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Four or five years ago I conceived the idea of compiling a Monitor for the use of Free Masons, embodying at the same time sufficient matter for the perusal of such who are not devotees to the mystic rites of the Order; and from authentic sources and writings of eminent men of the past and present age, to prove that the order is not only of an ancient date, but replete with moral instructions which can not but elevate the human character to all that is good and holy; and trust that my feeble efforts in the compilation of this work may have a tendency to dispel the foul aspersions which from time to time have been thrown at our to time Institution.
I am a Mason, and am proud of the title; but I do not profess to be a writer; nor should I have intruded myself before my brethren and the world at large in that character, had I not too much reason to repose in their benevolence, to dread their criticism.
During the time that I have had it in agitation to compile this work, I have examined many books and manuscripts on the Order, and conversed with some of the most intelligent brethren respecting the ultimate benefits which must result from a compilation of such works as brothers Cole, Webb, Cross, Locke, Dermott, Thomas Preston, and many French writers, from whose writings I have translated copiously such matter as I thought could be useful to the Mason or interesting to the general reader.
In addition to the valuable aid derived from those books, and an unremitting attention of nineteen years to the Order, I am under a deep obligation to the valuable aid of an eminent brother, who by his kind advice has assisted me in the proper compilation of a large mass of matter.
With respect to any hope of pecuniary emolument, I must entreat my brethren to believe that no such idea ever entered into my mind; a proper inculcation of the precepts of our noble Order, and a fervent hope that my efforts may meet with success, and particularly to place in a proper light before the uninitiated the principles and objects of our Institution, is the only reward I desire.
I deem it unnecessary to advert here, with the exception of silencing the calumniators of our noble Institution, that from the earliest ages, men most renowned for wisdom and honour have become and remained members of the Order, who supported its interest at. the time, and even by their wise counsels enacted regulations for the future, and which are held so sacred that up to this very day not an iota is abridged. Were the Institution wicked, trifling, or ridiculous, would such men as a Washington, a Franklin, or a Lafayette have remained adherents to the Order?
That the Institution is of Divine origin, leaves not a shadow of doubt on my humble mind. It bears on its front the impress of an Almighty Architect; the tide of time has dashed against its walls in vain; the storms of persecution in all ages and countries, and particularly in our own happy and free land, have passed over it with harmless fury; the shafts of malice, even in a political view, have fallen innoxious at its threshold, and the assaults of its enemies have ended in their own disgrace. What but the work of a Divine Master could thus have withstood the all-subduing influence of time, the rage and malice of human passions, or the ceaseless revolutions of all mortal things.
I cannot conclude this short address without apologizing to our present R. W. G. M. in not having dedicated this work to him. There is no individual in the community for whose private and masonic character I have a greater respect; but some years ago, when the work was first in contemplation, I had then already selected the individual to whom I have now the honour and pleasure to dedicate it. I trust a candid avowal of my intention will be looked on in its proper light.
Z. A. D.
TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFUL BROTHER,
JOSEPH R. CHANDLER,
PAST GRAND MASTER AND PAST GRAND HIGH PRIEST OF THE GRAND LODGE AND CHAPTER OF THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, AND MASONIC JURISDICTION
R. W. SIR AND Brother,
The high esteem in which your valuable services have been held amongst Masons, and the benefits I have received from your instructions, have laid me under obligations which I feel myself incompetent to discharge. As a tribute of my respect and gratitude, permit me to dedicate to you this humble effort, which I hope may be of benefit to the fraternity.
I remain yours fraternally,
Z. A. DAVIS.