The Entered Apprentices Handbook

When the Candidate has been restored to his personal comfort he receives the charge. The first significant point is the phrase “Ancient, no doubt it is, as having subsisted from time immemorial”.

In “Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods”, I have endeavoured to show that this phrase is literally true, and a strong claim can be made that modern Freemasonry is the lineal descendant of the Ancient Mysteries, via the Roman Colleges of Architects, the Comacine Masons, and the Mediaeval Freemasons.

Chapter 1; The opening of the First Degree.  An interpretation of the first degree, the meaning of the preparation, symbolism, ritual and signs

 

Chapter 2; The Tyler or Outer Guard.  The first thing that greets the eyes of the aspirant to our Order standing in front  of the door with a drawn sword in his hand.

 

Chapter 3, The candidate being prepared by the Tyler.  What we now have is a system by which the parts which have to be bare are made bare.

 

Chapter 4, The candidate’s admission into the lodge, is received on a sharp instrument. This signifies many things, one idea lying within the other.

 

Chapter 5, In all the ancient mysteries a candidate obligation was exacted to secure the secret teachings given in these mysteries which disclosed an inner meaning.

Chapter 6, Having taken the first regular step, the conclusion of the ceremony, the Candidate is given the Sign. This he is told refers to the Penalty of his Obligation, and no doubt it does, but it also seems to refer to something much more startling.

CHAPTER 7

The Charge

 

Stone masons working on blocks of stone, making gravestones and coffins. Woodcut..
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The other significant phrase is that relating to “The Ancient Landmarks“.

Much learned discussion has taken place concerning  what these are.

Common sense indicates the following points as  obviously falling within this heading, whereas many others may be  matters of opinion, on which brethren are entitled to differ.

l.  The signs, words and tokens.

 

If these were changed it would shatter the universality of Freemasonry and prevent old masons recognising new ones, or members of various jurisdictions doing so.

It must be acknowledged that the charge made by the Ancients against the Moderns, that they had removed the Ancient Landmarks, was largely justified, for they appear to have transposed the words in the first and second degrees.

Still apparently, they did not entirely change them.

 

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2 & 3. Belief in God and a Future Life. 

 

If these are removed, then the object and purpose of masonry is destroyed, since it is the “quest of knowledge of, and union with, God”.

Again, the elimination of the idea of a “future life” would destroy the teaching of one of the most important craft degrees.

If these landmarks were removed, Freemasonry would either perish, or else have to substitute a new object, as the Grand Orient of France has done.

This having become atheistical, had to turn masonry into a secret political society, with disastrous results.

Hence it is that the Grand Lodge of England felt compelled to break off fraternal relations with that body.

4. The Order of the Degrees.

 

If these were reversed or changed it would reduce the whole system to nonsense.

The remainder of this address is fairly clear as it stands. It contains excellent teaching, the meaning of which lies on the surface, and so we need spend no further space on it here.

The first tracing board contains a great deal of useful instruction, but it is so seldom given in most lodges that we will pass it by, hoping at some future date to give it the attention it deserves.

 

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The purpose of these tracing boards will be explained in the book dealing with the second degree, and we can therefore take leave of the Entered Apprentice.

There is no pretence that we have  exhausted the subject, much more could be written, but in a small book like this the author must restrict himself to giving an outline explanation, and suggestions for study, in the hope that his readers  will follow the hints given, and discover further meanings for themselves. 

Article by: J. S. M. Ward

John Sebastian Marlow Ward (22 December 1885 – 1949) was an English author who published widely on the subject of Freemasonry and esotericism.

He was born in what is now Belize. In 1908 he graduated from the University of Cambridge with honours in history, following in the footsteps of his father, Herbert Ward. who had also studied in history before entering the priesthood in the Anglican Church, as his father had done before him.

John Ward became a prolific and sometimes controversial writer on a wide variety of topics.

He made contributions to the history of Freemasonry and other secret societies. He was also a psychic medium or spiritualist, a prominent churchman and is still seen by some as a mystic and modern-day prophet.

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Freemasonry and the Ancient Gods

By: JSM Ward

This scarce antiquarian book is a facsimile reprint of the original. Due to its age, it may contain imperfections such as marks, notations, marginalia and flawed pages. Because we believe this work is culturally important, we have made it available as part of our commitment for protecting, preserving, and promoting the world’s literature in affordable, high quality, modern editions that are true to the original work.

 

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