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foundations of masonry

by R.W. Bro. E. A. Davis
Published in The Tracing Board, - GRA 1976

Every entrant into Freemasonry is informed that 'no institution can boast a more solid foundation that that on which Freemasonry rests, the practice of every moral and social virtue.' These words, so full of meaning, should by their constant reiteration in our Lodges, grip the conscience and heart of each member and the result should be seen in increasing nobility of character, purity of life and unselfishness of service.

We are living today in an age of transition. This is practically a new age and thoughtful men everywhere are alive to it. Old institutions, old methods, old forms of procedure are being subjected to rigid scrutiny and only those survive which can be adapted to the changing times. The foundation of Masonry is so broad and firm that rightly conceived and expressed, Masonry cannot do other than win men, who come under its spell to the service of humanity.

Masonry teaches righteousness and morality and as this grips the thought of sincere men gathered together from all walks and occupations of life, eventually they feel how closely they are bound to one another by a common tie. This explains how Masonry comes to foster in its members self-respect and self-help qualities that enable a man to stand alone if need be and yet safeguard him from infringing on the rights and claims of others.

'The Practice of every moral and social virtue' is required of every man if this world is to be the world God meant it to be. Masonry, properly understood and interpreted, lays itself out to serve men regardless of race, rank, or creed and its main desire is to see that no man is denied the full inheritance of humanity. But Masonry will only achieve its full purpose when every member of the Craft comes to realize that he must individually and personally live out its principles and tenets in actual life.

An unworthy Mason, one who contravenes in his daily conduct the foundation principles of Masonry, who violates in word and spirit the obligation into which he has solemnly entered, does untold harm to one of the noblest institutions for promoting fraternity and goodwill in all classes and grades of society. The principles of Masonry never detrimentally affect any man and every man ought to be better for adopting them and allowing them to regulate his character and conduct. It therefore is the duty of all of us who have anything to do in promoting the maintenance and expansion of the Craft, to ceaselessly stress the solid foundation on which Freemasonry rests an the supreme importance individually of rigidly adhering to 'the practice of every moral and social virtue.' Human nature, if allowed to get out of control and is left undisciplined, will soon drag any man down. High character can only be maintained by the guidance and control of high principles and the maintenance of lofty ideals.

Built on a truly Masonic foundation, Freemasonry has a wonderful place in the world. It is remarkable how it binds men together in faith, freedom and friendship. This is because it rests upon spiritual realities. It organizes men in spiritual faith, moral purposes and eternal hope and cements them together by brotherly love and a common high endeavour. It has been declared that 'Masonry teaches the highest truth by the humblest emblems.'

Masonry leads those who sincerely come under its influence and teaching, to see the difference between a materialistic and a spiritual reading of the meaning of life and it stimulates them to an increased faith in God, in the life to come and in the final victory of good over evil. This is the basis of its strength, the beauty of its symbolism and the secret of its fellowship. As Masons, our trust is in God, that He who made us what we are will lead us finally to that which we ought to be. Life is brief at is longest and broken at its best and the teaching of Masonry urges men to be careful to perform their allotted task while it is yet day, never to betray their trust, to practice outside the Lodge the truths they have been taught within and on all occasions to let their life be a living expression of the principles to which they have solemnly vowed their allegiance. Masonry has an abiding foundation. Its members, therefore, must be loyal and true and on that foundation individually 'raise a superstructure, perfect in its parts and honourable to the builder.' This will foster the principle and practice of brotherhood and thus the great fraternity

'Shall bind each heart and nation
In one grand brotherhood of men
And one high consecration.'

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Last modified: March 22, 2014