General Albert Pike on the Republican Ideal, Deeds and What it means to be a Good Mason
Albert Pike (1809-1891), an American confederate and Episcopalian-Freemason of the Scottish Rite Order on duty and virtue.
“Whatsoever of morality and intelligence; what of patience, perseverance, faithfulness, of method, insight, ingenuity, energy; in a word, whatsoever of STRENGTH a man has in him, will lie written in the WORK he does. To work is to try himself against Nature and her unerring, everlasting laws: and they will return true verdict as to him. The noblest Epic is a mighty Empire slowly built together, a mighty series of heroic deeds, a mighty conquest over chaos. Deeds are greater than words. They have a life, mute, but undeniably; and grow. They people the vacuity of Time, and make it green and worthy. Labor is the truest emblem of God, the Architect and Eternal Maker (…) Men without duties to do, are like trees planted on precipices; from the roots of which all the earth has crumbled. Nature owns no man who is not also a Martyr. She scorns the man who sits screened from all work, from want, danger, hardship, the victory over which is work; and has all his work and battling done by other men (…)” (Albert Pike. 1871. Morals and Dogma, pg. 341.)
“A good Mason is one that can look upon death, and see its face with the same countenance with which he hears its story; that can endure all the labors of his life with his soul supporting his body, that can equally despise riches when he hath them and when he hath them not;that is, not sadder if they are in his neighbor’s exchequer, nor more lifted up if they shine around about his own walls; one that is not moved with good fortune coming to him, nor going from him; that can look upon another man’s lands with equanimity and pleasure, as if they were his own; and yet look upon his own, and use them too, just as if they were another man’s; that neither spends his goods prodigally and foolishly, nor yet keeps them avariciously and like a miser; that weighs not benefits by weight and number, but by the mind and circumstances of him who confers them; that never thinks his charity expensive, if a worthy person be the receiver; that does nothing for opinion’s sake, but everything for conscience, being as careful of his thoughts as of his acting in markets and theatres, and in as much awe of himself as of a whole assembly; that is, bountiful and cheerful to his friends, and charitable and apt to forgive his enemies; that loves his country, consults its honor, and obeys its laws, and desires and endeavors nothing more than that he may do his duty and honor God. And such a Mason may reckon his life to be the life of a man, and compute his months, not by the course of the sun, but by the zodiac and circle of his virtues.” (Albert Pike. 1871. Morals and Dogma, pp. 219-220.)
“The whole world is but one republic, of which each nation is a family, and every individual a child. Masonry, not in anywise derogating from the differing duties which the diversity of states requires, tends to create a new people, which, composed of men of many nations and tongues, shall all be bound together by the bonds of science, morality, and virtue. Essentially philanthropic, philosophical, and progressive, it has for the basis of its dogma a firm belief in the existence of God and his providence, and of the immortality of the soul; for its object, the dissemination of moral, political, philosophical, and religious truth, and the practice of all the virtues. In every age, its device has been, “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity,” with constitutional government, law, order, discipline, and subordination to legitimate authority–government and not anarchy. But it is neither a political party nor a religious sect. It braces all parties and all sects, to form from among them all a vast fraternal association. It recognizes the dignity of human nature, and man’s right to such freedom as he is fitted for; and it knows nothing that should place one man below another, except ignorance, debasement, and crime, and the necessity of subordination to lawful will and authority. It is philanthropic; for it recognizes the great truth that all men are of the same origin, have common interests, and should co-operate together to the same end.” (Albert Pike. 1871. Morals and Dogma, pp. 220-221.)