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—-This renders the conjecture so absurd, that it will bear no farther animadversions.
We Masons profess that we are pilgrims in progression from the test.
Th8 Almighty planted a garden in the east, wherein he placed the perfection of human nature, the first man full of innocence and divine knowledge, and full of honor, even bearing the image of God.
Learning had its first progression from the east after the floods the Egyptians were the first who represented the zodiac, and the first who demonstrated the wisdom of the great Architect of the World in the revolutions of the heavens: they were the first projectors of the science of Geometry. s
In regard to the doctrine of our Saviour and the christian revelation, it proceeded from the east.
The star which proclaimed the birth of the Sort of God, appeared in the east.
The east was an expression used by the prophets to denote the Reamer.
From thence it may well be conceived, that we should profess our progress to be from thence; if we . profess by being Masons, that we are a society of the servants of that Divinity, whose abode is with the Father coeternal, in the centre of the heavens.
But if we profess no such matter, then why should not we have alledged our progress to have been from the north, and the regions of chaos and darkness?
But we will, my brethren, forbear all further argument, and close the labours of the year with a sincere exhortation, that you will continue to act in this society as upright and religious men:—that you will exert yourselves in the promotion of its honorand let the wicked and ignorant revile ever so maliciously, be strenuous in your duties, as Masons and as Brethren:— exercise your benevolence with openness of heart, and your charity with cordiality, and not as hypocrites:—with attention endeavour to arrive at the utmost knowledge of your profession, the end of which, we boldly proclaim to you, is to work out the works of righteousness.
FOR THE FESTIVAL OF ST. JOHN,
Being this day, by your choice, exalted into this chair, it is the fervent wish of my heart, to render myself as little undeserving as possible of the distinguished honour: many important duties has a Master of a Lodge to perform. To give instruction is one; I do not however presume upon any superior abilities to dictate to my brethren; yet I think it incumbent upon me, whilst I have the honour to sit in this chair, on this and all other such occasional festivities, and think my office requires it of me, to exhort you to consider the nature of our institution, and to remind you of the duties it prescribes.. These duties are very various and important, and have this day, I doubt not, been expatriated upon in many places, by Reverend Brethren in the solemn Temple.
Our Order instructs us in our duty to the great Artificer of the Universe; directs us to behave as becomes creatures to their Creator; to be satisfied with his dispensations, and always to rely upon him, whose wisdom cannot mistake our happiness, whose goodness cannot contradict it.
It directs us to be peaceable subjects, to give no umbrage to the civil powers, and never to be concerned in plots and conspiracies against the well-being of the nation; and, as political matters have sown the seeds
of discord among the nearest relations, and most intimate friends, we are wisely enjoined in our assemblies, never to speak of them.
It instructs us in our duty to our neighbour; teaches us not to injure him in any of his connections, and in all our dealings with him to act with justice and impartiality. It discourages defamation; it bids us not to circulate any whisper of infamy, improve any hint of suspicion, or publish any failure of conduct. It orders us to be faithful to our trusts; not to deceive him who relieth upon us; to be above the meanness of dissimulation; to let the words of our mouths express the thoughts of our hearts; and whatsoever we promise, religiously to perform.
It teaches inviolable secrecy; bids ns to the unenlightened never to discover our mystic rites, nor betray the confidence a brother has placed in us. It warms our hearts with true philanthropy, which directs us never to permit a wretched fellow-creature to pass' unnoticed. It makes us stifle enmity, wrath, and dissention; and nourishes love, peace, friendship, and every social virtue; it tells us to seek our happiness in the happiness we bestow, and to love our neighbour at ourselves.
It informs us that we are children of one Father; that man is an infirm short-lived creature, who passes away like a shadow; that he is hastening to that place where human titles and distinctions are not considered; where the trappings of pride will be taken away, and virtue alone have the pre-eminence; and, thus instructed, we profess, that merit is the only proper distinction. We are not to vaunt ourselves upon our riches, or our honours, but to cloath ourselves with humility; to condescend to men of low estate; to be the friends of merit in whatever rank we find it. We are connected with men of the most indigent circumstances, and in the Lodge, (though our order deprives no man of the honour due to his dignity or character) we rank as brethren on a level; and out of a Lodge, we consider the most abject wretch as belonging to the great fraternity of mankind; and therefore, when it is in our power, it is our duty to support the distressed, and, patronize the neglected.
It directs us to divest ourselves of confined and bigotted notions, and teaches us, that humanity is the soul of religion, we never suffer any religious disputes in our Lodges, and, as Masons, we only pursue the universal religion, the religion of nature. Wor»hippers of the God of mercy, toe believe that in every nation, he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted of him. All Masons, therefore, whether Christians, Jews, Makomedans, who violate not the rule of right, written by the Almighty upon the tables of the heart; who do fear him, and work righteousness, we are to acknowledge as brethren; and, though we take different roads, we are not to be angry with, or persecute each other on. that account. We mean to travel to the same place; we hww that the end of our journey is the same; and we all affectionately hope to meet in the Lodge of perfect happiness:—how lovely At an institution fraught with sentiments like these !—.