Masonry Considered Under
BOOK I - The Excellency of Masonry Displayed
illustrations of masonry
Masonry passes under two denominations, operative and speculative.
By the former, we allude to a proper application of the useful rules of
architecture, whence a structure derives figure, strength, and beauty, and
whence result a due proportion and a just correspondence in all its parts. By
the latter we learn to subdue patterns, act upon the square, keep a tongue of
good report, maintain secrecy, and practise charity.
Speculative Masonry is so far interwoven with religion, as to lay
us under the strongest obligations to pay that rational homage to the Deity,
which at once constitutes our duty and our happiness. It leads to the
contemplative to view with reverence and admiration the glorious works of
creation, and inspires them with the most exalted ideas of the perfection of the
divine Creator, Operative Masonry furnishes us with dwellings, and convenient
shelters from the inclemencies of seasons; and while it displays the effects of
human wisdom, as well in the choice as in the arrangement of the materials of
which an edifice is composed, it demonstrates what a fund of science and
industry is implanted inn man for the best, most salutary, and beneficent
The lapse of time, the ruthless hand of ignorance, and the
devastations of war, have laid waste and destroyed many valuable monuments of
antiquity, on which the utmost exertions of human genius have been employed.
Even the temple of Solomon, so spacious and magnificent, and constructed by so
many celebrated artists, escaped not the unsparing ravages of barbarous forces
force. Freemasonry, notwithstanding, has still survived. The attentive ear
receives the sound of the instructive tongue, and the sacred mysteries are
safely lodged in the repository of faithful breasts. Tools and implements of
architecture, symbols the most expressive, are selected by the fraternity, to
imprint on the memory serious truths; and thus the excellent tenets of the
institution are transmitted unimpaired, under circumstances precarious and
adverse, through the succession of ages.
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