Brethren, as you have passed through the month of your lockin, let me congratulate you on being a sensible member of our ancient and honourable institution. Ancient no doubt it is, as having subsisted from time when we used to meet, and honourable it must be acknowledged to be, as by a natural tendency it conduces to make safe those who are obedient to its guideline. Indeed, no institution can boast a more solid foundation than that on which Freemasonry rests – the practice of every safe and social distancing. And to so high an eminence has its credit been advanced that every day Grand Officers themselves, have not thought it derogatory to their dignity to exchange the black shoe for the carpet slipper, have supported our situation and not joined in our assemblies.
As a Freemason, let me recommend to your most serious contemplation the Volume of Government Guidance, charging you to consider it as the unerring standard of truth and safety, to regulate your actions by the information it contains. Therein you will be taught the important duties you owe to your wife, to your neighbour, and to yourself. To your wife, by never mentioning her choice of evening television remembering that before coronavirus that was her company for at least three nights a week, and by looking up to Her in this emergency for comfort and support. To your neighbour, keeping your distance and not returning his gardening tools you borrowed two months ago in case you may be passing on the virus, by helping him without detriment to your own health, and by doing to him as in similar cases you would wish he would do to you. And to yourself, by such a course of discipline as may best conduce to the preservation of your safety and sanity thereby enabling you to once again at some time be of service to the Brethren and Freemasonry.
As a member of the Province, I am to enjoin you to be exemplary in the discharge of your safety duties, by never exiting your house without due cause or by any act that may have a tendency to risk the health of a Brother, by paying due obedience to the guidance of any authority which has for a time become the place of your residence or afford you its protection, and above all, by never losing sight of the allegiance due to the Grand Lodge of your native land, ever remembering that its daily updates shows their indissoluble attachment towards you since your initiation.
As an individual, let me recommend the practice of every domestic’ as well as public safety: let Prudence direct you, Temperance sustain you, Brethren support you, and common sense be the guide of all your actions. Be especially careful to maintain your health in its fullest splendour, which you have already amply illustrated by sobriety and temperance.
Still, as a Freemason, there are other excellences of character to which your attention may be peculiarly and forcibly directed: the foremost of these is safety. Safety consists in an inviolable adherence to the guidance you have received never improperly to expose yourself to any of those risks which have now been, or may at any future period be, entrusted to you to keep, and cautiously to avoid all occasions which may inadvertently lead you so to do. Your understanding must be exemplified by a strict observance of the Guidance of UGLE, by adhering to the directions of the document, by never attempting to evade or otherwise evading the issues raised, and by refraining from recommending anyone to a disregard of them. Your compliance must be proved by a strict observance of our directions, by prompt attention to all coughs and temperatures, by modest and correct demeanour in the virtual lodge, by abstaining from every topic of negativity.
And as a last general recommendation, let me exhort you to dedicate yourself to such measures as may at once enable you to survive, so as to be useful to mankind, and not just an ornament to the human race; to study more especially those television short information films as may be shown before your favourite soap opera, and without neglecting the ordinary duties around the house, to endeavour to make a daily advancement towards that glorious day when we all meet again.
From the very commendable attention you appear to have given to this charge, I am led to hope you will duly appreciate the value of safety, and indelibly imprint on your heart the sacred dictates of patience, of sensibility, and of survival.