When our Savior designated his disciples as his Brethren, he implied that there was a close bond of union existing between them, which idea was subsequently carried out by Saint Peter in his direction to "Love the Brotherhood."
Hence the early Christians designated themselves as a brotherhood, a relationship unknown to the Gentile religions; and the ecclesiastica1 and other confraternities of the Middle Ages assumed the same title to designate any association of men engaged in the same common object, governed by the same rules, and united by an identical interest. The association or Fraternity of Freemasons is in this sense called a brotherhood.
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