What is Masonic Knowledge
Masonic Knowledge ?
“As a last
general recommendation, let me exhort you to dedicate yourself to such pursuits
as may at once enable you to become respectable in life, useful to mankind and
an ornament to the society of which you have this day become a member. To
study, more especially, such of the liberal arts and sciences as may lie within
the compass of your attainment and, without neglecting the ordinary duties of
your station, endeavour to make a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge.”
We have heard this
at every initiation. But we have not told the candidate what is meant by
Masonic knowledge. In fact few of us have contemplated on the meaning of the
phrase, Masonic Knowledge.
This brings us to
the basic question. “What is Masonic Knowledge ?”
Is it knowledge of
masonry? Is it knowledge in masonry? Is it knowledge gained from masonry ?
That takes us to
a probe a little further. What is Masonry ?
The answer to this
question is also familiar, being given at every passing by the candidate.
“A peculiar system
of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols”.
Does he know what
he is talking about ? For that matter, do we know ? How many of us have
analysed this statement ? Probably none. Let us begin now.
We all concede that
there is a morality content in Freemasonry. What is peculiar about it? Is
there anything peculiar at all? Are we merely using adjectives without purpose?
Have we seen the allegory ? Have we lifted the veil to see within and hence
understood the allegory ? Or, is there really no allegory ? Have we
contemplated on the symbols and benefited by their illustrations ?
Is it not time to
end this ignorance ? When the Press is now able to write about masonry and when
Grand Lodges are being interviewed for information, are we not, as members of
the fraternity, to be aware of the principles and mysteries of freemasonry ?
The reply by the
first sojourner in the Chapter gives us what may be considered a near ideal
definition of Masonry. “We mean that great and universal science which includes
almost every other, to the several parts of which we have given our attention,
but we have more particularly studied that part which we have given our
attention, but we have more particularly studied that part which teaches us our
duty to God and to our neighbour and a knowledge of ourselves.”
There we have in
typical Masonic fashion, a brief, all comprehensive and clear definition of
Masonry, ‘that great and universal science which includes almost every other’.
In that sense, the
instruction given to the candidate is to increase his knowledge in all subjects,
but not at the expense of his normal duties.
The author as was already
introduced is an erudite Masonic scholar and in this short article,
he explores the aspect of
what is freemasonry. We thank him for the permission to post this article.