As indicated by our name, the Scottish Rite is a part of the Masonic Fraternity, advancing the principles of Freemasonry through the ritualistic teachings of the 4th thru the 32nd degrees. As Freemasons and as Scottish Rite Masons, we hold the philosophical and practiced principles of brotherhood, equality, religious toleration, political freedom, and charity as important guiding principles in our lives and conduct.
The Scottish Rite as expressed in its Degrees with their accompanying lectures and instructions, is an advanced course in Freemasonry. It is indeed a liberal education.
It is a lesson in geography. Almost every country of Europe is visited in the dramatic presentations of Masonic history and tradition. Biblical lands appear frequently in fast moving panorama of scenes and events. Africa, too, shares the spotlight. Travel, they say in itself, constitutes an education. Then here is the beginning of it, at least.
It is a course in history. Modern times and life, of course, are represented. But medieval chivalry makes its stately and courteous bows, and gives a romantic and worldly atmosphere to the picture. Biblical events and scenes are often portrayed. There is even a rather startling page from ancient Egypt, taken from the oldest book in the world, the Book of the Dead.
It is a bird’s eye view of philosophy. The great thoughts of the greatest thinkers of all time are expressed, profound principles in the simplest of words, sometimes in symbols that convey a depth of meaning, and sometimes in dramatic form, most impressive. And through it all runs the saving grace of sound common sense, and in the end it is the spirit of man that rises above the material in him and in the world about him, and stands forth as the one thing of earth that is of divine dignity and infinite worth.
It is an excursion into the mystic realm of religion not to find cause for criticism or condemnation, but to seek the common ground of all faiths, the deepest thought and aspiration of all who believe in and search for the great creating God, who is the Father of all His human children. However much men may differ in the way in which they may clothe their God with qualities and attributes of their own making and choosing, they all think together of the one God of infinite wisdom and love, who has breathed into man something of His own spirit and made him capable of entering into and enjoying the life which is immortal. Tolerance thus becomes sympathetic appreciation and not mere endurance of differences of opinion.
It is, not to prolong the list, a practical course in ethics, or, perhaps better, a course in practical ethics and morals. Life is seen and viewed and approached and lived and judged from the moral or ethical point of view. Life’s ills & inequalities and injustices are seen and weighed with sole reference to their moral quality, their spiritual value. Social and industrial and political and ecclesiastical evils, and other exhibits of human weakness are dramatically exposed and condemned. A new and better world rises before the awakened imagination a world in which every man becomes a real brother, and the new law, the Law of Love, begins its reign on earth.
It is indeed an excursion into life, especially life as it may be and will become, if we will but take to heart the high principles and profound ideals which the Scottish Rite Degrees so beautifully and effectively present.