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just one, shining more and more, so that the mystery of love,reserved from age to age, as a sacred deposit amongst the chosen, the called witnesses of the most High, shall ultimately blaze forth in the splendor of the perfect day.
Brethren, you are this day collected for the double purpose of doing honour to the memory of a heaven taught brother, and enjoying the felicity which flows from the first principles of our order. You will this day receive, from the open hand of the Father of our spirits, whose liberal heart hath been from everlasting devising liberal things, the abundance of the blessings, produced by his plastic power from earth, sea and air. In each of these you will read the lessons of his love. This will give to your enjoyments an additional zest. But lest, while thus elevated, you should for a single moment be found without the compass, deviating from the square of propriety, or declining from the level of understanding, you will keep in view the principles of your venerable Founder. You will take for your model the bright example of him, who went about doing good. You will pay attention to the materials of the true Temple. You will in an especial manner, in attending to the widow, the orphan, the aged, the lame, the blind, the necessitous of every description, considering them as the many living stones in this temple, esteem them proper subjects, on which to bestow the labours of the labourer of every description, in your distinguished order. You will remember, that it is in these pleasant labours you are called upon to manifest your faith, and your love, and that there is not in this world a more inconsistent character, than a partial, contracted, unfeeling, uncharitable mason. In fact, such a character is a monster; but a monster never yet seen. It would be as proper to speak of a dark sun, or a cold fire, as an ancharitable
You will, we humbly hope, aim at consistency of character, mixing with your enjoyments the feast of reason, and the flow of souls. You will, from the abundance of your affectionate hearts, devise means to make the heart of the sorrowful glad, to cheer the drooping spirit, and you will wipe, with the hand of benignity, the gushing signs of sorrow from the weeping eye.
You will steadfastly look to an almighty Architect, to the grand Master of the universe, who will not forget your works of faith, and labour of love; looking unto God with that hope which maketh not ashamed, and confidently expecting, that in the fulness of his own VOL. II.
time, he will gather all things into One; building them together, and constructing a fit habitation for himself.
That God will constitute the wide extended universe one Grand Lodge, giving every individual to know, as he is known, and to behold, what, until that era, no human eye can see, and to hear, what, until that general collection, our mortal ears can never hear; and, from the fulness of brotherly affection, let us say,
"O come divine benevolence,
Hints preparatory to a masonic lecture left unfilled up, which will now never be completed until my removal to the Grand Lodge of light ineffable, and full of glory. God almighty hasten that happy period.
I supplicate thee, dear, compassionate Saviour of sinners, confiding always in thy abundant mercy, O thou Redeemer of man.
THE subject proposed.-The exordium.-No guide to obtain the knowledge of masonry except the divine word. Under the direction of this unerring guide we indulge a hope, that we shall not wholly miss our object. It is pleasing to see this divine guide precede the masonic procession. It is pleasing to see it laid open under the eye of our Grand Master, when taking his seat in the most elevated situation in the Lodge. It is pleasant to see the square and the compasses laid thereon. They seem to say, we can be of no use without this light. Hence, we come to understand the propriety of our Grand Master's exhortation; Work while you have the light with you, for the night cometh, wherein no man can work. And, perhaps, in no former period, since this light first shone upon us, has there been more pains taken to extinguish this light, than in the present.
* The Bible.
We proceed then, under the directing influence of this luminous body, to inquire into the nature, origin, and end of masonry. What is masonry? Masonry is, like our divine Master, made up of body, soul and spirit. The body is the aggregate of symbolic materials, signs and figures; the soul is the divinity manifested through these materials; and the spirit is the animating principle proceeding from the union of both. This will more abundantly appear in the progress of our inquiries.
First, The origin of our sublime craft. Little can be gleaned from the first ages of the world; it is in the middle age of time, that our ancient and honourable order attained its maturity.
Masonry becomes manifest by its contrast. The false and the true masonry is exhibited in the tower of Babel, and the temple of Solomon, in their situation, materials, motives of the builders, and the names of the buildings, TOWER OF BABEL, TEMPLE OF SOLOMON.
Secondly. The dispersion. Colony emigrating to Egypt. The Grecians. One of their sages drawn forth from obscurity, where he had been long concealed, under the name of Peter Gower, who we are informed by the ingenious and indefatigable compiler of our constitutions was no other than Pythagoras. Knowledge did not then fly on paper wings through the world,as it hath since done. This sage sought, and obtained admittance into the society of the craftsmen of Egypt, and returned richly freighted to his native island. Hence, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temple, and the cloud capt tower. The scattered fragments of many of these stupendous fabrics.
Thirdly, The arts progress, and artists multiply. For the security and improvement of the craft, and the advantage of the craftsmen, they formed Lodges, and they established rulers.
No mason is a free mason, until he has served a regular apprenticeship; none are accepted until they are free; hence the expression, free and accepted masons. Men of distinguished characters patronized the craft, and attaching themselves to the craftsmen, they were admitted as honourary members, first, however, submiting to prescribed conditions, upon which, these honourary members became free, and consequently accepted.
Certificates granted to either, admitted them into the Lodges of their fellow craftsmen, in any part of the world. But those certifi cates might be forged, and for the purpose of preventing fraud, masons, upon admittance, were instructed in certain words and signs, which they were bound, by the most solemn obligations, never to divulge. By those words and signs, a brother could, and can make,
himself known, where his certificate cannot be read, nor his vernacular tongue be understood. Communications of this description are made in the midst of darkness, as well as at the noon of day, and fraternal affection, like electricity, instantly imparted from one to the other, and diffused through their respective frames.
Honourary members improved and sublimated the masonic art, and have ultimately conducted it to that perfection, which the great Architect originally designed.
Fourthly, Masonry is a system of religion, which may be properly described under the figure of a tree. But to trace its sublimity and mystery, in its highest perfection, we must revert to the days of Solomon; to his wisdom; to Hiram; to the materials for building the temple; to the framing it under the eye of the master. We must view the temple; its foundation, corner, and top stone. We must enter; we must knock, and it will be opened unto us. We must put off the shoes from our feet-Examine the light; the oracle; the mercy seat; the cherubims; of what they are composed; their attitude; the direction of their eyes; the veil; the pillars before the temple. We must consider the queen of the south; the collected wisdom of Solomon; the house that he built; the meat of his table; the sitting of his servants; the attendance of his ministers; and their apparel; and his cup bearers; and his ascent by which he went up to the house of the Lord.
Kings and emperors were, in the old world, attached to our order, and amongst ourselves we can name men, brethren, on whom, a kingly or imperial crown could confer no additional splendour. We could bring a cloud of witnesses to support our assertion; we content ourselves with naming only two, WARREN and WASHINGTON
Fifthly, Exhortations to diligence are salutary to every descrip tion of men. Works of faith, and labours of love, are always beautiful; such manifestations are best calculated to silence gainsayers; they convince and they convert.
"The opposers will admire,
They listen and gaze,
And their weapons resign,
Constrained to acknowledge the work is divine."
THERE are, it seems, who embrace so confidently the doctrines taught by the apostles of our Lord as to affirm, "There is nothing left for them to do"!!! This is a gross deception; for the Redeemer hath said, he who would be his disciple must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow him. I really believe there is not an individual in the world, who thinks he has nothing to do. I suppose all that the professors of faith in the doctrines of God the Saviour mean, is that they have not that to do, which God hath declared was done by the Saviour, and so far they are right. Whatever Christ Jesus did was perfect, it required no addition; and whatever injunctions he hath laid upon his purchased possession, are of a nature totally distinct from their eternal salvation. But to be disciples of Jesus Christ, we must deny. Deny what? Deny ourselves. Believers do this; but those who consider themselves as actually concerned in the grand work of redemption, do not deny themselves, they own themselves; and whether they consider themselves as the Alpha or the Omega, if they be at all necessary, it would not be just for them to deny themselves. It is only him, who is a believer in the doctrine of God our Saviour, that can deny himself. The believer does not view himself as having any personal existence in the work of salvation; like the younger brother of Esau, considering his own name exposed to a curse rather than a blessing, he gladly relinquishes it, and assuming the name and dress of his elder brother; in other words, putting on the Lord Jesus, he asks for every blessing in his name.
PERHAPS it is better we should still remain unacquainted with the magnitude of human wickedness. I am not very fond of those who are constantly labouring to prove, that there is no excellence in our nature. Were there really no excellence in our nature, we should stand a single exception to the works of God-but the assertion is not true. It is a fact, there are none divinely good, but one, that is, God. But while we discover so much good in every part of animated nature, why should we deny some portion of good to the lords of the creation? Yet should we uniformly deny every