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A GUIDE FOR READERS AND STUDENTS OF FREEMASONRY
INTRODUCING THE TEXTBOOK.
OBJECTIONS TO THE CRAFT.
ROYAL ARCH MAÇONS AND ROYAL AND SELECT MASTERS.
DEGREES, RITES, CEREMONIES, AND RITUALS.
ANCIENT AND ACCEPRED SCOTTISH RITE.
OUTLINE STUDY, CRAFT TO SCOTTISH RITE.
A GUIDE FOR READERS AND STUDENTS OF FREEMASONRY
The first Freemasons were men like ourselves, nor has the passage of eight or nine centuries changed their Fraternity out of their recognition if they could return to see it. During the day-time, excepting only on Sundays and numerous holidays, they worked together on buildings, which in their case were not such small and simple structures as the local Masons could erect, but were monuments of architecture, public buildings, and often famous buildings, a cathedral, a church, a chapel, an abbey, a nunnery, a castle, a fortress, a mansion, a borough hall, or a gildhall. At sunset they went to their houses which usually were clustered together either in a village of their own or in their own quarters of a town, and there spent just such evenings as modern Masons spend at the end of the day, except that they were merrier, jollier, and happier than modern Masons are.
A Master Mason's Apprentice was a foster son, and lived as one of the family. There were picnics, feasts and games. On Sundays Masons attended church, clothed in the livery, or costume, which belonged to their craft; on holy days they attended the chapel of their Patron Saint, going in ceremonious procession. Their many families were one large family, nursing each other's sick, feeding children left orphaned, giving relief at the times of misfortune. It was an almost patriarchal circle, this neighborhood of the homes of Freemasons, because their Master of Masons ruled them by night, as he governed them in the day; they did not quarrel among themselves nor did they shatter the ties among themselves by carrying tales to outsiders, but lived in silence and circumspection and abode in peace. They and their families and their homes and the work together were a single , unit it was called the Masonic Community. It was this Community, and not working practices alone, which later Lodges inherited.
At the place of their work they had a room or building of their own, ealled the Lodge. To it they reported for work at sunrise; in it reported off work at sunset; held assemblies, presided over by their officers; and when assembled decided on plans, the next unit of work, and received assignment to their tasks; condueted their business affairs, and kept their records; and when they did so, never came in haphazard but arrived at fixed times, and sat in order, and each man had his own place and station, the whole of which was carried on with great dignity, and therefore ceremoniously. It was into such assemblies that an Apprentiee was brought for examination, initiated, indentured, and entered; seven years afterwards, and with equal ceremony, the same Apprentice was offieially declared free of his indentures and was passed into full membership with the title of Fellow of the Craft.
History is neither mystical nor remote, nor is it invisible, but goes on before our eyes. To us modern men in this age of the atomic bomb those early Freemasons may appear to stand dim and far away, as in a mist, but to themselves they were not remote, and about them and their daily affairs was no mist or vagueness. History itself is never Aneient, or Medieval, or Modern; it is timeless; but it may turn its searchlights backward and forwards at will; what it falls upon, and not itself, is Aneient, or is Medieval, or is Modern, is elose at hand, or is far away. There is nothing in the history of Freemasonry either vague or remote; wherever it turns there is the full light of day; actual men of flesh and blood go about on their lawful occasions in the region on which it turns its ilhlmination. The Freemasons, when they wished, could see their own history going on under their eyes; they were neither puzzled nor disturbed by it, because it was a normal and familiar occurrence; and they could have told any man as easily as we can, that there is nothing to be afraid of in history, even though some men may be afraid of what they may learn from it, or may dread to see it going on; because it means that the past follows hard upon the present, and is never still; and that history is never ignorant, though men may be ignorant about it. In one sense of the words those first Freemasons are gone, and irrevocably; but in another sense they are not gone, and history can conduct us back to their sides, and we can know them as they knew each other. When we permit history thus to conduct us we find, as it was stated above, that the first Freemasons were just such men as ourselves.
When a veteran Freemason grew too old to work, or was crippled, or ill, or died, his place was taken by a new man—and that, in full reality, is what an Apprentice was, a new man. Since he was, he was his own man, with his own individuality, and therefore he could not repeat down to the last detail either what his predecessor had been or what his predecessor had done. His coming in made a change; it was slight, but it was also real. He in turn was succeeded by another new man thirty years or so later, who also in his own turn brought in something new, and in so doing may have dropped out something old, and what was dropped out was slight, yet also was real. Also, though man, like history, is timeless, is the same yesterday, today and forever, it can be timeless only because in it particular men are timely, and belong to their times; and that is true because individual men in one generation are a little different, as men, from the men in the generation before them. This coming of new men into the Craft, ever so often, and the retreat of old men out of it, the small changes effected by their coming, and the continuing of this process generation after generation, was the history of those Freemasons as they themselves saw it going on before them. We may describe it as the inner history of the Fraternity.
While these inevitable and normal changes were occurring within their midst, other events were occurring in the world outside. Architectural styles changed, new towns were founded and needed new buildings designed in a new way. An old King died, a new King was crowned. There were wars, there were political changes. Dress changed in its fashion, new discoveries were made in the sciences. The Freemasons were neither able nor desirous of holding back
this succession of events. Like other men, they met new events in whatever new way the events required.
When Britain grew weary of Romanesque buildings, they built Gothic; when it wearied of Gothic they built in the new classical style. At one time they were Catholics, each and every one of them; at another time they were of the Church of England; later still they could have their choice of the denominations. The World itself has its own way of perpetuating
itself, and does so by letting one event succeed another, the second never an exact repetition of the first. This also was a history which the Freemasons sacs going on in front of their eyes; it was their outer history.
When therefore we read or write a history of Freemasonry, about what do we read or write? About a number of men. They worked at a style of building calling for a special art; what they did was Freemasonic; these men at other times assembled, acted, carried out practices of their own, and those were Freemasonic practices. In either event "Freemasonry" consisted of men. They are the subject-matter of its history. It is so still, for by virtue of that continued process of bringing in a new man to take the place of an old man, men still continue to gather and to assemble in order to do things which are Freemasonic things. They differ from other men in no
particular save as they do them. A Lodge itself is only the name for a group of men. It is not as if the Lodge were a separate entity, standing apart on one side, with its members another separate entity standing apart at the other side. The Lodge is the men.
Therefore in all true and literal fact the study of Freesmasonry is a study of men and of the Freemasonic things which those men have done or are doing.
If we of the middle of the Twentieth Century differ from Dr. Albert G. Mackey (and his contemporaries) of the middle of the Nineteenth Century, it is at this point. Dr. Mackey began with what he called "The Institution"; this Institution, which as its name betrays, was an impersonal history, a set of landmarks, laws, doctrines, and tenets. He turned these abstractions into entities, and then discoursed upon the entities.
This "bloodless ballet of abstractions" is what Freemasonry was for him; in such an Institution flesh-and-blood men almost disappeared; they came and went as mere transients; dim and unreal, they passed like phantoms through the portals, and were mere incidents, almost accidents, in the invisible
but rigid "Institution." We refuse thus to objectify, and to reify those abstractions. We refuse to believe that generalities are actual entities, with hands and feet of their own. We will not have it that Freemasonry has its abode in the sky, like Plato's ideas.
The men are real. They are primary. The Fraternity is what they are. Freemasonry is what they do. Men in actual flesh and blood, doing Freemasonic things, this is what Freemasonry is, and ever has been. Doctrines are among the things which these men believe Landmarks are one of the things they do, and differ from other things they do only because they do them invariably, each time they meet. The laws do not rule them; they rule themselves, and the laws are but a name for what they do in this self-ruling The teachings are only what men must learn in order to do Freemasonic things.
This is what Masonic study is about The moment a Mason learns it, the moment he quits straining his neck in an effort to see the invisible entities in space above him, the moment he no longer turns generalizations into creatures able to speak and use their hands, he will find himself among men, and he will for the first time feel at home, and Freemasonry will be for him his fellowship with those men they will aet, speak, think, go and come, laugh, make speeches, eat, grow tired and go home, as everywhere is the way with men. An abstraction vanishes; an actuality takes its place, there is no longer a mystery in Freemasonry because there is nothing in it except men. There were just Such men two or four, or eight centuries ago; Masonic History is a report of what they did. There are such men now, still doing the same Freemasonic things; a study of Freemasonry is a study of what they are doing.
Scholarship is one of the glories of this world; without it there could be no world, nor men in it, nor any civilization, or culture; whatever greatness there is in men, scholarship helps to make it. What is scholarship? It is something a man does. What does he do? It is seldom that he does anything about facts and events remote and far, of which the rank and file of men have never heard or about which they know nothing. The notion that scholarship is erudite or is esoteric, like the notion that history is vague and unreal, and the notion that generalities and abstractions and doctrines have a separate existence of their own, belongs to scholasticism; and Scholasticism is this long time dead, and generations ere this should have had its bones covered from sight.
There is as little need for a man to be afraid of scholarship as there is to be afraid of history, for like history it goes on before our eyes, and concerns itself with familiar things. Any one in the rank and file of ordinary men has a certain amount of knowledge about something; the Scholar has more knowledge about that same thing. Where a non-scholar knows a little about some given fact or event or Subject, a scholar knows all there is to be known about it. The difference between the Scholar and the non-seholar is not that the non-scholar is interested in things close at hand, the Scholar in things strange and remote (that is erudition), but that where a non-scholar knows a little about something close at hand, the Scholar knows everything about it; they are both concerned about the same things.
So is it with a Masonic Scholar. Any Brother in the rank and file of ordinary Masons knows a little about Subjects such as Operative Masonry, or the Landmarks, or the Old Charges, or the Ritual, and nothinS could be more familiar to him beeause he encounters them each time he attends Lodge; the Masonie Scholar differs from him only in knowing all that can be known about those same Subjects. He does not walk off into some hidden country of his own, there to consult his oracles on esoteric mysteries; he remains where any active Mason remains, in the thick of the Fraternity, is interested in the same things. And if he brings more knowledge to those things it is not in order to stand aloof in arrogant superiority, but for an opposite reason; his ambition is not to keep for himself the knowledge his years of labor have gained, but to give and share the whole of it with every one of his Brothers To avoid or evade ;.Masonic scholarship is a prejudice; to obstruct or prevent it, means that the obstructors prefer a little, incomplete knowledge about Freemasonry to complete knowledge; and if they so prefer, let it be on their own heads, for they are enemies of their Craft's own welfare, and are obscurantists who do everything they can to see that the motto "Let there be light" shall not be carried out.
If a large number of men are engaged together in the same enterprise; if they are not confined to one place but live among thousands of communities; and if they assemble and act together at various places and on various dates; and if they have continued in that enterprise for centuries, there are in the nature of possibility only two ways for any man, whether one of them or not, to learn what these men have been doing. One way is to go where they are, to join with them, to observe them at first hand. The other way is to read about them. To learn what those men are doing at the present moment requires the least reading; to learn what they were doing a century ago requires more reading; to learn what they were doing four centuries ago requires still more reading; the farther back in time, the more reading is needed. It is obvious that this is true, and why it is true is plain; at the present we can learn much about them by our eyes and ears and from oral information given to us by others, but as we go into the past we can no longer see or hear what is going on for ourselves, and there is no oral information to be had because the informants themselves also have long ceased to be. If a man "does not like to read," maybe is "too busy to read," he must resign himself to being in ignorance about the past, because there is no way to know it except from reading—there were times when history was preserved and kept by heart in some story-teller's memory and by him recited to an audience, but we have no story-tellers.
We Masons have more need to read than men in almost any other society or organization. The thousands and millions of men who do Freemasonic things have been doing them for at least eight or nine centuries; and by an almost miraculous unity these Freemasonie things have always been the same things. If what we desire to know about the doings of those men in the past is only some small fact, we need to read but little, and to read it is easy; when so, we call it "reading" in the colloquial sense of that word; but if we need to know much about them, if it calls for many hours or days of reading, and if to do the reading is laborious and taxing, we call it "study." But neither the "reading" nor the "study" is always done for knowledge about the past. If something spreads out over the world, it transcends our ability to see and hear it for ourselves as much as when it goes too far into the past, because a man's own limits in space are as narrow as his limits in time. If the question is as to what Freemasons are doing in Europe, or China, or India, few of us can go to see for ourselves- we must read about it. It is another way of saying that bIasonic study is not necessarily a study of history.
The most striking fact about men who do Freemasonic things is that from the beginning until now and everywhere, they have always been doing a certain kind of work. They themselves have always known that this work is of very great importance, and they therefore have always done it with an extraordinary dignity, and almost with solemnity—they have always been, as we say, ceremonious about it. They also have always found their work inexhaustibly interesting in itself, something whieh has ealled out every sort of ability or talent or strength they have had in them, and something in which the interest has been of many kinds, physical, mental, the interests of art, etc., and that their work has never been a mere tread-mill of routine, and in consequence they themselves have never been mindless drudges but have grown and become enlarged bv doing their work.
The earliest Freemasons made their living by daily work in architecture, but owing to what architecture itself was at that time and to the circumstances under which they lived, they did far more than carve out stones with their tools; they had to have the arts and sciences, they had to be trained artists, they had to live and work together in a unity, they had to govern themselves, they had to find out many truths for themselves, they learned to do much difficult thinking, and since the buildings they designed and eonstructed were works of architecture and therefore public buildings, they worked in the focus of the great religious and political and military and educational movements of their time and necessarily had to know and understand much about those movements. To use our own modern term, there was a great deal of Speculative Freemasonry in Operative Freemasonry. It was that Speculative Freemasonry which was later on preserved and perpetuated by local, permanent Lodges, and it contmues to be the York which we ourselves do in our own Lodges. Men do Freemasonic work; they are Freemasons because they do it, they don't do it because they are Freemasons. It is only when he joins in doing Freemasonic work that a man is called a Freemason.
A Masonic student will therefore, and whether first or third or tenth it matters not, lay out for himself as a "field" of study this subject of the work (we call it "the Work") which Freemasons always have been doing. In that field he will have a certain number of "major subjects" such as: The History of Arehiteeture. Early MedievalArehitecture. Gothic Arehitecture. Neo-classical architecture. Gilds of Builders. Fraternity of Operative Masons. Lodges of Operative Masons. The Operative Masons. Speculative Freemason in Early Operative Masonry. The Sciences and Arts of Operative Masons. The Landmarks and Operative Masonry.
The Admittance of Non-operatives. The Perpetuation of Speculative Masonic work in Modern Lodges. The Ritual, its Symbols, Emblems, Ceremonies, Rites, and Allegories, which are a perpetuation of particular things Freemasons have always done, thought, believed and felt, etc., etc. Each of these is a large subject in itself, and often is not easy to read or study; but each one consists at bottom of data, essential facts needed for the knowledge of things, and these data are set down in a
large number of articles in this Encyclopedia which may be located by means of the Index; a student can therefore lay out his whole "field" in these three volumes and after he has read the various articles can then, if he desires, go on to read complete books on each subject.
There is a sense, a true and a large sense, in which the Freemasonic word that men do, and have continued to do over so long a period of time, is the only subject for Masonic study, because in it is the whole of Freemasonry; but the full knowledge and understanding of that world and more especially as that work has continued through the several centuries and in the various countries, cannot be obtained all at a stroke, or by a head-on assault, because there is
too much of it, and the work itself has always had in it so many major subjects. It is therefore necessary for a Masonic student to use a set of means, one after another. One of those means is Masonic history. By "history" in this immediate connection, is meant not so much a book, or a complete written chronicle, as a method.
The purpose of the Masonic student while employing this method (the doing of it is extraordinarily interesting) is not to read so many pages or chapters of a book but is to read in order that he himself shall know a certain number of men who did Freemasonic work not only at a place across the Atlantic but also in a time long gone by; and to have for himself a knowledge and an understanding of the Freemasonic work they were engaged in.
To employ that method the student can make use of anything he
can find which will assist him in that purpose; he can read books and encyclopedia articles, he can study maps, study pictures, analyze words, he can reason, he can examine exhibits in museums, he can either visit the buildings erected by early Freemasons or can study models of them, he can search out from among the thousands of early British and American laws the
particular laws which applied to men in Freemasonic work, he can consult non-Masonic books; his purpose throughout is not to become an historian (and earn poor pay) but only is to make such uses of historians as will assist him to obtain the knowledge he is after when he seeks knowledge about the men who did Freemasonic world say in York, England in 950 A.D. or in
London, in 1350 A.D. or in Boston, in 1733 A.D. or in Bombay, in 1945 .A.D.
It has always been a mistake to imply that "Masonic history" means that a Mason is to read Masonic histories—in one volume, or in six, or in seven. Those histories are invaluable in their own time and place, and for their own purposes; but the word "histories" is never synonymous with the phrase "historical method" or better still, with the phrase, "history used as a method." Any Masonic student, any Mason, can use history as a method for the sake of learning Masonic history itself if he so desires; but he can also use it for two or three hundred other purposes which have nothing to do with history. A Worshipful Master can use it to clear up some problem in his own office; a Lodge committee on finance can use it to find the sound principles of Lodge financing; a building committee can learn from it what styles of architecture are most appropriate to Freemasonry; a reader can use it to learn more about some famous Mason whorn he admires; a Ritualist can use it to clear up the mean ing of some Rite or Symbol; etc., etc. No one of these Masons sets out to become an historian or a student of history; he has other ends in views and uses history as a method and as the means to those ends.
But it would be equally a mistake to go to the opposite extreme by depreciating those published books which are called histories, among them being such great works as the History of Freemasonry, by Albert G. Mackey (7 vols.) and the History of Freemasonry by Robert F. Gould (in 6 vols.). During the past two centuries and in the manv Ianguages, there have been some 20,000 separate books published on the general history of the Fraternity; they have been large and small ; old and new; competent and incompetent written by amateurs or by scholars; among them are both the quick and the dead; but it may nevertheless be said of them and not disregarding their differences and their inequalities that they each and every one have in common a devotion to one of the largest subjects which can anywhere be brought before men's minds.
That subject is genuinely sublime; and any man who spends years in doing Freemasonic work without possessing himself of it is needlessly applying to himself a self-denying ordinance. In the general history of the World, sacred or secular, there is nowhere a more astounding fact than the pertinacity anti tireless patience and never-wearying endurance with which Freemasonry has preserved itself, and has protected its own identity, and has perpetuated itself, in whatever of the countries in which it has established itself, and in an iron defiance of every pressure brought against it from without and of any possible blunders and mistakes of its own members from within. There has never been a break in its continuity; never a breach in its walls; wherever one man has fallen out, another has taken his place. In consequence Freemasonry is one large, single entity, a whole, an entirety. A complete Masonic history is a history of that whole; and that whole has two dimensions, a dimension of time extending from the end of the Dark Ages to the present; and a dimension of space in which, with only one important exception, are the countries of the World.
This history of Freemasonry as a whole has in it a number of major subjects, on each of which there will be found at least one full-length article in the three volumes of this Encyclopedia, among them being sueh as: The Ancient Mysteries. The Roman Collegia. Medieval Gilds. Operative Freemasonry. The Operative-Speculative ("Transition") Period. The Mother Grand Lodge. The Grand Lodge System. The Growth of Masonic Jurisprudence. The Advance of Masonry from Country to Country. The History of the Ritual. The History of the Fraternity in the United States State by State. tinder these are seeondary subjects, scarcely less large; and next in turn are subjects under them.
When in the Ritual it is said that the ceiling, or roof, over a Lodge is nothing less than the starrYdecked canopy the statement is not an exaggeration because in that connection the word "Lodge" is a name for the whole Fraternity; and that Fraternity has now become completely world-wide, even as our Masonic forefathers of the Eighteenth Century had prophesied when they set the two Globes on top of the two Pillars. The Fraternity as it now exists and works is not less stupendous than the long arch of its history from the Dark Ages until now. It has in it more than three million men, and by the time the world will have undone the consequences of World War II, will have four million. These many men carry on their Freemasonic work within the precincts of five Masonic Rites, the assemblage of which comprises
The Masonic System: Ancient Craft Masonry; Cryptic Masonry; Capitular Masonry; Templar Masonry; and Scottish Rite Masonry. Those Rites in turn are organized in many thousands of local Bodies, each with its own room or building in which to meet. While a Mason is helping to Initiate a Candidate in the First Degree, a Companion is elsewhere giving a Candidate instructions for building an arch, and in a third room across the hall yet another Brother is learning the Royal Secret from the Ancient Sages. It is an inspiration for a Mason to know that while he is sitting in his own Lodge in a village or town, Brothers whom he has never seen are sitting down in Lodges
of their own in North Ireland or Southern Italy, in Iran or in Burma, in China or in the Philippines, in Australia or in Samoa, in South Africa or in Egypt, in Mexico or in Brazil, there to do the same work which he is doing, and losing a hundred languages to say the same thing.
What shall a study of this great structure be called? It cannot be called Masonic History, because its subject is the Craft as it now is. It cannot be called Masonic Literature, because it consists of bodies of men and not of books. We can coin a name for ourselves and call it Descriptive Masonry. It describes what men are doing in a Royal Arch Chapter or in an Ancient Craft Lodge, or in any other Rite; and deseribes what Freemasonic work men are doing in England, or in Europe, in Malaya, or in some American State, or elsewhere, the men in each country or place or Rite doing the same Work that other men are doing, but in their own language, according to their own idiom of the mind, and with gestures or usages or customs peculiar to themselves. It also, and once, again, is a very large field, far too large for any one man to encompass in his own life-time, but it can be broken down into major subjects, and secondary subjects, and tertiary subjects like the others; among them are: Each of the Five Rites. The Form of Organization, Country by Country. The Landmark of Universality. The Comity of Grand Lodges. The Geography of the Craft. The "Families" of Masonry, suet as the Latin, the Latin-American, the Anglo Saxon, the Scandinavian, the Near East (Syrian), and the Far East. The Grand Bodies of the World. Masonic Grand Lodge Correspondence. The Degrees of Masonry. Grand Lodge Recognition. Masonic Travels. Etc.
A hand-worker is almost never a hand worker. When a hand-worker uses his tools, his saw, or chisel, or axe, or hammer, or plane, and if he be a skilled hand-worker he does so ne small part of the work with his hands, but the larger part of it he does with hxs brain—only a man who knows nothing about work could ever fancy it to be otherwise. But even to say that he does the larger part of his work with his brain is not sufficient; for it is never a hand that is skilled, but always the man that is skilled—the whole man; and when a skilled man works he uses his feelings, his good taste, his understanding of beauty, symmetry, and form, his appreciation for the texture and color and other qualities of his materials. Skilled work in the true and ancient sense is not mere manual dexterity, but is a form of culture, and any country is itself lacking in culture if it ranks skilled craftsmen on a lower level of culture than men in the professions (or women!).
When in the early days of our Craft a Freemason went out to work at sunrise he took with him his tools, and he used them. employing his muscles and his hands. But a modern Speculative Freemason has missed the whole point about that Operative Freemason if he believes that the Operative Freemason "merely" used his hands. Taking him for the man we know him to have been, and considering that he designed, erected, and ornamented Gothic Cathedrals, he is better described as a combination of a modern university professor plus a modern artist plus a modern skilled workman. The cathedrals were not built by hands, they were not built by tools; they were built by men. The men had no machines to use, and no factories to call on, no blue-prints, no scientific instruments, no steam or electricity; they had to make use of themselttes. Since that was true each one of them unavoidably did much thinking about his tools and about himself as a tool-user, and about the nature and possibilities of the stone in which he worked, and what it meant to be a worker, and of what the nature of the world has to be insofar as it of itself ordains that each man shall be a worker. If the rough stones hauled in from the quarry could have been heaped up in a pile on one side, with his few and simple tools laid on top of them, if a finished cathedral could have been set up on the other side, how account for the abysmic contrast between the two? How could the first be turned into the second?
The Freemason himself would have been the answer to that question; he was the magic by which a pile of stones was turned into York Cathedral. He was a hand-worker; he was infinitely more; that "more" was the "Speculative Freemasonry" which he possessed, and it is that which we continue to possess; and the fact that we do not ourselves put up buildings in our Lodge Roorns is a detail, and is unimportant; furthermore, the mere stones, and tools, and the handwork also were comparatively unimportant to him; for to him, almost as much as to IIS, the (so-called) "Speculative" Freemasonry in his Craft was allimportant. The fact enables us to define the Ritual of an Ancient Craft Lodge; it is that Speculative Freemasonry which the Sirst Freemasons possessed and as preserved, and in a form suitable for both preserving and perpetuating it, in Lodges, from which Masonic handwork has disappeared. We no longer continue to use his Working Tools; but we continue to know, and believe, and teach, and practice what he learned because he used theme Therefore, is it that we still describe our Ritual as "The Work."
When the Operative Freemason took up his working tools to go to work at sunrise-the tools had a practical utility for him; they alto had a meaning. It was that meaning which the Fraternity has preserved ever since. When we present the Working Tools to a Candidate in one of our Lodges it is not in order for him to cut stones with them, but it is in order to give him that meaning. The symbols of Freemasonry ean be adequately described in these terms: they are the meanings in Freemasonic Work. No one of them has any practical usefulness; it cannot be worn, or eaten, or sat on, or slept in, or taken for medicine, and is not legal tender usable as money; in itself it is scarcely more than a picture, a gesture, a step, a grip of the hand; but as the vessel in which a meaning is kept, or as the vehicle by which a meaning is perpetuated, it may be as large as man himself. Each one of them is nothing other than some act, practice, rule or truth, which Freemasons practiced at one time or another, which we continue to practice not for sake of doing hand-work with it, but for sake of its meaning.
Freemasonic Symbolism is another large field, and as far as it concerns readers and students it is probably the most interesting of any, because Masonic Library records indicate that more books about the symbols are read than about any other of the major subjects. The word "symbol" itself is used in Masonry as if it were two words, each independent of the other; one of them denotes the fact that the whole of Lodge work is now Speculative, and when thus used becomes "Symbolic Freemasonry" which is a synonym for Ancient Craft Masonry; the other denotes something which is not used for its ovsrn sake but for sake of a meaning it represents; symbols in this latter sense belong vita emblems, rites, allegories, and signs. Taken together they are not a system, or an articulated organism (there are about 200 of them), but as a field they may be studied under such general heads as: Ceremonies, Rites, Symbols, Emblems, Signs, Allegories, w ords, Symbology, Initiation, Degrees, Traditions, the (so-called) Legend of the Craft, etc., etc.
Everywhere and always among men, and as belonging to Man eternally, is the law. It is "Thou shalt not destroy another." Thou shalt not murder him, thou shalt not destroy or take away from him anything necessary to his being, thou shalt not cheat him of his wages, thou shalt not harm or weaken him by hurt or damage. "If thou act unlawfully thou shalt surely die."
A people can continue to be a people only so long as it has a Government; this Government "finds" the law, "declares" it in written statutes and separate "laws," promulgates it, and then by exercise of its police power employs force to compel each man not to be a criminal, or to do any unlay ful aet. It is not safe to have a criminal at large; therefore he is foreibly locked up and guarded. It is not safe for any men, whether criminals or not, to go about doing unlawful things, therefore force is used to punish them by fines, etc.
Freemasons have always' been men; as men they always have been under the law as other men are. But they themselves are not Government, therefore in the strict sense it is a misnomer to call their own regulative Bodies a Government, or to call their own rules and regulations a system of laws; but since we do not have in the English language a set of terms for the organization and self-regulation of a voluntary society, and in spite of the fact that Masonic "laws" is not the law, we must continue to call it Masonic Government and Masonic Jurisprudence, because we have nothing else to call it; and need not confuse ourselves when doing so as long as we keep reminding ourselves that it is Freemasonic "law" and not law in the true and genuine sense of "the law."
With that fact established, it will not shock a reader to go on to say that the Ancient Landmarks are not laws, or Law—written or unwritten—but are a set of formulas of a different Species The Landmarks when stated are nothing but descriptions of What freemasonry is. Freemasonry is everywhere the same thing; it preserves its identity; wherever and whenever men meet to do Freemasonic Work, that Work is ever and always self-same. Those same men could, if they wish, do something else, and would be legall. free to do it because they are free men (Masonry is a voluntary, or free, association), and that something else might be the best and most needed of things to do, but it would not be Freemasonry.
Freemasonic work would not be done by one man working alone, or even by a few men; it calls for a body, or brotherhood, and when a man works as a member of a brotherhood he must necessarily make his own private times, actions, and circumstances conform to it, which means that he must rule himself and regulate his actions for its sake. The Specifies fixed procedures by which he does this in the Craft are called in general "Masonic Laws," but more correctly should be called "Masonic Jules and Regulations." Masonic Jurisprudence is the System of Masonic Rules and Requlations. Masonic "laws" are the means by which Freemasons maintain themselves, and as against internal and external interferences, as a brotherhood; the Landmarks are what Freemasonry is; the "laws" are the guides by which each Mason regulates himself according to what it is. The Landmarks and the rules and regulations together are another large field for Masonic Study, and it is a study, it may again be reiterated, not of law or of legal Science, but of Freemasonry; therefore a man need not be a lawyer to study it, he need be nothing more than a Mason; and the purpose for which a Mason studies it is to gain for himself a better knowledge and a more praeticable understanding of Freemasonry. For Officers, Committeemen, and Lodge workers it is the most fruitful of the Subjects for study. In it are such themes as: The Ancient Landmarks. Medieval Gild Laws. The Old Charges. The Book of Constitutions. Charters. Masonie Offiees. Trials. Penalties. Etc., etc.