Origin of Masonry and its General Advantages.
FROM the commencement of the world we may trace the foundation of Masonry. *) Ever since symmetry began, and harmony displayed her charms, our Order has had a being. During many ages, and in many different countries, it has flourished. In the dark periods of antiquity, when literature was in a low state, and the rude manners of our forefathers withheld from them that knowledge we now so amply share, Masonry diffused its influence. This science unvailed, arts arose, civilization took place, and the progress of knowledge and philosophy gradually dispelled the gloom of ignorance and barbarism. Government being settled, authority was given to laws, and the assemblies of the Fraternity acquired the patronage of the great and the good, while the tenets
*) Masonry and Geometry are sometimes used as synonymous terms.
of the profession were attended with unbounded utility.
Masonry is a science confined to no particular country, but diffused over the whole terrestrial globe. Wherever arts flourish, there it flourishes too. Add to this, that, by secret and inviolable signs, carefully preserved among the Fraternity throughout the world, Masonry becomes an universal language. Hence many advantages are gained: the distant Chinese, the wild Arab, and the American savage will embrace a brother Briton, Frank, or German; and will know, that, besides the common ties of humanity, there is still a stronger obligation to induce him to kind and friendly offices. The spirit of the fulminating priest will be tamed; and a moral brother, though of a different persuasion, engage his esteem. Thus, through the influence of Masonry, which is reconcilable to the best policy, all those disputes which embitter life, and sour the tempers of men, are avoided; while the common good, the general design of the Craft, is zealously pursued.
From this view of the system, its utility must be sufficiently obvious. The universal principles of the art unite men of the most opposite tenets, of the most distant countries, and of the most contradictory opinions in one indissoluble bond of affection, so that in every nation a Mason finds a friend, and in every climate a home.