From the book "Illustrations of Masonry"
by William Preston 1895
Masonry comprehends within its circle every branch of useful knowledge and learning, and stamps an indelible mark of preeminence on its genuine professors, which neither chance, power, nor fortune can bestow. When its rules are strictly observed, it is a sure foundation of tranquility amidst the various disappointments of life; a friend that will not deceive, but will comfort and assist, in prosperity and adversity; a blessing that will remain with all times. Circumstances, and places, and to which recourse may be had, when earthly comforts sink into disregard.
Masonry give real and intrinsic excellency to man, and renders him fit for the duties of society. It strengthens the mind against the storms of life, paves the way to peace, and promotes domestic happiness. It meliorates the temper, and improves the understanding; it is company in fortitude, and gives vivacity, variety, and energy to social conversation. In youth, it governs the passions, and employs usefully our most active faculties; and in age, when sickness, imbecility, and disease have benumbed the corporal frame, and rendered the union of soul and body almost intolerable, it yields a fund of comfort and satisfaction.
These are its general advantages; to enumerate them separately, would be an endless labour: it may be sufficient to observe, that he who cultivates this science, and acts agreeably to the character of a Mason, has within himself the spring and support of every social virtue; a subject of contemplation, that enlarges the mind, and expands all its powers; a theme that is inexhaustible, ever new, and always interesting.