Prev   TOC   Next 

The Pledge

"Haven't paid your pledge yet? Well, brother, it's not ethical for me to ask why. That's your business. What? Peeved at the Committee? Now, you do amaze me! How do you expect them to build the Temple if you, and twenty thousand like you, don't do what you promised to do? You think they shouldn't 'dun' you for the money? Well, they shouldn't have to! But human beings are prone to forget and put off, and the stone masons who build the Temple have to be paid, and their families have to be fed and they have to eat and they can't wait, I suppose, until you get over your peeve!

"There are a lot of brethren, you know, who make pledges to pay a certain amount towards the erection of a new Temple and then don't do it. You can't say they break their promise, because they truly intend to pay 'some day.' But they break the spirit of the promise when they don't pay when they have promised to pay. And they... and you, my brother... have taken an obligation which should prevent you from withholding even the value of a penny, knowingly, from your brother to whom you promised it.

"There are all sorts of reasons for not paying! There is your childish reason... being 'peeved!' Any one would think to look at you, that you were truly grown up. Yet you let a grievance against one brother, or one set of brethren on a committee, keep you from fulfilling your obligation to all your brethren in this jurisdiction. If you, as a parent, were peeved with the school board, would you keep your child from school? If you were peeved at the Mayor, would you refuse to allow the fire engines to put out a fire in your home? If you were cross with the boss of your ward would you refuse to let the policeman he had appointed, arrest the burglar trying to steal your goods and chattels? Probably not! Yet here you are, offended at the committee and saying to them, in effect 'because I don't like the way you act, I will refuse to put my stone in the Temple. For all of me, there can be a hole in the wall. Not that I have any grudge against my brethren, or any crossness with the fraternity or any ill-will to Masonry, but the only way I can get even with you, who offend me, is to make it difficult for you to serve my brethren!'

"Don't you think that's rather childish?

"Now, Brother Jones over there, he has another reason for not paying. He isn't peeved or anything, but he doesn't like the design of the Temple! He says 'you tear it down and build it up over again, and build it long where it is now short and short where it is now long. Put 17 pillars in it instead of seven, or 70, and I'll pay my hundred dollars' or whatever it is he has promised.

"Nice, reasonable human being, Jones! But he is logic itself compared to Smith! Smith doesn't pay because he says he has so many other things to pay and 'they won't miss my little pledge.' Imagine Smith, when he makes a note to the bank for his pay roll. Comes around another month and the note falls due. But Smith won't pay... not he! He goes to the bank and say 'I'm sorry, but I have to pay a lot of other things this month. Just tear up the note and forget it, won't you? I have changed my mind about paying the note!'

"What? Why yes, it is a parallel case, exactly. Smith gave his word to his brethren that he would pay a certain amount towards the new Temple. The Committee believed him, just as they believed the rest of the Masons who pledged their aid. And because they believed in a Mason's word, they obligated the fraternity to stone masons and electricians, to iron workers and plasterers, to builders and plumbers, to do the work. Just suppose every one of the pledgers refuse because they have other obligations? Where will we find the money to pay our debts? Is Masonry to stand discredited before the world because one brother has a childish peeve, another doesn't like the design of the Temple, a third finds it inconvenient?

"My brother, a pledge to pay money, on which other men act, should be as sacred as a secured obligation to a bank. The Temple is being built by Masons, for Masons. It is to be a testimonial to all the world that here is a seat of truth, of light, of freedom of thought, of reverence for God, of brotherly love, of comforting philosophy... of Masonry. If what we teach sinks into our hearts, there will be no unpaid pledges.

"Luckily for us all, the great, great majority of Masons do as they agree. They pay what they promise. They stand behind their word. That is how the Temple is built... how all Masonic Temples are built. That is how all temples of any kind are built, whether they be of stone, for Masons, or in the heart, for God.

"Most Masons mean what they say when they kneel before the altar and pledge their lives to brotherhood. They do so without any evasion in their minds or hearts. Most Masons when they pledge their money to a Masonic cause, pledge it without evasions on their mind or heart. Most men, thank God, are honest, and a very large number of honest men are honest Masons and... what are you doing? Oh, I see you have your check book and your fountain pen. I trust, my brother, that nothing I have said has offended you! I wouldn't make you mad with yourself because you haven't paid, for anything. All I tried to do was to transfer that peeve from the Committee to the chap who didn't play fair, but who, I see, is now going to play fair! Yes, I see; the check is for double your pledge. I think, if you take it over and show it to Jones and then to Smith, and tell them all I said, you will feel better and they will feel worse... why, certainly, my brother, I am proud to shake the hand of any of my brethren, especially when I find them as real underneath as you. What? Oh, don't mention it!

 Prev   TOC   Next