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quality, divert the discourse some other way; or by seeming not to mind it, signify that you do not like it.
"Let every man mind his own duty and concern. Do but endeavour in good earnest to mend yourself, and it will be work enough, and leave you little time to talk of others."
In the foregoing sentiments, the Backbiter and Slanderer may see himself fully represented as. in a true mirror; and detestable as the spectacle naturally appears, much more so does it seem when tnasonically examined. May all such therefore contemplate the nature and consequences of this abominable vice, and that they may still become worthy men and Masons, let them constantly pray with the royal Psalmist, (Ps. cxli.) Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, keep thou the door of my lips; being assured, for their encouragement, that, He who backbiteth not with his tongue, nor doth evil to his neighbour, nor taketh up a reproach against his neighbour, shall abide in the tabernacle of the Lord, and shall dwell in his holy hill.
DELIVERED BY THE RIGHT WORSHIPFUL MASTER, ON HIS RESIGNING THE CHAIR.
PROVIDENCE having placed me in such ft sphere in life as to afford me but little time for speculation, I cannot pretend to have made mankind my particular study; yet this I have observed, that curiosity is one of the most prevailing passions in the human breast. The mind of man is kept in a perpetual thirst after knowledge, nor can he bear to be ignorant of what he thinks others know. Any thing secret or nets/ immediately excites an uneasy sensation, and becomes the proper fuel of curiosity, which will be found stronger or weaker in proportion to the opportunities that individuals have for indulging it. It is observable further, that, when this passion is excited, and not instantly gratified, instead of waiting for better intelligence, and using the proper means of removing the darkness that envelopes the object of it, we precipitately form ideas which are generally in the extremes. If the object promotes pleasure or advantage, we then load it with commendations; if it appears in the opposite view, or if we are ignorant of it, we then absurdly, as well as disingenuously, condemn, and pretend at least to despise it. This, my brethren, has been the fate of the most valuable institution in the world, Christianity
excepted, I mean Fret-Masonry. Those who are
acquainted with the nature and design of it, cannot, if if they have good hearts, but admire and espouse it; and if those who are in the dark, or whose minds are disposed to evil, should slight or speak disrespectfully" of it, it certainly is no disgrace. When order shall produce confusion, when harmony shall give rise to discord, and proportion shall be the source of irregularity, then, and not till then, will Free-Masonry be unworthy the patronage of the great, the wise, and the good.
~ To love as brethren, to be ready to communicate, to speak truth one to another, are the dictates of reason and revelation; and you know that they are likewise the foundation, the constituent parts of Free-Masonry.
None, therefore, who believe the divine Original of the sacred volume, and are influenced by a spirit of humanity, friendship, and benevolence, can, with the least propriety, object to our ancient and venerable institution.
For my own part, ever since I have had the honour to be enrolled in the list of Masons, as I knew it was my duty, so I have made it my business, to become acquainted with the principles on which our glorious superstructure is founded. And, like the miner, the farther I have advanced, the richer has been my discovery; and the treasure constantly opening to my view, has proved a full and satisfactory reward of all may labours.
By the rules of this Lodge I am now to resign this chair. But I cannot do this with entire satisfaction, until I have testified the grateful sense I feel of the honour I received in being advanced to it.
YooR generous and unanimous choice of me fotf your Master, demands my thankful acknowledgments* though at the same time I sincerely wish, that my abilities had been more adequate to the charge which your kind partiality elected me to. But this has always5 been, and still is my greatest consolation, that however deficient I may have been in the discharge of my duty* no one can boast a heart more devoted to the good o£ the institution in general, and the reputation of this Lodge in particular.
Though I am apprehensive I have already tres-a passed on your patience, yet if I might be indulged, I would humbly lay before you a few reflections, adapted to the business of the day, which, being the effusions of a heart truly masonic, will, it is hoped, be received with candour by you.
Every association of men, as well as this of Free* Masonsf must, for the sake of order and harmony, be regulated by certain laws, and for that purpose proper officers must be appointed, and empowered to carry those laws into execution, to preserve a degree of uniformity, at least to restrain any irregularity that might render such associations inconsistent. For we may as reasonably suppose an army may be duly disciplined, well provided, and properly conducted, without generals and other officers, as that a society can be supported without governors, and their subalterns j or, which is the same, without some form of government to answer the end of the institution. And as such art arrangement must be revered, it becomes a necessary Ce
requisite that a temper should be discovered in the several members, adapted to the respective stations they are to fill.
This thought will suggest to you, that those who are qualified to preside as officers in a Lodge, will not be elated with that honour, but, losing sight of it, will have only in view the service their office demands.— Their reproofs will be dictated by friendship, softened by candour, and enforced with mildness and affection; in the whole of their deportment they will preserve a degree of dignity tempered with affability and ease. This conduct, while it endears them to others, will not fail to raise their own reputations and, as envy should not be so much as once named among Free-Masons, it will effectually prevent the growth of it, should it unfortunately ever appear.
Such is the nature of our constitution, that as some must of necessity rule and teach, so others must of course learn to obey; humility therefore in both becomes an essential duty; for pride and ambition, like a worm at the root of a tree, will prey on the vitals of our peace, harmony, and brotherly love.
Had not this excellent temper prevailed when the foundation of Solomon's temple was first laid, it is easy to see, that glorious edifice would never have rose to a. height of splendour which astonished the world.
Had all employed in this work been masters or superintendants, who must have prepared the timber in the forest, or hewn the stone in the quarry 2 Yet,