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The Keystone 1897
Freemasonry is nothing if not elevating. At the remotest period when we may trace the beginnings of the art and science of which it has been the long-continued exponent - the art of building and the science of morality - we find its marked characteristic to have been the uplifting of the mind and the hands of its votaries. Both the intellectual and the physical natures of the Mason have been cultured. His mind has been taught to apprehend and comprehend the eternal truths of the Grand Master of the Universe; his hands have been apprenticed to knowledge, and gifted with deft power to work miracles in stone. In all the ages of Freemasonry the Craft has said to its votaries, Look up!
To the operative Mason it said, Look up! Look up at the perfect ashlars engraved with your chisel, enriched with your sculpture, raised stone by stone towards the sky, until the clouds have been pierced. Look up at the Great Pyramid, with its mystic-chambers and passages, for forty centuries the puzzle of the ages. Look up at Westminster Abbey, York Minster, Cologne Cathedral and Melrose Abbey. Look up at their steeples and pinnacles, pointing to heaven. Look up at the history written on their facades - for example on Lichfield Cathedral, where the angelic host of heaven, the prophets of the Jewish era, and the kings of England, all stand out in cultural effigy upon the noble western front of that wonder in stone. It is richly worth being a Freemason simply to be introduced to those inventors of Gothic architecture who were our ancestors in the Craft. We must look up to them, for they were before us in time, and above us in skill.
To the Speculative Mason Freemasonry says, Look up! We now all of us are speculatives.
Ancient Craft Masonry, in its degrees from the first to the last, says to the neophyte, Look up! Look up at the Master. He possesses the emblem of Masonic authority, and by its aid will instruct you how to divest your character of the blemishes, which impair its strength and mar its beauty. Look up and learn those mystic lessons of the ages of which Freemasonry has been the trusted custodian. Control that low impulse of your nature, which leads you to publish abroad all you know. For four thousand years the profane world waited for the Christian mysteries. For six thousand years it has waited for the Masonic mysteries. They are not yet for the world, and we may not communicate the least of its secrets to the uninitiate.
To the Fellow Craft, Freemasonry says, Look up! The Master is the exponent of the precepts of the Fraternity. He sits in Solomon's seat. He exercises supreme command. He understands the Masonic Mysteries, and enforces them on the understanding of initiates. He instructs authoritatively. There is scarcely any lesson more important to be learned by a man or a Mason than obedience. Disobedience forfeited man's title to one Eden, and it may to another. A disobedient Freemason is an anomaly, a contradiction in terms.
But it is not an arbitrary faithfulness that is required; it is fidelity to principles; and to persons only because they are the obligated representatives of those principles. Truth is the sovereign, which dominates the Master, and through him the Fellow Craft.
To the Master Mason Freemasonry says, Look up! And though he may gaze farther away, he can look no higher than the Master Mason's degree. No multiple of the Third degree is higher than it. There are no higher principles than Faith, Hope and Charity.
My Brother, are you in joy? Look up! The Grand Master of the Universe has blessed you with the surroundings which minister to your happiness. Acknowledge Him.
Still more, if you are in sorrow, Look up! In no other direction is there a beautiful vista. Elsewhere are gloom and darkness. Light comes from above, physical light, spiritual light, all true light. In the eloquent language of Past Grand Master Brother Richard Vaux: "The songs of the stars, the anthem of angels are all from above. In the Heaven of Heavens God dwells. He looks down on His creatures, and mercy and love of the words of His salutation in sorrow and distress."
No one should know this as well as the Freemason, since he has been taught, from the time that he was an Entered Apprentice, to look up!
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Last modified: March 22, 2014