Adapted from a paper originally titled “A Masonic Philosophy of Life“
by W.Bro. George F. Hobart – Nanaimo Lodge #110 GL of BC&Y (Canada)
and published in the Masonic Bulletin- BCY- April 1940
Frequently we are reminded that Freemasonry is not a religion; that it inculcates a moral philosophy that is, or should be, common to all religions and that is not in conflict with any Monotheist religion. Freemasonry, then contains within its teachings a philosophy of life.
Again we are told that the lessons of Freemasonry are based on allegory and illustrated by symbols.
While the allegories used in the ritual are, in turn, based on Old Testament records or implications, historical or otherwise, they are, as far as Freemasonry is concerned, allegorical and not historical.
Thus Freemasonry is irrelative to any sect, cult or creed.
The building of the Temple symbolizes the erection of a Temple not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens, the Temple is that of T.G.A.O.T.U., and represents the challenge we accept to develop within ourselves.
The building process is shown to be beset with difficulties. The Great Masonic Exemplar gives up his life rather that act dishonorably.
The apprentice works hard and his remuneration is sufficient corn, wine and oil for subsistence. The fellowcraft is paid in specie, implicitly negotiable for something other than the material or worldly necessities.
However, what about the “Master Builder”, what does he receive?
Could it be other than it is the opportunity to serve and help his fellow man more effectually?
After all Service and sacrifice are the keynotes of true Masonic brotherhood.
He profits most who serves best” is very true in a spiritual sense. However if it were true on purely a material basis, there would be no merit in service, leaving nothing but selfishness.
Think about what it would look like if “Honesty is the best Policy” were adopted as a worldly point of view, surely it would make every rogue a model of integrity.
Freemasonry does not offer an easy road to attainment. The path is uphill all the way; but it does lead to the peak of the mountain, where the difficulties of the trail will be totally forgotten.
On the way, we have the blessings of fellowship, brotherhood, companionship and the joy of being a Craftsman in the building being erected to the service of God; the Craft & our Fellow Man
What struck me about this paper is not only was it written in the midst of a World War, but it addresses the question of “What’s in it for Me”
In fact it does it extremely well and clearly identifies that “Selfishness” which exists in each and every one of us.
The allegorical example we have each been given as Masons is the extreme sacrifice and we are certainly not being called to do that in a practical sense, however, we are being coached to remember that we are a part of the “Universality of Man” and we need to remember to put into practice the Philosophy to which we expound.