The Masonic Trowel

... to spread the cement of brotherly love and affection, that cement which unites us into one sacred band or society of brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble emulation of who can best work or best agree ...

[What is Freemasonry] [Leadership Development] [Education] [Masonic Talks] [Masonic Magazines Online]
Articles] [Masonic Books Online] [E-Books] [Library Of All Articles] [Masonic Blogs] [Links]
What is New] [Feedback]

 Masonic quotes by Brothers

Search Website For

Add To Favorites

Help Me Maintain OUR Website!!!!!!

List of Contributors

PDF This File

Print This Page

Email This Site To ...

See Patents.
A sacred plant used in the mysteries of Adonis, and therefore the analogue of the Acacia in the mysteries of Freemasonry.
A Masonic charlatan of the eighteenth century, better known by his assumed name of Johntson, which see.
In Freemasonry, the Level is a symbol of equality; not of that social equality which would destroy all distinctions of rank and position, and beget confusion, insubordination, and anarchy; but of that fraternal equality which, recognizing the Fatherhood of God, admits as a necessary corollary the Brotherhood of Man. It, therefore, teaches us that, in the sight of the Grand Architect of the Universe, his creatures, who are at an immeasurable distance from him, move upon the same plane; as the far-moving stars, which though millions of miles apart, yet seem to shine upon the same canopy of the sky. In this view, the Level teaches us that all men are equal, subject to the same infirmities, hastening to the same goal, and preparing to be judged by the same immutable law.

The Level is deemed, like the Square and the Plumb, of so much importance as a symbol, that it is repeated in many different relations. First, it is one of the jewels of the Lodge; in the English system a movable, in the American an immovable, one. This leads to its being adopted as the proper official ensign of the Senior Warden, because the Craft when at labor, at which time he presides over them, are on a common level of subordination. And then it is one of the working tools of a Fellow Craft, still retaining its symbolism of equality (see Jewels of a Lodge, also Immovable, and Movable).
See Masters Emblem.
The pseudonym of Louis Alphonse Constance, born, 1810; died, 1875, a prolific writer on Magical Freemasonry, or of works in which he seeks to connect the symbols of Freemasonry with the dogmas of the High Magic. His principal works, which abound in philosophical speculations, are Doctrine of Transcendendol Magic, 1855; Ritual of Transcendens Magic, 1856; History of Magic, 1860; Key of the Grand Mysteries, 1861; Fables and Symnbols, 1864; Sorcerer of Meudon, 1865, and Science of Souls, 1865. Brother Mackenzie (Royal MasonicCyclopedia) says that Eliphas Levi, at the time of his death, had prepared for publication LeLt'vre de Mystere, the Book of Mystery, and L'Anneau de Salomon, Solomon's Ring. At one time an active member of the Roman Catholic Church, trained at the Academy of Saint Sulpice for the priesthood, he arrived at the position of Deacon, and is Id frequently given the title of Abbe, Father, though his w independent views were soon found even in his period of priestly instruction to be unacceptable to the authorities of the Romish Church.
A pamphlet of his on the Gospel of Liberty, 1839, of radical expressions on polities, also brought him into conflict with the eivil powers and he was imprisoned for six months. He renounced celibacy, and married, but the union was broken by divorce, and his attention now seems to have turned toward the occult philosophy. Here he attained a position of prominence and has been called "the last of the Magi." Lewis Spence (Dictionary of Occultism) sums up his philosophical equipment thus: "Levi's knowledge of the occult sciences was much more imaginative than circumstantial, and in perusing his works the reader needs to be on his guard against the adoption of hasty generalizations and hypotheses."
The Levite was the fourth grade of the Order of the Knights of the True Light.
The Knight Levite was the fourth section of the Seventh Degree of the Rite of w Clerks of Strict Observance.
The lowest of the nine Orders of the Priesthood, or highest of the Masonic Degrees in the Order of the Temple as modified by Fabré-Palaprat. It was equivalent to Kadosh.
Those descendants of Levi who were employed in the lowest ministerial duties of the Temple, and were thus subordinate to the priests, who were the lineal descendants of Aaron. They are represented in some of the advanced Degrees.
A Degree in the collection of the Mother Lodge of the Philosophic Scottish Rite.
There is a spurious Gospel of Saint John, supposed to have been forged in the fifteenth century, which contradicts the accepted Gospel in many particulars. It contains an Introduction and a Commentary, said to have been written by Nicephorus, a Greek monk of Athens. This Commentary is called the Letiikon. Out of this Gospel and its Commentary, Fabré-Palaprat, about the year 1814, composed a Liturgy for the sect of Johannites, which he had established and attached to the Order of the Temple at Paris.
A collection of men or money raised for a particular purpose. The lectures tell us that the timbers for building the Temple at Jerusalem were felled in the forests of Lebanon, where a levy of thirty thousand men of Jerusalem were employed by monthly courses of ten thousand. Adoniram was placed over this levy. The facts are derived from the statement in First Kings v, 13, 14: "And King Solomon raised a levy out of all Israel; and the levy was thirty thousand men. And he sent them to Lebanon ten thousand a month by courses; a month they were in Lebanon and two months at home: and Adoniram was over the levy." These wood-cutters were not Tyrians, but all Israelites.
We are chiefly indebted to the scholastic philosophers of the Middle Ages for the nomenclature by which they distinguished the seven sciences then best known to the:n. With the metaphorical spirit of the age in which they lived, they called the two classes into which they divided them the trwium, or meeting of three roads, and the quadrivium, or meeting of four roads; calling grammar, logic, and rhetoric the trivium, and arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy the quadrivium. These they styled the Seven Liberal Arts and Sczences, to separate them from the mechanical arts which were practised by the handicraftsmen. The Liberal Man, Liberalis Homo, meant, in the Middle Ages, the man who was his own master— free, independent, and often a nobleman.
Mosheim, speaking of the state of literature in the eleventh century, uses the following language:
The Seven Liberal Arts, as they were now styled, were taught in the greatest part of the schools that were erected in this century for the education of youth. The first stage of these seienees was grammar, which was followed successively by rhetoric and logic. When the disciple, having learned these branches, which were generally known by the name of trivium, extended his ambition further, and was desirous of new improvement in the seienees, he was conducted slowly through the quadrivium arithmetic music, geometry,, and astronomy, to the very summit of literary fame.

The Freemasons of the Middle Ages, always anxious to elevate their profession above the position of a mere operative art, readily assumed these liberal arts and sciences as a part of their course of knowledge, thus seeking to assimilate themselves rather to the scholars who were above them than to the workmen who were belotv them. Brother E. E. Cauthome here infomms us that the claim has been made that Charlemagne, in his castle at Aix-la-Chapelle, set apart a separate place where the Zeven Liberal Arts and Sciences were taught.

Brother Mackey continues: Hence in all the Old Constitutions we find these liberal arts and sciences introduced at the beginning as forming an essential part of the Body of Freemasonry. Thus, in the Lansdowne Manuscript, whose date is about 1560, and it may be taken as a fair specimen of all the others, these sciences are thus referred to in lines 557-563:

Wee minde to shew you the charge that belongs to every trew Mason to keep for in good and ffaith if you take good heed it is well worthy to be kept for A worthy Craft and curious science,—Sirs, there be Seaven Liberall Sciences of the which the Noble Craft of Masonry is one.

And then the writer proceeds to define them in the order which they still retain. It is noteworthy, however, that that order must have been changed; for in what is probably the earliest of the manuscripts— —the Regius Manuscript—geometry appears as the last, instead of the fifth of the sciences, and arithmetic as the sixth.

It is not therefore surprising that, on the Revival of Freemasonry in 171l, these seven liberal arts and sciences were made a part of the system of instruction. At first, of course, they were placed in the Entered Apprentice's Degree, that being the most important Degree of the period, and they were made to refer to the seven Freemasons who composed a Lodge. Afterward, on the more methodical division of the Degrees, thev were transferred to the Fellow Craft, because that was the Degree symbolic of science, and were made to refer to seven of the steps of the winding stairs, that being itself, when properly interpreted, a symbol of the progress of knowledge. And there they still remain (see Lectures, also Dew Drop Lecture and Middle Chamber Lecture).

The Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences are of direct importance to the Freemason. Their study is impressed upon him, and every reference that has come down to us from the past is cherished by the Brethren because of this heritage through the years. Rabanus Maurus, who is believed to have been born about 784 and to have died in 856 A.D., was a pupil of Alcuin at Tours, and afterwards became Scholasticus of the Monastery at Fulda in 818. He was Abbot there from 822 to 84°, and in 847 was made Archbishop of Mainz. He was a devoted student of the Seven Liberal Arts and of Classical and Biblical literatures. His work treating upon the education of the clergy contains a most valuable reference to the liberal arts as they were esteemed in his day. This treatise of his was written in 819 and translated by F. V. N. Painter from the German text of Schultz, Gansen, and Keller, in his Great Pedoyogicul Essays, as published by the American Book Company of New York in 1905, and reproduced here by permission.
The first of the liberal arts is Grammar: the second Rhetoric, the third Dialeetie, the fourth Arithmetic the fifth Geometry, the sixth Musie, the seventh Astronomy.
grammar. Grammar takes its name from the written charaeter, as the derivation of the word indicates The definition of grammar is this: Grammar is the science which teaches us to explain the poets and historians; it is the art which qualifies us to write and speak correctly. Grammar is the source and foundation of the liberal arts. It should be taught in every Christian school, since the art of writing and speaking correctly is attained through it. How could one understand the sense of the spoken word or the meaning of letters and syllables, if one had not learned this before from grammar?
How could one know about metrical feet. accent, and verses, if grammar had not given one knowledge of them? How should one barn to know the articulation of discourse the advantages of figurative language, the laws of word formation. and the correct forms of words, if one had not familiarized himself with the art of grammar? All the forms of speech, of which secular science makes use in its writings, are found repeatedly employed in the Holy Scriptures. Every one, who reads the sacred Scriptures with care, will discover that our Biblical authors have used derivative forms of speech in great and more manifold abundance than would have been supposed and believed. There are in the Seriptures not only examples of all kinds of figurative expressions, but the designations of some of them by name; as allegory riddle, parable.
A knowledge of these things is proved to be necessary in relation to the interpretation of those passages of Holy Seripture Shied admit of a two-fold sense; an interpretation strictly literal would lead to absurdities. Everywhere we are to consider whether that, which we do not at onee understand, is to be apprehended as a figurative expression in some sense. A knowledge of prosody, which is offered in grammar, is not dishonorable, since among the Jews, as Saint Jerome testifies, the Psalter resounds sometimes with iambics, sometimes with Aleaies, sometimes chooses sonorous Sapphies, and sometimes even does not disdain eatalectie feet. But in Deuteronomy and Isaiah, as in Solomon and Job, as Josephus and Origen have pointed out, there are hexameters and pantameters. Henee this art, though it may be secular, has nothing unworthy in itself, it should rather be learned as thoroughly as possible.
According to the statements of teachers, rhetoric is the art of using secular discourse effectively in the circumstances of daily life. From this definition rhetoric seems indeed to have reference merely to secular wisdom. Yet it is not foreign to eeelesiastical instruetion. Whatever the preacher and herald of the divine law, in his instruction, brings forth in an eloquent and becoming manner; whatever in his written exposition he knows how to clothe in adequate and impressive language, he owes to his acquaintance with this art. Whoever at the proper time makes himself familiar with this art, and faithfully follows its rules in speaking and writing, need not count it as something blameworthy. On the contrary, whoever thoroughly learns it so that he acquires the ability to proclaim God's word, performs a true work. Through rhetoric anything is proved true or false. Who would have the courage to maintain that the defenders of truth should stand weaponless in the presence of falsehood, so that those, who dare to represent false, should know how by their discourse to win the favor and sympathy of the hearers, and that, on the other hand, the friends of truth should not be able to do this; that those should know how to present falsehood briefly, clearly, and with the semblance of truth, and that the latter, on the contrary, should clothe the truth in such exposition, that listening would become a burden, apprehension of the truth a weariness, and faith in the truth an impossibility?
Dialectic is the science of the understanding, which fits us for investigations and definitions, for explanations, and for distinguishing the true from the false. It is the science of sciences. It teaches how to teach others; it teaches learning itself- in it the reason marks and manifests itself according to its nature, efforts, and activities; it alone is capable of knowing; it not only will, but can lead others to knowledge, its conclusions lead us to an apprehension of our being and of our origin; through it we apprehend the origin and activity of the good, of Creator and creature, it teaches us to discover the truth and to unmask falsehood; it teaches us to draw conclusions; it shows us w hat is valid in argument and what is not it teaches us to recognize what as contrary to the nature of things; it teaches us to distinguish in controversy the true, the probable. and the wholly false; by means of this science we are able to investigate anything with penetration, to determine its nature with certainty, and to discuss it with circumspection. Therefore the clergy must understand this excellent art and constantly reflect upon its laws, in order that they may be able keenly to pierce the craftyness of errorists, and to refute their fatal fallacies.
Arithmetic is the science of pure extension determinable by numbers; it is the science of numbers. Writers on secular science assign it,under the head of mathematics, to the first place, because it does not presuppose any of the other departments. Music, geometry, and astronomy, on the eontraty, need the help of arithmetic without it they cannot arise or exist, we should know however, that the learned Hebrew Josephus, in his work on antiquities (Chapter VIII of Book I) makes the statement that Abraham brought arithmetic and astronomy to the Egyptians; but that they as a people of penetrating mind, extensively developed from these germs the other sciences. The holy Fathers were right in advising those eager for knowledge to cultivate arithmetie, because in large measure it turns the mind from fleshly desires, and furthermore awakens the wish to comprehend what with God's help we can merely receive with the heart. Therefore the significance of number is not to be underestimated. Its very great value for an interpretation of many passages of Holy Seripture is manifest to all who exhibit zeal in their investigations. Not without good reason is it said in praise of God, "Thou hast ordained all things by measure, number, and weight" (Book of Wisdom XI, 21). But every number, through its peculiar qualities, is so definite that none of the others can be like it. They are all unequal and different. The single numbers are different- the single numbers are limited; but all are infinite. Those with whom Plato stands in especial honor will not make bold to esteem numbers lightly, as if they were of no consequence for the knowledge of God. He teaches that God made the world out of numbers. And among us the prophet says of God, " He forms the world by number." And in the Gospel the Savior says, very hairs of your head are all numbered." Ignorance of numbers leaves many things unintelligible that are expressed in the Holy Seripture in a derivative sense or with a mystical meaning.
We now come to the discussion of geometry. It is an exposition of form proceeding from observation; it is also a very common means of demonstration among philosophers, who, to adduce at once the most full-toned evidence, declare that their Jupiter made use of geometry in his works. I do not know indeed whether I should find praise or censure in this declaration of the philosophers, that Jupiter engraved upon the vault of the skies precisely what they themselves draw in the sands of the earth When this in a proper manner is transferred to God, the Almighty Creator, this assumption may perhaps come near the truth. If this statement seems admissible, the Holy Trinity makes use of geometry in so far as it bestows manifold forms and images upon the creatures which up to the present day it has called into being, as in its adorable omnipotence it further determines the course of the stars, as it prescribes their courses to the planets, and as it assigns to the fixed stars their unalterable position. For every excellent and well-ordered arrangement ean be reduced to the special requirement of this science. This scienee found realization also at the building of the tabernacle and the temple; the same measurmg rod, circles, spheres, hemispheres, quadrangles, and other figures were employed. The knowledge of all this brings to him, who is occupied with it, no small gain for his spiritual culture.
Music is the science of time intervals as they are perceived in tones. This science is as eminent as it is useful. IIe who is a stranger to it is not able to fulfil the duties of an ecclesiastical officer in a suitable manner. A proper delivery in reading and a lovely rendering of the Psalms in the church are regulated by a knowledge of this science. Yet it is not only good reading and beautiful psalmody that we owe to music through it alone do we become capable of celebrating in the most solemn manner every divine service. Music penetrates all the activities of our life, in this sense namely, that we above all carry out the commands of the Creator and bow with a pure heart to His commands all that we speak all that makes our hearts beat faster, is shown through the rhythm of musie united with the excellence of harmony; for music is the seienee which teaches us agreeably to change tones in duration and pitch. When we employ ourselves with good pursuits in life, we show ourselves thereby disciples of this art; so long as we do what is wrong, we do not feel ourselves drawn to music. Even heaven and earth, as everything that happens here through the arrangement of the Most High, is nothing but music, as Pythagoras testifies that this world was created by music and can be ruled by it. Even with the Christian religion music is most intimately united; thus it is possible that to him, who does not know even a little music, many things remain closed and hidden.
There remains yet astronomy which, as some one has said, is a weighty means of demonstration to the pious, and to the curious a grievous torment. If we seek to investigate it with a pure heart and an ample mind, then it fills us, as the ancients said, with great love for it. For what will it not signify, that we soar in spirit to the sky, that with penetration of mind we analyze that sublime structure, that we, in part at least fathom with the keenness of our logical faculties what mighty spaee has enveloped in mystery! The world itself, according to the assumption of some, is said to have the shape of a sphere, in order that in its circumference it may be able to contain the different forms of things. Thus, Seneca, in agreement with the philosophers of ancient times, composed a work under the title, The Shape of the Earth. Astronomy, of which we now speak, teaches the laws of the stellar world. The stars can take their place or carry out their motion only in the manner established by the Creator, unless by the will of the Creator a miraculous change takes place. Thus we read that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still in Gibeon, that in the days of King Josiah the sun went backward ten degrees, and that at the death of the Lord the sun was darkened for three hours. We call such occurrences miracles, because they contradict the usual course of things, and therefore excite wonder. That part of astronomy, which is built up on the investigation of natural phenomena in order to determine the course of the sun, of the moon, and stars, and to effect a proper reckoning of time, the Christian clergy should seek to learn with the utmost diligence, in order through the knowledge of laws brought to light and through the valid and convincing proof of the given means of evidence, to place themselves m a position, not only to determine the course of past years according to truth and reality, but also for further times to draw confident conclusions, and to fix the time of Easter and all other festivals and Holy days and to announce to the congregation the proper celebration of them. The seven liberal arts of the philosophers, which Christians should learn for their utility and advantage, we have, as I think, sufficiently discussed. We have this yet to add. When those, who are called Philosophers have in their expositions or in their writings, uttered perchance some truth, which agrees with our faith, we should not handle it timidly, but rather take it as from its unlawful possessors and apply it to our own use. The Latin comedies of Hrosvitha who flourished from about 935 A-D~ to near the close of that century contain some allusions of interest. The translation was kindly furnished to us by Brother David E. W. Williamson. The character Pafnutius has just pointed out that in logic the existence of a contrary may be acknowledged. The pupil Discipulus, rejoins, "And is anyone able to deny it?" To this query Pafnutius replies that a dialectician. The conversation continues: What does it mean when you say: "According to harmonious moderation?" That is to say, as correct and elevated sounds when harmoniously united make perfect music, so discordant elements appropriate to concord make a perfeet world. Wonderful! Tell how can discords be brought into harmony or how concord discord. Because you bring together out of similar things that which, it seems, unite in proper proportions and of which the nature and substance have been separated What is musie? A study, one of the philosophy in the Quadrivium. What is it that you call Quadrivium? Arithmetic, geometry, music, astronomy. An early reference to the several liberal arts is by Maximus Tyrius whose name, the Great Tyrian, has an additional interest because of its allusion to the Phenician city famous among Freemasons for skilled Craftsmen and navigators. This philosophical writer lived in the latter half of tithe second century and in his Dissertation, xxi, translated by Thomas Taylor, we find the following: Come, then, let philosophy approach after the manner of a lawgiver, adorning the disorderly and wandering soul as if it were the people in a city. Let her also call as her coadjutors other arts; not such as are sordid, by Jupiter! nor such as require manual operation, nor such as contribute to procure us things little and vile, but let one of these be that art which prepares the body to be subservient, as a prompt and robust vehicle, to the mandates of the soul, and which is denominated gymnastic. Let another art be that which is the angel of the conceptions of the soul, and which is called rhetoric; another, that which is the nurse and tutor of the juvenile mind, and which is denominated poetry; another that which is the leader of the nature of numbers and which is called arithmetic; and another that which is the teacher of computation, and is called logistic. Let geometry, also and music follow, who are the associates of philosophy and conscious of her areana, and to each of which she distributes a portion of her labor.

[What is Freemasonry] [Leadership Development] [Education] [Masonic Talks] [Masonic Magazines Online]
Articles] [Masonic Books Online] [E-Books] [Library Of All Articles] [Masonic Blogs] [Links]
What is New] [Feedback]

This site is not an official site of any recognized Masonic body in the United States or elsewhere.
It is for informational purposes only and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinion
of Freemasonry, nor webmaster nor those of any other regular Masonic body other than those stated.

DEAD LINKS & Reproduction | Legal Disclaimer | Regarding Copyrights

Last modified: March 22, 2014