Duly and Truly Prepared

                     ARTICLE NO. 45


   Q. Where were you first prepared to be a Mason?
   A. In my heart.

   Q. Where were you next prepared?
   A. In a room adjacent to a regularly constituted lodge   
    of Free and Accepted Masons.

   Q. How were you prepared?
   A. By being divested of all metals, neither naked nor 
    clothed, barefoot nor shod, hood-winked, with a cable 
    tow around my neck; in which condition I was  
    conducted to a door of a Lodge by a friend whom I  
    afterwards found to be a brother.

    It is thus that Masonry throws back the curtain on the
first scene of an absorbing drama entitled a "New Way of Life", and
this evening I wish to discuss with you the meaning and import
behind the words -- Duly and Truly Prepared.

    The view which we obtain in the opening scene is indeed
a picture of mortality in its feeblest state--unarmed and
penniless, blind and practically naked, and by degrees we are
conducted as pious enquirers along a pathway designed to end in a
glorious immortality.

    The preparation of a candidate and the plight in which he
is admitted to the Masonic stage is meant to typify the helpless,
destitute, blind and ignorant condition of a newly born babe.  But
initiation means much more than this, by all the authorities it is
agreed to be a symbolical representation of the process by which
not only the child had been brought into existence and educated
into a scholarly and refined man but that by which the race has
been brought out of savagery and barbarism into civilization.

    The state in which a man enters an entered apprentice
lodge fittingly typifies the barbaric not to say savage state in
which man originally moved when he knew not the use of metals and
out of which he has been brought to his present condition, it is
precisely this that has led to the application of the term
barbarian to the uninitiated.

    The preparation of the candidate is also symbolical of
that equality of all men which is one of the fundamental doctrines
of our society.  He is stripped of every thing that would indicate
any difference in fashion, station or wealth; all things in 
themselves evidences of artificial distinctions are obliterated. 
The onlooker could not tell whether the candidate who is duly and
truly prepared is prince or pauper--a millionaire or a beggar.  On
the other hand, the candidate is not deprived of any of these
adornments of heart, mind or character which mark the only real
superiority of one man over another, and which have favourably
recommended him as acceptable to the Craft.

    The preparation of the candidate for initiation in
Masonry is entirely symbolic.  It varies in the different degrees
and accordingly the symbolism is found to vary also.  Not being
arbitrary nor unmeaning but on the contrary, conventional and full
of signification it cannot be abridged or added to in any of its
denials without affecting its esoteric design.  Haywood suggests
"That in a symbolic sense the entered apprentice may be likened to
a human embryo about to be born into a new world--he does not have
power over himself and he does not know anything about the new life
upon which he is entering, and therefore it is necessary that he
follow his guides with implicit and unquestioning obedience, for
not otherwise can he advance a step.  From one end to another
accordingly the great note struck is "Obedience"--it is impressed
upon the heart of the initiate by every device of symbolism, by
every device of ceremony."

    Every initiated person whether prince, peer or peasant is
bound at least once in his Masonic career to pass through this
emblematical feature of his profession. He may not like it.  He may
object to it but has not option; he cannot avoid it.  If he
seriously intends to become a Mason he must endure it with patience
as an indispensable condition of his tenure.  Nor has anyone when
the right has been completely conferred every found just reason to
question its propriety. Such a proceeding is probably utterly
impossible for the ceremony bears a truly beautiful analogy to the
customs of all primitive peoples so that its origin may fairly be
described as cradled in the depths of antiquity.  It is interesting
to note that great care was taken of the condition of every
Israelite who entered the temple for divine worship.  The Talmudic
treatise, entitled Baracoth, which contains instructions as to the
ritual worship among the Jews lays down the following rules for the
guidance of all who visit the temple "No man shall go into the
temple with his staff nor with his shoes on his feet nor with his
outer garment, nor with money tied up in his purse."  There are
certain ceremonial usages in Freemasonry which thus furnish a
striking coincidence with this old Jewish custom.

    Being in Masonic ignorance, a seeker after light and a
representative of the natural untaught man it is fitting that the
candidate be made to walk in darkness by wearing a hoodwink which 
Mackey has described, "As a symbol of secrecy, silence, darkness in
which the mysteries of our art should be preserved form the
unhallowed gaze of the profane."

    The use of the blindfold goes far back in the history of
secret societies even to the ancient mysteries in which the
candidate was usually made to enter the sanctuary with eyes

    Our own use of the hoodwink is found to be in harmony
with these ancient usages.  Its purpose is not to hide or conceal
anything of value from the candidate; it has another significance
in that it symbolizes the fact that the candidate is yet in
darkness and he is expected to prepare his inmost mind for the
reception of those revelations which are the true light of
Freemasonry.  Freemasonry every stands among men with lighted torch
prepared to reveal the true meaning of brotherhood lives in the
bonds of a grater and eternal life.

    Freemasonry in answer to its critics does not create
anything too fine, good, mysterious or secret for this rough word;
it merely emphasizes the fact that there are eternal verities.  In
other words, it provides a lamp for the feet of men enabling them
to remove the hoodwink of jealousy, fear, hatred and unkindness and
all the other myriad of obstructions to brotherhood in order that
a man may seek and see the fulfilment of the realization.  "Behold
how good and pleasant a thing it is for brethren to dwell together
in unity."  The hoodwink that is bound over a man's eyes is not the
real hoodwink but only the symbol thereof; the real hoodwink and it
is that which Freemasonry undertakes to remove from a man's eyes,
is all that anti-social and unhuman spirit out of which grow the
things that "crib., cabin and confine" and thus result in the
imperfect life.

    The origin of the cable tow is shrouded in mystery.  It
appears probably that operative masons used it to keep control of
the body of the entered apprentice.  It is found that wherever man
has introduced the noose, rope or cable tow it signifies obedience. 
Mackey defines a cable tow "as a rope or line for drawing or
leading."  The word itself is probably derived from the Dutch
"cabel" meaning a great rope and the Saxon "tow" meaning to draw.

    Masonic scholars are in disagreement as to the symbolic
meaning properly attached to our use of the cable tow.  Those who
content that its device is merely to control the body are refuted
by the very definite symbolism attaching to its use in the 2nd and
3rd degrees.  To some it represents the emblem of the natural
untaught man's bondage to ignorance and lust--which it is the 
mission of the Masonry to remove.  By others it is regarded as
merely a simple and natural tie which unites the fraternity while
yet another group believe it is a mystic tie binding the initiate
to God--to the Order--and to Righteousness.  Buck, a distinguished
Masonic writer, treats of the cable tow as follows.  "He (the
candidate) is restrained now (after the removal of the cable tow)
by the voluntary obligations taken, all of which indicate the
necessity of constant vigilance and self-control.  In place of the
former command--"Thou shalt not" comes the voluntary pledge "I
will".  The result is to replace outer restraint by inward
restraint--without annulling or altering a single moral precept. 
The slave who formerly obeyed a master through fear, now
voluntarily serves through love.  The difference is between a
bondman and a freeman and the result to the candidate can hardly be
put in words when it is once realized.

     It should not come as a surprise that a special
preparation for initiation is required.  The soldier's uniform
allows for his greatest freedom or action--the bridegroom dresses
in his best--the knight of old put on shining armor when going into
battle.  Likewise men tend to prepare in some way to the best of
their ability for any new experience.  The preparation of a
candidate is one of the most delicate duties we have to perform and
care should be taken in appointing the officer who should always
bear in mind that "That which is not permittable among gentlemen
should be impossible among Masons."

    As Carl Claudy puts it "In the Entered Apprentice degree
the Initiate is introduced at once to one of the most solemn, most
inspiring and most beautiful ceremonies in all Freemasonry. He
meets at the very outset a symbolism which should impress him very
deeply for all time, that Freemasonry is not of the earth earthy
but is concerned almost entirely with the Spirit."

    Alas, all too few realize at the time the loveliness
which they encounter.  They are over anxious and concerned with
what a "degree" may be rather than what it is.  The candidate may
be too nervous and overwrought as a result of idle tales of
unthinking brethren who may seek to impress a would-be initiate
with visions, with horseplay and terrorism, as a part of the
degree.  Nevertheless, the candidate should experience without
understanding, know without comprehending, feel without sensing a
moment which in after years will come back to him as a fragrant
memory of beauty."

    We should ever remember that many men undoubtedly desire
to become members of the Craft without any intelligent appreciation
of what they ask.  To a great many of the profane Masonry is just
another secret society--Good fellows mostly--I'd like to belong--
Careless talk by coarse grained men of Masonic "goats" and
initiation "tortures" have soiled and perverted the true ideal of
Freemasonry in many minds. But says Claudy, "Even the unthinking
are brought to a sudden pause when they meet the question, "Do you
believe in God?"  Men would hardly start thus to play the goats.

    Duly and Truly Prepared--the phrase is adequately
summarized by J.D. Buck in his essay "The new Age".  "Reflect a
moment on the condition of the candidate on first entering the
Lodge Room.  He is not only in darkness going to he knows not where
to meet he knows not what, and guided solely by the J.D., but he
hears the marks of abject slavery.  He is spared the shame of
nakedness and the pride of apparel, and his feet are neither shod
nor bare.  He is poor and penniless, no external thing to help or
recommend him.  The old life with all its accessories has dropped
from his as completely as though he were dead.  He is to enter on
a new life in a new world.  His intrinsic character alone is to
determine his progress and his future status.  If he is worthy and
well qualified--duly and truly prepared--for this and he
understands and appreciates what follows in symbols, ceremonies and
instruction the old life will be dead in him forever.

    I submit that a definite responsibility and obligation
rests on this Lodge and all lodges wheresoever they may be.  A duty
to see that even as the candidate is duly and truly prepared so
also are we--so that the plan placed on the trestle-board may be
interpreted with solemnity and imagination, to the end that the
first impressions, on the mind and heart of him who is required to
be duly and truly prepared, may open new vistas and unfold new
beauties to the eager initiate who from henceforth with us shall
journey as a brother to "that undiscovered country from whose
bourne no traveller ever returns."