more light #65
by Ed Halpaus
Grand Lodge Education Officer
Grand Lodge of A. F. & A. M. of Minnesota
From the “Voice of Masonry and Family Magazine,” August 1883 edition.
By William Fletcher James
Our venerable institution of Masonry is coeval with the most ancient traditions
and history of man, and will continue to coexist with him as long as faith,
hope, charity, fraternal love and sociability remain tenets of his moral code.
Few, if any, of the other organizations of mankind have survived the lapse of so
many centuries. Few, if any, other of these institutions have been so potential
in the accomplishing of good. The laurels of the Fraternity have not been won in
the arena of either military or civil strife. War, contention and discord are
the antipodes of Masonry, and can find no room within its peaceful and
harmonious precincts. Its victories are such as moral forces win; its banner is
the olive branch; its power—faith, hope and intelligence; its fruits—charity,
friendship, brotherly love and the elevation of its adherents. Its rewards are
the approbation of the good and the blessings of the sick, distressed and needy.
Among its tangible monuments are its thousands of magnificent temples scattered
throughout the world, from which as often as the lodge opens and closes therein,
homage is rendered to Him in whose hands rests the destiny of all human
institutions. Other monuments of Masonry, almost as numerous, are its libraries,
furnishing to multitudes in every civilized land convenient and cheap facilities
for reading and consulting the works and best authorities on almost every
subject of useful knowledge. Such, my brethren, are the benefits—such the
monuments—of our Fraternity, which render it so worthy of our help and esteem,
which have preserved it unimpaired through the changes and vicissitudes of the
ages, which still renew its vital forces, and will perpetuate its existence in
full vigor so long as the members of the Brotherhood remain as they have in the
past, and as they do to-day, true to the requirements of Masonry.
Let each of us therefore become an inquisitor of his own conduct, and ask
himself the question: "Am I a moral, upright man and Mason, and have I acted and
walked ever as such?” He who is unable to answer this question in the
affirmative well knows that he has not been true to his solemn obligations, and
that as the excellence of the institution can only be judged by those
unacquainted with its mystic ties, from the outward deportment of its members,
he is pursuing a course calculated to impair the good name of Masonry, which by
the highest considerations of duty and honor he is bound to magnify and protect
by his own moral and upright deportment.
An unworthy, immoral Mason, is much worse than a drone in a hive, and after
brotherly advice and expostulation fails to work a reformation, he should be
expelled; not only because he has become recreant to his high duties as a Mason,
but to preserve the good name of our sacred institution.
The remark just made suggests that the greatest care should be taken at the door
of every lodge, to guard it against the entrance of every man of doubtful
character, or dissolute or immoral habits. "For none but the upright, moral and
good, are fit to be allowed to approach our sacred altar.”While the initiation
of the worthy adds strength, the initiation of the unworthy is a source of
weakness and discredit to the Fraternity.
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