Dormer Index

Symposium of Papers Contributed by Members of the Circle

(Part Seven)


Wor. Bro. R. A. L. Harland, P.M., Lodge No. 1679

It is my privilege as President of the Circle to introduce to members the seventh part of the excellent symposium of Papers contributed in response to the invitation issued by the Governing Council, as follows

ECCLESIASTES 12 by Bro. Rev. R. Gledhill, M.A., B.D., Hope Valley Lodge No. 3397

"MORE LIGHT!" by Bro. Floyd W. Newman, Lodge Los Gatos No. 292, Grand Lodge of California

"The Spiritual Understanding of the Masonic Lodge and its Principal Officers" by Bro. B.C. Portsmouth and W. Bro. W.C. Ginbey, Lodge of Research, No. 277, Western Australia

I would like to take this opportunity of congratulating the authors of the Papers already included in this Symposium upon the high standard of their contributions. I would also again remind members that manuscripts submitted will be welcomed by the Governing Council and will receive careful consideration with a view to being read at a meeting of the Circle and subsequently included in the Transactions.

"ECCLESIASTES 12" by Bro. Rev. R. GLEDHILL, M.A., B.D., Hope Valley Lodge,No. 3397

At the invitation of the Circle, I speak about the words from the Volume of the Sacred Law which are used when the candidate lies in the g ... of H.A. You will have noticed their beauty. But there is more in them than the pleasing sound of poetry.

In all our ceremonies, behind the beauty of the outward word, behind the outward form, behind the dignity of our ceremonial is an inner meaning. I am only concerned here with the words from Ecclesiastes, chapter 12 ... "Remember now thy creator in the days of thy youth ..."

Quickly and dramatically we are given a portrait of old age - clouded eyesight, bent figure, toothless gums, increasing deafness, decreasing appetite, sleepless nights ... a bloodvessel snaps . . . it is the end.

The chapter begins with clouds returning after the rain. We expect some dull, rainy days . . . but we pass on to the brightness and the sunshine. But now (in old age) having weathered many of the storms of life, the clouds begin to gather and to darken our outlook.

"The keepers of the house" - the hands - tremble

"strong men bow themselves" the bent back of old age

"grinders cease" .... no teeth (grinders) left

"those that look out of the windows" - the eyes - "are darkened"

"doors are shut" - i.e. deafness. The body is the "house of many doors"; and the ears are now shut.

"he shall rise up at the voice of the bird" ... i.e. the smallest noise disturbs his sleep. (The Hebrew can also mean that his deep manly voice now squeaks like a bird)

"the daughters of music" - a Hebrew expression meaning "melody" or "song." Music is now meaningless

Various terrors ... such as height

"almond tree " ... had a white blossom; and here means that the hair will become white.

"grasshopper"; a one-word picture of a dry, shrunk, shrivelled old man, with his bones sticking out.

"silver cord; golden bowl" ... light and water are symbols of life; and the picture is one of break up and cessation.

There it is - a vivid word picture of failing faculties, decay and death.

The last point I want to make ... and it is a MOST important one ... is that the Third Degree is NOT concerned simply with physical death. It is about that most interesting of all human studies - the knowledge of yourself. You are not just one person ... there are several selves in you. You realize this when you talk about "your better self." There is a less worthy side to every character - and so there are higher, better, nobler sides.

In the Third Degree we rise to the heights. The old self, the less worthy self must die ... and we walk over his corpse to a new, nobler self. You will remember the three steps as though stepping over an open grave ... your grave. And notice THREE - the symbol of the divine, of perfection. The divine, the nobler part of you strides over the old, dead, less worthy self. The old has to die to make the triumph of the new self possible. And following this triumph there are four bold, marching steps. The number four concerns this world. Here and now in this present life you march confidently forward. A new self has over-come the weaknesses of the lower and imperfect self. It is because you have overcome these weaknesses that we acclaim you as a Master. You are a M.M.

"MORE LIGHT !" by Bro. FLOYD W. NEWMAN, Lodge Los Gatos, No. 292, Grand Lodge of California

Now that which is that subtle essence, in it all that exists has its self. It is the True. It is the Self ; and thou, O Svetaketu, art it. (The Upanishads, Esoteric instructions to students.)

For thus it is that in yourself you see other selves, In your family you see other families, In your district you see other districts, In your country you see other countries, In your society as a whole you see the great society of man. How otherwise am I to know that the Great Society is what it is? Only by means of the this."

To know this harmony means to know the never-changing element in life, To know the never-changing means to have the Light. -Tao Te Ching, The authoritative book concerning the Way of Distinctive Power. By Lao Tzu.

I am that I am. (Hermes. Egyptian school at Heliopolis.)

Know Thyself. (Temple of Delphi.)

Love the ruler, the I am that I am, with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is similar to it ; Love your fellow being as your Self. (Christian Gospels.)

Cogito Ergo Sum: I think; therefore I am. (Rend Descartes, 1644.)

Esse est percipi: To be is to be perceived. (George Berkeley, 1710.)

Act so that the maxim on which you act would allow its being adopted as a law by all rational beings. (Immanuel Kant, 1787.)

Existence precedes essence. (Jean-Paul Sartre, 1947.)

The heaven and the earth are one in the man of enlightenment. The outer (yang) and the inner (yin), the that and the this are seen by the inner mind of man. The outer senses lead to illusion and ignorance; the inner sense of the mind leads to illumination. Thus each of us requests of his higher Self: More Light!

The ignorance of man is his only sin under which he suffers. Sin is like a shadow in a darkened room. The shadow has no reality when the light shows. The shadow is an illusion which must be cast out if we want to see what is in the corners of the room. Guilt, sin, and sickness come because of ignorance of the laws of the universe. To cast out each of these shadowed illusions, man must learn the laws of the universe, live in harmony with them, and he will be freed from their shadow. If a man would be freed from physical destruction he should refrain from jumping from bridges like the Golden Gate, at San Francisco. Each man is free from the karmic law of the consequences from such a jump, if he knows the law and abides by it.

Man is not a prisoner of the law of gravity if he lives in harmony with it. He is freed from the law of cause and effect if he does not set up the particular cause which will produce a particular effect. Guilt, sin, and sickness occur because of rebellion to, or disharmony with the laws of the universe. Guilt is a psychological disharmony produced by an act or actions performed against the rights of other people. Sin is a religious concept of this guilt. Sickness is a psychic or physical disturbance brought about by lack of harmony with laws of mental or physical health. Thus for man to remove sin, sickness, or guilt he should search for the light of knowledge about the laws of health. The laws of health are procured by a diligent study of physiology, psychology, philosophy, and perhaps a little astrophysics to "remove the corrupted courses of the mind."

The heavens produce man, the earth on which he moves, and the laws by which ho operates. The laws of harmony exist for man withal his mental comprehension of the environment - the greater world, and the universe in which he lives. Know the laws of your Self and you will know the law of harmony in the universe. Look outward, look inward, and harmonize the two. Therein lies your freedom and your happiness.

The thinking of man makes possible the self-realization of his being. Thinking and being are reciprocal. The interaction of the two develops in the initiate a realization of the greater Self - the law which operates for all men. To be aware is to be. To sleep when you should be awake is to submit to the opiate of the shadows. This is illusory and will get you "nowhere fast." If you want self-mastery, increase awareness of all things animate or inanimate. This awareness is a paradox, cyclical, according to the laws of nature.

To think is to exist; to exist is to think and to become aware. Perceive your lower Self, transmute its functions, let it function - choose according to the Law - the higher Self will perceive all things. You are that higher Self inasmuch as you are. You can realize yourself as an atom, a stone, a lower animal desire, but none of these things can realize your Self. Only the ONE SELF can think, exist, be, perceive, or reason. You are that Self. This realization is the Cosmic Consciousness. This is illumination, or soteria, salvation from the wheel of the universe. It can be achieved at any time-space continuum. The ONE exists in the many in all time and space. You can gain this realization at any step along the way.

Let us examine one of the historic statements and ascertain what is involved in this matter of "more light," or illumination. One instance of awareness is the I AM THAT I AM, the famous Hermetic tetragrammaton. It is symbolized in the interlaced triangle, sometimes called the star of David.

Here is an explanation of some of the above statements:

I think, I am, and I act I AM THAT I AM the following:

"I" am an animal with a body and senses and six to preserve the self here and hereafter.

I assert that "I AM" begotten, not made from nothing, being of the same nature as that by which I am begotten. I am begotten of the universe.

I think "I AM THAT" existence from which I am which includes the universe. I assert this because I am IT. I know that "I AM THAT I" by my own nature, coming from the mind of the one heaven which is good, sometimes called the one God.

I love "I AM THAT I AM," my father, God, because I realize myself. Since this world is become, will is come, life is here for my food, I have no debt because I am that I am. In this I live and move, and have my being. If I choose not to live: this is evil ; for I am the love in the kingdom and the glory and the power from ages to ages.

As is pointed out in the Bagavad-Gita, action is essential in order to possess Self-awareness. Each action produces a karmic condition under which you are bond or free, according to your attribution of determinism or freedom to others. If all the world is a prison, you are the prisoner - you have placed yourself in a prison. If you say that the stars compel, then you are compelled by your own thought. You are the prisoner. If all the world is free, then you are free. If you say the world is a prison and you act freely, your words are a lie to your actions.

So the principle applies to all thought and actions. Thoughts and deeds are functions of your own being. If you attribute hypocrisy, incompetence, vileness, to the statements or actions of others - you are what you think. If you say yes to an accusation and act no, the action will prevail. If the answer is no and the action is yes, the action will set up a law which will act for all men - the law will be a law of yes - agreement. What you act and what you think are what you are.

The action prevails on three functions of man: (1) the One intelligence (nous) from which he gains his power; (2) the psychic (soul) action in self-consciousness or awareness; and (3) the actions performed in a physical world. All three of these realms are really one, but can be realized only when divided in function. Division does not take away from the Oneness of the Self.

The lower self is realized in the greater Self. The animal ego of body, senses, atoms, and sex is realized by the thinking Self, which is One. When the harmony of the One pervades the lower self, this is illumination. The upper Self gives MORE LIGHT emotionally, intellectually, glandularly, physically, materially, psychically, theologically, any other ly.

The pervading nature of the One asserts that "I" am an animal, begotten, projected (I am that), identified (I am that I), and assumed (I am that I am) in Self-conscious reality with the one God. It is said by the Christians, "You are Gods," Thus it is: you, personally, are a God - the One God if you realize it. Your Will is free, the universe is your body, ever-changing but paradoxically always the same; your harmony with the universe reveals to yon that because of your obedience to the law of Karma, you are free from destructive or illusive consequences. You are here because you choose to live under the GREAT LIGHT in harmony with the Oneness in your innermost being. You love because you choose to love, to let your LIGHT so shine MORE before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven. The kingdom of Heaven is within YOU! Ask and you shall receive MORE LIGHT to enlighten, to live, and to be - GOD!

"The Spiritual Understanding of the Masonic Lodge and its Principal Officers" by Bro. B.C. PORTSMOUTH and W. Bro. W. C. GINBEY, Lodge of Research, No. 277, Western Australia.

Many people believe that once, centuries ago, Mankind, as a whole, was closer to the world of Spirit than is the case today. It would be quite understandable, if that were so, that mankind once knew the secrets of that World Unseen ... not only how to receive guidance from those who had travelled Earth's pathway before them, but how to obtain Light and Knowledge from Cosmic sources.

Some say that Egypt was the site of the first real civilisation on the earth ... some say Sumeria ... some say that long before Egypt and Sumeria were great, thinking men lived on a fair land now beneath the waves, the lost land of Atlantis. Others, again, say that both Egypt and Atlantis were but colonies or offshoots of Mu, the Motherland, which existed where now rolls the great Pacific Ocean. Perhaps, even before the upheavals and cataclysms which put an end to these old lands and their inhabitants, other places were centres of culture, meeting-places for the dissemination of Knowledge.

Whatever the Truth may be, concerning these ancient lands, whose beginnings and whose endings are shrouded by the mists of Time, one thing at least seems clear. Down through the centuries, wherever there were gatherings of thinking men, there, in one form or another, has existed a oneness of purpose. This oneness persisted, though fire and flood and tempest raged upon the earth ... though inquisitions and persecutions threatened civilisation's very existence ... though plague and death and pestilence stalked across the land. Still, through century after uncounted century, a man who sought could find the answers!

The Ancient Mysteries once formed the heart of every great religion ... and the secrets were given slowly and carefully, to its Initiates ... the secrets which are the keys of the problems of Life and Death, those same problems to which thinking men seek the answers today. Even as the solution of a problem in Euclid, or the explanation of a Quadratic Equation, would alike be useless if presented to a Kindergarten child ... so would the inner secrets of the Mysteries be meaningless if revealed to a mind unprepared.

Hence, through countless ages, form and symbol has been used to convey intended meaning. To the casual observer, the symbols were (and are), merely ornamentation or ceremony. To the one who sought the hidden meaning ... the meaning was (and is), there for the seeking!

Freemasonry is much, much more than a derivation from the building crafts of the Middle Ages, as some would have us believe. Freemasonry is a survival of these Ancient Mysteries, which aimed at quickening Evolution in their Initiates.

But a Religion, or a Masonry, uninspired by Spiritual Light a Masonry emptied of true knowledge, is as a massive doorway ... leading no-whither!

Even as, in our Ceremonies, the tiny Light is never quenched, though the Initiate goes down into the darkness of the tomb ... so, no matter what the circumstances of mental and physical life, always deep within us, burns that tiny light; that invisible, often unacknowledged, link with the Unseen.

As a blind man seeks for one who can disperse his blindness, so does an uninstructed man seek for one who can restore his mental sight! As the sun gives light and meaning to the things of the physical world, so does Masonry give Light and Meaning to the mental world! As one who has been blind, in the physical sense, must gradually be introduced to the stages of twilight and half-light, until he at last can stand in the full glow of sunshine ... even so must a man who seeks the realities of being, be introduced gradually to the wondrous glory of the Vision.

Masonry seeks to carry out this principle, as has many another of the Mystery-Survivals, and as do many of our present-day Religions. Slowly and gradually is the Light revealed to the seeker after Masonic knowledge. Too much at one time would prove useless ... as the mind of an individual call only absorb a certain amount at a time. A too-rapid advancement would prove useless also (as regards Masonic understanding), for a man must walk before he can run ... he must learn his tables thoroughly before he can work out multiplication sums correctly!

So, though the Light of Wisdom is surely embedded in our Ceremonies, and in our Ritual, we must remove the protecting cover, before we can glimpse that Light in its true wonder.

"A Lodge," we are told, "is a place where Freemasons assemble to work, and to instruct and to improve themselves in the mysteries of the antient science."

If the brethren are to work, to be instructed, and to be improved ... some there must be capable of directing the work, of doing the instructing, of correcting the errors so that true improvement shall take place. And, if some such there must be ... it can only be those who have sought, AND FOUND, the Light for themselves ... those who have travelled the pathway which leads to the All-Highest!

Such men there have been in all the ages.

The One they sought has been known by many names ... but He is still, as always, the Great Architect. He alone is the Light of Masonry ... the Light of Christianity ... aye, and the Light of many another Pathway by which Mankind struggles upward.

Every one who seeks the Light shall surely find it! Freemasonry is a Guardian of that Light ... Freemasonry can become to you a living thing, and no mere collection of empty forms ... for the Light which cometh from Above can so illuminate and direct our seeking, that the dark places are made light ... until we know, with a vital, shining clarity, the real purpose and meaning of those twin problems, and DEATH!

We like to think of Freemasonry as a blueprint for living. Masonry does, from the very beginning, set a pattern for our daily living, both personal, and in relation to our fellowmen ... and also for our eternal living. As one degree follows another, we are given new keys, and told of now Working Tools. By symbols, by ceremonial drama, by precept and allegory, Freemasonry reveals to those "who have eyes to see, and ears to hear," a knowledge of the Way ... leading first, to individual realisation of oneself ... and, secondly, to an understanding of the Great Architect Himself.

Just as every Working Tool presented to the Initiate or Craftsman has a spiritual meaning, as well as the meaning taught in the Ritual, ... so has every piece of furniture in the Lodge, every Officer, and every ornament, a deeper, spiritual meaning than is apparent at first glance.

Masonry itself is a spiritual science, and all the landmarks and symbols of Freemasonry are intended to make the Brethren think along spiritual lines, so that when the work in the Temple is finished, these truly Masonic concepts of right living can be carried out into our daily lives.

The first person a Candidate encounters, when he enters the Masonic building for the first time, is probably the Tyler whose work it is to "prepare" him for the Temple Ceremony.

It seems rather a pity that so many of our new Brethren have their minds filled with stories of "goat-riding," water- and fire-ordeals, etc, when it would be of so much more spiritual benefit to the Candidate, to be told that the puzzling "preparation" is merely symbolic, and that there is nothing to fear, but much to be learned, in the coming Ceremony.

Many writers say that an intending Initiate, in the old Mystery-systems, was obliged to first spend a period of time in prayer, meditation, and learning about himself!

Medieval applicants for knighthood carried on the same tradition, spending the night previous to the Ceremony in prayer and fasting and soul-searching. Modern Candidates could well do the same, even if only for an hour or so before a Ceremony.

How many Candidates know what is a Man?

Present-day electrical knowledge tells us that Man is really not a substance, but a condition of Space, located for a brief span on the Earth, by magnetic attraction.

Man's framework is made of Force ... and Force, Science says, is the only direction that atoms recognise! Man himself radiates Force! So then, a thinking man cannot help but realise that there is more to his makeup than merely Matter ... there is, in addition, the Force which moves and commands that Matter!

Consider a man, yourself for instance.

Take away from your being, first, your LOVES (your family love, of wife and child, relative, friend and neighbour).

Love, you know is intangible, a perquisite of Mind, not of Matter! Remove next, your PITY (for cripples, sick and sorrowing ones, old people and unhappy ones). Although you may command your body to express your pity, still is PITY itself a mental thing!

Take away then your HATREDS and DISLIKES (your unreasoning antipathy to certain people or things, foods, places or creatures). Remove your FEARS (of things known and unknown, of cruelty, vice and horror, fear of unemployment, fear of old age, fear of sickness). Remove then your MEMORY. (You have now no memory of any past; only the present moment exists. You can look at your table, and know not its use. You can look at your wife, and know her not. You can look at any one of a million creations of God and Man, and, without MEMORY, they will mean nothing to you. Your mind is as the mind of a tiny babe, for without memory, you have no consciousness that YOU ARE YOU! Consciousness you have, as a newborn babe has, the germ of consciousness ... but as the newborn babe knows not his name, nor his lineage, nor his destiny ... no more would you know it, without memory!) Finally, remove from this memoryless creature which was once a man, his THOUGHT ... and what have you left?

My Brethren, you have left, the MATTER, the body ... the part that some would have me believe is MAN! All that remains, is the part of you that the Earth's gravity attracts.

The intangible, invisible, emotional, thinking portion of Man exists, quite apart from the covering atoms. This has been a cherished belief, by thinkers all over the world, of many races and colours, in countless centuries. Our beloved Ceremonies, my Brethren, surely mean, something more than a measured perambulation around a room, hallowed though that path may be.

Is it not possible that the Wise Ones of centuries gone by, tried to enshrine in the Ceremony and the Symbol, the Truths they knew as FACT? Is it not possible that the Mason's journey to the East is symbolic of a more vital journey ... the Mental Path?

To the Candidate whose thoughts are worldly and shallow, little of this understanding of himself would penetrate ... but to the thinker who seeks to become a Mason, the Search for the Lost Secrets could be a Search indeed! Understanding of himself is only a preliminary step ... but how can one expect to comprehend our symbolic language, who has not taken even the first step in understanding? Knowledge is absolutely essential for the true understanding of anything, but it is particularly so for a correct appreciation of Masonry, which appeals especially to the man of intellect, rather than to the man of purely physical qualities.

The Candidate, fully prepared and clothed, stands outside the door of the Lodge. According to the Ritual, the Tyler, "being armed with a drawn sword, keeps off all cowans and intruders to Freemasonry." Many Lodges insist upon the Tyler's sword being of sufficient length to bar the door of the Temple ... many also insist that the Tyler's sword should not have a cross-hilt, but that the Inner Guard's sword should be so shaped. Some Lodges insist upon these observances more than do others ... there are many points of ceremony which are not universally insisted upon ... and many more which are used, but little understood.

The Tyler stands between the Sacred Temple, and the outer world. He is a symbol of the way in which a Mason should "close-tyle" his mind before entering Lodge, dismissing therefrom all worldly and unworthy thoughts.

Some Lodges always enter the Temple in procession, the D.C. calling the Brethren to attention, and directing them to "close-tyle" their thoughts, before entering the Sacred Temple.

The same idea exists in Eastern religions where everyone "puts off his shoes" before entering the Holy Place, as a symbol of the putting-away of worldly things.

In some occult teachings the Tyler represents the life of the physical body. If you think of Masonic Ceremony as an exposition of the Mental Path, it is a necessary prerequisite that a man should not only understand himself, but should be able to control himself, especially his bodily responses. The Mind, in the course of the Way, will be educated, and shown the Path to travel ... but it is essential that the body should be schooled to obey the considered dictates of the Mind.

Once within the door of the Lodge, the Candidate is received by the Inner Guard (whose function is to "admit ... receive ... and obey ..."). The I.G. carries the sword handled by the saltire cross (and here the old-time symbolism shows meaning), for the saltire cross, wherever used, is always a symbol of testing ... and the I.G. is the first Tester! As to the application of the I.G. to spiritual meaning ... everyone who has travelled, by whatever path, towards the Light, knows that tests and trials abound, even as they do in Masonic symbolism. Truly does the E.A. describe "repeated trials and approbation willingness to undergo examination etc. ..."!

Once admitted, the Candidate is conducted by the Deacons ... the second pair of "dual" Assistant-Officers, who act together, as do the Outer-and-Inner Guards.

The occult teaching is, of course, that the J.D. represents Man's passional nature (or desire-body), and the S.D. Man's lower mental body (or concrete mind) ... and that the Deacons present the Candidate to the Guardians of the Higher Levels.

The actual word "Deacon" comes from a Greek word, one meaning for which is "servant" ... and the Deacons do "carry" and "bear" communications and commands from the "higher levels" to those on the lower levels. Actually, they are helpers ... links "go-betweens" ... carrying the symbols of the Messenger (dove or olive branch). Another meaning for the Greek word is "One who comes beating through." Spiritual understanding could be that the Divine vibrations "beat through" these Deacon-links, and are received, and perceived, by the sensitive Candidate, as a "Presence!"

It is interesting to note that each Deacon bears an emblem of Peace (the dove surmounting the wand) ... and each Doorkeeper a token of War (the poniard of the I.G., and the sword of the Tyler). The reason could be that the same wisdom which is at enmity with the powers of darkness, descends as a dove of peace upon all those who seek the Light.

The office of Deacon is spoken of by many as "floor-work," and in a literal sense, this is so ... but surely, every Deacon who thinks will realise that his is a sacred duty.

In modern parlance, he could be called a "transformer," linking the power- and wisdom-vibrations of the Master, with the blindness and ignorance of the Candidate.

Then we come to the Wardens.

The S.W's column represents Strength, and the J.W's Beauty. Occult teaching of the three principal Offices, is that the Wisdom of the Master is the Life Essence, the Breath of Life. The strength of the S.W. would symbolise primordial Substance, moulded on the vehicle of Life-essence.

Beauty would then be the intellectual principle, built into the soul, energising and binding the Life-essence and the Substance together, and constituting the whole an intelligent instrument.

Other teachings refer to the J.W. as representing the Higher Mind, and the S.W., Spirit.

In the modern spiritual understanding, he who follows the mental path needs to be able to understand and to appreciate both Strength and Beauty ... for there are many times along the Way, where he will need strength-of-will (to keep his mind and purpose from straying) ... and many times along the Way where he may gain encouragement, both from the ordered and wonderful progress of Nature and Science, and from the Beauty of the spiritual prospect ahead. Finally, in our thoughts about the principal Officers, we come to the W.M. We are told that the Master should have "knowledge and experience to enable him to preside over his Lodge in satisfactory manner, to foster real fraternal spirit, to give adequate instruction, and generally to impart Light to all the Brethren, by precept and example, so that the Grand principles of the Order are fully maintained."

Rudyard Kipling once wrote . . .

"Only the Master shall praise, And only the Master shall blame; And no-one shall work for money, And no-one shall work for fame. - - ."

And although, at first glance, such sentiments would appear to embody a Utopian idea, especially when viewed in the light of modern, high-pressure, competitive living ... the verse is truly Masonic! Let no one image that the Office of Master is a sinecure rather is it indicative of concentrated labour!

The Master who truly appreciates the meaning of the jewel he wears, labours not "for money," and still less. for fame."

And the statement that "Only the Master shall praise ... etc.," carries with it a double application. For as the W.M. is in charge of the Brethren of his Lodge, even so, in a wider sense, a deeper spiritual sense, the W.M. becomes the apex of all within the Lodge, the point at which the Divine Spirit can touch frail mortality ... the point at which Light-vibrations "from Above" stream into his Lodge.

How many Masters of Lodges realise that theirs, and theirs alone during their term of office, is this responsibility?

Not simply to sponsor the material aspect of Lodge work (Charity, and the understanding of administrational needs) ... not simply to foster the improvement in Ritual (the "team-work" of the Degrees, important though this is) ... but also to see that adequate instruction is given, so that the Masonic souls for whose unfoldment he is responsible, are helped to an understanding of our symbolism, and of the spiritual truths which lie hidden behind that symbolism.

Attending Lodge, learning the words, the history, and the Ceremonial of Masonry, are laudable endeavours ... but it is not enough !

No Master should allow the Brethren of his Lodge to think that ceremonial and history are all of Masonry, even as the physical body is not all of Man.

There are three degrees in one's thinking.

Either (1) you believe that Man is the physical animal, no more and no less, composed simply of those things which can be seen and handled.

Or (2) you believe that Man is a dual being, Mind and Matter, the one visible, the other invisible, acting and reacting on each other.

Or (3) you believe that it is possible for Spirit to exist, and to go on existing, when the mortal body is laid to rest.

If you are honest with yourself, you will admit that in one of these three categories lies your own private opinion.

Brethren, it is even so with Masonry.

Either (1) You believe that Masonry began in the 1700s, that our ceremonies are simply a play-acting of old legends, to enable a man to walk uprightly before God and his fellow-men.

Or (2) You believe that Masonry stems from a much earlier period, and is a survival of the Ancient Mysteries, with its forms and rituals having an occult significance.

Or (3) You believe that the whole progressive idea of Man's mental and spiritual advancement is, and always has been, enshrined in the heart of these our beloved ceremonies.

You need not to speak aloud your belief but in your innermost souls you will know which idea of Masonry is yours!

Every Master should be able to instruct and improve his Brethren, if they ask! And, furthermore, every M.M. is told, when he is raised to the Sublime Degree, that "he may be called upon to render assistance and instruction to the Brethren in the inferior Degrees."

How can he do this, without a proper, gradually acquired understanding? How can he acquire this understanding without instruction and teaching from the Officers of his Lodge?

It is the responsibility of every Master of every Masonic Lodge, to see that every new Mason is taught how to live uprightly, by Square, and Plumb Rule, and by Compasses, and that he is instructed in general Lodge procedure, and ceremonies, and history.

But, it is also the responsibility of every Master, to be able to point out to enquiring now Masons, the concealed meanings of Masonry, and the hidden beauties of spiritual truth.

If a Master has not himself the leaning towards this deeper understanding (and all have not) ... he should be able to advise the Masonic seeker, where to apply for teaching.

A Teacher of History is not always an expert in mathematics, and not always capable of expounding philosophy!

But every Headmaster should be able to advise a pupil where, and to whom, to go, for help with a specialised problem.

It is even so with Masonry ... the Master of a Lodge should be able, (as the Ritual says), to "advise" his Brethren.

One Masonic writer states ...

"There dwells a Master in the hearts of Men. In that mystical Temple it is T.G.A.O.T.U. Himself, who orders and ordains His own adepts, and when that consecration and high Initiation takes place in a man, his Brethren of the 'Discipline of the Secret' know, and recognise him joyfully at once ... all outward forms of recognition become superfluous."

The future of Freemasonry lies not simply in the increase of number, but in the dissemination of Masonic principles throughout the world. The great function of each and every Mason worthy of the name, each and every Officer, each and every P.M., is to raise Mankind to a higher realisation of the beauty of Truth, the importance of human freedom, the dignity of labour, and the glory in the service to the G.A.

"Order," we are told, "is Heaven's First Law, and that confessed, Some are, and must be, greater than the rest."

As in the Craft Lodge, there is but the One Master, yet many of equal rank capable of representing him, and doing his work ... so has He, the world's Grand Master in the Heights, His associates and deputies here on earth, in the dark depths.

A Masonic Lodge may be likened to a magnet. A magnet has round it a "field" created by its force of attraction (and repulsion); and its influence will make iron filings near it range themselves along circular lines around the magnet. The strength of such influence depends on the strength of the magnet.

A piece of iron becomes a magnet when its particles (atoms) are arranged in order with their axes parallel, thus inducing magnetism. Similarly, if the units comprising a Lodge are in perfect adaptation with one another, bound together by brotherly love and a common purpose then the Lodge will be able to exert a strong and definite influence on the surroundings, the intensity of such influence depending upon the harmony prevailing and the wisdom of the members. Such a Lodge will radiate its influence, affecting not only those who are yearning for the Light, and whose hearts and minds are open and prepared, but also our fellow creatures nearby, impregnating them with more Wisdom, Strength and Beauty. Attracted thus by the atmosphere of the Lodge, properly-prepared fellows will draw near and be enlightened.

A man can begin his search for Truth by endeavouring to understand himself. He can continue that search within the Craft, by learning his duty to his fellow-man, to the Brethren of his Mother-Lodge in particular, and to Masonry in general ... and by approaching (with each new understanding), ever nearer to the Most High, the Source of all Light and Truth. The more a man knows about Freemasonry, the better he likes it ... at least, that is the way it works out with most men ... for Freemasonry is a subject that presents more features of interest, and more channels of thought for student investigation, than any other topic in the world!

Finally may we read to you Leadbeater's lovely poem ....

Great Architect, Who by Thy thought, The Universe created; Each several part which Thou hast wrought, Is each to each related; Thy will is seen as changeless Law, Eternal Order showing; By number, lo! Thou formest all In radiant colours glowing. "Great Architect, we bring to Thee Ourselves for Thy strong training; Train Thou our every power, that we Thy builders, ever gaining New strength to work with heart and hand, With courage failing never, Within Thy Temple then may stand, To Thee obedient ever."