The System of Freemasonry

by MasterMason
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A quote attributed to Dr. James Anderson D.D. first Grand Secretary Grand Lodge of England 1717. and taken from “The Spirit of Masonry” written by William Hutchison in 1775


Dr Anderson says, that in his time


“the system , as taught in the regular Lodges, may have some redundancies or defects, occasioned by the indolence or ignorance of the old members. And indeed, considering through what obscurity and darkness the mystery has been handed down; the many centuries if has survived; the many countries, and languages, and sects, and parties it has run through, we are rather to wonder it ever arrived to the present age without more imperfections.


In short, I am apt to think that Masonry, as it is now explained, has in some circumstances declined from its original purity.


It has run long in muddy streams, and , as it where, under ground; but notwithstanding the great rust it may have contracted, and the forbidding light it is placed in by its enemies, there is ( if I judge right ) much of the old fabric still remaining ; the foundation is still entire, the essential pillars of the building may be discovered through the rubbish, though the superstructure may be overrun with moss and ivy, and the stones, by length of time, disjoined. And therefore, as the bust of an old hero is of great value among the curious, though it has lost an eye, the nose, of the right hand, so Masonry, with all its blemishes and misfortunes, instead of appearing ridiculous, ought ( in mu humble opinion) to be received with some candour and esteem, from a veneration to its antiquity.”



It is remarkable that the views shared by Dr. Anderson (approx 1750) some 260 years ago, could have been written in this modern era with little or no change.


From my perspective the nature and message of Freemasonry has not changed and probably never will, however, the Brethren who enter into this “Spiritual Journey” will undoubtedly seek to make its message more relevant to the age in which they live. (particularly in its delivery).  Note what he has to say about OLD members in the first paragraph.  I guess he was talking about people like me.  !!!!


Can you imagine what Anderson would think of  email and the delivery of ritual using

overheads and power point projectors.  It boggles the mind to even consider what he might say.

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