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OF BROTHERLY LOVE.
By the exercise of brotherly love, we are taught to regard the whole human species as one family, the high and low, the rich and poor; who, as created by one Almighty Parent, and inhabitants of the same planet, are to aid, support and protect each other. On this principle, masonry unites men of every country, sect and opinion, and conciliates true friendship among those who might otherwise have remained at a perpetual. distance.
To relieve the distressed, is a duty incumbent on all men; but particularly on masons, who are linked together by an indissoluble chain of sincere affection. To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize with their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries, and to restore peace to their troubled minds, is the grand aim we have in view. On this basis we form our friendships, and establish our connexions.
Truth is a divine attribute, and the foundation of every virtue. To be good and true, is the first lesson we are taught in masonry. On this theme
we contemplate, and by its dictates endeavour to regulate our conduct; hence, whilst influenced by this principle, hypocrisy and deceit are unknown amongst us, sincerity and plain dealing distinguish us, and the heart and tongue join in promoting each other's welfare, and rejoicing in each other's prosperity.
To this illustration succeeds an explanation of the four cardinal virtues-temperance, fortitude, prudence and justice.
Temperance is that due restraint upon our affections and passions, which renders the body tame and governable, and frees the mind from the allurements of vice. This virtue should be the constant practice of every mason, as he is thereby taught to avoid excess, or contracting any licentious or vicious habit, the indulgence of which might lead him to disclose some of those valuable secrets, which he has promised to conceal and never reveal, and which would consequently subject him to the contempt and detestation of all good
Fortitude is that noble and steady purpose of the mind, whereby we are enabled to undergo any pain, peril or danger, when prudentially deemed expedient. This virtue is equally distant from rashness and cowardice; and, like the former, should be deeply impressed upon the mind of every mason, as a safeguard or security against any illegal attack that may be made, by force or otherwise, to extort from him any of those secrets with which he has been so solemnly entrusted; and which was emblematically represented upon his first admission into the lodge.
Prudence teaches us to regulate our lives and actions agreeably to the dictates of reason, and is that habit by which we wisely judge, and prudentially determine on all things relative to our present, as well as to our future happiness. This virtue should be the peculiar characteristic of every mason, not only for the government of his conduct while in the lodge, but also when abroad in the world; it should be particularly attended to. in all strange and mixed companies, never to let
fall the least sign, token or word, whereby the secrets of masonry might be unlawfully obtained.
Justice is that standard, or boundary of right, which enables us to render to every man his just due, without distinction. This virtue is not only consistent with divine and human laws, but is the very cement and support of civil society; and, as justice in a great measures constitutes the real good man, so should it be the invariable practice of every mason never to deviate from the minutest principles thereof.
The illustration of these virtues is accompanied with some general observations peculiar to ma
Such is the arrangement of the different sections in the first lecture, which, with the forms adopted at the opening and closing of a lodge, comprehends the whole of the first degree of masonry. This plan has the advantage of regularity to recommend it, the support of precedent and authority, and the sanction and respect which flow from antiquity. The whole is a regular system of morality, conceived in a strain of interest
ing allegory, which must unfold its beauties to the candid and industrious inquirer.
Charge at Initiation into the First Degree. BROTHER,
As you are now introduced into the first principles of masonry, I congratulate you on being accepted into this ancient and honourable order; ancient, as having subsisted from time immemorial; and honourable, as tending, in every particular, so to render all men who will be conformable to its precepts. No institution was ever raised on a better principle, or more solid foundation; nor were ever more excellent rules and useful maxims laid down, than are inculcated in the several masonic lectures. The greatest and best of men in all ages have been encouragers and promoters of the art, and have never deemed it derogatory from their dignity, to level themselves with the fraternity, extend their privileges, and patronise their assemblies.
There are three great duties, which, as a mason, you are charged to inculcate-to God, your neighbour, and yourself. To God, in never mentioning his name, but with that reverential awe which is due from a creature to his Creator; to implore his aid in all your laudable undertakings; and to esteem him as the chief good: to your