When is a man a Mason? When he can look out over the rivers, the
hills, and the far horizon with a profound sense of his own littleness
in the vast scheme of things and yet have faith, hope, and courage.
When he knows that down in his heart every man is as noble, as
vile, as divine, as diabolic, and as lonely as himself, and seeks to
know, to forgive, and to love his fellow man. When he knows how
to sympathize with men in their sorrows, yea, even in their sins–
knowing that each man fights a hard fight against many odds. When
he has learned how to make friends and to keep them, and above all
how to keep friends with himself. When he loves flowers, can hunt
the birds without a gun, and feel the thrill of an old forgotten joy
when he hears the laugh of a little child. When he can be happy and
high-minded amid the meaner drudgeries of life. When starcrowned
trees and the glint of sunlight on flowing waters subdue
him like the thought of one much loved and long dead. When no
voice of distress reaches his ears in vain, and no hand seeks his aid
without response. When he finds good in every faith that helps any
man to lay hold of higher things, and to see majestic meanings in
life, whatever the name of that faith may be. When he can look into
a wayside puddle and see something besides mud, and into the face
to the most forlorn mortal and see something beyond sin. When he
knows how to pray, how to love, how to hope. When he has kept
faith with himself, with his fellow man, with his God; in his hand a
sword for evil, in his heart a bit of a song—glad to live, but not
afraid to die! In such a man, whether he be rich or poor, scholarly or
unlearned, famous or obscure, Masonry has wrought her sweet ministry!
Such a man has found the only real secret of Masonry, and the
one which it is trying to give to all the world.

Joseph Fort Newton