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Algoma District Travelling Square

 

THE SQUARE - April 23, 1969

 

PRESENTED TO:  LAKEHEAD LODGE A.F. & A.M. No. 709 BY SUPERIOR LODGE A.F. & A.M. No. 672

THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO

 

The Traveling Square will leave Red Rock Superior Lodge No. 672 and journey to Lakehead Lodge No. 709, there to be presented to the Worshipful Master.

 

THE SQUARE

 

Tonight I have the honour of presenting to this Lodge in trust for the Algoma district in the Province of Ontario a symbolic Square to be known as The Travelling Square.  The Square that we are going to present to you Worshipful Sir, is one of the most important and significant symbols in Freemasonry.  As such it is proper that its true form should be preserved.  Let us separate the Square from the Compasses and study it alone, the better to see its further meaning and use.  There is no need to say that the Square we have in mind is not a Cube, which has four equal sides and angles, deemed by the Greeks a figure of perfection.  Nor is it the square of the carpenter, one leg of which is longer than the other, with inches marked for measuring.  It is simply the trying square of a stone-mason, and has a plain surface, the sides or legs embracing an angle of ninety degrees, and is intended only to test the accuracy of the sides of a stone, and to see that its edges subtend the same angle.  In Freemasonry, it is a symbol of morality.  This is its general signification, and it applied in various ways. 

 

1.         It presents itself to the newly obligated mason, as one of the three great lights.

 

2.         To the Fellow-craft as one of his working tools.

 

3.         To the Master Mason as the official emblem of the Master of the Lodge.  

 

Everywhere however, it inculcates the same lesson of morality, of truthfulness, of honesty.  So universally accepted is this symbolism that it has gone outside of the order, and has been found in many languages communicating the same idea.  As stones are cut to fit into a building, so our acts and thoughts are built together into a structure of Character, badly or firmly, and must be tested by a moral standard of which the simple try-square is a symbol.  Here we find the answer to the question, “how many make a Lodge?”   The answer is specific and unmistakable, GOD and the Square, with five or seven right or perfect Masons.  GOD and the Square, Religion and Morality, must be present in every lodge as its ruling Lights, or it fails of being a just and truly constituted lodge.  In all lands, in all rites where Masonry is true to itself, the Square is a symbol of righteousness, and is applied in the light of faith in GOD. 

 

GOD and the Square, it is necessary to keep the two together in our day, because the tendency of the time is to separate them.  The idea in vogue today is that morality is enough, and that faith in GOD, may or may not be important.  Some very able men of the Craft insist that we make the teaching of Masonry too religious, as all history shows, if faith in GOD grows dim, morality becomes a mere custom.  It is not rooted in reality, and so lacks authority and sanction.  Such an idea, such a spirit, so widespread in our time, and finding so many able and plausible advocates strikes at the very foundations, not only of Masonry, but to all other orders and to all social life.   When men start thinking that morality is a human invention and not a part of the order of the world, the moral law will lose both its meaning and its power.  A society without GOD and Religion will be a society without standard, stability, and honour, and it will one day go down.  Not only nations, but whole civilizations have perished in the past, for lack of righteousness.  It is written plainly across the pages of history for our information, and we dare not disregard it, nor ignore it.

 

Hence the importance attached to the Square or Virtue, and the reason why Masons call it the great symbol of their Craft.  It is a symbol of that moral law, upon which human life must rest if it is to stand.  Unless we live in obedience to the moral laws which GOD has written in the order of things, our lives will fall and end in wreck.  Then we forget the simple Law of the Square, it does not need a prophet to foresee what the result will be.  Such has been the meaning of the Square as far back as we can go.  Long before our era we find the Square teaching the same lesson which it teaches us today.  In one of the old books of China, called THE GREAT LEARNING, which has been dated in the 5th century B.C. we read that a man should not do unto others what he would not have them do unto him, and the writer adds, this is called the principle of acting on the Square.  There it is, recorded long ago. 

 

The greatest philosopher has found nothing more profound, and the oldest man in his ripe wisdom has learned nothing more true.  Even Christ only altered it from the negative to the positive form in His GOLDEN-RULE.   So everywhere in our Craft and outside, the Square has taught its Simple truth which does not grow old. 

 

The Deputy Provincial Grand Master of North and East Yorkshire recovered a very curious relic, in the form of an old brass Square found under the foundation of an ancient bridge near Limerick, England, in 1830.  On it was inscribed the date, 1517, A.D, and the following words:

 

Strive to live with love and care upon the Level by the Square.

 

How simple and beautiful it is, revealing the oldest wisdom man has learned and the very genius of our Craft.  In fact and truth the Square rules the Mason as well as the Lodge in which he labours.  As soon as he enters a Lodge, the candidate walks with square steps round the square pavement of a rectangular Lodge.  All during the ceremony his attitude keeps him in mind of the symbol, as if to fashion his life after its form.  When he is brought to light, he beholds the Square upon the Altar, and at the same time sees that it is worn by the Master of the Lodge, as the emblem of his office.  The Mason, who must be a square man, in thought and conduct, in word and act.  With every art of emphasis the Ritual writes this lesson in our hearts, and if we forget this first Truth the LOST WORD will remain forever lost, for Masonry is not simply a Ritual, it is a way of living.  It offers us a plan, a method, a Faith by which we may build our days and years into a character so strong and true that nothing, not even death, can destroy it.  Each of us has in his own heart a little try-square called Conscience, by which to test each thought and deed and word, whether it be true or false, by as much as a man honestly applies that test in his own heart, and in his relations with his fellowman.  Only by so much will his life be happy, stable, and true.  This is one of the first obligations of a Mason to be on the Square, in all his duties and dealings with his fellow men, and if he fails there he cannot win anywhere.

 

 

Presented by Bro. J.E. Gagnon

RED ROCK, SUPERIOR LODGE No. 672

DATED APRIL 23, 1969

Worshipful Master A.A. Kelly