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The good and the honored of other times have left a thousand brilliant traces upon the earth, a thousand memories, which are to us a perpetual ministry of love, and life, and light. They are so many Pharoses which a kind Providence has kindled on the sea of time, not only to show us the evils we are to shun, but also to direct us to the haven of security and repose.
He who has subdued himself, exercised selfishness, that demon of the heart, aspired to and made his own the virtues and wisdom of the good and the wise, and struggled, by art and science, to seize the secret of the universe, and lay open all its mysteries, has worthily labored to fulfill his destiny in the earth. He has secured a peace which the world cannot take away. For who so happy as he who has trained his mind to habits of reflection, and stored it with useful knowledge, and adorned it with beautiful conceptions, and holy and peaceful thoughts ? Is any one so independent as he ? so well prepared for life or for death ? so strongly fortified against the reverses of fortune? Whatever may be his lot in the world, be he high or low, rich or poor, the world's favorite or the child of reproach, he has an unspeakable joy in his communion with nature and with God.
Knowledge, wisdom, holiness, cheerful thoughts, gentle dispositions, devout affections, bright hopes, and a world-subduing faith, are the treasure for
which we should strive—the heavenly nourishment which gives to our souls an eternal life. And these are the great facts which underlie many of the secret rites and symbolic arrangements of our Order! And these alone will endure! All else will pass away! Riches, glory, the pomp and splendor of time, the world's vanity, all will vanish as a wreath of smoke! But the soul will live, with whatever it has gained of knowledge, wisdom, virtue : every idea it has acquired in time ; every discovery it has made in the works of God; and every holy thought it has cherished will go with it into eternity. Its progress in this world is the prophecy of a progress which is never to end. What encouragement is this for us to toil for wisdom and goodness ! Every upward step we take is a gain for eternity! Joshua may cause the sun to stay on Gibeon, and the moon to rest over Ajalon. But no magician can arrest the Soul in its sublime fight along the heavens. Infinity is its capacity, eternity is its life, and progress its everlasting privilege!
Such are the important moral ideas which are symbolized in our sublime and beautiful ceremonies, and which every mason should strive to comprehend.
Obligations to Each Other, and to the world.
One of the most beautiful features of our Order is its social character and influences. Its peculiar obligations and duties, its lessons of fraternity and love, open a wide and rich field for exploration, study, and meditation. Our association, in the midst of a dark and selfish world-in the midst of corruption, penury, and social imperfectionmarches forth, scattering everywhere a healing influence, and proclaims a broader charity and more active benevolence. She descends into the humblest places of human society, among artisans and laborers, and comforts and encourages and soothes them. She ascends also into the highest places of the earth, and steps with authority in the executive hall and senatorial chamber, preaches to the rich and great the duty of fraternity, equality, and humanity. Under her influence, social inequality disappears, prejudice is disarmed, evil passions are subdued, and Love, Friendship, and Virtue, are installed among our objects of reverence and worship. The widow is encouraged by her voice of hope, and is
made strong, and enters bravely the great battle of life, knowing that ever near and around her and her little ones is an ever-present and efficient friend.
Brotherly love is one of the leading thoughts of the Order, from which it derives great vitality and force. It is this which gives a charm to our Lodge meetings—which makes the members diligent and prompt in their fraternal offices, and willing to bear one another's burdens.
But the sentiment of brotherly love involves other duties, and among them is that of forbearance. Brothers will not be hasty and passionate in their dealings or intercourse with each other. If a mem. ber is offended, or esteems himself injured by a brother, he will not hastily condemn, nor allow himself to exercise a spirit of revenge. He will remember that a soft answer turneth away wrath, and that reconciliation and love are better than revenge and hate. "Be kind to each other," “ children, love one another," is the earnest and gentle command of our association to her members.
Should we have reason to think that a brother is losing the sense of his obligations, and is falling from honor and rectitude, it is our duty to treat him with charity and forbearance. We know not what unfortunate circumstance may have pressed upon him—we know not what unseen causes may have forced him into a course of seeming dishonesty.
We say seeming dishonesty, for, on investigation, it may appear that nothing dishonorable or mean was ever intended. Even if the brother really offend against good morals and virtue, we are still to be forbearing and charitable, until all efforts to reclaim him prove unavailing.
When a brother sins, the first thing to be done is to expostulate with him, move him, entreat him, and, if possible, save him. It is the office of the Gospel association to heal and restore, and we are false to our obligations if we allow a brother to fall into vice, and to be cut off from our communion, without making an attempt to save him.
Let us then, brethren, exercise forbearance toward each other, and remember that Charity is the brightest of all the graces, as it is the first and most imperative of all the duties of our society.
But it is not only toward each other that we are to exercise the virtues of charity and forbearance, but to all mankind—to all who need our sympathy, our kindness, and our assistance. And in a world so full of suffering as this, we are never at a loss to find an ample field for the exercise of those graces. In every corner of our cities, towns, and villages, do we see honest poverty struggling with the most adverse circumstances-everywhere do we tread in the midst of indescribable misery, everywhere open before us the dwellings of hungry poverty, where oppressed and suffering Virtue hides herself and