Contents Page 2, ‘Famous Freemasons’ Mark Twain, this excellent Bio traces the life of Bro. Samuel L. Clemens.
Page 9, ‘The Winding Stairs.’ A description of the journey of life.
Page 11, ‘The Lvdge of Dunfermling.’ The History of another old Scottish Lodge.
Page 13, ‘Wilfred.’ A wonderful little poem you might not have came across.!
Page 13, ‘The Old Tiler Talks’, “The Meanest Master”, the eighteenth in the series from Carl Claudy’s ‘Old Tiler Talks.’
Page 15, ‘Rays of Masonry’, “A Sixteen hour Day’ our new monthly feature of writings.
Page 16, ‘Honorable Order to the Blue Goose, International.’ Another in our series of Fraternal Societies throughout the World.
Page 18, ‘Brothers and Builders’. The Basis and Spirit of Freemasonry, Chapter Two – The Holy Bible.
Page 21, ‘The Freemason’s Daughter.’ Another little poem you might not know.
Page 22, ‘Coming to Terms with Freemasonry’ Fire.
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘Symbols’. [link]
The cover picture for this months issue is a portrait of Mark Twain
Famous Freemasons Mark Twain W.D. Howells is quoted as saying the following words to Mark Twain in 1899: You have pervaded your century almost more than any other man of letters, if not more; and it is astonishing how you keep spreading. There is a great deal of truth to this statement even today, not only on account of Twain's continuing popularity around the world, but because the metaphor of "spreading," when applied to his life, largely accounts for the reason why Twain was, and still remains, the "Lincoln of our literature." Mark Twain was not the typical arm-chair philosopher/humorist; quite the contrary, even from a very early age, he was forced to take personal responsibility for his life and those whom he loved. Providentially, perhaps, Twain's growth into manhood occurred at the same time (and in many of the same places) as our Nation was coming of age. This, combined with the sensitive humanity with which he recorded scenes of America in the latter half of the nineteenth century, made his works mirrors while they were new and time capsules of days gone-bye, now. This article will touch upon the early life of Mark Twain, his pre-Huckle berry Finn works, and how Freemasonry affected both of these. The Early Life of Samuel L. Clemens We know so much about Twain's public and personal life because of the work of
Albert Bigelow Paine who took notes while Twain dictated his autobiography and edited many of Twain's speeches and letters for publication. Paine also wrote Mark Twain: A Biography (1912) which was published shortIy after its subject's death. Since any public library can satisfy the reader's interest in Twain's life, we shall only consider his early character and its development. Mark Twain is the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens, but we shall follow tradition and call him by the river-boat phrase he made famous. Twain's father was a lawyer with ambitious dreams that never came true for him or his family. He drifted from rural Kentucky to Florida, MO to the Mississippi River town of Hannibal, Missouri. On the night that his luck was about to change (he was elected Justice of the Peace), John Clemens rode home in a storm which brought on a fatal fever. He died when Mark was just eleven. The young man was apprenticed to a printer about a year later, and like Benjamin Franklin before him, he learned a great deal about life and humanity through this craft. Mark Twain was a strong believer in Divine Providence - and he had good reason to be one. While learning printing "for room and board," he was walking one windy afternoon when "he overtook a flying scrap of paper which proved to be a leaf from some old history of Joan of Arc." He read it and it charged him with a sense of historical interest and yearning for social justice than never left him. Later, seeking riches like his father, he thought of going to South America to
become a cocoa farmer, but like his father he was without the means of doing so Again, the wind of Providence supplied him with a piece of paper only this time it was a $50.00 dollar bill. This allowed him to travel to Cincinnati where he worked at his trade saving up for the big trip to the equator. He boarded a steam ship named Paul Jones and before they were half-way to New Orleans, he had convinced its pilot to teach him the skill of river-boat navigation. The romance and prestige of this occupation satisfied Mark for four wonderful years of personal growth and monetary reward (much of which he sent back to his mother and older brother, Orion). Mark also took his pen name from this profession: Mark Twain means two fathoms [12 ft.] and was a call which told the pilot there was good, deep water ahead. These years also gave us his timeless work, Life on the Mississippi (1883).
This passage almost reads like the E. A. Third Section lecture in microcosm, and it surely influenced Mark's young character.
The Masonic Career of Mark Twain According to Paine, an interesting document was found in Twain's riverboat notebook. It reads:
It is interesting to note that neither Paine nor Twain mention the Masonic Fraternity in their biographical works, letters, or speeches (so far as the author's research has been able to discern). Twain probably joined the fraternity on the advice of a fellow riverboat pilot or soldier.
How to Take Life - Take it just as though it was - as it is â€“ an earnest, vital, and important affair. Take it as though you were born to the task of performing a merry part in it - as though the world had awaited for your coming. Take it as though it was a grand opportunity to do and achieve, to forward great and good schemes; to help and cheer a suffering, weary, it may be heartbroken, brother â€Ś. the power that elevates the few, is to be found in their industry, application, and perserverance under the promptings of a brave, determined spirit.
Back to the river, Lincoln was sworn in as president on March 4, 1861 and six weeks later, Ft. Sumter was fired upon. Mark was a passenger on a steamer named Uncle Sam, but took the wheel when they were fired upon from Jefferson barracks. He piloted the last boat to make the trip from New Orleans to St. Louis. About four weeks later. on May 22, 1861 Mark Twain stood before the sacred altar of Freemasonry in Polar Star Lodge #79 in St. Louis. He was passed to the degree of Fellow Craft on June 12, and raised to M. M. on July 10. Although he would never become active in Symbolic Lodge, everything Twain devoted his attention to left its imprint upon his character; thus, we would expect to see this evident in his writings.
Remember, passions were running high on both sides of the issue which divided this Nation at that time, and those passions were often expressed in enlistment into the armed forces. Mark Twain was no exception. He returned to Hannibal to join a local group of friends who had formed a company of confederate soldiers. After two miserable weeks of fighting hunger, sprained ankles, and bugs, Twain
resigned his commission (these were given rather freely in those days). Another biographer quotes Twain as saying to General Harris that he had become "incapacitated by fatigue caused by persistent retreating." He returned to St. Louis to join his brother who had been appointed secretary to Nevada Territory. They left on duly 26, 1861 by coach and began the wonderful journey which is related in Roughing It. They arrived in Carson City on August 14; as his brother began his duties, Mark began to sight-see and observe frontier life for several months until he caught "Silver Fever" and went mining in Humbolt County, Nevada. He gave this up after one week of failures with a pick axe and returned to Carson City January 29, 1862. He is recorded as a visiting Brother in Carson City Lodge, U.D. in February and March, 1862. He left that city for mining again and tried to convince himself that there was no easy money to be had - this took three months. Finally, it seems he gave up his father's romantic visions and settled for a job with the Virginia City (Nevada) Enterprise at $25.00 per week. Thus began his writing career. Twain worked for several papers commenting upon frontier life and character. He published his first book of short stories and sketches on May 1, 1867, and travelled to the Holy Land on a pleasure excursion. The letters he sent back from this trip were published in a newspaper and he began to have a following of readers who appreciated his wit, humor, and philosophy. Because of his travels and relative poverty, he had failed to keep up his dues, but he was reinstated into his Lodge on April
24, 1867. He left for the Holy Land on June 8 and while in the Middle East, he obtained a piece of cedar from Lebanon and had it fashioned into a gavel while he was in Egypt. He bought a Bible for his mother and dated it 9-24-67, and returned to America mid-November of that year. He presented the gavel to his Lodge in St. Louis on April 8, 1868 with this note: "This mallet is a cedar, cut in the forest of Lebanon, whence Solomon obtained the timbers for the temple." Denslow says, "Clemens cut the handle himself from a cedar just outside the walls of Jerusalem." Twain demitted from his Lodge on October 8, 1868 and two weeks later contracted with the American Publishing Co. for his book Innocents Abroad; or The New Pilgrims Progress which came out on July 20, 1869. This is an ironic title for the reason that the author of the original Pilgrim's Progress (1678) was also a Freemason. The Masonic career of Mark Twain was probably ended with his demitting - for the reasons only he will fully know - as Denslow states that there is no evidence that he affiliated with another Lodge while he lived in Hartford, CT during the rest of his life. But, this statement may be premature because this subject still awaits exhaustive research. At any rate, it will become clear that Masonic principles and allusions appear in many of the writings of Mark Twain. Masonic Allusions in Twain's Works Twain's first widely read book was Innocents Abroad, and in it he shares his thoughts: "And down towards the south east lay a landscape that suggested to my mind a
quotation (imperfectly remembered, no doubt): "The Ephraimites, not being called upon to share in the rich spoils of the Ammonitish war, assembled a mighty host to fight against Jeptha, Judge of Israel; who, being apprised of their approach, gathered together the men of Israel and gave them battle and put them to flight. To make his victory the more secure, he stationed guards at the different fords and passages of the Jordan, with instructions to let none pass who could not say Shibboleth. The Ephraimites, being of a different tribe, could not frame to pronounce the word aright, but called it Sibboleth, which proved them enemies and cost them their lives; wherefore, forty and two thousand fell at the different fords and passages of the Jordan that day". The humour here, of course, is that Twain had a Bible on hand and could have quoted the passage, but he was referring to the use of the scripture in a F.C. Iecture where it is spoken from memory. Another early reference to Masonic ideas is found in his wonderful, third book (if one does not count the 1871 Burlesque Autobiography) Roughing It which came out in Feb. 1872 and relates his adventures in Nevada, San Francisco, the Hawaiian Islands, and of his first lectures. In it we find this passage relative to the Chinese minority population on the West Coast whom Twain clearly suggests deserve tolerance from the rest of us: They are quiet, peaceable, tractable, free from drunkeness, and they are as
industrious as the day is long...As I write, news comes that in broad daylight in San Francisco, some boys have stoned an inoffensive Chinaman to death, and although a large crowd witnessed the shameful deed, no one interfered...No Californian gentleman or lady ever abuses or oppresses a Chinaman, under any circumstances... only the scum of the population do it...they and their children... and the policemen and politicians. Here we have that hallmark of Twain - a curious combination of journalism and art used to teach tolerance and social justice for those deserving of it and harsh, biting criticism (largely edited out of the foregoing passage to avoid offense) for those deserving of it; but always, an attitude of compassion for all humanity - deserving or not - as we find in this bit of commentary: So I learned then, once and for all, that gold in its native state is but dull ornamental stuff, and that only low-born metals excite the admiration of the ignorant with an ostentatious glitter. However, like the rest of the world, I still go on underrating men of gold and glorifying men of mica. Commonplace human nature cannot rise above that. Twain's next book, Sketches Old and New (July 1875) contains, as the title suggests, materials published previously and some new material. Some of the pieces are quite amusing ("Raising Chickens," for example), but most "would better have been allowed to die," as Twain declared later. The one exception is "A True Story" beginning on page 202. This poignant tale relates the story of a good-humored Black
woman who, when asked if she has ever known suffering recalls her days in slavery when she had her husband and children torn away from her with one joyful moment given back. The charm and realism break all "color barriers;" then as now, it is a story full of humanity and could be nothing less than true.
material found in A Tramp A broad (313-80) occurs when he digresses to his childhood. For instance, the story of Nicodemus Dodge stems from Twain's experiences in a Missouri printing office and teaches the reader (among other things) that Freemasonry is not a religion:
ln 1876, one of his most endearing and enduring works, Tom Sawyer, was published. It has the curious preface which alludes to Tom being like the "composite" form in architecture. In the F.C. degree, we are informed that the composite is "more ornamental, if not more beautiful, than the Corinthian...the Corinthian enriched with the Ionic...[it has] nothing but what is borrowed" (p. 95). Twain may have been suggesting that Tom was not autobiographical per se, but that he and his adventures are borrowed from those of Twain's playmates and made more interesting for the purpose of entertainment and instruction. A further Masonic allusion to be found in Tom Sawyer is the fearful "cave" scene wherein Tom seeks light while having a cable-tow around his body. He finds light and emerges from the darkness less adolescent, more mature, than when he and Becky Thatcher entered it and frolicked.
From 1877 through 1879, Twain worked upon two projects; namely the novel Prince and the Pauper and the nonfiction account of his recent tour of Europe and the Middle East, A Tramp Abroad. His style in the latter is much more developed and focused than in his earlier "Innocents" book; moreover, his anti-Roman Catholicism is tempered a little. Some of the more interesting
"Do you think you would like to learn the printing business?" "Well, I don't re'ly k'yer a durn what I do learn, so's I git a chance fur to make my way. I'd jist as soon learn print'n 's anything." "Can you read?" "Yes, - middlin'. " "Write?" "Well, I've seed people could lay over me thar." "Cipher?" "Not good enough to keep store, I don't reckon, but up as fur as twelve-timestwelve I ain't no slouch. 'Tother side of that is what gits me." "Where is your home?" "I'm fâ€™m old Shelby." "What's your denomination?"
"Him? O, he's a blacksmith."
"No, no, - I don't mean his trade. What's his religious denomination?"
"I think maybe you'll do, Nicodemus. We'll give you a trial, anyway."
"O, - I didn't understand you befo'. He's a Freemason."
"All right." "When would you like to begin?"
"No-no, you don't get my meaning yet. What I mean is, does he belong to any church?" "Now you're talkin't Couldn't make out what you was a tryin' to git through yo' head no way. B'long to a church! Why boss he's teen' the pizenest kind of a Free-will Bab'is for forty year. They ain't no pizener ones'n' what he is. Mighty good man, pap is. Everybody says that. If they said any diffrunt they wouldn't say it whar I wuz, - not much they wouldn't." "What is your own religion?" "Well, boss, you've kind o' got me, thar, - and yit you hadn't got me so mighty much, nuther. I think's if a feller he'ps another feller when he's in trouble, and don't cuss, and don't do no mean things, nur nothtâ€™n he ain' no business to do, and don't spell the Savior's name with a little g, he ain't runnin' no reeks, - he's about as saift as if he bâ€™longed to a church." "But suppose he did spell it with a little g, - what then?" "Well, if he done it a-purpose, I reckon he wouldn't stand no chance - he oughtn't to have no chance, anyway, I'm most rotten certain 'bout that." "What is your name? "Nicodemus Dodge."
"Now." So, within ten minutes after we had first glimpsed this nondescript he was one of us, and with his coat off and hard at it. After the death of the American Publishing Company's owner, Elisha Bliss, and Twain's growing dissatisfaction over profit-sharing arrangements, Mark sent his next manuscript, The Prince and the Pauper to the James R. Osgood Company. Although Twain supplied all of the production capital and paid the company 7 1/2% of the gross sales for selling it, the book did well for him. It came out in December of 1881 and is one of his most charming and instructive tales, contrasting as it does equality and sham class distinctions. Paine considers it fantasy, but it is consistent in its morality and quiet humor. In it, a king and a beggar trade places - one learns the cruelty of his own edicts and the value of mercy; the other, how externalities seem to be judged as being more important than internal qualities. Paine remarks that "only genius could create such a story." The book begins with this quotation from Shakespeare: The quality of mercy...is twice bless'd It blesseth him that gives, and him that takes 'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown. Masonically, the tenet of "Relief' and the "points of our entrance" (or cardinal virtue) of "justice" are prevalent throughout this title. Leaving out the minor work, The Stolen White Elephant (1882), we shall turn our attention to the final book of Twain's early career which is also his most important, artistically and historically, pre-Huckleberry Finn work. In May 1883, Twain again used the Osgood & Co. to produce a lavishly decorated and illustrated piece entitled, Life on the Mississippi. The book narrates Twain's recent trip up the river, but is mingled with his recollections of his "piloting" days. This book solidified Twain's reputation as a serious author. Thomas Hardy agreed when he asked, "Why don't people understand that Mark Twain is not merely a great humorist? He is a very remarkable fellow in a very different way." The difference is Twain's love of Truth and his compassion for the Human condition. Even the illustrations have something to say about human relations, as can be seen here.
Waiting For A Trip The story of the River revisited is interesting for the Masonic student as it recounts the rise of the Pilot's Association - a guild which became a powerful economic and social force with many similarities to operative Freemasonry (including lengthy examinations before two licensed pilots). Indeed, if the Civil War had not
brought the craft to a standstill to be replaced by rail roads, one might speculate that a minister would have come along and would have seen the allegorical in river navigation, thereby creating speculative piloting! Chapters 14 and 15 are essential reading for this interesting piece of Americana. Also in this book, Twain pokes fun at the annual ritual of having the oldest Freemason come out and walk in the civic parade. It is clear that Mark Twain could not be called a Masonic writer in the same way that Kipling, Doyle, or Burns could be thus labelled. However, the essential truths in Freemasonry would exist even if the Craft did not. They are elements of the one great universal Truth, and Twain was clearly and persistently reflecting and exploring those ideals in his writings. This, combined with the fact that he did go through the degrees of Freemasonry and occasionally made reference to our fraternity makes reading of his life work, worthwhile. More importantly, though, the Twain canon contains some of the most charming, witty, and thought-provoking literature written by an American. The original and early editions of his books are printed in large type and profusely illustrated; these are available from antiquarian bookdealers throughout the country and will give a reader the best possible introduction to "the Lincoln of our literature."
This Masonic Biography of Mark Twain was written by James E. Twomey and sourced from the 1982 Philalthes Magazine.
The Winding Stairs In chapter 6 of the first Book of Kings you will find a description of the building of King Solomon's Temple. In verses 7 and 8 you read: "And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in building. The door for the middle chamber was in the right side of the house, and they went up with winding stairs into the middle chamber and out of the middle into the third." Masonry uses the "Winding Stairs" as a symbol of the journey of life. Those stairs lead up. Life is not a level highway. On the contrary, it should ascend from lower to higher. There are always twists and turns, too. Often we cannot see "around the corner." Nevertheless, if as Masons we have faith, we shall pursue the path that lies before us in the confidence that we are going on and up. In climbing the winding stairs of life, we continually use the five physical senses with which God has endowed us. Those senses are given to us that we may use them aright in our constant climb toward the nobler aspects of life. We gain Masonic wisdom for that climb through a right understanding of the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences, which are an important part of the symbolism of Masonry. The symbolism of the Winding Stairs is drawn from the Bible. The symbolism of the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences, however, is a legacy
from the philosophy of the Romans, developed and expanded in the Middle Ages. In due time William Preston, who was so largely responsible for giving form to the part of the Masonic ritual about which we are now thinking, incorporated that symbolism in the lecture with which we are all familiar. The Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences appeared in literature as early as the second century. They were eventually divided into two parts - the trivium Grammar, Rhetoric Logic - and the quadrivium - Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy. In Roman and medieval times the scope of these "Arts and Sciences" was far wider than their names suggest today. To us, grammar has come to mean a systematic exposition of the structure of language. Rhetoric, we say, deals with accurate and forceful written or spoken expression. Here, however, we are thinking about the symbolism which lies back of grammar and rhetoric. They symbolize not only language, but all the modes and methods of communication. We cannot go far in Masonry unless and until we take these first two steps. Not only do we need to listen to and think about the use of grammar and rhetoric in the ritual, but we ought also to avail ourselves of opportunities to learn all we can about their deeper symbolic meanings. Logic, of course, is the art of straight thinking. Whenever we jump to conclusions from insufficient knowledge, we are illogical. All prejudice and bigotry grow out of failure to do real thinking. Intolerance of
every kind is the outcome of a lack of logic in thinking and acting. Masonry bids us to use our Godgiven powers of thought to rise above petty prejudices and narrow partisanships - up where the air is clear of the smoke and pollutions of antagonisms and disharmonies. Arithmetic and Geometry symbolize all science, all inventions, all discoveries of the laws of nature. Just as to the ancients, rhetoric included the study of law, as well as of prose and poetry, so geometry included geography and natural history, together with the study of the medicinal properties of plants. Geometry is, indeed, the Queen of the Sciences. Plato, when asked what God does, replied, "God geometrizes continually." On the porch of his Academy at Athens, he inscribed these words: "Let no one who is ignorant of Geometry enter here." Henri Fabre, the French naturalist, wrote: "Geometry that is to say, the science of harmony in space - presides over everything. And this universal Geometrician, whose Divine Compass has measured all things." By Music we are to understand not only sweet and harmonious sound, but beauty of every kind - the beauty of art, of poetry, of Nature all about us - and, most of all, the beauty of character. To quote Albert Pike, "The beauty of Love, the charm of Friendship, the heroism of Patience - these and their like make life to be life indeed and are its grandeur and its power." Astronomy symbolises not only the study of the heavenly bodies and the solar system, but that supreme creative
power and wisdom without which the universe could not exist. It is the knowledge of God, the Grand Artificer of the Universe, and of his overruling Providence in our lives that is the apex of the Masonic Way of Life. There are many other meanings associated with the symbolism inherent in the Winding Stairs and in the Seven Liberal Arts and Sciences. They are meanings that have been set out in the writings of Masonic students and can also arise out of our own thinking and meditation. Masonry is not something cold and abstract. On the contrary, its whole mission is to stimulate the constant acquisition of the kind of knowledge that will directly influence right action. The trouble with us all is that we know so much better than we do. "If to do were as easy as to know what to do," wrote Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice, "chapels had been churches, and poor men's cottages princes' palaces." It is our constant responsibility - and ought to be our constant delight - to remind ourselves of the eternal verities which we learn by studying and contemplating the symbolism of Masonry - and then living in accord with the sublime truths which that symbolism embodies. That kind of thinking and living will lift us above the sordid strife, the ghastly evil, and the heart-rending disharmonies of our time. It is the kind of thinking I have tried to express in these simple lines.
This article was sourced from The Philalethes magazine, 1966.
No Churchman am I The fill up a bumper and make it o’erflow, And honours Masonic prepare for to throw; May every true Brother of the Compass and Square Have a big-belly’d bottle when harass’d with care. Robert Burns 1784 Epistle to J. Lapraik But ye whom social pleasure charms, Whose heart the tide of kindness warms, Who hold your being on the terms, “Each aid the others”, Come to my bowl, come to my arms, My friends, my brothers. Robert Burns (1785)
The Lvdge of Dunfermling LODGE ST. JOHN, DUNFERMLINE, No. 26. In terms of Freemasonry, Lodge St. John is ancient. It connects directly with "the Ludge of Masons of dunfermling" which held ,St. Clair Charters in 1598 and 1628. It doubtless existed prior to these dates, which gives a fair assumption that it played a part in the addition to, Dunfermline Palace (1540). The earliest record in possession of the Lodge is dated 1698. At the meeting in Edinburgh on 30th November l736, when Grand Lodge was formed, the Lodge had three representatives, Captain Arthur Forbes of Pittencrieff (Master), Bailie Charles Chalmers, and Henry Finlay (Wardens), and was of course, in the original province of Fife, when formed in 1745. Interesting notes bearing on its antiquity are contained in a booklet issued in connection with the opening, of their new hall in Priory Lane (a Lodgeroom in excellent. taste) which was consecrated by the P.G.M., the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, on 17th December 1920, The hall is at present in use for national purposes making it difficult to gain access to old records. From the information available, the Secretary informs us that the date of the present Charter is 1766; that an early meeting place was the Spire Tavern c, 1814, and that the first R.W.M. was Lieut. Charles Durie. Special gifts to the Lodge include the Master's Chair from the Earl of Elgin; set of working tools from James C, Craig, and a brass square from Arnold Ramsay. Honorary members comprise Major P1ayfair, Elgin's Lodge; John Russell, Lodge
Union; Andrew Barnard No. 815; Joseph Inglis, Canongate; James Gibson, No. 1; The Earl of Elgin, Elgin and Bruce; Sir Alexander Gibb Elgin and Bruce. St. Clair Charters The oldest record in possession of the Lodge is dated 27th December 1698, but there is ample evidence that the Lodge was in existence long before that date. The St Clair Charters in the possession of the Grand Lodge of Scotland were drawn in favour of William St Clair of Roslin, and are dated 1598 and 1628, the earlier one was signed by ROBERT PEST, Dumfermling, and the latter as follows :I John Burne ane of ye mrs of Dunfermlinge wt my hand at ye pen led by ye notar under subscrwand for me at my command becaus I can not writ myselff. J. Henrystone norious assruit The original name of the Lodge was "The Ludge of the Masons of Dunfermling." From 1698 until 1734 the Presiding Office-Bearer was named the Deacon (who also officiated as Treasurer). Only, one Warden was elected, and the only, other OfficeBearer named in the records was the Clerk. The earliest reference to the use of tools is dated 8th January 1701, and is in the following terms:"James Somervaill did gift to the Ludge ane brass square for the use of the Ludge, for which gift the Quorum above
namit quits his sons enterie money, being Six Ponds, and ordain the Deacon to be discharged theirof. On 20th October 1736 the four Lodges in and about Edinburgh, namely, Mary's Chapel, Canongate Kilwinning, Kilwinning Scots Arms, and Leith Kilwinning, sent a circular to all the Lodges in Scotland inviting them to send representatives to elect a Grand Master. The election took place on the 30th November, the Lodge being represented by Captain Arthur Forbes of Pittencrieff (Master), and Baillie Charles Chalmers and Henry Findly (Wardens). The earliest record of the Lodge desiring to erect a Lodge Room of its own is shown in the following Minute:ST J0HN'S DAY, 27th December 1732. .... "The Ludge also impowers the said Committee to seek out for a piece of ground in Dunfermline that they think most proper for building a house for the use of the Ludge, and to buy the said piece of ground, and raise as much of the Ludge money as will pay the price of it, or grant bond for the price, which of them they shall think meet, and generally every other thing thereanent to doe as fully in all respects as if the Ludge were there present." 19th March 1733.' The Sub-Committee agreed with Mr George Adie, preacher of the Gospell at Dunfermline, to pay him three hundred merks for his ruinous tenement on the south side of the Maygeat of Dunfermline. Accordingly, Mr Adie
delivered to the Sub-Committee a signed disposition of the sd tenement with the consent of his mother, and the Deacon gave bill to him, for the price payable St Johns day next, including five pounds of annual rent from Whitsunday next, extending in whole to Two Hundred and five Pounds Scots. This excellent history was sourced for the website of The Lodge of Dunfermline No.26. My thanks go to the Lodge for allowing me to publish it here. The visit their website click this link. If your Lodge would like to have its history published in the newsletter, please contact the editor.
Wilfred Wilfrid is a garden gnome Who lives near to Brian Parsons home And never has been known to roam From where he’s situated. When Brian learns his lines by heart To try them out he has to start -So Wilfrid plays the other part -And gets Initiated ! For all his patience he is praised If you could know, you’d be amazed How often he is “passed” and “raised” -With words he’s saturated. His faithfulness : Some prize must rate Perhaps a rise to higher state As “Past Provincial Candidate” ? He would be most elated ! So, should you pass a garden fair And see a wise gnome sitting there Who does Provincial Apron wear – Its Wilfrid – decorated ! Bro. Ken Brown
The Meanest Master We have the meanest Master in captivity!" stormed the New Brother to the Old Tiler. "Softly, softly!'' cautioned the Old Tiler. "What has the poor man done now?" "Refused to help me out of trouble!" answered the New Brother. "And he could have done it, just as easy. . . . " "Tell me about it," suggested the Old Tiler. "Maybe there are extenuating circumstances!" "That's just what I told him!" replied the New Brother, hotly. "At the funeral of Brother Picus, two weeks ago, I was a pallbearer. I was late, and didn't go to the temple to see the lodge opened, but drove my car directly to the church. There was a big crowd, of course;
Brother Picus was much beloved. I couldn't find a parking space. I drove around the block and finally found one and backed in. When I came out of the church a cop was standing by my car and I had a hard time to keep him from taking me to the police station! I finally convinced him that I had to act as a pallbearer, but I got a summons to go to court the next day. "I took it up with the Master. He knows the Captain of that precinct. All he needed to do was to see him, but he wouldn't move in the matter. I think that was mean and maybe un-Masonic." "Sounds very bad, to me," answered the Old Tiler, noncommittally. "What did the cop say you did?" "Parked in the wrong place," answered the New Brother. "I didn't see any sign!" "That all?" asked the Old Tiler. "No -- he said I had left my engine running and he had stopped it." "Well, did you?" "Why, yes, I did. I knew I'd only be a minute in the church. The old car starts so hard so I just let her run." "Oh, you did. Well, now, that makes it look even worse!" grinned the Old Tiler. "I don't think I understand . . . " "You will in a minute!'' answered the Old Tiler, grimly. "The Master has a right to complain to me that you are a
mean Master Mason! You go to a funeral and break two regulations; one of no, one of great importance. Then you ask the Master to intercede, ask that the police Captain elude his duty, all because you are a Mason! You try to make Masonry the father of special privilege and hide behind your apron, while a profane would have to pay the penalty of lawlessness! It looks very bad, my brother, but not for the Master." "Oh, I say, Old Tiler! You are rough!" "I haven't started yet," answered the Old Tiler. "Let me tell you . . . " "But they were such little violations!" interrupted the New Brother. "They were not!" answered the Old Tiler sharply. "You were a menace to society. Parking wrong is no crime; it is merely an inconvenience to others. But leaving your engine running is a serious offense because of the possibility of damage. Gear shift levers have been known to engage themselves. Small boys who want to drive a car like Dad have been known to get in cars with engines running and damage themselves and other people. I'm glad the Master had sense to let well enough alone. What did the judge say?" "Well, he said pretty much what you said!" answered the New Brother, shamefacedly. ''He only fined me ten dollars, although he might have plastered fifty on me. Said he would have turned me loose for the wrong parking, considering the reason for my haste, but that there was no excuse for leaving the engine running."
''Sensible judge!" remarked the Old Tiler. "Masonry is no mother of special privilege. There is no reason why a Mason should be permitted to get away with anything his profane brother can't do. Masons are supposed to be the pick of the community. They are taught to revere their country and its laws. Oh, I know this is a mere police requirement. But police regulations are as necessary for comfort and safety as amendments to the Constitution. Of all people, Masons ought to observe them. When a Mason breaks a regulation, he should take his medicine. Your Master showed good judgment not to interfere. Had he done so successfully, he would have taught you that you could break the law with impunity, because Masonry would 'square' it for you. Instead of being the 'meanest' Master, I am inclined to think we have the most intelligent Master in captivity." "I suppose you are right. Somehow, I never see the things the same way after I talk with you. I guess I'll have to speak to him, after all." "Speak to who?" asked the Old Tiler. ''I had about made up my mind I wouldn't speak to the Master any more!" "We sure did make answered the Old Tiler.
"Who did?" "We did. We took in a child, and the Masonic law requires us only to accept grown up men. grinned the Old Tiler. "Next you'll be sticking your tongue out
at me, or slapping me on the wrist, or refusing to play in my anteroom!" To his credit be it said, the New Brother blushed. This is the eighteenth article in this regular feature, ‘The Old Tiler Talks,’ each month we will publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy
Rays of Masonry “A Sixteen hour Day” The Mason must be conscious of the fact that his is not an eight- but a sixteen hour work day. No better measure of time has been devised than the division which every Entered Apprentice Mason learns. Each part is of equal importance. The happiness that we receive from life is measurable by the efforts that we expend not only in making a living, but more especially in contributing to life. The very fact that we stand ready and alert for an opportunity to render an unselfish service, even if such an opportunity does not readily present itself, enriches our own life. But the attitude of heart and mind, to stand ready at all times, also creates the opportunity itself. Many times we wonder why such a person can devote so much time to Masonry, to Church, and to other activities for good in the community. The answer is that such a person has made a proper division of time. Too, the more we do in the direction of good, the greater is the flow of divine energy.
In truth, it is the person who properly divides his day, and uses the sixteenhour division, according to Masonic teachings, who is never weary. Dewey Wollstein 1953. Rays of Masonry are the musings of Dewey Wollstein, and make for very good reading, these will appear as a regular feature in the newsletter.
Fraternal Societies Of the World â€˜Honorable Order of the Blue Goose, Internationalâ€™
The Apron I took an apron from the pile of white And tied it on to sit in Lodge one night. As I sat there I felt a warming glow About the apron and I looked and lo- The other brethren who had worn it there Were gathered 'round in mystic meeting rare. We shared with each the blessings of the years, The dreams, successes, hopes and joyous tears; Then we grew humble in each other's loss, In full compassion shared each brother's cross; Our hearts were one in that most holy place, Our spirits fused in God's Masonic grace. We looked upon the apron's perfect white, We were all wearing it that mystic night. We saw that it was large enough to fit The whole wide world, for God had fashioned it. Milford Shields
The Ancient and Honorable Order of the Blue Goose was founded in 1906 as a 'fun' and social organization for fire insurance men (now 'property and casualty insurance men'), but has since metamorphosed into an insurance society for the same people. There are around 6,000 members today and around 50 Ponds (lodges). There was a modest amount of humor in the names of the Nest of Pond officers: the president was The Most Loyal Gander; the vice president, the Supervisor of the Flock; the warden, Custodian of the Gosling;; the secretary, Wielder of the Goose Quill; and the treasurer, Keeper of the Golden Goose Egg. The initiation ritual is very simple. It consists largely of an oath and a short speech on character, charity and fraternity, the three virtues of the order.
The Initiation Charge Noteâ€”The Charge should be given by a Past Most Loyal Gander, a visiting Most Loyal Gander, or an officer or past officer of the Grand Nest. Gosling, it is proper at this time that you should be instructed in the basic principles upon which this Honorable Order of the Blue Goose, International, was founded, in order that you may have, a clear understanding of its purpose. The Order is not designed to interfere with the operation of, nor to direct in any manner the business of fire insurance; but rather to bring together in social and friendly relation those who compose the great army of Fire Underwriters. No reference is made, nor distinction created, as to the class of Companies or their modes of operation; but we are banded together to inculcate character, charity and fellowship. Your business is a most honorable one. It possesses greater capacity for the fuller education than any other human occupation. It is capable of developing the reasonably ideal man. But it matters not how much you may know of the intricacies of your business nor how high you may rise in its preferment; your gain is but temporary, your mission unfulfilled, if you have failed to achieve the cardinal elements of Character. Charity is one of these cardinal elements and one which is most needed in the world of affairs. Inculcate, therefore, the spirit of Charity toward your fellow men, especially those who may be Brothers in this Order. To this end, it should be remembered that a personal grievance or the conventional dislike which one man may have for another,
should not influence you to vote against an applicant for membership. Fellowship is that happy attribute of the human mind which makes the individual a social creature. Cultivate fellowship. Receive in the spirit of equality all members of this Order. This trinity of virtues, Character, Charity and Fellowship, if practiced throughout your business life, will aid you in achieving the objects for which this Order was created. Be firm in Character, broad in Charity and free in Fellowship, and you will learn how quickly the intensive sting of competitive strife is made to vanish through the Brotherhood of Man. Most Loyal Gander: I now welcome you as Brother Gander. You are to share the privileges and divide the responsibilities of this Honorable Order. May your zeal for its cause never waver; may your sympathy with its interests ever grow deeper; may the bonds forged on this occasion bind us ever more closely together. Wielder of the Goose Quill, you will present each of the newly initiated Ganders with the official Blue Goose emblem. Wielder of the Goose Quill, addressing the new Gander: I present to you on behalf of ... Pond the official emblem of the Order and I trust you will wear it with pleasure to yourself and honor to the Order. Most Loyal Gander: The new Gander will retire to the outer banks of the Pond in charge of the Custodian of the Goslings, to await further instructions. One Honk. These fraternal societies which are featured in the newsletter do really exist; there are virtually hundreds of them throughout the World, the reader will notice the similarity to the Craft..
Brothers and Builders The Basis and Spirit of Freemasonry CHAPTER 2 - THE HOLY BIBLE.
UPON the Altar of every Masonic Lodge, supporting the Square and Compasses, lies the Holy Bible. The old, familiar Book, so beloved by so many generations, is our Volume of Sacred Law and a Great Light in Masonry. The Bible opens when the Lodge opens; it closes when the Lodge closes. No Lodge can transact its own business, much less initiate candidates into its mysteries, unless the Book of Holy Law lies open upon its Altar. Thus the book of the Will of God rules the Lodge in its labours, as the Sun rules the day, making its work a worship. The history of the Bible in the life and symbolism of Masonry is a story too long to recite here. Nor can any one tell it as we should like to know it. Just when, where, and by whom the teaching and imagery of the Bible were wrought into Freemasonry, no one can tell. Anyone can have his theory, but no one can be dogmatic. As the Craft laboured in the service of the Church during the cathedral-building period, it is not difficult to account for the Biblical coloring of its thought, even in days when the Bible was not widely distributed, and before the discovery of printing. Anyway, we can take such facts as we are able to find, leaving further research to learn further truth.
The Bible is mentioned in some of the old Manuscripts of the Craft long before the revival of Masonry in 1717, as the book upon which the covenant, or oath, of a Mason was taken; but it is not referred to as a Great Light. For example, in the Harleian Manuscript, dated about 1600, the obligation of an initiate closes with the words: "So help me God, and the holy contents of this Book. " In the old Ritual, of which a copy from the Royal Library in Berlin is given by Krause, there is no mention of the Bible as one of the Lights. It was in England, due largely to the influence of Preston and his fellow workmen, that the Bible came to its place of honour in the Lodge. At any rate, in the rituals of about 1760 it is described as one of the three Great Lights. No Mason needs to be told what a great place the Bible has in the Masonry of our day. It is central, sovereign, supreme, a master light of all our seeing. From the Altar it pours forth upon the East, the West, and the South its white light of spiritual vision, moral law, and immortal hope. Almost every name found in our ceremonies is a Biblical name, and students have traced about seventy-five references to the Bible in the Ritual of the Craft. But more important than direct references is the fact that the spirit of the Bible, its faith, its attitude toward life, pervades Masonry, like a rhythm or a fragrance. As soon as an initiate enters the Lodge, he hears the words of the Bible recited as an accompaniment to his advance toward the light. Upon the Bible every Mason takes solemn vows of loyalty, of chastity and charity, pledging himself to the practice of the Brotherly Life. Then as he moves forward from one
degree to another, the imagery of the Bible becomes familiar and eloquent, and its music sings its way into his heart. Nor is it strange that it should be so. As faith in God is the corner-stone of the Craft, so, naturally, the book which tells us the purest truth about God is its altarlight. The Temple of King Solomon, about which the history, legends, and symbolism of the Craft are woven, was the tallest temple of the ancient world, not in the grandeur of its architecture but in the greatest of the truths for which it stood. In the midst of ignorant idolatries and debasing superstitions the Temple on Mount Moriah stood for the Unity, Righteousness, and Spirituality of God. Upon no other foundation can men build with any sense of security and permanence when the winds blow and the floods descend. But the Bible is not simply a foundation rock; it is also a quarry in which we find the truths that make us men. As in the old ages of geology rays of sunlight were stored up in vast beds of coal, for the uses of man, so in this old book the light of moral truth is stored to light the mind and warm the heart of man. Alas, there has been more dispute about the Bible than about any other book, making for schism, dividing men into sects. But Masonry knows a certain secret, almost too simple to be found out, whereby it avoids both intolerance and sectarianism. It is essentially religious, but it is not dogmatic. The fact that the Bible lies open upon its Altar means that man must have some Divine revelation - must seek for a light higher than human to guide and govern him. But Masonry lays down no hard and fast
dogma on the subject of revelation. It attempts no detailed interpretation of the Bible. The great Book lies open upon its Altar, and is open for all to read, open for each to interpret for himself. The tie by which our Craft is united is strong, but it allows the utmost liberty of faith and thought. It unites men, not upon a creed bristling with debated issues, but upon the broad, simple truth which underlies all creeds and over-arches all sects - faith in God, the wise Master Builder, for whom and with whom man must work. Herein our gentle Craft is truly wise, and its wisdom was never more needed than to-day, when the churches are divided and torn by angry debate. However religious teachers may differ in their doctrines, in the Lodge they meet with mutual respect and goodwill. At the Altar of Masonry they learn not only toleration, but appreciation. In its air of kindly fellowship, man to man, they discover that the things they have in common are greater than the things that divide. It is the glory of Masonry to teach Unity in essentials, Liberty in details, Charity in all things; and by this sign its spirit must at last prevail. It is the beautiful secret of Masonry that all just men, all devout men, all righteous men are everywhere of one religion, and it seeks to remove the hoodwinks of prejudice and intolerance so that they may recognize each other and work together in the doing of good. Like everything else in Masonry, the Bible, so rich in symbolism, is itself a symbol - that is, a part taken for the whole. It is a symbol of the Book of Truth, the Scroll of Faith, the Record of the Will of God as man has learned it in
the midst of the years - the perpetual revelation of Himself which God has made, and is making, to mankind in every age and land. Thus, by the very honour which Masonry pays to the Bible, it teaches us to revere every Book of Faith in which men find help for today and hope for the morrow. For that reason, in a Lodge consisting entirely of Jews, the Old Testament alone may be placed upon the Altar, and in a Lodge in the land of Mohammed the Koran may be used. Whether it be the Gospels of the Christian, the Book of Law of the Hebrew, the Koran of the Mussulman, or the Vedas of the Hindu, it everywhere Masonically conveys the same idea - symbolizing the Will of God revealed to man, taking such faith and vision as he has found into a great fellowship of the seekers and finders of the truth. Thus Masonry invites to its Altar men of all faiths, knowing that, if they use different names for "the Nameless One of an hundred names," they are yet praying to the one God and Father of all; knowing, also, that while they read different volumes, they are in fact reading the same vast Book of the Faith of Man as revealed in the struggle and tragedy of the race in its quest of God. So that, great and noble as the Bible is, Masonry sees it as a symbol of that eternal, ever-unfolding Book of the Will of God which Lowell described in memorable lines :"Slowly the Bible of the race is writ, And not on paper leaves nor leaves of stone; Each age, each kindred, adds a verse to it,
Texts of despair or hope, of joy or moan. While swings the sea, while mists the mountain shroud, While thunder's surges burst on cliffs of cloud, Still at the Prophet's feet the nations sit," None the less, while we honour every Book of Faith in which have been recorded the way and Will of God, with us the Bible is supreme, at once the mother-book of our literature and the master-book of the Lodge. Its truth is inwrought in the fibre of our being, with whatsoever else of the good and the true which the past has given us. Its spirit stirs our hearts, like a sweet habit of the blood; its light follows all our way, showing us the meaning and worth of life. Its very words have in them memories, echoes and overtones of voices long since hushed, and its scenery is interwoven with the holiest associations of our lives. Our fathers and mothers read it, finding in it their final reasons for living faithfully and nobly, and it is thus a part of the ritual of the Lodge and the ritual of life. Every Mason ought not only to honour the Bible as a great Light of the Craft; he ought to read it, live with it, love it, lay its truth to heart and learn what it means to be a man. There is something in the old Book which, if it gets into a man, makes him both gentle and strong, faithful and free, obedient and tolerant, adding to his knowledge virtue, patience, temperance, self-control, brotherly love, and pity. The Bible is as high as the sky and as deep as the grave; its two great characters are God and the Soul, and the story of their eternal life
together is its everlasting romance. It is the most human of books, telling us the half-forgotten secrets of our own hearts, our sins, our sorrows, our doubts, our hopes. It is the most Divine of books, telling us that God has made us for Himself, and that our hearts will be restless, unhappy and lonely until we learn to rest in Him whose Will is our peace. "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God." "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself." "Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. " "Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted by the world." "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens." This is the first Chapter in the Book, Brothers and Builders by Joseph Fort Newton, the second Chapter - The Holy Bible will appear next month. Brethren, the editor is always looking for articles, poems, stories, Lodge Histories, anything in fact that would make for interesting reading for the readers of the newsletter. Many thanks to those who have sent pieces in, I try to use them if I can.
THE FREEMASON’S DAUGHTER Unknown
A Mason's daughter, fair and young, The pride of all the virgin throng, Thus to her lover said: “Though, Damon, I your flame approve, Your actions praise, your person love, Yet still I'll live a maid!
“None shall untie my virgin zone But one to whom the secret's known Of famed freemasonry, In which the great and good combine To raise, with generous design, Man to felicity.
“The Lodge excludes the fop and fool, The arrant knave and party tool; That liberty would sell; The noble, faithful and the brave, No gold or charms can e'er receive In slavery to dwell.”
This said, he bowed and went away, Applied; was made without delay; Returned to her again. The fair one granted his request, Connubial joys their days have blest, And may they long remain. Published in 1834 in the Universal Songster This version is from William Harvey’s booklet, “Masonic Readings and Recitations.
When toasting we hold out a glass of wine and drink a friend’s health, which is said to have come from an old Greek custom (which is to be applauded). The ‘fire’ that follows may have been but is probably not fashioned on the traditional movements of a trowel. One thought is that it represents a sign in the First Degree. The custom of ‘firing’ is from time immemorial and did not appear to originate with the bringing together of the hands. It is more likely to have originated in crashing down a drinking vessel. Some regions also used to smash the glasses after drinking a special toast. This gives the effect of honouring a toast with noisy enthusiasm. It also had the effect of proving that the toast was heartily supported and that the glass was empty. Unlike the ‘heel-tapping’ sometimes observed which was a more gentle procedure since the glass was not empty! The Masonic fire may have been a remnant of gunfire after an important toast. Certain West Indian lodges can support this theory where the fire is called a ‘battery’, but this term is also commonly applied in many American Lodges. Special glasses were made for this purpose as the damage and cost of breakage was rife. In the early 1760’s brethren could be fined ‘one shilling for a glass burst in fire’.
Sourced from Why? ‘Coming to Terms with Freemasonry’ by Bro. John Cane PPG Supt Wks (Surrey)
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor.
Published on Jun 2, 2012