The Masonic Trowel

... to spread the cement of brotherly love and affection, that cement which unites us into one sacred band or society of brothers, among whom no contention should ever exist, but that noble emulation of who can best work or best agree ...

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General Remarks


BOOK II - General Remarks: including an Illustration of the Lectures

illustrations of masonry
william preston

Masonry is an art useful and extensive. In every art there is a mystery, which requires a progress of study and application to arrive at any degree of perfection. Without much instruction, and more exercise, no man can be skillful in any art; in like manner, without an assiduous application to the carious subjects treated in the different lectures of masonry, no person can be sufficiently acquainted with its true value.

From this remark it must not be inferred, that person who labour under the disadvantage of a confined education, or whose sphere of life requires assiduous attention to business or useful employment, are to be discouraged in the endeavours to gain a knowledge of masonry. To qualify an individual to enjoy the benefits of the society at large, or to partake of its privileges, it is not absolutely necessary that he should be acquainted with all the intricate parts of the science. These are only intended for persons who may have leisure and opportunity to indulge such pursuits.

Some men may be more able than others, some more eminent, some more useful, but all, in their different spheres, may prove advantageous to the community; and our necessities, as well as our consciences, bind us to love one another. To those, however, whose early years have been dedicated to literary pursuits, or whose circumstances and situation in life render them independent, the offices of a Lodge ought to be principally restricted. The industrious tradesman proves himself a valuable member of society, and worthy of every honour that we can confer; but the nature of every man's profession will not admit of that leisure which is necessary to qualify him to become an expert Mason, so as to discharge the official duties of a lodge with propriety. And it must be admitted that those who accept offices and exercise authority in a Lodge, ought to be men of superior prudence and genteel address, with all the advantages of a tranquil, well cultivated mind, and retentive memory. All men are not blessed with the same powers, nor have all men the same talents; all men, therefore, are not equally qualified to govern. But he who wishes to teach, must submit to learn; and no one is qualified to support the the higher offices of a Lodge, until he has previously discharged the duties of those which are subordinate, which require time and experience. All men may rise by graduation, and merit and industry are the first steps to preferment. Masonry is widely calculated to suit different ranks and degrees, as every one, according to his station and ability, may be employed, and class with his equal in every station. Founded upon the most, generous principles, no disquietude appears among professor of the art; each class is happy in its particular association, and when the whole meet in general convention, arrogance and presumption appear not on the one hand, or diffidence and inability on the other; but all unite in the same plan, to promote that endearing happiness which constitutes the essence of civil society.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014