MASONIC BLUE BOOK 1929
IDEALS OF MASONRY
Masonry has a sound constitution and an obstinate vitality. It has found its best bulwarks in the purity of its aims, in the love which the Brethren bear to each other, and in their never-dying attachment to the principles of their ritual; and it has gained a strong hold upon the respect and regard of the world.
Masonry has its mysteries and secrets, but in that great day when everything shall be made public, and we shall all be gathered around the great white throne, if I have lived strictly up to the principles and teachings of Masonry, and fulfilled all the obligations and duties demanded of me, I shall have little to fear, but will enjoy the happy, reflection consequent on a well-spent life, and have a bright hope of a glorious immortality.
HARMONIZING INFLUENCES OF MASONRY
Masonry teaches us to set the highest value upon the social and harmonizing influences which find a natural growth within the Institution. We may all say that we are happier and better men, and that some of the most satisfactory hours of our lives have been spent under the roof-tree of Masonry. We have found in Masonic intercourse that comfort, sympathy, and mutual support which is the constant craving of the human heart, and of which the hard conditions of mortal life give us only a scanty enjoyment.
MASONRY NOT SOLICITOUS
Many men wait to be asked to Join the Freemasons, and because they are not Solicited infer that they are not wanted. Masonry is an Institution, not Propaganda. One of the Fundamental Ideas of Masonry is that all who join it must be Uninfluenced by the Entreaties of Friends. It does not draw like a Cord, but like a Magnet. It does not Pull, it Attracts. It is a Positive Violation of Masonic Law to use an argument to induce anyone to Join a Lodge. The Sun needs no Patronage from the Stars in order to Increase its Light and its Benign Warmth in the Ministry of Nature. Masonry is an Essence. It receives no Glory from its Adherents, it Imparts it to them.
MASONIC LIBERTY OF FAITH.
Masonry claims to be a great moral system, teaching duty to God and its fellow-man, in the broad principles of right, and on the grand platform of spiritual liberty, whereby each one can worship and reverence the Eternal one and Indivisible God, without his conscience being twisted, forced and agonized, by the command or demand of his fellow mortal. To this end Masonry has placed upon its every altar an open Bible, in which it finds light for its rule and practice. In that rule and practice it holds itself alone amenable to the Almighty Power, who has formed of one blood all the nations of the earth. Hence it is Free in the full and true acceptation of the term, and is fitted into every want and requirement of fallible humanity.
Courtesy and affability are to distinguish Masons from non-Masons and thus they are ever to be leaders in dispensing gems of happiness and refinement.
MASONIC LIFE, UNSELFISH
A consistent Masonic life is characterized by unselfishness. This is a point on which there is much misunderstanding in the enlightened World. The popular conception of our Fraternity is that it is a vast mutual to which each member contributes a certain portion of his time talents and means, in the expectation in certain contingencies, of reaping corresponding advantages – in a word they suppose that when a man becomes a Mason he does so solely with the view of using to his new position as a stepping-stone to his own personal welfare and aggrandizement. I need hardly say that such a view is entirely contrary to the tenets of our Order and directly opposite "To do good and to communicate," not to grasp any advantage for one self is the great lesson which we set to learn in our lodges. He is the true Mason who is ever ready to forego his own interests, and looks at all questions, not with the microscopic vision of the self-pleaser, not with the broad, comprehensive view of one who has grasped the great principles of the universal Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of Man.
It is this sentiment which prompts a Freemason to suffer long and be kind, to control his temper, forgive the erring, reach forth his hand to stay a falling, brother, to warn him of his error and whisper in his ear that correction which his fault may demand; to close his ear to slander and his lips to reproach – in short, to do unto others as he would be done by.
THE DUTIES OF MASONRY
Let us not forget our Masonic charge that enjoins us to ask for wisdom from on high, so that we can divest ourselves of all mere personal motives, and prejudices, and take hold of the work assigned us, determined to perform it in a true Masonic manner. Keeping in mind that it is our solemn duty to be promoting each other's welfare, and the good of mankind. Keep it in mind that we are charged as Masons, to be just to our country and true to our government, and though our ranks are composed of members representing different creeds and opinions, yet, as Masons, we are a mighty brotherhood, whose duty it is to guard each other from the evils-ignorance, fanaticism, and bigotry-and to disarm these evils
DUTY TO DEPARTED BRETHREN
There is probably nothing which so impresses the outside world, and Particularly those who are most closely connected with the deceased, than to have a society attend the funeral of a deceased brother in a body. Such an occasion is one when a kindness of this nature will never be forgotten by those loved ones left behind. It will always remain fresh and green in their memories and they will ever cherish the kindliest thoughts for the members of the order, which so expresses its good-will towards the departed brother.
MASONRY NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR RELIGION
Let no man for a moment believe that Masonry is a substitute for the religion of God. Such it is not-such it cannot be. It has been well said that "Christianity and Masonry are of different origins-the one being of divine-the other of human origin." Masonry being merely of human origin, can only hope, by the blessing of God, to be an humble handmaid of religion, doing its duty in the different sphere, and upon the lower plane, where man could only place it – seeking to ameliorate man's condition in this life, but with no claim or hope of bettering his soul's condition in the world to come. Let not then any Brother teach, believe, or act upon the idea, however vague or remote, that Masonry can be a substitute of the religion of God.
Personal character is of the first importance. Well may we take pride in the fact that Freemasonry seeks to build on this foundation. It would have men good and true as the very first requisite. Its precepts, ceremonies, anti impressive references to distinguished personages, are to develop it a sense of accountableness in the individual, and bring him to realize that the formation of a worthy character outranks all other duties. Craftsmen are taught to be builders in a large and glorious way, realizing that they must exercise an intelligent supervision over themselves in order to produce a structure that shall be both strong and attractive.
MASONRY NOT A CHURCH
True, very true. Masonry is not a church; it usurps no churchly prerogative, it does not presume to satisfy ma’s religious longings; it does not take the place of "conversation," but as a religious organization it seeks to prepare the Craftsman for the higher work of Christianity. Religion primarily means to "bind anew," or to "bind back to God." What other mission has Freemasonry? It earnestly inculcates a belief in one and eternal God. It makes supreme the Holy Bible as an authoritative revelation from Him. It enthrones that book in every lodge room, and tells its craftsmen in legend and song that the rectitudinal lines for character building are found therein.
JUDGED BY A STANDARD
The peace and prosperity of our Institution will not be enhanced unless our membership practice, in their daily lives, the principles of Freemasonry. It is one of the noblest Institutions-instituted by man and blessed of God under the starry decked heaven of His own creation. Its platform – "The fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man" – is so broad and comprehensive that all classes, rich or poor, high or low, or of whatever party or creed, can meet in peace and harmony thereon, and thus show forth the noblest and purest of all the Christian virtues. – Charity – love to one another.
While it is an imperative duty to exercise due caution in dealing with those who come to us claiming our assistance,, we should ever bear in mind that this is the sphere wherein all that is good and noble in our Institution must be developed and nurtured. No man can be a Mason, in the true sense, who cannot exercise charity toward, and faith in, his fellow man. If we are deceived and unopposed upon by one, let us not visit our chagrin upon another, but rather patiently investigate, to the end, that we may perform fully our obligations, and keep bright, pure and effulgent that characteristic virtue which has given perpetuity to our Order, and showered unnumbered blessings upon our race.
Man's greatest need on earth is friendship, constant, true and helpful. Masonry multiplies friendships. The quality of sweet friendship, like that of her sister, mercy, is not strained. It blesses him who gives and him who takes, and so on to the end. Let our aim and efforts ever be to establish and maintain true and abiding friendships, and we will teem with richest blessings.
BROTHERHOOD OF MASONRY
Wheresoever the Institution has been planted, wheresoever brethren of the mystic tie are found, anywhere on the habitable globe, there is running through all its membership the red line which binds them together in indissoluble friendship and brotherly recognition. It is the same in all lands and in all clinics, on sea or on land, on the continents or sea-girt isles, in war or in peace, in adversity or in prosperity. Heart meets heart and hand grasps hand in sympathy and brotherly greeting. There is no such brotherhood elsewhere. 'Man meets no such response from his fellow-man outside the pale of the Masonic Institution. No such tie of brotherly affection is found among any of the religious organizations of the day, either between individuals that compose those organizations, or between those organizations collectively. There is no common bond of union among them. They labor each for the furtherance of their own ends.
RE-UNION OF OLD MEMBERS
One of the happiest features of our Lodge gatherings is the occasional re-union of the old members, the veterans of the Craft, who, in the early days of their Lodges, were active in the work, and wielded an influence that has eventuated for good to their Lodges and the Craft at large. This annual coming together, if judiciously managed, could be made so welcome to our brethren who are up in years, and who, on account of age and other infirmities, are not permitted to visit as of yore. We should venerate the grey hairs of the fathers of the Craft. We reap where we did not sow, and enjoy, to a great extent, the fruits of their labors. Their recollections of the past and kindly approval of the acts of those who are marching in their footsteps would have a harmonizing influence on the membership. Bring, therefore, our old brethren to the Lodge room, and let us worship together at the shrine of the past. Make the meetings interesting, and spice them with brief addresses, interesting to old and young. The shadows are deepening around the home of many of our seniors in the Craft, and while they are with us let them know that they are not forgotten.
- Late M. W. Bro. J. Ross Robertson.
WHEN IS A MAN A MASON?
When no voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no hand seeks his aid without response, then may he rightly lay claim to the noble name of a Mason.
MASONRY, FOR THE LIVING
Masonry is for the living, not for the dead. If you have words of love or affection, of sympathy or forgiveness, do not keep them for ears that cannot hear, for hearts that cannot feel, that do not need them. Speak them now. Let them speed upon their mission of mercy while the ear can hear and the heart feel. They may smooth rugged paths to tired and bleeding feet. They may- bind up the wounds of broken and bleeding hearts. They may give new life and courage to weary, grief-stricken souls, sinking under the burdens and oppressions of life. Speak then to-day and in the hour of your need your blessings shall return a hundred fold.
MASONRY, WHAT IS ITS STRENGTH?
We have heard that Masonry is grand because she is old; but Masonry is old because she is grand. She has withstood the ravages of time, the revolutions of ages, because she is founded upon a philosophic basis. Masonry is no insurance association; not disparaging or underrating the benefits of insurance, she has nobler, grander ends to accomplish. She is that imperial Institution which carries lessons of true manhood devotion to women, loyalty to truth, into every hamlet within our borders; she is that permanent Institution whose example has actually called into being almost every other benevolent order which exists to-day.
MASONIC DUTIES NEVER END
The Freemason's duties are never ended till he is summoned to refreshment at the Grand Lodge above. He must face the midnight storm, and through the darkness of night visit and aid and comfort and cheer the sick and the dying. If he has not wealth to lavish on an impoverished brother, lying on the bed of sickness or of death, he, at least can go to him, sit by his bedside and read to him, and tell him, too, of the wondrous mercy and goodness of the Freemason's God – he can smooth his pillow, moisten his parched and burning lips, and in an hundred and one little ways render the brother's path to heaven brighter and more cheerful. And when he has thrown the acacia in his grave and seen the body returned to that mother earth from whence it came, he goes again to the house of mourning and consoles the weeping widow by kindly words, and cheers the crying, sobbing orphans. His task has now commenced. These are the legacies that his brother has left him – their welfare must be his future care; he must not – he does not – hesitate if he is unable to do much himself. Has he not behind him an army of a million brethren? Can he – dare he – neglect or allow this wife of a Freemason, with her little ones, to perish in the streets?
FREEMASONRY, FOR MAN.
Freemasonry is for man. Its aim is to regulate and refine human nature.
MASONIC OBLIGATIONS TO HUMANITY
It is the common charge by the outside world that Masons are bound by lodge ties to do good only to, and for those obligated at our altars; that at best the Institution is framed only to include the few, and with them its charities cease; or, if now and then extended to the outer world, the motive is to obviate the reproach of selfishness, and will confidence to mere profession. And, it must be confessed, that too many Masons so learn and practice the lessons of the Craft, as to bring upon it this reproach. There are not a few who imagine the rituals of the Order are solely deserving attention, and spend their days in repeating their so-called lectures, without a thought as to their meaning or importance. Beyond the walls which they pass and repass, they heed not the duties incurred by obligations, nor what they owe to humanity. Such brethren convert Masonry into a caste to which they limit their love, and restrict the little good they do. Surrounded with a palisade of signs, grips and tokens, is the narrow world in which they babble of charity, and chatter about fraternal duty.
TWO GRAND PILLARS OF MASONRY
Charity and morality must ever be the distinguishing attributes of our ancient and honorable Fraternity. These constitute the two grand pillars in the Temple of Freemasonry.
MORAL AND INTELLECTUAL CULTURE
Masonry was not instituted solely for the mutual protection, assistance, and social development of its members. Such duties are owed to all mankind, for all mankind are brethren, and these duties are, therefore, to be practiced in all climes, and on all proper occasions. The primary truth enunciated by Masonry in the start, was the brotherhood of the race, and this because all are born with the same rights, and stand on the same broad level in presence of each other and before God. The grand object of Masonry is the moral and intellectual culture of man, and, for this purpose, it has means and appliances unequalled by any Order or Institution on earth.
ROYAL ARCH MASONRY
As Royal Arch Masons we have reached the summit of Ancient Craft Masonry, and I submit to the proposition that as such we should represent the intelligence, skill, virtue, and benevolence, that are everywhere so prominently apparent in the design, scope, and literature of our sublime Order. Let us then, eschewing profanity, intemperance, and excess, by lives of moderation, virtue, usefulness, and honor, demonstrate to outside the world that Royal Arch Masonry ranks high among the potent educating institutions of the world, in addition to constituting a bond that unites its membership throughout the world into one great and helpful Fraternity.
MASONRY NOT BUSINESS
Masonry is not business. Such an assumption is utterly at variance with the organization, object and purposes of our Institution. Her mission is entirely different. It is a higher, holier, and purer mission. It is a combination of those moral and social forces which reach above the narrow limits of selfishness or calculation and extend into those regions of individual and aggregate elevation which can alone dignify humanity and lift it up to a place in that "Temple not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens." Morality is her basis, relief her corner-stone, truth her hand-maiden, while charity and brotherly love are her ministering spirits. Her prerogative is to warn the erring brother, help the unfortunate, cheer the disconsolate, carry peace and comfort to the wearied heart and assist by its charities, which fall like the dew of Heaven, silent and unseen, the widow and the orphan. Its lodge-rooms are intended to be centres of love, means of instruction, and the Venn gateways of higher and purer aspirations. And so long as there are good men seeking to promote social and moral graces will Masonry exist and flourish.
Masonry is built on practical benevolence-not only wishing well, but doing well. It means relieve the sick, care for the widow and orphan, and bury the dead.
MASONRY, ACCOMPANIES THE PROGRESS OF INDUSTRY
With the exception of the church, there is probably no institution on earth that so surely and constantly accompanies the progress of industry and civilization as that of Masonry. Wherever its seats are established there is greater assurance of just and equitable government, of business honor and personal integrity, and of domestic virtue and general happiness. With what honest pride and sincere satisfaction must these observations fill the breasts of all true and zealous Craftsmen! With the benign influences thus established in every portion of our broad domain its many sections and innumerable localities furnish distinct advantages, but equal inducements, for the exercise of every enterprise the citizen may see fit to engage in, for wherever Freemasonry is duly established social enjoyment and commercial safety can be regarded as secure in the largest sense that is possible to human nature. Let us always, therefore, by moral deportment, manly dignity, business integrity, and prudent zeal, earnestly devote our best energies to its maintenance and advancement.
WHEN IS A MAN A MASON?
When he knows how to sympathize with men in their Sorrows, yea, even in their Sins, knowing that each has a hard fight against many odds. When he has learned how to make friends, and how to keep them, and above all, how to keep friends with himself.
FREEMASONRY AND THE BIBLE
We know that the Holy Bible is our greatest blessing and the source of the only true consolation we enjoy. We take it as the great light of our lodges and the rule and guide of our faith and practice. The principles of Freemasonry are identical with the teachings of the Bible; with us they are veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.
ETERNAL VERITIES MASONRY.
Leaving out of account, therefore, those qualities that are merely local and temporary, are there elements in Freemasonry that spring from eternal verities, and which will commend it to men whatever be the transient phases of social organization? In answering this question, notice first that Freemasonry is a system by which moral truth is taught by symbol. I say moral truth. Masonry is not a religion. It distinctly and positively disclaims the conception that it is a vehicle of salvation for our fallen race. It recognizes the truth that its work is on a different plane from that of the Church. Only a very ill-informed Mason will make the absurd statement that his Masonic Lodge is a good enough church for him. The lodge is not a church at all. It does not purport to be. True, it recognizes the truth that there can be no sound enduring system of ethics that does not rest in the last analysis upon the authority of a holy, supreme, moral Governor of the Universe.
SELFISHNESS A VIOLATION OF EVERY DUTY.
It is no light matter for men endowed with reason to assume obligations of the most binding character. It is still more serious when obligations thus taken upon themselves be forgotten or recklessly disregarded. It is difficult we know for men, owing to weakness of human nature, in any of their relations to their fellow men, to divest themselves wholly of their selfishness; but for a Mason to be wholly selfish is at war with every principle of the Fraternity, and a violation of every duty.
As Free and Accepted Masons we profess to be engaged in the grand work of character building. By the use of the symbolic tools and implements of speculative Masonry we propose to prepare men for the high and responsible duties of life. Speculative Masonry represents man in his entrance into the world, in which he is afterwards to become a living and thinking actor. It then represents him as emerging from darkness to light, and on, as he comes out of ignorance into knowledge; and, when he shall have acquired it, Masonry teaches him how to use knowledge wisely and well. In a word, the teachings Of Masonry, when learned and put into practice, fit a man for all the social and active duties of life, and make of him a good and useful citizen.
MASONIC TEACHINGS MAKES THE TEMPLAR
History tells of the wonderful deeds of the valiant Knights of the Temple during the crusades, and the story of their warlike achievements and the prodigies of valor which they performed fills us with astonishment. We admire their heroic courage, their sublime fortitude, the patience with which they endured privations and suffering, their devotion to the principles of their Order and the fortitude and contempt of death which they exhibited under the tortures inflicted upon them by their persecutors, but it is the practice of the sublime virtues inculcated by the Ancient and Honorable Order of Free and Accepted Masons, coupled with his devotion to and belief in the doctrines of the Holy Christian religion, and his practice of its precepts, that the Knights Templar commends himself to the men of the present age. The Knights Templar of to-day must have taken the degrees of Freemasonry, though it does not follow that every Mason may or can be a Knights Templar. The Orders are so intimately connected that it would seem that any discussion of the principles of Knight Templarism, without reference to those of Freemasonry would be incomplete, for it is as a Freemason, that a man is prepared and fitted to become a Knights Templar. A Selfish Man can never become a True Mason, because he cannot realize the Vital Force of Brotherly Love.
THE THIRTY-THIRD DEGREE
Scottish Rite Masonry has found the great secret which unlocks the gates of human bondage and secures to mankind the great heritage of universal freedom which the Almighty has bestowed upon the human race. It deals with all the great problems which, in this twentieth century, occupy the mind of the philosopher, the statesman and the scholar. Its aim is the attainment for every one of its votaries independence of thought, security of faith, equipoise of the soul. Masonry is duty, and Masonic work is the performance of duty. We who have been honored by this august assembly of the great dignities of our beloved Order with the highest degree of the Rite would be ungrateful to you, would be unmindful of our solemn and binding obligations, should we forget that we have assumed grave duties, and that you have the right to expect of us the utmost in our power. We pledge ourselves that we will not prove unworthy of your trust, nor recreant to your vows. Whatever Masonry and our country may require, whatever an exalted system of true philosophy demands us to do, whatever the demands of a lofty patriotism may exact, we pledge to the performance of these duties our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
TRUE PRINCIPALS OF MASONRY.
A true Mason is willing to apply the principles of Masonry to every phase and condition of his daily life.
Before the altar on the checkered floor, in the middle chamber,
all through the ceremonies in their successive steps, important lessons are impressed upon the candidate who receives them, not as simple frivolities, but as sober realities; not as plaything m for the moment, but as the choicest gems to be treasured in the heart; not as lessons to be repeated parrotlike and forgotten, but to be remembered and practiced in the daily life; not as one, who looks in a glass and straightway forgets what manner of man he is, but as one on whose heart the image is indelibly engraved. The latter ought always to be the impressions conveyed in the ceremonies and symbols of Masonry. Masonry is not the ritual.
BELIEF IN IMMORTALITY
Masonry, constantly reminds its votary that when his dust returns to the earth as it was, the spirit shall return to God who gave it, there to be judged in righteousness for the deeds done in the body. Belief in the immortality of the soul is a fundamental test of the Order. The Lodge also recognizes the Holy Bible as a perfect storehouse of the sublimest and most precious moral truths. It therefore places the Holy Book as its great central light, blazing with purest moral effulgence upon the altar, as the sun in the heavens at its meridian height burns with dazzling radiance upon the altar of natural solar system.
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