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Five Masonic Thoughts

by Brother William A. Carpenter, R. W. G. M.

From a "Masonic Culture" handbook issued by
the Right Worshipful Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania
we have extracted several items which came from the
inspired pen of Brother William A. Carpenter, the
current Right Worshipful Grand Master, written
many years ago. They stand the test of time.

OUR BASIC FUNCTION. The basic func-
tion of a Masonic Lodge is to make Master
This does not mean the formality of raising
candidates. It extends far beyond that period in
the life of a Mason. The task of making Master
Masons must be directed toward all of us, those
who are Master Masons and those who are in
the process of becoming Master Masons.
The fruits of our efforts to teach and to
learn about Freemasonry, the interest that we
show the candidates as we welcome them into
the new world of Freemasonry, will be evident
in the years to come.
If we sow well, we are bound to reap well.
Being "Well and Duly Prepared" is a Masonic
expression. Masons understand its significance
in the Lodge Rooms. However, they may also
interpret it outside the Lodge. No Mason enters
even the ground floor of the Lodge unless he is
"Well and Duly Prepared." So simple is his
dress that it provokes no envy. He is dressed
properly for the occasion, and everyone so
dressed feels perfectly at ease among his
Brethren. No place here for the rich to boast of
fine raiment and resplendent jewels, nor for the
poor to envy his more fortunate Brother or
covet his wealth. Their clothing in each case
symbolizes labor and innocence. With hand
and brain, each is ready to serve his fellowman
with forbearance and toleration, each is willing
to forgive the crude and ignorant everywhere.
To carry the symbolism of Masonic in-
vestiture still further, every Mason should be
clothed in the habiliments of truth. His war-
drobe should contain the robe of justice, with
which to protect those who, for any reason,
have been deprived of their just rights the man-
tle of charity, with which to comfort those
made destitute, many times by no cause of their
own the tunic of toleration, with which to hide
the weakness of the wayward, and help them to
the road of recovery the cloak of mercy, with
which to cover the wounded and suffering in
mind or body with unstinted sympathy and
These garments are all of genius quality,
measured and cut by a Master Tailor. They are
serviceable and in good taste on every occasion.
They, too, may be had without money and
without price, and, the man who wears them is
truly "properly clothed," and "Well and Duly
Prepared" as a Master Mason.
Freemasonry is a Story of Life with all its joys,
its heartaches, its failures and its final triumph
over all earthly things.
Anyone can read it, in countless books. Its
teachings, its symbols, and its ambitions, are
open for general obseration. They are practiced
in the light, and held up for all the world to see.
Freemasonry is not practiced in the dark,
neither are its teachings the dogma of some for-
bidden cult. We, as Freemasons, are required to
reflect the light to practice its teachings and
love by their direction. No greater thing can be
said of Freemasonry than that it is an ideal way
of life.
No other fraternity offers such profound
lessons in its Ritual or Work as does Free-
masonry. Each word and each act in the
ceremonies of the Lodge carries a true lesson to
each of us, if we will but open our eyes to see,
our ears to hear and hearts to accept.
We can study Freemasonry for years, as we
attend its meetings, and each time we stop to
think on the things said and done, we get a new
meaning and inspiration from them. There is a
never-ending source of pleasure in the various
shades of meaning that can be read into each
line of our work. Each new meaning and inter-
pretation that we put into some word or act will
make that passage live for us, and we will begin
to see Freemasonry for what it is intended.
Great men have devoted many years of study
and meditation to the cause of Freemasonry
and when their work is finished they realize that
they have only begun to see the light and that
they have only started to uncover the true
meanings of the work.
Freemasonry has been talked of and written
about by countless men in every country of the
world. Its members have been persecuted in all
lands at one time or the other, but is still grows
and flourishes as no other fraternity on earth
There must be something good and great in
Freemasonry, for it to stand through the years
as a beacon of light to its members and as a
symbol of the true way of life for all to see and
follow. Its greatness is not due to it.s secret
teachings, its mysteries or fanfare of its deeds,
but rather to the profound lessons taught to its
members and to the comfort, inspiration and
enlightenment brought to all who will but study

Freemasonry frowns on advertising its good
deeds, preferring to let those who benefit from
them reflect its goodness, that others might
have hope and desire the better things of life.
Freemasonry offers comfort to those who
sorrow, hope for those who despair, wise
counsel for those who err, and the joys and
contentment of life to all.
ing of a Freemason consists in a continued
course of education, and of character forming.
While it may be accepted that it is an innermost
desire, followed by obligations that makes one
a member of the Craft, yet in a truer torm dnd
better sense, a man is never a Freemason until
he truthfully and loyally lives up to his obliga-
tions. And he cannot do that until he
understands them, and eventually knows their
scope and real meaning.
Freemasonry can very well be divided into
many phases. Its landmarks, its customs, its
constitution and its laws, just to mention a few,
if studied and mastered, can provide a most in-
teresting course for the Master Mason seeking
Masonic knowledge. Its historical background
can provide an interesting program of in-
vestigation to the member attracted to a desire
for research.
One peculiarity about Freemasonry is that
it will stand investigation. The deeper the
research, the more extensive the knowledge of
its hidden art and mysteries, the more highly it
is appreciated. A member of the Craft who
merely takes his degrees in a listless, careless
sort of manner, and then remains as just a spec-
tator at Lodge meetings, may hold to the opi-
nion that Freemasonry differs little from other
societies. To the contrary, the Master Mason
who delves deeply into Masonic literature,
takes a lively interest in every part of the
Ritualistic and lodge Work, and learns the
origin, meaning and moral bearing of its sym-
bols, cannot possibly fall into such an error. To
him Freemasonry has a refining and elevating
influence not to be found in the ordinary run of
organizations .
The philosophies of Freemasonry, when
discovered and then accepted and practiced,
provide that simple but profound solution to
the problems of human relationships. May it be
accepted that Freemasonry is a way of living to
the Master Mason who is interested enough to
appraise and value the wealth that is his, and
his alone, by virtue of his Masonic Member-
The best informed Master Mason is the
Master Mason who reads and studies. Conse-
quently, if we want Freemasonry to be of prac-
tical usefulness and cultural attainment, we, as
Freemasons, must not neglect our Masonic
reading, our Masonic studying and our research
for more Masonic Light.
MASONRY. At no time in Masonic history has
there been a greater need for understanding of
what Freemasonry is and what it stands for
than there is today. Much has been left undone
in the education of Members of our Lodges.
The first essential in Masonic education is
that desire to become interested and enthused in
Freemasonry followed by a thirst for
knowledge as to what Freemasonry is all about.
Here is where the instructors can serve well and
can influence the candidate in a continuous
search for more Masonic Light.
The qualifications for instructing are less
exciting than may be imagined. What is essen-
tial is a basic knowledge of Freemasonry by the
instructor. In this day and age, with so many
counter attractions, it becomes more evident
that greater efforts must be put forth to instruct
our new Members in the ideals and fundamen-
tals of Freemasonry.
Every Lodge should have a definite pro-
gram along authentic Masonic educational
lines. We must understand what Freemasonry
really is before we can practice Freemasonry in
our lives. We must remember that Freemasonry
is judged by the actions of its individual
members. We must set an example to those out-
side the Craft at all times.
The need for Masonic knowledge is often
evidenced in our Lodges, This can be alleviated
where dedicated members qualify as instructors
and then serve in teaching the principles and
fundamentals of Freemasonry to all who will

What is Masonry?
BY Bro. Walter H. Bonn, Victor, Iowa

It's not a sign or handshake, a hall where tilers sit,
It's not a guarded building, where passwords will admit,
It's not a place of symbols, which Wardens oft display,
It's not a lodge of members, who meet in white array.

It is the home of justice, of liberty and truth,
Of loyalty to country, of sympathy for youth,
Of succor for a brother, of gentleness and cheer,
Of tolerance for neighbors, whose life is often drear.
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