« הקודםהמשך »
ed on accuracy, aided by labour, prompted by perseverance, will Ginally overcome all difficulties, raise ignorance from despair and establish Itappiness in the paths of science*..
As you liare now passed through the ceremonies of your initiation, allow me lo congratulate you on being admired a member of our ancient and honourable society. Aurient, no doubt, it is, as having subsisicd from time in memoril; and lionourable it must be acknowledged to be; because, by a natural tendency, it conduces to make all those honourable, who are strictly obedient to its precepis. Indecd, no institution can boast a more solid foundation, than that on which Freemasonry rests—the practice of social and moral virtue. To so high an eminence has its credit been advanced, that, in every age, monarchs themselves have been the promoters of the art t, have not thought it derogatory from their dignity to exchange the sceptre for the trowell, have patronized our mysteries, and have even joined our assemblies. .
As a mason, I would first recommend to your most serious contemplation, the volume of the sacred law, charging you to consider it as tbe unerring standard of truth and justice, and to regulate your actions by the divine precepts which it contains g.
* Yes, but not the knowledge of Freemasonry. This association is wholly calculated to perpetuate ignorance, and the metaphorical morality which is introduced, is only that common'lrick of impostors to gild the poisonous pill. Freemasonry, like religion, has dressed itself in scraps of morality, the better to deceive the careless and ignorant; but morality, the only source of buman bappiness, cannot be properly taught in conjunction with Religion or Freemasonry. It is a pure principle that admils of no im. provement by any mixture. "To associate it with any alloy is to detract from its worth, to mix it wilh immorality. The metaphorical explanation of the Mason's tools is contemptible indeed ; that of the I wenty-four inch guage ridiculous, prayer being made the primary duty of the day. Morality is eren injured by metaphor.
+ They never promoted any thing that, on a large scale, tended to the welfare of mankind; because their very cxistence as monarchs is opposed 1o that wellare.
I It would be well, if they would, perpetually, hereafter, exchango lho sceptre for the trowel.
This is enough to sbew the character of the whole concern. llere is a book written by the most ignorant, or compiled by the most corrupt and shameless of historians, wholly erroncous in its represcntalions or the ma-, terial system of the planets, and alike false in physics and scienco gené. rally, that has no regular system of morals, nor a delineation of any onc good human character, but many bad ones, recommended to Masons as TAE UNERRING STANDARD OF TRUTII AND JUSTICE
Some reverend Masons, Brotlier Oliver, the Provincial Grand Chaplain of the county of Lincoln, in particular, have said that MASONRY IS FOUND. ED UPON RELIGION. It has certainly sought of latc to make a religious ap. pearance; butil did nol originale rcligiously. I have no objection to liave
Therein you will be taught the important duly you owe to God, to your neighbour, and to yourself.- To God, by never mentioning his name but with that awe and reverence which are due from the creature to his creator*, and by imploring his aid on all your lawful undertakings, and by looking up to him in every emergency for comfort and support-To your neighbour, by acting with him upon the square, by rendering him every kind office which justice or mercy may require, by relieving his distresses and by soothing his afflictions, and by doing to him, as, in similar cases, you would wish him to do to you.. –And to yourself, by such a prudent and well regulated course of discipline, as may best conduce to the preservation of your corporeal and mental faculties in their fullest energy : thereby enabling you to exert the talents wherewith God has blest you, as well to his glory, as to the welfare of your fellow creatures.
As a citizen of the world, I am next to enjoin you to be exemplary in the discharge of your civil duties, by never proposing, or at all countenancing, any act that may have a tendency to subvert the peace and good order of society; by paying due obedience to the laws of any state which may for a time become the place of your residence, or afford you its protection ; and, above all, by never losing sight of the allegiance due to the Sovereign of your native land: ever remembering, that nature bas implanted in your breast a sacred and indissoluble attachment to that country, from which you derived your birth and infant nurture.
As an individual, I am further to recommend the practice of every domestic as well as public virtue. Let Prudence direct you ! Temperance chasten you ! Fortitude support you :- and justice be the guide of all your actions. Be especially careful to maintain in the fullest splendour, those truly masonic ornaments which have already been amply illustrated-benevolence and charity.
Still, however, as a mason, there are other excellencies of character to which your attention may be peculiarly and forcibly disected. Among the foremost of these are secrecy, fidelity, and obedience.
Secrecy may be said to consist in an inviolable adherence to the obligation you have entered into, never improperly to reveal any of those masonic secrets which have now been, or may at any future time be, intrusted to your keeping; and cautiously to shun all occasions which mighit inadvertently lead you to do so.
it called the science of the Bible ; but then I will not allow it to be either good or useful. Ils association with religion or morality, even its pretensions to benovolcot brotherhood, are of modern origin. No pretensions or the kind existed, no purpose of the kind was pretended when the Society was confined to operative Masons. It originated as all other Trade Societies have originated.
* On this ground, as God is the creature of a diseased imagination, ho ought to be called upon to perform the duties here presoribed.
Your fidelity must be exemplified by a strict observance of the constitutions of the fraternity, by adhering to the ancient landmarks of the order; by never atiempling to extort, or otherwise unduly obtain, the secrets of a superior degree; and by refraining to recommend any one to a participation of our secrets, unless you have strong grounds to believe, that, by a similar fidelity, he will ultimately reflect hononr on our choice.
So must your obedience be proved by a close conformity to our laws and regulations; by prompt attention to all siyns and summonses; by modest and correct demeanour whilst in the Lodge by abstaining from every topic of religious or political discussion by ready acquiescence in all votes and resolutions duly passed by the brethren; and by perfect submission to the master and his wardens whilst acting in the discharge of their respective offices.
And, as a last general recommendation, let me exhort you to dedicate yourself to such pursuits as may enable you to become at once respectable in your rank of life, useful to mankind, and an ornament to the society of which you have this day been admitted a member: that you would more especially devotè a part of your leisure hours to the study of such of the liberal arts and sciences, as may lie within the compass of your attainment, and that, without neglecting the ordinary duties of your station, you will consider yourself called upon to make a daily advancement in masonic knowledge.
From the very commendable attention which you appear to have given to this charge, I am led to hope, that you will duly appreciate the excellence of Freemasonry, and imprint indelibly on your mind the sacred dictates of truili, honour and virtue.
This may be considered the coinpletion of the initiation, and I proceed to close my first letter, by describing the manner in which a lodge in the first degree is closed. In another letter, I shall describe what is called the working of a lodge, and make some general comments on what has been exhibited in the first degree
(The master knocks, which is answered by a knock from the two wardens as a call to order.)
W.M. Brethren, assist me to close the lodge.— Brother Junior Warden, the constant care of every Mason?
J. W. To prove the lodge close tiled.
J. W. Brother Inner Guard, you will prove the lodge close tiled. (The 1. G. gives three knocks on the inside of the door, which are answered by three knocks from the outer guard or Tiler, and indicatcs that the Lodge is close tiled.)
I. G. Brother Junior Warden, the lodge is close tiled. (This communication is made with the sign, and the Junior Warden gives three knocks, makes the sign, and reports to the master that the lodge is close tiled.)
W. M. Brother Senior Warden, what is the next care?
W. M. To order, brethren, as Masons.-Brother Senior Warden, your situation in the lodge?
S. W. In the West.
S. W. As the Sun disappears in the west, to close tlie day, so the Senior Warden is placed in the west to close the lodg: by command of the Worshipful Master, after seeing that every one has his just dues.
W.M. Our lodge being thus duly formed, before I proceed to declare it closed, let us with all humility and reverence express our gratitude to the great Architect of thie Universe for favours already received, and may be still continue to support our order, by cementing and adorning us with every moral and social virtue.
P. M. So mote it be.
W. M. Brother Senior Warden, our labours being ended, you have my command to close the lodge.
S. W. Brethren, in the name of the Great Architect of the Universe, and by the command of the Worshipful Master, I declare this lodge closed.
J. W. It is accordingly so done, and stands closed until the barring all cases of emergency, of which the brethren shall be apprized by summons. (Each of the officers gives three knooks, as each pronounced the lodge closed, and puts down the instrument which is the ensign of his authority.)
P. M. Brethren, nothing more remains to be done; but, according to ancient custom, to lock up our secrets in the safe and sacred receptacles of our hearts, with fear, faith and fidelity, and may God be with us. (Closes the Bible.)
Occasionally, a charge is delivered at the closing of the lodge by the Master, in the following words:-
When the lodge is closed you are to enjoy yourselves with innocent mirth, and carefully avoid excess. You are not to compel any brother to act contrary 10 his inclination, or give offence by word or deed; but to enjoy a free and easy conversation. You are to avoid immoral or obscene discourse, and at all times support, with propriety, the dignity of your character. You are to be cautious 'in your words and carriage, that the most penetrating stranger may not discover or find out what is not proper to be intimated: and, if necessary, you are to waive the discourse and manage it prudently, for the honour of the fraternity. At home, and in your several neighbourhoods, you are to behave as wisc and moral men. You are never to communicate to your families, friends, or acquaintances, the private transactions of our different assemblies; but, on every occasion, consult your honour and the reputation of the fraternity at large. You are to study the preservation of health, by avoiding irregularity and intemperance, that your families may not be neglected and injured, or yourselves disabled from attending to your necessary employments in
If a stranger apply in the character of a mason, you are cautia ously to examine him in such a method as prudence may direct, and agreeable to the forms established among masons, that you may not be imposed upon by an ignorant false pretender, whom you are to reject with contempt; and beware of giving him any secret hints of knowledge.
But, if you discover him to be a true and genuine brother, you are to respect him; if he be in want, you are without prejudice to relieve him, or direct him how he may be relieved; you are lo employ him or recommend him to employment. However, you are not charged to do beyond your ability, only to prefer a poor mason, who is a good man and true, before any other person in the same circumstances.
Finally, these rules you are always to observe and enforce, and also the duties which have been communicated in the lecture. Cultivate brotherly love, the foundation and cape-stone, the ccment and glory of this ancient fraternity, avoiding, on every occasion, wrangling and quarrelling, slandering and backbiting: not permitting others to slander honest brethren; but defending their characters, and doing them good offices, as far as may be consistent with your honour and safety and no farther. Hence all may see the benign influence of masonry, as all true masons have done from the beginning of the world and will do to the end of . time. Amen, so mote it bé.
Having completely developed the frivolous secrets of masonry, in the first degree, I declare this letter closed, and remain your trusty brother, in all revelations, masonic, divine, moral or useful.
P.S. RevelATION FOR EVER!