The following address was delivered by the D.G. Chaplain, S.C, (Bro. A. Barrett), at the meeting on Fiiday night Brethren,—As Chaplain of the District Grand Lodge kindly allow me to call attention to the serious question now agitating the peace of the Craft in New Zealand. There is danger to the good old constitutions under which it is the privilege and honor of Freemasons to yield loyal obedience. -log question is no less than the proposal to throw aside the charter from the Grand Lodge of Scotland in order to enrol the brethren under a new constitution as the Grand Lodge of New Zealand. In opposition to the proposal for such change I beg to offer the following considerations:—!. In the proposals for discarding the existing constitution there is no ground for deviation from the universal and eternal principles of Freemasonry; no surrender of the truths enjoined by the symbolical teaching of the level, the square, and cempasses; no evading the All-seeing Eve: no repudiation, alteration, or amendment of the obligation to T.G.A.O.T.U, What, then, I would ask, is to be gamed by the surrender of our charter ? 2. The multiplying of grand lodges is really a retrograde movement. Once started, as in Australia, there would be grand lodges of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and Western Australia; then Tasmania, and in time North Island of New Zealand and South Island of New Zealand. 3 The spirit of union should aim at federation instead of cutting up the English, Irish, and Scottish Constitutions into as many constitutions as there are colonies. I am afraid there is a temptation to retrograde from the consummation _of one grand lodge under one constitution for the brethren over whom “the sun is always at its meridian ”-a grand lodge typical and symbolical of the grand lodge “not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”—a grand lodge of labor here below that will some day be consummated in the language of Scotland’s poet and a brother Mason —
Then let ns pray that come it may— Ae come it will for a* that — That man to man, the warld o’er, jShall brothers be for a’ that. 4 A movement in the direction these words of the poet indicate does not lie in the multiplicity of constitutions with as many grand lodges. Rather let ns unite to bring about a union of the existing constitutions under one British lodge of Freemasons. 5. Rooted deep down in the human heart is, more or less, the feeling-call it sentiment if you like, but it is a power that will assert itself—a power over the human heart well expressed in the well-known lines , Woodman spare that tree ! Touch not a single bough ! In youth it sheltered me, And I’ll protect it now. That old familiar tree, Whose glory and renown Are spread o’er land and s*a. And would’st thou out it down ? My heartstrings round thee cling Close as thy bark, old friend 1 Here shall the wild bird sing. And still thy branches bend. Old tree, the storm still brave, And woodman leave the spot; While I’ve a hand to save Thy axe shall harm it not. In spirit and in feeling somewhat kindled, I am sure every brother must respect the constitution under which he became a Free and Accepted Mason. Can he then, for the mere novelty of a new constitution, consent to throw away his birthright? 6. Young Masons, as a rule, are prone to be Radical, whereas veteran brethren are Conservative. Let us stick to the old flag—the good old constitution. If we never disgrace it, it will never disgrace us. All the culture, all that builds up an honest man, “ nt " b " t r s ß T7 to make him the noblest work of T.G.A.0.T.U., we have in the teachings of Freemasonry, whether of English, Irish, or Scottish Constitutions. Why then talk of discarding our own charter for the sake of creating a Grand Lodge of New Zealand? What would be thought of the younger sons of a noble family emigrating from the Home Country, and after a few years’ residence in New Zealand writing to their parents for consent to discard their patronymic and adopt a new name? 8. In the English, Irish, and Scottish Constitutions we have the equilateral triangle enclosing and containing all the essentials of perfect masonry; but at the same time having equal lines of demarcation, with allowable differences for nonessentials. Let us not attempt to supplant this equilateral triangle, but maintain intact the principles of oar own side while we respect the constitutions of those who are symbolised by the other sides of the equilateral triangle. In support of the above I beg to submit that in the colonies there is an atmosphere of discontent and of want of reverence for established government. This atmosphere seems to excite many good men throughout the Australasian colonies, so that the highest pitch of enthusiasm and burning zeal are developed in maturing schemes of a speculative and adventurous nature, which arc well termed booms. Here in New Zealand I believe those of the brethren who are promoters of a grand lodge for the colony are moved by the example of those in the neighboring colonies. Now, before attempting auoh a radical change as discarding the charter our lodge holds from the Grand Lodge of Scotland, we should as rational men ponder well the reasons for making the change. It will not do to magnify what little friction there may occasionally arise with the Grand Lodge, In all things sublunary there must of necessity be more or less friction. We are not to rush from “ Ilia we know to ids we know not of.” Even monetary considerations are not to weigh os the “Be all and the end all” - the < Alpha and Omega—of Freemasonry. Unity, harmony, and brotherly love are far beyond the posai. bilities of pounds, shillings, and pence. They are priceless. And in this direction the aiin of every true Mason must be concentrated. I maintain that the proposed Grand Lodge of New Zealand would be retrograde movement. Instead of union it would be disunion and isolation. At present we are united to every lodge throughout the length and breadth of the habitable globe, loyally serving under the Grand Lodge of Scotland; and wherever we may travel we find brethren working under the same constitution. Not only so, we fraternise with those brethren of the English and Irish Constitutions who recognise Scottish Freemasonry as one side of the equilateral triangle, enclosing and staining all the essentials of perfect Freemasonry, and who respect the charter held under the constitution of either of the venerable three Grand British Lodges. If a grand lodge of New Zealand is formed no lodge out of the colony can hold a charter under the Grand Lodge of New Zealand. In.this respect we should have isolation. Where, then, comes in the union ? True, there may be, so far as mere local nomenclature or autonomy is concerned, perfect unity. Looking beyond the mere boundaries of the sea-girt shores of New Zealand our vision as Freemasons will expand towards the comprehensive lodge throughout the world—the lodge whose “ length is from east to west, whose breadth is between north to south, and whose depth is from the surface of the earth to the centre, and even as high os the heavens.” Throughout this lodge we find brethren enrolled as members of the three grand lodges, Are we to bo called upon to assist in curtailing that membership ? The effect of forming so many grand lodges in
the colonies will be disruption from the universal three grand lodges. And yet we . are told that is promoting union ! Break up , the equilateral triangle, and out of the dismembered parts go on multiplying independent grand lodges, and where does the pnn- j ciple of union come in ? What about the ' loss of prestige we should sustain by throw- ; ing up our charter? What about our loyalty ? What about the deep - rooted reverence for the Grand Lodge from whence we derive all that is good, true, and pure in Masonic principles and Masonic teaching? “ Reverence, that angel of the world,” is as true an axiom now as three centuries ago the immortal ; poet declared it to be. lam sadly afraid ; we are in danger of being misled by the eloquence of those brethren who are earned away bv the glitter and fascination of the local grandeur attached to grand lodges, I maintain that our system of district or provincial grand lodges, under jurisdiction of either of the three grand lodges in the Home Country, is as thoroughly efficient as is the government of the colony of New Zealand, with its Governor and Parliament acting loyally under the jurisdiction of the Queen of England, Ireland, and Scotland. No one would tolerate for a moment the question of separation from the Home Country unless carried away by that restless spirit of aggrandisement called “ booms. The whirligig of Time brings in his revenges, and I think it may safely be predicted that in a few years there will be a return, on the part of the grand lodges throughout the colonies, to the constitutions under the three grand British lodges. As regards the purely selfish grounds of pounds, shillings, and pence, I do believe j that the proposed change would not effect j any saving in working expenses ; but, on the ; contrary, that the magnitude of a grand lodge, with the many district grand lodges, would necessitate a financial outlay on a scale considerably beyond present requirements. This is shown in the able papers on the subject prepared by Bro. D.G.S. Beacon Cherrio and Bro. D.G. Secretary Neill. Let us then resist all overtures to abandon our charter—a charter under which we are still progressing; a charter recognised and respected the wide world o’er; a charter under which many a worthy brother has rejoiced to perform his allotted task, until called^ to rest in “those mansions not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. ” It will be | then our bounden duty to nail our colors to the mast; stick to our constitution; steer by the perfect chart and compasses of Masonic principles laid down by the Grand Lodge of Scotland ; and pray that T.G.A.O.T.U. will bless and prosper us in our going out and our coming in, and bless us in our endeavors to live in charity with all mankind.
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MASONIC., Evening Star, Issue 8043, 21 October 1889
MASONIC. Evening Star, Issue 8043, 21 October 1889
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