WILKES ALLEN 1775-1845
- MM 1802, Washington
- Charter Member of Pentucket
- Grand Chaplain 1824-1827
- Buried in Forefathers Burying Ground, Chelmsford
From Proceedings, Page 1873-258:
REV. WILKES ALLEN, CHELMSFORD, Unitarian. 1824-1827.
WILKES ALLEN was born in Sterling [Shrewsbury], Mass.; was graduated at Harvard College in 1801; was ordained pastor of a church in Chelmsford, November, 16, 1803, and died in 1845. He published a Thanksgiving discourse, entitled, "Divine Favors Gratefully Recollected," 1810; and a "History of Chelmsford, Mass.," to which is added a Memoir of the Pawtucket tribe of Indians, 1820.
— Sprague's Annals of American Pulpits, vol. viii. Note on page 58.
The following outline of the biography of this excellent man, a devoted Mason, and kind and able Christian minister, has been in the most friendly spirit furnished by one of his immediate descendants.
Rev. Wilkes Allen was born in the town of Shrewsbury, Worcester Co., Mass., July 10, 1775. His father was a farmer, and his mother a fruitful vine, having had twelve children. In his youth he toiled upon his father's acres of stony ground. When eighteen years of age he leit the farm for the carpenter's shop. As a mechanic, he was so faithful that his work still stands, a monument to his skill and industry. He knew, even then, how to use the compass and the square. And so through life his work must have been approved by the "GREAT MASON." He was religiously disposed in his early days. When quite a little fellow, six to seven years old, he bought a Bible by his own earnings in picking chestnuts, — a book he used through all his life. In it are his marks of texts, selected from time to time, in the course of his ministerial life. His last work, as a mechanic, was in building the pews in the church at Bolton, Mass. This duty but inspired him to mount the pulpit. At once he began to prepare for college at Andover Academy, then in charge of Mark Newman, with whom he formed a lifelong friendship. Here he wrote several poems; and, on leaving for college, gave a long valedictory in verse.
He entered Harvard College in 1797. During his collegiate course, he taught school in the winter season in the rural districts of the State; teaching not only the various branches then ordinarily taught, but also music. It was thus he acquired the means of defraying his collegiate expenses. He was graduated in 1801. During his college course he wrote and delivered several lengthy poems, — two at exhibitions, one at graduation, and one at a memorial service of his classmate, Pillsbury, who was drowned in Charles River. He began the study of divinity with his old pastor, Dr. Sumner, of Shrewsbury, Mass., and completed it with Rev. Dr. Thaddeus Mason Harris, of Dorchester, in whose pulpit he preached his first sermon. In 1803, he received and accepted a call to settle over the church and society in Chelmsford. Here he lived and spent the largest part of his useful life. His character was decided. No one had any doubt about his honesty of purpose. He was always trustworthy as a Christian minister, and as a free and accepted Mason.
He passed to the highest orders of the Craft existing in his day. He was Chaplain in several stages of his ascension, such as Chapters, etc. He delivered several Masonic discourses. One was published which was delivered before Pentucket Lodge, of which copies are extant. The course Bro. Allen pursued in the Morgan affair is distinctly remembered. Many Masons consulted him as to the conduct proper and safe for them to follow. His advice was, "Keep quiet; know nothing; say nothing; have no words, no discussions with those outside the camp." This counsel was fully appreciated and strictly followed.
He was highly respected as a Mason. He was faithful and trustworthy. He regulated his life, his actions, by the square, and kept his passions strictly within the circle drawn by the Mason's compass. At what time he became a Mason it is difficult to say. One of his sons remarks: "I remember in my early days (from 1816 to 1824), his going to Pentucket Lodge and to the Chapter located at Groton." It is thought that Brother Allen was initiated in Pentucket Lodge of Lowell; but its records would probably determine the fact.
His character as a Christian minister and a Christian Mason is remembered with filial reverence. It may not be improperly averred that a Christian Mason is but little less noble in character than a Christian minister. He was both, in the highest and best sense. He never officiated, it is believed, at a meeting of Free and Accepted Masons, without feeling that he was near that large EYE, who demanded humility and sincerity. His sincerity, humility, honesty and love were patent traits of his character.
Mr. Allen published a memorial sermon delivered after the death of Rev. Dr. Cummings of Billerica; also a Thanksgiving sermon. He wrote many hymns for special occasions, ordinations, installations, dedications of churches and school-houses. The last hymn he wrote was on the occasion of the dedication of a new school-house at North Andover.
As a minister of Christ he was sincere and earnest. He believed and practised what he preached. He was beloved by his ministerial brethren, and by the people of his charge. His body sleeps in their keeping in their cemetery, and his memory is held in grateful remembrance. Among his people he was the leader and the adviser, the wise and trusty counsellor; not only in religious matters, but in school affairs and agriculture. As early as in 1816 or 1817 Mr. Allen established a public library. He kept it in his own house. To his parochial duties he added that of teaching during four months of the year. He was an early preacher of temperance, and broke up some bad habits of his people, — such as offering alcoholic drinks after a funeral service and on festive occasions.
Like ministers of his day, and like Saint Paul, he worked with his own hands, and earned some of his bread by the sweat of his brow. His salary was small — five hundred dollars per annum — yet still he reared a family of five children, three of whom were graduates of Harvard College. In 1805 he was married to Mary, daughter of Deacon James Morrill, of Boston.
He retired from the church and society over which he was settled, with their benedictions in the form of a very generous pecuniary consideration, and with their good will and warm love. He felt that at the age of over sixty years, with deafness and other bodily infirmities, his days of activity and usefulness had passed. He gracefully retired to a small farm in Andover, where he spent the remainder of his days cultivating the soil, of which he was always very fond; and in aiding his feeble brethren or some destitute parish, to whom he cheerfully and gladly gave a day's labor of love and good will.
At the Communion Table, as he referred to the great love of God through Jesus Christ, his emotions often stopped his utterance; and funeral services were always sealed by his tears. Having lost his only two daughters when they were respectively three and five years of age, the burial service of children was a time when his emotions were deeply stirred, his tears flowed freely, his utterances were almost hushed, and all mourners felt sure that his soul was running over with loving sympathy for them, as undoubtedly it was. This was but natural, because he had a very warm and loving heart, and felt deep regret and sorrow at others' losses and woes.
The following anecdote is related by Dr. LeBaron, of Illinois, a friend of the family of Mr. Allen, to show the impressiveness of his prayers, even on little children : —
One of his grandchildren, then four years old, was on a few days' visit to his grandparents. He had never heard his grandpa pray. On the morning next after his arrival, his grandfather happened to be in an unusually fervent state of mind in his prayer, and prayed with remarkable unction even for him. The boy listened attentively, and was evidently strongly impressed. His ears were deeply intent on his grandpa's tones and words to the very close of the prayer; when he instinctively,and involuntarily and strongly exclaimed, "Grandpa, grandpa, you did well!" Mr. Allen was greatly pleased with this spontaneous outburst of admiration. The boy is now a man, and a preacher also.
Since what precedes was written, the writer has been favored from an authentic source, with additional information relative to the life and character of Bro. Allen, which is, in substance, as follows: —
His position of minister of Chelmsford, he resigned of his own free will; he feeling that his days of usefulness were passed. He was dismissed in 1835. His death occurred on the 2d of Dec, 1845, at the advanced age of 70. The cause of his death was from a fall down the stairs of his barn.
He had a fine perception of the beauties of the English, Greek and Latin classics. He urged several young men to secure a liberal education; and aided them in doing it. He had a large and unfailing supply of anecdotes, but he never related any one that would compromise his reverence for the Scriptures. As early as 1812 he preached strongly against intemperance.
Music afforded him great pleasure. He deeply enjoyed his own family circle, arranged occasionally as a band, in his own house. He not only sung, but played on the bass viol. Two of his sons played the flute, and one the bass viol.
He was a Unitarian of the old school, avoiding the extremes of Calvinism and Socinianism. Having served his age faithfully he departed this life, having perfect confidence in a glorious future. As he desired, his body was laid among the departed of his former flock, and the following words were placed upon his tombstone: —
"And thy soft wings, Celestial Dove,
Shall take me to the realms above."
He was followed to his grave by his four sons.
His printed works were : —
- A Thanksgiving Sermon;
- A Discourse at the Burial of Dr. Cummings, of Billerica;
- A Discourse to Pentucket Lodge; and
- The History of Chelmsford.
It is probable that other discourses were published.
Three of his five sons graduated at Harvard College, namely, Charles H., John C., and Nathaniel G. John C. died soon after graduating. At the dedication of the new school-house in the Centre District, North Andover, in 1840, tlie following hymn, written by him was sung: —
"Our fathers, near the house of prayer,
Mid penury and toil and care,
Rear'd the rude school-house, op'd the store
Of knowledge to the rich and poor.
"Their children, emulous to share
The honors of their fathers' care,
Rebuilt the house, improved the plan,
And finished what their sires began.
"To us the sacred trust is given,
To keep this precious boon of Heaven;
And send it down to those, who come
To fill our places, share our home.
"Two hundred suns their rounds have run,
Since here the school-boy's task begun;
Two hundred years have roll'd the tide
Of education far and wide.
"This house, the fruit of generous care,
To knowledge, truth, and God we rear;
And to his faithful keeping trust,
When those, who built it, sleep in dust.
"Here may the young instruction love;
And to the world the maxim prove,
The school-house and the temple stand,
The glory of our native land."
From Moore's Freemason's Monthly Magazine, Vol. V, No. 3, January, 1846, p. 93:
Pepperell, Dee. 15, 1845.
Sir Knight Moore,—Rev. Wilkes Allen, of North Andover, died December 3d, aged seventy years. The Order has lost one of its firmest supporters, and Christianity a brave defender. As one more link in the chain of fraternal affection has been severed by the tyrant death, it should remind us to have our armor on, and be ever ready to obey the summons with Christian fortitude, when our immortal souls shall take their flight to guard the watch- towers of our celestial home—" where we shall have no need of the light of the sun, or the moon, or the stars; for the Lord God is the light thereof."
Let us improve every moment in all that is noble, and holy—that our enemies, seeing our good works, will rise up, and hail the Institution, as the harbinger of Christianity, Charity, Peace and good will to every human being.
Luther S. Bancroft.
CONSECRATION OF PENTUCKET LODGE, OCTOBER 1809
From Published Pamphlet by Russell & Cutler, 1809:
THE DUTIES OF FREEMASONRY:
Illustrated and Enforced in a Discourse, Delivered at Chelmsford, (Massachusetts) at the Consecration of Pentucket Lodge, October 12, A. D. 1809, A. L. 5809: By Wiikes Allen, A. M., Minister of Chelmsford: Published by Bequest of the M. W. G. Lodge and the Fraternity Present: Boston, Russell& Cutler, Printers. 1800.
There arc but few occasions, which excite such general interest, as that on which we are now assembled. Our joy is the common joy of you all; for our cause is the cause of truth and righteousness.
We come not into this temple of God and before this assembly to utter the proud, invidious Shibboleths of a party in politics or religion; but humbly to dedicate ourselves first to the Lord, and then to the service of mankind by his will.
Though the genius and tendency of Masonry be now generally known, its principles understood, and its kindly influences widely diffused; yet a discussion of the appropriate duties of the craft will be both pertinent to this occasion and gratifying to the curiosity, which this novelty has excited.
To aid this design I have chosen the words of Divine Inspiration, recorded in the 4th ch. of Philip. 8th v.
“Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true; whatsoever things are honest; whatsoever things are just; whatsoever things are pure; whatsoever things are lovely; whatsoever things are of good report: if there be any virtue; if there be any praise, think on these things."
Masonry has been defined “a moral order of enlightened men, founded on sublime, rational, and manly piety, and pure, active virtue.”
The hieroglyphics, in which its important instructions are couched and communicated, prove its origin to have been in the east, where every kind of learning was anciently taught by this method; while the signs and tokens by which its members are known to each other and their rights and privileges discovered and acknowledged, constitute a universal language, (a) which mocks »the strangeness of foreign speech, and the confusion 0f tongues. While modern sophomores, for I will not call them philosophers, have devised and attempted to put in operation a system of morality founded on philanthropy without the belief and acknowledgment of a God; the Eastern Sages, who planned and erected the beautiful and majestic edifice of masonry, founded it on the Rock of Ages. Hence the gates of Hell have not prevailed against it. Like every thing that has truth for its basis, it has gained brightness by collision; fame by slander, and strength by opposition.
Actuated by genuine principles of virtue and piety the members of this order early availed themselves of the doctrines and precepts of Christianity, which fully accorded with their design, strengthened their hands and encouraged their hearts. For the clearer light it afforded of man’s present duty and future destination, and for the high and indisputable authority, by which it is sanctioned, the Bible was received at an early period of the Christian era as the great Light in the masonic hemisphere. Hence it is carried at the head of our solemn processions, and laid open before us in all our important transactions, as the pillar of fire and of a cloud went before the camp of Israel, to denote our belief in its divine origin and our cordial acceptance of it as our Guide and Directory through the wilderness of this world to that undiscovered country, "from whose bourn no traveller returns." Hence the great propriety of selecting texts out of this sacred volume, from which to teach and inculcate the duties of masonry. Hence also our obligation.
I. To practice whatsoever things are true in morality and religion. Belief in the existence and perfections of one only, the living and true God, of whom are all things; veneration for his glorious character, fear of his power and justice, trust in his mighty name, and hope in his mercy, are duties forcibly inculcated by our laws and regulations. (b)
As our ancient brethren, believing in God, and desirous of more light, than nature afforded, cordially embraced the gospel, and incorporated it into their system; so is it our indispensable duty, as we believe in the Father, to believe also in his Son, Jesus Christ. Practical infidelity is falsehood in religion and absurdity in masonry. For to be ‘good men and true,’ in the one, we must not be faithless and disobedient in the other. Such is our obligation to practice whatsoever things are true, that to pretend to believe in God, and solemnly avouch the Holy Scriptures to be our Divine Directory in faith and practice; and yet to fall short of the duty and character of Christians is a most awful profanation of sacred things, hypocrisy in profession, falsehood in practice.
In our ordinary concerns truth obliges us to be sincere, honest, and faithful. To be ‘good men and true,’ we must speak what we mean, perform what we promise, and be what we profess. (c) What should mostly distinguish us from all others, professed Christians excepted, is a punctilious performance of our promises and engagements. No written obligation ought to excite greater confidence than our verbal promise.
That volubility of tongue, which characterizes the flatterer; that artful intrigue, which settles in the countenance and peeps out under the eyebrows, like a witch under a dusky cloud; and that mysterious air, which envelopes the designs in impenetrable darkness, should be by us cautiously avoided. Our tongue should be a faithful index of our hearts, and our countenance a luminous exposition of our designs. Thus shall we silence the obloquy of our enemies, reflect the divine truth and faithfulness, and be acknowledged the sons of light.
II. Let us consider our obligations to practice whatsoever things are honest. This is not so properly rendered honest, as grave and venerable. (See Dodridge, Guise, and Parkhurat’s Lex.) It has reference to that seriousness of mind and gravity of deportment, which invariably accompany worth, and conciliate respect.
Our general deportment will have a great tendency to enhance, or diminish the respect of others, both for us and our excellent institution. Our own personal respctability and the honor of Masonry are nearly allied, if not inseparably connected. Therefore to aid the cause, in which we are engaged, we must exercise affability without talkativeness, moderation without indifference, seriousness without melancholy, and temperance without abstemiousness. The habitual practice of virtue and piety will give dignity and grace to our character, and add a commanding charm to our deportment. The man of grave and decent deportment avoids with equal solicitude the austerity of the monk, and the levity of the voluptuary. Ho cultivates society to improve his mind and extend his usefulness. He endeavors to set such an example in all things, as may he safely imitated by others, and will redound to the honor of his profession. Such is our obligation, and such are the methods, by which we may discharge it. Which leads us to observe,
III. That whatsoever things are just, it is our duty seriously to consider, and assiduously practice. This precept is exceedingly extensive, and implies a faithful performance of all the duties, resulting from our several stations and relations in life. To render unto all men their dues; honor to whom honor, tribute to whom tribute is due; to defraud no man of his right, goods, or fame; to act with the utmost uprightness and fairness in all our dealings; to do good to all as we have opportunity, especially to our brethren, who are of the household of Masonry are important branches of this great duty. Every institution which tends to strengthen the great principle of justice, to inspire mutual love, and till the mind with generous sentiments, must be an important engine to good government and genuine religion, of course be respected and encouraged by the wise and virtuous. All then, that is necessary in order to excite the general admiration and support of our system, is to demonstrate in our lives the full force and excellence of this duty. We cannot so well epitomize it, or give so good a direction for bringing it into operation, as what is already done by our divine Saviour. “Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, do ye even so unto them; For this is the law and the prophets." Which brings us to the fourth injunction,
IV. Whatsoever things are pure. Here I must observe that Christian morality skims not upon the surface; “washes not the outside of the cup and platter” first, but enters immediately to the inward parts, “whence are the issues of life." It lays the ax to the root of the tree,’' and hews down every tree, that bringeth not forth good fruit. It condemns the evil thought and corrupt desire, and thus blasts the very seeds of sin and iniquity. This doubtless is the spirit of that morality, which our institution is designed to inculcate. In vain has it erected barriers against the eruption of unhallowed passions upon our own families, if it permit them to rage within the heart and prey securely upon others. As some volcano, which has been long collecting its stores of destruction, at last disgorges them in ruinous torrents upon the unsuspecting inhabitants around it; so will the evil propensities, long pent up in the heart, violently force their way at last into the world, and widely diffuse misery and ruin in society.
Purity of thought and intention is as necessary to a virtuous life, as a sweet fountain to a salubrious stream. “To the pure in heart all things are pure; but to them, that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but their very mind and conscience is defiled."
Let us not content ourselves with that outward decency, which the “face of the bond” exacts; but enter into the spirit of Christian and Masonic morality, and “purify ourselves from pollutions both of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.” Our obligation also extends so far as to make it our duty diligently to acquire correct sentiments of morality and religion. Atheistical, infidel, or libertine sentiments, while they contaminate others, will essentially violate our obligation to purity, and bring a stigma upon our profession.
V. Whatsoever things are lovely, we are bound to consider and practice. This is rendered by the critics friendly and kind. And as there is a moral beauty and loveliness in kind actions, and this sense better accords with the genius of our institution, we shall follow their construction.
That friendship, which poets and orators have described with enthusiasm as tho universal medicine of life, is a legitimate virtue of our sodality. Here it discovers its divine efficacy. Such is its force, that “If one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; and if one member rejoice, all the members rejoice with it." Here we find the "friend that loveth at all times, and the brother, whois born for adversity.” Our obligation extends farther than to an empty profession, even to all the kind and generous acts, which grow out of love unfeigned. “If thy brother be waxen poor, and fallen into decay with thee, thou shalt relieve him.”
There are enough to share our joys in prosperity, “to eat the fat and drink the sweet;” but few are disposed to “send portions to them, for whom nothing is prepared." Adversity unfortunately drives men from our doors, when we have most need of their tenderest sympathies and kindest charities. But it is our duty, be it our care, to help a worthy brother in distress, and like the good Samaritan, “pour oil and wine into the wounds,” which hard fortune, or an unfeeling world, has inflicted. Let me describe to you a true Mason, and look ye at the picture for your own likeness.
“He goes out of his way to help a distressed brother; warns him of approaching danger, remembers him in his devotions, keeps his secrets as his own,” and “does him good and not evil all the days of his life.”
He endeavors to mitigate his pains, soothe his sorrows, and comfort him in his afflictions. He watches by the sick and dying bed, and wafts on the pinions of faith and love his fervent intercessions for him to the throne of grace. And when he can do no more, he points his closing eyes to regions of unclouded day in another world. His friendship ends not here. His love is stronger than death. He sympathizes with the widow and orphan, feels for them that generous concern, which recently filled his brother’s breast, and brings to their relief the charities, which provident wisdom had laid up in store for future exigence. This is the friendship, which our profession exacts, and which our hearts and lives should loudly proclaim. Let us then be always ready to perform all friendly offices and needed charities, and repair by our industry and economy the consumption of our active benevolence.
YI. Finally, whatsoever things are of good report, we are bound to practice. For as we cannot be initiated into the mysteries of the order, unless we be well reported of by our brethren, so neither can we continue in them with honor and safety to the institution unless we maintain a good reputation. (d) Therefore whatsoever things are reputable and praise-worthy, let us seriously consider and assiduously practice. Let us strive so to conduct that the world will bless us, while we live, and miss us, when we are gone;— to leave behind us a name, which the grave-digger cannot bury.
These brethren, are some of the duties, which as masons we arc solemnly bound and commanded to discharge, and as Christians have no license to neglect. “If there be any virtue in these things, if there be any praise, resulting from them, consider and do them.”
The honor and glory of our institution depends more on our conduct than profession. If we would preserve its honor and advance its interest, we must by our life and conversation (e) put the ignorant and malicious to shame, who speak evil of what they know not. If these things be in us and abound, men will speak well of the institution, though they know not what it is, which forms men to such useful virtues and amiable charities.
From what has been said may be inferred the safety of our association to civil society, as its great object is to cultivate the graces, which adorn, and the virtues, which exalt human nature. The perfect order and subordination, existing among masonic bodies, admirably fit them for peaceable subjects in the State. Besides genuine patriotism is the native growth of the virtue and piety taught and inculcated by Masonry. So far from being dangerous, as has been slanderously reported, our Lodges are fertile nurseries, where are reared up “plants of renown and trees of righteousness, whose leaves are for the healing of the nations.”
It may also be inferred, that this system is favorable to the religion of Jesus. The great doctrines and duties of it are taught and inculcated in methods suited to make a lively impression on the mind, and arouse the dormant sensibilities of the heart; while the great principle of Christian charity, without which “Nor tongues, nor gifts, nor fiery zeal,” can avail anything, is importunately inculcated as the grand cement of souls.
As an handmaid to Christianity, it promises her much service. A Rev. Brother, whose praise is in all the churches and Lodges wherever he is known, justly observes, “ that as Masonry is professed among those nations, not yet converted to the Christian faith; and as it enkindles benevolence and excites virtue so accordant with the genius of the gospel, it may eventually have no inconsiderable tendency towards introducing and propagating among them that most glorious system of revealed truth. This observation is hazarded with more confidence from knowing, that the sublime grades, to which all the initiated with so much eagerness aspire, do in fact imply the knowledge, and cannot be obtained but through the acknowledgement of Christianity.”
I will only add, that as a mean of removing the unyielding prejudices, now existing among some nations against Christianity, it must be very efficacious, and by its own appropriate mode of instruction facilitate the acquisition of Christian knowledge among the unlettered, or but poorly instructed nations, now in a state of heathenism. At least we may confidently expect, that it will contribute something towards diffusing the knowledge of Christianity over the whole earth, and supporting its principles and institutions, wherever they are known.
If then, my respected auditors, such be the genius and tendency of masonry, it must excite general interest and joy, to behold a new confederation of men, formed to oppose vice and irreligion, a new Lodge consecrated, whose grand work is to promote “peace on earth, and good will among men.” — You will all therefore join with me in congratulating the Right Worshipful MASTER, WORSHIPFUL WARDENS, RESPECTED OFFICERS, AND BELOVED BRETHREN OF PENTUCKET LODGE ON THIS AUSPICIOUS EVENT.
This day, brethren, we are to be publicly acknowledged a just and regularly constituted Lodge of free and accepted Masons, and to be received into the fellowship of the Lodges universally, especially of those under the jurisdiction of the most worshipful Grand Lodge of this State, which is representatively present, to examine into the regularity and correctness of our proceedings, and make us in common with our brethren partakers of all the privileges and advantages, attached to this ancient institution, and resulting from the knowledge of its mysteries.
With lively emotions of gratitude to the Great and benevolent Architect of the Universe, without whose blessing nothing, which we undertake, prospers, we reflect upon our past, mutual toils and cares in erecting a new Lodge on the banks of the Merrimack at the disastrous falls, whose name it bears. May they ever remind us, as we hear their tumultuous roar in our peaceful retreat, that masonry is a safe asylum from the tumults and contentions of this agitated world. And as wo see their waters precipitated down the clifts in wild uproar and awful commotion, and then pass quickly and silently off to the unfathomable abysses ot the ocean, may we be taught to realize our rapid and imperceptible progress through the tumultuary scenes of mortal life to eternity, whose interesting objects and sublime scenes diminish into nothing the value of all earthly objects, and absorb all our interest in the most important transactions of time;—that shortly these earthly turmoils will be ended; and then those, who are found true and faithful, will be called from temporary labors to eternal refreshment.
Brethren, Our labors in collecting materials, in framing and erecting this new edifice, and in adorning its inner walls have been arduous; but thanks to the Master Builder, everything has been so prepared that neither the ‘hammer of contention, the ax of division, nor any iron tool of mischief’ has been heard m the building.
Persuaded that the cause of masonry is the cause of virtue, and the promotion of its interest, the increase of human happiness, let us not be weary in well-doing. Looking forward to the reward of those, “who turn many to righteousness", let us with the patience of hope endure the labors of love.
To a careful practice of the duties now recommended, and a rigid adherence to the constitutions, laws and regulations of our order, let us add an exemplary attention to the public institutions and ordinances of our holy religion, as the great means of human salvation.
Let us thoroughly investigate the characters of candidates for admission to our honors and privileges. Lay hands suddenly on no man. Be cautious of recommending, more especially of receiving immoral or even suspicious characters. But those of correct sentiments, industrious habits, amiable temper, and unblemished reputation, cordially receive; for they will be ‘helpers of our joy, and greatly comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands.’ But the miser and misanthrope, deceiver and sensualist, atheist and deist, as they cannot be Masons at heart, peremptorily refuse. For they will be “spots in our feasts of charity,” and ‘sully our brightest jewels.’ Men of this character, once admitted, will open the doors of the Lodge to others of the same corrupt principles, and thus "bring down the grey hairs" of Masonry “with sorrow to the grave."
Here let it be remembered, that he is not a Mason, who is one outwardly, neither is that Masonry, which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Mason, who is one inwardly, and genuine Masonry is that of the heart in the spirit, not in the letter, whosepraise is not of men, but of God. (St. Paul's description of a Jew, parodized.)
Permit me also to remind you of the necessity of maintaining that discipline, which faithful friendship both suggests and implies, and our wise regulations forcibly enjoin. Reprove with a fearless, but feeling heart; and receive with open arms the humble penitent. If our heavenly father run to meet the returning sinner, while he is yet a great way off; shall not we rejoice., to see the offender, returning to a sense of duty?
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