Three Free Kindle Books on Freemasonry

goethe

 While I had heard it mentioned in “documentaries” on the History Channel (it took an enormous amount of fortitude to refrain from putting quotation marks around the word history as well) I did not learn anything worth knowing about Freemasonry until quite recently.  Before speaking with current members and reading a few key texts I thought of them as a small society of Deists who helped spark the American Revolution. My impression was incorrect. I am not a Mason myself, but any organization that can claim Benjamin Franklin and Goethe as its own is bound to spark my interest.

 Its ideals are now universally accepted in developed nations. Yet brotherhood, liberty and religious freedom are dangerous ideas to demagogues. This is why Freemasons were persecuted by the Nazis and the Catholic Church. Neither one of these organizations are known for their human rights records. When and how speculative masonry (as opposed to the profession of cutting stones) began is still debated, but there are many in the craft who believe the society is as old as the pyramids. This seems implausible to me, but a memorable myth can be more powerful than a boring truth. Here are three free kindle books on this ancient fraternal order.

When I was a King and a Mason—
A master proved and skilled,
I cleared me ground for a palace
Such as a King should build.
I decreed and cut down to my levels,
Presently, under the silt,
I came on the wreck of a palace
Such as a King had built!
—Rudyard Kipling

 

 

JosephFortNewton

 

 “When we inquire into origins and seek the initial force which carried art forward, we find two fundamental factors—physical necessity and spiritual aspiration. Of course, the first great impulse of all architecture was need, honest response to the demand for shelter; but this demand included a Home for the Soul, not less than a roof over the head. Even in this response to primary need there was something spiritual which carried it beyond provision for the body; as the men of Egypt, for instance, wanted an indestructible resting-place, and so built the pyramids. “

“Small wonder that such an order has won to its fellowship men of the first order of intellect, men of thought and action in many lands, and every walk and work of life: soldiers like Wellington, Blücher, and Garibaldi; philosophers like Krause, Fichte, and John Locke; patriots like Washington and Mazzini; writers like Walter Scott, Voltaire, Steele, Lessing, Tolstoy; poets like Goethe, Burns, Byron, Kipling, Pike; musicians like Haydn and Mozart—whose opera, The Magic Flute, has a Masonic motif; masters of drama like Forrest and Edwin Booth; editors such as Bowles, Prentice, Childs, Grady; ministers of many communions, from Bishop Potter to Robert Collyer; statesmen, philanthropists, educators, jurists, men of science—Masons many.”

“Following the first day of the battle of Gettysburg, there was a Lodge meeting in town, and ‘Yanks’ and ‘Johnny Rebs’ met and mingled as friends, under the Square and Compass. Where else could they have done so? (Tennessee Mason). When the Union army attacked Little Rock, Ark., the commanding officer, Thomas H. Benton—Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Iowa—threw a guard about the home of General Albert Pike, to protect his Masonic library. Marching through burning Richmond, a Union officer saw the familiar emblems over a hall. He put a guard about the Lodge room, and that night, together with a number of Confederate Masons, organized a society for the relief of widows and orphans left destitute by the war.”

“Manifestly, since love is the law of life, if men are to be won from hate to love, if those who doubt and deny are to be wooed to faith, if the race is ever to be led and lifted into a life of service, it must be by the fine art of Friendship. Inasmuch as this is the purpose of Masonry, its mission determines the method not less than the spirit of its labor. Earnestly it endeavors to bring men—first the individual man, and then, so far as possible, those who are united with him—to love one another…”

 

Morals And Dogma - Albert Pike - Books Covers

“Truth, indeed, for the most part, shoots over the heads of the masses; or if an error is prostrated for a moment, it is up again in a moment, and as vigorous as ever. It will not die when the brains are out, and the most stupid and irrational errors are the longest-lived.”

“To impose ideal truth or law upon an incapable and merely real man, must ever be a vain and empty speculation.”

“A peasant-boy, guiding Blücher by the right one of two roads, the other being impassable for artillery, enables him to reach Waterloo in time to save Wellington from a defeat that would have been a rout; and so enables the kings to imprison Napoleon on a barren rock in mid-ocean. An unfaithful smith, by the slovenly shoeing of a horse, causes his lameness, and, he stumbling, the career of his world-conquering rider ends, and the destinies of empires are changed.”

“The true alchemist will extract the lessons of wisdom from the babblings of folly. He will hear what a man has to say on any given subject, even if the speaker end only in proving himself prince of fools. Even a fool will sometimes hit the mark. There is some truth in all men who are not compelled to suppress their souls and speak other men’s thoughts. The finger even of the idiot may point to the great highway.”

“Rhetoric, Plato says, is the art of ruling the minds of men. But in democracies it is too common to hide thought in words, to overlay it, to babble nonsense. The gleams and glitter of intellectual soap-and-water bubbles are mistaken for the rainbow-glories of genius.”

“We think, at the age of twenty, that life is much too long for that which we have to learn and do; and that there is an almost fabulous distance between our age and that of our grandfather.”

“Then we, in our mind, deduct from the sum total of our years the hours that we have needlessly passed in sleep; the working-hours each day, during which the surface of the mind’s sluggish pool has not been stirred or ruffled by a single thought; the days that we have gladly got rid of, to attain some real or fancied object that lay beyond, in the way between us and which stood irksomely the intervening days; the hours worse than wasted in follies and dissipation, or misspent in useless and unprofitable studies; and we acknowledge, with a sigh, that we could have learned and done, in half a score of years well spent, more than we have done in all our forty years of manhood.”

 “Masonry is engaged in her crusade,–against ignorance, intolerance, fanaticism, superstition, uncharitableness, and error. She does not sail with the trade-winds, upon a smooth sea, with a steady free breeze, fair for a welcoming harbor; but meets and must overcome many opposing currents, baffling winds, and dead calms.”

Symbolism of Freemasonry

“The definition of Freemasonry that it is ‘a science of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols,’ has been so often quoted, that, were it not for its beauty, it would become wearisome.”

“The square is a symbol denoting morality. It teaches us to apply the unerring principles of moral science to every action of our lives, to see that all the motives and results of our conduct shall coincide with the dictates of divine justice, and that all our thoughts, words, and deeds shall harmoniously conspire, like the well-adjusted and rightly-squared joints of an edifice, to produce a smooth, unbroken life of virtue.”

“The Winding Stairs begin after the candidate has passed within the Porch and between the pillars of Strength and Establishment, as a significant symbol to teach him that as soon as he has passed beyond the years of irrational childhood, and commenced his entrance upon manly life, the laborious task of self-improvement is the first duty that is placed before him. He cannot stand still, if he would be worthy of his vocation; his destiny as an immortal being requires him to ascend, step by step, until he has reached the summit, where the treasures of knowledge await him.”

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