14 DECEMBER 2005
An address by the MW The Pro Grand Master the Most Hon the Marquess of Northampton, DL
I said in my article for the Cornerstone Society which was published in the last edition of MQ that I thought our members should be encouraged to talk about the good things they are taught in our rituals to prove to the world the happy and beneficial effects of our Antient Institution.
There are many virtues in Freemasonry, but one which I think we should use to promote our Order is tolerance. There can be few other organisations in the world today who practice the degree of tolerance that we find in the Craft – accepting all men of good faith.
Freemasonry is a system founded on morality which aims to make the individual a better person, and thereby able to lead a more fulfilling life and be of more use to his fellow man.
We are not concerned with a candidate’s nationality, colour or class, nor with his religious or political persuasion; we care only that he has a belief in a Supreme Being, has a general desire for knowledge and wants to be of service to others.
Furthermore, Masonry requires of him a perfect freedom of inclination – an open mind is a prerequisite for joining an Order which develops an open heart.
The second Masonic characteristic I think we should be emphasising to potential candidates and others is trust. It is linked to our first Grand Principle, Brotherly love, is one of the lessons of our Third Degree story and is the mortar with which the trowel binds us together.
You do not have to be a Mason for very long before you learn first hand the importance of trusting and being trusted. As we climb symbolically Jacob’s ladder our perception of truth changes in proportion to our capacity for discrimination.
Developing qualities of tolerance, trust and discrimination leads us eventually to wisdom and Truth. Truth, our third Grand Principle, is at once the first rung on the Masonic ladder when it is solely concerned with morality, and the last rung when it is considered as an aspect of Divinity. Truth depends on our sense of what is true for us personally and for that we must listen to our conscience, the voice of nature.
The principles and virtues of Freemasonry as taught in our rituals have much to offer a society in need of tolerance and trust.