Imatges de pàgina

ence architecture is founded. It teacheth the general how to arrange his army, the engineer how to lay out bis ground for fortifications and eacampments, the geographer and mariner how to delineate the extent, situation and boundaries of different countries, seas and oceans, and the astronomer bis observations on the course of the heavenly bodies. On geometry, likewise, the various branches of the mathematics entirely depend.

The moral advantages of geometry, however, are, what in a more peculiar manner, deserve our attention. FreeMasonry is a speculative science, issuing from that important practical science, geometry; the laws of which were observed in the creation, and are still manifest in the regulation of the world.

And as the grand lodge of the universe, this stupendous globe excels in magnificence of design, and stabili ty of foundation, demonstrative of its builder ; so contemplating this mighty scale of perfection and wonder, does our society proceed, conceiving the importance of order and harmony, and catching the spirit of beneficence, from what is observed of wisdom, regularity, and mercy, in the world of nature.

Nature, indeed, surpasses art in the boldness, sublimity, and immensity of her works. Man can only contemplate in awful amazement; her mightier operations ; but in her smaller designs, the ingenuity of man advances, with admirable success, from study to imitation ; as is demonstrated in the wonderful variety and beauty of the works of the art, the imitative arts particularly, and chiefly those of painting and sculpture.

But of all the works of human art, masonry is certainly. the first, as most useful, and, therefore, approaching nearer in effect to the beneficent purposes of Providence. Architecture has been justly deemed the favourite child. of civilization ; it is the science, which has ever discrimi,

nated by its progress, refinement from rudeness ; by its presence or absence, savage from social life. ln coun'. tries, where operative masonry never laid the line, nor spread the compass ; where architecture never planned the dome, nor projected the column, all other evidences of elegant improvement are sought for in vain ; all is darkness and barbarism.

A survey of the works of nature, first led men toimitate as far as their limited abilities would admit, the great plan of the Divine Architect. This gave rise to societies, which led to improvements in every useful art. But of all the societies which have contributed to the propagation of knowledge, the society of free-masons has been, and ever will be, the most conspicuous. The ravages of time have destroyed the most stupendous fabrics which have been erected by the ingenuity and labour of man, but the masonic art still continues to flourish in all its ancient splendour.


Music is a science, which teaches how sound, under certain measures of time and tune, may be produced, and so ordered and disposed, as that either in consonance or succession, or both, it may raise various sensations from the height of rapture, even to that of melancholy or distraction.

This art from the time of JUBAL, the father of such as handle the harp and organ, down to the immortal Orpheus, and from thence to that of the no less immortal Handel, has ever been held in the highest esteem ; and most deservedly, since it is productive not only of the highest entertainment, but also of the most beneficial effects. Its principal use is to celebrate the praises of the Deity, with that musical sacrifice and adoration, which has claimed a place in the customs of different nations ; for the Greeks and Romans of the profane, as well as the Jews and Christians of the sacred world, did as unanimously agree in this, as they disagreed in all other parts of their economy. Nor can we doubt, that the songs of Zion or other sublime poetry, softened in the most moving strains of music, have the power of swelling the heart with rapturous thanksgiving, or of humbling or exhalting the soul to the most fervent pitch of devotion.

On the effects of music, Shakspeare thus expresses himself,

The man that hath no music in himself,
Nor is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, villanies and spoil :
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus.
Let no such man be trusted.

[merged small][ocr errors]

· Astronomy leads our thoughts to planets, which are of equal, or probably of a superior magnitude, and of a similar substance to that of our earth. It considers these mighty globes, as projected by an Almighty Hand, and confined in their different orbits by that same gravity which causeth all bodies, which are projected, to descend to the earth.

By means of imaginary points, lines, and circles it divides the Heavens into its distinct regions, It assigns to the fixed stars their settled habitations, marks out the wide circuits of the planets and comets, and calculates their periods, oppositions and conjunctions, with astonishing exactness ;, and it unfolds the mystical causes by which those wonderful revolutions are performed. By the further study of those planetary orbs, our mental faculties also become exalted far above the contemptible opinions of those, who doubt the wisdom, power, good

ness, superintende nce,or eren the existence of a su. preme being. While we are engaged in the study of this science, it cannot fail to give us the most exalted ideas of the wisdom, the beneficence, and the greatness of the Almighty Creator, and will induce us to exclaim in the language of the Psalmist, “ Lord! our Lord, how excellent is thy name, in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. When I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast ordained, what is inan that thou art mindful of him ? and the son of man, that thou visitest him ?



Of all the noble sciences ever cultivated by man, Astronomy may be deservedly considered as the most sublime and exalted, whether we have reference to its magnitudes, its subjects, or its vast extents. By thisdivine science, the grand Architect of the universe hath enabled the reflecting part of the community not only to view bis wonderful omnipotency in a much stronger light than could have been otherwise effected ; but to demonstrate, even to the sceptic ; that nothing less than Almighty power could have established such: innumerable systems of heavenly orbs, placed them at their relative distances, and preserved the whole in universal and complete order, from their first formation to the present period. During the lapse of revolving ages, we may observe, or have, no doubt, read, that many. changes have taken place on this, our terraqueous globe, but the heavenly bodies move in the same regu-. lar succession as they did at first, and will continue to do so till time shall be no more. If we contemplate the starry firmament without this science, we must inevitably be deeply impressed with a reverential awe of

heavenly wisdom; but if we explore the science with its demonstrative truths, we are lost in astonishment in the immensity of space in which these vast systems revolve.

This noble science may be justly said to comprehend the whole of the other six ; as, by Grammar, we correctly express the substance of our observations ; by Rhetoric, we forcibly impress the truths therein contain. ed ; by Logic, we proceed to demonstrate these truths ; by Arithmetic, we make our calculations ; by Geometry, we measure the magnitudes and distances of those vast orbs ; and, finally, we are led by the most irrefragable arguments to subscribe to the harmony of the whole, since there is not the least discord to be found in any of its parts.

In short, it is by the help of this subliine science, that mankind are enabled to plough the trackless ocean ; to traverse the sandy waste of the immense desert; by means of commerce, to civilize rude and savage nations ; to unite men of the most remote countries, sects, and opinions ; to conciliate true friendship amongst persons, who would otherwise have remained at an immense and perpetual distance from each other; and, finally, to propagate in the most distant regions, the knowledge of true religion, and to make those improvements in the arts and sciences, which, at first, only a small part of mankind could have been acquainted, common to the whole human race.


Of the Five Noble Orders in Architecture.

By order in architecture, is meant a system of all the members, proportions and ornaments of columns and pilasters ; or it is a regular arrangement of the project

« AnteriorContinua »