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shoulders. I have always been very willing to accept that responsibility when the good of the Fraternity seemed to require action. In this connection let me add, that the system of inspection adopted at vour last Communication, though not yet perfected, has vastly accelerated the work of purifying and reforming. It has unearthed and exposed whatever was reprehensible, and by sending into the Lodges an officer clothed with the authority of the Grand Lodge, and specially charged with the correction of abuses, has everywhere led to the prompt reformation, or equally prompt expulsion, of the wrong doers. Bad Masons have been taught that they cannot violate the Masonic code and escape its penalties; and good ones have been gladdened by the elevation of our moral standard.

“In other respects, too, the system has proved grandly efficient. It has corrected the loose manner of transacting the general business of the Lodges, brought about a strict compliance with the constitution and regulations of the Grand Lodge, and forced upon those inspected uniformity in the Work and Lectures. In brief, it has succeeded beyond my most sanguine expectations, and the good already accomplished cannot be estimated.

“ One of the Inspectors, who has proven himself a most faithful and efficient officer, suggests in his report that gambling and intemperance are too common among our brethren, and should be more rigorously dealt with. I express to you my hearty concurrence in this suggestion. Masonry does not exact of us total abstinence, but it does require us not to disgrace ourselves or fimilies, nor impair by any excess those faculties with which Heaven has endowed us, nor outrage the moral and social sentiment of mankind. Drunkenness is a Masonic crime, and the Mason who cannot control an appetite over indulged, should set up for himself total abstinence. Believing that the time has come for more heroic treatment of these evils, I take occasion to admonish the Masters here assembled that they ought not to permit, in the members of their Lodges, the habitual indulgence of either of these vices. And here, perhaps, it will not be amiss to call your attention to another evil, which I regret to say prevails to an alarming extent. I mean profanity of speech. Let me admonish and entreat you, in all kindness and fraternal regard, to rid yourselves of this most absurd and ridiculous of all habits. It is not necessary to place this admonition upon the basis of the absolute sinfulness of the practice. I leave that question for each to settle in accordance with his own convictions and religious sentiments. It is enough that, by common consent, profanity is coarse, vulgar, and disgusting, and shocks and outrages the moral sense and sentiment of the refined and better portion

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of the community. This alone, if the habit in itself was otherwise umobjectionable, should prevent its indulgence, for the Mason has no right to wound the sensibilities of his associates, as courtesy and consideration are among the true elements of the genuine Masonic character.”

The Craft is in a very Nourishing condition in California, and miy well be proud of its able, iatelligent officers.

We give its present Status, as taken from the proceedings before us : Number of Lodges,

184 Whole number of M. M,

9909 Initiated last year,

709 Passed,

759 Raised,

758 Affiliated,

603 Withdrawn,

632

ARE THEY ANCIENT LANDMARKS?

MASONIC writers have time and again written upon what they term the ancient landmarks of the Order, and have probably occupied all the ground, and presented all the proofs known to the Craft, to show that certain usages, customs, and peculiarities of the Craft, were ancient landmarks. But I am not aware that any attempt has ever been made to show that some of these same peculiar characteristics are not, and in the very nature of things, cannot be ancient landmarks of the Order. This I shall attempt to show.

To get clearly before our mind the peculiar and essential elements of an ancient landmark, I will quote from two Masonic authors of no mean notoriety.

Brother A. G. Mackey says the ancient landmarks are all those usages and customs of the Craft, whether ritual or legislative, whether they relate to forms and ceremonies, or to the organization of the society, (mark,) which have existed from time immemorial, and the alteration or abolition of which would materially affect the distinctive character of the institution, or destroy its identity.

Brother H. M. Look says they are those universal and immutable laws and regulations which form the basis and distinguishing characteristics of the Order and which have existed from time immemorial, (mark. Their essential elements are antiquity that reaches beyond memory or history. The definitions I think are entirely correct, and I shall adopt them as a standard with which to compare certain modern prerogatives which are claimed by some modern writers to be ancient landmarks. Now if it is a fact, (and I think it is,) that the ancient landmarks are those universal and immutable laws, rules, and regulations that have existed from time immemorial, and that reach back beyond memory or history, the inference is reasonable, and the deduction is logical, that all those laws, usages, customs, and peculiarities of the Craft that have originated within the era of written Masonic history, and almost within the memory of living Masons, are not ancient landmarks, and if not ancient landmarks they are not landmarks at all. In examining the authorities I find the ancient landmarks mentioned for the first time in connection with the revived annual festival held at London, on the 24th of June, 1717. At this meeting it was proposed to take action on a proposition that originated at a previous meeting (some say as early as 1703,) and the consideration of this subject led the old Masons in and around London to demand security and protection against any violation or infringement of their ancient usages and customs, under the general name of ancient landmarks and upon receiving satisfactory pledges that their reserved privileges and prerogatives should forever remain inviolate, they agreed to delegate certain other prerogatives to the new Grand Lodge, it being the first organization of purely speculative Masonry that we have any account of. Among the privileges that were conceded to the Grand Lodge, were that the Grand Master might grant dispensations for forming new Lodges, and that no Lodge should be deemed regular or lawful without a dispensation from the Grand Master, or a warrant from the Grand Lodge; also that the Grand Master might grant a dispensation authorizing a Lodge to receive a petition, ballot for, and initiate a candidate, in less than the constitutional period. The prerogatives above enumerated are claimed by some eminent modern Masonic writers to be three seperate, distinct and important ancient landmarks. But go back with me to the time when Numa Pompilius, in the year 715 before the Christian era, instituted those famous societies or fraternities whose successors erected those magnificient structures of the middle ages, whose remains strike the beholder with admiration and astonishment. Carefully examine all the fraternities of builders, then pass along down the centuries, investigating as you go. Come down to the introduction of those building fraternities into Britain by the Romans; still farther to the time when the Emperor Claude, A. D. 43, ordered all the building fraternities from the Rhenish provinces of Germany into Britain to protect the Romans from the incisions of the Scots, on to the year 287, when Carausius, the commander of the Roman fleet, after having revolted and declared his independence of Rome, confirmed to the Masonic Fraternities all those ancient privileges accorded to them by

VOL. III.-NO. IX.-27.

Numa Pompilius more than a thousand years before. Examine Freemasonry at the city of York, under the encouragement of Constance Chlorus, and his son Constantine after him ; also the Grand Mastership of Sir Christopher Wren, whose active duties as Grand Master ceased early in the eighteenth century, but he remained Grand Master until his death, which took place in 1716, just a few months previous to the formation of the new Grand Lodge, and in all this series oi twenty-five centuries we find that a sufficient number of Brethren had full and unlimited authority to open and hold a Lodge, and initiate candidates, and transact any other business pertaining to a Lodge of Masons. No dispensation, no charter or warrant was ever required, and no Lodge was ever disowned or declared clandestine for the want of such documents.

Previous to the year 1717, these prerogatives had never existed, but now it was apparent to all that those operative organizations must yield to the force of circumstances, or cease to exist. The brethren seeing this to be the case resolved to remodel the institution, and change it from an operative to a purely speculative society. This they did at the revived annual festival on the 24th of June, 1717, and then for the first time in Masonic experience were these prerogatives granted to the Grand Lodge, and the Grand Master; nor was the grant even then universal, for, be it remembered that the four old Lodges did not give up their inherent right to meet without a charter, but only consented that Lodges organized in the future should have charters. It must be borne in mind that at the same meeting the old Masons asked that the ancient charges and landmarks should be carefully preserved. Will any Mason presume to say that these regulations, just adopted, are any part of that venerable code of charges and regulations that those old brothers were so solicitous to preserve from innovation? Surely not. On the contrary these were new and untried experiments, the very antipodes of those venerable and long cherished usages and customs of the Order, and it was on account of the adoption of these that they asked protection for the others. The old Masons were not content with asking for, but persisted until they secured satisfactory pledges in the adoption of a new regulation, binding the Grand Master for the time being, his successors, and the Masters of all subordinate Lodges, to maintain and preserve the old landmarks against any innovation or infringement, and these regulations were made binding for all time. It is to be regretted that those old brothers did not give us a definite schedule of the old landmarks. It would have settled many a doubt, and saved much discussion. There is one thing that is quite certain, that when those old brethren spoke of the ancient charges

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and old landmarks they did not mean those newly adopted prerogatives of the Grand Master and the Grand Lodge to grant charters and dispensations

It is claimed that the prerogative of the Grand Master to grant dispensations for conferring degrees at irregular times is a landmark, and to give a dispensation to open and hold a Lodge is another, and that a Lodge must have a dispensation or charter is another. Now let us apply the definition of a landmark as given by Brother Look: “Those universal and immutable laws and regulations which form the basis and distinguishing characteristics of the Order, and which have existed from time immemorial, their essential elements are antiquity that reaches beyond memory or history."

Now brought to this standard, how do these three landmarks compare? Have they existed from time immemorial, or were they first adopted in 1717? Are their essential elements antiquity that reaches beyond memory or history, or were they adopted only 153 years ago ? Our knowledge of the origin of these prerogatives is derived from written history, and but little more than a quarter of a century ago there were men living who were born before the adoption of these regulations, therefore, they do not reach beyond memory or history, but are of comparatively modern date, and although they are appropriate and useful prerogatives, yet their antiquity and essential elements do not entitle them to rank as ancient landmarks, and they may be altered or abolished at any time the interests or conveniences of the Craft demand, without any fears of violating or infringing the ancient landmarks of the Order.

1. A. SHINGLEDECKER. DowagiAC, Feb. 21, 1872.

“ CHRISTIANITY AND FREEMASONRY.

BY THE KEV. J. BLANCHARD, D. D." There is a kind of wisdom in this world called wordly wisdom, that we hare known clergymen to be singularly destitute of. Yet this sort of wisdom is one sort of common sense, the possession of which, if it does not enlarge the understanding, and tone down the influence of prejudice, would certainly save venturesome preachers from kicking as often as they do against the pricks. But we are not judging the profession, or the clergy at large; far from this; for Freemasonry cherishes in her bosom, through all the orders of her venerable society, ho-ts of ministers who are bright lights indeed in all their relations in life-men who cling with enlarged aspirations to the precious tenets, the suggestive symbols, and the beneficent quickening in behalf of hu

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