Temperance ; Leadership

by MasterMason


Temperance As defined in Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary,

  1. to Moderate ; be moderate
  2. Moderation in action, thought and feeling.
  3. Habitual moderation in the indulgence of the appetite or passions.

Temperance       As dealt with in The Freemason’s Guide and Compendium. Bernard E. Jones.

The most important virtues in Freemasonry are:- Prudence, Temperance. Fortitude & Justice

“The first to direct, the second to chasten, the third to support a Brother and the fourth to be a guide to all his actions”

I was unfamiliar with the word chasten so, in the thought that there could be others just like me, I decided to look it up.       Webster’s defines it as follows:-

  1. To correct by punishment or suffering.
  2. To prune off excess, pretence or falsity.

Temperance From Lexicon of Freemasonry by Albert G. Mackey

“ One of the four Cardinal Virtues, the practice of which is inculcated in the first Degree. The mason who properly appreciates the secrets, which he has solemnly promised never to reveal, will not, by yielding of the unrestrained call of appetite, permit reason and judgment to lose their seats; and subject himself, by the indulgence in habits of excess, to discover that which should be concealed, and thus merit and receive the scorn and detestation of his Brethren. And lest any Brother should forget the danger to which he is exposed in the unguarded hours of dissipation, the virtue of Temperance is wisely impressed upon his memory, by its reference to the most solemn portion of our initiatory ceremony”      

 I must admit that when I first encountered this word I immediately thought of the Temperance Movement, which lead to Prohibition in the 1920’s, and also to the governance of Masonic Festive Boards.

Now I can see the greater scope of the word which includes our thoughts, words and actions, and which makes it even more appropriate for use in Freemasonry in general and to each of us in particular.

I do recall weather which was free of turbulence, bluster or storm being referred to as Temperate.   Possibly this is a word that could receive wider usage in our personal lives.

The following is directed to the DOERS in our Fraternity and elsewhere, you are appreciated!!

The Penalty of Leadership

In every field of endeavour, he that is First, must constantly live in the white light of publicity.

Whether the leadership be vested in a man or a manufactured product, emulation and envy are ever at work. In art, in literature, in music, in industry, the reward and the punishment are always the same. The reward is widespread recognition; the punishment, fierce denial and detraction. When a man’s work becomes a standard for the whole world, it also becomes a target for the shafts of the envious few. If his work be merely mediocre, he will be left severely alone-if he achieved a masterpiece, it will set a million tongues a-wagging.

Jealousy does not protrude its forked tongue at the artist who produces a common-place painting. Whatsoever you write, paint, play, sing or build no one will strive to surpass or to slander you, unless your work be stamped with the seal of genius. Long, long after a great work or a good work has been done, those who are disappointed or envious continue to cry out that it cannot be done. Spiteful little voices in the domain of art were raised against our own Whistler as a montebank, long after the big world had acclaimed him its greatest artistic genius.

Multitudes flocked to Bayreuth to worship at the musical shrine of Wagner, while a group of those whom he had dethroned and displaced, argued angrily that he was no musician at all. The little world continued to protest that Fulton could never build a steamboat, while the big world flocked to the river banks to see his boat steam by.

The leader is assailed because he is a leader, and the effort to equal him is merely added proof of that leadership. Failing to equal or to excel, the follower seeks to depreciate and destroy, but only confirms, once more, the superiority of that which he strives to supplant.

There is nothing new in this. It is as old as the World and as old as human passions, envy, fear, greed, ambition and the desire to surpass. And it avails nothing. If the leader truly leads, he remains the leader. Master-poet; Master-painter; Master workman, each in his turn is assailed and each holds his laurels through the ages.

That which is good or makes itself known, no matter how loud the clamour of denial. That which deserves to live-LIVES.

Theodore F. McManus     Saturday Evening Post, Jan 2, 1915  Copyright, Cadillac Motor Car Company.


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