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Above all else, it also creates the mental attitude to bear one's burden bravely when all other
remedies fail.
Prudence: The third basic principle, Prudence, is closely related to both Temperance and
Fortitude, for it is the type of yardstick which is to be used in determining what constitutes
Temperance in a specific situation and to what extent Fortitude should be applied.
Freemasonry defines Prudence as that principle which teaches us to regulate our lives and actions
agreeably to the dictates of reason, and is that habit by which we wisely judge, and prudently
determine, the effect of all things relative to our present as well as our future happiness.
The application of Prudence to our everyday life means that we will use discretion in our acts and
words; that we will use good judgment in what we say and do; and that we will use self-control
and foresight in all such matters. It also means that we will act intelligently and with conscious
regard of what the consequences will be.
I mentioned that I like to eat apple pie. By the use of Prudence I realize that if I have had an ample
meal, it is best that I have only a small piece of apple pie for dessert. Using Prudence helped me
to realize that if I have a large piece of apple pie, and then have a second helping, I will feel stuffed
and suffer physical discomfort. So I decide to be temperate in eating apple pie. I realize the possible
consequences and with the use of Fortitude I refrain from having a second helping. Prudence
teaches me to build a fort against my desire to satisfy unduly my desire and taste for a second
helping and that it is best that I be temperate and have only one small piece.
Sometimes it is easy to abstain or to be temperate. I am reminded of the familiar witticism of the
elderly Brother who said, "I have finally learned to subdue my passions. Mother Nature has taken
care of that."
In conclusion, we would do well to remember the words of Voltaire, a Mason, when he said: "The
richest endowments of the mind are temperance, prudence, and fortitude. Prudence is a universal
virtue, which enters into the composition of all the rest; and where she is not, fortitude loses its
name and nature."

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