A man had an idea, that to be a good person you must have love in your heart, and be able to show it to others. Not love of passion, but love like that of a brother. For this mutual brotherly love to work he would have to find another man that felt the same as himself. But, he had no place to look except the place where he was employed. While he was at labor he asked his friends what they though about brotherly love. Some scoffed and others knew exactly what he was talking about, for they had the same notion but did not know how to address it. These were not things discussed by men, at this time, it was enough just to survive.
As men will do they met at refreshment to talk about this new idea. After careful consideration they decided that brotherly love alone would not bind them forever in thought and actions. To brotherly love they added help for themselves and others through deeds and if needed money.
This was a good idea in theory but would not work if a member lied about needing help just so he could get free work or money. So to brotherly love and help would have to be add truth. Every member would have to take an oath obligating himself to be truthful to his brother members at all times. They also decided to keep this among themselves. They would not use the influence of one brother or the group of brothers to harm any person, religion, or government no matter what the conflict.
Although there were few of them, they were sure that their new principals or tenets of brotherly love, relief (which was changed from help, because with their help they could relive the distressed by soothing, sympathizing, and showing compassion) and truth would soon become a way of life.
To make certain that they would not be confused for a religion, they pledged to support the belief of the realm in which they were in. This they thought would be helpful in that they could not pose a threat to any religious figure. By supporting the countries religion the members would become better people.
A place to meet only became a problem because to keep their ceremonies a secret from others they had to meet in a place so high that anyone approaching would be seen, or in a place so low that nobody could detect them. Traveling as they did, to have a building would be unnecessary and since they held meetings where they were lodged, they referred to the membership as The Lodge.
Because there were those who would look upon this New Order as a threat to themselves, they placed the name of their profession as a code. They used certain signs and hand shakes so they could recognize each other. They also created ceremonies for when they open and close their meetings, and when new men would join them. They saw a need for ceremonies for when a new member reached a certain degree of proficiency in his work and in his ability to care for others. He should be recognized for his efforts. Each new level of competence would be celebrated with a ceremony, that all may know that a new brother has excelled in his task.
Symbols and allegories from all walks of life and all religions were adopted. This was so they would have better meaning to brothers from all countries and all sects.
Their work as builders, operative and humanitarian, gave them a certain prestige and were sought out to do both. They were given free movement to travel from land to land. They were needed, for building cities and lives. When ever they stopped they planted the seed of good will through temperance as a way of life. They spoke of fortitude for the strength to continue, prudence so they would know when to speak and justice for all mankind. They did this because being men of only one profession they knew there were others of different abilities that had like goals. These men, though not builders of buildings, were builders of character, and were known to be good men and true. Thus they would be accepted as brothers in speculation, rather than brothers of operation.
Their ideals always remained the same through all the trials and persecutions. Their faith in mankind and their thoughts toward the future made them loved and respected by many. Their secrets ceremonies and universal brotherhood cause jealousy from some and fear from others. Through all of this the Order maintained a steadfast belief in God and mankind with the knowledge that good would prevail.
This new fraternity of Masons, if not for
its detractors, might have brought peace to the world. But as
it was and is now, will continue to spread from country to country
and from shore to shore.
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