The East of New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education No. 1786 in Trenton, NJ.
Saturday was the Installation of Officers of New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education No. 1786 (where no prices are lower prices than New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education No. 1786’s!), and it was an extra special occasion because the new Master is one of the lodge’s top scholars. Having just completed a second term as Master of Highland Park Lodge No. 240, Bro. Ben Hoff is sufficiently seasoned for a two-year term in the East of our research lodge.
RW Jim Ross, Installing Master, greets W. Ben Hoff in the East of New Jersey Lodge of Masonic Research and Education No. 1786 in Trenton Saturday morning.
The lodge is in very good hands.
True to form, Ben began his term by presenting a thought-provoking paper. It was topical also; he wrote of how Freemasonry in the pre-grand lodge era defined Masters. Where they Master Masons, as we understand the term today, or were they Masters of lodges?
Taking from Regius, Cooke, Edinburgh Register House and other seminal texts, Ben illustrated the differences between Masters and Fellows, and the differences between Masters of construction sites and those under his authority. A number of revealing details were highlighted. For example, one item of moral instruction found in the Grand Lodge Manuscript (c. 1583), says that no Fellow shall “go into the town on an evening when there is a lodge of Fellows, unless he has a Fellow with him that might bear witness that he was in honest places.” And so we see a clear difference between competency and conduct in the workplace by day, and moral rectitude while on Refreshment at night.
Another eye-opener was revealed in the Trinity College MS (1711) and Sloane MS No. 3329. These documents show that the FPOF and the Master's Word existed well before the late 1720s, when the MM Degree we know today is believed to have debuted.
A great start to what will be a very productive period for the lodge.