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He is to treat his inferiors as he would have his superiors deal with him, wisely considering that the original of mankind is the same ; and though masonry divests no man of his honour, yet does the craft admit that strictly to pursue the paths of virtue, whereby a clear conscience may be preserved, is the only method to make any man noble.
A Mason is to be so far benevolent, as never to shut his ear unkindly to the complaints of wretched poverty ; but when a brother is oppressed by want, he is in a peculiar manner to listen to his sufferings with attention ; in consequence of which pity must flow from his breast, and relieve without prejudice according to his capacity,
A Mason is to pay due obedience to the authority of his master and presiding officers, and to behave himself meekly amongst his brethren; neither neglecting his usual occupation for the sake of company, in running from one lodge to another; nor quarrel with the ignorant multitude, for their ridiculous aspersions concerning it : but at his leisure hours he is required to study the arts and sciences with a diligent mind, that he may not on. ly perform his duty to his great Creator, but also to his neighbour and himself: for to walk humbly in the sight of God, to do justice, and love mercy, are the certain characteristics of a real free and accepted mason : which qualifications I humbly hope they will possess to the end of time; and I dare venture to say, that every true brother will join with me in, Amen.
The benefits arising from a strict observance of the principles of the craft, are so apparent, that I must believe every good man would be fond to profess and practise the same ; because thosc principles tend to promote the happiness of life, as they are founded on the basis of wisdom and virtue.
In the first place ; our privileges and instructions, when rightly made'use of, are not only productive of our welfare on this side of the grave, but even our eternal happiness hereafter. * For the craft is founded on so solid a basis that it will never admit blasphemy, lewdness, swearing, evil-plotting, or controversy ; and though they ars not all of the same opinion in matters of faith, yet they are ever in one mind in matters of masonry ; that is, to labour justly, not to eat any man's bread for nought, but to the utmost of our capacity to love and serve each other, as brethren of the same houshold ought to do : wisely judging, that it is as great an absurdity in one man to quarrel with another because he will not believe as he does, as it would be in him to be angry because he was not exactly of the same size and countenance, &c.
Therefore to afford succour to the distressed, to dívide our bread with the industrious poor, and to put the misguided traveller into his way, are qualifications inherent in the craft and suitable to its dig. nity, and such as the worthy members of that great body have at alł times strove with indefatigable pains
to accomplish. t'These and such like benefits, arising from a strict observance of the principles of the craft (as numbers of brethren have lately experienced) if duly
considered, will be found not only to equal, but to exceed any society in being.
If so, the worthy members of this great and useful society, can never be too careful in the election of members ; I mean, a thorough knowledge of the character and circumstance of a candidate that begs to be initiated into the mystery of free-masonry.
Upon this depends the welfare or destruction of the craft ; for as regularity, virtue, and concord, are the only omaments of human nature, (which is often too prone to act in different capacities) so that the happiness of life depends, in a great measure, on our own election, and a prudent choice of those steps.
For Human society cannot subsist without con, cord, and the maintenance of mutual good offices ; for, like the working of an arch of stone, it would fall to the ground provided one piece did not proper. ly support another.
In former times every man (at his request) was not admitted into the craft, (tho' perhaps of a good and moral reputation) nor allowed to share the benefits of our ancient and noble institution, unless he was endued with such skill in masonry, as he might thereby be able to improve the art, either in plan or workmanship; or had such affluence of fortune as should enable him to employ, honour and protect the craftsmen.
I would not be understood by this to mean, that no reputable tradesmen should receive any of our benefits; but on the contrary, am of opinion that they are valuable members of the commonwealth, and often have proved themselves real ornaments to lodges.
Those whom I aim at, are the miserable wretches of low-life, (often introduced by excluded men*)
* That is, men excluded from their lodges for misdemeanors, &c. (who finding themselves deemed unworthy of so noble a society) still endeavour to make the rest of mankind believe, that they are good and true, and have full power and authority to ad. mit, enter and make free-masons, when and where soever they please, &c. These traders, (though but few in number) associate together, and for any: mean consideration admit any person to what little they know of the craft. Little I say, for I honestly assure my readers, that no man who rightly understands the craft, can be so blind as to trample-over its ancient landmarks; therefore all victuallers, &c. ought to be very cautious of entertaining such, from whom neither benefit nor credit can be expected See New Regulation, VIII.
some of whom can neither read nor write ; and when [by the assistance of masonry] they are admitted into the company of their betters, they too often act beyond their capacities ; and under pretence of searching for knowledge, they fall into scenes of gluttony or drunkenness, and thereby neglect their necessary occupation and injure their poor families, who imagine they have a just cause to pour out all their exclamations and invectives against the whole body of free-masons, without considering or knowing that our constitutions and principles are quite opposite to such base proceedings.
The next thing to be considered is the choice of officers to rule and govern the lodge, according to the ancient and wholesome laws of our constitution; and this is a matter of great concern, for the officers of a lodge are not only bound to advance and promote the welfare of their own particular lodge, but. also whatever may tend to the good of the fraternity in general.
Therefore no man ought to be nominated or put: in such election, but such as by his known skill and merit, is deemed worthy of performance, viz. he must be well acquainted with all the private and public rules and orders of the craft; he ought to be strictly honest, humane of nature, patient in injuries, modest in conversation, grave in counsel and advice, and (above all) constant in amity and faithful in secrecy.*
Such candidates well deserve to be chosen the rulers and governors of their respective lodges, to whom the members are to be courteous and obedi. ent, and from whom they may learn to despise the
* A man may possess all these good qualifications, and yet (if in low circumstances) be incapable of filling his office with credit to the lodge or himself: and this I recommend'as a matter well worth. the consideration of all the constituents.
over-covetous; impatient, contentious, presumptuous, arrogant and conceited prattlers, the bane of human society
Here I cannot forbear saying, that I have known men whose intentions were very honest, and without any evil design commit great errors, and sometimes been the destruction of good lodges ; and this occasioned by their brethren hurrying them indiscreetly into offices, wherein their slender knowledge of masonry rendered them incapable of executing the business committed to their charge, to the great detriment of the craft and their own dishonour.
Amongst the qualities and principles of the craft, I have given a hint concerning the behaviour of a mason in the lodge, to which I beg he may add the few following lines, viz. he is to pay due respect, and be obedient in all reasonable matters) to the master and presiding officers: he' must not curse, swear, nor offer to lay wagers ; nor use any lewd or unbecoming language, in derogation of God's name, and corruption of good manners ; nor behave himself ludicrously, nor jestingly, while the lodge is engag. ed in what is serious and solemn : Neither is he to introduce, support, nor mention any dispute or controversy about religion or politics ; nor force any brother to eat, drink, or stay against his inclination; nor do or say any thing that may be offensive, or hinder a free and innocent conversation ;' least he should break the good harmony, and defeat the laudable designs and purposes of the ancient and honourable fraternity.
And I honestly recommend free-masonry, as the most sovereign medicine to purge out the above, or such other vices; and regular lodges, as the only seminaries where men in the most pleasant and clearest manner) may hear, understand and learn their duty to God; and also to their neighbours. And this without the multiplicity of spiteful and malicious words, long arguments or fierce debates ;