The Masonic Trowel

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Three Principal Means to Attain Spiritual Light

by Terry Paget

In "The Meaning of Masonry," Bro. Wilmshurst mentions that of "the three principal means" to attain spiritual light, the greatest is love.

So, then, love would be the greatest of the three. My question for you, my brothers, is: what are the other two principal means?

He doesn't seem to have said. Your thoughts?

I believe you will find that the answer lies in the alternative word used for "love."  Change "love" for Charity, and you will recognize the other two means.

The alternation between the use of love and charity in this context arises because the original Greek word which is interpreted as "love" does not mean love in the way it is usually used today. 

It is akin to the word 'agape' - which is derived from the Greek.

If you think of the three qualities of F, H and C, it seems reasonable to suggest they are all outward expressions of something from within the self.  Each of the three represents a different (and progressively higher?) level of outward manifestation.  But, although different in their manifestation, they are similar in their source - they exude from within.  One has Faith because one has faith.  One has Hope because one has hope.

Charity, I submit, is a spontaneous act performed without regard for reward, and it is performed because one could not help oneself from doing it - it is an innate personal quality. 

To put it another way round, and expressing a personal opinion, a calculated act of charity (such as making a cash donation) is not charity at all - it may be conscience, but it is not charity. 

Charity, in my opinion, to be a wholesome and genuine act, requires the giving of part of oneself.  For the donor, he/she would not see it as an act of charity - they could not do otherwise than what they did.

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Last modified: March 22, 2014