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Gary Kerkin
"...without neglecting the ordinary duties of your station endeavour to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge."


VW. Bro. Gary Kerkin is PM Lodge Piako No 160
PM Waikato Lodge of Research No 445
Past Grand Lecturer, Grand Lodge of New Zealand
Grand Lecturer (2009), Supreme Grand Royal Arch Chapter of New Zealand, Northern Division.

Paper delivered to Ohinemuri Rose Croix Chapter, February 13, 2006.

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]:


“For 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, chapter 13.




Hebrews, Chapter 11


The statement by which Paul defines Faith:


{11:1} Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

What it is used for:

{11:2} For by it the elders obtained a good report.

And why:

{11:3} 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.

He proceeds with examples of Faith from the Old Testament:

{11:4} 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.

{11:5} 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.

11:6} 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.

{11:7} 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.

{11:8} 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 he went.

{11:11} 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 had promised.

{11:17} By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son,

{11:20} By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come.

{11:21} By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff.

{11:22} By faith Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel; and gave commandment concerning his bones.

{11:23} 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 commandment

{11:24} By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;

{11:27} By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.

{11:28} Through faith he kept the passover, and the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.

{11:29} By faith they passed through the Red sea as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.

{11:30} By faith the walls of Jericho fell down, after they were compassed about seven days.

He 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 execution.




In his letter to the Romans, St Paul writes of Faith leading to an understanding God through tribulation, patience, experience and hope:

{5:1} Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:

{5:2} By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

{5:3} And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience;

{5:4} And patience, experience; and experience, hope:

{5:5} 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.




One 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:

{13:1} 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.

{13:2} 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.

{13:3} 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.

Then on its attributes:

{13:4} Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

{13:5} Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

{13:6} Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

{13:7} Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

{13:8} 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.

{13:9} For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

{13:10} But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

This is where the passage in our ritual ends. But what is the meaning of the last three verses? Paul goes on to write:

{13:11} 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.

Which means? The Rev. Tony Ponticello[ii] explains this as

A 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.

The implication, Paul writes, is:

{13:12} 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.

Again, which means? Betsy Childs[iii] writes

Most 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

Seeing 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 our surroundings.

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 God.

Paul concludes this chapter with:

{13:13} And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

This however, does not explain the references to tongues and prophecy and their relationship to Charity. In chapter 14 he writes:

{14:1} Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.


{14:2} 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.

{14:3} But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

{14:4} He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

If 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.

{14:20} Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

Put away childish things and take on the mantle and responsibility of adulthood.

{14:34} 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.

{14:35} 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.

{14:37} 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.

Keep things in context and perspective and don’t take on the mantle of omnipotence.

{14:38} But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.

Do not be judgemental.

{14:39} Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues.

But endeavour to educate where it is possible. And finally

{14:40} Let all things be done decently and in order.

In 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.

Two 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).


[i] 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.

[ii] - Community Miracles Centre .

[iii] - Ravi Zacharias International Ministries.

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