Thursday, December 17, 2009

Your Masonry and Religion

By Bro "P.Q"
circa 1928

What about these? When I consider questions of religion and its connection with the State, the Craft and the individual, I always feel that I am striving to uncover something of great value which has become covered up, obliterated, or indistinguishable from the dust of ages; and the interminable wrangles of opposing views mostly on things which do not matter, at any rate not now.

Masonry two centuries ago, or a little more , apparently seeking for a religious base upon which to found the qualifications of a Masons for all time, took the common sense view that every Mason should believe in God whom they defined as the Great Architect of the Universe, leaving to the individual the selection of mode of worship for his own practise so that the dust of ages for him was wiped off at a stroke.

It is no use referring to the first B. of C. on this subject, but it will suffice if you use the one now in actual operation. Hence there is no need to argue whether if some other principles had been laid down things would be different.

The right place for Masonry and your religion is for them to be enshrined in your heart, each acting within its own sphere without detriment to the other .

Anyway, if you treat Masonry as a religion in itself, having all the benefits which the truly religious man wants and his soul will cry out for before the end of his earthly career, you have put your Masonry and religion in the wrong place.

Shakespeare - A Mason?

Bro C.H.D. Robbs, PAGDC
circa 1927

The thanks for our readers are, indeed, due for this interesting article. The late Bro. J.C. Parkinson`s contention may, perhaps, be met by a quotation, with slight alteration, from the Bard himself:-

"The Brother doth protest too much - methinks"!

I should like to add to the instance of quasi-Masonic allusions from Shakespeare`s works, a passage of immense significance to the speculative Master Mason:

"I will find where truth is hid,
Though it were hid indeed within the Centre."

(Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2, Polonius loq)

Is it not rather remarkable that the unknown compilers of our Masonic Ritual have most excellent prose, often reaching great heights of beauty, without undue borrowing from Holy Writ, or other sources?

It is true that Portia`s famous speech supplies, almost word for word, the comparison between charity and mercy, in the address to the initiate in the N.E..

Again a passage from Milton, "Paradise Loet," Book I:-

"No light, but rather darkness visible
Served only to discover sights of woe,"

has a similar ring to the M.M., and may possibly have been adopted from that poet for Masonic purposes.

I cannot think of any other potion of the Ritual where there appears to have been deliberate borrowing from other sources, and should be glad if other more erudite brethren would tell me if I have omitted other examples.

note from the webmaster: The following book reating to this topic is in our Library

Shakespeare - Creator of Freemasonry
by Alfred Dodd

Famous Freemasons/England;
A look at the works of Shakespeare in an effort to prove the title.

Library #: M13_DOD
Location: LoR
Publisher: Rider & co
Published year: 1937
Pages: 275
Condition: poor

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

An Ideal of Brotherhood

by Bro. Goodfellow
circa 1928

Brethren, we shall be conferring the degree of a M.M. on one of our Brethren at our next meeting, let us therefore briefly run over the ceremony, and endeavour to realise more fully the teachings embodied in the ceremony. As you know, we who have been already raised to this degree, are expected to afford assistance and instruction to our Brothers, and maybe these few words will be acceptable to some, and open out visions as to what the ceremony is intended to represent.

The invocation to the M.H., is indeed of a most sublime nature, and carefully considered, indicates the impressive nature of the degree, and asks in a very definite manner for help and guidance, and is a most fitting prelude to the degree of M.M.. The presentation to the S. & J.W`s. though somewhat of a perfunctory nature, are intended to not only show that our Brother is eligible for this degree, but should also be to him, a retrospect of those degrees to which he has also attained, and by the time this portion of the ceremony has been completed, a brief survey of his Masonic Life has passed before him.

The method of advancing indicates a very definite phase and is amply illustrated as the ceremony proceeds. The Ob. opens in a somewhat similar manner to the former Ob`s., and proceeds with a definition of the F.P.O.F., whilst the closing sentences are indeed of a drastic manner.

The Exhortation commences with a retrospect of the grades through which our Brother has passed, which are so aptly described by W.Bro W.L. Wilmshurst:

"The ceremony of our first degree. then, is a swift and comprehensive portrayal of the entrance of all men into, first, physical life, and spiritual life. - After purification comes contemplation and enlightenment which are the special subjects of the second degree."

We then proceed to a most dramatic episode, which is a symbolic transition, and indicates that although in this life of ours we experience many trials and tribulations, such an experience is of a character forming nature, and if we we are strong, and persist in our endeavours to overcome those trials and tribulations we shall with the aid of our "Master," be raised to a truer and more noble aspect of life.

The F.P.O.F. when given and explained, seem of a simple nature, but in meditation, they will be found in most noble and exalted outline of true Brotherhood, and may we all have the power to recognise them as such, and to mould our life and actions in their precepts. We finish with the Traditional History, which although symbolic in its entirety, again gives us food for meditation, and the explanation of the W.T.`s of this degree bring to a close a most profound and never to be forgotten ceremony.

There is indeed food for thought in all our ceremonies, much that is on the surface, but far more beneath, and we close this short address by a further quotation from W.Bro. Wilmshurst`s "Masonic Initiation":

"Let all Brethren be assured that there is no detail of Masonic Ceremonial but is charged with very deep purpose and significance; this will appear to them more and more fully and luminously in proportion to their faithful endeavour to realise the intention of even simple and apparently unimportant points of ritual".