By the exercise of Brotherly Love, we are taught to regard the whole human race as one family – the high, the low, the rich, the poor – who, as created by one Almighty Parent, and inhabiting the same planet, should aid, support, and protect one another. On this principle, Masonry unites men of every country, sect, and opinion, and promotes true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual distance.
In the Masonic Fraternity, the candidate for the mysteries of Freemasonry is impressed with the fact that the great principles of the Order are Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth in the initiatory Rites, and throughout his advancement. The mode and manner for the practice of these principles are detailed in words and illustrated in symbols, so there can be no cause for error in understanding or failure in practice.
Emphatic throughout the ritual of the Masonic Fraternity are the teachings of the greater Light of Masonry that Brotherly Love is to be more than an abstract principle; it is to be in deed and in truth… ( Exodus 23:4 – Deuteronomy 10:19 – 1 Samuel 18:1 – Proverbs 18:23,24 – Hebrews 13:1 – 1 John 4:19-21 )
To relieve the distressed is one of the three principal tenets of a Freemason’s profession, and thus defined in the lecture of the First Degree: “To relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent on all men, but particularly on Masons, who are linked together by a chain of sincere affection. To sooth the unhappy, to sympathize with them in their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries, and to restore peace to their troubled minds, are aims we have in view. On this basis we form our friendships and establish our connections.”
The real object of Freemasonry, in a philosophical and religious sense, is the search for truth. This truth is, therefore, symbolized by “The Word”.
From the first entrance of the Apprentice into the Lodge, until his reception of the highest degree, this search is continued. It is not always found and a substitute must sometimes be provided. Yet whatever be the labors he performs, whatever the ceremonies through which he passes, whatever the symbols in which he may be instructed, whatever the final reward he may obtain, the true end of all is the attainment of Truth. This idea of truth is not the same as that expressed in the lecture of the First Degree, where Brotherly Love, Relief, and Truth are there said to be the “three great tenets of a Mason’s profession.”
In that connection, Truth, which is called a “Divine Attribute, the foundation of every virtue,” is synonymous with sincerity, honesty of expression, and plain dealing. The higher idea of truth which is symbolized by the Word, is that which is properly expressed to a knowledge of God. Jesus Christ is the Truth; to know the Truth, which means to know him, makes men free; his is manifest in the written word… — ( John 14:6 – John 8:31,32 – John 17:17 – 2 John 1:4 )