> Articles


An Ennobling Science

The Masonic Craftsman 1938

Freemasonry has its bitter enemies and its doubting
despisers. There are some who have formed the opinion
that it was created as a substitute for religion, whereas it
is only the handmaid to her fair graces. Others presume
the labours of Masons are trifling, absurd mysteries, or
profane mummeries; whereas there is no subject existing
within the range and grasp of the human intellect into
which the science of Freemasonry does not enter in the
pursuit of wisdom and knowledge. Some ridicule the
secrets of Freemasons, declaring them to be either
hurtful to society or wrong in themselves, whereas those
secrets are bonds of their mutual fidelity by which they
pledge themselves to trace wisdom and follow virtue.
Time was when the members of the Craft were
denounced as dangerous, and every man of eminence
known to be a Mason was called upon to renounce his
connection with other social activities. But in the face of
all opposition the fraternity remained calm, and the sun of
Masonry has dispersed the clouds which darkened her
sky so long.

Without territorial possessions, without any other coercing
power titan that of morality and virtue, Freemasonry has
survived the wreck of mighty empires, and resisted the
destroying hand of time. No other institution can be
compared with it. Every other society sinks into
insignificance when placed by the side of Masonry.
Christianity alone excepted. Like Grays virtuous peasant,
Freemasonry keeps the noiseless tenor of its way, and
rejoices in the unsullied happiness of doing good.

When did Freemasonry first begin to exist, and why has
the institution been thus preserved? Masons work began
with the creation. To understand the measures of weight
and light and sound - to unravel, seize upon, and
comprehend those unchanging laws by which the earth,
the sun, the moon, the planets, are sustained in space to
follow up the changes of seasons, and in every step of
the investigation, as the intellect climbed from lofty truths
to truths still more lofty, to pause in profound admiration,
to feel the Creator close to the creature, and to adore -
this was the first aim of Masonry, this its task, ever fresh,
never ended - a science teeming with new results and
adding incentive after incentive to praise and glorify
T.G.A.O.T.U. Freemasonry has been preserved because
it instructs its members to worship their Almighty Maker,
to honour and obey the sovereign of the country, to be
peaceful in their stations, diligent in their callings, honest
in their dealings, respectful towards their superiors, gentle
and condescending to their inferiors, merciful towards
their enemies, kind and obliging in all the duties of their
common life. Such is the institution which has been
preserved to the world, unlimited in its numbers, and
scattered over every land and kingdom.

The work of the fraternity today is to be true to the original
character of the order; to continue to follow the God of
nature through all the wonderful variety of His works: and
to keep the silence and observe the sacred rules imposed
upon the Craft. It might be said by some scoffer if
Masonry be such a pure and ennobling science, should
not all Masons be wise, and good, and temperate, and
self-denying, full of piety and good words? The answer is
that the fitness of any system is not to be tried and
condemned because of unworthiness in some. If any man
has been led by an impatient curiosity, without higher
motive, to place unhallowed feet on the tessellated
pavement, if any has turned the hallowed purposes of
Masonry into mere convivial meetings, if any has been
content with merely, acquiring superficial acquaintance
with the Craft, let not the system itself be charged with
their perversions, their sins, or their folly: an unworthy
brother would perhaps have been a worse man if he had
not been a Mason.