Masonic charity is strong, kindly, beautiful and tender, and not charity at all in the narrow sense of the word. Nay, it does not wait until a brother is in distress, but tow about him in his strength and prosperity the affectionate arm of friendship, without which life is cold and harsh. Friendship, fraternity, fellowship—this is the soul of Freemasonry, of which charity is but one gesture with a thousand meanings.
Freemasonry not only inculcates the principles of love and benevolence, it seeks to give them an actual and living presence in all the occupations and intercourse of life. It not only feels, it acts! It not only pities human suffering, ti relieves it! Nowhere in the world can a good Mason feel himself alone, friendless or forsaken. The invisible but helpful arms of our Order surround him, where he may be….
It is a common error to regard charity as that sentiment which prompts us to extend assistance to the unfortunate. Charity in a Masonic sense has a much broader meaning, and embraces affection and goodwill toward all mankind, but more especially our brethren in Freemasonry. It is this sentiment which prompts a Freemason to suffer long and be kind, to control his temper, forgive the erring, reach forth his hand to stay a falling brother, to warn him of his error and whisper in his ear that correction which his fault may demand, to close his ear to slander and his lips to reproach; in short, to do unto other as he would be done by.
Charity as applied to Freemasonry is different from the usual and accepted meaning. All true Masons meet upon the same level, regardless of wealth or station. In giving assistance we strive the too common error of considering charity only as that sentiment of commiseration which leads us to assist the poor and unfortunate with pecuniary donations. Its Masonic application is more noble and more extensive. We are taught not only to relieve a brother’s material wants, the cry of hunger, etc., but to fellowship with him upon our own level stripped of worldly titles and honours. When we thus appeal to him, giving spiritual advice, lifting him up morally and spiritually with no sense of humiliation to him, we set him free from his passion and wants. To such charity there is a reciprocity rich in brotherly love and sincere appreciation.