This Bible Lecture was written by R∴W∴ Jerry Nelson Kirby, Past Grand Master of Masons in Texas, for the purpose of delivering to candidates after their Master Mason degree.
My brother, there comes a time in the life of every man, when it seems that no friend can be depended upon, and he is left entirely to his own resources. The lesson of tonight fitly illustrates such a condition. Upon reflection, you will doubtless remember that among the first things brought to your attention in your masonic career was this old book, and you were told that it alone was to be the rule and guide to your faith and practice. At each succeeding step in your advancement, you have been reminded that it would guide you to all truth, direct your path to the temple of happiness, and point out to you the whole duty of man.
And now, at this most auspicious hour, when surrounded by those who would take you by the hand as a brother, and in whose every heart you can have no doubt of a sincere wish for your future happiness, let me impress upon your mind in the most lasting and substantial manner possible: that this old book contains the mind of god, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy; its precepts are binding; its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise; believe it to be safe; practice it to be holy. It will furnish light to guide you, strength to support you, and comfort to cheer you. It is the travelers map, the pilgrims staff, the pilots compass, the masons light, and the Christian’s charter. Through it, heaven is opened, paradise restored, and the gates of hell disclosed. The messiah is its grand subject. Our good its design, and the glory of god its end. Read it slowly; read it frequently; read it prayerfully. If you will obey its precepts, it will be to you a river of pleasure, a mine of wealth, and a paradise of glory.
It is furnished you in life to prepare you for the judgment, and as you choose, so shall your destiny be. In prosperity, or adversity, may you never forget it. Then, when death’s cold wind shall blow around your forehead, you can drop to sleep with the sweet assurance that, when the awakening comes, you will be pronounced a just and upright Mason by the Supreme Creator of the Universe, who has furnished you this means of salvation, and written your destiny between its lines.
It is given you in life, will be opened at the judgment, and remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and condemns all who trifle with its holy contents. It is a book of laws, to show the right from wrong; a book of wisdom that makes the foolish wise; a book of truth, which shows how to avoid everlasting death.
It is the most authentic and entertaining history ever published, an unequaled narrative, a perfect body of divinity, a book of biography, a book of travels, the best will ever executed, the best deed ever written. It is the learned man’s masterpiece, the young man’s best companion, the school boy’s instructor, the ignorant man’s dictionary, and everybody’s directory.
My brother, if you will take this grand old book as the rule and guide for your faith and practice, enter at the portico of Genesis, and walk down the Old Testament`s art gallery, where hang upon the walls, the portraits of Moses, Joshua, Abraham, and Daniel. Then, step into the music room of Psalms. There, you will hear music of all kinds, ranging from the grand, impassioned strains of Isaiah, to the weeping Jeremiah. There, the Great Hand of the Holy Spirit sweeps the great keyboard of nature, until it seems that every reed and pipe of God’s great universe responds to the tuneful songs of David, that sweet singer of Israel. Then, step into the business office of Proverbs, and next into the chapel of Ecclesiastes, where the voice of the preacher was heard. Next is the conservatory of Sharon, where the lily of the valley’s sweet, scented spices will fill and perfume your life. Next you come to the observatory of the Prophets, where you find a room filled with many telescopes of different sizes and shapes, focused on far off events, but concentrated on the sunlit hills of Judea, where that bright morning star will rise for our eternal salvation. Then step into the anteroom of the King of Kings, and see a vision of his glory from the standpoint of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Next is the construction office of the Acts of the Apostles, where the work of the Holy Spirit is seen in the building of the infant church. Then you come to the writing room where Peter, James, and John wrote their Epistles to the churches. Finally you come to the throne room of Revelation, where high, and lifted up, upon his throne, is the King of Kings. The angel chorus thunders glory and power, honor and majesty be to our mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace… and, if you are a Christian, your voice will cry out, “all hail the power of His Name, let angels prostrate fall. Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown him Lord of all”.
Isn’t it funny that princes and kings,
and clowns that caper in sawdust rings,
and ordinary people like you and me,
are builders for eternity?
We have each been given a bag of tools,
a formless mass, and a book of rules;
and each must make, ere life has flown,
a stumbling block, or a stepping stone.
My brother, this Holy Bible is a special gift of this Lodge, and it is signed by every brother present who wish for your adherence to the rules contained in this guidebook, for by obeying the excellent precepts contained within this sacred volume, you will be enabled to build stepping stones out of the stumbling blocks of life, as you travel the road that leads to success, happiness, harmony, joy, peace, and love, towards eternity in Paradise.
This I believe!