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[ Some years ago, I had read the book, “ The Treasury of
Masonic Thought”, compiled by W.Bro.George M.Martin and W.Bro.John W.Callaghan,
two P.Ms of Lodge Dundee St.Mary (No.1149 S.C). The book was published in 1924
and the sale proceeds were donated
towards the fund for building the Temple. The book was a veritable mine
of Masonic Education. The authors had published the “Address to an
Initiate’’, that formed part of the ritual of
Initiation followed in Scotland in those days, as one of the articles in
that book. We are posting the said address, which will show the nature of that
address in the early 1920s. It will be worthwhile to compare the same with the
Oration to the Initiate by Ramsay already posted and some more addresses to the
initiate, that will be posted in the near future, for a proper understanding of
the evolution of the ritual of initiation..—R.W.Bro.R.Ratnaswami ]
“ The ceremony of your initiation is now at an end; we
may have delivered to you the Ancient Charges, relating to your Masonic conduct
in the Lodge, at home and abroad
and so far all has been carried out in strict accordance with a
prescribed formula, that certain
invaluable and incomparable landmarks might never be omitted or departed
from ; but, Masonry is so infinite in its application and teachings, that
it is wisely left to the discretion of the presiding officers
to add anything by way of illustration or admonition, that may appear advisable,
provided of course, that in all things, the
ancient landmarks are respected.
My particular object in thus addressing you is to prevent
you leaving the Lodge with any of the false impressions and mistaken ideas
frequently entertained by newly made Masons.
I would not have you go away with the idea, that you have
been fooled or that any single portion
of the ceremony is unmeaning or introduced for the mere purpose of
Freemasonry is truly a system of morality, veiled in
allegory and illustrated by symbols and the most apparently trivial incident
both in your preparation and initiation has its deep and hidden meanings.
It is not reasonable to expect that you should at first
sight penetrate the outer or the allegorical symbol, but I trust you will make
it your business as a Mason to arrive at
these hidden meanings.
Another and a most fatal delusion I would guard you against
is that of entertaining the idea that the information imparted to you this
evening has made you a Freemason.
After the efforts to impress you with the importance of the
ceremony, such a warning from me may create some astonishment in your mind; but
what I would refer to is that Masonry
is not a mere matter of secret ceremonies; it is something far higher and holier
A man may have attained to the highest honours the Craft
can bestow; be well up in all its lore and working—and yet be far from being a
Freemason as he was before his intiation and unfortunately there are too many,
who may be classed in this category.
The rites and ceremonies of Freemasonry are essential to
its existence—they form the outworks, whereby its treasures are, as they ought
to be, guarded from the unworthy and therefore can not, under any circumstances
be dispensed with; but, true Masonry exists
in the heart and is composed of Brotherly
Love, Relief and Truth and that heavenly consummation of all
virtues—Charity—so beautifully explained in the V of S.L, as
“bearing all things, hoping all things, believing all things, enduring
all things and thinking no evil”; and it is to the practice of this virtue
that your Masonic efforts should ever tend , not only in its common acceptation
of pecuniary relief, but as embracing true
brotherly love to the full extent inculcated in the sacred writings.
Initiation alone never did, nor ever can, make a man a true
Mason; it gives the key, but mere possession of the key does not constitute
ownership of the treasure; it sows the seed, but unless the soil be good and
carefully cultivated, fruit will not be produced; it opens the portal, but
unless the road be traversed, the goal can not be attained ; it lays the
foundation, but without labour the construction can not be raised.
So, this evening we have given the key, we have sown the
seed, opened the portal and laid the foundation; it is for you, with such
assistance as amongst Masons can always be obtained by seeking for it in the
proper quarter, to complete the work and I sincerely trust
that in this, you will not be found wanting.
Finally, whilst charging you not to undervalue Freemasonry,
I will beg of you to remember that it is a human institution and as such
necessarily imperfect and liable to error.
Do not be disheartened ( disappointed
you naturally will be), if you find some who
profess its tenets, but do not act up to its teaching.
You will, probably, frequently hear our Noble Science
ridiculed by the unenlightened world
and stigmatized as a childish mystery and a pretension to superior excellence,
covering only secret revels and excesses.
Treat such ridicule with contempt and answer it only by
acting up to your profession. A man, who ridicules that of which he can not
by any possibility know anything, stultifies himself and is unworthy of
notice. But, alas, you will find unworthy members of the Fraternity; some who
abuse its privileges, some who, from their own inherent baseness, are unable to
appreciate it beauties, convert its moments of social relaxation
into occasions of debauch
and others who, from their mental powers being too dense to enable them to
penetrate beyond the exterior, consider Freemasonry as mysterious nonsense.
If you meet with any such, console yourself with the reflection that ever
have been and whilst time lasts, ever will be, such men in every human
institution and if you are
well read in the great light of Masonry, you will call to mind instances,
where holier ordinances have been similarly profaned and misunderstood and so
you will be led to understand that Freemasonry is not to be blamed for the
misdeeds and shortcomings of some of its professors.
I will not detain you with any further observations, but
merely, in conclusion, express a hope that the proceedings of this evening will
never be effaced from your memory and that by your life and actions you will, in
all things prove to the uninstructed world at large how
ennobling, excellent and enlightened an institution is that of the Free and