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Title: The Builders - A Story and Study of Masonry
Author: Newton, Joseph Fort, 1876-1950
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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_When I was a King and a Mason--
A master proved and skilled,
I cleared me ground for a palace
Such as a King should build.
I decreed and cut down to my levels,
Presently, under the silt,
I came on the wreck of a palace
Such as a King had built!_



_First Printing, December, 1914_

The Memory of
Founder of the Library of the Grand Lodge
of Iowa, with Reverence and Gratitude; to
Past Grand Master of Masons in Iowa, dear Friend
and Fellow-worker, who initiated and inspired
this study, with Love and Goodwill; and
to the
Our Hope and Pride, for whom
this book was written
Fraternal Greeting


Fourteen years ago the writer of this volume entered the temple of
Freemasonry, and that date stands out in memory as one of the most
significant days in his life. There was a little spread on the night
of his raising, and, as is the custom, the candidate was asked to give
his impressions of the Order. Among other things, he made request to
know if there was any little book which would tell a young man the
things he would most like to know about Masonry--what it was, whence
it came, what it teaches, and what it is trying to do in the world? No
one knew of such a book at that time, nor has any been found to meet a
need which many must have felt before and since. By an odd
coincidence, it has fallen to the lot of the author to write the
little book for which he made request fourteen years ago.

This bit of reminiscence explains the purpose of the present volume,
and every book must be judged by its spirit and purpose, not less than
by its style and contents. Written as a commission from the Grand
Lodge of Iowa, and approved by that Grand body, a copy of this book is
to be presented to every man upon whom the degree of Master Mason is
conferred within this Grand Jurisdiction. Naturally this intention has
determined the method and arrangement of the book, as well as the
matter it contains; its aim being to tell a young man entering the
order the antecedents of Masonry, its development, its philosophy, its
mission, and its ideal. Keeping this purpose always in mind, the
effort has been to prepare a brief, simple, and vivid account of the
origin, growth, and teaching of the Order, so written as to provoke a
deeper interest in and a more earnest study of its story and its
service to mankind.

No work of this kind has been undertaken, so far as is known, by any
Grand Lodge in this country or abroad--at least, not since the old
_Pocket Companion_, and other such works in the earlier times; and
this is the more strange from the fact that the need of it is so
obvious, and its possibilities so fruitful and important. Every one
who has looked into the vast literature of Masonry must often have
felt the need of a concise, compact, yet comprehensive survey to clear
the path and light the way. Especially must those feel such a need who
are not accustomed to traverse long and involved periods of history,
and more especially those who have neither the time nor the
opportunity to sift ponderous volumes to find out the facts. Much of
our literature--indeed, by far the larger part of it--was written
before the methods of scientific study had arrived, and while it
fascinates, it does not convince those who are used to the more
critical habits of research. Consequently, without knowing it, some of
our most earnest Masonic writers have made the Order a target for
ridicule by their extravagant claims as to its antiquity. They did not
make it clear in what sense it is ancient, and not a little satire has
been aimed at Masons for their gullibility in accepting as true the
wildest and most absurd legends. Besides, no history of Masonry has
been written in recent years, and some important material has come to
light in the world of historical and archæological scholarship, making
not a little that has hitherto been obscure more clear; and there is
need that this new knowledge be related to what was already known.
While modern research aims at accuracy, too often its results are dry
pages of fact, devoid of literary beauty and spiritual appeal--a
skeleton without the warm robe of flesh and blood. Striving for
accuracy, the writer has sought to avoid making a dusty chronicle of
facts and figures, which few would have the heart to follow, with what
success the reader must decide.

Such a book is not easy to write, and for two reasons: it is the
history of a secret Order, much of whose lore is not to be written,
and it covers a bewildering stretch of time, asking that the contents
of innumerable volumes--many of them huge, disjointed, and difficult
to digest--be compact within a small space. Nevertheless, if it has
required a prodigious labor, it is assuredly worth while in behalf of
the young men who throng our temple gates, as well as for those who
are to come after us. Every line of this book has been written in the
conviction that the real history of Masonry is great enough, and its
simple teaching grand enough, without the embellishment of legend,
much less of occultism. It proceeds from first to last upon the
assurance that all that we need to do is to remove the scaffolding
from the historic temple of Masonry and let it stand out in the
sunlight, where all men can see its beauty and symmetry, and that it
will command the respect of the most critical and searching
intellects, as well as the homage of all who love mankind. By this
faith the long study has been guided; in this confidence it has been

To this end the sources of Masonic scholarship, stored in the library
of the Grand Lodge of Iowa, have been explored, and the highest
authorities have been cited wherever there is uncertainty--copious
references serving not only to substantiate the statements made, but
also, it is hoped, to guide the reader into further and more detailed
research. Also, in respect of issues still open to debate and about
which differences of opinion obtain, both sides have been given a
hearing, so far as space would allow, that the student may weigh and
decide the question for himself. Like all Masonic students of recent
times, the writer is richly indebted to the great Research Lodges of
England--especially to the Quatuor Coronati Lodge, No. 2076--without
whose proceedings this study would have been much harder to write, if
indeed it could have been written at all. Such men as Gould, Hughan,
Speth, Crawley, Thorp, to name but a few--not forgetting Pike, Parvin,
Mackey, Fort, and others in this country--deserve the perpetual
gratitude of the fraternity. If, at times, in seeking to escape from
mere legend, some of them seemed to go too far toward another
extreme--forgetting that there is much in Masonry that cannot be
traced by name and date--it was but natural in their effort in behalf
of authentic history and accurate scholarship. Alas, most of those
named belong now to a time that is gone and to the people who are no
longer with us here, but they are recalled by an humble student who
would pay them the honor belonging to great men and great Masons.

This book is divided into three parts, as everything Masonic should
be: Prophecy, History, and Interpretation. The first part has to do
with the hints and foregleams of Masonry in the early history,
tradition, mythology, and symbolism of the race--finding its
foundations in the nature and need of man, and showing how the stones
wrought out by time and struggle were brought from afar to the making
of Masonry as we know it. The second part is a story of the order of
builders through the centuries, from the building of the Temple of
Solomon to the organization of the mother Grand Lodge of England, and
the spread of the Order all over the civilized world. The third part
is a statement and exposition of the faith of Masonry, its philosophy,
its religious meaning, its genius, and its ministry to the individual,
and through the individual to society and the state. Such is a bare
outline of the purpose, method, plan, and spirit of the work, and if
these be kept in mind it is believed that it will tell its story and
confide its message.

When a man thinks of our mortal lot--its greatness and its pathos, how
much has been wrought out in the past, and how binding is our
obligation to preserve and enrich the inheritance of humanity--there
comes over him a strange warming of the heart toward all his fellow
workers; and especially toward the young, to whom we must soon entrust
all that we hold sacred. All through these pages the wish has been to
make the young Mason feel in what a great and benign tradition he
stands, that he may the more earnestly strive to be a Mason not merely
in form, but in faith, in spirit, and still more, in character; and so
help to realize somewhat of the beauty we all have dreamed--lifting
into the light the latent powers and unguessed possibilities of this
the greatest order of men upon the earth. Everyone can do a little,
and if each does his part faithfully the sum of our labors will be
very great, and we shall leave the world fairer than we found it,
richer in faith, gentler in justice, wiser in pity--for we pass this
way but once, pilgrims seeking a country, even a City that hath


_Cedar Rapids, Iowa_, September 7, 1914.


THE ANTE-ROOM                                                 vii

  CHAPTER I. THE FOUNDATIONS                                    5

  CHAPTER II. THE WORKING TOOLS                                19

  CHAPTER III. THE DRAMA OF FAITH                              39

  CHAPTER IV. THE SECRET DOCTRINE                              57

  CHAPTER V. THE COLLEGIA                                      73


  CHAPTER I. FREE-MASONS                                       97

  CHAPTER II. FELLOWCRAFTS                                    127

  CHAPTER III. ACCEPTED MASONS                                153

  CHAPTER IV. GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND                          173

  CHAPTER V. UNIVERSAL MASONRY                                201


  CHAPTER I. WHAT IS MASONRY                                  239

  CHAPTER II. THE MASONIC PHILOSOPHY                          259

  CHAPTER III. THE SPIRIT OF MASONRY                          283

BIBLIOGRAPHY                                                  301

INDEX                                                         306

Part I--Prophecy


  _By Symbols is man guided and commanded, made happy, made
  wretched. He everywhere finds himself encompassed with Symbols,
  recognized as such or not recognized: the Universe is but one vast
  Symbol of God; nay, if thou wilt have it, what is man himself but
  a Symbol of God; is not all that he does symbolical; a revelation
  to Sense of the mystic God-given force that is in him; a Gospel of
  Freedom, which he, the Messiah of Nature, preaches, as he can, by
  word and act? Not a Hut he builds but is the visible embodiment of
  a Thought; but bears visible record of invisible things; but is,
  in the transcendental sense, symbolical as well as real._

  --THOMAS CARLYLE, _Sartor Resartus_


_The Foundations_

Two arts have altered the face of the earth and given shape to the
life and thought of man, Agriculture and Architecture. Of the two, it
would be hard to know which has been the more intimately interwoven
with the inner life of humanity; for man is not only a planter and a
builder, but a mystic and a thinker. For such a being, especially in
primitive times, any work was something more than itself; it was a
truth found out. In becoming useful it attained some form, enshrining
at once a thought and a mystery. Our present study has to do with the
second of these arts, which has been called the matrix of

When we inquire into origins and seek the initial force which carried
art forward, we find two fundamental factors--physical necessity and
spiritual aspiration. Of course, the first great impulse of all
architecture was need, honest response to the demand for shelter; but
this demand included a Home for the Soul, not less than a roof over
the head. Even in this response to primary need there was something
spiritual which carried it beyond provision for the body; as the men
of Egypt, for instance, wanted an indestructible resting-place, and so
built the pyramids. As Capart says, prehistoric art shows that this
utilitarian purpose was in almost every case blended with a religious,
or at least a magical, purpose.[1] The spiritual instinct, in seeking
to recreate types and to set up more sympathetic relations with the
universe, led to imitation, to ideas of proportion, to the passion for
beauty, and to the effort after perfection.

Man has been always a builder, and nowhere has he shown himself more
significantly than in the buildings he has erected. When we stand
before them--whether it be a mud hut, the house of a cliff-dweller
stuck like the nest of a swallow on the side of a cañon, a Pyramid, a
Parthenon, or a Pantheon--we seem to read into his soul. The builder
may have gone, perhaps ages before, but here he has left something of
himself, his hopes, his fears, his ideas, his dreams. Even in the
remote recesses of the Andes, amidst the riot of nature, and where man
is now a mere savage, we come upon the remains of vast, vanished
civilizations, where art and science and religion reached unknown
heights. Wherever humanity has lived and wrought, we find the
crumbling ruins of towers, temples, and tombs, monuments of its
industry and its aspiration. Also, whatever else man may have
been--cruel, tyrannous, vindictive--his buildings always have
reference to religion. They bespeak a vivid sense of the Unseen and
his awareness of his relation to it. Of a truth, the story of the
Tower of Babel is more than a myth. Man has ever been trying to build
to heaven, embodying his prayer and his dream in brick and stone.

For there are two sets of realities--material and spiritual--but they
are so interwoven that all practical laws are exponents of moral laws.
Such is the thesis which Ruskin expounds with so much insight and
eloquence in his _Seven Lamps of Architecture_, in which he argues
that the laws of architecture are moral laws, as applicable to the
building of character as to the construction of cathedrals. He finds
those laws to be Sacrifice, Truth, Power, Beauty, Life, Memory, and,
as the crowning grace of all, that principle to which Polity owes its
stability, Life its happiness, Faith its acceptance, and Creation its
continuance--_Obedience_. He holds that there is no such thing as
liberty, and never can be. The stars have it not; the earth has it
not; the sea has it not. Man fancies that he has freedom, but if he
would use the word Loyalty instead of Liberty, he would be nearer the
truth, since it is by obedience to the laws of life and truth and
beauty that he attains to what he calls liberty.

Throughout that brilliant essay, Ruskin shows how the violation of
moral laws spoils the beauty of architecture, mars its usefulness, and
makes it unstable. He points out, with all the variations of emphasis,
illustration, and appeal, that beauty is what is imitated from natural
forms, consciously or unconsciously, and that what is not so derived,
but depends for its dignity upon arrangement received from the human
mind, expresses, while it reveals, the quality of the mind, whether it
be noble or ignoble. Thus:

    All building, therefore, shows man either as gathering or
    governing; and the secrets of his success are his knowing
    what to gather, and how to rule. These are the two great
    intellectual Lamps of Architecture; the one consisting in a
    just and humble veneration of the works of God upon earth,
    and the other in an understanding of the dominion over those
    works which has been vested in man.[2]

What our great prophet of art thus elaborated so eloquently, the early
men forefelt by instinct, dimly it may be, but not less truly. If
architecture was born of need it soon showed its magic quality, and
all true building touched depths of feeling and opened gates of
wonder. No doubt the men who first balanced one stone over two others
must have looked with astonishment at the work of their hands, and
have worshiped the stones they had set up. This element of mystical
wonder and awe lasted long through the ages, and is still felt when
work is done in the old way by keeping close to nature, necessity, and
faith. From the first, ideas of sacredness, of sacrifice, of ritual
rightness, of magic stability, of likeness to the universe, of
perfection of form and proportion glowed in the heart of the builder,
and guided his arm. Wren, philosopher as he was, decided that the
delight of man in setting up columns was acquired through worshiping
in the groves of the forest; and modern research has come to much the
same view, for Sir Arthur Evans shows that in the first European age
columns were gods. All over Europe the early morning of architecture
was spent in the worship of great stones.[3]

If we go to old Egypt, where the art of building seems first to have
gathered power, and where its remains are best preserved, we may read
the ideas of the earliest artists. Long before the dynastic period a
strong people inhabited the land who developed many arts which they
handed on to the pyramid-builders. Although only semi-naked savages
using flint instruments in a style much like the bushmen, they were
the root, so to speak, of a wonderful artistic stock. Of the Egyptians
Herodotus said, "They gather the fruits of the earth with less labor
than any other people." With agriculture and settled life came trade
and stored-up energy which might essay to improve on caves and pits
and other rude dwellings. By the Nile, perhaps, man first aimed to
overpass the routine of the barest need, and obey his soul. There he
wrought out beautiful vases of fine marble, and invented square

At any rate, the earliest known structure actually discovered, a
prehistoric tomb found in the sands at Hieraconpolis, is already
right-angled. As Lethaby reminds us, modern people take squareness
very much for granted as being a self-evident form, but the discovery
of the square was a great step in geometry.[4] It opened a new era in
the story of the builders. Early inventions must have seemed like
revelations, as indeed they were; and it is not strange that skilled
craftsmen were looked upon as magicians. If man knows as much as he
does, the discovery of the Square was a great event to the primitive
mystics of the Nile. Very early it became an emblem of truth,
justice, and righteousness, and so it remains to this day though
uncountable ages have passed. Simple, familiar, eloquent, it brings
from afar a sense of the wonder of the dawn, and it still teaches a
lesson which we find it hard to learn. So also the cube, the
compasses, and the keystone, each a great advance for those to whom
architecture was indeed "building touched with emotion," as showing
that its laws are the laws of the Eternal.

Maspero tells us that the temples of Egypt, even from earliest times,
were built in the image of the earth as the builders had imagined
it.[5] For them the earth was a sort of flat slab more long than wide,
and the sky was a ceiling or vault supported by four great pillars.
The pavement, represented the earth; the four angles stood for the
pillars; the ceiling, more often flat, though sometimes curved,
corresponded to the sky. From the pavement grew vegetation, and water
plants emerged from the water; while the ceiling, painted dark blue,
was strewn with stars of five points. Sometimes, the sun and moon were
seen floating on the heavenly ocean escorted by the constellations,
and the months and days. There was a far withdrawn holy place, small
and obscure, approached through a succession of courts and columned
halls, all so arranged on a central axis as to point to the sunrise.
Before the outer gates were obelisks and avenues of statues. Such were
the shrines of the old solar religion, so oriented that on one day in
the year the beams of the rising sun, or of some bright star that
hailed his coming, should stream down the nave and illumine the

Clearly, one ideal of the early builders was that of sacrifice, as
seen in their use of the finest materials; and another was accuracy of
workmanship. Indeed, not a little of the earliest work displayed an
astonishing technical ability, and such work must point to some
underlying idea which the workers sought to realize. Above all things
they sought permanence. In later inscriptions relating to buildings,
phrases like these occur frequently: "it is such as the heavens in all
its quarters;" "firm as the heavens." Evidently the basic idea was
that, as the heavens were stable, not to be moved, so a building put
into proper relation with the universe would acquire magical
stability. It is recorded that when Ikhnaton founded his new city,
four boundary stones were accurately placed, that so it might be
exactly square, and thus endure forever. Eternity was the ideal aimed
at, everything else being sacrificed for that aspiration.

How well they realized their dream is shown us in the Pyramids, of all
monuments of mankind the oldest, the most technically perfect, the
largest, and the most mysterious. Ages come and go, empires rise and
fall, philosophies flourish and fail, and man seeks him out many
inventions, but they stand silent under the bright Egyptian night, as
fascinating as they are baffling. An obelisk is simply a pyramid,
albeit the base has become a shaft, holding aloft the oldest emblems
of solar faith--a Triangle mounted on a Square. When and why this
figure became holy no one knows, save as we may conjecture that it was
one of those sacred stones which gained its sanctity in times far back
of all recollection and tradition, like the _Ka'aba_ at Mecca. Whether
it be an imitation of the triangle of zodiacal light, seen at certain
times in the eastern sky at sunrise and sunset, or a feat of masonry
used as a symbol of Heaven, as the Square was an emblem of Earth, no
one may affirm.[7] In the Pyramid Texts the Sun-god, when he created
all the other gods, is shown sitting on the apex of the sky in the
form of a Phoenix--that Supreme God to whom two architects, Suti and
Hor, wrote so noble a hymn of praise.[8]

White with the worship of ages, ineffably beautiful and pathetic, is
the old light-religion of humanity--a sublime nature-mysticism in
which Light was love and life, and Darkness evil and death. For the
early man light was the mother of beauty, the unveiler of color, the
elusive and radiant mystery of the world, and his speech about it was
reverent and grateful. At the gates of the morning he stood with
uplifted hands, and the sun sinking in the desert at eventide made him
wistful in prayer, half fear and half hope, lest the beauty return no
more. His religion, when he emerged from the night of animalism, was a
worship of the Light--his temple hung with stars, his altar a glowing
flame, his ritual a woven hymn of night and day. No poet of our day,
not even Shelley, has written lovelier lyrics in praise of the Light
than those hymns of Ikhnaton in the morning of the world.[9] Memories
of this religion of the dawn linger with us today in the faith that
follows the Day-Star from on high, and the Sun of Righteousness--One
who is the Light of the World in life, and the Lamp of Poor Souls in
the night of death.

Here, then, are the real foundations of Masonry, both material and
moral: in the deep need and aspiration of man, and his creative
impulse; in his instinctive Faith, his quest of the Ideal, and his
love of the Light. Underneath all his building lay the feeling,
prophetic of his last and highest thought, that the earthly house of
his life should be in right relation with its heavenly prototype, the
world-temple--imitating on earth the house not made with hands,
eternal in the heavens. If he erected a square temple, it was an image
of the earth; if he built a pyramid, it was a picture of a beauty
shown him in the sky; as, later, his cathedral was modelled after the
mountain, and its dim and lofty arch a memory of the forest vista--its
altar a fireside of the soul, its spire a prayer in stone. And as he
wrought his faith and dream into reality, it was but natural that the
tools of the builder should become emblems of the thoughts of the
thinker. Not only his tools, but, as we shall see, the very stones
with which he worked became sacred symbols--the temple itself a vision
of that House of Doctrine, that Home of the Soul, which, though
unseen, he is building in the midst of the years.


[1] _Primitive Art in Egypt._

[2] Chapter iii, aphorism 2.

[3] _Architecture_, by Lethaby, chap. i.

[4] _Architecture_, by Lethaby, chap. ii.

[5] _Dawn of Civilization_.

[6] _Dawn of Astronomy_, Norman Lockyer.

[7] Churchward, in his _Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man_ (chap.
xv), holds that the pyramid was typical of heaven, Shu, standing on
seven steps, having lifted the sky from the earth in the form of a
triangle; and that at each point stood one of the gods, Sut and Shu at
the base, the apex being the Pole Star where Horus of the Horizon had
his throne. This is, in so far, true; but the pyramid emblem was older
than Osiris, Isis, and Horus, and runs back into an obscurity beyond

[8] _Religion and Thought in Egypt_, by Breasted, lecture ix.

[9] Ikhnaton, indeed, was a grand, solitary, shining figure, "the first
idealist in history," and a poetic thinker in whom the religion of
Egypt attained its highest reach. Dr. Breasted puts his lyrics
alongside the poems of Wordsworth and the great passage of Ruskin in
_Modern Painters_, as celebrating the divinity of Light (_Religion and
Thought in Egypt_, lecture ix). Despite the revenge of his enemies, he
stands out as a lonely, heroic, prophetic soul--"the first _individual_
in time."


  _It began to shape itself to my intellectual vision into something
  more imposing and majestic, solemnly mysterious and grand. It
  seemed to me like the Pyramids in their loneliness, in whose yet
  undiscovered chambers may be hidden, for the enlightenment of
  coming generations, the sacred books of the Egyptians, so long
  lost to the world; like the Sphynx half buried in the desert._

  _In its symbolism, which and its spirit of brotherhood are its
  essence, Freemasonry is more ancient than any of the world's
  living religions. It has the symbols and doctrines which, older
  than himself, Zarathrustra inculcated; and it seemed to me a
  spectacle sublime, yet pitiful--the ancient Faith of our ancestors
  holding out to the world its symbols once so eloquent, and mutely
  and in vain asking for an interpreter._

  _And so I came at last to see that the true greatness and majesty
  of Freemasonry consist in its proprietorship of these and its
  other symbols; and that its symbolism is its soul._

  --ALBERT PIKE, _Letter to Gould_


_The Working Tools_

Never were truer words than those of Goethe in the last lines of
_Faust_, and they echo one of the oldest instincts of humanity: "All
things transitory but as symbols are sent." From the beginning man has
divined that the things open to his senses are more than mere facts,
having other and hidden meanings. The whole world was close to him as
an infinite parable, a mystical and prophetic scroll the lexicon of
which he set himself to find. Both he and his world were so made as to
convey a sense of doubleness, of high truth hinted in humble, nearby
things. No smallest thing but had its skyey aspect which, by his
winged and quick-sighted fancy, he sought to surprise and grasp.

Let us acknowledge that man was born a poet, his mind a chamber of
imagery, his world a gallery of art. Despite his utmost efforts, he
can in nowise strip his thought of the flowers and fruits that cling
to it, withered though they often are. As a fact, he has ever been a
citizen of two worlds, using the scenery of the visible to make vivid
the realities of the world Unseen. What wonder, then, that trees grew
in his fancy, flowers bloomed in his faith, and the victory of spring
over winter gave him hope of life after death, while the march of the
sun and the great stars invited him to "thoughts that wander through
eternity." Symbol was his native tongue, his first form of speech--as,
indeed, it is his last--whereby he was able to say what else he could
not have uttered. Such is the fact, and even the language in which we
state it is "a dictionary of faded metaphors," the fossil poetry of
ages ago.


That picturesque and variegated maze of the early symbolism of the
race we cannot study in detail, tempting as it is. Indeed, so
luxuriant was that old picture-language that we may easily miss our
way and get lost in the labyrinth, unless we keep to the right
path.[10] First of all, throughout this study of prophecy let us keep
ever in mind a very simple and obvious fact, albeit not less wonderful
because obvious. Socrates made the discovery--perhaps the greatest
ever made--that human nature is universal. By his searching questions
he found out that when men think round a problem, and think deeply,
they disclose a common nature and a common system of truth. So there
dawned upon him, from this fact, the truth of the kinship of mankind
and the unity of mind. His insight is confirmed many times over,
whether we study the earliest gropings of the human mind or set the
teachings of the sages side by side. Always we find, after comparison,
that the final conclusions of the wisest minds as to the meaning of
life and the world are harmonious, if not identical.

Here is the clue to the striking resemblances between the faiths and
philosophies of widely separated peoples, and it makes them
intelligible while adding to their picturesqueness and philosophic
interest. By the same token, we begin to understand why the same
signs, symbols, and emblems were used by all peoples to express their
earliest aspiration and thought. We need not infer that one people
learned them from another, or that there existed a mystic, universal
order which had them in keeping. They simply betray the unity of the
human mind, and show how and why, at the same stage of culture, races
far removed from each other came to the same conclusions and used much
the same symbols to body forth their thought. Illustrations are
innumerable, of which a few may be named as examples of this unity
both of idea and of emblem, and also as confirming the insight of the
great Greek that, however shallow minds may differ, in the end all
seekers after truth follow a common path, comrades in one great quest.

An example in point, as ancient as it is eloquent, is the idea of the
trinity and its emblem, the triangle. What the human thought of God is
depends on what power of the mind or aspect of life man uses as a lens
through which to look into the mystery of things. Conceived of as the
will of the world, God is one, and we have the monotheism of Moses.
Seen through instinct and the kaleidoscope of the senses, God is
multiple, and the result is polytheism and its gods without number.
For the reason, God is a dualism made up of matter and mind, as in the
faith of Zoroaster and many other cults. But when the social life of
man becomes the prism of faith, God is a trinity of Father, Mother,
Child. Almost as old as human thought, we find the idea of the trinity
and its triangle emblem everywhere--Siva, Vishnu, and Brahma in India
corresponding to Osiris, Isis, and Horus in Egypt. No doubt this idea
underlay the old pyramid emblem, at each corner of which stood one of
the gods. No missionary carried this profound truth over the earth. It
grew out of a natural and universal human experience, and is explained
by the fact of the unity of the human mind and its vision of God
through the family.

Other emblems take us back into an antiquity so remote that we seem to
be walking in the shadow of prehistoric time. Of these, the mysterious
Swastika is perhaps the oldest, as it is certainly the most widely
distributed over the earth. As much a talisman as a symbol, it has
been found on Chaldean bricks, among the ruins of the city of Troy, in
Egypt, on vases of ancient Cyprus, on Hittite remains and the pottery
of the Etruscans, in the cave temples of India, on Roman altars and
Runic monuments in Britain, in Thibet, China, and Korea, in Mexico,
Peru, and among the prehistoric burial-grounds of North America. There
have been many interpretations of it. Perhaps the meaning most usually
assigned to it is that of the Sanskrit word having in its roots an
intimation of the beneficence of life, _to be_ and _well_. As such, it
is a sign indicating "that the maze of life may bewilder, but a path
of light runs through it: _It is well_ is the name of the path, and
the key to life eternal is in the strange labyrinth for those whom God
leadeth."[11] Others hold it to have been an emblem of the Pole Star
whose stability in the sky, and the procession of the Ursa Major
around it, so impressed the ancient world. Men saw the sun journeying
across the heavens every day in a slightly different track, then
standing still, as it were, at the solstice, and then returning on its
way back. They saw the moon changing not only its orbit, but its size
and shape and time of appearing. Only the Pole Star remained fixed and
stable, and it became, not unnaturally, a light of assurance and the
footstool of the Most High.[12] Whatever its meaning, the Swastika
shows us the efforts of the early man to read the riddle of things,
and his intuition of a love at the heart of life.

Akin to the Swastika, if not an evolution from it, was the Cross, made
forever holy by the highest heroism of Love. When man climbed up out
of the primeval night, with his face to heaven upturned, he had a
cross in his hand. Where he got it, why he held it, and what he meant
by it, no one can conjecture much less affirm.[13] Itself a paradox,
its arms pointing to the four quarters of the earth, it is found in
almost every part of the world carved on coins, altars, and tombs, and
furnishing a design for temple architecture in Mexico and Peru, in the
pagodas of India, not less than in the churches of Christ. Ages before
our era, even from the remote time of the cliff-dweller, the Cross
seems to have been a symbol of life, though for what reason no one
knows. More often it was an emblem of eternal life, especially when
inclosed within a Circle which ends not, nor begins--the type of
Eternity. Hence the Ank Cross or Crux Ansata of Egypt, scepter of the
Lord of the Dead that never die. There is less mystery about the
Circle, which was an image of the disk of the Sun and a natural symbol
of completeness, of eternity. With a point within the center it
became, as naturally, the emblem of the Eye of the World--that
All-seeing eye of the eternal Watcher of the human scene.

Square, triangle, cross, circle--oldest symbols of humanity, all of
them eloquent, each of them pointing beyond itself, as symbols always
do, while giving form to the invisible truth which they invoke and
seek to embody. They are beautiful if we have eyes to see, serving not
merely as chance figures of fancy, but as forms of reality as it
revealed itself to the mind of man. Sometimes we find them united, the
Square within the Circle, and within that the Triangle, and at the
center the Cross. Earliest of emblems, they show us hints and
foregleams of the highest faith and philosophy, betraying not only the
unity of the human mind but its kinship with the Eternal--the fact
which lies at the root of every religion, and is the basis of each.
Upon this Faith man builded, finding a rock beneath, refusing to think
of Death as the gigantic coffin-lid of a dull and mindless universe
descending upon him at last.


From this brief outlook upon a wide field, we may pass to a more
specific and detailed study of the early prophecies of Masonry in the
art of the builder. Always the symbolic must follow the actual, if it
is to have reference and meaning, and the real is ever the basis of
the ideal. By nature an Idealist, and living in a world of radiant
mystery, it was inevitable that man should attach moral and spiritual
meanings to the tools, laws, and materials of building. Even so, in
almost every land and in the remotest ages we find great and beautiful
truth hovering about the builder and clinging to his tools.[14]
Whether there were organized orders of builders in the early times no
one can tell, though there may have been. No matter; man mixed thought
and worship with his work, and as he cut his altar stones and fitted
them together he thought out a faith by which to live.

Not unnaturally, in times when the earth was thought to be a Square
the Cube had emblematical meanings it could hardly have for us. From
earliest ages it was a venerated symbol, and the oblong cube signified
immensity of space from the base of earth to the zenith of the
heavens. It was a sacred emblem of the Lydian Kubele, known to the
Romans in after ages as Ceres or Cybele--hence, as some aver, the
derivation of the word "cube." At first rough stones were most sacred,
and an altar of hewn stones was forbidden.[15] With the advent of the
cut cube, the temple became known as the House of the Hammer--its
altar, always in the center, being in the form of a cube and regarded
as "an index or emblem of Truth, ever true to itself."[16] Indeed, the
cube, as Plutarch points out in his essay _On the Cessation of
Oracles_, "is palpably the proper emblem of rest, on account of the
security and firmness of the superficies." He further tells us that
the pyramid is an image of the triangular flame ascending from a
square altar; and since no one knows, his guess is as good as any. At
any rate, Mercury, Apollo, Neptune, and Hercules were worshiped under
the form of a square stone, while a large black stone was the emblem
of Buddha among the Hindoos, of Manah Theus-Ceres in Arabia, and of
Odin in Scandinavia. Everyone knows of the Stone of Memnon in Egypt,
which was said to speak at sunrise--as, in truth, all stones spoke to
man in the sunrise of time.[17]

More eloquent, if possible, was the Pillar uplifted, like the pillars
of the gods upholding the heavens. Whatever may have been the origin
of pillars, and there is more than one theory, Evans has shown that
they were everywhere worshiped as gods.[18] Indeed, the gods
themselves were pillars of Light and Power, as in Egypt Horus and Sut
were the twin-builders and supporters of heaven; and Bacchus among the
Thebans. At the entrance of the temple of Amenta, at the door of the
house of Ptah--as, later, in the porch of the temple of Solomon--stood
two pillars. Still further back, in the old solar myths, at the
gateway of eternity stood two pillars--Strength and Wisdom. In India,
and among the Mayas and Incas, there were three pillars at the portals
of the earthly and skyey temple--Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty. When
man set up a pillar, he became a fellow-worker with Him whom the old
sages of China used to call "the first Builder." Also, pillars were
set up to mark the holy places of vision and Divine deliverance, as
when Jacob erected a pillar at Bethel, Joshua at Gilgal, and Samuel at
Mizpeh and Shen. Always they were symbols of stability, of what the
Egyptians described as "the place of establishing forever,"--emblems
of the faith "that the pillars of the earth are the Lord's, and He
hath set the world upon them."[19]

Long before our era we find the working tools of the Mason used as
emblems of the very truths which they teach today. In the oldest
classic of China, _The Book of History_, dating back to the twentieth
century before Christ, we read the instruction: "Ye officers of the
Government, apply the compasses." Even if we begin where _The Book of
History_ ends, we find many such allusions more than seven hundred
years before the Christian era. For example, in the famous canonical
work, called _The Great Learning_, which has been referred to the
fifth century B.C., we read, that a man should abstain from doing unto
others what he would not they should do to him; "and this," the writer
adds, "is called the principle of acting on the square." So also
Confucius and his great follower, Mencius. In the writings of Mencius
it is taught that men should apply the square and compasses morally to
their lives, and the level and the marking line besides, if they would
walk in the straight and even paths of wisdom, and keep themselves
within the bounds of honor and virtue.[20] In the sixth book of his
philosophy we find these words:

    A Master Mason, in teaching apprentices, makes use of the
    compasses and the square. Ye who are engaged in the pursuit
    of wisdom must also make use of the compass and square.[21]

There are even evidences, in the earliest historic records of China,
of the existence of a system of faith expressed in allegoric form, and
illustrated by the symbols of building. The secrets of this faith seem
to have been orally transmitted, the leaders alone pretending to have
full knowledge of them. Oddly enough, it seems to have gathered about
a symbolical temple put up in the desert, that the various officers of
the faith were distinguished by symbolic jewels, and that at its rites
they wore leather aprons.[22] From such records as we have it is not
possible to say whether the builders themselves used their tools as
emblems, or whether it was the thinkers who first used them to teach
moral truths. In any case, they were understood; and the point here is
that, thus early, the tools of the builder were teachers of wise and
good and beautiful truth. Indeed, we need not go outside the Bible to
find both the materials and working tools of the Mason so

    For every house is builded by some man; but the builder of
    all things is God ... whose house we are.[24]

    Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a tried stone, a
    precious corner-stone, a sure foundation.[25]

    The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of
    the corner.[26]

    Ye also, as living stones, are built up into a spiritual

    When he established the heavens I was there, when he set the
    compass upon the face of the deep, when he marked out the
    foundations of the earth: then was I by him as a master

    The Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a
    plumbline in his hand. And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what
    seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord,
    Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people
    Israel: I will not again pass by them any more.[29]

    Ye shall offer the holy oblation foursquare, with the
    possession of the city.[30]

    And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as
    the breadth.[31]

    Him that overcometh I will make a pillar in the temple of my
    God; and I will write upon him my new name.[32]

    For we know that when our earthly house of this tabernacle is
    dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with
    hands, eternal in the heavens.[33]

If further proof were needed, it has been preserved for us in the
imperishable stones of Egypt.[34] The famous obelisk, known as
Cleopatra's Needle, now in Central Park, New York, the gift to our
nation from Ismail, Khedive of Egypt in 1878, is a mute but eloquent
witness of the antiquity of the simple symbols of the Mason.
Originally it stood as one of the forest of obelisks surrounding the
great temple of the Sun-god at Heliopolis, so long a seat of Egyptian
learning and religion, dating back, it is thought, to the fifteenth
century before Christ. It was removed to Alexandria and re-erected by
a Roman architect and engineer named Pontius, B.C. 22. When it was
taken down in 1879 to be brought to America, all the emblems of the
builders were found in the foundation. The rough Cube and the polished
Cube in pure white limestone, the Square cut in syenite, an iron
Trowel, a lead Plummet, the arc of a Circle, the serpent-symbols of
Wisdom, a stone Trestle-board, a stone bearing the Master's Mark, and
a hieroglyphic word meaning _Temple_--all so placed and preserved as
to show, beyond doubt, that they had high symbolic meaning. Whether
they were in the original foundation, or were placed there when the
obelisk was removed, no one can tell. Nevertheless, they were there,
concrete witnesses of the fact that the builders worked in the light
of a mystical faith, of which they were emblems.

Much has been written of buildings, their origin, age, and
architecture, but of the builders hardly a word--so quickly is the
worker forgotten, save as he lives in his work. Though we have no
records other than these emblems, it is an obvious inference that
there were orders of builders even in those early ages, to whom these
symbols were sacred; and this inference is the more plausible when we
remember the importance of the builder both to religion and the state.
What though the builders have fallen into dust, to which all things
mortal decline, they still hold out their symbols for us to read,
speaking their thoughts in a language easy to understand. Across the
piled-up debris of ages they whisper the old familiar truths, and it
will be a part of this study to trace those symbols through the
centuries, showing that they have always had the same high meanings.
They bear witness not only to the unity of the human mind, but to the
existence of a common system of truth veiled in allegory and taught in
symbols. As such, they are prophecies of Masonry as we know it, whose
genius it is to take what is old, simple, and universal, and use it to
bring men together and make them friends.

  Shore calls to shore
  That the line is unbroken!


[10] There are many books in this field, but two may be named: _The
Lost Language of Symbolism_, by Bayley, and the _Signs and Symbols of
Primordial Man_, by Churchward, each in its own way remarkable. The
first aspires to be for this field what Frazer's _Golden Bough_ is for
religious anthropology, and its dictum is: "Beauty is Truth; Truth
Beauty." The thesis of the second is that Masonry is founded upon
Egyptian eschatology, which may be true; but unfortunately the book is
too polemical. Both books partake of the poetry, if not the confusion,
of the subject; but not for a world of dust would one clip their wings
of fancy and suggestion. Indeed, their union of scholarship and poetry
is unique. When the pains of erudition fail to track a fact to its
lair, they do not scruple to use the divining rod; and the result often
passes out of the realm of pedestrian chronicle into the world of
winged literature.

[11] _The Word in the Pattern_, Mrs. G.F. Watts.

[12] _The Swastika_, Thomas Carr. See essay by the same writer in which
he shows that the Swastika is the symbol of the Supreme Architect of
the Universe among Operative Masons today (_The Lodge of Research_, No.
2429, Transactions, 1911-12).

[13] _Signs and Symbols_, Churchward, chap. xvii.

[14] Here again the literature is voluminous, but not entirely
satisfactory. A most interesting book is _Signs and Symbols of
Primordial Man_, by Churchward, in that it surveys the symbolism of the
race always with reference to its Masonic suggestion. Vivid and popular
is _Symbols and Legends of Freemasonry_, by Finlayson, but he often
strains facts in order to stretch them over wide gaps of time. Dr.
Mackey's _Symbolism of Freemasonry_, though written more than sixty
years ago, remains a classic of the order. Unfortunately the lectures
of Albert Pike on _Symbolism_ are not accessible to the general reader,
for they are rich mines of insight and scholarship, albeit betraying
his partisanship of the Indo-Aryan race. Many minor books might be
named, but we need a work brought up to date and written in the light
of recent research.

[15] Exod. 20:25.

[16] _Antiquities of Cornwall_, Borlase.

[17] _Lost Language of Symbolism_, Bayley, chap, xviii; also in the
Bible, Deut. 32:18, II Sam. 22:3, 32, Psa. 28:1, Matt. 16:18, I Cor.

[18] _Tree and Pillar Cult_, Sir Arthur Evans.

[19] I Sam. 2:8, Psa. 75:8, Job 26:7, Rev. 3:12.

[20] _Freemasonry in China_, Giles. Also Gould, _His. Masonry_, vol. i,
chap. i.

[21] _Chinese Classics_, by Legge, i, 219-45.

[22] Essay by Chaloner Alabaster, _Ars Quatuor Coronatorum_, vol. ii,
121-24. It is not too much to say that the Transactions of this Lodge
of Research are the richest storehouse of Masonic lore in the world.

[23] Matt. 16:18, Eph. 2:20-22, I Cor. 2:9-17. Woman is the house and
wall of man, without whose bounding and redeeming influence he would be
dissipated and lost (Song of Solomon 8:10). So also by the mystics
(_The Perfect Way_).

[24] Heb. 3:4.

[25] Isa. 28:16.

[26] Psa. 118:22, Matt. 21:42.

[27] I Pet. 2:5.

[28] Prov. 8:27-30, Revised Version.

[29] Amos 7:7, 8.

[30] Ezk. 48:20.

[31] Rev. 21:16.

[32] Rev. 3:12.

[33] II Cor. 5:1.

[34] _Egyptian Obelisks_, H.H. Gorringe. The obelisk in Central Park,
the expenses for removing which were paid by W.H. Vanderbilt, was
examined by the Grand Lodge of New York, and its emblems pronounced to
be unmistakably Masonic. This book gives full account of all obelisks
brought to Europe from Egypt, their measurements, inscriptions, and


  _And so the Quest goes on. And the Quest, as it may be, ends in
  attainment--we know not where and when: so long as we can conceive
  of our separate existence, the quest goes on--an attainment
  continued henceforward. And ever shall the study of the ways which
  have been followed by those who have passed in front be a help on
  our own path._

  _It is well, it is of all things beautiful and perfect, holy and
  high of all, to be conscious of the path which does in fine lead
  thither where we seek to go, namely, the goal which is in God.
  Taking nothing with us which does not belong to ourselves, leaving
  nothing behind us that is of our real selves, we shall find in the
  great attainment that the companions of our toil are with us. And
  the place is the Valley of Peace._

  --ARTHUR EDWARD WAITE, _The Secret Tradition_


_The Drama of Faith_

Man does not live by bread alone; he lives by Faith, Hope, and Love,
and the first of these was Faith. Nothing in the human story is more
striking than the persistent, passionate, profound protest of man
against death. Even in the earliest time we see him daring to stand
erect at the gates of the grave, disputing its verdict, refusing to
let it have the last word, and making argument in behalf of his soul.
For Emerson, as for Addison, that fact alone was proof enough of
immortality, as revealing a universal intuition of eternal life.
Others may not be so easily convinced, but no man who has the heart of
a man can fail to be impressed by the ancient, heroic faith of his

Nowhere has this faith ever been more vivid or victorious than among
the old Egyptians.[35] In the ancient _Book of the Dead_--which is,
indeed, a Book of Resurrection--occur the words: "The soul to heaven;
the body to earth;" and that first faith is our faith today. Of King
Unas, who lived in the third millennium, it is written: "Behold, thou
hast not gone as one dead, but as one living." Nor has any one in our
day set forth this faith with more simple eloquence than the Hymn to
Osiris, in the Papyrus of Hunefer. So in the Pyramid Texts the dead
are spoken of as Those Who Ascend, the Imperishable Ones who shine as
stars, and the gods are invoked to witness the death of the King
"Dawning as a Soul." There is deep prophecy, albeit touched with
poignant pathos, in these broken exclamations written on the pyramid

    Thou diest not! Have ye said that he would die? He diest not;
    this King Pepi lives forever! Live! Thou shalt not die! He
    has escaped his day of death! Thou livest, thou livest, raise
    thee up! Thou diest not, stand up, raise thee up! Thou
    perishest not eternally! Thou diest not![36]

Nevertheless, nor poetry nor chant nor solemn ritual could make death
other than death; and the Pyramid Texts, while refusing to utter the
fatal word, give wistful reminiscences of that blessed age "before
death came forth." However high the faith of man, the masterful
negation and collapse of the body was a fact, and it was to keep that
daring faith alive and aglow that The Mysteries were instituted.
Beginning, it may be, in incantation, they rose to heights of
influence and beauty, giving dramatic portrayal of the unconquerable
faith of man. Watching the sun rise from the tomb of night, and the
spring return in glory after the death of winter, man reasoned from
analogy--justifying a faith that held him as truly as he held it--that
the race, sinking into the grave, would rise triumphant over death.


There were many variations on this theme as the drama of faith
evolved, and as it passed from land to land; but the Motif was ever
the same, and they all were derived, directly or indirectly, from the
old Osirian passion-play in Egypt. Against the background of the
ancient Solar religion, Osiris made his advent as Lord of the Nile and
fecund Spirit of vegetable life--son of Nut the sky-goddess and Geb
the earth-god; and nothing in the story of the Nile-dwellers is more
appealing than his conquest of the hearts of the people against all
odds.[37] Howbeit, that history need not detain us here, except to say
that by the time his passion had become the drama of national faith,
it had been bathed in all the tender hues of human life; though
somewhat of its solar radiance still lingered in it. Enough to say
that of all the gods, called into being by the hopes and fears of men
who dwelt in times of yore on the banks of the Nile, Osiris was the
most beloved. Osiris the benign father, Isis his sorrowful and
faithful wife, and Horus whose filial piety and heroism shine like
diamonds in a heap of stones--about this trinity were woven the ideals
of Egyptian faith and family life. Hear now the story of the oldest
drama of the race, which for more than three thousand years held
captive the hearts of men.[38]

Osiris was Ruler of Eternity, but by reason of his visible shape
seemed nearly akin to man--revealing a divine humanity. His success
was chiefly due, however, to the gracious speech of Isis, his
sister-wife, whose charm men could neither reckon nor resist. Together
they labored for the good of man, teaching him to discern the plants
fit for food, themselves pressing the grapes and drinking the first
cup of wine. They made known the veins of metal running through the
earth, of which man was ignorant, and taught him to make weapons. They
initiated man into the intellectual and moral life, taught him ethics
and religion, how to read the starry sky, song and dance and the
rhythm of music. Above all, they evoked in men a sense of immortality,
of a destiny beyond the tomb. Nevertheless, they had enemies at once
stupid and cunning, keen-witted but short-sighted--the dark force of
evil which still weaves the fringe of crime on the borders of human

Side by side with Osiris, lived the impious Set-Typhon, as Evil ever
haunts the Good. While Osiris was absent, Typhon--whose name means
serpent--filled with envy and malice, sought to usurp his throne; but
his plot was frustrated by Isis. Whereupon he resolved to kill Osiris.
This he did, having invited him to a feast, by persuading him to enter
a chest, offering, as if in jest, to present the richly carved chest
to any one of his guests who, lying down inside it, found he was of
the same size. When Osiris got in and stretched himself out, the
conspirators closed the chest, and flung it into the Nile.[39] Thus
far, the gods had not known death. They had grown old, with white hair
and trembling limbs, but old age had not led to death. As soon as Isis
heard of this infernal treachery, she cut her hair, clad herself in a
garb of mourning, ran thither and yon, a prey to the most cruel
anguish, seeking the body. Weeping and distracted, she never tarried,
never tired in her sorrowful quest.

Meanwhile, the waters carried the chest out to sea, as far as Byblos
in Syria, the town of Adonis, where it lodged against a shrub of
arica, or tamarisk--like an acacia tree.[40] Owing to the virtue of
the body, the shrub, at its touch, shot up into a tree, growing around
it, and protecting it, until the king of that country cut the tree
which hid the chest in its bosom, and made from it a column for his
palace. At last Isis, led by a vision, came to Byblos, made herself
known, and asked for the column. Hence the picture of her weeping over
a broken column torn from the palace, while Horus, god of Time, stands
behind her pouring ambrosia on her hair. She took the body back to
Egypt, to the city of Bouto; but Typhon, hunting by moonlight, found
the chest, and having recognized the body of Osiris, mangled it and
scattered it beyond recognition. Isis, embodiment of the old
world-sorrow for the dead, continued her pathetic quest, gathering
piece by piece the body of her dismembered husband, and giving him
decent interment. Such was the life and death of Osiris, but as his
career pictured the cycle of nature, it could not of course end here.

Horus fought with Typhon, losing an eye in the battle, but finally
overthrew him and took him prisoner. There are several versions of his
fate, but he seems to have been tried, sentenced, and executed--"cut
in three pieces," as the Pyramid Texts relate. Thereupon the faithful
son went in solemn procession to the grave of his father, opened it,
and called upon Osiris to rise: "Stand up! Thou shalt not end, thou
shalt not perish!" But death was deaf. Here the Pyramid Texts recite
the mortuary ritual, with its hymns and chants; but in vain. At length
Osiris awakes, weary and feeble, and by the aid of the strong grip of
the lion-god he gains control of his body, and is lifted from death to
life.[41] Thereafter, by virtue of his victory over death, Osiris
becomes Lord of the Land of Death, his scepter an Ank Cross, his
throne a Square.


Such, in brief, was the ancient allegory of eternal life, upon which
there were many elaborations as the drama unfolded; but always, under
whatever variation of local color, of national accent or emphasis, its
central theme remained the same. Often perverted and abused, it was
everywhere a dramatic expression of the great human aspiration for
triumph over death and union with God, and the belief in the ultimate
victory of Good over Evil. Not otherwise would this drama have held
the hearts of men through long ages, and won the eulogiums of the most
enlightened men of antiquity--of Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato,
Euripides, Plutarch, Pindar, Isocrates, Epictetus, and Marcus
Aurelius. Writing to his wife after the loss of their little girl,
Plutarch commends to her the hope set forth in the mystic rites and
symbols of this drama, as, elsewhere, he testifies that it kept him
"as far from superstition as from atheism," and helped him to approach
the truth. For deeper minds this drama had a double meaning, teaching
not only immortality after death, but the awakening of man upon earth
from animalism to a life of purity, justice, and honor. How nobly this
practical aspect was taught, and with what fineness of spiritual
insight, may be seen in _Secret Sermon on the Mountain_ in the
Hermetic lore of Greece:[42]

    What may I say, my son? I can but tell thee this. Whenever I
    see within myself the Simple Vision brought to birth out of
    God's mercy, I have passed through myself into a Body that
    can never die. Then I am not what I was before.... They who
    are thus born are children of a Divine race. This race, my
    son, is never taught; but when He willeth it, its memory is
    restored by God. It is the "Way of Birth in God." ...
    Withdraw into thyself and it will come. _Will_, and it comes
    to pass.

Isis herself is said to have established the first temple of the
Mysteries, the oldest being those practiced at Memphis. Of these there
were two orders, the Lesser to which the many were eligible, and which
consisted of dialogue and ritual, with certain signs, tokens, grips,
passwords; and the Greater, reserved for the few who approved
themselves worthy of being entrusted with the highest secrets of
science, philosophy, and religion. For these the candidate had to
undergo trial, purification, danger, austere asceticism, and, at last,
regeneration through dramatic death amid rejoicing. Such as endured
the ordeal with valor were then taught, orally and by symbol, the
highest wisdom to which man had attained, including geometry,
astronomy, the fine arts, the laws of nature, as well as the truths of
faith. Awful oaths of secrecy were exacted, and Plutarch describes a
man kneeling, his hands bound, a cord round his body, and a knife at
his throat--death being the penalty of violating the obligation. Even
then, Pythagoras had to wait almost twenty years to learn the hidden
wisdom of Egypt, so cautious were they of candidates, especially of
foreigners. But he made noble use of it when, later, he founded a
secret order of his own at Crotona, in Greece, in which, among other
things, he taught geometry, using numbers as symbols of spiritual

From Egypt the Mysteries passed with little change to Asia Minor,
Greece, and Rome, the names of local gods being substituted for those
of Osiris and Isis. The Grecian or Eleusinian Mysteries, established
1800 B.C., represented Demeter and Persephone, and depicted the death
of Dionysius with stately ritual which led the neophyte from death
into life and immortality. They taught the unity of God, the immutable
necessity of morality, and a life after death, investing initiates
with signs and passwords by which they could know each other in the
dark as well as in the light. The Mithraic or Persian Mysteries
celebrated the eclipse of the Sun-god, using the signs of the zodiac,
the processions of the seasons, the death of nature, and the birth of
spring. The Adoniac or Syrian cults were similar, Adonis being killed,
but revived to point to life through death. In the Cabirie Mysteries
on the island of Samothrace, Atys the Sun was killed by his brothers
the Seasons, and at the vernal equinox was restored to life. So, also,
the Druids, as far north as England, taught of one God the tragedy of
winter and summer, and conducted the initiate through the valley of
death to life everlasting.[44]

Shortly before the Christian era, when faith was failing and the world
seemed reeling to its ruin, there was a great revival of the
Mystery-religions. Imperial edict was powerless to stay it, much less
stop it. From Egypt, from the far East, they came rushing in like a
tide, Isis "of the myriad names" vieing with Mithra, the patron saint
of the soldier, for the homage of the multitude. If we ask the secret
reason for this influx of mysticism, no single answer can be given to
the question. What influence the reigning mystery-cults had upon the
new, uprising Christianity is also hard to know, and the issue is
still in debate. That they did influence the early Church is evident
from the writings of the Fathers, and some go so far as to say that
the Mysteries died at last only to live again in the ritual of the
Church. St. Paul in his missionary journeys came in contact with the
Mysteries, and even makes use of some of their technical terms in his
epistles;[45] but he condemned them on the ground that what they
sought to teach in drama can be known only by spiritual experience--a
sound insight, though surely drama may assist to that experience, else
public worship might also come under ban.


Toward the end of their power, the Mysteries fell into the mire and
became corrupt, as all things human are apt to do: even the Church
itself being no exception. But that at their highest and best they
were not only lofty and noble, but elevating and refining, there can
be no doubt, and that they served a high purpose is equally clear. No
one, who has read in the _Metamorphoses_ of Apuleius the initiation of
Lucius into the Mysteries of Isis, can doubt that the effect on the
votary was profound and purifying. He tells us that the ceremony of
initiation "is, as it were, to suffer death," and that he stood in the
presence of the gods, "ay, stood near and worshiped." _Far hence ye
profane, and all who are polluted by sin_, was the motto of the
Mysteries, and Cicero testifies that what a man learned in the house
of the hidden place made him want to live nobly, and gave him happy
hopes for the hour of death.

Indeed, the Mysteries, as Plato said,[46] were established by men of
great genius who, in the early ages, strove to teach purity, to
ameliorate the cruelty of the race, to refine its manners and morals,
and to restrain society by stronger bonds than those which human laws
impose. No mystery any longer attaches to what they taught, but only
as to the particular rites, dramas, and symbols used in their
teaching. They taught faith in the unity and spirituality of God, the
sovereign authority of the moral law, heroic purity of soul, austere
discipline of character, and the hope of a life beyond the tomb. Thus
in ages of darkness, of complexity, of conflicting peoples, tongues,
and faiths, these great orders toiled in behalf of friendship,
bringing men together under a banner of faith, and training them for a
nobler moral life. Tender and tolerant of all faiths, they formed an
all-embracing moral and spiritual fellowship which rose above barriers
of nation, race, and creed, satisfying the craving of men for unity,
while evoking in them a sense of that eternal mysticism out of which
all religions were born. Their ceremonies, so far as we know them,
were stately dramas of the moral life and the fate of the soul.
Mystery and secrecy added impressiveness, and fable and enigma
disguised in imposing spectacle the laws of justice, piety, and the
hope of immortality.

Masonry stands in this tradition; and if we may not say that it is
historically related to the great ancient orders, it is their
spiritual descendant, and renders much the same ministry to our age
which the Mysteries rendered to the olden world. It is, indeed, the
same stream of sweetness and light flowing in our day--like the fabled
river Alpheus which, gathering the waters of a hundred rills along the
hillsides of Arcadia, sank, lost to sight, in a chasm in the earth,
only to reappear in the fountain of Arethusa. This at least is true:
the Greater Ancient Mysteries were prophetic of Masonry whose drama is
an epitome of universal initiation, and whose simple symbols are the
depositaries of the noblest wisdom of mankind. As such, it brings men
together at the altar of prayer, keeps alive the truths that make us
men, seeking, by every resource of art, to make tangible the power of
love, the worth of beauty, and the reality of the ideal.


[35] Of course, faith in immortality was in nowise peculiar to Egypt,
but was universal; as vivid in _The Upanishads_ of India as in the
Pyramid records. It rests upon the consensus of the insight,
experience, and aspiration of the race. But the records of Egypt, like
its monuments, are richer than those of other nations, if not older.
Moreover, the drama of faith with which we have to do here had its
origin in Egypt, whence it spread to Tyre, Athens, and Rome--and, as we
shall see, even to England. For brief expositions of Egyptian faith see
_Egyptian Conceptions of Immortality_, by G.A. Reisner, and _Religion
and Thought in Egypt_, by J.H. Breasted.

[36] Pyramid Texts, 775, 1262, 1453, 1477.

[37] For a full account of the evolution of the Osirian theology from
the time it emerged from the mists of myth until its conquest, see
_Religion and Thought in Egypt_, by Breasted, the latest, if not the
most brilliant, book written in the light of the completest translation
of the Pyramid Texts (especially lecture v).

[38] Much has been written about the Egyptian Mysteries from the days
of Plutarch's _De Iside et Osiride_ and the _Metamorphoses_ of Apuleius
to the huge volumes of Baron Sainte Croix. For popular reading the
_Kings and Gods of Egypt_, by Moret (chaps. iii-iv), and the
delightfully vivid _Hermes and Plato_, by Schure, could hardly be
surpassed. But Plutarch and Apuleius, both initiates, are our best
authorities, even if their oath of silence prevents them from telling
us what we most want to know.

[39] Among the Hindoos, whose Chrisna is the same as the Osiris of
Egypt, the gods of summer were beneficent, making the days fruitful.
But "the three wretches" who presided over winter, were cut off from
the zodiac; and as they were "found missing," they were accused of the
death of Chrisna.

[40] A literary parallel in the story of Æneas, by Vergil, is most
suggestive. Priam, king of Troy, in the beginning of the Trojan war
committed his son Polydorus to the care of Polymester, king of Thrace,
and sent him a great sum of money. After Troy was taken the Thracian,
for the sake of the money, killed the young prince and privately buried
him. Æneas, coming into that country, and accidentally plucking up a
shrub that was near him on the side of the hill, discovered the
murdered body of Polydorus. Other legends of such accidental
discoveries of unknown graves haunted the olden time, and may have been
suggested by the story of Isis.

[41] _The Gods of the Egyptians_, by E.A.W. Budge; _La Place des
Victores_, by Austin Fryar, especially the colored plates.

[42] _Quests New and Old_, by G.R.S. Mead.

[43] _Pythagoras_, by Edouard Schure--a fascinating story of that great
thinker and teacher. The use of numbers by Pythagoras must not,
however, be confounded with the mystical, or rather fantastic,
mathematics of the Kabbalists of a later time.

[44] For a vivid account of the spread of the Mysteries of Isis and
Mithra over the Roman Empire, see _Roman Life from Nero to Aurelius_,
by Dill (bk. iv, chaps. v-vi). Franz Cumont is the great authority on
Mithra, and his _Mysteries of Mithra_ and _Oriental Religions_ trace
the origin and influence of that cult with accuracy, insight, and
charm. W.W. Reade, brother of Charles Reade the novelist, left a study
of _The Veil of Isis, or Mysteries of the Druids_, finding in the
vestiges of Druidism "the Emblems of Masonry."

[45] Col. 2:8-19. See _Mysteries Pagan and Christian_, by C. Cheethan;
also _Monumental Christianity_, by Lundy, especially chapter on "The
Discipline of the Secret." For a full discussion of the attitude of St.
Paul, see _St. Paul and the Mystery-Religions_, by Kennedy, a work of
fine scholarship. That Christianity had its esoteric is plain--as it
was natural--from the writings of the Fathers, including Origen, Cyril,
Basil, Gregory, Ambrose, Augustine, and others. Chrysostom often uses
the word _initiation_ in respect of Christian teaching, while
Tertullian denounces the pagan mysteries as counterfeit imitations by
Satan of the Christian secret rites and teachings: "He also baptises
those who believe in him, and promises that they shall come forth,
cleansed of their sins." Other Christian writers were more tolerant,
finding in Christ the answer to the aspiration uttered in the
Mysteries; and therein, it may be, they were right.

[46] _Phaedo._


  _The value of man does not consist in the truth which he
  possesses, or means to possess, but in the sincere pain which he
  hath taken to find it out. For his powers do not augment by
  possessing truth, but by investigating it, wherein consists his
  only perfectibility. Possession lulls the energy of man, and makes
  him idle and proud. If God held inclosed in his right hand
  absolute truth, and in his left only the inward lively impulse
  toward truth, and if He said to me: Choose! even at the risk of
  exposing mankind to continual erring, I most humbly would seize
  His left hand, and say: Father, give! absolute truth belongs to
  Thee alone._

  G.E. LESSING, _Nathan the Wise_


_The Secret Doctrine_


God ever shields us from premature ideas, said the gracious and wise
Emerson; and so does nature. She holds back her secrets until man is
fit to be entrusted with them, lest by rashness he destroy himself.
Those who seek find, not because the truth is far off, but because the
discipline of the quest makes them ready for the truth, and worthy to
receive it. By a certain sure instinct the great teachers of our race
have regarded the highest truth less as a gift bestowed than as a
trophy to be won. Everything must not be told to everybody. Truth is
power, and when held by untrue hands it may become a plague. Even
Jesus had His "little flock" to whom He confided much which He kept
from the world, or else taught it in parables cryptic and veiled.[47]
One of His sayings in explanation of His method is quoted by Clement
of Alexandria in his _Homilies_:

    It was not from grudgingness that our Lord gave the charge in
    a certain Gospel: "_My mystery is for Me and the sons of My

This more withdrawn teaching, hinted in the saying of the Master, with
the arts of spiritual culture employed, has come to be known as the
Secret Doctrine, or the Hidden Wisdom. A persistent tradition affirms
that throughout the ages, and in every land, behind the system of
faith accepted by the masses an inner and deeper doctrine has been
held and taught by those able to grasp it. This hidden faith has
undergone many changes of outward expression, using now one set of
symbols and now another, but its central tenets have remained the
same; and necessarily so, since the ultimates of thought are ever
immutable. By the same token, those who have eyes to see have no
difficulty in penetrating the varying veils of expression and
identifying the underlying truths; thus confirming in the arcana of
faith what we found to be true in its earliest forms--the oneness of
the human mind and the unity of truth.

There are those who resent the suggestion that there is, or can be,
secrecy in regard to spiritual truths which, if momentous at all, are
of common moment to all. For this reason Demonax, in the Lucian play,
would not be initiated, because, if the Mysteries were bad, he would
not keep silent as a warning; and if they were good, he would proclaim
them as a duty. The objection is, however, unsound, as a little
thought will reveal. Secrecy in such matters inheres in the nature of
the truths themselves, not in any affected superiority of a few elect
minds. Qualification for the knowledge of higher things is, and must
always be, a matter of personal fitness. Other qualification there is
none. For those who have that fitness the Secret Doctrine is as clear
as sunlight, and for those who have it not the truth would still be
secret though shouted from the house-top. The Grecian Mysteries were
certainly secret, yet the fact of their existence was a matter of
common knowledge, and there was no more secrecy about their
sanctuaries than there is about a cathedral. Their presence testified
to the public that a deeper than the popular faith did exist, but the
right to admission into them depended upon the whole-hearted wish of
the aspirant, and his willingness to fit himself to know the truth.
The old maxim applies here, that when the pupil is ready the teacher
is found waiting, and he passes on to know a truth hitherto hidden
because he lacked either the aptitude or the desire.

All is mystery as of course, but mystification is another thing, and
the tendency to befog a theme which needs to be clarified, is to be
regretted. Here lies, perhaps, the real reason for the feeling of
resentment against the idea of a Secret Doctrine, and one must admit
that it is not without justification. For example, we are told that
behind the age-long struggle of man to know the truth there exists a
hidden fraternity of initiates, adepts in esoteric lore, known to
themselves but not to the world, who have had in their keeping,
through the centuries, the high truths which they permit to be dimly
adumbrated in the popular faiths, but which the rest of the race are
too obtuse, even yet, to grasp save in an imperfect and limited
degree. These hidden sages, it would seem, look upon our eager
aspiring humanity much like the patient masters of an idiot school,
watching it go on forever seeking without finding, while they sit in
seclusion keeping the keys of the occult.[49] All of which would be
very wonderful, if true. It is, however, only one more of those
fascinating fictions with which mystery-mongers entertain themselves,
and deceive others. Small wonder that thinking men turn from such
fanciful folly with mingled feelings of pity and disgust. Sages there
have been in every land and time, and their lofty wisdom has the unity
which inheres in all high human thought, but that there is now, or has
ever been, a conscious, much less a continuous, fellowship of superior
souls holding as secrets truths denied to their fellow-men, verges
upon the absurd.

Indeed, what is called the Secret Doctrine differs not one whit from
what has been taught openly and earnestly, so far as such truth can be
taught in words or pictured in symbols, by the highest minds of almost
every land and language. The difference lies less in what is taught
than in the way in which it is taught; not so much in matter as in
method. Also, we must not forget that, with few exceptions, the men
who have led our race farthest along the way toward the Mount of
Vision, have not been men who learned their lore from any coterie of
esoteric experts, but, rather, men who told in song what they had been
taught in sorrow--initiates into eternal truth, to be sure, but by the
grace of God and the divine right of genius![50] Seers, sages,
mystics, saints--these are they who, having sought in sincerity, found
in reality, and the memory of them is a kind of religion. Some of
them, like Pythagoras, were trained for their quest in the schools of
the Secret Doctrine, but others went their way alone, though never
unattended, and, led by "the vision splendid," they came at last to
the gate and passed into the City.

Why, then, it may be asked, speak of such a thing as the Secret
Doctrine at all, since it were better named the Open Secret of the
world? For two reasons, both of which have been intimated: first, in
the olden times unwonted knowledge of any kind was a very dangerous
possession, and the truths of science and philosophy, equally with
religious ideas other than those in vogue among the multitude, had to
seek the protection of obscurity. If this necessity gave designing
priestcraft its opportunity, it nevertheless offered the security and
silence needed by the thinker and seeker after truth in dark times.
Hence there arose in the ancient world, wherever the human mind was
alive and spiritual, systems of exoteric and esoteric instruction;
that is, of truth taught openly and truth concealed. Disciples were
advanced from the outside to the inside of this divine philosophy, as
we have seen, by degrees of initiation. Whereas, by symbols, dark
sayings, and dramatic ritual the novice received only hints of what
was later made plain.

Second, this hidden teaching may indeed be described as the open
secret of the world, because it is open, yet understood only by those
fit to receive it. What kept it hidden was no arbitrary restriction,
but only a lack of insight and fineness of mind to appreciate and
assimilate it. Nor could it be otherwise; and this is as true today as
ever it was in the days of the Mysteries, and so it will be until
whatever is to be the end of mortal things. Fitness for the finer
truths cannot be conferred; it must be developed. Without it the
teachings of the sages are enigmas that seem unintelligible, if not
contradictory. In so far, then, as the discipline of initiation, and
its use of art in drama and symbol, help toward purity of soul and
spiritual awakening, by so much do they prepare men for the truth; by
so much and no further. So that, the Secret Doctrine, whether as
taught by the ancient Mysteries or by modern Masonry, is less a
doctrine than a discipline; a method of organized spiritual culture,
and as such has a place and a ministry among men.


Perhaps the greatest student in this field of esoteric teaching and
method, certainly the greatest now living, is Arthur Edward Waite, to
whom it is a pleasure to pay tribute. By nature a symbolist, if not a
sacramentalist, he found in such studies a task for which he was
almost ideally fitted by temperament, training, and genius. Engaged in
business, but not absorbed by it, years of quiet, leisurely toil have
made him master of the vast literature and lore of his subject, to the
study of which he brought a religious nature, the accuracy and skill
of a scholar, a sureness and delicacy of insight at once sympathetic
and critical, the soul of a poet, and a patience as untiring as it is
rewarding; qualities rare indeed, and still more rarely blended.
Prolific but seldom prolix, he writes with grace, ease, and lucidity,
albeit in a style often opulent, and touched at times with lights and
jewels from old alchemists, antique liturgies, remote and haunting
romance, secret orders of initiation, and other recondite sources not
easily traced. Much learning and many kinds of wisdom are in his
pages, and withal an air of serenity, of tolerance; and if he is of
those who turn down another street when miracles are performed in the
neighborhood, it is because, having found the inner truth, he asks for
no sign.

Always he writes in the conviction that all great subjects bring us
back to the one subject which is alone great, and that scholarly
criticisms, folk-lore, and deep philosophy are little less than
useless if they fall short of directing us to our true end--the
attainment of that living Truth which is about us everywhere. He
conceives of our mortal life as one eternal Quest of that living
Truth, taking many phases and forms, yet ever at heart the same
aspiration, to trace which he has made it his labor and joy to essay.
Through all his pages he is following out the tradition of this Quest,
in its myriad aspects, especially since the Christian era, disfigured
though it has been at times by superstition, and distorted at others
by bigotry, but still, in what guise soever, containing as its secret
the meaning of the life of man from his birth to his reunion with God
who is his Goal. And the result is a series of volumes noble in form,
united in aim, unique in wealth of revealing beauty, and of unequalled

Beginning as far back as 1886, Waite issued his study of the
_Mysteries of Magic_, a digest of the writings of Eliphas Levi, to
whom Albert Pike was more indebted than he let us know. Then followed
the _Real History of the Rosicrucians_, which traces, as far as any
mortal may trace, the thread of fact whereon is strung the romance of
a fraternity the very existence of which has been doubted and denied
by turns. Like all his work, it bears the impress of knowledge from
the actual sources, betraying his extraordinary learning and his
exceptional experience in this kind of inquiry. Of the Quest in its
distinctively Christian aspect, he has written in _The Hidden Church
of the Holy Graal_; a work of rare beauty, of bewildering richness,
written in a style which, partaking of the quality of the story told,
is not at all after the manner of these days. But the Graal Legend is
only one aspect of the old-world sacred Quest, uniting the symbols of
chivalry with Christian faith. Masonry is another; and no one may ever
hope to write of _The Secret Tradition in Masonry_ with more insight
and charm, or a touch more sure and revealing, than this gracious
student for whom Masonry perpetuates the instituted Mysteries of
antiquity, with much else derived from innumerable store-houses of
treasure. His last work is a survey of _The Secret Doctrine in
Israel_, being a study of the _Zohar_,[52] or Hebrew "Book of
Splendor," a feat for which no Hebrew scholar has had the heart. This
Bible of Kabbalism is indeed so confused and confusing that only a
"golden dustman" would have had the patience to sift out its gems from
the mountain of dross, and attempt to reduce its wide-weltering chaos
to order. Even Waite, with all his gift of research and narration,
finds little more than gleams of dawn in a dim forest, brilliant
vapors, and glints that tell by their very perversity and strangeness.

Whether this age-old legend of the Quest be woven about the Cup of
Christ, a Lost Word, or a design left unfinished by the death of a
Master Builder, it has always these things in common: first, the
memorials of a great _loss_ which has befallen humanity by sin, making
our race a pilgrim host ever in search; second, the intimation that
what was lost still exists somewhere in time and the world, although
deeply buried; third, the faith that it will ultimately be found and
the vanished glory restored; fourth, the substitution of something
temporary and less than the best, albeit never in a way to adjourn the
quest; fifth, and more rarely, the felt presence of that which was
lost under veils close to the hands of all. What though it take many
forms, from the pathetic pilgrimage of the _Wandering Jew_ to the
journey to fairyland in quest of _The Blue Bird_, it is ever and
always the same. These are but so many symbols of the fact that men
are made of one blood and born to one need; that they should seek the
Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He is
not far from every one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our

What, then, is the Secret Doctrine, of which this seer-like scholar
has written with so many improvisations of eloquence and emphasis, and
of which each of us is in quest? What, indeed, but that which all the
world is seeking--knowledge of Him whom to know aright is the
fulfillment of every human need: the kinship of the soul with God; the
life of purity, honor, and piety demanded by that high heredity; the
unity and fellowship of the race in duty and destiny; and the faith
that the soul is deathless as God its Father is deathless! Now to
accept this faith as a mere philosophy is one thing, but to realize it
as an experience of the innermost heart is another and a deeper thing.
_No man knows the Secret Doctrine until it has become the secret of
his soul, the reigning reality of his thought, the inspiration of his
acts, the form and color and glory of his life._ Happily, owing to the
growth of the race in spiritual intelligence and power, the highest
truth is no longer held as a sacred secret. Still, if art has efficacy
to surprise and reveal the elusive Spirit of Truth, when truth is
dramatically presented it is made vivid and impressive, strengthening
the faith of the strongest and bringing a ray of heavenly light to
many a baffled seeker.

Ever the Quest goes on, though it is permitted some of us to believe
that the Lost Word has been found, in the only way in which it can
ever be found--even in the life of Him who was "the Word made flesh,"
who dwelt among us and whose grace and beauty we know. Of this Quest
Masonry is an aspect, continuing the high tradition of humanity,
asking men to unite in the search for the thing most worth finding,
that each may share the faith of all. Apart from its rites, there is
no mystery in Masonry, save the mystery of all great and simple
things. So far from being hidden or occult, its glory lies in its
openness, and its emphasis upon the realities which are to the human
world what light and air are to nature. Its mystery is of so great a
kind that it is easily overlooked; its secret almost too simple to be
found out.


[47] Matt. 13:10, 11.

[48] _Unwritten Sayings of Our Lord_, David Smith, vii.

[49] By occultism is meant the belief in, and the claim to be able to
use, a certain range of forces neither natural, nor, technically,
supernatural, but more properly to be called preternatural--often,
though by no means always, for evil or selfish ends. Some extend the
term occultism to cover mysticism and the spiritual life generally, but
that is not a legitimate use of either word. Occultism seeks to get;
mysticism to give. The one is audacious and seclusive, the other humble
and open; and if we are not to end in blunderland we must not confound
the two (_Mysticism_, by E. Underhill, part i, chap. vii).

[50] Much time would have been saved, and not a little confusion
avoided, had this obvious fact been kept in mind. Even so charming a
book as _Jesus, the Last Great Initiate_, by Schure--not to speak of
_The Great Work_ and _Mystic Masonry_--is clearly, though not
intentionally, misleading. Of a piece with this is the effort,
apparently deliberate and concerted, to rob the Hebrew race of all
spiritual originality, as witness so able a work as _Our Own Religion
in Persia_, by Mills, to name no other. Our own religion? Assuredly, if
by that is meant the one great, universal religion of humanity. But the
sundering difference between the Bible and any other book that speaks
to mankind about God and Life and Death, sets the Hebrew race apart as
supreme in its religious genius, as the Greeks were in philosophical
acumen and artistic power, and the Romans in executive skill. Leaving
all theories of inspiration out of account, facts are facts, and the
Bible has no peer in the literature of mankind.

[51] Some there are who think that much of the best work of Mr. Waite
is in his poetry, of which there are two volumes, _A Book of Mystery
and Vision_, and _Strange Houses of Sleep_. There one meets a fine
spirit, alive to the glory of the world and all that charms the soul
and sense of man, yet seeing past these; rich and significant thought
so closely wedded to emotion that each seems either. Other books not to
be omitted are his slender volume of aphorisms, _Steps to the Crown_,
his _Life of Saint-Martin_, and his _Studies in Mysticism_; for what he
touches he adorns.

[52] Even the _Jewish Encyclopedia_, and such scholars as Zunz, Graetz,
Luzzatto, Jost, and Munk avoid this jungle, as well they might,
remembering the legend of the four sages in "the enclosed garden:" one
of whom looked around and died; another lost his reason; a third tried
to destroy the garden; and only one came out with his wits. See _The
Cabala_, by Pick, and _The Kabbalah Unveiled_, by MacGregor.

[53] Acts 17:26-28.


  _This society was called the Dionysian Artificers, as Bacchus was
  supposed to be the inventor of building theaters; and they
  performed the Dionysian festivities. From this period, the Science
  of Astronomy which had given rise to the Dionysian rites, became
  connected with types taken from the art of building. The Ionian
  societies ... extended their moral views, in conjunction with the
  art of building, to many useful purposes, and to the practice of
  acts of benevolence. They had significant words to distinguish
  their members; and for the same purpose they used emblems taken
  from the art of building._

  --JOSEPH DA COSTA, _Dionysian Artificers_

  _We need not then consider it improbable, if in the dark centuries
  when the Roman empire was dying out, and its glorious temples
  falling into ruin; when the arts and sciences were falling into
  disuse or being enslaved; and when no place was safe from
  persecution and warfare, the guild of the Architects should fly
  for safety to almost the only free spot in Italy; and here, though
  they could no longer practice their craft, they preserved the
  legendary knowledge and precepts which, as history implies, came
  down to them through Vitruvius from older sources, some say from
  Solomon's builders themselves._

  --LEADER SCOTT, _The Cathedral Builders_


_The Collegia_

So far in our study we have found that from earliest time architecture
was related to religion; that the working tools of the builder were
emblems of moral truth; that there were great secret orders using the
Drama of Faith as a rite of initiation; and that a hidden doctrine was
kept for those accounted worthy, after trial, to be entrusted with it.
Secret societies, born of the nature and need of man, there have been
almost since recorded history began;[54] but as yet we have come upon
no separate and distinct order of builders. For aught we know there
may have been such in plenty, but we have no intimation, much less a
record, of the fact. That is to say, history has a vague story to tell
us of the earliest orders of the builders.

However, it is more than a mere plausible inference that from the
beginning architects were members of secret orders; for, as we have
seen, not only the truths of religion and philosophy, but also the
facts of science and the laws of art, were held as secrets to be known
only to the few. This was so, apparently without exception, among all
ancient peoples; so much so, indeed, that we may take it as certain
that the builders of old time were initiates. Of necessity, then, the
arts of the craft were secrets jealously guarded, and the architects
themselves, while they may have employed and trained ordinary workmen,
were men of learning and influence. Such glimpses of early architects
as we have confirm this inference, as, for example, the noble hymn to
the Sun-god written by Suti and Hor, two architects employed by
Amenhotep III, of Egypt.[55] Just when the builders began to form
orders of their own no one knows, but it was perhaps when the
Mystery-cults began to journey abroad into other lands. What we have
to keep in mind is that all the arts had their home in the temple,
from which, as time passed, they spread out fan-wise along all the
paths of culture.

Keeping in mind the secrecy of the laws of building, and the sanctity
with which all science and art were regarded, we have a key whereby to
interpret the legends woven about the building of the temple of
Solomon. Few realize how high that temple on Mount Moriah towered in
the history of the olden world, and how the story of its building
haunted the legends and traditions of the times following. Of these
legends there were many, some of them wildly improbable, but the
persistence of the tradition, and its consistency withal, despite many
variations, is a _fact of no small moment_. Nor is this tradition to
be wondered at, since time has shown that the building of the temple
at Jerusalem was an event of world-importance, not only to the
Hebrews, but to other nations, more especially the Phoenicians. The
histories of both peoples make much of the building of the Hebrew
temple, of the friendship of Solomon and Hiram I, of Tyre, and of the
harmony between the two peoples; and Phoenician tradition has it that
Solomon presented Hiram with a duplicate of the temple, which was
erected in Tyre.[56]

Clearly, the two nations were drawn closely together, and this fact
carried with it a mingling of religious influences and ideas, as was
true between the Hebrews and other nations, especially Egypt and
Phoenicia, during the reign of Solomon. Now the religion of the
Phoenicians at this time, as all agree, was the Egyptian religion in a
modified form, Dionysius having taken the role of Osiris in the drama
of faith in Greece, Syria, and Asia Minor. Thus we have the Mysteries
of Egypt, in which Moses was learned, brought to the very door of the
temple of Solomon, and that, too, at a time favorable to their
impress. The Hebrews were not architects, and it is plain from the
records that the temple--and, indeed, the palaces of Solomon--were
designed and erected by Phoenician builders, and for the most part by
Phoenician workmen and materials. Josephus adds that the architecture
of the temple was of the style called Grecian. So much would seem to
be fact, whatever may be said of the legends flowing from it.

If, then, the laws of building were secrets known only to initiates,
there must have been a secret order of architects who built the temple
of Solomon. Who were they? They were almost certainly the _Dionysian
Artificers_--not to be confused with the play-actors called by the
same name later--an order of builders who erected temples, stadia, and
theaters in Asia Minor, and who were at the same time an order of the
Mysteries under the tutelage of Bacchus before that worship declined,
as it did later in Athens and Rome, into mere revelry.[57] As such,
they united the art of architecture with the old Egyptian drama of
faith, representing in their ceremonies the murder of Dionysius by the
Titans and his return to life. So that, blending the symbols of
Astronomy with those of Architecture, by a slight change made by a
natural process, how easy for the master-artist of the temple-builders
to become the hero of the ancient drama of immortality.[58] Whether
or not this fact can be verified from history, such is the form in
which the tradition has come down to us, surviving through long ages
and triumphing over all vicissitude.[59] Secret orders have few
records and their story is hard to tell, but this account is perfectly
in accord with the spirit and setting of the situation, and there is
neither fact nor reason against it. While this does not establish it
as true historically, it surely gives it validity as a prophecy, if
nothing more.[60]

After all, then, the tradition that Masonry, not unlike the Masonry we
now know, had its origin while the temple of King Solomon was
building, and was given shape by the two royal friends, may not be so
fantastic as certain superior folk seem to think it. How else can we
explain the fact that when the Knights of the Crusades went to the
Holy Land they came back a secret, oath-bound fraternity? Also, why is
it that, through the ages, we see bands of builders coming from the
East calling themselves "sons of Solomon," and using his interlaced
triangle-seal as their emblem? Strabo, as we have seen, traced the
Dionysiac builders eastward into Syria, Persia, and even India. They
may also be traced westward. Traversing Asia Minor, they entered
Europe by way of Constantinople, and we follow them through Greece to
Rome, where already several centuries before Christ we find them bound
together in corporations called _Collegia_. These lodges flourished in
all parts of the Roman Empire, traces of their existence having been
discovered in England as early as the middle of the first century of
our era.


Krause was the first to point out a prophecy of Masonry in the old
orders of builders, following their footsteps--not connectedly, of
course, for there are many gaps--through the Dionysiac fraternity of
Tyre, through the Roman Collegia, to the architects and Masons of the
Middle Ages. Since he wrote, however, much new material has come to
light, but the date of the advent of the builders in Rome is still
uncertain. Some trace it to the very founding of the city, while
others go no further back than King Numa, the friend of
Pythagoras.[61] By any account, they were of great antiquity, and
their influence in Roman history was far-reaching. They followed the
Roman legions to remote places, building cities, bridges, and temples,
and it was but natural that Mithra, the patron god of soldiers, should
have influenced their orders. Of this an example may be seen in the
remains of the ancient Roman villa at Morton, on the Isle of

As Rome grew in power and became a vast, all-embracing empire, the
individual man felt, more and more, his littleness and loneliness.
This feeling, together with the increasing specialization of industry,
begat a passion for association, and Collegia of many sorts were
organized. Even a casual glance at the inscriptions, under the heading
_Artes et Opificia_, will show the enormous development of skilled
handicrafts, and how minute was their specialization. Every trade soon
had its secret order, or union, and so powerful did they become that
the emperors found it necessary to abolish the right of free
association. Yet even such edicts, though effective for a little time,
were helpless as against the universal craving for combination. Ways
were easily found whereby to evade the law, which had exempted from
its restrictions orders consecrated by their antiquity or their
religious character. Most of the Collegia became funerary and
charitable in their labors, humble folk seeking to escape the dim,
hopeless obscurity of plebeian life, and the still more hopeless
obscurity of death. Pathetic beyond words are some of the inscriptions
telling of the horror and loneliness of the grave, of the day when no
kindly eye would read the forgotten name, and no hand bring offerings
of flowers. Each collegium held memorial services, and marked the tomb
of its dead with the emblems of its trade: if a baker, with a loaf of
bread; if a builder, with a square, compasses, and the level.

From the first the Colleges of Architects seem to have enjoyed special
privileges and exemptions, owing to the value of their service to the
state, and while we do not find them called Free-masons they were such
in law and fact long before they wore the name. They were permitted to
have their own constitutions and regulations, both secular and
religious. In form, in officers, in emblems a Roman Collegium
resembled very much a modern Masonic Lodge. For one thing, no College
could consist of less than three persons, and so rigid was this rule
that the saying, "three make a college," became a maxim of law. Each
College was presided over by a Magister, or Master, with two
_decuriones_, or wardens, each of whom extended the commands of the
Master to "the brethren of his column." There were a secretary, a
treasurer, and a keeper of archives, and, as the colleges were in part
religious and usually met near some temple, there was a _sacerdos_,
or, as we would say, a priest, or chaplain. The members were of three
orders, not unlike apprentices, fellows, and masters, or colleagues.
What ceremonies of initiation were used we do not know, but that they
were of a religious nature seems certain, as each College adopted a
patron deity from among the many then worshiped. Also, as the
Mysteries of Isis and Mithra ruled the Roman world by turns, the
ancient drama of eternal life was never far away.

Of the emblems of the Collegia, it is enough to say that here again we
find the simple tools of the builder used as teachers of truth for
life and hope in death. Upon a number of sarcophagi, still extant, we
find carved the square, the compasses, the cube, the plummet, the
circle, and always the level. There is, besides, the famous Collegium
uncovered at the excavation of Pompeii in 1878, having been buried
under the ashes and lava of Mount Vesuvius since the year 79 A.D. It
stood near the Tragic Theater, not far from the Temple of Isis, and by
its arrangement, with two columns in front and interlaced triangles on
the walls, was identified as an ancient lodge room. Upon a pedestal in
the room was found a rare bit of art, unique in design and exquisite
in execution, now in the National Museum at Naples. It is described by
S.R. Forbes, in his _Rambles in Naples_, as follows:

    It is a mosaic table of square shape, fixed in a strong
    wooden frame. The ground is of grey green stone, in the
    middle of which is a human skull, made of white, grey, and
    black colors. In appearance the skull is quite natural. The
    eyes, nostrils, teeth, ears, and coronal are all well
    executed. Above the skull is a level of colored wood, the
    points being of brass; and from the top to the point, by a
    white thread, is suspended a plumb-line. Below the skull is
    a wheel of six spokes, and on the upper rim of the wheel
    there is a butterfly with wings of red, edged with yellow;
    its eyes blue.... On the left is an upright spear, resting on
    the ground; from this there hangs, attached to a golden cord,
    a garment of scarlet, also a purple robe; whilst the upper
    part of the spear is surrounded by a white braid of diamond
    pattern. To the right is a gnarled thorn stick, from which
    hangs a coarse, shaggy piece of cloth in yellow, grey, and
    brown colors, tied with a ribbon; and above it is a leather
    knapsack.... Evidently this work of art, by its composition,
    is mystical and symbolical.

No doubt; and for those who know the meaning of these emblems there is
a feeling of kinship with those men, long since fallen into dust, who
gathered about such an altar. They wrought out in this work of art
their vision of the old-worn pilgrim way of life, with its vicissitude
and care, the level of mortality to which all are brought at last by
death, and the winged, fluttering hope of man. Always a journey with
its horny staff and wallet, life is sometimes a battle needing a
spear, but for him who walks uprightly by the plumb-line of rectitude,
there is a true and victorious hope at the end.

  Of wounds and sore defeat
  I made my battle stay,
  Winged sandals for my feet
  I wove of my delay.
  Of weariness and fear
  I made a shouting spear,
  Of loss and doubt and dread
  And swift on-coming doom
  I made a helmet for my head,
  And a waving plume.


Christianity, whose Founder was a Carpenter, made a mighty appeal to
the working classes of Rome. As Deissmann and Harnack have shown, the
secret of its expansion in the early years was that it came down to
the man in the street with its message of hope and joy. Its appeal was
hardly heard in high places, but it was welcomed by the men who were
weary and heavy ladened. Among the Collegia it made rapid progress,
its Saints taking the place of pagan deities as patrons, and its
spirit of love welding men into closer, truer union. When Diocletian
determined to destroy Christianity, he was strangely lenient and
patient with the Collegia, so many of whose members were of that
faith. Not until they refused to make a statue of Æsculapius did he
vow vengeance and turn on them, venting his fury. In the persecution
that followed four Master Masons and one humble apprentice suffered
cruel torture and death, but they became the Four Crowned Martyrs,
the story of whose heroic fidelity unto death haunted the legends of
later times.[63] They were the patron saints alike of Lombard and
Tuscan builders, and, later, of the working Masons of the Middle Ages,
as witness the poem in their praise in the oldest record of the Craft,
the _Regius MS._

With the breaking up of the College of Architects and their expulsion
from Rome, we come upon a period in which it is hard to follow their
path. Happily the task has been made less baffling by recent research,
and if we are unable to trace them all the way much light has been let
into the darkness. Hitherto there has been a hiatus also in the
history of architecture between the classic art of Rome, which is said
to have died when the Empire fell to pieces, and the rise of Gothic
art. Just so, in the story of the builders one finds a gap of like
length, between the Collegia of Rome and the cathedral artists. While
the gap cannot, as yet, be perfectly bridged, much has been done to
that end by Leader Scott in _The Cathedral Builders: The Story of a
Great Masonic Guild_--a book itself a work of art as well as of fine
scholarship. Her thesis is that the missing link is to be found in the
Magistri Comacini, a guild of architects who, on the break-up of the
Roman Empire, fled to Comacina, a fortified island in Lake Como, and
there kept alive the traditions of classic art during the Dark Ages;
that from them were developed in direct descent the various styles of
Italian architecture; and that, finally, they carried the knowledge
and practice of architecture and sculpture into France, Spain,
Germany, and England. Such a thesis is difficult, and, from its
nature, not susceptible of absolute proof, but the writer makes it as
certain as anything can well be.

While she does not positively affirm that the Comacine Masters were the
veritable stock from which the Freemasonry of the present day sprang,
"we may admit," she says, "that they were the link between the classic
Collegia and all other art and trade Guilds of the Middle Ages. _They
were Free-masons because they were builders of a privileged class,
absolved from taxes and servitude, and free to travel about in times of
feudal bondage_." The name Free-mason--_Libera muratori_--may not
actually have been used thus early, but the Comacines were _in fact
free builders long before the name was employed_--free to travel from
place to place, as we see from their migrations; free to fix their own
prices, while other workmen were bound to feudal lords, or by the
Statutes of Wages. The author quotes in the original Latin an Edict of
the Lombard King Rotharis, dated November 22, 643, in which certain
privileges are confirmed to the _Magistri Comacini_ and their
_colligantes_. From this Edict it is clear that it is no new order that
is alluded to, but an old and powerful body of Masters capable of
acting as architects, with men who executed work under them. For the
Comacines were not ordinary workmen, but artists, including architects,
sculptors, painters, and decorators, and if affinities of style left in
stone be adequate evidence, to them were due the changing forms of
architecture in Europe during the cathedral-building period. Everywhere
they left their distinctive impress in a way so unmistakable as to
leave no doubt.

Under Charlemagne the Comacines began their many migrations, and we
find them following the missionaries of the church into remote places,
from Sicily to Britain, building churches. When Augustine went to
convert the British, the Comacines followed to provide shrines, and
Bede, as early as 674, in mentioning that builders were sent for from
Gaul to build the church at Wearmouth, uses phrases and words found in
the Edict of King Rotharis. For a long time the changes in style of
architecture, appearing simultaneously everywhere over Europe, from
Italy to England, puzzled students.[64] Further knowledge of this
powerful and widespread order explains it. It also accounts for the
fact that no individual architect can be named as the designer of any
of the great cathedrals. Those cathedrals were the work, not of
individual artists, but of an order who planned, built, and adorned
them. In 1355 the painters of Siena seceded, as the German Masons did
later, and the names of individual artists who worked for fame and
glory begin to appear; but up to that time the Order was supreme.
Artists from Greece and Asia Minor, driven from their homes, took
refuge with the Comacines, and Leader Scott finds in this order a
possible link, by tradition at least, with the temple of Solomon. At
any rate, all through the Dark Ages the name and fame of the Hebrew
king lived in the minds of the builders.

An inscribed stone, dating from 712, shows that the Comacine Guild
was organized as _Magistri_ and _Discipuli_, under a _Gastaldo_, or
Grand Master, the very same terms as were kept in the lodges later.
Moreover, they called their meeting places _loggia_, a long list of
which the author recites from the records of various cities, giving
names of officers, and, often, of members. They, too, had their
masters and wardens, their oaths, tokens, grips, and passwords which
formed a bond of union stronger than legal ties. They wore white
aprons and gloves, and revered the Four Crowned Martyrs of the Order.
Square, compasses, level, plumb-line, and arch appear among their
emblems. "King Solomon's Knot" was one of their symbols, and the
endless, interwoven cord, symbol of Eternity which has neither
beginning nor end, was another. Later, however, the Lion's Paw seems
to have become their chief emblem. From illustrations given by the
author they are shown in their regalia, with apron and emblems, clad
as the keepers of a great art and teaching of which they were masters.

Here, of a truth, is something more than prophecy, and those who have
any regard for facts will not again speak lightly of an order having
such ancestors as the great Comacine Masters. Had Fergusson known
their story, he would not have paused in his _History of Architecture_
to belittle the Free-masons as incapable of designing a cathedral,
while puzzling the while as to who did draw the plans for those dreams
of beauty and prayer. Hereafter, if any one asks to know who uplifted
those massive piles in which was portrayed the great drama of
mediaeval worship, he need not remain uncertain. With the decline of
Gothic architecture the order of Free-masons also suffered decline, as
we shall see, but did not cease to exist--continuing its symbolic
tradition amidst varying, and often sad, vicissitude until 1717, when
it became a fraternity teaching spiritual faith by allegory and moral
science by symbols.


[54] _Primitive Secret Societies_, by H. Webster; _Secret Societies of
all Ages and Lands_, by W.C. Heckethorn.

[55] We may add the case of Weshptah, one of the viziers of the Fifth
Dynasty in Egypt, about 2700 B.C., and also the royal architect, for
whom the great tomb was built, endowed, and furnished by the king
(_Religion in Egypt_, by Breasted, lecture ii); also the statue of
Semut, chief of Masons under Queen Hatasu, now in Berlin.

[56] _Historians His. World_, vol. ii, chap. iii. Josephus gives an
elaborate account of the temple, including the correspondence between
Solomon and Hiram of Tyre (_Jewish Antiquities_, bk. viii, chaps. 2-6).

[57] _Symbolism of Masonry_, Mackey, chap. vi; also in Mackey's
_Encyclopedia of Masonry_, both of which were drawn from _History of
Masonry_, by Laurie, chap. i; and Laurie in turn derived his facts from
a _Sketch for the History of the Dionysian Artificers, A Fragment_, by
H.J. Da Costa (1820). Why Waite and others brush the Dionysian
architects aside as a dream is past finding out in view of the evidence
and authorities put forth by Da Costa, nor do they give any reason for
so doing. "Lebedos was the seat and assembly of the _Dionysian
Artificers_, who inhabit Ionia to the Hellespont; there they had
annually their solemn meetings and festivities in honor of Bacchus,"
wrote Strabo (lib. xiv, 921). They were a secret society having signs
and words to distinguish their members (Robertson's _Greece_), and used
emblems taken from the art of building (Eusebius, _de Prep. Evang._
iii, c. 12). They entered Asia Minor and Phoenicia fifty years before
the temple of Solomon was built, and Strabo traces them on into Syria,
Persia, and India. Surely here are facts not to be swept aside as
romance because, forsooth, they do not fit certain theories. Moreover,
they explain many things, as we shall see.

[58] Rabbinic legend has it that all the workmen on the temple were
killed, so that they should not build another temple devoted to
idolatry (_Jewish Encyclopedia_, article "Freemasonry"). Other legends
equally absurd cluster about the temple and its building, none of which
is to be taken literally. As a fact, Hiram the architect, or rather
artificer in metals, did not lose his life, but, as Josephus tells us,
lived to good age and died at Tyre. What the legend is trying to tell
us, however, is that at the building of the temple the Mysteries
mingled with Hebrew faith, each mutually influencing the other.

[59] Strangely enough, there is a sect or tribe called the Druses, now
inhabiting the Lebanon district, who claim to be not only the
descendants of the Phoenicians, but _the builders of King Solomon's
temple_. So persistent and important among them is this tradition that
their religion is built about it--if indeed it be not something more
than a legend. They have Khalwehs, or temples, built after the fashion
of lodges, with three degrees of initiation, and, though an
agricultural folk, they use signs and tools of building as emblems of
moral truth. They have signs, grips, and passwords for recognition. In
the words of their lawgiver, Hamze, their creed reads: "The belief in
the Truth of One God shall take the place of Prayer; the exercise of
brotherly love shall take the place of Fasting; and the daily practice
of acts of Charity shall take the place of Alms-giving." Why such a
people, having such a tradition? Where did they get it? What may this
fact set in the fixed and changeless East mean? (See the essay of
Hackett Smith on "The Druses and Their Relation to Freemasonry," and
the discussion following, _Ars Quatuor Coronatorum_, iv. 7-19.)

[60] Rawlinson, in his _History of Phoenicia_, says the people "had for
ages possessed the mason's art, it having been brought in very early
days from Egypt." Sir C. Warren found on the foundation stones at
Jerusalem Mason's marks in Phoenician letters (_A. Q. C._, ii, 125;
iii, 68).

[61] See essay on "A Masonic Built City," by S.R. Forbes, a study of
the plan and building of Rome, _Ars Quatuor Coronatorum_, iv, 86. As
there will be many references to the proceedings of the Coronatorum
Lodge of Research, it will be convenient hereafter to use only its
initials, _A. Q. C._, in behalf of brevity. For an account of the
Collegia in early Christian times, see _Roman Life from Nero to
Aurelius_, by Dill (bk. ii, chap. iii); also _De Collegia_, by Mommsen.
There is an excellent article in Mackey's _Encyclopedia of
Freemasonry_, and Gould, _His. Masonry_, vol. i, chap. i.

[62] See _Masonic Character of Roman Villa at Morton_, by J.F. Crease
(_A. Q. C._, iii, 38-59).

[63] Their names were Claudius, Nicostratus, Simphorianus, Castorius,
and Simplicius. Later their bodies were brought from Rome to Toulouse
where they were placed in a chapel erected in their honor in the church
of St. Sernin (_Martyrology_, by Du Saussay). They became patron saints
of Masons in Germany, France, and England (_A. Q. C._, xii, 196). In a
fresco on the walls of the church of St. Lawrence at Rotterdam,
partially preserved, they are painted with compasses and trowel in
hand. With them, however, is another figure, clad in oriental robe,
also holding compasses, but with a royal, not a martyr's, crown. Is he
Solomon? Who else can he be? The fresco dates from 1641, and was
painted by F. Wounters (_A. Q. C._, xii, 202). Even so, those humble
workmen, faithful to their faith, became saints of the church, and
reign with Solomon! Once the fresco was whitewashed, but the coating
fell off and they stood forth with compasses and trowel as before.

[64] _History of Middle Ages_, Hallam, vol. ii, 547.

Part II--History


  _The curious history of Freemasonry has unfortunately been treated
  only by its panegyrists or calumniators, both equally mendacious.
  I do not wish to pry into the mysteries of the craft; but it would
  be interesting to know more of their history during the period
  when they were literally architects. They are charged by an act of
  Parliament with fixing the price of their labor in their annual
  chapters, contrary to the statute of laborers, and such chapters
  were consequently prohibited. This is their first persecution;
  they have since undergone others, and are perhaps reserved for
  still more. It is remarkable, that Masons were never legally
  incorporated, like other traders; their bond of union being
  stronger than any charter._

  --HENRY HALLAM, _The Middle Ages_




From the foregoing pages it must be evident that Masonry, as we find
it in the Middle Ages, was not a novelty. Already, if we accept its
own records, it was hoary with age, having come down from a far past,
bringing with it a remarkable deposit of legendary lore. Also, it had
in its keeping the same simple, eloquent emblems which, as we have
seen, are older than the oldest living religion, which it received as
an inheritance and has transmitted as a treasure. Whatever we may
think of the legends of Masonry, as recited in its oldest documents,
its symbols, older than the order itself, link it with the earliest
thought and faith of the race. No doubt those emblems lost some of
their luster in the troublous time of transition we are about to
traverse, but their beauty never wholly faded, and they had only to be
touched to shine.

If not the actual successors of the Roman College of Architects, the
great order of Comacine Masters was founded upon its ruins, and
continued its tradition both of symbolism and of art. Returning to
Rome after the death of Diocletian, we find them busy there under
Constantine and Theodosius; and from remains recently brought to
knowledge it is plain that their style of building at that time was
very like that of the churches built at Hexham and York in England,
and those of the Ravenna, also nearly contemporary. They may not have
been actually called Free-masons as early as Leader Scott insists they
were,[65] but _they were free in fact_, traveling far and near where
there was work to do, following the missionaries of the Church as far
as England. When there was need for the name _Free-masons_, it was
easily suggested by the fact that the cathedral-builders were quite
distinct from the Guild-masons, the one being a universal order
whereas the other was local and restricted. Older than Guild-masonry,
the order of the cathedral-builders was more powerful, more artistic,
and, it may be added, more religious; and it is from this order that
the Masonry of today is descended.

Since the story of the Comacine Masters has come to light, no doubt
any longer remains that during the building period the order of Masons
was at the height of its influence and power. At that time the
building art stood above all other arts, and made the other arts bow
to it, commanding the services of the most brilliant intellects and
of the greatest artists of the age. Moreover, its symbols were wrought
into stone long before they were written on parchment, if indeed they
were ever recorded at all. Efforts have been made to rob those old
masters of their honor as the designers of the cathedrals, but it is
in vain.[66] Their monuments are enduring and still tell the story of
their genius and art. High upon the cathedrals they left cartoons in
stone, of which Findel gives a list,[67] portraying with searching
satire abuses current in the Church. Such figures and devices would
not have been tolerated but for the strength of the order, and not
even then had the Church known what they meant to the adepts.

History, like a mirage, lifts only a part of the past into view,
leaving much that we should like to know in oblivion. At this distance
the Middle Ages wear an aspect of smooth uniformity of faith and
opinion, but that is only one of the many illusions of time by which
we are deceived. What looks like uniformity was only conformity, and
underneath its surface there was almost as much variety of thought as
there is today, albeit not so freely expressed. Science itself, as
well as religious ideas deemed heretical, sought seclusion; but the
human mind was alive and active none the less, and a great secret
order like Masonry, enjoying the protection of the Church, yet
independent of it, invited freedom of thought and faith.[68] The
Masons, by the very nature of their art, came into contact with all
classes of men, and they had opportunities to know the defects of the
Church. Far ahead of the masses and most of the clergy in education,
in their travels to and fro, not only in Europe, but often extending
to the far East, they became familiar with widely-differing religious
views. They had learned to practice toleration, and their Lodges
became a sure refuge for those who were persecuted for the sake of
opinion by bigoted fanaticism.

While, as an order, the Comacine Masters served the Church as
builders, the creed required for admission to their fraternity was
never narrow, and, as we shall see, it became every year broader.
Unless this fact be kept in mind, the influence of the Church upon
Masonry, which no one seeks to minify, may easily be exaggerated. Not
until cathedral building began to decline by reason of the
impoverishment of the nations by long wars, the dissolution of the
monasteries, and the advent of Puritanism, did the Church greatly
influence the order; and not even then to the extent of diverting it
from its original and unique mission. Other influences were at work
betimes, such as the persecution of the Knights Templars and the
tragic martyrdom of De Molai, making themselves felt,[69] and Masonry
began to be suspected of harboring heresy. So tangled were the
tendencies of that period that they are not easily followed, but the
fact emerges that Masonry rapidly broadened until its final break with
the Church. Hardly more than a veneer, by the time of the German
Reformation almost every vestige of the impress of the Church had
vanished never to return. Critics of the order have been at pains to
trace this tendency, not knowing, apparently, that by so doing they
only make more emphatic the chief glory of Masonry.


Unfortunately, as so often happens, no records of old Craft-masonry,
save those wrought into stone, were made until the movement had begun
to decline; and for that reason such documents as have come down to us
do not show it at its best. Nevertheless, they range over a period of
more than four centuries, and are justly held to be the title deeds of
the Order. Turning to these _Old Charges_ and _Constitutions_,[70] as
they are called, we find a body of quaint and curious writing, both in
poetry and prose, describing the Masonry of the late cathedral-building
period, with glimpses at least of greater days of old. Of these, there
are more than half a hundred--seventy-eight, to be exact--most of which
have come to light since 1860, and all of them, it would seem, copies
of documents still older. Naturally they have suffered at the hands of
unskilled or unlearned copyists, as is evident from errors,
embellishments, and interpolations. They were called _Old Charges_
because they contained certain rules as to conduct and duties which, in
a bygone time, were read or recited to a newly admitted member of the
craft. While they differ somewhat in details, they relate substantially
the same legend as to the origin of the order, its early history, its
laws and regulations, usually beginning with an invocation and ending
with an Amen.

Only a brief account need here be given of the dates and
characteristics of these documents, of the two oldest especially, with
a digest of what they have to tell us, first, of the Legend of the
order; second, its early History; and third, its Moral teaching, its
workings, and the duties of its members. The first and oldest of the
records is known as the _Regius MS_ which, owing to an error of David
Casley who in his catalogue of the MSS in the King's Library marked it
_A Poem of Moral Duties_, was overlooked until James Halliwell
discovered its real nature in 1839. Although not a Mason, Halliwell
was attracted by the MS and read an essay on its contents before the
Society of Antiquarians, after which he issued two editions bearing
date of 1840 and 1844. Experts give it date back to 1390, that is to
say, fifteen years after the first recorded use of the name
_Free_-mason in the history of the Company of Masons of the City of
London, in 1375.[71]

More poetical in spirit than in form, the old manuscript begins by
telling of the number of unemployed in early days and the necessity of
finding work, "that they myght gete there lyvyngs therby." Euclid was
consulted, and recommended the "onest craft of good masonry," and the
origin of the order is found "yn Egypte lande." Then, by a quick
shift, we are landed in England "yn tyme of good Kinge Adelstonus
day," who is said to have called an assembly of Masons, when fifteen
articles and as many points were agreed upon as rules of the craft,
each point being duly described. The rules resemble the Ten
Commandments in an extended form, closing with the legend of the Four
Crowned Martyrs, as an incentive to fidelity. Then the writer takes up
again the question of origins, going back this time to the days of
Noah and the Flood, mentioning the tower of Babylon and the great
skill of Euclid, who is said to have commenced "the syens seven." The
seven sciences are then named, to-wit, Grammar, Logic, Rhetoric,
Music, Astronomy, Arithmetic, Geometry, and each explained. Rich
reward is held out to those who use the seven sciences aright, and the
MS proper closes with the benediction:

  Amen! Amen! so mote it be!
  So say we all for Charity.

There follows a kind of appendix, evidently added by a priest,
consisting of one hundred lines in which pious exhortation is mixed
with instruction in etiquette, such as lads and even men unaccustomed
to polite society and correct deportment would need. These lines were
in great part extracted from _Instructions for Parish Priests_, by
Mirk, a manual in use at the time. The whole poem, if so it may be
called, is imbued with the spirit of freedom, of gladness, of social
good will; so much so, that both Gould and Albert Pike think it points
to the existence of symbolic Masonry at the date from which it speaks,
and may have been recited or sung by some club commemorating the
science, but not practicing the art, of Masonry. They would find
intimation of the independent existence of speculative Masonry thus
early, in a society from whom all but the memory or tradition of its
ancient craft had departed. One hesitates to differ with writers so
able and distinguished, yet this inference seems far-fetched, if not
forced. Of the existence of symbolic Masonry at that time there is no
doubt, but of its independent existence it is not easy to find even a
hint in this old poem. Nor would the poem be suitable for a mere
social, or even a symbolic guild, whereas the spirit of genial, joyous
comradeship which breathes through it is of the very essence of
Masonry, and has ever been present when Masons meet.

Next in order of age is the _Cooke MS_, dating from the early part of
the fifteenth century, and first published in 1861. If we apply the
laws of higher-criticism to this old document a number of things
appear, as obvious as they are interesting. Not only is it a copy of
an older record, like all the MSS we have, but it is either an effort
to join two documents together, or else the first part must be
regarded as a long preamble to the manuscript which forms the second
part. For the two are quite unlike in method and style, the first
being diffuse, with copious quotations and references to
authorities,[72] while the second is simple, direct, unadorned, and
does not even allude to the Bible. Also, it is evident that the
compiler, himself a Mason, is trying to harmonize two traditions as to
the origin of the order, one tracing it through Egypt and the other
through the Hebrews; and it is hard to tell which tradition he favors
most. Hence a duplication of the traditional history, and an odd
mixture of names and dates, often, indeed, absurd, as when he makes
Euclid a pupil of Abraham. What is clear is that, having found an old
Constitution of the Craft, he thought to write a kind of commentary
upon it, adding proofs and illustrations of his own, though he did not
manage his materials very successfully.

After his invocation,[73] the writer begins with a list of the Seven
Sciences, giving quaint definitions of each, but in a different order
from that recited in the _Regius Poem_; and he exalts Geometry above
all the rest as "the first cause and foundation of all crafts and
sciences." Then follows a brief sketch of the sons of Lamech, much as
we find it in the book of Genesis which, like the old MS we are here
studying, was compiled from two older records: the one tracing the
descent from Cain, and the other from Seth. Jabal and Jubal, we are
told, inscribed their knowledge of science and handicraft on two
pillars, one of marble, the other of lateres; and after the flood one
of the pillars was found by Hermes, and the other by Pythagoras, who
taught the sciences they found written thereon. Other MSS give Euclid
the part here assigned to Hermes. Surely this is all fantastic enough,
but the blending of the names of Hermes, the "father of Wisdom," who
is so supreme a figure in the Egyptian Mysteries, and Pythagoras who
used numbers as spiritual emblems, with old Hebrew history, is
significant. At any rate, by this route the record reaches Egypt
where, like the _Regius Poem_, it locates the origin of Masonry. In
thus ascribing the origin of Geometry to the Egyptians the writer was
but following a tradition that the Egyptians were compelled to invent
it in order to restore the landmarks effaced by the inundations of the
Nile; a tradition confirmed by modern research.

Proceeding, the compiler tells us that during their sojourn in Egypt
the Hebrews learned the art and secrets of Masonry, which they took
with them to the promised land. Long years are rapidly sketched, and
we come to the days of David, who is said to have loved Masons well,
and to have given them "wages nearly as they are now." There is but a
meager reference to the building of the Temple of Solomon, to which is
added: "In other chronicles and old books of Masonry, it is said that
Solomon confirmed the charges that David had given to Masons; and that
Solomon taught them their usages differing but slightly from the
customs now in use." While allusion is made to the master-artist of
the temple, his name is not mentioned, _except in disguise_. Not one
of the _Old Charges_ of the order ever makes use of his name, but
always employs some device whereby to conceal it.[74] Why so, when
the name was well known, written in the Bible which lay upon the
altar for all to read? Why such reluctance, if it be not that the name
and the legend linked with it had an esoteric meaning, as it most
certainly did have long before it was wrought into a drama? At this
point the writer drops the old legend and traces the Masons into
France and England, after the manner of the _Regius MS_, but with more
detail. Having noted these items, he returns to Euclid and brings that
phase of the tradition up to the advent of the order into England,
adding, in conclusion, the articles of Masonic law agreed upon at an
early assembly, of which he names nine, instead of the fifteen recited
in the _Regius Poem_.

What shall we say of this Legend, with its recurring and insistent
emphasis upon the antiquity of the order, and its linking of Egypt
with Israel? For one thing, it explodes the fancy that the idea of the
symbolical significance of the building of the Temple of Solomon
originated with, or was suggested by, Bacon's _New Atlantis_. Here is
a body of tradition uniting the Egyptian Mysteries with the Hebrew
history of the Temple in a manner unmistakable. Wherefore such names
as Hermes, Pythagoras, and Euclid, and how did they come into the old
craft records if not through the Comacine artists and scholars? With
the story of that great order before us, much that has hitherto been
obscure becomes plain, and we recognize in these _Old Charges_ the
inaccurate and perhaps faded tradition of a lofty symbolism, an
authentic scholarship, and an actual history. As Leader Scott
observes, after reciting the old legend in its crudest form:

    _The significant point is that all these names and Masonic
    emblems point to something real which existed in some
    long-past time, and, as regards the organisation and
    nomenclature, we find the whole thing in its vital and actual
    working form in the Comacine Guild._[75]

Of interest here, as a kind of bridge between old legend and the early
history of the order in England, and also as a different version of
the legend itself, is another document dating far back. There was a MS
discovered in the Bodleian Library at Oxford about 1696, supposed to
have been written in the year 1436, which purports to be an
examination of a Mason by King Henry VI, and is allowed by all to be
genuine. Its title runs as follows: "_Certain questions with answers
to the same concerning the mystery of masonry written by King Henry
the Sixth and faithfully copied by me, John Laylande, antiquarian, by
command of his highness_." Written in quaint old English, it would
doubtless be unintelligible to all but antiquarians, but it reads
after this fashion:

    What mote it be?--It is the knowledge of nature, and the
    power of its various operations; particularly the skill of
    reckoning, of weights and measures, of constructing buildings
    and dwellings of all kinds, and the true manner of forming
    all things for the use of man.

    Where did it begin?--It began with the first men of the East,
    who were before the first men of the West, and coming with it,
    it hath brought all comforts to the wild and comfortless.

    Who brought it to the West?--The Phoenicians who, being great
    merchants, came first from the East into Phoenicia, for the
    convenience of commerce, both East and West by the Red and
    Mediterranean Seas.

    How came it into England?--Pythagoras, a Grecian, traveled to
    acquire knowledge in Egypt and Syria, and in every other land
    where the Phoenicians had planted Masonry; and gaining
    admittance into all lodges of Masons, he learned much, and
    returned and dwelt in Grecia Magna, growing and becoming
    mighty wise and greatly renowned. Here he formed a great lodge
    at Crotona, and made many Masons, some of whom traveled into
    France, and there made many more, from whence, in process of
    time, the art passed into England.


With the conquest of Britain by the Romans, the _Collegia_, without
which no Roman society was complete, made their advent into the
island, traces of their work remaining even to this day. Under the
direction of the mother College at Rome, the Britons are said to have
attained to high degree of excellence as builders, so that when the
cities of Gaul and the fortresses along the Rhine were destroyed,
Chlorus, A.D. 298, sent to Britain for architects to repair or rebuild
them. Whether the _Collegia_ existed in Britain after the Romans left,
as some affirm, or were suppressed, as we know they were on the
Continent when the barbarians overran it, is not clear. Probably they
were destroyed, or nearly so, for with the revival of Christianity in
598 A.D., we find Bishop Wilfred of York joining with the Abbott of
Wearmouth in sending to France and Italy to induce Masons to return
and build in stone, as he put it, "after the Roman manner." This
confirms the Italian chroniclists who relate that Pope Gregory sent
several of the fraternity of _Liberi muratori_ with St. Augustine, as,
later, they followed St. Boniface into Germany.

Again, in 604, Augustine sent the monk Pietro back to Rome with a
letter to the same Pontiff, begging him to send more architects and
workmen, which he did. As the _Liberi muratori_ were none other than
the Comacine Masters, it seems certain that they were at work in
England _long before the period with which the_ OLD CHARGES _begin
their story of English Masonry_.[76] Among those sent by Gregory was
Paulinus, and it is a curious fact that he is spoken of under the title
of _Magister_, by which is meant, no doubt, that he was a member of the
Comacine order, for they so described their members; and we know that
many monks were enrolled in their lodges, having studied the art of
building under their instruction. St. Hugh of Lincoln was not the only
Bishop who could plan a church, instruct the workman, or handle a hod.
Only, it must be kept in mind that these ecclesiastics who became
skilled in architecture _were taught by the Masons_, and that it was
not the monks, as some seem to imagine, who taught the Masons their
art. Speaking of this early and troublous time, Giuseppe Merzaria says
that only one lamp remained alight, making a bright spark in the
darkness that extended over Europe:

    It was from the _Magistri Comacini_. Their respective names
    are unknown, their individual works unspecialized, but the
    breadth of their spirit might be felt all through those
    centuries, and their name collectively is legion. We may
    safely say that of all the works of art between A.D. 800 and
    1000, the greater and better part are due to that
    brotherhood--always faithful and often secret--of the
    _Magistri Comacini_. The authority and judgment of learned
    men justify the assertion.[77]

Among the learned men who agree with this judgment are Kugler of
Germany, Ramee of France, and Selvatico of Italy, as well as Quatremal
de Quincy, in his _Dictionary of Architecture_, who, in the article on
the Comacine, remarks that "to these men, who were both designers and
executors, architects, sculptors, and mosaicists, may be attributed
the renaissance of art, and its propagation in the southern countries,
where it marched with Christianity. Certain it is that we owe it to
them, that the heritage of antique ages was not entirely lost, and it
is only by their tradition and imitation that the art of building was
kept alive, producing works which we still admire, and which become
surprising when we think of the utter ignorance of all science in
those dark ages." The English writer, Hope, goes further and credits
the Comacine order with being the cradle of the associations of
Free-masons, who were, he adds, "the first after Roman times to enrich
architecture with a complete and well-ordinated system, which
dominated wherever the Latin Church extended its influence."[78] So
then, even if the early records of old Craft-masonry in England are
confused, and often confusing, we are not left to grope our way from
one dim tradition to another, having the history and monuments of this
great order which _spans the whole period_, and links the fraternity
of Free-masons with one of the noblest chapters in the annals of art.

Almost without exception the _Old Charges_ begin their account of
Masonry in England at the time of Athelstan, the grandson of Alfred
the Great; that is, between 925 and 940. Of this prince, or knight,
they record that he was a wise and pacific ruler; that "he brought the
land to rest and peace, and built many great buildings of castles and
abbeys, for he loved Masons well." He is also said to have called an
assembly of Masons at which laws, rules, and charges were adopted for
the regulation of the craft. Despite these specific details, the story
of Athelstan and St. Alban is hardly more than a legend, albeit dating
at no very remote epoch, and well within the reasonable limits of
tradition. Still, so many difficulties beset it that it has baffled
the acutest critics, most of whom throw it aside.[79] That is,
however, too summary a way of disposing of it, since the record,
though badly blurred, is obviously trying to preserve a fact of
importance to the order.

Usually the assembly in question is located at York, in the year 926,
of which, however, no slightest record remains. Whether at York or
elsewhere, some such assembly must have been convoked, either as a
civil function, or as a regular meeting of Masons authorized by legal
power for upholding the honor of the craft; and its articles became
the laws of the order. It was probably a civil assembly, a part of
whose legislation was a revised and approved code for the regulation
of Masons, and not unnaturally, by reason of its importance to the
order, it became known as a Masonic assembly. Moreover, the Charge
agreed upon was evidently no ordinary charge, for it is spoken of as
"_the_ Charge," called by one MS "a deep charge for the observation of
such articles as belong to Masonry," and by another MS "a rule to be
kept forever." Other assemblies were held afterwards, either annually
or semi-annually, until the time of Inigo Jones who, in 1607, became
superintendent general of royal buildings and at the same time head of
the Masonic order in England; and he it was who instituted quarterly
gatherings instead of the old annual assemblies.

Writers not familiar with the facts often speak of Freemasonry as an
evolution from Guild-masonry, but that is to err. They were never at
any time united or the same, though working almost side by side
through several centuries. Free-masons existed in large numbers long
before any city guild of Masons was formed, and even after the Guilds
became powerful the two were entirely distinct. The Guilds, as Hallam
says,[80] "were Fraternities by voluntary compact, to relieve each
other in poverty, and to protect each other from injury. Two
essential characteristics belonged to them: the common banquet, and
the common purse. They had also, in many instances, a religious and
sometimes a secret ceremonial to knit more firmly the bond of
fidelity. They readily became connected with the exercises of trades,
with training of apprentices, and the traditional rules of art."
Guild-masons, it may be added, had many privileges, one of which was
that they were allowed to frame their own laws, and to enforce
obedience thereto. Each Guild had a monopoly of the building in its
city or town, except ecclesiastical buildings, but with this went
serious restrictions and limitations. No member of a local Guild could
undertake work outside his town, but had to hold himself in readiness
to repair the castle or town walls, whereas Free-masons journeyed the
length and breadth of the land wherever their labor called them. Often
the Free-masons, when at work in a town, employed Guild-masons, but
only for rough work, and as such called them "rough-masons." No
Guild-mason was admitted to the order of Free-masons unless he
displayed unusual aptitude both as a workman and as a man of
intellect. Such as adhered only to the manual craft and cared nothing
for intellectual aims, were permitted to go back to the Guilds. For
the Free-masons, be it once more noted, were not only artists doing a
more difficult and finished kind of work, but an intellectual order,
having a great tradition of science and symbolism which they guarded.

Following the Norman Conquest, which began in 1066, England was
invaded by an army of ecclesiastics, and churches, monasteries,
cathedrals, and abbeys were commenced in every part of the country.
Naturally the Free-masons were much in demand, and some of them
received rich reward for their skill as architects--Robertus
Cementarius, a Master Mason employed at St. Albans in 1077, receiving
a grant of land and a house in the town.[81] In the reign of Henry II
no less than one hundred and fifty-seven religious buildings were
founded in England, and it is at this period that we begin to see
evidence of a new style of architecture--the Gothic. Most of the great
cathedrals of Europe date from the eleventh century--the piety of the
world having been wrought to a pitch of intense excitement by the
expected end of all things, unaccountably fixed by popular belief to
take place in the year one thousand. When the fatal year--and the
following one, which some held to be the real date for the sounding of
the last trumpet--passed without the arrival of the dreaded
catastrophe, the sense of general relief found expression in raising
magnificent temples to the glory of God who had mercifully abstained
from delivering all things to destruction. And it was the order of
Free-masons who made it possible for men to "sing their souls in
stone," leaving for the admiration of after times what Goethe called
the "frozen music" of the Middle Ages--monuments of the faith and
gratitude of the race which adorn and consecrate the earth.

Little need be added to the story of Freemasonry during the
cathedral-building period; its monuments are its best history, alike
of its genius, its faith, and its symbols--as witness the triangle and
the circle which form the keystone of the ornamental tracery of every
Gothic temple. Masonry was then at the zenith of its power, in its
full splendor, the Lion of the tribe of Judah its symbol, strength,
wisdom, and beauty its ideals; its motto to be faithful to God and the
Government; its mission to lend itself to the public good and
fraternal charity. Keeper of an ancient and high tradition, it was a
refuge for the oppressed, and a teacher of art and morality to
mankind. In 1270, we find Pope Nicholas III confirming all the rights
previously granted to the Free-masons, and bestowing on them further
privileges. Indeed, all the Popes up to Benedict XII appear to have
conceded marked favors to the order, even to the length of exempting
its members from the necessity of observance of the statutes, from
municipal regulations, and from obedience to royal edicts.

What wonder, then, that the Free-masons, ere long, took _Liberty_ for
their motto, and by so doing aroused the animosity of those in
authority, as well as the Church which they had so nobly served.
Already forces were astir which ultimately issued in the Reformation,
and it is not surprising that a great secret order was suspected of
harboring men and fostering influences sympathetic with the impending
change felt to be near at hand. As men of the most diverse views,
political and religious, were in the lodges, the order began first to
be accused of refusing to obey the law, and then to be persecuted. In
England a statute was enacted against the Free-masons in 1356,
prohibiting their assemblies under severe penalties, but the law seems
never to have been rigidly enforced; though the order suffered greatly
in the civil commotions of the period. However, with the return of
peace after the long War of the Roses, Freemasonry revived for a
time, and regained much of its prestige, adding to its fame in the
rebuilding of London after the fire, and in particular of St. Paul's

When cathedral-building ceased, and the demand for highly skilled
architects decreased, the order fell into decline, but never at any
time lost its identity, its organization, and its ancient emblems. The
Masons' Company of London, though its extant records date only from
1620, is considered by its historian, Conder, to have been established
in 1220, if not earlier, at which time there was great activity in
building, owing to the building of London Bridge, begun in 1176, and
of Westminster Abbey in 1221; thus reaching back into the cathedral
period. At one time the Free-masons seem to have been stronger in
Scotland than in England, or at all events to have left behind more
records--for the minutes of the Lodge of Edinburgh go back to 1599,
and the _Schaw Statutes_ to an earlier date. Nevertheless, as the art
of architecture declined Masonry declined with it, not a few of its
members identifying themselves with the Guilds of ordinary
"rough-masons," whom they formerly held in contempt; while others,
losing sight of high aims, turned its lodges into social clubs.
Always, however, despite defection and decline, there were those, as
we shall see, who were faithful to the ideals of the order, devoting
themselves more and more to its moral and spiritual teaching until
what has come to be known as "the revival of 1717."


[65] _The Cathedral Builders_, chap. i.

[66] "The honor due to the original founders of these edifices is
almost invariably transferred to the ecclesiastics under whose
patronage they rose, rather than to the skill and design of the Master
Mason, or professional architect, because the only historians were
monks.... They were probably not so well versed in geometrical science
as the Master Masons, for mathematics formed a part of monastic
learning in a very limited degree."--James Dallaway, _Architecture in
England_; and his words are the more weighty for that he is not a

[67] _History of Masonry._ In the St. Sebaldus Church, Nuremburg, is a
carving in stone showing a nun in the embrace of a monk. In Strassburg
a hog and a goat may be seen carrying a sleeping fox as a sacred relic,
in advance a bear with a cross and a wolf with a taper. An ass is
reading mass at an altar. In Wurzburg Cathedral are the pillars of Boaz
and Jachin, and in the altar of the Church of Doberan, in Mecklenburg,
placed as Masons use them, and a most significant scene in which
priests are turning a mill grinding out dogmatic doctrines; and at the
bottom the Lord's Supper in which the Apostles are shown in well-known
Masonic attitudes. In the Cathedral of Brandenburg a fox in priestly
robes is preaching to a flock of geese; and in the Minster at Berne the
Pope is placed among those who are lost in perdition. These were bold
strokes which even heretics hardly dared to indulge in.

[68] _History of Masonry_, by Steinbrenner, chap. iv. There were,
indeed, many secret societies in the Middle Ages, such as the
Catharists, Albigenses, Waldenses, and others, whose initiates and
adherents traveled through all Europe, forming new communities and
making proselytes not only among the masses, but also among nobles, and
even among the monks, abbots, and bishops. Occultists, Alchemists,
Kabbalists, all wrought in secrecy, keeping their flame aglow under the
crust of conformity.

[69] _Realities of Masonry_, by Blake (chap. ii). While the theory of
the descent of Masonry from the Order of the Temple is untenable, a
connection between the two societies, in the sense in which an artist
may be said to be connected with his employer, is more than probable;
and a similarity may be traced between the ritual of reception in the
Order of the Temple and that used by Masons, but that of the Temple was
probably derived from, or suggested by, that of the Masons; or both may
have come from an original source further back. That the Order of the
Temple, as such, did not actually coalesce with the Masons seems clear,
but many of its members sought refuge under the Masonic apron (_History
of Freemasonry and Concordant Orders_, by Hughan and Stillson).

[70] Every elaborate History of Masonry--as, for example, that of
Gould--reproduces these old documents in full or in digest, with
exhaustive analyses of and commentaries upon them. Such a task
obviously does not come within the scope of the present study. One of
the best brief comparative studies of the _Old Charges_ is an essay by
W.H. Upton, "The True Text of the Book of Constitutions," in that it
applies approved methods of historical criticism to all of them (_A. Q.
C._, vii, 119). See also _Masonic Sketches and Reprints_, by Hughan. No
doubt these _Old Charges_ are familiar, or should be familiar, to every
intelligent member of the order, as a man knows the deeds of his

[71] _The Hole Craft and Fellowship of Masonry_, by Conder. Also
exhaustive essays by Conder and Speth, _A. Q. C._, ix, 29; x, 10. Too
much, it seems to me, has been made of both the name and the date,
since the _fact_ was older than either. Findel finds the name
_Free_-mason as early as 1212, and Leader Scott goes still further
back; but the fact may be traced back to the Roman Collegia.

[72] He refers to Herodotus as the _Master of History_; quotes from the
_Polychronicon_, written by a Benedictine monk who died in 1360; from
_De Imagine Mundi_, Isodorus, and frequently from the Bible. Of more
than ordinary learning for his day and station, he did not escape a
certain air of pedantry in his use of authorities.

[73] These invocations vary in their phraseology, some bearing more
visibly than others the mark of the Church. Toulmin Smith, in his
_English Guilds_, notes the fact that the form of the invocations of
the Masons "differs strikingly from that of most other Guilds. In
almost every other case, God the Father Almighty would seem to have
been forgotten." But Masons never forgot the corner-stone upon which
their order and its teachings rest; not for a day.

[74] Such names as Aynone, Aymon, Ajuon, Dynon, Amon, Anon, Annon, and
Benaim are used, deliberately, it would seem, and of set design. _The
Inigo Jones MS_ uses the Bible name, but, though dated 1607, it has
been shown to be apocryphal. See Gould's _History_, appendix. Also
_Bulletin_ of Supreme Council S. J., U. S. (vii, 200), that the
Strassburg builders pictured the legend in stone.

[75] _The Cathedral Builders_, bk. i, chap. i.

[76] See the account of "The Origin of Saxon Architecture," in the
_Cathedral Builders_ (bk. ii, chap. iii), written by Dr. W.M. Barnes in
England independently of the author who was living in Italy; and it is
significant that the facts led both of them to the same conclusions.
They show quite unmistakably that the Comacine builders were in England
as early as 600 A.D., both by documents and by a comparative study of
styles of architecture.

[77] _Maestri Comacini_, vol. i, chap. ii.

[78] _Story of Architecture_, chap. xxii.

[79] Gould, in his _History of Masonry_ (i, 31, 65), rejects the legend
as having not the least foundation in fact, as indeed, he rejects
almost everything that cannot prove itself in a court of law. For the
other side see a "Critical Examination of the Alban and Athelstan
Legends," by C.C. Howard (_A. Q. C._, vii, 73). Meanwhile, Upton points
out that St. Alban was the name of a town, not of a man, and shows how
the error may have crept into the record (_A. Q. C._, vii, 119-131).
The nature of the tradition, its details, its motive, and the absence
of any reason for fiction, should deter us from rejecting it. See two
able articles, pro and con, by Begemann and Speth, entitled "The
Assembly" (_A. Q. C._, vii). Older Masonic writers, like Oliver and
Mackey, accepted the York assembly as a fact established (_American
Quarterly Review of Freemasonry_, vol. i, 546; ii, 245).

[80] _History of the English Constitution._ Of course the Guild was
indigenous to almost every age and land, from China to ancient Rome
(_The Guilds of China_, by H.B. Morse), and they survive in the trade
and labor unions of our day. The story of _English Guilds_ has been
told by Toulmin Smith, and in the histories of particular companies by
Herbert and Hazlitt, leaving little for any one to add. No doubt the
Guilds were influenced by the Free-masons in respect of officers and
emblems, and we know that some of them, like the German Steinmetzen,
attached moral meanings to their working tools, and that others, like
the French Companionage, even held the legend of Hiram; but these did
not make them Free-masons. English writers like Speth go too far when
they deny to the Steinmetzen any esoteric lore, and German scholars
like Krause and Findel are equally at fault in insisting that they were
Free-masons. (See essay by Speth, _A. Q. C._, i, 17, and _History of
Masonry_, by Steinbrenner, chap. iv.)

[81] _Notes on the Superintendents of English Buildings in the Middle
Ages_, by Wyatt Papworth. Cementerius is also mentioned in connection
with the Salisbury Cathedral, again in his capacity as a Master Mason.

[82] Hearing that the Masons had certain secrets that could not be
revealed to her (for that she could not be Grand Master) Queen
Elizabeth sent an armed force to break up their annual Grand Lodge at
York, on St. John's Day, December 27, 1561. But Sir Thomas Sackville
took care to see that some of the men sent were Free-masons, who,
joining in the communication, made "a very honorable report to the
Queen, who never more attempted to dislodge or disturb them; but
esteemed them a peculiar sort of men, that cultivated peace and
friendship, arts and sciences, without meddling in the affairs of
Church or State" (_Book of Constitutions_, by Anderson).


  _Noe person (of what degree soever) shalbee accepted a Free Mason,
  unless hee shall have a lodge of five Free Masons at least;
  whereof one to be a master, or warden, of that limitt, or
  division, wherein such Lodge shalbee kept, and another of the
  trade of Free Masonry.

  That noe person shalbee accepted a Free Mason, but such as are of
  able body, honest parentage, good reputation, and observers of the
  laws of the land.

  That noe person shalbee accepted a Free Mason, or know the secrets
  of said Society, until hee hath first taken the oath of secrecy
  hereafter following: "I, A. B., doe in the presence of Almighty
  God, and my fellows, and brethren here present, promise and
  declare, that I will not at any time hereafter, by any act or
  circumstance whatsoever, directly or indirectly, publish,
  discover, reveal, or make known any of the secrets, privileges, or
  counsels, of the fraternity or fellowship of Free Masonry, which
  at this time, or any time hereafter, shalbee made known unto mee
  soe helpe mee God, and the holy contents of this booke."_

  --HARLEIAN MS, 1600-1650




Having followed the Free-masons over a long period of history, it is
now in order to give some account of the ethics, organization, laws,
emblems, and workings of their lodges. Such a study is at once easy
and difficult by turns, owing to the mass of material, and to the
further fact that in the nature of things much of the work of a secret
order is not, and has never been, matter for record. By this
necessity, not a little must remain obscure, but it is hoped that even
those not of the order may derive a definite notion of the principles
and practices of the old Craft-masonry, from which the Masonry of
today is descended. At least, such a sketch will show that, from times
of old, the order of Masons has been a teacher of morality, charity,
and truth, unique in its genius, noble in its spirit, and benign in
its influence.

Taking its ethical teaching first, we have only to turn to the _Old
Charges_ or _Constitutions_ of the order, with their quaint blending
of high truth and homely craft-law, to find the moral basis of
universal Masonry. These old documents were a part of the earliest
ritual of the order, and were recited or read to every young man at
the time of his initiation as an Entered Apprentice. As such, they
rehearsed the legends, laws, and ethics of the craft for his
information, and, as we have seen, they insisted upon the antiquity of
the order, as well as its service to mankind--a fact peculiar to
Masonry, _for no other order has ever claimed such a legendary or
traditional history_. Having studied that legendary record and its
value as history, it remains to examine the moral code laid before the
candidate who, having taken a solemn oath of loyalty and secrecy, was
instructed in his duties as an Apprentice and his conduct as a man.
What that old code lacked in subtlety is more than made up in
simplicity, and it might all be stated in the words of the Prophet:
"To do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly before God,"--the old
eternal moral law, founded in faith, tried by time, and approved as
valid for men of every clime, creed, and condition.

Turning to the _Regius MS_, we find fifteen "points" or rules set
forth for the guidance of Fellowcrafts, and as many for the rule of
Master Masons.[83] Later the number was reduced to nine, but so far
from being an abridgment, it was in fact an elaboration of the
original code; and by the time we reach the _Roberts_ and _Watson_ MSS
a similar set of requirements for Apprentices had been adopted--or
rather recorded, for they had been in use long before. It will make
for clearness if we reverse the order and take the Apprentice charge
first, as it shows what manner of men were admitted to the order. No
man was made a Mason save by his own free choice, and he had to prove
himself a freeman of lawful age, of legitimate birth, of sound body,
of clean habits, and of good repute, else he was not eligible. Also,
he had to bind himself by solemn oath to serve under rigid rules for a
period of seven years, vowing absolute obedience--for the old-time
Lodge was a school in which young men studied, not only the art of
building and its symbolism, but the seven sciences as well. At first
the Apprentice was little more than a servant, doing the most menial
work, his period of endenture being at once a test of his character
and a training for his work. If he proved himself trustworthy and
proficient, his wages were increased, albeit his rules of conduct were
never relaxed. How austere the discipline was may be seen from a
summary of its rules:

Confessing faith in God, an Apprentice vowed to honor the Church, the
State, and the Master under whom he served, agreeing not to absent
himself from the service of the order, by day or night, save with the
license of the Master. He must be honest, truthful, upright, faithful
in keeping the secrets of the craft, or the confidence of the Master,
or of any Free-mason, when communicated to him as such. Above all he
must be chaste, never committing adultery or fornication, and he must
not marry, or contract himself to any woman, during his
apprenticeship. He must be obedient to the Master without argument or
murmuring, respectful to all Free-masons, courteous, avoiding obscene
or uncivil speech, free from slander, dissension, or dispute. He must
not haunt or frequent any tavern or ale-house, or so much as go into
them except it be upon an errand of the Master or with his consent,
using neither cards, dice, nor any unlawful game, "Christmas time
excepted." He must not steal anything even to the value of a penny, or
suffer it to be done, or shield anyone guilty of theft, but report the
fact to the Master with all speed.

After seven long years the Apprentice brought his masterpiece to the
Lodge--or, in earlier times, to the annual Assembly[84]--and on strict
trial and due examination was declared a Master. Thereupon he ceased
to be a pupil and servant, passed into the ranks of Fellowcrafts, and
became a free man capable, for the first time in his life, of earning
his living and choosing his own employer. Having selected a Mark[85]
by which his work could be identified, he could then take his kit of
tools and travel as a Master of his art, receiving the wages of a
Master--not, however, without first reaffirming his vows of honesty,
truthfulness, fidelity, temperance, and chastity, and assuming added
obligations to uphold the honor of the order. Again he was sworn not
to lay bare, nor to tell to any man what he heard or saw done in the
Lodge, and to keep the secrets of a fellow Mason as inviolably as his
own--unless such a secret imperiled the good name of the craft. He
furthermore promised to act as mediator between his Master and his
Fellows, and to deal justly with both parties. If he saw a Fellow
hewing a stone which he was in a fair way to spoil, he must help him
without loss of time, if able to do so, that the whole work be not
ruined. Or if he met a fellow Mason in distress, or sorrow, he must
aid him so far as lay within his power. In short, he must live in
justice and honor with all men, especially with the members of the
order, "that the bond of mutual charity and love may augment and

Still more binding, if possible, were the vows of a Fellowcraft when
he was elevated to the dignity of Master of the Lodge or of the Work.
Once more he took solemn oath to keep the secrets of the order
unprofaned, and more than one old MS quotes the Golden Rule as the law
of the Master's office. He must be steadfast, trusty, and true; pay
his Fellows truly; take no bribe; and as a judge stand upright. He
must attend the annual Assembly, unless disabled by illness, if within
fifty miles--the distance varying, however, in different MSS. He must
be careful in admitting Apprentices, taking only such as are fit both
physically and morally, and keeping none without assurance that he
would stay seven years in order to learn his craft. He must be patient
with his pupils, instruct them diligently, encourage them with
increased pay, and not permit them to work at night, "unless in the
pursuit of knowledge, which shall be a sufficient excuse." He must be
wise and discreet, and undertake no work he cannot both perform and
complete equally to the profit of his employer and the craft. Should a
Fellow be overtaken by error, he must be gentle, skilful, and
forgiving, seeking rather to help than to hurt, abjuring scandal and
bitter words. He must not attempt to supplant a Master of the Lodge or
of the Work, or belittle his work, but recommend it and assist him in
improving it. He must be liberal in charity to those in need, helping
a Fellow who has fallen upon evil lot, giving him work and wages for
at least a fortnight, or if he has no work, "relieve him with money to
defray his reasonable charges to the next Lodge." For the rest, he
must in all ways act in a manner befitting the nobility of his office
and his order.

Such were some of the laws of the moral life by which the old
Craft-masonry sought to train its members, not only to be good
workmen, but to be good and true men, serving their Fellows; to which,
as the Rawlinson MS tells us, "divers new articles have been added by
the free choice and good consent and best advice of the Perfect and
True Masons, Masters, and Brethren." If, as an ethic of life, these
laws seem simple and rudimentary, they are none the less fundamental,
and they remain to this day the only gate and way by which those must
enter who would go up to the House of the Lord. As such they are great
and saving things to lay to heart and act upon, and if Masonry taught
nothing else its title to the respect of mankind would be clear. They
have a double aspect: first, the building of a spiritual man upon
immutable moral foundations; and second, the great and simple
religious faith in the Fatherhood of God, the Brotherhood of man, and
the Life Eternal, taught by Masonry from its earliest history to this
good day. Morality and theistic religion--upon these two rocks
Masonry has always stood, and they are the only basis upon which man
may ever hope to rear the spiritual edifice of his life, even to the
capstone thereof.


Imagine, now, a band of these builders, bound together by solemn vows
and mutual interests, journeying over the most abominable roads toward
the site selected for an abbey or cathedral. Traveling was attended
with many dangers, and the company was therefore always well armed,
the disturbed state of the country rendering such a precaution
necessary. Tools and provisions belonging to the party were carried on
pack-horses or mules, placed in the center of the convoy, in charge of
keepers. The company consisted of a Master Mason directing the work,
Fellows of the craft, and Apprentices serving their time. Besides
these we find subordinate laborers, not of the Lodge though in it,
termed layers, setters, tilers, and so forth. Masters and Fellows wore
a distinctive costume, which remained almost unchanged in its fashion
for no less than three centuries.[86] Withal, it was a serious
company, but in nowise solemn, and the tedium of the journey was no
doubt beguiled by song, story, and the humor incident to travel.

"Wherever they came," writes Mr. Hope in his _Essay on Architecture_,
"in the suite of missionaries, or were called by the natives, or
arrived of their own accord, to seek employment, they appeared headed
by a chief surveyor, who governed the whole troop, and named one man
out of every ten, under the name of warden, to overlook the other
nine, set themselves to building temporary huts for their habitation
around the spot where the work was to be carried on, regularly
organized their different departments, fell to work, sent for fresh
supplies of their brethren as the object demanded, and, when all was
finished, again they raised their encampment, and went elsewhere to
undertake other work."

Here we have a glimpse of the methods of the Free-masons, of their
organization, almost military in its order and dispatch, and of their
migratory life; although they had a more settled life than this
ungainly sentence allows, for long time was required for the building
of a great cathedral. Sometimes, it would seem, they made special
contracts with the inhabitants of a town where they were to erect a
church, containing such stipulations as, that a Lodge covered with
tiles should be built for their accommodation, and that every laborer
should be provided with a white apron of a peculiar kind of leather
and gloves to shield the hands from stone and slime.[87] At all
events, the picture we have is that of a little community or village
of workmen, living in rude dwellings, with a Lodge room at the center
adjoining a slowly rising cathedral--the Master busy with his plans
and the care of his craft; Fellows shaping stones for walls, arches,
or spires; Apprentices fetching tools or mortar, and when necessary,
tending the sick, and performing all offices of a similar nature.
Always the Lodge was the center of interest and activity, a place of
labor, of study, of devotion, as well as the common room for the
social life of the order. Every morning, as we learn from the Fabric
Rolls of York Minster, began with devotion, followed by the directions
of the Master for the work of the day, which no doubt included study
of the laws of the art, plans of construction, and the mystical
meaning of ornaments and emblems. Only Masons were in attendance at
such times, the Lodge being closed to all others, and guarded by a
Tiler[88] against "the approach of cowans[89] and eavesdroppers." Thus
the work of each day was begun, moving forward amidst the din and
litter of the hours, until the craft was called from labor to rest and
refreshment; and thus a cathedral was uplifted as a monument to the
Order, albeit the names of the builders are faded and lost. Employed
for years on the same building, and living together in the Lodge, it
is not strange that Free-masons came to know and love one another, and
to have a feeling of loyalty to their craft, unique, peculiar, and
enduring. Traditions of fun and frolic, of song and feast and
gala-day, have floated down to us, telling of a comradeship as joyous
as it was genuine. If their life had hardship and vicissitude, it had
also its grace and charm of friendship, of sympathy, service, and
community of interest, and the joy that comes of devotion to a high
and noble art.

When a Mason wished to leave one Lodge and go elsewhere to work, as he
was free to do when he desired, he had no difficulty in making himself
known to the men of his craft by certain signs, grips, and words.[90]
Such tokens of recognition were necessary to men who traveled afar in
those uncertain days, especially when references or other means of
identification were ofttimes impossible. All that many people knew
about the order was that its members had a code of secret signs, and
that no Mason need be friendless or alone when other Masons were
within sight or hearing; so that the very name of the craft came to
stand for any mode of hidden recognition. Steele, in the _Tatler_,
speaks of a class of people who have "their signs and tokens like
Free-masons." There were more than one of these signs and tokens, as
we are more than once told--in the _Harleian MS_, for example, which
speaks of "words and signs." What they were may not be here discussed,
but it is safe to say that a Master Mason of the Middle Ages, were he
to return from the land of shadows, could perhaps make himself known
as such in a Fellowcraft Lodge of today. No doubt some things would
puzzle him at first, but he would recognize the officers of the Lodge,
its form, its emblems, its great altar Light, and its moral truth
taught in symbols. Besides, he could tell us, if so minded, much that
we should like to learn about the craft in the olden times, its hidden
mysteries, the details of its rites, and the meaning of its symbols
when the poetry of building was yet alive.


This brings us to one of the most hotly debated questions in Masonic
history--the question as to the number and nature of the degrees made
use of in the old craft lodges. Hardly any other subject has so deeply
engaged the veteran archaeologists of the order, and while it ill
becomes any one glibly to decide such an issue, it is at least
permitted us, after studying all of value that has been written on
both sides, to sum up what seems to be the truth arrived at.[91]
While such a thing as a written record of an ancient degree--aside
from the _Old Charges_, which formed a part of the earliest
rituals--is unthinkable, we are not left altogether to the mercy of
conjecture in a matter so important. Cesare Cantu tells us that the
Comacine Masters "were called together in the Loggie by a grand-master
to treat of affairs common to the order, to receive novices, and
_confer superior degrees on others_."[92] Evidence of a sort similar
is abundant, but not a little confusion will be avoided if the
following considerations be kept in mind:

First, that during its purely operative period the ritual of Masonry
was naturally less formal and ornate than it afterwards became, from
the fact that its very life was a kind of ritual and its symbols were
always visibly present in its labor. By the same token, as it ceased
to be purely operative, and others not actually architects were
admitted to its fellowship, of necessity its rites became more
formal--"_very formall_," as Dugdale said in 1686,[93]--portraying in
ceremony what had long been present in its symbolism and practice.

Second, that with the decline of the old religious art of
building--for such it was in very truth--some of its symbolism lost
its luster, its form surviving but its meaning obscured, if not
entirely faded. Who knows, for example--even with the Klein essay on
_The Great Symbol_[94] in hand--what Pythagoras meant by his lesser
and greater Tetractys? That they were more than mathematical theorems
is plain, yet even Plutarch missed their meaning. In the same way,
some of the emblems in our Lodges are veiled, or else wear meanings
invented after the fact, in lieu of deeper meanings hidden, or but
dimly discerned. Albeit, the great emblems still speak in truths
simple and eloquent, and remain to refine, instruct, and exalt.

Third, that when Masonry finally became a purely speculative or
symbolical fraternity, no longer an order of practical builders, its
ceremonial inevitably became more elaborate and imposing--its old
habit and custom, as well as its symbols and teachings, being
enshrined in its ritual. More than this, knowing how "Time the white
god makes all things holy, and what is old becomes religion," it is
no wonder that its tradition became every year more authoritative; so
that the tendency was not, as many have imagined, to add to its
teaching, but to preserve and develop its rich deposit of symbolism,
and to avoid any break with what had come down from the past.

Keeping in mind this order of evolution in the history of Masonry, we
may now state the facts, so far as they are known, as to its early
degrees; dividing it into two periods, the Operative and the
Speculative.[95] An Apprentice in the olden days was "entered" as a
novice of the craft, first, as a purely business proceeding, not
unlike our modern indentures, or articles. Then, or shortly
afterwards--probably at the annual Assembly--there was a ceremony of
initiation making him a Mason--including an oath, the recital of the
craft legend as recorded in the _Old Charges_, instruction in moral
conduct and deportment as a Mason, and the imparting of certain
secrets. At first this degree, although comprising secrets, does not
seem to have been mystic at all, but a simple ceremony intended to
impress upon the mind of the youth the high moral life required of
him. Even Guild-masonry had such a rite of initiation, as Hallam
remarks, and if we may trust the Findel version of the ceremony used
among the German Stone-masons, it was very like the first degree as we
now have it--though one has always the feeling that it was embellished
in the light of later time.[96]

So far there is no dispute, but the question is whether any other
degree was known in the early lodges. Both the probabilities of the
case, together with such facts as we have, indicate that there was
another and higher degree. For, if all the secrets of the order were
divulged to an Apprentice, he could, after working four years, and
just when he was becoming valuable, run away, give himself out as a
Fellow, and receive work and wages as such. If there was only one set
of secrets, this deception might be practiced to his own profit and
the injury of the craft--unless, indeed, we revise all our ideas held
hitherto, and say that his initiation did not take place until he was
out of his articles. This, however, would land us in worse
difficulties later on. Knowing the fondness of the men of the Middle
Ages for ceremony, it is hardly conceivable that the day of all days
when an Apprentice, having worked for seven long years, acquired the
status of a Fellow, was allowed to go unmarked, least of all in an
order of men to whom building was at once an art and an allegory. So
that, not only the exigences of his occupation, but the importance of
the day to a young man, and the spirit of the order, justify such a

Have we any evidence tending to confirm this inference? Most
certainly; so much so that it is not easy to interpret the hints given
in the _Old Charges_ upon any other theory. For one thing, in nearly
all the MSS, from the _Regius Poem_ down, we are told of two rooms or
resorts, the Chamber and the Lodge--sometimes called the Bower and the
Hall--and the Mason was charged to keep the "counsells" proper to each
place. This would seem to imply that an Apprentice had access to the
Chamber or Bower, but not to the Lodge itself--at least not at all
times. It may be argued that the "other counsells" referred to were
merely technical secrets, but that is to give the case away, since
they were secrets held and communicated as such. By natural process,
as the order declined and actual building ceased, _its technical
secrets became ritual secrets_, though they must always have had
symbolical meanings. Further, while we have record of only one
oath--which does not mean that there _was_ only one--signs, tokens,
and words are nearly always spoken of in the plural; and if the
secrets of a Fellowcraft were purely technical--which some of us do
not believe--they were at least accompanied and protected by certain
signs, tokens, and passwords. From this it is clear that the advent of
an Apprentice into the ranks of a Fellow was in fact a degree, or
contained the essentials of a degree, including a separate set of
signs and secrets.

When we pass to the second period, and men of wealth and learning who
were not actual architects began to enter the order--whether as
patrons of the art or as students and mystics attracted by its
symbolism--other evidences of change appear. They, of course, were not
required to serve a seven year apprenticeship, and they would
naturally be Fellows, not Masters, because they were in no sense
masters of the craft. Were these Fellows made acquainted with the
secrets of an Apprentice? If so, then the two degrees were either
conferred in one evening, or else--what seems to have been the
fact--they were welded into one; since we hear of men being made
Masons in a single evening.[97] Customs differed, no doubt, in
different Lodges, some of which were chiefly operative, or made up of
men who had been working Masons, with only a sprinkling of men not
workmen who had been admitted; while others were purely symbolical
Lodges as far back as 1645. Naturally in Lodges of the first kind the
two degrees were kept separate, and in the second they were
merged--the one degree becoming all the while more elaborate.
Gradually the men who had been Operative Masons became fewer in the
Lodges--chiefly those of higher position, such as master builders,
architects, and so on--until the order became a purely speculative
fraternity, having no longer any trade object in view.

Not only so, but throughout this period of transition, and even
earlier, we hear intimations of "the Master's Part," and those hints
increase in number as the office of Master of the Work lost its
practical aspect after the cathedral-building period. What was the
Master's Part? Unfortunately, while the number of degrees may be
indicated, their nature and details cannot be discussed without grave
indiscretion; but nothing is plainer than that _we need not go outside
Masonry itself to find the materials out of which all three degrees,
as they now exist, were developed_.[98] Even the French Companionage,
or Sons of Solomon, had the legend of the Third Degree long before
1717, when some imagine it to have been invented. If little or no
mention of it is found among English Masons before that date, that is
no reason for thinking that it was unknown. _Not until 1841 was it
known to have been a secret of the Companionage in France, so deeply
and carefully was it hidden._[99] Where so much is dim one may not be
dogmatic, but what seems to have taken place in 1717 was, not the
_addition_ of a third degree made out of whole cloth, but the
_conversion_ of two degrees into three.

That is to say, Masonry is too great an institution to have been made
in a day, much less by a few men, but was a slow evolution through
long time, unfolding its beauty as it grew. Indeed, it was like one of
its own cathedrals upon which one generation of builders wrought and
vanished, and another followed, until, amidst vicissitudes of time and
change, of decline and revival, the order itself became a temple of
Freedom and Fraternity--its history a disclosure of its innermost soul
in the natural process of its transition from actual architecture to
its "more noble and glorious purpose." For, since what was evolved
from Masonry must always have been involved in it--not something alien
added to it from extraneous sources, as some never tire of trying to
show--we need not go outside the order itself to learn what Masonry
is, certainly not to discover its motif and its genius; its later and
more elaborate form being only an expansion and exposition of its
inherent nature and teaching. Upon this fact the present study insists
with all emphasis, as over against those who go hunting in every odd
nook and corner to find whence Masonry came, and where it got its
symbols and degrees.


[83] Our present craft nomenclature is all wrong; the old order was
first Apprentice, then Master, then Fellowcraft--mastership being, not
a degree conferred, but a reward of skill as a workman and of merit as
a man. The confusion today is due, no doubt, to the custom of the
German Guilds, where a Fellowcraft had to serve an additional two years
as a journeyman before becoming a Master. No such restriction was known
in England. Indeed, the reverse was true, and it was not the
Fellowcraft but the Apprentice who prepared his masterpiece, and if it
was accepted, he became a Master. Having won his mastership, he was
entitled to become a Fellowcraft--that is, a peer and fellow of the
fraternity which hitherto he had only served. Also, we must distinguish
between a Master and the Master of the Work, now represented by the
Master of the Lodge. Between a Master and the Master of the Work there
was no difference, of course, except an accidental one; they were both
Masters and Fellows. Any Master (or Fellow) could become a Master of
the Work at any time, provided he was of sufficient skill and had the
luck to be chosen as such either by the employer, or the Lodge, or

[84] The older MSS indicate that initiations took place, for the most
part, at the annual Assemblies, which were bodies not unlike the Grand
Lodges of today, presided over by a President--a Grand Master in fact,
though not in name. Democratic in government, as Masonry has always
been, they received Apprentices, examined candidates for mastership,
tried cases, adjusted disputes, and regulated the craft; but they were
also occasions of festival and social good will. At a later time they
declined, and the functions of initiation more and more reverted to the

[85] The subject of Mason's Marks is most interesting, particularly
with reference to the origin and growth of Gothic architecture, but too
intricate to be entered upon here. As for example, an essay entitled
"Scottish Mason's Marks Compared with Those of Other Countries," by
Prof. T.H. Lewis, _British Archaeological Association_, 1888, and the
theory there advanced that some great unknown architect introduced
Gothic architecture from the East, as shown by the difference in
Mason's Marks as compared with those of the Norman period. (Also
proceedings of _A. Q. C._, iii, 65-81.)

[86] _History of Masonry_, Steinbrenner. It consisted of a short black
tunic--in summer made of linen, in winter of wool--open at the sides,
with a gorget to which a hood was attached; round the waist was a
leathern girdle, from which depended a sword and a satchel. Over the
tunic was a black scapulary, similar to the habit of a priest, tucked
under the girdle when they were working, but on holydays allowed to
hang down. No doubt this garment also served as a coverlet at night, as
was the custom of the Middle Ages, sheets and blankets being luxuries
enjoyed only by the rich and titled (_History of Agriculture and Prices
in England_, T. Rogers). On their heads they wore large felt or straw
hats, and tight leather breeches and long boots completed the garb.

[87] Gloves were more widely used in the olden times than now, and the
practice of giving them as presents was common in mediaeval times.
Often, when the harvest was over, gloves were distributed to the
laborers who gathered it (_History of Prices in England_, Rogers), and
richly embroidered gloves formed an offering gladly accepted by
princes. Indeed, the bare hand was regarded as a symbol of hostility,
and the gloved hand a token of peace and goodwill. For Masons, however,
the white gloves and apron had meanings hardly guessed by others, and
their symbolism remains to this day with its simple and eloquent
appeal. (See chapter on "Masonic Clothing and Regalia," in _Things a
Freemason Should Know_, by J.W. Crowe, an interesting article by
Rylands, _A. Q. C._, vol. v, and the delightful essay on "Gloves," by
Dr. Mackey, in his _Symbolism of Freemasonry_.) Not only the tools of
the builder, but his clothing, had moral meaning.

[88] _Tiler_--like the word _cable-tow_--is a word peculiar to the
language of Masonry, and means one who guards the Lodge to see that
only Masons are within ear-shot. It probably derives from the Middle
Ages when the makers of tiles for roofing were also of migratory habits
(_History of Prices in England_, Rogers), and accompanied the
Free-masons to perform their share of the work of covering buildings.
Some tiler was appointed to act as sentinel to keep off intruders, and
hence, in course of time, the name of Tiler came to be applied to any
Mason who guarded the Lodge.

[89] Much has been written of the derivation and meaning of the word
_cowan_, some finding its origin in a Greek term meaning "dog." (See
"An Inquiry Concerning Cowans," by D. Ramsay, _Review of Freemasonry_,
vol. i.) But its origin is still to seek, unless we accept it as an old
Scotch word of contempt (_Dictionary of Scottish Language_, Jamieson).
Sir Walter Scott uses it as such in Rob Roy, "she doesna' value a
Cawmil mair as a cowan" (chap. xxix). Masons used the word to describe
a "dry-diker, one who built without cement," or a Mason without the
word. Unfortunately, we still have cowans in this sense--men who try to
be Masons without using the cement of brotherly love. If only they
_could_ be kept out! Blackstone describes an eavesdropper as "a common
nuisance punishable by fine." Legend says that the old-time Masons
punished such prying persons, who sought to learn their signs and
secrets, by holding them under the eaves until the water ran in at the
neck and out at the heels. What penalty was inflicted in dry weather,
we are not informed. At any rate, they had contempt for a man who tried
to make use of the signs of the craft without knowing its art and

[90] This subject is most fascinating. Even in primitive ages there
seems to have been a kind of universal sign-language employed, at
times, by all peoples. Among widely separated tribes the signs were
very similar, owing, perhaps, to the fact that they were natural
gestures of greeting, of warning, or of distress. There is intimation
of this in the Bible, when the life of Ben-Hadad was saved by a sign
given (I Kings, 20:30-35). Even among the North American Indians a
sign-code of like sort was known (_Indian Masonry_, R.C. Wright, chap.
iii). "Mr. Ellis, by means of his knowledge as a Master Mason, actually
passed himself into the sacred part or adytum of one of the temples of
India" (_Anacalypsis_, G. Higgins, vol. i, 767). See also the
experience of Haskett Smith among the Druses, already referred to (_A.
Q. C._, iv, 11). Kipling has a rollicking story with the Masonic
sign-code for a theme, entitled _The Man Who Would be King_, and his
imagination is positively uncanny. If not a little of the old
sign-language of the race lives to this day in Masonic Lodges, it is
due not only to the exigencies of the craft, but also to the instinct
of the order for the old, the universal, the _human_; its genius for
making use of all the ways and means whereby men may be brought to know
and love and help one another.

[91] Once more it is a pleasure to refer to the transactions of the
Quatuor Coronati Lodge of Research, whose essays and discussions of
this issue, as of so many others, are the best survey of the whole
question from all sides. The paper by J.W. Hughan arguing in behalf of
only one degree in the old time lodges, and a like paper by G.W. Speth
in behalf of two degrees, with the materials for the third, cover the
field quite thoroughly and in full light of all the facts (_A. Q. C._,
vol. x, 127; vol. xi, 47). As for the Third Degree, that will be
considered further along.

[92] _Storia di Como_, vol. i, 440.

[93] _Natural History of Wiltshire_, by John Aubrey, written, but not
published, in 1686.

[94] _A. Q. C._, vol. x, 82.

[95] Roughly speaking, the year 1600 may be taken as a date dividing
the two periods. Addison, writing in the _Spectator_, March 1, 1711,
draws the following distinction between a speculative and an operative
member of a trade or profession: "I live in the world rather as a
spectator of mankind, than as one of the species, by which means I have
made myself a speculative statesman, soldier, merchant, and _artisan_,
without ever meddling with any practical part of life." By a
Speculative Mason, then, is meant a man who, though not an actual
architect, sought and obtained membership among Free-masons. Such men,
scholars and students, began to enter the order as early as 1600, if
not earlier. If by Operative Mason is meant one who attached no moral
meaning to his tools, there were none such in the olden time--all
Masons, even those in the Guilds, using their tools as moral emblems in
a way quite unknown to builders of our day. 'Tis a pity that this light
of poetry has faded from our toil, and with it the joy of work.

[96] _History of Masonry_, p. 66.

[97] For a single example, the _Diary_ of Elias Ashmole, under date of

[98] Time out of mind it has been the habit of writers, both within the
order and without, to treat Masonry as though it were a kind of
agglomeration of archaic remains and platitudinous moralizings, made up
of the heel-taps of Operative legend and the fag-ends of Occult lore.
Far from it! If this were the fact the present writer would be the
first to admit it, but it is not the fact. Instead, the idea that an
order so noble, so heroic in its history, so rich in symbolism, so
skilfully adjusted, and with so many traces of remote antiquity, was
the creation of pious fraud, or else of an ingenious conviviality,
passes the bounds of credulity and enters the domain of the absurd.
This fact will be further emphasized in the chapter following, to which
those are respectfully referred who go everywhere else, _except to
Masonry itself_, to learn what Masonry is and how it came to be.

[99] _Livre du Compagnonnage_, by Agricol Perdiguier, 1841. George
Sand's novel, _Le Compagnon du Tour de France_, was published the same
year. See full account of this order in Gould, _History of Masonry_,
vol. i, chap. v.


  _The_ SYSTEM, _as taught in the regular_ LODGES, _may have some
  Redundancies or Defects, occasion'd by the Ignorance or Indolence
  of the old members. And indeed, considering through what Obscurity
  and Darkness the_ MYSTERY _has been deliver'd down; the many
  Centuries it has survived; the many Countries and Languages, and_
  SECTS _and_ PARTIES _it has run through; we are rather to wonder
  that it ever arrived to the present Age, without more
  Imperfection. It has run long in muddy Streams, and as it were,
  under Ground. But notwithstanding the great Rust it may have
  contracted, there is much of the_ OLD FABRICK _remaining: the
  essential Pillars of the Building may be discov'd through the
  Rubbish, tho' the Superstructure be overrun with Moss and Ivy, and
  the Stones, by Length of Time, be disjointed. And therefore, as
  the Bust of an_ OLD HERO _is of great Value among the Curious,
  tho' it has lost an Eye, the Nose or the Right Hand; so Masonry
  with all its Blemishes and Misfortunes, instead of appearing
  ridiculous, ought to be receiv'd with some Candor and Esteem, from
  a Veneration of its_ ANTIQUITY.

  --_Defence of Masonry_, 1730


_Accepted Masons_


Whatever may be dim in the history of Freemasonry, and in the nature
of things much must remain hidden, its symbolism may be traced in
unbroken succession through the centuries; and its symbolism is its
soul. So much is this true, that it may almost be said that had the
order ceased to exist in the period when it was at its height, its
symbolism would have survived and developed, so deeply was it wrought
into the mind of mankind. When, at last, the craft finished its labors
and laid down its tools, its symbols, having served the faith of the
worker, became a language for the thoughts of the thinker.

Few realize the service of the science of numbers to the faith of man
in the morning of the world, when he sought to find some kind of key
to the mighty maze of things. Living amidst change and seeming chance,
he found in the laws of numbers a path by which to escape the awful
sense of life as a series of accidents in the hands of a capricious
Power; and, when we think of it, his insight was not invalid. "All
things are in numbers," said the wise Pythagoras; "the world is a
living arithmetic in its development--a realized geometry in its
repose." Nature is a realm of numbers; crystals are solid geometry.
Music, of all arts the most divine and exalting, moves with measured
step, using geometrical figures, and cannot free itself from numbers
without dying away into discord. Surely it is not strange that a
science whereby men obtained such glimpses of the unity and order of
the world should be hallowed among them, imparting its form to their
faith.[100] Having revealed so much, mathematics came to wear mystical
meanings in a way quite alien to our prosaic habit of thinking--faith
in our day having betaken itself to other symbols.

Equally so was it with the art of building--a living allegory in which
man imitated in miniature the world-temple, and sought by every
device to discover the secret of its stability. Already we have shown
how, from earliest times, the simple symbols of the builder became a
part of the very life of humanity, giving shape to its thought, its
faith, its dream. Hardly a language but bears their impress, as when
we speak of a Rude or Polished mind, of an Upright man who is a Pillar
of society, of the Level of equality, or the Golden Rule by which we
would Square our actions. They are so natural, so inevitable, and so
eloquent withal, that we use them without knowing it. Sages have
always been called Builders, and it was no idle fancy when Plato and
Pythagoras used imagery drawn from the art of building to utter their
highest thought. Everywhere in literature, philosophy, and life it is
so, and naturally so. Shakespeare speaks of "square-men," and when
Spenser would build in stately lines the Castle of Temperance, he
makes use of the Square, Circle, and Triangle:[101]

  The frame thereof seem'd partly circulaire
    And part triangular: O work divine!
  Those two the first and last proportions are;
    The one imperfect, mortal, feminine.

  The other immortal, perfect, masculine,
    And twixt them both a quadrate was the base,
  Proportion'd equally by seven and nine;
    Nine was the circle set in heaven's place
    All which compacted made a goodly diapase.

During the Middle Ages, as we know, men revelled in symbolism, often
of the most recondite kind, and the emblems of Masonry are to be found
all through the literature, art, and thought of that time. Not only on
cathedrals, tombs, and monuments, where we should expect to come upon
them, but in the designs and decorations of dwellings, on vases,
pottery, and trinkets, in the water-marks used by paper-makers and
printers, and even as initial letters in books--everywhere one finds
the old, familiar emblems.[102] Square, Rule, Plumb-line, the perfect
Ashlar, the two Pillars, the Circle within the parallel lines, the
Point within the Circle, the Compasses, the Winding Staircase, the
numbers Three, Five, Seven, Nine, the double Triangle--these and other
such symbols were used alike by Hebrew Kabbalists and Rosicrucian
Mystics. Indeed, so abundant is the evidence--if the matter were in
dispute and needed proof--especially after the revival of symbolism
under Albertus Magnus in 1249, that a whole book might be filled with
it. Typical are the lines left by a poet who, writing in 1623, sings
of God as the great Logician whom the conclusion never fails, and
whose counsel rules without command:[103]

  Therefore can none foresee his end
  Unless on God is built his hope.
  And if we here below would learn
  By Compass, Needle, Square, and Plumb,
  We never must o'erlook the mete
  Wherewith our God hath measur'd us.

For all that, there are those who never weary of trying to find where,
in the misty mid-region of conjecture, the Masons got their immemorial
emblems. One would think, after reading their endless essays, that the
symbols of Masonry were loved and preserved by all the world--_except
by the Masons themselves_. Often these writers imply, if they do not
actually assert, that our order begged, borrowed, or cribbed its
emblems from Kabbalists or Rosicrucians, whereas the truth is exactly
the other way round--those impalpable fraternities, whose vague,
fantastic thought was always seeking a local habitation and a body,
making use of the symbols of Masonry the better to reach the minds of
men. Why all this unnecessary mystery--not to say mystification--when
the facts are so plain, written in records and carved in stone? While
Kabbalists were contriving their curious cosmogonies, the Masons went
about their work, leaving record of their symbols in deeds, not in
creeds, albeit holding always to their simple faith, and hope, and
duty--as in the lines left on an old brass Square, found in an ancient
bridge near Limerick, bearing date of 1517:

  Strive to live with love and care
  Upon the Level, by the Square.

Some of our Masonic writers[104]--more than one likes to admit--have
erred by confusing Freemasonry with Guild-masonry, to the discredit of
the former. Even Oliver once concluded that the secrets of the
working Masons of the Middle Ages were none other than the laws of
Geometry--hence the letter _G_; forgetting, it would seem, that
Geometry had mystical meanings for them long since lost to us. As well
say that the philosophy of Pythagoras was repeating the Multiplication
Table! Albert Pike held that we are "not warranted in assuming that,
among Masons generally--in the _body_ of Masonry--the symbolism of
Freemasonry is of earlier date then 1717."[105] Surely that is to err.
If we had only the Mason's Marks that have come down to us, nothing
else would be needed to prove it an error. Of course, for deeper minds
all emblems have deeper meanings, and there may have been many Masons
who did not fathom the symbolism of the order. No more do we; but the
symbolism itself, of hoar antiquity, was certainly the common
inheritance and treasure of the working Masons of the Lodges in
England and Scotland before, indeed centuries before, the year 1717.


Therefore it is not strange that men of note and learning, attracted
by the wealth of symbolism in Masonry, as well as by its spirit of
fraternity--perhaps, also, by its secrecy--began at an early date to
ask to be accepted as members of the order: hence _Accepted
Masons_.[106] How far back the custom of admitting such men to the
Lodges goes is not clear, but hints of it are discernible in the
oldest documents of the order; and this whether or no we accept as
historical the membership of Prince Edwin in the tenth century, of
whom the _Regius Poem_ says,

      Of speculatyfe he was a master.

This may only mean that he was amply skilled in the knowledge, as well
as the practice, of the art, although, as Gould points out, the
_Regius MS_ contains intimations of thoughts above the heads of many
to whom it was read.[107] Similar traces of Accepted Masons are found
in the _Cooke MS_, compiled in 1400 or earlier. Hope suggests[108]
that the earliest members of this class were ecclesiastics who wished
to study to be architects and designers, so as to direct the erection
of their own churches; the more so, since the order had "so high and
sacred a destination, was so entirely exempt from all local, civil
jurisdiction," and enjoyed the sanction and protection of the Church.
Later, when the order was in disfavor with the Church, men of another
sort--scholars, mystics, and lovers of liberty--sought its degrees.

At any rate, the custom began early and continued through the years,
until Accepted Masons were in the majority. Noblemen, gentlemen, and
scholars entered the order as Speculative Masons, and held office as
such in the old Lodges, the first name recorded in actual minutes
being John Boswell, who was present as a member of the Lodge of
Edinburgh in 1600. Of the forty-nine names on the roll of the Lodge of
Aberdeen in 1670, thirty-nine were Accepted Masons not in any way
connected with the building trade. In England the earliest reference
to the initiation of a Speculative Mason, in Lodge minutes, is of the
year 1641. On the 20th of May that year, Robert Moray, "General
Quarter-master of the Armie off Scottland," as the record runs, was
initiated at Newcastle by members of the "Lodge of Edinburgh," who
were with the Scottish Army. A still more famous example was that of
Ashmole, whereof we read in the _Memoirs of the Life of that Learned
Antiquary, Elias Ashmole, Drawn up by Himself by Way of Diary_,
published in 1717, which contains two entries as follows, the first
dated in 1646:

    _Octob 16.4 Hor._ 30 Minutes _post merid._ I was made a
    Freemason at _Warrington_ in Lancashire, with Colonel _Henry
    Wainwaring_ of _Kartichain_ in _Cheshire_; the names of those
    that were there at the Lodge, Mr. _Richard Panket Warden_,
    Mr. _James Collier_, Mr. _Richard Sankey_, _Henry Littler_,
    _John Ellam_, _Richard Ellam_ and _Hugh Brewer_.

Such is the record, italics and all; and it has been shown, by hunting
up the wills of the men present, that the members of the Warrington
Lodge in 1646 were, nearly all of them--every one in fact, so far as
is known--Accepted Masons. Thirty-five years pass before we discover
the only other Masonic entries in the _Diary_, dated March, 1682,
which read as follows:

    About 5 p.m. I received a Summons to appear at a Lodge to be
    held the next day, at Masons Hall, London. Accordingly I
    went, and about Noone were admitted into the Fellowship of
    Free Masons, Sir. William Wilson, Knight, Capt. Richard
    Borthwick, Mr. Will. Woodman, Mr. Wm. Grey, M. Samuell Taylor
    and Mr. William Wise.

    I was the Senior Fellow among them (it being 35 years since I
    was admitted). There were present beside myselfe the Fellowes
    afternamed: [Then follows a list of names which conveys no
    information.] Wee all dyned at the halfe moone Taverne in
    Cheapside at a Noble Dinner prepared at the charge of the
    new-accepted Masons.

Space is given to those entries, not because they are very important,
but because Ragon and others have actually held that Ashmole made
Masonry--as if any one man made Masonry! 'Tis surely strange, if this
be true, that only two entries in his _Diary_ refer to the order; but
that does not disconcert the theorists who are so wedded to their
idols as to have scant regard for facts. No, the circumstance that
Ashmole was a Rosicrucian, an Alchemist, a delver into occult lore, is
enough, the absence of any allusion to him thereafter only serving to
confirm the fancy--the theory being that a few adepts, seeing Masonry
about to crumble and decay, seized it, introduced their symbols into
it, making it the mouthpiece of their high, albeit hidden, teaching.
How fascinating! and yet how baseless in fact! There is no evidence
that a Rosicrucian fraternity existed--save on paper, having been
woven of a series of romances written as early as 1616, and ascribed
to Andreae--until a later time; and even when it did take form, it was
quite distinct from Masonry. Occultism, to be sure, is elusive,
coming we know not whence, and hovering like a mist trailing over the
hills. Still, we ought to be able to find in Masonry _some_ trace of
Rosicrucian influence, some hint of the lofty wisdom it is said to
have added to the order; but no one has yet done so. Did all that
high, Hermetic mysticism evaporate entirely, leaving not a wraith
behind, going as mysteriously as it came to that far place which no
mortal may explore?[109]

Howbeit, the _fact_ to be noted is that, thus early--and earlier, for
the Lodge had been in existence some time when Ashmole was
initiated--the Warrington Lodge was made up of Accepted Masons. Of the
ten men present in the London Lodge, mentioned in the second entry in
the _Diary_, Ashmole was the senior, but he was not a member of the
Masons' Company, though the other nine were, and also two of the
neophytes. No doubt this is the Lodge which Conder, the historian of
the Company, has traced back to 1620, "and were the books of the
Company prior to that date in existence, we should no doubt be able to
trace the custom of receiving accepted members back to pre-reformation
times."[110] From an entry in the books of the Company, dated 1665, it
appears that

    There was hanging up in the Hall a list of the _Accepted
    Masons_ enclosed in a "faire frame, with a lock and key." Why
    was this? No doubt the Accepted Masons, or those who were
    initiated into the esoteric aspect of the Company, did not
    include the _whole_ Company, and this was a list of the
    "enlightened ones," whose names were thus honored and kept on
    record, probably long after their decease.... This we cannot
    say for certain, but we can say that as early as 1620, and
    inferentially very much earlier, there were certain members
    of the Masons' Company and others who met from time to time
    to form a Lodge for the purpose of Speculative Masonry.[111]

Conder also mentions a copy of the _Old Charges_, or Gothic
Constitutions, in the chest of the London Masons' Company, known as
_The Book of the Constitutions of the Accepted Masons_; and this he
identifies with the _Regius MS_. Another witness during this period is
Randle Holme, of Chester, whose references to the Craft in his
_Acadamie Armory_, 1688, are of great value, for that he writes "as a
member of that society called Free-masons." The _Harleian MS_ is in
his handwriting, and on the next leaf there is a remarkable list of
twenty-six names, including his own. It is the only list of the kind
known in England, and a careful examination of all the sources of
information relative to the Chester men shows that nearly all of them
were Accepted Masons. Later on we come to the _Natural History of
Staffordshire_, by Dr. Plott, 1686, in which, though in an unfriendly
manner, we are told many things about Craft usages and regulations of
that day. Lodges had to be formed of at least five members to make a
quorum, gloves were presented to candidates, and a banquet following
initiations was a custom. He states that there were several signs and
passwords by which the members were able "to be known to one another
all over the nation," his faith in their effectiveness surpassing that
of the most credulous in our day.

Still another striking record is found in _The Natural History of
Wiltshire_, by John Aubrey, the MS of which in the Bodleian Library,
Oxford, is dated 1686; and on the reverse side of folio 72 of this MS
is the following note by Aubrey: "This day [May 18, 1681] is a great
convention at St. Pauls Church of the fraternity, of the free [then he
crossed out the word Free and inserted Accepted] Masons; where Sir
Christopher Wren is to be adopted a Brother: and Sir Henry Goodric of
ye Tower and divers others."[112] From which we may infer that there
were Assemblies before 1717, and that they were of sufficient
importance to be known to a non-Mason. Other evidence might be
adduced, but this is enough to show that Speculative Masonry, so far
from being a novelty, was very old at the time when many suppose it
was invented. With the great fire of London, in 1666, there came a
renewed interest in Masonry, many who had abandoned it flocking to the
capital to rebuild the city and especially the Cathedral of St. Paul.
Old Lodges were revived, new ones were formed, and an effort was made
to renew the old annual, or quarterly, Assemblies, while at the same
time Accepted Masons increased both in numbers and in zeal.

Now the crux of the whole matter as regards Accepted Masons lies in
the answer to such questions as these: Why did soldiers, scholars,
antiquarians, clergymen, lawyers, and even members of the nobility ask
to be accepted as members of the order of Free-masons? Wherefore their
interest in the order at all? What attracted them to it as far back as
1600, and earlier? What held them with increasing power and an
ever-deepening interest? Why did they continue to enter the Lodges
until they had the rule of them? There must have been something more
in their motive than a simple desire for association, for they had
their clubs, societies, and learned fellowships. Still less could a
mere curiosity to learn certain signs and passwords have held such men
for long, even in an age of quaint conceits in the matter of
association and when architecture was affected as a fad. No, there is
only one explanation: that these men saw in Masonry a deposit of the
high and simple wisdom of old, preserved in tradition and taught in
symbols--little understood, it may be, by many members of the
order--and this it was that they sought to bring to light, turning
history into allegory and legend into drama, and making it a teacher
of wise and beautiful truth.


[100] There is a beautiful lecture on the moral meaning of Geometry by
Dr. Hutchinson, in _The Spirit of Masonry_--one of the oldest, as it is
one of the noblest, books in our Masonic literature. Plutarch reports
Plato as saying, "God is always geometrizing" (_Diog. Laert._, iv, 2).
Elsewhere Plato remarks that "Geometry rightly treated is the knowledge
of the Eternal" (_Republic_, 527b), and over the porch of his Academy
at Athens he wrote the words, "Let no one who is ignorant of Geometry
enter my doors." So Aristotle and all the ancient thinkers, whether in
Egypt or India. Pythagoras, Proclus tells us, was concerned only with
number and magnitude: number absolute, in arithmetic; number applied,
in music; and so forth--whereof we read in the _Old Charges_ (see "The
Great Symbol," by Klein, _A. Q. C._, x, 82).

[101] Faerie Queene, bk. ii, canto ix, 22.

[102] _Lost Language of Symbolism_, by Bayley, also _A New Light on the
Renaissance_, by the same author; _Architecture of the Renaissance in
England_, by J.A. Gotch; and "Notes on Some Masonic Symbols," by W.H.
Rylands, _A. Q. C._, viii, 84. Indeed, the literature is as prolific as
the facts.

[103] J.V. Andreae, _Ehreneich Hohenfelder von Aister Haimb_. A
verbatim translation of the second line quoted would read, "Unless in
God he has his building."

[104] When, for example, Albert Pike, in his letter, "Touching Masonic
Symbolism," speaks of the "poor, rude, unlettered, uncultivated working
Stone-masons," who attended the Assemblies, he is obviously confounding
Free-masons with the rough Stone-masons of the Guilds. Over against
these words, read a brilliant article in the _Contemporary Review_,
October, 1913, by L.M. Phillips, entitled, "The Two Ways of Building,"
showing how the Free-masons, instead of working under architects
outside the order, chose the finer minds among them as leaders and
created the different styles of architecture in Europe. "Such," he
adds, "was the high limit of talent and intelligence which the creative
spirit fostered among workmen.... The entire body being trained and
educated in the same principles and ideas, the most backward and
inefficient, as they worked at the vaults which their own skillful
brethren had planned, might feel the glow of satisfaction arising from
the conscious realization of their own aspirations. Thus the whole body
of constructive knowledge maintained its unity.... Thus it was by free
associations of workmen training their own leaders that the great
Gothic edifices of the medieval ages were constructed.... A style so
imaginative and so spiritual might almost be the dream of a poet or the
vision of a saint. Really it is the creation of the sweat and labor of
workingmen, and every iota of the boldness, dexterity and knowledge
which it embodies was drawn out of the practical experience and
experiments of manual labor." This describes the Comacine Masters, but
not the poor, rude, unlettered Stone-masons whom Pike had in mind.

[105] Letter "Touching Masonic Symbolism."

[106] Some Lodges, however, would never admit such members. As late as
April 24, 1786, two brothers were proposed as members of Domatic Lodge,
No. 177, London, and were rejected because they were not Operative
Masons (_History Lion and Lamb Lodge, 192, London_, by Abbott).

[107] "On the Antiquity of Masonic Symbolism," _A. Q. C._, iii, 7.

[108] _Historical Essay on Architecture_, chap. xxi.

[109] Those who wish to pursue this Quixotic quest will find the
literature abundant and very interesting. For example, such essays as
that by F.W. Brockbank in _Manchester Association for Research_, vol.
i, 1909-10; and another by A.F.A. Woodford, _A. Q. C._, i, 28. Better
still is the _Real History of the Rosicrucians_, by Waite (chap. xv),
and for a complete and final explosion of all such fancies we have the
great chapter in Gould's _History of Masonry_ (vol. ii, chap. xiii). It
seems a pity that so much time and labor and learning had to be
expended on theories so fragile, but it was necessary; and no man was
better fitted for the study than Gould. Perhaps the present writer is
unkind, or at least impatient; if so he humbly begs forgiveness; but
after reading tomes of conjecture about the alleged Rosicrucian origin
of Masonry, he is weary of the wide-eyed wonder of mystery-mongers
about things that never were, and which would be of no value if they
had been. (Read _The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception_, or _Christian
Occult Science_, by Max Heindel, and be instructed in matters whereof
no mortal knoweth.)

[110] _The Hole Craft and Fellowship of Masons_, by Edward Conder.

[111] _Ibid._, Introduction.

[112] Whether Sir Christopher Wren was ever Grand Master, as tradition
affirms, is open to debate, and some even doubt his membership in the
order (Gould, _History of Masonry_). Unfortunately, he has left no
record, and the _Parentalia_, written by his son, helps us very little,
containing nothing more than his theory that the order began with
Gothic architecture. Ashmole, if we may trust his friend, Dr. Knipe,
had planned to write a _History of Masonry_ refuting the theory of Wren
that Freemasonry took its rise from a Bull granted by the Pope, in the
reign of Henry III, to some Italian architects, holding, and rightly
so, that the Bull "was comfirmatory only, and did not by any means
create our fraternity, or even establish it in this kingdom" (_Life of
Ashmole_, by Campbell). This item makes still more absurd the idea that
Ashmole himself created Masonry, whereas he was only a student of its
antiquities. Wren was probably never an Operative Mason--though an
architect--but he seems to have become an Accepted member of the
fraternity in his last years, since his neglect of the order, due to
his age, is given as a reason for the organization of the first Grand


  _The doctrines of Masonry are the most beautiful that it is
  possible to imagine. They breathe the simplicity of the earliest
  ages animated by the love of a martyred God. That word which the
  Puritans translated_ CHARITY, _but which is really_ LOVE, _is the
  key-stone which supports the entire edifice of this mystic
  science. Love one another, teach one another, help one another.
  That is all our doctrine, all our science, all our law. We have no
  narrow-minded prejudices; we do not debar from our society this
  sect or that sect; it is sufficient for us that a man worships
  God, no matter under what name or in what manner. Ah! rail against
  us bigoted and ignorant men, if you will. Those who listen to the
  truths which Masonry inculcates can readily forgive you. It is
  impossible to be a good Mason without being a good man._

  --WINWOOD READE, _The Veil of Isis_


_Grand Lodge of England_

While praying in a little chapel one day, Francis of Assisi was
exhorted by an old Byzantine crucifix: "Go now, and rebuild my Church,
which is falling into ruins." In sheer loyalty he had a lamp placed;
then he saw his task in a larger way, and an artist has painted him
carrying stones and mortar. Finally there burst upon him the full
import of the allocution--that he himself was to be the corner-stone
of a renewed and purified Church. Purse and prestige he flung to the
winds, and went along the highways of Umbria calling men back from the
rot of luxury to the ways of purity, pity, and gladness, his life at
once a poem and a power, his faith a vision of the world as love and

That is a perfect parable of the history of Masonry. Of old the
working Masons built the great cathedrals, and we have seen them not
only carrying stones, but drawing triangles, squares, and circles in
such a manner as to show that they assigned to those figures high
mystical meanings. But the real Home of the Soul cannot be built of
brick and stone; it is a house not made with hands. Slowly it rises,
fashioned of the thoughts, hopes, prayers, dreams, and righteous acts
of devout and free men; built of their hunger for truth, their love of
God, and their loyalty to one another. There came a day when the
Masons, laying aside their stones, became workmen of another kind, not
less builders than before, but using truths for tools and dramas for
designs, uplifting such a temple as Watts dreamed of decorating with
his visions of the august allegory of the evolution of man.


From every point of view, the organization of the Grand Lodge of
England, in 1717, was a significant and far-reaching event. Not only
did it divide the story of Masonry into before and after, giving a new
date from which to reckon, but it was a way-mark in the intellectual
and spiritual history of mankind. One has only to study that first
Grand Lodge, the influences surrounding it, the men who composed it,
the Constitutions adopted, and its spirit and purpose, to see that it
was the beginning of a movement of profound meaning. When we see it in
the setting of its age--as revealed, for example, in the Journals of
Fox and Wesley, which from being religious time-tables broadened into
detailed panoramic pictures of the period before, and that following,
the Grand Lodge--the Assembly on 1717 becomes the more remarkable.
Against such a background, when religion and morals seemed to reach
the nadir of degredation, the men of that Assembly stand out as
prophets of liberty of faith and righteousness of life.[113]

Some imagination is needed to realize the moral declension of that
time, as it is portrayed--to use a single example--in the sermon by
the Bishop of Litchfield before the Society for the Reformation of
Manners, in 1724. Lewdness, drunkenness, and degeneracy, he said, were
well nigh universal, no class being free from the infection. Murders
were common and foul, wanton and obscene books found so good a market
as to encourage the publishing of them. Immorality of every kind was
so hardened as to be defended, yes, justified on principle. The rich
were debauched and indifferent; the poor were as miserable in their
labor as they were coarse and cruel in their sport. Writing in 1713,
Bishop Burnet said that those who came to be ordained as clergymen
were "ignorant to a degree not to be comprehended by those who are not
obliged to know it." Religion seemed dying or dead, and to mention the
word provoked a laugh. Wesley, then only a lad, had not yet come with
his magnificent and cleansing evangel. Empty formalism on one side, a
dead polemical dogmatism on the other, bigotry, bitterness,
intolerance, and interminable feud everywhere, no wonder Bishop Butler
sat oppressed in his castle with hardly a hope surviving.

As for Masonry, it had fallen far and fallen low betimes, but with the
revival following the great fire of London, in 1666, it had taken on
new life and a bolder spirit, and was passing through a
transition--or, rather, a transfiguration! For, when we compare the
Masonry of, say, 1688 with that of 1723, we discover that much more
than a revival had come to pass. Set the instructions of the _Old
Charges_--not all of them, however, for even in earliest times some of
them escaped the stamp of the Church[114]--in respect of religion
alongside the same article in the _Constitutions_ of 1723, and the
contrast is amazing. The old charge read: "The first charge is this,
that you be true to God and Holy Church and use no error or heresy."
Hear now the charge in 1723:

  _A Mason is obliged by his Tenure, to obey the moral law; and if
  he rightly understands the Art, he will never be a stupid Atheist
  nor an irreligious Libertine. But though in ancient times Masons
  were charged in every country to be of the religion of that
  country or nation, whatever it was, yet it is now thought more
  expedient only to oblige them to that religion in which all men
  agree, leaving their particular Opinions to themselves: that is,
  to be Good men and True, or Men of Honor and Honesty, by whatever
  Denomination or Persuasion they may be distinguished; whereby
  Masonry becomes the Centre of Union and the Means of conciliating
  true Friendship among persons that must have remained at a
  perpetual distance._

If that statement had been written yesterday, it would be remarkable
enough. But when we consider that it was set forth in 1723, amidst
bitter sectarian rancor and intolerance unimaginable, it rises up as
forever memorable in the history of men! The man who wrote that
document, did we know his name, is entitled to be held till the end
of time in the grateful and venerative memory of his race. The temper
of the times was all for relentless partisanship, both in religion and
in politics. The alternative offered in religion was an ecclesiastical
tyranny, allowing a certain liberty of belief, or a doctrinal tyranny,
allowing a slight liberty of worship; a sad choice in truth. It is,
then, to the everlasting honor of the century, that, in the midst of
its clashing extremes, the Masons appeared with heads unbowed,
abjuring both tyrannies and championing both liberties.[115]
Ecclesiastically and doctrinally they stood in the open, while
Romanist and Protestant, Anglican and Puritan, Calvinist and Arminian
waged bitter war, filling the air with angry maledictions. These men
of latitude in a cramped age felt pent up alike by narrowness of
ritual and by narrowness of creed, and they cried out for room and
air, for liberty and charity!

Though differences of creed played no part in Masonry, nevertheless it
held religion in high esteem, and was then, as now, the steadfast
upholder of the only two articles of faith that never were invented by
man--the existence of God and the immortality of the soul!
Accordingly, every Lodge was opened and closed with prayer to the
"Almighty Architect of the universe;" and when a Lodge of mourning met
in memory of a brother fallen asleep, the formula was: "He has passed
over into the eternal East,"--to that region whence cometh light and
hope. Unsectarian in religion, the Masons were also non-partisan in
politics: one principle being common to them all--love of country,
respect for law and order, and the desire for human welfare.[116] Upon
that basis the first Grand Lodge was founded, and upon that basis
Masonry rests today--holding that a unity of spirit is better than a
uniformity of opinion, and that beyond the great and simple "religion
in which all men agree" no dogma is worth a breach of charity.


With honorable pride in this tradition of spiritual faith and
intellectual freedom, we are all the more eager to recite such facts
as are known about the organization of the first Grand Lodge. How many
Lodges of Masons existed in London at that time is a matter of
conjecture, but there must have been a number. What bond, if any,
united them, other than their esoteric secrets and customs, is equally
unknown. Nor is there any record to tell us whether all the Lodges in
and about London were invited to join in the movement. Unfortunately
the minutes of the Grand Lodge only commence on June 24, 1723, and our
only history of the events is that found in _The New Book of
Constitutions_, by Dr. James Anderson, in 1738. However, if not an
actor in the scene, he was in a position to know the facts from
eye-witnesses, and his book was approved by the Grand Lodge itself.
His account is so brief that it may be given as it stands:

    King George I enter'd _London_ most magnificently on _20
    Sept. 1714_. And after the Rebellion was over A.D. 1716, the
    few _Lodges_ at _London_ finding themselves neglected by Sir
    _Christopher Wren_, thought fit to cement under a _Grand
    Master_ as the Centre of Union and Harmony, _viz._, the
    _Lodges_ that met,

    1. At the _Goose_ and _Gridiron_ Ale house in _St. Paul's

    2. At the _Crown_ Ale-house in _Parker's Lane_ near _Drury

    3. At the _Apple-Tree_ Tavern in _Charles-street,

    4. At the _Rummer and Grape_ Tavern in _Channel-Row,

    They and some other old Brothers met at the said _Apple-Tree_,
    and having put into the chair the _oldest Master Mason_ (now
    the _Master_ of a _Lodge_) they constituted themselves a Grand
    Lodge pro Tempore in _Due Form_, and forthwith revived the
    Quarterly _Communication_ of the _Officers_ of Lodges (call'd
    the GRAND LODGE) resolv'd to hold the _Annual_ Assembly _and
    Feast_, and then to chuse a Grand Master from among
    themselves, till they should have the Honor of a Noble Brother
    at their Head.

    Accordingly, on _St. John's Baptist's_ Day, in the 3d year of
    King George I, A.D. 1717, the ASSEMBLY and _Feast_ of the
    _Free and Accepted Masons_ was held at the foresaid _Goose_
    and _Gridiron_ Ale-house.

    Before Dinner, the _oldest Master_ Mason (now the _Master_ of
    a _Lodge_) in the Chair, proposed a List of proper Candidates;
    and the Brethren by a majority of Hands elected Mr. Anthony
    Sayer, _Gentleman_, _Grand Master of Masons_ (Mr. _Jacob
    Lamball_, Carpenter, Capt. _Joseph Elliot_, Grand Wardens) who
    being forthwith invested with the Badges of Office and Power
    by the said _oldest Master_, and install'd, was duly
    congratulated by the Assembly who paid him the Homage.

    Sayer, _Grand Master_, commanded the _Masters_ and _Wardens_
    of Lodges to meet the _Grand_ Officers every _Quarter_ in
    _Communication_, at the Place that he should appoint in the
    Summons sent by the _Tyler_.

So reads the only record that has come down to us of the founding of
the Grand Lodge of England. Preston and others have had no other
authority than this passage for their descriptions of the scene,
albeit when Preston wrote, such facts as he added may have been
learned from men still living. Who were present, beyond the three
officers named, has so far eluded all research, and the only variation
in the accounts is found in a rare old book called _Multa Paucis_,
which asserts that six Lodges, not four, were represented. Looking at
this record in the light of what we know of the Masonry of that
period, a number of things are suggested:

First, so far from being a revolution, the organization of the Grand
Lodge was a revival of the old quarterly and annual Assembly, born,
doubtless, of a felt need of community of action for the welfare of
the Craft. There was no idea of innovation, but, as Anderson states in
a note, "it should meet Quarterly _according to ancient Usage_,"
tradition having by this time become authoritative in such matters.
Hints of what the old usages were are given in the observance of St.
John's Day[117] as a feast, in the democracy of the order and its
manner of voting by a show of hands, in its deference to the oldest
Master Mason, its use of badges of office,[118] its ceremony of
installation, all in a lodge duly tyled.

Second, it is clear that, instead of being a deliberately planned
effort to organize Masonry in general, the Grand Lodge was intended at
first to affect only London and Westminster;[119] the desire being to
weld a link of closer fellowship and coöperation between the Lodges.
While we do not know the names of the moving spirits--unless we may
infer that the men elected to office were such--nothing is clearer
than that the initiative came from the heart of the order itself, and
was in no sense imposed upon it from without; and so great was the
necessity for it that, when once started, link after link was added
until it "put a girdle around the earth."

Third, of the four Lodges[120] known to have taken part, only
one--that meeting at the Rummer and Grape Tavern--had a majority of
Accepted Masons in its membership; the other three being Operative
Lodges, or largely so. Obviously, then, the movement was predominantly
a movement of Operative Masons--or of men who had been Operative
Masons--and not, as has been so often implied, the design of men who
simply made use of the remnants of operative Masonry the better to
exploit some hidden philosophy. Yet it is worthy of note that the
leading men of the craft in those early years were, nearly all of
them, Accepted Masons and members of the Rummer and Grape Lodge.
Besides Dr. Anderson, the historian, both George Payne and Dr.
Desaguliers, the second and third Grand Masters, were of that Lodge.
In 1721 the Duke of Montagu was elected to the chair, and thereafter
members of the nobility sat in the East until it became the custom for
the Prince of Wales to be Grand Master of Masons in England.[121]

Fourth, why did Masonry alone of all trades and professions live after
its work was done, preserving not only its identity of organization,
but its old emblems and usages, and transforming them into instruments
of religion and righteousness? The cathedrals had long been finished
or left incomplete; the spirit of Gothic architecture was dead and the
style treated almost with contempt. The occupation of the Master
Mason was gone, his place having been taken by the architect who, like
Wren and Inigo Jones, was no longer a child of the Lodges as in the
old days, but a man trained in books and by foreign travel. Why did
not Freemasonry die, along with the Guilds, or else revert to some
kind of trades-union? Surely here is the best possible proof that it
had never been simply an order of architects building churches, but a
moral and spiritual fellowship--the keeper of great symbols and a
teacher of truths that never die. So and only so may anyone ever hope
to explain the story of Masonry, and those who do not see this fact
have no clue to its history, much less an understanding of its genius.

Of course these pages cannot recite in detail the history and growth
of the Grand Lodge, but a few of the more salient events may be noted.
As early as 1719 the _Old Charges_, or Gothic Constitutions, began to
be collected and collated, a number having already been burned by
scrupulous Masons to prevent their falling into strange hands. In
1721, Grand Master Montagu found fault with the _Old Charges_ as being
inadequate, and ordered Dr. Anderson to make a digest of them with a
view to formulating a better set of regulations for the rule of the
Lodges. Anderson obeyed--he seems to have been engaged in such a work
already, and may have suggested the idea to the Grand Master--and a
committee of fourteen "learned brethren" was appointed to examine the
MS and make report. They suggested a few amendments, and the book was
ordered published by the Grand Master, appearing in the latter part of
1723. This first issue, however, did not contain the account of the
organization of the Grand Lodge, which does not seem to have been
added until the edition of 1738. How much Past Grand Master Payne had
to do with this work is not certain, but the chief credit is due to
Dr. Anderson, who deserves the perpetual gratitude of the order--the
more so if he it was who wrote the article, already quoted, setting
forth the religious attitude of the order. That article, by whomsoever
written, is one of the great documents of mankind, and it would be an
added joy to know that it was penned by a minister.[122] The _Book of
Constitutions_, which is still the groundwork of Masonry, has been
printed in many editions, and is accessible to every one.

Another event in the story of the Grand Lodge, never to be forgotten,
was a plan started in 1724 of raising funds of General Charity for
distressed Masons. Proposed by the Earl of Dalkeith, it at once met
with enthusiastic support, and it is a curious coincidence that one of
the first to petition for relief was Anthony Sayer, first Grand
Master. The minutes do not state whether he was relieved at that time,
but we know that sums of money were voted to him in 1730, and again in
1741. This Board of Benevolence, as it came to be called, became very
important, it being unanimously agreed in 1733 that all such business
as could not be conveniently despatched by the Quarterly Communication
should be referred to it. Also, that all Masters of Regular Lodges,
together with all present, former, and future Grand Officers should be
members of the Board. Later this Board was still further empowered to
hear complaints and to report thereon to the Grand Lodge. Let it also
be noted that in actual practice the Board of Charity gave free play
to one of the most admirable principles of Masonry--helping the needy
and unfortunate, whether within the order or without.


Once more we come to a much debated question, about which not a little
has been written, and most of it wide of the mark--the question of the
origin of the Third Degree. Here again students have gone hither and
yon hunting in every cranny for the motif of this degree, and it would
seem that their failure to find it would by this time have turned them
back to the only place where they may ever hope to discover it--in
Masonry itself. But no; they are bound to bring mystics, occultists,
alchemists, Culdees or Cabalists--even the _Vehmgerichte_ of
Germany--into the making of Masonry somewhere, if only for the sake of
glamor, and this is the last opportunity to do it.[123] Willing to
give due credit to Cabalists and Rosicrucians, the present writer
rejects all such theories on the ground that there is no reason for
thinking that they helped to make Masonry, _much less any fact to
prove it_.

Hear now a review of the facts in the case. No one denies that the
Temple of Solomon was much in the minds of men at the time of the
organization of the Grand Lodge, and long before--as in the Bacon
romance of the _New Atlantis_ in 1597.[124] Broughton, Selden,
Lightfoot, Walton, Lee, Prideaux, and other English writers were
deeply interested in the Hebrew Temple, not, however, so much in its
symbolical suggestion as in its form and construction--a model of
which was brought to London by Judah Templo in the reign of Charles
II.[125] It was much the same on the Continent, but so far from being
a new topic of study and discussion, we may trace this interest in the
Temple all through the Middle Ages. Nor was it peculiar to the
Cabalists, at least not to such a degree that they must needs be
brought in to account for the Biblical imagery and symbolism in
Masonry. Indeed, it might with more reason be argued that Masonry
explains the interest in the Temple than otherwise. For, as James
Fergusson remarks--and there is no higher authority than the historian
of architecture: "There is perhaps no building of the ancient world
which has excited so much attention since the time of its destruction,
as the Temple of Solomon built in Jerusalem, and its successor as
built by Herod. _Throughout the Middle Ages it influenced to a
considerable degree the forms of Christian churches, and its
peculiarities were the watchwords and rallying points of associations
of builders._"[126] Clearly, the notion that interest in the Temple
was new, and that its symbolical meaning was imposed upon Masonry as
something novel, falls flat.

But we are told that there is no hint of the Hiramic legend, still
less any intimation of a tragedy associated with the building of the
Temple. No Hiramic legend! No hint of tragedy! Why, both were almost
as old as the Temple itself, rabbinic legend affirming that "_all the
workmen were killed that they should not build another Temple devoted
to idolatry, Hiram himself being translated to heaven like
Enoch_."[127] The Talmud has many variations of this legend. Where
would one expect the legends of the Temple to be kept alive and be
made use of in ceremonial, if not in a religious order of builders
like the Masons? Is it surprising that we find so few references in
later literature to what was thus held as a sacred secret? As we have
seen, the legend of Hiram was kept as a profound secret until 1841 by
the French Companionage, who almost certainly learned it from the
Free-masons. Naturally it was never made a matter of record,[128] but
was transmitted by oral tradition within the order; and it was also
natural, if not inevitable, that the legend, of the master-artist of
the Temple should be "the Master's Part" among Masons who were
temple-builders. How else explain the veiled allusions to the name in
the _Old Charges_ as read to Entered Apprentices, if it was not a
secret reserved for a higher rank of Mason? Why any disguise at all if
it had no hidden meaning? Manifestly the motif of the Third Degree was
purely Masonic, and we need not go outside the traditions of the order
to account for it.

Not content to trace the evolution of Masonry, even so able a man as
Albert Pike will have it that to a few men of intelligence who
belonged to one of the four old lodges in 1717 "is to be ascribed the
authorship of the Third Degree, and the introduction of Hermetic and
other symbols into Masonry; that they framed the three degrees for the
purpose of communicating their doctrines, veiled by their symbols, to
those fitted to receive them, and gave to others trite moral
explanations they could comprehend."[129] How gracious of them to
vouchsafe even trite explanations, but why frame a set of degrees to
conceal what they wished to hide? This is the same idea of something
alien imposed upon Masonry from without, with the added suggestion,
novel indeed, that Masonry was organized to hide the truth, rather
than to teach it. But did Masonry have to go outside its own history
and tradition to learn Hermetic truths and symbols? Who was Hermes?
Whether man or myth no one knows, but he was a great figure in the
Egyptian Mysteries, and was called the Father of Wisdom.[130] What
_was_ his wisdom? From such fragments of his lore as have floated down
to us, impaired, it may be, but always vivid, we discover that his
wisdom was only a high spiritual faith and morality taught in visions
and rhapsodies, and using numbers as symbols. Was such wisdom new to
Masonry? Had not Hermes himself been a hero of the order from the
first, of whom we read in the _Old Charges_, in which he has a place
of honor alongside Euclid and Pythagoras? Wherefore go elsewhere than
to Masonry itself to trace the _pure_ stream of Hermetic faith through
the ages? Certainly the men of the Grand Lodge were adepts, but they
were _Masonic adepts seeking to bring the buried temple of Masonry to
light and reveal it in a setting befitting its beauty_, not cultists
making use of it to exploit a private scheme of the universe.

Who were those "men of intelligence" to whom Pike ascribed the making
of the Third Degree of Masonry? Tradition has fixed upon Desaguliers as
the ritualist of the Grand Lodge, and Lyon speaks of him as "the
pioneer and co-fabricator of symbolical Masonry."[131] This, however,
is an exaggeration, albeit Desaguliers was worthy of high eulogy,
as were Anderson and Payne, who are said to have been his
collaborators.[132] But the fact is that the Third Degree was not
made; it grew--like the great cathedrals, no one of which can be
ascribed to a single artist, but to an order of men working in unity of
enterprise and aspiration. The process by which the old ritual,
described in the _Sloane MS_, was divided and developed into three
degrees between 1717 and 1730 was so gradual, so imperceptible, that no
exact date can be set; still less can it be attributed to any one or
two men. From the minutes of the Musical Society we learn that the
Lodge at the Queen's Head in Hollis Street was using three distinct
degrees in 1724. As early as 1727 we come upon the custom of setting
apart a separate night for the Master's Degree, the drama having
evidently become more elaborate.

Further than this the Degree may not be discussed, except to say that
the Masons, tiring of the endless quarrels of sects, turned for relief
to the Ancient Mysteries as handed down in their traditions--the old,
high, heroic faith in God, and in the soul of man as the one
unconquerable thing upon this earth. If, as Aristotle said, it be the
mission of tragedy to cleanse and exalt us, leaving us subdued with a
sense of pity and hope and fortified against ill fortune, it is
permitted us to add that in simplicity, depth, and power, in its
grasp of the realities of the life of man, its portrayal of the
stupidity of evil and the splendor of virtue, its revelation of that
in our humanity which leads it to defy death, giving up everything,
even to life itself, rather than defame, defile, or betray its moral
integrity, and in its prophecy of the victory of light over shadow,
there is not another drama known among men like the Third Degree of
Masonry. Edwin Booth, a loyal Mason, and no mean judge of the essence
of tragedy, left these words:

    In all my research and study, in all my close analysis of the
    masterpieces of Shakespeare, in my earnest determination to
    make those plays appear real on the mimic stage, I have
    never, and nowhere, met tragedy so real, so sublime, so
    magnificent as the legend of Hiram. It is substance without
    shadow--the manifest destiny of life which requires no
    picture and scarcely a word to make a lasting impression upon
    all who can understand. To be a Worshipful Master, and to
    throw my whole soul into that work, with the candidate for my
    audience and the Lodge for my stage, would be a greater
    personal distinction than to receive the plaudits of people
    in the theaters of the world.


[113] We should not forget that noble dynasty of large and liberal
souls in the seventeenth century--John Hales, Chillingsworth,
Whichcote, John Smith, Henry More, Jeremy Taylor--whose _Liberty of
Prophesying_ set the principle of toleration to stately strains of
eloquence--Sir Thomas Browne, and Richard Baxter; saints, every one of
them, finely-poised, sweet-tempered, repelled from all extremes alike,
and walking the middle path of wisdom and charity. Milton, too, taught
tolerance in a bigoted and bitter age (see _Seventeenth Century Men of
Latitude_, E.A. George).

[114] For instance the _Cooke MS_, next to the oldest of all, as well
as the _W. Watson_ and _York No. 4_ MSS. It is rather surprising, in
view of the supremacy of the Church in those times, to find such
evidence of what Dr. Mackey called the chief mission of primitive
Masonry--the preservation of belief in the unity of God. These MSS did
not succumb to the theology of the Church, and their invocations remind
us more of the God of Isaiah than of the decrees of the Council of

[115] It was, perhaps, a picture of the Masonic Lodges of that era that
Toland drew in his _Socratic Society_, published in 1720, which,
however, he clothed in a vesture quite un-Grecian. At least, the
symposia or brotherly feasts of his society, their give-and-take of
questions and answers, their aversion to the rule of mere physical
force, to compulsory religious belief, and to creed hatred, as well as
their mild and tolerant disposition and their brotherly regard for one
another, remind one of the spirit and habits of the Masons of that day.

[116] Now is as good a time as another to name certain curious theories
which have been put forth to account for the origin of Masonry in
general, and of the organization of the Grand Lodge in particular. They
are as follows: First, that it was all due to an imaginary Temple of
Solomon described by Lord Bacon in a Utopian romance called the _New
Atlantis_; and this despite the fact that the temple in the Bacon story
was not a house at all, but the name of an ideal state. Second, that
the object of Freemasonry and the origin of the Third Degree was the
restoration of Charles II to the throne of England; the idea being that
the Masons, who called themselves "Sons of the Widow," meant thereby to
express their allegiance to the Queen. Third, that Freemasonry was
founded by Oliver Cromwell--he of all men!--to defeat the royalists.
Fourth, that Free-masons were derived from the order of the Knights
Templars. Even Lessing once held this theory, but seems later to have
given it up. Which one of these theories surpasses the others in
absurdity, it would be hard to say. De Quincey explodes them one by one
with some detail in his "Inquiry into the Origin of the Free-masons,"
to which he might also have added his own pet notion of the Rosicrucian
origin of the order--it being only a little less fantastic than the
rest (_De Quincey's Works_, vol. xvi).

[117] Of the Masonic feasts of St. John the Baptist and St. John the
Evangelist much has been written, and to little account. In
pre-Christian times, as we have seen, the Roman Collegia were wont to
adopt pagan deities as patrons. When Christianity came, the names of
its saints--some of them martyrs of the order of builders--were
substituted for the old pagan gods. Why the two Saints John were chosen
by Masons--rather than St. Thomas, who was the patron saint of
architecture--has never been made clear. At any rate, these two feasts,
coming at the time of the summer and winter solstices, are in reality
older than Christianity, being reminiscences of the old Light Religion
in which Masonry had its origin.

[118] The badge of office was a huge white apron, such as we see in
Hogarth's picture of the _Night_. The collar was of much the same shape
as that at present in use, only shorter. When the color was changed to
blue, and why, is uncertain, but probably not until 1813, when we begin
to see both apron and collar edged with blue. (See chapter on "Clothing
and Regalia," in _Things a Freemason Ought to Know_, by J.W. Crowe.) In
1727 the officers of all private--or as we would say,
subordinate--Lodges were ordered to wear "the jewels of Masonry hanging
to a white apron." In 1731 we find the Grand Master wearing gold or
gilt jewels pendant to blue ribbons about the neck, and a white leather
apron _lined_ with blue silk.

[119] This is clear from the book of _Constitutions_ of 1723, which is
said to be "for the use of Lodges in London." Then follow the names of
the Masters and Wardens of twenty Lodges, all in London. There was no
thought at the time of imposing the authority of the Grand Lodge upon
the country in general, much less upon the world. Its growth we shall
sketch later. For an excellent article on "The Foundation of Modern
Masonry," by G.W. Speth, giving details of the organization of the
Grand Lodge and its changes, see _A. Q. C._, ii, 86. If an elaborate
account is wanted, it may be found in Gould's _History of Masonry_,
vol. iii.

[120] _History of the Four Lodges_, by R.F. Gould. Apparently the Goose
and Gridiron Lodge--No. 1--is the only one of the four now in
existence. After various changes of name it is now the Lodge of
Antiquity, No. 2.

[121] _Royal Masons_, by G.W. Speth.

[122] From a meager sketch of Dr. Anderson in the _Gentlemen's
Magazine_, 1783, we learn that he was a native of Scotland--the place
of his birth is not given--and that for many years he was minister of
the Scots Presbyterian Church in Swallow Street, Piccadilly, and well
known to the folk of that faith in London--called "Bishop" Anderson by
his friends. He married the widow of an army officer, who bore him a
son and a daughter. Although a learned man--compiler of a book of
_Royal Genealogies_, which seems to have been his hobby--he was
somewhat imprudent in business, having lost most of his property in
1720. Whether he was a Mason before coming to London is unknown, but he
took a great part in the work of the Grand Lodge, entering it,
apparently, in 1721. Toward the close of his life he suffered many
misfortunes, but of what description we are not told. He died in 1739.
Perhaps his learning was exaggerated by his Masonic eulogists, but he
was a noble man and manifestly a useful one (Gould's _History of
Masonry_, vol. iii).

[123] Having emphasized this point so repeatedly, the writer feels it
just to himself to state his own position, lest he be thought a kind of
materialist, or at least an enemy of mysticism. Not so. Instead, he has
long been an humble student of the great mystics; they are his best
friends--as witness his two little books, _The Eternal Christ_, and
_What Have the Saints to Teach Us?_ But mysticism is one thing, and
mystification is another, and the former may be stated in this way:

First, by mysticism--only another word for spirituality--is meant our
sense of an Unseen World, of our citizenship in it, of God and the
soul, and of all the forms of life and beauty as symbols of things
higher than themselves. That is to say, if a man has any religion at
all that is not mere theory or form, he is a mystic; the difference
between him and Plato or St. Francis being only a matter of genius and
spiritual culture--between a boy whistling a tune and Beethoven writing

Second, since mysticism is native to the soul of man and the common
experience of all who rise above the animal, it is not an exclusive
possession of any set of adepts to be held as a secret. Any man who
bows in prayer, or lifts his thought heavenward, is an initiate into
the eternal mysticism which is the strength and solace of human life.

Third, the old time Masons were religious men, and as such sharers in
this great human experience of divine things, and did not need to go to
Hidden Teachers to learn mysticism. They lived and worked in the light
of it. It shone in their symbols, as it does in all symbols that have
any meaning or beauty. It is, indeed, the soul of symbolism, every
emblem being an effort to express a reality too great for words.

So, then, Masonry is mystical as music is mystical--like poetry, and
love, and faith, and prayer, and all else that makes it worth our time
to live; but its mysticism is sweet, sane, and natural, far from
fantastic, and in nowise eerie, unreal, or unbalanced. Of course these
words fail to describe it, as all words must, and it is therefore that
Masonry uses parables, pictures, and symbols.

[124] _Seventeenth Century Descriptions of Solomon's Temple_, by Prof.
S.P. Johnston (_A. Q. C._, xii, 135).

[125] _Transactions Jewish Historical Society of England_, vol. ii.

[126] Smith's _Dictionary of the Bible_, article "Temple."

[127] _Jewish Encyclopedia_, art. "Freemasonry." Also _Builder's
Rites_, G.W. Speth.

[128] In the _Book of Constitutions_, 1723, Dr. Anderson dilates at
length on the building of the Temple--including a note on the meaning
of the name Abif, which, it will be remembered, was not found in the
Authorized Version of the Bible; and then he suddenly breaks off with
the words: "_But leaving what must not, indeed cannot, be communicated
in Writing_." It is incredible that he thus introduced among Masons a
name and legend unknown to them. Had he done so, would it have met with
such instant and universal acceptance by old Masons who stood for the
ancient usages of the order?

[129] Letter to Gould "Touching Masonic Symbolism."

[130] _Hermes and Plato_, Edouard Schure.

[131] _History of the Lodge of Edinburgh._

[132] Steinbrenner, following Findel, speaks of the Third Degree as if
it were a pure invention, quoting a passage from _Ahiman Rezon_, by
Lawrence Dermott, to prove it. He further states that Anderson and
Desaguliers were "publicly accused of manufacturing the degree, _which
they never denied_" (_History of Masonry_, chap. vii). But inasmuch as
they were not accused of it until they had been many years in their
graves, their silence is hardly to be wondered at. Dr. Mackey styles
Desaguliers "the Father of Modern Speculative Masonry," and attributes
to him, more than to any other one man, the present existence of the
order as a living institution (_Encyclopedia of Freemasonry_). Surely
that is going too far, much as Desaguliers deserves to be honored by
the order. Dr. J.T. Desaguliers was a French Protestant clergyman,
whose family came to England following the revocation of the Edict of
Nantes. He was graduated from Christ Church College, Oxford, in 1710,
succeeding Keill as lecturer in Experimental Philosophy. He was
especially learned in natural philosophy, mathematics, geometry, and
optics, having lectured before the King on various occasions. He was
very popular in the Grand Lodge, and his power as an orator made his
manner of conferring a degree impressive--which may explain his having
been accused of inventing the degrees. He was a loyal and able Mason, a
student of the history and ritual of the order, and was elected as the
third Grand Master of Masons in England. Like Anderson, his later life
is said to have been beclouded by poverty and sorrow, though some of
the facts are in dispute (Gould's _History of Masonry_, vol. iii).


  _These signs and tokens are of no small value; they speak a
  universal language, and act as a passport to the attention and
  support of the initiated in all parts of the world. They cannot be
  lost so long as memory retains its power. Let the possessor of
  them be expatriated, ship-wrecked, or imprisoned; let him be
  stripped of everything he has got in the world; still these
  credentials remain and are available for use as circumstances

  _The great effects which they have produced are established by the
  most incontestable facts of history. They have stayed the uplifted
  hand of the destroyer; they have softened the asperities of the
  tyrant; they have mitigated the horrors of captivity; they have
  subdued the rancor of malevolence; and broken down the barriers of
  political animosity and sectarian alienation._

  _On the field of battle, in the solitude of the uncultivated
  forests, or in the busy haunts of the crowded city, they have made
  men of the most hostile feelings, and most distant religions, and
  the most diversified conditions, rush to the aid of each other,
  and feel a social joy and satisfaction that they have been able to
  afford relief to a brother Mason._



_Universal Masonry_


Henceforth the Masons of England were no longer a society of
handicraftsmen, but an association of men of all orders and every
vocation, as also of almost every creed, who met together on the broad
basis of humanity, and recognized no standard of human worth other
than morality, kindliness, and love of truth. They retained the
symbolism of the old Operative Masonry,[133] its language, its
legends, its ritual, and its oral tradition. No longer did they build
churches, but the spiritual temple of humanity; using the Square not
to measure right angles of blocks of stone, but for evening the
inequalities of human character, nor the Compass any more to describe
circles on a tracing-board, but to draw a Circle of goodwill around
all mankind.

Howbeit, one generation of men, as Hume remarks, does not go off the
stage at once, and another succeed, like silkworms and butterflies. No
more did this metamorphosis of Masonry, so to name it, take place
suddenly or radically, as it has become the fashion to think. It was a
slow process, and like every such period the Epoch of Transition was
attended by many problems, uncertainties, and difficulties. Some of
the Lodges, as we have noted, would never agree to admit Accepted
Masons, so jealous were they of the ancient landmarks of the Craft.
Even the Grand Lodge, albeit a revival of the old Assembly, was looked
upon with suspicion by not a few, as tending toward undue
centralization; and not without cause. From the first the Grand Master
was given more power than was ever granted to the President of an
ancient Assembly; of necessity so, perhaps, but it led to
misunderstanding. Other influences added to the confusion, and at the
same time emphasized the need of welding the order into a more
coherent unity for its wider service to humanity.

There are hints to the effect that the new Masonry, if so it may be
called, made very slow progress in the public favor at first, owing to
the conditions just stated; and this despite the remark of Anderson in
June, 1719: "Now several old Brothers that had neglected the Craft,
visited the Lodges; some Noblemen were also made Brothers, and more
new Lodges were constituted." Stuckely, the antiquarian, tells us in
his _Diary_ under date of January, 1721--at which time he was
initiated--that he was the first person made a Mason in London for
years, and that it was not easy to find men enough to perform the
ceremony. Incidentally, he confides to us that he entered the order in
search of the long hidden secrets of "the Ancient Mysteries." No doubt
he exaggerated in the matter of numbers, though it is possible that
initiations were comparatively few at the time, the Lodges being
recruited, for the most part, by the adhesion of old Masons, both
Operative and Speculative; and among his friends he may have had some
difficulty in finding men with an adequate knowledge of the ritual.
But that there was any real difficulty in gathering together seven
Masons in London is, on the face of it, absurd. Immediately
thereafter, Stuckely records, Masonry "took a run, and ran itself out
of breath through the folly of its members," but he does not tell us
what the folly was. The "run" referred to was almost certainly due to
the acceptance by the Duke of Montagu of the Grand Mastership, which
gave the order a prestige it had never had before; and it was also in
the same year, 1721, that the old Constitutions of the Craft were

Twelve Lodges attended the June quarterly communication of the Grand
Lodge in 1721, sixteen in September, twenty in December, and by April,
1723, the number had grown to thirty. All these Lodges, be it noted,
were in London, a fact amply justifying the optimism of Anderson in
the last paragraph of the _Book of Constitutions_, issued in that
year. So far the Grand Lodge had not extended its jurisdiction beyond
London and Westminster, but the very next year, 1724, there were
already nine Lodges in the provinces acknowledging its obedience, the
first being the Lodge at the Queen's Head, City of Bath. Within a few
years Masonry extended its labors abroad, both on British and on
foreign soil. The first Lodge on foreign soil was founded by the Duke
of Wharton at Madrid, in 1728, and regularized the following year, by
which time a Lodge had been established at the East India Arms,
Bengal, and also at Gibraltar. It was not long before Lodges arose in
many lands, founded by English Masons or by men who had received
initiation in England; these Lodges, when sufficiently numerous,
uniting under Grand Lodges--the old Lodge at York, that ancient Mecca
of Masonry, had called itself a Grand Lodge as early as 1725. The
Grand Lodge of Ireland was created in 1729, those of Scotland[134] and
France in 1736; a Lodge at Hamburg in 1737,[135] though it was not
patented until 1740; the Unity Lodge at Frankfort-on-the-Main in 1742,
another at Vienna the same year; the Grand Lodge of the Three
World-spheres at Berlin in 1744; and so on, until the order made its
advent in Sweden, Switzerland, Russia, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.

Following the footsteps of Masonry from land to land is almost as
difficult as tracing its early history, owing to the secrecy in which
it enwrapped its movements. For example, in 1680 there came to South
Carolina one John Moore, a native of England, who before the close of
the century removed to Philadelphia, where, in 1703, he was Collector
of the Port. In a letter written by him in 1715, he mentions having
"spent a few evenings in festivity with my Masonic brethren."[136]
This is the first vestige of Masonry in America, unless we accept as
authentic a curious document in the early history of Rhode Island, as
follows: "This ye [day and month obliterated] 1656, Wee mett att y
House off Mordicai Campanell and after synagog gave Abram Moses the
degrees of Maconrie."[137] On June 5, 1730, the first authority for
the assembling of Free-masons in America was issued by the Duke of
Norfolk, to Daniel Coxe, of New Jersey, appointing him Provincial
Grand Master of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania; and three
years later Henry Price, of Boston, was appointed to the same office
for New England. But Masons had evidently been coming to the New World
for years, for the two cases just cited date back of the Grand Lodge
of 1717.

How soon Coxe acted on the authority given him is not certain, but the
_Pennsylvania Gazette_, published by Benjamin Franklin, contains many
references to Masonic affairs as early as July, 1730. Just when
Franklin himself became interested in Masonry is not of record--he was
initiated in 1730-31[138]--but he was a leader, at that day, of
everything that would advance his adopted city; and the "Junto," formed
in 1725, often inaccurately called the Leathern-Apron Club, owed its
origin to him. In a Masonic item in the _Gazette_ of December 3, 1730,
he refers to "several Lodges of Free-masons" in the Province, and on
June 9, 1732, notes the organization of the Grand Lodge of
Pennsylvania, of which he was appointed a Warden, at the Sun Tavern, in
Water Street. Two years later Franklin was elected Grand Master, and
the same year published an edition of the _Book of Constitutions_--the
first Masonic book issued in America. Thus Masonry made an early
advent into the new world, in which it has labored so nobly, helping to
lay the foundations and building its own basic principles into the
organic law of the greatest of all republics.


Returning to the Grand Lodge of England, we have now to make record of
ridicule and opposition from without, and, alas, of disloyalty and
discord within the order itself. With the publication of the _Book of
Constitutions_, by Anderson, in 1723, the platform and principles of
Masonry became matters of common knowledge, and its enemies were alert
and vigilant. None are so blind as those who will not see, and not a
few, unacquainted with the spirit of Masonry, or unable to grasp its
principle of liberality and tolerance, affected to detect in its
secrecy some dark political design; and this despite the noble charge
in the _Book of Constitutions_ enjoining politics from entering the
lodge--a charge hardly less memorable than the article defining its
attitude toward differing religious creeds, and which it behooves
Masons to keep always in mind as both true and wise, especially in our
day when effort is being made to inject the religious issue into

    In order to preserve peace and harmony no private piques or
    quarrels must be brought within the door of the Lodge, far
    less any quarrel about Religions or Nations or State-Policy,
    we being only, as Masons, of the Catholic Religion above
    mentioned (the religion in which all men agree); we are also
    of all Nations, Tongues, Kindreds and Languages, and are
    resolved against all Politics as what never yet conduced to
    the welfare of the Lodge, nor ever will. This charge has
    always been actively enjoined and observed; but especially
    ever since the Reformation in Britain or the dissent and
    secession of these Nations from the communion of Rome.

No sooner had these noble words been printed,[139] than there came to
light a secret society calling itself the "truly Ancient Noble Order
of the Gormogons," alleged to have been instituted by Chin-Quaw Ky-Po,
the first Emperor of China, many thousand years before Adam. Notice of
a meeting of the order appeared in the _Daily Post_, September 3,
1723, in which it was stated, among other high-sounding declarations,
that "no Mason will be received as a Member till he has renounced his
noble order and been properly degraded." Obviously, from this notice
and others of like kind--all hinting at the secrets of the Lodges--the
order was aping Masonry by way of parody with intent to destroy it,
if possible, by ridicule. For all that, if we may believe the
_Saturday Post_ of October following, "many eminent Freemasons" had by
that time "degraded themselves" and gone over to the Gormogons. Not
"many" perhaps, but, alas, one eminent Mason at least, none other than
a Past Grand Master, the Duke of Wharton, who, piqued at an act of the
Grand Lodge, had turned against it. Erratic of mind, unstable of
morals, having an inordinate lust for praise, and pilloried as a
"fool" by Pope in his _Moral Essays_, he betrayed his fraternity--as,
later, he turned traitor to his faith, his flag, and his native land!

Simultaneously with the announcement that many eminent Masons had
"degraded themselves"--words most fitly chosen--and gone over to the
Gormogons, there appeared a book called the _Grand Mystery of
Freemasons Discovered_, and the cat was out of the bag. Everything was
plain to the Masons, and if it had not been clear, the way in which
the writer emphasized his hatred of the Jesuits would have told it
all. It was a Jesuit[140] plot hatched in Rome to expose the secrets
of Masonry, and making use of the dissolute and degenerate Mason for
that purpose--tactics often enough used in the name of Jesus!
Curiously enough, this was further made evident by the fact that the
order ceased to exist in 1738, the year in which Clement XII published
his Bull against the Masons. Thereupon the "ancient order of
Gormogons" swallowed itself, and so disappeared--not, however, without
one last, futile effort to achieve its ends.[141] Naturally this
episode stirred the Masons deeply. It was denounced in burning words
on the floor of the Grand Lodge, which took new caution to guard its
rites from treachery and vandalism, in which respects it had not
exercised due care, admitting men to the order who were unworthy of
the honor.

There were those who thought that the power of Masonry lay in its
secrecy; some think so still, not knowing that its _real_ power lies
in the sanctity of its truth, the simplicity of its faith, the
sweetness of its spirit, and its service to mankind, and that if all
its rites were made public today it would still hold the hearts of
men.[142] Nevertheless, of alleged exposures there were many between
1724 and 1730, both anonymous and signed, and they made much ado,
especially among men who were not Masons. It will be enough to name
the most famous, as well as the most elaborate, of them all, _Masonry
Dissected_, by Samuel Prichard, which ran through three editions in
one month, October, 1730, and called out a noble _Defence of Masonry_,
written, it is thought, by Anderson, but the present writer believes
by Desaguliers. Others came later, such as _Jachin and Boaz_, the
_Three Distinct Knocks_, and so forth. They had their day and ceased
to be, having now only an antiquarian interest to those who would know
the manners and customs of a far-off time. Instead of injuring the
order, they really helped it, as such things usually do, by showing
that there must be something to expose since so many were trying to
do it. But Masonry went marching on, leaving them behind in the
rubbish of things forgotten, as it does all its back-stair spies and
heel-snapping critics.

More serious by far was the series of schisms within the order which
began in 1725, and ran on even into the next century. For the student
they make the period very complex, calculated to bewilder the
beginner; for when we read of four Grand Lodges in England, and for
some years all of them running at once, and each one claiming to be
the Grand Lodge of England, the confusion seems not a little
confounded. Also, one Grand Lodge of a very limited territory, and few
adherents, adopted the title of Grand Lodge of _all_ England, while
another which commenced in the middle of the century assumed the title
of "The Ancients," and dubbed the older and parent Grand Lodge "The
Moderns." Besides, there are traces of an unrecorded Grand body
calling itself "The Supreme Grand Lodge,"[143] as if each were trying
to make up in name what was lacking in numbers. Strict search and due
inquiry into the causes of these divisions would seem to show the
following results:

First, there was a fear, not unjustified by facts, that the ancient
democracy of the order had been infringed upon by certain acts of the
Grand Lodge of 1717--as, for example, giving to the Grand Master power
to appoint the Wardens.[144] Second, there was a tendency, due to the
influence of some clergymen active in the order, to give a
distinctively Christian tinge to Masonry, first in their
interpretations of its symbols, and later to the ritual itself. This
fact has not been enough emphasized by our historians, for it explains
much. Third, there was the further fact that Masonry in Scotland
differed from Masonry in England, in details at least, and the two did
not all at once harmonize, each being rather tenacious of its usage
and tradition. Fourth, in one instance, if no more, pride of locality
and historic memories led to independent organization. Fifth, there
was the ever-present element of personal ambition with which all human
societies, of whatever kind, must reckon at all times and places this
side of heaven. Altogether, the situation was amply conducive to
division, if not to explosion, and the wonder is that the schisms were
so few.


Time out of mind the ancient city of York had been a seat of the
Masonic Craft, tradition tracing it back to the days of Athelstan, in
926 A.D. Be that as it may, the Lodge minutes of York are the oldest
in the country, and the relics of the Craft now preserved in that city
entitle it to be called the Mecca of Masonry. Whether the old society
was a Private or a Grand Lodge is not plain; but in 1725 it assumed
the title of the "Grand Lodge of All England,"--feeling, it would
seem, that its inherent right by virtue of antiquity had in some way
been usurped by the Grand Lodge of London. After ten or fifteen years
the minutes cease, but the records of other grand bodies speak of it
as still working. In 1761 six of its surviving members revived the
Grand Lodge, which continued with varying success until its final
extinction in 1791, having only a few subordinate Lodges, chiefly in
Yorkshire. Never antagonistic, it chose to remain independent, and its
history is a noble tradition. York Masonry was acknowledged by all
parties to be both ancient and orthodox, and even to this day, in
England and over the seas, a certain mellow, magic charm clings to
the city which was for so long a meeting place of Masons.[145]

Far more formidable was the schism of 1753, which had its origin, as
is now thought, in a group of Irish Masons in London who were not
recognized by the premier Grand Lodge.[146] Whereupon they denounced
the Grand Lodge, averring that it had adopted "new plans" and departed
from the old landmarks, reverted, as they alleged, to the old forms,
and set themselves up as _Ancient_ Masons--bestowing upon their rivals
the odious name of _Moderns_. Later the two were further distinguished
from each other by the names of their respective Grand Masters, one
called Prince of Wales' Masons, the other the Atholl Masons.[147] The
great figure in the Atholl Grand body was Lawrence Dermott, to whose
keen pen and indefatigable industry as its secretary for more than
thirty years was due, in large measure, its success. In 1756 he
published its first book of laws, entitled _Ahiman Rezon, Or Help to a
Brother_, much of which was taken from the _Irish Constitutions_ of
1751, by Pratt, and the rest from the _Book of Constitutions_, by
Anderson--whom he did not fail to criticize with stinging satire, of
which he was a master. Among other things, the office of Deacon seems
to have had its origin with this body. Atholl Masons were presided
over by the Masters of affiliated Lodges until 1756, when Lord
Blessington, their first titled Grand Master, was induced to accept
the honor--their warrants having been left blank betimes, awaiting the
coming of a Nobleman to that office. Later the fourth Duke of Atholl
was Grand Master at the same time of Scotland and of the Atholl Grand
Lodge, the Grand Lodges of Scotland and Ireland being represented at
his installation in London.

Still another schism, not serious but significant, came in 1778, led
by William Preston,[148] who afterwards became a shining light in the
order. On St. John's Day, December 27, 1777, the Antiquity Lodge of
London, of which Preston was Master--one of the four original Lodges
forming the Grand Lodge--attended church in a body, to hear a sermon
by its Chaplain. They robed in the vestry, and then marched into the
church, but after the service they walked back to the Hall wearing
their Masonic clothing. Difference of opinion arose as to the
regularity of the act, Preston holding it to be valid, if for no other
reason, by virtue of the inherent right of Antiquity Lodge itself.
Three members objected to his ruling and appealed to the Grand Lodge,
he foolishly striking their names off the Lodge roll for so doing.
Eventually the Grand Lodge took the matter up, decided against
Preston, and ordered the reinstatement of the three protesting
members. At its next meeting the Antiquity Lodge voted not to comply
with the order of the Grand Lodge, and, instead, to withdraw from that
body and form an alliance with the "Old Grand Lodge of All England at
York City," as they called it. They were received by the York Grand
Lodge, and soon thereafter obtained a constitution for a "Grand Lodge
of England South of the Trent." Although much vitality was shown at
the outset, this body only constituted two subordinate Lodges, and
ceased to exist. Having failed, in 1789 Preston and his friends
recanted their folly, apologized to the Grand Lodge, reunited with the
men whom they had expelled, and were received back into the fold; and
so the matter ended.

These divisions, while they were in some ways unhappy, really made for
the good of the order in the sequel--the activity of contending Grand
Lodges, often keen, and at times bitter, promoting the spread of its
principles to which all were alike loyal, and to the enrichment of its
Ritual[149] to which each contributed. Dermott, an able executive and
audacious antagonist, had left no stone unturned to advance the
interests of Atholl Masonry, inducing its Grand Lodge to grant
warrants to army Lodges, which bore fruit in making Masons in every
part of the world where the English army went.[150] Howbeit, when
that resourceful secretary and uncompromising fighter had gone to his
long rest, a better mood began to make itself felt, and a desire to
heal the feud and unite all the Grand Lodges--the way having been
cleared, meanwhile, by the demise of the old York Grand Lodge and the
"Grand Lodge South of the Trent." Overtures to that end were made in
1802 without avail, but by 1809 committees were meeting and reporting
on the "propriety and practicability of union." Fraternal letters were
exchanged, and at last a joint committee met, canvassed all
differences, and found a way to heal the schism.[151]

Union came at length, in a great Lodge of Reconciliation held in
Freemason's Hall, London, on St. John's Day, December 27, 1813. It was
a memorable and inspiring scene as the two Grand Lodges, so long
estranged, filed into the Hall--delegates of 641 Modern and 359
Ancient or Atholl Lodges--so mixed as to be indistinguishable the one
from the other. Both Grand Masters had seats of honor in the East. The
hour was fraternal, each side willing to sacrifice prejudice in behalf
of principles held by all in common, and all equally anxious to
preserve the ancient landmarks of the Craft--a most significant fact
being that the Atholl Masons had insisted that Masonry erase such
distinctively Christian color as had crept into it, and return to its
first platform.[152] Once united, free of feud, cleansed of rancor,
and holding high its unsectarian, non-partisan flag, Masonry moved
forward to her great ministry. If we would learn the lesson of those
long dead schisms, we must be vigilant, correcting our judgments,
improving our regulations, and cultivating that spirit of Love which
is the fountain whence issue all our voluntary efforts for what is
right and true: union in essential matters, liberty in everything
unimportant and doubtful; Love always--one bond, one universal law,
one fellowship in spirit and in truth!


Remains now to give a glimpse--and, alas, only a glimpse--of the
growth and influence of Masonry in America; and a great story it is,
needing many volumes to tell it aright. As we have seen, it came early
to the shores of the New World, long before the name of our great
republic had been uttered, and with its gospel of Liberty, Equality,
and Fraternity it helped to shape the institutions of this Continent.
Down the Atlantic Coast, along the Great Lakes, into the wilderness of
the Middle West and the forests of the far South--westward it marched
as "the star of empire" led, setting up its altar on remote frontiers,
a symbol of civilization, of loyalty to law and order, of friendship
with school-house and church. If history recorded the unseen
influences which go to the making of a nation, those forces for good
which never stop, never tarry, never tire, and of which our social
order is the outward and visible sign, then might the real story of
Masonry in America be told.

Instead of a dry chronicle,[153] let us make effort to capture and
portray the spirit of Masonry in American history, if so that all may
see how this great order actually presided over the birth of the
republic, with whose growth it has had so much to do. For example, no
one need be told what patriotic memories cluster about the old Green
Dragon Tavern, in Boston, which Webster, speaking at Andover in 1823,
called "_the headquarters of the Revolution_." Even so, but it was
also a _Masonic Hall_, in the "Long Room" of which the Grand Lodge of
Massachusetts--an off-shoot of St. Andrew's Lodge--was organized on
St. John's Day, 1767, with Joseph Warren, who afterwards fell at
Bunker Hill, as Grand Master. There Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, Warren,
Hancock, Otis and others met and passed resolutions, and then laid
schemes to make them come true. There the Boston Tea Party was
planned, and executed by Masons disguised as Mohawk Indians--not by
the Lodge as such, but by a club formed within the Lodge, calling
itself the _Caucus Pro Bono Publico_, of which Warren was the leading
spirit, and in which, says Elliott, "the plans of the Sons of Liberty
were matured." As Henry Purkett used to say, he was present at the
famous Tea Party as a spectator, and in disobedience to the order of
the Master of the Lodge, who was _actively_ present.[154]

As in Massachusetts, so throughout the Colonies--the Masons were
everywhere active in behalf of a nation "conceived in liberty and
dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." Of the
men who signed the Declaration of Independence, the following are
known to have been members of the order: William Hooper, Benjamin
Franklin, Matthew Thornton, William Whipple, John Hancock, Philip
Livingston, Thomas Nelson; and no doubt others, if we had the Masonic
records destroyed during the war. Indeed, it has been said that, with
four men out of the room, the assembly could have been opened in form
as a Masonic Lodge, on the Third Degree. Not only Washington,[155] but
nearly all of his generals, were Masons; such at least as Greene, Lee,
Marion, Sullivan, Rufus and Israel Putnam, Edwards, Jackson, Gist,
Baron Steuben, Baron De Kalb, and the Marquis de Lafayette who was
made a Mason in one of the many military Lodges held in the
Continental Army.[156] If the history of those old camp-lodges could
be written, what a story it would tell. Not only did they initiate
such men as Alexander Hamilton and John Marshall, the immortal Chief
Justice, but they made the spirit of Masonry felt in "times that try
men's souls"[157]--a spirit passing through picket-lines, eluding
sentinels, and softening the horrors of war.

Laying aside their swords, these Masons helped to lay wide and deep
the foundations of that liberty under the law which has made this
nation, of a truth, "the last great hope of man." Nor was it an
accident, but a scene in accord with the fitness of things, that
George Washington was sworn into office as the first President of the
Republic by the Grand Master of New York, taking his oath on a Masonic
Bible. It was a parable of the whole period. If the Magna Charta
demanded rights which government can grant, Masonry from the first
asserted those inalienable rights which man derives from God the
Father of men. Never did this truth find sweeter voice than in the
tones of the old Scotch fiddle on which Robert Burns, a Master Mason,
sang, in lyric glee, of the sacredness of the soul, and the native
dignity of humanity as the only basis of society and the state. That
music went marching on, striding over continents and seas, until it
found embodiment in the Constitution and laws of this nation, where
today more than a million Masons are citizens.

How strange, then, that Masonry should have been made the victim of
the most bitter and baseless persecution, for it was nothing else, in
the annals of the Republic. Yet so it came to pass between 1826 and
1845, in connection with the Morgan[158] affair, of which so much has
been written, and so little truth told. Alas, it was an evil hour
when, as Galsworthy would say, "men just feel something big and
religious, and go blind to justice, fact, and reason." Although Lodges
everywhere repudiated and denounced the crime, if crime it was, and
the Governor of New York, himself a Mason, made every effort to detect
and punish those involved, the fanaticism would not be stayed: the
mob-mood ruled. An Anti-Masonic political party[159] was formed, fed
on frenzy, and the land was stirred from end to end. Even such a man
as John Quincy Adams, of great credulity and strong prejudice, was
drawn into the fray, and in a series of letters flayed Masonry as an
enemy of society and a free state--forgetting that Washington,
Franklin, Marshall, and Warren were members of the order!
Meanwhile--and, verily, it was a mean while--Weed, Seward, Thaddeus
Stevens, and others of their ilk, rode into power on the strength of
it, as they had planned to do, defeating Henry Clay for President,
because he was a Mason--and, incidentally, electing Andrew Jackson,
another Mason! Let it be said that, if the Masons found it hard to
keep within the Compass, they at least acted on the Square. Finally
the fury spent itself, leaving the order purged of feeble men who were
Masons only in form, and a revival of Masonry followed, slowly at
first, and then with great rapidity.

No sooner had Masonry recovered from this ordeal than the dark clouds
of Civil War covered the land like a pall--the saddest of all wars,
dividing a nation one in arts and arms and historic memories, and
leaving an entail of blood and fire and tears. Let it be forever
remembered that, while churches were severed and states were seceding,
_the Masonic order remained unbroken_ in that wild and fateful hour.
An effort was made to involve Masonry in the strife, but the wise
counsel of its leaders, North and South, prevented the mixing of
Masonry with politics; and while it could not avert the tragedy, it
did much to mitigate the woe of it--building rainbow bridges of mercy
and goodwill from army to army. Though passion may have strained, it
could not break the tie of Masonic love, which found a ministry on red
fields, among the sick, the wounded, and those in prison; and many a
man in gray planted a Sprig of Acacia on the grave of a man who wore
the blue. Some day the writer hopes to tell that story, or a part of
it, and then men will understand what Masonry is, what it means, and
what it can do to heal the hurts of humanity.[160]

Even so it has been, all through our national history, and today
Masonry is worth more for the sanctity and safety of this republic
than both its army and its navy. At every turn of events, when the
rights of man have been threatened by enemies obvious or insidious, it
has stood guard--its altar lights like signal fires along the heights
of liberty, keeping watch. Not only in our own land, but everywhere
over the broad earth, when men have thrown off the yoke of tyranny,
whether political or spiritual, and demanded the rights that belong to
manhood, they have found a friend in the Masonic order--as did Mazzini
and Garibaldi in Italy. Nor must we be less alert and vigilant today
when, free of danger of foes from without, our republic is imperiled
by the negligence of indifference, the seduction of luxury, the
machinations of politicians, and the shadow of a passion-clouded,
impatient discontent, whose end is madness and folly; lest the most
hallowed of all liberties be lost.

  Love thou thy land, with love far-brought
  From out the storied past, and used
  Within the present, but transfused
  Through future time by power of thought.


Truly, the very existence of such a great historic fellowship in the
quest and service of the Ideal is a fact eloquent beyond all words,
and to be counted among the precious assets of humanity. Forming one
vast society of free men, held together by voluntary obligations, it
covers the whole globe from Egypt to India, from Italy to England,
from America to Australia, and the isles of the sea; from London to
Sidney, from Chicago to Calcutta. In all civilized lands, and among
folk of every creed worthy of the name, Masonry is found--and
everywhere it upholds all the redeeming ideals of humanity, making all
good things better by its presence, like a stream underflowing a
meadow.[161] Also, wherever Masonry flourishes and is allowed to build
freely after its divine design, liberty, justice, education, and true
religion flourish; and where it is hindered, they suffer. Indeed, he
who would reckon the spiritual possessions of the race, and estimate
the forces that make for social beauty, national greatness, and human
welfare, must take account of the genius of Masonry and its ministry
to the higher life of the race.

Small wonder that such an order has won to its fellowship men of the
first order of intellect, men of thought and action in many lands, and
every walk and work of life: soldiers like Wellington, Blücher, and
Garibaldi; philosophers like Krause, Fichte, and John Locke; patriots
like Washington and Mazzini; writers like Walter Scott, Voltaire,
Steele, Lessing, Tolstoi; poets like Goethe, Burns, Byron, Kipling,
Pike; musicians like Haydn and Mozart--whose opera, _The Magic Flute_,
has a Masonic motif; masters of drama like Forrest and Edwin Booth;
editors such as Bowles, Prentice, Childs, Grady; ministers of many
communions, from Bishop Potter to Robert Collyer; statesmen,
philanthropists, educators, jurists, men of science--Masons many,[162]
whose names shine like stars in the great world's crown of
intellectual and spiritual glory. What other order has ever brought
together men of such diverse type, temper, training, interest, and
achievement, uniting them at an altar of prayer in the worship of God
and the service of man?

For the rest, if by some art one could trace those invisible
influences which move to and fro like shuttles in a loom, weaving the
network of laws, reverences, sanctities which make the warp and woof
of society--giving to statutes their dignity and power, to the gospel
its opportunity, to the home its canopy of peace and beauty, to the
young an enshrinement of inspiration, and to the old a mantle of
protection; if one had such art, then he might tell the true story of
Masonry. Older than any living religion, the most widespread of all
orders of men, it toils for liberty, friendship, and righteousness;
binding men with solemn vows to the right, uniting them upon the only
basis upon which they can meet without reproach--like those fibers
running through the glaciers, along which sunbeams journey, melting
the frozen mass and sending it to the valleys below in streams of
blessing. Other fibers are there, but none is more far-ramifying, none
more tender, none more responsive to the Light than the mystical tie
of Masonic love.

Truth will triumph. Justice will yet reign from sun to sun, victorious
over cruelty and evil. Finally Love will rule the race, casting out
fear, hatred, and all unkindness, and pity will heal the old hurt and
heart-ache of humanity. There is nothing in history, dark as much of
it is, against the ultimate fulfilment of the prophetic vision of
Robert Burns--the Poet Laureate of Masonry:

  Then let us pray, that come it may--
    As come it will, for a' that--
     .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .
  That man to man, the world o'er
    Shall brothers be, for a' that.


[133] Operative Masonry, it should be remembered, was not entirely
dead, nor did it all at once disappear. Indeed, it still exists in some
form, and an interesting account of its forms, degrees, symbols,
usages, and traditions may be found in an article on "Operative
Masonry," by C.E. Stretton (_Transactions Leicester Lodge of Research_,
1909-10, 1911-12). The second of these volumes also contains an essay
on "Operative Free-masons," by Thomas Carr, with a list of lodges, and
a study of their history, customs, and emblems--especially the
Swastika. Speculative Masons are now said to be joining these Operative
Lodges, seeking more light on what are called the Lost Symbols of

[134] The Grand Lodges of Ireland and Scotland, it may be added, were
self-constituted, without assistance or intervention from England in
any form.

[135] A deputation of the Hamburg Lodge initiated Frederick--afterwards
Frederick the Great of Prussia--into the order of Masons at Brunswick,
August 14, 1738 (_Frederick and his Times_, by Campbell, _History of
Frederick_, by Carlyle, Findel's _History of Masonry_). Other noblemen
followed his example, and their zeal for the order gave a new date to
the history of Masonry in Germany. When Frederick ascended the throne,
in 1740, the Craft was honored, and it flourished in his kingdom. As to
the interest of Frederick in the order in his later years, the facts
are not clear, but that he remained its friend seems certain (Mackey,
_Encyclopedia_). However, the Craft underwent many vicissitudes in
Germany, a detailed account of which Findel recites (_History of
Masonry_). Few realize through what frightful persecutions Masonry has
passed in many lands, owing in part to its secrecy, but in larger part
to its principle of civil and religious liberty. Whenever that story is
told, as it surely will be, men everywhere will pay homage to the
Ancient Free and Accepted Masons as friends of mankind.

[136] This letter was the property of Horace W. Smith, Philadelphia.
John Moore was the father of William Moore, whose daughter became the
wife of Provost Smith, who was a Mason in 1775, and afterward Grand
Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, and whose son was Grand
Master of Masons in Pennsylvania in 1796 and 1797 (_History of
Freemasonry_, by Hughan and Stillson).

[137] _Ibid_, chapter on "Early American Masonic History."

[138] _Benjamin Franklin as a Free Mason_, by J.F. Sachse. Oddly
enough, there is no mention of Masonry by Franklin in his
_Autobiography_, or in any of his letters, with but two exceptions, so
far as known; which is the more remarkable when we look at his Masonic
career in France during the later years of his life, where he was
actively and intimately associated with the order, even advancing to
the higher degrees. Never for a day did he abate by one jot his
interest in the order, or his love for it.

[139] This injunction was made doubly strong in the edition of the
_Book of Constitutions_, in 1738. For example: "no quarrels about
nations, families, religion or politics must by any means or under any
color or pretense whatever be brought within the door of the Lodge....
Masons being of all nations upon the square, level and plumb; and like
our predecessors in all ages, we are resolved against political
disputes," etc.

[140] Masons have sometimes been absurdly called "Protestant Jesuits,"
but the two orders are exactly opposite in spirit, principle, purpose,
and method. All that they have in common is that they are both _secret_
societies, which makes it plain that the opposition of the Latin church
to Masonry is not on the ground of its being a secret order, else why
sanction the Jesuits, to name no other? The difference has been stated
in this way: "Opposite poles these two societies are, for each
possesses precisely those qualities which the other lacks. The Jesuits
are strongly centralized, the Freemasons only confederated. Jesuits are
controlled by one man's will, Freemasons are under majority rule.
Jesuits bottom morality in expediency, Freemasons in regard for the
well-being of mankind. Jesuits recognize only one creed, Freemasons
hold in respect all honest convictions. Jesuits seek to break down
individual independence, Freemasons to build it up" (_Mysteria_, by
Otto Henne Am Rhyn).

[141] For a detailed account of the Duke of Wharton and the true
history of the Gormogons, see an essay by R.F. Gould, in his "Masonic
Celebrities" series (_A. Q. C._, viii, 144), and more recently, _The
Life and Writings of Philip, Duke of Wharton_, by Lewis Melville.

[142] Findel has a nobly eloquent passage on this point, and it tells
the everlasting truth (_History of Masonry_, p. 378). His whole
history, indeed, is exceedingly worth reading, the more so because it
was one of the first books of the right kind, and it stimulated

[143] A paper entitled "An Unrecorded Grand Lodge," by Sadler (_A. Q.
C._, vol. xviii, 69-90), tells practically all that is known of this
movement, which merged with the Grand Lodge of London in 1776.

[144] Nor was that all. In 1735 it was resolved in the Grand Lodge
"that in the future all Grand Officers (except Grand Master) shall be
selected out of that body"--meaning the past Grand Stewards. This act
was amazing. Already the Craft had let go its power to elect the
Wardens, and now the choice of the Grand Master was narrowed to the
ranks of an oligarchy in its worst form--a queer outcome of Masonic
equality. Three months later the Grand Stewards presented a memorial
asking that they "might form themselves into a special lodge," with
special jewels, etc. Naturally this bred discontent and apprehension,
and justly so.

[145] Often we speak of "the York Rite," as though it were the oldest
and truest form of Masonry, but, while it serves to distinguish one
branch of Masonry from another, it is not accurate; for, strictly
speaking, there is no such thing as a York Rite. The name is more a
tribute of reverence than a description of fact.

[146] _Masonic Facts and Fictions_, by Henry Sadler.

[147] _Atholl Lodges_, by R.F. Gould.

[148] William Preston was born in Edinburgh in 1742, and came as a
journeyman printer to London in 1760, where he made himself conversant
with the history, laws, and rites of the Craft, being much in demand as
a lecturer. He was a good speaker, and frequently addressed the Lodges
of the city. After his blunder of seceding had been forgiven, he was
honored with many offices, especially the Grand Secretaryship, which
gave him time to pursue his studies. Later he wrote the _Freemason's
Callender_, an appendix to the _Book of Constitutions_, a _History of
Masonry_, and, most famous of all, _Illustrations of Masonry_, which
passed through a score of editions. Besides, he had much to do with the
development of the Ritual.

[149] The history of the Ritual is most interesting, and should be
written in more detail (_History of Masonry_, by Steinbrenner, chap.
vii, "The Ritual"). An article giving a brief story of it appeared in
the _Masonic Monthly_, of Boston, November, 1863 (reprinted in the _New
England Craftsman_, vol. vii, and still later in the _Bulletin of Iowa
Masonic Library_, vol. xv, April, 1914). This article is valuable as
showing the growth of the Ritual--as much by subtraction as by
addition--and especially the introduction into it of Christian imagery
and interpretation, first by Martin Clare in 1732, and by Duckerley and
Hutchinson later. One need only turn to _The Spirit of Masonry_, by
Hutchinson (1802), to see how far this tendency had gone when at last
checked in 1813. At that time a committee made a careful comparative
study of all rituals in use among Masons, and the ultimate result was
the Preston-Webb lectures now generally in use in this country. (See a
valuable article by Dr. Mackey on "The Lectures of Freemasonry,"
_American Quarterly Review of Freemasonry_, vol. ii, p. 297.) What a
pity that this _Review_ died of too much excellence!

[150] _Military Lodges_, by Gould; also Kipling's poem, _The Mother

[151] Among the articles of union, it was agreed that Freemasonry
should consist of the three symbolic degrees, "_including the Holy
Royal Arch_." The present study does not contemplate a detailed study
of Capitular Masonry, which has its own history and historians (_Origin
of the English Rite_, Hughan), except to say that it seems to have
begun about 1738-40, the concensus of opinion differing as to whether
it began in England or on the Continent ("Royal Arch Masonry," by C.P.
Noar, _Manchester Lodge of Research_, vol. iii, 1911-12). Lawrence
Dermott, always alert, had it adopted by the Atholl Grand Lodge about
thirty years before the Grand Lodge of England took it up in 1770-76,
when Thomas Duckerley was appointed to arrange and introduce it.
Dermott held it to be "the very essence of Masonry," and he was not
slow in using it as a club with which to belabor the Moderns; but he
did not originate it, as some imagine, having received the degrees
before he came to London, perhaps in an unsystemized form. Duckerley
was accused of shifting the original Grand Masonic word from the Third
Degree to the Royal Arch, and of substituting another in its stead.
Enough to say that Royal Arch Masonry is authentic Masonry, being a
further elaboration in drama, following the Third Degree, of the spirit
and motif of old Craft Masonry (_History of Freemasonry and Concordant
Orders_, by Hughan and Stillson).

[152] It is interesting to note that the writer of the article on
"Masonry" in the Catholic _Encyclopedia_--an article admirable in many
ways, and for the most part fair--makes much of this point, and rightly
so, albeit his interpretation of it is altogether wrong. He imagines
that the objection to Christian imagery in the ritual was due to enmity
to Christianity. Not so. Masonry was not then, and has never at any
time been, opposed to Christianity, or to any other religion. Far from
it. But Christianity in those days--as, alas, too often now--was
another name for a petty and bigoted sectarianism; and Masonry by its
very genius was, and is, _unsectarian_. Many Masons then were devout
Christians, as they are now--not a few clergymen--but the order itself
is open to men of all faiths, Catholic and Protestant, Hebrew and
Hindu, who confess faith in God; and so it will always remain if it is
true to its principles and history.

[153] As for the chronicle, the one indispensable book to the student
of American Masonry is the _History of Freemasonry and Concordant
Orders_, by W.J. Hughan and H.L. Stillson, aided by one of the ablest
board of contributors ever assembled. It includes a history of Masonry
in all its Rites in North, Central, and South America, with accurate
accounts of the origin and growth of every Grand Lodge in the United
States and British America; also admirable chapters on Early American
Masonic History, the Morgan Excitement, Masonic Jurisprudence, and
statistics up to date of 1891--all carefully prepared and well written.
Among other books too many to name, there are the _History of Symbolic
Masonry in the United States_, by J.H. Drummond, and "The American
Addenda" to Gould's massive and magnificent _History of Masonry_, vol.
iv. What the present pages seek is the spirit behind this forest of

[154] For the full story, see "Reminiscences of the Green Dragon
Tavern," in _Centennial Memorial of St. Andrew's Lodge, 1870_.

[155] _Washington, the Man and the Mason_, by C.H. Callahan. Jackson,
Polk, Fillmore, Buchanan, Johnson, Garfield, McKinley, Roosevelt, Taft,
all were Masons. A long list may be found in _Cyclopedia of
Fraternities_, by Stevens, article on "Freemasonry: Distinguished

[156] _Washington and his Masonic Compeers_, by Randolph Hayden.

[157] Thomas Paine, whose words these are, though not a Mason, has left
us an essay on _The Origin of Freemasonry_. Few men have ever been more
unjustly and cruelly maligned than this great patriot, who was the
first to utter the name "United States," and who, instead of being a
sceptic, believed in "the religion in which all men agree"--that is, in
God, Duty, and the immortality of the soul.

[158] William Morgan was a dissolute, nondescript printer in Batavia,
New York, who, having failed in everything else, thought to make money
by betraying the secrets of an order which his presence polluted.
Foolishly misled, a few Masons had him arrested on a petty charge, got
him out of the country, and apparently paid him to stay out. Had no
attention been paid to his alleged exposure it would have fallen
still-born from the press, like many another before it. Rumors of
abduction started, then Morgan was said to have been thrown into
Niagara River, whereas there is no proof that he was ever killed, much
less murdered by Masons. Thurlow Weed and a pack of unscrupulous
politicians took it up, and the rest was easy. One year later a body
was found on the shore of Lake Ontario which Weed and the wife of
Morgan identified--a _year afterward!_--she, no doubt, having been paid
to do so; albeit the wife of a fisherman named Munroe identified the
same body as that of her husband drowned a week or so before. No
matter; as Weed said, "_It's good enough Morgan until after the
election_"--a characteristic remark, if we may judge by his own
portrait as drawn in his _Autobiography_. Politically, he was capable
of anything, if he could make it win, and here he saw a chance of
stirring up every vile and slimy thing in human nature for sake of
office. (See a splendid review of the whole matter in _History of
Masonry_, by Hughan and Stillson, also by Gould in vol. iv of his

[159] _Cyclopedia of Fraternities_, by Stevens, article,
"Anti-Masonry," gives detailed account with many interesting facts.

[160] Following the first day of the battle of Gettysburg, there was a
Lodge meeting in town, and "Yanks" and "Johnny Rebs" met and mingled as
friends, under the Square and Compass. Where else could they have done
so? (_Tennessee Mason_). When the Union army attacked Little Rock,
Ark., the commanding officer, Thomas H. Benton--Grand Master of the
Grand Lodge of Iowa--threw a guard about the home of General Albert
Pike, _to protect his Masonic library_. Marching through burning
Richmond, a Union officer saw the familiar emblems over a hall. He put
a guard about the Lodge room, and that night, together with a number of
Confederate Masons, organized a society for the relief of widows and
orphans left destitute by the war (_Washington, the Man and the Mason_,
Callahan). But for the kindness of a brother Mason, who saved the life
of a young soldier of the South, who was a prisoner of war at Rock
Island, Ill., the present writer would never have been born, much less
have written this book. That young soldier was my father! Volumes of
such facts might be gathered in proof of the gracious ministry of
Masonry in those awful years.

[161] _Cyclopedia of Fraternities_, by Stevens (last edition), article,
"Free Masonry," pictures the extent of the order, with maps and
diagrams showing its world-wide influence.

[162] Space does not permit a survey of the literature of Masonry,
still less of Masonry in literature. (Findel has two fine chapters on
the literature of the order, but he wrote, in 1865, _History of
Masonry_.) For traces of Masonry in literature, there is the famous
chapter in _War and Peace_, by Tolstoi; _Mon Oncle Sosthenes_, by
Maupassant; _Nathan the Wise_, and _Ernest and Falk_, by Lessing; the
Masonic poems of Goethe, and many hints in _Wilhelm Meister_; the
writings of Herder (_Classic Period of German Letters_, Findel), _The
Lost Word_, by Henry Van Dyke; and, of course, the poetry of Burns.

Masonic phrases and allusions--often almost too revealing--are found
all through the poems and stories of Kipling. Besides the poem _The
Mother Lodge_, so much admired, there is _The Widow of Windsor_, such
stories as _With the Main Guard_, _The Winged Hats_, _Hal o' the
Draft_, _The City Walls_, _On the Great Wall_, many examples in _Kim_,
also in _Traffics and Discoveries_, _Puck of Pook's Hill_, and, by no
means least, _The Man Who Would be King_, one of the great short
stories of the world.

Part III--Interpretation


  _I am afraid you may not consider it an altogether substantial
  concern. It has to be seen in a certain way, under certain
  conditions. Some people never see it at all. You must understand,
  this is no dead pile of stones and unmeaning timber. It is a_
  LIVING _thing._

  _When you enter it you hear a sound--a sound as of some mighty
  poem chanted. Listen long enough, and you will learn that it is
  made up of the beating of human hearts, of the nameless music of
  men's souls--that is, if you have ears to hear. If you have eyes,
  you will presently see the church itself--a looming mystery of
  many shapes and shadows, leaping sheer from floor to dome. The
  work of no ordinary builder!_

  _The pillars of it go up like the brawny trunks of heroes; the
  sweet flesh of men and women is molded about its bulwarks, strong,
  impregnable; the faces of little children laugh out from every
  corner stone; the terrible spans and arches of it are the joined
  hands of comrades; and up in the heights and spaces are inscribed
  the numberless musings of all the dreamers of the world. It is yet
  building--building and built upon._

  _Sometimes the work goes on in deep darkness; sometimes in
  blinding light; now under the burden of unutterable anguish; now
  to the tune of great laughter and heroic shoutings like the cry of
  thunder. Sometimes, in the silence of the night-time, one may hear
  the tiny hammerings of the comrades at work up in the dome--the
  comrades that have climbed ahead._

  --C.R. KENNEDY, _The Servant in the House_


_What is Masonry_


What, then, is Masonry, and what is it trying to do in the world?
According to one of the _Old Charges_, Masonry is declared to be an
"ancient and honorable institution: ancient no doubt it is, as having
subsisted from time immemorial; and honorable it must be acknowledged
to be, as by natural tendency it conduces to make those so who are
obedient to its precepts. To so high an eminence has its credit been
advanced that in every age Monarchs themselves have been promoters of
the art, have not thought it derogatory from their dignity to exchange
the scepter for the trowel, have patronized our mysteries and joined
in our Assemblies."

While that eulogy is more than justified by sober facts, it does not
tell us what Masonry is, much less its mission and ministry to
mankind. If now we turn to the old, oft-quoted definition, we learn
that Masonry is "a system of morality veiled in allegory and
illustrated by symbols." That is, in so far, true enough, but it is
obviously inadequate, the more so when it uses the word "peculiar" as
describing the morality of Masonry; and it gives no hint of a
world-encircling fellowship and its far-ramifying influence. Another
definition has it that Masonry is "a science which is engaged in the
search after divine truth;"[163] but that is vague, indefinite, and
unsatisfactory, lacking any sense of the uniqueness of the Order, and
as applicable to one science as to another. For surely all science, of
whatever kind, is a search after divine truth, and a physical fact, as
Agassiz said, is as sacred as a moral truth--every fact being the
presence of God.

Still another writer defines Masonry as "Friendship, Love, and
Integrity--Friendship which rises superior to the fictitious
distinctions of society, the prejudices of religion, and the pecuniary
conditions of life; Love which knows no limit, nor inequality, nor
decay; Integrity which binds man to the eternal law of duty."[164]
Such is indeed the very essence and spirit of Masonry, but Masonry has
no monopoly of that spirit, and its uniqueness consists, rather, in
the form in which it seeks to embody and express the gracious and
benign spirit which is the genius of all the higher life of humanity.
Masonry is not everything; it is a thing as distinctly featured as a
statue by Phidias or a painting by Angelo. Definitions, like delays,
may be dangerous, but perhaps we can do no better than to adopt the
words of the German _Handbuch_[165] as the best description of it so
far given:

    _Masonry is the activity of closely united men who, employing
    symbolical forms borrowed principally from the mason's trade
    and from architecture, work for the welfare of mankind,
    striving morally to ennoble themselves and others, and
    thereby to bring about a universal league of mankind, which
    they aspire to exhibit even now on a small scale._

Civilization could hardly begin until man had learned to fashion for
himself a settled habitation, and thus the earliest of all human arts
and crafts, and perhaps also the noblest, is that of the builder.
Religion took outward shape when men first reared an altar for their
offerings, and surrounded it with a sanctuary of faith and awe, of
pity and consolation, and piled a cairn to mark the graves where their
dead lay asleep. History is no older than architecture. How fitting,
then, that the idea and art of building should be made the basis of a
great order of men which has no other aim than the upbuilding of
humanity in Faith, Freedom, and Friendship. Seeking to ennoble and
beautify life, it finds in the common task and constant labor of man
its sense of human unity, its vision of life as a temple "building and
built upon," and its emblems of those truths which make for purity of
character and the stability of society. Thus Masonry labors, linked
with the constructive genius of mankind, and so long as it remains
true to its Ideal no weapon formed against it can prosper.

One of the most impressive and touching things in human history is
that certain ideal interests have been set apart as especially
venerated among all peoples. Guilds have arisen to cultivate the
interests embodied in art, science, philosophy, fraternity, and
religion; to conserve the precious, hard-won inheritances of humanity;
to train men in their service; to bring their power to bear upon the
common life of mortals, and send through that common life the light
and glory of the Ideal--as the sun shoots its transfiguring rays
through a great dull cloud, evoking beauty from the brown earth. Such
is Masonry, which unites all these high interests and brings to their
service a vast, world-wide fraternity of free and devout men, built
upon a foundation of spiritual faith and moral idealism, whose
mission it is to make men friends, to refine and exalt their lives, to
deepen their faith and purify their dream, to turn them from the
semblance of life to homage for truth, beauty, righteousness, and
character. More than an institution, more than a tradition, more than
a society, Masonry is one of the forms of the Divine Life upon earth.
No one may ever hope to define a spirit so gracious, an order so
benign, an influence so prophetic of the present and future upbuilding
of the race.

There is a common notion that Masonry is a secret society, and this
idea is based on the secret rites used in its initiations, and the
signs and grips by which its members recognize each other. Thus it has
come to pass that the main aims of the Order are assumed to be a
secret policy or teaching,[166] whereas _its one great secret is that
it has no secret_. Its principles are published abroad in its
writings; its purposes and laws are known, and the times and places of
its meetings. Having come down from dark days of persecution, when all
the finer things sought the protection of seclusion, if it still
adheres to secret rites, it is not in order to hide the truth, but the
better to teach it more impressively, to train men in its pure
service, and to promote union and amity upon earth. Its signs and
grips serve as a kind of universal language, and still more as a
gracious cover for the practice of sweet charity--making it easier to
help a fellow man in dire plight without hurting his self-respect. If
a few are attracted to it by curiosity, all remain to pray, finding
themselves members of a great historic fellowship of the seekers and
finders of God.[167] It is old because it is true; had it been false
it would have perished long ago. When all men practice its simple
precepts, the innocent secrets of Masonry will be laid bare, its
mission accomplished, and its labor done.


Recalling the emphasis of the foregoing pages, it need hardly be added
that Masonry is in no sense a political party, still less a society
organized for social agitation. Indeed, because Masonry stands apart
from partisan feud and particular plans of social reform, she has been
held up to ridicule equally by the unthinking, the ambitious, and the
impatient. Her critics on this side are of two kinds. There are those
who hold that the humanitarian ideal is an error, maintaining that
human nature has no moral aptitude, and can be saved only by
submission to a definite system of dogma. Then there are those who
look for salvation solely in political action and social agitation,
who live in the delusion that man can be made better by passing laws
and counting votes, and to whom Masonry has nothing to offer because
in its ranks it permits no politics, much less party rancor. Advocates
of the first view have fought Masonry from the beginning with the
sharpest weapons, while those who hold the second view regard it with
contempt, as a thing useless and not worth fighting.[168]

Neither adversary understands Masonry and its cult of the creative
love for humanity, and of each man for his fellow, without which no
dogma is of any worth; lacking which, the best laid plans of social
seers "gang aft aglee." Let us look at things as they are. That we
must press forward towards righteousness--that we must hunger and
thirst after a social life that is true and pure, just and
merciful--all will agree; but they are blind who do not see that the
way is long and the process slow. What is it that so tragically delays
the march of man toward the better and wiser social order whereof our
prophets dream? Our age, like the ages gone before, is full of schemes
of every kind for the reform and betterment of mankind. Why do they
not succeed? Some fail, perhaps, because they are imprudent and
ill-considered, in that they expect too much of human nature and do
not take into account the stubborn facts of life. But why does not the
wisest and noblest plan do more than half what its advocates hope and
pray and labor so heroically to bring about? Because there are not
enough men fine enough of soul, large enough of sympathy, sweet enough
of spirit, and noble enough of nature to make the dream come true!

There are no valid arguments against a great-spirited social justice
but this--that men will not. Indolence, impurity, greed, injustice,
meanness of spirit, the aggressiveness of authority, and above all
jealousy--these are the real obstacles that thwart the nobler social
aspiration of humanity. There are too many men like _The
Master-Builder_ who tried to build higher than any one else, without
regard to others, all for his own selfish glory. Ibsen has shown us
how _The Pillars of Society_, resting on rotten foundations, came
crashing down, wounding the innocent in their wreck. Long ago it was
said that "through wisdom is an house builded, and by understanding it
is established; and by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with
pleasant and precious riches."[169] Time has shown that the House of
Wisdom must be founded upon righteousness, justice, purity, character,
faith in God and love of man, else it will fall when the floods
descend and the winds beat upon it. What we need to make our social
dreams come true is not more laws, not more dogmas, not less liberty,
but better men, cleaner minded, more faithful, with loftier ideals and
more heroic integrity; men who love the right, honor the truth,
worship purity, and prize liberty--upright men who meet all
horizontals at a perfect angle, assuring the virtue and stability of
the social order.

Therefore, when Masonry, instead of identifying itself with particular
schemes of reform, and thus becoming involved in endless turmoil and
dispute, estranging men whom she seeks to bless, devotes all her
benign energy and influence to _ennobling the souls of men_, she is
doing fundamental work in behalf of all high enterprises. By as much
as she succeeds, every noble cause succeeds; by as much as she fails,
everything fails! By its ministry to the individual man--drawing him
into the circle of a great friendship, exalting his faith, refining
his ideals, enlarging his sympathies, and setting his feet in the long
white path--Masonry best serves society and the state.[170] While it
is not a reformatory, it is a center of moral and spiritual power, and
its power is used, not only to protect the widow and orphan, but also,
and still more important, to remove the cause of their woe and need by
making men just, gentle, and generous to all their fellow mortals. Who
can measure such a silent, persistent, unresting labor; who can
describe its worth in a world of feud, of bitterness, of sorrow!

No one needs to be told that we are on the eve, if not in the midst,
of a most stupendous and bewildering revolution of social and
industrial life. It shakes England today. It makes France tremble
tomorrow. It alarms America next week. Men want shorter hours, higher
wages, and better homes--of course they do--but they need, more than
these things, to know and love each other; for the questions in
dispute can never be settled in an air of hostility. If they are ever
settled at all, and settled right, it must be in an atmosphere of
mutual recognition and respect, such as Masonry seeks to create and
make prevail. Whether it be a conflict of nations, or a clash of class
with class, appeal must be made to intelligence and the moral sense,
as befits the dignity of man. Amidst bitterness and strife Masonry
brings men of every rank and walk of life together as men, and nothing
else, at an altar where they can talk and not fight, discuss and not
dispute, and each may learn the point of view of his fellow. Other
hope there is none save in this spirit of friendship and fairness, of
democracy and the fellowship of man with man. Once this spirit has its
way with mankind, it will bring those brave, large reconstructions,
those profitable abnegations and brotherly feats of generosity that
will yet turn human life into a glad, beautiful, and triumphant
coöperation all round this sunlit world.

Surely the way of Masonry is wise. Instead of becoming only one more
factor in a world of factional feud, it seeks to remove all hostility
which may arise from social, national, or religious differences. It
helps to heal the haughtiness of the rich and the envy of the poor,
and tends to establish peace on earth by allaying all fanaticism and
hatred on account of varieties of language, race, creed, and even
color, while striving to make the wisdom of the past available for the
culture of men in faith and purity. Not a party, not a sect, not a
cult, it is a great order of men selected, initiated, sworn, and
trained to make sweet reason and the will of God prevail! Against the
ancient enmities and inhumanities of the world it wages eternal war,
without vengeance, without violence, but by softening the hearts of
men and inducing a better spirit. Apparitions of a day, here for an
hour and tomorrow gone, what is our puny warfare against evil and
ignorance compared with the warfare which this venerable Order has
been waging against them for ages, and will continue to wage after we
have fallen into dust!


Masonry, as it is much more than a political party or a social cult,
is also more than a church--unless we use the word church as Ruskin
used it when he said: "There is a true church wherever one hand meets
another helpfully, the only holy or mother church that ever was or
ever shall be!" It is true that Masonry is not _a_ religion, but it is
Religion, a worship in which all good men may unite, that each may
share the faith of all. Often it has been objected that some men leave
the Church and enter the Masonic Lodge, finding there a religious
home. Even so, but that may be the fault, not of Masonry, but of the
Church so long defamed by bigotry and distracted by sectarian feud,
and which has too often made acceptance of abstract dogmas a test of
its fellowship.[171] Naturally many fine minds have been estranged
from the Church, not because they were irreligious, but because they
were required to believe what it was impossible for them to believe;
and, rather than sacrifice their integrity of soul, they have turned
away from the last place from which a man should ever turn away. No
part of the ministry of Masonry is more beautiful and wise than its
appeal, not for tolerance, but for fraternity; not for uniformity, but
for unity of spirit amidst varieties of outlook and opinion. Instead
of criticizing Masonry, let us thank God for one altar where no man is
asked to surrender his liberty of thought and become an
indistinguishable atom in a mass of sectarian agglomeration. What a
witness to the worth of an Order that it brings together men of all
creeds in behalf of those truths which are greater than all sects,
deeper than all doctrines--the glory and the hope of man!

While Masonry is not a church, it has religiously preserved some
things of highest importance to the Church--among them the right of
each individual soul to its own religious faith. Holding aloof from
separate sects and creeds, it has taught all of them how to respect
and tolerate each other; asserting a principle broader than any of
them--the sanctity of the soul and the duty of every man to revere, or
at least to regard with charity, what is sacred to his fellows. It is
like the crypts underneath the old cathedrals--a place where men of
every creed who long for something deeper and truer, older and newer
than they have hitherto known, meet and unite. Having put away
childish things, they find themselves made one by a profound and
childlike faith, each bringing down into that quiet crypt his own
pearl of great price--

    The Hindu his innate disbelief in this world, and his
    unhesitating belief in another world; the Buddhist his
    perception of an eternal law, his submission to it, his
    gentleness, his pity; the Mohammedan, if nothing else, his
    sobriety; the Jew his clinging, through good and evil days,
    to the one God who loveth righteousness, and whose name is "I
    AM;" the Christian, that which is better than all, if those
    who doubt it would try it--our love of God, call Him what you
    will, manifested in our love of man, our love of the living,
    our love of the dead, our living and undying love. Who knows
    but that the crypt of the past may become the church of the

Of no one age, Masonry belongs to all ages; of no one religion, it
finds great truths in all religions. Indeed, it holds that truth which
is common to all elevating and benign religions, and is the basis of
each; that faith which underlies all sects and over-arches all creeds,
like the sky above and the river bed below the flow of mortal years.
It does not undertake to explain or dogmatically to settle those
questions or solve those dark mysteries which out-top human knowledge.
Beyond the facts of faith it does not go. With the subtleties of
speculation concerning those truths, and the unworldly envies growing
out of them, it has not to do. There divisions begin, and Masonry was
not made to divide men, but to unite them, leaving each man free to
think his own thought and fashion his own system of ultimate truth.
All its emphasis rests upon two extremely simple and profound
principles--love of God and love of man. Therefore, all through the
ages it has been, and is today, a meeting place of differing minds,
and a prophecy of the final union of all reverent and devout souls.

Time was when one man framed a dogma and declared it to be the eternal
truth. Another man did the same thing, with a different dogma; then
the two began to hate each other with an unholy hatred, each seeking
to impose his dogma upon the other--and that is an epitome of some of
the blackest pages of history. Against those old sectarians who
substituted intolerance for charity, persecution for friendship, and
did not love God because they hated their neighbors, Masonry made
eloquent protest, putting their bigotry to shame by its simple
insight, and the dignity of its golden voice. A vast change of heart
is now taking place in the religious world, by reason of an exchange
of thought and courtesy, and a closer personal touch, and the various
sects, so long estranged, are learning to unite upon the things most
worth while and the least open to debate. That is to say, they are
moving toward the Masonic position, and when they arrive Masonry will
witness a scene which she has prophesied for ages.

At last, in the not distant future, the old feuds of the sects will
come to an end, forgotten in the discovery that the just, the brave,
the true-hearted are everywhere of one religion, and that when the
masks of misunderstanding are taken off they know and love one
another. Our little dogmas will have their day and cease to be, lost
in the vision of a truth so great that all men are one in their
littleness; one also in their assurance of the divinity of the soul
and "the kindness of the veiled Father of men." Then men of every name
will ask, when they meet:

  Not what is your creed?
  But what is your need?

High above all dogmas that divide, all bigotries that blind, all
bitterness that beclouds, will be written the simple words of the one
eternal religion--the Fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, the
moral law, the golden rule, and the hope of a life everlasting!


[163] _Symbolism of Freemasonry_, by Dr. Mackey.

[164] _History and Philosophy of Masonry_, by A.C.L. Arnold, chap. xvi.
To say of any man--of Socrates, for example--who had the spirit of
Friendship and Integrity, that he was a Mason, is in a sense true, but
it is misleading. Nevertheless, if a man have not that spirit, he is
not a Mason, though he may have received the thirty-third degree.

[165] Vol. i, p. 320. The _Handbuch_ is an encyclopedia of Masonry,
published in 1900. See admirable review of it, _A. Q. C._, xi, 64.

[166] Much has been written about the secrecy of Masonry. Hutchinson,
in his lecture on "The Secrecy of Masons," lays all the stress upon its
privacy as a shelter for the gentle ministry of Charity (_Spirit of
Masonry_, lecture x). Arnold is more satisfactory in his essay on "The
Philosophy of Mystery," quoting the words of Carlyle in _Sartor
Resartus_: "Bees will not work except in darkness; thoughts will not
work except in silence; neither will virtue work except in secrecy"
(_History and Philosophy of Masonry_, chap. xxi). But neither writer
seems to realize the psychology and pedagogy of secrecy--the value of
curiosity, of wonder and expectation, in the teaching of great truths
deemed commonplace because old. Even in that atmosphere, the real
secret of Masonry remains hidden to many--as sunlight hides the depths
of heaven.

[167] Read the noble chapter on "Prayer as a Masonic Obligation," in
_Practical Masonic Lectures_, by Samuel Lawrence (lecture x).

[168] Read a thoughtful "Exposition of Freemasonry," by Dr. Paul Carus,
_Open Court_, May, 1913.

[169] Proverbs 24:3, 4.

[170] While Masonry abjures political questions and disputes in its
Lodges, it is all the while training good citizens, and through the
quality of its men it influences public life--as Washington, Franklin,
and Marshall carried the spirit of Masonry into the organic law of this
republic. It is not politics that corrupts character; it is bad
character that corrupts politics--and by building men up to spiritual
faith and character, Masonry is helping to build up a state that will
endure the shocks of time; a nobler structure than ever was wrought of
mortar and marble (_The Principles of Freemasonry in the Life of
Nations_, by Findel).

[171] Not a little confusion has existed, and still exists, in regard
to the relation of Masonry to religion. Dr. Mackey said that old
Craft-masonry was sectarian (_Symbolism of Masonry_); but it was not
more so than Dr. Mackey himself, who held the curious theory that the
religion of the Hebrews was genuine and that of the Egyptians spurious.
Nor is there any evidence that Craft-masonry was sectarian, but much to
the contrary, as has been shown in reference to the invocations in the
_Old Charges_. At any rate, if it was ever sectarian, it ceased to be
so with the organization of the Grand Lodge of England. Later, some of
the chaplains of the order sought to identify Masonry with
Christianity, as Hutchinson did--and even Arnold in his chapter on
"Christianity and Freemasonry" (_History and Philosophy of Masonry_).
All this confusion results from a misunderstanding of what religion is.
Religions are many; religion is one--perhaps we may say one thing, but
that one thing includes everything--the life of God in the soul of man,
which finds expression in all the forms which life and love and duty
take. This conception of religion shakes the poison out of all our wild
flowers, and shows us that it is the inspiration of all scientific
inquiry, all striving for liberty, all virtue and charity; the spirit
of all thought, the motif of all great music, the soul of all sublime
literature. The church has no monopoly of religion, nor did the Bible
create it. Instead, it was religion--the natural and simple trust of
the soul in a Power above and within it, and its quest of a right
relation to that Power--that created the Bible and the Church, and,
indeed, all our higher human life. The soul of man is greater than all
books, deeper than all dogmas, and more enduring than all institutions.
Masonry seeks to free men from a limiting conception of religion, and
thus to remove one of the chief causes of sectarianism. It is itself
one of the forms of beauty wrought by the human soul under the
inspiration of the Eternal Beauty, and as such is religious.

[172] _Chips from a German Workshop_, by Max Müller.


  _Masonry directs us to divest ourselves of confined and bigoted
  notions, and teaches us, that Humanity is the soul of Religion. We
  never suffer any religious disputes in our Lodges, and, as Masons,
  we only pursue the universal religion, the Religion of Nature.
  Worshipers of the God of Mercy, we believe that in every nation,
  he that feareth Him and worketh righteousness is accepted of Him.
  All Masons, therefore, whether Christians, Jews, or Mahomedans,
  who violate not the rule of right, written by the Almighty upon
  the tables of the heart, who_ DO _fear Him, and_ WORK
  _righteousness, we are to acknowledge as brethren; and, though we
  take different roads, we are not to be angry with, or persecute
  each other on that account. We mean to travel to the same place;
  we know that the end of our journey is the same; and we
  affectionately hope to meet in the Lodge of perfect happiness. How
  lovely is an institution fraught with sentiments like these! How
  agreeable must it be to Him who is seated on a throne of
  Everlasting Mercy, to the God who is no respecter of persons!_

  --WM. HUTCHINSON, _The Spirit of Masonry_


_The Masonic Philosophy_

"Hast any philosophy in thee, Shepherd?"[173] was the question of
Touchstone in the Shakespeare play; and that is the question we must
always ask ourselves. Long ago Kant said that it is the mission of
philosophy, not to discover truth, but to set it in order, to seek out
the rhythm of things and their reason for being. Beginning in wonder,
it sees the familiar as if it were strange, and its mind is full of
the air that plays round every subject. Spacious, humane, eloquent, it
is "a blend of science, poetry, religion and logic"[174]--a
softening, enlarging, ennobling influence, giving us a wider and
clearer outlook, more air, more room, more light, and more background.

When we look at Masonry in this large and mellow light, it is like a
stately old cathedral, gray with age, rich in associations, its steps
worn by innumerable feet of the living and the dead--not piteous, but
strong and enduring. Entering its doors, we wonder at its lofty
spaces, its windows with the dimness and glory of the Infinite behind
them, the spring of its pillars, the leap of its arches, and its roof
inlaid with stars. Inevitably we ask, whence came this temple of faith
and friendship, and what does it mean--rising lightly as a lyric,
uplifted by the hunger for truth and the love for beauty, and exempt
from the shock of years and the ravages of decay? What faith builded
this home of the soul, what philosophy underlies and upholds it? Truly
did Longfellow sing of _The Builders_:

  In the elder years of art,
    Builders wrought with greatest care
  Each minute and hidden part,
    For the gods see everywhere.


If we examine the foundations of Masonry, we find that it rests upon
the most fundamental of all truths, the first truth and the last, the
sovereign and supreme Reality. Upon the threshold of its Lodges every
man, whether prince or peasant, is asked to confess his faith in God
the Father Almighty, the Architect and Master-Builder of the
Universe.[175] That is not a mere form of words, but the deepest and
most solemn affirmation that human lips can make. To be indifferent
to God is to be indifferent to the greatest of all realities, that
upon which the aspiration of humanity rests for its uprising passion
of desire. No institution that is dumb concerning the meaning of life
and the character of the universe, can last. It is a house built upon
the sand, doomed to fall when the winds blow and floods beat upon it,
lacking a sure foundation. No human fraternity that has not its
inspiration in the Fatherhood of God, confessed or unconfessed, can
long endure; it is a rope of sand, weak as water, and its fine
sentiment quickly evaporates. Life leads, if we follow its meanings
and think in the drift of its deeper conclusions, to one God as the
ground of the world, and upon that ground Masonry lays her
corner-stone. Therefore, it endures and grows, and the gates of hell
cannot prevail against it!

While Masonry is theocratic in its faith and philosophy,[176] it does
not limit its conception of the Divine, much less insist upon any one
name for "the Nameless One of a hundred names." Indeed, no feature of
Masonry is more fascinating than its age-long quest of the Lost
Word,[177] the Ineffable Name; a quest that never tires, never
tarries, knowing the while that every name is inadequate, and all
words are but symbols of a Truth too great for words--every letter of
the alphabet, in fact, having been evolved from some primeval sign or
signal of the faith and hope of humanity. Thus Masonry, so far from
limiting the thought of God, is evermore in search of a more
satisfying and revealing vision of the meaning of the universe, now
luminous and lovely, now dark and terrible; and it invites all men to
unite in the quest--

  One in the freedom of the Truth,
    One in the joy of paths untrod,
  One in the soul's perennial Youth,
    One in the larger thought of God.

Truly the human consciousness of fellowship with the Eternal, under
whatever name, may well hush all words, still more hush argument and
anathema. Possession, not recognition, is the only thing important;
and if it is not recognized, the fault must surely be, in large part,
our own. Given the one great experience, and before long kindred
spirits will join in the _Universal Prayer_ of Alexander Pope, himself
a Mason:

  Father of all! in every age,
    In every clime adored,
  By Saint, by Savage, and by Sage,
    Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!

With eloquent unanimity our Masonic thinkers proclaim the unity and
love of God--whence their vision of the ultimate unity and love of
mankind--to be the great truth of the Masonic philosophy; the unity of
God and the immortality of the soul.[178] Amidst polytheisms,
dualisms, and endless confusions, they hold it to have been the great
mission of Masonry to preserve these precious truths, beside which, in
the long result of thought and faith, all else fades and grows dim. Of
this there is no doubt; and science has come at last to vindicate this
wise insight, by unveiling the unity of the universe with overwhelming
emphasis. Unquestionably the universe is an inexhaustible wonder.
Still, it is a wonder, not a contradiction, and we can never find its
rhythm save in the truth of the unity of all things in God. Other
clue there is none. Down to this deep foundation Masonry digs for a
basis of its temple, and builds securely. If this be false or
unstable, then is

  The pillar'd firmament rottenness,
  And earth's base built on stubble.

Upon the altar of Masonry lies the open Bible which, despite the
changes and advances of the ages, remains the greatest Modern
Book--the moral manual of civilization.[179] All through its pages,
through the smoke of Sinai, through "the forest of the Psalms,"
through proverbs and parables, along the dreamy ways of prophecy, in
gospels and epistles is heard the everlasting truth of one God who is
love, and who requires of men that they love one another, do justly,
be merciful, keep themselves unspotted by evil, and walk humbly before
Him in whose great hand they stand. There we read of the Man of
Galilee who taught that, in the far distances of the divine
Fatherhood, all men were conceived in love, and so are akin--united in
origin, duty, and destiny. Therefore we are to relieve the distressed,
put the wanderer into his way, and divide our bread with the hungry,
which is but the way of doing good to ourselves; for we are all
members of one great family, and the hurt of one means the injury of

This profound and reverent faith from which, as from a never-failing
spring, flow heroic devotedness, moral self-respect, authentic
sentiments of fraternity, inflexible fidelity in life and effectual
consolation in death, Masonry has at all times religiously taught.
Perseveringly it has propagated it through the centuries, and never
more zealously than in our age. Scarcely a Masonic discourse is
pronounced, or a Masonic lesson read, by the highest officer or the
humblest lecturer, that does not earnestly teach this one true
religion which is the very soul of Masonry, its basis and apex, its
light and power. Upon that faith it rests; in that faith it lives and
labors; and by that faith it will conquer at last, when the noises and
confusions of today have followed the tangled feet that made them.


Out of this simple faith grows, by inevitable logic, the philosophy
which Masonry teaches in signs and symbols, in pictures and parables.
Stated briefly, stated vividly, it is that behind the pageant of
nature, in it and over it, there is a Supreme Mind which initiates,
impels, and controls all. That behind the life of man and its pathetic
story in history, in it and over it, there is a righteous Will, the
intelligent Conscience of the Most High. In short, that the first and
last thing in the universe is mind, that the highest and deepest thing
is conscience, and that the final reality is the absoluteness of love.
Higher than that faith cannot fly; deeper than that thought cannot

  No deep is deep enough to show
  The springs whence being starts to flow.
  No fastness of the soul reveals
  Life's subtlest impulse and appeals.
  We seem to come, we seem to go;
  But whence or whither who can know?
  Unemptiable, unfillable,
  It's all in that one syllable--
  God! Only God. God first, God last.
  God, infinitesimally vast;
  God who is love, love which is God,
  The rootless, everflowering rod!

There is but one real alternative to this philosophy. It is not
atheism--which is seldom more than a revulsion from
superstition--because the adherents of absolute atheism are so few, if
any, and its intellectual position is too precarious ever to be a
menace. An atheist, if such there be, is an orphan, a waif wandering
the midnight streets of time, homeless and alone. Nor is the
alternative agnosticism, which in the nature of things can be only a
passing mood of thought, when, indeed, it is not a confession of
intellectual bankruptcy, or a labor-saving device to escape the toil
and fatigue of high thinking. It trembles in perpetual hesitation, like
a donkey equi-distant between two bundles of hay, starving to death but
unable to make up its mind. No; the real alternative is materialism,
which played so large a part in philosophy fifty years ago, and which,
defeated there, has betaken itself to the field of practical affairs.
This is the dread alternative of a denial of the great faith of
humanity, a blight which would apply a sponge to all the high
aspirations and ideals of the race. According to this dogma, the first
and last things in the universe are atoms, their number, dance,
combinations, and growth. All mind, all will, all emotion, all
character, all love is incidental, transitory, vain. The sovereign fact
is mud, the final reality is dirt, and the decree of destiny is "dust
unto dust!"

Against this ultimate horror, it need hardly be said that in every age
Masonry has stood as a witness for the life of the spirit. In the war
of the soul against dust, in the choice between dirt and Deity, it has
allied itself on the side of the great idealisms and optimisms of
humanity. It takes the spiritual view of life and the world as being
most in accord with the facts of experience, the promptings of right
reason, and the voice of conscience. In other words, it dares to read
the meaning of the universe through what is highest in man, not
through what is lower, asserting that the soul is akin to the Eternal
Spirit, and that by a life of righteousness its eternal quality is
revealed.[180] Upon this philosophy Masonry rests, and finds a rock

  On Him, this corner-stone we build,
    On Him, this edifice erect;
  And still, until this work's fulfilled,
    May He the workman's ways direct.

Now, consider! All our human thinking, whether it be in science,
philosophy, or religion, rests for its validity upon faith in the
kinship of man with God. If that faith be false, the temple of human
thought falls to wreck, and behold! we know not anything and have no
way of learning. But the fact that the universe is intelligible, that
we can follow its forces, trace its laws, and make a map of it,
finding the infinite even in the infinitesimal, shows that the mind of
man is akin to the Mind that made it. Also, there are two aspects of
the nature of man which lift him above the brute and bespeak his
divine heredity. They are reason and conscience, both of which are of
more than sense and time, having their source, satisfaction, and
authority in an unseen, eternal world. That is to say, man is a being
who, if not actually immortal, is called by the very law and necessity
of his being to live as if he were immortal. Unless life be utterly
abortive, having neither rhyme nor reason, the soul of man is itself
the one sure proof and prophet of its own high faith.

Consider, too, what it means to say that this mighty soul of man is
akin to the Eternal Soul of all things. It means that we are not
shapes of mud placed here by chance, but sons of the Most High,
citizens of eternity, deathless as God our Father is deathless; and
that there is laid upon us an abiding obligation to live in a manner
befitting the dignity of the soul. It means that what a man thinks,
the parity of his feeling, the character of his activity and career
are of vital and ceaseless concern to the Eternal. Here is a
philosophy which lights up the universe like a sunrise, confirming the
dim, dumb certainties of the soul, evolving meaning out of mystery,
and hope out of what would else be despair. It brings out the colors
of human life, investing our fleeting mortal years--brief at their
longest, broken at its best--with enduring significance and beauty. It
gives to each of us, however humble and obscure, a place and a part in
the stupendous historical enterprise; makes us fellow workers with the
Eternal in His redemptive making of humanity, and binds us to do His
will upon earth as it is done in heaven. It subdues the intellect; it
softens the heart; it begets in the will that sense of self-respect
without which high and heroic living cannot be. Such is the philosophy
upon which Masonry builds; and from it flow, as from the rock smitten
in the wilderness, those bright streams that wander through and water
this human world of ours.


Because this is so; because the human soul is akin to God, and is
endowed with powers to which no one may set a limit, it is and of
right ought to be free. Thus, by the logic of its philosophy, not less
than the inspiration of its faith, Masonry has been impelled to make
its historic demand for liberty of conscience, for the freedom of the
intellect, and for the right of all men to stand erect, unfettered,
and unafraid, equal before God and the law, each respecting the rights
of his fellows. What we have to remember is, that before this truth
was advocated by any order, or embodied in any political constitution,
it was embedded in the will of God and the constitution of the human
soul. Nor will Masonry ever swerve one jot or tittle from its ancient
and eloquent demand till all men, everywhere, are free in body, mind,
and soul. As it is, Lowell was right when he wrote:

  We are not free: Freedom doth not consist
  In musing with our faces toward the Past
  While petty cares and crawling interests twist
  Their spider threads about us, which at last
  Grow strong as iron chains and cramp and bind
  In formal narrowness heart, soul, and mind.
  Freedom is recreated year by year,
  In hearts wide open on the Godward side,
  In souls calm-cadenced as the whirling sphere,
  In minds that sway the future like a tide.
  No broadest creeds can hold her, and no codes;
  She chooses men for her august abodes,
  Building them fair and fronting to the dawn.

Some day, when the cloud of prejudice has been dispelled by the
searchlight of truth, the world will honor Masonry for its service to
freedom of thought and the liberty of faith. No part of its history
has been more noble, no principle of its teaching has been more
precious than its age-long demand for the right and duty of every soul
to seek that light by which no man was ever injured, and that truth
which makes man free. Down through the centuries--often in times when
the highest crime was not murder, but thinking, and the human
conscience was a captive dragged at the wheel of the ecclesiastical
chariot--always and everywhere Masonry has stood for the right of the
soul to know the truth, and to look up unhindered from the lap of
earth into the face of God. Not freedom from faith, but freedom of
faith, has been its watchword, on the ground that as despotism is the
mother of anarchy, so bigoted dogmatism is the prolific source of
scepticism--knowing, also, that our race has made its most rapid
advance in those fields where it has been free the longest.

Against those who would fetter thought in order to perpetuate an
effete authority, who would give the skinny hand of the past a scepter
to rule the aspiring and prophetic present, and seal the lips of
living scholars with the dicta of dead scholastics, Masonry will never
ground arms! Her plea is for government without tyranny and religion
without superstition, and as surely as suns rise and set her fight
will be crowned with victory. Defeat is impossible, the more so
because she fights not with force, still less with intrigue, but with
the power of truth, the persuasions of reason, and the might of
gentleness, seeking not to destroy her enemies, but to win them to the
liberty of the truth and the fellowship of love.

Not only does Masonry plead for that liberty of faith which permits a
man to hold what seems to him true, but also, and with equal emphasis,
for the liberty which faith gives to the soul, emancipating it from
the despotism of doubt and the fetters of fear. Therefore, by every
art of spiritual culture, it seeks to keep alive in the hearts of men
a great and simple trust in the goodness of God, in the worth of life,
and the divinity of the soul--a trust so apt to be crushed by the
tramp of heavy years. Help a man to a firm faith in an Infinite Pity
at the heart of this dark world, and from how many fears is he free!
Once a temple of terror, haunted by shadows, his heart becomes "a
cathedral of serenity and gladness," and his life is enlarged and
unfolded into richness of character and service. Nor is there any
tyranny like the tyranny of time. Give a man a day to live, and he is
like a bird in a cage beating against its bars. Give him a year in
which to move to and fro with his thoughts and plans, his purposes
and hopes, and you have liberated him from the despotism of a day.
Enlarge the scope of his life to fifty years, and he has a moral
dignity of attitude and a sweep of power impossible hitherto. But give
him a sense of Eternity; let him know that he plans and works in an
ageless time; that above his blunders and sins there hovers and waits
the infinite--then he is free!

Nevertheless, if life on earth be worthless, so is immortality. The
real question, after all, is not as to the quantity of life, but its
quality--its depth, its purity, its fortitude, its fineness of spirit
and gesture of soul. Hence the insistent emphasis of Masonry upon the
building of character and the practice of righteousness; upon that
moral culture without which man is rudimentary, and that spiritual
vision without which intellect is the slave of greed or passion. What
makes a man great and freed of soul, here or anywhither, is loyalty to
the laws of right, of truth, of purity, of love, and the lofty will of
God. How to live is the one matter; and the oldest man in his ripe age
has yet to seek a wiser way than to build, year by year, upon a
foundation of faith in God, using the Square of justice, the
Plumb-line of rectitude, the Compass to restrain the passions, and the
Rule by which to divide our time into labor, rest, and service to our
fellows. Let us begin now and seek wisdom in the beauty of virtue and
live in the light of it, rejoicing; so in this world shall we have a
foregleam of the world to come--bringing down to the Gate in the Mist
something that ought not to die, assured that, though hearts are dust,
as God lives what is excellent is enduring!


Bede the Venerable, in giving an account of the deliberations of the
King of Northumberland and his counsellors, as to whether they should
allow the Christian missionaries to teach a new faith to the people,
recites this incident. After much debate, a gray-haired chief recalled
the feeling which came over him on seeing a little bird pass through,
on fluttering wing, the warm bright hall of feasting, while winter
winds raged without. The moment of its flight was full of sweetness
and light for the bird, but it was brief. Out of the darkness it flew,
looked upon the bright scene, and vanished into the darkness again,
none knowing whence it came nor whither it went.

"Like this," said the veteran chief, "is human life. We come, our wise
men cannot tell whence. We go, and they cannot tell whither. Our
flight is brief. Therefore, if there be anyone that can teach us more
about it--in God's name let us hear him!"

Even so, let us hear what Masonry has to say in the great argument for
the immortality of the soul. But, instead of making an argument linked
and strong, it presents a picture--the oldest, if not the greatest
drama in the world--the better to make men feel those truths which no
mortal words can utter. It shows us the black tragedy of life in its
darkest hour; the forces of evil, so cunning yet so stupid, which come
up against the soul, tempting it to treachery, and even to the
degredation of saving life by giving up all that makes life worth
living; a tragedy which, in its simplicity and power, makes the heart
ache and stand still. Then, out of the thick darkness there rises,
like a beautiful white star, that in man which is most akin to God,
his love of truth, his loyalty to the highest, and his willingness to
go down into the night of death, if only virtue may live and shine
like a pulse of fire in the evening sky. Here is the ultimate and
final witness of our divinity and immortality--the sublime,
death-defying moral heroism of the human soul! Surely the eternal
paradox holds true at the gates of the grave: he who loses his life
for the sake of truth, shall find it anew! And here Masonry rests the
matter, assured that since there is that in man which makes him hold
to the moral ideal, and the integrity of his own soul, against all
the brute forces of the world, the God who made man in His own image
will not let him die in the dust! Higher vision it is not given us to
see in the dim country of this world; deeper truth we do not need to

Working with hands soon to be folded, we build up the structure of our
lives from what our fingers can feel, our eyes can see, and our ears
can hear. Till, in a moment--marvelous whether it come in storm and
tears, or softly as twilight breath beneath unshadowed skies--we are
called upon to yield our grasp of these solid things, and trust
ourselves to the invisible Soul within us, which betakes itself along
an invisible path into the Unknown. It is strange: a door opens into a
new world; and man, child of the dust that he is, follows his
adventurous Soul, as the Soul follows an inscrutable Power which is
more elusive than the wind that bloweth where it listeth. Suddenly,
with fixed eyes and blanched lips, we lie down and wait; and life,
well-fought or wasted, bright or somber, lies behind us--a dream that
is dreamt, a thing that is no more. O Death,

  Thou hast destroyed it,
  The beautiful world,
  With powerful fist:
  In ruin 'tis hurled,
  By the blow of a demigod shattered!
  The scattered
  Fragments into the void we carry,
  The beauty perished beyond restoring.
  For the children of men,
  Build it again,
  In thine own bosom build it anew!

O Youth, for whom these lines are written, fear not; fear not to
believe that the soul is as eternal as the moral order that obtains in
it, wherefore you shall forever pursue that divine beauty which has
here so touched and transfigured you; for that is the faith of
humanity, your race, and those who are fairest in its records. Let us
lay it to heart, love it, and act upon it, that we may learn its deep
meaning as regards others--our dear dead whom we think of, perhaps,
every day--and find it easier to be brave and hopeful, even when we
are sad. It is not a faith to be taken lightly, but deeply and in the
quiet of the soul, if so that we may grow into its high meanings for
ourselves, as life grows or declines.

  Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
    As the swift seasons roll!
    Leave thy low-vaulted past!
  Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
  Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
    Till thou at length art free,
  Leaving thine outgrown shell by life's unresting sea!


[173] _As You Like It_ (act ii, scene ii). Shakespeare makes no
reference to any secret society, but some of his allusions suggest that
he knew more than he wrote. He describes "The singing Masons building
roofs of gold" (_Henry V_, act i, scene ii), and compares them to a
swarm of bees at work. Did he know what the bee hive means in the
symbolism of Masonry? (Read an interesting article on "Shakespeare and
Freemasonry," _American Freemason_, January, 1912.) It reminds one of
the passage in the _Complete Angler_, by Isaak Walton, in which the
gentle fisherman talks about the meaning of Pillars in language very
like that used in the _Old Charges_. But Hawkins in his edition of the
_Angler_ recalls that Walton was a friend of Elias Ashmole, and may
have learned of Masonry from him. (_A Short Masonic History_, by F.
Armitage, vol. ii, chap. 3.)

[174] _Some Problems of Philosophy_, by William James.

[175] In 1877 the Grand Orient of France removed the Bible from its
altar and erased from its ritual all reference to Deity; and for so
doing it was disfellowshiped by nearly every Grand Lodge in the world.
The writer of the article on "Masonry" in the _Catholic Encyclopedia_
recalls this fact with emphasis; but he is much fairer to the Grand
Orient than many Masonic writers have been. He understands that this
does not mean that the Masons of France are atheistic, as that word is
ordinarily used, but that _they do not believe that there exist
Atheists in the absolute sense of the word_; and he quotes the words of
Albert Pike: "A man who has a higher conception of God than those about
him, and who denies that their conception is God, is very likely to be
called an Atheist by men who are really far less believers in God than
he" (_Morals and Dogma_, p. 643). Thus, as Pike goes on to say, the
early Christians, who said the heathen idols were no Gods, were
accounted Atheists, and accordingly put to death. We need not hold a
brief for the Grand Orient, but it behooves us to understand its
position and point of view, lest we be found guilty of a petty bigotry
in regard to a word when the _reality_ is a common treasure. First, it
was felt that France needed the aid of every man who was an enemy of
Latin ecclesiasticism, in order to bring about a separation of Church
and State; hence the attitude of the Grand Orient. Second, the Masons
of France agree with Plutarch that no conception of God at all is
better than a dark, distorted superstition which wraps men in terror;
and they erased a word which, for many, was associated with an unworthy
faith--the better to seek a unity of effort in behalf of liberty of
thought and a loftier faith. (_The Religion of Plutarch_, by Oakesmith;
also the Bacon essay on _Superstition_.) We may deem this unwise, but
we ought at least to understand its spirit and purpose.

[176] _Theocratic Philosophy of Freemasonry_, by Oliver.

[177] "History of the Lost Word," by J.F. Garrison, appendix to _Early
History and Antiquities of Freemasonry_, by G.F. Fort--one of the most
brilliant Masonic books, both in scholarship and literary style.

[178] _Symbolism of Masonry_, by Dr. Mackey (chap. i) and other books
too many to name. It need hardly be said that the truth of the trinity,
whereof the triangle is an emblem--though with Pythagoras it was a
symbol of holiness, of health--was never meant to contradict the unity
of God, but to make it more vivid. As too often interpreted, it is
little more than a crude tri-theism, but at its best it is not so. "God
thrice, not three Gods," was the word of St. Augustine (_Essay on the
Trinity_), meaning three aspects of God--not the mathematics of His
nature, but its manifoldness, its variety in unity. The late W.N.
Clarke--who put more common sense into theology than any other man of
his day--pointed out that, in our time, the old debate about the
trinity is as dead as Caesar; the truth of God as a Father having taken
up into itself the warmth, color, and tenderness of the truth of the
trinity--which, as said on an earlier page, was a vision of God through
the family (_Christian Doctrine of God_).

[179] _The Bible, the Great Source of Masonic Secrets and Observances_,
by Dr. Oliver. No Mason need be told what a large place the Bible has
in the symbolism, ritual, and teaching of the Order, and it has an
equally large place in its literature.

[180] Read the great argument of Plato in _The Republic_ (book vi). The
present writer does not wish to impose upon Masonry any dogma of
technical Idealism, subjective, objective, or otherwise. No more than
others does he hold to a static universe which unrolls in time a plan
made out before, but to a world of wonders where life has the risk and
zest of adventure. He rejoices in the New Idealism of Rudolf Eucken,
with its gospel of "an independent spiritual life"--independent, that
is, of vicissitude--and its insistence upon the fact that the meaning
of life depends upon our "building up within ourselves a life that is
not of time" (_Life's Basis and Life's Ideal_). But the intent of these
pages is, rather, to emphasize the spiritual view of life and the world
as the philosophy underlying Masonry, and upon which it builds--the
reality of the ideal, its sovereignty over our fragile human life, and
the immutable necessity of loyalty to it, if we are to build for
eternity. After all, as Plotinus said, philosophy "serves to point the
way and guide the traveller; the vision is for him who will see it."
But the direction means much to those who are seeking the truth to know


   _The crest and crowning of all good,
    Life's final star, is Brotherhood;
    For it will bring again to Earth
    Her long-lost Poesy and Mirth;
    Will send new light on every face,
    A kingly power upon the race.
    And till it comes we men are slaves,
  And travel downward to the dust of graves._

    _Come, clear the way, then, clear the way:
    Blind creeds and kings have had their day.
    Break the dead branches from the path:
    Our hope is in the aftermath--
    Our hope is in heroic men,
    Star-led to build the world again.
    To this event the ages ran:
  Make way for Brotherhood--make way for Man._

    --EDWIN MARKHAM, _Poems_


_The Spirit of Masonry_


Outside of the home and the house of God there is nothing in this
world more beautiful than the Spirit of Masonry. Gentle, gracious, and
wise, its mission is to form mankind into a great redemptive
brotherhood, a league of noble and free men enlisted in the radiant
enterprise of working out in time the love and will of the Eternal.
Who is sufficient to describe a spirit so benign? With what words may
one ever hope to capture and detain that which belongs of right to the
genius of poetry and song, by whose magic those elusive and impalpable
realities find embodiment and voice?

With picture, parable, and stately drama, Masonry appeals to lovers of
beauty, bringing poetry and symbol to the aid of philosophy, and art
to the service of character. Broad and tolerant in its teaching, it
appeals to men of intellect, equally by the depth of its faith and its
plea for liberty of thought--helping them to think things through to
a more satisfying and hopeful vision of the meaning of life and the
mystery of the world. But its profoundest appeal, more eloquent than
all others, is to the deep heart of man, out of which are the issues
of life and destiny. When all is said, it is as a man thinketh in his
heart whether life be worth while or not, and whether he is a help or
a curse to his race.

  Here lies the tragedy of our race:
  Not that men are poor;
  All men know something of poverty.
  Not that men are wicked;
  Who can claim to be good?
  Not that men are ignorant;
  Who can boast that he is wise?
  But that men are strangers!

Masonry is Friendship--friendship, first, with the great Companion, of
whom our own hearts tell us, who is always nearer to us than we are to
ourselves, and whose inspiration and help is the greatest fact of
human experience. To be in harmony with His purposes, to be open to
His suggestions, to be conscious of fellowship with Him--this is
Masonry on its Godward side. Then, turning manward, friendship sums it
all up. To be friends with all men, however they may differ from us in
creed, color, or condition; to fill every human relation with the
spirit of friendship; is there anything more or better than this that
the wisest, and best of men can hope to do?[181] Such is the spirit of
Masonry; such is its ideal, and if to realize it all at once is denied
us, surely it means much to see it, love it, and labor to make it come

Nor is this Spirit of Friendship a mere sentiment held by a
sympathetic, and therefore unstable, fraternity, which would dissolve
the concrete features of humanity into a vague blur of misty emotion.
No; it has its roots in a profound philosophy which sees that the
universe is friendly, and that men must learn to be friends if they
would live as befits the world in which they live, as well as their
own origin and destiny. For, since God is the life of all that was,
is, and is to be; and since we are all born into the world by one
high wisdom and one vast love, we are brothers to the last man of us,
forever! For better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and
in health, and even after death us do part, all men are held together
by ties of spiritual kinship, sons of one eternal Friend. Upon this
fact human fraternity rests, and it is the basis of the plea of
Masonry, not only for freedom, but for friendship among men.

Thus friendship, so far from being a mush of concessions, is in fact
the constructive genius of the universe. Love is ever the Builder, and
those who have done most to establish the City of God on earth have
been the men who loved their fellow men. Once let this spirit prevail,
and the wrangling sects will be lost in a great league of those who
love in the service of those who suffer. No man will then revile the
faith in which his neighbor finds help for today and hope for the
morrow; pity will smite him mute, and love will teach him that God is
found in many ways, by those who seek him with honest hearts. Once let
this spirit rule in the realm of trade, and the law of the jungle will
cease, and men will strive to build a social order in which all men
may have opportunity "to live, and to live well," as Aristotle defined
the purpose of society. Here is the basis of that magical stability
aimed at by the earliest artists when they sought to build for
eternity, by imitating on earth the House of God.


Our human history, saturated with blood and blistered with tears, is
the story of man making friends with man. Society has evolved from a
feud into a friendship by the slow growth of love and the welding of
man, first to his kin, and then to his kind.[182] The first men who
walked in the red dawn of time lived every man for himself, his heart a
sanctuary of suspicions, every man feeling that every other man was his
foe, and therefore his prey. So there were war, strife, and bloodshed.
Slowly there came to the savage a gleam of the truth that it is better
to help than to hurt, and he organized clans and tribes. But tribes
were divided by rivers and mountains, and the men on one side of the
river felt that the men on the other side were their enemies. Again
there were war, pillage, and sorrow. Great empires arose and met in the
shock of conflict, leaving trails of skeletons across the earth. Then
came the great roads, reaching out with their stony clutch and bringing
the ends of the earth together. Men met, mingled, passed and repassed,
and learned that human nature is much the same everywhere, with hopes
and fears in common. Still there were many things to divide and
estrange men from each other, and the earth was full of bitterness. Not
satisfied with natural barriers, men erected high walls of sect and
caste, to exclude their fellows, and the men of one sect were sure that
the men of all other sects were wrong--and doomed to be lost. Thus,
when real mountains no longer separated man from man, mountains were
made out of molehills--mountains of immemorial misunderstanding not yet
moved into the sea!

Barriers of race, of creed, of caste, of habit, of training and
interest separate men today, as if some malign genius were bent on
keeping man from his fellows, begetting suspicion, uncharitableness,
and hate. Still there are war, waste, and woe! Yet all the while men
have been unfriendly, and, therefore, unjust and cruel, only because
they are unacquainted. Amidst feud, faction, and folly, Masonry, the
oldest and most widely spread order, toils in behalf of friendship,
uniting men upon the only basis upon which they can ever meet with
dignity. Each lodge is an oasis of equality and goodwill in a desert
of strife, working to weld mankind into a great league of sympathy and
service, which, by the terms of our definition, it seeks to exhibit
even now on a small scale. At its altar men meet as man to man,
without vanity and without pretense, without fear and without
reproach, as tourists crossing the Alps tie themselves together, so
that if one slip all may hold him up. No tongue can tell the meaning
of such a ministry, no pen can trace its influence in melting the
hardness of the world into pity and gladness.

The Spirit of Masonry! He who would describe that spirit must be a
poet, a musician, and a seer--a master of melodies, echoes, and long,
far-sounding cadences. Now, as always, it toils to make man better, to
refine his thought and purify his sympathy, to broaden his outlook, to
lift his altitude, to establish in amplitude and resoluteness his life
in all its relations. All its great history, its vast accumulations of
tradition, its simple faith and its solemn rites, its freedom and its
friendship are dedicated to a high moral ideal, seeking to tame the
tiger in man, and bring his wild passions into obedience to the will
of God. It has no other mission than to exalt and ennoble humanity, to
bring light out of darkness, beauty out of angularity; to make every
hard-won inheritance more secure, every sanctuary more sacred, every
hope more radiant![183]

The Spirit of Masonry! Ay, when that spirit has its way upon earth, as
at last it surely will, society will be a vast communion of kindness
and justice, business a system of human service, law a rule of
beneficence; the home will be more holy, the laughter of childhood
more joyous, and the temple of prayer mortised and tenoned in simple
faith. Evil, injustice, bigotry, greed, and every vile and slimy thing
that defiles and defames humanity will skulk into the dark, unable to
bear the light of a juster, wiser, more merciful order. Industry will
be upright, education prophetic, and religion not a shadow, but a Real
Presence, when man has become acquainted with man and has learned to
worship God by serving his fellows. When Masonry is victorious every
tyranny will fall, every bastile crumble, and man will be not only
unfettered in mind and hand, but free of heart to walk erect in the
light and liberty of the truth.

Toward a great friendship, long foreseen by Masonic faith, the world
is slowly moving, amid difficulties and delays, reactions and
reconstructions. Though long deferred, of that day, which will surely
arrive, when nations will be reverent in the use of freedom, just in
the exercise of power, humane in the practice of wisdom; when no man
will ride over the rights of his fellows; when no woman will be made
forlorn, no little child wretched by bigotry or greed, Masonry has
ever been a prophet. Nor will she ever be content until all the
threads of human fellowship are woven into one mystic cord of
friendship, encircling the earth and holding the race in unity of
spirit and the bonds of peace, as in the will of God it is one in the
origin and end. Having outlived empires and philosophies, having seen
generations appear and vanish, it will yet live to see the travail of
its soul, and be satisfied--

  When the war-drum throbs no longer,
    And the battle flags are furled;
  In the parliament of man,
    The federation of the world.


Manifestly, since love is the law of life, if men are to be won from
hate to love, if those who doubt and deny are to be wooed to faith, if
the race is ever to be led and lifted into a life of service, it must
be by the fine art of Friendship. Inasmuch as this is the purpose of
Masonry, its mission determines the method not less than the spirit of
its labor. Earnestly it endeavors to bring men--first the individual
man, and then, so far as possible, those who are united with him--to
love one another, while holding aloft, in picture and dream, that
temple of character which is the noblest labor of life to build in the
midst of the years, and which will outlast time and death. Thus it
seeks to reach the lonely inner life of man where the real battles are
fought, and where the issues of destiny are decided, now with shouts
of victory, now with sobs of defeat. What a ministry to a young man
who enters its temple in the morning of life, when the dew of heaven
is upon his days and the birds are singing in his heart![184]

From the wise lore of the East Max Müller translated a parable which
tells how the gods, having stolen from man his divinity, met in
council to discuss where they should hide it. One suggested that it be
carried to the other side of the earth and buried; but it was pointed
out that man is a great wanderer, and that he might find the lost
treasure on the other side of the earth. Another proposed that it be
dropped into the depths of the sea; but the same fear was
expressed--that man, in his insatiable curiosity, might dive deep
enough to find it even there. Finally, after a space of silence, the
oldest and wisest of the gods said: "Hide it in man himself, as that
is the last place he will ever think to look for it!" And it was so
agreed, all seeing at once the subtle and wise strategy. Man did
wander over the earth, for ages, seeking in all places high and low,
far and near, before he thought to look within himself for the
divinity he sought. At last, slowly, dimly, he began to realize that
what he thought was far off, hidden in "the pathos of distance," is
nearer than the breath he breathes, even in his own heart.

Here lies the great secret of Masonry--that it makes a man aware of
that divinity within him, wherefrom his whole life takes its beauty
and meaning, and inspires him to follow and obey it. Once a man learns
this deep secret, life is new, and the old world is a valley all dewy
to the dawn with a lark-song over it. There never was a truer saying
than that the religion of a man is the chief fact concerning him.[185]
By religion is meant not the creed to which a man will subscribe, or
otherwise give his assent; not that necessarily; often not that at
all--since we see men of all degrees of worth and worthlessness
signing all kinds of creeds. No; the religion of a man is that which
he practically believes, lays to heart, acts upon, and thereby knows
concerning this mysterious universe and his duty and destiny in it.
That is in all cases the primary thing in him, and creatively
determines all the rest; that is his religion. It is, then, of vital
importance what faith, what vision, what conception of life a man lays
to heart, and acts upon.

At bottom, a man is what his thinking is, thoughts being the artists
who give color to our days. Optimists and pessimists live in the same
world, walk under the same sky, and observe the same facts. Sceptics
and believers look up at the same great stars--the stars that shone in
Eden and will flash again in Paradise. Clearly the difference between
them is a difference not of fact, but of faith--of insight, outlook,
and point of view--a difference of inner attitude and habit of thought
with regard to the worth and use of life. By the same token, any
influence which reaches and alters that inner habit and bias of mind,
and changes it from doubt to faith, from fear to courage, from despair
to sunburst hope, has wrought the most benign ministry which a mortal
may enjoy. Every man has a train of thought on which he rides when he
is alone; and the worth of his life to himself and others, as well as
its happiness, depend upon the direction in which that train is going,
the baggage it carries, and the country through which it travels. If,
then, Masonry can put that inner train of thought on the right track,
freight it with precious treasure, and start it on the way to the City
of God, what other or higher ministry can it render to a man? And that
is what it does for any man who will listen to it, love it, and lay
its truth to heart.

High, fine, ineffably rich and beautiful are the faith and vision
which Masonry gives to those who foregather at its altar, bringing to
them in picture, parable, and symbol the lofty and pure truth wrought
out through ages of experience, tested by time, and found to be valid
for the conduct of life. By such teaching, if they have the heart to
heed it, men become wise, learning how to be both brave and gentle,
faithful and free; how to renounce superstition and yet retain faith;
how to keep a fine poise of reason between the falsehood of extremes;
how to accept the joys of life with glee, and endure its ills with
patient valor; how to look upon the folly of man and not forget his
nobility--in short, how to live cleanly, kindly, calmly, open-eyed and
unafraid in a sane world, sweet of heart and full of hope. Whoso lays
this lucid and profound wisdom to heart, and lives by it, will have
little to regret, and nothing to fear, when the evening shadows fall.
Happy the young man who in the morning of his years makes it his
guide, philosopher, and friend.[186]

Such is the ideal of Masonry, and fidelity to all that is holy demands
that we give ourselves to it, trusting the power of truth, the reality
of love, and the sovereign worth of character. For only as we
incarnate that ideal in actual life and activity does it become real,
tangible, and effective. God works for man through man and seldom, if
at all, in any other way. He asks for our voices to speak His truth,
for our hands to do His work here below--sweet voices and clean hands
to make liberty and love prevail over injustice and hate. Not all of
us can be learned or famous, but each of us can be loyal and true of
heart, undefiled by evil, undaunted by error, faithful and helpful to
our fellow souls. Life is a capacity for the highest things. Let us
make it a pursuit of the highest--an eager, incessant quest of truth;
a noble utility, a lofty honor, a wise freedom, a genuine
service--that through us the Spirit of Masonry may grow and be

When is a man a Mason? When he can look out over the rivers, the
hills, and the far horizon with a profound sense of his own littleness
in the vast scheme of things, and yet have faith, hope, and
courage--which is the root of every virtue. When he knows that down in
his heart every man is as noble, as vile, as divine, as diabolic, and
as lonely as himself, and seeks to know, to forgive, and to love his
fellow man. When he knows how to sympathize with men in their sorrows,
yea, even in their sins--knowing that each man fights a hard fight
against many odds. When he has learned how to make friends and to keep
them, and above all how to keep friends with himself. When he loves
flowers, can hunt the birds without a gun, and feels the thrill of an
old forgotten joy when he hears the laugh of a little child. When he
can be happy and high-minded amid the meaner drudgeries of life. When
star-crowned trees, and the glint of sunlight on flowing waters,
subdue him like the thought of one much loved and long dead. When no
voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no hand seeks his aid
without response. When he finds good in every faith that helps any man
to lay hold of divine things and sees majestic meanings in life,
whatever the name of that faith may be. When he can look into a
wayside puddle and see something beyond mud, and into the face of the
most forlorn fellow mortal and see something beyond sin. When he knows
how to pray, how to love, how to hope. When he has kept faith with
himself, with his fellow man, with his God; in his hand a sword for
evil, in his heart a bit of a song--glad to live, but not afraid to
die! Such a man has found the only real secret of Masonry, and the one
which it is trying to give to all the world.


[181] Suggested by a noble passage in the _Recollections_ of Washington
Gladden; and the great preacher goes on to say: "If the church could
accept this truth--that Religion is Friendship--and build its own life
upon it, and make it central and organic in all its teachings, should
we not have a great revival of religion?" Indeed, yes; and of the right
kind of religion, too! Walt Whitman found the basis of all philosophy,
all religion, in "the dear love of man for his comrade, the attraction
of friend to friend" (_The Base of all Metaphysics_). As for Masonic
literature, it is one perpetual pæan in praise of the practice of
friendship, from earliest time to our own day. Take, for example, the
_Illustrations of Masonry_, by Preston (first book, sect, i-x); and
Arnold, as we have seen, defined Masonry as Friendship, as did
Hutchinson (_The Spirit of Masonry_, lectures xi, xii). These are but
two notes of a mighty anthem whose chorus is never hushed in the temple
of Masonry! Of course, there are those who say that the finer forces of
life are frail and foolish, but the influence of the cynic in the
advance of the race is--nothing!

[182] _The Neighbor_, by N.S. Shaler.

[183] If Masons often fall far below their high ideal, it is because
they share in their degree the infirmity of mankind. He is a poor
craftsman who glibly recites the teachings of the Order and quickly
forgets the lessons they convey; who wears its honorable dress to
conceal a self-seeking spirit; or to whom its great and simple symbols
bring only an outward thrill, and no inward urge toward the highest of
all good. Apart from what they symbolize, all symbols are empty; they
speak only to such as have ears to hear. At the same time, we have
always to remember--what has been so often and so sadly forgotten--that
the most sacred shrine on earth is the soul of man; and that the temple
and its offices are not ends in themselves, but only beautiful means to
the end that every human heart may be a temple of peace, of purity, of
power, of pity, and of hope!

[184] Read the noble words of Arnold on the value of Masonry to the
young as a restraint, a refinement, and a conservator of virtue,
throwing about youth the mantle of a great friendship and the
consecration of a great ideal (_History and Philosophy of Masonry_,
chap. xix).

[185] _Heroes and Hero-worship_, by Thomas Carlyle, lecture i.

[186] If the influence of Masonry upon youth is here emphasized, it is
not to forget that the most dangerous period of life is not youth, with
its turmoil of storm and stress, but between forty and sixty. When the
enthusiasms of youth have cooled, and its rosy glamour has faded into
the light of common day, there is apt to be a letting down of ideals, a
hardening of heart, when cynicism takes the place of idealism. If the
judgments of the young are austere and need to be softened by charity,
the middle years of life need still more the reënforcement of spiritual
influence and the inspiration of a holy atmosphere. Also, Albert Pike
used to urge upon old men the study of Masonry, the better to help them
gather up the scattered thoughts about life and build them into a firm
faith; and because Masonry offers to every man a great hope and
consolation. Indeed, its ministry to every period of life is benign.
Studying Masonry is like looking at a sunset; each man who looks is
filled with the beauty and wonder of it, but the glory is not

       *       *       *       *       *


(The literature of Masonry is very large, and the following is only a
small selection of such books as the writer has found particularly
helpful in the course of this study. The notes and text of the
foregoing pages mention many books, sometimes with brief
characterizations, and that fact renders a longer list unnecessary

Anderson, _Book of Constitutions_.

Armitage, _Short Masonic History_, 2 vols.

Arnold, _History and Philosophy of Masonry_.

Ashmole, _Diary_.

Aynsley, _Symbolism East and West_.

Bacon, _New Atlantis_.

Bayley, _Lost Language of Symbolism_.

Breasted, _Religion and Thought in Egypt_.

Budge, _The Gods of Egypt_.

Callahan, _Washington, the Man and the Mason_.

Capart, _Primitive Art in Egypt_.

Carr, _The Swastika_.

_Catholic Encyclopedia_, art. "Masonry."

Churchward, _Signs and Symbols of Primordial Man_.

Conder, _Hole Craft and Fellowship of Masonry_.

Crowe, _Things a Freemason Ought to Know_.

Cumont, _Mysteries of Mithra_.

Da Costa, _Dionysian Artificers_.

De Clifford, _Egypt the Cradle of Masonry_.

De Quincey, _Works_, vol. xvi.

Dill, _Roman Life_.

_Encyclopedia Britannica_, art. "Freemasonry."

Fergusson, _History of Architecture_.

Findel, _History of Masonry_.

Finlayson, _Symbols of Freemasonry_.

Fort, _Early History and Antiquities of Masonry_.

Gorringe, _Egyptian Obelisks_.

Gould, _Atholl Lodges_.

Gould, _Concise History of Masonry_.

Gould, _History of Masonry_, 4 vols.

Gould, _Military Lodges_.

Haige, _Symbolism_.

Hastings, _Encyclopedia of Religion_, art. "Freemasonry."

Hayden, _Washington and his Masonic Compeers_.

Holland, _Freemasonry and the Great Pyramid_.

Hope, _Historical Essay on Architecture_.

Hughan, _History of the English Rite_.

Hughan, _Masonic Sketches and Reprints_.

Hughan and Stillson, _History of Masonry and Concordant Orders_.

Hutchinson, _The Spirit of Masonry_.

_Jewish Encyclopedia_, art. "Freemasonry."

Kennedy, _St. Paul and the Mystery-Religions_.

Lawrence, _Practical Masonic Lectures_.

Leicester Lodge of Research, _Transactions_.

Lethaby, _Architecture_.

Lockyear, _Dawn of Astronomy_.

Mackey, _Encyclopedia of Freemasonry_.

Mackey, _Symbolism of Masonry_.

Manchester Lodge of Research, _Transactions_.

Marshall, _Nature a Book of Symbols_.

Maspero, _Dawn of Civilization_.

Mead, _Quests New and Old_.

Moehler, _Symbolism_.

Moret, _Kings and Gods of Egypt_.

Morris, _Lights and Shadows of Masonry_.

Morris, _The Poetry of Masonry_.

Oliver, _Masonic Antiquities_.

Oliver, _Masonic Sermons_.

Oliver, _Revelations of the Square_.

Oliver, _Theocratic Philosophy of Masonry_.

Pike, _Morals and Dogma_.

Plutarch, _De Iside et Osiride_.

Preston, _Illustrations of Masonry_.

Quatuor Coronati Lodge, _Transactions_, 24 vols.

Ravenscroft, _The Comacines_.

Reade, _The Veil of Isis_.

Rogers, _History of Prices in England_.

Ruskin, _Seven Lamps of Architecture_.

Sachse, _Franklin as a Mason_.

Sadler, _Masonic Facts and Fictions_.

St. Andrew's Lodge, _Centennial Memorial_.

Schure, _Hermes and Plato_.

Schure, _Pythagoras_.

Scott, _The Cathedral Builders_.

Smith, _English Guilds_.

Stevens, _Cyclopedia of Fraternities_.

Steinbrenner, _History of Masonry_.

Tyler, _Oaths, Their Origin, Nature, and History_.

Underhill, _Mysticism_.

Waite, _Real History of Rosicrucians_.

Waite, _Secret Tradition in Masonry_.

Waite, _Studies in Mysticism_.

Watts, _The Word in the Pattern_.

Wright, _Indian Masonry_.

       *       *       *       *       *


Aberdeen: lodge of, 161

_Acadamie Armory_: 166

Accepted Masons: 147;
  earliest, 160;
  not in all lodges, 160 _note_;
  first recorded, 161;
  and Ashmole, 162-4;
  at Warrington, 164;
  in the London Company, 165;
  and the Regius MS, 166;
  at Chester, 166;
  Assembly of, 168;
  quality of, 168

_Æneas_: referred to, 44 _note_

_Ahiman Rezon_: 216

Alban, St: in Old Charges, 116;
  a town, not a man, 117 _note_;
  and the Masons, 120

America: advent of Masonry in, 206;
  spirit of Masonry in, 222;
  influence of Masonry on, 223

"Ancients, The": and Moderns, 212;
  Grand Lodge of, 216;
  growth of, 217;
  merged into universal Masonry, 221

Anderson, James: his account of Grand Lodge of England, 180;
  and the Old Charges, 186;
  sketch of, 187 _note_;
  on Masonic secrets, 192 _note_;
  on growth of Masonry, 203;
  publishes Book of Constitutions, 204

Andreae, J.V.: quoted, 157;
  his Rosicrucian romance, 163

Anti-Masonic political party, 228

Apprentice, Entered: requirements of, 129;
  moral code of, 130;
  masterpiece of, 131;
  degree of, 144

Architects: early, 14;
  of Rome, 72;
  initiates, 73;
  honored in Egypt, 74;
  College of, 82;
  Comacine, 88;
  churchmen, 114

Architecture: matrix of civilization, 5;
  spiritual basis of, 6;
  _Seven Lamps_ of, 7;
  moral laws of, 8;
  mysticism of, 9;
  and astronomy, 77;
  gaps in history of, 86;
  Italian, 87;
  and the Comacines, 88;
  new light on, 89;
  churchmen learn from Masons, 114;
  Gothic, 120;
  essay on, 136;
  influence of Solomon's Temple on, 191;
  no older than history, 241

Ashmole, Elias: Diary of, 162;
  not the maker of Masonry, 163;
  student of Masonry, 167 _note_;
  and Walton, 259 _note_

Assembly of Masons: at York, 117;
  semi-annual, 118;
  initiations at, 131;
  before 1717, 167

Atheist: does not exist, 261 _note_;
  would be an orphan, 267

Athelstan: and Masons, 116

Atholl Masons: Grand Lodge of, 216;
  power of, 217;
  end of, 221

Aubrey, John: 166;
  on convention of Masons, 167

Augustine, St: and Masons, 116

Babel, Tower of: 7

Bacon, Francis: 110;
  his _New Atlantis_ and Masonry, 179 _note_, 190

Benevolence: Board of, 188

Bible: Masonic symbols in, 32;
  and Masonry, 265

_Book of Constitutions_: 187

_Book of the Dead_: 40

Booth, Edwin: on Third degree, 197;
  a Mason, 232

Boston Tea Party: 224

Brotherhood: in Old Charges, 133;
  creed of Masonry, 134;
  make way for coming of, 282

Builders: early ideals of, 12;
  tools of, 26;
  in China, 31;
  forgotten, 34;
  orders of, 74;
  in Rome, 79;
  of cathedrals, 87;
  servants of church, 101;
  of Britain, 113;
  traveling bands of, 135;
  rallying cries of, 191;
  Longfellow on, 260

Building: spiritual meaning of, 6, 7, 8;
  ideal of, 15;
  an allegory, 154;
  two ways of, 158 _note_;
  of character, 275

Burns, Robert: 226;
  a Mason, 232;
  poet of Masonry, 233

Cantu, Cesare: on Comacines, 142

Capart: quoted, 6

Carlyle, Thomas: quoted, 4

Cathedral Builders: 87;
  and Masons, 91;
  greatness of, 121;
  organization of, 136-7;
  genius of, 158 _note_

Cathedrals: when built, 121

Charity: and Masons, 134;
  a doctrine of Masonry, 172

China: Masonry in, 30

Christianity: and the Mysteries, 50, 51 _note_;
  and the Collegia, 85;
  and Masonry, 221 _note_, 251

Churchward: on Triangle, 13 _note_;
  on symbols, 20 _note_

Circle: meaning of, 27

Clay, Henry: 228

Cleopatra's Needle: 33

Collegia, the: 73;
  beginning of, 80;
  customs of, 81;
  and the Mysteries, 82;
  emblems of, 83;
  and Christianity, 85;
  and cathedral builders, 87;
  in England, 112;
  on the continent, 113

Column: Wren on, 9;
  Osiris, 45;
  "brethren of the," 82

Comacine Masters: 87;
  privileges of, 88;
  migrations of, 89;
  symbols of, 90;
  tolerant of spirit, 101;
  and Old Charges, 111;
  in England, 113;
  Merzaria on, 114;
  and the arts, 115;
  degrees among, 142.

Companionage: of France, 118 _note_;
  and legend of Hiram, 149

Conder: historian of Masons' Company, 165

Confucius: 30

_Cooke MS_: 106;
  higher criticism of, 107

Cowan: meaning of, 138 _note_

Coxe, Daniel: 207

Craft-masonry: morality of, 134;
  lodge of, 135;
  organization of, 136;
  routine of, 138;
  technical secrets, 147

Cromwell, Oliver: and Masonry, 179 _note_

Cross: antiquity of, 24;
  of Egypt, 25

Cube: meaning of, 27

Culdees: 189

Da Costa: quoted, 72;
  on Dionysian Artificers, 77 _note_

Deacon: office of, 217

Death: old protest against, 40;
  triumph over, 41;
  wonder of, 278

Declaration of Independence, signed by Masons, 225

_Defence of Masonry_: quoted 152

Degrees in Masonry: 141;
  among Comacines, 142;
  of Apprentice, 144;
  number of, 145;
  evolution of, 149

De Molai: 101

De Quincey on Masonry, 179 _note_

Dermott, Lawrence: and Ancient Grand Lodge, 216;
  industry of, 219;
  and Royal Arch Masonry, 220 _note_

Desaguliers, Dr. J.T.: "co-fabricator of Masonry," 195;
  sketch of, 195 _note_

Diocletian: fury of against Masons, 85

Dionysian Artificers: 72;
  builders of Solomon's Temple, 76;
  evidence for, 77 _note_;
  migrations of, 79

Dissensions in Masonry: bitter, 213;
  causes of, 214;
  led by Preston, 217;
  helped the order, 219;
  remedy for, 222

Doctrine: the Secret, 57;
  resented, 58;
  open to all, 61;
  reasons for, 63;
  what it is, 68

Drama of Faith: 39;
  motif of, 41;
  story of, 42;
  in India, 44 _note_;
  in Tyre, 76

Druids: Mysteries of, 49

Druses: and Masonry, 78 _note_

Dugdale: on formality in Masonry, 143

Eavesdroppers: their punishment, 138 _note_

Egypt: earliest artists of, 9;
  Herodotus on, 10;
  temples of, 11;
  obelisks of, 13;
  Drama of Faith in, 41;
  and origin of Masonry, 105, 109 _note_

Elizabeth, Queen: and Masons, 123 _note_

Emerson, R.W.: 39, 57

Euclid: mentioned in Regius MS, 105;
  in Cooke MS, 107

Evans: on sacred stones, 9

Exposures of Masonry, 210

Faerie Queene: quoted, 155

Faith: Drama of, 39;
  philosophy of, 270

Fellowcraft: points of, 128;
  rank of, 131;
  degree of, 146

Fichte: a Mason, 232

Findel: list of cartoons, 99 _note_;
  on Apprentice degree, 145

Francis of Assist: quoted, 173

Franklin, B.: on Masonic grips, 200;
  Masonic items in his paper, 207;
  Grand Master of Pennsylvania, 207;
  his _Autobiography_, 207 _note_

Frederick the Great: and Masonry, 205 _note_

Free-masons: 87;
  why called free, 88;
  Fergusson on, 90;
  Hallam on, 96;
  free in fact before name, 98;
  great artists, 99;
  cartoons of the church by, 99 _note_;
  early date of name, 104 _note_;
  not Guild-masons, 118;
  contrasted with Guild-masons, 119;
  organization of, 136;
  degrees among, 142-4

Friendship: Masonry defined as, 240;
  genius of Masonry, 284;
  in Masonic literature, 285;
  the ideal of Masonry, 288;
  as a method of work, 291

Fergusson, James: 90;
  on temple of Solomon, 191

G: the letter, 159

Garibaldi: 230

Geometry: in Old Charges, 108;
  Pythagoras on, 154;
  and religion, 154 _note_;
  mystical meaning of, 159

Gladden, Washington: quoted, 285

Gloves: use and meaning of, 137 _note_

God: ideas of, 22;
  "the Builder," 29;
  invocations to in old MSS, 108, _note_;
  Fatherhood of, 134;
  the Great Logician, 157;
  unity of, 176 _note_, 264;
  foundation of Masonry, 261;
  the corner stone, 262;
  Masonry does not limit, 263;
  wonder of, 267;
  kinship of man with, 270;
  friendship for, 284

Goethe: 232

Golden Rule: law of Master Mason, 133;
  creed of, 256

Gormogons: order of, parody on Masonry, 209;
  swallows itself, 211

Gothic architecture: 120;
  decline of, 185

Gould, R.F.: on Regius MS, 106;
  on York Assembly, 116 _note_;
  on early speculative Masonry, 160

Grand Lodge of all England, 218

Grand Lodge of England: 173;
  meaning of organization, 174;
  background of, 176;
  its attitude toward religion, 177;
  organization of, 180;
  Lodges of, 181;
  facts about, 182;
  usages of, 183;
  regalia of, 183 _note_;
  a London movement, 184;
  leaders of, 185;
  charity of, 188;
  growth of, 202;
  prolific mother, 204;
  article on politics, 208;
  rivals of, 213

Grand Lodge South of Trent, 218

Grand Master: office of, 182;
  power of, 202

Green Dragon Tavern: 223;
  a Masonic Lodge, 224

Gregory, Pope: and Masons, 113

Grips: in the Mysteries, 47;
  among Druses, 78 _note_;
  among Masons, 140;
  antiquity of, 149 _note_;
  number of, 141;
  Franklin on, 200;
  an aid to charity, 244

Guild-masonry: 98;
  invocations in, 108;
  not Freemasonry, 118;
  truth about, 119;
  morality of, 144

Hallam: on Freemasonry, 96;
  on Guilds, 118

Halliwell, James: and Regius MS: 104

Hamilton, Alexander: 225

Hammer, House of: 28

_Handbuch_, German: on Masonry, 241

_Harleian MS_: quoted, 126;
  in Holme's handwriting, 166

Hermes: named in Cooke MS, 108;
  and Pythagoras, 110;
  who was he, 194

Herodotus: on Egypt, 10;
  referred to in Cooke MS, 107

Hiram Abif: 77 _note_;
  not named in Old Charges, 109;
  esoteric allusions to, 110;
  legend of in France, 118 _note_;
  and the Companionage, 149;
  and the temple, 192

Hiram I, of Tyre: 75

History: Book of in China, 30;
  like a mirage, 100;
  no older than architecture, 241

Holme, Randle: 166

Horus: story of, 42;
  heroism of, 45

Hutchinson, William: on Geometry, 154 _note_;
  on Christianity and Masonry, 251 _note_;
  on Spirit of Masonry, 258

Idealism: soul of Masonry, 269;
  no dogma of in Masonry, 269 _note_;
  basis of, 270

Ikhnaton: city of, 12;
  poet and idealist, 14

Immortality: faith in old, 39;
  in Pyramid Texts, 40;
  allegory of, 46;
  in the Mysteries, 49;
  creed of Masonry, 134;
  held by Masons, 179;
  how Masonry teaches, 277

_Instructions of a Parish Priest_: 106

Invocations: Masonic, 108 _note_

Isis: story of, 42;
  and Osiris, 43;
  sorrow of, 45;
  in Mysteries, 47

Jackson, Andrew: 228

Jesuits: and Masons, 210 _note_;
  attempt to expose Masonry, 211

Kabbalah: muddle of, 67

Kabbalists: used Masonic symbols, 156, 157

Kennedy, C.R.: quoted, 238

Kipling, Rudyard: 232

Krause: on Collegia, 79

Legend: of Solomon, 75;
  in Old Charges, 111;
  of Pythagoras, 112;
  of Masonry unique, 128

Lessing, G.E.: quoted, 56;
  theory of, 179 _note_;
  a Mason, 232

Lethaby: on discovery of Square, 10

Liberty: and law, 7;
  love of, 122;
  of thought, 178;
  civil and Masonry, 224;
  in religion, 252;
  of faith, 255;
  philosophy of, 271;
  Lowell on, 272;
  of intellect, 273;
  of soul, 274

Litchfield, Bishop of: 175

Locke, John: 232

Lodge: of Roman architects, 82;
  of Comacines, 90;
  a school, 129;
  secrecy of, 132;
  enroute, 135;
  organization of, 136;
  degrees in, 146

Longfellow: quoted, 260

Lost Word: 67;
  Masonic search of, 263

Lowell: on liberty, 272

Mackey, Dr: on Craft-masonry, 251 _note_;
  definition of Masonry, 240

Magnus, Albertus: 156

Man: the builder, 6;
  a poet, 19;
  an idealist, 26;
  akin to God, 270;
  divinity of, 292;
  thoughts of artists, 294;
  ideal of, 297

Markham, Edwin: quoted, 282

Marshall, John: 225

Martyrs, the Four Crowned: 86;
  honored by Comacines, 90;
  in Regius MS, 105

_Masonry Dissected_: 212

Masonry: foundations of, 15;
  symbolism its soul, 18;
  in China, 30;
  symbols of in obelisk, 33;
  and the Mysteries, 53;
  secret tradition in, 66;
  and the Quest, 69;
  and Solomon's temple, 79;
  persecution of by Diocletian, 85;
  and the Comacines, 90;
  not new in Middle Ages, 97;
  and tolerance, 100;
  and the church, 102;
  antiquity of emphasized, 110;
  legend of, 111;
  and Pythagoras, 112;
  in England, 116;
  in Scotland, 123;
  decline of, 124;
  moral teaching of, 128-134;
  creed of, 134;
  degrees in, 142-4;
  not a patch-work, 149 _note_;
  an evolution, 150;
  defence of, 153;
  symbols of in language, 155;
  and Rosicrucianism, 164 _note_;
  parable of, 173;
  transformation of, 176;
  and religion, 177;
  theories about, 179 _note_;
  democracy of, 183;
  more than a trade, 185;
  mysticism of, 189 _note_;
  and Hermetic teaching, 194;
  universal, 201;
  rapid spread of, 204;
  early in America, 206;
  not a political party, 208;
  parody on, 209;
  attempted exposures of, 210-13;
  growth of despite dissensions, 219-20;
  unsectarian, 221 _note_;
  in America, 223;
  and the War of Revolution, 225;
  and Morgan, 227-8;
  and Civil War, 228;
  in literature, 232 _note_;
  defined, 239-40;
  as friendship, 240;
  best definition of, 241;
  description of, 242;
  has no secret, 244;
  misunderstood, 245;
  more than a church, 250;
  crypt, 253;
  temple of, 260;
  philosophy of, 262;
  and unity of God, 273;
  its appeal, 283;
  and friendship, 288;
  spirit of, 289;
  wisdom of, 295;
  ideal of, 297.

Masons: and Comacines, 90;
  Hallam on, 96;
  denied their due, 99 _note_;
  culture of, 100;
  and Knights Templars, 101 _note_;
  first called free, 104;
  persecuted, 122;
  technical secrets of, 147;
  customs of, 166

Masons' Company: 104;
  date of, 123;
  and Accepted Masons, 165

Mason's Marks: 131 _note_

Maspero: on Egyptian temples, 11

Master Mason;
  and Fellows, 128 _note_;
  oath of, 133;
  dress of, 135

Masterpiece of Apprentice: 131

Master's Part: 148;
  in Third Degree, 193

Materialism: and Masonry, 268

Mazzini: 230

Mencius: 30

Merzaria, Giuseppe: on Comacine Masters: 114

_Metamorphoses_, by Apuleius: 51

Montague, Duke of: elected Grand Master, 185

Morgan, William: and Masonry, 227;
  excitement about, 292 _note_

Mysteries, The: origin of, 46;
  nobility of, 47;
  teaching of, 48;
  spread of, 49;
  and St. Paul, 50;
  corruption of, 51;
  Plato on, 52;
  and Masonry, 53;
  temples of, 59;
  Moses learned in, 76;
  and Hebrew faith, 77;
  and Masonic ritual, 110;
  and the Third Degree, 196, 203

Mystery-mongers: 60;
  fancies of, 164

_Mystery of Masonry Discovered_: 210

Mysticism: 60 _note_;
  of Hermetics, 164;
  its real nature, 189 _note_

Müller, Max: quoted, 253;
  parable of, 292

_Nathan the Wise_: quoted, 56

Numbers: use of by Pythagoras, 48 _note_;
  and religious faith, 153;
  in nature, 154;
  and mysticism, 159

Oath: in the Mysteries, 48;
  in Harleian MS, 126;
  of Apprentice, 129;
  of Fellowcraft, 132;
  of Master Mason, 133

Obelisks: meaning of, 13;
  Masonic symbols in, 33

Occultism: 60 _note_;
  and Masonry, 164

_Old Charges_: 102;
  number of, 103;
  the oldest of, 104;
  higher criticism of, 107-9;
  value of, 111;
  and English Masonry, 116;
  moral teaching of, 128-34;
  collated by Grand Lodge, 186

Oldest Mason honored: 181

Operative Masons: degrees of, 142;
  and speculative, 144;
  lodges of, 148;
  and Wren, 167 _note_;
  still working, 201 _note_

Oracles: Cessation of, 28

Orient, Grand of France: not atheistic, 261

Osiris: in trinity of Egypt, 23;
  history of, 41;
  and Isis, 43;
  death of, 44;
  resurrection of, 46;
  in Tyre, 76

Paine, Thomas: 225 _note_

Payne, George: Grand Master, 187

Philosophy: "blend of poetry, science and religion," 259;
  of Masonry, 264-68;
  of faith, 270

Pike, Albert: on symbolism of Masonry, 18;
  on Regius MS, 106;
  error of as to Guild-masonry, 158 _note_;
  on symbolism before 1717, 159;
  on Third Degree, 193;
  on atheism, 261 _note_;
  on old men and Masonry, 296 _note_

Pillars: origin of, 28;
  meaning of, 29;
  Isaac Walton on, 259 _note_

Plott, Dr: on Masonic customs, 166

Plutarch: on Square, 28;
  an initiate, 42;
  and the Mysteries, 46;
  on Pythagoras symbol, 143

Pole Star: cult of, 24

Politics: and Masons, 179;
  forbidden in Lodges, 208;
  relation of Masonry to, 245, 248

Pompeii: collegium in, 83

Pope, Alexander: _Moral Essays_ quoted, 210;
  a Mason, 263

Popes, the: and Masonry, 113, 122;
  bull of against Masonry, 211

Prayer: in Masonry, 179, 244

Preston, William: 182;
  defeated, 218

"Protestant Jesuits": Masons called, 210 _note_

Pyramids: wonder of, 13;
  loneliness of, 28

Pyramid Texts: quoted, 40

Quest, The: aspects of, 65;
  analysis of, 67;
  in Masonry, 69

Reade, Winwood: quoted, 172

Reconciliation, Lodge of: 221

_Regius MS_: oldest Masonic MS, 104;
  synopsis of, 105;
  Pike on, 106;
  Mason's points in, 128;
  and Accepted Masons, 160

Religion: of light, 14;
  decline of, 176;
  and Craft-masonry, 176;
  and Grand Lodge of England, 250;
  what is it, 251 _note_;
  in which all agree, 255;
  of nature, 258;
  what we practically believe, 293

Ritual: Old Charges part of, 128;
  growth of, 142-4;
  evolution of, 219 _note_

Rome: secret orders in, 81;
  college of architects in, 86

Rosicrucians: use Masonic symbols, 156, 157;
  and Ashmole, 163;
  distinct from Masons, 164;
  and De Quincey, 179 _note_;
  and Third Degree, 190

Royal Arch Masonry: 220 _note_

Ruskin, John: quoted, 7, 8;
  on light, 14 _note_;
  on the church, 250

St. John's Day: 181;
  origin of, 183, _note_

Sayer, Anthony: first Grand Master, 182

Schaw Statutes: 123

  the seven, 195;
  in Cooke MS, 108

Scott, Leader: quoted, 72;
  on Cathedral Builders, 87;
  on Comacines and Masonry, 111

Scott, Sir Walter: on the word cowan, 138 _note_;
  a Mason, 232

Secrecy: of the Mysteries, 48;
  of great teachers, 57;
  as to the arts, 74;
  not real power of Masonry, 212;
  reasons for, 243 _note_

Secret Doctrine: 57;
  objections to, 59;
  open to all, 61;
  reasons for, 63;
  what is it, 68

_Secret Sermon on the Mount_: 47

Sectarianism: Masonry against, 254

_Seven Lamps of Architecture_: quoted, 7

Shakespeare: 155;
  and Masons, 259 _note_

Shelley: 14

Signs: in the Mysteries, 47;
  Franklin on, 200;
  and charity, 244

Socrates: on unity of mind, 21;
  and the Mysteries, 46

Solomon: and Hiram, 75;
  and the Comacines, 89;
  in Cooke MS, 109;
  sons of, 149

Solomon: Temple of, 75;
  style of, 76;
  legends of, 77 _note_;
  and Masonry, 79;
  influence of on architecture, 191

Speculative Masonry: in Regius MS, 106;
  growth of, 123;
  meaning of, 144 _note_;
  Lodges of, 148;
  before 1717, 167

Spenser, Edmund: Masonic symbols in, 155

Square: discovery of, 10;
  in Pyramids, 13;
  eloquence of, 26;
  emblem of truth, 28;
  in China, 30;
  in obelisk, 33;
  throne of Osiris, 46;
  "square men," 155;
  an ancient one, 159;
  of justice, 275

_Staffordshire; Natural History of_, quoted: 166

Steinmetzen, of Germany: 118 _note_;
  degree of, 145

Stones: sanctity of, 28

Stuckely: Diary of, 203

Swastika: antiquity of, 23;
  meaning of, 24;
  sign of Operative Masons, 201 _note_

Symbolism: Carlyle on, 4;
  early Masonic, 11;
  Pike on, 18;
  richness of, 20;
  unity of, 21;
  Mencius on, 30;
  in Bible, 31;
  of Collegia, 93;
  of Comacines, 90;
  in Masonry, 143;
  of numbers, 154;
  in language, 155;
  in Middle Ages, 156;
  preserved by Masons, 159

Taylor, Jeremy: 175 _note_

Third Degree: legend of, 149;
  confusion about, 189;
  purely Masonic, 193;
  Pike on, 193;
  not made but grew, 196;
  and Ancient Mysteries, 196;
  Edwin Booth on, 197;
  and immortality, 277

Tiler: 135;
  origin of name, 138 _note_

Tolstoi: 232

Tools of Masons: 26;
  old meanings of, 29;
  in Bible, 32;
  kit of, 132

Tradition: of Solomon, 75;
  of Masonry unique, 128;
  of degrees, 144

Triangle: probable meaning of, 13 _note_;
  used by Spenser, 155

Trinity: idea of old, 22;
  in Egypt and India, 23;
  not opposed to unity of God, 264 _note_

Unity: of human mind, 21;
  of truth, 58;
  of God and Masonry, 176 _note_, 264

_Universal Prayer_: quoted, 263

Unsectarian: the genius of Masonry, 221, 250, 252, 253, 258

Waite, A.E.: 38;
  tribute to, 64;
  on the quest, 65;
  studies of, 66;
  "golden dustman," 67

War: and Masonry, 225;
  Civil, 228, 229 _note_;
  cause of, 287;
  end of, 202

Warren, Joseph: ardent Mason, 224

Washington, George: a Mason, 225;
  sworn into office by Mason, 226

Watts, G.F.: 174

Webster, Daniel: on Green Tavern, 224

Weed, Thurlow: and Masonry, 227 _note_;
  dirty trickster, 228

Wellington: a Mason, 232

Wesley, John: 175

Wharton, Duke of: traitor, 224

_Wiltshire, Natural History of_: quoted, 166

Wren, Christopher: on columns, 9;
  and Masonry, 167 _note_;
  not trained in a Lodge, 186

York: Bishop of, 113;
  Assembly of, 117;
  old Grand Lodge of, 204;
  Mecca of Masonry, 205;
  revival of Grand Lodge of, 215;
  no rite of, 216 _note_

Zoroaster: faith of, 22

       *       *       *       *       *

    | Typographical errors corrected in text:                      |
    |                                                              |
    | Page  91: madiaeval replaced with mediaeval                  |
    | Page  98: sybolism replaced with symbolism                   |
    | Page 109: Proceding replaced with Proceeding                 |
    | Page 163: Andrea replaced with Andreae                       |
    | page 178: neverthless replaced with nevertheless             |
    | Page 221: Christion replaced with Christian                  |
    | Page 229: rembered replaced with remembered                  |
    | Page 263: 'more fascinating that its age-long' replaced with |
    |           'more fascinating than its age-long'               |
    | Page 273: despostism replaced with despotism                 |
    | Page 277: parodox replaced with paradox                      |
    | Page 307: Academie Armory replaced with Acadamie Armory      |
    | Page 310: Furgusson replaced with Fergusson (twice,          |
    |           putting the index out of order)                    |
    | Page 314: Muller replaced with Müller                        |
    |                                                              |

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