« AnteriorContinua »
that, which instructeth thee in thy relation to God and the Creation.
VIII. · Every free-mason, without any consideration to what religious denomination he belongs, where he is born, or what rank he holds, is thy brother, and has a claim upon thee for assistance, when he stands in need of it.
Equality was the first lot of nature ; but was soon swerved from. The mason restores the original rights of mankind; be never sacrifices to vulgar prejudices, The sacred plumbline amongst us puts all ranks on level. It is nevertheless, our duty to respect the distinctions of rank in life, which society has either introduced or permitted.
Beware of introducing amongst us improper distinctions, by which equality would suffer; and be not ashamed before the world of a poor but honest man whom thou hast acknowledged a short time before as a brother. Is be in danger, hasten to his assistance ; Is he distressed, open thy purse to him, and rejoice in having found an opportunity of making so benign an use of thy money; Is he blinded by error, endeavour by friendly representations to reclaim him.
Hast thou animosity against thy brother, hasten to a reconciliation. Call in an unprejudiced mediator, and invite him to brotherly mediation ; but never step over our threshhold, unless they heart be clear from hatred and malice. In vain wouldst thou attempt to supplicate the presence of the Eternal in our lodges, if they were .not ornamented by the virtues of our brethren, and consecrated by their unanimity. ;
IX.. . Fulfil, with religious strictness, all those moral duties which the order prescribes. Follow its wise precepts, and honour those, who by the confidence of the brethren, have been made the guardians of the laws and the interpreters of the universal union.
Thy will must be subordinate, in the Order, to the will of the law and of thy superiors; for thou wouldst not be a true brother, if thou wouldst resist this subordination, so very requisite, in every respectable society.
In particular we have a law, the inviolable compliance with which thou hast promised before the face of beaven. It is the strictest silence concerning oor rites, ceremonies, signs, and the form of our alliance. Do not imagine that this obligation is less sacred than that, which thou takest before the civil magistrate. Indeed, from many circumstances, which must naturally occur to thy mind, nothing can be more bioding.
Thou wert free, when it was administered to thee ; but it is not now at thy option to violate it : the Eternal, whom thou hast invoked to witness it, bath ratified it.
· Should these precepts, which the order communicates to thee, with a view to make the path to truth and happiness smooth, imprint themselves deep into thy heart, open to the impressions of virtue ; shouldst thou make those excellent precepts thy own, which distinguish each step of thy masonic career, and render them the plumbline of all thy actions, how great would be our joy! Then wouldst thou answer thy exalted destination; thou wouldst remember that resemblance to God, which was the share of man in his state of innocence, which is the object of religion, and the principle end of masonic initiation : thou wouldst once more be the favourite of heaven; the abundance ofits blessings would be poured over thee, and acquiring the title of a wise, free and happy
man, thou wouldst run thy terrestrial career, as the BENE· FACTO of mankind, and the PATTERN of thy brethren.
Of God and Religion. It is incumbent on every one, who from the love of knowledge or curiosity is desirous of becoming a free-mason, to know, that as his foundation or great corner-stone, he is to believe in the great first cause, and to pay that worship and adoration, which is due to him as THE SUPREME ARCHITECT AND GOVERNOR OF THE UNIVERSE. A mason ought also, as a true Noachida,* to pay strict attention to the moral law; and if he understand the rules of the craft, it will be impossible for bim to be an atheist, an irreligious libertine, or to act in opposition to that inward light, which his merciful Creator has been pleased to give him, I mean his conscience.. in
He ought, likewise, to shun the dreadful errors of bigotry and superstition ; errors, which at different periods, hare occasioned the most serious calamities to the human species, and should make a due use of his own reason, according to that “ liberty, wherewith a mason is made free,” for though in ancient times, masons were charged to comply with the established religion of the country in which they sojourned, it has, for many years, been deemed adviseable, to give the brethren no other injunction on this subject, than that they should be good men and true ; that in their deportment they should be actuated by the principles of honour and integrity, and adhere to those essential points of religion, in which all good men are agreed, leaving every brother to his own judgment, in regard to particular forms. ,
The lodge consists of men of the most opposite religious persuasions, who, if they were suffered to discuss their
* A son of Noah ; the first name for a free-mason.
different opinions, instead discord and batred me was it calculated to co sons of all religione principle of views Almighty pareat, a the mutual aid and
The solemnity embrace all that derived, necessan
inions, instead of harmony and brotherly love, hatred would prevail. Wisely, therefore, oted to conciliate true friendship amongst perCeligions, by adopting the broad and natural Friewing all men as brethren, created by one
arent, and placed in this sublunary world for
itect of the Universe, the Creator of us all In conmplation of his wisdom, goodness and power, the Mahometan under one name, the Jew and Christian under another, can join in adoration, all agreeing in the grand essential and universal principle of religion, the recognition and worship of a Deity, in whose hands are the is. sues of life and death, though differing in some minute points peculiar to each. Shall theo, this temporary and happy accommodation of sentiment to good purposes, stamp os as Deists? God forbid ! When the lodge is closed, each departs untainted by the other, the Jew to his synagogue, the Mahometan to his mosque, and the Christian to bis church, as fully impressed as ever with the divine origin and rectitude of his own faith, from the principles of which, he has never, for one moment, deviated, either in thought or deed.
Our order contemplates the whole human species, divested of all religious or political distinctions. It should be free to the worthy and accepted of all nations and languages. In this institution, party spirit is unknown. The Prince Regent of England, the King of Prussia, their Excellencies Daniel D. Tompkins and De Witt Clinton, a Roman prelate and a Protestant reformer, a Wellington and a Washington at the head of their armies, and an humble Quaker, who holds in detestation the
sword and bayonet, and indeed, the lowest peasant in. the universe, may, provided they are free-masons, unite together as a band of brothers. Masonry, as has been before observed, excludes all distinction of religion, as well as of rank. The Episcopalian, the Presbyterian, the Methodist, the Baptist, the Catholic, the Hebrew, and the Turk, may here sit together in peace and barmony. . . ; .
Thus masonry is the centre of unity, and the happy means of conciliatiog the affections of many upright and intelligent men, who might otherwise bave remained at a distance from each other.
The Grand Architect's Six Periods.
When we contemplate that the formation of the world was the work of that Omnipotent Being who created the beautiful system of the universe, well may we exclaim with wonder and astonishment, “ O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth, who hast set thy glory above the heavens. When we consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained, What is man, that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man, that thou visitest him?" Psalm viii.
Before he was pleased to command this vast world into existence, the elements and the materials of the creation lay blended without form or distinction. “ Darkness was upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters ;” when the great Jehovah, as an example to man, that things of moment ought to be done with deliberation, was pleased to take sıx DAYS in periodically bringing it from chaos to perfection.
The Supreme Arebitect shewed the first instance of