« PreviousContinue »
This being so, some of the consequences of 18 publicity may be already measured. The W.M. is as well known by his place in the procession and in the pew in the church as if he were announced in the London Gazette. Each individual Mason remains as unmolested in his Masonic
THE PUBLIC ASPECT OF FREEMASONY.
There are symptoms that Freemasonry is about to attract more of public attention. The notice given to the initiation of the Prince of Wales is only one of these indications; but if the Prince should be elected Grand Master, then such a result would be unequivocal.
There are many who will regret that any greater degree of publicity should be given to our institution, there are many who would clamour for it, and it is certainly worthy of consideration how far Masonry may be affected by such external influences. Masonry has been public enough before, it is public enough elsewhere than in London, and yet to a great number of Masons there is no conception of Masonry beyond the lodge-room. There are London and other Masons who have never been to a festival dinner where ladies sit down with their partners, the W.M. presiding; many who have never been to a Masonic ball. There are, however, many parts of the country where there is the yearly procession to church, there is a ball, and there is the occasional celebration of a funeral, all this apart from great gatherings for laying a corner-stone.
In the beginning of the last century the G.M. proceeded, in public state and in procession, from the West-end to Grocers' Hall, or whatever city hall wherein the Grand Lodge and Grand Festival were holden; bnt this has been so long discontinued as to appear a celebration unmasonic. The neglect of Masonry, indeed, has been a cause for peace and quietness, as neglect is apt to be; and returning prosperity may be the provocative to more noise. The charity festivals have become
opinions by the community at large as he may do in his religious opinions.
This consequence will accrue, that, whenever the Prince of Wales is mentioned, there will be certain obtrusive persons-whose membership is no distinction to the Order-who will announce themselves as brother Masons of the Prince of Wales. It is some consolation to believe that the Masonry of such persons has seldom shut up or caused the dissolution of a single country lodge, and that the public have rather chosen to judge of Masonry by the good men within its ranks than from its inferior constituents.
Still, there will be more public attention bestowed upon Masonry, a greater canvassing of its claims to respect, and a sterner criticism of its composition and constitution. Of course there will be the usual answer to this, "The Charities," and this will satisfy very few. A member of the Merchant Taylors' Company, or the Mercers', will make no great account of our schools in comparison with his own, and will be little inclined to admit such a title to superiority. It may, perhaps, be that some Masons may be led to question their Masonry. Dinners will stand for little in the account, as the Fishmongers or the Clothworkers can make out a better case.
Mysterious insinuations that Masonry is something very sublime will come with very little effect from one who is better known as a boon companion than a hierophant of philosophic pretensions, and whose port wine is sounder than his learning. There will be a stirring up, such as in the late dull times of Masonry, self complacent Masonry has been little accustomed to, and this may be not without very good fruit for the Craft in general.
It can bear a good deal more zeal, and a far Lodge of Mark Masters is prohibited, and I mygreater share of earnestness.
This therefore is what we should understand as a preparation for publicity, involving greater care in the selection of members, who may bring discredit in our Order, a better choice of officers, than those who so often misrepresent Masonry in the natural passage and promotion from the W.M. ship to the W.S. ship, a greater attention not only to what are called "the charities," but to all charities and the charitable duties of the fraternity; some regard for the claims of learning as well as the claims of good fellowship, more zeal for our Masonic halls, a more liberal supply of books and newspapers, more portraits and busts than gorgeous jewels, and a better distribution of the honours of the Craft, and a more open spirit in its administration, Many things will occur to our readers in relation to Grand Lodge, and the provinces and colonies, and some hope of the working out of a higher policy may be encouraged by the contemplation of what has been done in the renovation of Freemasons' Hall, and the proposed remodelling of
the Board of Benevolence.
If we can arrive at the conviction that we are not all perfect, we may see our course to much in the way of amelioration.
THE MARK DEGREE.
I have read with much pleasure the article of Bro. Binckes in the MAGAZINE of the 19th June, but must take exception to several of his remarks on the topics of interest to which he refers. In the first place the position of the Grand Lodge of Mark Masters both with respect to the Grand Lodge of England and the Supreme Masonic bodies of other countries is widely different from that of the Grand Conclave of K.T., and the Supreme Grand Council 33°, The difference is this, in other countries there are governing bodies of these degrees, exercising supreme authority over those brethren who owe allegiance to them, and although the Grand Lodge of England does not recognise the Hautes Grades of Masonry, she cannot object to the jewels of those degrees being worn in English Craft lodges, by brethren who have obtained them in countries with whom she is in communion. On the contrary, the Mark jewel, when worn by a member of the English
self have seen cases, in which a Provincial Deputy G.M. insisted on its being removed.
Again it is evident that at the present, Grand Lodge of Mark Masters is not in communication with any Grand Lodge or Grand Chapter in the world, and were it to be recognised, it would have the effect of creating a new governing Masonic body in England, wholly unknown in other countries, and in itself anomalous, as were the Grand Lodge of England at any future time to acknowledge the degree of Mark Master, what becomes of the soi disant Grand Lodge? I should much like to hear Bro. Binckes reply to this question, as we must reasonably expect that the leading opponents of the degree, to whom he refers, will not always exercise supreme sway in the Grand Councils of the Craft.
This, I believe to be the true reason why the Grand Lodge and Grand Chapters of Scotland and Ireland have refused to acknowledge the Grand Mark Lodge, as in the event of the recognition of the degree by the Grand Lodge of England, almost a revolution would have been caused in the Craft which would have been totally subversive of all Masonic discipline, and highly prejudicial to the institution. In my opinion the supreme bodies in Scotland and Ireland were right in refusing to be the first to recognise the Grand Mark Lodge. They left the option to England, either to sanction the degree as part of the Fellow Craft, or to acknowledge the Grand Lodge of Mark Masters until this be done, I do not think those grand as the lawful head of the Order in England, and bodies are to blame, in declining to take the initiative in recognising the Grand Mark Lodge as a lawfully constituted governing body.
Were this to be done, the Grand Lodge of Mark Masters, meeting at Ashton-under-Lyne, would have an equal right to claim the same communion, perhaps a better right, as they suppose themselves of much more ancient origin. I give all honour and credit to the members of the Grand Mark
Lodge, for their sincerity and their arduous labours in the cause, and heartily regret the degree cannot be placed on the same footing, as in sister Grand Lodges, Spero Meliora.
FREEMASONRY would make this whole world one great cathedral, and all living in it at eternal worship, prayer, praise and charity.
THE ROSE CROIX.
The Rose Croix is undoubtedly the most ancient of the high degrees, and notwithstanding the obscurity of its origin, the degree or its counterWhile earnestly deprecating any attempt to part is to be found in nearly all the principal rites limit the universal application of Freemasonry, now in existence, being in many of them the ne from a firm conviction that it is now a cosmopoli- | plus ultra of the ritual. tan institution, we cannot overlook the fact that this universality is the result of the changes that have been effected in the theory and practice of the Order, since its revival in the early part of the eighteenth century.
The benefits arising from these changes, to the Craft and society in general, cannot be overrated, and the highest honour is due to those, who at a period of bitter political and religious intolerance, boldly proclaimed their free and generous opinion, that all just and upright men are brethren. While ascribing due honour to the promoters of universality in the Craft, we cannot forget that a christian element preexisted, which by the elevation of Freemasonry from a sectarian to an universal institution, was diverted into another channel-that of the so called High Degrees.
Though from political and other sinister motives, pseudo Masonic degrees have been invented of intolerant and pernicious principles, yet there are many of the high degrees against which no such objection can be sustained, and of one of these, the Rose Croix, we purpose giving a brief sketch, deeming it will be of interest from the universality of its diffusion (which is inferior to that of the Craft degrees alone) and from the fact, that many of our most talented and influential brethren are enrolled in its ranks.
The Rose Croix is one of the most important and generally diffused of the historical and chivalric degrees, and viewed not as an innovation on pure symbolic Masonry, but as a christian illustration thereof, the degree undoubtedly merits the high esteem in which it is now held.
Various authors have attempted to prove the date when, the place where, and the individual by whom the Rose Croix was organised as a Masonic grade; but their efforts have been fruitless, and unless by some happy chance additional light is thrown on the subject, the origin of the degree must ever remain as at present, veiled in the obscurity of the past.
From a resemblance in the sound of names, the Masonic degree of Rose Croix has frequently been confounded with the alchemistical sect of Rosicrucians, or "Brethren of the Rosy Cross," but the signification of the two names is totally different, the former being derived from the emblems of the Rose and Cross, the latter from the Latin ros-dew, the supposed universal solventand crux-the cross, a hierogram of light; and to this slight similarity of names, must be attributed much of the confusion that now exist in relation to the history of the Rose Croix. The initials I.N.R.I., which in the Rose Croix represent the sentence Jesus Nazarenus Rex Judæorum, are also used by the Rosicrucians as the initials of one of their hermetic secrets Igne Natura Renovantur Integra, "by fire nature is perfectly renewed," these letters are also supposed to be a key to the elementary principles expressed in the sentence Igne Nitrum Roris Novenitur.
In the exquisite mysteries of the Rose Croix, the christian is shewn the last great lesson of his faith; he figuratively passes through the dark valley of the shadow of death, and beholds from afar the bright abode of peace and immortality, wherein by the blessing of the Great Emanuel, it shall be his happy lot to dwell, when his soul has quitted its tenement of clay.
The solemn and impressive ceremonies of the degree represent to his view, a sublime and inimitable lesson of charity; he beholds the cubical stone sweating blood and water; the blazing star eclipsed; the pillars of Masonry overthrown; and the world plunged into darkness and confusion.
After the lapse of three days of gloom and consternation the true word is suddenly found, the cubical stone changes into the mystic rose, and the blazing star shines forth again with redoubled splendour, dispelling darkness, restoring the true light, and making visible the new law that is henceforth to govern his works.
In the Rose Croix, to the Temples of Solomon and Zerubbabel is added a third and most holy, that to which the Messiah alluded when he said destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. The great pillars of this new temple are
Faith, Hope, and Charity, and they take the place of the pillars of Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty, which supported the Temple of Solomon.
The three great lights of the symbolic degrees necessarily remain, as without them Masonry would cease to exist; but the three lesser lights are replaced by thirty-three others, which allude to the years of our Redeemer's sojourn upon earth.
In our sketch we have arranged the most important symbols of the Rose Croix in the form of a tracing board, from a brief explanation of which an idea may be formed of the true design of the degree.
soar from the temptations and corruptions of the world to a higher and holier sphere.
"As an eagle stirreth up her nest
Spreadeth her pinions, taketh them
So the Lord alone did lead him,
And there was no strange God with him." Deuteronomy XXXII. 11 and 12. The seven concentric circles allude to the seven periods of the worlds existence, and to an early part of the ceremonial of the degree.
The rose is an emblem of the Messiah who is frequently alluded to in the scriptures under that figurative appellation; the cross as will be recognised, is a symbol of his death, thus the cross
bearing on its centre a full blown rose, is a simple
and beautiful emblem of the death of him who is
the Rose of Sharon. The pelican from a supposed habit of feeding its young with its own blood, has been adopted as a symbol of Christ shedding his blood for the salvation of mankind. The eagle from the custom attributed to it of bearing aloft its feeble young on its own wings, to assist them in their flight, is chosen as an emblem of our Saviour teaching the children of his adoption, to
The jewel of the Rose Croix is a compass extended on an arc to 60°, and surmounted by a seven pointed antique crown; enclosed by the compass, is a cross, bearing on its centre a full blown rose, whose stem entwines the lower limb of the cross, a pelican stands in its nest at the foot of the cross, feeding seven young birds with blood from its own breast; on the reverse of the jewel is a white eagle, with wings extended as if rising in the air.
In England and Wales the Rose Croix forms the 18° of the Ancient and Accepted Rite and is conferred in a Sovereign Chapter Rose Croix of H.R.D.M. the recipient being constituted a perfect Prince Rose Croix of H.R.D.M. or Knight of the White Eagle or Pelican.
The degree Rose Croix is highly esteemed by continental Masons, and its possession will be found of great service to brethren wishing to visit lodges in France, Germany, Prussia, Portugal, &c.
eminently christian character of this degree and Enough has been said to demonstrate the though forming no part of pure symbolic Masonry,
the Rose Croix cannot fail to be admired as a
beautiful adoption of the sublime and all tolerant principles of Craft Masonry to a system of more christian application.
We conclude our remarks on this sublime
degree with the anthem sung at the closing of a chapter.
Grateful notes and numbers bring,
While the "name of God" we sing;
Be thy glorious name adored.
While on earth ordained to stay, Guide our footsteps in Thy way; Mortals, raise your voices high,
Till they reach the echoing sky. Men on earth and saints above Sing the great Redeemer's love. Lord, thy mercies never fail
Hail, celestial goodness, hail!
A BANQUET AT "OURS."
By J. A. H.
Ours-what is "ours"? Charles Lever designated one of his novels " Tom Burke of Ours," using the pronoun to represent a regiment in which his hero served. In Norfolk and Suffolk the possessives have acquired a usage, which is very peculiar and prevails no where else in Great Britain. Thus, even educated people will say, "How is it you have not been to mine lately when I am so often at your's; the pronouns meaning respectively" my house " and your house." Again it will be remarked that "Tomkins said Smith had been at his," meaning the residence or place of business of Tomkins. Thus, also the "word "ours" is employed to denote "our house," or "our office," as the case may be. When, therefore, we head our article with "A Banquet at Ours," we adopt Suffolk phraseology to refer to a lodge with which we have the honour to be connected by membership-the particular lodge in question being one of the most ancient on the Grand Roll of England-the Unity Lodge Lowestoft, No. 71, founded originally in 1747.
The Unity Lodge meets at the house of a worthy Mason and Past Master, Bro. Clarke, "mine host," of the well-known Suffolk Hotel, Lowestoft. A good dinner can always be had on reasonable terms at the "Suffolk" but on the occasion of initiating the W.M. on Thursday, June 17th, 1869, Bro. Clarke excelled himself and won encomiums on every hand by the abundance and superiority of the viands he furnished. Rarely, even in London, have we dined from a bill of fare so recherché and and extensive. "The Art of Dining" has often been condemned as an injurious department of Masonic Science; but for ourselves we cordially endorse the remarks in this subject of our distinguished Bro. James Glaisber at the Inaugural Meeting of the Masonic Archæological Institute, and are convinced that festive meetings are valuable as centres of union, friendship, and good feeling.
The Banquet at Bro. Clarke's was no ordinary occasion for it celebrated the accession to worshipful dignity of an esteemed Bro., whose name is "a household word," throughout the province, while his virtues are not unrecognised in more general Masonic circles. Bro. W. Oldham Chambers is emphatically "a good Mason," and as such has exemplified his principles by successful labour in the fields of science and art. In the exercise of his profession as an architect he has already achieved local fame for originality of design and practical genius. The profession which our whilom Grand Master, Sir Christopher Wren adorned, has a worthy representative in the W.M. of the Unity Lodge. At the Norwich meeting of the British Association, Bro. Chambers was associated with Bros. the Duke of Bucclench, G. P. Bidder, C. Hutton Gregory, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers; William Smith, C.E.; and other eminent brethren in Section G., which was devoted to Mechanical Science. On the formation of the Masonic Archeological Institute Bro C. was one of the first to enrol himself among the members of that valuable association. Bro. Chambers also holds office in the Grand Conclave of Knights Templar for Suffolk, and Sir R. A. Shafto Adair, the popular Grand Master of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Suffolk, has recently conferred upon him the well-merited distinction of Provincial Grand Director of Works. Chambers notwithstanding his activity in Craft Masonry has steadily progressed in the higher degrees having become a Mark Master at Norwich, and a Soverign Prince Rose Croix at Ipswich. The Unity Lodge may therefore be congratulated on having placed in the chair of King Solomon a brother in whose hands the Royal sceptre will be wielded with dignity and grace worthy of the long line of distinguished brethren who have maintained the honour of the Aucient Craft
in Lowestoft. The retiring W.M., Bro. Day, under whose judicious rule the lodge most satisfactorily progressed in numbers, and influence left behind him a reputation, which would have rendered the duties of the chair difficult to any brother who was not thoroughly up to the work; but Bro. Day felt bound to express the pleasure with which he witnessed the workmanlike manner in which Bro. Chamber entered on the discharge of his onerous and important position.
From time to time there has been under con