« הקודםהמשך »
neighbour; in acting upon the square, and doing unto him as you wish he should do unto you: and to yourself; in avoiding all irregularity and intemperance, which may impair your faculties, or debase the dignity of your profession. A zealous attachment to these duties will ensure public and private esteem.
In the state, you are to be a quiet and peaceful subject, true to your government, and just to your country; you are not to countenance disloyalty or rebellion, but patiently submit to legal authority, and conform with cheerfulness to the government of the country in which you live.
In your outward demeanour be particularly careful to avoid censure or reproach. Lei not interest, favour, or prejudice, bias your integrity, or influence you to be guilty of a dishonourable action. Although your frequent appearance at our regular meetings is earnestly solicited, yet is is not meant that masonry should interfere with your necessary vocations ; for these are on no account to be neglected : neither are you to suffer your zeal for the institution to lead you into argument with those who, through ignorance, may ridicule it. At your leisure hours, that you may improve in masonic knowledge, you are to converse with well informed brethren, who will be always as ready to give, as you will be to receive, instruction.
Finally ; keep sacred and inviolable the mysteries of the order, as these are to distinguish you from the rest of the community, and mark your consequence among masons. If, in the circle of your acquaintance, you find a person desirous of being initiated into masonry, be particularly attentive not to recommend him, unless you are convinced he will conform to our rules ; that the honour, glory and reputation of the institution may be firmly established, and the world at large convinced of its good effects.
Remarks on the Second Degree. MASONRY is a progressive science, and is divided into different classes or degrees, for the more regular advancement in the knowledge of its mysteries. According to the progress we make, we limit or extend our inquiries ; and, in proportion to our capacity, we attain to a less or greater degree of perfection.
Masonry includes within its circle almost every branch of polite learning.
Under the veil of its mysteries, is comprehended a regular system of science. Many of its illustrations, to the confined
genius, may appear unimportant; but the man of more enlarged faculties will perceive them to be, in the highest degree, useful and interesting. To please the accomplished scholar, and ingenious artist, masonry is wisely planned ; and, in the investigation of its latent doctrines, the philosopher and mathematician may experience equal delight and satisfaction.
To exhaust the various subjects of which it treats, would transcend the powers of the brightest genius ; still, however, nearer approaches to perfection may be made, and the man of wisdom will not check the progress of his abilities, though the task he attempts may at first seem insurmountable. Perseverance and application remove each difficulty as it occurs ; every step he advances, new pleasures open to his view, and instruction of the noblest kind attends his researches. In the diligent pursuit of knowledge, the intellectual faculties are employed in promoting the glory of God, and the good of man.
The first degree is well calculated to enforce the duties of morality, and imprint on the memory the noblest principles which can adorn the human mind. It is therefore the best introduction to the second degree, which not only extends the same plan, but comprehends a more diffusive system of knowledge. Here practice and theory join, in
qualifying the industrious mason to share the pleasures which an advancement in the art musť necessarily afford. Listening with attention to the wise opinions of experienced craftsmen on important subjects, he gradually familiarises his mind to useful instruction, and is soon enabled to investigate truths of the utmost concern in the general transactions of life.
From this system proceeds a rational amusement; while the mental powers are fully employ. ed, the judgment is properly exercised. of emulation prevails; and all are induced to vie, who shall most excel in promoting the valuable rules of the institution.
The First Section.
The first section of the second degree accurately elucidates the mode of introduction into that particular class ; and instructs the diligent craftsman how to proceed in the proper arrangement of the ceremonies used on the occasion. It qualifies him to judge of their importance, and convinces him of the necessity of strictly adhering to every established usage of the order. Here he is entrusted with particular tests, to enable him to prove his title to the privileges of this degree, while satisfactory reasons are given for their origin. Many duties, which cement in the firmest union, well
informed brethren, are illustrated in this section ; and an opportunity is given to make such advances in masonry, as will always distinguish the abilities of those who have arrived at preferment.
The knowledge of this section is absolutely necessary for all craftsmen; and as it recapitulates: the ceremony of initiation, and contains many other important particulars, no officer or member of a lodge should be unacquainted with it.
The PLUMB, SQUARE, and LEVEL, those noble and useful implements of a Fellow Craft, are here introduced and moralized, and serve as a constant admonition to the practice of virtue and morality,
The plumb is an instrument made use of by operative masons, to raise perpendiculars, the square, to square their work, and the level, to lay horizontals; but we, as free and accepted masons, are taught to make use of them for more noble and glorious purposes : the plumb admonishes us to walk uprightly in our several stations before God and man, squaring our actions by the square of virtue, and remembering that we are travelling upon the level of time, to “ that undiscovered country, from whose bourne no traveller returns."
The Second Section.
The second section of this degree has recourse to the origin of the institution, and views masonry