How Does Masonry Assist Man In His Search


                         THE MAN IN MASONRY            
              How Does Masonry Assist Man In His Search

                        Bro. Arthur Price


The short prayer to which Brother Herb laycraft alluded at the
entrance of the candidate into the Lodge, invokes the aid of God
"to grant that this candidate may dedicate and devote his life to
the service of God as to become a true and faithful Brother among
us.  To be endued with Divine Wisdom, and assisted by the secrets
of our Masonic Art he may be the better enabled to display the
beauties of true Godliness."  One of Websters' Definitions of the
word "secret" is, a "mystery" or a "governing principle known only
to the initiated".  Therefore from this point on, as a Mason, he
will be helped by the governing principles of Masonry.  Above all
he must be dedicated in this as he must be in any other venture. 
We first invoke the aid of God to assist man in his search, and
attempt to augment this with the governing principles of
Freemasonry.

From this beginning he is conducted physically around the Lodge to
the various stations, where he is given spiritual guidance in the
form of lectures in the ritual, by symbols, signs and tokens.  His
first physical contact after the prayer is at the altar where he
takes his solemn O.B. on the V.O.S.L.  this significantly enough,
he will always be reminded of whenever he gives the Heling Sign of
an E.A.  The bible is always open at a page appropriate to the
particular degree and referring in part to the actual wording and
significance of the degree with the S. & C. displayed according to
his advancement.  These instruments are explained and later used as
symbols.  In the first degree he is in darkness and seeks the light
of Truth, Masonry assists man in his search from the very beginning
assuming his knowledge to be the bare minimum.  He is informed of
the three Greater and three Lesser Lights and given the signs and
tokens.  He is invested with an apron, the badge of innocence and
the bond of friendship.  A foundation is laid at the N.E. corner of
the Lodge for his spiritual guidance, after which the working tools
are presented, which if given in a spirit of sincerity and
conviction by the person presenting the tools, is perhaps the most
impressive of all the lessons, with the possible exception of the
Raising Ceremony.  Especially the Working Tools in the Second
Degree.

The Square teaches us to regulate our lives and actions by the
Masonic Rule and Line and to correct and harmonize our conduct by
the principles of Morality and Virtue.  This is his first lesson in
Morality symbolized by the Square.  To be square with each other as
well as with the Almighty.  This makes us acceptable in His sight. 
The Level demonstrates that we are all patterned after one another,
that we are brothers regardless of our station in life.  The common
expression "to level" with each other clearly defines truth in its
broadest sense, and only goodness and virtue will be our means of
elevation in life hereafter.  The Plumb teaches us to walk
uprightly and with humility before God in the strict path of
virtue.  To respect our fellow man and avoid those inclinations
which may tend to hurt him or cause embarrassment.

The Junior Warden's lecture reveals the ancient history of the
foundation of our Order and introduces him to the symbolic
ornaments of the Lodge.  The three great pillars"  Wisdom to
conduct us, Strength to support us, and Beauty to adorn the inner
man.  We must make that wisdom available to the candidate.  Our
lectures and ritual will give him that strength if given with
feeling and conviction and only then will the beauty of Freemasonry
begin to adorn the inner man.

Jacob's Ladder, which forms a line of union between Heaven and
Charity.  The significance of Jacob's ladder on the V.O.S.L.
connects the two inasmuch as the teaching of the Bible clarifies
our belief in the dispensation of Divine Providence and strengthens
our faith enabling us to ascend to the first round. This faith
fosters the Hope of sharing some of the promises of these doctrines
and enables us to ascend the second round of the Ladder.  Charity
the third round; "And the greatest of these is Charity".  the one
virtue which every Mason must possess and practice as far as may
fairly be done without injury to himself or family.

The mosaic pavement of the Lodge reminding us of the uncertainty of
life on earth and an exhortation to cultivate harmony among our
fellow beings, to practice Charity and live in peace with all men. 
Constant reminding of these qualities and attributes over a long
period of time will help man in his search.  He is told that the
Movable Jewels are to moralize on.  But they are not there for his
benefit alone and for the short duration of his three degrees, they
are for all of us to moralize on, all the time; that is why they
lay open in the Lodge.  The four tassels, representing the four
Cardinal Virtues: Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice are
exemplified and we should contemplate these symbols.  They are part
of our lives if we are to live as Masons, just as are Virtue,
Honour and Mercy, which were practised in an eminent degree by our
ancient brethren.  The Junior Warden's lecture sums up to say that
the tenets of Freemasonry are: Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth. 
These are the basic principles of the Order --- not mere words in
a lecture of the ritual.

Man is seeking a way of life that he sees others are following
because his only guide into Freemasonry is, how his friends (who
are Masons) behave, and act toward each other.  Perhaps the most
common reason for his wishing to belong to the Order, is that he
has friends who are Masons, and that they are Masons has something
to do with this way of life.  Here is a different approach to the
goodness of life, to the rich rewards of unselfishness, the
satisfaction of knowing that you have helped, and the conviction of
a life hereafter.

Each time a candidate is introduced, Passed and Raised is an
opportunity for us to re-examine ourselves and re-dedicate
ourselves in the light of Freemasonry, to the service of God and
Man.  Freemasonry can and does help man in his search, but man must
search his inner self.  In the Reader's Digest of August 1966, a
well-known psychiatrist, Dr. Smiley Blanton, M.D. wrote an article
on the "Bible's Timeless and Timely Insights".  He says that if he
were asked to choose one Bible passage above all others, it would
be this; "And ye shall know the Truth, and the Truth shall make you
Free."  And if I may be allowed to add to that, it would also make
us accepted in every sense of the word.