The Masonic Trowel

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Spoken or written praise of a person's life or character. Freemasonry delights to do honor to the memory of departed Brethren by the delivery of eulogies of their worth and merit, which are either delivered at the time of their burial, or at some future period. The eulogy forms the most important part of the ceremonies of a Sorrow Lodge. But the language of the eulogist should be restrained within certain limits; while the veil of charity should be thrown over the frailties of the deceased, the praise of his virtues should not be expressed with exaggerated adulation, slavish flattery Eulogy, just and affectionate is one thing; panegyric, suggesting hypocritical compliment, is something else.
A king of Eleusis, who founded, about the year 1374 B.C., the Mysteries of Eleusis. His descendants, the Eumoipidae, presided for twelve hundred years over these Mysteries as Hierophants.
It is usual, in the most correct Masonic instruction, especially to name eunuchs as being incapable of initiation. In none of the old Constitutions and Charges is this class of persons alluded to by name, although of course they are comprehended in the general prohibition against making Freemasons of persons who have any blemish or maim. However, in the Charges which were published by Doctor Anderson, in his second edition (see Constitutioru, 1738, page 144) they are included in the list of prohibited candidates. It is probable from this evidence that at the time it was usual to name them in the point of obligation above referred to; and this presumption derives strength from the fact that Dermott, in copying his Charges from those of Anderson's second edition, added a note complaining of the Moderns for having disregarded this ancient law, in at least one instance (see Brother Lawrence Dermott's Ahiman Rezon, edition of 1778). The question is, however, not worth discussion, except as a matter of interest in the history of our ceremonies, since the legal principle is already determined that eunuchs cannot be initiated because they are not perfect men, "having no maim ox defect in their bodies."
One of the largest and most celebrated rivers of Asia. Rising in the mountains of Armenia and flowing into the Persian gulf, it necessarily lies between Jerusalem and Babylon. In the advanced degrees it is referred to as the stream over which the Knights of the East won a passage by their arms in returning from Babylon to Jerusalem.
From the Greeli, xxpfatS, meaning a discovery. That part of the initiation in the Ancient Mvsteries which represented the finding of the body of the god or hero whose death and resurrection was the subject of the initiation. The Euresis has been adopted in Freemasonry, and forms an essential incident of Craft instruction.
An appellation or name at times given to the west end of the Lodge.
The acclamation or cry used in the French Rite of Adoption.
The gospel belonging to the so-called Ordre du Temple at Paris, and professedly a relie of the real Templars. Some believe in its antiquity; but others, from external and internal evidence, fix its date subsequent to the fifteenth century. It is apparently a garbled version of Saint John's Gospel. It is sometimes confounded with the Leviticon but, though bound up in the same printed volume, it is entirely distinct.
See Saint John the Evangelist.
The second Degree in the Druidical system. Of the three Degrees the first was the Bards, the second Evates or Prophets, and the third Druids or Sanctified Authorities.
Meaning in French, Sect of the Enlightened. According to Thory (Acta Latomorum i, 31?) a society presumed to be a branch of Weishaupt's Illumines that existed in Italy.
A German expression meaning League of Doers of Good, a term taken from the Greek word fVfpefmS, a benefactor. A secret order after the manner of the Illuminati. It was founded in Silesia about 1792, by a certain Zerboni of Glogau, Lieut. von Leipzinger, the merchant Contessa, Herr von Reibnitz, and five others; that Fessler worked in it- that it used Masonic forms. Some of the members were imprisoned at Breslau in 1796, and about 1801 the society became defunct.
An evergreen plant is a symbol of the immortality of the soul. The ancients, therefore, as well as the moderns, planted evergreens at the heads of graves. Freemasons wear evergreens at the funerals of their Brethren, and cast them into the graves. The acacia is the plant which should be used on these occasions, but w here it cannot be obtained, some other evergreen plant, especially the cedar, or box, is used as a substitute (see Acacia).
There is a very ancient city in Portugal, of 1200 population, bearing the name of Evora. Quintus Sertorius took it 80 B.C. The Roman antiquities are unrivaled. The aqueduct erected by Sertorius has at one end a marvelous architectural tower rising high above the city, perfect in its condition as when built, 70 B.C. In 1147, King Alfonso I, of Portugal, instituted the Order of the New Militia in consequence of the prowess exhibited by the troops in the siege of Lisbon against the Moors. When they conquered Evora in 1166, the king by decree changed their name to Knights of Evora.
A candidate is said to be exalted, when he receives the Degree of Holy Royal Arch, the seventh in American Freemasonry. Exalted means elevated or lifted up, and is applicable both to a peculiar ceremony of the Degree, and to the fact that this Degree, in the Rite in which it is practiced, constitutes the summit of ancient Freemasonry.
The rising of the sun of spring from his wintry sleep into the glory of the vernal equinox was called by the old sun-worshipers his exaltation; and the Fathers of the Church afterward applied the same term to the resurrection of Christ. Saint Athanasius says that by the expression, "God hath exalted him," Saint Paul meant the resurrection. Exaltation, therefore, technically means a rising from a lower to a higher sphere, and in Royal Arch Masonry may be supposed to refer to the being lifted up out of the first temple of this life into the second temple of the future life. The candidate is raised in the Mastcr's Degree, he is e:rmalted in the Royal Arch. In both the sit mbolic idea is the same.
It is an almost universal rule of the modern Constitutions of Freemasonry, that an examination upon the subjects which had been taught in the preceding Degree shall be required of every Brother who is desirous of receiving a further Degree; and it is directed that this examination shall take place in an open Lodge of the Degree upon which the examination is made, that all the members present may have an opportunity of judging from actual inspection of the proficiency and fitness of the candidate for the advancement to which he aspires.
The necessity of an adequate comprehension of the mysteries of one Degree, before any attempt is made to acquire a further one, seems to have been duly appreciated from the earliest times; and hence the 13th Article of the Regius Manuscript requires that if a Master has an Apprentice he shall teach him fully, that he may know his Craft ably wherever he may go. (see lines 239 to 244). But there is no evidence that the system of examining candidates as to their proficiency, before their advancement, is other than a modern improvement, and first adopted not very early in the last century.
This is sometimes done after the ballot for a candidate, by presenting the box first to the Junior Warden, then to the Senior, and lastly to the Master, each of whom proclaims the result as dear or foul. This order is adopted so that the declaration of the inferior officer, as to the state of the ballots, may be confirmed and substantiated by his superior.
The due examination of strangers who claim the right to visit, should be entrusted only to the most skilful and prudent Brethren of the Lodge. And the examining committee should never forget, that no man applying for admission is to be considered as a Freemason, however strong may be his recommendations, until by undeniable evidence he has proved himself to be sueh. All the necessary forms and antecedent cautions should be observed. Inquiries should be made as to the time and place of initiation, as a preliminary step the Tiler's pledge, of course, never being omitted.
Then remember the good old rule of "commencing at the beginning." Let everything proceed in regular course, not varying in the slightest degree from the order in which it is to be supposed that the information sought was originally received. Whatever be the suspicions of imposture, let no expression of those suspicions be made until the final decree for rejection is uttered. And let that decree be uttered in general terms, such as, "I am not satisfied," or "I do not recognize you," and not in more specific language, such as, "You did not answer this inquiry," or thou are ignorant on that point," The candidate for examination is only entitled to know that he has not complied generally with the requisitions of his examiner. To descend to particulars is always improper and often dangerous.
Above all, never ask what the lawyers call leading questions, which include in themselves the answers, nor in any manner aid the memory or prompt the forgetfulness of the party examined, by the slightest hints. If he has it in him it will come out without assistance, and if he has it not, he is clearly entitled to no aid. The Freemason who is so unmindful of his obligations as to have forgotten the instructions he has received, must pay the penalty of his carelessness, and be deprived of his contemplated visit to that society whose secret modes of recognition he has so little valued as not to have treasured them in his memory.
And, lastly, never should an unjustifiable delicacy weaken the rigor of these rules. Remember, that for the wisest and most evident reasons, the merciful maxim of the law, which says that it is better that ninety-nine guilty men should escape than that one innocent man should be punished, is with us reversed, and that in Freemasonry it is better that ninety anal nine true men should be turned away from the door of a Lodge than that one cowan should be admitted.
King Arthur's famous sword, which he withdrew from a miraculous stone after the unavailing efforts of 200 of his most puissant barons. Hence, Arthur was proclaimed King. When dying, Arthur commanded a servant to throw the sword into a neighboring lake, but the servant twice eluded this command. When he finally complied, a hand and arm arose from the water, seized the sword by the hilt, waved it thrice, then sinking into the lake, was seen no more.
Excavations beneath Jerusalem have for years past been in progress, under the direction of the English society, which controls the "Palestine Exploration Fund," and many important discoveries, especially interesting to Freemasons, have been made.

A title conferred on the Grand Captain of the Host, and Grand Principal Sojourner of a Grand Chapter, and on the King and Scribe of a subordinate Chapter of Royal Arch Masons in America.

Doctor Oliver ( Historical Landmarks i, 420-8) gives a tradition that at the building of Solomon's Temple there avere several Lodges of Excellent Masons, having nine members in each, which were distributed as follows: six Lodges, or fifty-four Excellent Masons in the quarries; three Lodges, or twenty-seven Excellent Masons in the forest of Lebanon; eight Lodges, or seventy-two Excellent Masons engaged in preparing the materials; and nine Lodges, or eighty-one Excellent Masons subsequently employed in building the Temple. Of this tradition there is not the lightest support in authentic history, and it must have been invented altogether for 3 symbolic purpose, in reference perhaps to the mvstical numbers which it details.
A Degree which, with that of Super-Excellent blaster, was at one time given as preparatory to the Royal Areh. The latter Degree nova forms part of what is known as Cryptic Masonry. Crypt is a word from the Latin language as well as the Greek, meaning hidden, and frequently applied to a vault or secret chamber.
See Most Excellent.
See Right Excellent.
See Super-Excellent Masons.
In England the Grand Lodge alone can expel from the rights and privileges of Freemasonry. But a subordinate Lodge may exclude a member after giving him due notice of the charge preferred against himt and of the time appointed for its consideration.
The name of any one so excluded, and the cause of his exclusion must be sent to the Grand Secretary and to the Provincial or District Grand Secretary if the Lodge be in a Province or District. No Freemason excluded is eligible to any other Lodge until the Lodge to which he applies has been made acquainted with his exclusion, and the cause, so that the Brethren may exercise their discretion as to his admission (Constitutions, Rules 210 and 212). However, it lvas enacted by the Grand Lodge of England in 1902 that when a member is three years in arrears he ceases to hold membership in his Lodge and can legain his former standing only by submitting a regular petition and passing the ballot (see Book of Constilutions, Article 175).
In the United States of America the expression used as synonymous with Exclusion is striking from the roll, except that the latter punishment is inflicted for non-payment of Lodge dues. The general practice is to suspend for non-payment of dues, the Brother regaining his standing, if there be no other objection to him, by paying the arrearages that he owed.
The exclusiveness of Masonic benevolence is a charge that has frequently been made against the Order; and it is said that the charity of which it boasts is always conferred on its own members in preference to strangers. It cannot be denied that Freemasons, simply as Freemasons, have ever been more constant and more profuse in their charities to their own Brethren than to the rest of the world; that in apportioning the alms which God has given them to bestow, they have first looked for the poor in their own home before they sought those who were abroad; and that their hearts have felt more deeply for the destitution of a Brother than a stranger.
The principle that governs the Institution of Freemasonry, in the distribution of its charities, and the exercise of all the friendly affections, is that which was laid down by Saint Paul for the government of the infant church at Galatia: "As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith" (Galatians vi, 10).
This sentiment of preference for those of one's own faith, thus sanctioned by apostolic authority, is the dictate of human nature, and the words of Scripture find their echo in every heart. "Blood," says the Spanish proverb, "is thicker than water," and the claims of kindred, of friends and comrades to our affections, must not be weighed in the same scale with those of the stranger, who has no stronger tie to bind him to our sympathies, than that of a common origin from the founder of our race. All associations of men act on this principle. It is acknowledged in the church which follows with strict obedience the injunction of the apostle; and in the relief it affords to the distressed, in the comforts and consolations which it imparts to the afflicted, and in the rights and privileges which it bestows upon its own members, distinguishes between those who have no community with it of religious belief, and those who, by worshipping at the same altar, have established the higher claim of being of the household of faith.
It is recognized by all other societies, which, however they may, from time to time, and under the pressure of peculiar circumstances, extend temporary aid to accidental cases of distress, carefully preserve their own peculiar funds for the relief of those who, by their election as members, by their subscription to a written constitution, and by the regular payment of arrears, have assumed the relationship which Saint Paul defines as being of the household of faith.
It is recognized by governments, which, however liberally they may frame their laws, so that every burden may bear equally on all, and each may enjoy the same civil and religious rights, never fail, in the privileges which they bestow, to discriminate between the alien and foreigner, whose visit is but temporary or whose allegiance is elsewhere, and their own citizens.
This principle of preference is universally diffused, and it is well that it is so. It is well that those who are nearer should be dearer; and that a similitude of blood, an identity of interest, or a community of purpose, should give additional strength to the ordinary ties that bind man to man. man, in the weakness of his nature, requires this security by his own unaided efforts, he cannot accomplish the objects of his life nor supply the necessary wants of his existence. In this state of utter helplessness, God has wisely and mercifully provided a remedy by implanting in the human breast a love of union and an ardent desire for society.
Guided by this instinct of preservation, man eagerly seeks communion of man, and the weakness of the individual is compensated by the strength of association. It is to this consciousness of mutual dependence, that nations are indebted for their existence, and governments for their durability. And under the impulse of the same instinct of society, brotherhoods and associations are formed, whose members, concentrating their efforts for the attainment of one common object, bind themselves by voluntary ties of love and friendship, more powerful than those which arise from the ordinary feelings of human nature.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014