If the Mason, after joining the Craft, takes to heart that injunction laid upon him at the close of the Charge of the Entered Apprentice, he will naturally inquire how he can comply with the terms.
The Master Mason gradually realizes that he must do more than attend the meetings of his Lodge, if he is to appreciate truly the value of Freemasonry, and understand the principles underlying Craft teaching. He must acquire an explanation and study the principles of Masonry. As the Mason proceeds with his studies he will perceive that all has not been explained. We are told correctly that Freemasonry is a progressive science, taught by degrees only.
The Scottish Rite of Freemasonry dramatically presents its degrees beyond the Third Degree so that the Mason may increase his knowledge and understanding of Masonry. It constitutes an advanced course—a college course—in Freemasonry. It is indeed a liberal education.
It is a lesson in Geography. Almost every country in Europe is visited in the dramatic presentation of Masonic history and tradition. Biblical lands appear frequently in the fast moving panorama of scenes and incidents.
It is a course in History. Biblical antiquity, with its quaint but familiar scenes and universally known heroes, is faithfully portrayed. There is a startling page from the oldest book in the world, The Book of the Dead, which plants us in the midst of the oldest and yet most modern civilization in the world.
Medieval chivalry makes its stately and courteous bow, adding mysterious atmosphere to the picture. It is a birds-eye view of Philosophy. The greatest thought of the greatest thinkers of all times, the profoundest principles and the loftiest ideals are expressed in words, symbols and impressive drama.
Scottish Rite Masonry is an institution which affords Master Masons an opportunity to give of themselves and of their talents to the building and beautifying of that glorious temple of the spirit— “that house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens.” The membership of the Scottish Rite is composed of Master Masons to whom the Symbolic Degrees have brought an inspiration, an energy and a love for the principles of Masonry that cause them to seek new and larger areas of service and a greater knowledge of that primary truth which Masonry has given to the world.
The Master Mason who receives the degrees of the Scottish Rite sees Masonry not only in terms of his membership in his own Blue Lodge, but in terms of a great world-wide institution that casts its shadow of influence upon mankind within the borders of every nation upon the face of the earth. In the degrees, he sees dramatically portrayed humanity’s struggle to break the chains of ignorance and superstition that for centuries made serfdom and slavery the lot of the common man.
He is made to realize, as never before, that he is a Mason, a member of that great and noble institution of Masonry that, in every age and generation, has provided the leadership which has guided mankind on the long and painful journey from slavery to liberty, from ignorance to knowledge, and from despair to hope.
If you would care to give yourself and talents to Masonry, the Portals of the Scottish Rite are open to you.
Reproduced from the “Masonry Beyond the Third Degree” pamphlet, from the Supreme Council, S.J.