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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Conscience and the Craft

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Each man seeks in Masonry for himself, and each man finds for himself. Each Mason has an absolute right to interpret Masonry for himself as he sees fit. With our long tradition of prizing intellectual liberty and individual thought, it could not be otherwise.

But if no interpretation of Masonry is officially "right", there are some which are clearly wrong. When someone ascribes words to a person which that person never wrote, or when someone insists that Masons believe something which has never been a part of the lessons of Masonry, it is the duty of every thinking Mason to say, "That is not what Masonry teaches!"


It is my prayer that every thoughtful person who wants to know more about Freemasonry will read this information and review again in his heart the lessons of Him who taught it is better to love than to hate and fear, and that it is our duty to cherish all mankind, to strive to be better tomorrow than we were yesterday, and to strive to emulate the compassion and caring of the Good Shepherd.


--Allan D. Large, 32, KCCH, Grand Master of Masons of the State of Oklahoma, 1991-1992




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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

"Character of a Freemason"... Ancient Definition

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The real Freemason is distinguished from the rest of Mankind by the uniform unrestrained rectitude of his conduct.

Other men are honest in fear of punishment which the law might inflect; they are religious in expectation of being rewarded, or in dread of the devil, in the next world.

A Freemason would be just if there were no laws, human or divine except those written in his heart by the finger of his Creator. In every climate, under every system of religion, he is the same. He kneels before the Universal Throne of God in gratitude for the blessings he has received and humble solicitation for his future protection.

He venerates the good men of all religions. He disturbs not the religion of others. He restrains his passions, because they cannot be indulged without injuring his neighbor or himself.

He gives no offense, because he does not choose to be offended. He contracts no debts which he is certain he cannot discharge, because he is honest upon principal.

In The Farmers Almanac for 1823 published at Andover, Mass., the following was printed under the heading, "Character of a Freemason":


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Monday, March 26, 2012

Not One Person

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Not one person ever joined Masonry because George Washington was a Mason. Not one person ever joined Masonry because Harry Truman was a Mason. Not one person ever joined because of any of our great Masonic heroes. Joining doesn't make you any of those people.
Not one person ever joined in order to give a million dollars a day to charity, or homes, or crippled children. You don't have to be a member to give money.

Not one person ever joined because our ritual is outstanding, or our minutes are accurate, or a hundred other things we worry about. They don't know about our ritual.

They joined because someone they knew and admired was a Mason. It could have been a father, a friend, a man down the street, or someone a thousand miles away.

Who, it didn't matter. They admired him and wanted to do the things he did, and they did it by the millions.

Want to help our growth? Be the kind of man someone admires. Someone will notice.


~By Brother Dan Weatherington, from the Masonic e-mail journal CINOSAM



As reprinted in the Quarterly Newsletter of Anniversary Lodge of Research No. 175, New Hampshire

CINOSAM is published by Rt. Wor. Bro. Neddermeyer, the Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Minnesota. For more information, write to Cinosam1@juno.com



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Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Eye in the Pyramid

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In, at times, a strongly worded article Dr. S. Morris, a member and Past Master of Patmos Lodge #70, Ellicott City, Maryland, has "set the record straight" on the myth that the Great Seal of the United States represents a Masonic symbol. The facts are clearly presented, together with several examples of the use of the "All Seeing Eye" prior to any known Masonic use. This straightforward article is being presented as a STB so that Freemasons may have an answer when the question is asked "Is the Seal of the United States a Masonic symbol?"  - A Page About Freemasonry


HISTORIANS must be cautious about many well-known "facts." George Washington chopped down a cherry tree when a boy and confessed the deed to his father. Abner Doubleday invented the game of baseball. Freemasons inserted some of their emblems (chief among them the eye in the pyramid) into the reverse of the Great Seal of the United States. These historical "facts" are widely popular, commonly accepted, and equally false.

The eye in the pyramid (emblazoned on the dollar bill, no less) is often cited as "evidence" that sinister conspiracies abound which will impose a "New World Order" on an unsuspecting populace. Depending on whom you hear it from, the Masons are planning the takeover themselves, or are working in concert with European bankers, or are leading (or perhaps being led by) the Illuminati (whoever they are). The notion of a world-wide Masonic conspiracy would be laughable, if it weren't being repeated with such earnest gullibility by conspiracists like Pat Robertson.

Sadly, Masons are sometimes counted among the gullible who repeat the tall tale of the eye in the pyramid, often with a touch of pride. They may be guilty of nothing worse than innocently puffing the importance of their fraternity (as well as themselves), but they're guilty nonetheless. The time has come to state the truth plainly and simply!

The Great Seal of the United States is not a Masonic emblem, nor does it contain hidden Masonic symbols.

The details are there for anyone to check, who's willing to rely on historical fact, rather than hysterical fiction.

  • Benjamin Franklin was the only Mason on the first design committee, and his suggestions had no Masonic content.
  • None of the final designers of the seal were Masons.
  • The interpretation of the eye on the seal is subtly different from the interpretation used by Masons.
  • The eye in the pyramid is not nor has it ever been a Masonic symbol.

The First Committee


On Independence Day, 1776 a committee was created to design a seal for the new American nation. The committee's members were Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and John Adams, with Pierre Du Simitiere as artist and consultant[1]. Of the four men involved, only Benjamin Franklin was a Mason, and he contributed nothing of a Masonic nature to the committee's proposed design for a seal.

Du Simitiere, the committee's consultant and a non-Mason, contributed several major design features that made their way into the ultimate design of the seal: 'the shield, E Pluribus Unum, MDCCLXXVI, and the eye of providence in a triangle."[2] The eye of providence on the seal thus can be traced, not to the Masons, but to a non-Mason consultant to the committee.

"The single eye was a well-established artistic convention for an 'omniscient Ubiquitous Deity' in the medallic art of the Renaissance. Du Simitiere, who suggested using the symbol, collected art books and was familiar with the artistic and ornamental devices used in Renaissance art."[3] This was the same cultural iconography that eventually led Masons to add the all-seeing eye to their symbols.

The Second and Third Committees


Congress declined the first committees suggestions as well as those of its 1780 committee. Francis Hopkinson, consultant to the second committee, had several ideas that eventually made it into the seal: "white and red stripes with- in a blue background for the shield, a radiant constellation of thirteen stars, and an olive branch."[4] Hopkinson's greatest contribution to the current seal came from his layout of a 1778 50-dollar colonial note in which he used an unfinished pyramid in the design. The third and last seal committee of 1782 produced a design that finally satisfied Congress. Charles Thomson, Secretary of Congress, and William Barton, artist and consultant, borrowed from earlier designs and sketched what at length became the United States Seal.

The misinterpretation of the seal as a Masonic emblem may have been first introduced a century later in 1884. Harvard Professor Eliot Norton wrote that the reverse was 'practically incapable of effective treatment; it can hardly, (however artistically treated by the designer), look otherwise than as a dull emblem of a Masonic fraternity.[5]

Interpreting the Symbol


The "Remarks and Explanations" of Thomson and Barton are the only explanation of the symbols' meaning. Despite what anti-Masons may believe, there's no reason to doubt the interpretation accepted by the Congress.

The Pyramid signified Strength and Duration: The Eye over it & the Motto allude to the many signal interpositions of providence in favor of the American cause.[6]

The committees and consultants who designed the great Seal of the United States contained only one Mason, Benjamin Franklin. The only possibly Masonic design element among the very many on the seal is the eye of providence, and the interpretation of it by the designers is different from that used by Masons. The eye on the seal represents an active intervention of God in the affairs of men, while the Masonic symbol stands for a passive awareness by God of the activities of men.

The first "official" use and definition of the all-seeing eye as a Masonic symbol seems to have come in 1797 with The Freemasons Monitor of Thomas Smith Webb -- 14 years after Congress adopted the design for the seal. Here's how Webb explains the symbol.

"[A]nd although our thoughts, words and actions, may be hidden from the eyes of man, yet that All-Seeing Eye, whom the Sun, Moon and Stars obey, and under whose watchful care even comets perform their stupendous revolutions, pervades the inmost recesses of the human heart, will reward us according to our merits."[7]

The Eye in the Pyramid


Besides the subtly different interpretations of the symbol, it is notable that Webb did not describe the eye as being in a triangle. Jeremy Ladd Cross published The True Masonic Chart or Hieroglyphic Monitor in 1819, essentially an illustrated version of Webb's Monitor. In this first "official" depiction of Webb's symbol, Cross had illustrator Amos Doolittle depict the eye surrounded by a semicircular glory.[8]

The all-seeing eye thus appears to be a rather recent addition to Masonic symbolism. It is not found in any of the Gothic Constitutions, written from about 1390 to 1730. The eye -- sometimes in a triangle, sometimes in clouds, but nearly always surrounded by a glory -- was a popular Masonic decorative device in the latter half of the 18th century. Its use as a design element seems to have been an artistic representation of the omniscience of God, rather than some generally accepted Masonic symbol.

Its meaning in all cases, however, was that commonly given it by society at large -- a reminder of the constant presence of God. For example, in 1614 the frontispiece of The History of the World by Walter Raleigh showed an eye in a cloud labeled "Providentia" overlooking a globe. It has not been suggested that Raleigh's story is a Masonic document despite the use of the all-seeing eye.

The eye of Providence was part of the common cultural iconography of the 17th and 18th centuries. When placed in a triangle, the eye went beyond a general representation of God to a strongly Trinitarian statement. It was during this period that Masonic ritual and symbolism evolved; and it is not surprising that many symbols common to and understood by the general society made their way into Masonic ceremonies. Masons may have preferred the triangle because of the frequent use of the number 3 in their ceremonies: three degrees, three original grand masters, three principal officers, and so on. Eventually the all-seeing eye came to be used officially by Masons as a symbol for God, but this happened towards the end of the eighteenth century, after congress had adopted the seal.

A pyramid, whether incomplete or finished, however, has never been a Masonic symbol. It has no generally accepted symbolic meaning, except perhaps permanence or mystery. The combining of the eye of providence overlooking an unfinished pyramid is a uniquely American, not Masonic, icon, and must be interpreted as its designers intended. It has no Masonic context.

Conclusion


It's hard to know what leads some to see Masonic conspiracies behind world events, but once that hypothesis is accepted, any jot and tittle can be misinterpreted as "evidence." The Great Seal of the United States is a classic example of such a misinterpretation, and some Masons are as guilty of the exaggeration as many anti-Masons.

The Great Seal and Masonic symbolism grew out of the same cultural milieu. While the all-seeing eye had been popularized in Masonic designs of the late eighteenth century, it did not achieve any sort of official recognition until Webb's 1797 Monitor. Whatever status the symbol may have had during the design of the Great Seal, it was not adopted or approved or endorsed by any Grand Lodge.

The seal's Eye of Providence and the Mason's All Seeing Eye each express Divine Omnipotence, but they are parallel uses of a shared icon, not a single symbol.

~By: S. Brent Morris, P.M.



Notes


[1] Robert Hieronimus, America's Secret Destiny (Rochester, Vt.: Destiny Books, 1989), p. 48.

[2] Patterson and Dougall in Hieronimus, p. 48.

[3] Hieronimus, p. 81.

[4] Hieronimus, p. 51.

[5] Hieronimus, p. 57.

[6] C. Thomas and W. Barton in Hieronimus, p. 54.

[7] Thomas Smith Webb, The Freemasons Monitor or Illustrations of Masonry (Salem, Mass.: Cushing and Appleton, 1821), p. 66.

[8] Jeremy Ladd Cross, The True Masonic Chart or Hieroglyphic Monitor, 3rd ed. (New Haven, Conn.: By the Author, 1824), plate 22.

References


Cross, Jeremy Ladd. The True Masonic Chart or Hieroglyphic Monitor, 3rd ed. New Haven, Conn.: By the Author, 1824.

Hieronimus, Robert. America's Secret Destiny. Rochester, Vt.: Destiny Books, 1989.

Webb, Thomas Smith. The Freemasons Monitor or Illustrations of Masonry. Salem, Mass.: Cushing and Appleton, 1821.


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Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Regius Manuscript - Instruction on Good Manners

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The Regius Manuscript
©1390
A Poem of Moral Duties
and the Foundations of Freemasonry



also known as

The Halliwell Manuscript



Published in modern English by
James O. Halliwell, 1840

Hic incipiunt constituciones artis
gemetriae secundum Eucyldem.

(Here begin the constitutions of the Art
of Geometry according to Euclid.)

Instruction on Good Manners
*unknown author

Instruction on Good Manners

Good manners make a man.
To the next degree look wisely,
To do them reverence by and by;
Do them yet no reverence all in turn,
Unless that thou do them know.
To the meat when thou art set,
Fair and honestly thou eat it;
First look that thine hands be clean,
And that thy knife be sharp and keen,
And cut thy bread all at thy meat,
Right as it may be there eaten,
If thou sit by a worthier man,


Then thy self thou art one,
Suffer him first to touch the meat,
Ere thyself to it reach.
To the fairest morsel thou might not strike,
Though that thou do it well like;
Keep thine hands fair and well,
From foul smudging of thy towel;
Thereon thou shalt not thy nose blow,
Nor at the meat thy tooth thou pick;
Too deep in cup thou might not sink,
Though thou have good will to drink,
Lest thine eyes would water thereby--


Then were it no courtesy.
Look in thy mouth there be no meat,
When thou begins to drink or speak.
When thou seest any man drinking,
That taketh heed to thy speech,
Soon anaon thou cease thy tale,
Whether he drink wine or ale,
Look also thou scorn no man,
In what degree thou seest him gone;
Nor thou shalt no man deprave,
If thou wilt thy worship save;
For such word might there outburst.


That might make thee sit in evil rest.
Close thy hand in thy fist,
And keep thee well from "had I known."
Hold thy tongue and spend thy sight;
Laugh thou not with no great cry,
Nor make no lewd sport and ribaldry.
Play thou not but with thy peers,
Nor tell thou not all that thou hears;
Discover thou not thine own deed,
For no mirth, nor for no reward;
With fair speech thou might have thy will,
With it thou might thy self spoil.


When thou meetest a worthy man,
Cap and hood thou hold not on;
In church, in market, or in the gate,
Do him reverance after his state.
If thou goest with a worthier man
Then thyself thou art one,
Let thy foremost shoulder follow his back,
For that is nurture without lack;


When he doth speak, hold thee still,
When he hath done, say for thy will,
In thy speech that thou be discreet,
And what thou sayest consider thee well;
But deprive thou not him his tale,
Neither at the wine nor at the ale.
Christ then of his high grace,
Save you both wit and space,
Well this book to know and read,
Heaven to have for your reward.
Amen! Amen! So mote it be!
So say we all for charity.




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Friday, March 23, 2012

What is a Mason?

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A Mason is a man who professes a faith in God. As a man of faith, he uses the tools of moral and ethical truths to serve mankind. In fellowship with his Brothers, a Mason finds ways in which to serve his God, his family, his fellowman, and his country. A Mason is dedicated. He recognizes his responsibility for justice, truth, charity, enlightenment, freedom and liberty, honesty and integrity in all aspects of human endeavor. A Mason is such a man.
-author unknown



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The Regius Manuscript - How to Behave in Church

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The Regius Manuscript
©1390
A Poem of Moral Duties
and the Foundations of Freemasonry



also known as

The Halliwell Manuscript



Published in modern English by
James O. Halliwell, 1840

Hic incipiunt constituciones artis
gemetriae secundum Eucyldem.

(Here begin the constitutions of the Art
of Geometry according to Euclid.)

How to Behave in Church
*unknown author

How to Behave in Church

In holy church leave trifling words
Of lewd speech and foul jests,
And put away all vanity,
And say thy pater noster and thine ave;
Look also that thou make no noise,
But always to be in thy prayer;
If thou wilt not thyself pray,
Hinder no other man by no way.
In that place neither sit nor stand,
But kneel fair down on the ground,
And when the Gospel me read shall,


Fairly thou stand up from the wall,
And bless the fare if that thou can,
When gloria tibi is begun;
And when the gospel is done,
Again thou might kneel down,
On both knees down thou fall,
For his love that bought us all;
And when thou hearest the bell ring
To that holy sacrament,
Kneel you must both young and old,
And both your hands fair uphold,
And say then in this manner,


Fair and soft without noise;
"Jesu Lord welcome thou be,
In form of bread as I thee see,
Now Jesu for thine holy name,
Shield me from sin and shame;
Shrift and Eucharist thou grand me both,
Ere that I shall hence go,
And very contrition for my sin,
That I never, Lord, die therein;
And as thou were of maid born,
Suffer me never to be lost;
But when I shall hence wend,


Grant me the bliss without end;
Amen! Amen! so mote it be!
Now sweet lady pray for me."
Thus thou might say, or some other thing,
When thou kneelest at the sacrament.
For covetousness after good, spare thou not
To worship him that all hath wrought;
For glad may a man that day be,
That once in the day may him see;
It is so much worth, without doubt,
The virtue thereof no man tell may;
But so much good doth that sight,


That Saint Austin telleth full right,
That day thou seest God's body,
Thou shalt have these full securely:--
Meet and drink at thy need,
None that day shalt thou lack;
Idle oaths and words both,
God forgiveth thee also;
Sudden death that same day
Thee dare not dread by no way;
Also that day, I thee plight,
Thou shalt not lose thy eye sight;
And each foot that thou goest then,


That holy sight for to see,
They shall be told to stand instead,
When thou hast thereto great need;
That messenger the angel Gabriel,
Will keep them to thee full well.
From this matter now I may pass,
To tell more benefits of the mass:
To church come yet, if thou may,
And hear the mass each day;
If thou may not come to church,
Where that ever thou dost work,
When thou hearest the mass toll,


Pray to God with heart still,
To give thy part of that service,
That in church there done is.
Furthermore yet, I will you preach
To your fellows, it for to teach,
When thou comest before a lord,
In hall, in bower, or at the board,
Hood or cap that thou off do,
Ere thou come him entirely to;
Twice or thrice, without doubt,
To that lord thou must bow;
With thy right knee let it be done,


Thine own worship thou save so.
Hold off thy cap and hood also,
Till thou have leave it on to put.
All the time thou speakest with him,
Fair and amiably hold up thy chin;
So after the nurture of the book,
In his face kindly thou look.
Foot and hand thou keep full still,
For clawing and tripping, is skill;
From spitting and sniffling keep thee also,
By private expulsion let it go,
And if that thou be wise and discrete,


Thou has great need to govern thee well.
Into the hall when thou dost wend,
Amongst the gentles, good and courteous,
Presume not too high for nothing,
For thine high blood, nor thy cunning,
Neither to sit nor to lean,
That is nurture good and clean.
Let not thy countenance therefor abate,
Forsooth good nurture will save thy state.
Father and mother, whatsoever they be,
Well is the child that well may thee,
In hall, in chamber, where thou dost go;




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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Regius Manuscript - The Seven Liberal Arts

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The Regius Manuscript
©1390
A Poem of Moral Duties
and the Foundations of Freemasonry



also known as

The Halliwell Manuscript



Published in modern English by
James O. Halliwell, 1840

Hic incipiunt constituciones artis
gemetriae secundum Eucyldem.

(Here begin the constitutions of the Art
of Geometry according to Euclid.)

The Seven Liberal Arts
*unknown author


The Seven Liberal Arts

Many years after, the good clerk Euclid
Taught the craft of geometry full wonder wide,
So he did that other time also,
Of divers crafts many more.
Through high grace of Christ in heaven,
He commenced in the sciences seven;


Grammar is the first science I know,
Dialect the second, so I have I bliss,
Rhetoric the third without doubt,
Music is the fourth, as I you say,
Astronomy is the fifth, by my snout,
Arithmetic the sixth, without doubt,
Geometry the seventh maketh an end,
For he is both meek and courteous,


Grammar forsooth is the root,
Whoever will learn on the book;
But art passeth in his degree,
As the fruit doth the root of the tree;
Rhetoric measureth with ornate speech among,
And music it is a sweet song;
Astronomy numbereth, my dear brother,
Arithmetic sheweth one thing that is another,
Geometry the seventh science it is,
That can separate falsehood from truth, I know
These be the sciences seven,
Who useth them well he may have heaven.


Now dear children by your wit
Pride and covetousness that you leave it,
And taketh heed to good discretion,
And to good nurture, wheresoever you come.
Now I pray you take good heed,
For this you must know needs,
But much more you must know,
Than you find here written.
If thee fail thereto wit,
Pray to God to send thee it;
For Christ himself, he teacheth us
That holy church is God's house,
That is made for nothing else
But for to pray in, as the book tells us;
There the people shall gather in,
To pray and weep for their sin.
Look thou come not to church late,
For to speak harlotry by the gate;


Then to church when thou dost fare,
Have in thy mind ever more
To worship thy lord God both day and night,
With all thy wits and even thy might.
To the church door when thou dost come
Of that holy water there some thou take,
For every drop thou feelest there
Quencheth a venial sin, be thou sure.
But first thou must do down thy hood,
For his love that died on the rood.
Into the church when thou dost go,
Pull up thy heart to Christ, anon;
Upon the rood thou look up then,
And kneel down fair upon thy knees,
Then pray to him so here to work,
After the law of holy church,


For to keep the commandments ten,
That God gave to all men;
And pray to him with mild voice
To keep thee from the sins seven,
That thou here may, in this life,
Keep thee well from care and strife;
Furthermore he grant thee grace,
In heaven's bliss to have a place.





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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Grand Lodge Internet Committee - Grand Lodge of Mississippi F&AM

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It has come to my attention that some users have been unable to access the menus on the new website.

After thorough investigation, it has been determined that those users were running older Internet browsers on their computers. The new website functions correctly on Internet Explorer 8 and 9, as well as Mozilla Firefox 3 and up. Currently, testing is being done on Safari, Chrome and Opera but the...y have not yet been added to the supported list.

To view the minimum requirements for utilizing the Grand Lodge website and to view the software version you are currently using, please visit the following link:

http://www.msgrandlodge.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=38&Itemid=102

This link is also available on the front page of the website.

Please note that anyone experiencing problems with older browsers MUST UPGRADE to a newer version. These earlier versions are NOT SUPPORTED by the Grand Lodge or its Internet Committee, and as such the website will not be changed to suit them.

Please forward this email to any Brother that you know may be experiencing difficulty. Thank you for your understanding and support during this transition.

Fraternally,
The Grand Lodge Internet Committee





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The Regius Manuscript - The Art of the Four-Crowned Ones

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The Regius Manuscript
©1390
A Poem of Moral Duties
and the Foundations of Freemasonry



also known as

The Halliwell Manuscript



 

Published in modern English by
James O. Halliwell, 1840

Hic incipiunt constituciones artis
gemetriae secundum Eucyldem.

(Here begin the constitutions of the Art
of Geometry according to Euclid.)

The Art of the Four-Crowned Ones
*unknown author


The Art of the Four-Crowned Ones

Pray we now to God almighty,
And to his mother Mary bright,
That we may keep these articles here,
And these points well all together,
As did these holy martyrs four,
That in this craft were of great honour;
They were as good masons as on earth shall go,
Gravers and image-makers they were also.
For they were workmen of the best,
The emperor had to them great liking;
He willed of them an image to make
That might be worshiped for his sake;
Such monuments he had in his day,
To turn the people from Christ's law.


But they were steadfast in Christ's law,
And to their craft without doubt;
They loved well God and all his lore,
And were in his service ever more.
True men they were in that day,
And lived well in God's law;
They thought no monuments for to make,
For no good that they might take,
To believe on that monument for their God,
They would not do so, though he was furious;
For they would not forsake their true faith,


And believe on his false law,
The emperor let take them soon anon,
And put them in a deep prison;
The more sorely he punished them in that place,
The more joy was to them of Christ's grace,
Then when he saw no other one,
To death he let them then go;
By the book he might it show
In legend of holy ones,
The names of the four-crowned ones.


Their feast will be without doubt,
After Halloween eighth day.
You may hear as I do read,
That many years after, for great dread
That Noah's flood was all run,
The tower of Babylon was begun,
As plain work of lime and stone,
As any man should look upon;
So long and broad it was begun,
Seven miles the height shadoweth the sun.
King Nebuchadnezzar let it make
To great strength for man's sake,
Though such a flood again should come,
Over the work it should not take;
For they had so high pride, with strong boast
All that work therefore was lost;
An angel smote them so with divers speech,
That never one knew what the other should tell.




Tupelo Masonic Lodge No. 318 F&AM
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Regius Manuscript - Another Ordinance of the Art of Geometry

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The Regius Manuscript
©1390
A Poem of Moral Duties
and the Foundations of Freemasonry


also known as

The Halliwell Manuscript



Published in modern English by
James O. Halliwell, 1840

Hic incipiunt constituciones artis
gemetriae secundum Eucyldem.

(Here begin the constitutions of the Art
of Geometry according to Euclid.)

The Art of Geometry
*unknown author


Another Ordinance of the Art of Geometry

They ordained there an assembly to be held,
Every year, wheresoever they would,
To amend the defaults, if any were found
Among the craft within the land;
Each year or third year it should be held,


In every place wheresoever they would;
Time and place must be ordained also,
In what place they should assemble to,
All the men of craft there they must be,
And other great lords, as you must see,
To mend the faults the he there spoken,
If that any of them be then broken.
There they shall be all sworn,
That belongeth to this craft's lore,
To keep their statutes every one
That were ordained by King Althelstan;
These statutes that I have here found


I ordain they be held through my land,
For the worship of my royalty,
That I have by my dignity.
Also at every assembly that you hold,
That you come to your liege king bold,
Beseeching him of his grace,
To stand with you in every place,
To confirm the statutes of King Athelstan,
That he ordained to this craft by good reason.




Tupelo Masonic Lodge No. 318 F&AM
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekly Events - 03/18/12 - 03/24/12 - Grand Lodge of Mississippi

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In order to keep all its subscribed members up to date, the Grand Lodge Internet Committee sends weekly emails with the most recent event updates and additions. Here is a list of Masonic Events for this week:

Events

Monday, 03-19-2012 - (06:00 PM - 09:00 PM) - DDGL Official Visit, Southern Star No. 500 - Long Beach, MS


Monday, 03-19-2012 - (06:00 PM - 09:00 PM) - Entered Apprentice Degree, Magnolia No. 120 - Biloxi, MS

Monday, 03-19-2012 - (06:00 PM - 09:00 PM) - Fellow Craft Degree, Crystal Springs No. 452 - Jackson, MS

Tuesday, 03-20-2012 - (06:00 PM - 10:00 PM) - Master Mason Degree, Tyrian No. 427 - Brandon, MS

Tuesday, 03-20-2012 - (07:00 PM - 09:00 PM) - District Meeting, Bolton No. 326 - Bolton, MS

Wednesday, 03-21-2012 - (06:00 PM - 09:30 PM) - Entered Apprentice Degree, Braxton No. 465 - Braxton, MS

Thursday, 03-22-2012 - (06:00 PM - 09:30 PM) - Entered Apprentice Degrees, Tyrian No. 427 - Brandon, MS

Friday, 03-23-2012 - (06:00 PM - 09:30 PM) - Entered Apprentice Degree, Wiggins No. 481 - Wiggins, MS

Friday, 03-23-2012 - (06:00 PM - 10:00 PM) - Master Mason Degree - [GM], Hernando No. 51 - Hernando, MS

Saturday, 03-24-2012 - (05:00 PM - 08:00 PM) - Sitting Masters Entered Apprentice Degree, Perry No. 366 - Brooklyn, MS


Please feel free to forward this email to any Brethren on your contact list.

Fraternally,
Grand Lodge of Mississippi Internet Committee


Tupelo Masonic Lodge No. 318 F&AM
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The Regius Manuscript - Plural Constitutions

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The Regius Manuscript
©1390
A Poem of Moral Duties
and the Foundations of Freemasonry
 
 

also known as

The Halliwell Manuscript


 


Published in modern English by
James O. Halliwell, 1840

Hic incipiunt constituciones artis
gemetriae secundum Eucyldem.

(Here begin the constitutions of the Art
of Geometry according to Euclid.)

Plural Constitutions
*unknown author


Plural Constitutions

First Point
At this assembly were points ordained more,
Of great lords and masters also.
That who will know this craft and come to estate,
He must love well God and holy church always,
And his master also that he is with,
Wheresoever he go in field or enclosed wood,
And thy fellows thou love also,
For that thy craft will that thou do.

Second Point
The second point as I you say,
That the mason work upon the work day,
As truly as he can or may,
To deserve his hire for the holy-day,
And truly to labour on his deed,
Well deserve to have his reward.

Third Point
The third point must be severely,
With the 'prentice know it well,
His master's counsel he keep and close,
And his fellows by his good purpose;
The privities of the chamber tell he no man,
Nor in the lodge whatsoever they do;
Whatsoever thou hearest or seest them do,
Tell it no man wheresoever you go;
The counsel of hall, and even of bower,
Keep it well to great honour,
Lest it would turn thyself to blame,
And bring the craft into great shame.

Fourth Point
The fourth point teacheth us also,
That no man to his craft be false;
Error he shall maintain none
Against the craft, but let it go;
Nor no prejudice he shall no do
To his master, nor his fellow also;
And though the 'prentice be under awe,
Yet he would have the same law.

Fifth Point
The fifth point is without doubt,
That when the mason taketh his pay
Of the master, ordained to him,
Full meekly taken so must it be;
Yet must the master by good reason,
Warn him lawfully before noon,
If he will not occupy him no more,
As he hath done there before;
Against this order he may no strive,
If he think well for to thrive.

Sixth Point
The sixth point is full given to know,
Both to high and even low,
For such case it might befall;
Among the masons some or all,
Through envy or deadly hate,
Oft ariseth full great debate.
Then ought the mason if that he may,
Put them both under a day;
But love day yet shall they make none,
Till that the work-day you must well take
Leisure enough love day to make,
Hinder their work for such a fray;
To such end then that you them draw.
That they stand well in God's law.

Seventh Point
The seventh point he may well mean,
Of well long life that God us lend,
As it descrieth well openly,
Thou shalt not by thy master's wife lie,
Nor by thy fellows', in no manner wise,
Lest the craft would thee despise;
Nor by thy fellows' concubine,
No more thou wouldst he did by thine.
The pain thereof let it be sure,
That he be 'prentice full seven year,
If he forfeit in any of them
So chastised then must he be;
Full much care might there begin,
For such a foul deadly sin.

Eighth Point
The eighth point, he may be sure,
If thou hast taken any cure,
Under thy master thou be true,
For that point thou shalt never rue;
A true mediator thou must needs be
To thy master, and thy fellows free;
Do truly all that thou might,
To both parties, and that is good right.

Ninth Point
The ninth point we shall him call,
That he be steward of our hall,
If that you be in chamber together,
Each one serve other with mild cheer;
Gentle fellows, you must it know,
For to be stewards all in turn,
Week after week without doubt,
Stewards to be so all in turn about,
Amiably to serve each one other,
As though they were sister and brother;
There shall never one another cost
Free himself to no advantage,
But every man shall be equally free
In that cost, so must it be;
Look that thou pay well every man always,

That thou hast bought any victuals eaten,
That no craving be made to thee,
Nor to thy fellows in no degree,
To man or to woman, whoever he be,
Pay them well and truly, for that will we;
Thereof on thy fellow true record thou take,
For that good pay as thou dost make,
Lest it would thy fellow shame,
And bring thyself into great blame.
Yet good accounts he must make
Of such goods as he hath taken,
Of thy fellows' goods that thou hast spent,
Where and how and to what end;
Such accounts thou must come to,
When thy fellows wish that thou do.

Tenth Point
The tenth point presenteth well good life,
To live without care and strife;
For if the mason live amiss,
And in his work be false I know,
And through such a false excuse
May slander his fellows without reason,
Through false slander of such fame

May make the craft acquire blame.
If he do the craft such villainy,
Do him no favour then securely,
Nor maintain not him in wicked life,
Lest it would turn to care and strife;
But yet him you shall not delay,
Unless that you shall him constrain,
For to appear wheresoever you will,
Where that you will, loud, or still;
To the next assembly you him call,
To appear before his fellows all,
And unless he will before them appear,

The craft he must need forswear;
He shall then be punished after the law
That was founded by old day.

Eleventh Point
The eleventh point is of good discretion,
As you must know by good reason;
A mason, if he this craft well know,
That seeth his fellow hew on a stone,
And is in point to spoil that stone,
Amend it soon if that thou can,
And teach him then it to amend,
That the lords' work be not spoiled,
And teach him easily it to amend,
With fair words, that God thee hath lent;
For his sake that sit above,
With sweet words nourish his love.

Twelfth Point
The twelfth point is of great royalty,
There as the assembly held shall be,
There shall be masters and fellows also,
And other great lords many more;
There shall be the sheriff of that country,
And also the mayor of that city,
Knights and squires there shall be,
And also aldermen, as you shall see;
Such ordinance as thy make there,

They shall maintain it all together
Against that man, whatsoever he be,
That belongeth to the craft both fair and free.
If he any strife against them make,
Into their custody he shall be taken.

Thirteenth Point
The thirteenth point is to us full lief,
He shall swear never to be no thief,
Nor succor him in his false craft,
For no good that he hath bereft,
And thou must it know or sin,
Neither for his good, nor for his kin.

Fourteenth Point
The fourteenth point is full good law
To him that would be under awe;
A good true oath he must there swear
To his master and his fellows that be there;
He must be steadfast be and true also
To all this ordinance, wheresoever he go,
And to his liege lord the king,
To be true to him over all thing.
And all these points here before

To them thou must need be sworn,
And all shall swear the same oath
Of the masons, be they lief be they loath.
To all these points here before,
That hath been ordained by full good lore.
And they shall enquire every man
Of his party, as well as he can,
If any man may be found guilty
In any of these points specially;
And who he be, let him be sought,
And to the assembly let him be brought.

Fifteenth Point
The fifteenth point is full good lore,
For them that shall be there sworn,
Such ordinance at the assembly was laid
Of great lords and masters before said;
For the same that be disobedient, I know,

Against the ordinance that there is,
Of these articles that were moved there,
Of great lords and masons all together,
And if they be proved openly
Before that assembly, by and by,
And for their guilt's no amends will make,
Then must they need the craft forsake;
And no masons craft they shall refuse,
And swear it never more to use.
But if that they will amends make,
Again to the craft they shall never take;
And if that they will no do so,
The sheriff shall come them soon to,

And put their bodies in deep prison,
For the trespass that they have done,
And take their goods and their cattle
Into the king's hand, every part,
And let them dwell there full still,
Till it be our liege king's will.



Tupelo Masonic Lodge No. 318 F&AM
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

This Is Masonry... Builders of Society

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Freemasonry is a fraternity of men bound together by vows of morality in public and private life, who believe in God and the constitutional rights of members to free choice of religion and political persuasion. 


Masonry strives to make good men better -- to teach its members to be "better than themselves." It accepts only men of high moral character.

The fraternity of Freemasonry endorses free public education, encourages self-improvement, promotes patriotism and respect for the Constitution, sanctions equal rights under law, practices good will towards all men, and contributes generously to philanthropies.

Masonry is a Charitable, benevolent, educational and religious society. Its basic tenets are Brotherly Love, Relief, (philanthropy), and Truth.

Through the improvement and strengthening of the character of the individual, Freemasonry seeks to improve the community.

Masonry is not a benefit society, or a charitable institution. It assists members by many means through times of hardship, but it is not an insurance society with sickness, death, disability or old age benefits.

Masonry is not a secret society. It is a well-known, nation-wide fraternity whose members proudly declare their membership. Masons meet in buildings plainly identified as Masonic Temples, and public announcements of their meetings are published in daily and community publications. There is no attempt to hide the names of community leaders who are Masons.

Masonic ritual is often considered by Masons as having been the most moving experience of their lives. Employing the tools of the stone mason as symbols of basic moral truths, Masonic ritual dramatizes a philosophy of life based on morality.

Masonry is voluntary! A Mason is forbidden by Masonic law to invite a friend to join. The friend must voluntarily seek membership by contacting a Mason and announce his desire to join.

Masons of the Blue Lodge, or any appendant body, may participate in varied activities. Degree presentations require ritualists and persons with dramatic abilities, musicians for orchestras, vocalists for choirs, stage crews, make-up men and service committees of all kinds.

Men take part in an active social life that includes their families and friends.

Besides national philanthropic activity, such as scholarships and medical research. Masons maintain many types of local charitable projects.

Non-Masons observe the social, civic and philanthropic activity of Masons and frequently comment on the close bond that exists among Masons and the obvious belief that they are their brothers' keepers. They notice that Masons are quick to assist their fellows in misfortune with encouragement, kindness and tangible assistance.

The bond of faith and confidence among Masons is largely the result of the common knowledge that all, having experienced the memorable rituals, accept the high ethical standards as guides to their conduct.

Within a Masonic Temple Masons do not discuss religion, or political matters, or any other subject likely to excite personal animosities. Masonry teaches men to be religious without advocating a particular doctrine, or creed. It requires its members to be good citizens, but free to choose their medium of political expression.

Masons support free schools. Throughout the history of North America the Masonic fraternity has supported free public schools in all possible unofficial and non-political ways ... as an expression of good citizenship "Let there be light" is a famous Masonic motto in support of this philosophy.

Masonry with its dedication to education, morality, brotherly love, non-sectarianism in religion and politics and equal rights is a steadying influence that balances and consolidates the social, religious and political life of America.

~ Author Unknown

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

What do Younger Masons Really Want?

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I have been a Master Mason for just three short years. I turned 40 this year, and by all demographics, can still be considered a younger Freemason.


No one seemed to have ever asked any younger Masons if easier Freemasonry is what they really want!

During the time I have have been a Freemason I have been told by many older experienced Freemasons that we have to make it easier for young guys to join. I've been told that the decline in membership is partially due to it being to hard for young men to find time from family and work to Freemasons. So, we have to make it easier.


So, it the pursuit of making it easier we have offered One Day Classes. We have loosened the rules on proficiency in the first lecture. We've kept our dues low to accommodate men who may not have the funds to pay higher dues. In many lodges we have been less rigorous in our examination of new candidates by investigating committees. You seldom hear about a black cubed being dropped because, after all, don't we need the members?


But, there has been one basic problem with all that I have been told by long experienced Masons about what younger men want. None of them seemed to have ever asked any younger Masons if easier Freemasonry is what they really want! And, in fact, I have come to believe that easier Freemasonry is not what younger men who want to join our fraternity are wanting at all! My own experience is echoed in the stories I hear from Masons under forty.


Younger Masons do not want Freemasonry handed to them. They want to earn it!





I became a Freemason in great part because of the witness of my Grandfather to the value of Freemasonry. When he died I attended his Masonic service and was impressed by the men in dark suit, white gloves, and white aprons who paid tribute to my Grandfather. At that funeral, I promised myself that some day I would be a Mason if such a fraternity of honorable men would have me.


More than a decade passed before I acted on that promise. during that time I read every web page, book, and article I could find on Freemasonry. I read about the history, philosophy, and ethics of the Craft.


When I petitioned Phoenix Lodge, I was informed that I could receive my degrees in a One Day Class. But, I thought about my Grandfather and requested that I received my degrees in the usual way. I wanted to experience the full initiatory experience my Father, Grand Father, and Great-Grandfather had experienced. I wanted to memorize every word of the ciphers given to me. I did not want my mentor to cut me any slack.


We want the freemasonry of our Fathers and Grand-fathers. We want to be challenged, stretched, educated, and trained. We want the opportunity to take our rough ashlars and begin to smooth them.


As I have seen young men come into the Craft I have seen that they want many of the the same things I wanted. Young Masons do not want anyone to make it easy for them. Younger Masons that I have talked to believe that we need to make it harder and not easier to receive the degrees. Younger Masons want to read and learn about the philosophy and teaching of Craft Masonry. They do not want Freemasonry handed to them. They want to earn it!

In my own professional life I have made a study of young adults. While my study involved young adults in a church setting, I had opportunity to write some course material for use by churches for young adult ministries.

Much of what I learned about young adults applies to Freemasonry as much as it does church. Young people are searching in our society. They are searching for meaning, depth, and focus to their lives. They are searching for a philosophy and ethic that will help them to live a better life. They are searching for growth and self-improvement. In short, they are searching for what Ancient Craft Freemasonry in its purest form offers them.

If older Masons really ask young Masons what we really want, I believe you will find that we want the fundamentals of the ancient and honorable Craft of Freemasons. We want the freemasonry of Anderson's constitutions. We want the freemasonry of our Fathers and Grand-fathers. We want to be challenged, stretched, educated, and trained. We want the opportunity to take our rough ashlars and begin to smooth them. We want to be Freemasons in the fullest sense of the word!

Timothy Bonney, MPS, from his web-site Freemasonry Resources


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Friday, March 16, 2012

The Regius Manuscript - The Moral Duties

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The Regius Manuscript
©1390
A Poem of Moral Duties
and the Foundations of Freemasonry

 

also known as

The Halliwell Manuscript



Published in modern English by
James O. Halliwell, 1840

Hic incipiunt constituciones artis
gemetriae secundum Eucyldem.


(Here begin the constitutions of the Art
of Geometry according to Euclid.)

The Moral Duties
*unknown author


The Moral Duties

Fifteen articles they there sought,
And fifteen points there they wrought,

Here Begins the First Article

The first article of this geometry;--
The master mason must be full securely
Both steadfast, trusty and true,
It shall him never then rue;
And pay thy fellows after the cost,
As victuals goeth then, well thou knowest;
And pay them truly, upon thy faith,
What they may deserve;
And to their hire take no more,
But what that they may serve for;
And spare neither for love nor dread,

Of neither parties to take no bribe;
Of lord nor fellow, whoever he be,
Of them thou take no manner of fee;
And as a judge stand upright,
And then thou dost to both good right;
And truly do this wheresoever thou goest,
Thy worship, thy profit, it shall be most.

Second Article

The second article of good masonry,
As you must it here hear specially,
That every master, that is a mason,
Must be at the general congregation,
So that he it reasonably be told
Where that the assembly shall be held;
And to that assembly he must needs go,
Unless he have a reasonable excuse,
Or unless he be disobedient to that craft
Or with falsehood is overtaken,
Or else sickness hath him so strong,
That he may not come them among;
That is an excuse good and able,
To that assembly without fable.

Third Article

The third article forsooth it is,
That the master takes to no 'prentice,
Unless he have good assurance to dwell
Seven years with him, as I you tell,
His craft to learn, that is profitable;
Within less he may no be able
To lords' profit, nor to his own
As you may know by good reason.

Fourth Article

The fourth article this must be,
That the master him well be see,
That he no bondman 'prentice make,
Nor for no covetousness do him take;
For the lord that he is bound to,
May fetch the 'prentice wheresoever he go.
If in the lodge he were taken,
Much disease it might there make,
And such case it might befall,
That it might grieve some or all.

For all the masons that be there
Will stand together all together.
If such one in that craft should dwell,
Of divers disease you might tell;
For more ease then, and of honesty,
Take a 'prentice of higher degree.
By old time written I find
That the 'prentice should be of gentle kind;
And so sometime, great lords' blood
Took this geometry that is full good.

Fifth Article

The fifth article is very good,
So that the 'prentice be of lawful blood;
The master shall not, for no advantage,
Make no 'prentice that is deformed;
It is mean, as you may hear
That he have all his limbs whole all together;
To the craft it were great shame,
To make a halt man and a lame,
For an imperfect man of such blood
Should do the craft but little good.
Thus you may know every one,
The craft would have a mighty man;
A maimed man he hath no might,
You must it know long ere night.

Sixth Article

The sixth article you must not miss
That the master do the lord no prejudice,
To take the lord for his 'prentice,
As much as his fellows do, in all wise.
For in that craft they be full perfect,
So is not he, you must see it.
Also it were against good reason,
To take his hire as his fellows do.

This same article in this case,
Judgeth his prentice to take less
Than his fellows, that be full perfect.
In divers matters, know requite it,
The master may his 'prentice so inform,
That his hire may increase full soon,
And ere his term come to an end,
His hire may full well amend.

Seventh Article

The seventh article that is now here,
Full well will tell you all together,
That no master for favour nor dread,
Shall no thief neither clothe nor feed.
Thieves he shall harbour never one,
Nor him that hath killed a man,
Nor the same that hath a feeble name,
Lest it would turn the craft to shame.

Eighth Article

The eighth article sheweth you so,
That the master may it well do.
If that he have any man of craft,
And he be not so perfect as he ought,
He may him change soon anon,
And take for him a more perfect man.
Such a man through recklessness,
Might do the craft scant worship.

Ninth Article

The ninth article sheweth full well,
That the master be both wise and strong;
That he no work undertake,
Unless he can both it end and make;
And that it be to the lords' profit also,
And to his craft, wheresoever he go;
And that the ground be well taken,
That it neither flaw nor crack.

Tenth Article

The tenth article is for to know,
Among the craft, to high and low,
There shall no master supplant another,
But be together as sister and brother,
In this curious craft, all and some,
That belongeth to a master mason.
Nor shall he supplant no other man,
That hath taken a work him upon,
In pain thereof that is so strong,

That weigheth no less than ten pounds,
but if that he be guilty found,
That took first the work on hand;
For no man in masonry
Shall not supplant other securely,
But if that it be so wrought,
That in turn the work to nought;
Then may a mason that work crave,
To the lords' profit for it to save
In such a case if it do fall,
There shall no mason meddle withal.
Forsooth he that beginneth the ground,
If he be a mason good and sound,
He hath it securely in his mind
To bring the work to full good end.

Eleventh Article

The eleventh article I tell thee,
That he is both fair and free;
For he teacheth, by his might,
That no mason should work by night,
But if be in practicing of wit,
If that I could amend it.

Twelfth Article

The twelfth article is of high honesty
To every mason wheresoever he be,
He shall not his fellows' work deprave,
If that he will his honesty save;
With honest words he it commend,
By the wit God did thee send;
But it amend by all that thou may,
Between you both without doubt.

Thirteenth Article

The thirteenth article, so God me save,
Is if that the master a 'prentice have,
Entirely then that he him tell,
That he the craft ably may know,
Wheresoever he go under the sun.

Fourteenth Article

The fourteenth article by good reason,
Sheweth the master how he shall do;
He shall no 'prentice to him take,
Unless diver cares he have to make,
That he may within his term,
Of him divers points may learn.

Fifteenth Article

The fifteenth article maketh an end,
For to the master he is a friend;
To teach him so, that for no man,
No false maintenance he take him upon,
Nor maintain his fellows in their sin,
For no good that he might win;
Nor no false oath suffer him to make,
For dread of their souls' sake,
Lest it would turn the craft to shame,
And himself to very much blame.



Tupelo Masonic Lodge No. 318 F&AM
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