« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
love and compassion to him, and to relieve without prejudice, according to his capacity.
It is further necessary, that all who would be true Masons, should learn to abstain from all malice, slander and evil speaking, from all unmannerly, scornful, provoking, reproachful or ungodly language, keeping always a tongue of good report; and that he should know how to obey those who are set over him on account of their superior qualifications as Masons, however inferior they may be in worldly rank or station. For although Masonry divests no man of his temporal honors, or titles, but on the contrary highly respects them, yet, in the lodge, pre-eminence of virtue and knowledge in the art is considered as the true fountain of all nobility, rule and government.
The last quality and virtue which it is necessary here to mention, and absolutely requisite to those who would be Masons, is that of secrecy, which, indeed, from its importance, ought to have held the first place in this chapter, had I not intended to treat of it more fully as a conclusion to this section.
So great a stress is laid upon this particular quality or virtue, that it is enforced among Masons under the strongest penalties and obligations; nor, in their esteem, is any man to be accounted wise, who is void of intellectual strength and ability sufficient to cover and conceal such honest secrets which are committed to his trust, as well as his own more serious affairs. Both sacred and profane history teaches us, that numerous virtuous attempts have failed of their intended scope and end through defect of secret concealment.
The ancient philosophers were so fully persuaded of the great virtue of secrecy, that it was the first lesson which they taught their pupils and followers. Thus in the school of Pythagoras, we find it was a rule that every noviciate was to be silent for a time, and refrain from speaking, unless a question was asked, to the end that the valuable secrets
which he had to communicate might be the better preserved and valued. Lycurgus made a perpetual law obliging every man to keep secret whatever was committed to him, unless it were to the injury of the state. And Cato, the Roman Censor, told his friends, that of three things he happened to be guilty) he always repented, viz. 1st, if he divulged a secret; 2dly, if he went on water when he might stay on dry land ; and 3dly, if he suffered a day to pass without doing (or endeavouring to do) some good. We are also informed, that the betraying of a secret (by the Persian law) was more grievously punished than any other crime.
The virtue of secrecy is also recommended by the heathen philosophers and law givers, and the primitive fathers of the church.
King Solomon deems the man unworthy to reign, or have any rule over others, who cannot command himself, and keep his own secrets. A discoverer of secrets he deems imfamous and a traitor ; but him that conceals them, he accounts a faithful brother. “A tale bearer, says he, revealeth secrets; but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth them. Discover not a secret to another, lest he that heareth it put thee to shame, and thine infamy turn not away." He that keepeth his tongue, keepeth his own soul.
The following beautiful passage, from Ecclesiasticus, chap. 27, I have thought should come very appropriate here, and ought to be recorded in the heart of every true brother.
“ Whosoever discovereth secrets loseth his credit, and shall never find a friend to his mind. Love thy friend, and be faithful to him, but if thou betrayest his secrets, follow no more after him ; for as man hath destroyed his enemy, so hast thou lost the love of thy neighbour : as one that letteth a bird go out of his hand, so hast thou let thy neighbour go, and shall not get him again. Follow after him no more, for he is too far off; he is as a roe escaped out of
As for a wound, it may be bound up, and after reviling there may be no reconcilement, but he that betrayeth secrets, is without hope.
Thus far I have attempted to explain the internal qualities and virtues required in all who aspire to the honour and advantage of becoming a free and accepted Mason. In addition to the external qualities here described, a strict attention to the following remarks are necessary.
No person is capable of becoming a member of a Lodge unless (in addition to the above-mentioned qualities, or at least a disposition and capacity to seek and acquire them) he is also free born, of mature and discreet age, of good report, of sufficient natural endowments and the senses of a man, with an estate, office, trade, occupation, or some visible means of acquiring an honest livelihood, and of working in his craft, as becomes members of this ancient and honourable fraternity, who ought not only to earn what is sufficient for themselves and family, but likewise something to spare for acts of charity, and for supporting the ancient grandeur of the order. Every person desiring admission must also be upright in person, not deformed or dismembered at the time of making, but of hale and entire limbs, as a man ought to be.
No person ought to propose, in this ancient society, any person, through friendship or partiality, who does not possess the moral and social virtues, a sound head and a good heart, and who has not an entire exemption from all those ill qualities and vices, which would bring dishonor on the order.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE CANDIDATE.
A strict, though private and impartial inquiry will be made into your character and ability, before you can be admitted into any lodge; and by the established rules of the order, (from which there is never any deviation) no friend who may wish to propose you can show you any favor in this respect. But if you have a friend who is a Mason, and is in every way satisfied in these various points and particulars, his next step is described in
OF PROPOSING CANDIDATES.
Any individual desirous of being made a Free Mason, shall be proposed by a member of the lodge he intends to join, who shall present a petition signed by the candidate, stating his age, profession, and residence, and any other requisitions which may be enjoined by the rules of the Grand Lodges under whose jurisdiction the lodge is held. It is required that such petition be recommended by two Master Masons, also members of said lodge, who ought to be personally acquainted with the candidate, or at least know enough about him to give a fair statement to any questions which any member of the lodge may propound to them. Such proposal shall always take place at a stated lodge night, and during lodge hours,* at least one month prior to initiation, in order that all present may have sufficient time and opportunity to make a strict inquiry into the
• From 25th March to 25th Sept., between the hours of 7 and 10. 25th Sept. to 25th March, do do 6 and 9.
morals, character, and circumstances of the candidate ; for which purpose a special committee is usually appointed ; although standing committees in some lodges have charge of all such petitions. It is to be regretted that in some lodges this custom prevails : it ought universally to be abolished, strict justice and impartiality require it. The recommending brethren are always excluded from such committees, in order that the investigation shall be just and impartial
The brother who proposes a candidate, shall at the same time deposit such a sum of money as the by-laws of the particular lodge may require, which is forfeited to the lodge if the candidate should not attend, according to his proposal, within a certain time, as stipulated by the by-laws, but is invariably to be returned to him, if he should not be approved or elected. In case of his approval or election, he is to pay, in addition to the deposit money, such further sum as the by-laws of the lodge require.
Having shown that a strict scrutiny will be made into your character, justice requires that you should also be advised to be alike circumspect on your side, and to make inquiry into the character of the lodge and its members, for there is no excellence without its opposite.
Although I have partially explained the tenor of this section, in the General Regulations, page 51, justice to the candidate requires that he should be put in full possession of his rights and privileges.
In the first place, he has a right before admission, to desire his friend who proposed him to show him the warrant by whose authority the lodge is held, as also the list of the members, and perusal of the by-laws, by which he