Museum of Freemasonry - Masonic Library
What you have just heard was taken from Mackey’s Enclopedia of Freemasonry, with only a small number of amendments, which were made for the purpose of clarity. This Masonic tome is a mine of information, however, some of the statements made and details given warrant some careful inspection before placing too much reliance upon the apparent authority of this writer.

Let me take you back to a very early statement in the lecture, which we would all do well to bear in mind when reading any material concerning the origins of the craft.

Yet looking to their character, most of them were probably at first symbolical in their character; the symbol in the lapse of time having been converted into Myth and the myth, by constant repetition, having assumed the formal appearance of a truthful narrative.

It is not always easy when reading some new, interesting and apparently authorative  material concerning the craft, to question the source of a writers information, or look for the symbolical lesson which the writer may be trying to impart.  Let me now repeat some of the statements which were made in the lecture just delivered, and about which one should exercise some discretion.

  • History is entirely silent in respect to his career, and the sacred records supply us with only very unimportant items.
  • Tyre was one of the principal seats of the Dionysiac fraternity of artificers, a society exclusively engaged in the construction of edifices, and living under a secret organisation, which was subsequently imitated by the operative Freemasons
  • He received the title “Principal Conductor of the Works ,” an office which, previous to his arrival, had been filled by Adoniram, and, according to Masonic tradition, formed with Solomon and King Hiram of Tyre, his ancient patron, the Supreme Council of Grand Masters,
  • According to Masonic tradition, which is in part supported by scriptural authority, Hiram was charged with all the Architectural decorations and interior embellishments of the building.
  • In allusion to these labours of taste and skill displayed by the widow’s son, we are told that while the wisdom of Solomon contrived the fabric, and the strength of King Hiram’s wealth and power supported  the undertaking, it was adorned by the beauty of Hiram Abif’s curious and cunning workmanship.
  • Such is the character of this distinguished person , whether mythical or not, that has been transmitted by the uninterrupted stream of Masonic tradition.
  • The same tradition informs us that the first time he used this stylus for any of the purposes of the Temple was on the morning that the foundation stone of the building was laid, when he drew the celebrated diagram known as the Forty Seventh Problem of Euclid.

Now this is indeed a curious statement, given that Hiram Abif lived around 1012 B.C. and that Euclid did not appear on the scene, and that was in Greece, until around 300 B.C.

  • On the very day appointed for celebrating the cope-stone of the building, says one tradition, he repaired to his usual place of retirement at the meridian hour, and did not return alive.

Just as the newspapers of today will add a pinch of half truth or innuendo, to put some life or sparkle into a story, and thereby sell more copies, so our ancient scribes of yesteryear engaged in a little creative padding, the better to illustrate and reinforce a moral lesson. Unfortunately, it is the illustration rather than the moral which has become the focus of attention for some brethren.  So brethren, read your masonic material with interest, judge what is written with care and endeavour always, to look for a reason, an example and a  symbolical moral lesson.

As we have all been instructed, “We are not here as Operative but as Free and Accepted or Speculative Masons, and this material is delivered to us as a vehicle  of Moral Instruction, and so should we apply it.”

Thankyou Brethren.

Ken White
Lodge Gosford 742