« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
This is the practice which should universally prevail among Masons. Our outward conduct being directed by our inward principles, we should be equally careful to avoid censure and reproach. Useful knowledge ought to be the great object of our desire, for the ways of wisdom are beautiful, and lead to pleasure. We ought to search into nature, as the advantages accruing from so agreeable a study will amply compensate our unwearied assiduity. Knowledge must be attained by degrees, and is not every where to be found. Wisdom seeks the secret shade, the lonely cell designed for contemplation; there enthroned, she sits delivering her sacred oracles; there let us seek her and pursue the real bliss, for though the passage be difficult, the farther we trace it the easier it will become.
If we remain united, our Society must flourish; let us then promote the useful arts, and by that means mark our distinction and superiority; let us cultivate the social virtues, and improve in all that is good and amiable; let the Genius of Masonry preside, and under her sovereign sway let us endeavour to act with becoming dignity.
I flatter myself that I have convinced my readers that Free Masonry is undoubtedly an institution of the most beneficial and amiable nature, since its professed design is the extension and confirmation of mutual happiness, by the most perfect and effectual method: the practice of every moral and social virtue. It is a salutary institution, wherein bad men, if they chance, as they ought not on any consideration to be admitted, are most generally restrained in their moral retrogradation, or down hill progress in vice; whilst the good are taught, and excited to aspire at higher degrees of virtue and perfection. A good man and a good Mason
a girl of fourteen years of age, the said girl being under his care as a scholar. Others have been expelled for acting in a Masonic character contrary to the established laws of the Society.
are synonymous terms; since a good man must necessarily make a good Mason, and a good Mason can never be a bad man: and, as the better men are the more they love each other, and on the contrary, the more they love each other they become more perfect Masons.
Those who have the honour and happiness of being regular members of this most excellent Society, are strictly bound to practice its duties and precepts. Foremost in the rank of our duties stands our obligation to obey the laws of the great giver of all good gifts and graces, to conform to his will, and to conduct ourselves as under the inspection of his all seeing eye; for as in him we live, move, and have our being, partake of his goodness and depend on his favours, so whatever we think, speak, or do, ought all to be subservient, and capable of being referred to his glory.
This primary and fundamental duty of obedience to the Supreme Being, from whence, as from their fountain, all other duties with respect to ourselves and our neighbours flow, is evidently taught by reason, confirmed by revelation, and enforced by Free Masonry. Subordinate and consequent to this our grand obligation, is the important and indispensable duty of brotherly love, which delights in, and ought always to demonstrate itself in, real acts of genuine beneficence.
Free Masonry has not only united its worthy members and genuine sons in the most indissoluble bands of confidence, concord, and amity: it has even caused Religion to shine forth with renewed lustre, and introduced its spirit, which the royal craft has strongly imbibed in every nation and persuasion wherein it has gained admittance; and it produces the most benevolent and charitable set of men, in proportion to its number, of any Society whatever throughout the known world. Thus inestimable is Free Masonry for its manifold and most useful qualities. It super-eminently excels all other arts by the bright rays of truth which
it sheds on the minds of its faithful votaries, illuminating their understanding with the beams of a more resplendent light than is to be derived from the assemblage of all other arts whatsoever, of which the new initiated brother begins to participate when he is girded with the emblem of innocence, more ancient than the tower of Babel, and far more honourable than the imperial dignity. As it excels all other arts in its vast and admirable extent, so it far surpasses them in its pleasing and effectual modes of communicating its instructions. But of this the enlightened brother alone can form a judgment, or make the comparison. Those who have happily made the experiment, are convinced of its transcendent excellence in this particular. The unenlightened by Masonry, can only form vague and uncertain conjectures of the utility of the royal craft, or of the modes of initiation into its various degrees, or of the subsequent, different, delightful, and beneficial instructions respectively communicated.
As we ought to be irreproachable in our own demeanour, so we ought to be careful that our candidates for Free Masonry have the requisite qualifications, which indispensably ought to be a good reputation, an honest method of living, sound morals, and a competent understanding.
No member, who has the honor of the Society, or even his own, sincerely at heart, will presume to nominate any that are not possessed of these valuable qualities. In that case it would be incumbent upon every worthy brother to give a negative, and reprobate such indecorous conduct.
It is to be supposed, at least amongst Masons, that as enlightened members of so noble a Society, we have more just, sublime, and comprehensive ideas, with respect to virtue, decorum, and dignity of human nature, than the generality of the misled mass of mankind. It is to be apprehended that we grant admission to none but men of principle, of virtue, honour, and integrity, lest the ancient
institution, instead of being an object of deserved veneration, fall into disrepute and become a subject of ridicule. It is therefore to be expected, that neither the wealth, the station, or the power of any man, shall procure from us his admission into our respectable lodges: but his propriety of conduct, his uprightness, his goodness. Such indeed as answer this description, will be an honour to our sublime craft, and are best qualified to reap from it every desirable advantage. And although it is a maxim with us to solicit none to enter into our Society, yet we shall be always exceedingly glad to enrol such worthy members in the honourable lists of our numerous members. These are egregiously deceived, and may they ever be disappointed in their application for admittance, as Free Masons, who consider us in the light of a Bacchanalian society, or under any similar ignoble idea. Our association, indeed, admits of all becoming cheerfulness, festivity, and gaiety of temper, at suitable seasons and intervals; but indeed our assemblies are principally convened for the most beneficial and exalted purposes: for purifying the heart, correcting the manners, and enlightening the understanding. Thus the useful and the agreeable are by us happily united; instruction and pleasure are blended together. Order, decorum, concord, and complacency, are constant attendants upon our lodges.
Now is Masonry so good, so valuable a science? Does it tend to instruct the mind, and tame each unruly passion? Does it reconcile men of all religions and of all nations? Does it expel rancour, hatred and envy? Is it an universal cement, binding its followers to charity, good will, and secret friendship? Is it calculated to promote the greatest freedom? Does it teach men to lead quiet lives? In short, are not its precepts a complete system of moral virtue? Then, hail, thou glorious craft, bright transcript of all that is amiable! Hail, thou blest moral science, which so beau
ADVANTAGES RESULTING FROM FRIENDSHIP.
tifully exemplifies virtue! Welcome, ye delightful mansions, where all enjoy the pleasures of a serene and tranquil life! Welcome, ye blessed retreats, where smiling friendship ever blooms, and from her throne dispenses pleasure with unbounded liberality! Welcome, sacred habitations, where peace and innocence for ever dwell.
FRIENDSHIP CONSIDERED, WITH THE ADVANTAGES RESULTING FROM IT.
No subject can more properly engage the attention, than the humane and benevolent dispositions which indulgent nature has bestowed upon the rational species. These are replete with the happiest effects, and afford to the mind the most agreeable reflections. The breast which is inspired with tender feelings, is naturally prompted to a reciprocal intercourse of kind and generous actions. As human nature rises in the scale of things, so do the social affections likewise arise. When friendship is firm and lasting, we enjoy the highest degree of happiness: but when it declines, we experience an equal degree of pain. Where friendship is unknown, jealousy and suspicion prevail; but where virtue is the cement, true pleasure must be enjoyed. In every breast there exists a propensity to friendly acts, and when these are exerted to effect, they sweeten every temporal enjoyment; and if they do not always totally remove the disquietudes, they at least tend to allay the calamities, of
Friendship is traced through the circle of private connexions to the grand system of universal benevolence, which no limits can circumscribe, and its influence extends to every