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Article # 3
When is a man a mason?

Author: W. Bro. A.C.Reddi    Posted on: Tuesday, April 9, 2002
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This question has been asked numerous times and the answers were so varied and confusing and probably the personal dimension and comprehension shaped the answers. A search of the old books was undertaken and we have found that no better answer could ever have been given than the passage reproduced here below. Bro. Joseph Fort Newton , a Masonic luminary and scholar and the author of “The Builders” has admirably provided the answer in his inimitable style. Please read the following passage and each of us has to decide, whether as per the learned author, we are masons.

When he can look out over the rivers, the hills and the far horizon with a profound sense of his own littleness and vast scheme of things, and yet have faith, hope and courage, which is the root of every virtue.
When he knows that down in his own heart, every man is as noble, as vile, as divine, as lonely as himself; and seeks to know, to forgive and to love his fellow man.
When he knows to how to sympathize with men in their sorrows, yea, even in their sins, knowing that each man fights against many odds.
When he has learned how to make friends and keep them; and above all, to keep friends with himself.
When he loves flowers; can hunt the birds without a gun; and feels the thrill of an old forgotten joy when he hears the laughter of a little child …
When star-crowned trees and the glint of sunshine on flowing water subdue him like the thought of one much loved and long dead.
When no voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no hand seeks his aid without response … When he can look into a wayside puddle and see something beyond mud, and into the face of most forlorn fellow mortals and see something beyond sin.
When he knows how to pray, how to love, how to hope.
When he has kept faith with himself, with his fellow men, with his God; in his hand, a sword for evil; in his heart, a bit of song; glad to live and not afraid to die.
Such a man has found the only real secret of masonry and the one it is trying to give to all the world.

-- JOSEPH FORT NEWTON (1880 – 1950), The Builders: A Story and Study of Freemasonry

The author was initiated, passed and raised in Sri Brahadeeswara Lodge. He is at present the I.P.M. He is a voracious reader and has delivered several lectures on Masonry.

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