During the First
Point Ceremony, the Candidate is instructed about the virtues Faith, Hope and
Charity. Indeed, he is sent in “search of them”. Towards the end of the
Ceremony he is instructed[i]:
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Hope maketh not ashamed. Charity suffereth long and is kind; Charity envieth
not; Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself
unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil,
rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things,
believeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth; but whether
there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall
cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away; for we know in part,
and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect is come, then that which
is in part shall be done away.”
This passage is
from three separate references in the New Testament. The first, Faith, is
described in the Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Hebrews, chapter 11, verse
1. The second, Hope, is described in his Epistle to the Romans, chapter 5, verse
5. The third, Charity, is defined in his first Epistle to the Corinthians,
The statement by
which Paul defines Faith:
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
it is used for:
For by it the elders obtained a good report.
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so
that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
proceeds with examples of Faith from the Old Testament:
By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he
obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it
he being dead yet speaketh.
By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found,
because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this
testimony, that he pleased God.
But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must
believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear,
prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by the which he condemned the world,
and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.
By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should
after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither
Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was
delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful who
By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received
the promises offered up his only begotten son,
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.
By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and
worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.
By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of
Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.
By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months of his parents, because
they saw he was a proper child; and they were not afraid of the king’s
By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of
By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as
seeing him who is invisible.
Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that
destroyed the firstborn should touch them.
By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians
assaying to do were drowned.
By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven
tells of the heroes (Gideon, Samson, David, Samuel) and prophets (such as
Daniel); about the weak being made strong; of resurrection; of those who
sustained their faith through torture, mockings, scourgings, imprisonment and
his letter to the Romans, St Paul writes of Faith leading to an understanding
God through tribulation, patience, experience and hope:
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord
By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and
rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation
And patience, experience; and experience, hope:
And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our
hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
aspect of Charity (Love?) which manifests itself in Freemasonry is Benevolence.
In his first Epistle to the Corinthians Paul describes the attributes of Charity
in Chapter 13, firstly commenting on its value:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am
become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all
knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and
have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to
be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
on its attributes:
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not
itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked,
thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether
there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done
is where the passage in our ritual ends. But what is the meaning of the last
three verses? Paul goes on to write:
When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a
child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
means? The Rev. Tony Ponticello[ii]
explains this as
child runs away and hides. A child pulls the blanket up over his or her head
thinking somehow that's going to protect him or her. However, when we become a
true adult we learn that we can't hide anymore. We can't put our head in the
sand and just hope our problems will go away as the ostrich does.
Paul writes, is:
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in
part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
which means? Betsy Childs[iii]
modern versions render this phrase "we see in a mirror, dimly," which
is a more accurate translation of the Greek.
But she prefers
the King James Version and continues
through a glass darkly means that what we see is not the whole picture but a dim
outline. We are like children who don't know we have vision problems because our
sight has always been bleary. We get so used to looking through the tinted glass
and dim mirrors of the world that we often think we have the whole picture. We
attempt to compensate by taking what we know as a basis for filling in the
details … we interpret our experiences based on what we think we know about
The Rev. Tony
Ponticello takes this another step
now we see things in this darkened glass but in the ultimate reality of heaven
we will be face to face with no reflection to confuse us. There won't be any
barrier, any reflection, between ourselves, our brothers and sisters and our
this chapter with:
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is
however, does not explain the references to tongues and prophecy and their
relationship to Charity. In chapter 14 he writes:
Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may
For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God:
for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.
But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and
He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth
edifieth the church.
you are to communicate with God, it matters not how you effect the
communication. But if you are to communicate with men, you need to communicate
in a way that they can understand.
Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children,
but in understanding be men.
away childish things and take on the mantle and responsibility of adulthood.
Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them
to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law.
And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is
a shame for women to speak in the church.
If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that
the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord.
things in context and perspective and don’t take on the mantle of omnipotence.
But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.
not be judgemental.
Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.
endeavour to educate where it is possible. And finally
Let all things be done decently and in order.
other words, if we are to seek and promote proper understanding we must be
completely charitable in our view of others and how we might seek to educate and
otherwise assist them.
things fill the mind with ever increasing wonder and awe the more often and the
more seriously reflection concentrates upon them: the starry heavens above me
and the moral law within me. (Immanuel Kant).
All references to ritual are to that of the Ceremonies of a Chapter of the
Princes Rose Croix of Heredom of the Ancient and Accept Rite for New Zealand.
- Community Miracles Centre
- Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.