Tuesday, September 30, 2008

"Personal Integrity" the Cornerstone of Masonic Philosophy

This paper was presented at the 9th World Conference of Masonic Grand Lodges

By Clayton J. Borne. III. P.G.M.
Grand Lodge. State of Louisiana

In November, 2006 at the 8th World Conference of Regular Masonic Grand Lodges, held in conjunction with the Grand Lodge National of France (G.L.N.F.) in Paris France I had the honor of presenting a paper entitled, "Relevancy of Freemasonry in the Twenty-first Century", wherein it was presented that the universal appeal of our fraternal brotherhood over the ages was the direct result of our convictions relative to our Spiritual beliefs, namely the fundamental principles of "Monotheism", defined as the oneness of God; "Transfiguration", defined as mans ability to return to the Spirit state upon death; and ''Transformation'', defined as the molding of man from a rough stone to a higher State of Spiritual Reality. The Masonic Philosophy demands of each Brother, to individually commit to that spiritual discipline, and have him understand that collectively he has an opportunity to contribute to a cause that leads to a more ordered society and the betterment of mankind. The paper concluded with the conclusion that our fundamental principles and their significance in society are just as relevant today as they were to our ancient brothers.

Accepting this conclusion as the premise for this paper and extrapolating the cause and effect relationship forward in time, what is true is that civilized society and mankind in general will measure the dynamics of our Spiritual Brotherhood not by its idealistic objectives, but whether the Masonic philosophy is truly alive and evident in the lives of each of our brothers. In other words if instead of integrity they see hypocrisy, instead of truth they see prevarication, instead of honesty they see deception~ our footprints on the pages of time will be tarnished. Where our history is adorned in a cloak of charity, brazened by badges of truth, honor and courage, the 21st century will continue to see men drawn to our lodges, as the Brotherhood and its destiny is truly a reflection of who we are and all that we do.

As a predicate to this paper I ask each of my brothers the question, "Why do we, as a brotherhood, believe that belief in a Supreme Being is necessary for a personal transformation in our lives and ultimately necessary for the development of a disciplined yet free society?" As an extension of that thought," Why is a belief in a Supreme Being essential to the landmarks of our fraternity and sacred to the ritual of our "Regular" Masonic Lodges? The answer is fundamental to understanding the Masonic Philosophy or the Masonic Way of Life.

Exactly how were we able to affirm a belief in a Supreme Being and what effect did it have on our lives? Have we truly challenged the concept of the "Being behind Reality" and its effect on the men that we are? Did the Masonic initiation ritual enhance you conviction and your commitment to spiritual growth? Philosophers over the ages have challenged this basic concept and pushed mankind to investigate more specific questions. What is the nature of God and how is God related to the universe? Is God a force responsible for creation? What is the true concept of God? Is it possible to even come to a knowledge of God? And for us, as Masons, why was it essential to the tenants of our brotherhood that we affirm the concept before gaining admission? Why have we severed communications with those Grand Lodges that believe it is no longer essential to the Masonic discipline to embrace a belief in a Supreme Being?


The concept avoided by many early philosophers and historians yet fundamental to each of our beliefs is, "How do we as humans come to a knowledge of God and why is it important?" Further for the purpose of this paper what effect does this academic inquiry have on our Masonic Brotherhood, its spiritual pursuits and objectives?

After much research, self reflection and thought, it is my sincere belief that a finite creature, such as man, to come to a knowledge of an infinite creature or being such as God, is on its surface impossible. Man as a finite creature can not truly or understand or comprehend the limitless concepts such as eternity or infinite. Despite many brilliant, philosophers, allegations to the contrary finite man conceptional defines everything in terms of or with limits.


God is known to the extent that his nature would demand it be revealed. That is, in the ways God would choose to reveal himself to his created An example would be found in our perception and knowledge of nature. As a Christian the revelation would be the embodiment and person of Jesus Christ. There are others. Only in the revelation is a finite knowledge of God possible. By his creation God or the Creator becomes the principal of the Universe. God is the whole of His creation: God is truly the "Grand Architect of the Universe".


I submit that the reason that a belief in God is essential for our Spiritual Brotherhood is because of our fraternity's conviction and purpose to aggressively encourage the development of the spiritual nature of man, knowing well that our successes over time is the creation and development of a self disciplined society. That development must of necessity begin with each of us personally and its success measured by our spiritual advancement Collectively it created dynamic lodges. The obvious question becomes, how does this process individually and collectively take place and exactly what are the effects and are they truly in harmony with what we believe are our personal objectives and life goals?
Very simply a belief in God has an immediate and direct bearing on our values and convictions. Those disciplines have a direct effect on our behavior. The belief opens the door to the spirit life after death and our ability as finite creatures to pass on an infinite state. Exactly how does this intellectual affirmation or belief transform each of us, and is our Masonic Fraternity doing its part in simulating this growth?

Understanding that once man had a conviction or belief in God, it created, in addition to the most basic concept of survival which dominated and existed in a non orderly barbaric society, a true purpose for life. Belief in a creator, God, transforms man from a rude, self centered, savage state into a creature with a more civilized meaningful purpose. That objective or hope is to unify himself ultimately with his creator with the sincere hope of returning to the spirit or infinite state always with eternity in view. It begins to change our convictions and beliefs and ultimately our lives. How does this process take place?

Our Brotherhood teaches and encourages a philosophy of self transformation and the development of a character that recognizes the need to subordinate personal gain and self interest to the greater good of society. The transformation of the [mite spirit in each of us demands a reassessment of the most basic concepts of life in order to give priority and meaning to the fundamental concepts of goodness which are absolutely necessary for the advancement of mankind in a free society, which society evidences an individual and collective self discipline to maintain and insure order. That order has a fundamental principle; that principle is "Truth". Our Brotherhood embraces truth as the heart and soul of each and every virtue. As Masons we advocate a virtuous life. It logically follows that a virtuous life is a life of integrity.

I submit that individual integrity is the essential element in a social structure or order that cultivates and encourages individual and collective freedom and liberty. It insures a disciplined society that cultivates in a secure way the collective peaceful advancement of humanity. In general, where personal integrity is lacking laws become problematic and of little value. This is why we as Masons mandate this unselfish discipline for all of humanity, especially our Brotherhood. How exactly do we individually achieve these idealistic principles and what is our responsibility as Masonic mentors, especially to the Entered Apprentice who is still trying to understand himself and the confusion of the world in which he lives.


As we strive to cultivate integrity in our personal Lives and collectively in our spiritual brotherhood, our efforts meet with constant resistance. As appalling as it may be realistically, society today is a reflection of disrespect, an unappreciative and uncaring disease that migrates into all aspects of our respective culture. The cure as with all other social problems is education.

The Masonic ideals and their influence on society through the ages have been exerted in no better or nobler purpose than the ageless struggle by the Brotherhood for "Liberty, Equality and Fraternity" and ultimately a secure freedom. Our Fraternity through the ages has been the champions of the oppressed people with the object being the emancipation of mankind from every form of tyranny. Within our lodges Liberty or Freedom, especially in thought, was freely encouraged. That freedom based on these principles made it possible for the natural progression of a transformed life.

The humanist philosophy so prevalent in society poses obstructions to our Masonic ideals. The basic concept of Liberty has always had an aggressive enemy. It is the self centered, selfish concept of entitlement. The entitlement belief is the direct result of the modernist doctrine that there is no rational basis for values. Despite our Masonic brotherhood's continued efforts to promote integrity, the value system of society has been eroded. Much of society values become problematic, in other words nothing is truly good or bad. It's all a matter of opinion. We must of necessity ask then how and why have principals? Do as you please or whatever you can rationalize as being right. Without the liberty to choose our own actions and make our own choices, we lose the qualities of responsibility that make us uniquely human. It is only when people do the right thing freely can we have confidence in their character. If they act out of principles such as truth, benevolence, productiveness as taught in our lodges then we know their actions resulted from good character and the principle of liberty is preserved.


The world in which we now live is dramatically changing. Idealistic principles are important to fewer and fewer people. We demand of our leaders, honesty, but we don't really expect them to be honest. Our societies have become problematic where honesty becomes relative and rationalization of all conduct is the norm. We are often saying that our communities are civilized societies of law, but to often laws are broken and then attempts are made to justify the actions. That logic is corruptive, destructive but most importantly contagious.

Prevarication or lying has infected our culture. The generation of today lies without thought. They lie for no apparent reason. Recent surveys state that 90% of society lies in some manner frequently. Truthfulness is no longer a virtue people try to adopt for their lives. Conversely Masonic Philosophers and our Masonic Ritual of instruction view truth as a divine attribute and as we have previously stated truth should be at the heart of each and every virtue.

Marriage and family are no longer sacred institutions. Infidelity is common place. The work ethics of our forefathers are disappearing from society. Procrastination at the workplace is common with no respect or appreciation given to the employment Society says that it wants respect but modem man's life experiences evidence a serious lack of it. The lack of respect in society is the end result of a lack of purpose, discipline and moral commitment. These are the very ideals that we as Masons, fight to preserve.

A brother whose life evidences qualities of honesty, discipline and courage is proof of a transformed life that bas earned respect. His life embodies an individual quest and a determined search for light. It is a fraternal concept shared with our brothers of like mind. This writer submits that the attraction, the spiritual reward, the ultimate objective of our spiritual brotherhood is the character which is the epitome of all virtue, namely "Integrity". In general the quality is defined as our ability to naturally embrace a way of life with moral and ethical principles. Its presence in each of our lives will be the attribute that will continue to draws good men to our Lodges.

The driving force of our Masonic Fraternity is to instill in each of our brothers a mission to create within each man that knocks at our door of our lodges a thirst for integrity. That desire can only be quenched by a commitment to those moral principles or goals in each of our lives. We must teach that truth, honesty and moral principles are of prime importance. The newly made Brother should be instructed to subsequently understand that a man of integrity is unimpeachable; he is steadfast; his word is his bond. He is never critical of others. even those in which he is in opposition. He restrains his emotions or passions. He is reliable and is one to always pay his debt. He should stand upon principle no matter what the consequence whether alone or in a crowd.


To the entered apprentice and his search for light, "Integrity" and its Masonic ideals are but an idealistic concept although often cognitively embraced; it is rarely evident in his life. The apprentice, as he begins his transformation, begins to understand that a person of integrity is a person that thrives for consistency of principal and that principle translates to living the ideals. In other words, ideals such as Truth, Honesty, Charity and Moral Discipline are no longer problematic nor are they idealistic principles. They are to become a true way of life. Our young brother is developing a philosophy of purpose.

The Mason begins to understand that the fullness of life is found in that consistency and he is made aware of the rewards and blessings of living a life with ideals as guiding principles. He realizes in a more profound way that his integrity is defined and is the result of choices made repeatedly in his daily life. The brother begins to realize that the joy in this life's reality is in the journey, the journey with ideals, the journey with purpose.

Our Spiritual Brotherhood is committed to the concept that all of mankind is entitled to be enlightened and that process begins with a God centered life. It develops respect for the laws of society, but more important to us as Masons, it is a self imposed discipline. A discipline that through its ideal generates unbelievable rewards: Freedom of thought, Freedom of religion, Freedom of Speech, Freedom to hold diverse beliefs are to name but a few.

Where the dignity of man, especially the Brotherhood, is measured by the integrity of his life, that dignity becomes an ideal of respect; that ideal then can be freely expected and freely given. It is basic to the tenant of our fraternity.

Collectively we as brothers have the opportunity to make the world in which we live a better place, a place of integrity where our Masonic ideals do in fact become a way of life.

Respectfully submitted,
Clayton J. Borne III, P.G.M. Grand Lodge, State of Louisiana

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mosaic Pavement

Author & Date unknown

In the traditional Masters Lecture of the Entered Apprentice Degree, we learn that the ornaments of a Lodge are the Mosaic Pavement, the Indented Tessel, and the Blazing Star. In examining this motif, we must first explain why these features are called the "ornaments" of a Lodge. An ornament is a decoration that beautifies and adorns the object or structure on which it is placed. So it is that the Mosaic Pavement, the Indented Tessel and the Blazing Star in the center of the pavement beautify and adorn not only our Masonic Lodge rooms, but also Freemasonry as a universal institution.

The Mosaic Pavement and the Indented Tessel may be considered together. The Mosaic Pavement is said to be "a representation of the ground floor of King Solomons Temple, and is emblematic of human life, checkered with good and evil. The Indented Tessel is a representation of the beautiful tessellated border or skirting which surrounded the pavement, and is emblematic of the manifold blessings and comforts which surround us."

Mosaics are works of art of surface decoration, composed of variously colored small pieces of glass, stone, ceramics, and other materials formed into patterns ranging from simple geometric designs to detailed realistic renditions of naturalistic scenes with human figures, animals, plants, and landscapes. Mosaics made with water-polished pebbles were created in Bronze Age Greece and the Middle East (1600 1000 BCE). Before the end of the 3rd Century BCE, the pebbles were replaced with cut or shaped pieces of marble, hard stone, glass, mother-of-pearl and enamels. The shaped pieces, cut in the form of small cubes, are called tesserae or tesselaehence, the conception of the Tessellated Border surrounding the Mosaic Pavement.

The floors of many Lodge Rooms today purport to reproduce the Mosaic Pavement and the Tessellated Border, as they appeared in King Solomons Temple. The Mosaic Pavement is laid out as black and white squares or tiles like a checkerboard, and indeed is surrounded by a border of smaller shapes in a contrasting and distinctive pattern. Such flooring is much more in the style of a 19th century English or American clubroom or entry hall, than it is of the ground floor of King Solomons Temple. King Solomon constructed the Temple in Jerusalem sometime after 1000 BCE, when the materials and techniques for creating a Mosaic Pavement would not have lent themselves to creating the design we see in todays Lodge rooms.

On another level, the Mosaic Pavement and the Indented Tessel, whether actually part of King Solomons Temple or not, do convey a philosophical, moral and ethical view of the world. The late 18th century redactors of our ritual viewed human life as starkly white and black, "checkered with good and evil." They worked during a time whose thought was influenced by the two Great Awakenings in the United States, and immediately following the American and French Revolutions. Moral and religious fervor was high in peoples minds, and it was politically important "to chose sides" in the great debates of the day. And human life was precarious; life expectancy was half what it is today, infant mortality was high, and the concept of leisure time did not exist for the ordinary citizen.

I would suggest that for 21st century Freemasonry, that we re-cast the appearance of Mosaic Pavement and the Indented Tessel. Because of advances in artistic skill and technology, contemporary mosaics can be made of many small bits of an almost unlimited range of materials. I recently saw a reproduction of the Mona Lisa, which on close examination had been computer-generated from the artists photographic collection, miniaturized and arranged to create a larger impression of light and shadow. The whole was greater than the sum of its parts, yet each part was important because it was the photograph of one human being.

This is the meaning of the Mosaic Pavement and the Indented Tessel for Freemasonry in the 21st century. In its true and noblest form, Freemasonry is the only mens institution in the world based on universal eligibility for membership. There are no tests for political affiliation, religious belief, race, nationality, ethnic origin, or language. We ask only that the prospective members profess a belief in a supreme being and a future existence beyond physical death, and we respect the individuals own conceptions of the substance of those beliefs. Freemasonry therefore has for its fundamental basis the great Mosaic Pavement of humankind, with all its glories, noble ideas, passions, prejudices, adversities, and tragedies, each tile in the Mosaic representing an individual brother whose very life is a contribution to the richness of the Fraternity. Masonry teaches not tolerance for individual differences, nor does it teach tolerationFreemasonry rightfully conceived teaches us to accept and respect the unique character and role of each member in creating the living Mosaic Pavement.

While the "manifold blessings and comforts which surround us" (represented by the Indented Tessel) have grown exponentially since the 18th century, we face now not so much human lives checkered with good and evil, but rather textured with the availability of many good things on the one hand, which should be tempered on the other by the knowledge that unforgiving adversity can still enter our lives at a moments notice. Time has not expanded, yet the number of careers, interests, and entertainments which we and our families can or might wish to enjoy has increased, and in our desire to "have it all," there is the danger of seeing only the light and shadow and not the details of our lives and the lives of our fellowmen and women in the great Mosaic of human life. As Masons we are under the moral imperative to "aid, support and protect each other," and duty-bound "to relieve the distressed." We must not forget, in the living of our 21st century lives, to soothe the troubled minds of the unhappy and actively sympathize and ameliorate their misfortunes. In the last six months, how many times have you visited a sick Brother, spoken to a Masonic widow or driven her to the store, or spoken kind words to a troubled friend?

The Masters Lecture states that we hope to enjoy the blessings and comforts which surround us by a faithful reliance on Divine Providence, represented by the Blazing Star in the center of the Mosaic Pavement. Each Mason conceives of Divine Providence in his own way. Acknowledging the existence of Divine Providence is Freemasonrys way of recognizing and reminding us that we still do live in a world of "blessings and adversities," no matter how intellectually, morally, or technologically sophisticated we think we are on the threshold of the 21st century.

The Mosaic Pavement, the Indented Tessel, and the Blazing Star beautify and adorn our Lodges, and they grace the Fraternity. Think of the power to create positive change in one person at a time, held by an institution ornamented with these universal and compassionate symbols, whose members by their actions live these ideas in their everyday lives

The Masonry You Make

by Carl Claudy

"Well, I know you'll be glad to hear I am through learning the Work!" announced a young brother to the Old Past Master, "One more lesson and I'll know all about Masonry!"

"That's fine, son. I congratulate you!" answered the Old Past Master.

"Some conceit!" murmured another brother, as the satisfied young brother moved away. "I've been studying Masonry many years and I don't think I know all about it, by a long chalk!"

"Of course you don't, and neither does he. But we all have to learn of the Masonry we make for ourselves."

"Oh, do you think so? I thought we learned of the Masonry our ancient brethren had made for us!"

"That, too, of course. But the Masonry they made for us is the Masonry which can be written down, or put in symbols, or taught by word of mouth. It is a concrete thing; a thing of words and phrases, of symbols and figures, of stone and wood and temple and rough ashler and square and compasses. But the inner Masonry... that we make for ourselves.

"Do you ever read Ingersoll? Somewhere he says 'an honest God is the noblest work of man' and thousands of people have shuddered away from the sentence and calls it blasphemy. But they fail to understand what the great agnostic meant. Our modern conception of the Great Architect of course falls infinitely short of reality, but at least we do not do him the injustice of confining Him within the limits of our human frailties. But up through the ages man has limited his gods and his God, according to himself. The gods of Greece and Rome (to go no further back) were gods and goddesses who felt jealousy, anger, revenge. They interfered in the affairs of men for their own pleasures. They were made in the image of men who made them! Later, God was a cruel tyrant, who sanctioned the torments of the Inquisition and loved those who were wicked in his name... at least, such was the middle ages' conception of Deity. Only within a few hundred years has the world as a whole come to consider God as the all-wise, all-loving, all-merciful, all-tender Father of us all. This was what Ingersoll meant when he spoke of the honest God as the noblest work of men; and honest conception of a God infinitely wonderful and beautiful, is a noble conception.

"Masonry is a conception. After one gets through learning the ritual, the mere words and phrases, he begins to absorb the philosophy and moral system of Masonry. Still later he begins to carry Masonry in his daily life and live by it. Later on... but wait a minute. We have word Masons to whom the ritual is the whole. We have Masons to whom the symbolism is the whole thing, and who see nothing beyond the inner meanings to squares and compasses and stones and angles. We have others who add to this, philosophy of Masonry, but to whom Masonry is yet a perfect system which can be learned in its entirety by those who apply themselves.

"But there are others... more every year, thank God!... who make their own Masonry, beyond that of the books and the lodge, the word and the symbol. To these, Ingersoll might have said that 'an honest Masonry is the noblest work of the Craft' with no more irreverence than he intended in his famous epigram.

"Masonry, to such thinking men, is illimitable. It has no end. It is as infinite as space, as unending as time, as distant in boundary as the faintest nebula. It is not a thing of earth only; it encompasses the universe, and joins man's hands with God. This is the Masonry we make for ourselves, and, could what we make be measured, its proportions would be exactly the proportions which are our own. For the hidden Masonry we make is large or small, wide or cramped, beautiful or ugly, grave or gay, useful or ornamental, fine or doss, exactly as are we.

"In each of us is an idea conception of all we would attain. We have our ideal man, our ideal woman, our ideal job, our ideal position, our ideal happiness. Some of us are so inarticulate we cannot express them; some of us are so inchoate in our thinking we cannot clearly visualize them, but they are there, these ideals, each and every one a measure of what we are.

"And we have, also our ideal of Masonry, the hidden Masonry we make, each man for himself. Your inner temple is not like mine and mine is not like yours, though each may be beautiful and perfect; two faces may be equally lovely, you know, yet totally unlike.

"To my way of thinking, we are better Masons as we grow our inner Masonry for ourselves, as we perfect it and polish it, and raise it higher and higher. It is sadly true that no man may teach another how to build this hidden temple, but it is beautifully true that all of us may build the better by getting for ourselves better working tools. And the working tools with which we as Craftsmen build our own inner, hidden temple of Masonry, into which none may ever step but ourselves and God; the rough and perfect ashlar, square and plumb, trowel and compasses, by which we build this edifice, are available for us all. Our young friend has one, when he secures a perfect working knowledge of the ritual. The student has another, when he has mastered most of the symbolism. The doctor has a third, when he understands and can formulate the philosophy of Masonry, and all of us get a new edge to our tools as we live according to Masonic light and gain in Masonic experience."

"The Old Past Master stopped and looked off, as if he saw a vision.

The brother to whom he spoke sighed. "I wish," he said, "I might have the inspiration of looking at your temple of Masonry, that I might make mine better."

"and give them proper Instruction"

by Alphonse Cerza

We are again indebted to Worshipful Brother Cerza for providing a thought-provoking paper. This is one he wrote many years ago, but which bears the stress of time.

The Worshipful Master is constantly being reminded by the ritual that he has a solemn duty "to set the Craft to work and give them proper instruction." The two key words ''work and "instruction'' naturally go together. In recent years, unfortunately, the word ''work" has been applied only to the ritualistic work of the Craft. In its broadest sense it really means all types of Masonic work.

The aim of Freemasonry is to teach men to live uprightly, do good in the community," and by their work to set a good example. Since the word "mason" implies work and Freemasonry glorifies the dignity of work, we can reasonably assume that the Craft should devote its attention to the kind of work which will help fulfill this aim.

There is no question that the Masonic ritual is the foundation of the Craft. In it we find the message that Freemasonry has for the candidate, its philosophy, and its moral teachings. If one knows these lessons fully and completely, he is indeed a wise man. Too many of us are concerned more with perfection of the words rather than securing a full understanding of the spirit and the meaning of the ritual.

Let us not make the mistake of believing that the ceremony of initiation makes a man a Mason. True, this ceremony is vital and necessary, but unless the lessons of the ceremony and the spirit of the ritual is understood it is nothing. For example, for hundreds of years in the ancient world there were a number of associations that we now call the Ancient Mysteries. These organizations had a number of things in common. One element stands out above all others: the belief that the ceremony of the Mystery purified the candidate. This basic belief more than any other factor brought these organizations to an end. Let us learn one lesson from this page of history: The ceremonies of the three degrees are of no value unless they are understood by the candidate and are grafted into everyday life.

An informed and enlightened membership is a better and more successful one. This is not idle talk. Brother William H. Knutt, in 1952, at the Mid-West Conference on Masonic Education, gave a report in which it was clearly shown that when the great depression of the thirties came along, the jurisdictions in which the Craft had been offering educational programs lost the least number of members.

The Craft should be put to WORK. That there be perfection in the ritual, that members receive instruction in the ceremonies of the Craft, and that our degree work be retained is of vital importance. No fault can be found with the ritualistic work for it is the foundation of our Order. Fault should be found with the view that we stop our efforts with the conferring of the degrees. We are amiss in our duty to the Craft when we do not properly prepare our candidates and then abandon the newly-made Mason to his own devices. Lodges that devote their entire time to conferring degrees will soon find that quantity is not a substitute for quality. The quality of the membership is determined not only by the careful screening of applicants for the degrees but also in making the new member Mason in fact. This can be done by putting the new Mason to work.

What his work shall be must be determined by the Worshipful Master. While the new member is receiving his degrees someone should try to ascertain his likes, his dislikes, his hobbies, his aptitudes, and his inclinations. If he has a fondness for ritualistic work, by all means put him to work in that field. If he likes to read introduce him to Masonic literature. If he likes to speak why not encourage him to become a Masonic speaker? All this effort will help make this member a better Mason for he will be doing what he likes. And the Craft will profit thereby.

One method of discovering the talents of a member is a questionnaire. Each member is asked to answer certain questions so that the lodge may have information on his hobbies, whether he plays a musical instrument, likes to sing, is interested in amateur theatricals or has other interests. Thus the aptitudes, the likes, the inclinations of the members are ascertained. A resourceful Worshipful Master, by the use of the cards, can put practically every member to work at some time or other on a project to his liking. (A sample form can be found in the M.S.A. Digest, "Think Tank for Junior Wardens . ")

The matter of giving the Craft "proper instruction" can take many forms. Each method should be used to make sure that the Craft does receive proper instruction.

Investigation Committee. Masonic instruction can start with the investigation committee. The applicant for the degrees can be told about our Masonic homes, about our Masonic charitable activities, and he should be given a booklet explaining the fundamental principles of the Craft. (See STB, 5/83)

Candidate Booklet. Many Grand Lodges have prepared a series of booklets for the use of the lodges while the candidate is taking the degrees. These booklets can serve a useful purpose if they are placed in the hands of the candidates and meetings are held to discuss the material; in this manner it can be ascertained if the new member is reading the booklets. It will also give him an opportunity to ask questions that have arisen in his mind.

Posting the Candidate. The member who posts the candidate performs a most important function. He can render a real service if he will also discuss with the candidate the booklet he is supposed to be reading at that particular time.

Discussion Groups. Discussion groups may be organized on the District level. They should be established primarily for the candidates, but all members should be encouraged to take part. The group could meet at different lodges in the district in accordance with a pre-arranged schedule. This would also help to encourage more attendance by members and will bring the lodges in the District closer together.

Speakers. A list of speakers should be developed in each District so that they may be available for the lodges in the District as occasions arise. It may be discovered that there is among the members a real student who can from time to time make some valuable contributions to Masonic thinking.

Book Clubs. Where there is a group of Masons that like to read, one inexpensive way to read Masonic books is to have each member of the group buy a book and then exchange books. In this way each member, for the price of one book, will have the opportunity to read as many books as there are members in the group.

Study Clubs. If we can have successful ritualistic clubs, why can't we have successful Masonic study clubs? That the ritualistic clubs have done much to perfect the ritualistic work of many members is well known. The same could be done with groups that are desirous of studying Masonic literature, history, and other subjects .

Research Lodges. There are a number of research lodges in the United States. The name is somewhat misleading. These lodges are really Masonic literary societies. Their main purpose is to study the history of the Craft and to issue reports on various phases of Freemasonry. (A listing of U.S. Research Lodges is available from M.S.A.)

Undoubtedly, there are many ways of setting the Craft to work and giving them proper instruction. Only a few of these are discussed here.

The ancient ceremonies of the Craft should not be set aside. The basic laws of the Craft should not be changed. The times, however, call for a re-evaluation of the procedures of the Craft in fulfilling its part of the life of the community. What we need is more wellinformed Masons. This can be done by proper instruction and by putting every member to work at a task that pleases him.

Why Freemasonry has Enemies

Say "anti-Masonry" to the average American Mason and he will think you speak only of the Morgan affair of 1826. So many books have been written on this, so many speeches made about it, so many study clubs have discussed it, that it is pretty much in the class with political oratory--interesting once, but a bore when much repeated!

Anti-Masonry neither began nor ended with the Morgan affair. The Fraternity has always had its enemies and, unless the world reforms spiritually, doubtless always will.

But why?

Doubtless there are many answers. Many roads may wind around a mountain--they must meet at the top. No matter how many separate causes for the hatred, dislike, enmity which men have conceived--and some still do --for the Gentle Craft, all these mistaken ideas may be referred to one cause.

Examine just a few of the exhibitions of anti-Masonry, other than the Morgan affair --which was a sporadic explosion, not a deep- rooted and poisonous plant.

Mussolini, Hitler, Franco, Stalin could not permit the existence of a society which is predicated upon the brotherhood of man; they were, and are, too much committed to a society predicated upon a police power which knows no mercy and has but one object; the destruction of people, ideas, and organizations which do not believe that man is nothing, the State (and its ruler or rulers) everything.

Mussolini's anti-Masonic feeling was expressed in his doctrine of conflict, which does not even mention the Craft:

"Humanity is still and always an abstraction of time and space; men are still not brothers, do not want to be and evidently cannot be. Peace is hence absurd, or rather it is a pause in war. There is something that binds man to his destiny of struggling, against either his fellows or himself. The motives for the struggle may change indefinitely, they may be economic, religious, political, sentimental. But the legend of Cain and Abel seems to be the inescapable reality while brotherhood is a fable men listen to during the bivouac and the truce."

General Erich Ludendorff wrote a booklet against Freemasonry of which more than a hundred thousand copies were sold. Too long to quote here, the reader may get an idea of its contents from some of his words:

"Masonry brings its members into conscious subjection to the Jews... it trains them to become venal Jews... German Masonry is a branch of organized international Masonry the headquarters of which are in New York ... there also is the seat of Jewish world Power..."

Ludendorff blamed Freemasons for bringing America into the world War I, helped by the Jesuits, B'nai B'rith and the Grand Lodge of New York! This, he stated, was done to destroy Austria Hungary, a Catholic world power. Had it not been for Freemasonry, Germany would have won the war --Kaiser Wilhelm and Czar Nicholas lost their thrones because they were not Freemasons--and so on and on and on for eighty two pages of "Annihilation of Freemasonry Through Revelation of its Secrets!"

Not all anti-Masonry has had causes so fundamental, which lie so deep; small jealousies and little rascals have started anti-Masonic movements; several religions have fought and, indeed, now fight the Craft, as sinful and unGodlike.

The opposition of the Catholic church, based on the Papal Bull of 1738, many times renewed, expanded, explained and emphasized, is well known. The Lutheran church as a whole has been unfriendly to the Craft and certain Synods rabid against it. The Mormon church has been anti-Masonic ever since hundreds of Mormons were expelled from Masonry by the Grand Lodge of Illinois. Even the gentle Quakers have opposed Freemasonry and not always gently!

When organized religion has disputed with Freemasonry, it is largely because of the thought that Masonic teaching of "that natural religion in which all men agree" might take the place of that which it espoused; knowing that the Fraternity operated by means of a secret ritual, obligations, religious beliefs and the doctrine that all men of whatever faith might worship a Great Architect of the Universe around a common Altar, Freemasonry became a rival!

Just as science disputes with no religion, so Freemasonry does not now and never has questioned any man's faith. There has never been an anti-clerical party composed only of Masons; there have been anti-Masonic parties in many clerical circles. As late as 1896 an anti-Masonic party convened at Trent. In the BUILDER, April, 1918, George W. Baird, P.G.M. District of Columbia, reports that the general and particular aims of this council were to wage war on Masonry as an institution; on Masons as individuals, in all countries and places where the order exists; to wage war on Masonry as a body, by collecting supposed documents and facts; assertions of perjured Masons as evidence and thus bring to light, or rather coin, by means of the press or special publications, all the misdeeds of the fatal institution; all the demoralizing influences it exercises; through obscene or sacrilegious rites, corruption and occult conspiracies on man and civilization; to wage war on individual Masons by opposing them in every phase of their existence, in their homes, in their industries, in their commerce, in their professional vocations, in all their endeavors to participate in public life, local or general, etc.

The first anti-Masonic campaign--if it can be called that--in the American Colonies occurred in 1737. According to an account published in the Pennsylvania Gazette (Benjamin Franklin's paper) an apothecary duped a young man (Daniel Reese) who had expressed a desire to bc a Freemason, into a false and ridiculous ceremony, ending in a scene in which the devil was supposed to appear. When the young man refused to be frightened, the "devil" became angry and threw a pan of flaming spirits on the candidate, who died of burns three days later. Freemasons, though innocent, were blamed and the incident (if death can be called an incident!) spread far and wide to the serious but not too lengthy embarrassment of Masons of the City of Brotherly Love. There were a few sporadic attacks in the Colonial press against Freemasonry, including one in Boston in 175l, but no real opposition of any moment in this nation until the Morgan affair of 1826. (See Short Talk Bulletin of March 1933 and February 1946.) But the Colonies were not to escape prejudice, even if unorganized, for Pritchard's Masonry Dissected (1730) and Jachin and Boaz (1762) both had wide circulation, the latter pamphlet being reprinted here more than a dozen times; one edition was printed in Spanish in Philadelphia as late as 1822.

These "expose's" purporting to print the ritual, ceremonies and "secrets" of Freemasonry (invaluable now as giving clues to practices and words otherwise lost in the mist of the years) were then intended as body blows at the Ancient Craft. In early days Freemasonry was kept secret; place of meeting; men who belonged; candidates proposed, were all considered to be "esoteric". Hence there was a great curiosity on the part of the public and a large circulation of pamphlets designed to injure the Fraternity by "exposing" its charter, ritual and secrets. Today, few would look at and less would buy such a pamphlet on a newsstand--then, the public demanded these in quantities.

Like all such, the motive of their publication--whether revenge for fancied slights or avarice--kept them from being too seriously considered by the better educated and thinking class.

In England, Pritchard's "Masonry Dissected" raised a storm when it was published, and was reflected even in the songs of the day. An actress in 1765 offered the following, as coming from the anti-Masonic Seald Miserable Masons:

"Next for the secret of their own wise making, Hiram and Boaz and Grand Master Jachin; Poker and tongs--the sign--the word--the stroke-- 'Tis all a nothing and 'tis all a joke! Nonsense on nonsense! Let them storm and rail Here's the whole history of the mop and pail. * For tis the sense of more than half the town Their secret is--a bottle at the Crown!"

Although inspired by the Morgan affair, the letters of John Quincy Adams had an anti-Masonic effect long after Morgan was forgotten. President Adams was never a Freemason; we have his own words as proof of that. That he was an implacable enemy of the institution is shown by his "Letters on the Masonic Institution" published in book form in Boston in 1847. His enmity of the Fraternity sprang from his belief in the reality of the "murder" of Morgan, the activities of the anti-Masonic party and his own great credulity and strong prejudice. His character as a man, his service to his country, his exhaustless energy made serious his attacks on Freemasonry, even though he displayed a woeful ignorance of the Order, its principles, practices, history and accomplishments.

John Quincy Adams is long gathered to his fathers. His "letters" remain largely unread in libraries and in the minds of historians. He did the fraternity harm once, but, judged by the perspective of a century, it was without permanent effect.

These are but the slightest of thumb-nail sketches of a few of the outbreaks against Freemasonry. In all countries since the organization of the Mother Grand Lodge, there have been these ebullitions of passions and prejudice; in some lands, tortures and burnings; destructions of Masonic property, imprisonment of Masons, especially in World War II.

These persecutions have had a hundred underlying causes; avarice, jealousy, desire for notoriety, disappointment, envy, the belief that he climbs high who climbs ruthlessly, the need for a scape-goat--the list is endless.

But all, in the last analysis, boil down to one cause. As the greater swallows the less, the large encompasses the little, the race includes all its blood strains, so the reason for the enmity of Freemasons and Freemasonry, encompassing all of many causes, is simple.

There is always a conflict between any two opposing beliefs, doctrines, dogmas, religions, philosophies, political systems. For hundreds of years organized religion fought science; the doctrine of the divine right of kings ran headlong into the doctrine of the equality of man; today we see democracy and Communism in a cold war to the death; less spectacular but none the less real has been the split of Lincoln's famous words, resulting in the opposition of those who believe in government by the people, to those who believe only in government of the people, by the governor!

Freemasonry is a philosophy which cannot exist side by side with certain ideologies. Either the latter must sink or Freemasonry must be banished. Wherever men have believed that one man or some men are above the law which applies to the many; wherever a government is by men and not by law, Freemasonry is anathema, must be persecuted, thrown out, dispersed, done away.

Freemasonry stands and has always stood for freedom of political thought; for freedom of religious thought; for personal freedom within the law; for the dignity, importance and worth of the individual. In Freemasonry there is neither high nor low--"we meet upon the level". In Freemasonry is no compulsion; a man must come to it and be of it "of his own free will and accord." In Freemasonry is no religious sect: men of all religions or of no religion, join hands in kneeling about a common Altar erected to the Great Architect of the Universe, by which name each can worship the God he knows.

Such a plan, such a doctrine, such a brotherhood, cannot but be inimical to the selfish, the crooked, the power-hungry, the dictator, the religion which opposes any doctrine but its own, the self-seeking, the envious, the coward, the prejudiced, the passionate and the dishonest. The reason for all the attacks on Masonry, no matter how attempted or by whom accomplished, can be expressed in a word . . . The word is fear. Fear of what? Of freedom of thought!

*An illusion to tiler's implements with which he erased the designs drawn the lodge floor for the instruction of candidates.

The Letter "G"

Author unknown
circa 1927

Even a stranger, entering a Masonic Lodge room, as he may do on a public occasion, must be struck by a mysterious Letter which hangs over the chair of the Master in the East. No one need tell him its meaning; it is a letter of light and tells its own story.

Yet no stranger can know its full import, much less how old it is. Indeed, few Masons are aware of all that it implies, either as symbol or history. There it shines, a focus of faith and fellowship, the emblem of the Divine Presence in the Lodge, and in the heart of each Brother composing it.

When the Lodge is opened, the mind and heart of each member should also be opened to the meaning of the great symbol, to the intent that its light and truth may become the supreme reality in our lives. when the Lodge is closed, the memory of that Divine initial and its august suggestions ought to be the last thought retained in the mind to be pondered over.

In English Lodges its meaning and use are made clearer than among us. There it shines in the center of the ceiling of the room, and the Lodge is grouped around it, rather than assembled beneath it. Below it is the checkerwork floor, symbol of the vicissitudes of life, over which hangs the white light of the Divine guidance and blessing, so much needed in our mortal journey.

Also, in the Degrees its use is more impressive. In the First and Second Degrees the symbol is visible in the roof, or sky, of the Lodge, like a benediction. In the Third Degree it is hidden, but its presence is still manifest-as every Mason knows-since the light of God is inextinguishable even in the darkest hours. In the Royal Arch it becomes visible again, but in another form and in another position, not to be named here.

Thus, in the course of the Degrees, the great Letter has descended from heaven to earth, as if to show us the deep meaning of Masonry. In other words, the purpose of initiation is to bring God and man together, and make them one. God becomes man that man may become God-a truth which lies at the heart of all religion, and most clearly revealed in our own. At bottom every form of faith is trying to lay hold of this truth, for which words were never made.

In all the old houses of initiation, as far back as we can go, some one letter of the alphabet stands our as a kind of Divine initial. In the Egyptian Mysteries it was the solar Ra, symbol of the spiritual Sun shining upon the mortal path. In the Greek Mysteries at Delphi it was the letter "E"-Eta-the fifth letter of the Greek Alphabet, five being the symbol of man, as evidenced by the five senses.

Hence also the pentagram, or five pointed star. In olden time Fellowcraft Masons worked in groups of five, and five Brethren now compose one of their Lodges. Plutarch tells us that in the Greek Mysteries the Letter Eta was make of wood in the First Degree, of bronze in the second Degree, and of gold in the third-showing the advance and refinement of the moral and spiritual nature, as well as the higher value to the truth unfolded.

Many meanings and much history are thus gathered into the Great Letter, some of it dim and lost to us now. In our Lodges, and in the thought of the Craft today, the Letter G stands for Geometry and also as the initial of our Word God. Now for one, now for the other, but nearly always for both, since all Masonry rests upon Geometry, and in all its lore Geometry is the way to God.

Of the first of these meanings not much needs to be said. In the oldest Charges of the Craft, as in its latest interpretations it is agreed that Masonry is moral geometry. What was forefelt by philosophers and mystics in ancient times is now revealed to us by the microscope. It is an actual fact that Geometry is the thought-form of God in nature, in the snowflake and in the orbits of the stars.

Since this ancient insight is confirmed by the vision of science, in the most impressive manner the great Letter may stand as the initial of God, not alone by the accident of our language, but also and much more by a faith founded in fact. There is no longer any secret; it cannot be hid, because it is written in the structure of things, in all the forms which truth and beauty take.

Nor does Masonry seek to hide the fact that it rests on God, lives in God, and seeks to lead men to God. Everything in Masonry has reference to God, every lesson, every lecture, from the first step to the last degree. Without God it has no meaning, and no mission among men. It would be like the house in the parable, built on the sand, which the flood swept away. For Masonry, God is the first truth and the final reality.

Yet, as a fact, Masonry rarely uses the name of God. It uses, instead, the phrase, the Great Architect of the Universe. Of course such a phrase fits into the symbolism of the Craft, but that is not the only-not, perhaps, the chief-reason why it is used. A deep, fine feeling keeps us from using the name of Deity too often, lest it lose some of its awe in our minds.

It is because Masons believe in God so deeply that they do not repeat His name frequently, and some of us prefer the Masonic way in the matter. Also, we love the Masonic way of teaching by indirection, so to speak; by influenced and atmosphere. Masonry, in its symbols and in its spirit, seeks to bring us into the presence of God and detain us there, and that is the wisest way.

In nothing is Masonry more deep-seeing than in the way in which it deals with our attitude toward God, who is both the meaning and the mystery of life. It does not intrude, much less drive, in the intimate and delicate things of the inner life-like a bungler thrusting his hand into our heart-strings.

No, all that Masonry asks is that we confess our faith in a Supreme Being. It does not require that we analyze or define in detail our thought of God. Few men have formulated their profoundest faith; perhaps no man can do it, satisfactorily. It goes deeper than the intellect, down into the instincts and feelings, and eludes all attempts to put it into words.

Life and love, joy and sorrow, pity and pain and death, the blood in the veins of men, the milk in the breast of woman, the laughter of little children, the coming and going of days, all the old, sweet, sad human things that make up our mortal life-these are the bases of our faith in God. Older than argument, it is deeper than debate; as old as the home, as tender as infancy and old age, as deep as love and death.

Men lived and died by faith in God long before philosophy was born, ages before theology has learned its letters. Vedic poets and penitential Psalmists were praising God on yonder side of the Pyramids, in Egypt, five thousand years ago, a poet king sang of the unity, purity and beauty of God, celebrating His presence revealed, yet also concealed, in the order of life.

No man can put such things into words much less into a hard and fast dogma. Masonry does not ask him to do so. All that it asks is that he tell, simply and humbly, in Whom he puts his trust in life and in death, as the source, security and sanction of moral life and spiritual faith; and that is as far as it seeks to go.

One thinks of the talk of the old Mason with the young nobleman who was an atheist, in the Tolstoi story, War and Peace. When the young count said with a sneer that he did not believe in God, the old Mason smiled, as a mother might smile at the silly saying of a child. Then, in a gentle voice, the old man said:

"Yes, you do not know Him, sir. You do not know Him, that is why you are unhappy. But He is here, He is within me, He is in you even in these scuffing words you have just uttered. If He is not, we should not be speaking of Him, sir. Whom dost thou deny?"

They were silent for a spell, as the train moved on. Something in the old man touched the count deeply, and stirred in him a longing to see what the old man saw and know what he knew. His eyes betrayed his longing to know God, and the old man read his face and answered his unasked question:

"Yes, He exists, but to know him is hard. It is not attained by reason, but by life. The highest truth is like the purest dew. could I hold in an impure vessel the pure dew and judge of its purity? Only by inner purification can we know God."

All these things-all this history and hope and yearning which defines analysis-Masonry tells us in a shining Letter which it hangs up in the Lodge. It is the wisest way; its presence is a prophecy, and its influence extends beyond our knowing, evoking one knows not what memories and meditations. Never do we see that great Letter, and think of what it implies, that we do not feel what Watts felt:

O God, our help in ages past
Our hope in times to come.
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home.

William Preston

Date and Author unkown

WHEN we hear the name of William Preston we are at once reminded of the Preston lectures in Freemasonry. It is to Preston that we are indebted for what was the basis of our Monitors of the present day. The story of his literary labors in the interest of the Craft, and how they aided in making Freemasonry one of the leading educational influences during the closing decades of the eighteenth century, is one of absorbing interest to every member of the Fraternity.

William Preston was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, August 7th (old style calendar July 28th), 1742. His father was a "writer to the signet," a law agent peculiar to Scotland and formerly eligible to the bench, therefore a man of much educational standing. He naturally desired to give his son all the advantages which the schools of that day afforded, and young Preston's education was begun at an early age. He entered high school before he was six years old.

After the death of his father Preston withdrew from college and took employment as secretary to Thomas Ruddiman, the celebrated linguist, whose failing eyesight made it necessary for Preston to do much research work required by Ruddiman in his classical and linguistic studies. At the demise of Thomas Ruddiman, Preston became a printer in the establishment of Walter Ruddiman, a brother of Thomas, to whom he had been formerly apprenticed.

Evidence of Preston's literary ability was first shown when he compiled a catalog of Thomas Ruddiman's books. After working in the printing office for about a year, a desire to follow his literary inclinations prevailed and, well supplied with letters of introduction, he set out for London in 1760. One of these letters was addressed to William Strahan, the king's printer, with whom Preston secured a position, remaining with Strahan and his son for many years.

Preston possessed an unquenchable desire for knowledge. As was common to the times in which he lived, "man worked from sun to sun." The eight-hour day, if known at all, was a rarity, and Preston supplemented his earlier education by study after his twelve-hour working day was over. The critical skill exercised in his daily vocation caused literary men of the period to call upon him for assistance and advice. His close association with the intellectual men of his time was attested by the discovery after his death of autographed presentation copies of the works of Gibbon, Hume, Robertson, Blair and others.

The exact date of Preston's initiation is not known, but it occurred in London in 1762 or 1763. It has been satisfactorily ascertained that his Mother Lodge was the one meeting at the White Hart Tavern in the Strand. This lodge was formed by a number of Edinburgh Masons sojourning in London, who, after being refused an application for a charter by the Grand Lodge of Scotland, accepted a suggestion of the Scottish Grand Body that they apply to the Ancient Grand Lodge of London. The Ancients granted a dispensation to these brethren on March 2nd, 1763, and it is claimed by one eighteenth century biographer that Preston was the second person initiated under that dispensation. The minutes of the Athol (Ancient) Grand Lodge show that Lodge No. 111 was constituted on or about April 20th, 1763, William Leslie, Charles Halden and John Irwin being the first Master and Wardens, and Preston's name was listed as the twelfth among the twenty-two on the roll of membership. It was not uncommon in those times (and the custom still prevails in England, Canada and other countries, and among several Grand Jurisdictions in the United States) for Masons to belong to more than one lodge, and Preston and some other members of his Mother Lodge also became members of a lodge chartered by the Moderns, which met at the Talbot Tavern in the Strand. These brethren prevailed upon the membership of Lodge No. 111, which in the meantime had moved its meeting place to the Half Moon Tavern, to apply to the Modern Grand Lodge for a charter. Lord Blayney, then Grand Master, granted a charter to the members of Lodge No. 111, which was constituted a second time, on November 15th, 1764, taking the name Caledonian Lodge No. 325. This lodge is still in existence, being No. 134 on the present registry of the United Grand Lodge of England.

The constitution of the new Caledonian Lodge was a noteworthy event because of the presence of many prominent Masons of the day. The ceremonies and addresses on this occasion made a deep impression upon Preston, being among the factors which induced him to make a serious study of Freemasonry. The desire to know more of the Fraternity, its origin and its teachings, was intensified when he was elected Worshipful Master, for, as he said, "When I first had the honor to be elected Master of a lodge, I thought it proper to inform myself fully of the general rules of the Society, that I might be able to fulfill my own duty and officially enforce obedience in others. The methods which I adopted, with this view, excited in some of superficial knowledge an absolute dislike of what they considered innovations; and in others who were better informed, a jealousy of preeminence, which the principles of Masonry ought to have checked."

Preston entered into an extensive correspondence with Masons at home and abroad, extending his knowledge of Craft affairs and gathering the material which later found expression in his best known book, "Illustrations of Masonry." He delved into the most out of the way places in search of Masonic lore and wisdom, by which the Craft was greatly benefitted.

Preston was a frequent visitor to other lodges. He was asked to visit the Lodge of Antiquity No. 1, one of the Four Old Lodges which formed the Grand Lodge of England in 1717. On that occasion, June 15th, 1774, he was elected a member of the lodge and also Worshipful Master at the same meeting. This unusual action is additional evidence of the regard in which he was held by the brethren of his day. While he had been Master of several other lodges, he gave of his best in time and energy to the Lodge of Antiquity, which thrived greatly under his leadership.

He became an active member of the Grand Lodge, serving on its Hall Committee, a committee appointed in 1773 for the purpose of superintending the erection of the Masonic Hall which had been projected, and was later appointed Deputy Grand Secretary under James Heseltine. In this capacity he revived the foreign and country correspondence of the Grand Lodge, an easy matter for him because of his extensive personal correspondence with brethren outside of London.

In 1777 occurred an event which was momentous in the Masonic affairs of the period. On account of the mock and satirical processions formed by rival societies the Modern Grand Lodge of England had forbidden its lodges and members to appear in public processions in regalia. The Lodge of Antiquity, on December 17th, 1777, resolved to attend church services in a body on St. John's Day, the following 27th, selecting St. Dunstan's Church, only a short distance across the street from where the lodge met. Some of the members protested, saying it was contrary to Grand Lodge regulations, with the result that only ten attended, these donning gloves and aprons in the church vestry, and then entering to hear the sermon. At the conclusion of the services they returned to the lodge without first removing their Masonic clothing. This action was cause for debate at the next meeting of the lodge in which Preston expresse'd the opinion that the Lodge of Antiquity had never surrendered its privileges and prerogatives when it participated in the formation of the Grand Lodge in 1717, and held that it could parade as it did in 1694. The Grand Lodge, however, could not afford to overlook such an opinion, especially when expressed by the leading Masonic scholar of the day, and consequently Preston was expelled.

Because of this action of the Grand Lodge of Moderns, the Lodge of Antiquity severed its connection with that body, after dismissing from its membership three brethren who had made the original complaint against Preston, entered into relations with the revived Grand Lodge of All England at York, and formed what was known as the "Grand Lodge of England South of the River Trent." The controversy with the Grand Lodge of Moderns was settled in 1787, and Preston was reinstated, all his honors and dignities being restored, whereupon he resumed his Masonic activities. He organized the Order of Harodim, a society of Masonic scholars, in which he taught his lectures and through this medium the lectures came to America and became the foundation for our Monitors.

To fully grasp the significance of Preston's labors we must understand the conditions in England at the time he lived. The seventeenth century had been one of marked differences of opinion on the subjects of government, religion and economic conditions. The eighteenth century, following the accession of Prince George of Hanover to the throne of England as King George I, witnessed an era of peace and prosperity in that country. With the exception of the wars against the French, and later the Revolution in America, England met no obstacles in her conquests of trade. The strife of the opening years of the century calmed down, and the people became adjusted to their new conditions. It became a period of formalism. Literature, which thrived under the patronage of the wealthy, partook of an ancient classical nature, spirit being subordinated to form and style. Detailed perfection of form was insisted upon in every activity, and undoubtedly the insistence for a letter-perfect ritualism, still so apparent in Freemasonry, had its origin in the closing years of the eighteenth century.

While the well-to-do classes lived in comfort and ease, the laboring and farming classes had not yet entirely emerged from the adverse conditions confronting them for so many decades. True, the cessation of wars, and the development of domestic and foreign trade also had an influence in the circles not actively participating in the new development. A spirit of freedom and independence continued to express itself. Public education as we know it today, however, did not then exist. The schools were for the children of the wealthy only, being conducted by private interests and requiring the payment of tuition beyond the purse of the common people. Yet education was eagerly sought. Knowledge was looked upon as the key which would unlock the door to intellectual and spiritual independence.

While Preston began his schooling at an early age, even with this excellent start he extended his education only by diligent work and the burning of much midnight oil. Imbued with the spirit of the day, he was anxious to place the available knowledge of the times before his fellow men. Therefore, when he discovered a vast body of traditional and historical lore in the old documents of the Craft, he naturally seized upon the opportunity of modernizing the ritual in such a way as to make accessible a rudimentary knowledge of the arts and sciences to the members of the Fraternity.

From 1765 to 1772 Preston engaged in personal research and correspondence with Freemasons at home and abroad, endeavoring to learn all he could about Freemasonry and the arts it encouraged. These efforts bore fruit in the form of his first book, entitled "Illustrations of Masonry," published in 1772. He had taken the old lectures and work of Freemasonry, revised them and placed them in such form as to receive the approval of the leading members of the Craft. Encouraged by their favorable reception, and sanctioned by the Grand Lodge, Preston employed at his own expense lecturers to travel throughout the kingdom and place the lectures before the lodges. New editions of his book were demanded, and up to the present time it has gone through twenty editions in England, six in America, and several more in various European languages.

After his death, on April 1st, 1818, it was found that Preston had provided a fund of three hundred pounds sterling in British Consols (British government securities, the word being abbreviated from "consolidated annuities"), the interest from this fund to be set aside for the delivery of the Preston lectures once each year. The appointment of a lecturer was left to the Grand Master. These lectures were abandoned about 1860, chiefly for the reason that they had been superseded by the lectures of Hemming, in the approved work of the United Grand Lodge of England, when that body was formed by the reunion of the Ancient and Moderns in 1513. The Preston work still survives, however, in the United States, although greatly modified by such American ritualists as Webb, Cross, Barney and others.

Had Preston not attained Masonic eminence through his efforts in other fields, his work in revising the lectures alone would entitle him to the plaudits and gratitude of the Craft. Considering these old lectures in the light of our present day knowledge, and granting that they might be corrected and revised, it must be remembered that Preston's work was a tremendous step forward when we consider the spirit and conditions of his day. He was one of the first men to influence a change from the social and convivial standards which prevailed in the old lodges, and to make them centers for more practical and enduring efforts. His own progress in the Craft is an illustration of its democracy, and an illustration of the equality of opportunity existing for those who will apply themselves to the problems confronting the Fraternity in our own times. From a position as the youngest Entered Apprentice standing in the northeast corner of his lodge, he progressed step by step until he reached a place where he was recognized as the foremost Masonic scholar of his generation. While he did not wear the purple of the Modern Grand Lodge in its highest stations, his contemporaries who had that honor have been forgotten, while the name of William Preston is still preeminent in the annals of Freemasonry.

Equality of opportunity, as Freemasonry stands for it, means equality of opportunity for service. The honors of office are not the Masonic test of service. He who contributes to the Mason's search for light, light that will enable the Craftsman to more intelligently and efficiently serve his God, his country and his neighbor, is rendering the highest and most enduring quality of service. This was true in Preston's time. It is equally true in ours. Fortunate is the lodge that has a modern Preston in its membership, who seeks to lead the Craft into a clearer understanding of the symbolism and teachings of Freemasonry to the end that Freemasons of today may sustain the high standard of effective and unselfish service to mankind which has characterized and distinguished the Fraternity in the generations and ages gone.

What is Masonry?

by: Unknown
circa 1924


You are now a member, with all the rights and privileges, of the oldest and largest fraternal order of the world. Seeking this membership solely of your own free will and accord, you have advanced through its three degrees by virtue of your worthiness and diligence. It is, therefore, safe to assume that you are sincerely interested in knowing what Masonry is and for what it stands in its relationship to modern civilization.

Many definitions of Masonry have been attempted, but it is doubtful if any is better than the one with which you are familiar:

A beautiful system of morals, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.: A fuller definition is the following:

"Masonry is the activity of closely united men who, employing symbolical forms borrowed principally from the mason's trade and from architecture, work for the welfare of mankind, striving morally to ennoble themselves and others and thereby bring about a universal league of mankind, which they aspire to exhibit even now on a small scale."

You have already learned that Masonry is a serious undertaking and that it exists to make men "Wiser and Consequently Happier." It is a great force for good - a force that binds into one universal brotherhood men who believe in the power of moral principles. Its teachings, based on those eternal truths that have from the beginning of time controlled human progress, are so broad that they have the foundation upon which rest the dogmas and creeds of all religious denominations. The interpretation of moral truth, as expounded in its ritual and lectures, forms the basis of all human efforts for good and of all wise and just government systems. It is well for us to start out in our Masonic pathway with this conception of the breadth of Masonic teaching and their entire freedom from all narrow dogmas. The true Mason, in matters of doctrine, is always tolerant and can never be a bigot.

At the foundation of all Masonic belief lies the most important of our Landmarks - the belief in the Fatherhood of God. As you well know, it is an essential to Masonic membership. It is the one fundamental tenet of the Order, an abiding bond of union that unites all men of every country, sect and opinion, who have faith in the power of good. Masonry seeks neither to limit your conception of God nor your interpretation of his Manifestations. These are left to your intelligence and your conscience. It does require, however, that you believe unreservedly in the existence of a Supreme Being, Architect and Ruler of the Universe.

As the chief conerstone of your Masonic belief is that other important Landmark, the recognition of the Brotherhood of Man. A third Landmark follows as a result of the of the first two - "The Hope of a Glorious Immortality." Beyond these three Landmarks Masonry asks it follower to subscribe to no religious creed. Its teachings and practices follow naturally as an interpretation of these beliefs.

You heard more or less about the universality of Masonry.

It is universal because it is broad and tolerant. Any man, of any Church or creed, who professes a belief in these three Landmarks is eligible for Masonry, so far as his religion is concerned.


In considering briefly the history of Masonry, it may be necessary for you to disabuse your mind of some preconceived ideas. Certainly we have no knowledge of the Masonic Fraternity, as we now know it, existing at a period so remote as that of the building of King Solomon's Temple. The references in our ritualistic work to the building of that famous edifice are purely allegorical. History teaches us that thousands of years ago there were in existence secret organizations that accepted many of the essential moral truths taught by our Order today. What connection, if any, they may have had with Masonry we shall probably never know, as the early history of our Fraternity is chiefly traditional and clouded in a dim and indefinite past.

As an established organization, Masonry took form several centuries ago when Operative Masonry flourished, and Masonic Guilds, and later fraternities, devoted their attention to the construction of buildings. During these early days the operative masons held lodge meetings in a building which was guarded to prevent the approach of those not members of the Craft. They met in secret, admitted members by initiation and taught the initiates the symbolism of the order as well as how to make themselves known to each other by grips and signs. Whatever we do not know concerning the beginnings of Masonry, we do see in all its history a body of men, bound by ties of fraternity, working for the common good and for the preservation of moral truths, unhampered by bigotry or blind intolerance.

Operative Masonry, associated with the erection of buildings, began to decline as a result of wars and changing economic conditions during the seventeenth century. In order to hold the lodges together, the members began to admit men, who, though not working as masons, were attracted by the traditions, symbolism and teachings of the Craft. They were called "Accepted" Masons, to distinguish them from those who practiced the art. As the years went on, the number of "Accepted" Masons grew until, by the opening of the eighteenth century, they predominated, and Operative Masonry was transformed into Speculative Masonry. In 1717 the four "Old Lodges" formed the Grand Lodge of England, and Masonry, as we now practice it began to take form; and by 1726 the Ritual, essentially as we know it today, was developed. As a result, there occurred a great Masonic awakening that brought the Fraternity to the front as an active force in the thought and life of England. Since that time Masonry has been taught and practiced in its present form substantially without change, and its membership has continued to grow until today, in the United States alone, we have about three million Masons (1924).

Mackey defines Speculative Masonry as the "Scientific Application and the Religious Consecration of the Rules and Principles, the Language, Implements and Materials of Operative Masonry to the Veneration of God." Newton, in his Masonic Masterpiece, "The Builders," a book that should be in the hands of every Masonic student, refers to the change to Speculative Masonry in these words:

"Henceforth the Masons of England were no longer a society of handicraftsmen, but an association of men of all orders and every vocation, and also of almost every creed, who met together on the broad basis of humanity, and recognized no standard of human worth other than morality, kindness and love of truth. They retained the symbolism of the old Operative Masonry, its language, its ritual and its oral tradition. No longer did they build churches but the spiritual temple of Humanity; using the square not to measure the right angles of blocks of stone, but for evening the inequities of human character; nor the compass any more to describe circles on the tracing board, but to draw a Circle of Good-Will around all mankind."

It is a remarkable fact that in Masonry we have an Order whose ritual, landmarks and teachings have remained unchanged for more than 200 years. They have stood the critical test of their application to the problems of humanity under vastly varying conditions and today stand as sound and as true as when they were formulated. Whilst denominational religions have constantly changed their creeds to adapt them to the advance of human knowledge, Masonry finds her interpretations of the principles of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man just as vital, just as useful in the correction of human conduct as they were over two hundred years ago. Masonry is not worthy because it is old; it is old because it is true.

No page in Masonic history is more eloquent in its record of influence on human endeavor than the part taken by Masons in the early days of our Republic. Masonic gatherings of one form or another were held prior to 1730. By 1735 Grand Lodges had been formed in several of the states, and lodges were becoming quite numerous. Thereafter the growth and influence of Masonry in the United States was marked, and members of the Fraternity everywhere were prominent in the cause of liberty and a free government. Most of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, most of the members of the Constitutional Convention, and all of the governors of the original thirteen states, were Masons. Washington, a Mason, was sworn in as President of the United States by Chancellor Robert Livingston, who was also the Grand Master of New York, on a Bible taken from a Masonic Altar. Most of his Generals, including Lafayette, Von Stuben and Knox, his closet friend, were members of the Craft. Among a host of other Masonic Patriots and Soldiers might be mentioned Benjamin Franklin, Joseph Warren , Patrick Henry, Josiah Quincy, Paul Revere, Alexander Hamilton and Chief Justice Marshall; men who took their Masonic teachings seriously and wove them into the fabric and foundation of our national government. Ever since these early days, many of the leading statesmen, patriots, writers, poets, artists and musicians; leaders in all lines of thought and progress both in this and other civilized nations, have been masons.


Every newly raised Brother should make it a point to read, thoughtfully, the Landmarks and Ancient Charges of Masonry. You will find them in your handbook of Masonic Law of which they form the foundation. They are of great antiquity and they will give you an understanding of the broad scope of Masonic belief. Notice, for example, how sound and true, in these days of unrest and strife, are the teachings of the first two Ancient Charges "Concerning God and Religion," and "Of the Civil Magistrate, Supreme and Subordinate, even though they are more than two centuries old; and overlooking the quaint language of the time when they were written, how applicable they are to our present problems.

The mission of Masonry concerns itself with the individual.

You will find nothing in our teachings to encourage organized participation by the Fraternity in community, state or national affairs involving politics or religion. On the contrary, we are taught to eliminate from our lodge room discussions on all questions likely to involve party or fractional strife. Masonry seeks to inculcate in the individual those moral truths that can become, if he will use them, his faithful guide through life. Time has proved that you cannot make men good by legislation; that no elaborate system of laws can change men's natures or their hearts; and that the unit of morality and human progress is the individual. By lessons, mainly symbolical, Masonry points the way for him to lay down his rules of conduct, and by giving him knowledge of the fundamentals, seeks to develop his integrity, judgment and ideals.

Now that are a Master Mason you will be expected to take your share of responsibility for properly safeguarding the welfare and progress of your lodge. Remember that the Blue Lodge is the ground floor of all Masonic endeavor the world over, and that while degrees of the Chapter, Commandry and Scottish Rite, in which some time you may become interested, offer much that is beautiful and valuable in developing Masonic teachings, yet the real work of Masonry is carried on in the body of which you are now a member. All the business affairs of your lodge are conducted in the Third degree, including such material matters as finance and property interests, relations with other lodges, and election of officers. In this connection you will be called upon to exercise the privilege of voting on all those who petition your lodge for the Masonic degrees, and you must accordingly accept your share of responsibility for the character of its membership.

The true Mason, on such occasions, divorces from his mind all thoughts of personal bias and considers only the welfare of the lodge, asking himself if the petitioner is a man who can understand and apply the principles and ideals of Masonry and prove himself worthy of the Fraternity. The right to elect or reject a petitioner is a trust placed in a member to be exercised, not for personal reasons, but for the benefit of the lodge. And bear in mind that a worthy petitioner, even though rejected, may apply again; whereas unworthy material, once accepted by the lodge, can, with difficulty, be ejected.

As you progress in your knowledge and interest in Masonic affairs, you not only have the fullest right to participate, in all meetings, in the business and discussions; but you are expected to do so and it is your duty to assist, whenever occasion arises, in any activity which aids the healthy development of the lodge of which you are now a member.

The Masonic Lodge is the one place where all men, of every station in life, may meet on the basis of true equality.

President Roosevelt (Teddy). writing shortly before his death, called attention to the fact that while he was President of the United States, the gardener on a neighbor's estate, "A Most Excellent Public Spirited Citizen, was Master of His Lodge;"

And he adds:

"He was over me, though I was President, and it was good for him and good for me. I violate no secret when I say that one of the greatest values in Masonry is that it affords an opportunity for men in all walks of life to meet on common ground, where all men are equal and have one common interest."

William Jennings Bryan expresses the same idea thus:

"In a lodge room we do not ask a man who his father was; we simply inquire what he is. We do not ask what his father has done; we simply ask if he is ready to do the work that falls to him. We do not ask whether he has received a diploma from some institution of learning; we simply ask if he has studied the science of how to live, if he recognizes the ties that bind him to mankind. We do not ask him how many acres of land he possesses; we ask him whether he is possessed of the spirit of Brotherhood. The lodge room helps to draw us together; it helps to unify the world."


Having now discussed both the History and Teachings of Masonry, let us consider their application and your relationship thereto. Interested though you may be in what Masonry did for your country a hundred years ago, you are certainly more interested in what it can do for the world today.

We are taught that Masonry is a progressive science. For some two hundred years Freemasonry has adapted to life's problems the unchangeable moral principles handed down by Operative Masonry. Just as the rules of architecture adapt themselves to all forms of buildings, so do the truths of Masonry apply themselves to the manifold questions of our present civilization. From Operative Masonry to Speculative Masonry was a change demanded by progress; and the same spirit of progress demands today a virile interpretation of our teachings in the form of Applied Masonry.

In this connection, have you thought about your new responsibilities as a Mason? Voluntarily, you have allied yourself with a fraternity that stands for certain ideals and recognizes certain duties that it owes to mankind. You have thereby incurred certain responsibilities that were not yours before. Henceforth you will be known as a Mason; and no matter whether you wish it or not, the world will, to a certain extent, judge Masonry by the life you lead and the service you render to your fellowmen. You cannot escape this fact; and these words are written in vain if they do not convince you, definitely and earnestly, of your responsibility. That other Masons may not always recognize this fact, or live up to it, does not in the least relieve you from your duty to put your Masonic teachings into practice in your daily life and apply Masonic standards to your rules of conduct. Freemasons are presumed to be men of integrity and good standing, and as such are usually influential in their communities; and just so far as this is true, a moral obligation rests upon every Mason to maintain that reputation and to actively exert some influence for the common good. From this time on your attitude cannot be passive alone; you cannot shirk duty; and the duty of Freemasonry toward present day problems is quite plain. As a good Mason you will make it your concern to learn that duty and to perform it.

Masonry will mean to you just what you make of it in your daily life and influence. If you confine your Masonic activities to ritualistic work within the seclusion of your lodge room, your conception of its mission is indeed a limited one. But if you are going to translate that work into terms of practical applica-tion of its lessons, for the benefit of yourself and your fellow man, you will realize that Freemasonry is synonymous with Service and Civic Duty.

Let us then, briefly, consider a few aspects of Masonry in its application to modern civic problems.


Freemasonry has always stood, and stands today, four-square for free and compulsory education. Good citizenship rests on the ideals and integrity of the electorate, and a man's ideals and integrity can be no better than his knowledge. Our Masonic forefathers were the founders and supporters of the American Public School system. It is a heritage handed down to the Masons of today to guard, protect and foster. It is our Masonic duty to see to it that the American Public School, one of the bulwarks of our nation, is maintained at the highest degree of efficiency, under the sole dominion of the State, and entirely free from interference by other influence, political or ecclesiastical. It becomes our duty to see to it that those who teach our children, the future citizens of our Republic, are not only properly qualified for their work, but that they recognize their responsibility as trustees of our national development and that they shall be not only citizens of our country, speaking our language, but men and women imbued with the spirit and purpose that originated our public school system and who cherish American ideals beyond any other influence, political or ecclesiastical. Education is the chief factor in fostering a spirit of true Americanism.


One of the fundamentals guaranteed to us in our system of government is religious liberty and absolute separation of Church and State. The history of Masonry is the story of the development of liberty of conscience in religious matters. Masons - many of them Masters and Wardens of lodges - at the birth of our nation, wrote into our Constitution those precious provisions which insure our religious freedom. This heritage surely we of today should defend; because we accept it as our right, we are sometimes blinded to the dangers that threaten its continuance. Freemasonry insists that no church, of whatever denomination, can be superior to the state, and that it cannot intrude its dogma into civic and governmental affairs without interfering with the constitutional rights of the citizen.


"A Mason is a peaceable subject to the civil Powers, wherever he resides or works, and is never to be concerned in Plots or Conspiracies against the Peace and Welfare of the Nation." So reads the Ancient Charge; and Masonry has ever been an ardent champion of the constituted authority of self- government. Today we find these principals attacked, not by autocracy and despotism, but by anarchy and communism. The attitude of Freemasonry toward these influences cannot be questioned. When, in 1919, the city of Boston - scene of the "Boston tea Party" which was conducted by Masons (not as Masons but as individuals) - was imperiled by lawlessness and violence occasioned by a strike of the police force, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts was not satisfied to remain silent as to the position of Freemasonry, but adopted a set of resolutions that breathe the same spirit of devotion to principal that animated organized Masonry in Washington's time. They close with the following words:

"Resolved, that Americans today face no more important task than that of asserting and maintaining the supremacy of the law of the land and resisting any and all efforts, by whomsoever made, to undermine and destroy that law-abiding spirit and habit which is the foundation stone of our liberties; and be it further, resolved, that this Grand Lodge requests the Grand Master to communicate these resolutions to his Excellency the Governor of the Commonwealth, and to his Honor the Mayor of Boston, with the assurance that the 80,000 citizens here represented offer full sympathy and whatever aid may be possible in their efforts to assert and maintain the supremacy of the law and to protect the peace of the community."

Wholehearted respect for the law of the land is a fundamental requirement of every Mason and it is a Masonic duty to combat the enemies of our constitutional government. Masonry is Organized Patriotism.


We will consider these together since they are similar in spirit and intent. The lesson of Charity was taught to you in the First Degree, but you misinterpret this lesson if you confine it to material relief alone. The true spirit of Charity that should animate a Mason not, only in his relations with his Brethren but with his fellowmen, is closely allied to that of Brotherhood; and true Brotherhood - the cornerstone of Freemasonry - cannot very well be separated from human service.

At no period of the world's history has the principle of Brotherhood applied with greater force to the problems of civilization than today, particularly in its relation to industrial conditions. More and more do we realize that in discussions between capital and labor the doctrine of selfishness breeds disaster; that might is not right between groups any more than between individuals; and that man cannot be independent of his fellowman. When the spirit and practice of brotherliness is applied to our industrial problems and we begin to think more of our duty toward our fellowman rather than of our rights against him, then will we be applying our Masonic teachings. With unrest and bitterness in evidence on all sides, it is no time for true Masons to be sitting in their lodge rooms soliloquizing on the past and discussing ritualistic technicalities. Rather should we be translating the symbolism of Freemasonry into helpfulness and true Brotherhood. How changed would be the social and industrial conditions of our nation if, instead of attempting to solve disputes by strikes and riots, we would apply, in a practical way, the Masonic precepts of "Who Best Can Work and Best Agree!"

The whole history of mankind shows that there is no substitute for brotherliness. Professions of Brotherhood in a Masonic lodge are of no avail unless they are put into practice in daily life. It is the task of each individual Mason, in his contemplation of national, state and local problems, to apply these age-old, unselfish and fundamental principles revealed in the ritual.


If Freemasonry stands for anything at all, it stands for Service.

The hope and purpose of this discussion is to create in your mind as a newly made Mason. a new vision of greater usefulness to your fellowman. You have not joined a mere club. You have allied yourself with a body of nearly three million men of all parties, or all religions, of all degrees of mental equipment. We represent the manhood of America. Our predecessors laid the foundation of this democracy, and we are tied by the same bonds of obligation to protect our Republic and the principles for which it stands. As you progress further on the Masonic pathway you will realize that the full duty that you owe to your country and your fellowman is not discharged by passively retaining your Masonic membership. Freemasons are builders, Creators, men engaged in constructive undertakings, and you as one of them cannot stand back and merely watch your felloworkers. You believe in Brotherhood, not as a platitude, but as a reality to be applied in daily life - and Brotherhood implies Service.

Every Degree in Masonry carries a lesson that points to civic duty and our relationship with each other in social and business life. Consider, for example, the Masonic admonition concerning the division of our time and apply it to the disturbed labor conditions of today (1924). "Eight Hours for our usual vocations," although recognized by Masons two centuries ago as a sane basis for a day's work, is now claimed by labor as a standard. But to go a step further, and induce your fellowman to accept that other admonition which requires "Eight Hours for the Service of God and a Distressed Worthy Brother,: and you have translated the doctrine of Service into daily life in a way that would solve all our labor problems.

Though not interested in politics or platforms, though not concerned with personalities, Masonry nevertheless, through education of the individual, stands squarely for moral principles in all civic affairs. She believes that "Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty," and that the privileges of a free government are worth guarding; that her philosophy of human brotherhood squares with real Americanism; and that her manhood is a great moral force for the common good. and, believing this, she expects every man who subscribes to her obligations to practice the lessons she teaches.