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StarRed Special Project 2008 - PS Review of Freemasonry meets the Scottish Rite Research Society.

Ten selected papers first published on Heredom,
The Transactions of the Scottish Rite Research Society

PS Review of Freemasonry
Human progress is our cause, liberty of thought our supreme wish, freedom of conscience our mission,
and the guarantee of equal rights to all people everywhere our ultimate goal. - The Scottish Rite Creed

A Rediscovered Speech of Albert Pike
by James T. Tresner, 33°, G.C.
Published in Vol.8, Year 1999-2000.

© No part of this paper may be reproduced without written permission from the Scottish Rite Research Society.
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Read the text of Albert Pike's St. John's Address delivered in Muskogee Lodge No.93 on June 24,1857.


ON JUNE 24, 1857, ALBERT PIKE DELIVERED A SPEECH IN MUSCOGEE [1] Lodge No.93, Creek Nation, Indian Territory. At some point, a typed manuscript was made from Pike's original hand-written text. It has not so far been possible to determine when that was done. The typed copy circulated among the Masonic leadership of Oklahoma for nearly a hundred years. In 1948, Frank Derr, 33°, General Secretary of the Guthrie Scottish Rite Bodies and editor of The Oklahoma Consistory magazine, published by the Guthrie Scottish Rite Cathedral, printed excerpts of the speech (significantly less than half the text) in the December issue, along with a note that the records of Muscogee Lodge had been destroyed in the War Between the States. F. A. Rittenhouse, (Past Master, 1913, Chandler Lodge No. 58) [2] apparently wrote to Frank Derr and asked for a copy of the entire typescript, which Derr seems to have sent to him. On May 28, 1949, Rittenhouse returned the copy to Derr, accompanied by a letter [3] which reads:


Dear Sir,

Enclosed find Albert Pike's St. John's Address delivered in Muskogee on June 24,1857, together with the address [4] of Grand Orator [sic] rendered following the death of Albert Pike. I appreciate this very much and have copied them into my Masonic books. If at any time you should misplace your copies, I will have mine in permanent record.


Yours very truly,

F. A. Rittenhouse


Apparently Derr had sent Rittenhouse the same copy he had used to edit for the magazine, since the penciled deletions are still visible.


The matter is of some interest because of the textual material contained in the speech, the circumstances which led to its delivery, and the fact that Pike made the speech with little prior warning and relied heavily on material from the Scottish Rite Degrees, whose revision he had completed shortly before.


The information seems to have been tiled and forgotten, and only surfaced a year or so ago during an examination of the archives of the Guthrie, Oklahoma Scottish Rite Cathedral. At the time of its rediscovery, it was determined that the archives of the Supreme Council did not possess a copy, and a copy was provided to the archives.


In this paper, the writer will suggest the place of the speech in the context of Pike's life at the time, provide some information concerning Muscogee Lodge No.93, and suggest some points of interest in the text of the speech. A full text of the speech itself is given as an appendix.





In many ways, the speech of June 24, 1857, was woven from the major threads of Pike's professional, emotional, spiritual and Masonic lives. The twelve months leading to that beautiful early summer morning had been an emotional roller coaster for Pike. It is useful to consider some of the threads, the background events which lead to that moment.


From the time of his famous trading expedition in 1831-32, Pike had felt a sympathy and identification with the native population of Indian Territory. He recorded those feelings at the times [5]and recalled the incidents in vivid detail near the end of his life in "Essay X -Of Indian Nature and Wrongs", in the Essays to Vinnie. [6] (The wrongs" referred to in the title are wrongs committed against the Indians, not wrongs committed by them.) Throughout his life, until a very advanced age made the trips impossible, Pike used to spend from three weeks to three months at a time camping and hunting with the Indian tribes in Indian Territory. He was held in high regard by them, and he returned that regard. Pike wrote character sketches of several of the Indians he knew, and gave many evidences of the admiration he felt for the tribes. Those friendly contacts would come to be important in Pike's professional life as well. Thus Pike's early experience with and mutual regard for the American Indians of Indian Territory is our first thread.


Our second thread begins in the fall of 1851, when Pike made an extended trip through several Northern states. He had been greatly concerned about the economic welfare and future of Arkansas and had written and published several editorials in the Arkansas Advocate, urging economic growth and diversity in the South. [7] Pike was never comfortable with slavery, but he felt that the only practical way to eliminate slavery was to eliminate the need for it. Throughout the Northern states, he had seen the benefits of economic diversity and of a first-rate transportation system of roads and railways. [8] As long as the economy of the South was dependent upon large plantation crops, slavery would make economic sense. If the economy could be diversified, however....


Pike spearheaded the organization of an "Industrial Association" in Little Rock, in December 1851, a conference on the economic condition of the South. The meeting spawned an annual series of such meetings known as the Southern Convention. In January 1852, Gov. Roane appointed Pike to represent Arkansas at the Southern and Western Railroad Conference, which was to examine the possibility of a southern transcontinental railroad. [9] Little more than talk was accomplished, but Pike was still able to hope that the topic might bear fruit.


Then, in December 1856, just six months before the St. John's Day speech was given, disaster smote Pike's plans for the economic development of the South. The Southern Convention announced that the main item on the agenda of that year's Convention would be the resumption of the slave trade and the importation of Blacks from Africa. After making a powerful speech at the Convention denouncing the idea, during which he said that he would "suffer myself to be torn by wild horses before I would justify the renewal of the African Slave trade", he withdrew from the Convention. In the same speech he also expressed the hope that "the time might come when all men might be free". He was attacked on the floor of the Convention for expressing those ideas. [10]


It must have been a crushing blow to Pike, who had believed that, with economic development and with education, slavery would end naturally.


Our second thread, then, is a frustration over the inability of men to see large pictures of economic development, and a despair of human intellect or at least of the willingness of men to think. There are clear echoes of that despair in the speech. The third thread is that of oratory. Pike was the best known and most popular orator in Arkansas, one of the best known and most popular in the South. So far as is known, his reputation, at least in the South, began in 1834, when Pike joined the Little Rock Debating Society and delivered the "Independence Day Address". The speech was widely reprinted and Pike found himself increasingly in demand as an orator.[11] Pike's style is essentially an oral style, even in his written materials. This writer has observed, time and again, that Masons who have difficulty reading and understanding Morals and Dogma find it much easier and clearer if they will read it aloud to themselves. Pike carefully breaks his sentences down into phrases, but they are oral phrases, not written ones.


His reputation as a speaker nearly exploded into prominence. His speeches were widely reprinted in newspapers. They were collected into anthologies. [12] In the spring of 1856, slightly over a year before the St. John's Day Address was given, Pike's biography appeared in Duyckinck's Cyclopedia of American Literature. Oratory at the time was rather a different thing than it is today. The most highly-praised element was eloquence. And, although Pike's orations have more than their share of content, how something was said was far more important than what was said. The orator was expected to speak slowly, with a sound like a great organ. (It is well to remember that we are in the days before electronic amplification.) An audience anticipated that a speech would last at least two hours, and felt cheated if it did not. Going to hear a speaker was a form of entertainment and education, and 19th Century America prized both. As an example of Pike at the top of his form, and not worn out as he was when the speech on St. John's Day was delivered, consider this excerpt from a speech he gave on May 20, 1854, at the laying of the cornerstone for a new combination Odd Fellows and Masonic Hall. It was widely reprinted at the time, and considered a landmark of Masonic eloquence:


This large and respectable assemblage of intelligent free men and free women, profoundly attentive to what has passed and is passing before them; kept in order by no bayonets nor any myrmidons of the police; all entertaining, and uttering as freely as they entertain, whatever opinions education or refection has created for them, without dread of Throne of Inquisition: these BRETHREN, COMPANIONS, and PATRIARCHS, wearing their peaceful regalia, stained with no blood, telling of no dear-bought victory, and eloquent with no story of human crime and passion, of human tortures and agony, or degradation and shame; and invested with their jewels, indices of no honors granted for unworthy service to despotic power; of no debasement of the people; of no superior ranks or exclusive privileged, maintained by taxing the labor and the comforts which are the very life of the poor; this promised edifice, now visible to the eye of Hope and Confidence in all its harmonious and well-adjusted proportions, as, many morns hereafter, it will be to the natural vision: these simple, yet sublime and impressive ceremonies: this unison for a single purpose, of two great sister orders, one tracing its history and tradition far back into the dim ante-chambers of the past; the other content with its modern origin, and wearing no mist of antiquity upon ifs forehead; yet both animated by one spirit, professing like principles, performing like duties, and engaged in the same honorable service of philanthropy and beneficence: the peaceful and unselfish purposes for which we have gathered together: the age in which this scene occurs: this land, but yesterday the undisputed inheritance of barbarism and the savage, an appanage of two old hoary monarchies of Europe, of no Anglo-Saxon lineage; now trodden by no feet but those of free and civilized men: these pleasant skies, to which the Earth sends up no sounds of war, no cries of anguish wrung from oppressed misery by haughty power: the day, the hour, the place; all incidents and circumstances that envelope us, are eminently suggestive of theme from contemplation, and pregnant with the most fruitful and profitable suggestions. [13]


And that, as you will have noticed, is one, single, sentence, all 351 words of it!


Our fourth thread is professional. This writer, working on another project, once counted twenty-three careers which Pike could be said to have followed. But for most of his life, the great majority of his income came from the practice of law. Pike had educated himself in the law, been given a license, and was rapidly becoming one of the best paid, best known, and most highly successful lawyers in the South. He was also one of the most knowledgeable. [14] In early 1852 the Creek Nation retained Pike, for a contingency fee of 25%, to press their claims in Congress. The federal government had taken their lands under the Treaty of Fort Jackson, negotiated by Andrew Jackson himself, with promises of immediate payment for the land. In fact, not a single penny had been paid to them, apart from a small token payment made at the time. The tribes were badly in need of funds to feed and cloth their members, but every time the issue was brought before Congress, the question of giving good American gold to "half-naked savages" was easily set aside. Pike was, essentially, retained as a lobbyist. [15]


In the Spring of 1854, Pike undertook a similar commission for the Choctaw Nation. [16] He spent much time in Washington, button-holing Senators and making the case. In his autobiography, he recounts a meeting with Sam Houston, then a Senator. Houston laughed ruefully, and said:


We had better leave the matter as it is. Why, I tell you, sir, if we make a decision that will give the Choctaws the proceeds of their lands, it is doubtful if the government will ever pay a cent; and it will be a scandal and a disgrace to the government. I think I will vote against it, and keep the country from a disgrace. [17]


While Pike's skill as a lawyer was an important factor in the decision of the tribes to contract with him, almost certainly a more important factor was that they knew him personally. He had spent many months camping with them, sharing their food and sharing the food he cooked (Pike was famous for his wild game stews), sharing tobacco in the solemn rituals of the warriors, [18] and learning a part of their language.


In 1857, he was successful in winning a settlement for the Creek Nation. The government was to make the first payment to the tribes, in gold, in June of that year. Pike went to the Creek Nation to be present when the payment was made, and then remained for three months, camping and relaxing with his friends. [19] Thus it was that he was in the Creek Nation when St. John's Day arrived and he was asked to give the address. Pike had been working many long and hard hours, and he was truly  exhausted, a fact to which he alludes in the opening of the speech. But it was a Masonic request, and one he could not easily deny.


Which brings us to our fifth thread, the thread of Masonry.


On March 20, 1853, Pike had received the 4° through the 32° of the Scottish Rite at Charleston, South Carolina, conferred on him by Albert Mackey. Ten days later, on March 30, Mackey informed Pike that he (Pike) was now the Deputy Inspector General for Arkansas. In 1854, Pike introduced the Scottish Rite into Arkansas and, on April 12, he was appointed Deputy Inspector General for West Tennessee as well as Arkansas.


On March 8, 1855, having collected a library of more than 100 rare books on symbolism religion, philosophy, history, etc., Pike began rewriting the ritual of the Scottish Rite. By March 31,1857, he had finished the revision of the rituals and sent a bound copy of the manuscript to Mackey. Thus, he had completed that project less than three months before the date of the St. John's Day speech which is our concern here.


Just to complete the picture, it should be noted that on April 27,1857, at a Special Session of the Supreme Council in New Orleans, Pike was made a Sovereign Grand Inspector General and also made the Special Deputy for Louisiana. On July 7, 1858, Mackey wrote to Pike to inform him that he had been made an Active Member of the Supreme Council, and on August 2, Pike established a full Consistory at Little Rock, whose jurisdiction included Indian Territory.


The fifth of our threads is thus in place.





The threads which were to create the St. John's Day speech arose from Pike's life, but they were brought together at Muscogee Lodge No.93 by fate, sometimes referred to by the Creek as the "loom of the Grandmothers". Freemasonry had come early to Indian Territory, just how early it is impossible to say. Many of  the leaders of the Tribes received the degrees of the symbolic Lodge on their visits to Washington, D.C., even prior to the removal of the tribes to Indian Territory. [20] There was a surprising correspondence between some of the initiatory rituals of the plains Indians and the Masonic fraternity, as instanced by Dr. John W. Duke, Commissioner of Public Health of the State of Oklahoma who, in recognition of his many years of active involvement in improving the health of the native American population in Oklahoma, was initiated into the Indian Sacred Blood Brother Order in August 1922. [21] The Cherokee and Creek seemed especially to embrace the fraternity.


Although both Indians and non-Indians had met and held informal Lodges from the time of the entry of the Indians into Indian Territory, the first Lodge operating under a charter was established at Tahlequah, on November 9, 1848, as Cherokee Lodge N°.21. The Lodge's charter was issued by the Grand Lodge of Arkansas. [22]


Muscogee Lodge No.93 received its Charter from the Grand Lodge of Arkansas on November 9, 1855. The movement to obtain the charter was led by George W. Stidham, Supreme Judge of the Creek Nation, and Ben Marshall, Treasurer of the Creek Nation. The Lodge, located in the town of Creek Agency, prospered and grew until the outbreak of the Civil war. It ceased to make returns when its building and records were destroyed, shortly after the war started, and the charter was revoked by the Grand Lodge of Arkansas in 1867. [23]





The unique value of the speech, in the opinion of this writer, is that it is virtually a precis of the Scottish Rite degrees. Pike had almost no time to prepare a speech. He had arrived in the Creek Nation only a few days before mid-June, [24] and the speech was delivered on June 24. And the intervening days were not ones of leisure, since Pike was preparing to oversee the paying of the claim and the collection of his fee. Almost certainly, he used the materials most ready to his mind, and that material was the Degrees of the rite, on which he had so recently completed his labors. Paraphrasing of the ritual occurs frequently in the speech, and the great ideas with which he had struggled so long and valiantly, easily formed the basis for his remarks. The speech consists of 10,572 words, divided into 357 sentences.


Slightly more than a year after this speech was given, on September 26, 1858, Pike made another trip to oversee the payment of the second part of the Creek claim. When he returned to Washington, D.C., he discovered that he was dead, that he had been mourned and eulogized in the press, and that his wake was to be held in a few days. He felt it his duty to attend. ...

"But that, Effendi, is another story".


[1]  The spelling was later regularized to Muskogee.

[2] Records of the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma.

[3] The letter is on the letterhead of Rittenhouse, Webster, Hanson & Rittenhouse, Attorneys and Counselors at Law, Suite 315, Leonhardt Building, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

[4] Also in typescript.

[5] See Albert Pike, Prose Sketches and Poems Written in the Western Company, ed. David J. Weber (1834; reprint, Texas A&M University Press, 1987).

[6] The Essays to Vinnie, not yet published, are in an unpaginated, bound manuscript, in the archives of the House of the Temple in Washington, D.C.

[7] Walter Lee Brown, A Life of Albert Pike (Fayetteville, University of Arkansas Press, 1997), p. 281.

[8] Pike became one of the first voices calling for a transcontinental railroad, if not the first voice. He first did so in a speech in 1847. Fred W. Allsopp, Albert Pike, A Biography (Little Rock: Parke-Harper Company, 1928), p.104.

[9] Walter Lee Brown, "Albert Pike, 1809-1891" (PhD dissertation, University of Texas, Austin, 1955), p.241.

[10] . Allsopp, p. 104.

[11] Brown, A Life of Albert Pike, p. 54.

[12] For example, Pike's lecture on "Moral Influences" was published in Brewer's World's Best Orations, vol. x

[13] Allsopp, p. 336.

[14] Allsopp, pp. 84 et passim.

[15] Allsopp, p. 93.

[16] Allsopp, p 94.

[17] Albert Pike, Autobiography of General Albert Pike: From Stenographic Notes Furnished by Himself; unpublished rough-typed transcription of shorthand notes preserved in the archives of the House of the Temple, The Supreme Council, 33°, S.J., Washington, D.C., p. 77.

[18] Pike, Autobiography., PP.13-14.

[19] Brown, A Life of Albert Pike, p. 306.

[20] The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of the State of Oklahoma, "The Story of Oklahoma Masonry in Brief" Oklahoma Masonic Education Handbook (Guthrie, Ok.: The Grand Lodge of Oklahoma, n.d.), P.157.

[21] The story of the initiation of Brother and Dr. Duke was recounted by Brother Bliss Kelly, State News Editor of The Daily Oklahoman in "Indian Blood Brother Initiation", written for and published by the Oklahoma Lodge of Research in 1967. By that time, the Blood Brother society had ceased to exist.

[22] William R. Denslow, Freemasonry and the American Indian (Missouri: Missouri Lodge of Research, 1956), and cited in the booklet A Shared Spirit: The Contributions of Native Americans to Freemasonry (Guthrie, Ok.: Guthrie Scottish Rite Cathedral, 1990), p.19.

[23] Denslow, pp. 22-23.

[24] Brown, A Life of Albert Pike, p. 306

Delivered in Muscogee Lodge No.93, in Creek Nation.
June 24,1857


[It is of interest to see how many of the ideas, and in some cases even the language, of this speech came from the Scottish Rite Rituals which Pike had just completed revising. Because the material in Morals and Dogma is similar in content -being the lectures for the Degrees- and because that book is more readily available than the texts of the Rituals, Morals and Dogma is generally cited here for purposes of comparison.]


My Brethren:  I am glad to meet you to-day, and I am glad to meetyou here.


To-day,- upon the festival of the summer solstice, which by its observance, older than the Pyramids, brings us into communion with our ancient brethren, who in the days of the world's youth, on the slopes of the Himalayas, along the banks of the Nile, on the plains of Chaldaea, in Persia and Phoenicia, practiced those sacred mysteries, with their solemn and imposing rites, of which Freemasonry is the lineal successor; [i] seeking therein, as we seek to advance towards the highest truth, the real Masonic Light, in search of which every candidate journeys from the West towards the East.


And here, without the limits of the States of the American Union, and yet not beyond those of its sovereignty, upon the soil owned by those whose ancestors, but two or three generations removed, were barbarians and pagans, while these, their children, of wqom some of you are, are a civilized and Christian community. Here in this new and virgin field inviting the labors of Masonry, and offering it rich returns. Here, where one can not but be most profoundly impressed with the universality of Masonry, and its total freedom from bigotry, exclusiveness and intolerance; where we recognize her as one everywhere and at all times, -the same in all the world's great capitals as here in the tangled forest; everywhere the universal and primitive religion, [ii] to which all men can assent who are not wholly without all religious hope and faith; everywhere the apostle of education and enlightenment, the friend of freedom and of the oppressed among mankind; and the enemy of tyranny, oppression and wrong; everywhere a great light, lightening the darkness of the world; and everywhere the peace- maker preaching its mild and beneficent doctrines, of Benevolence, Charity, Good Faith, Harmony and Toleration; everywhere, what it always has been and always will be, how little severe many of its initiates may regard their duties, how lightly severe esteem their obligations, how entirely remain in benighted ignorance of the true secrets and inmost meaning, of the real purposes and true excellencies of the Royal Art.


Duty has required me, though inclination would fain have dissuaded me from it, to comply with your request, and address you to-day. I acknowledge the duty, and comply; and for my theme I take the value of Masonry. That value to each of us will depend upon our own appreciation and understanding of Masonry, and the use to which we put it. To some men it will be invaluable. To many it will have no real value at all.


If a man, having passed through the ceremonies of the three degrees, thinks that there is nothing further to be learned, [iii] and that to become an accomplished Mason, one need only accurately learn and fluently repeat certain phrases and set forms of words, he does not understand and appreciate Masonry. It may be useful to him, -it may even make him a better man; -but its true value is greatly beyond that which it has to him.


If a man, having assumed the obligations, and taken on himself the duties of a Master Mason, yet practically regards them as unreal; if he still continues to be narrow-minded, illiberal, intolerant, uncharitable; if he still cheat in trade, and make unfair bargains; or by winning it, take and use the money of his brother when it is not his own, because he has not earned it or given an equivalent for it; if he still wrongs his brother, and speaks evil of him; then he does not at all understand and appreciate Masonry; and it is of no value to him whatever. [iv]


For Masonry does not consist of formulas in words, nor in ceremonies that would be useless if not symbols of higher truths, and great lessons in Morals and Philosophy; nor in loud professions, and fine theories; but in the earnest, continual, faithful performance of life's duties. It is active and practical, and not a dreamer; it is sincere and earnest, and not a sham and a lie. [v]


And if any man imagines that the most valuable gifts which Masonry confers upon him are the words and signs and other secrets of the degrees, he is like one who, content with the worthless deposit on the surface, does not seek to explore the vast treasures of the golden veins below; for though the signs, words, and secrets are of value, they are only so as a means and not as an end. They are not Masonry; nor are they those inestimable gifts which Masonry has for those who earnestly, and in a proper spirit, seek to attain the true Masonic Light.


Everything in the forms and ceremonies of Masonry is symbolic. Nothing in them is itself the Truth; but everything is the emblem of a great Truth -the hieroglyphic in which the Truth lies hid. [vi] Two things have combined to obscure the meaning of these symbols: one, the necessity from the earliest times of retaining the ceremonies in the memory alone; whereby they have not only become corrupted and full of errors, but have necessarily and unavoidably been greatly abridged and mutilated. The other, the want of knowledge and the want of good sense, of many of the interpreters of these symbols; by which the most absurd explanations have come to be permanently assigned to some of the most beautiful and profound among them.


The Scottish Rite Journal is published bimonthly by the Supreme Council, 33°, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern Jurisdiction, United States of America, Washington, DC.

The rapid increase in the number of Masons has also most efficiently aided in lowering the standard of Masonic excellence. The candidate receives little instruction, and too often really remains standing in the northeast corner of the Lodge. The Master, bound to give a lecture, or cause it to be given, for the instruction of the brethren, at every meeting, satisfies his conscience by asking three or four unimportant questions, and receiving the same number of stereotyped answers. The Lodge has no library, the symbols remain unexplained, and are either not understood or misunderstood, and supposed themselves to be that which they only represent; -no esoteric meaning is seen or looked for in the legend; and the members remain standing on the threshold of the inner Temple, whose golden doors continue closed against them, and the true Masonic Light forever hidden from their eyes.


In the early days of the world, certain ceremonies, commonly known as the mysteries, were practiced among all nations. Where they originated, whether in India or on the Nile, can not now be known; but they were, at a very remote period, established in India, Persia, Egypt, Phoenicia, Assyria, and afterwards in Samothrace, in Crete, in Greece and in Rome. Everywhere there were two or more degrees, and an initiation after severe tests and trials. Everywhere the candidate was in search of the light, and after journeying in darkness, emerged at last into that light. [vii]


In Egypt, these ceremonies represented the murder of Osiris, the great Egyptian god, the beneficent deity, by his brother, Typhon, a malicious and evil one; the committing of the body, enclosed in a coffer, to the Nile; the search for it by Isis, goddess of Nature, the great Mother-god, sister and wife of Osiris, accompanied by Anubis and Horus, the young Time-god; its being drifted ashore at Byblos and there concealed by a tamarisk tree that grew up around it; the recovery of the body by Isis, who secreted it in a forest, where Typhon, hunting by moonlight, found it out, cut it in pieces, and threw it into the Nile, from which it was again recovered by Isis, and finally buried; the return to life of Osiris, and his final conquest over Typhon.


In the Phrygian mysteries, it was Atys [Attis] that died; in those of Greece it was Adonis, Dionusis [Dionysius] , Bacchus. In those of the Scandinavian Druids, Balder was slain by Lok [Loki] .Everywhere a legend was taught the candidate, and ceremonies performed before him, representing a death or murder, and a return to life; [viii] and such was the intention of the Master's degree.


Everywhere these mysteries were celebrated, and the chief festival was at the vernal equinox, when in the spring of the year the days and nights are equal. Then the sun, until then struggling for the mastery over the powers of darkness, begins to conquer, and the days become longer than the nights. The winter solstice was also a festival, when the sun, having reached the lowest point of his career, about the 23rd of December, begins to reascend, to become finally victorious and enjoy the plentitude of his power at the summer solstice; [these festivals] being continued by Masonry in those [of] St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelis. [ix]


In these mysteries were taught to the initiate all the great doctrines of antiquity as to the existence and nature of the Deity, and of the soul of man; the unity of the one, and the immortality of the other; the mode of origin of the material universe, and the solutions of all the great problems presented by that universe. [x] These truths, too lofty and sublime to be conceived by the rude masses of the common people, were taught only in the inmost apartments of the mysteries, and to those only who, by long probation and compliance with the severest tests, had given evidence of both moral and intellectual capacity to receive and appreciate them.


Anciently it was thought to be apart of religion, and worthy the consideration of a man of intellect, to inquire into these things, to seek to know, not only whether there be a First Cause, but what, of what nature, and of what mode of action, that first cause, that we shall call God, is; whether the laws of right and wrong, and good and evil, are mere enactments, depending for their validity on His will alone, so that they may at His pleasure be repealed, and right become wrong, and virtue be detestable, while vice becomes laudable; or whether these laws are as absolute as those of mathematics, and not dependent upon the arbitrary will even of God, but apart of His Essence, so that not even He can repeal them. The ancient mind strove to understand how the Deity was neither created by Himself, nor by any other Being, but is self-existent. It strove to reconcile with this infinite beneficence and wisdom the acknowledged existence of evil and wrong, pain, sin and misery; the success of the wicked, and the misfortunes and wretchednesses of the virtuous and good. It sought to explain to itself the nature of the soul of man, the mode of its fall from the original perfect condition into the sordidness of sin and vice; and the manner in which it might be enabled to return towards the original light [xi]. It inquired whether it was created by the Deity, or was an emanation from Him and a spark of His own Infinite Light; ultimately to return to and be re-absorbed in Him, or to continue forever a separate and independent existence. It inquired how it was to be purged of its stains and spots, caused by vicious indulgence in the animal appetites and bad passions. It anxiously inquired whether Nature, universal Nature, was God; or whether God was the soul animating the universe; or whether He was an existence, a spirit, separate from that universe, ruling and controlling it; whether matter was co-existent with Him, and eternal; and whether He only gave form and shape to chaotic matter already existing, moulding it into a universe; or whether he created that universe and matter itself out of nothing.


And they sought to know whether God created eyil; or whether there were two principles in the universe-an actual dualism of Deities, the good and the evil; and whether ultimately the power of evil y.rould be overthrown, and throughout the whole universe pain and sickness, and wrong and sorrow disappear, and the divinely-enacted law of Love and Harmony reign everywhere.


At the present day we do not think these questions worth considering. If we ask them, we give ourselves no answer. We resolutely shut our eyes to them, and resolve not to see that the universe presents any such questions. We will not inquire, because we dread the answers that we might receive. We say that there is a God; but we do not pretend to define to ourselves what we mean by that word. We admit that we are a living soul; but we do not care to enquire into the origin or nature of our soul, or its relations with the Deity. [xii] We have not time or inclination to consider the lofty problems of philosophy, or endeavor to penetrate to the heart of the inner mystery of the universe.


But such was not the case of our ancient brethren. The Masonry of the world's youth was a march towards the Light, towards the Truth of things, towards the knowledge of these great secrets of the universe and of God. And there, in the deep caverns of India, in the Temples of Egypt, Phoenicia and Assyria, in the shrines of Persia and those of Eleusis; the Hierophants taught to the initiates the truths revealed to the first men that lived, upon those momentous and most important subjects; and then, deducing from them all the laws of morality and the duties of men to God, and of men to his brother, they imposed upon him a complete code of morals, consistent with and flowing from that natural religion, which they found written by the finger of the Infinite God in the great volume of universal nature, on the great tablets of earth and the heavens. [xiii]


In Egypt, no one could attain any high rank, without being initiated. Moses could not have lived to the age of forty years in the court of Pharaoh as the adopted son of the king's daughter, without having received the mysteries; nor could he, without them, have married the daughter of a priest of On or Hieropolis. [xiv] Joseph could not, without admission to those mysteries, have been made a prime minister of Pharaoh, or married the daughter of a priest. By them the mysteries were communicated to the Hebrews, they were practiced by the Essenes, a sect of virtuous men, who, before and at the time of the coming Christ, practiced temperance, continence and all the virtues, on the shore of the Red Sea; and the early Christians had their Secret Discipline, with its two or three degrees, to the last of which only a part of their followers were admitted, and in which alone the most profound doctrines of the Christian Faith were taught to the faithful.


Masonry, as I have said, succeeded to these ancient mysteries. At what time the death of Hiram Abif was substituted for those of Osiris, Atys, Dionusus, and other gods and demi-gods of the old mysteries, it is not, possible now to know; but it is intended to teach and inculcate the same great truths.


Many writers have held that all these legends are but allegories, representing the apparent annual course of the sun; that the slaying of the god was but the descent of the sun at the winter solstice to the extreme southern limit of his course, where apparently he remains for a few days stationary, and then, rising, begins to re-ascend torthward. [xv] As while he was below the equator, the nights were longer than the days, and the harsh winds and cold of early spring, late autumn and dreary winter occurred, the ancients termed the months during which he was so, months of darkness and evil, and the signs of the zodiac lying south of the equator, malignant and evil signs, and so personified them into six evil genu or demons, devils, or wicked and fallen angels; while the six superior signs became good angels or spirits, archangels and beneficent deities, and the six months during which the days were longer than the nights, became months of good, and the realm of Light, as the other hemisphere was the kingdom of darkness and evil. [xvi]


Hence the ancient festivals commenced with mourning and ended -with rejoicing- mourning over the conquest of Light by darkness -rejoicing over the final victory of the sun. That luminary was said to die, to be buried, and to rise again. Something more than four thousand years ago, the sun at the vernal or spring equinox entered the sign of Taurus, or the Bull. Then the Egyptian animal worship commenced; into which the Hebrews relapsed when Aaron made the golden calf in the wilderness; and then the sun, reaching the summer solstice, and so being raised out of the realm of darkness into that of Light, when the days became longer than the nights and he passed the equator, in the sign of the Lion, was raised from the dead, it was symbolically said, by the strong grip of the Lion. [xvii]


It is the truth, so far as it goes, that the annual course the sun, the phenomena of the succession of the seasons, and many astronomical coincidences were figured and symbolized in the legends of Osiris, Ormuzd, Atys and other gods, and are shadowed forth in the Masonic legends of Hiram Abif. The Temple built by Solomon was itself an image of the Universe, [xviii] as every Masonic Lodge is said to extend from the East to the West, and from the North to the South, its height to reach to the Heavens, and its depth to the earth's center. The twelve oxen on which the brazen laver stood were symbols of the twelve months. Each of the twelve stones in the High Priest's breast plate was appropriated to one of the signs of the Zodiac; and in the ensigns of four of the Tribes, still perpetuated in Royal Arch Masonry, we see the zodiacle [ sic] sign of the Bull, which opened the year at the vernal equinox; -the eagle, substituted for the scorpion, its neighbor among the constellations, on account of the supposed malign nature of the latter, and in which the sun was at the autumnal equinox; the Lion, in which sign he was at the summer solstice; and the Man, or Aquarius the water-bearer in which sign he was at the winter solstice.


In all our lodges we see upon the ceiling representations of the sun, moon and stars. We observe as festivals the summer and wintersolstices. [xix] Hiram was assailed at three gates of the Temple, the south, west and east, the two equinoxes and the winter solstice; and in the twelve fellowcrafts sent to search for the murderers, and the nine Elect of the Scottish Rite, many have supposed they saw the twelve months of the year, and the nine of spring, summer and autumn. [xx]


To the ancients, light was the greatest good, as darkness was the greatest evil. When light ceased, nature virtually disappeared, and blank darkness environed man who then felt alone in the universe, as if everything real and substantial around him had melted away and eluded his grasp. To them the sun was the source of light and of life. On his rays depended vegetation and production, the joy and beauty of the earth. He was to them the active and generative principle of all things, as the earth was the passive and productive. If not God, he was the emblem and visible image of God, the external manifestation of the great archetype of Light Himself -God revealed in one of his aspects. [xxi]


They had not penetrated into the profoundest mysteries of the Universe, nor had they learned how unerring are the laws by which it is governed. They were not certain, when the sun in his annual course declined southward, until at the winter solstice he reached the Tropic of Capricorn, when cold winds made the earth to shiver and she was wrinkled with frost; when the trees were leafless and stood shuddering in the pale light of the distant sun, when cold rains drenched the earth, and hail beat against her bosom, and all was brown and bare and bleak and desolate, they were not certain, then, that God has enacted a law, compelled by which, the sun would begin to retrace his steps towards the equator, to bring with him at the equinox warm breezes and green leaves, and to deck the earth with new and abundant vegetation. They were not certain but that he would continue to sink southward, finally leaving the earth to blank and universal darkness, and intolerable cold with all its wintry horrors.


Therefore they mourned when he declined toward the southern tropic where their vivid fancy imagined him to be overcome and dragged down towards the realm of death and darkness. He died, went to the infernal regions of shadows and horrors, and rose again to triumph over the power of evil.


Hence the four principal points in his annqal march became most important to them, as did the stars, whose coincident risings or settings heralded the arrival of those epochs, all of which soon became festivals, while these stars were created into gods.


On the banks of the Nile another circumstance gave unusual importance to these celestial phenomena. Upon the overflow of the Nile, which covering the alluvial land upon its borders, then passes off, leaving it ready for the labors of the husbandman, depended his hopes and the very life of all the people of Egypt. That overflow occurred at a particular period of the year, and was supposed to be dependent on the sun's course, as also it was heralded by the rising or setting of particular stars, which therefore, exaulted into gods, became objects of worship. [xxii]


The heavens were thus objects of the greatest interest. The stars soon came to be divided into groups, to which names were given, until all the Heavens were covered with constellations; and by degrees the phenomena of the sun's course and the risings and settings, the conjunctions and oppositions of the different stars, signs and constellations, of the moons and the planets, were woven into the thousand legends of the old mythology.


Hence it has been ingeniously argued that these astronomical phenomena, assuming the guise of mythological acts and events, were the first foundation of all religions; and that to them alone refer all the symbols of Masonry, as did the legends of Osiris; Atys, Adonis, Dionusis and the other gods, as does that of Hiram Abif. And it is undeniably true that these phenomena appear allegorically in the fables of all the old religions, and that they are shadowed forth in all the legends of the mysteries of Masonry.


But this is only a part of the truth; and the far profounder and more important truth remains behind, and was taught in the ancient mysteries, as it is taught in Masonry; that the course and fortunes of the sun, the successions of times and seasons, and the phenomena of the heavenly revolutions, are themselves but the symbols by which far more profound and significant truths are represented.


The sun is the symbol of the good principle of the universe" personified by the Egyptians as Osiris, by the Persians as Ormuzd, and by the Greeks as Dionusis. Hence came the sun-worship of the Persians, and many other Eastern nations. Spirit being to most men but a mere word without an idea, not matter, and a mere negation, the ancients knew nothing more subtIe and spiritual then Light. To them it was an emanation from Deity, and he, to them, was Light itself, or the science and principle from which Light proceeded. [xxiii] It was to them the type of Truth and the good, as darkness was the type of falsehood and evil.


Darkness was the symbol of the evil principle of the universe, personified as Typhon, Ahriman, and the evil genii, demons and giants. To this evil principle, ever at war with the good principle throughout the universe, and in every human soul that lives, from its birth to its death, belong the months and signs of the ecliptic south of the equator; while to the good principle belong those north of it. When the sign of the Bull opened the year at the vernal equinox, the Scorpion and the Fishes were among the malignant and evil signs, as was the Serpent of the constellations. Each principle, like light and darkness in the revolutions of day and night, and of the seasons, is alternately victor and vanquished. Hence Ormuzd and Ahriman are, and are to be so, each for terms of three thousand years each. Of this alternation, the annual course of the sun is the symbol. When after the summer solstice he fell below the equator, darkness and evil seemed to prevail against him, until at the winter solstice he was feigned to die, and afterwards to rise again and re-ascend: and this resurrection was a type apd symbol of the expected ultimate triumph of good over evil, when the good principle should finally prevail and overcome, and the evil principle be annihilated and destroyed, Ormuzd conquer Ahriman, and Osiris, Typhon; Darkness yield to Light, sin and wrong and suffering and evil cease to exist throughout the universe, and be known no longer anywhere, and, peace and harmony and happiness be the one law of universal nature. [xxiv]


This was the great truth, typified by the contest between the sun and the darkness of winter; and it continues to be taught by the legend of the death and raising of Hiram Abif. Amid the fluctuating waves of evil and misery, that was the heaven on which the eyes of our ancient brethren were fixed with a firm and abiding faith. That, notwithstanding the difficulty of comprehending how the existence of sin and evil could be harmonized with the wisdom and goodness and infinite knowledge of God; notwithstanding the unequal distribution of good and bad fortune, regardless of merit and in spite of demerit in the recipient; although it is impossible to reconcile what occurs in this life with any rule of right and wrong, justice and injustice known to us, yet God is infinitely good as well as infinitely great and wise; that all sin and evil is but part of one great plan, leading to results infinitely good; that there is nothing unjust in God's dispensations or government; and that all that seems to us hard and unjust, irreconcilable with His goodness and wisdom, all evil, all suffering, all misery, are but the inevitable discords that mingle and unite with the great concords of the universe, to swell at last, by infinite modulations, into one great final chord of inconceivable harmony, that shall thenceforward resound through all the worlds and systems of worlds forever.


This article of the primitive faith, rising above and lighting up like Heaven's arch of promise the dark and troubled waters of life- this belief in the ultimate redemption of the universe from the dominion of sin and darkness and evil, that fills the soul of man with the mighty influences of Hope and Faith, was found in all the ancient religions, a fragment of the original truth revealed to the Patriarchs. All the old nations of the world looked for a Redeemer who was, in the fulness of time, to achieve this conquest. The Egyptians named him Horus, the Persians Sosioson, the Hebrews the Messiah; and of that Redeemer it is supposed that Hiram Abif was the type to the ancient Jewish Masons. [xxv]


The reflective Mason will not fail to see in the emblems and symbols that adorn his Lodge, distinct references to these articles of the primitive faith of mankind. Around him everywhere are the symbols of the celestial phenomena, which in their turn are but symbols of these loftier truths. He, in his initiation, "imitates the sun and follows his beneficent course". The point within a circle represents the great luminary of heaven; but also images to him the two principles of nature, the active and passive, the generative and productive, God and the material universe. [xxvi] The two parallel lines are the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn which limit the course of the sun northward and southward. The blazing star is Sirius, the god Anubis, which rising helically four thousand years ago heralded the beneficent inundation of the Nile. The three great lights of the Lodge are the Sun, the Moon, and the planet Mercury, the latter the Hermes of the Egyptians.


The two columns in the porch of the Temple of Solomon, imitated from the great Temple of Bel at Tyre, represented the two Tropics, and also the active and passive principles of nature -active energy and passive production. [xxvii] The mystic numbers of Masonry, three, five, seven and nine, have astronomical relations; seven, in particular, referring to the seven celestial bodies known by the ancients as Planets, the Sun in the middle, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn on one side, and Mercury, Venus and the Moon on the other.


The Triangle has many meanings, one of the chief of which symbolizes the three great attributes of the Deity, which are also represented by the three pillars of the Masonic Temple; Wisdom, which thought the plan of the universe; Power (active energy or strength), which embodied and made visible and real that plan in the work itself; and Harmony (mistranslated Beauty), which is the law that regulates and supports that universe and maintains the regularity of its motion. In that Wisdom, Power and Harmony, every Mason puts his trust, without professing which, indeed, no men can become a Mason.


The existence and unity of God, that He is One, not nature, nor the soul of the universe, but a Personal Being and an infinite spirit, present everywhere and cognizant of all that occurs; that matter is not inherently eternal, nor was co-existent with Him, but was created by Him, he being originally and, until that creation, all that was; that the soul of man was immortal and a free agent, responsible for his acts; that God governs the universe and moves the great spheres and vast systems of the universe by a great law of Harmony, enacted by Himself in the beginning, and re-enacted every instant; that everything is working together, under the immediate direction and supervision of Infinite Wisdom and Beneficence, to a good and perfect result, that shall vindicate God's justice and prove His law to be immutable and self-consistent, the law of perfect Harmony; these are the great philosophical truths taught by Masonry. [xxviii]


But with differences of faith and creeds, Masonry has nothing to do. [xxix] If it were to require a belief in this or that tenet of any particular religion, it would cease to be universal. Amoral and virtuous man, of sufficient intellect and information, of whatever creed, Christian, Jew or Moslem, who believes in one great intelligent First Cause of all things, one Grand Architect of the Universe, and that the soul of a man does not perish with, but survives the body, may become a Mason; and whenever and wherever, in any degree of Masonry, such a man is excluded on account of his religious faith, that degree has ceased to be Masonry. [xxx]


Over the Master in the East is suspended the initial letter of the name of Deity, the substitute for the Hebrew letter Jod, the initial of the Ineffable Name which so few are allowed to pronounce; and the symbol and sacred character for Unity and self -existence. It was the great object of the mysteries to teach a chosen few, while barbarism, superstition and ignorance weltered like a dark ocean over all the outer world, true, rational and philosophical ideas of the Deity. For then, as now, it was true that idols are not alone those visible and material images of the Deity, carved in wood or stone, which men in all ages have worshipped, but also any unworthy and inadequate mental image and conception of God; for the visible idol is but the expression of the mental image, communicating to other men what that mental image is, as the written words but express the invisible thought, and make known to others by arbitrary signs what that thought is; and the monstrous groupings in the ancient idols, of a multitude of arms, limbs, heads and features, grotesque or hideous, were but ineffectual attempts to express conceptions that struggled for, but were incapable of utterance. Idolatry consists as well in entertaining incorrect and unworthy notions and ideas of God, as in making and carving inadequate images of him, molten or graven, And therefore it is also a chief purpose of Masonry to give its initiates just and true ideas of the nature and character of the Deity, so far as the imperfections of our nature, and the limited range of our intellect will allow it to be done; but not by making out a schedule and inventory of His attributes, to require other men to prescribe and assent thereto, on the pain of being denounced as heretics and infidels.


"The wisest of us" it has been well said, "is but a microscopic shell in the ocean of Omnipotence; and when left on its shore with a drop of its water in one cup, we can not reflect in its tiny mirror more than a drop's worth of the meaning the universe".


We can not conceive of infinity, or self-existence without a beginning, nor of the creation of a Universe out of nothing. But as we are conscious of our own existence, and that we think and reason, and resolve and are moved by love and hate, and desire and repugnance, are not one material body, but something different from that and superior to it, so we are conscious that, remote as it may be in the chain of cause and effect, there is a Great First Cause, that itself is no effect and had no Cause; and that it must be intelligent, wise, good and all-powerful. And as we know that our thoughts, which are not matter, nor even spirit, nor things at all, and of which we do not know whether they originate in our minds or come to us from elsewhere, can be communicated to other men by the means of arbitrary sounds, which differ in different nations and ages, are merely conventional, and are not themselves the thoughts nor do resemble the thoughts, mysterious and incomprehensible as, if we reflect, this communication must be to us; as we know that these thoughts do not perish, but live after we are dead; and that, having no material force, they still do act and are a force, and sway men's minds, and determine and influence, control and govern men's actions, the resolutions of senates and the fate of empires; so we may, without understanding it, well believe that the thought of God, uttered in the word, became manifest and visible and was realized in the material universe. And lithe as we can reconcile the existence of sin and suffering with our ideas of the omnipotence and perfect wisdom and infinite benevolence of God, still we may, and must, without understanding this, believe in His infinite justice and wisdom, and that He is absolutely perfect; and if we do not, but form for ourselves a lower idea of God, or believe Him revengeful, changeable, cruel or partial, we are but worshipers of idols, and the intellectual peers of those only who in the desert bowed down to the golden calf.


The intellectual and moral development of every people will ever correspond with its idea of the Deity. For what it supposes to be His laws, that is to say; the whole code of morals and religion, will always be but the expression of what it supposes to be His nature. If it pictures Him as jealous and revengeful, it will be cruel and remorseless; if as delighting in sacrifices and in the infliction of pain and torture, it will be ever ready to persecute, and its code of laws will be bloody as that of Draco. If it paints Him as lustful and lascivious, it will sink into vice and voluptuousness. If it makes its gods idlers and warriors, it will despise labor and maintain privileged classes at the expense of the toiling masses who ultimately become mere beasts of burden.


Masonry therefore strives, as I have said, to communicate to its initiates true ideas of the Deity and of the nature of man. To this end it presents to them its symbols, and with a few brief hints at their true meaning, leaves each to interpret them for himself. This true knowledge is "The True Word of a Master Mason" which once was and still ought to be given in the Master's degree, and to the visible symbol of which I am allowed merely to allude.


These symbols every Master of a Lodge should prepare himself to expound to his brethren. It is his province and duty to enlarge upon them, to investigate them fully, and to bring them within the reach of the comprehension of every intelligent brother. This is part of the instruction of the Lodge, whose emblems and symbolism are thus invested with anew beauty and a wonderful significance and sublimity. When the Master thus fits himself to perform and does faithfully perform his duty, he will make many discoveries in Masonry, not the least of which will be those ancient fragments in the shape of words and expressions, from the Hebrew and the old Saxon tongues, that unnoticed by most Masons, are to be found in the formulas of the degrees, as the mutilated fragments of the old Etruscan Temples were built into the more modern edifices of Rome. The Cable-tow, the name of our deceased Grand Master, the old word importing secrecy, the first words uttered at the grave, will thus not only become most conclusive proofs of the antiquity of the Craft, but some of them will be found to be the most striking symbols of the immortality and resurrection of the soul.


With the lofty philosophical truths thus taught in the ancient mysteries was also taught a complete system of ethics and morals. Masonry, as their successor, is also and emphatically a moral institution. [xxxi] If many of its lessons are vague and unimpressive, trite and not sufficiently practical, nor coming home to the bosoms of men and the business of every day life, it is because the shortness of men's memories has necessarily compressed its oral instruction into general principles, of which the recipients should make the application to the emergencies of life as they arise.


But Masonry can not change the nature of man, nor make him perfect. If it can improve him, if it can sometimes restrain him from the commission of wrong, if it can check, even if it can but delay him, when on the way to do another an injury, or to debase himself by unlawful indulgence, it will do as much as in most cases the teachings of religion do. For all moral instruction is too often like moonlight, that plays upon but does not warm the ice. They play upon the heart, but make no impression upon it. [xxxii]

And unfortunately the application of general principles and axioms of morals to the ever-springing emergencies of life, is one which men, especially in their own case, are not generally inclined to make. They are fond of excepting their own cases out of the general principle. Pledged not to do wrong to a brother to the value of a cent, they too often think they may consistently take advantage of him in a trade, sell him an inferior or damaged or unsound article for a full price, exaggerate the cost or value or good qualities, and be silent as to the defects of the article they sell him; and charge him more for their work or services than they are reasonably worth. [xxxiii]


Too often they forget that no Mason should take or claim anything of another man that he had not fairly earned; that he should so live that when he comes to die it can not be said that the lands or moneys which he is about to leave his heirs, do not, in God's forum of equity, belong to him, but in whole or in part to another; so that he may truly say that no man is made poorer because he is richer. Too often they forget, that of whatever one man has wronged another, of whatever he has possessed himself, that in the loftiest equity and good conscience belongs to another, he is in the sight of Heaven a trustee; and here or hereafter, it is most certain, he will be compelled by decree in God's Great Chancery to make reparation to the utmost farthing, whether what he has that is not his own be wealth, or power, or rank, or reputation.


That these lessons may be remembered, the Master must inculcate them upon the brethren. If he does not, he does not fully perform his duty, nor will any degree of familiarity with the work, nor any accuracy in the repetition of forms of words compensate for this omission. He represents the Sun, itself to our ancient brethren the image of Deity. He is to his lodge the symbolic source of Light and knowledge. As the Sun rises above the hills that fringe the East, following the footsteps of the blushing dawn, to open the day I and illuminate the world, so the Master arises as he opens his lodge to give the craft proper instruction, and assign the brethren their tasks. It is a grave duty he assumes, and a serious responsibility; for is he not a minister at the altar erected in the lodge to the living God? And if he does not fit himself to perform his duties and perform them faithfully, does he not daily receive wages that are not his due? How, in such case, can he expect to pass the rigid test of the Master-overseer's square?


Masonry terms the three pillars that support each of its Temples, Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty; or more properly, Harmony. Harmony, we say, is the strength and support of all institutions and more especially ours. And the three steps or rounds of the symbolical ladder, which Jacob saw in his dream, and by which one ascends heavenward, are Faith, Hope and Charity.


These three steps are identical with the three pillars. For Faith, in God's providence, in human nature and in our own power and capacity for good, is the truest Wisdom; Hope in a future life, and in the ultimate triumph of good over evil, is the only true Strength, when the waves of sorrow beat against our trembling hearts; and Charity for the failings, the errors, the wrongful acts, the needs and distresses of our neighbor, and still more of our enemy, is the most beautiful trait of the human character, and can alone make the universe one great Harmony. [xxxiv]


Truth, Charity and Toleration! these are the three cardinal Masonic Virtues. Truth we are told, is a Divine attribute (for God is perfect Truth), and the foundation of every virtue. No man must repent that he has trusted a Mason's promise, representation, profession or word. The measure of his performance of his contract must be the honest understanding thereof of the other contracting party. He must make no false professions, hold out no unreal inducements, allow no misunderstanding of his own meaning; and lie not, either in a large thing or a small, either in the principal thing or in the circumstance. He must be frank, sincere, straightforward and wholly free of deceit and duplicity.


Charity requires the Mason to judge other men by the same law and rule by which he judges himself; to find for their conduct the same excuses that he so readily finds for his own; and, as he often knows, and always believes that he is better than the world thinks him, and that even for those acts and errors and weaknesses for which it most condemns him, he has excuses, which, if they could be known to the world as fully as they are known to himself, would wholly change its judgment; so he should believe that others, whose acts he condemns, have for those acts excuses that justify them to themselves, and that would, if known, justify them to the world. But men are ever prone to forget this great law of Charity, and to assign the worst imaginable motives to the acts of others, while they invariably assign the best motives to their own. [xxxv]


How words, not only in Masonic pledges, but elsewhere, pass from our lips without our feeling their weight or being conscious of their meaning! "Forgive us our trespasses" we often say to the Deity, ''as we forgive them that trespass against us!" as we forgive them-thus and not otherwise; and if we do not forgive them, do Thou not forgive us! What if the Deity were to judge us with the same uncharitableness as we judge other men! What if he were to allow nothing for temptation, for passion, for aggravation! What if He were even to insist on assigning to each of our acts the worst possible motive, and not an ordinary one or the best; doing in that as we do to others!


Masonic Charity should be as nearly as possible like God's Charity. It is not wise or sensible in judge, or juryman, inquiring with what intent a criminal act was committed, arbitrarily to suppose the worst motive possible. He who knows human nature best, is the most charitable in his judgment of it. If God, who knows all, can, as we hope, forgive us, we, who know hardly anything, may certainly afford to forgive others. So Masonic Charity habitually looks for a good motive, and rejoices when it can assign one to an act that at first blush looks badly. And it does so, because the Mason is, or should be, sincere in praying God to forgive him his sins, only if and precisely as he forgives those of other men.


I need not enlarge upon the aspect of Masonic Charity in which it nurses the sick, stands firm and unshrinking in the path of the pestilence, clothes the naked, feeds the hungry, and gives decent burial to the dead. Every Mason knows that these are Masonic duties and that no Mason deserves the name who practices them reluctantly, or in the spirit of penuriousness or churlishness; and still less if he practices them not at all.


Toleration is another Masonic virtue, too little understood and practiced, though abundantly professed. [xxxvi] No man has aright even to inquire as to another's religious faith. No man can say what he believes is certainly true, and what his neighbor believes is as certainly false; for no matter how thoroughly he may believe that, no matter how evident and undeniable it is to him, no matter how incomprehensible it may be to him that another can believe otherwise than he believes; yet his neighbor, reversing the matter, believes as conscientiously himself right and the other wrong, thinks it undeniably so, and can not conceive how any man can believe otherwise. Who, then, is to judge between them! Who shall say what is the truth! Surely the majority of voices cannot settle that question, not can general consent, nor any other human thing or combination of things. For God, and not so many votes, makes that to be true that is true.


Men's faiths come, generally, from their place of birth, their parentage, and the circumstances that environ them, and not from examination. No one is entitled to say that his own faith is meritorious and deserves to be rewarded. Is it a merit in the Moslem to have been born of a Moslem mother, near the Mosque of Omar, and reared in the faith of Mahomet? No one is qualified to say that he will tolerate that only which we might rightfully prohibit or prevent. No man has the right to interfere in any way in regard thereto; God alone has the right to judge a man for his creed; and when any man undertakes to do so, he usurps God's prerogative, and assumes a fearful responsibility. It is the doctrine of Masonry that there is no error so enormous as intolerance, and no crime so great as persecution. Ever since man was placed upon the globe, intolerance has produced wars and dissensions. It has caused the death of millions of human beings; whose blood, soaking into the earth's bosom, and steaming thus towards Heaven, has made her, reeking with human gore, a horror to her sisters of the Universe. Masonry, holding the olive-branch, puts her hand between the zealot's steel and the bosom ofhis brother, forbids the thumb-screw and the rack, and preaches in every quarter of the world peace and fraternity. [xxxvii]


It was not my purpose to read you a moral lecture, my Brethren, nor to weary you by a long address; and therefore I have spoken but briefly of Masonry as a moral Teacher. Permit me, however, to say a few words as to its mission.


No society or Order can flourish at the present day, that does not aim to effect some practical good. The age is one of progress. While the principles of Orders remain the same, the application and development of those principles must change, and advance with equal steps as the world advances; or such Orders will fall into the rear, be distanced, and slowly or rapidly decay. While Masonry gathers in new initiates by thousands, the world wants to see her do somewhat, some great work corresponding to her lofty pretensions and high sounding titles. If she does not do so, her own members will, after a time, weary of her inactivity. Once she fulfilled her mission by her teachings to her initiates; but now those teachings, philosophical and moral, have become the property of the world at large; and astronomers, geometricians, and physicists have made perfectly common the rudimental learning once confined to a few, and which still ornaments our monitors and is sometimes read at tiresome length to the candidate, as if the world's intellect and knowledge had not long since outgrown it. Masonry can not now fulfill its mission by teaching the elements and rudiments of knowledge, nor by repeating a set form of lectures upon the commonest virtues; but only by being the apostle of Peace and Toleration, and the patron of Education and Enlightenment; while by its lectures it communicates the profoundest truths of philosophy, of science, of physics, and of the mechanism and laws of The universe. It must labor to prevent or heal political and religious dissension; it must strive to teach men to know each other better, to hate each other less, to love each other more. It must establish schools, build academies, found universities, and endow hospitals and infirmaries. [xxxviii]


It has the power to do much, to do wonderful things, indeed, and to make itself the benefactor of the world, by moderate contributions from its members, regularly paid and wisely expended; and if it does not do so, it will be, as it, deserves to be, judged with a judgment sterner than that of the Roman father who condemned his son to die. [xxxix]  For the mists and rains that, falling, form springs, and brooks, and rivers, rise in minute and invisible particles from earth and ocean; oaks grow by imperceptible accretion and aggregation of unseen atoms; the coal fields were formed by the gradual decay of many myriad trees and shrubs; the limestone was deposited during many ages and by insensible degrees; and the labours of millions of insects built up the islands of coral in the Indian ocean; and so may the united exertions of the great army of Masons produce the most beneficial and the most enduring results, if they will but be true to their Order, and mindful of its teachings, and their own obligations. [xl]


To him who entertains these ideas, and has these conceptions of the philosophy, the history, the morals and the mission of Masonry, how can it fail to be of incalculable value? Ascending by its history to the earliest ages of the world, and by its philosophy to the first revelation of primitive truth made by the Deity to the first men that lived, it invites the student to explore the treasures of ancient thought and to revel in the intellectual wealth of the great Past. It leads him to the feet of the philosophers of India, the priests of Egypt, the Magi of Persia, The Druids of Scandinavia, the philosophers and thinkers of Greece and Rome. In its morals it reproduces all that is practical and pure in all religions; and it enrolls its initiates among those who, in all ages of the world, have been the benefactors of their race, and deserved honorable mention in history, if they appreciate the grandeur of its mission and earnestly endeavor to be true to their professions as Masons.


To those who put a lower estimate on Masonry, and care nothing for its philosophy or history, nor appreciate the importance and dignity of its mission, it may indeed be useful. It may help them in their trade or business, it may save them when in danger, and afford them assistance when in want, and so may be of value. If it cause them to be more charitable, more forgiving, more tolerant, kinder and better husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, friends and neighbors, then indeed is it of great value; but, still not of the very greatest; unless, in addition to this, it leads them to the highest truth, and induces them to engage in the great work of human improvement and advancement,

of which Masonry is the apostle.


I have sought only, in what I have here said, to give you a few hints, aided by which you may examine the symbolism and instruction of Masonry for yourselves, detect the errors, reject the false interpretations, and arrive at the real meaning of its ceremonies. In a public address I could not do more. [Such] are the teachings of Masonry itself-symbols, and not degrees-hints, and not explanations or tedious lectures. [xli]  It is the way in which all knowledge was anciently communicated; the best way, because in discovering for itself the meaning of a symbol, intellect is made more acute and the lesson indelibly impressed, every word sharp and distinct, upon the mind and memory; every word stamping its own meaning there; while a lecture or sermon is heard as one hears the ripple of waters, and fades out of the mind as soon as heard, or remains there in vague characters as difficult to be deciphered as hieroglyphics. I commend you, therefore, to a study of the symbols and legends, the ceremonies and monumental fragments of Masonry; and you may be assured that in that study you will find both pleasure and profit.


Nor will you forget that Masonry is practical, and eminently practical, also. It is in the loftiest and truest sense the performance of duty. [xlii] It is work, we call it so, and the word means something. [xliii] And nowhere has it more and more pressing work to do than here. This Lodge is planted among, and bears the name of a brave and generous people, whose heroism and good faith have been long tested under the most trying circumstances. It is planted near the borders of another people of the same race, and having to a great extent the same distinctive features and character. The history of each people is a part, an important, and in some [instances] not a creditable part to us, of the history of the United States. Neither the Creeks or the Cherokees have been always treated with justice, and still less with generosity. They have often been hardly dealt with, and their just rights denied, or their satisfaction long and unconscientiously delayed. But that day is over; and the wrongs of the past should not be allowed to embitter the present or the future.


Placed now in a beautiful and fertile country, these nations are leaving further and further behind them the darkness of barbarism. Masonry should strive to aid them in this advance. I cannot reflect without pain and regret on their past wrongs, nor see their present exertions without sympathy and earnest good wishes. It should become to them a most eloquent preacher of morals, a most potent instrument of enlightenment. While each Lodge should, for its own improvement, collect gradually the means  therefore, in a Masonic Library; while each individual member should seek for himself similar means of instruction and light in Masonry; while the exemplary Charity, Liberality, Good Faith, upright bearing and Harmony of its members should commend the Order here to the favorable consideration of all men, and so invite the intelligent and virtuous of all nations to enter within the portals of the Temple of Masonry, which is the Temple of Truth; each Lodge and its members should also, by positive teaching and persuasion discourage quarrels and dissensions; incite the people to industry and the usages of civilized life; and encourage the founding of schools and the education of the rising generation, that the people may thus [be] as speedily as possible placed in a condition no longer to be wronged or imposed upon by government or individual, and be fitted to become citizens of the Great Republic of which now they are to its shame only dependents.


Remember that whatever act, even the slightest, you do towards this end, will have its influence, even though that influence may never be apparent to yourselves. It will, nevertheless, be visible to God. The consequences, for godd or evil, of every act of every man that lives, are eternal. It is his influences which live after him, that man becomes immortal. The dead legislate for the living; and your own laws and customs, your habits and manners, are but the thoughts and determinations of your dead ancestors, still governing you who live. [xliv] He who does nothing, the influences whereof shall outlast his own life, has hardly lived at all. [xlv] Nor can anyone foresee how important may be the consequences of even the least act done by himself. History abounds with examples of vast results flowing from single acts done by individuals. There is often a vast power in the will of a single man. A great thought, written or spoken, is a Great Power, and words results as mysterious and incomprehensible as the creation of things by the Deity. Your Lodge may educate a poor boy, who may come to command armies, to lead Senates,to shape the destinies of a country; and who, but for you, would have lived and died unhonored and unknown. [xlvi]


Every Lodge and every Mason can do something for the general good, if he will but work and try. Laborare est orare, said the old maxim: To labor is to pray. The heroes of the old Legends of the eternal struggle between Light and Darkness, were gods, kings and warriors. But the hero of the Masonic legend is a working man, an artificer, the son of a poor woman, but skilled to work in brass and iron, and in wood and purple and linen. Raised by his virtues to be the peer of kings, he was, our tradition declares, of as high Masonic rank as Solomon, and Hiram the Tyrian monarch. The Phoenician mysteries or Masonry made the Hebrew king, worshipper of  Jehovah, the king of Tyre who worshipped at the shrine of Bel and Astarte, and Hiram the workman, of a faith unknown, brethren and equals. When he was murdered, it was not the nobles nor the great war-captains who went forth to seek for his remains and to apprehend his murderers; but the workmen upon the Temple, the humble artisans and Masons; in obedience to the new Evangel, that labor was honorable and the working man the Masonic peer of kings, was the new gospel taught by Masonry-preached by it in every civilized country on the glabe; and for which it has been distrusted and dreaded by proud Priests, and persecuted and sought to be trampled out by Tyrants. This gospel it still preaches; and everywhere expects of its initiates the faithful performance of its work, of all the work which it has in hand to do.


And this is the true secret of the prosperity and continuance of Masonry. While other orders and societies have continually sprung up and flourished for a brief time, and then decayed again around her, she has continued to enjoy perpetual youth and ever increasing vigor. It is, that while her Lodges are schools of Philosophy and Morals, she also dignifies toil, and elevates the laboring man in his own esteem and the estimation of his fellows. Freemasonry is the performance of duty, and the faithful doing of work, with the hands, the brain, the voice, the pen, and the sword if needs be, she works in the cause of human amelioration and progress, and wages continual and unrelenting war against ignorant superstition, oppression, temporal and spiritual, and all that is base, and wrong, and brutal in the world.


And while she is true to this her mission, and so long as her children do not become universally and basely degenerate, she will still continue, even in the earth's old age, and to its latest days, to stand, as before the Pyramids she stood, and as she now stands, like a perfectly appointed fortress upon a granite island tinctured by the ocean, complete, from her deep foundations to the topmost course of her citadel, bidding defiance to all assaults of fanaticism and prejudice, sublime in her simple grandeur amid whatever storms may howl around her walls, and however the angry waters may dash and chafe against her impregnable sides.


We shall pass away and be gathered to our fathers, but Masonry will still live, even when the marble above our bones has decayed and mouldered into dust. For it must crumble away, and our names and memories be forgotten, and all the world be as if we had never lived. Let us, if possible, do some good in our day and generation, that shall warrant its being said of us that we were good men and true Masons; and we may then await, serene and unmoved, the world's judgment, and God's judgment upon us, and not be concerned to know whether we shall be remembered or forgotten by those who are to come after us and take our places. Even so, my Brethren, may it be with all of us, and even so may it be with Masonry.



[i] Pike was to clarify (or perhaps change) his thinking slightly later on this point. In Morals and Dogma (p. 208) he clearly states that no degree of Masonry has been found to be ancient. His later writings suggest that Pike believed Masonry was the descendent of the Mysteries in the same way that the founding fathers saw the United States as a descendant of the democracy of Athens and the republic of Rome-that is as inheritors or re-creators of a spirit, a concept. and an ideal.

[ii] See Morals and Dogma, p. 219

[iii] M. &D., p.185

[iv] M. &D., p.118

[v] M. &D., p.138

[vi] M. &D., p.597

[vii] M. &D., p.76

[viii] M. &D., p.64

[ix] M. & D., p. 595

[x] M. & D., p. 595

[xi] M. &D., p.436

[xii] Consider in the light of the question of the 32°, when the candidate is asked if such questions are of interest to him.

[xiii] M. &D., p.530

[xiv] M. &D., p.368

[xv] M. &D., p.583

[xvi] M. &D., p.663

[xvii] M. &D., p.641

[xviii] M. &D., p.208

[xix] M. &D., p.209

[xx] Developed in the 26°.

[xxi] M. &D., p.594

[xxii] Pike develops this theme at some length in the materials relating to the 28°.

[xxiii] M. &D., p.740.

[xxiv] Pike develops this idea at several places in Morals and Dogma.

[xxv] M. &D., p.227

[xxvi] M. &D., p.401

[xxvii] M. &D., p.410

[xxviii] This theme is also developed in many locations in MoralS and Dogma, especially in the material relating to the 28°.

[xxix] M. &D., p.576

[xxx] As is well known, Pike makes a major point of this in the 18°.

[xxxi] M. &D., p.161

[xxxii] Compare with the ritual of the 33°. "The teachings of religion and philosophy are, for most men, like the sun's rays which strike upon the 1IIctic snows, They glitter and are reflected, but they do not penetrate and warm".

[xxxiii] Consider, in this context, the questions asked of the Candidate in the 31°.

[xxxiv] M. &D., p.10

[xxxv] See the materials in Morals and Dogma relating to the 7°.

[xxxvi] M. &D., p.74.

[xxxvii] The image is so striking that it is interesting to compare the passage in Morals and Dogma, p. 530. "... whether this doctrine or the other be heresy or truth; drenching the world with blood, depopulating realms, and turning fertile lands into deserts; until, for religious war, persecution, and bloodshed, the Earth for manya century has rolled round the Sun, a charnel house, steaming and reeking with human gore, the blood of brother slain by brother for opinion's sake, that has soaked into and polluted all her veins, and made her a horror to her sisters of the Universe".

[xxxviii] M. &D., p.166

[xxxix] M. &D., p.185

[xl] M. &D., p.175

[xli] M. &D., p.22

[xlii] M. &D., p.185

[xliii] M. &D., p.340

[xliv] M. &D., p.315

[xlv] M. &D., p.312

[xlvi] M. &D., p.173

Scottish Rite Research Society Since 1991, the Scottish Rite Research Society (SRRS) has become one of the most dynamic forces in Masonic research today, pursuing a publication program emphasizing quality—both in content and physical form. While it has its administrative offices at the House of the Temple in Washington, D.C., it is open to all. We encourage anyone interested in deepening his or her understanding of Freemasonry to become a member and make the SRRS your research society.

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Heredom [orig. unknown] is a significant word in "high degree" Freemasonry, from French Rose Croix rituals where it refers to a mythical mountain in Scotland, the legendary site of the first such Chapter. Possible explanations include: Hieros-domos, Greek for Holy House, Harodim, Hebrew for overseers; Heredum, Latin for of the heirs.

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