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we are not often asked to demonstrate the proof of our being a Mason because when we visit a lodge where we are not a member. The answer is to be found in a little book entitled ‘Emulation Lectures of the Three Degrees’. those to the second degree in five parts. What we may conclude is thus personal. among other things. lodges regularly worked these lectures . Q: How do you demonstrate the proof of your being a Mason to others? A: By signs. one might expect as many answers. This told us. for ‘Universal’ and probably for others part at a time – though today they are seldom worked. In practice. you will see the question: 2 . though for those not using the ‘Emulation working’. There is no need to embarrass you by asking who knows what the ‘perfect points of entrance’ are.that is hidden to some extent and it is for each of us work out or. perhaps in response to need. But to return to the perfect points. tokens and the perfect points of my entrance. which is a pity. One thing we probably all recollect is being given a little card from which we were told to learn the answers. If you look at these lectures you will find that those relating to the first degree are in seven parts. perhaps to discover for ourselves. the underlying nature of this system which is peculiar to Freemasonry. veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols. amongst which was the answer to the question: Q: What is Freemasonry? A: A peculiar system of morality. in three parts. there is a version for ‘Taylor’s’. presented with some uncertainty. At one time. that our rituals were phrased in fairly old English and that what it would have us learn from it is veiled .IT MAKES ME THINK – FIRST DEGREE If a number of Masons were to be asked what each considered to be the most important thing they had learned from the First Degree. and those to the third. it is almost invariably as the guest of a brother who can vouch for us. the most popular of our rituals. because the rituals to which we are accustomed make no further reference to them.

if not in this life. is constructed and furnished with ornaments and jewels from our little book of lectures. that of Jacob’s Ladder. then perhaps in the Grand Lodge Above. At the door of the lodge.Q: What are the perfect points of your entrance? A: Of. At and On what? A: Of my own free will and accord. Thinking on. 3 . but we will return to this important subject later. in its fullest sense’ the Freemason has attained the summit of his profession. we were initially put to the test at the door before being admitted and symbolically warned by the point of something sharp (a poignard) that it might be a good idea not to barge in. Hope in Salvation and to be in Charity with all men’. You can learn about the way in which our temple. but much is to be found as an explanation of the First Degree Tracing Board which is based on some of the lectures and which you may have read. or lodge room. and On the point of a sharp instrument.none of us would have been admitted unless we had been able to profess that we sought admission entirely of our own free will and accord. this is about as high as most of us can hope to climb but that attainment of ‘an Ethereal Mansion’ may demand rather more. In it are many descriptions but one that has stimulated my thinking is biblical. which connecting heaven and earth. We are told that the ladder rests on the Volume of the Sacred Law and that having attained possession of the virtue of ‘charity.‘Faith in the Great Architect of the Universe. At and On Q: Of. Hope and Charity . being found as an appendix in our book of ritual. The three principle virtues are Faith. We were only told later that the purpose of the noose around the neck was to discourage us from running away! There was another essential precondition of our initial entry into the lodge room. is composed of many staves or rounds which point out as many moral virtues. You may agree that this is hardly an earth-shattering piece of information but not one to be discarded as being without merit . and thus into Freemasonry.

at the beginning of the Second World War. you had been told to stand with your feet in the form of a square . Creator of the Universe. brethren. it is logical to assume that the angle of 90 degrees is maintained and that the feet then make the sign of a Tau cross . These brave men certainly needed faith and hope. made mostly of wood and canvas and had wings which were laced together with piano wire to stiffen them up. The precondition to our entry into Freemasonry is the subject which must stand supreme in our thoughts. you may see that many seem to have forgotten how that ‘first regular step’ is to be taken. In this degree. Indeed. though they may not have felt much charity towards their attackers.that is at right angles.The three virtues Faith. had an air force of three ‘Gloster Gladiators’ . to whom we must give an account of all our actions.often called old stringbags because they were biplanes. Just before the Worshipful Master gives that instruction. Hope and Charity and it takes very little imagination to picture the courage of the pilots who took them into battle against an enemy with its very much more numerous and sophisticated aircraft. If. one who was. you take a discreet look around the lodge whilst the brethren are standing to order in the first degree. perhaps. We have a strict rule concerning the discussion of religion in our lodges: this however is to ensure that we studiously avoid the risk of difference between religious faiths causing division between members but we are not forbidden to mention our Great Architect.the sign of which there are three on the aprons of the Worshipful Master and the Past Masters. when his elder brother abdicated. that Supreme Being is referred to as ‘The Great Architect’ which is the term our ancient brethren who built the great cathedrals might well have used. or. Let us now turn briefly to the instructions we mentioned earlier about taking a ‘short pace with the left foot’. about to be installed Grand Master of the 4 . signifying that the wearers have fully completed the three degrees. This fearsome trio were named Faith. it follows that although the right foot is subsequently brought into the ‘hollow’ – the instep of the left foot. We must have absolute conviction that there is a Supreme Being. and although not stated explicitly. that they have never been able to attend a Lodge of Instruction. a glorious example was set by a very eminent freemason. Hope and Charity brings to mind the island of Malta which.

wearing a drab raincoat and walking. 5 . with his Queen.United Grand Lodge of England. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way. These were the words with which he ended his 1939 Christmas Message and inspired his people: And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year ‘Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown. bringing what comfort he could to his people in the East End of London by his and his queen’s example of courage. and seen an image of the King from the newsreels of the time. You may have heard a recording of the King speaking these words. if only by being there.’ And he replied: ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. through the terrible damage caused by the blitz. a recording that brings a lump to the throat of many.