Secrecy Lexicon of Freemasonry, Albert G. Mackey (circa 1908)
The objection which has been urged against Freemasonry on the ground of its secret character is scarcely worthy of serious refutation. It has become threadbare, and always has been the objection only of envious and illiberal minds. Indeed, its force is immediately destroyed, when we reflect that to no worthy man need our mysteries be, for one moment, covered with the veil of concealment, for to all the deserving are our portals open. But the traditions and esoteric doctrines of our order are too valuable and too sacred to be permitted to become the topic of conversation for every idler who may desire to occupy his moments of leisure in speculations upon subjects which require much previous study and preparation to qualify the critic for a ripe and equitable judgment. Hence are they preserved, like the rich jewel in the casket, in the secret recesses of our Lodge, to be brought forth only when the ceremonies with which their exhibition is accompanied, have inspired that solemnity of feeling with which alone they should be approached.
Secrecy & Silence (in part) Encyclopedia of Freemasonry Albert. G. Mackey (circa 1919)
These virtues constitute the very essence of all Masonic character, they are the safeguard of the Institution, giving to it all its security and perpetuity, and are enforced by frequent admonitions in all the degrees, from the lowest to the highest. The Entered Apprentice begins his Masonic career by learning the duty of secrecy and silence. Hence it is appropriate that in that Degree which is the consummation of Initiation, in which the whole cycle of Masonic science is completed the abstruse (hard to understand) machinery of symbolism should be employed to impress the same important virtues on the neophyte (candidate).
The same principles of secrecy and silence existed in all the ancient mysteries and systems of worship. When Aristotle was asked what thing appeared to him to be the most difficult of performance, he replied, “To be secret and silent”
“If we turn our eyes back to antiquity” says Calcott “we shall find that the old Egyptians had so great a regard for silence and secrecy in the mysteries of their religion that they set up the God”
Harpocrates, to whom they paid particular honour and veneration, and who was represented with the right hand placed near the heart, and the left hand down the by his side and covered by a skin full of eyes.”
Among the Egyptians, the sign of silence was made by pressing the index finger of the right hand on the lips.
In today’s society, where there appears to be no limit to what can be revealed or exposed, I feel, we as Freemasons are finding ourselves very much in the circle of public opinion, which I believe offers the opportunity for each of us to represent “ A great and glorious example” of what Freemasonry means to each of us as individuals, parents and members of society. This, again in my opinion, can all be done, very effectively, within the framework of our Craft, and without violating our Integrity. We are all very capable of that challenge.
A Short Talk by a Young Master Mason following an Entered Apprentice conferral
From the moment we make the decision that we would like to be” made a mason” our Education in the Craft begins. For some of you, no doubt, that decision was made a long long time ago. For others the journey is just beginning.
Remember, with me the excitement we felt as the petition was placed in the hands of the Mason who would present it on our behalf. Also remember the way you felt on your first visit to the Lodge for the mysterious ceremony of Initiation you were about to undertake and the great mysteries of the “Masons” that you were about to learn.
If, like most, you were a little nervous, apprehensive and excited, then I say GOOD. It is with the same spirit that I myself have found when approaching Masonic Education after having been made a Master Mason. We think we have learned the Secrets, the Handshakes and even some of the History, but, it goes much deeper than that. If Freemasonry is a “beautiful system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols” how much have we really learned???
Some of the Brethren present, no doubt, know more about the symbols than you or I, some know more about the allegory and illusions, and no doubt, do not struggle with morality as do others.
We are all called upon to “make daily advancements in the Craft” It is my role to remind you of that, and to call upon you to remember it with the same earnest zeal that you remember your first journey into Freemasonry.
I wish you well my Brothers, and hope you enjoy your early steps into Freemasonry, and that you will continue to take every opportunity to learn more about our Craft.
Bro. Brad Chesney, Star of the West Lodge #34. G.L.Alberta.