Imatges de pàgina
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for charity shall cover the multitude of sins." 1 Peter iv. 8.

Charity is, sometimes, taken only for giving alms ; and sometimes for having a favourable opinion of our neighbours ; but the proper interpretation of the words is LOVE,and St. Paul has fixed its meaning and clearly shewn its effects in his first epistle to the Corinthians, chap. xiii. of which chapter my readers will be pleased with the following beautiful paraphrase.

“ Did sweeter sounds adorn my flowing tongue,
Than ever man pronouaced, or angels sung;
Had I all knowledge, human and divine,
Which thought can reach, or science can define ;
And had I power to give that knowledge birth,
In all the speeches of the babbling earth ;
Did SAADRACH’s zeal my glowing breast inspire,
To weary tortures, and rejoice in fire;
Or had I faith like that, which ISRAEL SAW,
When Moses gave them miracles and law :
Yet gracious CHARITY, indulgent guest,
Were not thy power exerted in my breast,
Those speeches would send up upheeded prayers
That scorn of life would be but wild despair.
A cymbal's sound were better than my voice;
My faith were form, my eloquence were noise.
CHARITY, decent, modest, easy, kind,
Softens the high, and rears the abject mind;
Knows with just reins and gentle hand to guide,
Betwixt vile shame and arbitrary pride.
Not soon provoked, she easily forgives,
Soft peace she brings; wherever she arrives ;
She builds our quiet, as she forms our lives in
Lays the rough paths of peevish nature even,
And opens in each heart a little HEAVEN.
Each other gift, which God on man bestows,
Its proper bounds and due reflection knows;
To one fixed purpose dedicates its power,
And finishing its act, exists no more.
Thus in obedience to what HEAVEN decrees,
Knowledge shall fail, and prophecy shall cease,
But lasting CHARITY's more ample sway
Nor bound by time, nor subject to decay ;

In happy triumph shall for ever live,
And endless good diffuse, and endless praise receivei
As thro' the artist's intervening glass
Our eye observes the distant planets pass,
A little we discover, but allow,
That more remains unseen than art can shew;
So whilst our mind to knowledge would improve,
(Its teeble eye intent on things above)
High as we may, we lift our reason up,
By Faits directed and confirmed by HOPE,
Yet we are able only to survey
Dawnings of beams and promises of day.
HEAVEN's fuller effluence mocks our dazzled sight;
Too great its swiftness, and too strong its light
But soon the mediate clouds shall be dispelled ;
The sun shall soon be face to face beheld,
In all his robes, with all his glory on,
Seated sublime on his meridian throne.
Then constant Faith and holy Hope shall die,
One lost in certainty, and one in joy ;
Whilst thou more happy power, fair CHARITY,
Triumphant sister, greatest of the three,
Thy office and thy nature still the same,
Lasting thy lamp, and unconsumed thy flame,
Shalt still survive
Shalt stand before the host of HEAVEN confest,
For ever blessing and for ever blest.”

I shall conclude this section by a few observations, wbich ought deeply to be impressed on the mind of every free-mason. “ The objects of true CHARITY,” says Mr. Hutchinson, in his Spirit Of Masonry, “are Merit and VIRTUE in distress ;- persons, who are in. capable of extricating themselves from misfortunes, which have overtaken them in old age ; industrious men from inevitable accidents burled into ruin ; widows left survivors of their husbands, by whose labours they subsist. ed ; and orphans in tender years left helpless and ex. posed to the world.”

These are the true objects of charity, and a genuine mason will always endeavour to obviate the difficulties of such persons, without putting them to the painful · mortification of soliciting aid.

CHAPTER XI.

Masonic Precepts.
(Extracted from the German.*)

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ADORE the Most High, by whose order every thing which exists had its origin, and by whose unremitting operations every thing is preserved. .

Be thankful that thou wert born in a country, which is blessed with the glorious light of the gospel. Confess this divine religion every where, and let none of its duties be neglected.

Let all thy actions be distinguished by enlightened piety without bigotry or fanaticism.

II. Always remember that man is the master-piece of the creation ; because God created him after his own image, and animated him with his breath. Genesis i, 27, and ii. 7.

III. Thou owest thy first homage to the Deity, and the sea cond to the authority of civil society.

Honour the fathers of the state ; love thy country ; be religiously scrupulons in fulfilling all the duties of a good citizen ; consider that they are become peculiarly sacred by thy voluntary masonic vow ; and that the violation of them, which in one, not under such obligations, would be weakness, would in thee be hypocrisy and criminality.

* These precepts appeared at length in the Free-Mason's Magazine for November and December, 1794. The whole would be too tedious in a work of this kind. It is believed, however, that the follow. ing abridgement will be satisfactory to masonic readers, and may proye useful to them as well as others,

. IV. · Love affectionately all those who, as offsprings of the same progenitor, have like thee the same form, the same wants, and an immortal soul.

The mother country of a mason is the world ; all that concerns mankind is contained within the circle of his compass.

Honour the order of Free-masons, and come to our lodges to do homage to the sacred rights of humanity.

.. . V. God suffers men to partake of unlimited and eternal happiness.

Strive to resemble this divine original, by making all mankind as happy as thou canst ; nothing good can be imagined, which ought not to be an object of thy activity..

Let effectual and universal benevolence be the plumb line of thy actions.

Anticipate the cries of the miserable, or, at least, do not remain insensible to them.

Detest avarice and ostentation. Do not look for the reward of virtue in the plaudits of the multitude, but in the innermost recesses of thy own heart ; and if thou. canst not make as many happy as thou desirest, reflect on the sacred tie of benevolence, which unites us, and exert thyself to the utmost in promoting our labour of love.

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VI.

Be affable and kind to all, and endeavour to kindle: virtue in every heart.

Rejoice at thy neighbours prosperity, and never em.. bitter it with envy.

Forgive thy enemy, and if thou wouldst. revenge thyself:

on him- do it by benevolence. If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat ; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink. For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head, and the Lord shall reward thee. Proverbs xxv. 21 and 22.

By acting in this manner thou wilt fulfil one of the most exalted commands of religion, and act agreeably to the dignity of thy nature.

. .. VII. . Often unveil and examine thy heart, so that thou mayest discover its most secret dispositions ; for the knowledge of one's self is the sum of all Masonic precepts.

Thy soul is the rough ashlar, which thou must labour to polish. Thou canst oot do homage more worthy of the Supreme Being, than when thou offerest up to him regular desires and inclinations, and restrainest thy passions.

Beware of the dismal consequences of pride ; It was this which first caused the first degradation of man.

To compare thyself with those who are possessed of inferior faculties would be a dangerous flattery of thyself : rather let a virtuous emulation animate thee, when thou perceivest superior talents. Let thy tongue be a faithful interpreter of thy heart. A mason, who abandons, candour, and hides himself behind the mask of dissimulation and deceit, is unworthy to sit amongst us ; as he would sow upon our peaceful soil the seed of distrust and dissimulation, and soon become the scourge of our societies.

Study eagerly the meaning of our emblems ; for un, der their veil, very important and satisfactory truths are concealed.

Remember, that of all the sciences, on whose exten; sive field the industry of men gather useful illustrations, none will afford thy heart heavenly satisfaction except

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