Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

beauty and necessity of virtue, both public and private ; yet it must appear to you as a full recommendation of this institution, that its members have these pursuits constantly in view, as the main objects of their association. And these, my reverend brother, are the laudable bonds, which from time immemorial, unite us in one indissoluble fraternity.

SECTION 5.-AN ADDITIONAL ADDRESS, WHICH MAY BE

USED AT THE INITIATION OF A FOREIGNER.

You, brother, the native and subject of another nation, by entering into our order, have connected yourself by sacred and affectionate ties, with many thousands of masons in this and other countries. Ever recollect, that the order into which you have just entered, bids you always to look upon the world as one great republic, of which every nation is a family, and every particular person a child. When, therefore, you return to your own country, take care that your friendship be not confined to the narrow circle of national connections or particular religions, but let it be universal, and extend to every branch of the human race. At the same time, you are to remember, that besides the common ties of humanity, you have now entered into obligations which engage you to kind and friendly actions to your brother masons, of whatever station, religion, or country they may be.

SECTION 6..-AN ADDRESS, which MAY BE USED AT

THE INITIATION OF A SOLDIER.

Our institution breathes a general spirit of philanthrophy, and its benefits, considered in a social point of view, are very extensive It unites all mankind. In every nation it opens an asylum to virtue in distress and grants

hospitality to the necessitous and unfortunate. The sublime principles of universal goodness and love to all mankind, which constitute its basis, cannot be lost in pational distinctions, prejudices, or animosities. It has abated the rage of contest, and substituted the milder emotions of humanity. . . . . . . . . .

Should your country demand your services in foreign wars, and captivity should be your portion, it is probable that you will find affectionate brethren, where others would only find enemies.

lo whatever nation you travel, when you meet a mason, you will find a brother and a friend, who will do all in his power to serve you, and who will cheerfully relieve you to the utmost of his abilities, if you should be involved in poverty or distress.

Other charges suitable to extraordinary occasions might be introduced. The judicious master, however, will find no difficulty in annexing to the usual charges, such additions as, in his opinion, the nature of the case may require..

CHAPTER X

Of Masonic Virtues.

SECTION 1.-OF VIRTUE IN GÉNERAL.

BEFORE We proceed to describe these virtues, which's in a peculiar manner, are deemed masonic, it may not be improper to give a brief illucidation of what is meant by virtue in general. This is a subject on which much has been written, but the authors have seldom condescended to explain themselves in a manner sufficiently plain to : be intelligible to the generality of their readers. Virtue may be defined the highest exercise of the

mind; the integrity, barmony, and just balance of affection; the health, strength, and beauty of the soul. The perfection of virtue is to give reason its full scope, to obey the dictates of conscience with alacrity, to exercise the defensive passions with fortitude, the public with justice, and the private with temperance ; that is in due proportion to each other. To love and adore God with disinterested affection, and to acquiesce in his kind providence with a calm resignation, is the step towards the test of virtue ; but a deviation from this line of conduct will be found to be a sure prelude to vice and misery.

After this brief illucidation of virtue in general, we shall now treat of some of the most prominent masonic virtues in order, and these we shall consider under the following heads, viz. Brotherly love, Truth, Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence, Justice, and Charity.

SECTION 2.-OF BROTHERLY LOVE.

By the exercise of this virtue, we are taught to regard the whole human species as one family, whether high or low, rich or poor, who, as children of the same parent, are to aid, support, and protect each other.

Relief is the next tenet of the profession, which, indeed, may be considered as a most important part of what we have denominated brotherly love. To relieve the distressed, is a duty incumbent on all.men, but particularly og masons, who are linked together by ties, which may be considered as indissoluble. To sooth calamity, alleviate misfortune, sympathize with the miserable, and, as far as may be practicable, to restore peace to the troubled: mind, ought ever to be objects of primary importance..

SECTION 3.-OF TRUTH. We are taught, in the sacred scriptures, that truth is a peculiar attribute of the deity, that those," who wore

ship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth,” Johniv. 24.; and, that“ every one should tell truth to his neighbour." To be good and true, is one of the first lessons which we are taught in masonry. This, therefore is a theme, which we ought to contemplate, and, by its dictates, endeavour to regulate our conduct; for we are told, that God" desireth truth in the inward parts." Psalm li. 6.

The arts of deceit and cunning continually grow weaker and less effectual to those who practise them, while, on the other hand, integrity gains strength by use, and the more and the longer any man accustoms bimself to it, the greater service it will do him ; as it will establish his reputation, and thus encourage others to repose in him the greatest trust and confidence, which may be certainly considered as being of unspeakable advantage in the common affairs of life.

Truth is, always consistent with itself, and needs nothing to help it out. It is near at hand; it sits upon our lips, and is ready to drop out before we are aware ; but a lie is troublesome, and sets a man's inrention constantly on the rack to preserve even a tolerable appearance of consistency. A lie is like a building upon a false foundation, which continually stands in need of props to preserve it, and proves, at last, more chargeable than the erection of a substantial building would have be on a true and solid foundation. Truth is firm ; It is irresistible, and those who practise it, in all their transactions, can never be put to shame. The wicked flee, when na man pursueth ; but the righteous are bold as a lion." Let us, therefore, not only in regard to truth, but, likewise, every other moral duty, always maintain the testimony of a good conscience, and we have nought to fear.

Influenced by these principles, in our intercourse with each other, and with the world at large, hypocrisy and deceit should be unkpown among us; and the heart an!

tongue should unite in promoting our mutual welfare, and in rejoicing in each other's prosperity.

Truth has ever been a distinguishing prerequisite among free-masons ; and he wbo deviates from it, in a single instance, is acting in direct opposition to one of the first precepts of the order.

“The man, whose mind on virtue bent,
Pursues-some greatly good intent,

With undiverted aim,
Serene, beholds the angry crowd,
Nor can their clamours, fierce and loud,

His stubborn honour tame.".

BLACKLOex.

SECTION 4.0F TEMPERANCE.

Temperance may be defined to be the restraint of passion. That it is a quality essential to happiness, reason and observation bear ample testimony. So highly, indeed, has it always been esteemed, that it ranks as a virtue in every system of morality; for as-uncontrouled passions lead us to wickedness and turbulence, so temperance leads us to virtue and tranquillity. Even in worldly affairs, it is found to be a guide to health, wealth, and prosperity ; for it forbids us to indulge in enervating luxul and inculcates economy in all the concerns of life.

: Its best recommendation is to be found in its effects ; and no one, who is convinced, that temperance leads to bliss, can hesitate in adhering to it through life. It is essentially necessary that this virtue should be observ. ed by all, who wish to live with comfort; but, for reasons, which will naturally occur to every free-mason, it is peculiarly proper, that it should be observed by them.

The dire effects of intemperance are thus most pathetically described by an ingenious poet ; if I remembe right, the late Rt. Rev. Dr. Porteous, bishop of London.

« AnteriorContinua »