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Masonic Papers

Whence Came You?


Bro. Oliver Day Street

Daily this question is asked by Masons without the slightest thought as to its real meaning.

It is fitting that the answer we make to it in the lodge is well nigh unintelligible, for it is about as intelligible as any ever given it or as probably ever will be given it.

Who can answer the question "Whence came you?"

Who has ever answered it ? Who will ever answer it ?

Equally baffling and profound is that companion question, familiar in some jurisdictions, "Whither art thou bound?"

Equally an enigma is the answer we give it. Simple as these questions appear, they search every nook and cranny and sound every depth of every philosophy, every mythology, every theology, and every religion that has ever been propounded anywhere by anybody at any time to explain human life.

They allude to the problems of the origin and destiny of mankind; they lie at the foundation of all the thinking and of all the activities of man except such as are concerned with the purely utilitarian question "What shall we eat and wherewithal shall we be clothed?"

All our better impulses, all our loftier aspirations, all our faiths, all our longing for and striving after a nobler state of existence, either in this or a future life, are but attempts to answer these two questions.

They are the supreme questions which men have been asking themselves and each other ever since men were able to think and to talk, and they are the questions which men will continue to ask oftenest and most anxiously until the time when we are promised that we shall know even as we are known.

It is thus that study and reflection bring out the beauty and the profound significance of the simplest of Masonic formulae.

- Source: The Builder - February 1917

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