SUBJECT: The Lodge – Foundations and Fundamentals;
Masonic Halls and Temples, Lodge Rooms and Orientation
THE PARALLEL LINES
have been given several explanations not mentioned in our Monitors which the curious Mason will have to read for himself. They are said to have an astronomical or solar allusion.
There is, however, a very practical symbolism assigned to them in our Monitors. They are said to represent St. John the Baptist and St. John the Evangelist, and it is on this I desire to enlarge a little beyond what our Monitors say.
Saints John’s Days (June 24 and December 27), are among American Masons the only festivals in the Masonic calendar. It matters little whether it be true that these men were members of our Fraternity. They have been adopted by it as symbols. Although Masonry has existed from time immemorial and can boast of the great and good of every age and clime, although philosophers and poets, patriots and heroes, statesmen and philanthropists have crowded its ranks, the high honor of annual commemoration has been conferred upon only two of its members. All the great kings and emperors, all the great soldiers and conquerors, all the great statesmen and patriots, who in ages past have belonged to our beloved Order, and of whom the order is justly proud have been assigned to a position subordinate to these two modest patrons of the Craft.
It is not material we repeat to our present purpose whether it be an historical fact that they were actually members of our Fraternity; its principles shone conspicuously in their lives and characters. It suffices here to say, in the language of a distinguished Irish Freemason, that “there seems to be no doubt that the medieval Fraternity acknowledged their patronage.” 25
Why is it that this man who wore a raiment of camel’s hair and whose food was locusts and wild honey, and this man who was noted for his excessive modesty and avoidance of all display, these men who never engaged in any of the pomp and glory of the world, have been honored by Masons above all others?
It is because Masonry regards not the exterior of a man but only his internal qualifications. She bends not the suppliant knee at the shrine of wealth, its glittering splendors are no passport of her altars and temples, and never has it been said of her that she turns her face away from him who is clothed in poverty’s rags or veiled in poverty’s tears.
No worldly honors are there recognized. The King of England, the President of the United States, when he enters a lodge is simply “Brother.” He is there accorded no mark of distinction to which every other Master Mason is not entitled. Who enters a Masonic lodge leaves his titles, his wealth, his worldly honors, at the door.
“Yes, we meet upon the level
Though from every station come,
The rich man from his mansion,
The poor man from his home;
For the rich must leave his hoarded gold
Outside our temple door,
And the servant *feels himself a man
Upon the Mason’s floor.”
He who wears the humble garb of domestic industry prepared by the hand of a devoted wife is as sure to gain admission and find as hearty welcome and rank as high as he whose raiment is purple and fine linen and who fares sumptuously every day.
The Saints Johns possessed few of the external qualifications which attract the thoughtless crowd. They. possessed all those internal elements that make the true man. Beyond all others the principles of our Fraternity shone forth in their characters and daily lives and for it Masonry has honored them above all others.
We may and do have unworthy members, those who forget and violate their Masonic obligations. None of us indeed observe them as we should, but could stronger proof than the honor shown these two men be desired that Masonry as a whole regards excellence of character, the practice of virtue, the adoration of Deity, and the love or our fellowmen, the doing unto others as we would have them do unto us, above any wealth or worldly honors?
If any still doubt let them remember that the first three Grand Masters of Freemasonry were, according to tradition, Solomon, King of Israel; Hiram,
King of Tyre, and Hiram Abif; that the memory of the last Hiram Abif, a poor widow’s son of the tribe of Naphtali, and only a worker in brass and stone, is venerated among Masons far beyond his two royal associates. He lived a life of such purity and excellence that when the appointed time arrived he weIcomed the grim tyrant death. These are the lessons taught by this symbolism, these are the men whose example we should as Masons strive to emulate, These are the characters that we as Masons, imperfect as we are, love and venerate.
25 A. Q. C. , Vol VIII, page 158.