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JOSHUA YOUNG 1823-1904



From Proceedings, Page 1873-385:

REV. JOSHUA YOUNG, FALL RIVER, Unitarian, 1872, 1873.

REV. JOSHUA YOUNG was born Sept. 29, 1823, in the little village of East Pittston, near the shore of the Kennebec River, Maine. When he was about four years of age his father (who is still living, hale and hearty, at the advanced age of ninety-four years) moved to the town (now, city) of Bangor. There, in the public schools, he pursued his preparatory studies, and entered Bowdoin College at sixteen, and graduated, in good standing, in the class of 1845, receiving, with five or six others, the honor of an election to the Bowdoin Alpha of the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Immediately upon graduating, he entered the Divinity School connected with the University at Cambridge, where he completed the usual course of theological studies; and in the fall of 1848 received, and accepted, a call to the pastorate of the "New North Church," Boston, on Hanover Street. (The society has since disbanded, and the church edifice now has its steeple surmounted with a cross, and " mass " is said within its walls.) In 1852 he accepted a call to take charge of the Unitarian Society in Burlington, Vt., powerfully attracted by the beautiful scenery of that region of country. In what he has always since felt was an unfortunate hour, he severed his relations with the good people there, after a ministry of ten years, and returned to Massachusetts, in order to be nearer his family connections.

Invited to take charge of the "New North Church," in the old town of Hingham, for a few months, he prolonged his residence in that seaside place to five years. At this time an opportunity was given him to go abroad; and, crossing the ocean, he visited Egypt and the Holy Land, and made the usual tour of Europe.

On his return, in 1869, he entered upon his professional duties once more as pastor of the Unitarian Society in Fall River, where he is still engaged in the sacred calling in which a few months more will complete his twenty-fifth year. He was made a Mason while residing in Hingham, being raised to the Third Degree in Old Colony Lodge by the Master, Worshipful E. Waters Burr. He is still a member of the Lodge, and Chaplain by appointment.

His interest in Freemasonry is deep and abiding. He has, on two or three public occasions, ably defended its principles. He believes it has nothing so much to fear as its success. He holds that too much prosperity is apt to give to men and to communities of men, a moral sunstroke; that Masons are made too fast, and that unworthy members injure the whole Body.

He is married to the eldest daughter of the late Sylvanus Plympton, M.D., of Cambridge, and has five children, two sons and three daughters. The appended paper, copied from Moore's Freemason's Magazine for November, 1865, was written by Brother Young, he being the chairman of the committee appointed to report it. It was signed by the Master and Wardens of Old Colony Lodge as well as by the committee.

To the Worshipful Master, Wardens, and Brothers of St. Mary's Lodge, A.F. and A.M., St. Mary's, Georgia.

Old Colony Lodge of Hingham, Mass., sends greeting: —

Circumstances which cannot bo better or more exactly described, perhaps, than as the "fortunes of war," have strangely made us the keepers for some time past of the Charter and Master's Gavel of your Worshipful Lodge; and now that the channels of communication between the Northern and Southern sections of our country are open again, at the close of an unhappy civil war, we determine to return the same to you, with every expression of fraternal interest and good-will.

The Brother but newly initiated into the secret mysteries of our ancient and honored Institution, from whose hands we received them for safe-keeping, and at whose request we became their depositary until such time as we could properly restore them, remained with us but a few days, and is now absent beyond the reach of correspondence (as your letters fail to elicit an answer). Therefore, to state with any fulness of detail how the property of another and so distant a Lodge is rightfully in our possession is, at this time, impossible. Anxious at the earliest available moment to restore their own to the Brethren of St. Mary's Lodge, and to transmit them with our sentiments of undiminished friendship as members of the mystic tie, suffice it to say, that an engineer of a Federal gunboat, connected with the late blockading fleet on the Atlantic coast, on going ashore at the village of St. Mary's, at the close of a bombardment, we believe, found the place deserted by most of its white population; and on entering a building, which had suffered from the guns of our ships, or had been broken into and rifled of its contents, found himself unexpectedly within the sacred precincts of a Masonic Lodge; and on the floor lay a roll of parchment and a small mallet, which, on examination, he believed to be the Charter of the Lodge and the W. Master's Gavel. To him who had but recently gained admission into the sublime arcana of our brotherhood, they were, of course, objects of exceeding interest and value; and lest they should come to the eyes of the unworthy, or be lost utterly, he took them with him to his boat; whereupon, being almost immediately ordered North, he improved the first opportunity to commit them to the strict charge of a sister Lodge, for the purpose, as already stated, of their ultimate restoration to the place from which they were taken.

Through the M.W. Grand Lodge of the State of Massachusetts they will come to you; and when the parchment is again unrolled in your presence, or the venerable gavel in the W. Master's hand shall strike once more the opening or the closing of the Lodge, may the one read to you anew as a pledge of a tried but faithful friendship, and the other echo to you, from a far Northern State, the pulsation of hearts not alienated from their Masonic Brothers in the South. The war so bitterly waged — now ended as we trust forevermore — has proved in many affecting ways the majestic character and regal worth of the great Institution of Free and Accepted Masonry. It has hovered like God's Angel of mercy over the bloody battle-field. It has ministered its loving charities to the wounded and dying. It has relieved the sufferings of the prisoners. It has preserved the sacred ashes of the honored dead; and, when the soldier was struck down, it has discovered to him a friend and brother in the foe. Its principles of liberality, brotherly-love, and charity have stood the fiery trial; and the obligations to which all swear fealty who bow the knee at the consecrated altar have shown their binding force to be strong as links of steel.

And now that the strife is over, and the sword is returned to its scabbard, may we not expect that the same Institution, coextensive with the whole domain of our land, which has so mitigated the cruelties of war, shall also act no small part in the earnest and difficult work of national "reconstruction," of restoring to health and wholeness our dismembered country; of re-establishing in wisdom, strength, and beauty — which Masons are taught to believe "are about God's throne, as the pillars of his court" — a Union of States under one constituted head, whose archetype shall be the human frame, — a living organism of related and co-operative parts, fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, edifying itself in love; many members, but one body.

It is at once the pride and the glory of our grand Fraternity, that it measures no man by this world's standard of high and low; that it is above the littleness which makes blood or birthplace the test of moral and intellectual worth; and knows no difference of nation, as Greek or Roman, as Jew or Gentile, in the ministration of its rites, or the bestowment of its gifts. In this it resembles the wisdom and goodness of Deity; of Him, the Supreme Architect of the Universe, the initial of whose Holy name is suspended in every duly appointed Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, from the canopy in the East. And we are sure that such an Institution, so pure in spirit, so lofty in interest, with principles so noble and so grand, will naturally and inevitably adopt the line of God's gracious providence, and welcome, though it come through tears and agony, every advancement of truth and human happiness. So mote it be ! Once more, Brethren, we salute you.



From New England Freemason, Vol. I, No. 1, January 1875, Page 9:

The End and Aim of Freemasonry

Remarks made by Rev. Joshua Young, Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts, at the Semi-Centennial Celebration of the Constitution of Mt. Hope Lodge of Fall River.

We are here this evening to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Mount Hope Lodge.

But what does it signify? What matters it whether Mount Hope Lodge be fifty years old or five years? Has the world been better because of its existence? What if it had never been born?

Or, if it were swept from the face of the earth, would it be missed? What has it done in the community where we live, according to its profession as an organization for moral exercises and benevolent objects, whose business it is to foster friendship and do good, that we should hail with pleasure and with pride its having attained to that goodly age whence it can look back over the space of a full half century? A half century of what?

In all that time, what has it done, say for Education, for Religion, for social Virtue, for the education of Society, to make men better, or wiser, or happier?

It is estimated that throughout the United States there are 9,000 Lodges and 500,000 Masons. These 9,000 Lodges, these half a million Masons, let them gird on their aprons, and seize the tools and mount the staging; and, if good men and true, what a work they might do for society, for the world ! Certain it is, that the identification of Freemasonry and charity forms the popular idea of our Order.

And so the question will be asked, if not by the thoughtful, conscientious Mason, by the outside world, by that self-appointed censor of all institutions—Public Sentiment—the question will be asked, is asked, What has Freemasonry to show? What work has it done? What are the visible results to which it can point, and say: "Lo, the fruits! and judge thou of the tree, whether it be good or whether it be bad."

When Freemasonry was a corporation, or college of practical artificers, it reared monuments of usefulness in marble, in grand and stately buildings; and the proudest edifices of the old world, its magnificent churches, its vast cathedrals, its massive bridges and aqueducts bear witness still to the architectural genius, the mechanical skill, and, what is far more, to the devotion to beautiful ideals, and the depth of the religious sentiment which inspired the genius and directed the skill of those early years of our ancient Society, when men highest in rank, kings and bishops, knocked at its door and asked leave to enter.

But since the time when the operative character of the Association was dropped, and from a practical art it changed into a social science, where are we to look for its works?

Very easy it is, to be sure, to point to the great and good men who have been from time to time members of the Order; to pronounce that one incomparable name of Washington ; to tell of the more than fifty of the fifty-six signers of the Declaration of Independence, (if I have the figures right), who were Masons. Still the question comes back from the critical, on-looking world : "Where are the Hospitals, the Homes for the aged and the infirm, the Asylums for the poor and the orphan, the organized Institutions of charity, which this so-called society of benevolence has founded or endowed, or has the control of?" After all, have not men sought it rather as a personal pleasure, than patronized it as a public good?"

Brethren, those questions won't do us any harm. Perhaps it will be worth our while to pay more attention to them than we have yet done. But I have asked them, that I might answer them for an object, and that object is definition.

First, almsgiving is not the most important part of charity. The Christian Paul, chiefest of the apostles, does not even enumerate almsgiving among the attributes of this heavenly virtue. Nay, he discriminates between them: "Though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and have not charity (love), it profiteth me nothing." Almsgiving is good; let none withhold it, or speak slightingly of it. But there is something better. Alas! the cold charities of the world, the gift that has no heart in it! Sympathy is better, love is better, true fellow-feeling, the recognition of equality and a common interest. And this is Masonic charity, that does its silent work, dropping on the sore places in human hearts its healing balm, dropping like the morning dew and the soft rain upon the wilted flower and the sear grass.

Secondly. To found hospitals, to open asylums, to organize public charities like these, is not after the genius of Freemasonry, is not the work which it undertakes to do. Freemasons are, indeed, their friends and patrons, and they are taught to regard the world as the wide field of benevolence. But Freemasonry is not a party or a sect. Nor is it even a society, strictly speaking—a society organized to do this or that specific work; that is, some outward, visible work. Freemasonry is a pfinciple, a spirit, a life, and its nature is to influence the private heart, to act upon the individual soul, to mould personal character—to work on men and society like leaven. And in this it resembles more nearly than, any other human institution all that is most characteristic of the religion of Jesus, and, like our religion, God given, while systems and dynasties and other institutions innumerable have passed away. Free and Accepted Masonry has withstood the never ceasing tide of changes in the world's affairs, and shows to-day, after ages counted by hundreds, no signs of decrepitude or decay.

I think with amazement of its vitality, next to that of the Church of the Living God!

The Masonic Order is a Brotherhood. How to be brothers indeed; bow, in the midst of diversities of interest, diversities of condition, diversities of opinion and belief, diversities of race and nation, to be brothers still; loving brothers in a world rent by violence, sundered by partition walls, full of intolerance, and party feeling, and sectarian strife and the exclusiveness of caste, and how to do a brother's part—this is the science which Freemasonry teaches, this the art which Masons practise.

In the Lodge, all distinctions of rank belonging to common life arc forgotten. Wealth and poverty, obscurity and eminence, together with all religious and political differences, for the time being cease, and all are esteemed as Brethren. Brethren we call each other, thereby to indicate that it is our part to cherish an inviolable friendship, and to be always ready to afford one another speedy and effectual aid.

And we hesitate not to affirm that the reach and influence of such an Institution, if it be true and faithful to itself, are as high as heaven, and broad as the earth.

And men may laugh, if they will; men may sneer at our secrets and our mysteries, signs of obligation and modes of recognition, and may make light of our ceremonies and symbols; but the initiated know what grand lessons in virtue and brotherly kindness, in moral integrity before God, in truth and devotion unto death, those signs and symbols teach. So far from being the folly, they are very justly the pride and the boast of our Institution ; for, in the words of another, they speak that universal language"—addressed to the eye, through which is the shortest avenue to the heart—" whose whisper may be heard amid the thunder of war, in the crash of shipwreck and in the war of violence, and whose words, like pentecostal utterances, are intelligible among all people and tongues."

In fine, the object of our Institution—its special object—is to re-combine the scattered elements of society, to recall men to a sense of their fraternal relations, to revive the almost extinguished faith in friendship and virtue.

It may, indeed, be said that its sole aim is to promote social harmony; and, viewed in this aspect, there exists not in all the world another institution like it. "It opens a new Temple and erects a new altar" above all prejudices and dissensions and selfishness; above all distinctions except moral distinction—a Temple dedicated to universal friendship, an altar at which all humanity may kneel.

Entering its doors, the true Mason leaves behind him all this world's variances, and there, on the common ground of mutual good¬ will, meets his fellow-creatures as brothers seeking refuge together from the strifes and storms of human passion; defence and shelter within an inviolable sanctuary of peace and love.

This is the Masonic ideal, Brethren, however short, practically, we may come of it. This is the grand ideal that wins our respect, that takes captive our heart. Our occupation is to build Temples not made with hands, Temples in human hearts, Temples of manhood, of character; to build a Spiritual Temple, to build it high, to build it broad, its foundations laid in Wisdom, its walls rising in Strength—the Beauty of the whole, praise unto God!

Distinguished Brothers