THE MASONIC REVIEW. - 1854
The G. H. P. of the Grand Chapter of Missouri, makes the following remarks in his Annual Address to that Grand Chapter, at its last annual session. They are worthy of profound attention, and should be held in perpetual remembrance.
"Companions, more than twenty-even years have passed away since I was exalted to the Companionship of Royal Arch Masons in the city of St. Louis. I have seen it in prosperity - in all its trials, in all its persecutions, and in all its difficulties, my confidence in its 'powers to do good,' in its adaptation to the 'wants and necessities of social man,' has never been shaken.
"I have heard it said, that in this enlightened age, in this day of so much civilization and social refinement, in this age when it has not only become fashionable, but popular, to seek religious denominations, that Freemasonry, was no longer needed, no longer useful or beneficial to man.
"My Companions, can this be so? I think I may safely answer, 'it is not so!' There is not an enlightened Mason in our Order who ever pretended that Freemasonry was equal to revealed Religion, or that it could do away with man's necessity for reliance and dependence upon the Religion of the Prince of Peace, for his ultimate happiness. Such was never its design or object. Let me quote the language of a distinguished member of the Order:
" 'Masonry is the same in all ages and in all places; but various circumstances give it diverse modes of operation, that it may accommodate itself in its beneficial influences. Here in our country the necessity far pecuniary aid must be small. In a community of men accustomed to earn their living, physical wants are easily supplied. But here, other modes for evincing masonic charity present themselves. Your public relations, your religions position, or your party allegiance, bring you into antagonistic positions, and you are in frequent danger of forgetting or disregarding the spirit of the Order. Here then masonic charity is needed, and let me invoke you to its exercise. Masonry was not intended to make men of one religious creed, nor of one political party. Its object is to enable those of opposite creeds, and opposing parties, to discharge their duties to religious and political associations without violating those proprieties which belong to them as men. In the warmth of party canvasses it is difficult for us to keep alive all our active sympathies with men who are antagonistically active - we may oppose them on the rostrum, we may defeat them at the ballot box, without violating the duties of Masons: - but, in our apposition, in our victory, we cannot, without violating our solemn obligations as Masons, use terms of reproach, and make charges of conduct which are unsustained by established facts. If, at such a time, we cannot defend a brother's character in his absence, we may at least with gentlemanly forbearance avoid the gross attack, which I need not tell you, has seldom operated politically favorable to those who make it, while it tends to private injury of the assailed.'
"Suppose thin feeling was generally to prevail throughout our land, can any one doubt of its happy influence on social life? How many bitter asperities of feeling, how many heart- burnings would cease to be known, wherever this general masonic charity should make its appearance. There is as much necessity now as there ever was for the exercise of the genuine principles of Freemasonry.
"Companions; the honor and utility of the Order depend upon the conduct of its members. Let us by our conduct, our private and our public walls, show ourselves worthy of the Institution."