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were apparelled in white, at the time of their facrifices and solemn offices.—The Egyptian priests of Osiris wore snow-white cotton in the service of Ceres, under whom was symbolized the gift of Providence in the fruits of the earth—and others of the Grecian priefU put on white.
Every degree of sin strikes the rational mind of man with some feelings of self-condemnation.—Under such conviction, who could call upon, or claim the presence of a Divinity, whose demonstration is good works?—Hence are men naturally led to conceive, that such Divinity will accept only of works of righteousness.—Standing forth for the approbation of heaven, the servants of the first revealed God bound themselves to maxims of purity and virtue;—and as Masons, we regard the principles of those who were the first worshippers of the true God, we imitate their apparel, and assume the badge of innocence.
Our Jewels or ornaments imply, that we try our affections by justice, and our actions by truth, as the square tries the workmanship of the mechanic;—that we regard our mortal state, whether it is dignified by titles or not, whether it be opulent or indigent, as being of one nature in the beginning, and of one rank in its close. In sensations, passions, and pleasures; in infirmities, maladies, and wants, all mankind are on a parallel ;-^nature hath given us no fuperioiities; but from wisdom and virtue, which constitute superiority. —From such maxims we make estimates of our brother, when his calamitis call for our counsel or our aid: the works of charity are from sympathetic feelings, and benevolence acts upon the level.—The emblem of these sentiments is another of the jewels of our society.
To walk uprightly before heaven and before men, neither inclining to the right nor to the left, is the duty of a Mason,—neither an enthusiast nor a persecutor in religion, nor bending towards innovation or infidelity. —In civil government, firm in our allegiance, yet stedfast to our laws, liberties and constitution.—In private life, yielding up every selfish propensity, inclining neither to avarice nor injustice, to malice nor revenge, to envy nor contempt with mankind: but as the builder raises his column by the plane and perpendicular, so should the Mason carry himself towards the world.
To rule our affections by justice, and our actions by truth, is to wear a jewel which would ornament the bosom of the highest potentate on earth;—human nature has her impulses from desires, which are often inordinate: love blinds with prejudices, and resentment burns with fever;—contempt renders us incredulous, and covetoufnefs deprives us of every generous or humane feeling.—To steer the bark of life upon the fears of passions, without quitting the course of rectitude, is one of the highest excellencies to which human nature can be brought, aided with the powers of philosophy and religion.
Yet merely to act with justice and truth, is not all that man should attempt; for even that excellence would be selfishness:—that duty is not relative, but merely proper:—it is only touching our own character, and doing nothing for our neighbour; for justice is an indispensible duty in each indvidual:—we were not born for ourselves alone, merely to shape our course through life in the tracks of tranquility, and to study that which should afford peace to the conscience at home,—but men were made as mutual aids for each other ;—no one among us, be he ever so opulent, can subsist without the assistance of his fellow-creatures. Nature's wants are numerous, and our hands are soon filled with the warfare of necessity;—our nakedness must be cloathed, our hunger fatisfied, our maladies visited.—Where shall the proud man toil for fustenance, if he stands unaided by his neighbour ?—When we look through the varied scene of life, we see our fellow-creatures attacked with innumerable calamities; and were we without compassion, we should exist without one of the finest feelings of the human heart.—To love and to approve, are movements in the foul of man which yield him pleafure: but to pity, gives him heavenly sensations; AND TO RELIEVE,
IS DIVINE. Charity, hence, has her existence,--
her rise is, from the consciousness of man's equality in nature; the level on which mortality was created in the beginning ;—its progress is in sympathetic feelings, from the affections of the heart breathing love towards our brother, coupled with that original estimation in our minds, which proves all our species to be brethren—Its conclusion is, from comparison producing judgment; we weigh the necessities of our suffering fellow-creatures by our equality in nature, by compassion, our sympathy and our own abilities, and dispense our gifts from affection.—Pity and pain are sisters to sympathy.
To be an upright man, is to add still greater lustre
to the Mason's character:—to do justice and to have charity, are excellent steps in human life; but to act uprightly, gives a superlative degree of excellence ;— for in that station we shall become examples in religious, in civil, and in moral conduct. It is not enough that we are neither enthusiasts nor persecutors in religion, neither bending towards innovation nor infidelity; not to be passive only, but we should appear in the active character: we should be zealous practisers, observers of, and stedfast members in, religious duties.— In civil matters, we should not only submit to, but execute the laws of our country; obey all their ordinances, and perform all their precepts; be faithful to the constitution of the realm, and loyal to our king; true soldiers in the defence of our liberty, and of his crown and dignity--- In morality, it requires of us, not only that we should not err, by injuring, betraying, <ir deceiving, but that we should do good in every capacity in that station of life wherein ptovidence hath placed us.
By such metes let the Mason be proved, and testify that his emblematical jewels are enfigns only of the inward man: thence he will stand approved before heaven and before men, purchasing honour to our profession, and felicity to the professor.
THE TEMPLE AT JERUSALEM.
THE first worshippers of the God of nature, in the east, represented the Deity by the figures of the sun and moon, from the influence of those heavenly bodies on the earth; professing that the universe was the temple in which the divinity was at all times and in all places present.
Thet adopted those with other symbols as a cautious mode of preserving or explaining divine knowledge :—but we perceive the danger arising from thence to religion; for the eye of the ignorant, the bigot, and enthusiast, cast up towards these objects, without the light of understanding, introduced the worfhip of images, and at length the idols of osiris and itit became the Gods of the Egyptians, without conveying to their devotees the least idea of their great archetype. Other nations (who had expressed the attributes of the Deity by outward objects, or who had introduced images into the sacred places, or ornaments, or rather to assist the memory, claim devout attention, and warm the affections) ran into the same error, and idols multiplied upon the face of the earth.
Amongst the ancients, the vulgar worshipper! of idols, throughout the world, had at last entirely lost the remembrance of the original, of whose attributes their images were at first merely symbols; and the second darkness in religion was more tremendous than the first, as it was strengthened by prepossession, custom, bigotry, and superstition.