Areas Of Interest

Masonic Research
What is the relation of the Bible to Freemasonry?
Created: 10/14/2018

The Bible is properly called a great light of Masonry, for from the center of the Lodge it pours forth upon the East, the West, and the South its refulgent rays of Divine truth. The Bible is used among Masons as the symbol of the will of God however it may be expressed. And, therefore, whatever book expresses to any people God's will may be used in a Masonic Lodge as a substitute for the Bible. Thus, in a Lodge consisting entirely of Jews, the Old Testament alone may be placed upon the altar. And Turkish Masons make use of the Koran. Whether it be the Gospels of the Christian, the Pentateuch to the Israelite, the Koran to the Mussulman, or the Vedas to the Brahman, the Book of the Law everywhere conveys the same Masonic idea - that of the symbolism of the Divine Will revealed to man.

 The history of the Masonic symbolism of the Bible is interesting. Although referred to in the manuscripts before the revival as the book upon which the covenant was taken, it was never referred to as a great light. In the oldest ritual that we have, that of 1724, - a copy of which from the Royal Library of Berlin is given by Krause, - there is no mention of the Bible as one of the lights. Preston made it a part of the furniture of the Lodge; but in rituals of about 1760 it is de-scribed as one of the three great lights. In the American system, the Bible is both a piece of furniture and a great light.
What is the symbolism of the All‑Seeing Eye?
Created: 10/10/2018

All-Seeing Eye. An important symbol of the Supreme Being, borrowed by the Freemasons from the nations of antiquity. Both the Hebrews and the Egyptians appear to have derived its use from that natural inclination of figurative minds to select an organ as the symbol of the function which it is intended peculiarly to discharge. Thus, the foot was often adopted as the symbol of swiftness, the arm of strength, and the hand of fidelity. On the game principle, the open eye was selected as the symbol of watchfulness, and the eye of God as the symbol of divine watchfulness and care of the universe. The use of the symbol in this sense is repeatedly to be found in the Hebrew writers. Thus, the Psalmist says (Ps. xxxiv. 15): "The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open to their cry," which explains a subsequent passage (Ps. cxxi. 4) in which it is said: "Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep." On the same principle, the Egyptians represented Osiris, their chief deity, by the symbol of an open eye, and placed this hieroglyphic of him in all their temples. His symbolic name, on the monuments, was represented by the eye accompanying a throne, to which was sometimes added an abbreviated figure of the god, and sometimes what has been called a hatchet, but which, I consider, may as correctly be supposed to be a representation of a square.

The All-Seeing Eye may then be considered as a symbol of God manifested in his omnipresence - his guardian and preserving character - to which Solomon alludes in the Book of Proverbs (xv. 3), when he says: "The eyes of Jehovah are in every place, beholding (or, as it might be more faithfully translated, watching) the evil and the good." It is a symbol of the Omnipresent Deity.

What Masonic duties are implied by the tenets of brotherly love?
Created: 1/8/2017
At a very early period in the course of his initiation, a candidate for the mysteries of Freemasonry is informed that the great tenets of the Order are Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth. These virtues are illustrated, and their practice recommended to the aspirant, at every step of his progress; and the instruction, though continually varied in its mode, is so constantly repeated, as infallibly to impress upon his mind their absolute necessity in the constitution of a good Mason.

Brotherly Love might very well be supposed to be an ingredient in the organization of a society so peculiarly constituted as that of Freemasonry. But the brotherly love which we inculcate is not a mere abstraction, nor is its character left to any general and careless understanding of the candidate, who might be disposed to give much or little of it to his brethren, according to the peculiar constitution of his own mind, or the extent of his own generous or selfish feelings. It is, on the contrary, closely defined; its object plainly denoted; and the very mode and manner of its practice detailed in words, and illustrated by symbols, so as to give neither cause for error nor apology for indifference.

'Every Mason is acquainted with the Five Points of Fellowship - he knows their symbolic meaning - he can never forget the interesting incidents that accompanied their explanation; and while he has this knowledge, and retains this remembrance, he can be at no loss to understand what are his duties, and what must be his conduct, in relation to the principle of Brotherly Love.

Brotherly Love can be manifested in innumerable opportunities not only in the Lodge but also out of it. It is acknowledged by the nearly imperceptible pressure of the hand as much as by the vindication of an innocently accused absent brother. It is an essential element to bind the brethren unto each other; we have pledged our-selves to exercise it, and it is one of the greatest duties of a Free and Accepted Mason to deny it unto no man, more especially to a brother Mason. To exercise brotherly love, or to feel deeply interested in the welfare of others is a source of the greatest happiness in every situation in life.
Change from Operative to Speculative Freemasonry.
Created: 10/24/2016
What was the effect of the change from operative to speculative Freemasonry on the status of the Entered Apprentice?

Change from Operative to Speculative Freemasonry. At the Ancient Annual Assembly, every member of the craft was permitted to be present, and to take a part in the deliberations. But by members of the craft, in the beginning, were meant Masters and Fellows only, Apprentices were excluded, because they were not entitled to any of the privileges of craftsmen. They were not free, but bound to their Masters, and in the same position that Apprentices now are in any of our trades or mechanical employments. The institution was then strictly operative in its character; and although many distinguished noblemen and prelates who were not operative Masons, were, even at that early period, members of the Order and exalted to its highest offices, still the great mass of the fraternity were operative, the workmen were engaged in operative employments, and the institution was governed by the laws and customs of an operative association.

In this respect, however, an important change was made, apparently about the beginning of the eighteenth century, which had a remarkable effect on the character of the Grand Lodge organization. Preston tells us that at that time a proposition was agreed to "that the privileges of Masonry should no longer be restricted to operative Masons, but extend to men of various professions, provided they were regularly approved and initiated into the Order." Nov, as it is known that long before that period "men of various professions" had been admitted to the Order, and as we find a king presiding as Grand Master in 1502, and many noblemen, prelates, and distinguished statesmen occupying the same post, before and after that period, it is evident that this Regulation must be construed as meaning that the institution should throw off from that time its mixed operative and speculative character, and become entirely speculative. And we are warranted in making this conclusion by the facts of history.

In 1717, and very soon after, we find such men as Anderson and Desaguliers, who were clergymen and philosophers, holding high positions and taking an active part in the Order, and the Society from that time devoted itself to the pursuit of,speculative science, leaving the construction of cathedrals and palaces to the operative workmen, who, as such, were unconnected with the Order.

Now, the first effect of this change was on the character of the class of Apprentices. They were no longer, as in the olden time, youths placed under the control of Masters, to acquire the mysteries of a trade, but they were men who had been initiated into the first degree of a Mystic Association. The great object of the Apprentices in the operative art was -to acquire a knowledge of that art, and being made free by the expiration of their time of service, which the oldest Constitutions prescribed should be seven years, to be promoted to the rank of Craftsmen, when they would be entitled to receive wages, and to have a voice in the deliberations of the Society.

The Apprentices in the speculative science but seldom proceeded further. The mass of the old Society consisted of Fellows, or Fellow-crafts; that of the new organization was composed of Apprentices. The primitive Lodges were made up of Fellowcrafts principally; the modern ones of Apprentices. Anderson, Preston, and all the old Charges and Constitutions will afford abundant proofs of this fact.

The Apprentices having thus become the main body of the fraternity, the necessary result was, that occupying, in this respect, the place formerly filled by the Fellowcrafts, they assumed all the privileges which belonged to that class. And thus we arrive at the fact, and the reason of the fact, that in 1717, at the reorganization of the Grand Lodge, Entered Apprentices were admitted to attend the Annual Assembly; and we can satisfactorily appreciate that clause in the thirty-ninth of the Regulations, adopted in

1721, which says that no new regulation should be adopted until, at the Annual Assembly or Grand Feast, it was offered in writing to the perusal of all the brethren, "even of the youngest Entered Apprentice."
What is the meaning of the Past Master's Symbol
Created: 8/22/2016
The oldest known Past Master's Symbol consists of the Compass, Sun, Square and Quadrant. This is the most popular Past Master's Jewel used in the United States. 

This symbol includes the Square as a reminder, that it is "By the Square" that the wearer governed his lodge as Master. 

The Quadrant shows what angle the Compass is opened at. This is appropriate for the symbol of a Past Master, because it is "By the Compass" that the Freemason keeps himself within due bounds of all man kind. It also generally shows that the Compass is opened to the angle of 60 degrees. This is significant because 60 degrees is the angle of an equilateral triangle. The equilateral triangle represents perfect balance, as all sides are of equal length, and the triangle appears the same from all directions. It therefore teaches that the man who wears this jewel has learned the lessons of Freemasonry, and lives a balanced life. It also shows that the wearer of this jewel has served equally in the South, the West, and the East.

The Sun is used in this symbol to represent that the wearer has observed the sun at:
Its meridian height in the South, 
Its setting in the West, and
Its rising in the East. 

The Sun also represents light. And, it is understood that the Past Master of a Craft Lodge is a source of Masonic Light to his brothers. It is also appropriate to say that the Sun represents perfect light.
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