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Masonic Philosophy

By: Joseph Fort Newton
Dr Joseph Fort Newton was a clergyman
and Masonic author. He lived from 1880
until 1950. Bro. Newton was raised in
Friendship Lodge #7, Dixon, Illinois later
affiliating with Mt. Hermon Lodge #263,
Cedar Rapids, lowa. He is the author of one
of Freemasonry 's classics, The Builders from
which this STB was taken. A list of Joseph
Fort Newton's books still in print and avail-
able for purchase is on pages 7-8. This STB
is dedicated to the memory of Joseph Fort
Newton, one of Freemasonry's greatest
Because the human soul is akin to God,
and is endowed with powers to which no one
may set a limit, it is and of right ought to be
free. Thus, by the logic of its philosophy, not
less than the inspiration of its faith, Masonry
has been impelled to make its historic
demand for liberty of conscience, for the
freedom of the intellect, and for the right of
all men to stand erect, unfettered, and
unafraid, equal before God and the law, each
respecting the rights of his fellows.
What we have to remember is, that before
this truth was advocated by any order, or
embodied in any political constitution, it was
embedded in the will of God and the consti-
tution of the human soul. Nor will Masonry
ever swerve one jot or tittle from its ancient
and eloquent demand till all men, every-
where, are free in body, mind, and soul.
Some day, when the cloud of prejudice has
been dispelled by the searchlight of truth, the
world will honor Masonry for its service to
freedom of thought and the liberty of faith.
No part of its history has been more noble,
no principle of its teaching has been more
precious than its age-long demand for the
right and duty of every soul to seek that light
by which no man was ever injured, and that
truth which makes man free.
Down through the centuriesoften in
times when the highest crime was not mur-
der, but thinking, and the human conscience
was a captive dragged at the wheel of the
ecclesiastical chariotalways and every-
where Masonry has stood for the right of the
soul to know the truth, and to look up unhin-
dered from the lap of earth into the tace of
God. Not freedom from faith, but freedom of
faith, has been its watchword, on the ground
that as despotism is the mother of anarchy, so
bigoted dogmatism is the prolific source of
Not only does Masonry plead for that lib-
erty of faith which permits a man to hold
what seems to him true, but also, and with
equal emphasis, for the liberty which faith
gives to the soul, emancipating it from the
despotism of doubt and the fetters of fear.
Therefore, by every art of spiritual culture,
it seeks to keep alive in the hearts of men a
great and simple trust in the goodness of
God, in the worth of life, and the divinity of
the soula trust so apt to be crushed by the
tramp of heavy years. Help a man to a firm
faith in an Infinite Pity at the heart of this
dark world, and from how many fears is he
Once a temple of terror, haunted by shad-
ows, his heart becomes "a cathedral of seren-
ity and gladness," and his life is enlarged and
unfolded into richness of character and ser-
vice. Nor is there any tyranny like the
tyranny of time. Give a man a day to live,
and he is like a bird in a cage beating against
its bars. Give him a year in which to move to
and fro with his thoughts and plans, his pur-
poses and hopes, and you have liberated him
from the despotism of a day. Enlarge the
scope of his life to fifty years, and he has a
moral dignity of attitude and a sweep of
power impossible hitherto. But give him a
sense of Eternity let him know that he plans
and works in an ageless time that above his
blunders and sins there hovers and waits the
infinitethen he is free!
Nevertheless, if life on earth be worthless,
so is immortality. The real question, after all,
is not as to the quantity of life, but its qual-
ityits depth, its purity, its fortitude, its fine-
ness of spirit and gesture of soul. Hence the
insistent emphasis of Masonry upon the
building of character and the practice of
righteousness upon that moral culture with-
out which man is rudimentary, and that spir-
itual vision without which intellect is the
slave of greed or passion. What makes a man
great and free of soul, here or anywhither, is
loyalty to the laws of right, of truth, of purity,
of love, and the lofty will of God.
How to live is the one matter and the old-
est man in his ripe age has yet to seek a wiser
way than to build, year by year, upon a foun-
dation of faith in God, using the Square of
justice, the Plumb-line of rectitude, the
Compass to restrain the passions, and the
Rule by which to divide our time into labor,
rest, and service to our fellows.
Let us begin now and seek wisdom in the
beauty of virtue and live in the light of it,
rejoicing so in this world shall we have a
foregleam of the world to comebringing
down to the Gate in the Mist something that
ought not to die, assured that, though hearts
are dust, as God lives what is excellent is

Joseph Fort Newton (1880-1950)
Clergyman and Masonic author. b. July 21
1880 in Decatur, Texas. Graduate of Coe
Coll. (Ia.) in 1912 Tufts Coll. in 1918 and
Temple U. in 1929. Ordained to Baptist min-
istry in 1893. Pastor in Paris, Texas, and St
Louis, Mo. Founder and pastor of People's
Church, Dixon, ILL., 1901-08 pastor of
Liberal Christian Church, Cedar Rapids
lowa, 1908-16 The City Temple, London
England, 1916-19 Church of the Divine
Paternity, N.Y.C., 1919-25 Memoria
Church of St. Paul, Philadelphia, 1925-30
St. James Church, Philadelphia, 1930-35 St.
Luke and Epiphany, Philadelphia from 1938
He was raised in Friendship Lodge No. 7
Dixon, Ill., May 28, 1902, and later affiliated
with Mt. Hermon Lodge No. 263, Cedar
Rapids, lowa. He was grand chaplain of the
Grand Lodge of lowa from 1911-13. In 1944
he dimitted to Lodge No. 51, Philadelphia
Receivcd 32ø AASR (SJ) in lowa
Consistory, Cedar Rapids, Iowa in Oct.
1909, and 33ø, honorary, Oct. 20, 1933
Grand prelate of Grand Encampment, K.T
U.S.A. in 1929. His Masonic book, The
Builders, stands as the most notable writing
of the century. He also wrote A Story and
Study of Masonry (1914) The Religion of
Masonry (1926) his autobiography River of
Years (1944) contains many Masonic refer-
ences. He produced a score of other non
Masonic books. d. Jan. 24, 1950.
(From: Denslow'.s 10,000 Fomous Freemasons)

by Joseph Fort Newton
Whether one is seeking information, or
inspiration, or material for a series of talks
before Masonic audiences, the topics cov-
ered in this book will prove valuable. It has
relevance in the world today because of the
universal ideals so beautifully explained by
the author. Here you will find many refer-
ences to the Holy Bible, great Masons, a
lucid description of Masonic emblems, and
much light on the symbolism, history, and
philosophy of Freemasonry.
Softcover, 255 pages.
M085 $10.00
(Less 25% on 5 or more, plus postage)

by Joseph Fort Newton
To the Freemason, be he only beginning
his work in the quarries of the Craft, or a
laborer of many years standing, these inspir-
ing writings and addresses from one of the
Craft's most eloquent authors, will bring joy
and meaning. Their patriotic and spiritual
appeal will be welcomed by the non-Mason
as well and bring a new understanding and
help in meeting the everyday problems fac-
ing human society yesterday, today and
Perhaps most quoted of all Dr. Newton's
messages is "When is a man a Mason?" con-
tained in the third chapter. In these 38 lines,
Dr. Newton gives thought for a lifetime of
Hard cover with jacket, 253 pages.
M086 $12.95
(Less 25% on 5 or more, plus postage)

THE BUILDERS: A Story and Study of
by Joseph Fort Newton
The outstanding classic in Masonic litera-
ture of all times. Many Grand Lodges present
a copy to each newly raised Mason.
The first part covers the early history of
Freemasonry: Its tradition, mythology and
symbolism. The second is the story of the
Order of builders through the centuries from
the building of King Solomon's Temple. The
final part is a statement and exposition of the
faith of masonry.
Cloth with jacket. 345 pages.
Bibliography, Index, Illustrated.
M301 $19.50
(Less 25% on 5 or more, plus postage)
Available from:
Macoy Publishing and
Masonic Supply Co., Inc.
3011 Old Dumbarton Road
Richmond, VA 23228
The preceding book descriptions were taken
from the catalog of Macoy Publishing and
Masonic Supply Co., Inc.
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