APRON LECTURE

APRON LECTURE

Encyclopedia Masonica



The coming years may bring to you success,
The victory laurel wreath may deck your brow,
And you may feel Love's hallowed caress,
And have withal domestic tenderness,
And fortune's god may smile on you as now,
And jewels fit for Eastern potentate
Hang over your ambitious heart, and Fate
May call thee ''Prince of Men,'' or ''King of Hearts,''
While Cupid strives to pierce you with his darts.
Nay, even more than these, with coming light
Your feet may press fame's loftiest dazzling height,
And looking down upon the world below
You may exclaim, "I can not greater grow!"
But, nevermore, O worthy Brother mine,
Can innocence and purity combine
With all that's sweet and tender here below
As in this emblem which I now bestow.
'Tis yours to wear throughout a life of Love,
And when your spirit wings to realms above
'Twill with your cold clay rest beneath the sod,
While breeze-kissed flowers whisper of your God.
O, may its stainless, spotless surface be
An emblem of that perfect purity
Distinguished far above all else on earth
And sacred as the virtue of the hearth,
And when at last your naked soul shall stand
Before the throne in yon great temple grand,
O, may it be your portion there to hear"Well done," and find a host of brothers near
To join the angel choir in glad refrain
Till Northeast comer echoes come again
Then while the hosts in silent grandeur stand
The Supreme Builder smiling in command
Shall say to you to whom this emblem's given,
"Welcome art thou to all the joys of heaven."
And then shall dawn within your 'lightened soul
The purpose divine that held control-
The full fruition of the Builder's plan-
The Fatherhood of God-The Brotherhood of man.

The above lines were written by Captain Jack Crawford for Dr. Walter C. Miller of Webb's Lodge No. 166, Augusta, Georgia.

" . . . Lambskin or white leathern apron. It is an emblem of innocence and the badge of a Mason: more ancient than the Golden Fleece or Roman Eagle, and when worthily worn, more honorable than the Star and a Garter, or any other Order that can be conferred upon you at this or any future period by king, prince, potentate, or any other person, except he be a Mason and within the Body of a just and legally constituted Lodge of such.

"It may be that, in the years to come, upon your head shall rest the laurel wreaths of victory ; 
pendant from your breast may hang jewels fit to grace the diadem of an eastern potentate ; yea, more than these : for with the coming light your ambitious feet may tread round after round the ladder that leads to fame in our mystic circle, and even the purple of our Fraternity may rest upon your honored shoulders; but never again by mortal hands, never again until your enfranchised spirit shall have passed upward and inward through the gates of pearl, shall any honor so distinguished, so emblematic of purity and all perfection, be bestowed upon you as this, which I now confer. It is yours; yours to wear through an honorable life, and at your death to be placed upon the coffin which contains your earthly remains, , and with them laid beneath the silent clods of the valley.

"Let its pure and spotless surface be to you an ever-present reminder of 'purity of life, of rectitude of conduct,' a never-ending argument for higher thoughts, for nobler deeds, for greater achievements; and when at last your weary feet shall have reached the end of their toilsome journey, and from your nerveless grasp forever drop the working tools of a busy life, may the record of your life and conduct be as pure and spotless as this fair emblem which I place within your hands tonight; and when your trembling soul shall stand naked and alone before the great white throne, there to receive judgment for the deeds done while here in the body, may it be your portion to hear from Him who sitteth as Judge Supreme these welcome words: 'Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.'

"I charge you-take it, wear it with pleasure to yourself and honor to the Fraternity."

The above is from the New Kentucky Monitor arranged by Brother Henry Pirtle, 1918, for the Grand Lodge of that State.

"This emblem is now yours ; to wear, we hope, with equal pleasure to yourself, and honor to the Fraternity.

If you disgrace it, the disgrace will be augmented by the consciousness that you have been taught, in this Lodge, the principles of a correct and manly life. It is yours to wear as a Mason so long as the vital spark shall animate your mortal frame, and at last, whether in youth, manhood or age, your spirit having Winged its flight to that 'House not made with hands,' when amid the tears and sorrows of surviving relatives and friends, and by the hands of sympathizing Brother Masons, your body shall be lowered to the confines of that narrow house appointed for all living, it will still be yours, yours to be placed with the evergreen upon the coffin that shall enclose your remains, and to be buried with them.

"My Brother, may you so wear this emblem of spotless white that no act of yours shall ever stain its purity, or cast a reflection upon this ancient and honorable institution that has outlived the fortunes of Kings and the mutations of Empires.

May you so wear it and "
So live, that when thy summons comes to join 
The innumerable caravan that moves
To the pale realms of shade, where each shall take
His chamber in the silent halls of death,
Thou go not, like the quarry slave at night,
Scourged to his dungeon, but, austained and soothed
By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave
Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."

The above extract is from the Shaver Monitor, compiled by Brothers William M. Shaver, Past Grand Master, and Albert K. Wilson, Grand Secretary, of the Grand Lodge of Kansas. The concluding lines of verse are from William Cullen Bryant's famous poem Thanatopsis.


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