« PreviousContinue »
was this figure constructed. In this house, this earthly tabernacle the living soul, which living soul is the breath of the supreme Architect of the omnipotent God, in this earthly tenement, this soul dwelleth ; and while dwelling therein, performeth wonders, not to be performed by inferior agents.
Under the forming hand of this representative, of the Creator of all things, the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and blossometh as the rose. Under the directing influence of the Architect of all worlds, Lodges were formed for his glory, and for the benefit of associated brethren. But these Lodges were not formed by loiterers, but labourers ; labourers who were inspired by the spirit of their Master, to work by rule and order.
Attempts were made upon the plains of Shinar,to establish a name, by the extent and the loftiness of their building; but the builders there employed, were not acquainted with the outward and visible signs; they had not the word, they entered not in by the door, they were not illumined by the true light, they were not sufficiently instructed in the use of the compass, the square, and the level; they did not lay their plans within the first, nor rise in their labours OR the second, nor proceed according to the third. Hence, when the glorious Architect vouchsafed to descend, and take a view of their works, confusion was the motto, which infinite Wisdom thought proper to stamp upon their unfinished labours..
But let us turn with admiration to an association of superior builders ; of builders who exhibit a perfect contrast, to the builders on the plain of Shinar. Their fabric is reared under the direction of a master builder, a builder who had been iudulged with a private interview with the supreme Architect himself; - which almighty Architect, communicated to him his own plans, directing him to proceed in his own way, on which plans, and in which way,
unfashioned materials were formed, and an infinite variety were collected. Order presided amongst the labourers, the foundation being laid in the presence of the grand Master, without the noise of the ponderous hamm, or the cleaving axe. In due proportions the building rose, uniting, as it advanced, the two grand requisites, strength and beauty, until, as a complete whole, it exhibited to all sacceeding generations, a model of that perfection, of which the arts are sus"ceptible.
Here, then, we behold heaven and earth united. The glory of the Lord coming from the east, his train filled the temple ; and when
the grand Master had finished his work, and the supreme Architect condescended to visit him. Such was the approbation discovered for the builder and the building, that he said, “ I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever, and mine eyes and my heart shall be there perpetually." • Thus his gracious providence, and tender affection, was manifested there, and will be manifested there for ever.
Masons, of your description, have the privilege of looking beyond the things which are seen, and felt, by mere operative masons. The supreme Architect hath entrusted to you, the hieroglyphical art; you can see, in this magnificent temple, what the world cannot see ; and from such views as are discovered by your mental eye, your hearts must be affected : for do you not discern the love of your one glorious Head and Master, in heaven; and do you not hear him saying, love one another ?
The divinely instructed Brother, whose name and whose excellence we this day commemorate, is styled, by way of eminence, the beloved disciple. Not that he was beloved by the great Head, who is no respecter of persons, more than the other disciples; but we know no individual among his brethren, who loved the great Master and his fellow servants, more than did John, the Evangelist, or who laboured more to cultivate this divine principle among the children of his Father. We are informed, that when he drew near the period of mortality, he delivered to his hearers, from the abundance of his affectionate heart, the best discourse he ever delivered ; and yet his lecture, it seems, contained no more than *6 little children, love one another;" and again, “little children, love one another;" and a third time, a little children, love one another." Love was the exordium, the continuation, and the close.
God is love. Love is negative and positive. Love thinketh no evil, it worketh no evil. The thoughts of love are thoughts of peace : the works of love are works of mercy. Can we then behold our supreme Head, thus manifested by his works, and in his words, without feeling the best affections of our soul flowing toward him ? Is he not, in the estimation of every true brother, when thus beheld, “ altogether lovely ?”
Let love, said an illustrious brother, be without dissimulation. Be kindly affectionate one to another, with brotherly love in honour preferring one another.
By this, saith our right worshipful grand Master, who, as a greater than Solomon, presides in our Lodge. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one toward another. And this I pray, said another distinguished brother, that your love
may abound. As touching brotherly love, said the same celebrated character, .ye need not that I write unto you : and as touching brotherly love, your monitor need not to speak unto you.
It is, with Masonic brethren, a fixed principle to love one another, and that with pure hearts, fervently. But although it may not be necessary to enforce this principle of love, yet it may not be unreasonable, for the sake of love, to beseech you to let brotherly love continue manifesting it unfeignedly to the brethren in general, to the necessitous directly and immediately, in particular, and not in words of pity only, but in words of mercy, in giving and forgiving, and in kind and affectionate entertainment of strangers.
The immortal brother, whose festival we this day celebrate, calls upon us to behold what manner of love the Father bath, and presents this love of the Father, as a model for his children. If, said he, the Father hath so loved you, ought we not to love one another? But the love the Father had for us, was prior to our love for him. We love him, said our brother Paul, because he first loved us. It requires not an acquaintance with your art to love where you are beloved ; any Publican can love the person by whom he is beloved. It belongeth unto you, brethren, who are children of the light, and therefore know the love of God, and who cannot but remember the words of the grand Master of the Israelitish Lodges,when he assured the brethren, that God did not set his love upon them, because of their number, but because, saith he, the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your Fathers. It was, therefore, the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you. It belongeth unto you, I say, to distinguish properly, and to impute the love of the God, who made you, to its genuine cause.
The children of darkness have, in every age, been unacquainted with the principle and practice of love, and with its foundation by the transcendently glorious Architect of all worlds. Among the brethren of the ancient and honourable order to which you belong, it is with inexpressible delight, that we trace back to the beginning of time, the dawning of this ennobling, this animating principle, and with augmenting rapture, we behold it like the path of the just one, shining more and more, so that the mystery of love,reserved from age to age, as a sacred deposit amongst the chosen, the called witnesses of the most High, shall ultimately blaze forth in the splendor of the perfect day,
Brethren, you are this day collected for the double purpose of doing honour to the memory of a heaven taught brother, and enjoying the felicity which flows from the first principles of our order. You will this day receive, from the open hand of the Father of our spirits, whose liberal heart hath been from everlasting devising liberal things, the abundance of the blessings, produced by his plastic power from earth, sea and air. In each of these
will read the lessons of his love. This will give to your enjoyments an additional zest. But lest, while thus elevated, you should for a single moment be found without the compass, deviating from the square of propriety, or declining from the level of understanding, you will keep in view the principles of your venerable Founder. You will take for your model the bright example of him, who went about doing good. You will pay attention to the materials of the true Temple. You will in an especial manner, in attending to the widow, the orphan, the aged, the lame, the blind, the necessitous of every description, considering them as the many living stones in this temple, esteem them proper subjects, on which to bestow the labours of the labourer of every description, in your distinguished order. You will remember, that it is in these pleasant labours you are called upon to manifest your faith, and your love, and that there is not in this world a more inconsistent character, than a partial, contracted, unfeeling, uncharitable mason. In fact, such a character is a monster; but a monster never yet seen.
It would be as proper to speak of a dark sun, or a cold fire, as an ancharitable.
You will, we humbly hope, aim at consistency of character, mixing with your enjoyments the feast of reason, and the flow of souls. You will, from the abundance of your affectionate hearts, devise means to make the heart of the sorrowful glad, to cheer the drooping spirit, and you will wipe, with the hand of benignity, the gushing signs of sorrow from the weeping eye.
You will steadfastly look to an almighty Architect, to the grand Master of the universe, who will not forget your works of faith, and labour of love ; looking unto God with that hope which maketh not ashamed, and confidently expecting, that in the fulness of his own
time, he will gather all things into One ; building them together, and constructing a fit habitation for himself.
That God will constitute the wide extended universe one Grand Lodge, giving every individual'to know, as he is known, and to behold, what, until that era, no human eye can see, and to hear, what, until that general collection, our mortal ears can never hear; and, from the fulness of brotherly affection, let us say,
“O come divine benevolence,
And give each heart to know,
And dissipates each woe.”
Hints preparatory to a masonic lecture left unfilled up, which will
now never be completed until my removal to the Grand Lodge of light ineffable, and full of glory. God almighty hasten that happy period.
I supplicate thee, dear, compassionate Saviour of sinners, confiding always in thy abundant mercy, O thou Redeemer of man.
The subject proposed.-The exordium.-No guide to obtain the knowledge of masonry except the divine word.* Under the direction of this unerring guide we indulge a hope, that we shall not wholly miss our object. It is pleasing to see this divine guide precede the masonic procession. It is pleasing to see it laid open under the eye of our Grand Master, when taking his seat in the most elevated situation in the Lodge. It is pleasant to see the square and the compasses laid thereon. They seem to say, we can be of no use without this light. Hence, we come to understand the propriety of our Grand Master's exhortation ; Work while you have the light with you, for the night cometh, wherein no man can work. And, perhaps, in no former period, since this light first shone upon us, has there been more pains taken to extinguish this light, than in the present.
* The Bible: