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Contents Page 2, ‘Is Freemasonry Mystical’ This essay looks at whether or not Freemasonry is based on Myth and Mysticism.

Page 6, ‘A Masonic Baptism.’ A unique ceremony which took place in 1850.

Page 9, ‘The Pirate Mason.’ The story of Count Felix Von Luckner and the Sea Eagle.

Page 12, ‘Lodge St. James B.U.R.A. No.424.’ Another History of one of our Ancient Scottish Lodges.

Page 16, ‘The Old Tiler Talks’, “Substitutes at Funerals”, the twenty first in the series from Carl Claudy’s ‘Old Tiler Talks.’

Page 19, ‘Rays of Masonry’, “An Affirmative Outlook’ our monthly feature of writings.

Page 19, ‘Ancient Order of the Knights of the Mystic Chain’ Another in our series of Fraternal Societies throughout the World.

Page 21, ‘Brothers and Builders’. The Basis and Spirit of Freemasonry, Chapter Five – The Level and Plumb.

Page 25, ‘Coming to Terms with Freemasonry’ The Grip.

In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘King Solomon’s Temple’. [link]

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The cover picture is the frontispiece of the Laws of the GLOS from 1848.


‘Is Freemasonry Mystical’ Let us first try to understand what is meant by mystical, mystic and mysticism. It is described as spiritually significant or symbolic or allegorical. Mystic is described as belonging to secret rites, of mysteries or esoteric rites, or doctrines, of mystics or mysticism of obscure or occult character or meaning as mystic powers beyond human comprehension mysterious or enigmatic. Mystical refers to a person initiated in to esoteric mysteries, a believer in mysticism by which he intuitively comprehends truths beyond human understanding Mystical also means spiritually significant or symbolic or allegorical. Mysticism refers to doctrines or beliefs of mystics or specially the doctrines that it is possible to achieve communion with God through contemplation and love without the medium of human reason. Mysticism also means any doctrine that assesses the possibility of attaining knowledge of spiritual truths through initiation acquired by fixed meditation. It also means vague or obscure thinking or belief. It now becomes obvious that Freemasonry as we learn through various rituals and ceremonies of initiation, passing and raising is undoubtedly connected with and originating from mysticism. The first lesson we learn as an initiate is that Freemasonry is a peculiar system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols mostly of the mystic connection. But this is no ordinary explanation but requires a deep study.

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So what then is Freemasonry affectionately referred to as "The Craft". Where did it originate and what is its purpose? What is its historical back ground? Is it a secret society? What is its relationship with religion? And what is its effect on the individual? These and similar questions are pondered over by many especially the newly initiated member who is informed that Freemasonry is free and requires a perfect freedom of inclination for its mysteries. While answers to such questions are openly available and also explained to general public to remove any misgivings the curiosity of those who seek them is not always satisfied. Some men are reluctant to make direct inquiries about the order. Some have received inaccurate or inconclusive replies from those who have been quarried and some people simply do not know where the answer may be found. This unfortunate situation is complicated by the imaginative legends and the deliberate misrepresentation of Freemasonry. Moreover as has been pointed out by an eminent Freemason D.D. Darrah in the "The history of evolution of Freemasonry" there do exist numerous Masonic myths which makes it difficult to communicate to the uninitiated as Freemasonry is based on myths, mystical and mysticism. The next point to be made about the mysticism of Freemasonry a very simple one is the symbolism of our ceremonies derived from operative masonry and the craftsman's tools and equipment and the allegories in our ceremonies and concerned with particular brand of building – Temple Building.


But we are clearly taught that under a veil of allegory and symbol we are really concerned with the building of a spiritual temple a temple not made with hands eternal in heavens. Each of us is individually responsible for the preparation of one particular stone for its appropriate place in that temple and that stone is our personality. True interpretation of a rough stone from a quarry an imperfect personality as it is by nature before he begins his Masonic task and the finished perfect ashlar is all symbolic. Further having been admitted to the lodge he then receives instruction that is withheld from those who are without and which for this reason is called esoteric. The word esoteric is an interesting word that means much to those who have had experiences that have awakened them to its real significance though it may mean very little to those who are outside. Many of the illustrations are figurative like the figurative covering of freemasons lodge and freemasons figurative ascent thereto. We also refer to the celestial objects like seven stars and Jacobs’s ladder while trying to convey to the initiate the connection the celestial or mystic objects have in shaping the character of a freemason. All our signs allude to the symbolic penalties and though these penalties are not part of the obligation we convey to the candidate the important lesson in moral obligation. In explaining that masonry is universal we refer to the celestial and terrestrial globes which have a reference to mysticism. In the

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third degree we impress upon the candidate the peculiar objects of that degree by symbolically demonstrating the virtues of fidelity. In our opening hymn while we pray for the divine blessing we place our trust by the badge and mystic sign. Therefore while we may for the outside world say that masonry does not hold any secrets or is like any other institution it is true that masonry does have its own secrets though not harmful to society and the whole of its system is based on symbols, allegories and rituals close to mysticism. Let us now examine the sequence of events the candidate passes through the journey of initiation in to Freemasonry. The Tyler while admitting a candidate announces that he is properly prepared humbly soliciting to be admitted to the mysteries and privileges of ancient Freemasonry. The candidate is made aware that Freemasonry is based on mysticism to be unfolded. The pointing of the sharp instrument to his naked left breast is symbolic the significance of which is later explained. He is also informed at the time of obligation that there are many secrets and mysteries belonging to ancient Freemasonry. Through out the ceremony many of the illustrations are symbolic and figurative. Is Freemasonry mystical has been the quest of man who as an inherently inquisitive and social being inquiries in to nature of things which interests him but which he does not understand. He does not like to be alone but rather seeks the companionship of his fellow men. It is therefore natural that his curiosity should be attracted to a fraternal


organization which advocates and promotes friendship, morality and harmony among human associations an ancient institution founded upon the principle of brotherhood of manFreemasonry. Symbolic or symbolism referred in our rituals are not without significance. They have a vast inner significance and moral to convey. To illustrate the point let us refer to one most important symbolic reference in our ritual. "The sprig of Acacia" The sprig of acacia is one of the most interesting and important of all symbols of Freemasonry. Acacia tree grew abundantly in the vicinity of Jerusalem in ancient times. Wood from this tree was considered as sacred by the Hebrews like we consider the peepul tree sacred in this country. It was therefore natural for the Jews to use wood from this tree to construct the sanctuary of tabernacle and the holy Arc of Covenant. The early freemasons with all these things in mind naturally appropriated this sacred plant to the equally sacred purpose of a symbol which was intended to convey and teach an important truth in the ages that were to come. The sprig of acacia for a freemason is symbolic of immortality which is one of the most important doctrines that it is the purpose of Freemasonry to teach. In our funeral service it is referred to as the embeds of our belief in immortality of the soul. We use this symbol in our third degree ritual to mark a spot at which the ancient craftsman found that something for which he had long sought.

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When the Junior Warden is asked "What is a square" the simple answer could have been "Two sides forming a right angle". But his reply is "Fourth part of a circle". This has a deep esoteric meaning behind it. The circle among all the ancient nations is a symbol of God, the infinite whose name was discovered in the second degree in the chamber of the temple where we discovered that it consisted of four letters. Thus the candidate was admitted on one letter of the mystic name and if the four squares are united they form a circle or the name of God. The circle also forms the symbol for the Hindu conception of the Supreme Being "Paramatma". We also refer to the hidden mysteries of nature and science. These hidden mysteries undoubtedly referred to certain occult powers which would be dangerous if acquired by a man who had not proved himself to be the highest moral character. The seven steps taken to approach the altar in the third degree are again allegorical being a combination of the Trinity and the four elements representing matter. It is the same number as forms a perfect lodge and also the seven elements which form a man. All most every thing mentioned in our ritual is symbolic and connected with the mystical. Take for example the Dormer window historically in the Hypo style the method by which Egyptian and classical temples including of our ancient Hindu temples obtained light. Symbolically it is intended to represent the means by which divine light


penetrates in to the deepest recesses of our heart. The square pavement symbolically indicates that man's progress towards the centre is through alternate experiences of good and evil, darkness and light, mercy and severity, life and death. Porch which is the entrance to the sanctum sanctorum is the gateway to death. Finally Freemasonry conveys the lesson that a candidate after the quest of God becomes a mason. That he is a man of good report, of good morals and sound judgement and impeachable character that he has controlled his passions and made his heart the temple of God. He has lived his life on the square, on the square with his neighbours on the square with those he came in contact, a life of charity and perfect submission to the will of the G.A.O.T.U. In short he lived a life which a true mason ought to live. To him death has no terror any more than the stains of dishonour or falsehood. He gives up his spirit and goes to the Grand Lodge above with perfect peace and tranquillity to meet his creator and preserver in whom he lived move and had his being during his sojourn in this mortal world. Let us ponder if all the above which shaped a human being in to a freemason would have been possible by a simple statement or introduction during admission as in any other social organization. In our holy scriptures morals are conveyed through parables and divine intervention whenever or wherever necessary and if required with mystical

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and supernatural powers. Therefore it is in the realm of truth to conclusively state that Freemasonry is based on myths or mysticism by which means alone the tenets and principles of Freemasonry can be peculiarly and forcibly directed. Sourced from the Grand Lodge of India Masonic Essay Competition 2009 – Prize Winning Essay “Is Freemasonry Mystical” by R.W.Bro. M.H.R. Rao

The Ancient use of The Cable-Tow What do we mean, when in our lodges we talk of “the length of their cable tow”? Many centuries ago any yarn, fiber or string was called “tau”. Sometimes people would use several pieces of “tau” and weave or twist them into a rope. This process was then known as cabling. The result was a “cabled-tau”. The builders of the great cathedrals used “cabled-tau” for walls of cathedrals where an early form of scaffolding was built. In those days there were, of course, no occupational health standards, and climbing flimsy scaffolding with heavy tools or mortar would not be safe. Lifting tools with a “cabled-tau” would be much safer. The length of a worker’s “cable-tau” determined how high he could climb before hauling up his tools. The length of one’s “cabled-tau” limited the height to which a worker could safely climb. An inexperienced workman would have a very short “cabled-tau” until he learned his trade well and could climb higher. A builder, then, could not work beyond the length of his “cabled-tau” and the length of his “cabled-tau ” might serve as a mark of a working man’s ability.


A MASONIC BAPTISM IN the Minutes of the French Lodge, “La Triple Esperance," mention is made of a unique ceremony which took place on May 23rd, 1850, the reception into and adoption by the Lodge of two small children. Similar ceremonies are mentioned by Clavel and Ragon, but this is the most complete account of such a ceremony that I have met with. Lodge was opened by its "Venerable," W.Bro. Jules Virieux, with Bros. W. Dick and Laporte as S.W. and J. W.; Henri Bertin, Orator, and Auguste Bertin, Secretary. Amongst other distinguished visitors whose names are given were the very illustrious Bro. J. J. Daruty, 33°, representing the Supreme Council; Major Johnson, R.A., W.M. of Lodge St. George ; and many members of other Chapters and Lodges. The W.M. having taken his seat, announced that he was about to proceed with the Masonic Baptism of the two sons of himself and Bro. Eugene Berichon; he asked for the careful attention and respectful silence due to such a solemn ceremony. He then announced that to pay due honour to the occasion they were to be visited by their wives, their sisters and their daughters, by special dispensation, who could not help being benefited by the admirable precepts which would be given to the children whom the Lodge was that day going to adopt as its own. The doors were then opened, and, conducted by the Master of Ceremonies, over two hundred ladies entered the Lodge and took their places amongst the Brethren. The Temple had been specially decorated, and the entrance of these ladies added to the effect. Each Brother wore a white riband in his buttonhole, as a symbol of his joy and purest pleasure; the standards were similarly decorated; flowers were placed on the pedestals, a bond of tenderest sympathy, record the Minutes, reigned in every heart. The W.M. then addressed those present in these words:—

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“What is a Masonic Baptism? It is the presentation in the Temple of the son of a Mason by his father, assisted by two godfathers, who testify that the child thus presented is worthy of the interest of the Brethren who compose the Order, who on their own part thus engage themselves to render to the child all possible proofs of this interest until he attains his majority. Such is the truly religious ceremony that we are about to take part in, but one, I need hardly remind you, which does not in the least relieve the child's own parents from any of the duties prescribed for them by the laws of their God or of their country." Absolute silence reigned as the W.M. uttered these impressive words. He then gave orders to ascertain if the children, with their godparents and relatives, were at the entrance to the Temple, and then gave directions for their admittance. Two Brethren then entered, one carrying the names of the two children embroidered on two cushions, the other splendid bouquets as tokens of tender-heartedness, which were distributed to every lady and Brother present. The procession was then ushered in, to the playing of a religious march. The children were dressed in white, crowned with roses, preceded by banners, and accompanied by their god-parents. The Director of Ceremonies conducted them to the altar. The Lodge was happy in its choice of god-parents, Bros. H. Bertin and Chenaux for the son of the W.M., and Bros. Lachenardiere and Serendat for the son of Bro. Berichon, as all these four Brethren had been on many occasions honoured by the Lodge. The two mothers appeared completely overcome with emotion when the W.M., amidst the most profound silence,* asked the usual questions of the godparents:— “Do you promise to yourselves assist these children with your most assiduous care; to enlighten their minds with your wise counsels in all cases or particular


circumstances when they especially need such advice?” “We swear so to do," replied the godparents. The W.M. then advanced to the altar, saying:— “We welcome you, all you who believe in the friendship, and desire the glory, of Freemasonry," He then proceeded (with the accustomed ritual, it is stated) to Masonically Adopt these two children, with the following words:— “Dear Children, we are asking for you a new light, more precious than that of the day, the light of science and truth, that is to say, an understanding of the life which in your case is only just commencing." "Dear Children, this light {how astonished you would be if you could only understand my words) is a great mystery even for those who have completed half their career, so great is the darkness with which error surrounds the mind of man, so thick, so difficult to destroy.” “Though you yourselves cannot understand this light, the Masons who as your godparents are presenting you, will teach you some day whence come all these shadows, and what sad causes influence their continuance. They will teach you that this earth will one day be transformed into an abode of peace, love, and happiness, as it might have been ages since, but for three mortal enemies of the human race, Ignorance, Falsehood and Ambition— enemies who are always being re-born, and whose power embraces practically the whole world. They will speak to you quietly, probably, on this point, for these vices are not to be given too much prominence; but you will be told enough to recognise them as enemies, and be advised how to counteract them. How to preserve man from the sad consequences of ignorance, falsehood and ambition is the whole secret of the Mysteries of Freemasonry into which you are to be initiated. One day you will understand this

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for yourselves, and then you will bless the institution which, alone in the world, renders such a magnificent service to mankind. But while you await the shining of the true light before your eyes, enjoy yourselves, Dear Children, with all the pleasures of your innocent youth. May the material light quicken you, may your health permit of your enjoying the pleasure of life without alloy. And never forget the divine truth which Christ has inculcated in these words:—never do to another anything that you would not that he should do unto you; be unto him always such as you would desire he should be unto you.” “May your sight be extended, so that you may have the faculty of discerning evil in order to combat it, and the path of happiness, so that you may conduct your brethren therein.” “May your ears be opened so as to hear the voice of the Great Architect of the Universe, crying to the children of earth, 'Love one another, love one another.” “May your mouth utter only words sweet as honey. May calumny and anger never come out of it to soil it by injurious suggestions. May new truths, and of use to mankind, be emitted therefrom, and your tongue never be employed in bestowing on those who are your fellows cries of domination, or accents of slander.” “Dear Children, may your hands be always pure, unsullied by any evil deed; unsullied, in particular, by the blood of your fellows. Love, honour and obey your father and your mother, listen to them, take all care of them in their old age, never abandon them to their fate. Woe to the children who forget their parents.” “Never forget that man is born to work; only work and study can ever give him real happiness. Nature will recompense you with a thousand gifts; her treasures are boundless.


Trust in Heaven, and your daily bread will never fail you.” "Your heads are to-day crowned with flowers, symbols of innocence and happiness. So may Heaven spare you in all dangers, protect you from treachery, calumny, and all the other torments by which men so often afflict and distress one another. Above all, learn how to merit the love and esteem of all you come in contact with.” "Come, Dear Children, let me hold you in my arms while I embrace you, in the name of all our Brethren, many of whom have children of their own, whom they wish to see happy.” "Brethren, here are the children of your Bros., Eugene Berichon and Jules Virieux. Open your arms, open your hearts, bless them in your turn, and may this blessing commence the Initiation they are seeking for.” "Dear Children, the hearts of our Brethren have replied; I admit you in their name into the great Family of Masons, of those who have sworn to love you always as brethren. They will love you. They will protect you, for they have solemnly promised so to do.” "And all you who have taken part in this ceremony, remember that a Masonic Initiation is an Initiation into all the virtues which you have sworn to practise." The god-parents then carried the children to the Wardens in the West, and they were proclaimed by them as members initiated into the first mysteries of Masonry and Neophytes in that Worshipful Lodge. Each Brother then took the children from the hands of their god-parents, gave them a paternal kiss, and vowed to love them, to extend to them sympathy and assistance whensoever they might need itThe W.M. then proclaimed the adoption by the whole Masonic Family, of Andrew Stephen Adolph Emile Berichon, eight years

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of age, and Marie Aime Philippe Edouard Virieux, aged two years, and the Brethren received the announcement with three claps, accompanied by joyous strains from the organ, which had been softly played during the greater part of the ceremony. The Orator of the Lodge then delivered an eloquent address, too long to reproduce here, amplifying what had been said by the W.M. with regard to the benefits and objects of Freemasonry, the duties of the Brethren to their youngest Initiates, the duty of the latter towards their Brethren, emphasizing the necessity of a never-failing belief in the existence of a Supreme Being, Creator and Governor of the Universe, while respecting the religious sentiments of any Brother, whatever his creed, his colour of skin, or his social condition. Two charming young girls, daughters of two Brethren of the Lodge, then handed round the alms-box, which resulted in a sum of 560 francs being collected for Masonic charity. The Lodge was closed, and the members and visitors repaired to an adjoining salon for light refreshments. These Minutes are signed by the W.M., Bro. Jules Virieux, and are certified as a correct report of the proceedings by the Secretary, Bro. Auguste Bertin, and were evidently subsequently printed as a memento for all those who took part in these most interesting proceedings. * This is the third time the profound silence is specially mentioned in the minutes! Was it such an unusual occurrence or only because ladies were present?

Extracted, transcribed and supplied, by Bro. Iain Taylor from Australia, a regular reader of the newsletter, many thanks Iain. Taken from the Masonic Record, July 1921 by Bro. Bernard H. Springett PM. PZ.


The Pirate Mason Felix Von Luckner

Felix von Luckner was born in 1881 in Germany, the first son of Count Heinrich Von Luckner and heir to the family title. The von Luckners were cavalry men, but young Felix sought a life on the high seas. A rebellious youth, at the age of 13 he ran away from home and a life of luxury to become a common sailor. The young Count became a cabin boy, emptying latrines and scrubbing down pigs' stalls. Over the next seven years he learned mastery of sailing ships. He returned home at the age of 21 and became an officer in the German navy. When the Great War broke out Von Luckner was something of a celebrity in the Kaiser's royal court. He was not like the other royals; he had lived a hard life and had earned his living with his hands and heart. He was a gunnery officer aboard a Dreadnought and fought in the massive battle of Jutland. Germany had a need for such a man. They sent out merchant raiders, commerce ships with hidden guns, disguised as neutral ships, to penetrate the Royal Navy's blockade. One such ship was the former American

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windjammer, Pass of Balmaha. It was armed with two 4.2 inch guns and rechristened the Seeadler (Sea Eagle). The ship was outfitted with secret compartments, traps and was disguised as a Norwegian lumber ship right down to a Norwegian speaking German crew and even one man wearing a dress, posing as the Captain's wife. The Seeadler would have made James Bond green with envy. There was only one officer with the rank and experience to command such a large sailing ship — Felix von Luckner. In a hurricane force gale in 1917, he sailed through the British blockade. His ship was apprehended but through guile, bluff, and sheer luck, he and is crew fooled the British boarding party and made a good getaway The Seeadler sailed the Atlantic for months. It would lure in merchant ships by posing as a Norwegian. Then the crew would run up the German flag and don their naval uniforms (in keeping with maritime law). They would force the ship to surrender, usually with a shot across the bow. Then, they would take the crew prisoner and sink the merchant ship. It was all very legal, but Von Luckner did it with, well, style. Rather than treat his prisoners as captives like other


raiders did, he put them on his payroll. As a former merchant seaman he knew how to appeal to a sailor's heart. He offered them a bounty of a bottle of champagne and a bonus if they spotted a potential target. Soon the rigging of the Seeadler was as filled with, “prisoners,” as it was German sailors. He even formed a “Captains' Club,” with his fellow captains, dining together daily. Throughout his time in the Atlantic he only took one life. A shot to disable an armed ship accidentally killed a young boy. Von Luckner held a tearful funeral for the young man – the only victim of the Seeadler throughout the course of the war. After several months there were over 200 prisoners aboard the Seeadler. Von Luckner captured a ship and cut her masts to reduce its speed. He transferred his prisoners over to the ship and set them loose to freedom in Rio. When they arrived in port the Royal Navy discovered who had been sinking their ships. They set a trap for him at Cape Horn, but Von Luckner's luck held as he skirted the British patrols and made his way into the Pacific. By then the United States had entered the war and the Seeadler crew captured three American merchant ships. The Seeadler anchored on the desert island of Mopelia to clean her hull and so the crew could replenish supplies. Her anchor slipped and the Seeadler became shipwrecked. The prisoners and German crew set up a small city there, Seeadlerdorf, while the wily Count prepared to go in search of another ship to capture and refit as the Seeadler's replacement.

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With supplies running low on the tropical island, Von Luckner took five men in an open launch in search of another ship to continue his mission. Through a perilous trip they sailed over 2,000 miles in the open ship and narrowly escaped capture on several occasions. Near Fiji, they were apprehended by a local constable. While they had enough firepower to capture the island, the crew and their captain were not wearing uniforms. To defend themselves would have marked them as spies, pirates, or worse…and he was unwilling to sacrifice his honour. While a prisoner in New Zealand Von Luckner and a handful of other POWs escaped, stealing the POW camp commandant's launch. They captured another ship, but were soon apprehended by an auxiliary cruiser of the New Zealand Royal Navy. While Von Luckner was returned to prisoner status, his remaining crew on Mopelia captured a ship and made their way to Easter Island and eventually to Chile. His daring exploits during the war did not alter Germany's fate. Von Luckner, though, remained a hero of the German people. His pluck and daring were respected and he often spoke to groups of young Germans to inspire them. Books of his adventures, oftentimes exaggerated, were sold around the world. The German government engaged him as an ambassador of peace. He travelled to the US where he became an instant celebrity. His former captives spoke highly of him and crowds packed auditoriums to hear him tell his story.


He was granted several honorary citizenships in the U.S. and abroad. During this time, in the late 1920's, he became a Mason and eventually became a Knight Templar. Von Luckner took his membership in the Masons quite seriously. He was deeply religious and considered his Masonic obligations to be some of his most honoured. In a few years, they would come close to costing him his life. With the rise of Hitler in the late 1930's, Von Luckner found himself less wanted. He refused to join the Nazi party but tried to help Germany. His trip to Australia in 1938, sponsored by several party members, was something of a debacle for Germany. Von Luckner was not a shill for the Nazi Party and did not spout the propaganda that the Nazis hoped he would. When he returned to Germany Hitler had him brought up before a Court of Honour on a string of trumped-up and falsified charges. He was implored to renounce his foreign citizenships and refused. Moreover, he was ordered to renounce his membership in the Masons and refused. The Nazis viewed the Masonic order as a direct threat – a loyalty that Germans might hold above the Nazis' own dark cause. Von Luckner took a great deal of risk in defying Hitler. His popularity with an entire generation of Germans spared his life. He was placed under a form of house arrest in Halle, Germany, his

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family's hometown. His books, once required reading, were burned and he was no longer allowed to meet groups in public. In 1945 the U.S. Army's 104th Division (The Timberwolves) approached Halle and the entrenched Germans there. Halle was the largest city in Germany that had been spared widespread strategic bombing attacks. The city held thousands of German civilians and thousands of American POWs who were being treated in her hospitals. Von Luckner realized that Halle would be destroyed by the U.S. Army if they resisted. In the middle of fighting he snuck through the battle lines, meeting up with a pair of reporters who were seeking him out. The old Count, former privateer, and hero met with General Terry Allen and successfully negotiated a German withdrawal from Halle. His actions alone saved hundreds if not thousands of lives on both sides. When the war was over the Count did not return to the speaking circuit. Bitterness with Germany after years of war and strife strained relations. The Russians entered Halle and declared that that the American Army had never been there – that they had liberated the city. General Patton himself helped get the von Luckner family out of the hands of the Russians and to the Countess's home in Sweden From Blaine L. Pardoe’s book, ‘Cruise of the Sea Eagle.’ The newsletter acknowledges the author and gives thanks for permission from him to use this article.


Lodge St. James Border Union Royal Arch No.424.

of the petition and submit the same at an early meeting to be held in the Crown Hotel.

The Early Years

The next meeting was held on the 3rd July, when a draft of the petition was submitted and was approved of, a Brother was deputed to proceed to Edinburgh and present the same to the Secretary of Grand Lodge, with the view to it being submitted to that body at its first meeting, receiving the sum of one pound to defray his travelling expenses. At This meeting twelve pounds were subscribed to pay the fee for the charter and meet other necessary initial expenses. Anticipating apparently that there would be no difficulty in securing the desired charter, this meeting proceed to elect the office bearers.

WHEN Freemasonry first took root in Hawick is not exactly known but a charter was granted in favour of Hawick Lodge in 1768 by the Grand Lodge of Scotland. In this document, which is dated 15th March, 1768, it is however stated that the brethren who made the application “had for some time past kept up a Brotherly Society of Masons without any regular constitution.” It may thus be inferred that for some time prior to 1768 a Masonic Lodge has existed in the burgh. The Hawick Lodge, like so many lodges has, during its long and honourable history, had its periods of prosperity and adversity, and at one time was dormant for something like twenty-three years. Early in 1860 it awakened from its slumbers, and resuming its labours it has since had a most prosperous career. Towards the close of the year 1862 strained relations developed amongst the brethren, the cause of this being understood to be connected with the formation of a second company of Rifle Volunteers in Hawick. Eventually one section severed itself from the Lodge and resolved to form a second Lodge. Towards this end a meeting was held in June 1863, for the purpose of making the necessary arrangements. At this meeting it was agreed that the Grand Lodge of Scotland should be petitioned to grant a charter for a new Lodge in Hawick, to be called Lodge St. James, Border Union Royal Arch, Bro. Thom being instructed to prepare a draft

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The next meeting was held in the Bridge Hotel on the 7th August when a letter was produced which had been received from a member of Grand Lodge, intimating that at the Quarterly Communication held on the 3rd inst. the desired charter had been granted, it was agreed unanimously that the colours of the Lodge should be royal blue and crimson, Bro. Fraser to “provide ribbons and sashes, jewels, etc.” It was also agreed to procure a set of books from Edinburgh, and Bro. Purvis was instructed to provide any Lodge furniture required. It was also decided to at once write Grand Lodge and intimate that as a number of candidates for initiation might be lost by delay, a working letter be sent until the charter could be got ready. The Charter had been more expeditiously prepared than expected


for at the next meeting held, also in the Bridge Hotel, on the 31st of that month, the secretary announced that the charter had been received, and the Secretary was accordingly instructed to get into communication with Provincial Grand Secretary, and request the Provincial Grand Master, and other officials to visit Hawick on as early a date as possible and open the Lodge and install the office-bearers. The institution of the Lodge and the installation of office-bearers took place in the Half Moon Hotel on the evening on the 7th September, when seven representatives of the Provincial Grand Lodge were present. In the unavoidable absence of the Provincial Grand Master, Bro. Inglis, P.M., of St. Luke’s Lodge No.44 read his commission from the P.G.M., authorising him to act as his substitute at the installation. The Lodge was duly opened in the first degree, and the installation proceeded with, the visiting brethren in recognition of their services being cordially elected honorary members of the Lodge. Seven candidates who had been proposed and balloted for at a previous meeting, and admitted, then received the entered apprentice degree. In the weeks which followed the Lodge was kept pretty busy initiating members, but some discord would appear to have unfortunately arisen between the two lodges in the town, or at least between certain brethren of the respective Lodges. At a meeting on the 4th November it was agreed to forward a vigorous protest to lodge St. John, No.111 against an alleged “gross calumny” upon a sister lodge, and “the individual characters of the members

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thereof.” The misunderstanding would appear, however, to have been soon amicably settled, for at the celebration of St. Andrew’s day on the 30th of the month, a deputation of three brethren of Lodge St. John was present, an equal number from Lodge St. James participating in the fraternal goodwill and hospitality of Lodge No.111. At a meeting a few nights later a committee was appointed to meet the brethren of St. John’s and to intimate “the desire of Lodge 424 to join them in a procession on St. John’s Day, and likewise to meet them at dinner, and should the desire be mutual to suggest that a committee be appointed from each lodge to arrange the matter and report the result to the respective lodges.” At a subsequent meeting it was reported that the proposal had been cordially entertained by Lodge St. John, but later difficulties arose between a few of the brethren, and it was decided to dine at separate boards. Lodge St. James had their dinner in the large front room of the Crown Hotel, and as the newspaper chronicler of the period remarked, the table was “covered with all the delicacies of the season.” Mine hostess of that well-known hostelry was at that time Mrs. Grieve. The first social gathering of the Lodge was in every way a success, for though it had been in existence for only little more than three months there was an attendance of thirty-five. The Master, occupied the chair, and he was supported right and left by the D.M., and S.M., the croupier being the Senior Warden. Honoured visitors during the evening were the R.W.M. of St. John’s, Bro. J.G. Wilson, Bro. Gowans, P.M., and Bro. Beattie, three brethren of St. James’s returning the compliment and being accorded a


cordial and fraternal reception from the members of the senior Lodge. The Lodge during the second year of its existence continued to strengthen its position by addition of a number of new members, but no incident or event of outstanding importance appears to have taken place. A question of procedure arose over the initiation of John Macfarlane, a commercial traveller. On the New Year’s Day of 1864 a special meeting was held, when it was moved that Mr. Macfarlane be admitted a member of the Lodge, and it was agreed that he should receive the three degrees on one night, and that another special meeting be held three nights thereafter for that purpose. At the meeting on the 4th January, a Brother protested that it was contrary to the by-laws that the three degrees should be conferred on the one evening, unless the candidate had been proposed and approved of six days previously. Another Brother said he had seen a candidate proposed and receive the three degrees all in one night. The R.W.M., submitted that the present case was one of emergency, and declared he would accept all responsibility; if he had not this power his office was worthless. Some difficulty would appear to have been experienced with regard to getting brethren to accept the office of tyler, for in the minute of meeting of 12th September 1865, appears the following: - “Bro. Warwick proposed Edward Murray as a fit and proper person to become a brother, and providing he engage to fill the office of tyler to the Lodge for one year, he receives the three degrees free.” As a further inducement for Mr. Murray to become a member of the craft it was agreed that

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he should receive a sum of one shilling for each entrant. Bro. Murray for some unexplained reason does not appear, however, to have discharged the duties for any length of time, for at the meeting on the 5th September of the following year it is recorded that “the tyler then rendered his resignation which was accepted.” At a meeting a fortnight later it was moved “that James Dodds of Lodge 179 Dunnearne of the Grand Lodge of Ireland be affiliated into this Lodge, which was unanimously agreed to, and which was accordingly done, the said Brother being appointed tyler of this Lodge.” Apparently the Lodge had been considerably troubled and annoyed by rather frequent visit of indigent brethren for at the meeting on 15th June, 1866, it was resolved “that no person coming to seek relief from this Lodge, professing to be a Freemason, unless he can produce his diploma will be acknowledged by the Lodge, nor obtain money from the funds.” The matter was again the subject of discussion at a special meeting on the 27th August, when it was agreed that “no brother receives relief from the Lodge unless he can produce a certificate from his Mother Lodge, or a Grand Lodge diploma, and prove himself to be a freemason to the satisfaction of the Right Worshipful Master.” These rather stringent measures were, however, cancelled at a meeting held on the 23rd January of the following year, and it was resolved that “ any indigent brother who may prove himself a free and accepted Mason receives relief whether he be in possession of a diploma or other credentials or not.”


Under date, 11th December 1866, it is recorded that James Thomson, turner and cabinetmaker, received the degree of Entered Apprentice Mason, this being the initiation into the mysteries of the craft of the author of “Doric Lays and Lyrics,” and the future esteemed bard of the Lodge. On the 11th December, 1867, there is minuted, “Bro. Thomson presented a Bible to the Lodge, which the Lodge accepted.” This volume of the Sacred Law was for over half a century in regular use by the Lodge, and upon it every member took his solemn Masonic vows. It is still one of the highly valued possessions of the Lodge. (James Thomson is the author of the song, “The Star of Rabbie Burns. Editor)

Early in 1869 an effort was made to secure a room in the Industrial School for meetings of the Lodge, but without success, and they continued to be held in the Crown Hotel. At Several meetings references were made to the poor attendances, and on the 3rd October, the Lodge could not be opened on account of the small number of brethren present. On the 3rd November there was a long discussion among the brethren regarding the disordered state of the Lodge, and Bro. Grierson moved “that every brother does his utmost to try and get the Lodge into a better state than it has hitherto been.” It would appear, however, to have been difficult to get members to take an active interest in the working of the Lodge, for about a month later, on the 30th November, a meeting for nominations was held but so few were made that the chairman “warned the brethren that if they did not go on with the nominations that he would close the lodge.” The Lodge was closed till 8th December. At a meeting on the latter

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date there would appear to have been an attendance of twelve, and the nominations were proceeded with. Apparently with a view of drawing the brethren together and quickening their interest in the Lodge, it was agreed to have a supper and ball in the Town Hall on Old year’s Night. The Rev. Henry Scott Riddell of Teviothad and the bard of Lodge St. John, No.111, died on the morning of Saturday, 30th July, 1870, and at a meeting of the Lodge on the Monday evening it was agreed that a deputation should attend his funeral at Teviothead on the following day when with reverent and solemn ceremonial his remains were laid to rest in “That churchyard, That lonely is lying amid the deep greenwood, By Teviot’s wild strand.” On the following Sunday evening a special funeral service was held in St. Mary’s Church when an impressive and appreciative tribute was paid to the departed bard by the Chaplain of the Lodge. A large number of the brethren of Lodge St. James attended. Bro. James Thomson, who was so long the gifted bard of 424 read the several verses to the memory of his poetic brother at a subsequent meeting of the Provincial Grand Lodge held in the Exchange Hall. (Henry Scott Riddell is the author of the song “Scotland Yet”. Editor)

The following three years were uneventful in the Lodge’s history, the Lodge appearing to be lapsing into a semi-moribund condition, and after 13th October, 1874, no minutes are recorded


of meetings held till 7th December, 1875. From the attendance book it would, however, appear that fourteen meetings were held, and at several of these were fair attendances. In 1876 no minutes of meetings are recorded from 4th April till 23rd December when the office bearers were elected and installed. According to the attendance book five meetings were held in 1877, all of them poorly attended. On the 21st May, 1878, a meeting was held at which eleven brethren were present. It was almost a year before another meeting of the Lodge was held, this time in the Half Moon Hotel. The minutes record that “Bro. Bruce, P.M., preceded to install Bro. Park, into the office of R.W.M. Bro. Park received a cordial welcome from the Lodge, it being the fourth session in which he has occupied the chair of the Lodge.� Bro. Inglis was accorded a cordial vote of thanks for granting the use of the room for the Lodge purposes, and it was agreed to have a small supper on Saturday, 8th March, to inaugurate the re-opening of the Lodge. From 5th August, 1879, on which date a meeting was held, but unrecorded in the minute book, till 13th November, 1883, the Lodge went to sleep. Lodge Border Union Royal Arch awakened and from that day until the present, the Lodge continues to meet in its own hall in the border town of Hawick.

The editor and the newsletter acknowledge Lodge 424 as the copyright owner of this history. If your Lodge has a history that it might like our readers to read, contact the editor.

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Substitutes at Funerals

"It's too bad!" complained the New Brother, "I've got drawn on a funeral committee on the very day I want to play golf. I wonder if I can find a substitute?" "Very likely," answered the Old Tiler. "The world is full of substitutes who perform the duties of people too lazy, inefficient, and careless of the rights of others to do it themselves." "Oh, come now, don't be so rough!" The New Brother winced. "Going to funerals is all form. Why, I never even saw this deceased brother! What difference will it make to him or his family if I go to his funeral myself or get someone else to go for me?"


"No difference at all," agreed the Old Tiler. The only person to whom it will make any difference will be you." "The difference it will make to me will be the difference between being bored and having a good game of golf!" asserted the New Brother. "It will make other difference." The Old Tiler was very emphatic. "One of them is that the only importance Masonry has is what it does to a man's heart. Objectively, it is of less importance than the necktie he wears. The important part of Masonry is its leavening power on that part of a man which is the ego, the person, the individual. "The effect Masonry has on a man's heart is aided by the mechanics of Masonry; temple, lodge room, dignity of the order, its public appearances, the respect it shows to its dead, its educational work, appeal to the general public, its secrecy, its reputation of being above party and politics, its alliance with all religion and its participation in none. These make Masonry objective, but they are the outward semblance of the inward and spiritual Masonry. These you ought to know for yourself: charity, relief, brotherly love, truth, knowledge, selfsacrifice, tolerance. "But how can you separate the inward and spiritual from the outward and objective? We build beautiful temples and meet in handsome lodge rooms, to express our love for our belief. We make lodge work dignified, well done, impressive, to express to ourselves our sense of the dignity of the truths we

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teach. We conduct the funeral of a deceased brother, not to make a show before the world, but to express to ourselves our regret that a brother has departed and our conviction that he has but traveled upward to that Temple Not Made With Hands, where the Supreme Architect waits for all who have been builders upon earth. "The world does judge by externals. As we make an impressive appearance at a funeral, so do the profane judge us. If we make a poor and straggling appearance at a funeral, we are judged by those who do not know Masonry from the inside. Therefore it is important to those who care for the good name of Masonry that our funerals are well attended and that we conform to these outward marks of grief which custom has made essential at a funeral. "It is usual to have a funeral committee. In large lodges it is more essential than in small, because in small lodges everyone knows everyone else and goes to a funeral because he wants to. In large lodges we don't know everyone, and unless we have a committee we don't put up the right kind of 'front' at a funeral. The more obscure and unknown the brother, the less the size of the lodge turnout. Hence the committee, chosen by lot or alphabetical order. "In this lodge we have many members and we chose fifty brethren by the alphabet. Once in twenty funerals your name will be drawn. If we have five funerals a year, which is average, you will be called upon once in four years to aid your lodge to show its respect for the grief of the family of a departed


brother, and show the profane that Masonry honors its own. "You can get a substitute. I will substitute for you if you wish. I have no golf game to attract me. I substitute for a many good men. Sometimes I substitute because of a real reason; business, absence, illness. Sometimes I substitute because a man is too careless and too lazy to do his own work. But then, nothing I can do will help him. For the sake of the lodge I go in his place. For his own sake I try to show him what a mistake he makes in delegating to another the duty he owes his fraternity. "Masonry means something in my heart. It means more as its reputation grows. If anything I can do aids that reputation, I am glad. When is this funeral you want me to attend for you? "I don't want you to," answered the New Brother. "I've got to go now..." "What's your hurry?" asked the Old Tiler. "I want to see the Secretary and tell him to put me down as a possible substitute next time, when someone does what I was going to do- miss my chance to do my last duty to one of my brethren."

This is the twenty first 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

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HAIL to the CRAFT Hail to the: Craft! at whose serene command The gentle arts in glad obedience stand: Hail, sacred Masonry! of source divine, Unerring sovereign of th' unerring line; Whose plumb of truth, with never-failing sway, Makes the joined parts of symmetry obey: Whose magic stroke bids fell confusion cease, And to the finished Orders gives a place: Who calls vast structures from the womb of earth, And gives imperial cities glorious birth.

To works of Art her merit not confined She regulates the morals, squares the mind; Corrects with care the' sallies of the soul, And points the tide of passions where to roll. On Virtue's tablet marks her moral rule, And forms her Lodge and universal school; Where Nature's Mystic laws unfolded stand, And Sense and Science, joined, go. hand in hand.

O may her serial rules instructive spread, Till Truth erect her long-neglected head! Till throng' h deceitful Night she dart her ray, And beam full glorious in the blaze' of day! Till men by virtuous maxims learn to move, Till all the peopled world her laws approve, And Adam's race are bound in Brothers' love.


Rays of Masonry “An Affirmative Outlook” It is true that we adopt a popular idea and later find disappointment because it does not "hold water." "Look at the bright side of everything," are words which have resulted in the opposite of the intended objective. Faith must carry with it the elements of knowledge and perception. There must be a foundation. At some point in our thinking we Faith to span the unknown, understanding must carry us to analogy between the Seen and Unseen.

use but an the

To take an affirmative attitude toward the ultimate solution of all problems is different from the casual "looking at the bright side of everything." To study, to contemplate, to see all sides, but to retain a hopeful viewpoint is the soundest philosophy. Masonry teaches such a philosophy. The candidate is directed to two paths, and by the very nature of symbolism is given the opportunity to choose. He is also given the best thought of the ages. Let us have an Affirmative Outlook based upon study, understanding and Faith. Dewey Wollstein 1953. Rays of Masonry are the musings of Dewey Wollstein, and make for very good reading, these appear as a regular feature in the newsletter.

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Fraternal Societies Of the World ‘Ancient Order of Knights of the Mystic Chain’ This group was founded in 1871 in the traditions of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Amongst the founders were freemasons and Knights of Pythias. Some of the characteristics of this order can be traced to these two groups. The Knights of the Mystic Chain has three degrees: Knighthood, Mystery and Chivalry. The central point of a Castle (lodge) was an altar, upon which was an open Bible. The initiation rituals are far less serious. In the first degree the candidate is placed on a metal plate and instructed to take an object out of a bowl of water. At that time an electric shock is put through the candidate. In another degree the blindfolded candidate is ordered to bow deep until their heads dip in cold water. Members are urged in the rituals to make a fool of the candidates. All for the fun of the members. After several years a fourth degree was added, the Mark-degree. This degree was only open to past masters of Castles. There was also a separate paramilitary uniform-rank and a degree for women: Naomi or the Daughters of Ruth.


In 1889 the order started to work in insurance, however it never grew larger. At its top it had around 40,000 members. It disappeared in the first half of the 20th century.

The Ritual of the Mystic Bowl CHAPLAIN: This man is manifestly deficient in something. He is lacking in some of the attributes of head or heart. This is the most charitable construction, for we should else be obliged to attribute his conduct to the despicable vice of avarice. If we could in any way ascertain what the deficiency is, it might be possible to supply the defect, in part at least, or else, to some extent, counteract the malign consequences of the dereliction. The case seems to justify a resort to the supernatural assistance of the Mystic Bowl. There is a cabalistic charm in the waters of that mysterious font which is able to render up the secret we desire. Shall this recusant candidate be required to search into the depths of the Mystic Bowl for a revelation of the attributes in which he is deficient? What say you? MEMBERS, all speaking at same time: Let him be taken to the Mystic Bowl. COMMANDER: Friend, the members of this Lodge demand that you shall inquire of the Mystic Bowl for a revelation of the traits in which you appear to be deficient, and without which it is not possible to fulfill the character of the perfect Knight. Are you willing to learn wherein your greatest lack doth lie? CANDIDATE, prompted: I am. The Mystic Bowl consists of a basin of water placed upon a small table or stand, and charged with electricity. In front of the table or stand is spread a metallic mat, such as is usually placed

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under a stove. A battery should be concealed behind a screen, two wires from the battery secretly connecting, the one with the Mystic Bowl and the other with the mat. As the candidate stands upon the mat and dips his hands into the water the circuit is completed and the shock imparted to the candidate, in the bottom of the basin there is placed a metallic plate, on which are imprinted the words: “Practice in all thy dealings Kindness, Mercy, Charity.” These preparations being ready, a brief intermission may be bad to enable the members to gather around to witness the ceremony. The candidate is now conducted o the Bowl, his shoes having been removed, and care being taken that he stands upon the mat. COMMANDER: Candidate, you have given your assent to a most solemn rite. Nothing short of supernatural power possessed by this Bowl could enable it to reveal traits of your character that are hidden from the scrutiny of your closest friends, and perhaps unsuspected by yourself. You are about, therefore, to come into contact with one of the most awful and mysterious auguries of nature, so to speak; and you should approach it with the reverence of the man of God who, on ascending the Sacred Mount, was commanded to remove his shoes, “for,” as the divine voice proclaimed, “the place whereon thou standest is sacred ground.” The Marshal will now remove your shoes. This being done, the Marshal conducts the candidate to the Mystic Bowl. COMMANDER: Candidate, having removed your shoes, in token of reverence, you will wash your hands as a symbol of the cleanliness and purification with which you should approach the mysterious ceremony.


The candidate now dips his hands into the Bowl, and is surprised by receiving an electric shock. The suddenness with which he will withdraw and the look of astonishment upon his face will be positively ludicrous. COMMANDER: Stretch forth thy hand and delve to the bottom of the Mystic Bowl. Perchance you may there find some record, or intelligible clue to the attributes in which you are deficient; and rest assured there will be revealed only what is for thy good. The candidate, who is probably unsuccessful in his first attempts, finally succeeds in plunging his hand to the bottom of the Bowl, and draws out the tin or copper plate. The amount of electricity can be increased or diminished by an ordinary battery, as may be necessary. CHAPLAIN, after candidate has drawn forth the plate: What is the motto which you find mysteriously inscribed upon the plate? CANDIDATE, reads aloud the inscription: “Practice in all thy dealings, Kindness, Mercy, Charity.” CHAPLAIN: You have now, through the supernatural efficacy of the Mystic Bowl, been apprised of the natural defects in your character, namely, Kindness, Mercy, Charity. These are the cardinal virtues of this order, and the solemn vow you have taken imposes upon you an obligation to religiously observe and practice them in the future; and may the Supreme Searcher of Hearts enable you to perform this vow, and discharge this is obligation. 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.

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Brothers and Builders The Basis and Spirit of Freemasonry CHAPTER 5 – THE LEVEL AND PLUMB. LIKE the Square and the Compasses, the Level and the Plumb are nearly always united in our Ritual. They really belong together, as much in moral teaching as in practical building. The one is used to lay horizontals, the other to try perpendiculars, and their use suggests their symbolism. By reason of their use, both are special working tools of the Fellowcraft, along with the Square; and they are also worn as jewels by two of the principal officers of the Lodge. Among the Craft Masons of olden time the actual work of building was done by Fellowcrafts, using materials gathered and rough hewn by Apprentices, all working under the guidance of the Master. In our symbolism, as the Apprentice is youth, so the Fellowcraft is manhood, the time when the actual work of life must be done on the Level, by the Plumb and Square. Next to the Square and Compasses, the Level and Plumb are among the noblest and simplest symbols of the Craft, and their meaning is so plain that it hardly needs to be pointed out. Yet they are so important, in use and meaning, that they might almost be numbered among the Lesser Lights of the Lodge. The Level, so the newly made Mason is taught, is for the purpose of proving


horizontals. An English writer finds a lesson in the structure of the Level, in the fact that we know that a surface is level when the fluid is poised and at rest. From the use of the Level he bids us seek to attain a peaceful, balanced poise of mind, undisturbed by the passions which upset and sway us one way or the other. It is a counsel of perfection, he admits, but he insists that one of the best services of Masonry is to keep before us high ideals, and, what is more, a constantly receding ideal, otherwise we should tire of it. Of course, the great meaning of the Level is that it teaches equality, and that is a truth that needs to be carefully understood. There is no little confusion of mind about it. Our Declaration of American Independence tells us that all men are "created equal," but not many have tried to think out what the words really mean. With most of us it is a vague sentiment, a glittering generality born of the fact that all are made of the same dust, are sharers of the common human lot, moved by the same great faith and fears, hopes and loves walking on the Level of time until Death, by its grim democracy, erases all distinctions and reduces all to the same level. Anyone who faces the facts knows well enough that all men are not equal, either by nature or by grace. Our humanity resembles the surface of the natural world in its hills and valleys. Men are very unequal in physical power, in mental ability, in moral quality. No two men are equal; no two are alike. One man towers above his fellows, as a mountain above the hills. Some can do what others can never do. Some have

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five talents, some two, and some but one. A genius can do with effortless ease what it is futile for others to attempt, and a poet may be unequal to a hod-carrier in strength and sagacity. When there is inequality of gift it is idle to talk of equality of opportunity, no matter how fine the phrase may sound. It does not exist. By no glib theory can humanity be reduced to a dead level. The iron wrinkles of fact are stubborn realities. Manifestly it is better to have it so, because it would make a dull world if all men were equal in a literal sense. As it is, wherein one lacks another excels, and men are drawn together by the fact that they are unequal and unlike. The world has different tasks demanding different powers, brains to devise, seers to see, hands to execute, prophets to lead. We need poets to inspire, scientists to teach, pioneers to blaze the path into new lands. No doubt this was what Goethe meant when he said that it takes all men to make one man, and the work of each is the glory of all. What, then, is the equality of which the Level is the symbol? Clearly it is not identity or even similarity of gift and endowment. No, it is something better; it is the equal right of each man to the full use and development of such power as he has, whatever it may be, unhindered by injustice or oppression. As our Declaration of Independence puts it, every man has an equal and inalienable right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," with due regard for the rights of others in the same quest. Or, as a famous slogan summed it up: "Equal rights for all; special privileges to none!" That is to say,


before the law every man has an equal right to equal justice, as before God, in whose presence all men are one in their littleness, each receives equally and impartially the blessing of the Eternal Love, even as the sun shines and the rain falls on all with equal benediction.

station, and united for the highest good of all. "We meet upon the Level and part upon the Square"; titles, ranks, riches, do not pass the Inner Guard; and the humblest brother is held in sacred regard, equally with the brother who has attained the highest round of the wheel of fortune.

Albert Pike, and with him many others, have gone so far as to say that Masonry was the first apostle of equality in the true sense. One thing we do know: Freemasonry presided over the birth of our Republic, and by the skill of its leaders wrote its basic truth, of which the Level is the symbol, into the organic law of this land. The War for Independence, and the fight for constitutional liberty, might have had another issue but for the fact that our leaders were held together by a mystic tie of obligation, vowed to the service of the rights of man. Even Thomas Paine, who was not a Mason, wrote an essay in honour of an Order which stood for government without tyranny and religion without superstition - two principles which belong together, like the Level and the Plumb. Thus, by all that is sacred both in our Country and our Craft, we are pledged to guard, defend, and practice the truth taught by the Level.

Every man in the Lodge is equally concerned in the building of the Temple, and each has his work to do. Because the task demands different gifts and powers, all are equally necessary to the work, the architect who draws the plans, the Apprentice who carries stones or shapes them with chisel and gavel, the Fellowcraft who polishes and deposits them in the wall, and the officers who marshal the workmen, guide their labour, and pay their wages. Every one is equal to every other so long as he does good work, true work, square work. None but is necessary to the erection of the edifice; none but receives the honour of the Craft; and all together know the joy of seeing the Temple slowly rising in the midst of their labours. Thus Masonry lifts men to a high level, making each a fellow-worker in a great enterprise, and if it is the best brotherhood it is because it is a brotherhood of the best.

But it is in the free and friendly air of a Lodge of Masons, about an altar of obligation and prayer, that the principle of equality finds it’s most perfect and beautiful expression. There, upon the Level, the symbol of equality, rich and poor, high and low, prince and plain citizen - men of diverse creeds, parties, interests, and occupations - meet in mutual respect and real regard, forgetting all differences of rank and

The Plumb is a symbol so simple that it needs no exposition. As the Level teaches unity in diversity and equality in difference, so the Plumb is a symbol of rectitude of conduct, integrity of life, and that uprightness of moral character which makes a good and just man. In the art of building accuracy is integrity, and if a wall be not exactly perpendicular, as tested by the Plumbline, it is weak and may fall, or else

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endanger the strength and stability of the whole. Just so, though we meet upon the Level, we must each build an upright character, by the test of the Plumb, or we weaken the Fraternity we seek to serve and imperil 'Its strength and standing in the community. As a workman dare not deviate by the breadth of a hair to the right or to the left if his wall is to be strong and his arch stable, so Masons must walk erect and live upright lives. What is meant by an upright life each of us knows, but it has never been better described than in the 15th Psalm, which may be called the religion of a gentleman and the design upon the Trestle board of every Mason:"Lord, who shall abide in Thy tabernacle? Who shall dwell in Thy holy hill? He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart. He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doeth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproachagainst his neighbour. In whose eyes a vile person is condemned; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord. He that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not. He that putteth not out his money to usury, nor taketh reward against the innocent. He that doeth these things shall never be moved." What is true of a man is equally true of a nation. The strength of a nation is its integrity, and no nation is stronger than the moral quality of the men who are citizens. Always it comes back at last to the individual, who is a living stone in the wall of society and the state, making it strong or weak. By every act of injustice, by every lack of integrity, we

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weaken society and imperil the security and sanctity of the common life. By every noble act we make all sacred things more sacred and secure for ourselves and for those who come after us. The prophet Amos has a thrilling passage in which he lets us see how God tested the people which were of old by the Plumb-line; and by the same test we are tried :"Thus He showed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by plumbline, with a plumb-line in His hand. And the Lord said unto me, 'Amos, what seest thou?' And I said, 'A plumb-line.' Then said the Lord, 'Behold, I will set a plumb-line in the midst of my people of Israel: I will not again pass them by any more." This is the fifth Chapter in the Book, Brothers and Builders by Joseph Fort Newton, the sixth Chapter - The Master’s Piece will appear next month.


The Grip

The World at Large knows that the freemasons grip has caused much jesting, but this grip is not so strange since the mere fact of shaking hands as a gesture of faith and confidence was used in the symbolism of Roman law and has been continuously observed by all civilised people to the present day. Some writers consider that a tangible object such as a piece of metal or coin should be employed, but this need not necessarily be so as the word comes from old German meaning to ‘indicate’ or ‘to point out’. The grip or token was and is used as recognition of skills obtained. In Mark masonry, members have a marked ‘token.’

Sourced from Why? ‘Coming to Terms with Freemasonry’ by Bro. John Cane PPG Supt Wks (Surrey)

Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor.

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SRA76 OCTOBER 2012 MASONIC MAGAZINE  
SRA76 OCTOBER 2012 MASONIC MAGAZINE  

The monthly masonic magazine of Lodge Stirling Royal Arch No.76

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