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An Address to an Initiate

The Master Mason - May 1927

THE following address -was delivered recently to an initiate in the Tranquillity Lodge, No. 185, by Bro. John Goulston, P.M. This lodge, which is composed mainly of brethren of the Jewish faith, is one of the most renowned in England for its support of Masonic and Jewish charitable institutions. 

HAVING been admitted to the privileges of Freemasonry, you would surely wish to be made acquainted with its principles and purposes, its meaning and significance. Let me, therefore, tell you, in a few words, something of what it stands for and what it seeks to carry out. 

First, let me assure you that Freemasonry is not merely a masked pretence for empty self-glorification, as some of the uninitiated believe; nor even an opportunity for frivolous boon-companionship, as others may think. Freemasonry is a serious business of life, which, if conducted in a proper spirit and directed to the purpose which is its manifest object, cannot but prove a source of infinite good and benefit to mankind, bound up, as it is, With some of the highest hopes and interests of humanity. 

According to the authorized definition of the term, Freemasonry is an art, founded on the principles of Geometry and directed to the service and convenience of mankind. Its purpose is to knit together, in one common bond, all humanity by appealing to that charity and sympathy which are innate in every healthy-minded man. 

If the ancient dictum be accepted, that religion is the discharge of our duty to God and man, then Freemasonry, if not actually a religion, is certainly a very important adjunct to it, proclaiming, as it does, the law of universal love and inculcating the hatred of strife, contention and dispute. In Freemasonry, as in religion, the sentiment is all; the ritual or ceremony, merely symbolical. 

IT is not only a service, but a discipline. Its teachings are not to be put off with the apron at the close of the Masonic business, but must be brought into all departments of life, to ennoble and adorn it; for Freemasonry lays down rules of conduct for the working portions of our lives, as well as for the devotional periods. It embraces equally as brethren men of every race, religion, and language and speaks to each man in his own tongue. It teaches us to have reverence for the highest, to have pity for the lowest and to be charitable in our thoughts as well as in our actions. It exhorts us never to judge harshly or rashly, nor to attribute an evil motive to the actions of our fellow-man; to listen patiently to the cry of the unhappy, pity their infirmities, aid them in their weakness, and to succor their distress, even though we may know that their distress is the result of their own errors or folly, for such charity is the very touchstone of our true Masonic fellowship. 

As a chain is no stronger than its weakest link and the slightest flaw in the metal may jeopardize the safety of the whole, so may your individual conduct reflect on the whole of the Craft. We, therefore, trust that by the practice of those virtues which we have adopted as our Masonic emblem, you may become a source of strength to the chain, in which this evening you have forged the newest link. 

TONIGHT, Brother Initiate, you have been admitted to a great inheritance: some of the greatest, the wisest, and the best of mankind have labored for you. You have been permitted to enter into their harvest. You have witnessed the rites which they once performed and you are now able to undertake the sublime task which they undertook-the task of making our common brotherhood wiser and happier. You can build forward where they were forced to leave off and so help to bring nearer to perfection the great edifice which they left uncompleted.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014