The Great Light in Freemasonry

 

Early in his Masonic journey, the Freemason is introduced to the three Great Lights of Freemasonry, the Holy Bible, Square, and Compasses. By careful attention to the ceremonies and lectures, he finds the Holy Bible symbolizes God's will for man, the Square signifies morality and righteousness, and the Compasses represents spirituality.

The Square represents the moral law that dictates our relationships with others and guides our actions here on earth while the Compasses signifies our endless pursuit of spiritual understanding. Together, the Square and Compasses should constantly remind the Freemason of the balance required between the earthly and the spiritual nature of man. Together they also symbolize man's journey through life to the eternal hereafter.

The Holy Bible, however, is the Great Light in Freemasonry and upon it rests the Square and Compasses in every lodge. As such, the Holy Bible represents the foundation of the work of Freemasonry. The Bible is opened when the lodge is opened; it is closed when the lodge is closed. No lodge can conduct its business without the Holy Bible open upon its Altar. Thus, it rules the lodge during its labors. More importantly, it is central to the work of the Freemason as he works to develop his moral and spiritual self according to the symbolism of the Square and Compasses.
The Holy Bible is the source of enlightenment that all Freemasons should seek. Open upon the Altar, its rays of truth, faith, and hope radiate outward throughout the lodge room, symbolically representing the will of God pouring forth upon the world. The spirit of the Bible, its faith and its attitude toward life and man's relationship to God permeates Freemasonry like a sweet fragrance.

Faith in God is the cornerstone of Freemasonry so it is only natural that the book, which presents to us the truth of God, should be our rule and guide to our faith and practice. The Temple of King Solomon, about which much of the history, legends and symbolism of Freemasonry are developed, was the greatest building of the ancient world. It was the greatest, not because of its grandeur, but for the truths that it represented. In the face of idolatry and superstitions, it represented the unity, righteousness and spirituality of God. Upon no other foundation can man build his moral and spiritual edifice with any sense of security and permanence in preparation for the hereafter. Within the Holy Bible, the unity, righteousness and spirituality of God is revealed and within its pages moral truth is stored to light the mind and warm the heart of man.

Like most other things in Freemasonry, the Holy Bible is itself a symbol of Divine Truth in every form. When viewed as a symbol, it represents that divine truth or knowledge from whatever source derived. Freemasonry invites men of all faiths to its teachings, requiring only a belief in a Supreme Being, knowing that we all pray to the God and Father of the Universe regardless of the actual name one uses to address Him. Thus, the Bible is often referred to as the Volume of Sacred Law, allowing men of differing faiths to use the Sacred Writings of their faith as the Volume of Sacred Law.

What does this mean to the Freemason? The fact that the Holy Bible or some other Volume of Sacred Law rests open upon the Altar of Freemasonry means the Freemason must have some Divine Revelation. The Freemason must seek truth and wisdom from a source greater than that from human minds. Freemasonry makes no attempt at a detailed interpretation of the Bible. The Volume of Sacred Law lies upon the Altar open for all to read, open for all to study and interpret for himself. The tie that unites Freemasonry is strong, but it provides for the utmost liberty of faith and thought. It unites men not by creed or dogma, but upon the broad truth of a belief and faith in God, the Supreme Grand Architect of the Universe. Freemasonry is truly a Brotherhood of Man under the Fatherhood of God.

The Freemason should not only respect and honor the Volume of Sacred Law as the revelation of God's divine will for mankind, the Great Light of Freemasonry, he should read it, live it, and love it. The truths contained within its pages should be stored within his heart and guide his use of the Square and Compasses in building his moral and spiritual edifice. The Holy Bible, if it fills man's heart, makes him gentle and strong, faithful and free. It teaches him goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness and brotherly love. It tells us that we will be restless and lonely until we learn to walk with God.

As Freemasons, our moral and spiritual foundation must be built upon the Great Light. It is fitting to close our discussion with words from the prophet Micah. "[God] has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)