SPIRITUAL GROWTH OF FREE MASONRY

INTRODUCTION

	My first indication for the need for instruction in Freemasonry came
early in my association with the Craft.  I asked an older Brother, the
Master of our Lodge, the meaning of a certain piece of furniture in the
Lodge.  He told me he did not know.

	Here was a highly respected brother, a leader, who had instituted many
of the lodges of a young and growing district, who could not answer the
simple question of an interested neophyte.  He was a great ritualist,
and could exemplify any part of the Work of the Lodge, but he had no
knowledge of the lessons hidden behind the symbolisms.  We made many
Masons during his lengthy term of office, but few Craftsmen.  His work n
the Craft was that of a social organizer.

	My latest example of the need for education in the Craft occurred a few
months ago.  A discussion on the subject was commenced by a leader of
the district.  He brought to the attention of the brethren the desire of
some of the members to be able to meet and refute calumnies which had
been made against the Craft.  He had found during his visits that many
younger members were asking questions and information, whereby they
might give general relies, and were unable to obtain answers to their
own varied thoughts.  A suggestion was made that a magazine, or some
such publication, should be sponsored which would be informative and
available to all Craftsmen.  There was also a request for a freer
distribution of the ritual and ceremonials.

	One of the speakers on the subject, a minister, gave a very impassioned
address, calling the attention of the brethren to the obligation as
entered apprentices.  He strongly opposed the distribution of rituals,
and also the proposal for other publications.  He seemed to be quire
unaware that there is a world of literature available to freemasons. 
Much of this is worthy of distribution to the public in general, and to
the churches in particular.

	I believe that it is very necessary and proper that we should be fully
informed on the origin of our ceremonies, what those ceremonies and
rituals are, and the lessons we should derive from them.  Our Order is
based on speculation for true knowledge, or Light on the Works of the
G.A., and that Light must be continually rekindled.

	In the many discussions, lectures and informal talks that I have heard,
most have been centred on the premise of the Operative origin of our
Craft.  I do not dispute the fact that much of original work came form
and through the Operative, but I feel that through the centuries there
had flowed a current of spiritual or speculative free thought, free
building, or freemasonry; carried by various means and is now embodied
in our Order.  In more recent times men have gathered around the cracker
barrel at the country store, met in the barn, or a livery stable; in
their favourite club room to spend a social hour.  You had to be a
kindred soul to join their assembly.  From politics, religions and wild
stories and conversations and debates would occasionally drift to the
more serious contemplation of some phenomenon of the Universe.  In
ancient times this same procedure undoubtedly occurred.

1  THE NOMADS.

	I should probably commence with the building of King Solomon's Temple,
but I want to go back to an earlier time.  I beg leave to omit specific
dates for they are not presently available to me, and moreover, might be
misleading.  Actually there can be no dating where there may be
variations of time, and where in most instances periods may extend for
hundreds of years, and over-lap.  We could set these periods only in
terms of dynasties.

	A young Egyptian prince who had been trained in the priestly crafts for
the kingship, departed from the tenets of his order, and was expelled
from his country.  He travelled eastward and mingled with the shepherd
people of the plains.  At about the same period a young camel driver
appeared periodically in the same area, roughly extending through Arabia
and Babylonia.

	The camel driver became an observer of the Universe, and developed a
faith in gods of good and evil symbolized by the controlled movements of
the sun, moon and stars, the winds and the waters.  The earthly symbol
of his Deity was a small altar on which a perpetual fire was maintained,
representing Light.  His Deity was that force which ordered the heavenly
bodies in their pre-determined paths.

	Little is recorded of the wanderings of the Egyptian prince.  One day
he saw a great Light centered at a small fire in the open country.  From
it he received an inspiration.  He returned to his home country and led
out from it the enslaved and dissatisfied members of his people.  He
gave them a new faith in a Deity who  controlled the Universe, but was
not bound thereto by corporal symbols.  This Deity was symbolized by a
small fire maintained on a  portable altar.  This fire gave a Light at
night and a  plume of smoke by day, to indicate the place of the leader
of the tribe during their migration.

	Zoroaster and Moses, almost contemporary, if they were not the same
person, were the first recorded to find their Deity in the unseen Ruler
of the Universe, and to symbolize Him as Light.

2  THE HEBREWS  [or Israel]

	King Solomon's Temple, which has prominence in our ceremonies, was a
city built to be a seat of government for an established Kingdom.  The
temple proper was a treasure house, a comparatively small building,
where were deposited the historical records of the people.  Most
important of all these records was the scroll of the book of laws that
only written record existing at that time.

	An order of priestcraft had already been established for the service of
this temple, and for the government of the people, of which the king was
the titular head.

	To this court were attracted those who were learned in the arts and
sciences, and Jerusalem became the university of the period; the centre
of the philosophies of the deserts.  Within this university there would
naturally be instituted clubs of priests and artisans to enquire into
the peculiar features of their crafts.  It is the founding of this
university, during the building of the Temple to a universal Deity, that
we more particularly mark than the physical erection of the structure.

	This is accomplished by certain orders of ceremonies and procedure; and
acceptance of authority in a democratic state; and a lesson in the
regeneration of life by a substitution of that which is immediately
available, and sufficiently satisfactory until more appropriate, or more
instructed means and persons can be discovered or prepared.

3  THE BABYLONIANS

	When the first Temple was destroyed the governing families, who were
integral with the priesthood, were transported to the Babylonian area. 
It is unreasonable to assume that there had been previously a
considerable traffic between these two centres of exchange and
philosophy.  Therefore, it is quite possible that these people, who
claimed that their origins were form the east, would find many
opportunities to settle themselves in the new country, and assimilate
with the residents.

	In spite of the stories of the tribulations of these people they
apparently became very prosperous; entered into the governing, religious
and educational services, and eventually gained certain controls through
their factions.  A high intellectual standard was built up at a college
near Babylon, under the direction of a master named Daniel.  During this
period of 'captivity' these people wrote the story of their race in song
and prose, and gave in the world the first books of the V.S.L.  The
college, at which most of this work may have been performed, became a
centre of learning of the known sciences, and to it travelled most of
the intellectuals of the era; among them Pythagoras.  They built up a
system of allegories, signs and symbols, and became the interpreters of
the allegories they instituted.  By these mediums they established a
fraternity among themselves, by which they could travel through the
circle of their world; event to the control of kingdoms.

4  THE JEWS.

	These associations eventually obtained for them a control which restored
to them their original home, one of the holy places; perhaps the most
revered mountain of al the people of that day.  They rebuilt the temple
to their ancient glories and to be the centre of their philosophy, and
the repository of their history and laws.  For their governance they
re-established their polity of a theo-cratic state.

5  THE GREEKS

	Their philosophic teachings, and the questions they engendered, were
carried beyond their borders, and from these Babylonian researches the
philosophies and dialectics of the Greek schools of Socrates, described
by Plato, became a searching field of speculation to enhance the
authoritarian laws of the Hebrews.  We here begin to see the growth of
the small schools of enquiry into the mysteries of nature; surrounding
themselves with the necessary guards to protect them from uninitiated
and ignorant rulers, and rival or spurious bodies.

6  THE ALEXANDRIANS.

	The centre of learning, never long established, or able to live
unmolested, shifted to Alexandria where a library and university were
instituted.  In this library were accumulated the known records of the
day.  To this centre were invited a body of Jews learned in their laws,
to make for the library a Greek translation of the Hebrew law.  (This is
now known as the Septuagint).  This body of priests and scribes (about
72) were instituted into an established order; were housed and
entertained by their hosts, and to their own primary orders were added
new feature and practices obtained during their sojourn.
(This University became in time a rival to Jerusalem, and eventually
became a colony of refugees from political and religious oppression of
the home country.  It probably was the place of refuge of Jehoshua of
Nazareth, and the place where he obtained his learning.)

7  THE ESSENES.

	A new body grew up around Jerusalem and spread itself through the
cities and areas where the Jews resided or travelled to trade.  The
members of this order were trained in the Mosaic law, and were generally
of the Pharisaic [liberal] faction.  After completing their course of
training and obtaining acceptance into the priesthood, they might enter
the novitiate of this order.  This novitiate was for the period of one
year.  During this time they had to undergo a strict period of training,
and prove themselves worthy by deprivations and severe frugal living. 
(Otherwise: retire into the desert).  Upon acceptance into the sect,
they transferred to it all their possessions, and if celibate were bound
to remain so [although this seems to have been optional].  If married
they had to submit to a strict control of their personal life, and live
away from their family in the common residence of the brotherhood. 
Trained in the priesthood, they were also artisans and craftsmen, and
here they studied and practiced the science of the physicians and the
arts of healing.

	They had a residence in every own where they live din community, taking
common fair with their brethren, and making a common wealth of their
earnings from their labours.  Any member of this sect or brotherhood
travelling to another city would immediately report to the home where he
would be received and accepted into the community, fed and clothed, and
be given employment or assisted along his road.  They became the leaders
of thought and inst5ruction, and by their integrity gained the
confidence of the people and of the governors, and they attained to high
regard and position.  While these people retained their associations
with the Temple authorities they departed form the material practices of
their religion, and were great protagonists for honourable and good
government.  They sought their comfort in the speculation of the natural
sciences.

8  THE MITHRAISTS.

	Contemporary with the former body, which was racial and exclusive,
another form of brotherhood was growing up among the soldiers of the
Roman Empire.  These men, of varied races, travelling and living among
strange peoples, evolved a creed, based on the elements of nature,
similar to and probably deriving from the symbolisms of the East.  The
Deity was represented by the Pole Star and its neighbouring and
companion constellation. [The Bear in is four seasons as the Swastika.] 
This body in its belief and practices was sympathetic to, and
understanding of the more intellectual practices of the priestly
brotherhood.

9  THE CHRISTIANS

	The intellectual group of craftsmen produced some men of powerful
character who became leaders of a new group or order; promulgating to
the general public the truths they had found and evolved in their
private assemblies.  These leaders having caused unrest throughout the
province and cities of Judea were arrested and dispersed. A more
practical politician had been brought into this group, or had insinuated
himself therein for the purpose of improving the opportunities of a new
excitement to advance his faction against the ruling powers. This
member, finding that the Great Philosopher had antagonized the
priestcraft who planned to destroy him, sought the protection of the
soldier craftsmen.  They having arrested Him, in due form He was brought
to the judgment of a court in which rival powers existed between church
and state, and in the placating of the priestcraft the Great Philosopher
was destroyed.

	The execution of the sentence of the court was performed by the
soldiers, and they, if the general conventions of this act are portrayed
correctly, instead of using the customary Tau cross of the felon,
substituted the symbol of the Key of Life of the ancient Egyptians.

	The remorse resulting from this crime created a bond and tie between
the two brotherhoods until they merged and disappeared into a new and
greater order, which spread and established itself wherever soldier and
craftsman might travel and sojourn.  And they became bonded into closer
communion, and protective bodies, as they met the oppositions of
religious and state antagonism.

10  THE ROMANS.

	From their first great enthusiasms these communities fell into
political decay, and jealousies of precedents and powers.  The greater
political body, which had been built up under an older regime, split
into two factions rivalling in their temporal authorities, and of their
spiritual original procedure.

	The Eastern [Greek] faction, which attained to a more spiritual
understanding of their philosophies, spread northwards and eastwards. 
The Western faction [Roman], of materialistic pretentions, descendant
form the Egyptian mysteries, increased its temporal powers as it fell
away from truth and justice, and gained governing control of peoples and
countries.  To secure these controls they built storehouses and towns
for themselves, and within them a temple t the Deity they professed to
serve.

11  THE BUILDERS.

	The architecture and construction of these cities, their temples,
fortifications and other main buildings was committed to the members of
the building crafts, under the supervision of the intellectuals of the
priesthood.  Within this grouping there must of a necessity have been
considerable discussion of plans, and of ways and means to complete
their work.  There must have been some room or apartment given to this
controlling body for this preparation and storing of their plans, and
this apartment would be the meeting place of this group.  For the
protection of their craft they would have their guards and officers, and
each member of this governing body would be jealous of the intrusion of
those who had not been accepted into their society.  The great charge to
their guards would be to keep from this fraternal body [for such it must
become to be able to erect their great monuments] the inquisitorial
priests and governors of the higher orders, under whose direction they
were supposed to be building.  These would-be intruders were probably
given the most opprobrious term available to them - 'cowan', or, the
common name of the Jewish priesthood - 'cohen'.

12  THE KABBALAH

	A parallel body also existed during the same period in the area of
eastern Europe.  During its existence it based its philosophy on the old
Hebrew doctrines, to which was added the astrology of the Persians, the
romances of the Egyptians, the logic of the Greeks and its own science
of numerology.  It did not have the stability of the performance of
physical structure, and rested its being in mythology and calculations. 
In the dark days the rhetoric of the Kabbalah faded away.  But I left
behind a fertile field of thought, on which north-western Europe was to
build in due time.

13  THE MOSLEMS.

	A new voice came from the Arabian desert, where another camel driver
saw a Light.  His professions were based on the old Hebrew laws and
traditions, and he assumed the roll of prophet of the desert people. 
His fanaticism attracted both friends and enemies, and while during his
life-time his influence was only local, the foundation he laid was built
upon extensively, and was spread by the power of the sword of his
followers.  Strangely, their greater animosities were displayed against
the Jews, and they tolerated the Christians.  However, in their progress
across North Africa and through the Balkans they proselyted and drew to
themselves the Jewish people, through the similarity of their race,
traditions and fundamental doctrines.

14  THE CRUSADERS

	The robbery and oppression of travellers, and the fines and charges
levied against merchants by the Moslems and=20
Turks throughout the Mediterranean area finally created an opposition
from the West.  The remnants of the Western armies [or Crusaders]
returned to their homes with new knowledge of the Wisdom of the East. 
One section of these armies remained in the East to build up a service
and protection to travellers and pilgrims.  These soldiers formed
themselves into a militant brotherhood, founded on their military
condition, and added thereto the traditions, romances and lores of the
East.  Their eventual return injected much of their practice, ceremony
and ritual into the growing civilization of the West.

15  THE SARACENS.

	When the power of the Moslems as at its highest, under the Saracen,
Saladin, new consciousness came to the Jewish people.  In the court of
Saladin, a Jewish physician and philosopher became the centre of
thought, and a guide to his people wherever they were scattered.  His
interpretations and instructions were sought and followed by all Jewry,
and were likened to a cord stretched between heaven and Earth; they
effected a consolidation of the Jewish practice and worship at a time
when thee had fallen into uncertainties through their dispersal.

	Coincidental with this period a re-discovery was made of the works of
the Greek philosophers, as recorded by Plato, and revived by the
Alexandrian Plotinus.  While the Moslems burned and sacked the archives
of Alexandria some of its treasures were saved, and were carried into
Europe by refugee Jews.  The liberal philosophies thus distributed were
taken up by the learned of the day, and caused many schisms and open
rebellions against the power of the church and state then centred at
Rome.

16  THE REFORMERS.

	A long period of argument, discussion and oppression and armed conflict
continued over a couple of centuries, and culminated In the
'Reformation'.  The Roman Catholic church sustained an internal
revolution as great as that revolt which separate certain sections and
countries from its direction and control.  Through this period students
of the philosophies renewed their searches of all the old writings for
the truths, and many great scholars of the day have left to us the
records of their thoughts and deductions. Out of these works have come
many of the finer things of our present system of ethics.

17  THE GUILDS OR COMPANIES.

	Following the reformation period there was still much unrest and strife
for the control of the temporal, as well as the spiritual life of the
people.  Men, who through their political, religious and commercial
activities had come in contact with others of common sense and reasoning
debate, joined together in clubs to advance their mutual ideals and
welfare.  They were not content with any of the religious professions,
so they built their beliefs into the simplest allegories they could
devise.  They reorganized that all men were brothers in the eyes of the
Supreme Being who was Governor of the Universe, and they practiced
charity and benevolence as an outward demonstration of that truth. 
Their assemblies were held in the taverns adjacent to their working
places, where during their periods of refreshment, and in the evenings
after the days' toil, they would discuss their thought and ideals. 
Mixed with the questions of their trades were those of the ethics of
life, and as most men who had attained to a position of authority must,
in their youth, have been apprentices or serving brothers, clerks,
businessmen and profession gentlemen were included in their gatherings.
The status of the clubs grew in dignity until we have our fraternal
Order of today.

19.  THE FREEMASON.

	To-day this liberal thought pervades the whole world.  Through the past
dark period of war the brightest lights have shone form the elders of
our nations and armies. They have, with few exceptions, expressed
themselves in terms that to the initiated told that they too had
travelled from east to west, in search of the truth they found on the
centre, and that their service was devoted to the works of the
G.A.O.T.U.  We knew the rightness of our cause for on every hand we, and
our brotherhood, were condemned by our inhuman enemies, and we taught
our soldiers to practice charity.

	While the English-speaking freemasonry has gone far, our fraternity in
other European countries has not fared so well.  It is difficult to
asses the reasons, but there never has been the freedom of association,
and freedom from material powers that has existed in our countries. 
Periodically a revival has occurred, and liberal thought and policy has
seemed to gain ground, but only for a short time, and then be crushed
under the heel of a new oppressor.  It may be national temperament, or
it may be that that certain over-reaching political powers have a
strangle-hold on the temporal, and therefore, the spiritual welfare of
the people.  There never has been in those other peoples, that common
knowledge of a Supreme Being to give them the strength and support we
enjoy.

	To offset some of the objections to the Order, and possibly to placate
some of their members, the French Grand Orient removed the V.S.L. from
their altar and replaced it by their constitution; reverting to a
condition in which our own lodges ere originally furnished.  This
probably was a wise procedure for the French, when the change was
adopted, and may have been a fir and proper thing for them to do.[It may
have been the cause of their recent downfall and distress].  We thought
other wise and refuse dour recognition, thereby breaking a tie that
would in time, with benevolence and forbearance, additional instruction
and influence, have restored the V.S.L., or some their appropriate
article of faith more acceptable to those people, to the place of the
centre.

20  CONCLUSION.

	I have tried to trace the progress of the spirit of our thought and
practice through the ages, and, while my line of reasoning may be
fatuous, I am encouraged by a remark of a great scientist of today who,
while he thinks that a large proportion of the inhabitants of the world
may be wiped out, added, "There will always be enough thinking men and
books to start gain."  And, so I believe, through the ages, a leaven of
hardy men have kept bright the Light of the G.A.  And I am further
satisfied that now the greater numbers, and the dispersion of free and
true men, bound by the cable tow of brotherly love and good intentions,
throughout the English-speaking world is an indication of a higher level
of civilization, which cannot be destroyed.  It is not strange that all,
or most of the leaders of our day speak with a single voice.  They will
control any powers of darkness that might attempt to rise gain.  The
Spirit of Freemasonry has been the seed for the Spirit of our Greater
Commonwealth of Nations.

By Colin Clarke.

	This is submitted as it was first written and delivered to Westmount
Study Club on Nov. 21, 1945.
Published in Masonic Light, Huntingdon, Que., February 5952