Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

till a seasonable hour, to enjoy themselves Id innocent mirth, enlivened by songs, anecdotes, iic. but no brother is to be compelled, or even importuned, to stay longer than he thinks proper; for it ought to be remembered, that in the hours both of labour and festivity, a mason should always be Free. On such occasions, no excess ought to take place, and the conversation, though social and easy, ought to be innocent; nor should a single expression be uttered, which even borders on obscenity or immorality. In fine, it ought to be deeply imprinted on the mind of every brother, that though after the adjournment of the lodge, masons are as other men ; yet if they should be guilty of improper behaviour, the blame might be cast on the craft at large,.by the ignorant and invidious part of the community.

SECTION 3. OF THE BEHAVIOUR OF MASONS IN THEIR

PRIVATE CHARACTERS.

When a number of masons happen to meet together in any other place than in a lodge and no stranger being amongst them, it may be well if they would attend to the following friendly hints.

1. You are to salute each other in the same courteous manner as you have been accustomed to do in the lodge, and are freely to communicate hints of knowledge, but without disclosing secrets, unless to those, of whose honour and^taciturnity you have had ample proof.

2. before those who are not masons, you should be cautious in your words, carriage, and behaviour, so that the most penetrating stranger may not be able to discover aniy part of our secrets. The ensnaring questions of those, who are desirous of prying into the mysteries of the craft, must be answered with prudence, or the discourse wisely' diverted to some other purpose.

3. WRten at home, your conduct and deportment should i

be unexceptionable, so that, if possible, even the breath

of calumny may not be able to raise a whisper against you. Masons should be good husbands, good parents, good sons, aad good neighbours; and they should be correct and punctual in the performance of all the private duties of life. You should not stay too long from home, should carefully avoid all excess, and act in such a manner, that men may see your good works, and glorify your father which is in heaven. Matthew v. 16. And every good mason should recollect that " the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Prov. iv. 18.

4. If a stranger apply in the character of a mason, you are to examine him with caution, agreeably to the rules of the craft, so that you may not be imposed on by a pretender ; but if you discover him to be a true and faithful brother, it is your duty to treat him with respect, and, if he be in want, to relieve him as far as may be in your power, without injuring yourself or family, or to direct him to some source from whence he may obtain relief. You must likewise, give him employment, if he want it, and it be in your power, and if not, you must,if possible, recommend him to some one, from whom he can obtain it.

5. You are expressly charged to avoid slander and backbiting, and never to traduee the character of a brother ; but support it, as far as may be in your power, consistent with propriety. You are, as a mason, to avoid, malice and unjust resentment, " to put off anger, wrath,, blasphemy, and filthy communications." Colossians iii. 8. M To lay aside all guile and hypocrisies and envies," I Peter ii. I. ;for " where envying and strife is, there shall be contention and every evil work." James iii. 16. To this it may be added, that " wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one." Job v. 2. Of such folly and wickedness, it is therefore to be wished, that free

[graphic]

masons, as they value their own reputation and happiness, and the prosperity of the ancient and honourable society to which they belong, will never be guilty.

6. You are placed like a city set on a hill. The eyes of the world are upon you, and strong prejudices are entertained against the institution, which can only be obviated by the correct deportment of its members.

7. If you suppose, that a brother has done you an injury, which you cannot settle between yourselves, you ought, in the first place, to apply to your own or his lodge for redress; and if you be not satisfied with their decision, application may be made to the grand lodge, and no suit ough to be instituted, unless such reference has been first made, and the determination found to be such as to render a compliance therewith impracticable. The parties may then appeal to the laws of their country; but they are to avoid all rancour and animosity, and neither say nor do any thing, which may prevent the continuance or renewal of that brotherly love and friendship, which are the glory and cement of this ancient fraternity. Masons, however, in respect to law-suits, ought to observe the directions which the apostle Paul gives to Christians; ".\oa>, therefore," says he, " there is utterly a fault amongst you; because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?" I. Corinthians vi. 7. He had previously told them, that all differences between brethren, should be referred to the arbitration of some members of the church, and expresses his most pointed disapprobation of "brother going to law with brother." Masons ought to be actuated by sentiments of the same kind, and, in case of any unfortunate difference, should act in the manner here recommended.

By conducting yourselves agreeably to the preceding directions, you will evince to the world, the benign influence of masonry ,as all wise, true,and faithful brethren, have done from the creation of the world, when God said, "Let there be light, and there was light ;" and as all who shall follow us, and would be thought worthy of the name of masons will do, till architecture shall be dissolved in the general conflagration.

These charges and such others as may be given to you in a way, that cannot be written, you are conscientiously to observe ; and be assured, that the more closely you adhere to them, the more happy will be your situation in this world, and the better your prospect of entering into that temple not made with hands, eternal in the heavens, '•whose builder and maker is God.

Amen. So mote it be.

CHAPTER IX. Charges to new admitted brethren in the different degrees.

SECTION 1. TO AN ENTERED APPRENTICE.

Brother,

I congratulate you on your admission as a member, into this our ancient and honourable fraternity ; ancient, as having'subsisted from time immemorial ; and honourable, as tending in every respect, to render a man so, who will act in conformity with its precepts. No institution was ever raised on better principles, or on a more solid foundation; nor were ever more excellent rules and useful maxims laid down than those, which are inculcated on all persons initiated into our mysteries.

Monarchs, in all ages, have been patrons of this art, and many of them have presided as grand masters, deeming itno derogation from their dignities, to put themselves

on a level with their brethren, to extend their privileges, and to patronise theirassemblies.

On this side of the Atlantic, which may, in some respects, be called a new world, the immortal Washington, the illustrious Franklin, the brave general Warren, and many more of our most celebrated revolutionary characters, too tedious to be mentioned, were of this institution most distinguished members ; and I have the pleasure to add, that many of the most eminent statesmen, who have been since called to guide the destinies of this rising empire, have not only been members of our society: but have delighted in exerting themselves to the utmost, to promote its honour and best interests.

The world's great architect is our supreme master, and the unerring rule, which he has given to every one, I mean the light of conscience, is the rule by which we ought invariably to work.

There are three great duties, which masons ought not only to perform themselves ; but likewise, to inculcate, as far as possible, on their friends and acquaintances, viz. their duty to God, their neighbours, and themselves.

1. To God. In never mentioning his sacred name, unless with that reverential awe, which is due from a creature to his creator; whom we ought to adore, as the source of all happiness, not only in the present, but also, in that future world, which is beyond death and the grave; whom we ought always to have in view, as our chief good, and whose blessing we ought to implore, on

"*rS. To your neighbours, you are to act upon the square, i. e. you are to follow the golden rule of doing to others, as, in similar circumstances, you would wish that they should do to you.

3. As it respects yourself, you are to avoid intemperance and excess of every kind, whereby you may be

[graphic]

our laudable undertakings.

« AnteriorContinua »