I encountered one of the most moving descriptions of the ideals of a Freemason today on the Grand Lodge of Alberta's website, originally written in 1888 by M.W. Bro. Otto Klotz and published in the Canadian Craftsman magazine:
"If you see a man who quietly and modestly moves in the sphere of his life; who, without blemish, fulfils his duty as a man, a subject, a husband and a father; who is pious without hypocrisy, benevolent without ostentation, and aids his fellow man without self-interest; whose heart beats warm for friendship, whose serene mind is open for licensed pleasures, who in vicissitudes does not despair, nor in fortune will be presumptuous, and who will be resolute in the hour of danger;
"The man who is free from superstition and free from infidelity; who in nature sees the finger of the Eternal Master; who feels and adores the higher destination of man; to whom faith, hope and charity are not mere words without any meaning; to whom property, nay even life, is not too dear for the protection of innocence and virtue, and for the defence of truth;
"The man who towards himself is a severe judge, but who is tolerant with the debilities of his neighbor; who endeavors to oppose errors without arrogance, and to promote intelligence without impatience; who properly understands how to estimate and employ his means; who honors virtue though it may be in the most humble garment, and who does not favor vice though it be clad in purple; and who administers justice to merit whether dwelling in palaces or cottages.
"The man who, without courting applause, is loved by all noble-minded men, respected by his superiors and revered by his subordinates; the man who never proclaims what he has done, can do, or will do, but where need is will lay hold with dispassionate courage, circumspect resolution, indefatigable exertion and a rare power of mind, and who will not cease until he has accomplished his work, and then, without pretension, will retire into the multitude because he did the good act, not for himself, but for the cause of good!"
(Source: The Canadian Craftsman, March 15, 1868. M.W. Bro. Otto KlotzIf you ever meet such men, you will have seen see the personification of brotherly love, relief and truth — and you will have found the ideal of a Freemason.
Can you envision yourself striving to be such a man?
This is why Freemasonry is a lifelong course of study and discovery. After I posted this earlier yesterday, several Canadian brethren informed me that the above is actually a small excerpt of a much longer Charge given at the conclusion of officer installation ceremonies in many Canadian jurisdictions.
The entire Address to the Brethren, of which Otto Klotz' portion above is a part, can be found HERE, and I heartily recommend it to your attention. I can't help but think it would be a fine unofficial addition to any installation ceremony anywhere, but then, I'm a Masonic heretic. Klotz' description of the 'Ideals of a Mason' is all the more impressive when you realize that the author was a German whose second language was English.