Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Royal Art (Rat leading the Way )(Lord of Arts and Cratfs)

The earliest writers peak of Freemasonry as a "Royal Art." Anderson used this expression in 1723, and in such a way as to show that it was even then no new epithet. The term has become common in all languages as an appellative of the Institution, and yet but few perhaps have taken occasion to examine into its real signification or have asked what would seem to be questions readily suggested, "Why is Freemasonry called an art?" and next, "Why is it said to be a Royal Art?"

The answer which is generally supposed to be a sufficient one for the latter one for the latter inquiry, is that it is so called because many monarchs have been its disciples and its patrons, and some writers have gone so far as to particularize and to say that Freemasonry was first called a "Royal Art" in 1693, when William III., of England, was initiated into its rites; Gasdicke, in his Freimaurer Lexicon, states that some have derived the title from the fact that in the times of the English Commonwealth, the members of the English Lodges had joined the party of the exiled Stuarts, and labored for the restoration of Charles II. to the throne. He himself, however, seems to think that Freemasonry is called a Royal Art because its object is to erect stately edifices, and especially palaces, the residences of kings.

Such an answer may serve for the profane, who can have no appreciation of a better reason, but it will hardly meet the demands of the intelligent initiate, who wants some more philosophic explanation - something more consistent with the moral and intellectual character of the Institution.

Let us endeavor to solve the problem, and to determine why Freemasonry is called an art at all; and why, above all others, it is dignified with the appellation of a Royal Art. Our first business will be to find a reply to the former question.

An art is distinguished from a handicraft in this, that the former consists of and supplies the principles which govern and direct the latter. The stonemason for instance, is guided in his construction of the building on which he is engaged by the principles which are furnished to him by the architect. Hence stonemasonry is a trade, a handicraft, or, as the German significantly expresses it, handwerk, something which only requires the skill and labor of the hands to accomplish. But architecture is an art, because it is engaged in the establishment of principles and scientific tenets which the "handiwork" of the Mason is to carry into practical effect.

The handicrafts-man, the hand-worker, of course is employed in manual labor. It is the work of his hands that accomplishes the purpose of his trade. But the artist uses no such means. He deals only in principles, and his works is of the head. He prepares his design according to the principles of his art, and the workmen obeys and executes them,(Luke 10:7) often without understanding their ulterior object.

Now let us apply this distinction to Freemasonry. Eighteen hundred hundred years ago many thousand men were engaged in the construction of a Temple in the city of Jerusalem. They felled and prepared the timbers in the forests of Lebanon, and they hewed and cut and squared the stones in the quarries of Judea, and then they put them together under the direction of a skillful architect, and formed a goodly edifice, worthy to be called, as the Rabbins named it, "the chosen house of the Lord." For there, according to the Jewish ritual, in preference to all other places, was the God of Hosts to be worshiped in oriental splendor. Something like this has been done thousands of times since. But the men who wrought with the stone-hammer and trowel at the Temple of Solomon, and the men who afterwords wrought at the temples and cathedrals of Europe and Asia, were no artists. They were simply handicrafts-men, men raising an edifice by the labor of their hands, - men who, in doing their work, were instructed by others skillful in art, but which art looked only to totality, and hand nothing to do with operative details. The Giblemites, or stone-squarers, gave form to the stones and laid them in their proper places. But in what form they should be cut, and in what spots they should be laid so that the building might assume a proposed appearance, were matters left entirely to the superintending architect, the artist, who in giving his instructions, was guided by the principles of his art.

Hence Operative Masonry is not an art. But after these handicrafts-men came other men, who, simulating, or, rather, symbolizing, their labors, converted the operative pursuit into a speculative system, and thus made of a handicraft an art. And it was in this wise that the change was accomplished.

The building of a temple is the result of a religious sentiment. Now, the Freemasons intended to organize a religious institution. I am not going into any discussion, at this time of its history. When Freemasonry was founded is immaterial to the theory, provided that the foundation is made posterior to the time of the building of King Solomon's Temple. It is sufficient that it be admitted that in its foundation as an esoteric institution the religious idea prevailed, and that the development of this idea was the predominating object of its first organizers.

Burrowing, then, the name of their Institution from the operative masons who constructed the temple of Jerusalem, by a very natural process they burrowed also the technical language and implements of the same handicrafts-men. But these they did not use for any manual purpose. They did not erect with them temples of stone, but were occupied solely in developing the religious idea which the construction of the material temple had first suggested; they symbolized this language and these implements, and thus established an art whose province and object it was to elicit religious thought, and to teach religious truth by a system of symbolism. And this symbolism - just as peculiar to Freemasonry as the doctrine of lines and surfaces is to geometry, or of numbers is to arithmetic - constitutes the art of Freemasonry.

If I were define Freemasonry as an art, I should say that it was an art which taught the construction of a spiritual temple, just as the art of architecture teaches the construction of a material temple. And I should illustrate the train of ideas by which the Freemasons were led to symbolize the Temple of Solomon as a spiritual temple of man's nature, by borrowing the language of St. Peter, who says to his Christian initiates: "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house ." And with greater emphasis, and as still more illustrative, would I cite the language of the Apostle of the Gentiles, - the Apostle, who, of all others, most delighted in symbolism, and who says: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and the spirit of God (medulla)dwelleth in you?"

And this the reason why Freemasonry is called an art.

Having thus determined the conditions under which Freemasonry becomes an art, the next inquiry will be why it has been distinguished from all other arts in being designated, .par excellence, the Royal Art. And here we must abandon all thought that this title comes in any way from the connection of Freemasonry with earthly monarchs - from the patronage of the membership of kings. Freemasonry obtains no addition to its intrinsic value from a connection with the political heads of states. Kings, when they enter the sacred portals, are no longer kings, but brethren. In the Lodge all men are on equality, and there can be no distinction or preference except that which is derived from virtue and intelligence. Although a great king once said that Freemasons made the best and truest subjects, yet in the Lodge is there no subjection save to the law of love, - that the law which, for its excellence above all other laws, has been called by an Apostle the "royal law, just as Freemasonry, for its excellence above all other arts, has been called the "Royal Art."

St. James says, in his general Epistle: "If ye fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, Thou shall love thy neighbor (brotherhood)as thyself, ye do well." Dr. Adam Clarke on his commentary on this passage, - which is so appropriate to the subject we are investigating, and so thoroughly explanatory of this expression in its application to Freemasonry, that it well worth a citation, - uses the following language:

Speaking of the expression of St. James, noman basilicon, "the royal law," he says: "This epithet, of all the New Testament writers, is peculiar to James; but it is frequent among the Greek writers in the sense in which it appears St. James uses it. Basilikos, royal, is used to signify anything that is of general concern, is suitable to all, and necessary for all, as brotherly love is. This commandment, Thou shall love they neighbor as thyself, is a royal law; not only because it is ordained of God, proceeds from his kingly authority over men, because it is so useful, suitable, and necessary to the present state of man; and as it was given us particularly by Christ himself, who is our king, as well as prophet and priest, it should ever put us in mind of his authority over us, and our subjection to him. As the regal state is the most excellent for secular dignity and civil utility that exists among men, hence we give the epithet royal to whatever is excellent, noble, grand, or useful."

How beautifully and appropriately does all this definition apply to Freemasonry consisted in a symbolization of the technical language and implements and labors of a operative society to a moral and spiritual purpose. the Temple which was constructed by the builders at Jerusalem was taken as the groundwork. Out of this the Freemasons have developed an admirable science of symbolism, which on account of its design, and on account of the means by which that design is accomplished, is well entitled, for its "excellence, nobility, grandeur, and utility," to be called the "Royal Art."

The stonemasons at Jerusalem were engaged in the construction of a material temple. But the Freemasons who succeeded them are occupied in the construction of a moral and spiritual temple, man being considered, through the process of the act of symbolism, that holy house. And in this symbolism the Freemasons have only developed the same idea that was present to St. Paul when he said to the Corinthians that they were "God's Building," of which building he, "as a wise master-builder, had laid the foundation;" and when, still further extending the metaphor, he told the Ephesians that they were "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together, groweth unto a holy temple in the Lord; in whom also ye are builded together for habituation of God through the spirit."

This, then, is the true art of Freemasonry. It is an art which teaches the right method of symbolizing the technical language and the material labors of a handicraft, so as to build up in man a holy house for the habituation of God's spirit; to give perfection to man's nature; to give purity to humanity, and to unite mankind in one common bond.

It is singular and well worthy of notice, how this symbolism of building up man's body into a holy temple, so common with the New Testament writers, and even with Christ himself, - for he speaks of man as a temple which, being destroyed, he could raise up in three days; in which, as St. John says, "he spake of the temple of his body," - gave rise to a new word(new world order) or to a word with a new meaning in all the languages over which Christianity exercised any influence. The old Greeks had from the two words, oikos, "a house," and domein, "to build," constructed the word oikodomein, which of course signified "to build a house," In this plain and exclusive sense it is used by the Attic writers. In like manner, the Romans, out of the two words oedes, "a house," and facere, "to make," constructed their word oedificare, which always meant simply "to build a house," and in this plain sense it is used by Horace, Cicero, and all the old writers. But when the New Testament writers began to symbolize man as a temple or holy house for the habituation of the Lord, and when they spoke of building this symbolic house, although it was a moral and spiritual growth to which they alluded, they used the Greek word oikodomein, and their first translators, the Latin word oedificare in a new sense, meaning "to build up morally," that is, to educate, to instruct. And as modern nations learned the faith of Christianity, they imbibed this symbolic idea of a moral building, and adapted for its expression a new word or gave to an old word a new meaning, so that it has come to pass that in French edifier, (edi in french is He says, fier<->fire) in Italian edificare, in Spanish edificar, in German erbauen, and in English edify, each of which literally and etymologically means "to build a house," has also the other signification, "to instruct, to improve, to educate."(building your mind) And magnificent edifice, and of a wholesome doctrine as something that will edify its hearers. But there are but few who, when using the word in this latter sense, think of that grand science of symbolism which gave birth to this new meaning, and which constitutes the very essence of the Royal Art of Freemasonry.

For when this temple is built up, it is to be held together only by the cement of love(love is lava recombined a.k.a. Gomorrah,nova,Fire and Brimstone) . Brotherly love, the love of our neighbor as ourself - that love which suffereth long and is kind, which is not easily provoked, and thinketh no evil - that pervades the whole system of Freemasonry, not only binding all the moral parts of man's nature into one harmonious whole, the building being thus, in the language of St. Paul, "fitly framed together," but binding man to man, and man to God.

And hence Freemasonry is called a "Royal Art," because it is of all arts the most noble; the art which teaches man how t perfect his temple of virtue by pursuing the "royal law" of universal love, and not because kings have been its patrons and encouragers.

A similar idea is advanced in a Catechism published by the celebrated Lodge "Wahreit und Einigkeit," at Prague, in the year 1800, where the following questions and answers occur:

Q. "What do Freemasons build?
A. "An invisible temple, of which King Solomon's Temple is the symbol.

Q. "By what name is the instruction how to erect this mystic building called?
A. "The Royal Art; because it teaches man how to govern himself."

"Every king will be a Freemason, even though he wears no Mason's apron, if he shall be God-fearing, sincere, good, and kind; if shall be true and fearless, obedient to the law, his heart, abounding in reverence for religion and full of love for mankind; if he shall be a ruler of himself, and if his kingdom be founded on justice. And every Freemason is a king, in whatsoever condition God may have placed him here, with rank equal to that of a king, for his kingdom is LOVE, the love of his fellow man, a love which is long-suffering and kind, which beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things."

And this is why Freemasonry is an art and of all arts, being the most noble, is called the Royal Art."

Masonic Encyclopedia