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 ...

The three presiding officers in a Chapter of Royal Arch Masons, according to the system practised in England, are called the Three Principals, or King, Prophet, and Priest, and, under the titles of Z. X, and J. represent Zerubbabel, Haggai, and Joshua. No person is eligible to the First Principal's chair unless he has served twelve months in each of the others; and he must also be the Master or Past Master of a Lodge, and have served in the Chapter the office of Scribe, Sojourner, or Assistant Sojourner. At his installation, each of the Principals receives an installing Degree like that of the Master of a Blue Lodge. There is, however, no resemblance between any of these Degrees and the Order of High Priesthood which is conferred in Royal Arch ceremonies in the United States. The presiding officers of the Grand Chapter are called Grand Przncipals, and represent the same personages. The official jewel of Z. is a Crown; of H. an All-seeing Eye; and of J. a Book, each surrounded by a nimbus, or rays of glory, and placed within an equilateral triangle.
The Hebrew word an, ger, which we translate a sojourner, signifies a man living out of his own country, and is used in this sense throughout the Old Testament. The children of Israel were, therefore, during the captinty, sojourners in Babylon, and the person who is represented by this officer, performed, as the incidents of the Degree relate, an important part in the restoration of the Israelites to Jerusalem. He was the spokesman and leader of a party of three sojourners, and is, therefore emphatically called the chief, or Principal Sojourner. In the Engligh Royal Arch system there are three officers called Sojouners. But in the American system the three Historical Sojourners are represented by the candidates, while only the supposed chief of them is represented by an officer called the Principal Sojourner. His duties are those of a Conductor, and resembles in some respects, those of a Senior Deacon in a Symbolic Lodge; which office, indeed, he occupies when the Chapter is open on any of the preliminary Degrees.
In 1741, the Grand Lodge of England adopted a regulation which Entiek (Constitutions, 1756, page 236) is careful to tell us, "was unanimously agreed to," forbidding any Brother "to print, or cause to be printed, the proceedings of any Lodge or any part thereof, or the names of the persons present at such Lodge, but by the direction of the Grand Master or his deputy, under pain of being disowned for a Brother, and not to be admitted into any Quarterly Communication or Grand Lodge, or any Lodge whatsoever, and of being rendered incapable of bearing any office in the Craft."
The law has never been repealed, but the Grand Lodge of England issues reports of its meetings, as also do most of the Grand Lodges of the world. Bulletins are published at stated intervals by the Grand Orients of France, Italy, and Portugal, and by nearly all those of South America. In the Unite l States, every Grand Lodge publishes annually the journal of its proceedings, and many subordinate Lodges print the account of any special meeting held on an important or interesting occasion.
After years of argument and discussion historians of the great art of printing tend to agree that the honor of inventing the printing press goes to the Dutchman Laurens Coster, who was born about 1370 A.D. and died in 1440 A.D. Johann Gutenberg (1397-1468) will continue to be the most famous of the earliest printers because of his edition of the Bible, a single copy of which has sold for almost one million dollars.
But it was Aldus Manutius (1495 1597) and his family in Venice who established the first great publishing house, and who made printing a world force for kings and popes to reckon with. Without printing there would have been no Renaissance, and without a Renaissance there would have been neither Humanism norwthe Reformation. Immediately this new power appeared, the Vatican moved in to chain it up, lest the common people in Europe should learn a number of inconvenient facts. How the printers themselves circumvented the Vatican, and a number of kings beside, is explained in Vol. II of BooJss and Their Makers During the Middle Ages, by George Haven Putnam, a companion piece to the same author's work on the Roman censorship of books (that censorship continues to be enforced wherever the Vatican has the power to enforce it, even in America); G. P. Putnam's Sons; New York; 1897.

To a Mason who remembers what the gild system meant to Masonry, the most interesting chapter in Putnam's history is the one on the printer gilds; it shows how the printers and publishers themselves, and oftentimes against the State as well as against the Church, defended and maintained and expanded their epoch-making art, until it was at last beyond and above control by any Church or State in the world.

(NOTE. It was not printing that Coster invented but the use of movable type; printing of books from engraved wood blocks, each block being as large as a page, had been done centuries before. In 1908 Sir Aurel Stein discovered in Buddhist eaves in the Gobi Desert near Funhwang a number of very old printed books. "One large bloekprinted roll which bore a date corresponding to A.D. 868 was the oldest specimen of a printed book so far known...." Altogether Sir Aurel discovered in one series of eaves IPreserved by the drynessl over 9,000 printed books and ms. rolls. See page 47 in The Gobi Desert, by Mildred Cable with Francesca French; the Macmillan Company; New York; 1944).
This word has in its uses several applications.
1. The Superiors of the different nations or Provinces into which the Order of the Templar was divided, were at first called Priors or GJrand Priors, and afterwards Preceptors or Grand Preceptors.
2. Each of the languages of the Order of Malta was divided into Grand Priories, of which there were twenty-six, and over each of them a Grand Prior presided. Under him were several Commanderies.
3. The second officer in a Council of Kadosh, under the Supreme Council of the ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States.
4. The Grand Prior is the third officer in the Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite for the Southern Jurisdiction of the United States.
See Grand Prior.
The jurisdiction of a Grand Prior in the Order of Malta or Saint John of Jerusalem.
See Great Priory.
See Nicotiates, Order of.
A Lodge having been held in 1782, in the King's Bench Prison, London, the Grand Lodge of England passed a resolution declaring that "it is inconsistent with the principles of Masonry for any Freemason's Lodge to be held for the purposes of making, passing, or raising Masons in any prison or place of confinement" (Constitutions, 1784, page 349).
The resolution is founded on the principle that there must be perfect freedom of action in everything that relates to the admission of candidates, and such freedom is not consistent with the necessary restraints of a prison.
See Committee, Private.
In parliamentary law, privileged questions are defined to be those to which precedence is given over all other questions. They are of four kinds:
1. Those which relate to the rights and privileges of the assembly or any of its members.
2. Motions for adjournment.
3. Motions for reconsideration.
4. Special orders of the day.
The first, third, and fourth only of these are applicable to Masonic parliamentary law.
In all parliamentary or legislative bodies, there occur certain questions which relate to matters affecting the dignity of the assembly or the rights and privileges of some of its members, and these are hence called Questions of Privilege; such, for instance, are motions arising out of or having relation to a quarrel between two of the members, an assault upon any member, charges affecting the integrity of the assembly or any of its members, or any other matters of a similar character. Questions referring to any of these matters take precedence of all other business, and hence are always in order. These questions of privilege are not to be confounded with privileged questions; for, although all questions of privilege are privileged questions, all privileged questions are not questions of privilege. Strictly speaking, questions of privilege relate to the house or its members, and privileged questions relate to matters of business (see Doctor Mackey's revised Jurisprudence of Freemasonry).
The interval between the reception of one Degree and the succeeding one is called the probation of the candidate, because it is during this period that he is to prove his qualification for advancement.
In England and in the United States the time of probation between the reception of Degrees is four weeks, to which is generally added the further safeguard of an open examination in the preceding Degree. In Franee and Germany the probation is extended to one year. The time is greatly extended in the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. The Statutes of the Southern Supreme Council require an interval of two years to be passed between the reeeption of the Fourteenth and the Thirty-second Degrees. An extraordinary rule prevailed in the Constitutions of 1762, by which the Rite of Perfeetion was governed. According to this rule, a candidate was required to pass a probation, from the time of his application as an Entered Apprentice until his reception of the Twenty-fifth or ultimate Degree of the Rite, of no less than six years and nine months. But as all the separate times of probation depended on symbolic numbers, it is not to be presumed that this regulation was ever practically enforced.
See Forty Seventh Problem.
Public processions of the Order, although not as popular as they were some years ago, still have the warrant of early and long usage. The first procession, after the revival, of which we have a record, took place June 24, 1721, when, as Anderson tells us (Constitutions, 1738, page 112), "Payne, Grand Master, nith his Wardens, the former Grand officers, and the Masters and Wardens of twelve Lodges, met the Grand Master elect in a Grand Lodge at the King's Arms Tavern, Saint Paul's Churchyard, in the morning, . . . and from thence they marched on foot to the Hall in proper clothing and due form" (see Clothing and Regalia). Anderson and Entick continue to record the annual processions of the Grand Lodge and the Craft on the Feast Day, with a few exceptions, for the next twenty five years; but after this first pedestrian procession all the subsequent ones were made in carriages, the record being, "the procession of March was made in coaches and chariots" (Constitutions, 1756, page 227).

But ridicule being thrown by the enemies of the Order upon these processions, by a mock one in 1741 (see Scald Miserables), and in subsequent years, in 1747 the Grand Lodge unanimously resolved to discontinue them, nor have they since been renewed (Constitutions, 1756, page 248). on the subject of these mock processions, see an article by Dr. W. J. Chetwode Crawley (Transactions, Quatuor Coronati Lodge, volume xviu).
Public processions of the Craft were some years ago very common in America, nor have they vet been altogether abandoned; although now practiced with greater discretion and less frequently, being in general restricted to special occasions of importance, such as funerals, the laying of corner-stones, ete.

The question has been often mooted, whether public processions, with the open exhibition of its regalia and furniture, are or are not of advantage to the Order. In 1747 it was thought not to be so, at least in London, but the custom was continued, to a great extent, in the provinces. Doctor Oliver (Symbol of Glory) was in favor of what he calls "the good old custom, so strongly recommended and assiduously practised by the Masonic worthies of the eighteenth century, and imitated by many other public bodies of men, of assembling the Brethren of a provinee annually under their own banner, and marching in solemn procession to the house of God, to offer up their thanksgiving in the public congregation for the blessings of the preceding year; to pray for mercies in prospect, and to hear from the pulpit a disquisition on the moral and religious purposes of the Order."

Processions are not peculiar to the Masonie Fraternity. The custom comes to us from remote antiquity. In the initiations at Eleusis, the celebration of the Mysteries was accompanied each day by a solemn procession of the initiates from Athens to the temple of initiation. Apuleius describes the same custom as prevailing in the celebration of the Mysteries of Isis.
Among the early Romans, it was the custom, in times of public triumph or distress, to have solemn processions to the temples, either to thank the gods for their favor or to invoke their protection. The Jews also went in procession to the Temple to offer up their prayers. So, too, the primitive Christians walked in procession to the tombs of the martvrse Ecclesiastical processions were first introduced in the fourth century.
They are now used in the Roman Church on various occasions, and the Pontificate Romanum supplies the necessary ritual for their observance. In the Middle Ages these processions were often carried to an absurd extent Polydore describes them as consisting of ''ridieulous contrivances, of a figure with a great gaping mouth, and other pieces of merriment." But these displays were abandoned with the increasing refinement of the age. At this day, processions are common in all countries, not only of religious confraternities, but of political and social societies.
There are processions also in Freemasonry which are confined to the internal concerns of the Order, and are not therefore of a public nature. The procession "around the Hall," at the installation of the Grand Masters is first mentioned in 1791. Previous to that year there is no allusion to any such ceremony. From 1W17-20 we are simply told that the new Grand Master "was saluted," and that he was "homaged" or that "his health was drunk in due form." But in 1721 a processional ceremony seems to have been composed, for in that year we are informed (Constitutions, 1735, page 113), that "Brother Payne. the old Grand Master, made the first procession round the Hall, and when returned, he proclaimed aloud the most noble Prince and our Brother." This procession was not abolished with the public processions in 1747, but continued for many years afterward.

In the United States it gave rise to the procession at the installation of Masters, which, although pronded for by the ritual, and practised by Lodges, has been too often neglected by many. The form of the i procession, as adopted in 1724, is given by Anderson (Constitutions, 1738, page 117), and is almost precisely the same as that used in all Masonic processions at the present day, except funeral ones. The rule was then adopted, which has ever since prevailed, that in all processions the juniors in Degree and in office shall go first, so that the place of honor shall be the rear.
An early Masonic procession is reported in Read's Weekly Journal or British Gazeteer, No. 606, April 13, 1736, as quoted in the Freemasons Magazine and Masonic Mirror, September 19, 1863 (page 223) as follows:

Friday, about 2 o'clock, the Grand Cavalcade of the Most Antient and Honourable Society of Free and Accepted Masons, set forward from the Earl of London's house in Privy-garden to Fishmonger's hall in Thamesstreet.
The procession was as follows: A pair of kettledrums, 2 trumpets, 2 French horns, 4 haut-boys, 2 bassoons, the 12 present stewards in 12 chariots, the Master and warden of the Stewards Lodge in one coach, the Brethren in their respective coaches, the noblemen and gentlemen who have served in the Grand Offices. the two Grand Wardens in one coach the Deputy Grand Master alone the Seeretary and Sword Bearer in one coach, the Rt. Hon., the Lord Viseount Weymouth, the present Grand Master. and the Rt. Hon. Earl of London, the Grand Master elect, together in the Lord Weymouth's coach, the Earl of London's coach and six horses, empty, closed the procession. The cavalcade proceeded through the Strand Fleetstreet, Cheapside, Cornhill and Gracechurch-street to Fishmonger s Hall, where a very elegant entertainment was provided by the Stewards. In the evening there was a grand ball for the ladies, and the whole was concluded with the usual magnificence and grandeur
With the subject of processions, discussed on page 808, may be connected pageants and assemblies, because at some three or four periods in the history of Freemasonry the three had the same importance for both the public and Craftsmen. In the earliest period of the Operative Craft assemblies were in general forbidden by the King, whether public or private—if public they were generally called assemblies or congregations, if private they were often called covines; it was feared lest large numbers of peoples met together might plan united action against their temporal or their religious rulers.
An assembly could, however, be held on written permission, or patent, from some lord, prince, or king; and the author of the original version of the Old Charges made much of the fact that when it had held its General Assembly in York to receive a charter, the Fraternity held it by royal permission, which proved that it had not been an unlawful congregation or covine. Even after they had formed a new and permanent General Assembly, or Grand Lodge, in 1717, the Lodges did not feel easy in their minds until they had secured patronage from a member of the nobility, the Duke of Montague, and, as the events proved, they were wise, because when in 1799 the Parliament forbade secret societies ("covines") the Noble Patrons of the two Grand Lodges went in person and obtained exemption for the Fraternity by name.

In the heydey of the gild system pageants were a prominent, established, constituted municipal event, provided for in the law, supervised by the Mayor and Aldermen, and belonging to the customs or rules of the gilds themselves.
These pageants consisted of floats, each mounted on a wagon, each boat having some general significance, or else was one act in a connected series of acts. They were so elaborately and richly costumed, the "machinery" used was so ingenious, and the arrangements to be made were so extensive, that a pageant like the famous Corpus Christi at Chester might cost many thousands of dollars; and records of the gild and City Companies, each of which participated, show that there was often much complaint about costs. The custom was for each gild to contribute one float, or "waggon." It does not appear that Freemasons were very often in these pageants; where they had local gilds or companies they usually were small; where many Masons worked on a cathedral they had not a gild but a Lodge.

The Church and the State between them exercised a rigid control of these pageants, censored the words spoken, and the actions, costumes, and machinery.
This fact explains the early fear Masons had of Masonic pageants; it explains also why Freemasons enacted their own ceremonies in secret; they knew, oftentimes, that the Church would condemn them for heresy, or at least would frown upon them as novelties or innovations; in a time when the people had no books, and priests preached few sermons, pageants became a book, and the Church made sure to see that it was an orthodox book.
The ceremonies used by the Freemasons then would, if we could now see them, be innocuous and innocent in our eyes, and with no theological significance; but our own familiar and innocuous ceremonies, were we by miracle to enact them in the year 1200 A.D., would condemn us to burning at the stake; the Tiler at the door of the Medieval Lodge and the guard against eavesdroppers were of more than ceremonial importance; certainly no Freemason would wish to see his own emblems and ceremonies exhibited in a pageant.

By the Eighteenth Century the pageant had become a procession, but even as processions they had their dangers, as Dr. Desaguliers and his Brethren discovered in the early years of Grand Lodge. Streets were narrow; a procession stopped traffic and interfered with stores and shops (the typical Medieval village or town had had no stores); street arabs were inspired to rowdyism; the more solemn the procession the more likely it was to be parodied by a moek procession—an acted-out cartoon. Moreover, processions often were used for political propaganda, or as public protests, or as threats to gentlemen in power, or as invitations to popular revolt, or as a challenge to some rival party, etc. The Grand Lodge forbade Masonic processions, even the old custom of the cere monial conducting of a new Grand Master from his home to be installed in the Grand Lodge room. When Preston and his fellow officers from the Lodge of Antiquity met at church, they walked together only a few feet, and wore no regalia except white gloves, yet they were expelled by the Grand Lodge.

What a procession might mean in the terms of pubs lie order, and at times of political crisis, is best seen in the history of the troubles in Ireland which led to the foundation or the Orange Society; and in the history of Cambridge and of Oxford Universities when in the battles between Town and Gown what began as a procession would up as a riot. At the present time what we Americans call "Masonic processions" are not processions as Eighteenth Century Masons would have understood the word because they do not enact anything or signify anything; they are nothing but a walking together," not for the purpose of putting Masonic emblems or regalia on public view but in order that when the members of a Lodge attend a church or a funeral or go to lay a corner-stone they go together.
The difficulties Grand Lodges and Grand Masters have of deciding whether to permit them or not may be owing to their confusing a present day "marching together" with the very different processions of the days when the first rules were made.
(See Historical Reminiscenees of the City of London and its Livery Companies, by Thomas Arundell; Bentley; London; 1869; it is very rich in materials OD gild processions, pageants, etc.; see Chapters XXIV and XX~Y, and consult Index.)
At the installation of the officers of a Lodge, or any other Masonic Body, and especially a Grand Lodge or Grand Chapter, proclamation is made in a Lodge or Chapter by the installing officer, and in a Grand Lodge or Grand Chapter by the Grand Marshal. Proclamation is also made on some other occasions, and on such occasions the Grand Marshal performs the duty.
A ceremony in the American Royal Arch. We learn from Scripture , that in the first year of Cyrus, the Eing of Persia, the captivity of the Jews waa terminated. Cyrus, from his conversations with Daniel and the other Jewish captives of learning and piety, as well as from his perusal of their sacred books, more especially the prophecies of Isaiah, had become imbued with a knowledge of true religion, and hence had even publicly announced to his subjects his belief in the God "which the nation of the Israelites worshiped." He was consequently impressed with an earnest desire to fulfil the prophetic declarations of which he was the subject, and to rebuild the Temple of Jerusalem. Accordingly, he issued a proclamation, which we find in Ezra (i, 2 and 3) as follows:
Thus saith Cyrus, Ring of Persia, The Lord God of heaven, hath given me all the kingdoms of the earthand he hath charged me to build him a house at Jerusa lem, which is in Judea. NVho is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judea, and build the house of the Lord God of Isrnel, he is the God, which is in Jerusalem.

With the publication of this proclamation of Cyrus commences what may be called the second part of the Royal Arch Degree.
Known as the successor of Syrianus as the head of the Athenian school. Born in Constantinople, 412, died at Athens, 485. Proclus was a Neo-Platonist, and waged war against the new religion of Christianity, which caused him to be banished from the city; but was subsequently readmitted. His works were chiefly mystical, such as devoting hymns to the sun, Venus, or the poetic muses, and so far were harmless.
There is no word whose technical and proper meaning differs more than this. In its ordinary use profane signifies one who is irreligious and irreverent, but in its technical adaptation it is applied to one who is ignorant of sacred rites. The word is compounded of the two Latin words pro and fanum, and literally means before or outside of the temple; and hence, a profanus among the ancients was one who was not allowed to enter the temple and behold the mysteries. "Those," says Vossius, "were called profane who were not initiated in the sacred rites, but to whom it was allowed only to stand before the temple—pro fano—not to enter it and take part in the solemnities."

The Greek equivalent, had a similar reference; for its root is found in a threshold, as if it denoted one who was not permitted to pass the threshold of the temple. In the celebrated hymn of Orpheus, which it is said was sung at the Mysteries of Eleusis, we meet with this phrase, meaning I speak to those to whom it is lawful, but close the doors against the profane. When the mysteries were about to begin, the Greeks used the solemn formula, and the Romans, Procul, O procul este, profani, both meaning, Far hence, O far hence, be ye, ye outsiders! (see Vergil, Aeneid, book vi, line 258).

Hence the original and inoffensive signification of profane is that of being uninitiated; and it is in this sense that it is used in Freemasonry, simply to designate one who has not been~initiated as a Freemason. The word profane is not recognized as a noun substantive in the general usage of the language, but it has been adopted as a technical term in the dialect of Freemasonry, in the same relative sense in which the word layman is used in the professions of law and divinity.

Accepted as the word is for general use among Freemasons, its ancient meaning "outside the Temple, an outsider," may be misunderstood. A peculiar instance of this sort came up for consideration in 1926 at the Grand Lodge of the Philippine Islands. One of the Lodges objected to the use of the word profane, in either English or Spanish, when reference is made to persons not Freemasons, because it "has no proper place in modern Masonry." Accordingly the Grand Lodge adopted this resolution:
That the use of the word profane when reference is made to persons not Masons be avoided wherever possible ban the use of some other word or expression in its stead, such as uninitaited and non-Mason.

[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