Vol. XXVIII No. 2 — February 1950

Six Presentation Speeches

Occasions for presentation speeches present themselves in every lodge. Many lodges are so fortunate as to have ready speakers who can deliver an appropriate address with but little notice. Other lodges are not so fortunate. For the benefit of those who will welcome suggestions as to a suitable speech to accompany the presentation of a gift, token or decoration, these pages have been written.

They are intended to be suggestive only; the wording can and should be changed to fit the occasion, the brother, and the gift.

Presentation of Fifty-Year Membership Pin

(Usually most gracefully accomplished if the brother to receive it is brought by the master of ceremonies to the altar.)

My brother, your grand lodge has authorized the presentation of a pin to those who have been members of the Fraternity for half a century. This token, of small intrinsic value, is of untold worth in our eyes because of what it represents. To qualify for this gift of grand lodge, a brother must have been a devoted Mason. He could not have remained a member for so long a period of time were his heart not in his lodge and his Masonry in his heart.

You are one of those so fortunate as to have been raised a Master Mason in your young manhood, so that, in the happy and contented years which mark the fruition of a full life, well-lived, you have health and strength to enjoy this decoration which you have so richly earned.

It has been well said: “Happy for us if the grace of God enables us to live so that we retain the innocency and freshness of character down to old age.” This, it seems to us, you have done. It is an added satisfaction to have it recognized by the grand lodge to which, as to us, it is a joy that you have the right to wear this button.

It is another great pride to us that you are here to receive it. We hope you will wear it on your coat that all may see the honor to which you are entitled. We believe it will be a never-ending reminder of the gentle Craft of Freemasonry which you have loved, and which, by this presentation, shows its love for you.

I now put this pin on your lapel, and I assure you I speak from the heart of this lodge and all its members, when I wish you many, many years of life and health to enjoy its wearing.

Presentation of Past Master’s Jewel (or Apron)

Worshipful Brother, you have stepped down from the East to join the ranks of those whose examples of devotion must always have been before you during the year just passed. You have dropped the load, and left the Oriental Chair and its responsibilities to another.

It is the way you carried those responsibilities which we now wish to recognize. The honorable title of past master is not lightly nor easily won; neither is it easily nor lightly to be carried, for it brings, if not the same responsibilities as those which a worshipful master must assume, responsibilities of its own.

As past master of this lodge you bring to it a year of experience and a proved devotion. As a past master you will have more than the usual share of the brethren in guiding the lodge, in counseling with your successors, in advising with our officers. These duties we well know you will discharge with the same fidelity and zeal you have already displayed in our service.

Christopher Marlowe said:

Honour is purchased by the deeds we do;
Honour is not won until some honorable deed be done!

This past master’s jewel (or apron) which I am about to give to you in the name of ______ Lodge is but a symbol. Its intrinsic value is small. Its value is in our recognition of the “honorable deed” you did as master — the time and effort which you so devotedly gave. In your eyes its value must be that of the appreciation of the brethren which it typifies.

The compasses, open at an angle of sixty degrees upon a quadrant, has a deep significance; it is symbolic of the method which our ancient operative brethren used to erect a square.

The square, as you know, is dedicated to the master. But it is used by all operative Masons, first to square the stones, next to see that they are set upon a square foundation. To be able, then, to erect a square, is the first knowledge which the operative Mason must possess.

And it is the greatest secret which the Speculative Mason must know. Therefore the past masters jewel is symbolic of that knowledge which you, as a past master, have so well learned.

In the name of ______ Lodge I invest you with the jewel (apron) of your new rank and wish you much happiness and many years for its honorable wearing.

Presentation of Bible to Newly Raised Brother

My brother, you have now received all the light which this lodge may impart to you of our secrets, our ritual, our procedure and our work. But possessing these, you will be the last to think that we have taught you all that a Master Mason can learn.

In this book, the Holy Bible, which in this and all English speaking nations is the Volume of the Sacred Law to Freemasons, is the wisdom of the ages. It is given you here not as the special book of any religion. No matter what your faith may be, you will find in this book of books counsel, advice, instruction, help and inspiration. You may worship the God you know by any name you wish and yet find here the story of His wishes and His hopes, His mercy and His goodness.

Sixty-six books are within this book. These were written at divers time by many hands. In these books are history and hope, mystery and miracle, Hell and Heaven, promise and performance, prayer and peace, comfort and courage.

If you are troubled, here you shall find ease. If you are joyful, in these pages will you find triumphant songs to sing. If grief visits your house, here is comfort.

To Masons this book is “the rule and guide of faith.” Much of our ritual is based upon it; all of our truths are taken from it; on it we have all taken our obligations. On all Masonic altars it lies open when lodge is open; nowhere may a lodge be held without it. The Bible belongs to man, but Freemasons have an especial reverence for it as law as well as revealed religion.

This copy is presented to you by ______ Lodge in the hope that you will use it, read it, learn it, love it and thus make yourself a better and squarer stone for that temple not made with hands into which this, your lodge, endeavors to build of all its Master Masons.

May the Great Architect bless you and cause His peace to come to you through the pages of this His book.

Presentation of a Masonic Book to a Newly Raised Brother

My brother, Freemasonry teaches her initiates only of a path and how to travel it. She does not attempt to lead you far down that path. She puts into your hands a staff; she lights a lantern by which you can find your way. But the path is a lonely path, for a brother must travel it alone and find his way alone. Even if he hath company — aye, even the goodly company of his brethren — he yet must go for himself and see for himself and learn for himself.

Freemasonry is a great study, my brother. The Ancient Craft has a long history. It is filled with romance. There are stories to be told and heard, there are songs to be sung and listened to, there is law to learn and abide by.

These you will discover as you travel. Any travel is made the easier and the happier by a map and a guide book. Others have gone this way before — millions and multiplied millions have stood as you now stand, at the beginning of the road that will, we hope, wind with you through life and lead you to fair fields and good pastures.

Some of these millions of your brethren have written, for you and me, of what they have seen, what they have discovered, what is to be found on either side of the road of Masonry. There are many, many books about Masonry — some broad and venturesome, some restricted to one field. There are books on symbolism and on law, on history and on lore, on philosophy and on ethics, all in the Craft which is the oldest institution in the world save perhaps only the church — and some contend that Freemasonry is older than many faiths.

One of these guidebooks to the fair country which is Freemasonry we present to you. Its author has studied deeply and traveled long. He has seen and discovered much of interest. Between these covers you will find set forth something of the romantic interests in Freemasonry and, much of its inspiration. We give it to you to read and to enjoy. Keep it at your bedside; read a bit every night; learn to see first with the author’s eyes, and so, finally, with your own, of the many lovely and as yet unsuspected joys which are a part of the gentle Craft.

The book comes to you with the fraternal affection and the high hopes of this, your lodge.

Presentation of Life Membership

Brother, I know of no gift a lodge can make to one of its beloved members which carries more of esteem than that of a Life Membership.

In making you a member of this lodge for life, the lodge shows a complete faith that your character will never change; that you will always be the honorable, upright, devoted and beloved brother you are now.

You are most emphatically not to regard this gift as one of money, although it carries a thought of money, since forever you will be exempt from dues. But it is not to pay you funds equal to your coming years, multiplied by lodge dues, that this gift is made. Well do we know you can pay your dues, just as you have always paid your dues. Rather must you regard the Life Membership as do we — that you have done so much, so great, so valuable a labor for your lodge that we believe you should no longer pay for the privilege of belonging to it.

Emerson said: “Rings and jewels are not gifts but apologies for gifts. The only gift is a portion of thyself. Therefore, the poet brings his poem; the shepherd, his lamb; the farmer, corn; the miner, a gem; the sailor, coral and shells; the painter, his picture; the girl, a handkerchief of her own sewing.”

So we bring to you our work; a Life Membership. It cannot be sold or transferred; to others it has no value in coin of the realm. It is strictly ours to make and ours to give. In giving it, we give you of ourselves.

Another thought I would put in your mind — this lodge would be shocked were you to ask for a dimit! Perhaps we have a hope that inasmuch as you now belong to us by the strongest tie we can add to our mutual membership — that of making you a Life Member — you will not be tempted to leave us for fairer fields!

However that may be, my brother, this gift comes to you with the thought of all the brethren that you are necessary to the welfare of this lodge. We want to be equally necessary to you. As a token of appreciation of the long and faithful service you have given we offer you this certificate which attests the fact that you are sealed to us for the rest of your natural life and will, we hope, carry the good standing card marked Life Member with as much pride as we have in giving it to you tonight.

Presentation of a Gift

(Lodges occasionally make a present to a member in recognition of service; a chair, golf clubs, fishing outfit, traveling bag, etc. A presentation speech should mention the gift by name at the proper places.)

It is a joy to tell you that ______ Lodge so much appreciates what you have done that it desires to remind you of its gratitude. I have here [gift] which is to remind you that your brethren think you have served them well, and accomplished much.

When you [sit; play golf; travel; whatever is here appropriate] you will, in effect, be carrying your lodge with you. Just as we recall with pleasure your activities on our behalf, so, in using this reminder of our affection, you will inevitably have your brethren in mind.

You are never to think of the intrinsic value here represented.

It is not the weight of jewel or plate
Or the fondle of silk or fur;
’Tis the spirit in which the gift is rich
As the gifts of the Wise Ones were.
And we are not told whose gift was gold
Or whose was the gift of myrrh.

This [name it] is neither gold nor myrrh, and we would be the last to say it is a present from brethren who are wise. But it is rich in the spirit of brotherhood, of gratitude, of appreciation and comes to you with the affection of all your brethren, coupled with their heartiest high hopes that you will have many, many years in which to find enjoyment in this mark of our respect and affection.

The Masonic Service Association of North America