Although almsgiving, or the pecuniary relief of the destitute, was not one of the original objects for which the Institution of Freemasonry was established, yet, as in every society of men bound together by a common tie, it becomes incidentally, yet necessarily, a duty to be practiced by all its members in their individual as well as in their corporate capacity.
In fact, this virtue is intimately interwoven with the whole superstructure of the Institution, and its practice is a necessary corollary from all its principles. At an early period in his initiation the candidate is instructed in the beauty of charity by the most impressive ceremonies, which are not easily to be forgotten, and which, with the same benevolent design, are repeated from time to time during his advancement to higher degrees, in various forms and under different circumstances.
"The true Freemason," says Brother Pike, '"must be, and must have a right to be, content with himself; and he can be so only when he lives not for himself alone, but for others ,,who need his assistance and have a claim upon his sympathy."
The same eloquent writer lays down this rule for a Freemason's almsgiving: "Give, looking for nothing again, without consideration of future advantages; give to children, to old men, to the unthankful, and the dying, and to those you shall never see again ;
for else your alms or courtesy is not charity, but traffic and merchandise. And omit not to relieve the needs of your enemy and him who does you injury" ( see Exclusiveness of Freemasonry).
The Encyclopedia Masonica exists to preserve the wealth of information that has been generated over the centuries by numerous Masonic authors. As Freemasonry is now Speculative and not Operative, the work of a Mason is now conducted in the quarries of symbolism, literature, history and scholasticism. Freemasonry encourages intellectual exploration and academic achievement in its members and many Masons over the years have taken up this calling. The result has been that an incredible amount of philosophy, symbolic speculation and academic insights have been created. However, as Freemasonry teaches, human knowledge is frail and fragile. It is easily lost in the turnings of the ages and unforeseen catastrophes can result in great setbacks to human knowledge.
For too long these great works have sat on forgotten shelves, gathering dust and concealing the light that could be shed on the darkness of our ignorance. The Encyclopedia Masonica has been created to act as an ark, sailing through time, to ensure that future generations of Freemasons have access to the same knowledge that inspired the Brethren that came before them. It will contain the works of such Masonic Luminaries as Albert G. Mackey, Manly Palmer Hall, G.S.M. Ward, Albert Pike and many others. The Encyclopedia Masonica is a living work and the volunteers of Universal Co-Masonry will continue to labor until the most comprehensive Masonic reference work the world has ever seen has been created. The Encyclopedia Masonica is open to any who wish to use it and will remain open so that the treasures contained within may increase the wealth of all those who seek its wisdom.
- BROTHER ISAAC NEWTON
P.O. BOX 70
Larkspur CO 80118
Co-Masonry, Co-Freemasonry, Women's Freemasonry, Men and Women, Mixed Masonry