H(ENRY) STILES BRADLEY 1869-1945
- Masonic membership unknown
- Grand Chaplain 1915, 1916
AT DEDICATION OF WORCESTER MASONIC HALL, SEPTEMBER 1913
From Proceedings, Page 1913-166:
The Masons of Worcester are to be congratulated upon the completion of this splendid temple. The entire city and State should be glad that an order which stands for the best things in our social, political, moral, and religious life has erected such a handsome home for itself, and, in so doing, has given a fresh evidence of its life, vigor, and progress.
Masons have for long been builders. If all historians do not accept the statements of Dr. James Anderson that Masonry had its origin at least fifteen centuries before Christ, and that Moses and Solomon were Grand Masters of Lodges, there is no question in the mind of any that it has nourished several hundred years, and that to its members belongs the credit for the erection and embellishment of the most beautiful temples of worship of the world. Such exquisite "sermons in stone" as the great English cathedrals were the expressions of the deep religious sentiments of Freemasons. Travelers in Europe to-day stand entranced before the ruins of those temples to the Great Architect which the piety and devotion of those who handled reverently and symbolically the square, the compass, the level, and the plummet fashioned through years of patient and loving toil.
No one possesses a thought, principle, or power until he has given it expression. The poem is only half the poet's till he has written or spoken it. The symphony or oratorio may sing itself vaguely in the soul of the composer before he catches it on paper or reproduces it upon instruments, but it becomes his own only when he gives it to the world.
Many of the noblest thoughts and aspirations of the human soul were grasped and expressed during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries by the members of this ancient and honorable Order when, with chisel and mallet, they translated into enduring stone their psalms of praise to Almighty God, and many of the most beautiful and unselfish sentiments of the human heart were given everlasting setting in the secret chambers of the Lodge-rooms when apprentices were taught by precept and example to be true to God, faithful to duty, loyal to friends, to uphold justice and right, and to show charity to all.
MASONIC CHARACTERISTICS. For hundreds of years this noble Order has stood for the great fundamental virtues. Its members have incarnated and exemplified honesty, justice, courage, patriotism, kindness, and brotherly love. It has stood as a bulwark against infidelity. No man can become or continue a Mason without a belief in God. Independent of clime, color, caste, or creed, it has appealed to those high qualities which are either dormant or active in all men, and no man can estimate its influence for good in our present civilization.
If I were called upon to name the chief foundation stones upon which Masonry rests, I should name, next to faith in God and belief in immortality, the insistence upon Truth and Love as the principles for the guidance of life. Masons have always held that the golden age would come when trust in God, loyalty to truth, and the practice of love became universal, and in this they are in complete harmony with Jesus Christ. The Mason looks out upon the universe with its myriad whirling worlds and satellites whose distances from us and from each other are measured in light-years, watches their orderly procession, computes their periods, finds that they vary not the tick of a clock from their calculated revolutions and he says with Addison:
In reason's ear they all rejoice,
And utter forth a glorious voice;
Forever singing as they shine:
"The hand that made us is divine."
He turns his eye to the microcosm; sees in a drop of water from the ditch the myriad forms of living things, each a marvel of beauty and grace; and he says that the All-Powerful is also the All-Patient. To the Mason the attempt to account for such a universe as this on which we live, on the hypothesis of mere chance, is as unreasonable as it would be to explain the Iliad on the theory that the Greek letters happened to fall into the relation and order in which we find them in Homer's poem. If the Iliad requires a Homer for explanation, the universe requires a God.
The Mason believes in truth. He seeks for reality. He desires that his thoughts and opinions shall correspond with facts of life, and so with open and candid mind he seeks knowledge. Truth is also the agreement of speech and fact, so he strives for accuracy and veracity. Truth is again the agreement of thought and word, so the true Mason is sincere in speech and free from hypocrisy in his acts. Finally, he believes in the formation of truth, and so he aims at fidelity and constancy in all his human relations. The true Mason holds that love is the controlling motive of all worthy living. Hatred, anger, malice, and selfishness he banishes from his heart. He sets before himself the welfare of his Brothers, and if ever his own individual interests seem to conflict with the interests of his neighbors, his city, or his country, he cheerfully yields, in obedience to the great law of love.
THE GRAVE IS NOT THE END. The true Mason believes in the immortality of the soul. He repudiates the dreary doctrine that the grave is the end of all. With Victor Hugo, he says: "When I go down to the grave, I can say, like many others, I have finished my day's work, but I cannot say, I have finished my life. My days will begin again the next morning. The tomb is not a blind alley. It is a thoroughfare. It closes on the twilight to open on the dawn."
There are in the United States to-day more than a million Masons, and while their influence is quiet and unobtrusive, like the leaven in the meal, they are among the most potent agents for good in our civilization. It would be nothing short of a calamity for this noble Order to perish from the earth.
Let us congratulate ourselves that the principles of Masonry are commending themselves more and more to right-thinking men the world over, and that especially in our own country the Lodges are increasing in number and members.
We set to-day this corner-stone in an already completed temple. May the good God, in whose name it is erected, grant it the smile of His favor; may He forever protect it from every unrighteous and unholy thing; may pure faith, sincere truth, unwearied kindness, staunch virtue, robust courage, and deathless love find here an altar and a hearthstone; may those who enter its sacred precincts be forever faithful to the principles upon which the great Order is founded; may they never forget them or hold them in light esteem. When at last the slow-footed seasons have reduced this house to dust, may another and nobler temple rise to take its place, and may every Brother who closes his earthly fellowship here enter into the larger and more abiding fellowship of the Grand Lodge above.
AT DEDICATION OF WORCESTER MASONIC HALL, SEPTEMBER 1914
From Proceedings, Page 1914-195:
We are met to-day to solemnly set apart this splendid Temple to the sacred uses of Freemasonry. We have given a new expression in brick and stone of our belief in and devotion to those high virtues for which this noble Order has stood so long and will forever stand. One man expresses his thought or belief or devotion in a poem, another in an oratorio, another in a symphony and another in a painting. Masons have from time immemorial bodied forth their convictions in temples. To those who are initiated this Temple will always be a concrete expression of our devotion to those cardinal virtues, honesty, veracity, virtue, courage, Fraternity and love. But it stands pre-eminently as an enduring testimony to our belief in One Supreme Deity, exhaust-less in Power, Wisdom and Love, and that such a Person is our Father who hears our prayers and blesses us out of His superabounding kindness.
In view of the numerous assaults which have been made in modern times upon this fundamental belief of Masons, it seems wise for me to take this opportunity to speak a few words in defense of the first and most important article of our faith.
We are living in, or perhaps emerging from, an age that has been called the age of materialism,— materialistic in philosophy and practice. Many have confidently predicted that the man with the crucible and microscope would drive the seer and the prophet into the regions of eternal limbo. The books of the past generation whose titles were most often named were such as Mr. Paine's Age of Reason, Mr. Ingersoll's Mistakes of Moses," and Mr. Haeckel's Riddle of the Universe.
The belief of Masons runs squarely counter to philosophical materialism. The materialist lays down three fundamental postulates: First, the only things in the universe are matter and force; Second, no knowledge is possible to man except that which comes by experience of the senses, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting and feeling; Third, God is unknown and unknowable.
The Mason maintains that there is a vast realm of knowledge which is not arrived at through the experience of the physical senses. He maintains that the materialistic scientist is not consistent in his own teachings, for in one breath he says that there is no knowledge save that which comes through seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling and feeling, and in the next breath speaks with confidence of his knowledge about molecules, atoms and electrons. We are told that a molecule is a thousand times smaller than the smallest thing that can be seen with the microscope. How does the materialist know that there is such a thing as a molecule? No single molecule has ever been seen, heard, tasted, smelt or felt.
We all believe that there are such things as molecules. Indeed, we may say we know there are such things. But we do not arrive at our knowledge by the experiences of our five physical senses. We may fill a jar with a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen and ignite them with a match. The water which results we know is made up of molecules of hydrogen and oxygen, but our knowledge is logical knowledge. It has been reasoned out.
A few years ago the materialists told us that an atom was the smallest particle of matter; a particle so small, indeed, that it was no longer possible to divide it. But we are told to-day that there are millions of electrons in one single atom. I have just been reading after one of our materialistic friends who says that hydrogen at the freezing point undergoes seventeen billion, seven hundred million changes per second, and that each particule in a cubic inch travels seventeen miles per minute. We may accept his statement. Indeed, many millions of people are ready to believe it. But the Mason maintains that such knowledge was not arrived at by any experience of the physical senses.
We are told again that a cubic inch of air contains three hundred quintillion molecules, and that these molecules are flying back and forth changing their direction nine hundred million times per second, and each molecule of the three hundred quintillion travels within the compass of a cubic inch eighteen miles per second.
In one breath we are asked to accept such statements as verified knowledge and in the next we are told there is no such thing as knowledge except that which has been experienced by one or more of the five physical senses.
The Mason maintains that the materialist is inconsistent with himself when he asserts that there is nothing in the universe except matter and force, while he then proceeds to assume the existence of ether. He says that there is no such thing as spirit, and yet he fills all space with something which has more nearly the properties of spirit than it has of either matter or force.
What is ether? It is a hypothetical substance. It is merely assumed to exist. A ray of light passes from the sun to the earth in eight minutes. Through what medium does it travel? There is no atmosphere above fifty miles from the earth. So far as any physical test reveals there is nothing between the earth's atmosphere and the sun, and yet a ray of light reaches us. We know by experiment that a ray of light will not travel through a vacuum. So we have to assume that there is something which does not have the property of either matter or force which extends from the earth to the sun, along which light travels. Our materialistic friend tells us that no two bodies can occupy the same space at the same time. And yet he straightway tells us that ether occupies all space, and is present on the inside of a solid steel ball as it is on the outside. The Mason inquires of the materialist by which of the physical senses he arrived at such knowledge. Ether cannot be seen, heard, tasted, smelt or felt. And yet a large part of the explanation of modern science is dependent upon it as a basis for speculation.
Mr. Tyndall, one of the leading scientists of the past generation, who held that the only knowledge possible to us was that which came through the experience of the five physical senses spoke in one of his essays of "those regions inaccessible to the senses which embrace a large part of the life of the investigator."
Mr. Herbert Spencer, who was the leading philosopher of the materialistic school, asserted that he whom the Mason calls the Great Architect of the universe is absolutely unknown and unknowable. But Mr. Spencer proceeds to tell us what he knows about the Great Architect. First of all he says He is eternal, that He has existed from eternity backward and will exist to eternity forward; Second, that He is omnipresent, that there is no spot in space where He is not; Third, that He is ceaselessly active; Fourth, that He is causative.
The Mason raises the question how Mr. Spencer knows that an absolutely unknowable thing is eternal, omnipresent, active and causative. He seems to know a great deal about that which cannot be known at all. The Mason says that if Mr. Spencer would only slightly change his phraseology he would agree with the main postulates of his philosophy.
Mr. Spencer says that the unknown and unknowable is eternal. That is what Moses said in that splendid hymn which he sung about God: —
"Before the mountains were brought forth,
or ever Thou hadst formed the earth or the world,
even from everlasting to everlasting
Thou art God. For a thousand years in Thy sight
are as a yesterday when it is past,
and as a watch in the night."
Mr. Spencer says that the unknown and unknowable is omnipresent.
The Psalmist of Israel says,
"Whither shall I go from Thy spirit,
or whither shall I flee from Thy presence?
I ascend up into heaven Thou art there;
if I make my bed in Sheol behold Thou art there;
if I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea
even there shall Thy hand lead me,
and Thy right hand shall hold me."
Mr. Spencer says that the unknown and unknowable is ceaselessly active. Jesus of Nazareth said, "My Father worketh hitherto."
Mr. Spencer says that the unknown and unknowable is causative, that is, that He is a great architect or designer. The author of the Hebrews says, "By faith we understand that the worlds have been framed by the word of God, so that which is seen has not been made out of things which appear."
The Mason feels very much like saying to his materialistic friends, "Ye men of materialism, in all things I see that ye are very religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, To an Unknown God. What therefore ye worship in ignorance, that I set forth unto you. The God that made the world and all things therein, He, being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; neither is He served by men's hands, as though He needed anything, seeing He Himself giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; and He made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek God, if haply they might feel after Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us: for in Him we live and move and have our being; as certain even of your own poets have said."
There is a splendid bridge which spans the river between New York and Brooklyn. It was designed by a man named Roebling. I examine it from its foundations beneath the water to its surface over which the electric cars and the countless multitudes of pedestrians move. Of what is it built? The materialist answers, "It is built of stone, steel and wood." But the Mason knows that a great deal more has gone into the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge than such materials. He knows that it is impossible for such a bridge to have been built without a plan. He says that it would be just as correct to say that the bridge was built of logarithms or of chemistry or of brains as to say that it was built of stone and steel. Long before the first foundation was sunk beneath the bottom of East River that bridge was in the mind of Roebling.
How was the Panama Canal dug? The materialist says, "With picks, shovels and dynamite." But the Mason says, "No, the Panama Canal was dug with brains and mathematics." Long before a pick was stuck into the soil of the isthmus American engineers had surveyed the land, decided where the locks should be, and calculated the pressure of the water of the rivers. One man says the canal is constructed of hills, rocks and dirt; the other says the canal was made of things which do not appear,— brains, thought, calculation and purpose.
When the Mason looks at Brooklyn Bridge he says there must have been some mind back of that, such a thing could not happen. It is the result of rational activity. So when he contemplates the world and the universe in which we live, observes its changes from night to day, its flowing tides which keep the water always fresh, the universal correspondence between wish and gratification in all animal life, the infinite interchange between plants and animals, plants supplying food for the animals and the animals in turn throwing off carbonic acid gas for the plants, the changing seasons with crops and harvests, the rotation of the earth on its own axis, making it a great dynamo and setting in motion electric currents which make possible the mariner's compass and ocean commerce, the vast fields of coal in the bowels of the earth, made ready millions of years ago for twentieth century needs, he says there must be a designer back of all this. If the Brooklyn Bridge could not happen the universe could not happen. If the Brooklyn Bridge implies an architect the universe implies the Great Architect.
The materialist says we cannot know anything about God, the Mason challenges that statement.
Suppose I should stand Mr. Roebling, the designer of the Brooklyn Bridge up before you and say, "Gentlemen, look at him. See how tall he is. Estimate his weight. Note the color of his hair and eyes. Come feel his muscles. How much would you know about him? You wouldn't know one-thousandth part as much about the real Roebling as you would know by an examination of the Brooklyn Bridge.
What do you know about God? The materialist says it is impossible to know anything because we cannot see Him, hear Him, feel Him, taste Him or smell Him. But the Mason maintains that the world in which we live reveals to us a knowledge of God far more trustworthy than could ever be revealed by sight of physical eyes.
The Mason knows that there is a supersensuous realm in which his spirit has its home, where it comes in direct contact with the Great Father Spirit, and he sees the invisible, hears the inaudible, touches the intangible.
I read some time ago a little story of Helen Keller. You remember that she became blind during the first few months of her life. She was shut up in a prison house perfectly dark and absolutely silent and sealed. Those avenues through which most of our information reaches us were closed to her. It was not until years later that she learned to communicate with any living soul. Some time after she was able to communicate with her teacher she was taken to Boston. (I think it was when she entered Radcliffe College.) One day her teacher asked Phillips Brooks if he would talk to Helen about God. She had never had any religious instruction. Mr. Brooks sat down by the little deaf and dumb girl. She placed her fingers on his lips and he told her, in his own inimitably tender way, about our Heavenly Father. When he had finished Helen said, "Dr. Brooks, I have always known Him but I did not know His name."
May I be permitted to pray that the eternal omnipresent, active, loving God, our Heavenly Father, will accept to-day this Temple which we reverently dedicate to Him; that He will add His blessing to the work of our hands; that He will assist us to guard this structure from all that is base and evil, and assist us to use it in the furtherance of those high virtues for which Freemasonry stands.
"Establish Thou the work of our hands upon us.
Yea, the work of our hands establish Thou it."