casion to publish nothing but what is consis. tent with the truths of the everlasting Gospel-I would not, I say, rise to indulge the sport of Imagi. nation. A sermon to Masons may well be a sermon to all who call themselves Christians. The great principles of Love and Good Will, of Wisdom and Knowlege, of Justice and Equity, which it is the business and main desire of the Lodge to propagate in secret among the Initiated Brethren, are such as may be proclaimed aloud from the house top. They were engraved on the heart of the first Man, by the hand of the Creator, in the bowers of Paradise. They were renewed by his Blessed Son, and pressed home with deeper sanctions and upon more powerful motives, in the New Testament; and they are ever cherished and cultivated in the souls of all who delight in Wisdom, Beauty and Harmony, by the grace

and goodness of the divine Spirit—thrice blessed Three, in one eternal Godhead!

It is by these principles that the members of a Lodge, or indeed any true Christian, can be denominated “ living stones, built up a spiritual house, possessing that Wisdom which descends from on higha pure influence from the glory of the Almighty, more beautiful than the Sun, and above all the orders of the stars;" first Pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated; which, whosoever finds, findeth the Secret of Life-even that Secret which may be felt and enjoyed, but cannot be fully expressed, as containing those Unspeakable Words of truth and happiness, which, according to St. Paul, it is not lawful for a Man to utter.


I knew a Man, says he (still using the word Man in the same emphatical sense, well understood by Masons, as it was used by Solomon in the text)—" I 6 knew a man in Christ, above fourteen years ago

(whether in the body I cannot tell, or whether out “ of the body I cannot tell, God knoweth), but I “ knew such a man caught up to the third Heaven, “ into Paradise, where he heard unspeakable words, “ which it is not lawful for a Man to utter-Of such “ an one will I glory*.”

St. Paul speaks hereof his own Trance and Vision, when converted and rapt up into the third Heavens; but whether “ his spirit was carried up in the body “ or out of the body he could not tell, but only that “ he there heard unspeakable words, which it is not “lawful or possible for a Man to utter” in the common language of men—for the words which he heard could only be intelligible to the initiated in Christ; who might be favoured with the like glimpse of heavenly glory.

It is no way presumptuous, or irreverent, to compare earthly things with heavenly things—The Beauty, the Harmony, the Peace, the Joy of a true Lodge of Brethren, or even of a single happy Family upon earth, may bear some resemblance, or be in some degree compared, to the Joy and Harmony of Heaven. Nay, we are even commanded to figure to ourselves as much of the joy and happiness of Heaven, as by divine Revelation we are enabled to

[blocks in formation]



conceive, and to make them our example in all our pursuits of Joy and Happiness on earth.

Returning, therefore, to the words of St. Paul“ I knew a Man, whether in the body or out of the “ body, I cannot tell!” and comparing earthly things with heavenly—The Brethren here assembled, well understand what is meant by the emphatical words“ Man and Body;” and not being able to tell, in cer. tain situations of the Initiated, whether they “ in the Body or out of the Body;" and also what is meant by their being taken up to the third Heaven, or Paradise of their Art and Craft; and hearing the words, which it is not lawful to utter, but to the true Brethren; to those who bave the Signs and Tokens of fellowship, and the language of Brotherly-love!

But passing over all those mysterious expressions (both in the scripture original, and in the copy brought down to the practice of the Lodge); I shall consider, in language familiar to all, and without a metaphor, in what respects a Lodge on earth, duly regulated according to its professed principles, grounded in scripture, may be compared to Heaven, or the Lodge of Paradise above.

And first the Lodge below may resemble the Lodge above, by the excellency of its Constitution and Government, which are so devised, that although the Will of the Master, like the Will of God, is a Law to the whole Family; yet He can neither Will nor Do any thing but what is according to Wisdom, and Knowledge, and Justice, and Right Reason; and therefore the obedience of his Lodge is cheerful and unrestrained. For the peculiar light of his profession assists him in discerning what is best for his

Houshold or Lodge; and that Love, which is the lasting cement of his Family, disposes all the Brethren to act with One Mind and Heart. But not so hath it been among mankind in general. For although they have busied themselves in all ages, in the framing civil Constitutions, and plans of Government; in forming, and reforming them, in pulling down and building up-yet still their labours have been too much in vain-because they have daubed with untempered mortar, and their corner-stones, have not been laid (as in the Lodge, and according to our text,) in Wisdom and in Knowledge and in Equity of Rights!

Secondly, the Lodge may be said to resemble Heaven, on account of the universal Good Will which reigns therein, among the Brethren, although of different languages and countries. It is not necessary to have the labour of learning various tongues in the earthly, more than in the heavenly Lodge. And although, at the building of Babel, the universal language of the workmen was confounded and divi. ded, because they were divided in their hearts and workmanship; yet among the true Master-builders who have since remained at unity among themselves, there is but one language and the same tokens, which are known and understood by all in every country and clime; namely, the language of Love, and the tokens of Good Will!

In the Lodge, as in Heaven, there are no distinc. tions of Rich and Poor, but all meet on the Level, and act on the Square; distinguished only by their different Skill in their Craft; and a zealous desire, both in the Lodge and out of the same, to promote all that is praise-worthy among the Brethren, and tending to enlighten and bless mankind, by an amiable condescension, and a benevolent freedom, which pervades and actuates every member, and reigns undisturbed in the Lodge.

In the third place, the Lodge may be said to resemble Heaven, because in Heaven, without respect of persons, they who fear God and work righteousness are received into happiness; so likewise the Lodge opens its bosom to receive good men (who come with the proper signs and tokens) of all Na. tions, Sects and Professions; and entertains them with sincere Love and Friendship-even as the quiet harbour of some hospitable port, opens its arms to the tempest-driven voyager, and offers him that security and rest, which, on the common ocean, he sought to enjoy in vain!

And now, Brethren, (a word being enough to the Wise) I trust that nothing more need be added on this occasion, respecting the nature and excellency of our Grand Masonic Institutions! Wherefore, it remains only for me to wind up the labours of many years among you (beloved and beloving!) by one solemn Charge and Exhortation; namely, “ That you would inflexibly adhere to those great and wise institutions; and that you will accept this my last public Labour of Love, as a token of my Love to the Brotherhood, and honour it with a place among the Archives of the Lodge.”

“ I Charge you, then, in the first place, since we declare such excellent things concerning the Lodge, and have even compared it, in Beauty and Order, to

« VorigeDoorgaan »