« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
condemn Shem and Japhet for the curse brought upon Ham, or the Christians to condemn the eleven apostles because Judas turned traitor. But this is not altogether the business of a guide, and I resume my proper character, and earnestly desire you shun Mason clubs; that is to say, lodges formed without such an authority as described, for you may rest fully assured that such clubs are generally composed of excluded members, or persons clandestinely made by them, and consequently incapable of giving proper instructions to their pupils. Or, admit them capable of giving proper instructions, even then the new brethren will be led in the dark, because it is the interest of the rebel party to conceal the essentials of the craft, which if revealed must of course prove themselves to be villains. Therefore, in order to avoid falling into such hands, I entreat you to have no communication with any lodge or set of men under the denomination of a Free Masons Lodge, until they produce the Grand Master's authority, signed and sealed as before described. But having produced such authority to the satisfaction of your friend, who it is presumed to be well versed in such matters, you may then enter in the name of God, where you will be made acquainted with mysteries which are not permitted to be revealed here. And if, after such entrance or admission you find that I have misled you, I give you full liberty to expose me as a blind guide; but if experience teach you that my instructions (as well as my intentions) were just, then I hope you will do me the honor of calling me a faithful brother. And that the God of all light and truth, (who is the giver of all good gifts and graces) may bless, prosper, and direct you, in all your public and private (lawful), undertakings, is my hearty and sincere prayer.
OF THOSE WHO WOULD BE FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS.
BEFORE we enter upon the duties of the operative Mason, in the various stations to which he may be called in a Lodge, it is necessary that some acccount should be given of what is absolutely requisite in all who aspire to partake of the honours of those who are duly initiated into the mysteries, and instructed in the art of ancient Masonry.
OF GOD AND RELIGION.
Whoever, from the love of knowledge, and a desire to advance the interest of his fellow creatures (but not through curiosity or self-interest) desires to be a Mason, is to know that, as his foundation and corner-stone, he is firmly to believe in the existence of a Supreme Being, who will be the judge of our actions, and reward us according to merit, to pay him that worship and veneration which is due to him, as the Great Architect of the Universe.
A Mason must, therefore, observe the moral law; and if he properly understands the fundamental rules of our order, he will never be an atheist or an irreligious libertine, and will never act against that great inward monitor, his own conscience.
He will likewise shun the gross errors of bigotry and superstition; making a due use of his own reason, according to that liberty wherewith a Mason is made free; for although in ancient times, Masons were charged to comply with the religious opinions and usages of the country or nation where they sojourned or worked, yet it is now most expedient that the brethen in general should only be charged to adhere to the essentials of religion, in which all men agree ; leaving each brother to his own judgment as to particular forms, or as his own conscience might dictate. Whence it follows, that all Masons are, or ought to be, good men and true, men of honour and honesty, by whatever religious names or persuasions distinguished; always following that golden rule, of “doing unto all men (as upon a change of condition) they would that others should do unto them;" then the order cannot fail in becoming the centre of union, and the only means of conciliating true friendship, and cementing into one body, those who might otherwise.have remained at a perpetual distance ; thereby strengthing and not weakening the divine obligations of Religion and Love,
OF GOVERNMENT AND THE CIVIL AUTHORITY.
Whoever would be a true Mason, is also to be made acquainted that, by the rules of the order, his obligations as a subject and citizen will not be relaxed, but enforced. is to be a lover of quiet, peaceable and obedient to the civil powers, which yield him protection, and are set over him where he resides or works, never to be concerned in plots against the state or government to whom he owes allegiance, or be disrespectful to the magistrate in the execution of his duties, because the welfare of his country ought to be his only object.
But if any brother, by forgetting for a time the rules of the order, and listening to evil counsels, should unhappily fall into a contrary conduct, he is not to be countenanced in his crimes or rebellion; but by such conduct forfeits all claims and benefits of the society, and his fellows will refuse to associate or converse with him in private, while he continues in his guilt; that no offence may be given to lawful government. But such a person is still considered as a Mason, his character as such being indefeasible ; and hopes are to be entertained, that the rules of the crast may again prevail with him, over every evil counsel and device that may have led him astray.
From this quiet and meek temper of true Masons, and their constant desire to adorn the countries where they reside with all useful arts, sciences, and improvements, they have been, from the earliest ages, encouraged and protected by the wisest rulers of states and commonwealths, who have likewise thought it an honour to have their names enrolled among the fraternity. And thus Masonry, having flourished most in the peaceable times of every country, and having often suffered in a particular manner through the calamities of war, bloodshed and devastation, the Masons are therefore the more strongly engaged to act agreeable to the fundamental principles of their art, in following peace and love, as far as practicable with all men.
Religious and political discussions have often occasioned discord amongst the nearest relations, and an animosity been fostered, from a difference in such belief, which time could hardly obliterate ; Masons are therefore enjoined to permit every brother to enjoy his own particular religious and political belief, and to banish such topics either in conversation or discussion from within the walls of the Lodge.
OF PRIVATE DUTIES.
In regard to yourself, whoever would be a Mason, should know how to practise all the private virtues. He should avoid all manner of intemperance or excess, which might obstruct his performance of the laudable duties of the order, or lead him into crimes which would reflect dishonour upon the fraternity. He is to be industrious in his profession, and true to the lord and master he serves. He is to labour justly, and not to eat any man's bread for nought; but to pay truly for his meat and drink. What leisure his labour allows, he is to employ in studying the arts and sciences with a diligent mind, that he may the better perform all his duties as aforesaid, to his creditor, his neighbour and himself. For in a few words “ To walk humbly in the sight of God, to do justice and love mercy," are the true and indispensable characteristics of a real free and accepted Mason.
For the better attainment of these qualities, he is to seek and acquire, as far as possible, the virtues of patience, meekness, self-denial, forbearance, and the like, which give him the command over himself, and enable him to govern his own family with affection, dignity and prudence, at the same time checking every disposition injurious to the world, and promoting that love and harmony which brethren of the same household owe to each other. Therefore, to afford relief to the unfortunate, to divide our bread with the distressed poor, and to put the misguided traveller into the right path, are qualities inherent to the craft, and suitable to its dignity. But, though a Mason is never to shut his ear unkindly to the complaints of any of the human species, yet when a brother is oppressed or suffers, he is in a more peculiar manner called to open his whole soul in