A Closing Charge

Rough Mason, Mason, Freemason, Accepted Mason - Oscar Patterson III 2017

A Closing Charge

“Forget not the duties you have heard so frequently inculcated and forcibly recommended in this Lodge. Be diligent, prudent, temperate, and discrete . . . These principles are to extend further. Every Human being has a claim upon your kind offices. Do good unto all” reads a closing Charge. My favorite, however, is a Scottish Charge.

Picture, if you will, newly made Masons, appearing for the first time before those grand Collared and Aproned leaders of his Lodge; a bag pipe plays in the background and a giant Scotchman, looking about six foot ten with his bearskin hat adding another two solemnly intones:

When is a man a Mason?

Aye, Laddie, look about, and ask yourself and others.

When is a man a Mason?

Is it when he passes thru that door, into a Lodge room?

Is it when he is conducted, around, and cannot see, but is

Guided to the stations, and the words are passed?

When is a man a Mason?

Is it when he can look over the majestic hills, and mountains,

and looks beyond the vast oceans . . . aye and immense deserts,

the valleys, abundant with flowers, and in the vast scheme

of this creation, of the Supreme Architect, know with a

profound sense of his own littleness?

And yet has faith, hope, and courage, and which he accepts

as the root of all virtue.

When is a man a Mason?

When he knows down in the recesses of his own heart,

that every m an is as noble, as vile, as Devine, and aye as

diabolical . . . and yes . . . as lonely as he is within himself?

When is a man a Mason?

Is it when he seeks to follow, to forgive, and for all cause to

love his fellow man?

When is a man a Mason?

When he knows how to sympathize with men in their sorrows

And aye, Lad, even in their sins, knowing that each man

fights the hard fight against many odds in life’s span?

When is a man a Mason?

When he has learned to make friends and to keep them,

and above all, to keep friends with himself.

When is a man a Mason?

When he loves the flowers of the fields, aye, he can hunt

the birds of the forest . . . without a gun . . . and indeed knows

and feels the thrill of the old and forgotten joy when he hears

the laughter of a child.

When he can be happy and high minded amid the meaner

drudgeries of a life time.

When is a man a Mason?

When the star-crowned trees and the glint of sunlight

on flowing waters subdue him as the thoughts of a much

loved one and now long gone.

When is a man a Mason?

When no voice of distress reaches his ear in vain

and no hand seeks his aid without response.

When he finds good in every faith that helps any

man lay hold of Divine thoughts toward the majestic

meaning of life . . . whatever the name of that faith may be.

When is a man a Mason?

When he can look into a wayside puddle, see something

beyond the mud . . . the reflection of a face of a most

forlorn fellow mortal . . . and . . . aye, he sees something

beyond sin.

When he knows how to pray, how to love, and how to

retain hope.

When he keeps faith with himself, his fellow man,

and his God.

When is a man a Mason?

If in his hand, he carries a sword against evil, but bears

in his heart a bit of a song, always glad to live . . .

Aye . . . but nar’e afraid to die for his just cause.

Such a man . . . aye such a man . . . has found the secrets

of Masonry and this is the message we are trying to share

with the world.

Look abo’t, ye lad, the man in this Lodge —every one of us—

is a Mason. So mote it be.[1]

The evidence of God speaks in his creation through our senses. All things are consistent with the Word of God. The whole universe is His creation. Every inhabitant of this planet enjoys the same opportunities for knowledge. Our ideas of the Creator, His wisdom, and His benevolence are as limitless as His creation. The practice of moral truth is not a mystery; it is an imitation of the goodness of the Deity. It is the moral character of a man that makes him in the Deity’s image. Our reason, our insight, our search, enables us to find Him, and the creation that we behold is His real Word. Our moral duty is to imitate this moral goodness and beneficence, and to realize fully that any persecution and revenge between man and man is a violation of His will for us. All nations believe in the Deity, so therefore let every man imitate His divine plan, worship as he prefers, and, above all, do unto others as he would have them do unto him.

“And until we are called upon the level of time toward that undiscovered country from whose borne no traveler returns; it is our responsibility to pass the excellent Tenets of our institution through our Lodges pure and unimpaired from generation to generation so that our childrens’ children will celebrate with joy and gratitude the Freemasonry that we love.”[2]



Scottish Charge compliments of R. W. Chuck Estano, Grand Historian, Grand Lodge of New Hampshire.


Lecture, “Order of the Rusty Nail,” Grand Lodge of Florida.