“Freemasonry is a system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols.”
The Compasses are a symbol vital to understanding Freemasonry. As the Compasses are used to draw the arcs and curves needed by a builder, we must use them to draw the arcs and curves that symbolically serve as guidelines beyond which we should not venture.
Another use of the word Compass fittingly describes an instrument by which to find your way. Use of this Compass lets us use magnetic North as a baseline from which all other directions can be discovered. One uses his “internal” Compass to direct his behavior. This can be done with a strong sense of right and wrong, and enable the user to use the tool at his disposal as a baseline from which a course of moral righteousness can be followed, if that is the desired outcome. As Freemasonry is a system of morality, that is the direction that anyone seeking to join our Fraternity, or anyone already within, should strive to maintain.
The Compasses, well known as a symbol for our Order, must be used by a true Freemason to circumscribe his desires and keep his passions within due bounds.
The Plumb, the symbol on the apron of the Junior Warden, is especially appropriate. The Plumb is used to ensure that each stone in a building is placed straight up and down, allowing the building to be constructed as strongly as possible. The Plumb is also a symbol for the rectitude of conduct, a man working to keep his behavior “upright”, so that his spiritual self will be as strong as possible. The Junior Warden is charged to oversee the conduct of the Brethren while not “at labor.” He is to symbolically use the Plumb to measure the conduct of a Brother, and to offer assistance where needed, to ensure that the Brethren do not overstep the boundaries they have drawn with their internal Compasses.
The symbol of the Circumpunct, the Point within the Circle, is also vital. The center Point represents the individual Brother. The Circle, the boundary-line of his conduct toward God and his fellow man.
Brethren, Freemasonry is said to take a good man, and make him better. By applying these symbols to one’s life, he cannot fail to better himself.