Tag Archive: Mason

The Ghost of Hiram Abif

The Ghost of Hiram Abif

There were two prominent Master Masons of opposite characteristics working on a great cathedral. One was an instructor in geometry and worked diligently at leading a virtuous life. He never drank spirituous beverages and never stopped working as long as there was enough daylight, not even to eat. The other was an instructor in sculpting, and was widely known as a bit of a scoundrel. Whenever he felt like eating, he ate, and when he felt like sleeping in the daytime, he slept.

One day the geometrician visited the sculptor, who was drinking wine and eating bread instead of working.

“Hello, brother,” the sculptor greeted him. “Won’t you have some bread and wine?”

“I never drink, and I don’t eat when I could be working!” exclaimed the geometrician severely.

“You don’t drink and you don’t stop working to eat? Are you a human being?” asked the sculptor.

“You call me inhuman just because I do not!” exclaimed the geometrician in anger. “Well, if I am not human, then what am I?”

“You must be the ghost of our Grand Master Hiram Abif!”

Where Have They Gone?

A craftsman asked Peter Gower, “Where have all the Past Masters and the ancient three Grand Masters gone?”

Peter Gower responded, “What did you say?”

The craftsman said, “I commanded an exceedingly fine racehorse to spring forth, but only a lame tortoise appeared.”

Peter Gower said nothing. The next day when he emerged from his bath, the craftsman served him a plate of fruit. Peter Gower gave the craftsman a pat on the shoulder.

The craftsman said, “Oh, the old boss has noticed for the first time.”

Peter Gower again said nothing.

A Foundation Stone

Solomon, King of Israel and Grand Master of Masons, held a feast in honor of the alliance between himself and Hiram King of Tyre in an effort to build the Temple. During the feast, the workmen brought gifts to Grand Master Solomon.

The Master Masons brought in a finely detailed scale model of the Temple in its finished state. All agreed that the Masters were wise and skilled workers, fit to lead the construction that was soon to begin.

Then, the Fellows of the Craft brought in their work. They brought in two pillars; one plainly made, the other was wonderfully ornate, with the details of lily-work, network, pomegranates and other flourishes. Everyone gasped in wonder at the beauty of their work.

Finally, the Entered Apprentices brought in their work. It was a great stone ashlar. Each side was perfectly smooth. The corners were without flaw. The stone itself was without stain or mark. On seeing this stone, the Grand Master stood and proclaimed, “Upon this stone, I will build the greatest Temple ever constructed.”

Hiram Abif’s New Student

Grand Master Hiram Abif’s lectures were attended not only by Masons but also by persons of all crafts and trades. He never quoted scripture at length or went on and on with sophisticated arguments. Instead, his words were spoken directly from his heart to the hearts of his listeners.

His large audience angered a young teacher of woodcraft because his students had left to hear about Masonry. The self-centered teacher came to the lodge, determined to have a debate with Hiram.

“Hey, Master Mason!” he called out. “Wait a minute. Whoever respects you will obey what you say, but a man like myself does not respect you. Can you make me obey you?”

“Come up beside me and I will show you,” said Hiram.

Proudly the teacher pushed his way through the crowd.

Hiram said. “And please come over to my left side.”

The teacher did just that.

“No,” said Hiram, “perhaps we could talk better if you are on the right. Please step over here.”

The teacher resolutely strode over to Hiram’s right side.

“Well now,” said Hiram, “you are obeying me after all, and I think you are really a very good person. Now please sit down and listen.”

The Senior Deacon Loses

Grand Master Hiram Abif wished to send a Master Mason to open a new lodge. He told his officers that whoever answered a question most ably would be appointed. Placing a brass compass on the tracing board, he asked, “Who can say what this is without calling its name?”

The Senior Deacon said, “No-one can call it a wooden square.”

Then the Junior Steward walked over and used the compass to inscribe a point within a circle.

Hiram smiled and said, “The Senior Deacon loses.” The Junior Steward was sent to be the Worshipful Master of the new lodge.

Erase the Tracing Board

A newly passed Fellow Craft approached the Worshipful Master: “Worshipful Master, I do not understand what I heard here tonight. Masonry is said to be the builder’s art, and yet we are told that a study of architecture and geometry is not necessary. Please explain this to me.”

The Worshipful Master replied, “The Craft does not belong to architecture, and likewise it does not belong outside of architecture. Geometry is an illusion, and the denial of geometry is absurd. If you want to learn the builder’s art, erase every superfice, line and point from the tracing board, and then study that.”

Taking Wine

Taking Wine

At a Festive Board, the Worshipful Master was taking wine with the brethren when he noticed that he had drained his glass halfway, he arose and called to the Junior Warden, “Brother Junior Warden, is this glass half empty or half full?”

“Half empty, Worshipful Master.” responded the Junior Warden.

“Brother Senior Warden,” continued the Worshipful Master, “What is your answer?”

“It is half full, Worshipful sir,” answered the Senior Warden.

“Worshipful Brother Immediate Past Master, we should always hear what you have to say. What is your answer?”

“It is both.” he answered with a wry smile and the Brethren responded heartily.

“Ah-ha, very good.” said the Worshipful Master.

Noticing the Tyler nodding off in the corner, the Worshipful Master thought he would challenge him and said, “Brother Tyler, what say you to all this? Is my glass half empty or half full?”

“There is room for more.” he answered.

Where is Your Home?

A Worshipful Master asked a new Master Mason, “Where is your home?”

The MM said, “The capital city of this state, Worshipful Master.”

The WM asked, “Do you think of that place?”

The MM said, “I think of it all the time, Worshipful.”

The WM said, “The ‘thinker’ is the mind, and the ‘thought of’ is the environment. Therein are mountains, valleys, rivers, buildings, lodges and temples, people, animals, and so on. Turn your thought to think of the mind that thinks. Are there so many things there?”

The MM said, “When I get here, I don’t see any existence at all.”

The WM said, “That’s appropriate for the stage of craftsmanship, but not yet right for the stage of mastery.”

The MM said, “Don’t you have some other particular way to teach?”

The WM said, “To say that I have anything particular is not accurate. Based on your insight, you only get one mystery. You can put on your apron and take a seat. After this, see on your own.”

Perfected Ashlars

An Overseer of the work came to Grand Master Hiram Abif while at his trestleboard and said, “Master Hiram, one of my hewers keeps cutting all of his stones to dust! What am I to do?”

Hiram said, “Let me see this.”

Hiram, seeing the pile of cuttings and dust, asked the worker, “What
are you doing?”

He answered, “When I remove one rough corner or impurity from my stone, I always find another that needs to be removed.”

Hiram turned to the Overseer and said, “The Eternal Temple in the heavens is built with such living stones,” and then returned to his designs.

A Master Mason in the Quarry

Peter Gower used to tell his craftsmen: “If you meet a Master Mason in the quarry, kill him.”