Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Researching the Fellowcraft Degree

I learned late last week that I wouldn’t be receiving my Masters Degree this past Tuesday as originally hoped. I was told that the Worshipful Master wanted to ensure that the brethren where properly prepared before giving the degree. I really was in no hurry and because of my travel next week I won’t be receiving the degree until the 29th. I am not disappointed as the research and reading I have been doing on the Fellowcraft degree has been fascinating.

Recently I had a birthday, for my birthday present I bought myself a 1919 edition of “Morals and Dogma” by Albert Pike. Pike is a man of great stature and controversy in Freemasonry and is often quoted as a means to show Masonry as a tool of power mongers and Satanists. I have read his chapter on the Fellowcraft degree and have found his philosophies and talking to the degree quite fascinating. Unless you have experienced degree, I can see where the chapter would read as a well educated man just babbling on about Liberty and Equality. I do consider the fact that Pike was writing the book from the aspect of the Scottish Rite and doesn’t reflect other Masonic bodies. Still Pike’s take on the degree and his statements are very powerful in my opinion. Below are some of my favorite quotes from the Fellowcraft chapter.

Pike on the Fellowcraft Degree:

Christianity taught the doctrine of Fraternity; but repudiated that of political Equality, by continually inculcating obedience to Caesar, and to those lawfully in authority. Masonry was the first apostle of equality. In the Monastery there is fraternity and equality, but no liberty. Masonry added that also, and claimed for man the three fold heritage, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity. P.23

Do not lose sight, then of the true object of your studies in Masonry. It is to add to your estate of wisdom, and not merely to your knowledge. A man may spend a lifetime in studying a single specialty of knowledge, -botany, conchology or entomology for instance, -in committing to memory names derived from the Creek, and classifying and reclassifying; and yet be no wiser than when he began. It is the great truths as to all that most concerns a man, as to his rights, interests, and duties that Masonry seeks to teach her Initiates. P. 26

In your studies as a Fellow-Craft you must be guided by Reason, Love and Faith. P.28

Masonry is a march and struggle toward the Light. For the individual well as the nation, Light is Virtue, Manliness, Intelligence, Liberty. Tyranny over the soul or body is darkness. The freest people, like the freest man, is always in danger of relapsing into servitude. P. 32

While you are still engaged in preparation, and in accumulating principles for future use, do not forget the words of the Apostle James: “For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer , he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass, for he beholdeth himself, and goeth away, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was; but whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his work. If any man among you seems to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but it deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. … Faith, if it hath no works, is dead, being an ‘abstraction. A man is justified by works, and not by faith only. … The devils believe, -and tremble. … As the body without the heart is dead, so is faith without works.” P.36

Let no Fellow-Craft Imagine that the work of the lowly and uninfluential is not worth the doing. P. 41

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