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tinued interest in our Order, that those who deliver the charges and the lectures, and perform other official duties, be men qualified to do so. It is requisite, at least, that they themselves should apprehend the whole moral significance of our beautiful ritual, that they may be able to make others see and feel it. The whole of our ceremonial is so full of lessons of morality and virtue, that it cannot but create and preserve a deep interest in all who understand it.
But, unfortunately, many see in these matters only a pleasant and innocent mummery, having no idea at all at bottom ; and too frequently officers, entirely unprepared for the discharge of their duties, leave no higher impression.
We know that every Mason will go with us when we say that it is of the highest importance to the prosperity of our Association that all the lectures, charges, and instructions, be given in an impressive, solemn, correct, and dignified manner. There is an immense deal in the ritual of the Order which might profitably be discussed and digested among the brethren ; and such exercises, we are confident, will create interest and earnestness, for the very reason that they are profitable and instructing.
On a fair examination of our Order, it will be found that it may, in a great variety of ways, be made to contribute much to the general improvement of society and man. In country villages and small cities, the Lodges most usually concentrate all the energy and talent and worth of the younger portion of community, and we have long thought that these Lodges might adopt such a practice as would enable them to bring all their energy and talent to bear upon the general interests of society, and thus do a service to the world at large. The Lodge might become a kind of Lyceum, and a means of instruction, of intellectual and literary improvement to the brethren. Let each country Lodge, during the winter season, provide a course of lectures upon improving and interesting subjects, to be delivered in the Lodge room, to which the public may be admitted on paying a small fee. This idea is very easily reduced to a practical thing ; and it would be attended with four important results. 1st. Brothers would be instructed and improved, and a taste for literature and intellectual enjoyment would be formed among them. 2d. These same advantages would be participated in by those out of the Order, who choose to attend, and curiosity to witness a Lodge room would always insure a full house. 3d. The Order being thus a source of improvement and entertainment to the public, would be reverenced and loved by those who now look upon it with distrust, or speak of it with contempt. 4th. The fourth and last, but yet very important result, would be an increase of the funds of the Lodge, and thus' an enlargement of its power to do good. There is scarcely a Lodge in our large villages which might not in this way add at least one hundred dollars to its funds during the winter.
For ourselves, we are convinced that such an arrangement will be of immeasurable advantage to brethren of the Order. Much time now goes to waste which might be most profitably employed. We commend these considerations to our readers, in the earnest hope that they may speedily be acted upon. We should remember that we have minds to be educated and improved, as well as bodies to be cared for; that we have intellectual wants, which are as urgent in their demands as our physical wants. Let us, therefore, make our Order provide not only for our temporal conveniences, our material advantage, but for our moral and intellectual growth.
The Duty of Pious Men to Freemasonrg.
The Society of Freemasons is not a club of reckless, fun-loving men, who repudiate all that is serious, and ridicule all the grace of piety—it is a body of earnest men, intelligent men, good and true men, who love Virtue, reverence Religion, and worship God. And besides, the arrangements of the Order have been adapted with special reference to their religious and moral bearing. The great fact—the sentiment of accountability-which underlies all religions, which may claim to be divine, is the central idea, around which all our ceremonies revolvethe fountain whence all our moral lessons are drawn! There is not a'rite in our Order which does not look backward to the Creator, and forward to eternity—which does not forth-shadow some of the profoundest mysteries of the Soul, and contribute directly to man's moral growth.
The moral and religious aspects of the institution should recommend it to the attention and love of all serious-minded men.
But another reason presents itself, still more
powerful, perhaps. Let it be observed that, in the United States alone, there must be an almost unnumbered multitude of them. Let it also be observed that these are all men for the most part in active life-a majority of them probably heads of families, and all of them together commanding an influence which reaches to, and affects directly, nearly one million of persons! And the circle of this influence is ever enlarging! It is not a superficial, transient influence, but deep and abidingthousands and tens of thousands are governed by it, sustained by it, and consoled by it! Here, then, in the very heart of the community, is a mighty and ever-increasing power, which must and will control the destinies of millions! This power is an existing fact—this influence is now in active operation all around us—for good or for evil, it will make itself felt. Think of this, Christians, who love Virtue, Humanity, and God, and consider well whether you are not in duty bound to give your countenance to the Order—to direct it by your wisdom, and govern it by your virtue ; and thus bind it indissolubly to the cause of good morals and religion.
The influence of Masonry is, must, and will continue to be widely felt ; and if you have fears and doubts with respect to the character of that influence, come with us, labor with us, and secure to this body a healthy influence. For ourselves, we have