THE TRUE MASON THINKS!

Presented by R.W. Bro. C. E. Pinnell

Senior Grand Warden

  The Theme for this year's Area Meetings will, I hope, mean that our members will take the time to study and so realize and appreciate the excellence of our ancient order. Nothing can survive by reflecting on past glories, nothing can survive by recounting the opportunities that have been missed. We must realize, as M.W. Bro. Dr. Thomas S. Roy told us, that FREEMASONRY is a FORCE and not a FORM and any Force needs fuel to keep it going. Our individual members must provide the fuel by their studies, by their discussions and their faithful interest and support of their Lodge. If they do this, they can and will provide the wherewithal that will maintain the organization in a healthy state. Too much dependence has been placed on Grand Lodge in recent years. Your Grand Lodge officers are available to provide leadership, but they are not there to carry the whole burden.

Let us take an individual who has been made a member of the Lodge after due enquiry. He comes to us with an open mind; he comes with a receptive mind and his talents are put to good use in preparing himself for each degree. To avoid learning and reciting the work in a parrot-like fashion, it is desirable that he have an enquiring mind; something to motivate him to seek the hidden truths and real meanings so carefully concealed in the allegories and symbolism of the Work. Explanations should be available to him from his coach at all times and when he has received his Master Mason's degree and has been examined, he should be guided to the Library. Books from the library can be obtained by mail or by personal attendance. Our new member must be imbued with the idea that

it is not a mere form he has been taken through, but a means of conveying a great teaching of how to live our lives on this earth, how to live with our fellowmen.

FREEMASONRY IS NOT A FORM TO BE FOLLOWED BUT A FORCE TO GUIDE OUR LIVES!

Senior members have a tremendous responsibility at this stage to instill this thought in the minds of new members; to follow it up and to provide opportunities that can be accepted by the individual. However, we must realize that all Master Masons do not fall into the same category and the Worshipful Master should be especially careful to recognize this. A Freemason's Lodge is a place where all men meet on the level-but this does not automatically imply that all are mentally equipped to make use of the same type of material. Our strength lies in the wide diversity of our members. We draw from every walk in life, we have eminent University

Professors joining with those who earn their living in manual labor and, although we never had a caste system in Canada, we can take a lesson from the writings of our late Bro. Rudyard Kipling in his poem "We hadn't good regalia".

Let us classify ourselves as TRUE MASONS now and THINK. Think how we can direct Freemasonry as a FORCE in our lives and in the lives of those around us. Continuing achievement will not come through our interest in glorifying our organization but in making the organization glorify life in its service to mankind. The benefits of Freemasonry are not restricted to its members but they will endure to the advantage of all mankind, if properly applied.

We, as thinking men, must be able to separate the wheat from the chaff in all important matters with which we are confronted from day to day. We are bombarded by Television, Radio and the Press every day of the week with opinions on every problem that faces our government and, yes, even ourselves as individuals. We should be able to tune our minds to be able to consider what is best for our country as a whole and what the future will require. We should not be too partisan to recognize sound propositions and we should be ready to support progress.

Freemasonry is considered to be the oldest fraternal organization in existence. We trace Grand Lodges back to 1717, but Freemasonry was in existence for centuries before that. The event of two hundred and fifty years ago will be celebrated in London, England in June of 1967, and I hope that our Grand Lodge will be represented at the historic meeting. This my brethren, could be said to be the commemorating of the modernizing of Freemasonry. Nothing trivial could have withstood the years. The Ancient Craft is NOT trivial. Its system has been copied by countless hundreds of organizations, many of which, alas, seem to draw our members away. Why? Why should men who have been received into our Lodges lose interest? It is because we fail to grasp the opportunity of making them THINK. Freemasonry does not consist of going to Lodge once or twice a month to hear the minutes and pass a few paltry bills. We must lift our sights-we are BUILDERS, or at least our forebears were and we can be builders now if we will all THINK and avail ourselves of the opportunities placed before us.

The whole purpose of Freemasonry is the development of CHARACTER. This theme follows like an unbroken thread through the workings of our three degrees. We are told what was done many hundreds of years ago. We are shown the achievement of men in Biblical times in the building of King Solomon's Temple in particular. We are told that organized Freemasonry traces its origin back through the Guilds and it is impressed upon us that the members of the Guilds were PROUD OF THEIR WORKMANSHIP. Each man knew his station in life, each fulfilled his daily task to the best of his ability. All this is history and I put it to you in the plainest of language that these stories are unfolded before our eyes and ears as a means of inducing us to fulfill our tasks on this earth while there is yet time. We know not the length of our sojourn on this earth. Let us not pass up any opportunity to build our own character and to help to build the character of those around us-those with whom we associate in our daily avocations-by performing our daily task honestly and to the best of our ability.

Before I close I would like to quote some of the statements made by Grand Masters of our sister jurisdictions. A recent Grand Master of the District of Columbia said: "Our sole aim and purpose is to make good men better-not better than their fellowmen, but better than themselves. It is high time that we determine to firmly support and tenaciously cling to these principles that have blessed and sustained us in the past, and will prove' to be our certain and unfailing guide-posts into the future."

Grand Master Arthur C. Hodgson of Kansas said that "Masonry is a personal experience. True Masonry is in living, in performing as a champion when there is no one in the stadium; in giving our best when there are no spectators and the crowd is gone home. True Masonry is in giving of our best when only God knows and only self can judge what the quality of the gift may be."

Grand Master Clyde E. Flowers of Indiana said: "I do not believe that Masonic progress can be measured in terms of membership alone. Numbers alone do not indicate the strength of our Order, but any organization must add good members to replace its natural losses or its usefulness may suffer. We should be seriously concerned in making real Masons of those we receive into our Lodge"

A really sound comment was made by Grand Master the Right Reverend Roy E. Howes, D.D. of New Mexico when he said: "We must look into the future, but our roots are in the past and if we become severed from our roots we will die."

In Canada, a Grand Master of British Columbia, M.W. Bro. J. H. McKergow, who was a member of a Calgary Lodge before he went to British Columbia and who passed away suddenly in 1966, urged his brethren: "Let us make the new member feel he is part of the Lodge. Welcome him, assist him in his education and put him to work"

In Alberta I honestly feel that we have made progress. I think that with our Workshop we are giving Leadership to the Craft, but we have no cause to rest on our laurels, if we have earned any. We must press onwards-let us continue to make good men better. Let us follow the guide-posts that have been set up through the centuries of study that we may perform like champions, ever nurturing the roots of our Craft as we do our best to make real Masons of those whom we admit in the West. Having admitted our brother, let us honestly welcome him and make him feel he has become a member of the greatest Fraternity on earth. Let us put him to work.

 

THE TRUE MASON THINKS !

Presented by

R.W. Bro. P. J. Kendal, Junior Grand Warden

  Brethren, it is my task this evening to take a negative approach to our theme and in order to do so, I must act as a true advocate and present my side to the best of my ability. The purpose is to urge the necessity of thinking upon members of the Craft. I may not personally believe some of the things I am about to say, but the subject must be thoroughly analyzed.

We have countless examples of lack of thought on the part of our members in the Fraternity and I do not believe that the present day is any exception to the rule. A similar situation has probably existed since Lodges were formed and even since the Guilds directed the Stonemasons in the building of the great Cathedrals in the Old Land.

We in Alberta, during the last ten years have initiated six thousand three hundred and forty-nine (6,349) petitioners and yet twenty-one (21) of these have not advanced to the Master Mason's degree. During the same period, sixteen hundred and seventy-four (1,674) members were suspended for non-payment of dues. Quite a number of these had less than five years membership in the Craft, in fact several were Entered Apprentices and Fellowcrafts. This my Brethren, has taken place during a period of unparalleled prosperity in Alberta, so we can take it that economic reasons do not apply. Have we, as members, been THINKING whilst we have been using Freemasonry as a FORM to give, I will not use the word confer, the degrees to these men? Have we done our duty to those from whom we have accepted the fees to enter Craft Freemasonry? I contend that we have not.

We tell each initiate when he is made an Entered Apprentice, that he has "this evening been made a member of the Lodge". In doing so, are we merely following a FORM, or have we accepted the opportunity to recognize Freemasonry as a FORCE, and have we done something to show our new member that we appreciate him being one of us? Have we indicated the unlimited horizons of the Craft?

We hope that the new members were given the lessons of the degree in a clear and understandable ,m manner They were told to sign the By-laws of the Lodge, in token of their submission thereto. They were not given an opportunity to read them first, but their trust having been found to be soundly placed in the first portion of the degree ceremony they now trust the officers of the Lodge. Do we fail many of our new members? I fear that in many cases we have done so and I will now ask you what happens all too often and then will provide you with my answers.

First, insufficient attention is given to the preparation of the work of the degree. In a great many cases, it is given in an unintelligible manner, lacks impressiveness and dignity, and does not convey the message intended for the candidate. We therefore cannot expect that the candidate will get anything out of it. Some will say that the coach will have an opportunity to explain everything fully, but what happens? Many coaches do not have their heart in the job at hand; all they see is the requirement for a parrot-like repetition of the words of the ritual. They miss the opportunity of a close study of the degree and an explanation of the wonderful meaning of it to the new member. In other cases, the coach is a new member of the Lodge and lacks the proper background for conveying the true meaning of the ritual to the candidate. It is important that the candidate's coach be well educated in the facts of Masonic life.

I don't care how many times a member acts as coach or studies the work in the solitude of his own room, he can always find additional meaning in these lectures. The lectures were written many years ago, but they are as applicable to the present day as if they had been written last evening. Here too, I must ask if our present day members are THINKING members? We hear a lot of argument about our rituals, it seems that every member wants to have one, and yet, within the memory of many of the present day members, Rituals were unknown, except to the Worshipful Master and possibly the Wardens. The ordinary member certainly did not have access to one and the work was truly passed from mouth to ear.

The other day, Grand Lodge Office received a letter from a Past Master who had lost his ritual. He wanted a new one and remarked that if it was not forthcoming immediately he would go to the book-store and buy one. Was this Past Master THINKING? I contend he definitely was not. Our Grand Jurisdiction has the right to say what work shall be used in our Lodges, and the work that has been approved does not include that published by a group of non-masons in Toronto under the guise of LAUTIR Press. (This is Ritual spelled backwards). Surely our members have sufficient stature to ignore these books that are not made up correctly for our Lodges. No THINKING Mason will acquire a clandestine copy of the work because he does not agree with the policy laid down by Grand Lodge! Another incident which came to my attention, was the thoughtless placing of one of these clandestine rituals in the hands of a newly initiated candidate, who had only received his Entered apprentice degree, in order to assist his coach and to enable him to get up the work for his examination prior to being passed to the Fellowcraft degree. This brother mason not only wasn't THINKING, but was violating the solemn vows of the several obligations that he had taken as a Master Mason and should certainly have been severely censured. The ritual does not do the candidates thinking for him, and a Lodge does not do a Mason's thinking for him; each one must do his own.

We were told that Masonry is an individual and personal thing. All too often, thoughtless remarks by many brethren, who seem to take a delight in instilling a fear in the candidates mind in regard to the initiation ceremony, thereby distracting his mind from the beautiful ritualistic ceremony, which should be a pleasure for the candidate to anticipate and make him more receptive to the teachings of Masonry, is further proof that many of our brethren are not thinking and have not grasped the deeper meaning and purpose of our fraternity. In the current edition of our Grand Lodge Bulletin, our Editor draws attention to a brother with a careless tongue, who, unfortunately had made a thoughtless, derogatory remark about a prospective candidate, with no possibility of substantiation and altogether no basis in fact. Although he immediately retracted his statement, when several in the group expressed their severe displeasure with the remark. However, the damage was done and unfortunately for Masonry, an aspiring young candidate was lost as a result of the Ballot. Another well taken example by our Editor of a non-thinking Mason, who not only damaged Freemasonry but the reputation of a good individual as well.

These and other incidents have no place in our great Fraternity. Let us be proud of our heritage and acquit ourselves like men and Masons.

We are proud of our Craft, that is the Three Degrees of Craft  that on many occasions well meaning brethren are waiting with application forms for additional degrees, as soon as a brother has received his Master Mason's degree, yes and before that important date too. Our new brother has not had an opportunity of learning anything about the Craft at this stage, but here we have a member whom he knows, one who has doubtless been a member for a number of years, advising him to "go higher". Is this brother THINKING? I say he is not, and it is not fair to our newly raised brother or to the Lodge to approach him with a suggestion that he petition other bodies under these circumstances. I may mention here, that our Mother Grand Lodge of Manitoba have made it a Masonic Offence to so approach a brother within twelve months of his being raised.

Let us act as true members of the Craft and instruct our new members in its mysteries when we receive them. This is the opportunity that we have, this is the time for us to avail ourselves of this opportunity and act as THINKING members. A Grand Master of Prince Edward Island, the smallest Grand Lodge in Canada, has said:

A Man is as great as the truth he speaks

As great as the help he gives,

As great as the destiny he seeks

As great as the life he lives.

Now my brethren, I have alas, drawn attention to many occasions, when it been THINKING. There is no reason why we should not correct these errors. I told you that we had suspended 1,674 members in ten years; however, during the same period we restored 453 and at the same time we increased our overall membership by 1,168 to a total of 18,828 as at THINKING men could be! What an opportunity we have to serve our God, our fellowman and ourselves!

Finally, let us, in this the Centennial year of our great Country, rededicate ourselves and work within the guide posts of our beloved Fraternity, with a renewed will and determination, and resolve that the teachings of our great Craft, shall guide us to new and wider horizons.

Words:

Will we who labor in the quarries to-day, leave a Temple as much in order as the one we entered? Will our grandsons enjoy our Lodge as we are enjoying it? The answer lies with each of us. To-morrow's Lodge is being built right now.  How diligently are we laboring Brethren? If there is one message I wish to leave with you it is this:  Get a firm grip on Masonry; live it as if it were life itself; don't be so much concerned with getting from it as giving to it.  And lastly, to the best of your ability, be a Leader in all you do. Brethren, we dare not do less.

May I close with these few choice and challenging

Your task to build a better world, God said; I answered How?

This world is such a large vast place, so complimented now.

And I, so small and useless am, There's nothing I can do, Then God in all His wisdom said, "Just build a better you".

There is a challenge for all of us. Let's think about it.

 

SUMMARY OF THE TWO PAPERS

Presented by

R.W. Bro. B. Brown, Deputy Grand Master

  In summarizing these two papers it is apparent that both the Senior Grand Warden and the Junior Grand Warden are of the opinion that a TRUE MASON THINKS, but they are not at all satisfied that all Masons are TRUE Masons and THINKING Masons. The statement of the Senior Grand Warden that Freemasonry is a FORCE to be used and not merely a FORM to be followed is a very emphatic and true statement, yet as the Junior Grand Warden points out, it appears that too often, especially with new members, the Force or impact of our ritual becomes only a Form of giving our degrees with little or no explanation of their meaning.

  Our candidates come to us with open minds, receptive minds, seeking information and the secrets of Masonry. The Senior Grand Warden says that we older members fail our responsibility, fail to provide the instruction that we should give and, on the contrary, many examples of lack of thought can be listed. This is not only happening today but no doubt has existed since the beginning of Lodges-in this I agree with the Junior Grand Warden. The further statement is made that during the last ten to fifteen years we have been putting candidates through in large numbers and that we were not making true Masons, but were just conferring the title of Master Mason, whether it was deserved or not. We must agree with him to a great degree, however this has fortunately changed considerably and we now have the time to make really true Masons and THINKING Masons. Yes, I believe that we were not thinking whilst we were using Masonry merely as a Form to give.

  This has been the subject of discussion at nearly every gathering of leaders of the Craft-at the `Banff' Conference of the Western Jurisdictions, at the All Canada Conference held Biannually.  We accept men from all walks of life into our Fraternity, many with little or no outward appearance of having anything in common but they must have one thing in common and that is a desire to improve themselves and to be more useful to their God, their fellowman, their Community and their Country. The Senior Grand Warden points out that we give them the basic instruction in the degree work, in our lectures and charges, but this almost an impossibility for anyone to immediately grasp its rightful meaning. They have come to us seeking, may I say seeking and thinking, we must then give of ourselves to them. They are thinking men and are we, the senior members, doing our duty towards them. The Junior Grand Warden doesn't think so-I ask you to seriously consider the question.

  The Senior Grand Warden went on to state that Freemasonry is the oldest Fraternal organization known to man, in this we all agree.  It is a great and good organization with nothing trivial in its teachings or philosophies.  Nothing trivial could have withstood the test of the centuries. This in itself must be proof that intelligent men, thinking men were the founders and are the leaders of our Craft.  Surely nothing but Truth and the good way of life could have survived down thru the years.  Great and wonderful guidance must have been given to the illustrious brethren who wrote our rituals, our lectures and our charges and keep hidden from the uninitiated the true meanings inculcated in these works.

The Junior Grand Warden has told you that these lectures are just as applicable today as when they were written-how true!   We may agree that we fail to impress our new members with the true meaning, but how many of us can arrive at the same conclusions as to the real meaning, as to how our own individual life can be effected? What they point out to me could be vastly different from the benefit gained by another member. The ideology might be the same but the final meaning to each of us can be very different.  Each Mason must find the answer for himself, in his own heart. I admit that everyone can be helped and guided and maybe we fail in our duty as the Junior Grand Warden points out, but we must also have our new brethren think for themselves and find their own answers in their heart. This a good Mason will do and he will then become a True Mason and a Thinking Mason. Our objective is to create the enthusiasm that will bring this about.

The Senior Grand Warden emphasized that TRUE Masonry is in living and performing like a champion, in giving our best at all times. Masonic progress is not measured by membership, but by the quality of its members. Our sole aim and purpose is "to make good men better, not better than their fellowman, but better than themselves."

The Junior Grand Warden points out that in acting as True Masons we must provide the help others may require so that we may understand our great teachings and assist others to become True Masons. We all agree that Freemasonry is a Force and not a Form. This Force needs fuel and you and I are that fuel, we have the responsibility to continue to supply that fuel by our attendance at Lodge, by our willingness to spread our knowledge and thoughts of Masonry into the fertile minds of our brethren. Both the Senior and Junior Grand Wardens are True Masons and Thinking Masons but they both believe, as I do, that not all Masons are Thinking Masons. What these two dedicated brethren have pointed out in their papers is the need of every Lodge to make Master Masons instead of members who may be statistically significant but are spiritually ineffective. The Officers of our Lodges must seek, and use, more knowledge about the individual members of their Lodge. They must become more expert, more imaginative in carrying out the true functions of the Lodge to which they have obligated themselves. They must be more effective in giving good and wholesome instruction to the Craftsmen, not only by perfection in the ritualistic work they perform, but also by the tasks they set and the work and activities they arrange for every member of the Lodge by which they acquire the skills of a Master Mason. They must be constantly concerned with the inspiration they arouse in every brother to practice the skills of a Master Mason.

Whatever Freemasonry needs it needs it most at the Craft Lodge level, where Master Masons are made one at a time, individually, if they are made at all. A Master Mason worthy of the name is a specialist in the production of good human relationships by means of Brotherly-love, Relief and Truth. He is an example of Brotherhood in action.

We have a mighty task before us, let us get on with the work, we have the tools, let us use them for the good of all mankind.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

One of the great privileges life has to offer a human being is the privilege of belonging; belonging to a family; belonging to society, belonging to the Masonic Order, for our associations and teachings therein have not only broadened our scope of thought but have unconsciously, at one time or another, guided each and every one of us in our train of thought, or in other words WHAT WE THINK.

So many times the question is asked "What do you think?". For many the answer varies - 'I can't think'; 'I don't know what to think.' 'Let me think' or 'I didn't think'. My brothers, our reaction to circumstances, no matter what they be, is the result of our thoughts, or lack of thought.  I believe that man's chief purpose is to serve rather than to rule.  Even though we find ourselves in positions of authority and have the privilege of having many people as subordinates, our accomplishments will be greater if we adhere to that belief. If we as Masons are going to measure up to our responsibilities in life we must recognize three main gifts:

First-the gift of being freeborn, freedom of choice, freedom of speech, freedom of worship, yes and freedom from slavery if we so wish and act accordingly...  What are man's thoughts--or is it lack of thought that causes him to drift into the slavery of boredom or the slavery of negative thought?  If posterity is to enjoy these freedoms then we must be prepared to preserve and guard them with the utmost care. Or are they worth preserving?  What do you think? Do you not think they are?  They are, without a doubt, the greatest benefit to our society as we know it today.  Men have given their lives in order to gain them, surely you and I can assist in their preservation.

The second gift is none other than time itself, which is life and the ability to accomplish our task.  Are we making the most of this privilege?  Are we using it to the best advantage or are we of the opinion there is lots more.  Do we think that there is another day coming anyway, so why not waste today?  Do we think that the world owes us a living so why is it necessary for us to make any preparation for the future? The man who feels the world owes him a living usually ends up in the poorhouse or behind prison bars!

The last gift, but certainly not the least, is the ability to think. This will resolve our attitude towards the world, to life itself. Thinking clearly and intelligently will let us decide what is right and what is wrong.  Not that we are not going to make mistakes, for we will, we all do.  Give me a man who has never made a mistake and I'll give you a man who has never done anything.  Clear thinking on our part allows us to recognize this and by acknowledging our mistakes today we prove that we are smarter than we were yesterday.

The reason most people do not get what they want out of life is because they don't know what they want. They settle for whatever comes along. They never clearly define their objectives, even to themselves. Is it any wonder that the wishful arrows they shoot in the general direction of their target seldom make a bulls-eye? It may sound ridiculous to some, but there is ample evidence to prove that a man can be pretty much what he wants to be, if he will decide what it is and concentrate all his thought and action on it.  A man's powers, often unrecognized even by himself, have a way of matching his vision. We understand that none of us are actually using our brain power to its greatest capacity, simply because we do not spend enough time thinking  the right things.

It takes a lot out of a person to bear down on himself as hard as he must to get what he is after, but it can be done. We are no exception but rather we of the Masonic Order have been given a glimpse of the goal and we have been given a map of the road we must travel. We can achieve our aim in life if we are prepared to pay the cost. But we must be sure in our own mind that the goal we have chosen is worth the struggle. We of the Masonic Order must be sure that we are right. Why is it that so many of our members fail to catch a true and real meaning of Freemasonry and therefore absent themselves from our Lodge meetings and many allow themselves to be suspended for non-payment of dues. My brethren, before we can teach others, or set ourselves up as an example, we must first decide exactly what we think. What is our understanding of the Order.  Are we working for the good of the Order or are we encouraged by selfish motives? Do we honestly believe that Freemasonry teaches man to practice charity and benevolence, to protect chastity, to respect the ties of blood and friendship? Do we believe that Masonry teaches us to adopt the principles and revere the ordinances of religion, to assist the feeble, guide the blind, raise up the downtrodden and shelter the orphan? Do we believe that Freemasonry teaches us to promote learning, love man and fear God, to implore His mercy and search for happiness?  What do you think?

The big question humanity is asking today is how to live longer and better. It would seem that our life span is increasing due to the expanded medical knowledge. We can look forward with serenity to advanced age minus aches and pains, all we have to do is live properly, with a better diet, less worry, more exercise and also more rest. This is comforting unless we stop and think--living longer is meaningless unless we can live more fruitfully. The number of years is immaterial, it is the quality of those years that counts 

The average person views work as something that exhausts the energy. He approaches work in this light and of course is not disappointed. The unmasonic desire of getting something for nothing, so prevalent in the world, is caused directly by an almost universal dislike of work and if we dislike work it is because we work in the wrong state of mind. When we adjust our thinking and put work in its proper perspective, work will then become one of the greatest pleasures and we will then arrive at that state in life where we would rather work for what we need than get it for nothing.  I heard a while ago of two teenage boys who lived next to an elderly lady in one of our cities.  An elderly gentleman also lived nearby and he saw to her welfare as far as he was able, but he was not capable of shoveling the snow from her walks. This gentleman asked the boys if they would shovel the snow and he would pay them for doing it.  His answer was a flat refusal. Shortly afterwards he spoke to the boys mother and, to his dismay, she told him that the boys had their pocket money and didn't have to work at any menial tasks.  Here was a mother who was not only ruining her sons but was depriving them of one of the greatest joys in life, the feeling of well-being when you have done a good turn for someone else.

I believe that the purpose of work is two-fold. First to produce something worthwhile and secondly to develop a greater worth in the producer.  Modern society seems to have lost sight of this second part.  There is nothing more profitable for a producer than to perpetually develop himself and increase his worth, because the worth of the product increases as the worth of the producer is developed and products of high quality bring high prices. Did not a famous philosopher say "The basic argument for intellectual discipline in education is not that it lifts man's spirit above the world but it equips his mind to enter the world to perform its tasks'.

Would I be far wrong in suggesting to you that one of the most valuable results of all education and learning is the ability to make yourself do the things you have to do when they ought to be done, whether you like it or not.  It is the first lesson that ought to be learned and, however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last lesson he learns thoroughly.  So many people think they have no time, no time for self improvement, no time to stop and think.  What do they do when they have a few minutes at their disposal?  Turn on the TV or radio. Pick up a magazine or newspaper, scan the funnies.  All these things have their merits, but not at the expense of taking a few minutes each day to quietly think, think deeply.  This is the way people will regain the ability to entertain themselves, which in the long run will be more rewarding to them than any form of entertainment that can be purchased with money.  Brethren, if we don't exercise this God-given ability we will lose one of the greatest privileges given mankind.

A man's mind becomes sharper and shinier with use but if it is not used it becomes dull and useless.  Our thinking develops the whole being, heart and soul complete.  Unless a man has the right kind of heart you cannot make him the right kind of man and if he is not the right kind of man, you cannot make him the right kind of Mason. You can fill his brain with obligations, teach him all the symbols and send him forth from the lodge room loaded with good intentions, but if he can't think he will blunder his way along the road of life, his accomplishments as far as Masonry is concerned will be nil.   My Brethren, there are more ways than one of dying.   Many men are dead, have been dead for many years before they are buried.

We die of what we eat and drink,

But more we die of what we think!

 

         

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