"The Lost Word" by: PGM Jewell P. Lightfoot

Discussion in 'General Freemasonry Discussion' started by rhitland, Jul 21, 2009.

  1. rhitland

    rhitland Founding Member Premium Member

    This is from the proceddings of the GLoT 1911, enjoy it is a fantastic read.

    Grand Lodge of Texas
    J. P. Lightfoot, Grand Orator, delivered the following oration;
    Address of Grand Orator.

    Most Worshipful Grand Master, Grand Wardens and Brethren:
    The fact that for so many generations the Craft have struggled and toiled in the shadow of the truth, and not in the full radiance of its light, persuaded me to select for this occasion a subject entitled "The Lost Word."
    The terrible tragedy of the Temple deprived the Craft of its most cherished hope, and for ages we have groped in the semi-darkness. How much of grief and sorrow mankind would have been saved, if it had possessed the glorious light of eternal truth, can only be surmised.
    As we look upon the world in which we live, amid all that is beautiful, buoyant and engaging, we see that it is a sorely troubled world- a world rent and torn by tragic catastrophes and fierce inward conflicts. Here sorrow tracks close on to the flying feet of joy. A world where no assemble of people may gather but there are faces marred by pain and brows whitened by the touch of age. Despite the beauty that clothes it like a garment, and the splendors that crown it like a diadem, the earth is full of shipwrecks, griefs and graves. We build the world of today upon the ruins of the world of yesterday, and the feet of the living find no pavement save upon the dust of the dead. Is there no means to discover the hidden mystery? Let us again search the Mystic Temple for this priceless treasure. Surely it must be hidden somewhere.
    The fundamental principle underlying the Masonic Fraternity is a belief in the existence of God, the brotherhood of man and the immortality of the human soul. The supreme object of speculative Masonry inculcate these truths, for in them lie the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, of human progress, civilization and destiny.
    It is upon this broad and universal basis that the great Masonic edifice has laid its foundation, upon which is being reared in Wisdom, and Beauty its symmetrical walls and its splendid courts. Within the glorious courts of such a Temple the Just of all nations are gathering. and upon its royal altars burn the glorious lights of liberty, equality, justice and truth.

    It is our duty to make Freemasonry the object of a profound study. Those who do so will see in it a grand series of moral and philosophical dramas, most eloquent and instructive, gleaming with sublime ideas, as the heavens glow with stars, and finally shall discern that our rite embraces all the possible circumstances of man - moral, spiritual, social, and have a meaning as high as heaven, as broad as the universe, andprofiound as eternity.

    The construction of the beautiful Temple of Solomon furnishes an instructive symbol of the growth and development of the character of individuals, as well as nations. The apprenticeship of the workmen in the bleak quarries; and in the forests; the advancement of the Fellow Crafts to more agreeable labors upon the Temple, at the com*pletion of which they were promised the proud title of Master, and toe endowed with its high privileges-all portray most vividly the uni*versal law of human advancement.

    The conditions upon which those ancient Craftsmen were to receive their crowning honors and the ineffable word which would enable them to travel in foreign countries and receive Masters' wages, was predicated upon two propositions:

    First: They were to wait until the Temple was completed;
    Second: If then found worthy they were to receive it; other*wise, they would not.

    Ignorance, indolence and passion, the three murderers of human progress, made it impossible for those ancient workmen to realize their ambition. The truth was hidden until future generations, freed from those destructive forces, could emerge from darkness into the light and there receive it.

    The infinitely Wise Master has seen fit not to entrust such a won*derful secret to the irresponsible custody of those who cannot master themselves or control the appetites of their own mortal natures.
    Is the Word truly lost to the world? That sacred Word which we believe has some mystical power and enfolds the generative forces of the universe, of which it was said: "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God." We believe that the Word exists in the universe, but hidden from the eyes and understanding of those who seek it not. It is working with its magical powers to bring men to a knowledge of the eternal truths, of the Fatherhood of God, of the Broth*erhood of Man and of the Immortality of the Human Soul, for the spirit, speaking through Isaiah, the great Judean prophet, said:
    "I have sworn by myself, the Word is gone out of my mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, that unto me every knee shall bow and every tongue shall swear."
    That the ineffable Word is endowed with the potency to accomplish its mission is certain, for it is written in the Book of the Law:
    "For the Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is the dis-cerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart."
    Speculative Masonry holds out the hope that a knowledge of this Word is within the reach of everyone who shall complete the Temple and prepare himself to receive it.
    One of the great utterances which has kept hope burning in the breasts of men and lighted. the pathway of benighted humanity, is found in the sentence, "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free."

    The true Mason should be, from the time of his initiation as an En*tered Apprentice, to the time at which he receives the full fruition of Masonic Light, an investigator, a laborer in the Quarry, the Forest and upon the Temple, whose reward is to be a knowledge of the truth. When the Temple of his character is completed, he is to receive a priceless treasure-the true word of a Master Mason-a magical word in which is enfolded the hidden mysteries of the universe. A word which serves as a passport through all the boundless realms of that undiscovered country "from whose bourne no traveler returns."

    In order to prepare to receive the Word, the first necessary step is to circumscribe the desires and keep the passions within due bounds. There are three principal steps in Masonry. They typify youth, man*hood and old age; and are symbolized by the three degrees and by the three grand chambers of the Temple-the ground floor, the middle chamber and the Holy of Holies.

    Youth, with its exuberance of life, in which material things are ex*alted and the spiritual forces lie dormant. Here you see the man as nature made him, with no other resources than his physical strength; a man neither naked nor clad, barefoot nor shod, blindfolded and in bonds, penniless • and destitute. He also symbolizes the great, dumb, inarticulate masses of the profane; blinded by superstition and de*fenseless through ignorance, poor, humiliated, dumb and blind, yet instinctively longing for the light.

    In the second step, that of manhood, one learns the necessity of knowledge and of truth, which alone can free him from the vices and vicissitudes of his nature, and constitute him a king over creation and master over himself. He learns that it is by prudence, fortitude, temperance and justice, not by rashness or desperation, excesses or wild revenge, that he can escape from darkness and be brought into the Light of Eternal Truth.

    The third step brings one to old age, with its ripe experience and deep reflections. Here the trained mind is enabled to discriminate between Light and Darkness, Truth and Falsehood, Virtue and Vice, and as he stands upon the brow of the western hill, by the side of the sprig of acacia, freed from his vices, he surveys universal nature, its transfusion of light and life, and receives assurance of a life be*yond the grave. He realizes and understands that God is the father of all, and that his fellows are his brothers.

    Finally he sees man, rising triumphant from the sordid earth, freed from its passions, vices, ignorance and darkness, illuminated by the Truth, whose light is love, symbolizing a final resurrection in which he shall reflect the true and living image of his God.

    Is it not time to complete the glorious Temple, so long delayed by the barbaric forces of darkness and receive the priceless heritage promised to our fathers? If we are to do so we must turn again and again to our ancient Grand Masters for guidance and to the Sacred Book of the Law for instruction.

    God is supremely merciful, lovingly tender and infinitely patient. As Masons we are taught to practice these virtues toward mankind and not to expect immediate perfection among humanity. We must realize that the soul is constantly struggling amid clouds of errors, of failures and of shortcomings. That it struggles upward amid all the impediments of sense and the obstruction of the passions.

    The true Mason should not judge rashly or hastily; he knows that often what may appear to the eye as a scar is but a wound won on some hard fought battlefield where honor, justice and truth triumphed. No one can have a right to think meanly of his race without thinking meanly of himself.

    Masonry teaches that no single fault can serve as a test of the whole nature of the man and of the whole course of his life. Masonry un*derstands that the whole scheme of human progress is predicated upon the law that humanity rises by using their dead selves as stepping stones to higher things. It therefore inculcates the sublime principle that while we may all be imperfect, we are to continue the struggle for the attainment of virtue, of honor and of truth, with the assurance that in the end it may be achieved when the immortal Temple of character will be completed in all its parts and be dedicated to the glory of the Supreme Grand Architect of the Universe.

    Therefore, among the first lessons taught is that man should square his actions by the square of virtue toward all mankind, more espe*cially a brother Mason; that a man should be charitable, patient, help*ful to his brother and be filled with loving kindness. "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver."
    "Have you never seen a youngster who had gone and stumped his toe, And was sitting by the roadside a-crying soft and low, A-holding of his dusty foot, so hard and brown and bare, Trying to keep from his eyes the tears that's gathering there, You treat him sorter kind like, and the first thing that you know, He's up and off and smiling, clean forgot he stumped his toe.
    "So it is along the road of human life, you'll find a fellow traveling
    Like as not it's some poor cuss who has slipped and stumped his toe. He was making swimming headway when he bumped into a stone, And his fellows kept hurrying onward and left him there alone, He's not sniffling, nor is he sobbing, he's too old for tears and cries, But he's grieving just as earnest, even though it comes in sighs, It does a lot of good sometimes, to go a little slow And speak a word of kindness to the man who stumped his toe."
    It is through labor, sacrifice and suffering that man continues to rise toward the light in his search for the Lost Word.
    Therefore, Masonry dignifies labor and teaches its nobility.
    The axe, the mallet, the chisel and the trowel are implements of honorable toil. They teach us that a life of labor is not a state of inferiority or degradation. It is only through a life of action, of industry, of sacrifice, that manhood is developed and the grace and charm of character is acquired. Masonry has taught us how a widow's son of the tribe of Napthali, an humble worker in brass, became the chief architect of building, and through his integrity and fidelity to honor and duty his name has rung down the centuries as the Illustrious Tyrian.

    "Who are the nobles of the earth?
    The true aristocrats.
    Who need not bow their heads to lords
    Nor doff to kings their hats;
    Who are they, but the men of toil,
    The mighty and the free,
    Whose hearts and hands subdue the earth
    And compass all the sea.
    "Who are they, but the men of toil
    Who cleave the forest down,
    And plant amid the wilderness
    The hamlet and the town.
    Who fight the battles, bear the scars
    And give the world its crown,
    Of name, of fame, of history
    And pomp of old renown.
    "These claim no gaud of heraldry
    And scorn the knighting rod.
    Their coats of arms are noble deeds,
    Their peerage is from God.
    They take not from ancestral graves
    The glory of their names,
    But win as once their fathers won
    The laurel wreath of fame."
    It is through labor that the body is trained and the mind disciplined indolent man remains in ignorance and is ever the slave of his appetites and passions. It is the worker who learns to subdue and circumscribe them and keep them within due bounds. Sacrifice is the supreme law of growth and advancement.

    The forests of Lebanon and the quarries of Baradotha were sacrificed that the beautiful Temple might arise. If we hope to ascend toward Light and Truth and obtain the priceless heritage of the Mystic Word, it must be accomplished through such an agency.

    The high and important truth which Masonry teaches its members is not to search for mystic paths of escape from the necessity of toil, labor or sacrifice, but to impress upon their minds and hearts that these constitute the grand highway of advancement, unfoldment and development of character.

    Look out upon this beautiful world; how its landscapes smile in beauty and laugh in living streams! How its oceans roll and swell in majesty and the mountains tower in strength and grandeur. View the gorgeous upholstery; its winding cloud stairs; its towering dome inlaid with suns; its golden portals of morning and evening,-all make it a scene of transcendent beauty and loveliness. How did it reach its present state of beauty and perfection? Did it spring peace*fully and without struggle into existence to float out before the en*raptured vision of angels? No. Both divine law and science unite in declaring that it began in chaos, "without form and void," while dark*ness wrapped the abysses of space and depth. Then through vast periods of fire and flood, of volcanic fury and awful convulsions, of swift upheaval and slow subsidence, through vast mysterious epochs of conflict between inferior types of life, it has finally emerged in the splendid garniture of cosmic grace and beauty, which it wears today.

    Therefore, out of sacrifice and suffering, the universe took form and grace and every atom of matter, whether busy in the unfoldment of a flower or in the construction of a sun, obeys this primal law.

    When man through labor and sacrifice has gained mastery over himself, he triumphantly presents the body, with its desires circum*scribed and its passions mastered, as a living sacrifice. The Mystic Word in the midst of darkness thunders "Let there be light," and the soul is illuminated by a glorified spirit which shall never, never die. He is crowned the victor, and through the lucidity of his sensi*bilities he can comprehend the glorious harmonies of nature, radiant with the mysteries of eternal life. He then sees transfigured in the effulgent and refulgent light of love the Sacred Word, that Ineffable Word, which went forth in righteousness, never to return, that every knee shall bow and every tongue acclaim.

    We may well believe that it is the power of the Mystic Word that la*bors in the building of the Temple of the Soul, as in the beginning it moved amid chaos upon the face of the waters, and said "Let there be light."

    Our ancient Grand Masters have given us a fitting symbol of this great work. They constructed a Temple which shall forever be asso*ciated with the worship of the one true and living God.

    From the brow of Mount Moriah on which the structure arose they have touched for good all succeeding time. The sound of the axes in the forest of Lebanon and of the chisels and mallets in the quarries of Baradotha have been transmuted into the music of humanity, and the polished stones of white marble which they builded into the walls but typify the living stones of that mighty, invisible, spiritual Temple which is slowly rising in the earth and shall stand at last eternal in the Heavens.

    The Temple of Solomon was but a visible symbol of a loftier Tem*ple, a grander Temple, which time can never bronze over with years and on which destruction's beams shall beat in vain-the Temple of Soul-the shrine of an Infinite Deity, the Temple of an Indwelling God

    The Temple erected by Solomon was the wonder of its time. In order to provide space enough on which to erect it the huge mass of Mount Moriah was enclosed in a wall springing from the valley below and rising higher than our loftiest spire. The crest was then cut down and the space filled in, and on that mighty pedestal the struc*ture arose. Within were three paved courts, one rising above another, and each separated from the other by marble walls or balustrades and approached only by great gates famous throughout the world for their magnificence. Over all in the central space stood the sanctuary built of blocks of white unblemished marble; rising from a level higher than the highest court and surmounted by a dome overlaid with burnished gold and flashing with golden spikes, the glory and crown of the whole terraced structure. There it stood, flashing regal in the sunlight, dazzling the eyes of all who looked upon it-the greatest and most material achievement in the history of Israel.
    But stately and magnificent as it was, it but symbolized a grander and more wondrous Temple-the Temple of the Human Soul-a sub-limer creation than ever arose on earth-a higher expression of cre*ative skill, not only than the Temple of Solomon, but also than the temple of the material universe.
    The soul possesses more resources of design; more intricate and wonderful harmonies are displayed in it than in the inter-play of suns and systems, Orion sculptured in light on the' black walls of space fades into a mere firefly of pageant when compared to this matchless Temple which sprung from the soul of the infinite; is robed with his own beauty and majesty and endowed with his own immor*tality.
    Not only is this Temple grander in structure and sublimer in out*line than the Temple built by Solomon, but it transcends it in its nature. The Temple of Solomon had to stand as he built it. It could not enlarge itself; it could not enhance the stately ornamentation with which he had beautified it; it could not lift its mighty dome to the sky, and when its massive walls and polished pillars began to-yield to the touch of time it could not repair its wastes or fill in its losses; but the living Temple of the soul does all this. It enlarges its sweep and sway, and even builds the imperfect work of the past into statelier achievements of the future.
    But do you think we have yet seen its highest achievements and its qualities robed in their brightest glory?
    Why, we have just begun to mount the steps of the portico of this Temple and to catch dim visions of the transcendent glories within.
    Language is of far too small a compass to voice its divinest har*monies, and only when transported from the imperfections of earth, we shall stand amid the circumstances and scenery, potent to awaken its latent susceptibilities, shall we ever know the slumbering yet wondrous powers and capacities of the human soul.
    The Temple of King Solomon, however stately, imposing and mag*nificent, 'was a temple built with hands, and therefore built only for time. Though built of cedar and stone, silver and gold, though the shrine was glorified with rich and costly elaboration, though it flashed like a constellation of precious stones in the Oriental sunlight, though it was the center of a nation's unity and the symbol of a nation's power-where is it now? Not one stone is left standing upon an*other. There was something sad and mournful in the successive revel*ations uncovered by the engineers of the "Palestine Exploration Fund," when sinking shafts and opening galleries along the walls of the ancient Temple of Jerusalem. As they went down they came upon the remains of masonry, indicating the successive epochs of rebuild*ing, and just as clearly the successive epochs of destruction which had overtaken it.
    They came, first, upon the ruins of the work which was done three or four centuries ago by the Sultan Suleiman. Lower down they came upon the ruins of the constructive work which was ordered by Justinian. Deeper down and upon a lower historic strata they came upon the ruins of the work of the age of Herod the Great. Still deep*er down they came upon the original foundations of King Solomon's Temple, full seventy feet below the surface and resting upon the rocky slopes of Mount Moriah, and in the lowest angle of the Temple area they found the original cornerstone untarnished by time, un*stained by mould, the same stone that Isaiah the Prophet was prob*ably looking upon, or at least had in mind when he uttered the great Messianic prophecy, "Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation, a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone."
    Thus from the bottom upward may be traced the footprints of de*struction as, age after age, it leveled those successive temples to the dust.
    But the temple which that ancient and gorgeous structure but sym*bolizes shall never be overtaken by destruction, but shall advance on in widening power and increasing beauty and glory forever.
    The soul is immortal and therefore can never die. The longer it lives the intenser it lives. It is an ever-growing, ever-expanding tem*ple-a living temple which, when at last it shall thrust aside this mortal scaffolding, shall mount upward forever.
    Think of a year of spiritual building in Paradise, what grace and beauty will it bring to the temple of character. But think of a thou*sand years! Think of ten thousand years! Think of the difference between a spiritual temple garnished and beautified by ten milleniums of celestial construction as compared to a temple just laying its foundations and beginning to uprear its walls in this brief scene of tem*ple building which we call human life.

    Contemplate the human soul mounting up amid the circumstances and scenery of Eternal Being! The intellect forever expanding with richer and yet richer ingathering of knowledge; wiser yet wiser, hap*pier and yet happier, holier and yet holier; now towering beyond the reach of the Archangel! now mounting into those supernal at*mospheres that burn with the footsteps of the seraphim! Onward and upward and Godward forever! Oh, glorious temple, worthy of the conception and handiwork'of a God! Forever shalt thou stand; thy windows flooded with the glory of an uncreated day; thy altars fra*grant with the incense of fraternal love and joy; while beneath thy translucent dome shall roll and reverberate forever the transcendent anthems and harmonies of the Lost Word, which, flashing with living light; shall ever and still ever uncover and reveal the hitherto unsus*pected glories that lie hidden in the mighty name and nature of God.

    Past Grand Master Geo. W. Tyler, offered a motion thanking Bro. Lightfoot for his very able address and directing that the oration be printed in the proceedings, which was adopted.

    I did scan this in which converted to text so let me know if you think something is wrong and I can check and correct if error.
  2. JEbeling

    JEbeling Guest

    I am not sure about GM Lightfoot... ! think he was impressed with himself..? lot of things I read.. not sure ..?

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