such powers and authority, because they are defined and regulated by law and by ancient custom. His duties are equal to his powers, and he must be a true Mason indeed to discharge them with credit to himself and honor to his Lodge. It is for this reason that his title is "Worshipful".
DUTIES AND PRIVILEGES OF LODGE MEMBERSHIP
In petitioning for the Three Degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry your presumed desire was to become a member of the order that you might enjoy the fraternal fellowship of the brethren and that you might be serviceable to your fellowman. It will be helpful to you to have some conception in advance of what Lodge membership implies.. This subject may as yet be explained but partially, although there is much that you can and should understand at the start of your journey.
You will become a member by receiving the three degrees. You will become entitled to all the rights, and privileges of membership, by proving your proficiency in, each degree. By. taking the obligations of the degrees you enter into a contractual relationship with the Lodge, wherein you bind yourself to perform certain duties, and the Lodge binds itself to protect you in certain rights and privileges.
One of your first duties will be loyalty to the Fraternity and to your superior officers, and obedience to the laws. This is a fundamental requirement.
It will be your duty to pay regularly and promptly such dues as your Lodge may establish. No option is given; to do such is a necessary condition of membership. And it will be your duty, as your conscience shall guide and your means permit, to do your share in maintaining the charities of the Lodge and to stand ready to lend a helping hand to a Brother Mason in distress.
If you are present at a communication of the Lodge when a ballot is taken on a petition for initiation affiliation, or reinstatement, you must vote unless excused by the Lodge. This is only another way of saying that the responsibility for deciding Masonic membership rests on each and every member. To cast a vote is not merely a right or privilege to be exercised on choice, but a duty.
It will be your duty to attend the communications of your Lodge, to join in its deliberations and decisions and to assist in discharging its responsibilities. You are not required nor even expected to attend if by so doing it works an unnecessary hardship on yourself or your family, but otherwise your attendance is expected.
If the Master, acting according to the provisions of the Grand Lodge Code, issues a summons to you to attend a communication of the Lodge for some special purpose, or to discharge some duty required of you as a Mason, it will be your duty to obey the summons, unless the circumstances render obedience impossible.
Such duties inhere membership in a Lodge; others will be made clear to you as you progress in Masonry. In many fundamental respects a Lodge differs from any other organization. Membership is not a mere question of honor, nor an idle privilege, with duties and obligations to be laid down or taken up at pleasure. A member should not stand outside in idleness until he has opportunity to secure something from it for his own selfish advantage, nor evade his responsibilities by shifting his duties to more willing shoulders. The Mystic Tie by which he is bound to his fellows has in it a strand of steel.
Certain rights and privileges accompany these duties and are equally maintained and made secure by the Fraternity. As a member of a Lodge you will be eligible to any office in it, except that no member can become Worshipful Master, unless he has previously served as an installed Warden, by dispensation or as otherwise provided in the Code of the Grand Lodge.
You will have the right to join in our public processions, a privilege carefully guarded and protected by our laws, since to join in such is to identify oneself with the Fraternity.
As a Master Mason in good standing, you will be entitled to additional rights and privileges which, in due time, will be explained to you. In case of death you will be entitled to Masonic burial, a privilege to be valued over and above its public recognition of your standing.
In all communications of the Lodge you will have a voice in its discussions and a vote on questions decided by the Lodge. Neither in Lodge nor in Grand Lodge is there taxation without representation, nor is any Masonic officer permitted to exercise arbitrary or unreasonable authority.
The Lodge and Grand Lodge give many services and extend many opportunities for entertainment, good fellowship and educational advantages; as a Mason you will have the privileges of enjoying these equally with all others of your fellow members. When among strangers you will possess certain modes of recognition by which to prove yourself to another Mason and to exact similar proof from him, thereby enabling you to establish Fraternal relations with men who otherwise "must have remained at a perpetual distance." To know that wherever you may go you will find brothers ready to extend the hand of fellowship, men whom you have never met but who already stand bound to you by the Mystic Tie, is one of the greatest of all privileges of membership.
These duties, rights, and privileges of Masonic membership are not exhaustive. We have just touched the fringe of a great theme, but it is our hope that, with such light as has been given you, you will go forward with a livelier, keener understanding of what Masonry can mean to you and also of what you may mean to it.
GREETINGS TO A MASON'S LADY
This subject is devoted to the wife in the hope that a better understanding of the Craft, its purpose and work will inspire the Masonic Lady to provide the needed support and encouragement to her Mason.
While you personally have not joined our organization there are certain things that may be helpful for you to know in the future. This little booklet will explain some of those things. At the same time there are matters of general interest about your Mason and his new organization we think you would also like to know. Save this booklet as it is very unlikely the information contained herein will materially change in the years to come.
Much of what we have been telling you this evening is covered again in the pages of the booklet. It however, is designed to remind you of the important things necessary for you to know and do should the occasion arise. It will also be of help to your Mason. Therefore, we ask that you loan it to him for review and assistance.
This book is yours to keep. The only other thing a Lodge can give you personally is a better husband - not a different one but help make your present one a better man.
(This subject may of course be omitted it the candidate is single or his wife cannot be present at the first meeting.)
THE MEANING OF THE TERM "ENTERED APPRENTICE"
You are now an Entered Apprentice. The first step in your journey to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason has been taken. Doubtless you found your initiation an experience you will never wish to forget. A Degree of Masonry is not an isolated experience, but an ever-enduring privilege. Always you may sit in your own Lodge when open on the Entered Apprentice Degree; always you can return to observe, to participate in, and to study its ceremonies. Your possession of the Degree is complete.
Doubtless you have an eager curiosity to learn more about this remarkable Degree before you receive that of Fellow Craft. Perhaps its ceremonies seemed strange to you; its language fell on your ears with unaccustomed accents; and at its end you may have been somewhat bewildered. It is our function to help you interpret it by giving you a brief explanation of the term "Entered Apprentice."
The builders of those remarkable structures in Europe and Great Britain, from six hundred to nine hundred years ago, we call "Operative Masons," because they were builders in the literal sense.
It was necessary for the Operative Masons to recruit new members to replace those lost through removal, accident, illness or death. To do this they used the apprenticeship system, which was in vogue in all crafts for many centuries.
The word "apprentice" means "learner", or "beginner," one who is taking his first steps in mastering a trade, art or profession. The Operative apprentice was a boy, usually from ten to fifteen years of age. He was required to be sound in body, in order to do work requiring physical strength and endurance. He had to be of good habits, obedient and willing to learn, and of unquestioned reputation, and be well recommended by Masons already members of the Craft.
When such a boy was chosen as an apprentice he was called into the Lodge where all the members could assure themselves of his mental, moral and physical qualifications. If they voted to receive him, he was given much information about the Craft, what it required of its members, something of its early history and tradition, and what his duties would be. He gave a solemn promise to obey his 'superiors, to work diligently, to observe the laws and rules and to keep the secrets.
After being thus obligated, he was bound over, or indentured, to one of the more experienced Master Masons. As a rule he lived with this Master Mason, and from him day by day learned the methods and secrets of the trade. This apprenticeship lasted usually seven years.
After this young man had "gone to school" in this manner long enough to give assurance of his fitness to master the art and to become an acceptable member of the society, his name was entered on the books of the Lodge and he was given a recognized place in the Craft organization; and because of this official entering of his name he was given the title "Entered Apprentice." All of the same degree of advancement constituted the rank, or grade, of Apprentice Masons.
It is difficult to exaggerate the care our Operative Masonic forebears devoted to these learners. The Intender, as the Master Mason to whom the Apprentice was indentured was called, was obliged by law to teach him theory as well as practice. Not until the Apprentice, after many years, could prove his proficiency by meeting the most rigid tests of skill, was he permitted to advance to a higher rank in the Craft. Other Master Masons with whom he was set at work at the simpler tasks also were his teachers. He was given moral instruction: his conduct was carefully scrutinized; many rules were laid down to control his manner of life. When we read the Old Charges and ancient documents that have come down to us we are impressed by the amount of space devoted to Apprentices. The Operative Masons knew that the Apprentice of today made the Master Mason of the future.
As time passed, therefore there grew up about the rank and duties and regulations of the Apprentice an organized set of customs, ceremonies, rules, traditions, etc. These at last crystallized into a well-defined unit, which we may describe as the Operative Entered Apprentice's Degree. When, after the Reformation, Operative Masonry was transformed into Speculative Masonry, The Entered Apprentice's Degree was retained as one of the Degrees of-the Speculative Lodge, modified, of course, to meet the needs of the, Speculative Fraternity.
As an Entered Apprentice you are a learner, a beginner, in Speculative Masonry. You have taken the first step in the mastery of our art. And it is because you have this rank that certain things are expected of you.
First, you must learn certain portions of the Degree, so as to prove your proficiency in open Lodge. But you are to learn these parts not merely to pass this test; you should master them so thoroughly that they will remain with you through life, because you will have need of them many times in the future.
Second, you must learn the laws, rules, and regulations by which an Entered Apprentice is governed.
As you stood in the northeast corner of the Lodge during your initiation you were taught a certain lesson concerning a cornerstone. The meaning of that lesson should now be clear to you. You are a cornerstone of the Craft. The day will probably come when into your hands will fall your share of the responsibilities of the Lodge. You are a cornerstone on which the Fraternity is being erected. It is our hope and expectation that you will prove a solid foundation, true and tried, set four-square, on which our great Fraternity may safely build.
AN INTERPRETATION OF THE RITUAL OF THE FIRST DEGREE
The Masonic Lodge room is represented in the Ritual as a symbol of the world. The particular form in which this symbol is cast harks back to early times when men believed the earth to be square and the sky a solid dome; but while this no longer represents our idea of the physical shape of the world, the significance remains the same.
The world thus represented is the world of Masonry; the Masonic career from beginning to end, including all that lies between. The West Gate through which the candidate enters represents birth. In the First Degree the candidate is ushered into Masonic life; the old life with all its accessories has dropped from him completely. He now enters on a new life in a new world.
Masonry is systematic, well proportioned, balanced. Duties and work are supervised and regulated, controlled through laws written and unwritten, expressed through Landmarks, traditions, usage’s, Constitutions and By-Laws, guided and directed through officers vested with power and authority. The candidate obligates himself to uphold that lawful system; when he salutes the Master and Wardens he signifies his obedience to the legally constituted officers; when he follows his guide and fears no danger he expresses his trust in, and loyalty to, the Fraternity.
The new world is a lawful world in which caprice and arbitrariness have no part. It has a definite nature, is devoted to specified purposes, committed to well defined aims and ideals ' Its members cannot make it over to suit their own whims or to conform to their own purposes; they must make themselves over to conform to its requirements. One should not become a Master Mason in order to become a Lodge member; he should become a member in order to become a real Master Mason. Among the first requirements of the Apprentice is that he shall offer himself as a rough stone, to be shaped under Masonic laws and influences for a place in the Temple of Masonry.
This world of Masonry is dedicated to Brotherhood. Unless the Apprentice is willing and qualified to lead the brotherly life he will never master the Royal Art. Unless he is willing in all sincerity to abide by his obligations and the laws which define, regulate, and control the brotherly life, he will be out of harmony with the Fraternity, unable to find foothold in the world he seeks to enter. All of our ritual, symbols, emblems, allegories and ceremonies, in the richness and variety to comprehend Masonic teaching.
In his first Degree an Apprentice takes his first step into this life; leaves the darkness, destitution and helplessness of the profane world for the light and warmth of this new existence. This is the great meaning of the Degree; not an idle formality, but a genuine experience, the beginning of a new career in which duties, rights and privileges are real. If a candidate is not to be an Apprentice in name only, he must stand ready to do the work upon his own nature that will make him a different man. Members are called Craftsmen because they are workmen; Lodges are quarries because they are scenes of toil. Freemasonry offers no privileges or rewards except to those who earn them; it places Working Tools, not playthings, in the hands of its members.
To become a Mason is a solemn and serious undertaking. Once the step is taken, it may well change the course of a man's life.
Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth
The principal tenets of Freemasonry are Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. It is necessary not to overlook the word "principal," for it signifies that, while our Fraternity lays the greatest emphasis on these three teachings, there are others which must not be overlooked.
By a "tenet" of Freemasonry is meant some teaching so obviously true, so universally accepted, that we believe it without question. Examples lie everywhere about US. Good health is better than illness; a truthful man is more dependable than a liar; it is better to save money than to waste it; an industrious man is more useful than an idle one; education is to be preferred to ignorance -- these are but a few of the countless examples of teachings that no intelligent man can possibly question. Everybody takes them for granted. They are tenets.
Freemasonry considers Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth to be teachings of this kind, true in the sense that no man can question them; they are obvious, self-proving, axiomatic. It is not uncommon for men to consider brotherly love, while highly desirable, as not practicable, and therefore but a vision, to be dreamed of but never possessed. It is challenging for Freemasonry to call these "tenets", thus stating that they are plainly and obviously and necessarily true. Unless you grasp this, and see that the teachings of Freemasonry are self-evident realities, not visionary ideals, you will never understand Masonic teachings. For Freemasonry does not tell us that the principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth ought to be true, that it would be better for us all if they were true-she tells us that they are true. They are tremendous realities in human life, and it is as impossible to question their validity as to question the ground under our feet, or the sun over our heads. Our question is not whether to believe them or not, but what are we going to do with them?
Love places the highest possible valuation on another person. A man's mother or father, his wife or sweetheart, his children, his intimate friends, he values not for advantages he may gain from them, not for their usefulness, but each one in his own person and for his own sake. We work for such persons, we make sacrifices for them, we delight to be with them; that in detail and practice, is what is meant by love.
What, then, is Brotherly Love? Manifest, it means that we place on another man the highest possible valuation as a friend, a companion, an associate, a neighbor. By the exercise of Brotherly Love, we are taught to regard the whole human species as one family. We do not ask that from our relationship we shall achieve any selfish gain. Our relationship with a Brother is its own justification, its own reward. Brotherly Love is one of the supreme values without which life is lonely, unhappy, ugly. This is not a hope or a dream, but a fact. Freemasonry builds on that fact, provides opportunity for us to have such fellowship, encourages us to understand and to practice it, and to make it one of the laws of our existence; one of our Principal Tenets.
Relief is one of the forms of charity. We often think of charity as relief from poverty. To care for the helpless or unemployed is deemed usually a responsibility resting on the public. As a rule the public discharges that responsibility through some form of organized charity, financed by general subscriptions or out of public funds.
Our conception of relief is broader and deeper than this. We fully recognize the emergency demands made by physical and economic distress; but we likewise understand that the cashing of a check is not necessarily a complete solution of the difficulty. There sometimes enters the problem of readjustment, of rehabilitation, of keeping the family together, of children's education, and various other matters vital to the welfare of those concerned; and through the whole process there is the need for spiritual comfort, for the assurance of a sincere and continuing interest and friendship, which is the real translation of our first Principal Tenets: Brotherly Love.
Masonic Relief takes it for granted that any man, no matter how industrious and frugal he may be, through sudden misfortune, or other conditions over which he has no control, may be in temporary need of a helping hand. To extend it is not what is generally described as charity, but is one of the natural and inevitable acts of Brotherhood. Any conception of Brotherhood must include this willingness to give necessary aid. Therefore, Relief, Masonically understood, is a Tenet.
By Truth, the last of the Principal Tenets, is meant something more than the search for truths in the intellectual sense, though that is included. Truth is a divine attribute and the foundation of every virtue. To be good and true is the first lesson we are taught in Masonry. In any permanent Brotherhood, members must be truthful in character and habits, dependable, men of honor, on whom we can rely to be faithful fellows and loyal friends. Truth is a vital requirement if a Brotherhood is to endure and we, therefore, accept it as such.
Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth are the Principal Tenets of Masonry. There are other tenets, also; Teachings so obvious that argument is never necessary to sustain them. With this in mind we urge you to ponder the teachings of the Craft as you progress from Degree to Degree. You may not find them novel, but novelty is unimportant in the light of the knowledge that the truths upon which Freemasonry is founded are eternal. The freshness of immortality is on them because they never die; in them is a ceaseless inspiration and an inexhaustible appeal. They are tenets of Freemasonry because always and everywhere they have been tenets of successful human life.
SYMBOLS OF THE FIRST DEGREE
The symbols, emblems and allegorical ceremonies of the First Degree have a meaning and comprise a large part of the teachings of the Degree. Our time is too brief to give you complete explanations, but we believe it will be profitable for you to have a few suggestions, especially as they will show that every detail of the Ritual is filled with a definite significance.
The language of symbols is as universal as man. In fact, language itself is an illustration of the uses of symbols to transfer ideas from man to man.
We may divide symbols into two classes-natural and artificial-though sometime the dividing line between them is very vague, and in many cases the same symbol is used in both classes. By a natural symbol we mean one in which the nature of the thing itself conveys an idea and is independent of any other language, either spoken or written. An artificial symbol is one to which an arbitrary meaning has been assigned by common agreement.
In general we may say that the letters of the alphabet and words formed from them are artificial symbols, and the level as it conveys the idea of equality is a natural one.
The Hoodwink represents the darkness in which the uninitiated stand as regards Masonry. It is removed at the moment of enlightenment, suggesting that we do not create the great things of life, such as goodness, truth and beauty, but find them. They always exist regardless of the blindness of any individual.
The ancient significance of the Cable Tow is uncertain, and evidence of this is found in the widely divergent interpretations one may read in the literature of Masonry. However, without stating in detail the reasons, we regard the assumption of the Cable Tow in advance of each of the Degrees as a symbol of the voluntary and complete acceptance of and pledged compliance with whatever Masonry may have in store; and his subsequent release after taking the obligation indicates this symbol is no longer needed, since he has assumed the definite and irrevocable pledge of the Degree.
Concerning the penalty it suggests it may also be regarded as a physical symbol of the spiritual penalty which naturally and inevitably follows the violation of moral obligations. If a man does not keep the law of his own free will he must be compelled to keep it. The removal of the Cable Tow signifies that when a man becomes master of himself he will keep the law instinctively.
The Ceremony of Entrance signifies birth or initiation, and symbolizes the fact that the candidate is entering a new world-that of Masonry.
The reception typifies the one real penalty for violation of the Obligation: the destructive consequences to a man's nature through failure to be true to his vows.
The Rite of Circumambulation is Masonry's name for the ceremony in which the candidate is conducted around the Lodge room, an allegorical act rich with many meanings. One of these is that the Masonic life is a progressive journey, from station to station of attainment, and that a Mason should continually search for more light.
An equally significant ceremony is that of Approaching the East. The East is the source of light, that station in the Heavens in which the sun appears to dispel the darkness. Masons are sons of light, therefore, we face the East. The Altar is a symbol of the spiritual heart of Masonry.
The Obligations have a literal meaning and as such are the foundations of our disciplinary law, but above this they signify the nature and place of obligation in human life. An obligation is a tie, a contract, a pledge, a promise, a vow, a duty; in addition to the obligations we voluntarily assume, there are many under which we stand naturally-obligations to God, to our country, to our families, to employers or employees, to friends and fellow citizens.
The Great Lights in Masonry are the Holy Bible, Square and Compass. As a Great Light the Holy Bible represents the Sacred Book of the Law and is a symbol of man's acknowledgment of and his relation to Deity.
The Square is an emblem of virtue. It is an instrument of architecture that has been used throughout the ages, and our ancient brethren who wrought in Operative Masonry could not have erected the superb temple which immortalized the name of King Solomon without the use of this instrument.
The Compass was employed in Operative Masonry for the accurate measurement of the architect's plans and to enable him to give just proportions which would insure stability and beauty. In Speculative Masonry it is an equally important implement symbolic of that true standard of rectitude of living which alone can insure beauty and stability in life. The Compass signifies the duty which we owe to ourselves-that of circumscribing our desires and keeping our passions within due bounds. We might also properly regard the Compass as excluding beyond its circle that which is harmful or unworthy.
The Lesser Lights represent the Sun, Moon, and Master of the Lodge.
The Word and Grip are our means of recognition by which among strangers we are able to prove others or ourselves regular Masons in order to enter into fraternal intercourse.
The Rite of Salutation, in which the candidate salutes each station in turn, is not only a test of his ability to give the proper due guard and sign, but it is his recognition of the authority of the principal officers. It is also a symbol of a Mason's respect for and obedience to all just and duly constituted authorities. The Old Charges state this in a single sentence: "A Mason is a peaceable subject to the Civil Powers, wherever he resides or works."
The Worshipful Master is a symbol as well as the executive officer of the Lodge. As the sun rules the day, he should endeavor to rule and govern his Lodge.
The Apron is at once an emblem of purity and the badge of a Mason. By purity is meant clean thinking and clean living, a loyal obedience to the laws of the Craft and sincere good will to the brethren; the badge of a Mason signifies that Masons are workers and builders, not drones and destructionists.
The symbolism of the Rite of Destitution reverts to those ancient times when men believed that the planets determined human fate and controlled human passions, and that there was a mental by which each planet was itself controlled. In ancient initiations candidates were compelled to leave all metals behind, lest they bring into the assembly disturbing planetary influences. While with us this symbolism no longer has an astrological character, the old point about excluding disturbing influences remains; the candidate is not to bring into the Lodge room his passions or prejudices lest that harmony, which is one of the chief concerns of Masonry, be destroyed.
There is another and more obvious significance in this Rite of Destitution: that of the obligation of every Mason to recognize and alleviate, so far as his resources reasonably permit, the distress of his fellowman; and we are reminded that this obligation rests with even greater weight upon us when the one in distress is a Masonic Brother.
The Northeast Corner is traditionally the place where the cornerstone of a building is laid. The Apprentice is, therefore, so placed to receive his first instruction on which to build his moral and Masonic edifice.
The Operative Mason would have been helpless without his Working Tools. Except for them there would have been no magnificent cathedrals, no superb Temple of Solomon; even the Craft itself would have been non-existent, and the world today infinitely poorer.
Nowhere in Masonry do we find the impact of symbolism more significant than in its application to the Working Tools. Without them, Speculative Masonry would be but an empty shell of formalism-if, indeed, it managed to exist at all. While they do not contain the whole philosophy of Masonry, the various Working Tools allocated to the three Degrees by their very presence declare there is constructive work to be done; and by their nature indicate the direction this work is to take.
The Entered Apprentice is himself a symbol, one of the noblest in the emblematic system of the Craft. He represents youth, typified by the rising sun; trained youth, youth willing to submit itself to discipline and to seek knowledge in order to learn the great art of life represented and interpreted by all the mysteries of Masonry.
It is by such voices and arts as all these, that our magnificent First Degree gave its teachings to you as a man and an Entered Apprentice. We sincerely hope that these suggestions as to the meaning of these symbols and emblems will lead you to seek further for more light, not only that you may become a well-trained Mason, but also for their value to your life outside the Lodge room.
DUTIES, PRIVILEGES AND LIMITATIONS OF AN ENTERED APPRENTICE
As an Entered Apprentice you have an immediate and personal interest in our subject, but our discussion should lead you to see that it has a permanent and important interest for every Mason, however long it may have been since he received the First Degree. In a sense we always remain Entered Apprentices; the teachings of the Degree remain always in effect; its obligations and charge, subject to additions in the succeeding Degrees, continue to be binding. As Masons we associate with Apprentices, work with them, perhaps are sought by them for counsel. Therefore, it is important for us to have as clear an understanding as possible of the duties, privileges and limitations of Apprentices.
An Apprentice cannot be a member of a Lodge, vote or hold office. He is, therefore, not entitled to Masonic burial. An Apprentice may not visit or sit in a Lodge except when opened on the First Degree. Since most business of a Lodge is conducted in the Third Degree, he has neither voice not vote.
Nevertheless, he possesses certain important rights and privileges. He has the right to be instructed in his work and in matters pertaining to his Degree. If charged with violating his obligation, he is entitled to trial. He has the right to apply for advancement to a higher Degree. Also the Apprentice possesses modes of recognition by which he can make himself known to other Apprentices, as well as to brethren who have taken additional Degrees, and he has the privileges of using them.
Complete faithfulness to his obligation, and implied obedience to the charge are among his important and lasting responsibilities.
'It is also the duty of the Apprentice to learn the required portions of the Degree with thoroughness, not only because he must prove himself proficient in order to advance, but also because it contains Masonic teachings of fundamental importance that remain forever binding on every Mason. He should not be content with learning the words letter perfect, but should study the meanings, also-and if he cannot interpret these for himself he should seek help from others. In a measure the Degree is complete within its own field, and its teachings should be permanently incorporated as a part of his Masonic life.
The Apprentice is on probation-- A Mason in the making; he is passing through a period of trial and testing; his relation to the Craft is like that of the medical student to the profession of medicine. Therefore, it is his duty to be obedient, trusting himself without question to his guides, and in a spirit of humility to respond quickly to the instructions of the officers of the Lodge. As yet it is not for him to question what he finds, to discuss the Lodge, to enter into arguments, or to set himself up as a critic. The clue to his whole position is furnished by the word "Apprentice", which means "learner." Since his status is that of a learner, his chief task is to learn. But the Entered Apprentice's Degree has a larger meaning. It signifies the doctrine of Masonic Apprenticeship as a whole, in which Fellow Crafts and Master Masons also are included.
Freemasonry preserves a secrecy about all its work; it meets behind tiled doors; it throws over its principles and teachings a garment of symbolism and ritual; its Art is a mystery; a great wall separates it from the profane world. Nor is its work easy to understand.
MEANING OF THE TERM "FELLOW CRAFT"
"Fellow Craft" is one of the large number of terms which have a technical meaning peculiar to Freemasonry and are seldom found elsewhere. In Operative Masonry a "Craft" was an organization of skilled workmen in some trade or calling, a "fellow" meant one who held membership in such a craft, obligated to the same duties and allowed the same privileges.
In Freemasonry it possesses two separate meanings, one of which we may call the Operative meaning, and the other the Speculative.
In its Operative period Freemasons were skilled workmen engaged as architects and builders; like other skilled workmen, they had an organized craft of their own, the general form of which was called a " -Guild." This guild had officers, laws, rules, regulations, and customs of its own, rigorously binding on all members.
It divided its membership into two grades, the lower of which composed of apprenticeship, was explained to you in our first meeting.
You have already learned the Operative meaning of Fellow Craft; now that the Craft is no longer Operative the term possesses a very different meaning, yet it is still used in its original sense in certain parts of the Ritual, and, of course, it is frequently met with in the histories of the Fraternity.
Operative Freemasonry began to decline at about the time of the Reformation, when Lodges became few in number and small in membership. A few of these in England began to admit into membership men with no intention of practicing Operative Masonry, but who were attracted by the Craft's antiquity, and for social philosophical reasons. These were called Speculative Masons. At the beginning of the eighteenth century these Speculatives so increased in numbers that they gained control, and during the first quarter of that century completely transformed the Craft into the Speculative Fraternity we now have.
Although they adhered as closely as possible to the old customs, they made radical changes to fit the Society for its new purposes. One of the most important of these was to abandon the old rule of dividing the members into two grades, or degrees, and to adopt the new rule of dividing them into three. The second was called the Fellow Craft’s Degree, the third the Master Mason's Degree.
The term Fellow Craft is now used as the name of one who has received the Second Degree. You are a Fellow Craft; you have passed through the ceremonies, assumed the obligations of the Fellow Craft's Degree and are registered as a Fellow Craft in the books of the Lodge. You can sit in either a Lodge of Apprentices or of Fellow Crafts, but not of Master Masons. Your duties are to do and to be all that a Fellow Craft's Lodge requires.
Freemasonry is too extensive to be exemplified in a ritual or to be presented through initiation in one evening. One Degree follows another and the members of each stand on a different level of rights and duties; but this does not mean that the Masonry presented in either the First or Second Degree, so far as its nature and teachings are concerned, is less important, or less binding, than that presented in the Third Degree. All that is taught in the First and Second Degrees belongs as vitally and permanently to Freemasonry as that which is taught in the Third; there is a necessary subordination in the grades of membership but there is no subordination of the Masonry presented in each grade.
Do not, therefore, be tempted to look upon the Fellow Craft's Degree as a mere stepping-stone to the Third. Freemasonry gave to you one part of itself in the First, another portion in the Second, and in the Third it will give you yet another, but it is always Freemasonry throughout. Therefore, we urge on you the same studious attention while you are a Fellow Craft that you doubtless expect to give when you are a Master Mason.
In asking you to learn well the duties, privileges, and limitations of an Entered Apprentice, we also urge you to conceive of apprenticeship in the larger sense. It is not particularly difficult for a worthy candidate to become a member in name only, but we want your ambition to extend far beyond that perfunctory stage. We believe that you wish to become a Mason in reality and that no idle desire for the honor of bearing the name has been your motive for seeking our fellowship. If this be true, we urgently advise you not to be content with the letter and outward form in this your beginning period, but to apply yourself with freedom, fervency and zeal to the sincere and thorough mastering of our Royal Art.
AN INTERPRETATION OF THE RITUAL OF THE SECOND DEGREE
You are now a Fellow Craft. Our purpose is to try to explain some of the meanings of the Degree; a part only, as it would require many evenings to explain it in full.
Many great ideas are embodied therein, which, if understood, will lead to comprehension of others.
One of these is the idea of adulthood.
The Entered Apprentice represents youth standing at the portals of life, his pathway lighted by the rays of the rising sun. The Master Mason represents the man of years, already on the farther slope of the hill with the setting sun in his eyes. The Fellow Craft is a man in the prime of life-experienced, strong, resourceful, able to bear the heat and burden of the day.
Only in its narrowest sense can adulthood be described in terms of years. If and when he achieves it, a man discovers that the mere fact that he is forty or fifty years of age has little to do with it. Adulthood is rather a quality of mind and heart.
The man in his middle years carries the responsibilities. It is he upon whom a family depends for support; he is the Atlas on whose shoulders rest the burdens of business; by his skill and experience the arts are sustained; to his keeping are entrusted the destinies of the State. It is said that in the building of his Temple, King Solomon employed eighty thousand Fellow Crafts, who labored in the mountains and the quarries. The description is suggestive, for it is by men in the Fellow Craft period of life that the work is done, in the mountains and quarries of human experience.
What does the Second Degree say to the Fellow Craft, whether in Masonry or in the world at large? The Answer brings us to the second great idea that the Fellow Craft is so to equip himself that he will prove adequate to the tasks which will be laid upon him.
What is that equipment? The Degree gives us at least three answers.
The first is that the Fellow Craft must gain direct experience from contact with the realities of existence. You will recall what was said about the Five Senses. Needless to say, that portion of the Middle Chamber Lecture was not intended as a dissertation on either physiology or psychology; it is symbolism, and represents what a man learns through seeing, touching, tasting, hearing and smelling-in short, immediate experience; and a man garners such experience only with the passage of time.
The second answer is education. The possibilities of an individual's experience are limited. Could we learn of life only that with which we are brought in contact by our senses, we would be poorly equipped to deal with its complexities and responsibilities. To our store of hard-won experience we add the experience of others, supplementing ours by the information of countless men which is brought to us through many channels; our own knowledge must be made more nearly complete by the accumulated knowledge of the race.
We have a picture of this in Freemasonry: . In the days when Masons were builders of great and costly structures, the apprentice was a mere boy, ten to fifteen years of age, scarcely knowing one tool from another, ignorant of the secrets and art of the builders. Yet, if worthy and skillful, after seven years he was able to produce his Master's Piece and perform any task to which the Master might appoint him. How was all this accomplished? Only by the instruction, guidance and inspiration the Master was able to give him as a result of long years of experience and development.
Such is education, symbolized in the Second Degree by the Liberal Arts and Sciences. No doubt you were surprised to hear what was said about grammar, rhetoric, logic, arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy, and wondered what such schoolroom topics had to do with Masonry. You understand now! The explanation of these subjects was not intended as an academic lecture. Like so much else in the Degree, they are symbolism signifying all that is meant by education.
The third answer is wisdom.
Experience gives us awareness of the world at points of immediate contact; knowledge gives us competence for special tasks in the activities of life. But a man's life is not confined to his immediate experience; nor is he day and night engaged in the same task; life is richer than that! Wisdom is that quality of judgment by which we are able to adapt our experience and knowledge to a practical solution of our social relations to others; wisdom to make our work conform to the plan of the Great Architect.
The Middle Chamber, which is so conspicuous in the Second Degree, is a symbol of wisdom. Through the Five Senses (Experience), and through knowledge of the Liberal
Arts and Sciences (Education), the candidate is called to advance, as on Winding Stairs, to that maturity of life in which the senses, emotions, intellect, character, work, deeds, habits and soul of a man are knit together in unity, balanced, poised, adequate: Wisdom.
SYMBOLS AND ALLEGORIES OF THE SECOND DEGREE
Of the allegories peculiar to this Degree the most striking and important is that in which you acted the part of a man approaching King Solomon's Temple; you came into its outer precincts; passed between the Two Pillars, climbed a winding stairs and at last entered the Middle Chamber where our ancient brethren received their wages of Corn, Wine, and Oil. During certain stages of this allegorical journey you listened to various parts of a discourse which Masonry calls the Middle Chamber Lecture.
We gradually achieve a greater appreciation of the great values of life; religion, which is man's quest for God; brotherhood, which is a life of fellowship grounded in good will; art, by which we enjoy the beautiful; citizenship, by which we enjoy the good of communal life; science, by which we learn the nature of the world we live in; literature, by which we enter into communion with the life of all mankind. A good life is one in which all such things are appreciated and enjoyed.
All this is commonplace, in the sense that it conforms to the experience of wise men everywhere. It is not commonplace in the sense that all men understand it or follow it. For many men do not understand it, or if they do, have not the will to follow it. Such men, when young, are so impatient, or indolent, or conceited, that they refuse to submit to a long and painful apprenticeship, and reach adult life with all its tasks and responsibilities, without training and without knowledge, blindly trusting to their luck.
This belief that the good things of life come by chance to the fortunate, is a fatal blunder. The satisfying values of life, spiritual, moral, intellectual, or physical, cannot be won like a lottery prize; they cannot come at all except through patient, intelligent and sustained effort.
Your instructions relative to the wages of a Fellow Craft, given in the place representing the Middle Chamber of King Solomon's Temple, are by no means completed at this point, for, in common with all other values of Freemasonry, they are a continuing experience. The “wages" are the intangible but no less real compensation for a faithful and intelligent use of the Working Tools, fidelity to your obligations, and unflagging interest in and study of the structure purpose, and possibilitiesmof the Fraternity. Such wages may be defined in terms of a deeper understanding of Brotherhood, a clearer conception of ethical living, a broader toleration, a sharper impatience with the mediocre and unworthy, and a more resolute will to think justly, independently, and honestly.
You recall the prominence which was given the letter G. It is doubtful if this symbol in its present form was of any Masonic significance prior to the 18th century, but since that time it has come to have a double interpretation: first, as being the first letter of our name for the Deity in whose existence all Masons have professed belief, the continued expression of which is symbolized by the presence of the Volume of the Sacred Law upon our altar; second, as being the initial of Geometry, regarded as the basic science of Operative Masonry, now symbolizing to Speculative Masons the unchanging natural laws which govern the whole material universe. Together they symbolize that attribute of God revealed to us through Geometry: God as the great intelligence of the universe. This is consistent, as the entire Degree makes its appeal to the intellect.
Such are some of the meanings of your allegorical entrance into Solomon's Temple as a candidate in the Second Degree. Other symbols and allegories in the Degree may be interpreted in the light of these definitions when the Degree as a whole becomes a living influence upon our lives, not only in the Lodge room but in the world of human experience of which the Lodge room is a symbol.
DUTIES AND PRIVILEGES OF A FELLOWCRAFT
The first and foremost duty of a Fellowcraft is to live according to the obligations of the Degree; to be obedient to the officers of the Lodge and to the rules, regulations, and laws of the Fraternity. Also he must learn well the work in order to pass his test for proficiency. If he be earnest and sincere he will study the meaning of the Degree as a preparation for his Masonic life in the future.
His limitations are equally plain. He may sit in Lodge only when open on the Fellow Craft or Entered Apprentice Degree. He is not entitled to vote, to hold office, to have a voice in the administration of the Lodge, nor would he be entitled to relief, to join in public Masonic processions, or to Masonic burial.
He has a right to instruction whereby he may prove himself proficient in open Lodge; and he can make himself known to other Fellow Crafts by means of his modes of recognition.
A Mason remains a Fellow Craft, in a real sense, as long as he lives. Taking the First Degree is like drawing a circle; the Second Degree is a circle drawn around the first; the Third Degree is a still larger circle drawn around the other two, and containing both. A portion of Freemasonry is contained within the first; another part is in the second, still a third in the last. Being a Master Mason includes being also an Entered Apprentice and a Fellow Craft. The Entered Apprentice's and Fellow Craft's Degrees are not like stages left behind in a journey to be abandoned or forgotten; rather are they preserved and incorporated in the Master Mason's Degree and form the foundation on which it rests.
The ideas, the ideals, and the teachings of the Second Degree as permanently belong to Freemasonry as the Third; the moral obligations continue always to be binding. A Master Mason is as much the Brother of Entered Apprentices and Fellow Crafts as of Master Masons.
Freemasonry has many aspects. The First Degree makes its appeal to the conscience, and we are taught how necessary is obedience, apprenticeship and industry if we would become good men and true. The Second Degree exalts the intellectual, paying its tribute alike to knowledge and wisdom. In the Third Degree, as you will learn in due time, is the Masonry of the soul. Running through all three degrees is the Masonry of fellowship, good will, kindness, loyalty, tolerance, brotherly love; we also learn the Masonry of benevolence, expressed in relief and charity; again we have Masonry as an institution, organized under laws and managed by responsible officers; and yet again we have a Masonry that holds above and before us those great ideals of truth, justice, courage and goodness, to which we can always aspire.
The Operative builders gave the world among other masterpieces, the great Gothic cathedrals of Europe. Their art was one of the highest and the most difficult practiced in their period. The Masons were Masters of mathematics, which they called Geometry, of engineering, of the principles of design, of carving, of stained glass, and of mosaic. Through all the changes of the Craft in after years, through its transformation more than two hundred years ago into a Speculative Fraternity, their great intellectual tradition has remained and stands today embodied in the Second Degree, which teaches Masons to love the Liberal Arts and Sciences, and apply them in daily living.
This Masonry of the mind develops one of the real meanings of the Second Degree; it is what truly signified by our term "Fellowcraft". Whenever you prove yourself a friend of enlightenment, whenever you become an enemy of bigotry or intolerance, and a champion of the mind's right to be free, to do its work without check or hindrance, when you support schools and colleges, and labor to translate into action the command "let there be light", you live the teachings of the Fellowcraft Degree.
THE TEACHINGS OF MASONRY
You have now had conferred upon you the First and Second Degrees of Ancient Craft Masonry. And while you have yet to reach the climax of your journey in the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason, already you have discovered that Freemasonry has a certain teaching of its own, and to expound on this is one of the principal functions of the Ritual.
You have likewise discovered that Masonry's method of teaching is unlike that of the schools. Instead of employing teachers and textbooks and lessons in didactic form, expounding its teaching in words, Freemasonry uses Ritual, symbol, and allegory. This is not as easy to follow as the schoolroom method, but has this great advantage; it makes a Mason study and learn for himself, forces him to search out the truth, compels him to take the initiative, so that the very act of learning is of educational value. The purpose of secrecy is not to keep a candidate in the dark, but to stimulate him to seek the light; the symbols and emblems do not conceal the teaching, they reveal it, but in such a manner that a man must find it for himself. Only when a man finds truth for himself is it likely to remain a permanent possession.
A few interpretations of Masonic teachings can only suggest what you will find by your own efforts, how you will find it, and where. Necessarily there can be no exhaustive exposition of Masonic truth, because in its nature it is something each man must discover for himself.
Freemasonry is devoted to Brotherhood, exists to furnish opportunities to its members to enjoy it not only for its own sake but as a means to something beyond. Brotherhood rests on a religious basis; we are all brothers because God is the Father of us all; therefore religion is one of the foundations of Masonry.
Masonry is dedicated to God, the Great Architect of the Universe. An altar at the center of every Lodge room bears the Holy Bible open upon it. Lodges begin and end their meetings with prayer. When Freemasonry obligates a candidate he must be upon his knees. Petitioners must believe in God. All this is genuine religion, not a formal religiousness; it is sincerely held and scrupulously upheld, and without this basic the Craft would wither and die like a tree with roots destroyed.
But this religion of Masonry, like all its teachings, is not set forth in written creeds; the Mason must come upon it for himself, and put it in such form as will satisfy his own mind, leaving others to do likewise. This is Masonic tolerance, one of the prime principles of the Craft, and protected by the Old Charge which forbids all sectarian discussion in our assemblies.
Masonry teaches the necessity of morality, requiring its member to be good men and true, righteous when tried by the Square, upright when tried by the Plumb, their passions kept in due bounds by the Compass; just in their dealings with their fellows, patient with the erring, charitable, honorable. A candidate must possess such a character as indicated to be qualified for admittance, and a Mason must persevere in it to retain his right to membership.
Through the agency of the Lodge and of the Grand Lodge each of us gives support to the charities maintained by both. Also each of us should privately extend a helping hand in relief of an unfortunate brother, or of his dependents. Masonry does not advocate a charity carried to the limits of fanaticism; it is limited by the extent of ability and opportunity, and we are not asked to give relief to the injury of ourselves or hardship to our families.
Another of Masonry's great teachings is Equity, symbolized by the Level. This does not represent that doctrine which would erase all distinctions. There are no duplicates in Nature. Equity is, rather, the principle that we owe good will, charity, tolerance, and truthfulness equally to all, and that within our Fraternity all men travel the same road of initiation, take the same obligations, pay the same dues, and have the same duties, rights and privileges.
The Mason is a good citizen, loyal to his government and just to his country, conducting himself as a wise and moral man, remembering in all things that he has in his keeping the good name of his Fraternity.
These teachings are bound together in an organic unity by the nature and needs of the Brotherhood for the sake of which the whole system of the Craft exists. To endure through all vicissitudes, and to satisfy our natures, Brotherhood must have a spiritual basis, hence the importance of our conception of religion. Brotherhood requires that men must be held together by unbreakable ties, hence the necessity for morality, which is a name for the forces that bind us together in ethical relations. Differences in beliefs and opinions must not rupture these bonds, hence the need for tolerance. Men cannot easily come together except when they have the same rights and privileges, hence the necessity of equality. They cannot work together unless all understand the work to be done, hence the need of enlightenment. They will not be drawn together unless they are filled with that spirit of good will which necessarily expresses itself in charity and relief. And Brotherhood cannot exist except in a nation which admits of it, hence the need for Masons to be good citizens. Through all the teachings of Masonry run these principles which lead back to the conception and practice of Brotherhood; from the conception all teachings emerge, to it all come in the end. Gain a clear understanding of that and you will have that secret by which all else is made plain.
AN INTERPRETATION OF THE RITUAL OF THE THIRD DEGREE
You have been raised to the Sublime Degree of a Master Mason. It is indeed a "sublime" Degree, which a man may study for years without exhausting.
Any interpretation must necessarily be a hint only; yet a hint may stimulated man to reflect upon it for himself and to study it more thoroughly in the future.
In the First and Second Degrees you were surrounded by the symbols and emblems of architecture; in the Third Degree you found a different order of symbolism, cast in the language of the soul--its life, its tragedy and its triumph. To recognize this is the first step in interpretation.
The second step is to recognize that the Third Degree has many meanings; it is not intended to be a lesson, complete within itself, but rather a pointing out of paths, a new department, a series of inspiration, like a great symphony, drama or picture to which one may evermore return to find new meanings, new beauties and new truths.
There are many interpretations of the Degree; but essentially .it is a drama of immortality of the soul, setting forth the truth that while a man's body withers away and perishes, the man, himself, perishes not.
That this is the meaning most generally adopted by the Craft is shown by our habits of language; we say that a man is "initiated", an Entered Apprentice; "passed", a Fellow Craft; and "raised", a Master Mason. By this it appears that it is the raising that most Masons have found at the center of the Master Mason's Degree.
Evil in the form of tragedy is set forth in the drama of the Third Degree. Here is a good and wise man, a builder, working for others and giving others work, the highest we know, as it is dedicated wholly to God; a man who through no fault of . his own experiences tragedy from friends and fellow Masons. Here is evil pure and unhallowed, a complete picture of human tragedy.
How did the craft meet this tragedy? The first step was to impose the supreme penalty on those who had possessed the will to destroy and therefore had to be destroyed lest another tragedy follow. The greatest enemy man has makes war upon the good; to it no quarter can be given
The next step was to discipline and to pardon those who acted not out of an evil will, but through weakness were misled. Forgiveness is possible if a man himself condemns the evil he has done, since in spite of his weakness he retains his faith in the good.
The next step was to recover from the wreckage caused by the tragedy whatever of value it had left undestroyed. Confusion had come upon the Craft; order was restored. Loyal Craftsmen took up the burdens dropped by the traitors. It is in the nature of such a tragedy that the good suffer for the evil of others and it is one of the prime duties of life that a man shall toil to undo the harm wrought by sin and crime, else in time the world would be destroyed by the evils that are done in it.
But what of the victim of the Tragedy. Here is the profoundest and most difficult lesson of the drama--difficult to understand, difficult to believe if one has not been truly initiated into the realities of the spiritual life. Because the victim was a good man, his goodness rooted in an unvarying faith in God, that which destroyed him in one sense could not destroy him in another. The spirit in him rose above the reach of evil; by virtue of it he was raised from a dead level to a living perpendicular.
Let us imagine a genuinely good man who has been the victim of the most terrible of tragedies, one caused by the treachery of friends. This treachery has brought destruction upon the foundation of his life, his home, his reputation, his ability to earn a livelihood. How can he be raised above the clutch of such circumstances? How can he emerge a happier man than before? By his spirit rising to the level of forgiveness, of resignation, of self-sacrifice, refusing to stoop to retaliation or to harbor bitterness. In such a spirit the truest happiness is found.
The secret of such a power is in the Third Degree, symbolized by the Word. If that Word is lost a man must search for it' if a man possesses that word he has the secret of the Masonic Art. To rise to the height of spiritual life is to stand on a level above the reach of tragedy or the powers of evil. To have the spirit rest in God, to have a sincere and unvarying faith in truth and goodness, is the inner secret of a Master Mason, to teach which is the purpose of the Third Degree.
SYMBOLS AND ALLEGORIES OF THE THIRD DEGREE
In your experience with the Ritual and your meetings with us, you have learned that every phase, event, and other detail in the ceremonies of initiation is full of meaning. No item is merely for effect or ornament. In the Third Degree are the deepest secrets and profoundest teachings of our Fraternity. At this time we can give you but a hint, in the hope that it may inspire you to study the Degree for yourself.
The symbolism of the First and Second Degrees centers around the art of architecture; Their purpose is to teach you, in the First Degree to be a builder of yourself; in the Second Degree to be a builder of society. In the Third Degree the symbolism takes another form. Although its background continues to be architecture, and its actions take place in and about a Temple, it is a spiritual symbolism of life and death, and its principal teaching is immortality.
Frequent references are made to King Solomon's Temple.
This great temple reflecting majesty, magnitude, and magnificence, after standing for 420 years, was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar of the Chaldees. Its successor, erected by Zerubbabel, stood nearly 500 years, when it was reconstructed by Herod-- The Temple of Herod--which was destroyed by the Romans under Titus. The Mosque of Omar, occupying the original site, has stood for twelve centuries. These thirty centuries have produced great changes but the foundations remain unmoved. Each stone, immense and artistic, may be identified by the private mark of the quarryman and still defies the ravages of time.
So with Masonry, its foundation, composed of the grandest principles ever communicated from God to man, stand unmoved. The Temple of Freemasonry symbolizes the Temple of the Soul. Just as the Temple of King Solomon was then considered the finest ever erected by the hand of man, so the Great Architect intends that we shall develop the finest and most nearly perfect characters. As certain working tools were employed to-erect that greatest of temporal buildings, so in Speculative Masonry we must choose as our working tools in life those moral lessons that build character. So may the rough ashlar become in time the perfect ashlar.
The Working Tools of the Degrees are all the implements of Masonry, but more especially the Trowel, by which we spread the cement of Brotherly Love. But Brotherly Love itself has its source and seat in the soul. To love a man above his sins, to cherish him in spite of his faults, to forgive him in all sincerity, to bear with him and to forbear, is possible only as we feel the influence of the spiritual, and have divested ourselves of selfishness.
The Tragedy of Hiram Abif is the climax of the Degree. Next in importance, and in many ways equal in interest, is the allegorical Search For That Which Was Lost. This has an historical background. To the early Jewish people a name was something peculiarly identified with a person, and held in reverence. Sometimes it was secret and a substitute was used in daily life. All this appears in our Ritual in the form of an allegory. A Word was possessed; a Word was lost.
Like all symbols, this means many things. One of its profounder meanings is that if a man has lost the ideals and standards of his youth, his character, his faith in truth and goodness, he must, if he is to live the Masonic life, go in search of that which was lost, and continue searching until he finds it.
You may wonder why the Ritual does not explain fully and clearly the meaning of this symbolism, why it leaves the candidate to find the meaning for himself. There are at least three reasons for this silence, apparently so strange. First, lack of sufficient time. Second, the Masonic life grows by what we do for ourselves, infinitely more than by what others do for us. The Ritual presupposes that we are grown men, not boys in school, and that each of us does his own thinking. Third, the method of the Ritual is to bring us into the presence of the greater truths of life knowing that their mere presence will have a deep influence over us; each man is left to work them out in detail according to his own needs.
Of the Emblems of the Third Degree, one after another is set before us, apparently in no given order, and each with only a hint of what it signifies. Yet each of them stands for some great idea or ideal. Each of them is a master truth.
In the three Pillars we have the three great ideas-Wisdom, Strength and Beauty. The three steps remind us of how Youth, Manhood, and Old Age is a unity in itself, each possessing its own duties and problems, each calling for its own philosophy. The Pot of Incense teaches that, of all forms of worship, to be pure and blameless in our inner lives is more acceptable to God than anything else, because that which a man really is, is of vastly greater importance than that which he appears to be. The Book of Constitution is the emblem of law, and that our moral and spiritual character is grounded in law and order as much as is government or nature. It teaches that no man can live a satisfactory life who lives lawlessly.
The sword Pointing to a Naked Heart discovers that one of the most rigorous of these laws is justice, and that if a man be unjust in his heart, the inevitable results of injustice will find him out. The All Seeing Eye shows that we live and move and have our being in God; that we are constantly in His Presence, wherever or whatever we are doing.
The Anchor and the Ark stand for that sense of security and stability of life grounded in truth and faith, without which sense there can be no happiness. The Forty-seventh Problem of Euclid is an emblem of the arts and sciences; by them we are reminded that next to sinfulness the most dangerous enemy of life is ignorance. In the Hour Glass we have the emblem of the fleeting quality of life. The Scythe reminds us that passing time will end our lives as well as our work, and if ever we are to become what we ought to be, we must not delay.
THE LEGEND OF HIRAM ABIF
In the Sublime Degree you were doubtless impressed by the Tragedy of Hiram Abif above all other features of its impressive ceremonies. As the degree is the climax of initiation so is that Tragedy of climax of the Degree. To understand and appreciate its richness of profound meaning might well be your ambition.
Since the drama of Hiram Abif is ritualistic, it is immaterial whether it be historical or not. There was a Hiram Abif in history, but our Third Degree goes far beyond what history tells of him. Our Hiram Abif is a symbol of the human soul. If, therefore, you have been troubled with the thought that some of the events of this drama may not have happened, you may ease your mind. Even if not historically true they are symbols of what occurs in the life of every man.
It is an inexcusable blunder to treat the drama as a mock tragedy, a serio-comedy. Savage peoples employ initiation ceremonies as an ordeal test to the nerve and courage of their young men, but Freemasonry is not savage. The exemplification of our ritualistic drama should be as sincere, as solemn, as earnest as a prayer before the Altar; he who takes it trivially or with perverted humor, betrays a shallowness of soul which shows him unfit to be a Mason.
Did you ask, while participating in the drama, why you were made to participate? Why you were not permitted to sit as a spectator? It was your drama, not another's! No man can ever be a mere spectator of drama in his own soul. It was intended that your participation should prepare you to become a Master Mason by teaching you the secret of a Master Mason, by which your soul may rise above its internal enemies if you are to be a Mason in reality as well as in name. The real Master Mason is master of himself.
Did you ask why the three enemies came from his own circle, not from outside? The enemies most feared by the soul are always within: its own ignorance, passions and sins. As the Great Light reminds us, it is not that which kills the body that we need most to shun, but that which has power to destroy the spirit.
Another lesson of profound significance is that of fidelity. Even in the face of certain death as a result of refusal to betray his trust, this ancient Grand Master steadfastly guarded his secret. His standards admitted of no compromise with evil; principle was not sacrificed to expediency.
The most we can obtain from others are such hints and suggestions as these. Print the story of Hiram Abif indelibly upon your mind; ponder upon it. When you are at grips with your enemies recall it and act according to the light you have found in it. Your inner self will give, in first-hand experience, that which the drama gave in the form of Ritual, and you will be wiser and stronger for having the guidance the Tragedy provides.
THE LAWS OF FREEMASONRY
Every Master Mason is obliged to abide by the laws, regulations and edicts of his Grand Lodge, the by-laws of the particular Lodge of which he is a member, and to maintain the support the Landmarks and "ancient usage’s and customs of the Fraternity."
The laws of Masonry, like the laws of nations, are both unwritten and written. The written laws, based on the "General Regulations" and the "Old Charges" are the Constitution and laws or ode of the Grand Lodge, its regulations and edicts, and the by-laws of his particular Lodge. The Ancient Landmarks are a part of the unwritten law.
The "General Regulations," as set forth in "Anderson' s Constitutions of 1723," have a curious history, into which it is not necessary to go; suffice it that they were adopted shortly after the formation in 1717 of the Grand Lodge in London.
In general, it may be said that the "Old Charges" are concerned with the individual brother, and his relations to his Lodge and his brethren; the General Regulations with the conduct of the Craft as a whole. The General Regulations permit their own alteration by Grand Lodge, the Old Charges do not.
Most civil laws are provided with measures of enforcement and penalties for infringement; Masonic law knows but three penalties for infringement: Reprimand, Suspension and Expulsion. These penalties can be inflicted after Masonic trials with a guilty verdict only. Compared to the number of Masons, these trials are very rare. Masons as a rule are willing to obey the laws and enforcement is seldom required.
There is no complete uniformity in the Masonic Law of the various Grand Jurisdictions. Different latitudes, different characteristics and ideas have left their impressions upon all Grand Lodges.
The "Ancient Landmarks" as we customarily call them, may be briefly defined as those fundamental laws of Masonry which are not subject to change. Many Masons want to know what these landmarks are. The Great Masonic student, Albert Gallatin Mackey, formulated a list of twenty-five which have been adopted by many of the Grand Lodges while others have adopted a different list, varying all the way from seven in Massachusetts to fifty-four in Kentucky.
We may liken the Masonic landmarks to the fundamental principles of character building, which you will understand more fully as you advance in Masonry, but do not be disturbed if you cannot make a list of all those principles.
With the "Old Charges" for precedent, the first "General Regulations" for organic law, Grand Lodges write and adopt their constitutions and laws and particular Lodges write and adopt their by-laws, subject to the approval of the Grand Master and Grand Lodge in our jurisdiction. Grand Masters, ad interim, formulate and issue edicts and make decisions; often these are later incorporated by the Grand Lodge into the written law of the jurisdiction. All of these together form the legal structure of Freemasonry.
THE DUTIES, RIGHTS AND PRIVILEGES OF A MASTER MASON
You will not find the duties, rights, and privileges of a Master Mason anywhere completely stated and numbered. They are scattered here and there, some in symbols, others in the form of customs, others in laws. Some are explicit, others are implied.
A Master Mason's first duty is obviously to live by and act consistently with his obligation. Unless this is done he cannot perform his other duties, nor can he justly claim his rights and privileges. With this as a foundation, a number of those duties and rights can be discussed in detail.
Full privileges of membership are established when he is raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason. Thereafter he has a right to a voice in the administration of the affairs of the Lodge, to vote, hold office, and demit.
It is a Master Mason's duty, legal and moral, to pay his share of the financial costs of the Fraternity, promptly and ungrudgingly.
He has the right to petition for affiliation under various circumstances in accordance with the provisions of the Code.
Visiting in Lodges in which he does not hold membership is both a right and a privilege, though not a duty. it is a right in the sense that he may seek admittance into any regular Lodge; it is a privilege in the sense that his admission into that Lodge is contingent upon his being vouched for, or examined, if necessary, and being permitted to enter by the Worshipful Master. If a Mason is not permitted to enter some Lodge at a certain time, the fact does not cancel his right to seek to visit it at another time or to seek to visit any other Lodge. The right to attempt to visit is indisputable.
Masonic relief, within its proper limitations, is a privilege to be valued, on the one hand, and a responsibility to be recognized, on the other. The rite of Destitution in the First Degree provides an object lesson that should never be forgotten, and the obligation of the Third Degree contains a still broader definition of the requirements of Masonic relief.
Every affiliated Master Mason has the right to Masonic burial. In practice his family has the right of requesting this honor. This right is of more importance than may at first appear. If without giving cause a Lodge refused to give Masonic burial, the community might naturally infer something reprehensible, known only to the Lodge, and both his name and family would suffer accordingly.
Among the most important of his rights, though exercised under unhappy conditions, is his right of trial by his peers, under regulated conditions, with freedom to present evidence. This assures him that no Lodge can degrade him without a fair trial. Neither his Lodge, nor any officer or member, can remove him through malice or spite, nor can he be made to suffer the penalties of Masonry through idle gossip or hearsay.
If he is brought to trial in his own Lodge on charges of unmasonic conduct and found guilty, he has the right of appeal to the Grand Lodge. This right is his guaranty against possible injustice, more particularly against local prejudice or spiteful persecution by some private enemy.
A Master Mason's rights and privileges are to be described in principle and in spirit rather than in detail. Beyond all specific duties, rights and privileges exists a region in which a11 are mingled together; the whole domain of Masonry's teachings, her ritual and symbols, her history, her ideals of jurisprudence, her philosophy, her literature, the whole Royal Art. It is his right to be taught that Art and to have it in its fullness, none of it being reserved for a privileged few. It is his to enjoy all the privileges it offers to the spirit, the mind, the heart. All that Freemasonry is, all that it means, all that it has to give or to offer, belongs to every individual Mason in the same way and to the same extent as to all others. However onerous your duties may prove to be, or however rigidly your rights may at times appear to be regulated, such burdens sink into nothingness by comparison with this one privilege, that Freemasonry in all her height, and breadth, and length, and richness belongs to you to use and enjoy.
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