Our Craft and Strength
Our Craft and Strength Together
Do you reflect on the nature of man's existence and your obligations to God, your family, and yourself? If such ethical and moral questions hold great interest for you, then you will gain significant benefit from the teachings of the Craft. But if you seek a more meaningful quality of life-and the spirit of charity and good fellowship which flow from it- then Freemasonry has much to offer. We want you to know what we believe, how we act, and what we do...and, the, should you become a Mason, to be proud to be our Brother and to participate in our work. Only those who desire membership because of their favorable impression of us should seek a petition.
Under the Canopy of Heaven
In all regular, well-formed, constituted Lodges, there is a point within a circle round which the Brethren cannot err. This circle is bounded between North. and South by two grand parallel lines, representing the patron Saints John.
On the upper part of this circle rests the Volume of the Sacred Law, supporting Jacob's ladder, and as adherent to the doctrines therein contained, as those parallels were, it would bring us to Him who would not deceive us.
Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice, the whole of which, were constantly practiced by a great majority of our ancient Brethren. The distinguishing characteristics of a good Free Mason are Virtue, Honour, and Mercy, and should these be banished from all other societies may they ever be found in a Mason's faithful breast.
The light Will Be Brighter
When the light becomes brighter, the Holy Scriptures will begin to come alive to you with these pages filled with the very real people who were our ancestors.
The references found in the scriptures will cease to be just an ancient mark on a map in the Middle East filled with centuries of war and unrest.
You will come to understand that Abraham (Father of all the Nations in the world) begat two sons: Isaac (ancestor to the Christian and Hebrew nations) and Ishmael (ancestor to the Arab nations).
With this knowledge, your comprehension of our Creator's true meaning of "sacred brotherhood" across the nations of the world, will unfold.
Because by the doctrines contained in that Holy Book, we are taught to believe in the dispensations of Divine Providence; which belief strengthens our Faith, and enables us to ascend the first step.
This Faith naturally creates in us the first step,
a Hope of becoming partakers of the blessed promises therein recorded; which Hope enables us to ascend the second step.
But the third and last, being Charity, comprehends the whole; and the Mason who is possessed of this virtue in its most ample sense, may justly be deemed to have attained a summit of his profession;
figuratively speaking, an ethereal mansion, veiled from mortal eyes by the starry firmament, emblematically depicted in our Lodges by seven Stars, which have an allusion to as many regularly made Masons; without which number no Lodge is perfect, neither can any candidate be legally initiated into the Order.
Freemasonry; is an Art founded on the principles of Geometry, with the strength and reverence for the living God. But Freemasonry embracing a wider range, and having a more noble object in view, namely, the cultivation and improvement of the human strengths.
To draw aside this veil therefore, or, more properly speaking, to penetrate through its mysteries, is the object of faith based teachings, and by a faithful and appropriate attention to them we hope ultimately to become acquainted with all its mysteries. The virtue is depicted in its most beautiful colours, the duties of morality are everywhere strictly enforced.
The nature, character, the attributes and perfections of the Living God are faithfully delineated and forcibly portrayed, and are well calculated to influence our conduct towards Him, as our Father, Benefactor, and Moral Governor, as also in the proper discharge of the duties of social life.
To Your Profession
A Masons trust, you are to regard the volume of the sacred law as the great light in your profession; to consider it as the unerring standard of truth and justice; to regulate your actions by the combined precepts it contains. In it you will learn the important duties which you owe to God, your neighbor and yourself; to god, by never mentioning His name but with awe and reverence which are due from the creature to his creator; by imploring his aid in all laudable undertakings, and by looking up to Him in every emergency for comfort and support; to your neighbor, by acting with him upon the square; by rendering him every kind office which justice or mercy may require; by relieving his distresses, and soothing his afflictions; and by doing to him as, in similar cases, you would that he should do unto you; and to yourself, by such a prudent and well-regulated course a discipline as may best conduce to the preservation of your corporeal and mental faculties and their fullest energy; thereby enabling you to exert the talents where with God has blessed you, as well to his glory as to the welfare of your fellow creatures.
The four cardinal virtues: Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, and Justice.
Is that due restraint of the passion and affections, which renders the body tame and governable, and relieves the mind from the allurements of vice. This virtue ought to be the constant practice of every Mason as he is thereby taught to avoid excess, or the contracting of any vicious or licentious habits, whereby he might, unwarily, be led to betray his trust, and subject himself the penalty contained in his Obligation.
Is that noble and steady guidance of the soul, which is equally distant from rashness and cowardice; it enables us to undergo any pain labour, danger, or difficulty, when thought necessary, or deemed prudentially expedient. This virtue, like the former ought to be deeply impressed on the breast of every Mason, as a fence and security against any attempts which might be made either by threats or violence, to extort from him any of those Masonic secrets he has so solemnly engaged himself to HELE, conceal, and never improperly reveal; the illegal revealing of which might prove a torment to his mind, as the Compasses were emblematically to his body when extended to his naked left breast at time of his Initiation.
Teaches us to regulate our lives and actions according to the dictates of reason, and is that habit of mind whereby men wisely judge, and prudentially determine, all things relative to their temporal and eternal happiness. This virtue ought to be the distinguishing characteristic of every Free and Accepted Mason, not only for the good regulation of his own life and actions, but as a pious example to the popular world who are not Masons, and ought to be nicely attended to in strange or mixed companies, never to let drop or slip the least Sign, Token, or Word, whereby any of our Masonic secrets might be illegally obtained; ever having in recollection that period of time when he was placed before the Worshipful Master in the East with his left knee made bare and his bent right foot formed in a square while his right hand was placed on the Volume of the Sacred Law
Is that station or boundary of right, by which we are taught to render to every man his just due, and that without distinction. This virtue is not only consistent with the Divine and human Law, but is the standard and cement of civil society. Without the exercise of this Virtue, universal confusion would ensure, lawless force would overcome the principles of equity, and social intercourse no longer exist; and as justice in a great measure constitutes the really good man, so it ought to be the invariable practice of every Free and Accepted Mason never to deviate from the minutest principles thereof, ever having in mind the time he was placed at the North East part of the Lodge, feet formed in a square being evident, when he received that excellent injunction from the Worshipful Master. to be just and upright in all things; alluding to the Perpendicular.
And Now ... brethren
- Faith is belief in that which has not been seen with complete trust and confidence (including the virtues!)
- Hope is taking a positive future view, that good will prevail.
- Charity is concern (love)for, and active helping of, others.
- Temperance is moderation of needed things and abstinence from things which are not needed.
- Fortitude Is that noble and steady purport of the soul, which is equally distant from rashness and cowardice.
- Prudence teaches us to regulate our lives and actions according to the dictates of reason.
- Justice Is that station or boundary of right, by which we are taught to render to every man his just due.
When, placed at his right hand, he will be pleased to pronounce us just and upright Masons, then shall we be fitted as living stones for that spiritual temple, "that house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens," where no discordant voice shall be heard, but all the soul shall experience shall be perfect bliss, and all it shall express shall be perfect praise, and love divine shall ennoble every heart, and hallelujahs exalted employ every tongue.
Brethren: We are now about to quit this sacred retreat of friendship and virtue to mix again with the world. Amidst its concerns and employments, forget not the duties which you have heard so frequently inculcated and so forcibly, recommended in this lodge. Be diligent, prudent, temperate, discreet.
Remember that around this altar you have promised to befriend and relieve every brother who shall need your assistance. You have promised, in the most friendly manner, to remind him of his errors and to aid his reformation.
These generous principles are to extend further:
Every human being has a claim upon your kind offices. Do good unto all. Recommend it more especially to the "household of the faithful."
Finally, brethren, be ye all of one mind; live in peace; and may the God of Love and Peace delight to dwell with and bless you.
May the blessing of heaven rest upon us and all regular Masons!
May brotherly love prevail and every moral and social virtue cement us. Amen!