Does Freemasonry pay? What advantage has a man who is a Mason over his neighbor who is not a member of the fraternity? These and other related questions are quite likely to be asked of one's self, even if they are not put into the form of words, and expressed in private or public speech.
This is a practical age. It applied the test of profitableness to almost everything of human acquisition and use, and it raises the question of value in regard to man's present existence, asking whether life itself is worth having - whether it pays to maintain the moral being against the trials and troubles which must be encountered. There is a mighty army of disappointed and dejected people, quiet ready to declare that there is no value in life - no good in anything. Out of the ranks of such as these come the recruits for madness, and for suicide.
We pity the morbid ones, so sad and so reckless. We say to them that the gift of life is a precious boon - worth living through and through as God gives it and marks the way for its expression.
Happy are they who get life rightly focused, so as to estimate its true value. Then will they have respect for those faculties of mind, heart and soul, which constitute man's highest endowment, and by exercise of which he not only makes his life useful, but also derives for himself the utmost of strength, satisfaction and peace. Those who belong to this class are disposed to make the most and best of present being, while they are always looking for a brighter light to shine upon their way, and a more exceeding glory to be disclosed. These, rightly numbered among the workers, the leaders, the helpers in our human world, will make willing declaration, out of their own experience, that it does pay to oppose evil, to struggle for the right, to cultivate the nobler attributes of being, and to recognize the claims of related life.
When men of this stamp pass within the lines of Freemasonry they are not likely to be disappointed. They will find enough in the institution to justify the expenditure of thought, time, and money, requisite for active and intelligent membership in the fraternity. They will testify that Freemasonry does pay; that it has profit not to be reckoned in material values, but in benefits, which constitute an abiding property of life.
Not long since a worthy Craftsman, who has held membership in lodge, chapter and Commandery for almost half a century, said to the present writer: "Freemasonry has blessed and enriched my life. I have made no money by my Masonic connections. I have never been obliged to ask for any aid on Masonic grounds, but I believe that I am both a better and happier man to-day because of my long and active identification with the Institution." Most heartily we endorse the words of our venerable friend. We have profit in Freemasonry. It has been of benefit to the writer by bringing him into pleasant relations with good men and true, giving him a place in a community of mutual interests, and opening the way for the establishment of enduring friendships. The observance of its rites and ceremonies has been suggestive and interesting; and to witness Masonic work well done is none the less pleasant now than it was years ago. Its profit has been realized by a study of its principles, and by an effort to apply its truths to the formation of characters, and to the conduct of life. It has been an inspiration and a benefit in many ways, as the writer has sought a better acquaintance with the history of the institution and the evolution of its great system of moral ideas and fraternal purposes. It has augmented the rest of life, deepened faith in the eternal verities, and made more evident the truth of the solidarity of the human race.
What profit has Freemasonry? Much profit, and in various ways, when rightly understood and applied, being judged by the tests, which determine the higher values. Freemasonry pays the thoughtful, faithful Craftsman, not in the wages of the world's current coin, but in what quickens the affections, exalts the aspirations, broadens and blesses the life, thus providing a social, intellectual and moral incitement for a strong and useful brotherhood.