In this issue: Page 2, ‘Freemasons on the Titanic.’ This article looks at some of the Freemasons who were on the fateful voyage. Page 8, ‘Go placidly amid the noise and haste.’ Not Masonic, but it could be! Page 9, ‘In Strength is our Intelligence.’ “Masonic research may be compared with an ocean, unfathomable in its delights and profit.” Page 11, ‘Houston St. Johnstone No.242.’ Another History of one of our Ancient Scottish Lodges. Page 13, ‘Rays of Masonry’, “Do the Little Things”, our Regular monthly feature. Page 14, ‘The Old Tiler Talks’. “Masonic Talk”, the twenty seventh in the series from Carl Claudy. Page 16, ‘The Scots Lodge No.2319 EC’ The English Lodge with Scottish Masonic traditions. Page 21, ‘The Origin of Masonry’. Part Four – Mt. Gerizim and the Land of Moriah. Page 24, ‘So Mote it be’. The thoughts of Bro. Rabbi Raymond Apple. Page 25, ‘The Masonic Dictionary’ Degree.
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘Masons – On the Square’. [link] The front cover picture is the famous Titanic embarking on is fateful voyage.
Freemasons on the Titanic By Bro. Larry Burden
The RMS (Royal Mail Ship) Titanic is arguably the most famous ship in the history of the world and definitely the most famous maritime disaster of all times. The doomed ship built by the Harland & Wolfe shipyard in the Irish city of Belfast lives on past its maiden voyage and its encounter with an iceberg. This April marked the 100th anniversary of the disaster that has spawned numerous books, movies and conspiracy theories. Nearly every aspect of this disaster has been examined reviewed and documented since that fateful night of April 15th 1912; except for identifying the members of this fraternity who were aboard. Prior to gliding in two pieces down to the bottom at 12,500 feet the floating palace that financier J.P. Morgan built, offered numerous luxuries for the super rich. These included a swimming pool, Turkish bath, squash courts, and three enclosed dining rooms, one for each class. Though the majority of passengers aboard could barely scrape together 3rd class fare £7 5s (equivalent to £532 today), the Titanic’s first voyage was a spectacle for wealthy, many of who were millionaires and the elite business leaders of the new 20th Century. Tickets for the most expensive first-class parlour suite would cost you £870 over $100,000 in today’s currency and the dress code for dinner included the finest of clothing complete with diamonds for both men and women. Even though it was her maiden voyage she was considerably under her capacity of 2,586 with only 1317 passengers plus her crew of 885. The reason for being half full was due to a long coal strike that had severely hampered the transportation industry. Although the strike had recently ended, there was not enough time to market the ships passage before she sailed. The 46,328 registered gross tons Titanic had 11 decks eight of which were used for passengers. She was 882 feet 9 inches long her maximum breadth was 92 feet 6 inches and her total height, from the base of the keel to the top of the bridge, was 104’. With a draught of 34 feet 7 inches, she displaced 52,310 tons.
Nobody knows for sure how many of the 2,224 people aboard were Freemasons but there had to many more than the 35 men that have been identified five of whom survived. One would assume that this Fraternity would have researched this historical event, but surprisingly very little research on this topic has been done until recently. In the course of
my research I have discovered many interesting details about these men and what I found was really interesting. Contrary to what one would assume, most of the Freemasons identified on the Titanic were not the super rich or upper crust of society, but instead 26 came from the crew and second class! Freemasons aboard came from Ireland, Italy, England, South Africa, Wales, America and Canada and included engineers, stewards, waiters, musicians, deck officers, bankers, soldierâ€™s, artists, salesmen, hotel owners and clergy and they ranged in age from 32 to 62. Several of them were travelling with their wives and most perished with them. The following list provides the name, age, occupation and Lodge for the known Freemasons aboard the Titanic and is listed by Crew, 2nd class and 1st Class. Those who do not have a lodge listed were identified as Freemasons by other means. Ashe Henry Wellesley 41 Glory Hole Steward UGLE Lodge u/k Bochet Pierre Giuseppe 43 Waiter Loggia Italia, # 2687 Deeble Alfred Arnold 29 Saloon Steward Neptune Lodge No 1264 Dodd Edward Charles 38 Jr. 3rd Engineer 4 Cardinal Virtues Lodge #979 Gill Joseph Stanley 34 Bedroom Steward Walton Lodge No 1086 Hamilton A. Ernest 25 Asst. Smoke room Steward Neptune Lodge No 1264 Hardy John T. 36 Chief 2nd Class Steward UGLE Lodge u/k Harvey Herbert Gifford 34 Jr. Asst. 2nd Engineer. UGLE Lodge u/k Hayter Arthur 44 Bedroom Steward Neptune Lodge No 1264 Hesketh John Henry 33 Engineer Prince Of Wales Lodge #1035 Lawrence Arthur 35 Saloon Steward Neptune Lodge, # 1264 Parsons Edward 35 Chief Storekeeper Kirkdale Lodge No 1756 Pitman Herbert John 34 Third Officer Abbey Lodge, # 3341, Proctor Charles 40 Chef Liverpool Dramatic Lodge #1609 Roberts Hugh R. 40 Bedroom Steward Derby Lodge No 724 Taylor Percy Cornelius 32 Shipâ€™s orchestra Musgrave Lodge, # 1597 Thompson Herbert Henry 25 Storekeeper Stanley Lodge No 1325 Wareham Robert Arthur 36 Bedroom Steward Toxteth Lodge, # 1356 Williams Arthur John 38 Storekeeper Walton Lodge No 1086 Woody Oscar Scott 44 Postal Clerk Acacia Lodge # 16, Clifton VA. Bateman Rev Robert James 51 Clergy Solomon Blue Lodge #20 Brown Thomas W. S. 45 Hotel Owner Cape Town SA Hodges Henry Price 50 Salesman Caulsentum Lodge, # 1461 Turpin William John Robert 29 Carpenter Lodge of St. George, No 2025 Butt Archibald William 46 Military Knights of Kadosh, No. 1 AASR Dodge Washington 52 Doctor Oriental Lodge #144, San Francisco Graham George Edward 38 Harris Henry Birkhardt 45 Theatre manager Munn Lodge, # 100 Holverson Alexander Oskar 42 Transportation Lodge, # 842. Millet Francis Davis 34 Artist & Journalist Kane Lodge, # 454 Molson Harry Markland 55 Industrialist
Spencer William Augustus 57 Collector of Rare Books Taylor Elmer Zelby 48 Paper Cup Manufacturers Walker William Anderson 48 Hope Lodge # 124, Some historians claim that surviving crewmember Harold Godfrey Lowe was a Freemason. He was not a Freemason at the time but later became one in 1922. (Harold Godfrey Lowe brought 118 passengers to safety and he was the last to leave the lifeboats on being rescued by the Carpathia. Fifth Officer Lowe was subsequently hailed a hero by some of the survivors for his actions that night, which he simply put down to doing his duty. What may not be known, but of interest to brethren, is that Lowe was initiated into St. Trillo Lodge, No. 2569, in the Province of North Wales, on the 6 May 1921. Unfortunately, he didnâ€™t occupy our master chair, but seemingly remained a member of this lodge for the rest of his life. Tony Young St. Trillo Lodge, No. 2569.) The only survivors were crewmembers John Hardy, Herbert Pitman and passenger Elmer Taylor.
The only Canadian Freemason identified so far was none other than the great grandson of the Molson Breweries Empire Harry Markland Molson and was the Past Master of the oldest lodge in Montreal. Ironically he survived two previous sinkingâ€™s.
Major Archibald William Butt (left) served as chief military aid to Presidents, Roosevelt and Taft. A Scottish Rite Mason, a member of Temple Lodge, Washington, he was travelling with his close personal friend, Kane Lodge, No. 454, NY member Francis Millett a painter, sculptor and writer who could speak and write in a half dozen languages. The pair was returning to America after a vacation in Europe.
Percy Cornelius Taylor was one of the musicians in the ships orchestra who kept on playing until they were swept into the sea. He was a Past Master of Musgrave Lodge, No. 1597, at Hampton Court.
Herbert John Pitman was the ships 3rd officer and he survived the ordeal after being assigned to Lifeboat #5 and escaping with 40 passengers. After testifying at both official inquires he remained at sea for 35 more years until his death in 1961. He was a member of Abbey Lodge, No. 3341, in Hatfield he retired to Pitcombe, England.
Oscar Scott Woody was a member of the onboard post office staff and belonged to Acacia Lodge No. 16, Clifton VA. The November 2011 issue of this newsletter has a full article about him; there you can read about how his dues card was returned 94 years after his death!
Rev. Robert James Bateman was the Chaplain of the Solomon Blue Lodge #20 Jacksonville FL. and he was no ordinary man. He gave up a career as a physician to pursue a life of ministering to the poor and downtrodden. His impact on society was huge. On board the Titanic he placed his sister-in-law in a lifeboat and returned to minister the doomed. When his frozen body was recovered he was wearing a Masonic pin. At least three brethren are buried in the Fairview Lawn Cemetery, in Halifax, N.S (Ashe, Deeble and Wareham) and until now it is unlikely that any of our Brethren in Halifax were even aware they are. Who knows maybe now we can acknowledge them each year with a visit to their graves? Relatively few people know that all of the White Star Olympic class ships (Titanic, Olympic and Britannic) claimed lives of their passengers and two of them went to the bottom! The Titanic sank on her maiden voyage; the Olympic had a collision with a naval ship on her maiden voyage killing seven and the Britannic, sank faster than the Titanic and cost the lives of 30 souls. The curse of these ships was their three enormous propellers that were so powerful they literally sucked anything into them including other ships. 48 year old Elmer Zebley Taylor was a wealthy inventor and manufacturer of the paper cup and was returning to America with his wife Juliet from one of their many trips to Europe. They both survived but it appears that he changed his story from him and his wife being placed in one of the first lifeboats to him jumping overboard and being plucked from the sea. This was likely due to the scorn that was later heaped upon the male passengers who survived.
A serving Master of a Lodge who perished was 48-year-old William Anderson Walker. The wealthy clothing manufacturer was Master of Hope Lodge No. 124, F. and A. M. of East Orange, NJ. Less known was the 29-year-old carpenter William John Turpin a member of Lodge of St. George #2025. He and his wife Dorothy were not supposed to be aboard the Titanic. The national coal strike resulted in their passage aboard the “New York” cancelled and they being transferred to the doomed ship. Nether one made it back to their new home in Salt Lake City UT. Most members of the fraternity are very proud of the many distinguished men through history that chose to become a Freemason (one cannot become one without asking to be one) and too often we are quick to accept the claim that an individual was a member of the Craft when they were not. Such is the case with the Captain of the Titanic; Edward John Smith. For some time Oriental Lodge #144 in San Francisco has believed the ill-fated captain was a member of their lodge. After the sinking the secretary noted in the minutes that Edward John Smith was member of their lodge and had joined when he was working in the area as a telegraph cable salesman before he went to sea with the White Star Line. This claim was never challenged and the Lodge has had a Titanic dinner every year since to honour their fallen brother. It was not until research for this article was conducted that the author noted that Smith went to sea at the age of 14 and was employed by the White Star Line at the same time as the other Smith joined the lodge. Comparing Captain Smith’s signature to the one in the lodge record book proved it was a different man who belonged to the Lodge. The real Captain Smith never worked as a salesman and appears to never have been a Mason. Ironically a member of Oriental Lodge #144 (now Phoenix Lodge No.144) was a survivor of the sinking. 48- year-old Dr. Washington Dodge was a wealthy doctor and the assessor of the City of San Francisco. Legend has it that the captain personally put him into a lifeboat saving his life, but there is nothing to support this claim. Other researchers note that after Dodge put his wife and four year old son aboard lifeboat #5 or 7 on the port side of the ship, he went over to the less populated starboard side where chief Officer Murdock put him in lifeboat #13 because no women or children were present. Brother Dodge committed suicide in 1919. Many believe that he like other male survivors could not live with the guilt of being a survivor and subsequently shunned by society and killed himself.
Others believe his death was the result of the stock market crash. We will never know, but unfortunately for the Lodge, their Titanic dinner tradition has been upset but they can still celebrate the life of Brother Dodge. Thomas W.S. Brown was a 45-year-old hotel owner from Cape Town South Africa. He is believed to have been a Freemason (still trying to confirm) and he had sold his “Masonic Hotel” in Worcester and was in the process of moving his wife and daughter to America where they planned to open a hotel in Seattle Washington. He never made it off the boat alive and unfortunately his wife and daughter escaped the ship penniless for their entire life savings was in a bag in their 2nd class stateroom and their supplies for a new hotel (furnishings tableware and 1,000 rolls of bed linen) were in the hold of the ship Virtually penniless and destitute his wife and daughter eventually returned to South Africa. Ironically his daughter Edith was one of the last survivors of the Titanic to die. She passed at the ripe old age of 100 in 1997 in Southampton UK. In 1996, at the age of 99, Edith along with two other fellow survivors went on a cruise to the location of the wreck of the Titanic and before leaving the site she threw a rose into the water in memory of her father who died there 84 years ago. Unfortunately we may never know how many Freemasons were aboard the Titanic but we can be confident that with more research additional members of the Craft will be identified. Hopefully this article will be a start in the search to both identify and remember them. Who knows maybe the lodges in the communities where these men either came from or are buried (if they are buried) will incorporate into their lodge traditions a remembrance ceremony for these souls who perished one hundred years ago. Readers, the newsletter is delighted to have been given permission to use this brilliant article about ‘Freemasons on the Titanic.’ The author of this piece is Bro. Larry Burden from Ottawa in Canada and was originally published in his monthly Masonic stamp magazine called the Watermark. The magazines can be downloaded at this link; http://bytown.ottawamasons.ca/Stamp.html It really is an excellent magazine and for those Brethren who have an interest in Masonic stamps and stamp collecting, then I would recommend taking a look at Larry’s magazine.
Go Placidly Amid the Noise and Haste Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love, for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
THE FREEMASON’S DAUGHTER. 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
IN STRENGTH IS OUR INTELLIGENCE Brethren are reminded from time to time that they are expected to pursue their studies. This injunction is not unnecessary, for it will not be denied that there is really what is a painful lack of knowledge respecting the history, philosophy, and character of the Masonic Order. Many are content with the mere gaining of the rights and privileges of membership: they seem hardly to care whether or not they make themselves acquainted with the legends and technical information belonging to the various degrees. It is enough for them that they are called Freemasons- that they claim membership in the fraternity to which so many of their friends and acquaintances belong. Others are seeking with great zeal to acquire knowledge of the ritual working, but their ambition is fully satisfied when they have mastered the text and posted themselves as to the steps necessary to take in the initiation and advancement of a candidate. Both of these classes are quite indifferent to the fact that Freemasonry is a science, the principles of which need to be enquired for and understood; that it has a history which requires to be studied; a literature peculiarly its own which is worthy of diligent attention.
The same careless tendency is manifested on the part of many respecting the present movements and enterprises of the institution. They will not take the pains to inform themselves in regard to the condition of things; they have no anxiety concerning what is being done or attempted in the prosecution of Masonic work. They will not study the record
which the past has made, nor do they care to read of the important enterprises which are now being prosecuted. A visible ignorance like this is one of the dangers which threatens the Masonic Order. The danger is not imminent, perhaps. It is hardly recognised in a time like the present, when so great prosperity attends the Craft, and the institution seems so firmly fixed in the popular regard. But let a wave of opposition sweep over the land, let the dark days which some of our fathers remember come again and we shall surely be in peril because of such indifference and ignorance. The intelligence of the craft is its best support. What is wanted are men who have been diligent enquirers at the altars of Masonic learning; men who have gone outside the limits of the Order, gaining knowledge and ideas and teachings which are signified by such a variety of beautiful forms and ceremonies. Fidelity to textual requirements is commendable, to know the work of the degrees is no small attainment; but a higher faithfulness is needed, and a knowledge that goes beyond those things, which at the best only constitute the alphabet of Masonic science. With a literature so abundant, with books and periodicals into which is put the thinking of some of the best minds, there is no excuse for an ignorance so greatly to be deplored. A thorough knowledge of the history, philosophy, and science of Freemasonry should and ought to be the ambition of every member of the Craft, and when he has studied and is well versed in these subjects, he can answer truthfully the question: “What came you here to do?”
Often we hear the brethren deplore their “rusty” state. Has it ever occurred to you that of all the associations and fraternities in the world, Masonry, the oldest, the best,
and the mother of them all, has neglected more than many to place sufficient stress upon the reading of literature by its members? We have an abundance of the very best literature that was ever written, but it would seem that many of our Craftsmen do not know it, or, if they do know it, they say that they have not time to read it. This is more serious than may, on first thoughts, appear. The usefulness, development, and enjoyment of the Craft by the member depend very largely upon the time he devotes to reading and study. The active workers are the readers and students. They read the best books they can get and the shelves and tables in their dens and libraries are dotted here and there with Masonic books and periodicals. These books and papers are far - reaching in their influence. They influence the Freemason himself, then his family, and then his neighbours. Who can measure the results of good literature in the home? It is acknowledged to be one of the great silent forces in the world. We deplore the sad “lack of time” about which we hear so much in these days, as the cause of neglecting this important function of life, but, as Arnold Bennett has put it, we have all the time there is, and we cannot get more than twenty-four hours a day, however much we may crave for more. Not to read is suicide of mind and spirit. It not only starves these but it dries up and atrophies the nerves and joints of our bodies. Good reading is recreating to mind, body, and spirit.
Masonic research may be compared with an ocean, unfathomable in its delights and profit. Many, who have hesitated to enter upon its depths and have stepped tremblingly from the shores of ignorance, have presently been found swimming in its deep waters and have, with reluctance, relinquished the delightful exercise, even
for a short breathing space. Or it may be likened to an unexplored country, which the explorer finds not to be wild or overgrown with weeds, but well planted with luxurious trees, yielding fruits of varied description.
The plants therein know nothing of seasonal changes, are not dependant for fructification upon weather or climate, only upon husbandry, and the more frequent the gathering the more fruitful the yield. There is no boredom in Masonic Research, and one never hears of the student who is “Fed up” with the exercise. The only danger, which, after all, is not a real danger, but only an additional attraction, is that a brother, having fixed upon a certain branch of study as his aim and goal, may be allured into pursuing many of the pleasing and seductive sidetracks and become enthralled with other beautiful landscapes unfolded to his vision. Instead of finding Masonic Research a cold, dry study, the neophyte finds it warm and energising to a high but pleasing and fascinating degree. At first it may tickle the fancy, but quickly it illumines the understanding: it may begin as a fascinating pastime; so it continues, but also it becomes a profitable study. It has many avenues, but, like the various paths through the Oxford meadows, they all lead to the waters- in the instance the waters of knowledge, unfathomable, but ever-satisfying, health-giving, and soulinspiring. It is a food, the “food of the gods”, the food of progress, because it has basis in solidity, not in the slops of sensationalism. Dudley Wright (1924)
This article was submitted to the newsletter by regular contributor Bro. Kenneth Jack, RWM of Lodge St. Andrew No. 814.
Houstoun St.Johnstone No.242 On 5th August, 1811 Lodge Houstoun St. Johnstone No.318 received its charter from the Grand Lodge of Scotland. Thankfully, the lodge’s records are complete other than occasional missed minutes. The first master was Bro. William Houstoun Esquire of Johnstone Castle (see photo) – his occupation was a gentleman. The lodge received the number 318, the next sequential number available. In 1816, Grand Lodge renumbered lodge and it changed to 235 then after the final renumbering exercise in 1826 it became 242. The lodge met in various places in the 19th century. In the first ten years, it was quite common to initiate candidates who owned public houses and then hold meetings in their establishments. The main reason was probably finance – the lodge did not pay a rental and the innkeeper often provided food at his cost. The second meeting, only 10 days after the first, was an important occasion. A deputation from Paisley St. James Lodge (defunct sometime before 1836) visited consisting of the master, wardens, secretary and treasurer to consecrate the new lodge. The lodge paid for their coach hire to Johnstone (12 shillings). The master of Paisley
took the chair and swore in the office bearers “after which a considerable number of members were re-entered.” These 19 brethren came from lodges in Paisley, Lochwinnoch, Kilbarchan, Beith, Ayr and Largs. George and Ludovic Houstoun of Johnstone Castle, William’s father and brother were included in this list. In a similar manner to today, the list of occupations is quite varied – surgeon, merchant, plasterer, writer, cotton spinner tin smith and gentleman. One such person was Bro. William Campbell, the well known writer (lawyer) in the town. He had many dealings with the Houstoun family so perhaps affiliating at the same time is not surprising. The next few meetings were only to initiate or affiliate brethren and December alone had six meetings including Christmas Eve. At one of these, the initiate was Mr. William Lock, the factor of the Houstoun family who would be present at the signing of most contracts with feuers and the family. Bro. Lock, perhaps unsurprisingly, became the secretary (as well as master) and it would appear that he was responsible for supplying the lodge certificate to candidates. In 1832, he paid “fees for not accepting office.” It wasn’t until February that the first two candidates were passed and raised. In these days, it was common to initiate brethren on one night and then pass and raise them on another. Clearly the second and third degrees were much shorter. In all cases, candidates signed the Minute Book to make it binding – no roll book existed at this time. In November 1812, the new master was chosen, not elected, for the ensuing
year. There was no installation ceremony, the master was known as the “Grand Master” and Bro. Neil Snodgrass was given the office of “past master” although he had never been a master – obviously a different title from what we know today. In 1813, articles were drawn up for a Friendly Society to look after indigent brethren and in these very early days of the lodge, this was an important aspect of Masonic life. In 1828 an inventory was written into the minutes. The lodge was only 17 years old, but it had amassed 25 objects and mostly silver. Many of these would be kept in the Tyler’s chest and for setting out the lodge he was usually paid 2 gills of rum. These appear to include most of the current office bearers’ jewels. Interestingly, it gives a rough idea of regalia worn in the early 1800s. There were ten silk sashes with the letters ‘H.St.J.’ in gold with ten aprons which were painted and gilded. A couple of items are described, but their use has been lost in time. The master has a painted and lettered rod with a triangle on top and there was a canvas oil painting with an attached roller. Why did the master have a rod and was the painting an early tracing board? Fowler’s Directory for the town in 1851-52 lists the Committee to Town Management (prior to the Town Council). The President and Secretary were PMs, while the Treasurer and four committee members were also lodge members; only three other gentlemen of the Council were not in the lodge. Clearly, the lodge members were active in the town’s affairs and cared about its future. A similar story appears for Justices of the Peace whereby four out
of eight were members. This also continued once the burgh was formed with 22 out 30 Town Provosts being members of the lodge. Between 1855 to 1863, the number of meetings were sparse, if any, but Bro. James Donald continued to pay Grand Lodge dues out of his own pocket and therefore, the lodge was never dormant. The lodge owes a real debt of gratitude to Bro. Donald PM. Without his generosity, the lodge would not be celebrating 200 years in 2011. Why did the lodge struggle during this period? It would appear that the town of Johnstone was developing into a burgh and many of the brethren were involved in this process. Industry was a huge part of Johnstone employing the majority of men. Virtually all owners were members, but two prominent members were John Lang who made lathes (with Sir William Biggart Lang who became Chairman of the Machine Tool Committee of the Ministry of Munitions) and Sir William Arrol who constructed bridges all over the UK. The lodge went from strength to strength and in 1912, the brethren built their own premises which we will celebrate in 2012 by a re-dedication ceremony by the PGL Renfrewshire East. The number of candidates in 1919 was 126 (the highest in any year) and no other year really came close to this number of intrants. The following year, 78 brethren are advanced to Mark Master with 211 attending the meeting. Is this a Masonic record? The varied syllabi of the past had gone and the
lodge was only concerned with getting men through degrees. During the next 20 to 30 years, the lodge functioned very successfully and was also an active participant in all the public affairs of the town. No doubt this was helped through various lawyers, teachers and ministers who were members. The social aspects soon became important and a social club was formed which eventually had its own premises built and continues to be an important aspect for revenue. Over the past 30 years, the lodge has had degrees exemplified from lodges in, France, the USA, England, and Ireland; the last two still continuing today. The lodge has produced a large number of brethren who have gone onto become masters in other lodges and its newsletter, The Cross Keys. The Cross Keys named after the premises in which the lodge met, goes far and wide. This is available by clicking this link. Our story is not unique in terms of Craft lodges, but we are very proud of freemasonry in Johnstone, Renfrewshire and as part of The Grand Lodge of Scotland. The Cross Keys magazine produced by Lodge 242 is an excellent Masonic newsletter, filled with articles, news items and lots of interesting facts over a wide spectrum of Masonic Education, well written and well put together. This is a free monthly periodical and is well worthy of a read, if you have not already looked at it, please do so. The editor and the newsletter acknowledge Lodge 242 as the copyright owner of this history. The Lodge can be accessed at this link, from where this history was extracted. If your Lodge has a history that we can use, contact the editor.
Rays of Masonry â€œDo the Little Thingsâ€? For many years I have observed the earnest and faithful efforts of the officers of lodges as they held meetings for the purpose of suggesting ways to improve attendance and maintain interest. In every instance some outstanding program has been launched, which if carried to completion, always bears fruit which is the result of honest planning. However, it is my conclusion that all we hope for, the molding of Masonic principles into a strong Masonry must be the result of the doing of little things. Everything else, it seems, is subordinate to the idea of keeping fresh Masonic teachings through the medium of doing. Again and again we refer to the "Old Time Masonry." Yet we know full well that the principles of Masonry are the same today as they were centuries ago. What do we really mean? What is that spirit that we must recapture? Get out the minutes of your lodge and review the history of "those old days." Strike deep into the heart of that history and then report truthfully. What do you find? A Masonic funeral was an occasion at which was reflected the obligation of the living to the dead. Masons left their work and devoted all the time necessary to pay due and proper respect to the departed and to the loved ones. Look at the record of your lodge as it reports visitations to the sick, acts of charity to the unfortunate, comfort to the heartbroken. Review the work of committees, the work of brothers who asked for no titles, no recognition, but only the opportunity to
render service. Look over the names of those Masons, those working brothers, and see if they were not the same who were leaders in their communities. Also look at the heritage they left. It was not measured in money. It was character. That which we seek is within us. "Old Time Masonry" is not a thing that belongs to the past. It is a Spirit that is the result of Doing Great Little Things Dewey Wollstein 1953.
"I don't pretend to be the only Masonic illuminant," answered the Old Tiler, "but if I have what you want, be sure I'll let it shine." "Every now and then," began the New Brother, "I hear Masonic talk in public places. At a poker game in a club where I was recently, I heard one man say, 'Them you have passed, but me I shall not pass!' Lots of men say they will do this or that on the square or on the level. I run across 'and govern yourself accordingly' in print every now and then. Are such public quotations from Masonic work against good Masonic practice?" "It seems to me your question isn't very complete," answered the Old Tiler. "Why not?"
Masonic Talk. "I'm seeking a little light," said the New Brother, sitting down by the Old Tiler and reaching for his cigar case. "I think I have a match-" the Old Tiler felt in his pocket. "I get you!" grinned the New Brother, "But that's not the light I am looking for. I want light on a Masonic subject."
"It takes no account of motives. If you hear a man say that the stream rose and his house and his children were in danger, but a tree fell across the rushing waters, so that in His mercy God damned the stream, you have heard testimony to His glory. And if you hear some man couple the name of Deity with the word which begins with D, you listen to profanity. Same sounds in each case; the difference is, the motive, the meaning." "If I declare that I will do what I say I will do 'on the square,' any one understands that I mean I will act honestly. If any hearer knows the expression is Masonic, surely the fraternity has not been injured. But if I say to a stranger, or within a stranger's hearing, 'these are certain Masonic words, and we use them in the degrees' and then repeat various phrases, I skirt
"That's very plain, said the New Brother.
were not so wonderful! But I never opened my mouth. And the conductor, whom I have known for years as a Mason, heard them, and all he did was wink at me. We knew the truth; they didn't. What was the use of stirring up an argument?"
"Suppose some man wants to learn if I am a Mason? Suppose I meet a man with a Masonic pin and want to examine him Masonicaly? What about that?"
"What about giving some sign or word in a mixed company, so I can let the other fellows know I am a Mason?" asked the New Brother.
"You shouldn't want to do things which can't be done!" laughed the Old Tiler. You might, indeed, put the stranger through an examination as to what Masonry he knew, but it wouldn't be Masonic. You have no right to constitute yourself an examining committee. That is the Master's prerogative.
"Oh!" cried the Old Tiler. "You've been reading novels! You have an idea that when you go to a card party you should wiggle your ears or something, so that other Masons will know you are one, too! Nothing to that! Masonic recognitions are not for pleasure, but for need and use. You have been taught how to let others know, if you need to. You know how to recognize a Mason when he lets you know. But these are not for social gatherings, and the man who lards his speech with Masonic expressions is merely showing off."
dangerously close to breaking my obligation, and by the very fact that I seem to be careless with Masonic business, I am doing it harm!"
"Suppose he wants to talk Masonic secrets with me?" "No Mason wants to talk Masonic secrets with any man he doesn't know to be a Mason! The man who wants to talk secrets, without having sat in lodge with you, or being vouched for to you, is either very new or a very poor Mason or no Mason at all!" "But surely one can talk Masonry with strangers; if they wear the pin and have a card they are probably Masons, and-" "Talk all the Masonry you want! But make sure it is the Masonic talk you could utter in the presence of your wife. Your true Mason won't want you to talk any other kind in public. Not long ago I was on a train, and behind me two men, neither of them Masons, arguing about Masonry. The things they knew which
"I asked for light; we could substitute you for one of the Lesser Lights," said the New Brother. "If you mean that for a joke," the Old Tiler answered slowly, "I shall think my words were wasted." "I didn't," protested the New Brother. "I was only trying to say, perhaps clumsily, that I thought you'd make a good Master!" "Then I shall think only of the motive, thank you for the compliment, and forget the way you put it!" smiled the Old Tiler.
The Scots Lodge No. 2319 EC Trevor I. Harris The Scots are famous for their travelling. Indeed, very few peoples throughout history have travelled more widely. Their country is very beautiful, but many Scots still enjoy settling abroad. In spite of this they are extremely patriotic, and take a corner of Scotland with them wherever they settle. London, like many large cities round the world, had a large contingent of Scots, and in the late 1880's a Master Mason of Scottish descent, Bro. Vero K. Shaw, a journalist, felt that the idea of a predominantly Scottish lodge would prove popular among London’s Scottish community. His first step was to contact The Grand Lodge of Scotland for a Warrant, and here fortune was to smile on him, for less than two weeks later he was sent to Glasgow to cover a trade conference. He sent a letter to the Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Scotland requesting a meeting to discuss the proposed lodge. However, he received a shock when he was informed that any new lodge formed in England, even if the membership was predominantly Scottish, would have to be warranted under the United Grand Lodge of England. In spite of this, the Scottish Grand Secretary promised every assistance, and even suggested that “The
Scots Lodge” would be a suitable name for the new lodge. When he returned to London, Vero Shaw began to contact his many Scottish friends and acquaintances whom he knew were Masons. They greeted his proposal with enthusiasm, and he soon had enough support to petition for the new lodge. On the evening of the 27th May 1889 at the Scottish Corporation Hall in Fleet Street at 6 o’clock exactly, under the chairmanship of W. Bro. John Whitehead PM, ten prospective Founder Members including Bro. Vero Shaw held a preliminary meeting. They resolved to apply to The Grand Lodge of England for permission to form a new lodge, to be called The Scots Lodge. The application was subsequently prepared, however the new lodge had to be sponsored by an existing lodge. Fortunately Bro. James Thomson, one of the younger petitioners, was a member of Regents Park Lodge No. 2202 who were delighted to assist. On the 1st June 1889, sixteen brethren signed the petition as Founder Members, which was then forwarded to Colonel Shadwell Clerk, the Grand Secretary of The United Grand Lodge of England. The Grand Master of Scotland is known as The Grand Master Mason, and The Most Worshipful Bro. Sir Michael Robert Shaw-Stewart 7th Bart, Past Grand Master Mason of Scotland, from Lodge Grennock Kilwinning No. 12, Renfrewshire, became Worshipful Master Designate, with Bro. Vero Shaw
as Senior Warden and W. Bro. John Whitehead as Junior Warden. However, Bro. Vero Shaw was now going to receive his second shock. It is written in the Book of Constitutions under Rule 105 that a new Worshipful Master had to have served the office of Warden in an English lodge for one full year, and even though several petitioners might have held this office in Scottish lodges and were therefore Past Masters, none had done so in an English lodge, not even their respected Master Designate. To solve the problem, the Grand Secretary suggested that one of his associates, The R.W. Bro. The Earl of Euston, Provincial Grand Master of Northampton and Huntingdon, occupy the Master’s Chair for the first year. As this seemed to be the only way out of their quandary, the suggestion was accepted, and Lord Euston duly added his name to the petition as the 17th Founder. Sir Michael Shaw-Stewart was extremely disappointed, but took the news gracefully. He had served the Grand Lodge of Scotland in its highest office as The Most Worshipful The Grand Master Mason for nine years, but sadly was destined never to take the chair as Master of The Scots Lodge. On the 27th June 1889, HRH The Grand Master, the Prince of Wales and future King Edward V11, granted the Warrant for the consecration, and a month later to the day, on the 27th July 1889, the Scots Lodge No. 2319 was founded at the Scottish Corporation Hall, Crane Court, Fleet Street, with the Grand
Secretary himself conducting the consecration. “The Freemason” reported the consecration banquet to be “a very grand affair, held in true Scottish custom against a background of pipe music, tartan and banners”. The banquet had a very Scottish menu, with a choice of over 25 different dishes, including Cock-a-leekie and Hotch-Potch soups, Spey Trout, followed by White Puddings, Black Puddings, Haggis, Sheep’s Head and Trotters, Aberdeen Beef, and to drink Rehoboams and Magnums of the finest Champagnes, and of course Scotch Whisky, with the quote on the menu “Whisky and Freedom gang th’gither. Tak’ off your dram”. One of the official toasts was to The Grand Lodge of Scotland after, of course, The Queen and the Craft, although then the toast was to Queen Victoria. The first regular meeting was held on the 29th August 1889, with a double initiation, one of whom was a journalist not surprisingly proposed by Bro. Vero Shaw, and no less than ten joining members. A Past Master’s jewel was presented to W. Bro. C. F. Matier “as a slight recognition of services rendered to the lodge.” The next meeting, on October 24th 1889, had a very interesting proposition, “that steps be taken to carry out the original intention of the Founders of purchasing the requisite supply of plate, cutlery, glass, china and other accessories to enable the Brethren to hold their banquets and entertain their guests under their own roof.” which
would of course considerably lower their dining costs. However, the first year was to end in disarray, as in a very short period of time the lodge lost its Senior Warden, Secretary and Tyler due to domestic problems. However, a junior member, James Thomson, stood in as Secretary and managed to keep things going. Burns Night was an annual celebration at the January meeting, with members dining in Tartan to the sound of bagpipes, but the lodge also celebrated St. Georges Day in April, St. Johns Day in June, Halloween in October, and St. Andrews Day in November. "Lodges of Emergency" were frequent events, to undertake work which could not be accommodated at regular meetings. One, held in November 1891, only three days before a regular lodge meeting, was to initiate Dr. Irvine Reid just prior to his sailing to Georgetown, British Guiana, to take up his post as the Government Medical Officer. One very special Lodge of Emergency, in June 1892, was for the visit of the Grand Master Mason of Scotland, The MW The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Haddington and his entourage of eleven Grand Lodge officers. The festive board had traditional Scottish fare, including Brawen Grilse wi’ Dutch Salss, forbye New Tatties, an’ Quecummer and Crumlie-braidit caller watter Gravies baith ordinar’ an’ deevilt, Mealie puddins, Bluidy puddins and of course Haggis, with Aberdeen Beef with Fore-spaul o’ Lammermuir Hogrels as the main course.
The lodge had many precious possessions, including a ballot-box was made from timbers from the old wooden Blackfriars Bridge, and in 1907 was presented with a handsome Claymore which had belonged to a member of the Black Watch who had been slain in the Boer War. On a Memorable Burns Night at the end of the 19th Century, an Apron and Maul which had belonged to Robert Burns himself, on loan from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, were put on display. The lodge was expanding rapidly, changing its dining venue to the Holborn Restaurant, and at the Halloween meeting of 1900 no less than five brethren were initiated in one meeting, which we certainly wouldn’t see today. In 1905 the lodge forged strong links with Cannongate Kilwinning Lodge No. 2, Edinburgh, an old lodge dating back to 1677, links which are retained to this day. In the same year there was a return visit from the new Grand Master Mason of Scotland, this time accompanied by the Grand Secretary of England and the Lord Provost of Edinburgh. A most spectacular meeting was held in 1907, the installation of W. Bro. Joseph Inglis, a Past Master of Cannongate Kilwinning Lodge No. 2, when he was put into the Master’s Chair of The Scots Lodge at Mark Masons Hall, Great Queen Street. The Daily Telegraph reported it to be the most impressive and resplendent ever seen in a private lodge in London, with no less that 279 Brethren present, a good proportion of whom were senior Grand Officers and members of the
aristocracy. In that same year the lodge’s Royal Arch Chapter was formed. The lodge continued to meet throughout the First World War, but sadly many members would never return from active service. 1919 saw the installation as 31st Master of The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Stair, who five years later was to become the Grand Master Mason of Scotland, with W. Bro. Joseph Inglis as his Substitute Grand Master. In 1925 the lodge was presented with its Hall Stone Jewel, its 133 members having donated no less than £1248.00 towards the construction of the new Grand Lodge in Great Queen Street, a sizeable sum even by todays standards, and that same year saw the consecration of a daughter lodge, Freedom and Courtesy No. 4762. The Rt. Hon. The Earl of Stair, Grand Master Mason of Scotland, returned the following year to see the installation of W. Bro. Major-General J. D. McLachlan as 38th Master. The ceremony was performed by The Rt. Hon. Lord Ampthill The Most Worshipful The Pro Grand Master. The meeting was held by special dispensation in the Grand Temple at Great Queen Street. At the time of the death of its penultimate Founding Member in 1934, the lodge discontinued its June meeting, and moved its installation meeting to October. In April 1939 the lodge held its 50th Anniversary meeting, which was attended by the M.W. The Grand Master Mason of Scotland Brigadier-General Sir N. A. Orr-Ewing 4th Bart..The
M.W. Pro Grand Master Lord Harewood honoured the lodge by taking the chair. However storm clouds were on the horizon with the approach of World War Two. During the Second World War, few meetings were missed, but rationing frequently meant that Festive Boards were sparse affairs. The Blitz in London led to the cancellation of the 1940 installation meeting, and W. Bro. Thomas Tait, Grand Bible Bearer of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, was to remain in the chair for a year longer than planned. Four years later saw the lodge’s last Founder Member, W. Bro. James Thompson P.G.Std.B, pass to the Grand Lodge above at the age of 91, in March 1944, and after another two years, W. Bro. Percy G. Mallory PGD, the “Father” of the lodge, who had been initiated in 1896, also passed away. It was the end of an era, and at the Burns meeting dedicated to his memory in 1947, with rationing still in force, the Food Officer restricted the meeting to 100 guests. However, after many appeals he eventually relented and 175 Brethren were able to attend the memorial meeting. In 1948 the lodge became a Patron of the Royal Masonic Hospital, and a silver Quaich was presented to the lodge by Bro. Archie Lang for use by the Piper. Traditions were maintained, and in 1950 The Grand Master of Scotland, MW Bro. Sir Malcolm Barclay-Harvey visited the lodge. Also in attendance was RW Bro. Sir Alexander Fleming PGW, the discoverer of penicillin and
an honorary member of The Scots Lodge.
day of the lodge’s Centenary arrived, celebrated on the 5th October 1989.
1954 saw the lodge move from the Holborn Restaurant, where it had met for the last 65 years. to the Criterion Restaurant at Piccadilly Circus Three years later, the ninth visit to the lodge from The Grand Lodge of Scotland took place, headed by The MW The Rt. Hon. Lord McDonald, with the RW The Assistant Grand Master of England Major-General Sir Allan Adair, Bart., also attending.
After the Installation ceremony, The Grand Master Mason of Scotland, Bro. Brigadier Sir Gregor MacGregor of MacGregor, entered the lodge room with his retinue from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, after which The R.W. Assistant Grand Master of England, Lord Farnham, was himself escorted into the lodge room accompanied by his own retinue of Grand Lodge Officers,
The lodge celebrated its 75th Anniversary in October 1963, and in 1965 there was yet another visit from the Grand Master Mason of Scotland, The MW The Rt. Hon Andrew Lord Bruce, who was soon to stand down in favour of yet another member of the Scots Lodge, Major Sir Ronald OrrEwing, 5th Bart. Families have always been well represented in the lodge, and in 1975 a candidate was initiated in the company of his Father, Grandfather, Brother, Uncle and Great Uncle. Later on in that year, the lodge received a visit from yet another deputation from The Grand Lodge of Scotland, the English contingent being headed by The Provincial Grand Master of Essex, and The Earl of Eglington and Winton PSGW. The 1980’s saw the passing of The Lodge Piper, W. Bro. John Brown LGR, and in May 1981, the lodge moved to Mark Masons’ Hall, St. James. Many reciprocal visits to Scotland took place during that decade, until finally the great
Both a Centenary Warrant and a Centenary Banner were presented to the lodge, and cheques were presented to both Grand Charity and Scottish Masonic Homes. A superb festive board was followed by the singing of Auld Lang Syne. The Scots Lodge still meets at Mark Masons Hall, and to this day proudly follows its Scottish Masonic Traditions. SRA76 newsletter thanks Bro. Trevor Harris for allowing us to reproduce his fascinating history of the Scots Lodge No. 2319. English Constitution. His website can be viewed by this link. Masonic medals.
The Secret of Freemasonry The secret of Masonry, like the secret of life, can be known only by those who seek it, serve it, live it. It cannot be uttered; it can only be felt and acted. It is, in fact, an open secret, and each man knows it according to his quest and capacity. Like all things worth knowing, no one can know it for another and no man can know it alone." Dr. Joseph Fort Newton.
The Origin of Masonry PART 4 â€“ MT. GERIZIM AND THE LAND OF MORIAH. The fame of King Solomon's Temple lies in the reflected glory of the House of Moses, for it was planned and built with the idea of replacing the Tabernacle with a more permanent structure. The purpose behind its building is to be found in the history of David, father of Solomon. The original Tabernacle was the vehicle which had welded the Israelites into a united mass, and had kept them united during their successful invasion of Palestine. The initial breakthrough took place at Jericho, after which the Israelites spread out to the north and south, but they did not succeed in taking Jerusalem. Their first objective was to locate the "spot" on which to erect the Tabernacle, which was believed to be at Luz. Moses died just prior to the invasion, but he had left certain instructions, which were to be followed out after they reached the Promised Land. Among other things, they were instructed to put the blessing upon Mt. Gerizim, and the curse upon Mt. Ebal. Neither the geographical location of these mounts, nor the manner in which the blessing was to be bestowed, were specified. It was decided that the medium was the altar specified in Exodus 20:24, which was to be of earth, or of unhewn stone, and without steps. The allegorical meaning here, of course, is the good earth upon which we dwell. The Israelites found Luz ill-favoured as a location for the Tabernacle, even
though it had been specified by Moses as none other but the house of God and the gate of heaven in Genesis 28:17. They then moved on to Samara and set up their Tabernacle and their altar between the two peaks in that country, which are still called Mt. Gerizim and Mt. Ebal to this day. However, the choice of this "spot" was far from unanimous, and it was not long before the Tabernacle was moved elsewhere. About 200 years later, or in 1005 B.C.David succeeded in wresting Jerusalem away from the native Jebusites. After taking the city; he had himself declared king over both Israel and Judah. Israel was the common name applied to the Israelites of the north, for by then they had lost their tribal distinctions. David himself had risen to power under the banner of the Tribe of Judah, which had maintained its tribal identity in the south. At the time David established himself at Jerusalem, the true location of the mount upon which a blessing was to be put was still a live issue. In the meantime the original Tabernacle had vanished and the Ark of the Covenant had been placed in storage. The lustre of the Ark had been somewhat dimmed prior to this on account of its failure to stop the Philistines on the field of battle. Under this combination of circumstances David saw a splendid opportunity to restore the Ark to its natural setting, and, at one and the same time, establish a mount of his own upon which to put a blessing. He accordingly purchased the threshing floor of Ornan, the Jebusite, and this is the "spot" upon which the Temple was subsequently erected.
It was called the Zion, or hill, which is the literal interpretation of the word Zion. Mount would have served the purpose just as well, for it was here that he pitched a new tabernacle in order that the Ark might be brought out of storage. The use of the word Gerizim was probably avoided because this new shrine was designed to serve Israel as well as Judah, and these people of the north already had a Mt. Gerizim. We get a vague hint of this from the use of the word Moriah, which is commonly called Mt. Moriah today. The original use of this word is to be found in Genesis 22:2, which states that the sacrifice of Abraham's son Isaac was to take place in the land of Moriah, and upon one of the mountains of which he was to be told. This passage of Scripture was probably cited at that time as an authority, or precedent, for the establishment of a second mount at Jerusalem. It was after David had pitched this new Tabernacle that he made known his intention of replacing it with a more permanent structure. With this structure he undertook to create a vehicle, which, in the words of II Samuel 7:13, he hoped would establish the throne of his kingdom forever. This hope lay in the belief that he could endow his contemplated Temple with the powers of the original Tabernacle by duplicating its design. Hiram of Tyre was called in as a collaborator, because he had previously built the palace in which David had set himself up as king over the two branches of the Israelites. Hiram was a Phoenician, and his city of Tyre was in a better position to furnish skilled artisans.
However, the basic, design of the Temple was copied from the description of the Tabernacle, or rather that part of its description which is to be found in the Book of Exodus. The builders of the Temple apparently did not understand the true cabalism of the writings of Moses, for the key to the design of the Tabernacle is concealed in the ladder Jacob supposedly dreamt about. In the words of Moses, this was none other but the house of God and the gate to heaven, as set forth in Genesis 28:17. In the previous verse, Genesis 28:16, Jacob had just awaked out of his sleep, which refers back to Genesis 28:12, and, "he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it." The essence of the ladder of Jacob was the cubical Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle. It was projected into a column of 7 cubes on the Trestle Board, with horizontal coordinates extending out over the centre of the drawing from the upper levels of the 2nd, 4th, and 6th cubes. Below these horizontals, and on the base line, another cube was drawn to represent the Holy of Holies itself. From the centre of this Holy of Holies a series of ascending "angles" were projected upward to intercept the horizontals. At the points of intersection, vertical ordinates were dropped to the base line, and they exactly prescribed the 48 cubits length of the Tabernacle. A 7th ordinate was projected upwards into infinity, from the centre of the base line, and represented the joining of the celestial with the terrestrial sphere. This 7th ordinate was the top of the ladder, which reached to heaven. The cubes were 7 in number because they
represented the 7 bodies of our planetary system which are visible to the naked eye. Each of the ascending angles were 23 1/2 degrees", because that is the celestial angle at which the earth is inclined away from the plane of its orbit. The unit of measurement was obtained by dividing one edge of the cubical Holy of Holies into 10 equal parts. The Apex of the curtains of Goats' Hair was equal to the height of 3 cubes, or 30 cubits. Half this height, or 15 cubits, was equivalent to the combined widths of the 10 boards of the sheathing, and the upper half prescribed the height of the pediments. The descending "angles" of Genesis 28:12 exactly subtended the 1 1/2, cubits cross section of the Ark of the Covenant below the centre of the Holy of Holies". The descending ordinates exactly laid out the 7 bents, or vertical bars across which the "six" boards of Exodus 36:27 were spaced out. This is indeed none other but the House of God, and the House we proclaim was erected to God and dedicated to His Holy name. The 7th ordinate came direct from the celestial, and was symbolic of the path down which Moses had brought the word of God, for it intersected the mercy seat of the Ark in its exact centre. This was within the cubical of the Holy of Holies, which was designated as the most Holy place. The balance of the space within the House was called the Holy place, and its several parts were symbolic of the several features of our planetary system. Outside the House, and far off about the Tabernacle, the 12 tribes were
encamped. As each tribe was encamped under the ensign of his Father's house, the encampment itself was symbolic of the 12 constellations of the Zodiac. Hence, the complete layout of Tabernacle and encampment was copied from the design of the Father's house in the celestial. Had the builders of the Temple thoroughly understood the implications of the ladder Jacob supposedly dreamt about, it is highly improbable they would have built their structure of stone. This ladder truly located the gateway to heaven, for whenever and wherever the original Tabernacle was set up, the ladder of Jacob formed an integral part of its design. The "mount" it blessed was the mother earth on which the Tabernacle rested. The book, The Origin of Masonry, is in 5 parts, part 5 will appear in the next issue.
The Lodge Lives On! Time's ravages does Time repair, Time's deepest wounds are healed by Time; The Master passes from the chair, The Warden to the Chair doth climb. Master and Warden soon are gone, The Lodge lives on, The Lodge lives on! The torch of light is handed down The ages that so swiftly flee; Out of our frailty comes renown And life from our mortality; The pomps of yesteryear are gone, The Lodge lives on, the Lodge lives on! Brother J.C. Stewart, Kilwinning Lodge No.2.
So Mote it be
with varying degrees of success – KingJames-Version phraseology.
The Mason’s response is “So mote it be”. It seems to be regarded as equivalent to “Amen”, and there is evidence from the Middle Ages that both were used together – “Amen, so mote it be”, probably deriving from a Hebrew phrase, Amen, Ken Yehi Ratzon (“Amen, may it be so”). The Masonic and the Hebrew phrases both come at the end of a prayer or sentence, fulfilling the Jewish rule to wait until one has heard the whole statement before saying “Amen”. However, “Amen” is sometimes found in the New Testament at the beginning of a sentence. An example is John chapter 3, where the translators seem to have missed the nuance of the original text, in which the first word may have been Omnam (“verily, indeed”) and not “Amen”.
The archaic language certainly has a beauty and elegance of its own, and I have known Masonic ritualists who walked up and down reciting the classical phrases like the poetry which they are. But by retaining such outmoded language, are we turning ourselves into old fogeys? Should we not modernise the ritual and adopt a much more modern style? There are arguments on both sides. There was a time when I favoured the modernist approach, feeling it would make life easier for the Masons we have and attract more candidates to the Masonry of the future. I am no longer so sure. Having done some international travel, I see the drawbacks of tearing down old landmarks and destroying classical heritage buildings in the rush to make everything streamlined and similar.
“Amen” is actually a stative verb. It does not convey an action (“I stood, I sat”) but a state of affairs. Stative verbs of the same Hebrew grammatical form include zaken, “is old”, and ra’ev, “is hungry”. The root meaning of “Amen” is “truth”: saying “Amen” means “It is true”. Instead of “It is true”, a statement of agreement or endorsement, “So mote it be” is a prayer for the future: “May it be so”. The root seems to connect with our English verbs “may” and “might”, from Old English “motan”, “to be allowed”. But all this is too pedantic for today’s Mason, for whom “Amen” and “So mote it be” probably mean the same. The discussion does, however, touch on another major issue with our craft ritual. It has often been pointed out that Masonic ritual constantly uses archaic language, so that modern people who would never dream of saying “thou” and “thee” in the street find themselves handling in Lodge –
Severely functional places of worship, for instance, may be easier to keep clean, but they lack the ambience of the grand soaring cathedrals on which, for all we know, our operative ancestors worked for decades of their lives. In my own career in the clergy, I held office in three heritage buildings. All had their deficiencies from the practical point of view, but their classical feel enabled the worshipper to feel linked with great historical traditions.
Masonic language likewise reminds us that there are eternal verities; what is newer is not necessarily much of an improvement. Even with its archaic terminology, our ritual can help us to carry the principles of the past into a future hungry for values. So mote it be. By Rt. Wor. Bro. Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple, AO RFD, Past Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales & the Australian Capital Territory. Click the name to go to his website.
THE MASONIC DICTIONARY Degree
The word degree, in its primitive meaning, signifies a step. The degrees of Freemasonry are, then, the steps by which the candidate ascends from a lower to a higher condition of knowledge. It is now the opinion of the best scholars, that the division of the Masonic system into Degrees was the work of the revivalists of the beginning of the eighteenth century; that before that period there was but one Degree, or rather one common platform of ritualism; and that the division into Masters, Fellows, and Apprentices was simply a division of ranks, there being but one initiation for all. In 1717 the whole body of the Fraternity consisted only of Entered Apprentices, who were recognized by the thirty-nine Regulations, compiled in 1720, as among the law-givers of the Craft, no change in those Regulations being allowed unless first submitted "even to the youngest Apprentice."
In the Old Charges, collected by Anderson and approved in 1722, the Degree of Fellow Craft is introduced as being a necessary qualification for Grand Master, although the word degree is not used. "No brother can be a Grand Master unless he has been a Fellow Craft before his election." And in the Manner of constituting a New Lodge of the same date, the Master and Wardens are taken from "among the Fellow Crafts," which Dermott explains by saying that "they were called Fellow Crafts because the Masons of old times never gave any man the title of Master Mason until he had first passed the chair." In the thirteenth of the Regulations of 1720, approved in 1721, the orders or Degrees of Master and Fellow Craft are recognized in the following words: "Apprentices must be admitted Masters and Fellow Crafts only in the Grand Lodge." Between that period and 1738, the system of Degrees had been perfected; for Anderson, who, in that year, published the second edition of the Book of Constitutions, changed the phraseology of the Old Charges to suit the altered condition of things, and said, "a Prentice, when of age and expert, may become an Entered Prentice or a Free-Mason of the lowest degree, and upon his due improvements a Fellow Craft and a Master-Mason" (see Old Charge Ill, Constitutions, 1738, page 145). No such words are found in the Charges as printed in 1723; and if at that time the distinction of the three Degrees had been as well defined as in 1738, Anderson would not have failed to insert the same language in his first edition. That he did not, leads to the fair presumption that the ranks of Fellow Craft and Master were not then absolutely recognized as distinctive degrees. The earliest ritual extant, which is contained in the Grand Mystery, published in 1725, makes no reference to any Degrees, but gives only what we may suppose was the common understanding of the initiation in use about that time. The division of the Masonic system into three Degrees must have grown up between 1717 and 1730, but in 80 gradual and imperceptible a manner that we are unable to fix the precise date of the introduction of each Degree. In 1717 there was evidently but one Degree, or rather one form of initiation, and one catechism. Perhaps about 1721 the three Degrees were introduced, but the second and third were probably not perfected for many years. Even as late as 1735 the Entered Apprentice's Degree contained the most prominent form of initiation, and he who was an Apprentice was, for all practical purposes, a Freemason. It was not until repeated improvements, by the adoption of new ceremonies and new regulations that the Degree of Master Mason took the place which it now occupies; having been confined at first to those who had passed the chair
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor.
Published on Mar 28, 2013