A Tree Is Known By Its Fruit
By Very Worshipful Brother Peter M. Olpin
First published in August 1987
In the Provincial Grand Lodge (Southern Division) Spring Ball magazine
It is an old maxim – that a tree is known by its fruit. It is difficult to think of a maxim with more truth in it. In order to develop a Masonic lesson, in order to develop Masonic symbolism, let Freemasonry be visioned as a great tree towering towards the heavens, with its roots and branches spreading over the world. Its members are its fruit. It is judged by the acts of it members.
Sometimes we hear the question asked by someone speaking disapprovingly of something one of our members has done. “Can such a person be a Freemason?” The reputation of the Masonic tree is such that those who ask the question quoted are amazed and astounded by the possibility that great masonic tree may have produced some unfit fruit.More frequently we hear the remark, made by one speaking approvingly of the action of one of our members. “Why, he is a Freemason!” with an infliction which implies that nothing liess should be expected of a Freemason. One making the foregoing remark suggests that the Masonic tree produces only good fruit, sound fruit, fit fruit.
Is each of us, as he goes about his daily tasks, so conducting himself – are his actions such – is the language he uses such that even the profane over the world may exclaim with approbation, “Why, he’s a Freemason”, just as though that were a testimony of his honesty, his integrity, his temperance and his decency.
If Freemasonry, as an institution, may be pictured as a great tree, the Lodge may be pictured as a small tree. The Master would be the trunk of the tree, the larger branches would be the officers and the smaller branches would be the brethren. With the Master symbolising the trunk of the tree, that which will give them strength and wisdom for the tasks that are theirs, and for the higher positions to which they should aspire. With the Master symbolising the trunk of the tree, he will be in direct contact with his members, the smaller branches. It is his duty to know that they have the food and the drink to be found in the fabric of Freemasonry, that come to the Master by way of the roots of the tree. The Master will at all times know how it goes with his members, so that when his term ends, the fruit of the tree will be rosily ripened and mellowed.
A tree is known by its fruit. The Masonic tree is known by its fruit. Let each of us so live, so act, so talk, that the world may say of each of us, with approval, “Why, he’s a Freemason!” Let that be a testimony of our honesty, our integrity, our temperance and our decency.