To please each other and unite in the grand design of being happy and communicating happiness.
Freemasonry is a way of life and is composed of people of all nationalities, religions, occupations and ages. Freemasons believe in truth, tolerance, respect, and freedom. Anyone may petition to be a Mason so long as they meet a few requirements.
Freemasons believe in “making good men better” which implies that its adherents should seek continual improvement and growth. A maxim in ancient Greece, “Man Know Thyself”, has echoes in modern ceremonial Freemasonry and implies the importance of learning about self, for by becoming a more enlightened and principled individual it is most probable that a person will in turn be a contributing citizen to their society. It is important that a Mason be a good family member, friend, neighbor and employee. Freemasons believe in living a life of positive contribution and to the building up of self, society and the world. Masonry is not a substitute for a person's chosen faith but rather supplements faith, spirituality, life and living.
Freemasons follow three great principles, which we believe represent a way of achieving higher standards in life. They are:
Every true Freemason will show tolerance and respect for the opinions of others and behave with kindness and understanding to his fellow creatures.
This can be manifested in innumerable opportunities not only in the lodge but also out of it. It is acknowledged by the nearly imperceptible pressure of the hand as much as by the vindication of an innocently accused absent Brother from the throne. It is an essential element to bind the brethren unto each other; we have pledged ourselves to exercise it, and it is one of the greatest duties of a Free and Accepted Mason to deny it unto no Man, more especially to a Brother Mason. To exercise brotherly love, or to feel deeply interested in the welfare of others is a source of the greatest happiness in every situation in life. The king upon his throne would find his situation insupportable if his subjects showed their regard unto him through fear alone and not through love, and so would those also who have a superabundance of worldly possessions. He who does not find his heart warmed with love towards all mankind should never strive to be a Freemason, for he cannot exercise brotherly love. - Gadicke.
If you see a man who quietly and modestly moves in the sphere of his life; who, without blemish, fulfils his duty as a man, a subject, a husband and a father; who is pious without hypocrisy, benevolent without ostentation, and aids his fellow man without self-interest; whose heart beats warm for friendship, whose serene mind is open for licensed pleasures, who in vicissitudes does not despair, nor in fortune will be presumptuous, and who will be resolute in the hour of danger;
The man who is free from superstition and free from infidelity; who in nature sees the finger of the Eternal Master; who feels and adores the higher destination of man; to whom faith, hope and charity are not mere words without any meaning; to whom property, nay even life, is not too dear for the protection of innocence and virtue, and for the defense of truth;
The man who towards himself is a severe judge, but who is tolerant with the debilities of his neighbour; who endeavors to oppose errors without arrogance, and to promote intelligence without impatience; who properly understands how to estimate and employ his means; who honours virtue though it may be in the most humble garment, and who does not favor vice though it be clad in purple; and who administers justice to merit whether dwelling in palaces or cottages.
The man who, without courting applause, is loved by all noble-minded men, respected by his superiors and revered by his subordinates; the man who never proclaims what he has done, can do, or will do, but where need is will lay hold with dispassionate courage, circumspect resolution, indefatigable exertion and a rare power of mind, and who will not cease until he has accomplished his work, and then, without pretension, will retire into the multitude because he did the good act, not for himself, but for the cause of good! If you, my Brethren meet such a man, you will see the personification of brotherly love, relief and truth; and you will have found the ideal of a Freemason.
If you, my Brethren meet such a man, you will see the personification of brotherly love, relief and truth; and you will have found the ideal of a Freemason.
- Excerpted from "The History of Freemasonry" by M.W. Bro. Otto Klotz, The Canadian Craftsman, March 15, 1868.