GEOMETRY AND THE LETTER G
The first men in the world were childlike in mind to a degree difficult for us to imagine. The natural scheme of things must have puzzled them almost beyond endurance. What a medley it was! what a chaos! the simplest sequences of events, such as the succession of the seasons, was unknown to them so that they were like babes peering helplessly into the dark, unable to make it all out. To men living under such conditions the discovering of order, of number, of geometry must have broken with a surprise like the coming of a new religion. Little wonder that they made so much of numbers, calling them sacred and attributing to them all manner of secret and occult properties, as if the relations among the forces and substances of creation were the immediate operation of an Infinite Mind. If modern philosophy gives a different account of it that does not detract from the value of the old thinking.
The rank and file of men, so it appears, have in the back of their minds a vague notion that matter in itself is a formless thing without character or structure, so that their picture of creation is that some outside Power took charge of the original chaos of brute stuff and impressed upon it shape and order in much the same manner that a clay modeller imposes upon a lump of dirt the likeness of a human face. According to this view there is no such thing as order in the nature of things; order is fugitive and transient, a something from without. But such is not the finding of modern science. There is no such thing as matter by itself, matter as an abstract entity; there are such things as water, air, gasses, wood, stone, metals, soil, etc., etc., and every such substance has a structure unimaginably complicated, so that order is in the nature of things. Geometry is a revelation of that order, a reducing to line and diagram of the everlasting relations among all the substances and properties of the universe. Can anything be more sublime than that?
There is reason to believe that the Letter G stood for this precious science, though in our day and more particularly in American lodges it is a symbol of T.S.G.A.O.T.U. In either event, and in the last analysis, the significance is the same, because the Sacred Letter would have reference to that which is the Origin of the Orderliness of the universe.
The God of Heaven and Earth is the beginning and end of all Masonic mysteries; it is from Him that we have come, it is unto Him that we go, and in all the journey between the canopy of His love is over us. The definitions of His nature, the description of His attributes may be left to the arguments of the theologians and the disquisitions of the metaphysicians; the fact of His existence admits of no argument; it is "sure as the most certain sure," the alpha and the omega of thought.
The grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley in a book recently published argues that in our modern world men of scientific training are finding out a new approach to God; instead of trusting to vague reports from the past or to ancient traditions, they are examining, so he says, into the nature of life and the structure of the universe at first hand. If this be so the scientist will find God as surely as the saint, because He is there.
We human beings are not intruders from another world, temporary pilgrims from some realm outside the universe; we are part and parcel of the universe, as much a part of the natural scheme of things as the blowing clover or the falling rain. There is but one system of reality; this is it; we are a part of it. The soul in us, the immortal spirit, our inmost thoughts and ideals belong as much to this system of reality as clods or boulders, so that in the very structure of the universe there is that out of which spirit can come, self-consciousness, thought, love, prayers, and dreams, so that the scheme of things is not a soulless mechanism, a pile of dirt, a flux of blind forces, but a Something that can bring souls into existence, and sustain them. The Letter G is inscribed on the forehead of creation, it is written on the tiniest atom.
It is a mistake to suppose that education is a mere device to train a man in a handicraft, or a collection of pieces of information of more or less practical use; education leads at last to truth, and God is the truth about the universe. This is the real Holy of Holies, the true Inner Chamber into which, at the last, a Fellowcraft comes; and the vision he has there, the consolation, the strength and the confidence of everlasting life together make up the wages he receives. Such wages are life indeed, to earn which it is worth every man's most manly endeavour, and that at any price.
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