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BEHOLD YOUR MASTER.
When, in the instal1ation services, the formula is used, "Brethren, behold your Master," the expression is not simply exclamatory, but is intendes as the original use of the word behold implies, to invite the members of the Lodge to fix their attention upon the new relations which have sprung up between them and him who has just been elevated to the Oriental Chair, and to impress upon their minds the duties which they owe to him and which he owes to them. In like manner, when the formula is continued, "Master, behold your brethren, " the Master's attention is impressively directed to the same change of re1ations and duties.
These are not mere idle words, but convey an important lesson, and should never be omitted in the ceremony of installation.
spelled Bel, is usually pronounced bell but both Strong in his Hebrew Dictionary, and Feyerabend in his, prefer to say bale. The word is probably the contracted form of v, commonly pronounced bay-ahl and spelled Baal, and he was worshiped by the Babylonians as their chief deity. The Greeks and Romans so considered the meaning and translated the word by Zeus and Jupiter.
Bel was one of the chief gods of the Babylonians perhaps their supreme deity, and the word has been deemed a Chaldaic form of Baal. Note Isaiah, xlvi,
1, "BeI boweth down, Nebo stoopeth, their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle. " Baal signifies Lord or Master and occurs several times in the Bible as a part of the names of various gods. Alone, the word applies to the sun-god, the supreme male deity of the Syro-Phoenician nations.
For an account of his worship read First Kings xviii.
With Jah and 0n, it has been introduced into the Royal Arch system as a representative of the Tetragrammaton, which it and the accompanying words have sometimes ignorantly been made to displace. At the session of the General Grand Chapter of the United States, in 1871, this error was corrected; and while the Tetragrammaton was declared to be the true omnific word, the other three were permitted to be retained as merely explanatory.
American Colonist, born January 8, 1681; graduated from Harvard University, 1699; died August 31, 1757. He was made a Freemason at London in 1704, according to a letter he wrote to the First Lodge in Boston on September 25, 1741, and therefore Brother M. M.
Johnson names him the Senior Freemason of America.
Brother Belcher served as Colonial Governor of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New Jersey (see New Age, August,1925; Beginnings of Freemasonry in America, Melvin M. Johnson, 1924, page 49 ; History of Freenwsonry in the State of New York, Ossian Lang, page 6 ; Builder, volume x, page 312).
Belenus, the Baal of the Scripture, was identified with Mithras and with Apollo, the god of the sun. A forest in the neighborhood of Lausanne is still known as Sauvebelin, or the retreat or abidingplace of Belenus, and traces of this name are to be found in many parts of England. The custom of kindling fires about midnight on the eve of the festival of St. John the Baptist, at the moment of the summer solstice, which was considered by the ancients a season of rejoicing and of divination, is a vestige of Druidism in honor of this deity.
It is a curious coincidence that the numerical value of the letters of the word Belenus, like those of Abrazas and Mithras, all representatives of the sun, amounts to 365, the exact number of the days in a solar year. But before ascribing great importance to this coincidence, it may be well to read what the mathematician Augustus De Morgan has said upon the subject of such comparisons in his Budget of Paraclozes (see Abrazas).
The Grand Orient of Belgium has constituted three Lodges in this Colony-Ere Nouvelle, Daennen and Labor et Libertas, the first two at Stanleyville and the third at Elizabethville. L'Aurore de Congo Lodge at Brazzaville is controlled by the Grand Lodge of France.
Tradition states that the Craft flourished in Belgium at Mons as early as 1721 but the first authentic Lodge, Unity, existed at Brussels in 1757 and continued work until 1794. A Provincial Grand Master Francis B.J. Dumont, the Marquis de Sages, was appointed by the Moderns Grand Lodge in 1769. For some years, however, opposition from the Emperor hiudered the expansion of the Craft.
0n January 1, 1814, there were only 27 Lodges in existence in the country.
A Grand Lodge was established by Dutch and Belgian Brethren on June 24, 1817, but it was not successful. Belgium became independent in 1830 and a Grand Orient was formed on May 23, 1833, out of the old Grand Lodge. In 1914 it controlled 24 Lodges in Belgium and one in the Belgian Congo.
King Leopold was himself initiated in 1813 and, although he never took a very active part in the work he always maintained a friendly attitude towards the Craft.
On March 1, 1817, a Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite was established.
The fundamental law of Freemasonry contained in the first of the Old Charges collected in 1723, and inserted in the Book of Constitutions published in that year, sets forth the true doctrine as to what the Institution demands of a Freemason in reference to his religious belief:
"A Mason is obliged, by his tenure, to obey the moral law; and if he rightly understands the art, he will never be a stupid atheist nor an irreligious libertine.
But though in ancient times Masons were charged in every country to be of the religion of that country or nation, whatever it was, yet it is now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that religion in which all men agree, leaving their particular opinions to themselves."
Anderson, in his second edition, altered this article, calling a Freemason a true Noachida, and saying that Freemasons "all agree in the three great articles of Noah," which is incorrect, since the Precepts of Noah were seven (see Religion of Freemasonry).
See British Honduras.
The use of a bell in the ceremonies of the Third Degree, to denote the hour, is, manifestly, an anachronism, an error in date, for bells were not invented until the fifth century. But Freemasons are not the only people who have imagined the existence of bells at the building of the Temple. Henry Stephen tells us in the Apologie pour Herodote ( chapter 39 ), of a monk who boasted that when he was at Jerusalem he obtained a vial which contained some of the sounds of King Solomon's bells. The blunders of a ritualist and the pious fraud of a relic-monger have equal claims to authenticity.
The Masonic anachronism, however, is not worth consideration, because it is simply intended for a notation of time--a method of expressing intelligibly the hour at which a supposed event occurred.
Brother Mackey, in writing the foregoing paragraph, had no doubt in mind the kind of bells used in churches of which an early, if indeed not the earliest, application is usually credited to Bishop Paulinus about 400 A.D.
However, in the Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Exploration Fund, 1904, there is a report of the discovery at Gezer of a number of small bronze bells, both of the ordinary shape with clapper and also of the baII-and-slit form. If these bells are of the same date as the city on whose site they were found, then they may have like antiquity of say up to 3000 B.C. Bells are mentioned in the Bible (as in Exodus xxviii 34, and xxxix, 26, and in Zechariah xiv, 20), but the presumption is that these were mainly symbolical or decorative in purpose.
A significant word in Symbolic Freemasonry, obsolete in many of the modem systems, whose derivation is uncertain (see Macbenac).
The name of a cavern to which certain assassins fled for concealment. The expression may be fanciful but in wund has a curious resemblance to a couple of Hebrew words meaning builder and tarry.
A significant word in the advanced degrees. One of the Princes or Intendants of Solomon, in whose quarry some of the traitors spoken of in the Third Degree were found. He is mentioned in the catalogue of Solomon's princes, given in First Kings (iv, 9). The Hebrew word is , pronounced ben-day-ker, the son of him who divides or pierces. In some old instructions we find a corrupt form, Bendaa.
A Roman pontiff whose family name was Prosper Lambertini. He was born at Bologna in 1675, succeeded Clement XII as Pope in 1740, and died in 1758. He was distinguished for his learning and was a great encourager of the arts and sciences.
He was, however, an implacable enemy of secret societies, and issued, on the 18th of May, 1751, his celebrated Bull, renewing and perpetuating that of his predecessor which excommunicated the Freemasons (see Bull).
The solemn invocation of a blessing in the ceremony of closing a Lodge is called the benediction. The usual formula is as follows :
"May the blessing of Heaven rest upon us, and all regular Masons ; may brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue cement us. "
The response is, "So mote it be. Amen" ; which should always be audibly pronounced by all the Brethren.
One who receives the support or charitable donations of a Lodge. Those who are entitled to these benefits are affiliated Freemasons, their wives or widows, their widowed mothers, and their minor sons and unmarried daughters. Unaffiliated Freemasons cannot become the beneficiaries of a Lodge, but affiliated Freemasons cannot be deprived of its benefits on account of non-payment of dues.
Indeed, as this non-payment often arises from poverty, it thus furnes a stronger claim for fraternal charity.
BENEFIT SOCIETY, MASONIC.
In 1798, a society was established in London, under the patronage of the Prince of Wales, the Earl of Moira, and all the other acting officers of the Grand Lodge, whose object was "the relief of sick, aged, and imprisoned Brethren, and for the protection of their widows, children, and orphans."
The paylnent of one guinea per annula entitled every member, when sick or destitute, or his widow and orphans in case of his death, to a fixed contribution- After a few years, however, the Society came to an end as it was considered improper to turn Freemasonry into a Benefit Club.
Benefit funds of this kind have been generally unknown to the Freemasons of America, although some Lodges have established a fund for the purpose.
The Lodge of Strict Observance in the City of New york, and others in Troy, Ballston,
Schenectady, etc., years ago, adopted a system of benefit funds.
In 1844, several members of the Lodges in Louisville, Kentucky, organized a society under the title of the Friendly Sons of St. John. It was constructed after the model of the English society already mentioned. No member was received after forty-five years of age, or who was not a contributing member of a Lodge ; the per diem allowance to sick members was seventy-five cents; fifty dollars were appropriated to pay the funeral expenses of a deceased member, and twenty-five for those of a member's wife ; on the death of a member a gratuity was given to his family ; ten per cent of all fees and dues was appropriated to an orphan fund; and it was contemplated, if the funds would justify, to pension the widows of deceased members, if their circumstances required it.
Similar organizations are Low Twelve Clubs which have been formed in Lodges and other Masonic bodies and these are usually voluntary, a group of the brethren paying a stipulated sum into a common fund by regular subscriptions or by assessment whenever a member dies; a contribution from this fund being paid to the surviving relatives on the death of any brother affiliated in the undertaking.
But the establishment in Lodges of such benefit funds is by some bretbren held to be in opposition to the pure system of Masonic charity, and they have, therefore, been discouraged by several Grand Lodges, though several have existed in Scotland and elsewhere.
Cogan, in his work On the Passions, thus defines Benevolence : ''When our love or desire of good goes forth to others, it is termed goodwill or benevolenoe.
Benevolence embraces all beings capable of enjoying any portion of good; and thus it becomes universal benevolence, which manifests itself by being pleased with the share of good every creature enjoys in a disposition to increase it, in feeling an uneasiness at their sufferings, and in the abhorrence of cruelty under every disguise or pretext."
This spirit should pervade the hearts of all Freemasons, who are taught to look upon mankind as formed by the Great Architect of the Universe for the mutual assistance, instmction, and support of each other.
BENEVOLENCE, FUND OF.
This Fund was established in 1727 by the Grand Lodge of England under the management of a Committee of seven members, to whom twelve more were added in 1730.
It was originally supported by voluntary contributions from the various Lodges, and intended for the relief of distressed bretbren recommended by the contributing Lodges. The Committee was called the Committee of Charity.
The Fund is now derived partly from the fees of honor payable by Grand Officers, and the fees for dispensations, and partly from an annual payment of four shillings from each London Freemason and of two shillings from each country Freemason; it is administered by the Board of Benevolence, which consists of all the present and past Grand Officers, all actual Masters of Lodges and twelve Past Masters.
The Fund is solely devoted to chariti,, and large sums of money are every year voted and paid to petitioners. In the United States of America there are several similar organizations known as Boards of Relief (see Relief, Board of).
BENEVOLENT INSTITUTIONS, UNITED STATES.
There have been several institutions in the United States of an educational and benevolent character, deriving their existence in whole or in part from Masonic beneficence, and among these may be mentioned the following:
Girard College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Masonic Widows and Orphans Home, Louisville, Kentucky.
Oxford Orphan Asylum, Oxford, North Carolina.
Saint John's Masonic College, Little Rock, Arkansas.
Masonic Female College, Covington, Georgia.
Besides the Stephen Girard Charitty Fund, founded in Philadelphia, the capital investment of which is 562,000, the annual interest being devoted "to relieve all Master Masons in good standing,'' there is a Charity Fund for the relief of the widows and orphans of deceased Master Masons, and an incorporated Masonic Home. The District of Columbia has an organized Masonic charity, entitled Saint John's Mite Association. Idaho has an Orphan Fund, to which every Master Mason pays annually one dollar.
Indiana has organized the Masonic Widows' and Orphans' Home Society. Maine has done likewise; and Nebraska has an Orphans' School Fund (see Charity).
Found in some old rituals of the high degrees for Bendekar, as the name of an Intendant of Solomon. It is Bengeber in the catalogue of Solomon's officers (First Kings iv, 13), meaning the son of Geber, or the son of the strong man.
In 1728 a Deputation was granted by Lord Kingston, Grand Master of England, to Brother George Pomfret to constitute a Lodge at Bengal in East India, that had been requested by some Brethren residing there ; and in the following year a Deputation was granted to Captain Ralph Far Winter, to be Provincial Grand Master of East India at Bengal (see Constitutions, 1738, page 194) ; and in 1730 a Lodge was established at the "East India Arms, Fort William, Calcutta, Bengal,'' and numbered 72. There is a District Grand Lodge of Bengal with 74 subordinate Lodges, and also a District Grand Chapter with 21 subordinate Chapters.
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