ONE MORE TIME, PLEASE! Vol V, No.3
Circulation --->1095 March 2000
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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Desaguliers and The March of Militant Masonry
By W. Brother George E. Maine
Past Master, George Washington Lodge No. 251, and
Grand Orator of the M.W. Grand Lodge,
F. & A.M. of Washington
An Oration delivered before The Grand Lodge of Washington
Deep in the soul of every man there lies a dream of conquest. In the
quiet of the study a panorama of world evils passes before his eyes and
there comes a feeling of restlessness, an urge to push through the
confusion that is dominating the world at the moment, to eradicate those
evils, and bring mankind back to a position of fundamental stability.
In quick succession pictures of great leaders of days gone by force
themselves upon him, and, in imagination, he sees himself join that list
of the immortals.
But tomorrow comes, and with it the exigencies of the moment; the
humdrum of prosaic things; business cares; the daily task which are
one's master, and those world evils, which were so important when in the
stillness of retrospection, fade away; the dreams of yestereve are
dimmed. It is almost ever thus.
But just as in those days of world creation, when darkness was upon
the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the
waters, and God said, "Let there be Light", so from the very earliest
days of man on earth there have been other periods when darkness ruled
the deep, and history is filled with the responses of Divine Providence
to the world-call for leadership as down through the ages men have been
chosen to lead a nation out of Egypt, to bring the light of freedom to
an enslaved people.
The history of the world is the story of its great men. They have
been the modellers, they have been the patterns of whatsoever the
general mass of men have contrived to do or attain. All things that we
see standing accomplished in the world are the material result, the
practical realization and embodiment of the thoughts that dwelt in the
great men sent into the world.
Some men, we are told, have become great because opportunity has made
them so. Others have attained distinction because they themselves
created the vehicles which carried their influence to posterity. Some
of these men have received the plaudits of countless millions. Others,
even some of the greatest of them, have passed all unnoticed, their
names unheralded, their fame unsung. One of these we shall discuss for
a moment, one who lived at the beginning of the 18th century. Inasmuch
as present day historians state that we owe much of our modern
civilization to the leaders of that century, first let us prepare for
him a brief historical background.
Prior to the early years of the 18th century it was quite generally
accepted throughout Europe that the essential principles upon which
established order everywhere rested were the supreme authority of the
Church; a dogmatic Christianity; the divine right of kings; heredity,
and its resultant -- inequality. There were wars -- much more than
there was peace; wars that sometimes dragged on for generations,
struggles not only between nations, but continuous strife within --
strife between the kings and the nobility, the nobility and the middle
classes, often between several of the stronger houses of the nobility
where all sought command of the throne at the same time.
In such a struggle in England, the House of Hanover, which
represented Protestantism and liberalism, was just emerging victorious
over the Stuarts. Under Hanover the nobility had been granted broader
privileges which made them the envy of the rest of Europe. But in
France, under the reign of Louis XIV and his predecessors, had governed
without consulting either the princes of the blood or the nobility,
never invited them to the councils and distributed favors as one gives
toys to children. For a long time the nobility had been fed only insult
and humiliation, and had been employed only in the army or kept merely
What of Masonry at this period? Today we hear in the lecture of the
second degree these words, "Our Ancient Brethren wrought in Operative
Masonry". This is literally true. Masonry at the beginning of the 18th
century was limited to Guilds of Operative Masons. It was these early
Guilds that had erected the magnificent cathedrals of England and
France, of Germany and Italy. From these cathedrals came the early fame
of the Guilds that ripened into prosperity, influence, prestige.
Masons, proud of their position, kept the basic principles of
building, the practices of the trade, as closely guarded secrets of the
Fraternity known only to themselves. Revealed to initiates only in
their tiled meetings, these professional secrets and the esoteric nature
of their liturgy combined to weave a spell that later drew all eyes to
In a firmament emblazoned with the figures of kings and nobles, of
stone masons and cathedrals, on the 12th day of March, 1683, in the city
of Rochelle, France, a Star was Born. There were no fanfare of
trumpets, no herald angels singing, "Peace on Earth, Good. Will toward
Men". But there must have been joy in the Celestial Lodge above, as
Divine Providence sent into the world a New Hope. A babe came to the
humble home of a French Huguenot clergyman, a son, who, when he grew to
man's estate was destined to create a force so powerful that its
influence carried into every phase of the lives of all who lived after
him, a force which reached to the very foundation of civilization and
changed the destiny of man, a force which gave to man a liberty he had
never before experienced and which has been called the Forefather of
Two years later Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes, which had for
nearly a century assured to French Protestants a religious liberty and a
legal status. As a result of the Revocation thousands of loyal French
were driven into exile. Among those who were forced to flee was this
Huguenot clergyman, John D. Desaguliers. Escape was difficult and
dangerous, but hiding his two year old son, John Theophilus, in a wine
cask which was loaded on a ship bound for England, Desaguliers managed
to find refuge.
It is to be regretted that so little is known of this babe of the
wine cask -- only the scanty Masonic records and a few contemporary
notices -- because Freemasonry and modern civilization owe more to him
than to any other person of the 18th century.
The Rev. John D. Desaguliers became chaplain of a French Huguenot
church in London and there personally guided the training of his son in
the classical languages. Later, with the assistance of the boy, then
only in his teens, he founded a school at Islington. Thus at an early
age, this youth formed the habit of molding other's minds. He never
lost that habit. He became the great pedagogue of Hanoverian England.
After the death of his father, John Theophilus Desaguliers decided to
finish his studies at Oxford, where he attained fame in Experimental
Philosophy, or Science. He was given the chair of Experimental
Philosophy in Christ Church College and acclaimed the great authority of
In 1713 he left Oxford for London, taking spacious quarters, and in
them gave lectures. Thus he became the first public lecturer on Science
in Europe. Success immediately greeted his audacious enterprise,,
because the people of London had never seen anything like this. They
crowded his quarters. He became the fashion. The greatest noblemen of
his time honored his courses with their attendance and him with their
friendship. He became one of the most important personages of all
London, the intimate of the illustrious Sir Isaac Newton. He was
elected "Fellow of the Royal Society of London", chosen Curator and
Demonstrator of that august Society, and it was here that Desaguliers
took the great doctrines of Newton and through his experiments made them
accessible and understandable to the minds of all. He invented the
planetarium. His scientific and philosophical treatises and books were
accepted as the standard works of his day.
The social world was so carried away with enthusiasm for his lectures
that he was invited by royalty to give his experiments at court. His
patriotic zeal and the quality of his endeavors won for him one of the
most prominent places In Hanoverian England.
If at any time in her history England needed strong leadership it was
at this moment. There had been a continuous political strife and
dissension. Morality was at a low ebb. Religiouswise that nation, as
perhaps the rest of the world, was in a chaotic state. Fads and isms
had sprung up. Confusion was the order of the day. Darkness was upon
the face of the deep.
On June 24th, 1717, as a strategic move in the political game of
chess between the Houses of Hanover and Stuart, the Hanoverians, just to
accomplish their own selfish ends, gathered together four comparatively
unimportant Masonic Lodges lying in the outskirts of London to form the
Grand Lodge of London, the first Grand Lodge of Masonry. It was on that
day that Freemasonry, all unexpectedly, started on its world mission.
For at least two centuries people on all sides had been looking for
such a thing as Freemasonry. Inquiring minds, irritated by the social
and Intellectual discipline imposed by the Church, had been centers of
resistance, around which formed societies which took issue with the
Church. For a long time those forces had been turning expectantly
toward Masonry. Every ism indeed had sought the influence of some one
or more of the Masonic Guilds, and one can well imagine the chaos in
that multitude of loosely organized associations which seemed groping
without aim or purpose.
For a time it looked as though even this newborn Masonry was to fail,
but in 1719 Desaguliers was elected Grand Master, and he brought to
Freemasonry the life it needed. He wrote most of its ritual. He
brought to it his experimental philosophy, and gave to it a touch of
Newtonian Christianity, a belief in Newton's God, now and for the first
time, "The Great Artificer and Creator of the Universe." The world had
been openly venal and immoral. It had been attacking religion in self
defense, and all the more easily because religion seemed but an ancient
dogma. But here was a new idea in religion, one appealing to the
intelligence instead of offering a creed, for it based upon analysis and
reality. Here a contemplation of nature produced certain logical facts.
It taught men to think.
Desaguliers brought back Into Masonry many of those had been in the
habit of neglecting it. Further he introduced into Fraternity a group
of the greatest noblemen of England. He it was who inaugurated the idea
of making speeches at the end of Masonic banquets. Again, he restored
the ancient custom of presenting at the conclusion of banquets those
emphatic toasts which played such an important role in the formal life
of England. These took the place of our contemporary political
discussions and created the political atmosphere of the day.
Fashion is one of the most powerful of social forces. Freemasonry
under Desaguliers became the fashion. The very elite of England quickly
rushed to the order. Its Grand Masters were selected from the highest
of the nobility. Powerful indeed became our Brotherhood and one
definitely designed for the temporal influence by reason of the
importance of its leaders.
Those who developed this new order enjoyed a success that surpassed
their fondest hopes. Their aim had been a strong central Lodge around
which the other Lodges in and about London, then working in an
incoherent manner, could be grouped. But around this new movement the
nobility, the clergy, the army, the middle classes, all the forces of
the nation, gathered in a single body. So astounding a revolution of
the human spirit had not been witnessed since the explosion of primitive
Christianity. England found a national unity and as a consequence,
England became for the entire civilized world a perfect example of
enlightened government. The exact formula, suited to the amount, had
Fifteen years after Its formation the Grand Lodge of London had
become the center of all English Freemasonry, and after thirty years
dominated the Masonry of the world -- thanks to one man!
The latter days of Desaguliers appear to be clouded in mystery,
perhaps in sadness. One report has it that misfortune overtook him, and
that sorrow and poverty were his fate. Cawthorn, in a poem, entitled
the "Vanity of Human Enjoyments", intimates in the following lines that
he was in very necessitous circumstances at the time of his death:
"How poor, neglected Desaguliers fell;
How he who taught two gracious kings to view
All Boyle ennobled and all Bacon knew,
Died, in a cell without a friend to save.
Without a guinea, and without a grave."
What matter it as to his end? It is what he did while here that is
the measure of the man. He took an old dying order and gave to it a
philosophy which was peculiarly his own. He added a touch of science,
and then a practical concept of the Great Architect and Organizer of the
world; into this he breathed a prayer and Speculative Freemasonry was
born. Through the force of his own personality he brought to this new
institution the important men of England, royalty, the nobility, the
elite, the great minds. Because of the purity of its principles, and
because of the importance of its early leaders brought in by
Desaguliers, Freemasonry since his day has been a living thing,
pulsating with the very best that is to be found in man.
His life was a veritable fountain of light, a beacon to show the way
for countless generations. John Theophilus Desaguliers has, even in
death, ruled nations. Was it not as though the Supreme Grand Master
spoke to men's minds through him and said, "What is the cause of this
With all this information before us may anyone question that
Freemasonry had a political and religious mission in England during the
first half of the 18th century.
By 1750, then, England had found a new equilibrium in both polities
and religion. Freemasonry had played a great part and had become strong
socially and financially, with a world wide influence. With these
Assets it went on triumphantly leading its crusade.
In France Louis XIV was dead and the crowd in Paris had laughed and
here and there had lighted bonfires to celebrate its joy. English
fashions, which had enchanted the French nobility and had held sway over
the minds of French writers, now made it easy for Freemasonry to
establish itself in France. English Freemasonry, desirous of achieving
a triumph, seized the opportunity to cross the channel. The Grand
Master of the Grand Lodge of London did not disdain to take his
colleagues to Paris to encourage the zeal of the Lodges which were
Temperamentally the French were an entirely different people from the
English. Freemasonry to be acceptable to the French had to be noble,
not professional; mystic rather than scientific. England sought the
dignity in Masonry, France the bizarre. In England, it was the trowel:
in France, the sabre -- in the many new degrees added by the French.
In spite of ban of King, in spite of Papal Bull, Fremasonry during
the last quarter of the 18th century became soundly entrenched as a part
of the social life of all France, not, however, as a body cooperating
with the State as in England, but more as a personal adventure. Its
presence could be detected everywhere; in Parliament, in the army, in
the monasteries, in school and at court. As in England, its leadership
generally remained in the hands of tile high nobility. Ten of the most
influential aristocratic dynasties of France were engaged in spreading
the Masonic message. Here, too, as in England, men were called upon to
study this new religion of Freemasonry, which was reported to be older,
more beautiful, more philosophic than any of the organized churches.
For centuries French classes had been separated by old prejudices and
habits. Every few miles the traveler found himself in a different
atmosphere. where habits, dialects and social customs had changed. Each
province, each city, had its own measurements, its own justice, its own
points of view. Freemasonry, alone, remained everywhere the same and
everywhere welcomed its children without prejudice as to country, race
or religion. Instead of the old spirit of class which had formerly
bound together all of the noblemen of France, Freemasonry organized and
substituted a good-fellowship which broadened to include all ranks and
estates. This it was that made it the greatest social force of the
Loose a great social force like this in a country whose King had
said, "The State -- it is I", and the results are likely to be as
unforeseen and as shocking as the new electricity Benjamin Franklin was
then demonstrating to the world.
A political revolution is never the matter of a moment. History has
shown time and again that before political revolutions great
intellectual and moral revolutions must first have been effected.
Certainly, revolution had not been the conscious aim of Freemasonry
in France; no socially minded person likes revolution; no benevolent
soul accepts lightheartedly its miseries. But consider what happened.
Freemasonry in France preached equality. This is a basic Masonic
principle and wherever Lodges met, members of the privileged classes, of
the aristocracy, bowed solemnly before the symbols of equality. The
acceptance by the French nobility of equality before a common altar
turned the influence of Masonry toward the intellectual and social
revolution which preceded the political one in that country. The very
Freemasonry which had so intrigued the nobility of France that they
gladly spread its doctrines saw its teachings absorbed in the cry of the
people, "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity", and eventually helped to
destroy that same nobility.
Indeed, may we not feel that Freemasonry played a most immportant
political and religious role in France during the closing years of the
What of Freemasonry in the Americas?
Prior to our own Revolution thirteen small Colonies were separated by
such distances that it took a letter three weeks to travel from Boston
to Georgia. There was no uniforiulty in the administration of those
thirteen separate governments, or in their religious affiliations, or
social standards. There were the merchant class of the North -- the
great land owners of the South. There were the Puritans. the Quakers,
the Catholics, the Dutch, English, Scotch-Irish, Germans and French.
All rivals and jealous of each other. There was no unity.
Freemasonry alone, undertook to prepare a common foundation. It
spread throughout the Colonies among a prominent class of people.
Contact between American Lodges became closer and closer each year, and
any Mason traveling found a welcome in the Lodges he visited. There he
met the best citizens who were glad to help him in both social and
business ways. As a result a virtual social and economic aristocracy of
Freemasonry was established in America on a national scale, with a
feeling of American unity, without which American Liberty would not have
developed -- without which there would have been no United States of
Benjamin Franklin had been the first great American apostle of
Freemasonry and had busied himself in organizing not only the Society
but also a Colony-wide Press with a strong Masonic influence. From 1750
to 1773 all the Masonic newspapers and Lodges were united in resisting
the encroachment of the English Government. Americans remained faithful
to English civilization, but they were fast becoming conscious of an
inevitable national unity. Freemasonry, in the meantime, was still the
only meeting ground for the exchange of view of the Colonies.
Boston was the center of discontent in America. Feeling ran high in
the Puritan capital. The Merchants were angry with England because of
restrictions imposed on their trade. All were ready to pay the price to
get rid of English custom officials. It took but a spark to produce the
St. Andrew's Lodge, while not the wealthiest Lodge of Boston, could
well be termed the most active. It was headed by a famous surgeon,
Joseph Warren, an intimate friend of Franklin and a man whose
intellectual renown and political influence had spread throughout the
Colonies. Here belonged Paul Revere and John Hancock. St. Andrew's
Lodge held its meetings at a tavern called "The Green Dragon, or the
Arms of Freemasonry". The Green Dragon also was the meeting place for
others who damned the English and denounced tile new tax which had just
been imposed upon tea imported into the Colonies.
On Thursday afternoon, December 16th, 1773, the members of
St. Andrew's Lodge proceeded to the Green Dragon for their regular
communication, but the minutes show that they must have been busy
elsewhere. Suddenly, out of the Tavern appeared a band of redskins
strangely masked and shabbily clad. Rushing to the docks they boarded
some sloops, proceeded to three English Merchantmen in the harbor, threw
overboard 342 cases of tea; returned to the sloops; regained the docks,
marched to the Green Dragon with song and hurray, and entered the
Tavern. But, strangely, no redskins were thereafter reported to have
left. History has never disproved that Joseph Warren was the host of
the Boston Tea Party.
Have You ever attempted to picture the assistance given by the
Masonic order to the Colonial Army? We scarcely need chronic condition;
untrained country lads with short enlistments; a quartermaster corps
that failed to supply clothes, food or guns; a militia that was never
dependable. What was it that held this army together, that could turn
it around after a long retreat through the Jerseys and march barefoot
men through ice and snow to a Trenton midnight attack and give our
country the best Christmas present it ever received? Nothing but the
spirit of one man, who had earned the confidence and worship of the
entire army -- himself a member of t the Masonic Order since the age of
twenty-one, and acquainted its colony-wide influence as "the cement
which binds us together."
Into this Colonial Army of Washington came those famous Lodges of the
Line. He visited them personally -- in one Lodge, tradition says he
raised LaFayette. Can we picture the scene, perhaps in a tent -- the
great drum in the center, covered with our flag, as an altar, three
bayonets, disengaged and stuck in the ground, holding burning tapers in
their sockets for the Lesser Lights?
These ten or eleven Lodges of the Line served well in their stations
and places. In them alone was concentrated the work of the Red Cross,
Salvation Army and Y. M. C. A. of a later conflict. They kept alive
morale, they restored courage, they inspired hope. The indomitable
spirit of Washington found its greatest ally in the Militant Masonry.
May it not be that when, as President, he accepted the Mastership of
Alexandria Lodge, he was making formal acknowledgment before the world
of the debt the United States owed to Freemasonry?
When Benjamin Franklin was sent to Europe to seek the aid of France
in the struggle against England, on all sides the American Minister
found a people filled with enthusiasm for his country, and kindly
disposed toward him, but who adhered strictly to the policy of avoiding
His cause seemed hopeless. However, the Colonies could not succeed
without the help of France, and Franklin would not be denied. He
surveyed the situation and concluded that Freemasonry was the means to
attain his end. A new, brilliant and very influential Lodge had but
recently been organized, the "Lodge of the Nine Sisters". Franklin
joined this Lodge, and what he now accomplished was a stroke of genius.
M. de Voltaire was the hero of the French public. He had spent his
whole life battling error and had won the acclaim of the nation. From
Royalty to tavern waiters -- they worshipped him. He was the realized
idol of everyone of them; of all Frenchmen, the most French.
It was in this Lodge of the Nine Sisters Voltaire was initiated under
the direction of Franklin. At the close of the initiation these two
great men, overcome with emotion, embraced each other. This made such a
profound impression that its story was on every tongue and wherever they
appeared together they were requested to emnibrace again.
Franklin became Master of the Lodge of the Nine Sisters and was now
in a position to use his skill. The native ingenuity of Franklin has
never been surpassed. Soon the Lodge was spreading abroad slogans and
epigrams to influence public opinion in favor of the Colonies, and,
largely due to the influence of Masonry, France was induced to assist
One more picture: On a hill looking out over the blue Mediterranean
one day just after the turn of the 19th century sat a young man, one who
had gone to Europe from the Americas to complete his education. In the
spirit of the moment he had become a member of the Masonic Fraternity.
Imbued with the spirit of equality and liberty that was sweeping Europe
he resolved that his country should rid itself of the yoke of Spain. He
returned to his America, and today six nations, Chile, Peru, Bolivia,
Equador, Colombia and Venezuela call Simon Bolivar "The Liberator".
Freemasonry has had its political role even in Catholic South
Since the great Revolutionary period, when Freemasonry furnished both
ideals and leadership, it has seemed content to be for its votaries a
source of philosophy and light, holding before them an inspiration for
kindliness, for friendliness, for brotherhood. During the past few
years, however, since the Great World War, something new has crept into
our lives, a change we scarely understand.
Abroad -- Is there not enough in the panorama which is passing before
our eyes to force upon us the consciousness of the change which is
taking place'? And when we do stop to consider, do we not sometimes ask
ourselves if there is anything certain but change? If our winds have
not been too dulled by the continuous shock of the times let us pause
and look. Ethiopia -- Spain -- China --Austria -- Russia and Japan --
Germany and Czechoslovakia -- Memel -- Albania -- German and Italian
aggression -- a world-wide armament race -- the scrapping of treaties --
the invading of weaker nations. Does that picture, make sense? And if
it does is not the sense horrifying?
And what about the situation at home? Here we have labor troubles --
the machine gun -- the gas bomb -- strife on every hand. All about us
we see an attempt at intellectual and moral revolution, which in the
past have often led to political revolution. Darkness is upon the face
of the deep.
Is there not a glorious opportunity for the type of Masonic
leadership we have had before? Or is it true instead that all human
things have an end, and that even our institution of Freemasonry has
been forced out of its place in the sun?
Is it not time that we gave a bit of thought to what is happening to
Freemasonry throughout the world -- in Russia -- Germany -- Italy --
Austria -- Spain -- Czechoslovakia? Most of these nations desire to
force their own form of political existence upon us. The forces which
have created havoc in Europe are desperately striving to accomplish
their ends in America and at this moment.
It was but a few weeks ago that American newspapers carried the story
of the trial of the directors of the German-American Settlement League.
One of these directors, while upon the witness stand, was asked by the
prosecuting attorney to salute the Stars and Stripes, and he responded
with the stiff gesture of the Hitler salute. When the prosecutor
thundered at him, "Is that the American salute?", he responded, "No.
But it will be!"
Recently hot over the wires came these words spoken by Mussolini of
Italy, "No matter how things go we wish to hear no more about
brotherhood, sisterhood and such other bastard relationships, because
relationships between states are relations of force and these relations
of force are the determining elements of their policy".
Let us not laugh at that old adage, "The price of liberty is eternal
vigilance,." There never was a time when we needed to be more alert and
watchful than now.
It is not necessary before such a group as this to recapitulate what
has happened to Freemasonry, to Christianity, to democracy in parts of
Europe. In many places personal libertv has disappeared -- democracy
has passed away. Man may no longer worship as he desires --
Christianity stands with its back to the wall; and Freemasonry, which
can exist only where there is personal liberty, has been banned and
members of the Craft persecuted for their connection with the
Darkness is upon the face of the earth.
The world is in the throes of a struggle between democracy and
totalitarianism; the essence of the former is Justice; that of the
latter, Force. The aggressive brutality of totalitarianism appears to
be riding the crest of a triumph.
Democracy has been the great goal of man for the past two
centuries. It is recognized as that form of society which is inspired
above every other with the feeling and consciousness of the dignity of
the individual man. It is the embodiment of personal liberty.
Totalitarianism teaches contempt for human kind. Its terrorism
degrades and destroys peoples. It corrupts character, releases every
evil impulse, turns men into cowardly hypocrites and shameless
informers. That is why dictators love terrorism. The totalitarian
state subordinates every phase of public life itself. What we call
culture -- religion, art, research, higher morality, free human thought
-- falls under the crime of treason whenever it pursues truth through to
independence. Totalitarianism sacrifices the individual to the power of
Why has the very first act of each totalitarian state been to crush
Freemasonry within its borders? The answer is that Force respects and
fears our ideals. For two centuries Freemasonry has been the greatest
social power on earth. A dictator fears Freemasonry's democratic
teachings and its strong religious motif incompatible with terrorism.
Then, is it not about time that we cease trying to talk ourselves
into believing that Freemaonry is neither a political institution nor a
religion? From the very day of the father of the institution,
Desaguliers, it has ever been a political and religious institution.
Partisan politics? Never! Sectarian religion? Never! But it
received its birth as a part of political plot, and from that day, it
has never hesitated to take its place in the affairs of government.
Freemasonry has never shuddered at war or even at revolution if personal
liberty was at stake.
Shall our institution become noting more than a beuatiful instrument
of abstract calculation, a meterially mechanical philosophy? God
forbid! Let us keep it in contact with life, with concrete productive
Are we asleep? Is that spirit of Masonry of old just lying dormant,
or has it passed out of existence? Is there not enough of the old fire
left to offer even a word in self defense?
There, was a day when this institution of ours took a definite place
in world affairs. There was a day when it was the meeting place for
minds opposed to tyranny. Have we forgotten?
Did we ask a moment ago if there is anything certain but change?
There is one answer. In the beginning -- God. Today -- God. One and
the same, unchangeable forever. Even though darkness may be upon the
face of the deep, the Spirit of God still walks upon the face of the
waters. The quality of personal liberty has not changed. It is still
the highest earthly goal to which we may aspire.
In the early days of American history man came here to worship as he
pleased. Later, it was oppression, a disregard for right and justice
that produced an American revolution. The great Commander of the
Colonial forces was fighting for personal liberty. It was the belief of
Washington and his army that liberty, democracy, religion walked hand in
hand. It was their faith that the Almighty Ruler of the Universe was
battling alongside of and for the cause of democracy.
During Revolutionary and pre-revolutionary days the institution was
not a party; it was not a sect; it was not a school. But it bound men
together in a feeling of brotherhood. It led and it guided. It was a
society of ideals, and that society was the power of powers that could
make and unmake kings, direct the course of empire, and give birth to
our own democracy. What has become of that Freemasonry that could be
called a meeting place for minds opposed to tyranny when today a small
minority may work its will upon a nation?
Where else is there all institution big enough, powerful enough, and
with sufficient influence to overcome the growing threat of Force?
Where else is there an institution without an axe to grind, which is
unselfish enough to be trusted with a responsibility such as faces the
world today? Is there any other such power but Freemasonry?
We been called the most efficient social power on earth. Then is it
trite for as to remind ourselves that the price of greatness is
responsibility? Is it disloyal to the Freemasonry of Desaguliers, of
Voltaire, Franklin, Washington and Bolivar to urge that Freemasonry
again reach out to take its proper place in world affairs?
The time has come when our members should no longer sit and bask in
the sunshine of a glorious philosophy. There is work to do.
If Freemasonry is worth anything, if personal liberty is the precious
thing we think it is, if the heritage of worshiping as one pleases is
still of any value, then Freemasonry must again assume the
responsibility of preparing for that leadership which is to bring Light
to this generation.
Not in every period of darkness has Divine Providence answered the
call for leadership. But it has come when man has placed himself in the
proper position to receive and follow leadership. There must be a
nation of seekers of the Light before there will be bringers of the
Light. It is then that leaders rise to work the will of Providence.
The Institution of Freemasonry has the respect of the civilized
world. It is the one society which is powerful enough to create fashion
for the present as it has in the past. Then let us as Masons stand
before the world and say what is in our minds. Let each member of the
Fraternity in this country in no unmistakable terms say to all mankind,
"I believe in God Almighty, and in the United States of America.
Personal liberty is here to stay. Man shall worship as he desires.
Democracy shall not be forced out of its place in the sun."
Then will the Institution continue to fill its world mission. Then
will Freemasonry maintain its place as the most efficient social power
on earth. Then can we tune our ears to the heavens and hear, "Your
faith is well founded. Fear no danger."
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