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tions, we have private masonic funds for benevolent purposes in many of the lodges both of the old and new world.

These details will clearly evince the claims which masonry has on the community at large; and that the active part she has sustained in forwarding the benevolent enterprizes by which the present age is distinguished, merits public approbation. We appear to be on the eve of some great and organic changes; whether for good or evil, the Great Architect of the Universe can only determine. But it behoves Freemasonry to take such steps in the great drama of life, as to secure, if it be possible, the predominance of good. She ought to occupy the foremost rank in the work of amelioration, to watch over the best interests of the public, and endeavour to prevent the inconsiderate and unwary from being misled by the false glitter of unsound theories on the one hand, and hollow professions on the other, which are sure to terminate in disappointment and disgrace, and perhaps in consequences of a much more serious nature.

If Freemasonry do not thus exert the intluence she undoubtedly possesses for the benefit of humanity, her social claims will be nullified, and her pretensions pronounced to be an empty boast. It is quite clear, from a consideration of the uniform and gradual alterations and improvements in the details of Speculative Freemasonry by successive grand lodges, that it was never intended to be stationary. The science had no prescribed lectures before the revival in 1717, but every Master of a Lodge exhorted his brethren to the practice of moral virtue, in short and extemporaneous addresses, according to his own capacity, and adapted to the comprehension of the brethren and the state of the lodge. An old masonic manuscript of the tenth century, as is supposed, which may be found in the Old Royal Library in the British Museum, contains ample directions for this purpose. It strongly recommends the brethren to offer up their prayers regularly to God through Christ; to do their duty to each other, and to be constant in their attendance on the divine services of the church. It concludes by advising,

Play thou not but with thy peres,
Ny tell thou not al that thou beres,

Dyskever thou not thyn owne dede,
For no merye, ny for no mede ;
With fayr speche thou myght have thy wylle,
With hyt thou myght thy selven spylle.

Cryst then of hys hye grace,
Geve yow bothe wytte and space,
Wel thys boke to conne and rede,
Heven to have for yowre mede!
Amen! Amen! So mot hyt be,
Say we so alle per charyte.

In the Lansdowne MS. in the British Museum, (Burleigh Papers, N. 98, Art. 48,) we have another specimen of this moral teaching which is of great antiquity. The Master is there directed “in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, to be true to God and holy church, and to use no error or heresy; to be a true liege man to the king, and to do to every brother as he would like to be done to himself. That he shall keep truly all the

. council of the Lodge or of the Chamber; be no thief; true to the Master; and call his fellows by no other name than brother. That he shall not injure or pollute his brother's wife or daughter; and shall honestly pay for every thing he has."?

The earliest authorized Lectures which I have met with, were compiled from such ancient documents as these, and arranged in a catechetical form by Desaguliers and Anderson, as early as 1720. And this form was adopted because it was considered to be more useful in assisting the memory, and affording an efficient remedy against forgetfulness or want of attention, than any other plan. The questions and answers are short and comprehensive, and contain a brief digest of the general principles of the Craft, as it was understood at that period. The First Lecture extended to the greatest length, but the replies were circumscribed within a very narrow compass. The Second was shorter, and the Third, called “The Master's Part,” contained only seven questions, besides the explanations and examinations.

If, under such an imperfect system, Freemasonry had ? The same Paper contains many other charges for the regulation of conduct, most of which, however, may be found in the 15th Ed. of Preston, p. 71, and see F. Q. R. 1848, p. 142.

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not been susceptible of improvement, it could not have stood its ground, during the rapid progress of a taste for retined literature, and the accomplishments of civilized life which distinguished the beginning and middle of the eighteenth century. Intelligent brethren, however, soon became aware that something more than the repetition of a few set phrases and routine explanations, how interesting and important soever they might be in themselves, was required to cement the prosperity, and perpetuate the existence of a great society, which professed to convey superior advantages, and laid claim to a higher character, than any of the numerous antagonistic clubs and coteries of similar pretensions by which it was surrounded. A new arrangement was therefore necessary in the year 1732, and Martin Clare, A. M., a celebrated mason, who ultimately attained the rank of D. G. M., was commissioned to prepare a course of Lectures, adapted to the existing state of the Order, without infringing on the ancient Landmarks; and he executed his task so much to the satisfaction of the Grand Lodge, that his Lectures were ordered to be used by all the brethren within the limits of its jurisdiction. In accordance with this command, we find the officers of the Grand Lodge setting an example in the Provinces; and in the Minutes of a Lodge at Lincoln, in 1734, of which Sir Cecil Wray, the D. G. M., was the master, there are a series of entries through successive lodge nights, to the following effect; that two or more Sections (as the case might be) of Martin Clare's Lectures were read; when the Master gave an elegant Charge; went through an examination; and the lodge was closed with songs and decent merriment.” An evident proof of the authority of Martin Clare's Lectures, or the D. G. M. would not have been so careful to enforce their use amongst the brethren over whom he presided in private lodge.

These lectures were nothing more than the amplification of the system propounded by Anderson and Desaguliers, enlightened by the addition of a few moral references and admonitions extracted from the Old and New Testaments. They also contained a simple allusion to the senses, and the theological ladder with staves or rounds innumerable.

Freemasonry was now making a rapid progress in the island, both in dignity and usefulness; and its popularity was extended in a proportionate degree. Scientific and learned men were enrolled in its ranks, and Martin Clare's Lectures were obliged, in their turn, to give way before the increasing intelligence of the Order. They were revised and remodelled by Bro. Dunckerley, P. G. M., and G. Superintendent for almost half the entire kingdom, whose opinion was considered by the Grand Lodge as decisive on all matters connected with the Craft. In these lectures Dunckerley introduced many types of Christ, and endued the ladder with three principal steps as an approach to the supernal regions, which he called Faith, Hope, and Charity. His disquisition was founded on 1 Cor. xiii.; and he might have had in view the true Christian doctrine of three states of the soul. First in its tabernacle, the body, as an illustration of FAITH; then, after death in Hades, Sheol, or Paradise, as the fruits of HOPE ; and lastly, when reunited to the body in glory, about the Throne of God, as the sacred seat of universal CHARITY. The original hint at a circle and parallel lines, as important symbols of the Order, has been ascribed to him.

Thus the Lectures remained until towards the latter end of the century, when Hutchinson in the north, and Preston in the south of England, burst on the masonic world like two brilliant suns, each enlightening his own hemisphere, and each engaged in the meritorious design of improving the existing Lectures, without being conscious that his worthy cotemporary was pursuing the same track. There are reasons for believing that they subsequently coalesced, and produced a joint Lecture, which, though regarded at first with some degree of jealousy, as an unauthorized compilation, was at length adopted, and carried into operation by the concurrent usage of the whole fraternity. This course of Lectures was in practice till the reunion in 1813, and I believe there are still many Lodges who prefer them to the Hemming or Union Lectures, and still continue their use.

With all these facts before us, it is clear that Freemasonry has undergone many changes since its revival after the death of Sir Christopher Wren. The essentials

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remain the same, but the details have sustained considerable modifications, and are susceptible of still greater improvement. He who ascends the Masonic Ladder, must not tarry at the Portal of Hope, if he wishes to attain the summit. If we are anxious to practise ourselves, or to disseminate for the benefit of others, the poetry and phylosophy of masonry, it will be necessary to show that such progressive alterations may be safely made, without any violation of the real ancient landmarks, or incurring the risk of weakening its hold on the purest affections.

The opinion of our late Grand Master, H. R. H. the Duke of Sussex, was favourable to the views here exhibited. He publicly declared in Grand Lodge, that consistently with the laws of masonry, "so long as the Master of any Lodge observed the Landmarks of the Craft, he was at liberty to give the Lectures in the language best suited to the character of the lodge over which he presided.” And as an illustration of his opinion, the Lodge of Reconciliation was authorized to revise and reconstruct the Lectures which were in existence at that period. Under these circumstances, if some slight alterations and improvements were made in the working details of the Order at the present day, with the sanction of the Grand Lodge, I should anticipate the happiest results from the measure.

But the question will be asked, how is this to be accomplished? By what process is such a desirable object to be attained without an invasion of Landmarks, which are so strictly guarded by a fundamental Bye-law, that their integrity cannot be violated without inflicting some serious injury on the institution ? The process is simple, and I think practicable; and even if it be attended with some trifling disadvantages, they would be amply compensated by improvements which might be effected under a judicious modification of the lectures.

a Thus if the Landmarks, and such portions of the Lectures of each degree as are indispensable to the purity and character of the Order, were drawn out carefully and judiciously in the shape of a series of moral axioms, and divided into degrees, sections, and clauses, constructed

Quarterly Communication, Dec. 1819.

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