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(Since this picture was taken, two years ago, cases for about 3,000 volumes have been added to this room alone.)
the kind in America, your committee inspected in a back room in the basement, because there is no better space available. And the relic, curio, picture, and specimen has its proper place in the Library just as much as the book, magazine, or paper. It educates, it attracts, it entertains. The book attracts one, the specimen another, and universality in knowledge is as proper as universality in Masonry.
There is certainly an increased interest in library affairs and in the contents of the Library. The Librarian reports the loaning of four times as many books this year as upon any previous year, and the record of visitors kept in the entrance hall of the Library shows visitors from far and near. The report of the Librarian should be read by all, and his appeal for more space heeded. A valuable painting, worth some thousands of dollars, lately donated to the Library, has no proper place, and almost no place to be hung.
Who can estimate the mass of information contained in the Library? And why should we not use it more? Man should take advantage of knowledge which has been gained by others. “Too many people in the world are plowing over old ground and threshing over old straw, the product of which has been produced years before," and the Library can furnish that output.
"Oh! the Cedars of Lebanon grow at our door,
And the quarry is sunk at our gate,
For our summoning mandate wait,
May the house of our soul create.
For no man shall the night control;
Or broken the golden bowl.'
F. W. CRAIG,
Brother Lindsay (125) presented the report on Fraternal Dead of the year, and same was
Adopted by a rising vote.
TO THE MOST WORSHIPFUL GRAND LODGE OF Iowa:
A TEACH session of this Grand Lodge we pause for a
moment in the routine of business to embalm in the records of our Proceedings a tribute to those of our
brethren who have journeyed to "that undiscovered country.” Today, recognizing the universality of Masonry, we offer a word to the memory of departed craftsmen, not alone of our own Grand Jurisdiction, but of the wide world over, “from Greenland's icy mountains to India's coral strand.” And it is meet and right for us so to do. Probably nothing contributed more to the development of the greatness of Greece and Rome than the honors paid their illustrious dead, and the enduring monuments to perpetuate their memory called forth the best efforts of their painters and sculptors. Proper eulogium of the dead acts as an inspiration and an incentive to the rising generations. In our own fair land, on Memorial day, just recognition is given to the soldier who died to save the Union, and the meed of praise accorded to him is wafted by every breeze that blows, from the rock-ribbed shores of Maine to the golden strand of California, into the ears, and minds, and hearts of the youth, the patriots of the future. Let us then, with bowed heads and reverent hearts, do full justice to the memory of those craftsmen who have crossed the dark river. They have passed to the sleep that knows no awakening, to the dreamless rest that knows no herald. As they came from the unknown, so have they journeyed to the inscrutable, each playing his common part in the act of humanity which the great Jehovah permits in our brief earthly sojourn, which is but a flash of light between two great darknesses, the whence and the whither.
It is occasions like the present which furnish to us the opportunity for reflection, reminding us of the frail tenure by which we maintain our foothold on earth, ere we sink into our resting-places beneath its surface. Many of our absent brethren had but entered upon their careers, buoyant with hope, and having the apparent promise of long and useful lives, while others had attained the allotted three-score-years-and-ten. Fortunately none of us know when our summons is to come; happily to none of us has been given the power to project upon the horoscope the figures showing the time of our dissolution.
Our Masonic ritual teaches that exercises for the dead are useful only as lessons for the living. This service is for the quick, not for the dead. We seldom pause to consider how unimportant we really are, and how little our community will miss us when we are gone. However much importance we may attach to ourselves, when we shall have joined our brethren who have preceded us, the world will still go on as usual, and our noble Order will continue its march to the grand destiny which awaits it, as one of the foremost factors in the establishment of the brotherhood of man. Every good Mason joins with our long-gone brother, Robbie Burns, in saying:
"Then let us pray that come it may,
As come it will for 'a that,
May bear the gree, and 'a that.
Its coming yet, for 'a that,
Shall brithers be, for 'a that." The thought that we shall soon be forgotten is not a pleasant reflection, and if there were nothing more, it would be unutterably sad. “All men must die.” From this judgment no appeal lies, the mandate and sentence issue form a court of last resort. Men come and go as the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow withereth away, and the countless millions that today walk the earth will tomorrow mingle their dust with hers.
But is this all? Is death to be the end? If no morning shall follow the night of death, then sorrow is without consolation, and life without meaning. What is death? Who can answer? That it liberates the spirit from its frail tenement of flesh all admit. That the flesh, after death, perishes and wastes away, all know. But what of the spirit? It must survive. It may be in happiness, it may be in misery; we know not, but we all have an abiding conviction that somewhere, somehow, it lives. True, no word comes to us from the mute lips. They call not to us across the darkness, but
"A voice within us speaks the startling word,
The song of our great immortality.” This belief has been and is the common heritage of humanity. Man revolts at the suggestion of annihilation. If we go to the age of mythology, before the dawn of the Christian era, we are told that when the new-made king of Argos, in obedience to the mandate of his gods, was about to be immolated, she whom he fondly loved be. sought him to tell her if they should meet again, and he said:
“I have asked that dreadful question of the hills,
It is this thought which sustained the ancient Greek that sus. tains us when called to see the form of some loved associate lowered into its narrow cell, and when we would, if we could, recall him, when, standing beside his open grave, we re-echo the thought of the witch-bound champion of Scott's legend
"I'd give the lands of Deloraine,
As Masons, whether we believe in the tenets of the Christian religion, or cling to the old dispensation and look for a Messiah yet to come, or at the cry of the Muezzin, turn our face to Mecca, and bow to the Allah of Mahomet, we believe in the immortality of the soul, and we answer, as did the Grecian king of old, “we shall meet again." The drama of the third degree teaches nothing if it does not teach the resurrection from the dead, and the immortality of the soul.
"There is no death, the stars go down,
To rise upon some fairer shore,
They shine forevermore.' Although our brethren have left us, He who, with each recurring springtime, causes the blossom and the bud to bedeck the bosom of mother earth, and shed their beauty and fragrance upon all, will not allow the last and noblest work of His creation to forever remain enshrouded in darkness. The beautiful flower, scorched by summer's sun, or blighted by autumn's frost, withers and apparently dies, but it does not die, it only falls to sleep in the lap of winter, and when the springtime cometh it shall surely bloom again. So when the grief-stricken, clad in the habiliments of woe, follow their dead, while strains of gentle music fill the air, a sweet, comforting voice comes to those who will hear it, saying: “Thy dead shall rise again.”
Some of our brethren have gone in youth, as Entered Apprentices, and some as Master Masons, master builders in the truest and fullest sense of the term. The contemplation of those well-spent lives, fading away at evening, in the calm promise of an eternal day, sleeping well after “life's fitful fever,” gives us to see the full fruition of human hopes.
"Life, I know not what thou art,
But in some brighter clime bid me good morning." It is a mystery, and yet familiar to us all. Death, or change, is the common lot, not alone of man, but of humanity and systems. Every hour some world dies unnoticed in the firmament, some sun smoulders to embers and ashes on the hearthstone of infinite space, and sooner or later this old earth of ours, science tells us, will be incapable of supporting life; its energy will fail, the last survivor of a feeble and pallid group in some sheltered valley of the tropics will perish, and the sun will rise on the earth without an inhabitant.
But there is a lesson for us, my brethren. It is one of emulation of those who have here fought the good fight, who have followed the golden rule, who have kept the faith, and if we reflect on our own nothingness, it may be that the consideration thereof shall teach us greater humility, cause us to be more just, make us more forbearing and charitable, lead us to a broader philanthropy, and thus exemplify the best and noblest teachings of Masonry Masonry is not a faith without works. It is active, positive, living. “By their works ye shall know them.”
" 'Tis not the wide phylactery,
By what it bears.' It is not the position in life, nor high station in our institution, which makes the example of a consistent Mason worthy of emulation.
"The rank is but the guinea's stamp
The man's the gowd, for 'a that.' The influence for good of our brethren who have dimitted from our terrestrial lodges to join the celestial lodge is not ended.
“Were a star quenched on high, for ages would its light,