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Liberty, to subdue every evil and discordant passion ; the blessed habit would easily be carried forth into society at large. Individual states would not only be happy, durable, and free from intestine broils and convulsions; but“ nation would no more rise against nation” in dreadful havoc and oppression. The whole world would be as one harmonious lodge, knit together in brotherly love, and obedient to the will of the great Heavenly Master !
Such a glorious æra many believe to be promised, and hope it may yet come. Our principles lead us to cherish this hope; and, as the best means, under Providence, for its accomplishment, to resist Violence, and to support Justice, Truth, Freedom and Happiness in the governments to which we belong.
The doctrine that one man's grandeur, or the grandeur of a few, is to be the misery of all, can have no reception among us.
We can acknowledge no absolute uncontroulable power upon earth; and can form no conjecture whence such power could come, or be pretended. From God, the supreme fountain of all power, it could not come; without supposing He granted it to dishonour His own perfections, deface His image in His works, and debase His whole creation. From Man it could not come; unless we suppose him, voluntarily and in his sober senses, consenting to his own imniediate misery and destruction.
In our estimation, therefore, “no government can be of Divine original, but as it resembles God's own government; round whose eternal throne, Justice and Mercy wait. And all governments must be so far Divine, as the Laws rule; and every thing is ordered, under God, by free and common consent.”
To contend for such governments, with a holy, enlightened, and unquenchable zeal, is the highest temporal glory. Wherefore, we dwell with rapture upon
the records of former renown, and contemplate with veneration those transcendent scenes of heroism; in which we behold the Brave and the Free wearing upon their swords the fate of millions—while the divine genius of Victory, espousing their cause, hovers over their heads with expanded wing; reaching forth the immortal wreath that is to surround their triumphant brow; and smiling upon the decisive moment that is to fix the happiness of future generations !
They who (from a sense of duty to God and their country, seeking that Liberty and Peace which heaven approves) have thus acted their part, whether in more elevated or inferior stations, form the first class in the roll of worthies. And when they descend again into private life, casting behind them vain Pomp and fastidious Pride, to mingle with their fellow-citizens in all the tender charities and endearing offices of Society and Humanity; their characters, if possible, become still more illustrious. Their very maims and scars are nobly honourable. The respect which they command, grows with their growing years; and they approach the horizon of life, as the Sun in serene and setting glory, with orb more enlarged and mitigated, though less dazzling and splendid. Eventheirgarrulous old age, while it can only recount the feats of former days, will be listened to with attention: or should they
survive all the active powers both of body and mind, yet still, like some grand Structure, tottering and crumbling beneath the hand of Time, they will be considered as majestic in ruins, and venerable even in decay!
And when at last the messenger Death, who comes to all, shall come to them; undaunted they will obey the summons; in conscious hope of being speedily united and beatified with their com-patriots and forerunners, in the mansions of endless bliss!
Such, to name no more, was the character of a Cincinnatus* in ancient times; rising “awful from the plough” to save his country; and, his country saved, returning to the plough again, with increased dignity and lustre. Such too, if we divine aright, will future ages pronounce to have been the character of a **********; but you all anticipate me in a name, which delicacy forbids me, on this occasion, to mention.
Honoured with his presence as a Brother, you will seek to derive virtue from his example; and never let it be said, that any principles you profess, can render you deaf to the calls of your country; but, on the contrary, have animated you with intrepidity in the hour of danger, and humanity in the moments of triumph.
True courage consists not in any thing external to a man—in the trappings of dress, the parade of office, the pride of looks, a quarrelsome temper, or loud-sounding boasts—but in a soul serenely fixed on Duty, and unconscious of Guilt, as knowing that Death
For some further account of this illustrious Roman (too long for a note) see the Appendix.
has no terrors but what he derives from Sin. For it hath been well said on this subject, that “fire may as
easily be struck out of ice, as valour out of crimes; " and he has the chance of most valourwho lives best."
True religion, therefore, is a man's glory and strong hold in every situation of life, whether public or private; and this brings me to my
Third head, under which it was proposed briefly to remind you, as a fraternity, of the principles by which you profess to regulate your conduct towards individuals in private life; which still having that great commandment of our heavenly Master, brotherly love, as the chief corner-stone; every thing raised upon it should be superlatively grand and fair.
Hence, therefore, we must seek to expand our souls to the whole human species; ever striving to promote their happiness to the utmost of our power. Whatever is illiberal, partial and contracted—a selfish and unfeeling heart, coiled up within its own scanty orb—we must reject from among us. Looking far beyond the little distinctions of sect or party (by which too many seek to know, and be known by, among each other) we should labour to imitate the great Creator, in regarding those of every nation, religion, and tongue, who “ fear him, and work righteousness.”
Such conduct becomes those who profess to be. lieve that when our master Christ shall come again to reward his faithful workmen and servants; he will not ask whether we were of Luther or of Calvin? Whether we prayed to him in white, black, or grey; in purple, or in rags; in fine linnen, or in sackcloth; in a woolen frock, or peradventure in a leather apron? Whatever is considered as most convenient, most in character, most for edification, and infringes least on spiritual Liberty, willbeadmitted as good in this case.
But although we may believe that none of these things will be asked in that great day; let us remember that it will be assuredly asked—Were we of Christ Jesus? “ Did we pray to him with the spirit " and with the understanding?” Had we the true marks of his Gospel in our lives? Were we “meek and lowly of heart? Did we nail our rebellious affections to his cross, and strive to subdue our spirits to the rule of his spirit? but above all, it will be asked us—Were we clothed with the wedding garment of love? Did we recognize our Heavenly Master in the sufferings of those whom He died to save? Did we, for his sake, open our souls wide, to the cries of his distressed poor? “When they were hungry, did we
give them meat? When thirsty, did we give them “ drink? When strangers, did we take them in? " When naked, did we clothe them? When sick, did
we visit them? When in prison, did we come unto " them,” with comfort and relief?
This day, my brethren-nay, a few moments hence-will furnish you with an opportunity of laying up in your own consciences, and sending before you to Heaven, an answer to those important questions against the awful day of final retribution.
Hark! do you not this instant hear—amidst the unavoidable calamities of your country, the deep distresses of war, the extreme rigour of the season, the unusual price and scarcity of the chief necessaries of