Citizenship of the World

“AS wide as the earth; as deep as the human heart.”  This is the ideal that some young and enthusiastic minds form of a cosmopolitanism which shall embrace the great human family. Many a man has aspired to be an apostle of cosmopolitanism.

The great traveller, or the lounger, who has sauntered through every capital of Europe, may imagine that because he has seen many countries, or men of many nations, that he is therefore qualified to teach us the true principles of international toleration, or rather citizenship.

Culture and refinement may, indeed, gain by the labours of such men as these; but it often happens that the traveller is a man of narrow ideas, who has gone through the world incapable of justly estimating the facts presented to his mind, while the lounger, who hangs about the saloons of fashion, often knows nothing of men outside his own sphere.

Citizenship of the world was indeed a dream of the young England party a generation ago, and it is rather odd that the gallant young gentlemen, who showed so conclusively that they had “the courage of their opinions,” did not seem to be aware that the principles upon which true cosmopolitanism should be based had long before been expounded by two great corporations, which are destined to influence man while the earth endures.

The first of these is the Christian Church ; the second is the great fraternity of Freemasons.

It is not our business to speak in these columns of religious questions, but no one can deny that the transcendent intellect of Jesus had sketched the principles upon which universal brotherhood should be based more clearly and accurately than any of the great prophets or philosophers who preceded him.

Confucius, the Chinese thinker, did, indeed , make some approach to the golden rule.

Socrates, four hundred years before our era, was clearly on the track which Jesus afterwards pursued, yet he but faintly grasped the noble idea of a brotherhood which should be co-extensive with the human race.

There can be no question that Masonry owes its noblest principles to the founder of Christianity.

Its Charity, its Brotherly Love, its comprehensive grasp of humanity as a whole, were no doubt derived from the Prophet of Nazareth.

Learned writers have, indeed, proved that the Talmud contains an immense body of moral precept, only second in importance to that contained in the Gospels; but these precepts were, so to speak, the private property of a nation, the people of which had no idea of inviting- the whole world to become partakers with them of the measure of truth they enjoyed.

 

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin – (1812-1875)
IMAGE LINKED:  wikimedia Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin  (1 March 1812 – 14 September 1852) was an English architect, designer, artist and critic who is principally remembered for his pioneering role in the Gothic Revival style of architecture. His work culminated in designing the interior of the Palace of Westminster in Westminster, London, England, and its iconic clock tower, later renamed the Elizabeth Tower, which houses the bell known as Big Ben.

Masonry, which dates its foundation far beyond the Christian era, is yet deeply indebted to that marvellous period when Christian art, as Pugin justly called it, flourished, for the breadth and Charity which are its distinctive traits in the present age.

The architects of the great Gothic cathedrals not only spread Masonry over Europe, but they enlarged its moral boundary line.

The eternal truths on which the scientific portion of Masonry is based are no doubt derived from a study of the works of the Great Architect of the Universe; but the grand principles which we are proud to regard as the guiding stars of the Order, the principles of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, come from a source nearer to humanity than the manifestations of Divine Power.

A Mason is essentially a citizen of the world.

A Mason is essentially a citizen of the world. Toleration, in its broadest and widest sense, is taught him in the sacred arcanum of the Lodge.

Creed, colour and nationality are nothing to him; but wherever he may roam he recognises the members of the Craft as peculiarly his brethren.

In the presence of such cosmopolitanism as this the boastings of individuals outside the Masonic circle are vain and to trivial.

A man of the world may indeed educate himself regard the people he meets as in some sense related to him by great moral and social tics, but he must be a gentleman, as well as a man of large and liberal ideas, before he can consent to forget the prejudices of his age and country.

It is the Mason who is bound to his fellows of the Craft by that mystic tie which has often been recognised and respected in the heat of the battle, in the midst of plague, pestilence and famine, and at times when political tyranny lies made the confession of the principles of the Order dangerous to the social status, and even the life of the daring brother.

Such citizenship is glorious, and we, in common with the great mass of our brethren, are proud of its responsibilities and its claims.

Extract: The Freemason’s Chronicle – January 16, 1875

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