Taken from “The Gavel and Freemasonry’s Journal”, December, 1870; Re-printed in THE TRACING BOARD, G.R.S.; March, 1976
A few days since, a gentleman outside the Masonic Fraternity asked us what Masonry taught
We will answer what it teaches us, and he will tell us whether the lessons be good ones or not.
Masonry teaches us the existence of a God as a being of Love, Light and Power.
It teaches us that alone we are powerless and as others help us over rough and dangerous places, so should we do unto others.
It teaches us to look up for that Light which will be an unerring guide and that no matter how often we forget, there is a place where we can obtain information.
It teaches us to be kind of heart, to cultivate friendly feelings; to not tell all we know; to be circumspect and to realize that, others before us have walked the road we are on, and that others will follow after we are gone.
It teaches us to help the needy and to defend the deserving; to care for the children of brothers and to treat their wives with the same kind, gentlemanly respect we would have others show to those we love dearest of all on earth.
It teaches honesty, industry, frugality and liberality of thought.
It teaches us to be careful to preserve the good reputation of a brother as we would have him be careful to preserve ours; to be very careful not to say or hint or insinuate anything against him and his honesty and the better man and brother he is, the more careful should we be to help keep him so, and to encourage him to be more so. And it also teaches us to be careful and not report what he has told us at any time or place where it could be construed to his disadvantage or injury.
It teaches us to look upon every mason as a younger brother, to be watched over, helped, encouraged, protected, cared for in sickness and carefully laid away after life’s fitful trials be ended and he has been called to the Land in the East and the resting place and refreshment under the sun, in the cooling breeze where murmuring fountains play and none are with us but those we love.
It teaches us to defend virtue, to never tell a falsehood, to build up, protect and encourage the poor and the laborious, no matter whether of our fraternity or not and always to work for the best interests of one’s country, more that to oppress the poor and all craftsmen who labor.
It teaches us virtue, sobriety, discretion, earnestness and charity to all, with a beautiful faith in God and his goodness.
It teaches us to defend the honor of a brother; to stand between him and danger; to be as careful of the good name of a brother’s loved ones as of our own honor; to look upon them as sacred objects at all times, for whom we are ready to spill our blood if need require this test of knightly honor and that we should study to so live and act as to never make a brother ashamed of us or to wound his feelings or cause him to other than love us for our worth, virtue, honor, goodness, nobleness, and thoughtful care.
It teaches us to be kind to all; to always befriend the poor, no matter who or where found; to forgive as we would be forgiven; and to speak not against a brother but kindly to him, face to face, when he has erred or is likely to.
It teaches us lessons in harmonious brotherhood and to control ourselves, our tongue, our passions and our lives and that in the Lodge as in the Eternal, there is one place where difference in politics, in religion, in possession of riches or honor is unknown, for before the Beautiful Light in the East we are all brothers.
Written in 1870 & still remains a great lesson & practice for us to live by.
Have a wonderful Day & God Bless