Tuesday, January 13, 2009


from the book Encylcopedia of Freemasonry & its Kindred Sciences
by Albert C. Mackey M. D.

Lewis - 1. An instrument in Operative Masonry. It is an iron cramp which is inserted in a cavity prepared for that purpose in any large stone, so as to give attachment to a pulley and hook whereby the stone may be conveniently raised to any height and deposited in its proper position.

It is well described by Mr. Gibson, in the British Archoeologia (vol. x., p. 127); but he is in error in attributing its invention to a French architect in the time of Louis XIV., and its name to that monarch. The contrivance was known to the Romans, and several taken from old ruins are now in the Vatican. In the ruins of Whitby Abbey, in England, which was founded by Oswy, King of Northumberland, in 658, large stones were discovered, with the necessary excavation for the insertion of a lewis. The word is most probably derived from the old French levis. any contrivance for lifting. The modern French call the instrument a louve.

2. In the English system, the lewis is found on the tracing-board of the Entered Apprentice, where it is used as a symbol of strength, because, by its assistance, the Operative Mason is enabled to lift the heaviest stones with a comparatively trifling exertion of physical power. It has not heen adopted as a symbol by the American Masons, except in Pennsylvania, where, or course, it receives the English interpretation.

3. The son of a Mason is, in England, called a lewis, because it is his duty to support the sinking powers and aid the failing strength of his father or, as Oliver has expressed it "to bear the burden and heat of the day, that his parents may rest in their old age; thus rendering the evening of their lives peaceful and happy."

In the ritual of the middle of the last century he was called a louffton. From this the French derived their word lufton, which they apply in the same way. They also employ the word louveteau, and call the daughter of a Mason louvetine. Louveteau is probably derived directly from the louve, the French name of the implement; but it is a singular coincidence that louveteau also means a young wolf, and that in the Egyptian mysteries of Isis the candidate was made to wear the mask of a wolf's head.

Hence, a wolf and a candidate in these mysteries were often used as synonymous terms. Macrobius, in his Saturnalia, says, in reference to this custom, that the ancients perceived a relationship between the sun, the great symbol in these mysteries, and a wolf, which the candidate represented at his initiation. For, he remarks, as the flocks of sheep and cattle fly and disperse at the sight of the wolf, so the flocks of stars disappear at the approach of the sun's light.

The learned reader will also recollect that in the Greek language lukos signifies both the sun and a wolf. Hence some etymologists have sought to derive louveteau, the son of a Mason, from louveteau, a young wolf. But the more direct derivation from louve, the operative instrument is preferable.

In Browne's Master Key, which is supposed to represent the Prestonian lecture, we find the following definition:

"What do we call the son of a Freemason?
"A lewis.
"What does that denote? "Strength.
"How is a lewis depicted in a Mason's Lodge?
" As a cramp of metal, by which, when fixed into a stone, great and ponderous weights are raised to a certain height and fixed upon their proper basis, without which Operative Masons could not so conveniently do.
"What is the duty of a lewis, the son of a Mason, to his aged parents?
"To bear the heavy burden in the heat of the day and help them in time of need which, by reason of their great age, they ought to be exempted from, so as to render the close of their days happy and comfortable.
"His privilege for so doing?
"To be made a Mason before any other person, however dignified by birth, rank, or riches, unless he, through complaisance, waives this privilege."

[The term occurs in this sense in the Constitutions of 1738 at the end of the Deputy Grand Master's song-in allusion to the expected birth of George III., son of Frederick, Prince of Wales:

"May a Lewis be born whom the World shall admire, Serene as his Mother, August as his Sire."

It is sometimes stated that a Lewis may be initiated before he has reached the age of twenty-one; but this is not so under the English Constitution, by which a dispensation is required in all cases of initiation under age, as was distinctly stated at the meeting of the Grand Lodge of England held on December 2, 1874. The Scotch Constitution, however, does allow a Lewis to be entered at eighteen years of age. (Rule 180.)

No such right is recognized in America, where the symbolism of the Lewis is unknown, though it has been suggested, not without some probability, that the initiation of Washington when he was only twenty years and eight months old, may be explained by a reference to this supposed privilege of Lewis.-E. L. H.]

Greater Lights

from the book Encylcopedia of Freemasonry & its Kindred Sciences
by Albert C. Mackey M. D.

Lights, Greater - The Bible, and the Square and Campasses, which see. In the Persian initiations the Archimagus informed the candidate, at the moment of illumination, that the Divine Lights were displayed before him.


from the book Encylcopedia of Freemasonry & its Kindred Sciences
by Albert C. Mackey M. D.

Magi - The ancient Greek historians so term the hereditary priests among the Persians and Medians. The word is derived from mog or amp, signifying Priest in the Pehlevi language. The Illuminati first introduced the word into Freemasonry, and employed it in the nomenclature of their Degrees to signify men of superior wisdom.

Magi, The Three - The "Wise Men of the East" who came to Jerusalem, bringing gifts to the infant Jesus.

The traditional names of the three are Melchior, an old man, with a long beard, offering gold; Jasper, a beardless youth, rho offers frankincense; Balthazar, a black or Moor, with a large spreading beard, who tenders myrrh. The patron saints of travelers. "Tradition fixed their number at three, probably in allusion to the three races springing from the sons of Noah.

The Empress Helena caused their corpses to be transported to Milan from Constantinople. Frederick Barbarossa carried them to Cologne, the place of their special glora as the Three Kings of Cologne." Yonge. The three principal officers ruling the Society of the Rosicrucians are styled Magi.

Mallet or Setting Maul

from the book Encylcopedia of Freemasonry & its Kindred Sciences
by Albert C. Mackey M. D.

Mallet or Setting Maul - One of the Working-Tools of a Mark Master, having the same emblematic meaning as the Common Gavel in the Entered Apprentice's Degree.

It teaches us to correct the irregularities of temper, and, like enlightened reason, to curb the aspirations of unbridled ambition, to depress the malignity of envy, and to moderate the ebullition of anger. It removes from the mind all the excrescences of vice, and fits it, as a well-wrought stone, for that exalted station in the great temple of nature to which, as an emanation of the Deity, it is entitled.

The Mallet or Setting Maul is also an emblem of the Third Degree, and is said to have been the implement by which the stones were set up at the Temple. It is often improperly confounded with the Common Gavel.

The French Freemasons, to whom the word Gavel is unknown, uniformly use maillet, or mallet, in its stead, and confound its symbolic use, as the implement of the presiding officer, with the mallet of the English and American Mark Master.


from the book Encylcopedia of Freemasonry & its Kindred Sciences
by Albert C. Mackey M. D.

Mercy - The point of a Knight Templar's sword is said to be characterized by the quality of "mercy unrestrained" which reminds us of the Shakespearian expression—"the quality of mercy is not strained."

In the days of chivalry, mercy to the conquered foe was an indispensable quality of a knight. An act of cruelty in battle was considered infamous, for what ever was contrary to the laws of generous warfare was also contrary to the laws of chivalry (see Magnimous)