Oh, give me your pity; I’m on a Committee,
Which means that from morning to night We attend and amend, and contend and defend
Without a conclusion in sight.
I received a frantic call from a Brother recently: “I’ve been assigned to the Lodge Audit Committee, and I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I asked both the Master and the Chairman of the Committee, and they didn’t seem to know either. Help!” I could visualize the sweat on his brow, the distress in his eyes. And the Masonic signs he must be making. This seems to be one of those questions that everyone has but nobody wants to verbalize. Who wants to admit that he doesn’t know something that should be common knowledge to everyone? Common knowledge. Or is it? I can assure you that it is not common knowledge to everyone, and ignoring the question is much like the ostrich putting his head in the sand and hoping that it will go away. But I can also assure you that the work is not complicated. Here are some simple guidelines to help get you started. Have you ever taken a look at the oldest records of your Lodge? I mean the really old ones, written in a bound book, with impeccable penmanship? I copied an excerpt from my Lodge’s 1874 Ledger for you and was impressed with the sheer beauty. But it is also very simple.
Note that there are only three things that happen with monies of the Lodge:
• Money comes in
• Money goes out
• Money remains in an account
The Audit Committee’s work is simply looking at those three things and confirming that they happened. Nothing more need be done. And most
Lodges’ financial transactions are few enough and simple enough that it can be done in short order. Here’s the short course:
• Make a list of all the Lodge accounts, including account
• Bank accounts
• Savings accounts
• Investment accounts
• Cash accounts
• Make your audit:
• Use monthly statements to confirm the beginning
• Confirm the monies going in, and confirm the source
• Confirm the monies going out, and confirm the vouchers (subtraction). Vouchers should include a paper trail, including a receipt and what it was for. Your by-laws might have additional requirements, such as finance committee review or Lodge approval of payment.
• Use monthly statements to confirm the ending balances.
• Write a report for each account
• The balances agree, or
• The balances don’t agree, and give your opinion why they don’t agree.
And that’s it. You don’t need an accounting degree. You don’t need to pay for an expensive outside audit. You don’t need special software. There are some pitfalls:
• Cash in: The paper trail with cash is feeble at best, as it lends itself to questions. Nobody is being accused of irregularities, and it is much easier to document transactions with a non-cash paper trail.
• Cash out: Avoid cash disbursements completely
• Third-hand receipts: Vouchers should reflect who paid for something and how. It’s difficult to follow a paper trail that travels among multiple people.
So here are the key points:
• Avoid cash
• Keep the payment system simple
• Avoid cash
• Make monthly audits, rather than waiting until the end
of the year
• Avoid cash
• If you don’t understand the answer to a question,
ask it again until you understand the response. Don’t be
hoodwinked by terminology that is otherwise simple.
• Finally, avoid cash
Yes, there are other issues to consider. This is no Yes, there are other issues to consider. This is not an all inclusive primer. But it will help get you started.
M∴W∴ William J. Thomas
Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York
Empire State Mason Winter 2015
Our rituals, as a general rule are reasonably straight forward and self explanatory, but on occasion some matters are only touched upon briefly and in consequence, can leave one puzzled about their full meanings. One such matter is the phrase, “FIVE HOLD A LODGE IN ALLUSION TO THE FIVE NOBLE ORDERS OF ARCHITECTURE, NAMELY THE TUSCAN, DORIC, IONIC, CORINTHIAN AND COMPOSITE.” But what are the peculiarities of these different orders? First, let us look at the term, “Noble.” A diligent search through many encyclopedias, dictionaries, books of knowledge and books specifically relating to architecture, has failed to reveal the term and this suggests that it is only used in Masonic literature, but is not conclusive. However, Mitchell Beazley’s Pocket Guide to Architecture refers to these five orders as “Classical Orders”, so it can be assumed that both of these terms are synonymous. Even though it is the peculiarities of the separate orders which will be the main subject matter of this article, it is first prudent that we make a study of their similarities. Some columns, but not all, are supported by a Pedestal, usually of square section. This can take the form of a square, shallow, plain block, but where a higher pedestal is used, say up to a third of the height of the complete unit, it consists of a Base, a Dado, which can be plain or ornamented and a Cornice. The column proper is also divided into two or three named parts. First the Base, which is a series of annulets or ring-like moldings, the Shaft and the Capital, which by its design, is the manner by which each order is recognized. It is interesting to note that the Greeks were the first to establish the orders and the Romans followed suit, making some alterations, modifications and additions.
We will begin by examining the details of the Doric Order, because it was the First to be established by the Greeks. It was the one which they employed predominantly in their buildings. The general consensus is that the column was developed from earlier wooden forms. This, from the resemblance of cornice details to the forms used in early carpentry. By the seventh century B.C., the type had arrived at a definite form and subsequent improvements led to the production of the perfected order of the fifth century B.C. Examples are to be found in the Parthenon and the Propylaea at Athens, and was in continual use by the Greeks until the second century B.C. An outstanding feature of the Greek Doric column is that it has no base and a more substantial shaft than the other orders. It is generally treated with twenty flutes and it terminates in a simple capital of a group of annulets, a convex curved molding which is referred to as the Echinus and a square slab called the Abacus on top. The Roman Doric was derived from the Greek, but the design was probably influenced by the appealing aspect of a more slender shaft developed by the Etruscans. This column was not frequently used, but examples may be viewed in the Coliseum and the Theatre of Marcellus. The Roman Doric also differs from the Greek in that it incorporates a base and has some changes to the profile of the capital.
Although departing from the principle of explaining the orders chronologically, it is fitting to introduce at this point, the Tuscan Order. Established by the Sixteenth century Italians, it is of comparative recent origin. A much simplified example of the Doric, it is unfluted and has no adornments on the capital. It is also known as the Roman Doric order referred to earlier.
The next Noble order to emerge was the Ionic which attained full development by the sixth century B.C. Primarily a creation of the artisans of Asia Minor, which is the Asian portion of Turkey, where some partially developed examples of the order have been located, it appeared in Greece in the fifth century B.C. The one complete example of Greek Ionic can be seen in the Erectheum. This is a temple built from Pentelic marble on the Acropolis in Athens. Greek Ionic columns are slender proportioned, their height generally being about nine times their lower diameter and usually having twenty four flutes. The capital is characterized by spiral scrolls known as Volutes. These scrolls are viewed at front and rear of the capital. The Roman Ionic differs from the Greek in the manner that the volutes protrude from the capital forming four corners. In both the Greek and the Roman, echinus moldings are used in conjunction with the scrolls and are generally highly ornamented.
The Corinthian is the most elaborate and highly decorated of all the orders, attaining its period of full development around the middle of the fourth century B.C. Strangely enough, the Greeks made very little use of it by comparison with the other orders. However, an excellent example is the circular Choragic Monument of Lysicrates at Athens which was erected in the year 335 B.C., but the most notable of the Corinthian temples is that of Zeus, also at Athens, the construction of which was begun in the second century B.C. and was completed by the Emperor Hadrian in the second century A.D. The Greek Corinthian column, except for its distinctive capital, is similar to the Ionic, but is even more slender. Legend has it that the design of the beautiful capital, devised of Acanthus leaves, can be attributed to Callimachus, who was a Hellenistic Greek poet and critic.
This is remarkable because his actual stock in trade was schoolteacher and library worker at Alexandria. The Romans made use of the Corinthian Order in many works of imperial architecture. They gave it a special base, made carved additions to the cornice and made various innovations in the capital with more flamboyant leafage than the Greek, and in some cases using human and animal figures. The Pantheon in Rome, built by Agrippa in the year 27 B.C., rebuilt by the Emperor Hadrian in the second century A.D. and now a Christian church, embodies the prevailing examples of this order.
Hailing back momentarily to the manner in which the volutes or scrolls of the Ionic order protrude from four corners, this configuration lent itself to the addition of the acanthus leaves of the Corinthian order and it was thus that the Romans devised the Composite Order as early as the first century A.D. However, it was not until the sixteenth century that the codifiers actually named it Composite. It has since been employed extensively in public buildings worldwide. We, as Freemasons, are accustomed to seeing the Ionic, Doric and Corinthian columns in a free standing situation representing Wisdom, Strength and Beauty alongside the pedestals of the principal officers, but it must be realized that columns in their normal situations as parts of buildings, as well as being aesthetically pleasing, perform the function of supporting the upper portions of the structure. These upper parts are called Entablatures and can take several forms. In a building such as the Temple of Apollo at Didyama, the long rectangular entablature is around all four sides, whereas in the Pantheon, a triangular portion is added at the front of the porch way or entrance. This triangular entablature is used where a raked roof is employed and is consistent with the roof line. Entablatures, like Columns, are divided into named parts, such as the Architrave, which is directly above the columns. The portion above the architrave is called the Frieze, usually ornately ornamented. Above the frieze is the Cornice. In the case of a triangular portion being used, it also has named parts. The Cornices completely surround the triangular facade, which is called the Pediment, the upper, angled cornices being referred to as Raking Cornices.
Apart from the Noble or Classical Orders, many adaptations and departures from orthodoxy can be observed when traveling around cities or the countryside. For instance, at the entrance to the Town Hall in Angaston, (a town north of Adelaide) there are two pillars which look like extended Australian Rules footballs topped with the volutes of the Ionic order. Also, many false columns which are really parts of the walls, display the characteristics of the capitals of all the orders.
It is also interesting to note columns or pillars derived from the architecture of countries other than Greece and Italy, such as Egypt. The sculptors of this country depicted many conventional designs inspired by such plants as palms, lotus and papyrus, mainly in the Ptolemaic period. The Egyptians and also the Greeks made use of Caryatids which are columns sculpted in the form of women. A wonderful example is to be viewed in the ruins of the Erechthion on the Acropolis in Athens, where the Caryatid columns are completely preserved. It is interesting to note that these figures are completely clothed, but the arms are terminated above the elbows.
Bro. Perce J. George
Mannum Lodge #97, Grand Lodge of South Australia
The Lodge of Journeymen Masons No. 8 Member of the Southern California Research Lodge
The Lodge of Journeymen Masons is a most unusual Lodge which has a unique place in Masonic history. There are many interesting and unique aspects connected with The Lodge of Journeymen Masons and its history: Probably none more so than in the fact that it has never, at any time, been granted a charter The story begins centuries before the actual formation of the Lodge. The forefathers of the City of Edinburgh were far sighted enough throughout the centuries to keep detailed written records -Acts of Parliament, Royal Charters, etc. In one of these Acts of Parliament, dated 1424,we find reference to the crafts" It is ordained that in ilke (each) Towne of the Realm of ilk sindrie Craft used therein, be chosen a wise man of that craft...Shall be halden Deakon or Maister-man....to govern and assat akk warjes that beis maid be the Craftes-men of that craft."
(In modern English, it would read, "It is decreed that in each town of the realm, each craft employed in that town shall choose a wise man of that craft and install him as Deacon or Master to govern and evaluate all work made by the craftsmen of that craft." In 1469 the Town Council of Edinburgh began granting Charters of Incorporation or Seals of Cause to various craft bodies so that the craftsmen could have some say in the election of magistrates. At the head of each Incorporation was a Deacon.
The mason trade organization began, in Edinburgh, with the issuing of a Seal of cause to the Wrights and Masons on the 15th October 1475. This Incorporation wad also known later as The Incorporation of Mary's Chapel-from the building in which it met. Later, The Lodge of Edinburgh would also meet there and was known as the Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel). Many of the craftsmen were members of both organizations. The Incorporation was the link between the crafts and the community.
In the very early years of the l8th century a serious rift began to appear which would effect both the Incorporation and the Lodge of Edinburgh. Several members of these bodies thought that funds, which they had contributed to, had been misappropriated. The exact date of No. 8's formation is uncertain but moves were certainly being made prior to 1707 which is the accepted date. A minuted meeting was definitely held in 1708. On the 27th December that year a petition was received by the Lodge of Edinburgh from the unhappy fellowcrafts -complaining that they did not have access to the accounts of the lodge. This matter was resolved in a manner agreeable to both sides until 1712 when more problems arose. This came to a head at one meeting, held on St. John's Day 1712, when all of the fellowcrafts, except two, walked out, led by Bro. James Watson (Deacon of the Incorporation).
During the following year the fellowcrafts, or Journeymen, entered (initiated) apprentices and passed fellowcrafts in a public house which caused an uproar in The Lodge of Edinburgh. Following this, the Incorporation and The Lodge of Edinburgh obtained a warrant from the courts to inspect the books of the Journeymen. Also, at this time, they pushed for, and were successful in having two of the Journey men leaders (William Brodie and Robert Winram) arrested and put in prison for using foul language. These latest incidents caused the Journeymen to be outraged.
The proceedings had, by now, come to a crossroads and decisions had to be made. Should the Journeymen give up or should they take the only course of action left open to them-go to the courts. Since the incorporation was the legal authority of the craft it was decided to target it.
The Journeymen took out actions for wrongful imprisonment and unlawful abstraction of books against James Brownhill (Deacon of the Wrights) and William Smellie (Deacon of the Masons). The manuscript which contains the list of grievances was known as The Deed of Submission, The court decided that arbitration was the best solution to the problem. The Deacons of the Goldsmiths and the Surgeons, with the governor of the Incorporated Crafts as oversaw, were appointed as the arbiters. On the 8th January 1715 the arbiters presented their Decreed Arbitral. This Decreed Arbitral can be regarded as the equivalent to a charter for our lodge. Among the decisions the arbiters reached were:
1. The two Journeymen had been rightly imprisoned then proceeded to award them damages of L100 Scots against the Deacons!
2. The books of the Journeymen were to be returned to them. However, these books must be presented to the Incorporation each half year for inspection. But most importantly...
3. The Journeymen were given authority to meet as a separate Masonic Lodge.
This was still not the end of the matter since the Deacons refused to pay the damages and return the books. Legal documents, entitled 'Letters of Horning', were served upon them On the l3th July 1715.
When a reasonable conclusion had been arrived at, the Lords of Session presented The Lodge of Journeymen Masons with a red silk purse which is still in the Lodge's possession today.
The Lodge of Journeymen Masons has worked as a legal lodge since 1715 (the completion of the legal processes) but it is recognized by everyone, including the Grand Lodge of Scotland, that the true date of formation is 1707. It is recorded as such in Grand Lodge. Instead of a charter being present in our Lodge we have The Deeds of Submission (including the Decreed Arbitral) and the Letter of Horning hanging on our walls. The new initiates are given a short lecture on our rights to charge fees and confer degrees in which these documents are referred to.
The Lodge of Journeymen Masons may be the Only lodge in the world which is allowed to charge fees and confer degrees and does not require a charter from a Grand Lodge. Many lodges which were formed before the founding of the respective Grand Lodges received charters retrospectively. In Scotland we call these Charters of Confirmation. The Lodge of Journeymen Masons does not even have one of these we have our authority from the Court of Session of Edinburgh.
It should be added that many of the Journeymen who broke away eventually returned to The Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel) and that for well over 25O years great harmony has existed between the two lodges. Indeed, Bro. James Watson, who led the original walkout, was again elected as Deacon of the Incorporation and also as Master of The Lodge of Edinburgh (Mary's Chapel)
The original name of the lodge in the 'Letters of Horning' was, as at present The Lodge of Journeymen Masons but for a while the late 19th century it was officially known as Lodge Journeymen. It was, for a long time, the only lodge with he word `Mason' in its title even now there are still very few.
During its long history the lodge has met in many places. At first it was in some of the many alehouses and taverns which were to be found in old Edinburgh. It also used Mary's Chapel before , in 1741, meeting in the old Royal Infirmary for its principal meetings. In 1752 they moved to other premises in Edinburgh's old town. The lodge moved to its present premises on the 8th August 1871. These premises were consecrated by the Earl of Dalhousie who was then the Immediate Past Grand Master.
Many years ago it was not unusual for the Lodge to erect tombstones in memory of Past Masters and other distinguished brethren. In 1804 several of the brethren decided to visit the grave of a brother to see that it was in good repair: they resolved to visit the grave annually. This annual visit developed into an extended tour of several of the city cemeteries and became known as the `Visitation of the Tombs'. This check on the condition of the tombs of deceased brethren existed up to within the past twenty years.
The Great War (WWI) took a dreadful toll of the brethren of the Lodge. Of the 196 members who served in the Armed Forces, 21 were killed or died from wounds, 28 were discharged on account of ill-health or wounded and one brother was drowned. At the Lodge's annual Installation one of the toasts still proposed is to `The Imperial and Allied Forces'. Of the very many records of visits to the Lodge two areas are worthy of mention here. On the 10th July 1889 sixteen brethren representing Lodge Priory, Tynemouth, No. 1863 on the roll of the Grand Lodge of England, visited No. 8. It is noted in the minutes that this was the first time an English Lodge had, in regalia and under the guidance of its Master, visited a Scottish Lodge.
At the end of the Great War many American Freemasons visited No. 8 several of whom had the distinction of being made Honorary Members. Probably the best known of these brethren was Br. Samuel Gompers the American Labour Leader. Following is a list of those American brethren who received honorary Membership and the dates they received it:
Br. S. Gompers, Dawson's Lodge No. 16, Washington D.C., 12 September 1918
Br. John P. Frey, Lodge Norwood 190. 576, Ohio, 12 September 1918
Br. Frank 0. Wells, Lodge Euclid No. 656 New York, 28 November 19 18
Br. Louis Josephs, West Lake Lodge No. 392, Los Angeles, l2 December 1918
Br. Philip H. Crandon , Lodge Star in the East, New Bedford, 13 March 1919
The motif of the Lodge is the `Blue Blanket'. The Lodge of Journeymen Masons No. 8 holds the right to carry the `Blue Blanket' in Public processions since it is the oldest operative lodge in Edinburgh. As the crafts were included in `The Incorporation of Hammermen'. which was responsible for the 'Blue Blanket', it was fitting that it be en trusted to the representatives of one of the constituent crafts. The ` Blue BIanket' holds a special place in the hearts of all our brethren. *The history of the `Blue Blanket' is a long and interesting one and an article relating solely to it will follow in due course.
The Lodge of Journeymen Masons had, until 1876, the honour of carrying the Working Tools of Grand Lodge in all public processions. Since then this has been restricted to the Metropolitan area.
There are many more interesting aspects relating to the lodge. Since it is so unusual many brethren from all parts of the country and, indeed, abroad make a point of visiting us.
As to the term `Blue Lodge' I, personally, feel there is an even simpler explanation although I have not investigated The matter. In Scotland each lodge can choose its own colour(s) for its regalia. It is a great sight to see all the different coloured regalia in a lodge including tartans of many clans. The colour of The Grand Lodge of Scotland is thistle green. I think the term 'Blue Lodge' or `Blue masonry' may come from English Freemasonry where all the brethren in a lodge wear blue edged aprons.
We hope Bro. Watson will give us an article telling the story of the "Blue Blanket.'* We also know there will be questions about it and so include the section relating to the "Blue Blanket" from Coils Masonic Encyclopedia:
BLUE BANNER: blue blanket.
Lodge of Journeymen No. 8 of Edinburgh, Scotland was the result of a split in Lodge of Edinburgh in 1705, with secession of the journeymen, who set up the new lodge. It possesses a banner, really a blanket used as a banner, which is supposed to have a history of great age. The legend goes that the Scotch mechanics who accompanied Allen, Lord Steward of Scotland, are one of the Crusades took with them a banner on which were displayed the following: "In Thy good pleasure build Thou the walls of Jerusalem.' On their return, they deposited the banner at the altar of St. Eloi in the church of St. Giles. James III of Scotland, in 1482, donated to the craftsmen, their old banner, called The Blue Blanket, and the privilege of displaying it in Masonic processions was granted to the journeymen. This blanket or banner is said to be extant, though necessarily in a much dilapidated condition. See Annals L. of Journeymen Masons No. 8 by Seggie and Turnbull; Edinburgh, 1930; and An Historical Account of the Blue Blanket: etc. by Alexander Pennecuik, Edinburgh, 1722.
Bro. Jan P. Watson P.M.
Have you ever asked yourself: “Why should we examine a visitor?” This is very easily answered. We do not want those who are not qualified, or who are not members in good standing entering our Lodges. Primary responsibility rests on the Worshipful Master, who was charged at the installation ceremony to “agree that no visitor shall be received into your Lodge without due examination, and producing proper vouchers of his having been initiated into a regular Lodge.” However, it is also the responsibility of each member of a Lodge to insure the security and integrity of his Lodge. Each of us, therefore, should be aware that we can be called upon to serve as a member of the committee to examine a visiting Brother, and it is our responsibility to be prepared to serve on the committee. When do we need to examine a visiting Brother?
Generally, it is when no one present that evening has sat in Lodge with the visitor and no one can, therefore, vouch for the visitor. In such a circumstance, the Worshipful Master would choose three members of the Lodge to form a committee to examine the visitor. The Master would be well advised to select Brethren who are well versed in Freemasonry, and well informed of the ritual and Lodge procedures. The examiners should probably start by using the Tiler’s Oath. This is a solemn oath that you have been initiated, passed, and raised to the Sublime Degree of Master Mason and that you are not suspended or expelled. We can ask the visitor to recite the Tiler’s Oath, but remember that not many of our Brethren have committed the Tiler’s Oath to memory. Thus, the better practice is to have the visitor place his hand on the Bible and read the Tiler’s Oath. You will then ask to see the visitor’s current dues card, and check the status of the Lodge in which he holds membership. For this purpose, a member of the committee should bring with him, in addition to a small Bible, and a copy of the Tiler’s Oath, the Lodge copy of the current “List of Lodges-Masonic.” This publication, from the Pantagraph Printing and Stationery Company, lists all recognized Masonic Lodges around the world and should be used to check the legitimacy of the Lodge in which the visitor is a member. You will then want to ask the visitor a few questions, but first try to make the Brother feel that he is welcome and that you are glad he chose to attend your Lodge. Explain that, as he knows, only members in good standing are entitled to enter our Lodges, and part of how we assure ourselves of the bona fides of a visitor is by asking a few questions that any Brother would know if he attends Lodge and is aware of the ritual for opening and closing a Lodge at either a called or stated communication. The members of the committee, for their part, need to be careful and thoughtful in selecting these questions.
Obviously, we should not ask any question where we are not sure of the answer. But as suggested above, these questions should be ones to which any Brother who regularly attends Lodge should know the answer. We have many Brethren who attend stated but not called communications when the degrees are conferred, so don’t ask questions that would only be known by a member who is well versed in the ritual. We don’t want to ask difficult questions that serve only to embarrass a Brother or make him feel unwelcome. We also don’t want to ask trick questions, compound questions, or questions with more than one correct answer. Remember these questions are not asked for the purpose of impressing the visitor with how knowledgeable the committee members are about Freemasonry. They are to enable the committee to determine if the visitor is a member of the Craft. Please do not forget that our objective is not to find a reason to exclude the visitor, but simply to ensure that he is a Brother. We want Brethren to visit our Lodge, and we should feel proud of the fact he has taken his time to visit our Lodge when he could have been attending other activities or just staying home. After the committee is satisfied that the visitor is a Brother in good standing, and from a Lodge recognized by our Grand Lodge, we should
inform him of the degree or degrees we will be working that evening, and, particularly if he is from a different jurisdiction, rehearse him on what he will need to know, although it is entirely acceptable for the visitor to give the signs appropriate to the jurisdiction under which his Lodge is holden. The brief time together with the visitor should not only satisfy the committee that the visitor is entitled to be admitted into the Lodge, but also should be used to build rapport with the visiting Brother.
Moreover, if a favorable report is given, and the Worshipful Master invites the visitor into the Lodge, the members of the committee should make a special effort to assure the visitor that they are glad to have him attend their Lodge. It is good practice for the members of the committee to sit next to the visitor or visitors in the Lodge room, so the visiting Brother does, in fact, feel comfortable and is not sitting alone. At the end of the meeting, assure the visitor that he will always be welcome in your Lodge, and that you hope the length of his Cable Tow is such that he will return often. You also might want, if the visiting Brother’s Lodge is not too far away, to return the visit and have an enjoyable experience seeing him again in his Lodge. Of course, if there is a problem which precludes a favorable report, explain what the issue is and explain why he cannot be admitted at this time. It may be, for example, that the Lodge he is a member of is not recognized by the Grand Lodge of Virginia, or that the dues card he had with him that evening was not his current dues card. But, here too, even when delivering bad news, we want to demonstrate the kind of Masonic courtesy for which we are so well known.
Brethren, I hope this in some small way makes you feel more comfortable about serving on a committee to examine a visitor, and hope
also that you will find it a rewarding experience.
THE EXAMINATION OF A VISITOR
Right Worshipful Joe W. Murphy
Committee on Masonic Education
PDDGM, Masonic District 19
The Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and
Accepted Masons of Virginia
DEO Presentation Program Paper
Picture credit to Living Stone Magazine
Our ancient operative brethren desired to become Masters so that, when they traveled in foreign countries, they could still practice their craft. Speculative Freemasons still desire to travel in foreign countries and study their craft that they may receive such instruction as will enable them to do so, and when traveling, to receive a Masters Wages.
But the Foreign Countries do not mean to us the various geographical and political divisions of the Old World, nor do we use the Word we learn as a means of identification to enable us to build material temples and receive coin of the realm for our labor. Foreign Countries is to us a symbol.
Like all the rest of the symbols, it has more than one interpretation; but, unlike many, none of these is very difficult to trace or understand.
Freemasonry itself is the first foreign country in which the initiate will travel; a world as different from the familiar workaday world, as France is different from England, or Belgium from Greece. Everything is different in the Masonic world; the standards are different, the Money is different, the ideas are different. In the familiar world, money, place and power are the standards by which we judge our fellows. In the fraternity all are on the level, and there are neither rich nor poor. In the world outside there are laws to prevent, and police and penalties to enforce obedience; in the fraternity the laws are not thou shalt not but thou shalt and the fundamental of them all is the golden rule, the law of brotherly love. Men conform to the laws of Freemasonry not because they must but because they will. Surely such a land is a foreign country to the stranger within its borders; and the visitor must study it, learn its language and its customs, if he is to enjoy it.
Many learn but a few phrases and only enough of its customs to conform. There are thousands of Americans who went all over France during the war with a pack of cigarettes, a friendly smile and no comprende! as their sole knowledge of the language; but did they learn to know France? A Lodge member may know the words of the opening and closing and how to act in a lodge, learn to call his fellows brother and pay his dues; but will that get him all there is in the foreign country in which he finds him-self?
America north and south is a mighty continent . . . It has many countries. To know one is not to know all. The man at home in Mexico will find Newfoundland strange, and the Canadian will not feel at home in Chile if he knows nothing of that country.
So it is with the vast continent of Freemasonry. It has many foreign countries within it; and he is the wise and happy Freemason who works patiently at the pleasant task of visiting and studying them. There are the foreign countries of philosophy, of jurisprudence and of history. No Freemason is really worthy of the name who does not understand something of how his new land is governed, of what it stands for and why.
And there is the foreign country of Symbolism of which this little book is far less a guide than a gateway.
As a Master Mason, a man has the right to travel in all the foreign countries of Freemasonry. There is none to say him nay. If he will but learn the work and keep himself in good standing, he may visit where he will. But it is not within the door of other lodges than his own that he will find the boundary line and the guide posts of those truly Masonic Foreign Countries to which he has been given the passport by his brethren. He will find gateways to those lands in the library, in the study club, in books and magazines; and, most and best of all, in the quiet hour alone, when what he has read and learned comes back to him to be pondered over and thought through. The foreign country of symbolism has engaged the thoughtful and serious consideration of hundreds of able Masonic students, as has that of the history of our Order. Not to visit them both; aye, not to make oneself a citizen of them both, is to refuse the privileges one has sought and labored to obtain. One asks for a petition, prays ones friend to take it to his lodge, knocks on the door, takes obligations, works to learn and finally receives the Masters Degree. One receives it, struggles for it, hopes for it . . . why? That one may travel in the far lands and receive the reward there awaiting. .
Then why hesitate? Why wait? Why put it off? Why allow others to pass on and gain; while one stands, the gate open, the new land beckoning, and all the Masonic world to see?
That is the symbolism of the foreign countries . . . that is the meaning of the phrase which once meant, to operative Masons, exactly what it says. To the Freemason who reads it aright it is a clarion call to action, to study, to an earnest pressing forward on the new highway. For time is short and the night cometh when no man can work!
To the young Freemason, particularly, is the symbol a ringing appeal. To those who are old in the Craft, who have set their pace, determined their course and become satisfied with all they have managed to learn of the fraternity, with what little they have been able to take from it, foreign countries means countries which are foreign and nothing more. But to the young man just starting out as a Freemason . . . Oh, my brother, heed you the symbolism of the phrase and make your entry through the gateway, your limbs strong to travel, your mind open to learn. For if you truly travel in the Masonic foreign countries, you will receive Masters Wages beyond your greatest expectations. The way is open to the Freemason; not an easy way, perhaps, or a short way, but a clear way. Not for the old Mason, the man set in his ways, the man content with the literal meaning of the words, the book Mason, the pin- wearer, not for them the foreign countries of symbolism, and Masonic knowledge.
But you, you who are new, you to whom Freemasonry is yet a wonder and a vision. a mystery and a glory . . . for you the gate is wide, for you the path is clear; for you the foreign countries beckon . . . hang you not back!
For at the end of the journey, when the last foreign country of Freemasonry has been traveled and learned and loved, you shall come to a new gate, above which there is a new name written . . . and when you have read it you will know the True Word of a Master Mason.
SHORT TALK BULLETIN - Vol.VI November, 1928 No.11
by: Carl H. Claudy
A reprint of Chapter XXX of Foreign Countries, published and copyrighted by the Masonic Service Association in 1925.
The Entered Apprentice Degree, first of the three Degrees of Blue Lodge Masonry, is a preliminary degree, intended to prepare the candidate for the higher and fuller instructions of the succeeding degrees. The candidate is a voluntary applicant for membership in the Lodge, he comes without an invitation from the Lodge or from any member of the Order, even though he may have been told by a Masonic friend that he is the type of man the Order needs.
Of his own free will and accord, the candidate knocks at the outer door of the Lodge and seeks admission that he may begin his search for Light, for the light of divine Truth. At the threshold of the Lodge he is required to confess his "trust in God," thus repudiating any tendencies to infidelity, polytheism or pantheism, and acknowledging his faith in the One True and Living God. He is peculiarly clothed in keeping with the mysteries of the Order into which he is about to be inducted, "neither naked nor clothed; neither bare-footed nor shod," the symbolic meaning being fully explained to him as he makes his journey through the requirements of this degree.
Although lacking in valuable historical information, the work of the Degree is replete instructions on the internal structure of the Order, especially in its lectures. The religious character of Masonry is impressed upon his mind and heart, not only by his confession of "trust in God," but by the open Bible upon the altar, and by his own dedication in prayer and mediation before the altar. The entire Ritual is a preliminary revelation on the internal structure of the Institution, and the symbols employed in the Degree are profoundly significant and instructive. The candidate now learns that a Masonic Lodge is an assemblage of Freemasons, duly congregated, having the Sacred Writings, Square, and Compass, and a Charter, or warrant of constitution, authorizing the Lodge to meet and work. It is also explained to him that the room or place in which the meeting is held represents some part of King Solomon’s Temple. The Lodge is supported by three great columns, Wisdom, Strength and Beauty, which are explained to the candidate. They are represented by the Master, Senior Warden and Junior Warden.
In properly comprehending "what is done unto him," the course of his movements around the Lodge Room, the significance of the symbols employed, and the lectures given, including every phase of the Ritual, the Entered Apprentice Mason realizes that he has begun a noble pursuit for Truth. The aspiration of his soul toward Absolute and Infinite Intelligence is encouraged and strengthened. The faculties of his mind have been directed toward the Great Architect Of The Universe, his own Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor. Through the majestic irradiations of thought, meditation, prayer and sublime comprehensions of instructions given, his soul pierces through the shadows of materialism and earthiness toward the Light for which his search has begun. He is prepared for his onward and upward course in Freemasonry, and when he has proved his proficiency in the work of the Entered Apprentice Degree, he will be ready for the next Degree of Blue Lodge Masonry.
The Entered Apprentice is taught in the First Degree that Masonry is based on three great principles; Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth; and of the three grand virtues (Faith, Hope and Charity) that of Charity is the greatest. He is also told to practice that virtue cheerfully but without detriment to ourselves or our families. The three great principles are thus explained:
Brotherly Love - to practice of charity towards our Brethren in adversity; to treat them as equals, to render every kind office that justice or mercy may require.
Relief - to assist them when they are in need, and if worthy of our aid to render such to them if within our power so to do; by visiting them and their families in their times of want. But, most of all doing for them and theirs in all things as we would they should do for us, in similar circumstances.
Truth - to seek after knowledge and wisdom necessary for building, within our own hearts, that Temple called "Self", which will be a glorification of He who created us, that we may give Him that reverence which is His due thereby making us worthy of His aid in all our undertakings and sufferings.
The Entered Apprentice Mason is then entrusted with certain secrets of the Order, all of them moral, ethical and wholesome, and is pledged to "keep counsel of all things spoken in the Lodge or chamber by any Masons, Fellows or Free Masons." He is invested with certain "Secret Words," which, of course, he must keep inviolate and communicate them only in accordance with Masonic Law.
The Operative Mason of the Middle Ages drew up a code of rules or regulations to govern the behavior of the members of the Craft. These they called "charges". Today they are known as the Ancient Charges and they constitute the basis of Masonic law.
Among these Charges is one that states "a Mason is a peaceable subject to the Civil Powers, wherever he resides or works and is never to be concerned in plots or conspiracies against the peace and welfare of the Nation".
Another law of the Masonic Fraternity is that no candidate or Brother can be questioned as to his peculiar mode of religious faith or political opinion, nor can any discussion upon such subjects be permitted in any assembly of the Craft.
At the time the Old Charges were written people had not direct vote or voice in their own government; they were ruled by kings, and often the dynasty to which a king belonged was challenged in its right to rule by some other dynasty, or even by more than one of them. Under such conditions a rebellion or a revolution was the only method by which a government could be changed; what was then called a "political party" was a group of adherents to a dynasty. Almost every then-existing organization, including even churches and colleges, took sides with one dynasty as against the other. You may from this see how exceptional and extraordinary was the Masonic Law; it took the position that this system of warring parties, fighting over the very existence of government, was hurtful to mankind and a great danger to a people, and that it ought to be replaced by the principle of goodwill and peaceable and harmonious co-operation. It was a part of the mission of Masonry to stand for that principle and it consistently kept itself aloof from the warfare of contending parties and forbade any member to take part in them as a Mason.
Here in Canada we have, as you know, political parties. Instead of quarreling with each other as to what the government shall be, our parties are in contention as to what the government shall do; and instead of deciding which one or another shall triumph by means of rebellions and revolutions, our parties make use of political campaigns, and while these campaigns do not result in the shedding of blood they often result in a great deal of bitterness, ill-will, and general disharmony. In the face of this modern situation our Craft continues to take the same position that it took in an earlier time; it believes that these bitter, partisan contentions are hurtful to the people, dangerous to the general welfare and subversive of sound government, and that the welfare of the State can be secured only by good-will, toleration, and a patient, friendly co-operation. It therefore refuses to participate in partisan politics and it forbids its members ever to do so in the name of Masonry.
Masonry's sole concern is that we act throughout in the spirit of and according to the guidance of fraternalism; how we are to apply it in detail or upon local occasion it leaves wholly to our judgment.
A Mason, let us say, is an active worker in some political party. What party it is, what may be his opinion on political issues, is for him to decide; but, as a Mason, he will not hate those who differ from him, nor enter unjust intrigues against them, he will not set up his own party in opposition to the public good, nor will he use his Masonic connection for political party purposes.
He may be an active member of a religious body. It is for him to choose that body; nobody has any right to dictate to him as to this. His beliefs are held sacred to his own conscience; but, as a Mason, he will have goodwill toward men of a different faith, will not be actuated by prejudice or intolerance, nor will he be a party to making war upon any other religious communion, however much in error he may deem it to be.
In his social life, he may belong to any circle he wishes, wealthy or poor, and enjoy his companionship of such as please him, nobody else having any right to dictate what club he shall belong to or in what circle he moves; but, as a Mason, he will not consider his own circle above others, or despise those who may not be as fortunate as he in his social relations, for such snobbery is repugnant to the principle of fraternalism.
Again, it is possible that he may feel a pride of race, may cherish the traditions of his own people, may love its language and prefer its customs. If so, nobody has the right to forbid him, for it is a right and honorable in every man to respect his own blood; but, as a Mason, he will not therefore despise others of a different race, or seek at their expense to exalt his own, for there nothing more un-Masonic than race prejudice.
So long as we are loyal to the principle of fraternalism in all our dealings with others, Freemasonry asks nothing further of us, and it leaves it wholly to us to decide what form our citizenship shall take in detail, or where we shall find our own niche in the great structure of the public life. This is only another way of saying that towards us, its members, it practices the same fraternalism that it enjoins upon us to practice towards others.
From this you will clearly understand why neither any Lodge nor Grand Lodge, nor any group of Masons as such, ever interfere with matters of church, state, or society, or joins one party against another. It is nevertheless not inconsistent for the Craft to perform at times such service to the community as stand by common consent on a level beyond all parties.
Above all it has been an aider and helper of all forms of general charity, asylums, homes, orphanages, hospitals and the less special forms of public relief.
To sum up. If a Mason asks, How am I to apply the teaching of Masonry to citizen ship? the answer is, That is for you to decide, and according as you have opportunity. All that is required of you is to be guided throughout by the principle of fraternalism, in which case nothing more will be asked of you because you will then be, as the Old Charges require, "a peaceable subject to the Civil Power."
From the booklet, More Light on Freemasonry
Distributed by the Grand Lodge of New Brunswick
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