The Masonic Trowel

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masonic principles

by Bro. J. Mckay
March 1970

No man can draw a free breath who does not share with other men a common and worthwhile ideal. Life has taught us that love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction. There is no comradeship except through union in the same high effort.

One of the first necessities to bring about this union is leadership, and contrary to the old saying that leaders are born, the art of leading can be taught or developed. The qualities or characteristics necessary are, first of all confidence in one's self. If a leader does not believe in himself, no one else will. This must be training, experience, and skill. The next requirement is energy, a leader must be willing to do everything he asks of his followers, and more. Following these he must have a firm unshakeable faith in the principles he stands for, and in Masonry we have those princiaples that are beyond any doubt, worthy of that faith.

One of the first principles in Masonry is faith, faith in one Supreme Being, faith in the teachings of the V.O.S.L. from which is derived the tenets and precepts of our Order.

Following faith we have love, love of our fellowman regardless of race, colour, creed, or station. I am sure all will agree that this principle is not practiced to the extent that it should be in the world today, but were it practiced to its fullest, all the bickering, squalor, and misery would soon disappear. In a lodge a man need no longer be a stranger, he finds there are other men, who, like himself are eager to establish friendships, engage in social intercourse, and pool the resources of all for the needs of each.

The fraternal tie redeems a man from loneliness and a sense of helplessness. In the fraternal circle is the warmth and security which a man needs. Brotherly love is the substitution of a friend for a stranger, it is a spirit that puts around a man the comforts and securities of love. When a worthy Brother in distress is helped, it is not as a pauper, as in the cold fashion of public charity, but the kindly help which one neighbour is always glad to extend to another. Masonic charity is strong, kindly, and tender, and not charity at all in the narrow grudging sense of the word. Friendship, fraterntiy, fellowship, this is the soul of Freemasonry.

The man who understands that brotherhood is one form of wisdom, and that it is necessary in the world today, will not be troubled by sentimental difficulties. Neither will he permit a few accidental private experiences to sour him of all brotherly striving. It may be that my neighbour and I have natures that are entirely different, what I admire he detests, what I love he hates. My vocation is one that is opposed to his interests. We cannot hold social intercourse because we have too many differences. Such a thing has nothing to do with brotherhood. Brotherhood does not demand that we privately like people who are obnoxious to us, or that others should like us who find our company distasteful. Such things are of one's intimate likes and dislikes and have to do with private friendship rather than brotherhood. If I cannot like this neighbour of mine I can still be a brother to him. I can give him exact justice in all my dealings with him. I can refuse to do evil to him, or speak evil of him, I can always maintain an attitude of good will to him, and wish for him good fortune and happiness. I can stand ready to help him to the fulness of life so far as circumstances make that possible, and I can always refuse to place any obstacles in his way. If I have any difference with him, I can differ as one man to another, honestly and openly, without argument. Such an attitude is the brotherly spirit, and it can flourish when private friendship is not possible.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014