« PrécédentContinuer »
of that illustrious saint and eminent Free Mason, who was emphatically good and great; whose merits, moral worth, piety, and virtues, formed a beacon light, which not only shed its moral lustre over the land of his own nativity, unsurpassed by any in his day, but which has poured its beams along the stream of time, till they have reached, and reflected upon the nineteenth century. Oh! let us, therefore, Brothers and Companions, try to follow the example of that illustrious saint, that we may all become eminently pious, fitted and prepared to meet him in the Grand Lodge above. Now that this. interesting occasion may prove alike profitable and pleasant to all, let us look to that great and good Being, who is the giver of all spiritual light and wisdom, for the aid and direction which will enable me to discharge my duty with the greatest fidelity, and you to enjoy the blessings which flow from the past recollection and contemplation of such noble and virtuous actions as our institution inculcates. Though this beloved assembly to-day be a promiscuous crowd, yet the occasion is one of the deepest interest, while we think of the discordant feelings which pervade the audience; some, the devoted friends of Masonry; while others are its avowed enemies. My purpose, therefore, shall be— 1st. To try to meet and remove all those objections which are urged against Masonry; and I feel confident of success in this matter, if you, my kind friends, can be convinced by facts, arguments, and testimony. 2dly. I shall try to impress upon the minds of its friends the great necessity of carrying out in practice the superlatively grand principles which are so beautifully inculcated in the sublime system of Masonry, for which we contend.
Permit me here to state that Masonry is one of the best of human institutions ever invented by man, and it is based upon the Bible, for benevolent, charitable, and pecuniary purposes. And as man may be in prosperity one day, and in adversity the next, Masonry teaches him, while he is in prosperity, to lay up for the dark and cloudy day of adversity.
Citizens of community-no, sirs,—there is not a Lodge on this wide earth in which an altar has not been erected to the Most High God, upon which the Divine Volume, with the square and compass, are continually placed; which teaches the Mason a sublime lesson that he should never forget. Now, my beloved hearers, these things being true, is it not wonderful that there are those who urge the very opposite objection, and allege that the fascinating influences of Masonry allure men to neglect their church relations, and finally to apostatize. This cannot be; for after a person becomes a Christian. Masonry teaches him the practical part of the Christian religion in the highest degree; therefore, the man who is indeed a good practical Mason, if he be a member of the church, will be a good practical Christian. It cannot be otherwise.
Masonry comes not in contact with the church of God, but aspires rather to the dignity of becoming a feeble auxiliary of that divine institution, which has seen the origin of all civil governments, and is destined to survive when all mere human institutions shall be lost in the general wreck of inatter and crush of worlds. “the church needs no auxiliaries.” This is speaking at random
But one says,
because your farms, your merchandize, and your money, are all auxiliaries to the church: and she cannot do without those aids. But it is urged again, as an objection, that the church is an allsufficient place for the Christian to perform all his acts of charity, that the glory may be given to the church, and not to Masonry. This objection has no foundation in fact, whatever. For you know that we, as Christians, love the church: we reverence the church and her divine institutions; and we admire the sublime precepts of her inspired morality. Yes, sir, she is emphatically the last hope of a lost and ruined world. But a Christian does not leave the church when he becomes a Mason; nor does a Mason abandon his Masonry, when he becomes a Christian. No, sir, he goes into the Masonic Lodge a Christian; he acts there as a Christian, and is recognized there as a Christian by all good Masons, and he contributes his mite there as a Christian, (and a member of the church, and not out of the church,) with an eye single to the glory of God. Yea, my kind hearers, all his actions, be they good or bad, are performed in the congregation, or church of God, so long as a member of the church. But if he be excluded from the church, then his acts are performed out of the church, and not until then. Therefore, my Brothers and Sisters in Christ, you know that when your Christian brother throws his contribution into the treasury in the Masonic Lodge, for charitable and benevolent purposes, he is obey. ing his God, just as much as if he were to put it into the church, for the same purpose. For then he is not certain whether it will be appropriated as he desires or not; for how often hås he put his contribution in the church, and never knew how it was used. But when he puts it into the charity fund in the Lodge, he knows that it will be kept sacred for, and only for, that great purpose taught in the word of our blessed Redeemer, who has commanded us to “deal our bread to the hungry, to bring the poor and outcast into thy house, and clothe them that are naked, and to take care of the fatherless and to minister to their wants.”
Again: the general principles which are taught in the Divine Volume are carried out practically in Masonry. For we are taught in that Book thus; “Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted, and the rich in that he is made low.” Masonry, therefore, acts upon this noble principle; for she knows no distinctions of caste or sect: “The tenant of the palace or of the cottage, the Musselman, the Hindoo, the Jew, or the Christian, the red man of our western wilds, or the educated European, all meet upon one common level.” This you do not always see in the churches; for there, sometimes, you see three classes. Do not understand me here to exalt Masonry above Christianity or the church of God; for such a state of things cannot exist in real, genuine Christianity, in the church. I speak, therefore, of the corruptions which you know are in the church.”.
I cannot at present respond to these arguments for Free Masonry. They, indeed, need no elaborate response. This is another of Christ's “auxiliaries,” or of “the auxiliaries of his charch.” But
CONTRIBUTION IN THE CHURCH AND
this auxiliary is better than the principal; for, says Elder Clark , “when your Christian brother throws his contribution into the Treasury in the Masonic Lodge,” he is "obeying his God as much as if he were to put it into the church for the same purpose.” Now if he could show a “thus saith the Lord” for it, we might hear him in other matters with a little more patience and respect; but this is but his opinion, as when he says, “For when your Chris. tian brother throws his contribution into the Christian treasury, he is not certain that it will be appropriated as he desires or not; FOR HOW OFTEN HAS HE PUT HIS NEVER KNEW HOW IT WAS USED.” This compliment to Kentucky Masons is any thing but a compliment to Kentucky Christians. Is it true? Is it deserved? If so, I wonder why Elder Clark does not renounce his professed brotherhood with such dishonorable Christians, and confine his communion as well as his contributions to his more honest and honorable Masonic brotherhood!—?
Although this is by no means a full answer to Elder Williams' defence of “Sons of Temperance,” I have so much confidence in his good sense as to think that he will feel a little pressed with so much of it as bears upon his plea for his fraternity as auxiliary to the Christian church. From all such auxiliaries I sincerely pray that the Lord may save his church and people!
ELDER D. S. BURNET AND ELDER CLARK. The names of these breihren appear on our pages in connexion with the public celebrations of Masonic festivals. No one that has seen, or may yet see them there, I presume, will regret it more than myself. But justice and mercy alike compel the very unpleasant task. We have been upbraided by our sectarian neighbors with winking at errors and improprieties in our brethren, while publicly noting and commenting on those of our fellow-professors of other denominations; and I have been challenged, if not in the identical words, in the spirit of the Messiah's invective when he said, “First take out the splinter out of your own eye, beforə you upbraid your brother with the speck in his eye.” We need a censor of our own press, and of our own proceedings on some occasions, as well as a censor of the press and of the proceedings of other professors. For my own part, I have for a long time been pained and grieved on account of matters published and things done and defended by our brethren, and have been upbraiding myself for not noticing them. I am aware of the impropriety and thanklessness of such impartial.
ity; but seeing that matters have on sundry occasions absolutely demanded it at my hands, I have recently resolved to levy a very heavy tax upon myself, and risk the consequences of such a course. I will never needlessly wound my own feelings in wounding the feelings of a brother. My opposition to three “moral societies” has already been resented by a loss of some súbscribers; but they miscalculate who imagine that this will either silence me, defend, or protect them.
It is known to many that few of our brethren have been more esteemed and fraternally regarded by myself, or more beloved than Elder D. S. Burnet; and, in the ratio of that esteem and affection, my indignation burned at the appearance of his name in such a connexion as that noted in a former number. I could neither understand nor believe it to be a proper representation of his position, but resolved to exonerate him from the charge, if false; and if true, to call for his defence—the matter being, as I presume, forwarded to me with that intent. I have gained that which I desired, in the words following, from the pen of brother Burnet himself. Under date of September 20th, he says, “MY NAME WAS INSERTED IN THAT PROGRAMME CONTRARY TO MY REQUEST AND WITHOUT MY KNOWLEDGE, AND CONSEQUENTLY THE ADDRESS WAS NOT DELIVERED. This is what I am happy to state to my readers.
I could wish that Elder Clark could as easily relieve himself from his position, and satisfy the wounded feelings of the great majority of all his brethren that know him.
A brother has sent us a very elaborate article in defence of Odd Fellows. He, too, must be heard in our next; and then what is wanting in refutation of one another of the three essayists-Elder Williams, Elder Clark, and the forthcoming defence of Odd Fellowship, we may attempt at a future day. Till then I hope our readers will bear with me.
LETTERS FROM EUROPE-No. XXXIII. MY DEAR CLARINDA—I promised to you a few general reflections on the character and condition of society in Great Britain and Ireland, when I should have gone through with the incidents and details of my tour. As preparatory to these we must first glance at the foundations of society; —the country and the climate in which it has its existence, and from which it uniformly, more or less, takes its peculiar mental as well as its physical complexion. Man is, in a good measure, one of the products of the soil and the clime in which
he is born and brought up to maturity.' Countries and climates pro| duce men as they do trees and animals. Hence the great variety of
modifications of human character as of that of every species of ani1. mal and vegetable with which the earth abounds. Thus as cer: tain shrubs of the north are the stately forest trees of the south, and as animals dwarfed in one region are fully developed in another; so man, a mere pigmy in one soil and latitudę, is a giant in another, both in his physical and mental constitution.
The Island of Great Britain has confessedly been the mater magna is virum—the great mother of men. For genius, talent, and moral ex
cellency, and all the great attributes that elevate and adorn human b. nature, she has seldom been equalled, and never surpassed. The
extension of her empire, from the rising to the setting sun, considering her very limited territory at home; her being mistress of oceans and seas, as well as co-partner of the continents of earth in her numerous extensive colonies in Asia, Africa, and Americ present her to the eye of the moral philosopher, as the sublimest problem in the science of man.
Her whole territory, from north to south, extends but 580 miles, and while 380 miles at the south, it is but 80 miles broad at its centre, giving an area of but 102,000 square miles—the largest Island in Europe, but less than some one of our American States.
The climate is indeed peculiar. Extending from almost 50 to 58. 4.3 deg. north latitude, and in its greatest breadth situated between 35 and 8 34 degrees west longitude from Paris, and surrounded with water, it has spread over it a cool, moist, and healthy atmosphere, favorable to good health and much constitutional vigor.
It has but three considerable ranges of mountains. I have seen them all, more or less, in the distance. Those of the Grampian Hills, terminating at the Friths of Forth and Clyde, have the loftiest summits in the Island, ascending 4,370 feet above the sea. The others do not much exceed half this height.
Every thing, indeed, is in good keeping with the extent of the Island. Its hills, mountains, rivers, and lakes are in due proportion to the whole domain. Loch Lomond, the largest of the lakes of England, is only 30 miles long by 8 broad, while the Scotch Loch Lomond is, though thirty miles in length, not more than two or three in breadth. The Thames, with us a very inconsiderable river, is that of the most importance in the Island of Great Britain.
The green hills and luxuriant vallies of Great Britain show that its cool and moist climate is at least favorable to agricultural pursuits; and the vigor and athletic frames of many of its inhabitants