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W.Bro. Paul Barber, webmaster

About Masonic Education

Learning, planned or incidental, continually happens. To better oneself is one of the principles of Masonry - to make a good man better.

On this web page you will find a variety of short articles intended to help us better understand life, our fellow man and our obligation to The Supreme Being.

The source of these articles ranges from books and web sites to the thoughts of local Masons.

Please visit this page from time to time as the current articles will be replaced by new ones.

History Behind the Lewis Jewel

 

What is a Lewis?

It is an instrument in Operative Masonry. It is an Iron Cramp, which is inserted into a cavity prepared for that purpose so that large stones may be raised to any height, by rope and pulley. The stone is then placed in it's proper position. This implement was known to the Romans and several were taken from old ruins and are now in the Vatican. In the ruins of Whitby Abbey in England which was founded by "Oswy" King of Northumberland in 658, large stones were discovered with the necessary excavation for the insertion of a Lewis.

a lewis

Where did the word come from?

Probably from the old French word "L�WIS" meaning "any contrivance for lifting". In the English system of Masonry, the "LEWIS" is found on the Tracing-board of the Entered Apprentice, where it is used as a symbol of "STRENGTH", (English Constitution) because by it's assistance the heaviest of stones can be lifted with comparatively little exertion. The son of a Mason in England is called a "Lewis", because it is his duty to support the sinking power and aid the failing strength of his father.

Or as Dr. Oliver has put it "To bare the burden in the heat of the day that his Parents may rest in their old age, thus rendering the evening of their lives peaceful and happy."

In Browns "Master Key" which is supposed to represent the Prestonian Lecture we find the following:

Question What do we call the son of a Freemason ?

Answer A Lewis

Question What does that denote?

Answer Strength

Question How is a Lewis depicted in a Masonic Lodge?

Answer As a cramp of metal, by which, when fixed into a stone, great and ponderous weights are raised to a certain height, fixed on their proper bases, without which Operative Masons could not so conveniently do.

Question What is the duty of a Lewis to his aged parents?

Answer To be made a Mason before any other person, however dignified by birth, rank or riches, unless he by complaisance waives this privilege.

The term occurs in this sense in the constitutions of 1735 at the end of the Deputy Grand Masters song, in allusion to the expected birth of George III son of Frederick Prince of Wales.

"May a Lewis be born whom the whole may admire;
Serene as his mother, august of his sire."

It is sometime stated that a Lewis may be initiated before he is twenty one (21). Not so under the English Constitution, Scottish Constitution, however, will allow a Lewis to be made (a Mason - ed.) at 18 years. This is not practiced in North America.

Contributed by V.W.Bro. Stephen Atkinson

Further information is available on the Grand Lodge website.

Long-haired John

Brethren, I offer you this story for your Masonic Education.� It contains a powerful message and tells us who we are . . .or should be.

Fraternally,
W. Bro. Paul Pinel, Liberty No.419, Sarnia
(via W. Bro. Jim Valley)

His name is John, he has wild hair, wears a T-shirt with holes in it, jeans and no shoes. This was literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of college. He was the top of this class. Kind of esoteric and very, very bright. He became a Mason recently while attending college. After moving to his new town, he finds that down the street from his new apartment is a well-dressed, very conservative Lodge. One day John decides to go there after work. He walks in with shoes, jeans, his work shirt, and long hair.

The lodge has already started and so John starts looking for a seat. The lodge is completely packed and he can't find a seat. By now the Brethren are really looking a bit uncomfortable, but no one says anything. John gets closer and closer to the East and, when he realizes there are no seats, he squats down right on the carpet. (Although perfectly acceptable behavior at a college fellowship, trust me, this had never happened in this Lodge before!) By now the Brethren are really uptight, and the tension in the air is thick. About this time, the Secretary realizes that from way at the back of the Lodge, a Past Master is slowly making his way toward John.

Now the Past Master is in his eighties, has silver-gray hair, and a three-piece suit. A good man, very elegant, very dignified, and very courtly. He walks with a cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy, everyone is saying to themselves that you can't blame him for what he's going to do. How can you expect a man of his age and of his background to understand some college kid in the Lodge? It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy. The Lodge is utterly silent except for the clicking of the man's cane.

All eyes are focused on him. You can't even hear anyone breathing. The Secretary can't even continue with the "Minutes" until the Past Master does what he has to do. And now the Lodge watches as this elderly man drops his cane on the floor. With great difficulty, he lowers himself and sits down next to John and welcomes him so he won't be alone.

When the Secretary gains control, he says "What I'm about to say, you will never remember. What you have seen, you will never forget. Be careful how you live. You may be the only Mason some people�will ever meet."�

As close as the brother next to you ...

From the Master's Message of Naphtali Lodge's June 2005 summons:

... and while, at the moment, we don't have any Masonic Education planned, that doesn't mean that we won't have any at the Meeting."

James Daley, W.M

An On-line Anthology

W.Bro. Jim Valley located the website linshaw.ca in Calgary. In their own words:

There are many excellent works of Masonic interest which have been published over the years, now gathering dust on shelves.

For past few years, I have sent out a monthly ezine called

"One More Time, Please!"

with reprints of some articles which I have found and which I feel deserve to see the light of day again.

There is a large number or articles contained among the several volumes. Well worth bookmarking.

Masonic Reading

  1. Masonic Philanthropies by S. Brent Morris
  2. The Craft and its Symbols by Allen E. Roberts
  3. A Comprehensive View of Masonry by Henry Wilson Coil
  4. The Builders by Joseph Fort Newton
  5. Along Masonic Trails by Wilmer E. Bresee
  6. The Men's House by Joseph Fort Newton
  7. The Newly-made Mason by H.L. Haywood
  8. Freemason's Guide and Compendium by Bernard Edward Jones
  9. Foreign Countries by Carl Claudy
  10. A Pilgrim's Path by John J. Robinson
  11. The Freemasons by Jasper Ridley

Listed in Leamington Lodge's February 2005 summons.

Famous Canadian Freemasons

Eureka Lodge No.283 in Belleville, Ontario has an excellent website that includes a page listing famous Canadians who are also Masons.

Why Friday Night?

In a continuing discussion over keeping to the traditional Friday night meeting of Parvaim Lodge, R.W.Bro. Hernandez rose with an explanation of the choice of Friday as lodge night.

In the early days of the lodge (which was formed in 1881 I believe), the ladies of the Comber area would go shopping while the men went to lodge. When they were done, the ladies would return to the lodge building and go downstairs where they were joined by their husbands for an evening of social intercourse. The tradition continued for many years.

Let us remember that we are a fraternal order and do whatever is necessary and appropriate in modern times to maintain that bond of fellowship.

W.B. Barber's recollection of the October, 2004 Official Visit meeting of Parvaim Lodge.

What Masonry is ...

It is a voluntary association for men
It is a system of moral conduct
It is a way of life
It is a fraternal society
It is religious in its character
It is a pursuit of excellence
It seeks to make good men better
It teaches morality through symbolism
It uses rites and ceremonies to instruct its members
It is based on a firm belief in the

Fatherhood of God
Brotherhood of man
Immortality of the Soul

Unattributed. Reprinted from Central Lodge's October 2004 summons.

A Silent Sermon

A member of a certain Masonic lodge, who previously had been attending meetings regularly, stopped going. After a few months, the Worshipful Master decided to visit him. It was a chilly evening. The Worshipful Master found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his Master's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited. The Worshipful Master made himself at home but said nothing.

In the grave silence he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the Worshipful Master took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a bright burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone. Then he sat back in his chair, still silent. The host watched all of this in quiet contemplation.

As the one lone ember's flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The Worshipful Master glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the Worshipful Master reached the door to leave, his host said with a tear running down his cheek, "Thank you so much for your visit and especially for the fiery lesson. I shall be back in lodge next month."

Author unknown. Reprinted from Leamington Lodge's September 2004 summons.