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The wise and beneficent Author of Nature intended, by the formation of this sense, that we should be social creatures, and receive the greatest and most important part of our knowledge by the information of others. For these purposes we are endowed with hearing, that, by a proper exertion of our rational powers, our happiness may be complete.
Is that sense by which we distinguish objects, and in an instant of time, without change of place or situation, view armies in battle array, figures of the most stately structures, and all the agreeable variety displayed in the landscape of nature. By this sense we find our way in the pathless ocean, traverse the globe of earth, determine its figure and dimensions, and delineate any region or quarter of it. By it we measure the planetary orbs, and make new discoveries in the sphere of the fixed stars. Nay more; by it we perceive the tempers and dispositions, the passions and affections, of our fellow creatures, when they wish most to conceal them, so that though the tongue may be taught to lie and dissemble, the countenance will display the hypocrisy to the discerning eye. In fine, the rays of light which administer to this sense, are the most astonishing parts of the animated creation, and render the eye a peculiar object of admiration.
Of all the faculties, sight is the noblest. The structure of the eye, and its appurtenances, evince the admirable contrivance of nature for performing all its various external and internal motions, while the variety displayed in the eyes different animals, suited to their several ways of life, clearly demonstrates this organ to be the masterpiece of nature's work.
Is that sense by which we distinguish the different qualities of bodies; such as heat and cold, hardness and softness,
roughness and smoothness, figure, solidity, motion, and
These three senses, hearing, seeing, and feeling, are deemed peculiarly essential among Masons.
Is that sense by which we distinguish odours, the various kinds of which convey different impressions to the mind. Animal and vegetable bodies, and indeed most other bodies while exposed to the air, continually send forth effluvia of vast subtlety, as well in the state of life and growth, as in the state of fermentation and putrefaction. These effluvia, being drawn into the nostrils along with the air, are the means by which all bodies are smelled. Hence it is evident, that there is a manifest appearance of design in the great Creator's having planted the organ of smell in the inside of that canal, through which the air continually passes in respiration.
Enables us to make a proper distinction in the choice of our food. The organ of the sense guards the entrance of the alimentary canal, as that of smell guards the entrance of the canal for respiration. From the situation of both these organs, it is plain that they are intended by nature to distinguish wholesome food from that which is nauseous. Every thing that enters into the stomach must undergo the scrutiny of tasting; and by it we are capable of discerning the changes which the same body undergoes in the different compositions of art, cookery, chemistry, pharmacy, &c.
Smelling and tasting are inseparably connected, and it is by the unnatural kind of life men commonly lead in society, that these senses are rendered less fit to perform their natural offices.
The proper use of these five senses enables us to form just and accurate notions of the operations of nature; and when we reflect on the objects with which our senses are gratified, we become conscious of them, and are enabled to attend to them, till they become familiar objects of thought.
The senses, and indeed all the operations of the mind, are so difficult to understand and to analyse, that the most judicious may fail in the attempt to explain them. The mind is ultimately affected by the senses; when that is diseased, every sense loses its virtue. The fabric of the mind, as well as that of the body, is curious and wonderful; the faculties of the one are adapted to their several ends with equal wisdom and no less propriety, than the organs of the other. The inconceivable wisdom of an Almighty Being is displayed in the structure of the mind, which extends its power over every branch of science; and is, therefore, a. theme peculiarly worthy of attention. In the arts and sciences which have the least connexion with the mind, its faculties are still the engines which we must employ; the better we understand their nature and use, their defects and disorders, we shall apply them with the greater success. In the noblest arts, the mind is the subject upon which we operate.
Wise men agree, that there is but one way to the knowledge of nature's works-the way of observation and experiment. By our constitution we have a strong propensity to trace particular facts and observations to general rules, and to apply those rules to account for other effects, or to direct us in the production of them. This procedure of the understanding is familiar to every human creature in the common affairs of life, and is the only means by which any real discovery in philosophy can be made.
On the mind all our knowledge must depend; what, therefore, can be a more proper subject for the investigation of Masons? By anatomical dissection and observation, we