Virtue is the result of being true to one’s self and following the moral dictates of the conscience. It’s all too easy to become overwhelmed and surrender ourselves to the whims and follies of the masses. The real man and Mason chooses to do what is right, regardless of the consequences, because he knows that with every compromise he sacrifices a part of his own being. Freemasons have many obligations, but the highest and most noble is that which we owe to the Great Architect of the Universe. There can be nothing above or equal to this. Any man or Mason who demands to be equal to God in regards to the obligations owed to him through title or privilege is evil personified.
Following our obligations to the Great Architect of the Universe are those which we owe to our self, family, community, and country. Every man who knocks upon the door of a lodge must arrive there with these obligations already firmly cemented in his conscience because the entire moral framework of Freemasonry is erected upon them. For far too long the West Gate of the Temple has remained flung open and un-tiled, allowing the dross of humanity to enter onto the porch of the sublime. They arrive unprepared and unable to understand that which laid out before them. There is no moral foundation upon which to erect a Temple of Virtue.
Freemasonry is the science of virtue and, when properly understood, refines the moral character of the man. It is a never ending series of moral progresses from the cradle to the grave. Moral perfection is the ideal for which we strive but can never fully attain. It is an endless struggle against the vices and superfluities of life in which we should, or ought to, be engaged.
Every day we must rise with the sun and journey forth upon a full sea with nothing more than our moral compass as a guide. In this matter we are given no choice because each day advances one after another for all of eternity. Whether or not we choose to follow our compass determines our destiny.