The Foundations of A Mason
Our newly initiated brother is placed in the N.E. Corner of the lodge and he is told that he stands to all external appearances a just and upright man and a mason and upon the foundations laid this day may he raise a superstructure perfect in all its parts. All too often the building that we started on this occasion is never completed and, in most cases, hardly out of the ground. The reason being that he cannot complete the work by himself and needs the assistance of more experienced workmen.
While he is standing in this corner of the Lodge two significant points are mentioned to him. First, he is told if he had money or metallic substance on his person he would have to start the ceremony over from the start; and he is asked for charity.
The impression the candidate has at this moment is that being asked for money, but Masonic charity goes far beyond that. The universal charity of a mason is the charity of his heart and of his love. Within the compass of his mind, he measures and draws the Square of his conduct, and within that square, having honestly provided for his own household, he forms his little angles of benevolence and charity to the distressed of all communities. He visits the sick and the infirm, the fatherless and the widow, not out of idle curiosity, but from the impulse of a loving heart, by a kind word, and a helping hand, he keeps himself unspotted from the evil of the world. This is true Masonic charity, and the conduct of every true mason.
As Masonic charity is charity of the heart; he thinks no evil of his brother; he cherishes no designs against him. It is charity of the tongue also; he speaks no evil; bears no false witness; defames no character; blasts no reputation, he knows that to take away a good name is to commit an evil, the damage of which no wealth can repay. Also, it is charity of the hand; he anticipates his Brother's wants, he finds the one in need, feeds the hungry, helps the sick, and perhaps also to the very mind he ought to instruct to build a temple prefect in all its parts. Thus, the heart, the tongue, the hand and the mind of the really free and accepted Mason are warmly engaged and diligently exercised in all those grand principals of Masonic charity.
While we go to great pains to ensure that the candidate is divested of all money and metallic substance, so as to impress upon his mind that in a Masonic lodge all men are considered equal, and no consideration is made on account of worldly possessions. Is this the only reason that all money and metallic substance are removed from his person? There is another symbolic reason for this preparation, for at the time of the building of the Temple there was a peculiar pollution attached to the contamination of metal tools. T.G.A.O.T.U., speaking of the construction of an Altar, commands that it be made of earth or rough stones; observing that if metal tools were used in the fabrication, it would be polluted. In like manner the Temple of Solomon was built without the noise of metallic tools; the stones being hewn in the quarry, there carved, marked, and numbered; the timber felled in the forest of Lebanon, there carved, and marked, and numbered also. They were then floated down to Joppa, and from thence conveyed upon wooden carriages to Mount Moriah, and there set up with wooden mauls made for that purpose; so that there was not heard the sounds of axe, hammer, or metal tool throughout the whole building, for fear that the Temple should be polluted.
The candidate is about to start building a Temple for his soul, and he has been prepared as the well-wrought materials of the Temple and brought into the lodge without the pollution of metallic substance, only now can he raise a superstructure perfect in all its parts.
HONOURABLE TO THE BUILDER