ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FREEMASONRY AND ITS KINDRED SCIENCES
by ALBERT C. MACKEY M. D.
BARNEY, COMMODORE JOSHUA
Distinguished American naval officer. Prominent for services rendered his country in the Wars of 1776 and 1812; wounded in land attack at Bladensberg.
Said to have attended, about 1779, the Lodge of Nine Sisters at Paris, but his name does not appear in records of that Lodge published by Louis Amiable.
His name appears on the roster of Lodge No. 3, Philadelphia, May 1, 1777 (see New Age, May, 1925). Born 1759, at Baltimore, Maryland, Brother Barney died 1818, at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Masonic ritualist, born at Canaan, Connecticut, October, 1780. Made a Freemason in Friendship Lodge No. 20, at Charlotte, Vermont, in 1810. He was deeply interested in all that pertained to the work and purposes of the Institution, and in August, 1817, he went to Boston for the express purpose of receiving instruction directly from Thomas Smith Webb, which he succeeded in doing, with the assistance of Benjamin Gleason, then Grand Lecturer of Massachusetts.
He attended the Grand Lodge of Vermont on October 6, 1817, and was registered as a visiting Brother. At this meeting a request was presented on behalf of Brother Barney for the approbation of this Grand Lodge, as a Lecturing Master. A committee was appointed to investigate the certificates and documents respecting Barney’s qualifications and the report was as follows:
That they had examined Brother Barney on the first Degrees of Masonry, and find him to be well acquainted with the Lectures, according to the most approved method of work in the United States, and believe that he may be advantageously employed by the Lodges and Brethren who may wish for his services; but as many of the Lodges in this State are already well acquainted with the several Masonic Lectures, we do not believe it would be consistent to appoint a Grand Lecturer to go through the State, as the several Lodges have to pay the District Deputy Grand Masters for their attendance. We therefore propose to the Grand Lodge that they give Brother Barney letters of recommendation to all Lodges and Brethren wherever he may wish to travel, as an unfortunate brother deprived of his health, and unable to procure a living by the common avocations of life, but who is well qualified to give useful Masonic information to any who wish for his services.
A. Robbins, For committee.
His first work after being authorized by his Grand Lodge was in Dorchester Lodge, at Vergennes, Vermont. He was employed by twelve members to , instruct them in the work and lectures. He continued lecturing in that State for several years. Brother Barney moved West in 1826, settling at Harpersfield, Ashtabula County, Ohio. In 1832 he assisted in establishing a Royal Arch Chapter in Cleveland, Ohio. He moved to Worthington, Ohio, in 1834, and became a member of New England Lodge No. 4 in that city.
Elected Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of Ohio in January, 1836, Which office he held until 1843. In 1841 the Grand Master said of him: “The duties of Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, for the last two years especially, have been laborious and almost incessant. It were unnecessary for me to state to you a fact, which you are all so well apprised of, that his untiring and able exertions have essentially conduced to the prosperity which is now so apparent among our Lodges.
The labors of that officer are, however, now becoming burdensome, and the calls for his services will be more frequent as the wants of the fraternity increase.” Brother Barney was a delegate to the Baltimore Convention in 1843. At the meeting of his Grand Lodge in that year the question of recognition of the Grand Lodge of Michigan was considered and he was appointed one of the committee to whom the matter was referred, but at his request was excused from such service, and this is the last record we have of him in connection with the Grand Lodge of Ohio. About this time he settled in Chicago, Illinois, becoming a member of Apollo Lodge No. 32 in that city.
He was appointed Grand Lecturer of the Grand Lodge of Illinois in October, 1845, holding the office for one year. Part of the years 1844 and 1845 were spent lecturing in Michigan, and his labors during these two years gave to that State the system which has been the authorized work for many years. Undoubtedly several states owe much to this worthy Brother for their close connection with the ceremonial work of Thomas Smith Webb. Brother Barney died on June 22, 1847, at Peoria, Illinois (see Freemasonry in Michigan, J. S. Conover, 1896, page 249; the Barney work is discussed in American Tyler, volume iii, No. 6, page 5, and No. 17, page 2, and vo1ume v, No 18, page 4, and No. 28, page10)
Augustin Barruel, generally known as the Abbé Barruel, who was born, October 2, 1741, at Villeneuve de Berg in France, and who died October 5, 1820, was an implacable enemy of Freemasonry. He was a prolific writer, but owes his reputation principally to the work entitled Mémoires pour servir à l’Histoire du Jacobinisme, or Recollections to serve for a History of Jacobinism, in four volumes, octavo, published in London in 1797. In this work he charges the Freemasons with revolutionary principles in politics and with infidelity in religion. He seeks to trace the origin of the Institution first to those ancient heretics, the Manicheans, and through them to the Templars, against whom he revives the old accusations of Philip the Fair and Clement V. His theory of the Templar origin of Freemasonry is thus expressed (11, 382):
“Your whole school and all your Lodges are derived from the Templars. After the extinction of their Order, a certain number of guilty knights, having escaped the prosecution, united for the preservation of their horrid mysteries. To their impious code they added the vow of vengeance against the kings and priests who destroyed their Order, and against all religion which anathematized their dogmas.
They made adepts, who should transmit from generation to generation the same mysteries of iniquity, the same oaths, and the same hatred of the God of the Christians, and of kings, and of priests. These mysteries have descended to you, and you continue to perpetuate their impiety, their vows, and their oaths. Such is your origin. The lapse of time and the change of manners have varied a part of your symbols and your frightful systems; but the essence of them remains, the vows, the oaths, the hatred, and the conspiracies are the same.”
It is not astonishing that Lawrie (History of Freemasonry, page 50) should have said of the writer of such statements, that:
“That charity and forbearance which distinguish the Christian character are never exemplified in the work of Barruel, and the hypocrisy of his pretensions is often betrayed by the fury of his zeal. The tattered veil behind which he attempts to cloak his inclinations often discloses to the reader the motives of the man and the wishes of his party.”
Although the attractions of his style and the boldness of his declamation gave Barruel at one time a prominent place among anti-masonic writers, his work is now seldom read and never cited in Masonic controversies, for the progress of truth has assigned their just value to its extravagant assertions.
A famous engraver who lived for some time in London and engraved the frontispiece of the 1784 edition of the Book of Constitutions. He was initiated in the Lodge of the Nine Muses in London on February 13, 1777.
Born at Florence in Italy, he studied in Venice, and then at Rome and Mi1an, practiced his art most successfully, settling at London in 1764.After forty years in Eng1and he went to Portugal and died in Lisbon. Brother Hawkins gives the year of his birth as 1728, and that of his death as 1813. Others give the dates as from 1725 to 1830, and 1813 to 1815.
But all authorities agree in their high estimate of his ability.
American philanthropist. Born at Oxford, Massachusetts, December 25, 1821; died at Glen Echo, Maryland, April 12, 1912. During Civil War distributed large quantities of supplies for the relief of wounded soldiers and later organized at Washington a Bureau of Records to aid in the search of missing men. She identified and marked the graves of more than twelve thousand soldiers at Andersonville, Georgia. She took part in the International Committee of the Red Cross in Franco-Prussian War, and was first president of the American Red Cross until 1904. She was the author of the American Amendment providing that the Red Cross shall distribute relief not only in war but in times of other calamities.
She later incorporated and became president of the National First Aid of America for rendering first aid to the injured. There is a reference to her in Masonic Tidings, Milwaukee, December 1927, page 19, entitled Son of founder of Eastern Star tells of beginnings of Order, in the course of which he says: “Yes, it is true that my father gave the beloved Clara Barton the degree.
He was making a tour of Massachusetts, lecturing. When he reached Oxford he found a message from Clara Barton, expressing a desire to receive the degree. In the parlor of her home, father communicated to her the Order of the Eastern Star. From this Clara Barton created the great American Red Cross, and cheerfully gave her services to the heroes of the Civil War.”
There is also another reference in the New Age (March, 1924, page 178), where Clara Barton is said to have observed when becoming a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, “My father was a Mason; to him it was a religion, and for the love and honor I bear him, I am glad to be connected with anything like this,” However, Mrs. Minnie E. Keyes, Grand secretary, Order of the Eastern Star, letter of May 2g, 1928, informs us that “The Chapter in Oxford, Massachusetts, was named for her and With her permission in 1898, but she herself did not join until June, 1906.
The Secretary tells me the Minutes of the meeting of June 29, 1906, show. After a short intermission this Chapter received the great honor of being allowed to confer the degrees of this Order upon our illustrious namesake, Miss Clara Barton. It was an occasion long to be remembered as with feelings of pride and pleasure we witnessed the work so impressively and gracefully rendered and received.
It was with quite reverential feeling that at its close we were privileged to take her by the hand as our sister.
Literally and originally a royal palace. A Roman pagan basilica was a rectangular hall whose length was two or three times its breadth, divided by two or more lines of columns, bearing entablatures, into a broad central nave and side aisles.
It was generally roofed with wood, sometimes vaulted. At one end was the entrance. From the center of the opposite end opened a semicircular recess as broad as the nave, called in Latin the Tribuna and in Greek the Apsis. The uses of the basilica were variotts and of a public character, courts of justice being held in them. Only a few ruins remain.
The significance of the basilica to Freemasons is that it was the form adopted for early Christian churches, and for its influence on the building gilds.
For the beginning of Christian architecture, which is practically the beginning of Operative Freemasonry, we must seek very near the beginning of the Christian religion. For three centuries the only places in pagan Rome where Christians could meet with safety were in the catacombs, long underground galleries. When Constantine adopted Christianity in 324, the Christians were no longer forced to worship in the catacombs. They were permitted to worship in the basilica and chose days for special worship of the Saints on or near days of pagan celebrations or feast days, so as not to attract the attention or draw the contempt of the Romans not Christians.
Examples of this have come down to us, as, Christmas, St. John the Baptist’s Day, St. John the Evangelist’s Day, etc.
The Christian basilicas spread over the Roman Empire, but in Rome applied specially to the seven principal churches founded’ by Constantine, and it was their plan that gave Christian churches this name. The first builders were the Roman Artificers, and after the fall of the Western Empire, we find a decadent branch at Como that developed into the Comacine Masters, who evolved, aided by Byzantine workmen and influence Lombardian architecture (see Como).
The basket or fan was among the Egyptians a symbol of the purification of souls. The idea seems to have been adopted by other nations, and hence, “initiations in the Ancient Mysteries,” says Rolle (Culte de Bacchus,1, 30), “being the commencement of a better life and the perfection of it, could not take place till the soul was purified.
The fan had been accepted as the symbol of that purification because the mysteries purged the soul of sin, as the fan cleanses the grain.” John the Baptist conveys the same idea of purification when he says of the Messiah, “His fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor” (Matthew iii, 12; Luke iii, 17).
The sacred basket in the Ancient Mysteries was called the xikvov, and the one who carried it was termed the xwv or basket-bearer. Indeed, the sacred basket, containing the first fruits and offerings, was as essential in all solemn processions of the mysteries of Bacchus and other divinities as the Bible is in the Masonic procession. As lustration was the symbol of purification by water, so the mystical fan or winnowing-basket was, according to Sainte Croix (Mystéres du Paganisme, tome ii, page 81), the symbol in the Bacchic rites of a purification by air.
BASLE, CONGRESS OF
A Masonic Congress was held September 24, 1848, at Basle, in Switzerland, consisting of one hundred and six members, representing eleven Lodges under the patronage of the Swiss Grand Lodge Alpina. The Congress was principally engaged upon the discussion of the question, “What can and what ought Freemasonry to contribute towards the welfare of mankind locally, nationally, and internationally?” The conclusion to which the Congress appeared to arrive upon this question was briefly this:
“Locally, Freemasonry ought to strive to make every Brother a good citizen, a good father, and a good neighbor; whilst it ought to teach him to perform every duty of life faithfully. Nationally, a Freemason ought to strive to promote and to maintain the welfare and the honor of his native land, to love and to honor it himself, and, if necessary, to place his life and fortune at its disposal; Internationally, a Freemason is bound to go still further:
he must consider himself as a member of that one great family,-the whole human race,-who are all children of one and the same Father, and that it is in this sense, and with this spirit, that the Freemason ought to work if he would appear worthily before the throne of Eternal Truth and Justice.”
The Congress of Basle appears to have accomplished no practical result.
The question of the ineligibility of bastards to be made Freemasons was first brought to the attention of the Craft by Brother Chalmers I.
Paton, who, in several articles in The London Freemason, in 1869, contended that they were excluded from initiation by the Ancient Regulations.
Subsequently, in his compilation entitled Freemasonry and its Jurisprudence, published in 1872, he cites several of the 0ld Constitutions as explicitly declaring that the men made Freemasons shall be “no bastards.” This is a most unwarrantable interpolation not to be justified in any writer on jurisprudence; for on a careful examination of all the old manuscript copies which have been published, no such words are to be found in any one of them.
As an instance of this literary disingenuousness, to use no harsher term, we quote the following from his work (page 60). ‘The charge in this second edition [of Anderson’s Constitutions is in the following unmistakable words: ‘The men made Masons must be freeborn, no bastard (or no bondmen), of mature age and of good report, hale and wund, not deformed or dismembered at the time of their making.’
Now, with a copy of this second edition lying open before him, Brother Mackey found the passage thus printed: “The men made Masons must be freeborn (or no bondmen), of mature age and of good report, hale and sound, not deformed or dismembered at the time of their making.” The words “no bastard” are Patos’s interpolation.
Again, Patos quotes from Preston the Ancient . Charges at makings, in these words: “That he that be made be able in all degrees; that is, freeborn, of a good kindred, true, and no bondsman or bastard, and that he have his right limbs as a man ought to have.”
But on referring to Preston (edition of 1775, and all subsequent editions) we find the passage to be correctly thus: “That he that be made be able in all degrees; that is, freeborn, of a good kindred, true, and no bondsman, and that he have his limbs as a man ought to have.” Positive law authorities should not be thus cited, not merely carelessly, but with designed inaccuracy to support a theory.
But although there is no regulation in the Old Constitutions which explicitly prohibits the initiation of bastards, it may be implied from their language that such prohibition did exist. Thus, in all the old manuscripts, we find such expressions as these : he that shall be made a Freemason “must be freeborn and of good kindred” Sloane Manuscript (No. 3323), or ”come of good kindred” Edinburgh Kilwinning Manuscript, or, as the Roberts Print more definitely has it”of honest parentage.”
It is not, we therefore think, to be doubted that formerly bastards were considered as ineligible for initiation, on the same principle that they were, as a degraded class, excluded from the priesthood in the Jewish and the primitive Christian church. But the more liberal spirit of modem times has long since made the law obsolete, because it is contrary to the principles of justice to punish a misfortune as if it was a crime.
The reader should note in addition to what Brother Mackey has said in the above article that the Illustrations of freemasonry, by William Preston, edition of 1812 (page 82), reprints a series of charges said to be contained in a manuscript in the possession of the Lodge of Antiquity at London, and to have been written in the reign of James the Second- The third charge says in part:
“And no master nor fellow shall take no apprentice for less than seven years. And that the apprentice be free-born, and of limbs whole as a man ought to be, and no bastard. And that no master nor fellow take no allowance to be made Mason without the assent of his fellows, at the least six or seven.”
The fourth charge now goes on to say:
“That he that be made be able in all degrees; that is, free-born, of a good kindred, true, and no bondsman, and that he have his right -limbs as a man ought to have.” These charges may well be studied in connection with what Brothers Paton and Mackey have discussed in the foregoing.
BATCHELOR, JAMES CUNNINGHAM
Born of English parents in Quebec, Canada, July 10, 1818. His parents removed during his infancy to New York. Then he received a high school education in Saint Louis, studied medicine in New Orleans, and especially distinguished himself during the yellow fever epidemic there. He received his First Degree in Freemasonry at Montgomery, Alabama, on April 11, 1846, the Honorary Thirty-third in 1857, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, and became an Active in 1859. For twenty-four years he was Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Louisiana. He succeeded General AIbert Pike, who died April 2, 1891, as Grand Commander, the Southern Jurisdiction, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. Brother Batchelor died on July 28, 1893.
The truncheon or staff of a Grand Marshal, and always carried by him in processions as the ensign of his office. It is a wooden rod about eighteen inches long. In the military usage of England, the baton of the Earl Marshal was originally of wood, but in the reign of Richard II it was made of gold, and delivered to him at his creation, a custom which has been continued. In the patent or commission granted by that monarch to the Duke of Surrey the baton is minutely described as baculum aureum circa utramque finem de nigro annulatum, meaning a golden wand, having black rings around each end- a description that wil1 very well serve for a Masonic baton.
BATS, PARLIAMENT OF
The Parliament which assembled in England in the year 1426, during the minority of Henry VI, to settle the disputes between the Duke of Gloucester, the Regent, and the Bishop of Winchester, tbe guardian of the young king’s person, and which was so called because the members, being forbidden by the Duke of Gloucester to wear swords, armed themselves with clubs or bats.
It has been stated by Preston (Illustrations of Masonry, edition of 1812, page 165), that it was in this Parliament that the Act forbidding Freemasons to meet in Chapters or Congregations was passed; but this is erroneous, for that act was passed in 1425 by the Parliament at Westminster, while the Parliament of Bats met at Leicester in 1426 (see Laborers, Statutes of).
A given number of blows by the gavels of the officers, or by the hands of the Brethren, as a mark of approbation, admiration, or reverence, and at times accompanied by the acclamation.
Freemasonry was introduced into Bavaria, from France, in 1737. However, the Handbuch of Schletter and Zille declares that 1777 was the beginning of Freemasonry in Bavaria proper. The meetings of the Lodges were suspended in 1784 by the reigning duke Charles Theodore, and the act of suspension was renewed in 1799 and 1804 by Maximilian Joseph, the King of Bavaria.
The Order was subsequently revived in 1812 and in 1817. The Grand Lodge of Bayreuth was constituted in 1811 under the appellation of the Grossloge zur Sonne. In 1868 a Masonic conference took place of the Lodges under its jurisdiction, and a constitution was adopted, which guarantees to every confederated Lodge perfect freedom of ritual and government, provided the Grand Lodge finds these to be Masonic.
An evergreen plant, and a symbol in Freemasonry of the immortal nature of Truth. By the bay-tree thus referred to in the old instructions of the Knight of the Red Cross, is meant the laurel, which, as an evergreen, was among the ancients a symbol of immortality. It is, therefore, properly compared with Truth, which Josephus makes Zerubbabel say is “immortal and eternal. ”
BAZOT, ETIENNE FRANÇOIS
A French Masonic writer, born at Nievre, March 31, 1782. He published at Paris a Vocabulaire des Francs-Maçons in 1810. This Freemasons’ Dictionary was translated into Italian. In 1811 he published a Manuel du Franc-maçon, or Freemason’s Manual, one of the most judicious works of the kind published in France.
He was also the author of Morale de la Franc-maçonnerie, or Masonic Ethics, and the Tuileur Expert des 33 degrés, or Tiling for Thirty-three Degrees, which is a complement to his Manuel. Bazot was distinguished for other literary writings on subjects of general literature, such as two volumes of Tales and Poems, A Eulogy on the Abbé de l’Epée, and as the editor of the Biographic Nouvelle des Contemporaries, in twenty volumes.
B. D. S. P. H. G. F.
In the French instructions of the Knights of the East and West, these letters are the initials of Beauté, Divinité, Sagesse, Puissance, Honneur, Gloire, Force, which correspond to the letters of the English monitors B. D. W.P.H.G.S., which are the initials of equivalent words, Beauty, Divinity, Wisdom, Power, Honor, Glory, Strength.
An officer in a Council of Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, corresponding to the Junior Deacon of a Symbolic Lodge. The Beadle is one, say‚ Junius, who proclaims and executes the will of superior powers. The word is similar to the old French bedel, the Latin bedellus, and is perhaps a corrupted form of the Anglo-Saxon bydel, all of which have the meaning of messenger.
One of those fortunate female‚ who are said to have obtained possession of the Freemasons’ secrets. The following account of her is given in A General History of the County of Norfolk, published in 1829 (see volume ii, page 1304):
“Died in St. John’s, Maddermarket, Norwich, July, 1802, aged 85, Mrs. Beaton, a native of Wales. She was commonly called the Freemason, from the circumstance of her having contrived to conceal herself one evening, in the wainscoting of a Lodge-room where she learned the secret-at the knowledge of which thousands of her sex have in vain attempted to arrive. She was, in many respects, a very singular character, of which one proof adduced is that the secret of the Freemasons died with her.”
There is no official confirmation of this story.
From Beauseant, and fero meaning to carry. The officer among the old Knight Templar whose duty it was to carry the Beausean in battle. The office is still retained in some of the high Degrees which are founded on Templarism.
The Chevalier Beauchaine was one of the most fanatical of the irremovable Masters of the Ancient Grand Lodge of France. He has established his Lodge at the Golden Sun, an inn in the Rue St. Victor, Paris, where he slept, and for six francs conferred all the Degrees of Freemasonry. On August 17, 1747, he organized the Order of Fendeurs or Woodcutters, at Paris.
The vexillum belli, or war-banner of the ancient Templars, which is also used by the modem Masonic Order. The upper half of the banner was black, and the lower half white: black, to typify terror to foes, and white, fairness to friends. It bore the pious inscription, Non nobis, Domine, non nobis sed nomini tuo da gloriam. This is the beginning of the first verse of Psalm cxv, “Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory.”
The Beauseant is frequently, says Barrington in his Introduction to Heraldry (page 121), introduced among the decorations in the Temple Church, and on one of the paintings on the wall, Henry I is represented with this banner in his hand.
As to the derivation of the word, there is some doubt among writers. Bauseant or bausant was, in old French, a piebald or party-colored horse; and the word bawseant is used in the Scottish dialect with similar reference to two colors. Thus, Burns says:
His honest, sonsie, baws’nt face, where Doctor Currie, in his Glossary of Burns, explans bawsent as meaning “having a white stripe down the face.” It is also supposed by some that the word bauseant may be only a form, in the older language, of the modern French word bienséant, which signifies something decorous or becoming; but the former derivation is preferable, in which bealmeant would signify simply a party-colored banner.
With regard to the double signification of the white and black banner, the Orientalists have a legend of Alexander the Great, which may be appropriately quoted on the present occasion, as given by Weil in his Biblical Legends ( page 70).
“Alexander was the lord of light and darkness, when he went out with his army the light was before him, and behind him was the darkness, so that he was secure against all ambuscades; and by means of a miraculous white and black standard he had also the power to transform the clearest day into midnight and darkness, or black night into noonday, just as he unfurled the one or the other. Thus he was unconquerable, since he rendered his troops invisible at his pleasure, and came down suddenly upon his foes. Might there not have been some connection between the mythical white and black standard of Alexander and the Beauseant of the Templars? We know that the latter were familiar with Oriental symbolism.”
Beauseant was also the war-cry of the ancient Templars and is pronounced bo-say-ong.
Said to be symbolically one of the three supports of a Lodge. It is represented by the Corinthian column, because the Corinthian is the most beautiful of the ancient orders of architecture; and by the Junior Warden, because he symbolizes the meridian sun-the most beautiful object in the heavens. Hiram Abif is also said to be represented by the Column of Beauty, because the Temple was indebted to his skill for its splendid decorations. The idea of Beauty as one of the supports of the Lodge is found in the earliest rituals of the eighteenth century, as well as the symbolism which refers it to the Corinthian column and the Junior Warden. Preston first introduced the reference to the Corinthian column and to Hiram Abif.
Beauty, in the Hebrew, n~x~n, pronounced tif-eh-reth, was the sixth of the Cabalistic Sephiroth, and, with Justice and Mercy, formed the second Sephirotic triad; and from the Cabalists the Freemasons most probably derived the symbol (see Supports of the Lodge).
BEAUTY AND BANDS
The names of the two rods spoken of by the prophet Zechariah ( xi, 7, 10, 14), as symbolic of his pastoral office. This expression was in use in portions of the old Masonic ritual in England; but in the system of Doctor Hemming, which was adopted at the union of the two Grand Lodges in 1813, this symbol, with all reference to it, was ex-punged. As Doctor Oliver says in his Dictionary of symbolic Masonry, “it is nearly forgotten, except by a few old Masons, who may perhaps recollect the illustration as an incidental subject of remark among the Fraternity of that period.”
BECKER, RUDOLPH ZACHARIAS
A very zealous Freemason of Gotha, who published, in 1786, a historical essay on the Bavarian Illuminati, under the title of Grundsatze Verfassung und Schicksale in Illulninatens Order in Baiern. He was a very popular writer on educational subjects; his Instructive Tales of Joy and Sorrow was so highly esteemed, that a half million copies were printed in German and other languages. He died in 1802.
BEDARRIDE, THE BROTHERS
Mackey was convinced that the Brothers Marc, Michel, and Joseph Bédarride were Masonic charlatans, notorious for their propagation of the Rite of Mizraim, having established in 1813, at Paris, under the partly real and partly pretended authority of Lechangeur, the inventor of the Rite, a Supreme Puissance for France, and organized a large number of Lodges.
In this opinion Brother Mackey is supported by Clavel who says the founders, including Marc Bédarride, were not of high character. This is repeated by Brother Woodford in the Cyclopedia of Freemasonry. But Brother Mackenzie, Royal Masonic Cyclopedia, says the evidence is insufficient to prove them charlatans. He further asserts:
“There is nothing to distinguish in point of verity between the founder or introducer of one rite above another. It must depend upon the coherence and intellectual value of the rite, which becomes quite superfluous where there is no substantial advantage gained for the true archeological and scientific value of Freemasonry, under whatever name the rite may be formulated. It is in this sense that the authorities of the Grand Lodge of England–ever the honorable custodians of Freemasonry-have most properly resisted innovations. But there are several quasi-Masonic bodies in this country, England, let in as it were by a side door. Hence the brethren Bédarride had as much right to carry their false ware to market as these.”
Of these three brothers, Bédarride, who were Jews, Michel, who assailed the most prominent position in the numerous controversies which arose in French Freemasonry on account of their Rite, died February 16, 1856. Marc died ten years before, in April, 1846.
Of Joseph, who was never very prominent, we have no record as to the time of his death (see Mizraim Rite of).
The bee was among the Egyptians the symbol of an obedient people, because, says Horapollo, “of all insects, the bee alone had a king. ” Hence looking at the regulated labor of these insects when congregated in their hive, it is not surprising that a beehive should have been deemed an appropriate emblem of systematized industry. Freemasonry has therefore adopted the beehive as a symbol of industry, a virtue taught in the instructions, which says that a Master Mason “works that he may receive wages, the better to support himself and family, and contribute to the relief of a worthy, distressed brother, his widow and orphans” ; and in the Old Charges, which tell us that “all Masons shall work honestly on working days, that they may live creditably on holidays.”
There seems, however, to be a more recondite meaning connected with this symbol. The ark has already been shown to have been an emblem common to Freemasonry and the Ancient Mysteries, as a symbol of regeneration–of the second birth from death to life. Now, in the Mysteries, a hive was the type of the ark. “Hence,” says Faber (Origin of Pagan Idolatry, volume ii, page 133), “both the diluvian priestesses and the regenerated souls were called bees; hence, bees were feigned to be produced from the carcass of a cow, which also symbolized the ark; and hence, as the great father was esteemed an infernal god, honey was much used both in funeral rites and in the Mysteries.” This extract is from the article on the bee in Evans’ Animl Symbolism in Ecclesiastical Architecture.
The subject of a Freemason’s behavior is one that occupies much attention in both the ritualistic and the monitorial instructions of the Order. In the Charges of a Freemason, extracted from the ancient records, and first published in the Constitutions of 1723, the sixth article is exclusively appropriated to the subject of Behavior. It is divided into six sections, as follows:
- Behavior in the Lodge while constituted.
- Behavior after the Lodge is over and the Brethren not gone.
- Behavior when Brethren meet without strangers, but not in a Lodge formed.
- Behavior in presence of strangers not Freemasons.
- Behavior at home and in your neighborhood.
- Behavior toward a strange brother.
The whole article constitutes a code of moral ethics remarkable for the purity of the principles it inculcates, and is well worthy of the close attention of every Freemason.
It is a complete refutation of the slanders of anti-Masonic revilers. As these charges are to be found in all the editions of the Book of Constitutions, and in many Masonic works, they are readily accessible to everyone who desires to read them.
BEHOLD YOUR MASTER
When, in the instal1ation services, the formula is used, “Brethren, behold your Master,” the expression is not simply exclamatory, but is intends as the original use of the word behold implies, to invite the members of the Lodge to fix their attention upon the new relations which have sprung up between them and him who has just been elevated to the Oriental Chair, and to impress upon their minds the duties which they owe to him and which he owes to them. In like manner, when the formula is continued, “Master, behold your brethren, ” the Master’s attention is impressively directed to the same change of re1ations and duties.
These are not mere idle words, but convey an important lesson, and should never be omitted in the ceremony of installation.
spelled Bel, is usually pronounced bell but both Strong in his Hebrew Dictionary, and Feyerabend in his, prefer to say bale. The word is probably the contracted form of v, commonly pronounced bay-ahl and spelled Baal, and he was worshiped by the Babylonians as their chief deity. The Greeks and Romans so considered the meaning and translated the word by Zeus and Jupiter.
Bel was one of the chief gods of the Babylonians perhaps their supreme deity, and the word has been deemed a Chaldaic form of Baal. Note Isaiah, xlvi, 1, “Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth, their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle. ” Baal signifies Lord or Master and occurs several times in the Bible as a part of the names of various gods. Alone, the word applies to the sun-god, the supreme male deity of the Syro-Phoenician nations.
For an account of his worship read First Kings xviii.
With Jah and On, it has been introduced into the Royal Arch system as a representative of the Tetragrammaton, which it and the accompanying words have sometimes ignorantly been made to displace. At the session of the General Grand Chapter of the United States, in 1871, this error was corrected; and while the Tetragrammaton was declared to be the true omnific word, the other three were permitted to be retained as merely explanatory.
American Colonist, born January 8, 1681; graduated from Harvard University, 1699; died August 31, 1757. He was made a Freemason at London in 1704, according to a letter he wrote to the First Lodge in Boston on September 25, 1741, and therefore Brother M. M. Johnson names him the Senior Freemason of America.
Brother Belcher served as Colonial Governor of Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New Jersey (see New Age, August,1925; Beginnings of Freemasonry in America, Melvin M. Johnson, 1924, page 49 ; History of Freemasonry in the State of New York, Ossian Lang, page 6 ; Builder, volume x, page 312).
Belenus, the Baal of the Scripture, was identified with Mithras and with Apollo, the god of the sun. A forest in the neighborhood of Lausanne is still known as Sauvebelin, or the retreat or abiding place of Belenus, and traces of this name are to be found in many parts of England. The custom of kindling fires about midnight on the eve of the festival of St. John the Baptist, at the moment of the summer solstice, which was considered by the ancients a season of rejoicing and of divination, is a vestige of Druidism in honor of this deity.
It is a curious coincidence that the numerical value of the letters of the word Belenus, like those of Abrazas and Mithras, all representatives of the sun, amounts to 365, the exact number of the days in a solar year. But before ascribing great importance to this coincidence, it may be well to read what the mathematician Augustus De Morgan has said upon the subject of such comparisons in his Budget of Paraclozes (see Abrazas).
The Grand Orient of Belgium has constituted three Lodges in this Colony-Ere Nouvelle, Daennen and Labor et Libertas, the first two at Stanleyville and the third at Elizabethville. L’Aurore de Congo Lodge at Brazzaville is controlled by the Grand Lodge of France.
Tradition states that the Craft flourished in Belgium at Mons as early as 1721 but the first authentic Lodge, Unity, existed at Brussels in 1757 and continued work until 1794. A Provincial Grand Master Francis B.J. Dumont, the Marquis de Sages, was appointed by the Moderns Grand Lodge in 1769. For some years, however, opposition from the Emperor hiudered the expansion of the Craft.
0n January 1, 1814, there were only 27 Lodges in existence in the country.
A Grand Lodge was established by Dutch and Belgian Brethren on June 24, 1817, but it was not successful. Belgium became independent in 1830 and a Grand Orient was formed on May 23, 1833, out of the old Grand Lodge. In 1914 it controlled 24 Lodges in Belgium and one in the Belgian Congo.
King Leopold was himself initiated in 1813 and, although he never took a very active part in the work he always maintained a friendly attitude towards the Craft.
On March 1, 1817, a Supreme Council of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite was established.
The fundamental law of Freemasonry contained in the first of the Old Charges collected in 1723, and inserted in the Book of Constitutions published in that year, sets forth the true doctrine as to what the Institution demands of a Freemason in reference to his religious belief:
“A Mason is obliged, by his tenure, to obey the moral law; and if he rightly understands the art, he will never be a stupid atheist nor an irreligious libertine.
But though in ancient times Masons were charged in every country to be of the religion of that country or nation, whatever it was, yet it is now thought more expedient only to oblige them to that religion in which all men agree, leaving their particular opinions to themselves.”
Anderson, in his second edition, altered this article, calling a Freemason a true Noachida, and saying that Freemasons “all agree in the three great articles of Noah,” which is incorrect, since the Precepts of Noah were seven (see Religion of Freemasonry).
See British Honduras
The use of a bell in the ceremonies of the Third Degree, to denote the hour, is, manifestly, an anachronism, an error in date, for bells were not invented until the fifth century. But Freemasons are not the only people who have imagined the existence of bells at the building of the Temple. Henry Stephen tells us in the Apologie pour Herodote ( chapter 39 ), of a monk who boasted that when he was at Jerusalem he obtained a vial which contained some of the sounds of King Solomon’s bells. The blunders of a ritualist and the pious fraud of a relic-monger have equal claims to authenticity.
The Masonic anachronism, however, is not worth consideration, because it is simply intended for a notation of time–a method of expressing intelligibly the hour at which a supposed event occurred.
Brother Mackey, in writing the foregoing paragraph, had no doubt in mind the kind of bells used in churches of which an early, if indeed not the earliest, application is usually credited to Bishop Paulinus about 400 A.D.
However, in the Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Exploration Fund, 1904, there is a report of the discovery at Gezer of a number of small bronze bells, both of the ordinary shape with clapper and also of the ball-and-slit form. If these bells are of the same date as the city on whose site they were found, then they may have like antiquity of say up to 3000 B.C. Bells are mentioned in the Bible (as in Exodus xxviii 34, and xxxix, 26, and in Zechariah xiv, 20), but the presumption is that these were mainly symbolical or decorative in purpose.
A significant word in Symbolic Freemasonry, obsolete in many of the modem systems, whose derivation is uncertain (see Macbenac).
The name of a cavern to which certain assassins fled for concealment. The expression may be fanciful but in wund has a curious resemblance to a couple of Hebrew words meaning builder and tarry.
A significant word in the advanced degrees. One of the Princes or Intendants of Solomon, in whose quarry some of the traitors spoken of in the Third Degree were found. He is mentioned in the catalogue of Solomon’s princes, given in First Kings (iv, 9). The Hebrew word is, pronounced ben-day-ker, the son of him who divides or pierces. In some old instructions we find a corrupt form, Bendaa.
A Roman pontiff whose family name was Prosper Lambertini. He was born at Bologna in 1675, succeeded Clement XII as Pope in 1740, and died in 1758. He was distinguished for his learning and was a great encourager of the arts and sciences.
He was, however, an implacable enemy of secret societies, and issued, on the 18th of May, 1751, his celebrated Bull, renewing and perpetuating that of his predecessor which excommunicated the Freemasons (see Bull).
The solemn invocation of a blessing in the ceremony of closing a Lodge is called the benediction. The usual formula is as follows:
“May the blessing of Heaven rest upon us, and all regular Masons ; may brotherly love prevail, and every moral and social virtue cement us. ”
The response is, “So mote it be. Amen,” which should always be audibly pronounced by all the Brethren.
One who receives the support or charitable donations of a Lodge. Those who are entitled to these benefits are affiliated Freemasons, their wives or widows, their widowed mothers, and their minor sons and unmarried daughters. Unaffiliated Freemasons cannot become the beneficiaries of a Lodge, but affiliated Freemasons cannot be deprived of its benefits on account of non-payment of dues.
Indeed, as this non-payment often arises from poverty, it thus furnes a stronger claim for fraternal charity.
BENEFIT SOCIETY, MASONIC
In 1798, a society was established in London, under the patronage of the Prince of Wales, the Earl of Moira, and all the other acting officers of the Grand Lodge, whose object was “the relief of sick, aged, and imprisoned Brethren, and for the protection of their widows, children, and orphans.”
The payment of one guinea per annula entitled every member, when sick or destitute, or his widow and orphans in case of his death, to a fixed contribution- After a few years, however, the Society came to an end as it was considered improper to turn Freemasonry into a Benefit Club. Benefit funds of this kind have been generally unknown to the Freemasons of America, although some Lodges have established a fund for the purpose.
The Lodge of Strict Observance in the City of New York, and others in Troy, Ballston, Schenectady, etc., years ago, adopted a system of benefit funds.
In 1844, several members of the Lodges in Louisville, Kentucky, organized a society under the title of the Friendly Sons of St. John. It was constructed after the model of the English society already mentioned. No member was received after forty-five years of age, or who was not a contributing member of a Lodge ; the per diem allowance to sick members was seventy-five cents; fifty dollars were appropriated to pay the funeral expenses of a deceased member, and twenty-five for those of a member’s wife ; on the death of a member a gratuity was given to his family ; ten per cent of all fees and dues was appropriated to an orphan fund; and it was contemplated, if the funds would justify, to pension the widows of deceased members, if their circumstances required it.
Similar organizations are Low Twelve Clubs which have been formed in Lodges and other Masonic bodies and these are usually voluntary, a group of the brethren paying a stipulated sum into a common fund by regular subscriptions or by assessment whenever a member dies; a contribution from this fund being paid to the surviving relatives on the death of any brother affiliated in the undertaking.
But the establishment in Lodges of such benefit funds is by some Brethren held to be in opposition to the pure system of Masonic charity, and they have, therefore, been discouraged by several Grand Lodges, though several have existed in Scotland and elsewhere.
Cogan, in his work On the Passions, thus defines Benevolence : ”When our love or desire of good goes forth to others, it is termed goodwill or benevolence.
Benevolence embraces all beings capable of enjoying any portion of good; and thus it becomes universal benevolence, which manifests itself by being pleased with the share of good every creature enjoys in a disposition to increase it, in feeling an uneasiness at their sufferings, and in the abhorrence of cruelty under every disguise or pretext.”
This spirit should pervade the hearts of all Freemasons, who are taught to look upon mankind as formed by the Great Architect of the Universe for the mutual assistance, instruction, and support of each other.
BENEVOLENCE, FUND OF
This Fund was established in 1727 by the Grand Lodge of England under the management of a Committee of seven members, to whom twelve more were added in 1730.
It was originally supported by voluntary contributions from the various Lodges, and intended for the relief of distressed Brethren recommended by the contributing Lodges. The Committee was called the Committee of Charity.
The Fund is now derived partly from the fees of honor payable by Grand Officers, and the fees for dispensations, and partly from an annual payment of four shillings from each London Freemason and of two shillings from each country Freemason; it is administered by the Board of Benevolence, which consists of all the present and past Grand Officers, all actual Masters of Lodges and twelve Past Masters.
The Fund is solely devoted to charity,, and large sums of money are every year voted and paid to petitioners. In the United States of America there are several similar organizations known as Boards of Relief (see Relief, Board of).
BENEVOLENT INSTITUTIONS, UNITED STATES
There have been several institutions in the United States of an educational and benevolent character, deriving their existence in whole or in part from Masonic beneficence, and among these may be mentioned the following:
- Girard College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
- Masonic Widows and Orphans Home, Louisville, Kentucky.
- Oxford Orphan Asylum, Oxford, North Carolina.
- Saint John’s Masonic College, Little Rock, Arkansas.
- Masonic Female College, Covington, Georgia.
Besides the Stephen Girard Charity Fund, founded in Philadelphia, the capital investment of which is 562,000, the annual interest being devoted “to relieve all Master Masons in good standing,” there is a Charity Fund for the relief of the widows and orphans of deceased Master Masons, and an incorporated Masonic Home. The District of Columbia has an organized Masonic charity, entitled Saint John’s Mite Association. Idaho has an Orphan Fund, to which every Master Mason pays annually one dollar.
Indiana has organized the Masonic Widows’ and Orphans’ Home Society. Maine has done likewise; and Nebraska has an Orphans’ School Fund (see Charity).
Found in some old rituals of the high degrees for Bendekar, as the name of an Intendant of Solomon. It is Bengeber in the catalogue of Solomon’s officers (First Kings iv, 13), meaning the son of Geber, or the son of the strong man.
In 1728 a Deputation was granted by Lord Kingston, Grand Master of England, to Brother George Pomfret to constitute a Lodge at Bengal in East India, that had been requested by some Brethren residing there ; and in the following year a Deputation was granted to Captain Ralph Far Winter, to be Provincial Grand Master of East India at Bengal (see Constitutions, 1738, page 194) ; and in 1730 a Lodge was established at the “East India Arms, Fort William, Calcutta, Bengal,” and numbered 72. There is a District Grand Lodge of Bengal with 74 subordinate Lodges, and also a District Grand Chapter with 21 subordinate Chapters.
The Bible is properly called a greater light of Freemasonry, for from the center of the Lodge it pours forth upon the East, the West, and the South its refulgent rays of Divine truth. The Bible is used among Freemasons as a symbol of the will of God, however it may be expressed.
Therefore, whatever to any people expresses that will may be used as a substitute for the Bible in a Masonic Lodge. Thus, in a Lodge consisting entirely of Jews, the Old Testament alone may be placed upon the altar, and Turkish Freemasons make use of the Koran. Whether it be the Gospels to the Christian, the Pentateuch to the Israelite, the Koran to the Mussulman, or the Vedas to the Brahman, it everywhere Masonically conveys the same idea-that of the symbolism of the Divine Will revealed to man.
The history of the Masonic symbolism of the Bible is interesting. It is referred to in the manuscripts before the revival as the book upon which the covenant was taken, but it was never referred to as a great light. In the old ritual, of which a copy from the Royal Library of Berlin is given by Krause (Die drei ältersten Kunsturkunden der Freimaurerbrüderschaft, or The Three Oldest Art Documents of the Masonic Fraternity, 1, 32), there is no mention of the Bible as one of the lights. Preston made it a part of the furniture of the Lodge; but in monitors of about 1760 it is described as one of the three great lights. In the American system, the Bible is both a piece of furniture and a great light.
The above paragraphs by Doctor Mackey may well be extended on account of the peculiar position occupied by the Bible in our Fraternity. No one goes through the ceremonies and participates in Masonic activities uninfluenced by the Bible.
Studies of the Ritual necessarily rest upon the Scriptures and of those inspired by Bible teachings and language. One good Brother earnestly and faithfully labored to have certain ceremonies freely edited but when he, devout Churchman as he was, understood that sundry peculiarities of language followed the example of the Bible, he gladly gave up his purpose to alter that which abides equally typical of age as the Scriptures.
What had seemed to him mere repetition was meant for weighty emphasis, as in James (x, 27) “Pure religion and undefiled;” Hebrews (xii, 28) “with reverence and godly fear;” Colossians (iv, 12) “stand perfect and complete,” and also in the Book of Common Prayer, the word-pairs “dissemble nor cloak,” “perils and dangers,” “acknowledge and confess,” and so on.
These may well be mentioned here as the tendency to change ceremonies is seldom curbed by any consideration of the peculiar merit, other than their quaintness, of the old expressions.
The Scriptures, the Holy Writings, the Volume of the Sacred Law, the Old and New Testaments, the Holy Bible, this word Bible from the Greek, the (sacred) books; the two parts, Old and New Testaments, the former recording the Covenants, attested by the prophets, between the God of Israel and His people, Christ the central figure of the latter work speaks of the new Dispensation, a new Covenant, and the word Covenant in the Latin became Testamentum from which we obtain the word commonly used for the two divisions of the Bible, the Old and New Testaments. These divisions are further separated into the books of the Bible, sixty-six in all, thirty-nine in the Old Testament, twenty-seven in the New.
We must remember that Old and New refer to Covenants, not to age of manuscripts.
Earliest Hebrew writings of, the Old Testament only date back to the ninth century after Christ, several centuries later than the earliest New Testament Scriptures.
There is also another method of division in which the books of the Old Testament are counted but as twenty-four, First and Second Kings, First and Second Samuel, First and Second Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, and then the minor prophets, as they are called, being grouped as one for several hundred years by the Jews and then divided into two in the sixteenth century. Roughly we may divide the books into the law according to Moses; the historical books of Joshua, Samuel, and the anonymous historians; the poetry and philosophy; and the prophecies, of the Old Testament.
These standards the books contain are known as the canon, originally a measuring rod or rule. The canon to some authorities admits none of the books of the Apocrypha, which are of value for the insight they afford of Jewish religious life. There are the Greek Old Testament, the Septuagint, and the Latin Old Testament, the Vulgate (Septuagint, a translation traditionally made by seventy persons, from the Latin septuaginta; and the Vulgate, another Latin expression, applied to the Saint Jerome version and meaning what is common) which in these works include the Apocrypha, usually held uncanonical by Protestants, and then there are certain other books that both Roman Catholics and Protestants consider as having even less authority. Apocrypha comes from two Greek works krypton, to hide, and apo, meaning away. There is also an Apocrypha of the New Testament. Many Christian writings are of this class. Some add much light upon the early Church.
The New Testament was written at various times, Saint Matthew being followed about 64-70 A.D, by the work of Saint Mark at Rome. Saint Luke treats the subject historically, and claim is made that this writer was also responsible for recording the Acts of the Apostles. Saint John probably wrote his gospel near the close of the first century. His style is distinctive, and his material favored in formulating the Christian Creed.
The early Hebrew text of the Bible was wholly of consonants. Not until the sixth or eighth centuries did the pointed and accented lettering, a vowel system, appear, but before the tenth century much devoted labor was applied upon critical commentaries by Jewish writers to preserve the text from corruption. The Targum is practically a purely Jewish version of the Old Testament dating from soon before the Christian Era. The Septuagint is a Greek version used by the Jews of Alexandria and a Latin translation of the sixth century by’ Jerome is the Vulgate. These three are leading versions.
The history of the several translations is most interesting but deserves more detail than is possible in our limited space. A few comments on various noteworthy editions, arranged alphabetically, are as follows:
Coverdale’s Version. Known as the “Great Bible,” translated by Miles Coverdale, 1488-1568, a York- shireman, educated with the Augustine friars at Cambridge, ordained at Norwich, 1514, becoming a monk.
By 1526 his opinions changed, he left his monastery, preached against confession, and against images in churches as idolatry. He was on the Continent in 1532 and probably assisted Tyndale in his task. His own work, the first complete Bible in English, appeared in 1535, the Psalms are those still used in the Book of Common Prayer. He was at Paris in 1538 printing an edition, when many copies were seized by the Inquisition, but a few got to England where the Great Bible was published in 1539.
Coverdale was Bishop of Exeter in 1551. An exile later, he had part in the Geneva edition, 1557-60.
Douai Version. Sometimes it is spelled Douay. A town in northern France, formerly an important center for exiled Roman Catholics from England.
Here the Douai Bible in English was published anonymously, translated from the Vulgate and doubtless by refugees at the Seminary at Douai and the English College at Rheims, the New Testament first appearing in 1582, the Old Testament in 1609–10.
Sanctioned by the Roman Catholic Church the text has undergone several revisions, notably in 1749–50.
Genevan Bible. Called also the Breeches Bible from its translation of Genesis iii, 7 “They sewed fig leaves together and made themselves breeches.”
Printed in a plainly readable type, this 1560 edition improved the former black-letter printing and was a complete revision of Coverdale’s “Great Bible” in a bandy form.
Following the plan of a New Testament issued at Geneva in 1557, a Greek-Latin one in 1551, and the Hebrew Old Testament, this Bible had the text separated into verses and there were also marginal notes that proved popular.
King James Version. Known also as the Authorized Version, a task begun in 1604, the work was published in 1611, the actual revision requiring two years and nine months with another nine months preparing for the printing. Doctor Miles Smith, Bishop of Gloucester, 1612, tells in the old preface of the style and spirit of his associates.
They went to originals rather than commentaries, they were diligent but not hasty, they labored to improve and (modernizing the good Bishop’s spelling) “lid not disdain to revise that which we had done, and to bring back to the anvil that which we had hammered, but having and using as great helps as were needful, and fearing no reproach for slowness, nor coveting praise for expedition, we have at the length, through the good hand of the Lord upon us, brought the work to that pass that you see.”
Mazarin Bible. Notable as the first book printed from movable metal types, about 1450, probably by Gutenberg in Germany, but this is also credited to other printers, as Peter Schoffer. The name of this Latin reprint of the Vulgate is from that of Cardinal Mazarin, 1602-61, a Frenchman in whose library the first described copy was discovered.
Printers Bible. An early edition having a curious misprint (Psalm cxix, 161), the “Princes have persecuted me without a cause,” reading the word Printers for Princes.
Revised Version. A committee appointed in February, 1870, presented a report to the Convocation of Canterbury, England, in May of that year, that it “should nominate a body of its own members to undertake the work of revision, who shall be at liberty to invite the co-operation of any eminent for scholarship, to whatever nation or religious body they may belong.”
Groups of scholars were formed shortly afterwards and similar co-operating companies organized in the United States, the Roman Catholic Church declining to take part. Ten years were spent revising the New Testament, submitted to the Convocation in 1881, the Old Testament revision in 1884, the revised Apocrypha in 1895. After this conscientious labor had calm, not to say cool, reception, changes were made in favorite texts, alterations upset theories, for some, the revision was too radical and for others too timid, even the familiar swing and sound of the old substantial sentences had less strength in their appeal to the ear and to many the whole effect was weakened. Yet this would naturally be the result of any painstaking revision, especially so with a work of such intimacy and importance.
Later revisions have appeared. One from the University of Chicago is a skillful edition of the New Testament by Professor E. J. Goodspeed, whose attempt to reproduce the spirit today of the conversational style of the old originals is praiseworthy as a purpose, though we shall probably all continue to prefer that best known.
Tyndale’s Version.. William Tyndale, 1490-1536, was born in Gloucestershire, England, on the Welsh border, went to the Continent, first to Hamburg, then to Cologne, to translate and print the Bible. This publication forbidden, he and his secretary escaped to Worms where an edition of the New Testament was completed in 1526. His pamphlets indicting the Roman Church and the divorce of the English king, Henry VIII, were attacks without gloves and powerful influence was exerted in return. His surrender was demanded.
But not until 535 was he seized, imprisoned near Brussels, tried for heresy and on October 6, 1536, strangled to death and his body burnt. His translations are powerful and scholarly, his literary touch certain and apt, experts crediting him with laying the sure foundation of the King James Version of the Bible.
Vinegar Bible. A slip of some one in an edition of 1717 gave the heading to the Gospel of Saint Luke xx, as the “Parable of the Vinegar,” instead of Vineyard.
Wicked Bible. An old edition,1632, which omits by some accident the word not from the seventh commandment (Exodus 14).
Wyclifle’s Version. Spelled in many ways, John of that name, 1320–84, an English reformer, condemned to imprisonment through the Bulls of Pope Gregory XI, the death of the king and other interferences gave him some relief, but his attacks did not cease and his career was stormy. Dying in church from a paralytic stroke, his remains, thirty years later were, by a Decree of the Council of Constance and at the order of Pope Martin V, dug from the grave and destroyed by fire. Wycliffe’s personal work on the translation of the. Bible is in doubt, be it much or little, though there is no question that his main contribution was his earnest claims for its supreme spiritual authority and his success in making it popular, his devotion and ability paving the way and setting the pace for the pioneer English editions known by his name, the earliest finished about 1382, a revision of it appearing some six years later.
The reader desirous of studying the Bible will get great help in locating passages by any Concordance, listing the words with their text references, Cruden’s of 1737 being the basis of English editions. A Bible Dictionary and the Encyclopedias assist in unearthing many details of consequence. Several special treatises on various important persons and places are available, the scientific publications of the Palestine Exploration Fund, established in 1865, very useful. The study of the life of Christ is readily pursued through the New Testament with what is called a Harmony of the Gospels, an arrangement to bring corresponding passages together from the several documents, a convenient exhibition in unity of the isolated but closely related facts. Books on the Book of all Books are many.
Reason and Belief, a work by a well known scientist, Sir Oliver Lodge, is not only itself worthy but it lists others of importance for study. Appeal of the Bible Today, Thistleton Mark, shows how the Bible interprets itself and how it bears interpretation, a book listing freely many other authorities and itself also of great individual value.
These are typical of many excellent treatises.
Of the literary values, two books in particular show clearly the influence of the Scriptures upon pre-eminent writers, George Allen’s Bible References of John Ruskin, and The Bible in Shakespeare by William Burgess, the latter treating a field which many authors, Eaton, Walter, Ellis, Moulton, and others, have tilled. Listen to John Ruskin (Our Fathers have told us, chapter iii, section 37) on the Bible. It contains plain teaching for men of every rank of soul and state in life, which so far as they honestly and implicitly obey, they Will be happy and innocent to the utmost powers of their nature, and capable of victory over all adversities, whether of temptation or pain.
Indeed, the Psalter alone, which practically was the service book of the Church for many ages, contains merely in the first half of it the sum of personal and social Wisdom.
The 1st, 8th, 14th, 15th, 19th, 23rd, and 24th psalms, well learned and believed, are enough for all personal guidance; the 48th, 72nd, and 75th, have in them the law and the prophecy of all righteous government ; and every real triumph of natural science is anticipated in the 104th.
For the contents of the entire volume, consider what other group of history and didactic literature has a range comparable with it. There are:
- The stories of the Fall and of the Flood, the grandest human traditions founded on a true horror of sin.
- The story of the Patriarchs, of which the effective truth is visible to this day in the polity of the Jewish and Arab races.
- The story of Moses, with the results of that tradition in the moral law of all the civilized world.
- The story of the Kings-virtually that of all Kinghood, in David, and of all Philosophy, in Solomon: culminating in the Psalms and Proverbs, with the still more close and practical Wisdom of Ecclesiastics and the Son of Sirach.
- The story of the Prophets-virtually that of the deepest mystery, tragedy, and permanent fate, of national existence.
- The story of Christ.
- The moral law of Saint John, and his closing Apocalypse of its fulfilment.
Think, if you can match that table of contents in any other-I do not say ‘book’ but ‘literature.’
Think, no far as it is possible for any of us—either adversary or defender of the faith-to extricate his intelligence from the habit and the association of moral sentiment based upon the Bible, what literature could have taken its place, or fulfilled its function, though every library in the world had remained, unravaged, and every teacher’s truest words had been written down.
As to Shakespeare we are reminded by the mention of his name of the monitorial item on the wasting of man (from Henry viii, iii, 2), “Today he puts forth the tender leaves, tomorrow blossoms, and bears his blushing honors thick upon him,” and so on, a selection seldom adhering closely to the original words.
This is the Shakespeare in whose works we have so much biblical connection that Sprague, in his Notes on the Merchant of Venice, says “Shakespeare is so familiar with the Bible that we who know less of the Sacred Book are sometimes slow. to catch his allusions.” Green’s History of the English People tells graphically and convincingly of the power of the Bible at the Reformation when the translation and reading of it in the common tongue was no longer heresy and a crime punishable by fire, no more forbidden but almost the only, book in common reach.
Had Shakespeare any’ book at all, that book was the Bible.
Brother Robert Burns ( The Cotter’s Saturday Night) poetically describes the evening worship, and the reading of the Bible:
The priest-like father reads the sacred page,
How Abram was the friend of God on high;
Or, Moses bade autumnal warfare wage
With Malek’s ungracious progeny ;
Or, how the royal bard did groaning lie
Beneath the stroke of Heaven’s avenging ire ;
Or Jacob’s pathetic plaint, and wailing cry;
Or rapt Isaiah’s wild, seraphic fire ;
Or other sacred seers that tune the sacred lyre.
Perhaps the Christian volume is the theme,
How guiltless blood for guilty man was shed;
How He, who bore in Heaven the second name,
Had not on earth whereon to lay His head:
How His first followers and servants sped ;
The precepts sage they wrote to many a land :
How he, who lone in Pathos banished,
Saw in the sun a mighty angel stand, ,
And heard great Bab’lon’s doom pronounced by
The Standard Masonic Monitor of Brother George E. Simons, New York (page 21), offers an admirable address upon the Bible that for many years has been used by Brethren in various parts of the United States and elsewhere.
The Standard Monitor prepared by Brother Henry Pirtle, Louisville, Kentucky, 1921 (page 15), submits another address equally, to be used with pleasure and profit. The growing custom of presenting a suitably inscribed Bible from the Lodge to the initiate offers further opportunity to the Brethren to enlarge upon this important theme.
A brief address is here given upon the Bible as a Book peculiarly the cherished chart of the Freemason in struggling through the storms of life to the harbor of peace:
The Rule and Guide of Masonic Faith is the Holy Bible. From cradle unto grave we cling to books, the permanent of friends, the sources of knowledge and inspiration.
Books are the lasting memories of mankind. Youth relief upon the printed page for records of science, reports of philosophy, foundations of history, words of inspiring wisdom. Knowledge of the best books and a wise use of them is superior scholarship, highest education. in age as in youth we turn the leaves of literature for renewed acquaintance with the gracious pact and better hold upon the living present. Of all the books is the one of leadership, the Book Supreme blazing the way with Light of noblest excellence to man, the Bible.
Within these covers are laid down the moral principles for the up building of a righteous life. Freemasonry lays upon the Altar of Faith this Book. Around that Altar we stand a united Brotherhood. There we neither indulge sectarian discussion nor the choice of any Church. We say the Freemason shall have Faith but our God is everywhere and we teach that it is the prayer that counts, not the place of praying. For centuries the Bible has shone the beacon light of promised immortality, the hope serene of union eternal with the beloved who go before.
Here is the message for Masonic comfort when all else fails, the rays of truth glorifying God, enlightening Man.
Dr. George W. Gilmore, Editor of the Homiletic Review, and Chaplain of Anglo-Saxon Lodge, No. 137, New York City, prepared for us the following address for use in presenting a Bible to the newly raised Freemason: My Brother: Already this evening your earnest attention has been called to the three Great Lights in Masonry, especially to the Holy Bible. its importance to the whole Masonic structure has been emphasized. As you observe it now on the sacred Altar of the Brotherhood, its position is emblematic of the significance already taught you. Just as it is the basis on which the other two Great Lights rest, so its highest teachings are the foundation on which Freemasonry is erected, and they have been commended to you as the basis of your own faith and practice.
There is, however, a condition in this recommendation implicit, in part, in the circumstances under which you entered this lodge. Among the qualifications claimed for you as warranting your admission to this place one was that you are ” of lawful age.”
This was not insignificant. it meant that the Lodge was receiving you as one possessing mature judgment and the ability of a man to follow his judgment with the appropriate will to action. Freemasonry, my Brother, looks for no blind obedience to its commands. lt expects that its adherents will focus upon its mandates their God-given powers of intellect, and is confident that its precepts and its works will be justified by a mature and considered estimate of their worth. Hence, in so important a matter as that which concerns your own “faith and practice,” you are commanded to study this sacred book and “learn the way to everlasting life,” to read it intelligently and with as full appreciation of its origin and growth as you may command.
You should realize, first, that this Book is not, speaking humanly, the product of a single mind, the reflection of one generation. It is a double collection of many tracts or treatises.
How many hands contributed to the composition we do not now know and probably never shall.
Some of its parts are highly complex, the product of whole schools of thought, ritual, and learning.
Its outstanding unity, however, rests upon the sublime fact that the mind of the Great Architect of the Universe has, in all ages and places, been in contact with the mind of His sons, imparting to them as their capacities permitted, inspiring their sublimest thoughts and guiding to their noblest action, and was in contact with those who penned these books.
Second, this sacred volume covers in the period when it was actually written possibly nearly or quite thirteen hundred years-at least from the time of Moses to ths day, when 2 Peter was written. And much earlier traditions, handed down by word of mouth (just as the teachings of Freemasonry are transmitted), are embodied within its pages.
The Old Testament records the history of a people from that people’s unification out of clans and tribes to its formation as a monarchy, its division, its subsequent decline and fall as a kingdom, and its rebirth as a church state or theocracy. External history, not recorded within the Bible, tells of the extinction of this church-state by the Romans.
The history recorded in the Old Testament relates not only to external events, but to the more important matters of religion and ethics. It embraces not only the perfected thought of 1000 years of development, but also the crude morality of nomad tribes when “an eye tor an eye” registered the current conception of justice.
It is a far cry from that crude and cruel morality to the teaching of Micah: ”What doth Jehovah require of thee but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” And the advance proceeds as we reach the New Testament. There we find such a consummate climax of religion and morality as is reached in the summary of the commandments:” Thou shalt love the Lord thy God With all thy heart and With all thy soul and With all thy mind and With all thy strength; and thy neighbor as thyself,” conjoined with such peaks of self-control as in the command: ” Love your enemies, do good to them that hate you, bless them that curse you, pray for them that despitefully use you.”
The Bible is not, then, one dead level of ethics, religion, or culture. It is the register of a progress from a primitive stage of morals to the highest yet known. Not the inferior starting points of this morality are commended to you, but that level of action which best befits a man who would act on the square in this age of enlightenment.
If, therefore, you find in the record the sharp-practice of a Jacob or the polygamy of a Jacob or a Solomon, it is not there as a pattern. for your own life and practice. It is, just a record, faithful to fact and the witness to fidelity in recording.
You are not to reproduce in this age the life and morals of 1200 B. C., or of an earlier age. You are to exercise the judgment of one living in the light of the prophets, of Jesus Christ, and of the great teachers and moralists who have followed them.
The highest pattern is yours to follow, that, as the Supreme Teacher expressed it, “Ye may be sons of your Father in heaven.” This is the spirit and this the method in and by which you are encouraged to approach this masterpiece of literature, ethics, and religion, to draw from it the principles of the conduct you as a Macon shall exhibit in the lodge and in the world.
My brother, it is the beautiful practice of this lodge to present to each of the initiates a copy of the Great Light. It is my present pleasing duty to make this presentation in the name of the Worshipful Master and in behalf of the Lodge.
Receive, it, read it with painstaking care, study it sympathetically, appropriate its most exalted teachings, exemplify them in your life.
Therein is found ” the way to life eternal.”
In Masonic processions the oldest Master Mason present is generally selected to carry the open Bible, Square, and Compasses on a cushion before the Chaplain.
This brother is called the Bible-Bearer. The Grand Bible-Bearer is an officer of the Grand Lodge of Scotland.
The Blazing Star, which is not, however, to be confounded with the Five-Pointed Star, is one of the most important symbols of Freemasonry, and makes its appearance in several of the Degrees. Hutchinson says “It is the first and most exalted object that demands our attention in the Lodge.” It undoubtedly derives this importance, first, from the repeated use that is made of it as a Masonic emblem; and secondly, from its great antiquity as a symbol derived from older systems.
Extensive as has been the application of this symbol in the Masonic ceremonies, it is not surprising that there has been a great difference of opinion in relation to its true signification.
But this difference of opinion has been almost entirely confined to its use in the First Degree. In the higher Degrees, where there has been less opportunity of innovation, the uniformity of meaning attached to the Star has been carefully preserved.
In the Twenty-eighth Degree of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite, the explanation given of the Blazing Star, is, that it is symbolic of a the Freemason, who, by perfecting himself in the way of truth, that is to say, by advancing in knowledge, becomes like a blazing star, shining with brilliancy in the midst of darkness. The star is, therefore, in this degree, a symbol of truth.
In the Fourth Degree of the same Rite, the star is again said to be a symbol of the light of Divine Providence pointing out the way of truth.
In the Ninth Degree this symbol is called the star of direction; and while it primitively alludes to an especia1 guidance given for a particular purpose expressed in the degree, it still retains, in a remoter sense, its usual signification as an emblem of Divine Providence guiding and directing the pilgrim in his journey through life.
When, however, we refer to Ancient Craft Freemasonry, we shall find a considerable diversity in the application of this symbol.
In the earliest monitors, immediately after the revival of 1717, the Blazing Star is not mentioned, but it was not long before it was introduced. In the instructions of 1735 it is detailed as a part of the furniture of a Lodge, with the explanation that the “Mosaic Pavement is the Ground Floor of the Lodge, the Blazing Star, the Center, and the Indented Tarsal, the Border round about it!”
In a primitive Tracing Board of the Entered Apprentice, copied by Oliver, in his Historical Landmark (I, 133), without other date than that it was published early in the last century,” the Blazing Star occupies a prominent position in the center of the Tracing Board. Oliver says that it represented BEAUTY, and was called the glory in the center.
In the lectures credited to Dunckerley, and adopted by the Grand Lodge, the Blazing Star was mid to represent “the star which led the wise men to Bethlehem, proclaiming to mankind the nativity of the Son of God, and here conducting our spiritua1 progress to the Author of our redemption. ”
In the Prestonian lecture, the Blazing Star, with the Mosaic Pavement and the Tesselated Border, are called the Ornaments of the Lodge, and the Blazing Star is thus explained:
“The Blazing Star, or glory in the center, reminds us of that awful period when the Almighty delivered the two tables of stone, containing the ten commandments, to His faithful servant Moses on Mount Sinai, when the rays of His divine glory shone so bright that none could behold it without fear and trembling. It also reminds us of the omnipresence of the Almighty, overshadowing us with His divine love, and dispensing His blessings amongst us; and by its being placed in the center, it further reminds us, that wherever we may be assembled together, God is in the midst of us, seeing our actions, and observing the secret intents and movements of our hearts.”
In the lectures taught by Webb, and very generally adopted in the United States, the Blazing Star is said to be “commemorative of the star which appeared to guide the wise men of the East to the place of our Savior’s nativity,” and it is subsequently explained as hieroglyphically representing Divine Providence.
But the commemorative allusion to the Star of Bethlehem seeming to some to be objectionable, from its peculiar application to the Christian religion, at the revision of the lectures made in 1843 by the Baltimore Convention, this explanation was omitted, and the allusion to Divine Providence alone retained.
In Hutchinson’s system, the Blazing Star is considered a symbol of Prudence. “It is placed,” says he, “in the center, ever to be present to the eye of the Mason, that his heart may be attentive to her dictates and steadfast in her laws;-for Prudence is the rule of all Virtues; Prudence is the path which leads to every degree of propriety; Prudence is the channel where self-approbation flows for ever; she leads us forth to worthy actions, and, as a Blazing Star, enlighteneth us through the dreary and darksome paths of this life” (Spirit of Masonry, edition of 1775, Lecture v, page 111).
Hutchinson also adopted Dunckerley’s allusion to the Star of Bethlehem, but only as a secondary symbolism.
In another series of lectures formerly in use in America, but which we believe is now abandoned, the Blazing Star is said to be “emblematical of that Prudence which ought to appear conspicuous in the conduct of every Mason; and is more especially commemorative of the star which appeared in the east to guide the wise men to Bethlehem, and proclaim the birth and the presence of the Son of God. ”
The Freemasons on the Continent of Europe, speaking of the symbol, say: “It is no matter whether the figure of which the Blazing Star forms the center be a square, triangle, or circle, it still represents the sacred name of God, as an universal spirit who enlivens our hearts, who purifies our reason, who increases our knowledge, and who makes us wiser and better men. ”
And lastly, in the lectures revised by Doctor Hemming and adopted by the Grand Lodge of England at the Union in 1813, and now constituting the approved lectures of that jurisdiction, we find the following definition:
“The Blazing Star, or glory in the center, refers us to the sun, which enlightens the earth with its refulgent rays, dispensing its blessings to mankind at large, and giving light and life to all things here below.”
Hence we find that at various times the Blazing Star has been declared to be a symbol of Divine Providence, of the Star of Bethlehem, of Prudence, of Beauty, and of the Sun.
Before we can attempt to decide upon these various opinions, and adopt the true signification, it is necessary to extend our investigations into the antiquity of the emblem, and inquire what was the meaning given to it by the nations who first made it a symbol.
Sabaism, or the worship of the stars, was one of the earliest deviations from the true system of religion.
One of its causes was the universally established doctrine among the idolatrous nations of antiquity, that each star Was animated- by the soul of a hero god, who had once dwelt incarnate upon earth. Hence, in the hieroglyphical system, the star denoted a god.
To this signification, allusion is made by the prophet Amos (v, 26), when he says to the Israelites, while reproaching them for their idolatrous habits: “But ye have borne the tabernacle of your Moloch and Chian your images, the star of your god, which ye made to yourselves.”
This idolatry was early learned by the Israelites from their Egyptian taskmasters; and so unwilling were they to abandon it, that Moses found it necessary strictly to forbid the worship of anything “that is in heaven above,” notwithstanding which we find the Jews repeatedly committing the sin which had been so expressly forbidden. Saturn was the star to whose worship they were more particularly addicted under the names of Moloch and Chian, already mentioned in the passage quoted from Amos.
The planet Saturn was worshiped under the names of Moloch, Malcolm or Milcom by the Ammonites, the Canaanites, the Phoenicians, and the Carthaginians, and under that of Chian by the Israelites in the desert.
Saturn was worshiped among the Egyptians under the name of Raiphan, or, as it is called in the Septuagint, Remphan. St. Stephen, quoting the passage of Amos, says, “ye took up the tabernacle of Moloch and the star of your god Remphan” (see Acts vii, 43).
Hale, in his analysis of Chronology, says in alluding to this passage : “There is no direct evidence that the Israelites worshiped the dog-star in the wilderness, except this passage; but the indirect is very strong, drawn from the general prohibition of the worship of the sun, moon, and stars, to which they must have been prone.
And this was peculiarly an Egyptian idolatry, where the dog-star was worshiped, as notifying by his heliacal rising, or emersion from the sun’s rays, the regular commencement of the periodical inundation of the Nile. And the Israelite sculptures at the cemetery of Kibroth-Hattaavah, or graves of lust, in the neighborhood of Sinai, remarkably abound in hieroglyphics of the dog-star, represented as a human figure with a dog’s head.
That they afterwards sacrificed to the dog-star, there is express evidence in Josiah’s description of idolatry, where the Syriac Mazaloth (improperly, termed planets) denotes the dog-star; in Arabic, Mazaroth.”
Fellows (in his Exposition of the Mysteries, page 7) says that this dog-star, the Anubis of the Egyptians, is the Blazing Star of Freemasonry, and supposing that the 1atter is a symbol of Prudence, which indeed it was in some of the ancient lectures, he goes on to remark ; ”What connection can possibly exist between a star and prudence, except allegorically in reference to the caution that was indicated to the Egyptians by the first appearance of this star, which warned them of approaching danger.”
But it will hereafter be seen that he has totally misapprehended the true signification of the Masonic symbol. The work of Fellows, it may be remarked, is an unsystematic compilation of undigested learning; but the student who is searching for truth must carefully eschew all his deductions as to the genius and spirit of Freemasonry.
Notwithstanding a few discrepancies that may have occurred in the Masonic lectures, as arranged at various periods and by different authorities, the concurrent testimony of the ancient religions, and the hieroglyphic 1anguage, prove that the star was a symbol of God. It was so used by the prophets of old in their metaphorica1 style, and it has so been generally adopted by Masonic instructors.
The application of the Blazing Star as an emblem of the Savior has been made by those writers who give a Christian explanation of our emblems, and to the Christian Freemason such an application will not be objectionable.
But those who desire to refrain from anything that may tend to impair the tolerance of our system, will be disposed to embrace a more universal explanation, which may be received alike by all the disciples of the Order, whatever may be their peculiar religious views. Such persons will rather accept the expression of Doctor Oliver, who, though much disposed to give a Christian character to our Institution, says in his Symbol of Glory (page 292), “The Great Architect of the Universe is therefore symbolized in Freemasonry by the Blazing Star, as the Herald of our salvation.” Before concluding, a few words may be said as to the form of the Masonic symbol. It is not a heraldic star or estella, for that always consists of six points, while the Masonic star is made with five points.
This, perhaps, was with some involuntary allusion to the five Points of Fellowship. But the error has been committed in all our modern Tracing Boards of making the star with straight points, which form, of course, does not represent a blazing star. John Guillim, the editor in 1610 of the book A Display of Heraldirie, says:
“All stars should be made with waved points, because our eyes tremble at beholding them.” In the early Tracing Board already referred to, the star with five straight points is superimposed upon another of five waving points. But the latter are now abandoned, and we have in the representations of the present day the incongruous symbol of a blazing star with five straight points. In the center of the star there was always placed the letter G, which like the Hebrew yod, was a recognized symbol of God, and thus the symbolic reference of the Blazing Star to Divine Providence is greatly strengthened.
BLAZING STAR, ORDER OF THE
The Baron Tschoudy was the author of a work entitled The Blazing Star (see Tschoudy). On the principles inculcated in this work, he established, says Thory Acta Latomorum I, 94), at Paris, in 1766, an Order called “The Order of the Blazing Star,” which consisted of Degrees of chivalry ascending to the Crusades, after the Templar system usually credited to Ramsay. It never, however, assumed the prominent position of an active rite.
This is emphatically the color of Freemasonry. It is the appropriate tincture of the Ancient Craft Degrees. It is to the Freemason a symbol of universal friendship and benevolence, because, as it is the color of the vault of heaven, which embraces and covers the whole globe, we are thus reminded that in the breast of every brother these virtues should be equally as extensive. It is therefore the only color, except white, which should be used in a Master’s Lodge for decorations. Among the religious institutions of the Jews, blue was an important color. The robe of the high priest’s ephod, the ribbon for his breastplate, and for the plate of the miter, were to be blue. The people were directed to wear a ribbon of this color above the fringe of their garments; and it was the color of one of the veils of the tabernacle, where, Josephus says, it represented the element of air. The Hebrew word used on these occasions to designate the color blue or rather purple blue, is tekelet; and this word seems to have a singular reference to the symbolic character of the color, for it is derived from a root signifying perfection; now it is well known that, among the ancients, initiation into the mysteries and perfection were synonymous terms; and hence the appropriate color of the greatest of all the systems of initiation may well be designated by a word which also signifies perfection.
This color also held a prominent position in the symbolism of the Gentile nations of antiquity. Among the Druids, blue was the symbol of truth, and the candidate, in the initiation into the sacred rites of Druidism, was invested with a robe composed of the three colors, white, blue, and green.
The Egyptians esteemed blue as a sacred color, and the body of Amun, the principal god of their theogony, was painted light blue, to imitate, as Wilkinson remarks, “his peculiarly exalted and heavenly nature.”
The ancient Babylonians clothed their idols in blue, as we learn from the prophet Jeremiah (x, 9). The Chinese, in their mystical philosophy, represented blue as the symbol of the Deity, because, being, as they say, compounded of black and red, this color is a fit representation of the obscure and brilliant, the male and female, or active and passive principles.
The Hindus assert that their god, Vishnu, was represented of a celestial or sky blue, thus indicating that wisdom emanating from God was m be symbolized by this color. Among the medieval Christians, blue was sometimes considered as an emblem of immortality, as red was of the Divine love. Portal says that blue was the symbol of perfection, hope, and constancy. “The color of the celebrated dome, azure,” says Weale, in his treatise on Symbolic Colors, “was in divine language the symbol of eternal truth; in consecrated language, of immortality, and in profane language, of fidelity.”
Besides the three degrees of Ancient Craft Freemasonry, of which blue is the appropriate color, this tincture is also to be found in several other degrees, especially of the Scottish Rite, where it bears various symbolic significations; all, however, more or less related to its original character as representing universal friendship and benevolence.
In the Degree of Grand Pontiff, the Nineteenth of the Scottish Rite, it is the predominating color, and is there said to be symbolic of the mildness, fidelity, and gentleness which ought to be the characteristics of every true and faithful brother.
In the Degree of Grand Master of all Symbolic Lodges, the blue and yellow, which are its appropriate colors, are said to refer to the appearance of Jehovah to Moses on Mount Sinai in clouds of azure and gold, and hence in this degree the color is rather a historical than a moral symbol.
The blue color of the tunic and apron, which constitutes a part of the investiture of a Prince of the Tabernacle, or Twenty-fourth Degree in the Scottish Rite, alludes to the whole symbolic character of the degree, whose teachings refer to our removal from this tabernacle of clay to “that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” The blue in this degree is, therefore, a symbol of heaven, the seat of our celestial tabernacle.
Brothers John Heron Lepper and Philip Crossle contributed to Ars Quatuor Coronalorum (volume xxxvi, part 3, page 284), a discussion of Masonic Blue from which the following abstract has been made. Reference being first directed to other contributions to the subject in Ars Quatuor Coronatorum (xxii, 3; xxiii); and to the Transactions, Lodge of Research (1909-In, page 109), the authors state their belief that the Gold and Blue worn by the officers of the Grand Lodge of Ireland and the members of the Grand Master’s Lodge, Dublin, are symbolical of the Compasses from the very inception of a Grand Lodge in Ireland, the symbolism being introduced there from England in or before 1725. After the first dozen years some variations were made in the established forms and the opinion is hazarded that one of these changes was from sky-blue to the dark Garter Blue for the ribbons and lining of the aprons then worn by the officers of the Grand Lodge of England, afterwards the Moderns.
On Saint John’s Day in June, 1725, when the Earl of Rosse was installed Grand Master of Ireland, he was escorted to the King’s Inns by “Six Lodges of Gentlemen Freemasons,” the members of one “wore fine Badges full of Crosses and Squares, with this Motto, Spes mea in Deo est (My hope is in God), which was no doubt very significant, for the Master of it wore a Yellow Jacket, and Blue Britches.” Brethren of the Grand Lodge still wear working aprons with yellow braid and yellow fringe with sky blue border on a plain white ground with no other ornament. These are probably syrnbolical of the compasses as in the following quotation from a spurious ritual published in the Dublin Intelligence, August 29, 1730:
After which I was clothed.
N.B. The clothing is putting on the Apron and Gloves.
Q. How was the Master clothed?
A. in a Yellow Jacket and Blue Pair of Breeches.
N B The Master is not otherwise Clothed than common. the Question and Answer are only emblematical, the, Yellow Jacket, the Compass, and the Blue Breeches, the Steel Points.
At a Masonic Fête in the Theater Royal, Dublin, December 6, 1731, we find “The Ladies all wore yellow and Blue Ribbons on their Breasts, being the proper Colors of that Ancient and Right Worshipful Society.”
From the first the Grand Lodge of Ireland issued Lodge Warrants bearing Yellow and Blue ribbons supporting the seal showing a hand and trowel, a custom continued until about 1775.
The Grand Lode of Ireland preserves a cancelled Warrant issued June 6, 1750, to erect a Lodge No. 209 in Dublin. On the margin is a colored drawing of the Master on his throne and he wears a yellow jacket and blue breeches-with a red cloak and cocked hat-all of the Georgian period. An old picture-said to be after Hogarth-in the Library of Grand Lodge of England shows a Freemason with a yellow waistcoat. Our late Brother W, Wonnacott, the Librarian, thought the color of this garment was no accident and is symbolical of the brass body of the Compasses.
Up to recent years the members of Nelson Lodge, No, 18, Newry, County Down, Ireland, wore blue coats and yellow waistcoats, both having brass buttons with the Lodge number thereon. The color of the breeches has not been preserved but no doubt it was intended to be the same as the coat.
Union Lodge, No. 23, in the same town, must have worn the same uniform, for there is still preserved a complete set of brass buttons for such a costume.
These two Lodges, 18 and 23, were formed in 1809 from an older Lodge, No. 933, Newry, warranted in 1803. But from the fact that in Newry there still works the oldest Masonic Lodge in Ulster, warranted in 1737 and also from the fact that. Warrant No. 16, originally, granted in l732 or 1733, was moved to and revived at Newry in 1766, there can be no question but that Masonic customs had a very strong foothold in that town.
That this custom was an old custom in Newry is also shown by the coat and vest which the late Brother Dr, F, C. Crossle had made for himself, he being intensely interested in Masonic lore, and having learned from the lips of many veteran Freemasons in Newry. that. this was the old and correct Masonic dress for festival occasions. It is true we cannot assume a general practice from a particular custom, as in the case of the Newry usage, nevertheless the latter is another link in the chain.
A significant word in several of the degrees which refer to the second Temple, because it was only the tribes of Judah and Benjamin that returned from the captivity to rebuild it. Hence, in the Freemasonry of the second Temple, Judah and Benjamin have superseded the columns of Jachin and Boaz ; a change the more easily made because of the identity of the initials.
Corruptly spelled benchorim in some old monitors. This is a significant word in the high degrees, probably signifying one that is freeborn, from son of the freeborn. The word has also a close resemblance in sound to the Hebrew for son of Hiram.
or Beniah. Lenning gives this form, Benayah. The son of Jah, a significant word in the advanced degrees. The Hebrew is n-iz.