SRA 76 Monthly Newsletter
Contents Cover Story, A Point Within a Circle Famous Freemason – Roy Rogers The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes Lodge Glasgow Kilwinning No. 4. Rays of Masonry Old Tiler Talks The Working Tools of a Golfer The Black Ball Speculative Freemasonry – the real story Just Beyond the Hill The Masonic Dictionary Main Website – The Lodge and its Furniture
Volume 10 Issue 7 No. 81 November 2014
In this issue: Page 2, ‘A Point within a Circle.’ This article looks at what is actually meant with a point within a circle, and where it originated. Page 6, ‘Roy Rogers.’ A Famous Freemason, “The King of the Cowboys.” Page 8, ‘The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes.’ Fraternal Societies throughout the World. Page 12, ‘Glasgow Kilwinning Lodge No. 4.’ Another History of one of our Old Scottish Lodges. Page 17, ‘Rays of Masonry.’ “The Habit of Kindness”, our Regular monthly feature. Page 18, ‘The Two Wolves.’ A Cherokee Parable. Page 19, ‘The Old Tiler Talks.’ “Those Disclosures”, the thirty eighth in the series from Carl Claudy. Page 20, ‘The Working Tools of a Golfer.’ For the golfing Mason!. Page 22, ‘The Black Ball.’ Using it for the right or wrong reason. Page 25, ‘Speculative Freemasonry – the real story.’ The thoughts of Bro. Rabbi Raymond Apple. Page 27, ‘Just Beyond the Hill.’ A Poem. Page 27, ‘The Masonic Dictionary.’ Obligation.
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘The Lodge and its Furniture’ by William Harvey [link]
The front cover artwork of a point within a circle was adapted by the editor for this issue.
A Point within a Circle "There is in every regular and well governed Lodge, a certain point within a circle, embordered by two parallel perpendicular lines. . . . " Familiar to every Mason, this ancient symbol is too often considered merely as one of many, instead of what it really is, among the most illuminating of the entered Apprentice's Degree. It is particularly important not only for its antiquity, the many meanings which have been and may be read from it by the student, but because of the bond it makes between the old Operative Craft and the modern Speculative Masonry we know. No man may say when, where or how the symbol began. From the earliest dawn of history a simple closed figure has been man's symbol for deity â€” the circle for some peoples, the triangle for others, and a circle or a triangle with a central point, for still others. The closed figure, of course, represents the conception of Him Who has neither beginning or ending; the triangle adds to this the reading of a triune nature. It is to be noted that the Lesser Lights form a triangle placed in our Lodges in that orientation which expresses Wisdom, Strength and Beauty. In some Jurisdictions a Lodge closes with the brethren forming a circle about the Altar, which thus becomes the point, or focus of the Supreme Blessing upon the brethren. Nor must we consider that a reading which is wholly beyond the monitorial explanation of the point within a circle is beyond Masonic conception. A symbol
may have many meanings, all of them right, so long as they are not selfcontradictory. As the point within a circle has had so many different meanings to so many different people, it is only to be expected that it have meanings for many Masons. We find it connected with sun worship, the most ancient of religions; ruins of ancient temples devoted both to sun and fire worship are circular in form, with a central altar, or "point" which was the Holy of Holies. The symbol is found in India, in which land of mystery and mysticism its antiquity is beyond calculation. Of its presence in many of the religions of the East, Wilford says (Asiatic Researches): "It was believed in India that at the general deluge everything was involved in the common destruction except the male and female principles or organs of generation, which were destined to produce a new race and to re-people the earth when the waters had subsided from its surface. The female principle, symbolized by the moon, assumed the form of a lunette, or crescent, while the male principle, symbolized by the sun, assumed the form of the lingam (or phallus) and placed himself erect in the centre of the lunette, like the mast of a ship. The two principles in this united form floated on the surface of the waters during the period of their prevalence on the earth, and thus became the progenitors of a new race of men." This is the more curious and interesting when a second ancient meaning of the symbol is considered â€” that the point represents the sun and the circle the universe. Indeed, this meaning is both modern and ancient, for a dot in a small circle is the astronomical symbol for the 2
sun, and the derivation of this astronomical symbol marks its Masonic connection. The Indian interpretation makes the point the male principle, the circle the female; the point became the sun and the circle the solar system which ancient peoples thought was the universe because the sun is vivifying, the life-giving principle, for all the lives. The two parallel lines, which modern Masonry states represents the two Holy Sts. John, are as ancient as the rest of the symbol, and originally had nothing to do with the "two eminent Christian Patrons of Masonry." It is a pretty conception, but of course utterly without foundation. The Holy Sts. John lived and taught many hundreds of years before any Masonry existed which can truly be called by that name. If this is distasteful to those good brethren who like to believe that King Solomon was Grand Master of a Grand Lodge, devised the system and perhaps wrote the ritual, one must refute them with their own chronology, for both the Holy Sts. John lived long "after" the wise King wrought his "famous fabric." The two perpendicular parallel lines are sometimes thought to have been added to the symbol of the point within a circle as a sort of diagram or typification of a Lodge at its most solemn moment, the point being the brother at the Altar, the circle the Holy of Holies, and the two lines the brethren waiting to help bring the initiate to light. But it is obviously a mere play of fancy; the two lines against the circle with the point date back to an era before Solomon. On early Egyptian monuments may be found the Alpha and Omega, or symbol of God, in the centre of a circle embordered 3
by two upright serpents, representing the Power and the Wisdom of the Creator. Mackey reads into the symbol an analogy to the Lodge by observing that as the Master and Wardens represent the sun in three positions in the Lodge, and as the Lodge is a symbol of the world (or universe) the circle can be considered as representing the Lodge, the point the sun at meridian, and the two lines, the Wardens or sun at rising and at setting. This also seems to many students to be a mere coincidental reading. That derivation of the symbol which best satisfied the mind as to logic and appropriateness, students found in the operative craft. Here is more to encourage than in all the researches into ancient religions and the symbolism of men long forgotten. Fully to understand just how the point within a circle came into Speculative Masonry by way of Operative Craftsmanship, it is necessary to have some mental picture of the times in which the Craftsmen of the early middle ages lived and wrought. The vast majority of them had no education, as we understand the word. They could neither read nor write â€” unimportant matters to most, first because there were no books to read, second because there was nothing which they needed to write! Skilled craftsmen they were, through long apprenticeship and careful teaching in the art of cutting and setting stone, but except for manual skill and cunning artifice founded on generations of experience, they were without learning.
This was not true of the leaders — or, as we would call them — the Masters. The great Cathedrals of Europe were not planned and overseen by ignorance. There, indeed, knowledge was power, as it is now, and the architects, the overseer, the practical builders, those who laid out the designs and planned the cutting and the placing of the stones — these were learned in all that pertained to their craft. Doubtless many of them had a knowledge of practical and perhaps of theoretical mathematics. Certain parts of this theoretical knowledge became diffused from the Master Builders through the several grades of superintendents, architects, overseer and foreman in charge of any section of the work. With hundreds if not thousands of men working on a great structure, some sort of organization must have been as essential then as now. And equally essential would be the overseeing of the tools. Good work cannot be done with faulty instruments. A square and upright building cannot be erected with a faulty square, level or plumb! The tools used by the cathedral builders must have been very much what ours are today; they had gavel, mallet, setting maul and hammer; they had chisel and trowel as we have. And of course, they had plumb, square, level and twenty-four inch gauge to "measure and lay out their work." The square, the level and the plumb were made of wood — wood, cord, and weight for the plumb and level; wood alone for the square. Wood wears when used against stone. Wood warps when exposed to water or damp air. The metal used to fasten the two arms of the square together would rust and perhaps bend or break. Naturally, the squares would not indefinitely stay square.
Squares had constantly to be checked for the right-angledness. Some standard had to be adopted by which a square could be compared, so that, when Operative Masons' squares were tried by it they would not "materially err." The importance of the perfect right angle in the square by which stones were shaped can hardly be over estimated. Operative Masonry in the Cathedral building days was largely a matter of cut and try, of individual workmen, or careful craftsmanship. Quality production, micrometer measurement, interchange ability of parts were words which had not yet been coined; ideas for which they stand had not even been invented. All the more necessary, then, that the foundation on which all the work was done should be as perfect as the Masters knew how to make it. Cathedral builders erected their temples for all time — how well they built, a hundred glorious structures in the Old World testify. They built well because they knew how to check and try their squares! Today any school boy knows the simple "secret of the square" which was then the closely guarded wisdom of the Masters alone; toady any school boy can explain the steam engine which was a wonder two hundred years ago, and make and use a wireless which was a miracle scarce ten years gone by. Let us not wonder that our ancient Operative brethren thought their secret of a square so valuable; let us rather wonder that in time in which the vast majority of men were ignorant of mathematics, so many must have known and appreciated this simple, this marvellous, geometrical secret. Lay out a circle — any size — on a piece of paper. With a straight edge draw a line 4
across through its centre. Put a dot on the circle, anywhere. Connect that dot with the line at both points where it crosses the circle. Results — a perfect right triangle. Draw the circle of whatever size you will; place a dot on the circumference where you will, it makes no difference. So be it. So be it the lines from the dot meet the horizontal line crossing the circle through its centre and they will form a right angle. This was the Operative Mason's secret — knowing how "to try his square." It was by this means that he tested the working tools of the Fellows of the Craft; he did so often enough, and it was impossible either for their tools or their work "to materially err." From this, also, comes the ritual used in the lodges of our English brethren, where they "open on the centre." Alas, we have dropped the quaint old words they use, and American Lodges know the "centre" only as the point within a circle. The original line across the centre has been shifted to the side and became the "two perpendicular parallel lines" of Egypt and India and our admonitions are no longer what they must have once been; . . . "while a mason circumscribes his "square" within these points, it is impossible that "it" should materially err." Today we only have our Speculative meaning; we circumscribe our desires and our passions within the circle and the lines touching on the Holy Scriptures. For Speculative Masons who use squares only in the symbolic sense such an admonition is of far greater use than would be the secret of the square as was known to our ancient brethren. But — how much greater becomes the meaning of the symbol when we see it as a 5
direct descent from an Operative practice! Our ancient brethren used the point within a circle as a test for the rectitude of the tools by which they squared their work and built their temporal buildings. In the Speculative sense, we used it as a test for the rectitude of our intentions and our conduct, by which we square our actions with the square of virtue. They erected Cathedrals — we build the "House Not Made With Hands." Their point within a circle was Operative — our is Speculative! But through the two — point in a circle on the ground by which an Operative Master secretly tested the square of his fellows — point within a circle as a symbol by which each of us may test, secretly, the square of his virtue by which he erects an Inner Temple to the Most High — both are Masonic, both are beautiful. The one we know is far more lovely that it is a direct descendant of an Operative practice the use of which produced the good work, true work, square work of the Master Masons of the days that come not back. Pass it not lightly. Regard it with the reverence it deserves, for surely it is one of the greatest teachings of Masonry, concealed within a symbol which is plain for any man to read, so be it he has Masonry in his heart. Short Talk Bulletin — Vol.IX August, 1931 No.8
Famous Freemasons Roy Rogers King of the Cowboys
with his family to California in 1930. After several jobs, he decided to try his luck as a western singer. He performed with several groups, and in 1933 formed the Pioneer Trio that became the legendary Sons of the Pioneers in 1934. In their first recording session for Decca Records, they recorded 'Tumbling Tumbleweeds" which became their trademark theme song. Republic Pictures signed Len Slye to a movie contract in 1937 for the sum of $75 a week. He changed his name to Roy Rogers in 1938 and went on to make more than 100 films, 87 for Republic. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans first worked together in 1944. Roy was every boy's hero, and Dale became Roy's bride in 1947. Sharing adventure and song under Western skies, they rose to glory as one of America' most famous couples. They continued working together as a team in movies, live performances, and on television.
Roy Rogers was one of the best known and most beloved persons in the rich heritage of Western entertainment and culture. A super hero to millions of children and adults from around the globe for over fifty years. Roy always personified the good guy who triumphed over evil because he took a stand for what was right, and right always won out in the end. This is what he believed in and what he exemplified in his daily life. He was the same person offscreen as he was on-screen. He always said it was easy to act his parts because he was only playing himself, "I am, what I am." Born Leonard Franklin Slye on November 5, 1911, in Cincinnati, Ohio, he moved
There was a great need for family value programs in the then new medium of television. Roy and Dale moved from movies to Television in 1951 to become one of the first successful family oriented programs of the 1950s. His top rated half hour TV series ran on NBC for six and a half years and then moved to CBS where it ran for three more. It was then repeated through syndication for an additional three years and is still seen in American and foreign markets today. Roy starred in 87 musical Westerns for Republic Pictures, and for 12 consecutive years in the 1940s and ' 50s he was the number one Western box-office star. His 16 TV Specials on NBC attracted higher ratings than his competition, the "Jack 6
Benny Show" and the "Alfred Hitchcock Show." His radio show on Mutual Network aired on more than 500 stations and was heard by more than 20 million people each week. In the 1950s, the Sears Catalogue carried more than 400 Roy Rogers licensed products. Roy's picture appeared on 2.5 BILLION boxes of Post cereals. Roy Rogers comic books sold more than 25 million copies each year, and his newspaper comic strip reached more than 65 million readers each week. Roy and the Sons of the Pioneers rode the range and sang many great western songs around the campfire. The Sons were the first country and western musical group to achieve national stardom. At one time, Roy and the Sons were selling more than 6,000 records per week. To say that Roy's career was one-in-amillion would not be overstating his accomplishments. Cold statistics do not tell a complete story, but sometimes they, do help to define the unique characteristics of an individual. Roy is the ONLY performer to be elected the Country Music Hall of Fame TWICE. He has four stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one each for movies, radio, records, and television. Roy and Dale were also well known for their charitable appearances, more than 6,000 in all, including visits to Shriner's Hospitals for Children all over the country. More than 12 million people saw Roy in person in rodeos that played cities throughout America. He set all-time single day records at New York's Madison Square Garden and other arenas and stadiums, and 7
once sold out the Garden an incredible 29 straight nights. Plus Bro. Roy holds the record for the largest crowd to ever see an indoor rodeo (46,884 in the Houston Astrodome). He twice attracted more than 100,000 people to rodeos in the Los Angeles Coliseum. Roy's enormous popularity transcends all forms of entertainment, from live performances to movies, records, radio, and television. His personal and Masonic values are one and the same. If you were to ask Roy what was most important to him, he would say, "My God and my family." Roy and Dale raised nine children and had sixteen grandchildren, and thirty greatgrandchildren. Roy Rogers is truly an American legend and one of the best known and most beloved persons in the rich heritage of Western entertainment and culture. The "King of the Cowboys" never really retired, he and Dale lived a quiet rural life in Apple Valley, California. When he died aged 86 of congestive heart failure on July 6, 1998, the world remembered Roy, An avalanche of flowers, cards, and people fell on Apple Valley as a team of horses carried Rogers to his final resting place. His grave is marked by a simple headstone, and when Dale Evans followed in 2001, she was laid next to him. They left behind a legacy of entertainment, moral leadership, and philanthropy, the influence of which is still keenly felt. Brother Roy Rogers was made a Mason in Hollywood Lodge No. 355 in Los Angeles on April 15, 1946 and was raised as a Master Mason on June 27 the same year. Royâ€™s love of children and his personal experience with their sometimes unfortunate circumstances endeared him to
the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (A.A.O.N.M.S., or colloquially, “The Shrine”), which he joined in 1950 in Al Malaikah Shrine Temple alongside the famous clown, Red Skelton, and actor William Powell, Jr. Roy also held membership in the Los Angeles Scottish Rite beginning in 1950, being knighted a Knight Commander Court of Honour in 1975 and coroneted a 33rd Degree Inspector General Honorary in 1979. He was also a Companion of the Royal Arch, a Royal and Select Master (Cryptic Rite) and a Knight Templar. Through assistance by the George Washington Masonic Memorial, Roy Rogers Jr. (aka Dusty) was put into contact with the Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum of Freemasonry. The Roy Rogers Museum in Missouri had closed and the precious artefacts illustrating his Masonic career needed a home. Thus, in early 2010, they acquired his belongings. Not only are his personal Masonic effects included in the collections, but also items of earlier Masonic histories belonging to others that were gifted to him.
This article was sourced from both the Scottish Rite Journal and the Masonic Heritage Site.
Fraternal Societies Of the World ‘The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes’
In so far as surviving records can prove, the earliest known traceable date of a Lodge of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes is 1822 at the Harp Tavern, Great Russell Street near Drury Lane Theatre and was created by stage hands and theatre technicians who had been denied a long held privilege extended to them by the actors and artists of the day. An Order known as the City of Lushington existed in the late 1700’s to the 1800’s which consisted almost exclusively of actors or variety artists and held its meetings, mostly for entertainment and social recreation in the Inns and Taverns close to the well populated theatres of the day. In order to be members of the Lushington’s one was required to be either an actor or artist who actually earned their living 'treading the boards'. Selected guests of members were invited to attend these gatherings, and many stage hands obviously availed themselves of this privilege for a number of years. At some point in time not easily identified the Lushington’s became a 'closed shop' 8
presumably because meeting rooms in the Inn or Tavern were not big enough to accommodate everyone (member and visitor alike). Whatever the reason the Lushington’s would only allow members to attend their meetings. The meeting room was organized in the form of a City with four or more wards and so the Master or chief officer was referred to as Mayor, and the senior officers were Aldermen. Lesser officers carried the prefix 'City' in their title, for example City Taster, City Barber, City Physician. The City Taster had a most important roll in the evening’s proceedings. It was his duty before the Lodge opened to ceremoniously taste the ale on sale at the Inn. If it was found to be 'wanting' the host or landlord was 'fined' two gallons of ale which was consumed by all in attendance at the meeting without payment. You can imagine that there would be few occasions when the ale was not found wanting. Being prevented from attending meetings of the Lushington’s after a number of years enjoyment of that privilege, the stage hands and theatre staff starting holding their own exclusive meetings that had 'nuffin to do wit them acter fellas'. As the theatre staff moved around the country in pursuance of their profession, Lodges would have been founded in the various cities, towns and villages. Pearce Egan, a well known London Theatre critic of the period attributes the founders as being Joseph Lisle, a well known eccentric and William Sinnett. In his book 'The History of Tom and Jerry' he cites one of the aims as being the 9
promotion of an hitherto neglected ballad 'We'll chase the Buffalo'. It is a matter of pure conjecture as to what remarks may have been made by patrons in the public rooms of the Tavern upon hearing the song being sung by members in the club or concert room. Certainly the ballad was sung with a considerable amount of enthusiasm at R.A.O.B Lodge meetings as recently as the mid 1950’s by many of our more long serving members. Why Antediluvian? The Order was founded in 1822, which certainly was not before the flood, and no satisfactory answer can be found in the records that have survived the ravages of time. We must remember that the bulk of our members at that time were involved in one of the theatre professions, and skilled orators would have written their own ceremonies, often designed to impress the unenlightened with the great antiquity of the Order. Similarities were deduced to the rights of bull worship at the time of the Pharaohs in ancient Egypt. The Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, and other nations of Christendom, Peter the Hermit and the Saracenic wars were also quoted. The desires of mankind to relieve the poverty of ones fellow have been around since the earliest ages, and if that is not antediluvian, what is? Certainly the word has a better ring to it than 'ancient'. So! Antediluvian we became! As in Masonry the Seditious and Riotous Assembly Acts of the late 1800’s had a profound effect on Buffalo meetings, as it will have done on many clubs, societies and other bodies of the day. In order to show to the authorities that the Buffaloes were not subversive to the interest of the
state, the Order decided to describe itself as the Loyal Order of Buffaloes. It only needs a slip of the tongue for 'loyal' to become 'royal' and in a very short time Joe Public accepted that the Order was indeed Royal. A Royal Charter has never been issued to the Buffaloes. Indeed, under the current regulations it is unlikely that one will. Over the years there have been a number of internal differences of opinion leading to break away formations operating under the same principles and still using the name of the Buffaloes. These groups or 'constitutions' are generally referred to as Banners. The Royal Warrants Act requires the applicant to be the one and only representative body. The introduction of the Royal Warrant Act, in the early 1900s, required anyone using the 'Royal' prefix to register with the Lord Chancellorâ€™s Office and to stop using the title if permission to continue doing so was not granted. Since the Buffaloes had been using the title from the 1840s the Lord Chancellor agreed that no objection would be raised on the our continued use of the title on the grounds of long usage, provided no act by the Order arose which would disgrace its use. In the early days, the first lodge to be opened in an area became known as the Mother Lodge, from which subsequent Lodges would be opened. Advice was frequently sought from the 'Mother' Lodge in the interpretation of rule or other matters, although it would continue to be a private or Minor Lodge in its own right. From these Mother Lodges the concept was developed for a body responsible for administration and organization, alone. Thus we acquired Governing Authorities which became District Grand
1n April 1866 the then known Lodges formulated a Grand Primo Lodge to control the movement, to set laws, to establish procedures and administration. This body later became known as the Grand Lodge of England. The Order, today, is structured on similar Lodge to all Masonic Orders in that it is a three tiered system of Minor (Private) Lodges, Provincial Grand Lodges and Grand Lodge. The R.A.O.B. has four degrees of membership = First Degree, known as a Kangaroo (don't ask why), Second Degree or Certified Primo, Third Degree or Knight Order of Merit and Fourth Degree or Roll of Honour. The Second Degree is awarded as result of a mixture of time, attendance and an examination on the ability to take the chair of a Lodge while third and fourth degrees based on length of membership and a proven attendance record. Provincial and Grand Lodge honors are not the gift of the Chief Officer of the Province or Grand Lodge. To gain such honor the member must have represented his Lodge as delegate to P.G.L. or represented his Province as a delegate to Grand Lodge, and again after length of service and attendance qualifications, he must have been elected by popular vote to the Office. In the early days of the R.A.O.B. it is clear that there must have been members who were also members of the various Masonic Orders since there is much in R.A.O.B. ritual and regalia which can be identified 10
as being Masonic in origin as well as from other societies. Today there are many who enjoy membership both as a Mason and as a Buffalo. Some holding quite senior and important positions of Office in both Orders. The R.A.O.B. is a Philanthropic and Charitable body, Lodges and Provinces are at liberty to undertake whatever activity they consider appropriate for the needs of the community in which they work and live. Charitable funds exist at Lodge, Province and Grand Lodge levels to assist members of the Order and/or their dependents who are in necessitous circumstances. Grand Lodge owns and operates two convalescent homes to provide rest and recuperation facilities for members, their wives or widows, recovering from illness or medical treatment The costs of running these two properties, as well as the benevolent grants for our aged and necessitous members or widows, and the education grants for dependent children are all funded from the Grand Lodge portion of the membership fees, voluntary donations and the proceeds from the investment portfolio. Much more can be said of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes as operated by the Grand Lodge of England, but the foregoing is considered sufficient at this stage to give some insight into our activities. In doing so we hope to create a better under-standing of our Order.
Our basic desire - Is to defend the weak, to help the unfortunate and render assistance to those in difficulty or need'. These honourable principles have existed in man since the earliest ages and in this respect our Order may be regarded as Ancient or Antediluvian. Sourced from R.O.A.B. Grand Lodge online, ‘Conceptions and Misconceptions’ For more information regarding the Buffs, Click here.
Did You Know? What is the significance of the Wardens Columns being raised and lowered? ? Answer: In "Three Distinct Knocks" 1760 we find "Calling Off" and "Calling On". It begins with a series of whispered questions, carried by the Deacons, from the W.M. to the S.W. and J.W., after which the J.W. “declares with a loud voice” that “this lodge is called from Work to Refreshment; then he sets up his Column, and the senior lays his down; for the care of the lodge is in the Hands of the J.W. while they are at Refreshment.” Here we have the earliest details relating to the raising and lowering of the Columns and the reasons for those procedures, showing that they were designed to draw a readily noticeable distinction between the lodge when open and when' Called Off '. This would have been an important matter in those days, when “Work and Refreshment” (i.e. ceremony, drinking and dining) all took place in the same lodge room. The raising and lowering of the Columns is standard usage today, but the whispered instructions have been replaced by a brief catechism, spoken aloud. The above answer was given by W. Bro. Harry Carr, a former Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076.
Glasgow Kilwinning Lodge No. 4
Amor Honor et Justitia The first Minute Book is held in the Mitchell Library and can be accessed by permission of the lodge. The Charter of the lodge, inscribed in pigskin, indicates the lodge was founded on the 1st of April, 1735, in John Henderson’s tavern in the Gallowgate, Glasgow. John Clark was appointed as the first RWM by John Anderson of the lodge of Kilwinning held at Edinburgh. This is likely to be a reference to Canongate Kilwinning one of the 4 sponsor lodges which included lodges at Maybole, Peebles and Perth. A well-known Glasgow merchant John Murdoch was admitted on that night into a lodge which clearly had many members from the merchant class known colloquially as “the Tobacco Lords”. Inspection of the boards of those Glasgow citizens who held the post of Lord Dean of Guild in the Merchants House in West George Street reveals many members of No.4. A famous Glasgow and international historian Sir Archibald Alison, at one time
Sheriff of Lanarkshire (in Glasgow) and an author and gentleman of repute, stated that the lodge was probably in existence at the start of the 18th century. That this is very likely is shown by the fact that at the very first meeting new members were Passed and Raised to the 3rd Degree there being Master Masons present who were members and capable of undertaking the degree work necessary. This is an indication that “Speculative Masonry” was that practiced in the lodge. The lodge would not appear to have evolved from a practicing Masons craft-lodge such as The Lodge of Journeymen Masons No.8 in Edinburgh. Not only did the lodge have distinguished citizens as members, but as a result of the amalgamation of No.4 and the Johnstone Kilwinning Lodge in 1753, one distinguished member from that union was Dr John Moore the “Zeluco” to whom Robert Burns wrote letters including his famous autobiographical letter in 1787. This link may have been important to the poet as many of the names written as subscribers to the first Edinburgh edition of Burns` poetry appear on the roll of members of No. 4. All were prominent Glasgow citizens including the Buchanan’s, the Bogles, William Ingram, James Dunlop and of course, Dr Moore. Dr Moore was the father of Sir John Moore the hero of Corunna. Many of those gentlemen are immortalised in the street names of Glasgow. The Mother Kilwinning Lodge issued various Charters before Grand Lodge was formed. Many, but not all, can be identified, but there is nothing to confirm Glasgow Kilwinning being one of them. What is fascinating is that among those Raised at that first meeting was one Robert Mollinson, Supervisor in Glasgow and 12
Charles Mitchell, Supervisor of Excise. This reference to “Supervisor of Excise” is a reference to the government post whose employees were very likely to be posted around the country as happened to Burns` Supervisor Alexander Findlater. It is thought these two brethren were members of Mother Kilwinning which would be quite possible in those days and suggests a possible link other than the name `Kilwinning` to the Mother Lodge. To anyone interested in the history of Freemasonry in the latter part of the 18th century examination of the Minute Books of any lodge of that period will add to an understanding of the social life and habits of the period. There must be a massive amount of detail in old Masonic Minute Books which would add to that which is available in public documents. The No.4 early Minutes reveal that Freemasonry, despite the anti-Masonic Papal Bull of 1738, was expanding rapidly, not only in Scotland but across the globe. One of the earliest members of No.4, one Robert Scott, a shipowner, named his ship “Freemason” and on her stern displayed a Masonic symbol, while another shipmaster Robert Paisley was charged “to carry greetings” to a lodge in Boston Massachusetts, USA. Within the Trades House of Glasgow it is noted that the first Deacon Convener was from the Incorporation of Skippers and Mariners. This Craft reflected the growth of Glasgow as a shipping port. The lodge in 1742 received a visitor from Holland, not to mention visitors from all over Scotland and a Minute recording this fellow craftsman suggested that it should purchase an organ. Important to the development of Glasgow in the latter part of the 18th century was 13
the deepening of the Clyde to allow large ships to come right into the heart of the city. James Watt (of steam-power fame) was employed in Glasgow at this time and his expertise was used to tackle this project. Significantly James Watt was also an organ builder of repute and it is possible that he supplied one which was used in the lodge premises. The Minutes record that Alexander Drummond, the PGM, was responsible for the area which included Argyll, Dunbartonshire, Clydesdale, Stirlingshire and Renfrewshire, which implies that travel for the then PGM was a major consideration and reflects the growth of the Craft around this period. An interesting historical event was the laying down, with Masonic honours, of the foundation stone of the Jamaica Bridge in 1768 by the Lord Provost George Murdoch, a PM of No.4. Among the Grand Lodge Stewards who attended on that occasion was the Earl of Glencairn, immortalised by Robert Burns. That No.4 was heavily involved in the City of Glasgow is shown when another Lord Provost, George Buchanan, was Initiated into the lodge. Many of the brethren were involved in setting up such institutions as the Ship Bank, as well as being members of developing clubs such as the Hodge Podge Club. An intriguing aspect of No.4 is the absence of the Minute Book(s) of 1742-1753. There is a theory that the books were deliberately destroyed because the lodge was “proJacobite” in it’s philosophy. Some credence to this idea can be made by the fact that the Earl of Kilmarnock visited the lodge to witness the Initiation of his friend Lord Grey of Groobie. The Earl, a
supporter of Charles Edward Stuart, was executed in the Tower of London. Charles Edward Stuart during his sojourn in Glasgow, frequented the Old Coffee House, a place very familiar to the members of No.4. Could Freemasonry have played a part in preventing the destruction of Glasgow by the Jacobite army? No.4 was clearly able to attract men of importance in Glasgow and among them was Sir James Maxwell of Pollok and Charles Napier who became members. The former name denotes a family heavily committed to the Craft and Pollokshields Burgh Hall, embellished with Masonic Symbolism is a lasting benefit to the Craft and the community in general. Charles Napier acted as a “special agent” i.e. Intelligence Officer with Sir John Moore of Corunna in the Iberian Campaign. He is renowned for his famous telegram to the War Office which consisted of one Latin word meaning “I have sinned” meaning Sind Province in India which he conquered for Britain. In the middle of the 18th century there is evidence that the lodge was in serious decline and the Minute Books of this period mysteriously disappeared. They, along with the Charter were eventually recovered, but in this period there were clearly very few recognised members. Recovery must have been quite dramatic because in 1862 the lodge opened new lodge rooms at 170 Buchanan Street at which the PGM attended. Just before this event the lodge had some serious differences with the Provincial Grand Lodge. The rooms were the largest and most ornate in Glasgow and a full description is to be found in the lodge history as is the list of the innumerable
houses, taverns, inns and public halls where the lodge assembled over the years before finally becoming a tenant of the Trades Hall in 1945. Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries the lodge was constantly an “ever- present” at the laying of foundation stones of all major buildings and bridges in the city such as the Post Office and the various Clyde bridges. The lodge was invited to attend other cities across Scotland on similar occasions. In the description of the events surrounding the period of the new lodge rooms No.4 was recorded as having its own Royal Arch Chapter. At the end of the 19th Century a member in the person of PM Fred Larter delivered educational lectures across Scotland and presented to the lodge a manuscript which was a condensation of the Minute books from 1735-1860. This was an important source of information for the formal lodge history, as was an article in the Grand Lodge Year Book by that distinguished brother PM Gabriel Jerdan. During this time the lodge engaged enthusiastically in local activities such as the Grand Bazaar organized by Grand Lodge and a childrens` party which was organized by the members. The lodge like others became very involved in supporting city charities and the flow of benevolence was most encouraging to all and sundry. This time was one of prosperity and many donations of a whole variety of articles took place. Unfortunately, many of these have disappeared, but some, such as the Thorburn Golf Trophy remain. With the onset of the First World War the lodge supported charities concerning the forces. The lodge responded to an appeal 14
by the PGM to support an ambulance for use at the Front. Several members including the organist resigned to join the forces. Sadly, the minutes recorded that Major A. G. Brown was the first brother killed in action with the 9th Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders. The lodge instituted a roll-of-honour to recognise those serving in the forces and in the First World War 90-100 members are so recorded. Interestingly Grand Lodge advised against the roll-of-honour in that it could jeopardise National Security. As a result of their endeavours during the war several members were honoured by becoming Members or Officers of the British Empire adding to those who had been recognised for gallantry. A similar list was inaugurated during the Second World War (see official history). In 1935 the lodge celebrated 200 years with a grand ceremony in the lodge rooms when the Grand Master of the day Lord Saltoun attended and presided. The pleasure of this event however soon evaporated when due to the major financial difficulties of the period the lodge eventually had to sell its premises in 1936. Probably at this time many treasures and artefacts disappeared from the premises although an inventory was made, many of the most significant items were handed over to Grand Lodge. From that time onwards rented accommodation was the order of the day. During the Second World War the lodge carried on despite air raids and the privations induced by rationing and the inability to travel around other lodges which was a secondary effect of the â€œblack outâ€? imposed because of air raids and fuel shortages. The lodge meticulously supported the Lord Provost`s appeals and 15
other charities connected with the succour of our forces. As soon as the war ended the lodge made every effort to return to normal and in this period consolidated our special relationships with lodges with whom we had always had a close association. The lodge occasionally created Honorary Members but this was so carefully considered that such brethren were rare and therefore quite unique. The social activities and benevolence grew quite considerably as the lodge moved towards the 225th Anniversary when The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, Past Grand Master, honoured the lodge by his presence when he headed the Grand Lodge Deputation. The Master in the chair was the distinguished member Br. David Selbie. 25 years later PM Selbie played a big part in the organisation of the 250th celebrations and greatly aided the team which produced the lodge history to mark the 250th Anniversary of the lodge. This book was printed in a limited edition of 200 copies, numbered and signed (by the Master). No.4 members visited extensively at home and as travel by air became easier and vacations and business travel increased so did members take the opportunity to visit cities and towns in such diverse places as the USA Canada and Japan, not to mention Australia and other places such as Turkey. The reward for these efforts was the arrival of brethren from all over the world returning the compliment. The social life of the lodge in the latter part of the 20th century resulted in large numbers attending the Annual Dinner, often referred to as the â€œgreatest recruiting
effort” by the lodge. The friendship and high standard of this event, not to mention the friendliness of the No.4 brethren, were influential in enticing men of good standing to join our ranks. Parallel with this event was the Annual Ladies` Night, when as many as 200 guests could be present. Both of these annual events raised large sums for benevolence. The lodge also had some special events peculiar to the lodge itself, such as the PM’s Dinner and the PM’s Party. The Pre-Installation Dinner still continues as do the various committees which undertake much of the work of the lodge. From the outset, in all sorts of fields, No.4 has been able to attract men of standing and fame, both locally and internationally. At the birth of the lodge we had innumerable members of the Merchants (Tobacco Lords) of the City. Among notable persons we had as members were Sir William Blackburn, Sir Archibald Alison, Juan B Wanders Ford (American artist), the notorious Dr. Pritchard (an affiliate), who was hanged for murder, Henry Robb (Shipbuilder), Sir Andrew Rae Duncan (Secretary of the Shipbuilders Federation), Charles Oakley (author). In contemporary times including senior members of Grand Lodge such as PM Gabriel Jerdan and PM Thomas Jessop, two Past Masters Martin McGibbon and Norman M. T. M. MacLeod worked together as Grand Secretary and Assistant Grand Secretary, respectively. There were many more who served not only in Grand Lodge but also in the Provincial Grand Lodge of Glasgow, such as David Selbie, Edgar Brolls, David Watson and Robert Leitch, (all PMs). At the present time the Provincial Grand Secretary is PM Robert McDougall .
The year 2010 saw the lodge celebrate yet another important milestone in its illustrious history. This time it was the 275th Anniversary which was commemorated in some style with a `Black-Tie-Dinner,` (members only!), at Glasgow Golf Club. The toast to the lodge was proposed by PM David Selbie who delivered a very erudite and entertaining 40 minutes oration with never a note in sight. The reason for being at this venue is partly because of the strong ties which exist between our two organizations. It is a provable fact that no fewer than 22 members (perhaps more!) of GKL were founder-members of Glasgow Golf Club in 1787 when it was established at Glasgow Green, which was very much Glasgow Kilwinning territory in those days, it could very well have been a case of GKL “coming out to play”. In recent years two members of our lodge have had the honour of being Club Captain. Today numerous members of the lodge are also members of the golf club, preferring to dig up this beautiful course rather than be at home learning their ritual! The social life of the lodge goes on apace, apart from the usual golf, whist, etc, new pastimes are emerging in the form of Foursail and is growing to Titanic proportions. Three or four boats is now the norm, the sailors were joined last year by the bikers, now there is a real cocktail! So, if you fancy a `wee hurl in a boat`, get your name into Commodore Tom Jessop (don`t forget to salute!). On the one blistering hot day we had last summer, (2011), Bro. Nick Gallacher organized a trip to the Far East (Roslyn Chapel!). A coach load of members with their wives and sweethearts had a most interesting visit, with a meal on the way home which just capped a superb day out. 16
Within the lodge the aim has always been that the finest standards of decorum and Masonic practice should be observed, with behaviour in keeping with the highest criterion of good taste and propriety. Highquality degree work is of prime importance. Good fellowship at our harmonies is essential and is always encouraged. Glasgow Kilwinning Lodge No.4 has been meeting since 1945 in the Trades Hall in Glassford Street, right in the heart of the city. It has earned the nickname of “a citycentre lodge”. It has never wandered far from its birthplace just to the East of Glasgow Cross and during its 277-year history businessmen, both large and small, the professions, tradesmen and others have all been well represented, people who, we like to think, put the “go” in Glasgow, people who try to put something back into this still-great city of ours, be it in service to the city, service to the community or in its charitable giving. Like all lodges throughout the land this charitable giving is largely ignored by those who should know better, why this is so is not certain. What is certain is that Glasgow Kilwinning Lodge No.4 will go forward proud of its Glasgow roots, its centuries-old history and traditions and just the way we like to do things, while at all times being evermindful of the needs of others. Visiting brethren will always be made welcome at any of our meetings in the Trades Hall, third Wednesday of the month, September to May (except December), at 7pm prompt.. This History of The Glasgow Kilwinning Lodge No. 4 was sourced from their website, which can be viewed by clicking here. Our thanks go to the Lodge No .4 whom the editor and the newsletter acknowledge to be the copyright owners.
Rays of Masonry “The Habit of Kindness” Allied with Morality is the art of Kindness. It may be described as "Morality" in action. Since Morality is the contribution of self to society, Kindness is the key that unlocks the inner door and makes it possible for a person to enter the lives of others. In all of life's contacts, our activities in the social, business, or fraternal world, there is no commodity of greater value than the simple art of Kindness. Our busy, advanced era cannot blot out its importance, nor can it relegate an act of kindness to an insignificant corner. The brutally frank person is just that. In our judgement of other, brutality can never be accepted as even a fair substitute for Kindness. We want for ourselves the good things in life. They escape us if we do not contribute the same gifts to others in the form of Courtesy and Kindness. Kindness may be directly associated with the intellect, but not necessarily with college degrees. The person who has caught the true spirit of religion, whose religion extends active participation in the lives of others, will express that spirit though he remains silent as to the details of his church affiliation. We do not claim that Kindness is an exclusively Masonic virtue, but among men trained in the study of self in relation to others, there is every reason to expect the highest expression of all good that stems forth from the study and application of the teachings of Freemasonry. Dewey Wollstein 1953.
The Road So many men before thy Altars kneel Unthinkingly, to promise brotherhood: So few remain, humbly to kiss thy rood With ears undeafened to thy mute appeal; So many find thy symbols less than real Their teachings mystic,––hard to understand; So few there are, in all thy far flung band To hold thy banner high and draw thy steel, And yet––immortal and most mighty, thou! What hath thy lore of life, to let it live? What is the vital spark, hid in thy vow? Thy millions learned, as thy dear paths they trod, The secret of the strength thou hast to give; "I am a way of common men to God."
The Two Wolves (an old Cherokee Parable)
Those Disclosures. An old Cherokee was teaching his young grandson one of life’s most important lessons. He told the young boy the following parable: “There is a fight going on inside each of us. It is a terrible fight between two wolves,” he said. “One wolf is evil. He is anger, rage, envy, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, resentment, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." "The second wolf is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, empathy, truth, compassion, and faith.” The grandson thought about this for a moment. Then he asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win this fight?” The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
"I have just visited the Masonic library," began the New Brother, excitedly, "and I am much distressed." "It is a shame," answered the Old Tiler, sympathetically. "It is the best we can do, as we can only afford just so much and so we haven't all the books we want. Even so there is a lot of good reading there and..." "That isn't the trouble!" cried the New Brother. "What worries me is the apathetic attitude of the authorities of Masonry who permit so many books to be written about our secrets! I skimmed through some and all a man not a member of the lodge need do is read a few and he will know more Masonry than I do!" "That is probably true!" smiled the Old Tiler. "But what of it? He will then be a well-informed man. You will remain ill18
informed. Surely it is better to have wellinformed profanes and ill-informed Masons than have both profane and Mason badly informed!" "But the profane will learn our secrets! Where will we be when we have no secrets? How can Grand Lodge authorities allow brethren to publish what they have sworn never to reveal?" "Oh! what makes you think these books contain secrets?" "Why, I read them! There was one book which had an account of the great lights, and another which talked about Jachin and Boaz, and another which referred to the drama of Hiram Abif, and another which quoted old obligations at length to show the genesis of Masonic obligations and..." "You are somewhat in the dark regarding the secrets of Freemasonry," observed the Old Tiler. "You can read of Jachin and Boaz, and Hiram in the Bible and the old obligations were printed long before they were incorporated in Freemasonry. The secrets of Freemasonry are not disclosed in the printed works of Masonic students. You are not to reveal anything not proper to be made known. You are not to describe the Masonic initiation. You are not to divulge the modes of recognition. But nowhere in any obligation of any degree in Freemasonry will you find any prohibition against teaching the principles of Masonry, or explaining the symbolism by which Masonry reveals her gentle teachings. "In books learned Masons have expounded for you and me something of the meaning of Freemasonry; what it is all about, what it teaches, why it exists, what it can accomplish. It is not necessary to make a 19
secret out of knowledge. It is not necessary that Masonry keep to herself the philosophy of conduct, morality, upright living, brotherhood, she has developed. That is for the world to read if it will. The pity of it is that so few will; that so many rob themselves of their Masonic birthright and refuse to read what has been written for them. "Masonry is a far greater subject than most members of the fraternity know. The majority of us take the three degrees and stop. Not for us is there symbolism. Not for us is there an intimate intertwining between our order and the wise men, the knowledge of the past. Not for us is Masonry a welding together of the underlying principles which animate all religion, with the dogma left out. Not for us is there a literature, a tradition, a history. We let it all go by the board, content to wear a pin and pay dues and vote for a new Master...and call ourselves Masons. "But a few of us in every lodge are not satisfied merely to be members; we want to be Masons in our minds as well as the records of the lodge. So we read and study. And once in a blue moon is born a Pike or a Pound, a Haywood or a Newton, a Mackey or a McBride, who interprets through the greatness of his vision that you and I may catch at least a glimpse of the vastness which is Freemasonry. "They do that in books, but none tells what he has sworn never to reveal... why should he? But he explains the meaning of that which is hidden, so that we who have the key may understand. The trouble with our Masonic books is not that they tell which should not be told, but that we are not rich enough in our lodge to buy enough of the
expositions of Freemasonry to educate all our brethren. "Go back to that library. Take one or two books home with you. Read and reflect. When you find the Masonic author who has violated his obligation, show it to me, because I am an old, old man and I have heard of this forsworn author all my life, but I have never found him!" "I'm going," answered the New Brother, "I wish I had more sense!" "I don't!" came the smiling answer. "If you knew much there'd be no point in talking to you, and think of the fun we'd both lose!" This is the thirty eighth article in this regular feature, â€˜The Old Tiler Talks,â€™ each month we publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy.
The Working Tools of a Golfer.
I now present you with the working tools of a Golfer, which are the Driver, the Iron, the Putter and the Score Card. The Driver is to drive the ball, the Iron is to aid its progress and the Putter is to enable us to follow that straight and undeviating line laid down for our pursuit, and finally to place the ball in its safe and hidden repository over the smooth and prepared surface of the green, while upon the Score-card are recorded the efforts of the Golfer to mark his progress in the
science. But as we are not professional golfers, but rather amateurs we apply these tools to our morals in this sense. The Driver denotes the force of conscience, which should keep down all vain and unbecoming thoughts, which might infringe during the period of time in which we occupy the tee. The Iron, an important implement of the Science and solid in its form, teaches us that exertion is necessary to success. We are reminded that no game of golf can be completed without its aid and to so high an eminence has its usefulness been raised, that Monarchsâ€™ themselves have not felt it derogatory to their dignity to exchange the sceptre for it. The Putter instructs us to be accurate, and to temper our efforts with restraint, while the Scorecard teaches us that our words and actions are observed and recorded by the All Powerful Handicap Committee to whom we must render an account of our conduct. It reminds us of their unerring and impartial justice in allocating to us our positions in all Club Competitions and also we shall be rewarded or punished as we have obeyed or disregarded their commands. From the whole we receive this teaching, that skill aided by exertion, and exercised with patience combined with a strict adherence to the principles laid down for our guidance in the Volume of the Laws of the Game, will enable us, when summoned from the course to appear before the Club Committee to do so with the knowledge that we have endeavoured to faithfully follow the precepts inculcated in the Lectures received from the skilled professional. 20
The Black Ball "A WHITE ball elects, a black ball (or cube) rejects."
This, or some similar statement, is usually made at a lodge prior to voting on the application of one who would be an initiate of Freemasonry. In all Jurisdictions, the ballot on an applicant is taken secretly — that is, with no brother knowing how another may vote. In most Jurisdictions it is an infraction of Masonic law — in all it is a serious infraction of Masonic ethics — to endeavour to ascertain how another brother will vote, or has voted on an applicant or to disclose how he voted or will vote. The "secrecy of the ballot" and the universal (in this country) requirements that a ballot be unanimous to elect are two of the greatest bulwarks of the Fraternity. Occasionally both the secrecy and the 21
unanimity may seem to work a hardship on a man apparently worthy of being taken by the hand as a brother; but no human institution is perfect, and no human being acts always according to the best that is in him. The occasional failure of the system to work complete justice may be laid to the individuals using it and not to the Fraternity. "Harmony being the strength and support of all well regulated institutions, especially this of ours." This phrase, or one similar, is familiar to all Masons. Harmony — oneness of mind, effort, ideas and ideals — is one of the foundations of Freemasonry. Anything which interferes with Harmony by so much hurts the Institution. Therefore it is essential that lodges have a harmonious membership; that no man be admitted to the Masonic home of any brother against his will. For this reason it is required that the names of applicants to a lodge be set before the entire membership, prior to a vote, that all may know that John Smith is to be balloted upon; that any who think him unfit timber for the lodge, or who have personal objections to entering into the sacred relation of brotherhood with him, may have the opportunity to say "No." The power thus put in the hands of the individual Master Mason is very great. No officer, not even the Grand Master, may inquire how we vote, or why we voted as we did. No Grand Master has the power to set aside the black ball we cast. If in the ballot box is a black ball, the applicant is rejected. (In many Jurisdictions a single black ball in the ballot box requires the ballot to be taken again, immediately, to avoid the possibility of a mistake. If the black ball reappears the second time, the applicant is rejected.)
This rejection of an application does more than merely prevent the applicant from being given the degrees. It creates over the petitioner a lodge jurisdiction. He may not apply to another lodge for the degrees refused him by this one, without first securing from that lodge a waiver of jurisdiction. He may not again apply even to the lodge which rejected him until after a certain statutory period â€” usually six months. When his application is again received and brought up for ballot, the fact that he previously applied and was rejected is stated to the lodge.
applies for the degrees. Outwardly he is an honest man of good character, bearing a good reputation. However, we have heard him quarrelling violently with his wife. We are morally sure that he struck her. We can't prove it; the poor woman never said anything about it; she suffered the blow in silence rather than endure the greater agony of publicity. It is not for us to have him arrested as a wife beater if his wife can stand him! But we don't want a coward, a bully in our lodge! Naturally â€” and most brethren will say properly â€” we cast the black ball.
In other words, the casting of a black ball not only rejects for the degrees, but puts a certain disability upon the applicant which he is powerless to remove.
Our office associate wants to be a Mason. He applies to our lodge. As far as the investigating committee can ascertain he is a good man, honest, pays his debts, is a church member, a hard worker. But we have heard him repeat, to us and to others, matters which we know were given to him in confidence. We have learned to distrust his discretion. We don't believe that a promise means much to him. It may be, of course, that a Masonic obligation would be kept. But we are not sure. Naturally, we vote against him.
The brother who casts a ballot, then, upon an applicant, wields a tremendous power. Like most powers, it can be used well or ill. It may work harm, or good, not only upon him upon whom it is used, but to him who uses it. Unlike many great powers put into the hands of men, however, this one is not subject to review or control by any human agency. No king, prince, potentate; no law, custom or regulation; no Masonic brother or officer, can interfere with the individual's use of his power. For no one knows who uses the black ball. No one knows why one is cast. The individual brother and his God alone know. The very absence of any responsibility to man or authority is one of the reasons why the power should be used with intelligence, and only when, after solemn self-inquiry, the reason behind its use is found to be Masonic. Any one can think of a hundred reasons why black balls are cast. Our neighbour
Some men otherwise "good and true" are ill-natured, violent tempered, disagreeable. To admit them to our lodge might destroy its harmony of spirit. Others are vain and boastful, self-seeking, apt to bend every agency in which they come in contact to their own ends. We do not believe such a man will be an asset to our lodge. We keep him out. A certain man IS our personal enemy. The quarrel between us may have nothing to do with right and wrong; it may be the result merely of a lifetime of antagonism. He applies to our lodge. Our lodge is our Masonic home. We would not want this 22
man in our family home; we do not think we will be happy with him in our Masonic home. It is our privilege to keep him out. These, and a thousand other good reasons, are all proper ones for the casting of a black ball. If the lodge might suffer, if we might suffer, if we know that our absent brother would suffer from the applicant being elected, we have the best of reasons for seeing that he is rejected. Such use of our power is proper, Masonic, ethical, wise, just. But there is another side of the shield. Unfortunately, no hard and fast rule can be laid down. There is no way to explain "this is a good reason, but that is not a good reason" for casting a black ball. Each of us has to judge the reason for himself. Yet some suggestions may be given. We know a man we dislike. He has different ideas from ours. He belongs to a different "set." He is not the type we admire. Our dislike does not amount to hatred, nor is it predicated upon any evil in the man's character. He and we are antipathetic; we rub each other the wrong way. When he applies to our lodge we must decide this question: will the unpleasantness to us, in having him as a member, be greater than the good to him which may come from his reception of the Masonic teachings? Are we sure that we cannot accept him as a brother merely because we "have never liked him?" We all know cases like this; the president of the bank turns down Johnson's application for a second mortgage. Johnson makes the matter personal. He "has it in" for the president. The president applies for the degrees. Some one casts a black ball. It may, and may not, be Johnson. We don't 23
know. But perhaps, later, we hear Johnson's boast "I got even with the sonof-a-gun who turned down my loan!" He doesn't say how he "got even," of course. But we are pretty sure we know. Such a use of the black ball is, of course, utterly un-masonic. It is a misuse of a great power. As well turn down the minister of the Baptist church because he doesn't agree with our minister, who is a Methodist! As well turn down the automobile dealer because he refused to give us a larger allowance on our old car! Turning the Masonic black ball into a secret dagger for personal revenge is indefensible. Freemasonry works some curious miracles. A self-made man applied five times for the degrees in a certain lodge. The man was rather ignorant, yet a commercial success. He had, literally, raised himself by his bootstraps from the poverty of the streets to a business position of some prominence. Yet he was rather raw, rough add ready, even uncouth. No shadow of personal unworthiness rested upon him; he was honest, upright, a good citizen. In this lodge a certain Past Master â€” as was discovered in after years â€” voted four times against this applicant. The Past Master left the city. On the fifth application the petitioner was elected. Something in Masonry took hold of his heart; through Masonry he was led to acquire some of the education he lacked; through Masonry he was led into the church. In time he made such a reputation for himself as a Mason that he was put in line, and finally achieved the solemn distinction of being made Master of his lodge. He is still regarded as one of the best, most constructive and ablest Masters that lodge has ever had.
In the course of ten or twelve years the absent Past Master returned. In the light of history, he confessed (which strictly speaking he should not have done!) that it was he who had kept this man out for what he really believed were good reasons; he thought the "roughneck" would detract from the dignity and honour of the Fraternity. Yet this same "rough neck," through Masonry, became educated, a good churchman, a fine Mason and an excellent officer. Had the Past Master whose black ball were cast with honest intention to benefit the Fraternity not left town, the blessings of Masonry might forever have been denied a heart ready to receive them, and society, lodge and church been prevented from having the services of a man who gave largely of himself to all three. The black ball is the great protection of the Fraternity; it permits the brother who does not desire to make public his secret knowledge to use that knowledge for the benefit of the Craft. It gives to all members the right to say who shall not become members of their lodge family. But at the same time it puts to the test the Masonic heart, and the personal honesty of every brother who deliberates on its use. The black ball is a thorough test of our understanding of the Masonic teaching of the cardinal virtue Justice, which "enables us to render to every man his just due without distinction." We are taught of justice that "it should be the invariable practice of every Mason, never to deviate from the minutest principles thereof." Justice to the lodge requires us to cast the black ball on an applicant we believe to be unfit.
Justice to ourselves requires that we cast the black ball on the application of the man we believe would destroy the harmony of our lodge. Justice to the applicant â€” we are taught to render justice to every man, not merely to Masons â€” requires that no black ball be cast for little reasons, small reasons, mean reasons. And justice to justice requires that we think carefully, deliberate slowly, and act cautiously. No man will know what we do; no eye will see, save that All Seeing Eye which pervades the innermost recesses of our hearts, and will, so we are taught, reward us according to our merits. Shakespeare said, "O, it is excellent to have a giant's strength, but it is tyrannous to use it like a giant!" The black ball is a giant's strength to protect Freemasonry. Used thoughtlessly, carelessly, without Masonic reason, it crushes not only him at whom it is aimed but him who casts it. A well used black ball goes into the ballot. Ill used, it drops into the heart and blackens it. This article as sourced from the 1929 Short Talk Bulletin.
If you want to know where the future of Freemasonry will grow and prosper it's simple, in the heart, in your heart, in my heart, and in the hearts of those who follow us. - Conrad Hahn 24
Speculative Freemasonry – the real story! This is the popular story: in the Middle Ages the artisans who constructed the great European cathedrals and castles were “operative” Masons who carried their credentials in the form of modes of recognition. They lodged on site and shared a social life. Later they were joined as “honorary members” by outsiders interested in the symbolism of building methods and working tools. Eventually the “speculatives” supplanted the “operatives”, and Masonry as we know it was born. Where this took place is not certain: “operative” Masonry seems to have been centred on the European continent but the speculative version developed in England. All we can say about the time frame is that the new version was in place in England by early 18th century.
There have been several serious attacks on the story as told by the so-called “Authorised School”. One such attack was mounted in the NSW Lodge of Research in a series of papers read by Wor Bro ET Rylands beginning in July, 2000 and subsequently published by the Lodge. Wor Bro Rylands argues that the real story is more geographically tenable than the popular version. Put simply, there is “provable evidence of Scottish origin”, though a series of Masonic writers deliberately obscured the facts.
If Freemasonry had arisen in England there would have been evidence there of an ancient craft or trade guild of masons. Masons were certainly found in England in early medieval times, working on the castles and cathedrals required after the Norman Conquest. But without Lodges known for ritual and
structure, could England produce the impetus for an intellectual approach to the building trade? Answer: look instead to Scotland, especially Edinburgh, with its intellectual climate and social stability. Scottish operative Masonry had its lodges or chapels which in the 17th century were transformed by “gentlemen” or non-operative masons into what might be called Convivial Freemasonry.
This form of Freemasonry filtered south to Northumberland, York, Bristol and London and across to Dublin, another contemporary seat of learning. In London the members of the Royal Society learnt of the scientific advances developed in Edinburgh, but knew that there could be a price on one’s head for having new ideas. English Speculative Freemasons dared not be seen as too close to the Scottish cause, so Freemasonry had to be seen as an English creation with Continental, non-Scottish, antecedents. The gentlemen’s clubs where Freemasonry had its home could now breathe more easily. Freemasonry next moved to the Continent as part of the widespread Enlightenment concern for knowledge and scientific enquiry.
Why did Freemasonry choose the building trade as its source of symbolism, when other options could have been available (see the next chapter for details)? Because architecture was highly regarded as both a practical and intellectual discipline, it was almost inevitable that it would become central to speculative thinking. Even more significant than Gothic architecture, the Renaissance style of architecture was transforming the face of Europe and stimulating the minds of the scholars. By Rt. Wor. Bro. Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple, AO RFD, Past Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales & the Australian Capital Territory. Click the name to go to his website.
Just beyond the Hill The pilgrim sallied bravely forth, with back to rising sun; His pack seemed light, as was his heart, as journey was begun. The road was steep, but undismayed, he climbed with right good will, For were not joy, and love, and HOME - just beyond the hill? The sun grew higher and its rays fell on the pilgrim's road; Its warmth was grateful to his heart as manfully he strode. The day wore on towards the noon, the sun rose higher still, But heat was nought, for was not HOME ,just beyond the hill? 'Tis noon - the rood now crossed a stream, a pleasant rippling brook; The pilgrim loved his weary feet and rested in a nook All overhung with verdant boughs, and drank the water, till Refreshed, he rose again to seek his HOME beyond the hill. And now Meridian has passed and western sun he faced. The pack he bore grew burdensome, yet gallantly he paced The heated road which steeply rose and thought, with gladsome thrill: My journey's end must surely be just beyond the hill. The sinking sun had disappeared behind the distant crest; The hard and never ending road stretched out toward the west. His heavy pack grew heavier, but on he journeyed still To reach the HOME which must be there just beyond the hill.
The shades of night were closing in as near the crest he stopped. Being, brightly clad, appeared - the pilgrim almost dropped With terror and astonishment, until he came quite near And saw a countenance benign which drove away his fear. "Fear not," the stranger said - and then he gently touched the pack The pilgrim bore a featherweight now rested on his back. "Oh, tell me, Sir," the pilgrim said, "pray, tell me if you will, Shall I find happiness and HOME - just beyond the hill?" The stranger took his hand and said, "Come I will lead you on, And you shall find the HOME you seek when this long day is done." They walked together up the slope, hand clasped in hand until They reached the summit and looked down, just beyond the hill. The sun had gone - the night was dark, and nothing could be seen Except the stranger's radiant form and countenance serene. "And now, my friend," the stranger said, "I must from you deport," And saying thus, he laid his hand upon the pilgrim's heart. The moon arose and cast her light upon a silent figure Which lay recumbent by the road in death's repose and rigour; But Peace now rested on the face of him so cold and still The wanderer reached HOME at last - ,just beyond the hill.
Bro. William Moister, Joâ€™burg, South Africa
THE MASONIC DICTIONARY Obligation There is seurall words & signes of a free Mason to be revailed to yw wch as yw will answ: before God at the Great & terrible day of Judgmt yw keep secret & not to revaile the same in the heares of any pson but to the Mrs & fellows of the said Soiety of free Masons so helpe me God xt:
The solemn promise made by a Freemason on his admission into any Degree is technically called his obligation. In a legal sense, obligation is synonymous with duty. Its derivation shows its true meaning, for the Latin word obligatio literally signifies a tying or binding. The obligation is that which binds a man to do some act, the doing of which thus becomes his duty. By his obligation, a Freemason is bound or tied to his Order. Hence the Romans called the military oath which was taken by the soldier his obligation, and, too, it is said that it is the obligation that makes the Freemason. Before that ceremony, there is no tie that binds the candidate to the Order so as to make him a part of it; after the ceremony, the tie has been completed, and the candidate becomes at once a Freemason, entitled to all the rights and privileges and subject to all the duties and responsibilities that endure in that character. The jurists have divided obligations into imperfect and perfect, or natural and civil. In Freemasonry there is no such distinction. The Masonic obligation is that moral one which, although it cannot be enforced by the courts of lav, is binding on the party who makes it, in conscience and according to moral justice. It varies in each Degree, but in each is perfect. Its various clauses, in which different duties are prescribed, are called its points, which are either affirmative or negative, a division like that of the precepts of the Jewish law. The affirmative points are those which require certain acts to be performed; the negative points are those which forbid certain other acts to be done. The whole of them is preceded by a general point of secrecy, common to all the Degrees, and this point is called the tie.
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor. 27
Published on Oct 28, 2014