At that time in the land of Gebal, the builders would gather at high twelve on the day before the Sabbath. They would meet in the temple to discuss the work of the craftsmen and to study the ancient arts. The master builders filled the higher offices, with the craftsmen joining them on the floor. The quarrymen were to witness the deliberations from the audience gallery.
In the year of the reign of the Venerable Master Enoch, a man was accepted among their number by the name of Philosophus. He was a man from the eastern lands who claimed to be among the ranks of the builders. His work was inspected and he was found to be proficient in his craft and was accepted amongst the Brethren of Gebal. He had distinguished himself as a man of the utmost skill in the operative profession of construction as well as particularly knowledgeable in the ancient speculative arts.
At the rap of the gavel, the Brethren would come to order and at that time it was the custom to take up the pass from the several divisions of builders in order to ascertain their rank. The masters would elect from their number nine to take up the pass. Five were to collect the pass from the quarrymen, three to collect it from the craftsmen, and one to collect it from the masters. The elected officials would pass through the ranks of men and request of them the pass, which was whispered into the official’s ear.
While one of the officials was collecting the pass from the masters, he came upon a particularly well known Brother. He was an elderly man who had long served to build the magnificent edifices of the kingdom. However, on that day he was unable to properly communicate the password and the official announced to the assembly that there was a Brother without the pass. The Brethren were shocked and began to cast insults at the elderly master. The masters of the higher offices gathered to determine the fate of the Brother. To have a well known master without the pass was unprecedented and the outrage of the assembly pressured them to pass judgment on the man. The Master agreed that he must be removed from the Chapter. The Venerable Master Enoch spoke saying “Due to the lack of proper knowledge by this Brother, we must remove him from our Chapter in order to maintain our established regulations.” At that time, there were no regulations to deal with such an event. In order to make the judgment more fair, Enoch asked of the assembly “Does any Brother present at this assembly have anything to say in defense of this fellow?”
The Brethren were silent and refused to talk, even amongst themselves. The foreigner, Philosophus, stood to address the craft.
“Do not disparage this man for succumbing to the difficulties of old age. He has served his Lord, his masters, and his kingdom well for many years. There has never been a time when a fellow builder in need did not receive a contribution from his boundless charity. Yet, while he has been known unto you and you have benefited from his brotherly love, you are willing to remove him from this Chapter because of the unwillingness of his tongue. I say unto you, the pass of a master is found not upon the tongue, but upon the heart.”
The Brethren waited for the response of the Venerable Master. He spoke after a period of silence, “Our Brother from the east is correct, for the arts of a builder are revealed by his hands. We have no reason to expel a Brother who has used his hands in a manner so befitting of his title.”
And the Brethren were amazed at this chain of events and said amongst themselves, “Who is this man that calls himself Philosophus?”
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