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Article # 6
Masonic Quotes

Author: W. Bro.D.Seshaasai P.R.G.Stew    Posted on: Wednesday, April 10, 2002
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Many eminent Masonic authors have written numerous books on various aspects of Freemasonry. Several passages are in beautiful language and have brought out the symbolism and other attributes and tenets of Freemasonry, forcibly impressing upon us the dignity, high importance and the enlightening influence of the fraternity. It may not be possible for most of the brethren to read the works of the eminent Masonic thinkers and writers. We have culled out from numerous books some important portions and we are posting the same for the benefit of the brethren, whose pressing emergencies of their public or private avocations do not allow them time for study of Masonic Literature. We will post at regular intervals such portions, in the firm, but, humble confidence, that the same will provoke the brethren to think and contemplate the Symbolism and obtain enlightenment.

W.Bro.W.L.Wilmshurst in his classical book ,“The Meaning of Masonry”, (Chapter 1 page 21)referring to the ”Deeper Symbolism of Masonry” has observed as follows.
“ Masonry is a sacramental system, possessing, like all sacraments, an outward and visible side consisting of its ceremonial, its doctrine and its symbols and which is available only to the Mason , who has learned to use his spiritual imagination and who can appreciate the reality that lies behind the veil of outward symbol. Anyone , of course can understand the simpler meaning of our symbols, especially with the help of the explanatory lectures; but he may miss the meaning of the scheme as a vital whole. . . .The Craft, whose work we are taught to honour with the name of the “Science”, a “Royal Art”, has surely some larger end in view than merely inculcating the practice of social virtues common to all the world and by no means the monopoly of Freemasons. Surely then, it behoves us to acquaint ourselves with what that larger end consists, to enquire why the fulfillment of that purpose is worthy to be called a science, and to ascertain what are those “mysteries” to which our doctrine promises we may ultimately attain if we apply ourselves assiduously enough to understanding, what Masonry is capable of teaching us.”

Freemasons are builders. We have to build the spiritual temple, the temple not built with human hand but, eternal in heaven. Bro.Wilmshurst has enquired, “What temple is then referred to ? He answers” It is that temple of which all material edifices are, but the types and symbols: it is the temple of the collective body of humanity itself, of which…St.Paul said “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God ?”

Writing about the doctrines of Freemasonry and referring in particular about the brotherly love Winwood Read in “ The veil of Isis “, has urged that , “ The doctrines of Masonry are the most beautiful that it is possible to imagine. They breathe the simplicity of the earliest ages, animated by the love of .. God. That word translated as charity, but which is really love, which is the key stone which supports the entire edifice of this mystic science. Love one another, help one another. That is all our doctrine, all our science, all our Law. We have no narrow minded prejudices; we do not debar from our society this sect or that sect; it is sufficient for us that a man worships God; no matter under what name or in what manner…..It is impossible to be a good Mason without being a good man. “

Bro.Benjamin Franklin one of the famous Freemasons of America was a dedicated freemason and he was also a Past Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania. He has praised the beneficial effects of our ancient institution. The relevant passage of his writings runs as follows.
“The great effects which they have produced are established by the most incontestable facts of history. They have stayed the uplifted hands of the destroyer ; they have softened the asperities of the tyrant ; they have mitigated the horrors of the captivity ; they have subdued the rancour of the malevolence ; and broken down the barriers of political animosity and sectarian alienation. On the field of battle, in the solitude of the uncultivated forests, or in the busy haunts of the crowded city, they have made men of the most hostile feelings and most distant religions and the most diversified conditions, rush to the aid of each other and feel a social joy and satisfaction that they have been able to afford relief to a brother mason.”

May I at this stage draw your kind attention to the directions in the ritual “ a freemasons charity should have no bounds, save those of prudence” and that they should “ seek the solace of your own distress, by extending relief and consolation to your fellow creatures in the hour of their affliction.”

Secrecy is one of the other excellences of character recommended to masons. Bro.Wilmshurst has observed that “ when all men practice the simple precepts of Masonry, the secrets of Masonry will be laid bare, its mission accomplished and its labour done.” However Bro.Arnold in his “History and Philosophy of Masonry” , has quoted from Carlyle’s Sartor Resartus the following passage:

“Bees will not work except in darkness:
Thoughts will not work except in silence:
Neither will virtue work except in Secrecy”

The real secret of Masonry appears to remain hidden to many—as sunlight hides the depths of heaven. Let us by joint endeavour attempt to unravel the mysteries and May the Heaven aid our united endeavours.

The author is a Past Master of Sri Brahadeeswara Lodge and at present is Treasurer of the Lodge.

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