The builders of all ages, when erecting an edifice, have ever done as the G.A.O.T.U. did at the beginning by creating the firmament; they have been careful to tile it, that is, to roof it over, partly for privacy, partly for protection from the elements; but, at the same time, in order to avoid excessive darkness, they have inserted dormers, or other openings, that will let in the light.
And amongst us, the Speculative Freemasons,  if our constant care is "to keep the Lodge close tiled," it is obvious that the object is not to exclude the light. We aim at a double effect: first, that the value of our secrets may be enhanced; and, secondly, that we may get into that frame of mind wherein our arts can be unfolded to advantage. For we both veil and illustrate the truth; we impart it to the Candidate, but in such a manner that not only is betrayal made difficult, but we preclude the possibility of our secrets becoming the common property of the profane.
After the numerous "exposures" there have been, the world is as little enlightened about Freemasonry as it was before they were made. Indeed, even the initiated can only claim to be "disciples." For whereas the "material blessing" is restored suddenly, the enlightenment of the mind proceeds by degrees all through life, Masonry being a progressive science.
In the First Degree, one is only granted a glimpse of our mysteries, and the scene which the Initiate sets eyes on contains far more than he can possibly take in. How unlikely it is, for instance, that he will notice that the tapers at the E., S., and W. form a triangle of light,  the base running East and West so as to indicate the pilgrimage of life! Still less will he detect the triangle of darkness, for it is only at another stage that he hears of our M., H.A., receiving the fatal blows at the three points S., N., and E., and as these points are not marked out by any outward signs, this triangle must of course remain invisible.
In this part of the Ritual there is some confusion, but unquestionably the Square of the M.M.'s Lodge is conceived as made up of two triangles, and these triangles are antithetical, representing not merely light and darkness, but life and death, and therefore they suggest that ancient symbol known as Solomon's Seal, which consisted of two triangles, seemingly opposed to each other, but harmoniously interlaced.
The points where our M., H.A., was attacked are correctly given in our present Emulation Working, which says: "S., N., and E." But in the versions of the Ritual which were published in the U.S.A. as "exposures" during the nineteenth century, that is, from 1821 to 1861, the points are given as "E., W., S."; and this seems to correspond with American practice at the time. For in the U.S.A., when  our story is re-enacted, the three assaults take place at the three points where the Principal Officers have their places. And therefore the N. is ignored; for as there is no Officer there, nothing happens in that quarter. And so, the idea of the N. as a region of darkness and inactivity remains.
But this does not represent the practice in mediaeval times in Europe. In a Ritual printed in cypher and last published about 120 years ago, of which a copy is to be found in the Library of the G.L., the points are given as S., N., and W. (See Bro. Max Montesole's paper on "The Third Degree," Transactions of the Author's Lodge, vol. i.) This Ritual represents the practice of the "unattached" Masons of the eighteenth century, that is, of those Masons who were not under the jurisdiction of the G.L. of 1717, and is known as the " St John's " working. But their points are also inadmissible, because in K.S.T. there was no exit in the W. There were but three entrances, "S., N., and E.," by which our M., H.A., could have attempted to escape. And yet those points have the merit of placing the triangle of darkness in the W.
Now, however, if we make the triangle of  death to be "S., N., and E.," we locate it in the place associated with the light, and we are mixing the E. with the W., the day with the night. But our mystic philosophy does not always go hand in hand with history or with geography. We know that there have been substitutions, and there have been internal changes in the order of the Lodge required for the purposes of symbolism.
The antithesis is between the light and the darkness, and therefore between the E. and the W. But symbolically our lights are arrayed on the side of the Lodge E., S., and W. And therefore the symbolic region of darkness should be the side opposed to this. In the Rose Croix Degree the three Pillars are placed thus: Wisdom in the N., Beauty in the S., and Strength in the W., by which the triangle is made to abut on the W. Our Ritual says that these Pillars are about His Throne," the Throne of Deity; but we cannot imagine any of them as on the N., which is the symbolic region of darkness.
For the sake of consistency, therefore, if not for the reasons advanced by Bro. Montesole, the points of the two triangles should be given as we have done here: one abutting on the S.,  where the J.W. marks the Sun at its meridian, and then, as opposed to it, one with its apex in the N.
What is seen and heard at an Initiation produces an impression that can never be effaced from our memory, but yet it is only a humble beginning. Need we be reminded that it was not until we were "passed" that "the secrets of nature and the principles of intellectual truth were unveiled to our view"? The Liberal Arts and Sciences are seven great avenues of knowledge, and by them the mental outlook of the F.C. is greatly widened; but our Masonic Light is granted to the Craftsman according to the measure of his requirements and of his capacity to receive it; and therefore his aspiration continues to be all the time "that the rays of heaven may shed their influence to enlighten us in the paths of virtue and science."
The culminating point in the experiences
of the Craft Mason will be found to be at the Mystic Center, but
even that is not the final goal. As the sun which, mounting higher
and higher, diffuses its light in wider and wider circles, until
it bathes a whole hemisphere, so, too, our Masonic Ideal, as it
gains ascendancy  over us, illumines and dominates the whole
of our life. It is because our Degrees are degrees of light, that
we can think of "a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge,"
or of continual progress by the extension of such knowledge.
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