The Discernment Displayed by Masons in the Choice
of Objects of Charity
The most inveterate enemies of Masonry must acknowledge, that
no society is more remarkable for the practice of charity, or
any association of men more famed for disinterested liberality.
It cannot be said, that Masons indulge in convivial mirth, while
the poor and needy pine for relief. Our charitable establishments
and quarterly contributions, exclusive of private subscriptions,
to relieve distress, prove that we are ready, with cheerfulness,
in proportion to our circumstances, to alleviate the misfortunes
of our fellow-creatures. Considering, however, the variety of
objects, whose distress the dictates of Nature as well as the
ties of Masonry incline us to relieve, we find it necessary sometimes
to inquire into the cause of misfortune; lest a misconceived tenderness
of disposition, or an impolitic generosity of heart, might prevent
us from making a proper distinction in the choice of objects.
Though our ears are always open to the distresses of the deserving
poor, yet charity is not to be dispensed with a profuse liberality
on impostors. The parents of a numerous offspring, who, through
age, sickness, infirmity, or any unforeseen accident in life,
may be reduced to want, particularly claim our attention, and
seldom fail to experience the happy effects of our friendly associations.
To such objects, whose situation is more easy to be conceived
than expressed, we are induced liberally to extend relief. Hence
we give convincing proofs of wisdom and discernment; for though
our benevolence, like our laws, be unlimited, yet our hearts glow
principally with affection toward the deserving part of mankind.
From this view of the advantages which result from the practice
and profession of Masonry, every candid and impartial mind must
acknowledge its utility and importance to the state; and surely,
if the picture here drawn be just, it must be no trifling acquisition
to any government, to have under its jurisdiction a society of
men, who are not only true patriots and loyal subjects, but the
patrons of science and the friends of mankind.
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