The Fellow Craft Degree represents the whole period of your mature manhood. You have proven yourselves and have been accepted and received as apprentices, and you are now operatives on your life’s work. You have sworn to maintain inviolable the truths of life that have been and will be entrusted to you. You have also sworn that the Square shall be your guide, and that you will always act thereon. The penalties by which you bound yourselves to us we have accepted, and by accepting them we are bound to you in like measure. They are no greater than the conscience that has been born into you.
In the lecture, in which the secrets of this degree are communicated, several great truths are demonstrated. The first distinguishes the heart as the main-spring of life through this period. Earlier and after the attacks on our lives are in other places. But now, the heart both gives life to our undertakings, and also receives the most severe shocks form our exertions; for good or for evil.
We look upon the Universe as stable and undeviating. Our Earth revolves on its axis daily. The Sun rises and sets at its regular times and stations. The Moon follows its course around our Earth in continuous sequence of her phases, an integral part of our system. The Stars maintain their orbits. The tides regularly ebb and flow. But once; the Grand Geometrician continued the light of day. Many explanations have been given to establish the incident as a fact. Recently a writer has published evidence to the effect that, at about the time of the historical incident referred to, our earth actually halted or slowed in its daily revolution. One day was actually lengthened by the pull of another astral body which approached within our orbit.
The signs you have been given bear reference to these astral bodies, and the hailing sign is the oldest. These signs are a subject in themselves, but they are all copied from one celestial constellation.
The incident of the P.W. indicates that throughout life you will always meet up with two kinds of people; peace-loving and turbulent; good and evil. This acknowledgement is established as the smallest of the largest grouping; as of the family, or of the nation, or of the race. It also shows that good shall and must overcome evil; and the evil must be completely destroyed.
There is also another lesson hidden in this passage, but one has to go back to the origins of this story to find it. Jeptha made a vow of an unspecified sacrifice. When he was called upon to complete this vow he had to offer his most beloved treasure, his only daughter. From this misadventure evolved a prohibition of the rite of human sacrifices.
You have now passed through the two great pillars at the porch way. The cable tow has been loosed and you are now freed from the mother ties of your family. But in passing you have been instructed in strength, wisdom and beauty. You have passed the N.E. Angle, where you were rude material, and where you were taught the importance of human relations in all your life and conduct. In the S.E. Angle, as a mature man, you are given the freedom to delve and search for the truths of nature. And you are presented with the tools that should be your standard of conduct, and by which you will be tried by others; especially by those who are not of the Craft.
You are about to ascend the W.S. The first three steps are those three seven-year periods, or stages, by which you approach maturity. The next five steps embrace the period of your Fellow Craft, the effective years of your manhood. The next seven or more steps may be of varied length as you have used your earlier years, or dissipated your strength. It is now, when you have gone beyond the period of your greatest physical strength that your mind develops, and you enter the Holy of Holies to contemplate the works of the Almighty. And it is only then that the Almighty reveals to man the fullness of his truths; when they can be leisurely contemplated, and understood by comparison with the facts partially seen in earlier days.
You are now acquainted with five noble orders of architecture. They can be symbols in many allegories, and in this instance I will use them to illustrate the evolution of man. Tuscan represents the rude, uncultivated savages of prehistoric days. Doric will be the strength and massiveness of the early civilizations of Chaldea and Egypt (Middle Kingdom). Ionic principally refers to the intellectual flowering of Egypt; to which are allied the Hebrew, Indian and Chinese philosophies: all stemming from one original source. Corinthian embodies the peoples of the early centuries of our present era, and the latter periods of the past era; the fluting of the columns, and the decorations of the capitals indicating the many phases and theories that were established or evolved in the philosophies; but still united in one column. The Composite may well typify our present world; wherein people are so intermingled that there is no one race or family which can call itself pure-bred: which has no mixture of another race or family. Nor is there one single system of philosophy, or religion, or government which is independent and free of all other systems; but each has borrowed from the other some tenet, belief or practice.
Again, in the seven liberal arts and sciences we commence our first three steps with Grammar; the learning of our words and their construction into understandable language. Our Rhetoric is our delivery of speech and the understanding of that of others. And our Lodge is the reasoning formed of earlier lessons and thoughts. These three are extended beyond, and to them we add Arithmetic and Geometry to round out the practical and physical works of our manhood. Only after we have ascended the five steps, and have passed the fullness of our maturity, can we exercise the practice of Harmony, which is symbolized by Music. And the experiences of life, and the mellowing of age, will bring us to the contemplation and understanding of the works of the Almighty, figuratively noted as Astronomy.
We finally approach the Blazing Star, or the Great Light, and come to the realization that in our Brotherhood of Man we have a common Fatherhood of God, the Grand Geometrician.
~ Colin Clarke, La Cave, Ont.
Published in Masonic Light, Huntingdon, Quebec, March, AM, 1952
Submitted by D. Roy Murray, King Solomon Lodge, No. 58, GRS, Victoria Lodge, No. 13, GRA