By Exc..... Bro... Grace Petrul 18o
"A peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory, and illustrated by symbols."
To understand this one, one must see Masonry in a certain way and understand certain conditions. Some may never see it at all. It must be understood that Masonry is not a dead pile of stones and worm-eaten timber. It is a living thing!
When one enters the Order as a Profane, he enters into an aura of silence and kneels on bended knee with a prayer on his lips and in his heart. Suddenly he is aware of a tumult, which finally subsides into dead silence wherein, if one listened with the ear attuned "to the soundless of sound" he might hear the very pulsation of men's souls. One visualizes a Temple as one progresses: a "Temple is built; a Temple is not the work of the ordinary builder." It is the temple built deeply within the soul of the Masons as he progresses.
No doubt exists that Masonry is an ancient and honorable institution; honorable enough, indeed, that the scepter has innumerably been exchanged for the trowel. It is veritably a divine science engaged in the search of divine truth. It has come down through many savage persecutions that have made it stronger for its trials and tribulations. It can be said that it has grown hoary and dignify with age, because it stands for truth and promotes the practice of its precepts. Throughout the ages, its "modes of recognition" have remained almost unchanged. It is certainly not a political party and is far for being an organized society for political agitation or social entertainment.
The way of Masonry is indeed wise. It is not one more factor in a factional world, yet it removes all hostility from the minds and hearts of men. It endeavors to heal the haughtiness of the wealthy and to erase envy from the hearts of those less favored with worldly goods; it endeavors to allay fanaticism and hatred based on the vagaries of language, race, creed, and strives to make the ageless wisdom available for the culture of humanity in sincerest faith and purity.
It participates in no definite path, nor does it exact a pledge to adhere to a certain faith; it has put these petty figments of man's minds into the background, and thus, Masons find themselves united by a profound and childlike faith - each Mason drawing into that Squared Circle his own priceless pearl which could be stated in the following paragraph.
"The Hindu, his innate disbelief in this world, and his unhesitating belief in another world; The Buddhist, his perception of an eternal law, his submission to it, his gentleness, his piety; the Mohammedan, if nothing else, his sobriety; the Jew, his clinging, through good and evil days, to the one God who lovest righteousness and whose name is "I Am"; The Christian, for the love of God, call him what you will, manifested in the love of man...."
Masonry is ageless, belonging to all ages; of no one religion, it finds great truth in all religions. Indeed, it holds that truth which is common to all elevating and benign religions, and is the basis of each. It is that faith which underlies all sects and overarches all creeds, as the sky above. It does not undertake to explain, settle, or solve the mysteries which seem to overpower the knowledge of mere man; on the other hand, it endeavors to unite, it leaves each man to his own mind - untrammeled or filled with trash. It leaves him to trust his own thoughts and form his own system of that which he feels will fill his gaps and bring to him "the simple truth." Masonry rests on the Love of God and His creation: man. The Lodge is the meeting place of differing minds and hopes to fulfill the final union of all devout and reverend souls.
In conclusion to the question, "What is Masonry?" It is my humble opinion that the words used to picture the early churches of Christianity by Tertullian may be repeated here: "A fraternity or society united in the communion of peace, the title of brotherhood, the token of hospitality, and the tradition of one faith: the belief in the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man.”
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