In the Old Charges Freemasons are advised, in all cases of dispute or controversy, to submit to the arbitration of the Masters and Fellows, rather than to go to law.
For example, the Old Charges, adopted by the Grand Lodge of Ohio as part of the Constitution of that Masonic Jurisdiction, provide in the Code and Supplement of 1914 and 1919 (page16), that "Finally, all these Charges you are to observe, and also those that shall be communicated to you in another way ; cultivating Brotherly-Love, the foundation and Cap-stone, the Cement and Glory of this ancient Fraternity, avoiding all Wrangling and Quarreling, all Slander and Backbiting, nor permitting others to slander any honest Brother, but defending his Character, and doing him all good Offices, as far as is consistent with your Honor and safety, and no farther. And if any of them do you Injury, you must apply to your own or his Lodge ; and from thence you may appeal to the Grand Lodge at the Quarterly Communication, and from thence to the annual Grand Lodge; as has been the ancient laudable Conduct of our Forefathers in every Nation ; never taking a legal Course but when the Case cannot be otherwise decided, and patiently listening to the honest and friendly Advice of Master and Fellows, when they would prevent you going to Law with strangers, or would excite you to put a speedy Period to all Law Suits, that so you may mind the Affair of Masonry with the more Alacrity and Success;
but with respect to Brothers or Fellows at Law, the Master and Brethren should kindly offer their Mediation, which ought to be thankfully submitted to by the contending Brethren, and if that submission is impracticable, they. must however carry on their Process, or Law-suit, without Wrath and Rancor, (not in the common way,) saying or doing nothing which may hinder Brotherly-Love, and good Offices to be renewed and continued; that all may see the benign Influence of Masonry, as all true Masons have done from the Beginning of the World, and will do to the End of Time."
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
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