Printed by JOHN DUNLAP, in Market-Street.
Let Love be without dissimulation.
Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
Be kindly affectioned one to another, with brotherly love, in honour preferring one another.
GOODLY and rich are the Materials, divine the Architecture, stately and very grand the Fabric of perfection and felicity in the universe of God. The foundations thereof are deep and abiding; the Dimensions of extended compass; and the Height in its respective stages, and elegant Proportions, is rising fast towards the heaven of consummate Glory.
As one of the "wise Master-Builders" in the illustrious work, this Apostle keeps ever in enlightened, comprehensive view, the great, unalterable plan; regards steadily the fundamental Principles; observes the indissolvable connection of the several parts, and while he works himself with a willing heart, and an indefatigable hand:--glowing with unbounded generosity, and a solicitude for the general good, that nothing could extinguish, he strives as much as possible, to make others know, and feel, and labour, in equal, or proportional degree; and thus, as one Brotherhood to combine in accordant, harmonious, delightful Communications.
"Other Foundation," as he affirms to the Corinthians, "no man can lay, than what is already laid, which is Jesus Christ." Grace, and truth, and purity, and rectitude, and freedom, and peace, and Philanthropy, He, that Eternal WORD---the effulgent Ray of the Father's glory, the bright Delineation of his Person, descended from on high to establish in our world; and is gathering unto himself "from the East, and from the West, and from the North, and from the South," an innumerable Congregation of faithful people, a spiritual household, replenished with Light, cemented with Love:--that all men at last may see, "what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid" in the bosom of THE ETERNAL; and, "that now, unto the Principalities and Powers in heavenly places, might be known by the Church, the manifold wisdom of God."
The general design of the preceding part of this celebrated epistle is, deeply to impress upon the minds of Christians, a due [5/6] sense of the superior excellence of the Gospel system; and what remains is consonant therewith, directing, directing how their tempers and their lives might worthily adorn the sacred profession of it they had taken upon them.
In this stile, the chapter which contains my text, beautifully opens---
"I beseech you therefore, says he, Brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies"--your whole persons--"a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."
All that follows is of a piece, explanatory in correct detail, or men's diversity of talents and departments, as "one Body in Christ, yet every one members of each other;" meanwhile, directing how their places should be filled, and these gifts, varying according to the several proportions of grace, be faithfully employed.
The fine passage on this occasion, we are more particularly to take notice of, is now, in course, immediately before us.
In introduction a moment longer, permit me to observe, that as at the special instance of this Society, I give my attendance here to-day: so do I willingly comply with their choice with regard to a subject to discourse on. It contains the very Bands of Virtue, and Brightens that Law of Kindness, which, as a Fraternity, you have professed to live by, (if I am rightly informed) as far back as there is any trace of Record.
---While you would desire to hear it managed with clearness and with freedom; to feel in plenitude its application its application to your Bosoms, and your Business; you judged truly, in thinking that the Principles it holds forth, are such as all are concerned in as Men and Christians; and what they should square their conduct by.
In the First place then,
"Let Love be without dissimulation."--
Bright Beam from the Divinity! Essence of joy and happiness! Sweetener of life, and Antepast of heaven! hast Thou too thy Counterfeits?-----But, let us see a little thy face as it really is--in its radiance unsullied--May we behold thyself; and recognize thy genuine operations with respect both to God and Man!
 Love, divine and social! for the precept here respects our love to the all-blessed, all adorable Creator, as well as to our fellow men.
Surely the Infinite, the Perfect God---He who is the First Great, the First Lovely, the First Good--the Being of all Beings Supreme; and beyond all utterable comparison most excellent, doth claim, of right, the very worthiest place in our affections.
When we consider not only what he is but also what he doth; that he is not only good; but without variation, or partiality poureth down his goodness; that He is not only Light and Love, but beams forth the brightness and efficacy of both upon the workmanship of his hands:--since we in this respect are eminently favoured: do you not think that we are bound to love him?--Creating Love doth call for our love in return. Preserving Love demands like grateful sensibility; and doth not Redeeming Love with a transcendent energy touch every enraptured spring and movement of the soul? "We love Him, because He first loved us."
Upon attending to the duties taught and enjoined by our Religion, we may see, as it were, a golden chain let down from heaven--the first link fixed to the Throne of God; and all the rest depending from it, and connected with each other, in union firm and never to be broken. In this Chain, you may take notice of two grand Divisions, or parts: we may distinguish them by the appellations of Love to God, and Charity to man. Whosoever pretends to pay a respect to the one, and yet overlooks, or disregards the other, does, in reality, offer violence to both. If we love the Creator, we must love his Creatures.
Wherever then, celestial Love obtains, there will the social also, the Love of human kind take place and operate with it.
Varying the similitude a little--Faith and Hope, it hath been well observed, "are always accounted by St. Paul, the Pillars upon which Christianity is built: but Charity or Love is the Building itsef" it is Christianity, in its complete excellence and glory. The former two are noble, they are exceeding useful indeed; but especially so, as leading to, and perfecting the latter. That divine Faith which is "the substance of things hoped for, the Evidence of things not seen;" and that Hope--that blessed, delightful expectation of pardon, acceptance, and unspeakable felicity with God, through the righteousness and merits of his Son,---that Hope which beams celestial joy, "opening still, and opening on the soul--these, I say, have as their grand object and end, Charity: they lift the soul to the eternal Being, the Father of mercies; ad to the precious Mediator Jesus; and to the ineffable felicity of angels and saints--but, can this be so--can these subsist, without Love, and pure obedience to [7/8] that Father, and Mediator? without good will and beneficence to man? have they not their completion in evangelical godlike Charity?
Yet, what we are especially to notice, is, That this must be "without dissimulation." Let it be unfeigned--genuine--sincere. No fallacious appearances must be exhibited; no hypocritical pretensions to it.
How often, in this world, possessed, alas! too much by things that are "rank and foul in nature"--I say, how often are the most venerable names assumed, to serve the vilest purposes; and virtue's garb put on, to hide the worst of crimes? So hath it eminently fared with thee bright Charity! Full many, as if thy friends, step forth in public, as well as private life, who really know thee not, and value thee as little; people, who use thee as they do their liberty, as "a cloak of maliciousness;" who borrowing thy form, but unendowed with thy spirit, have seemed to be religious; have held out the show of kindness to their neighbour; and it may be, talked loud and warm in favour of their Country's weal----while neither piety, nor any social duty, nor yet the emolument of the community at large, were ever near their hearts; nay, while envyings, and evil speaking, and guile, and mischiefs were what they most delighted in. With such tempers, and deeds "of darkness," a worthy generous mind will "have no fellowship," but honestly "reprove them."
There must be among us a simplicity becoming the Gospel. Our bosoms must be kindled into real goodness. Our affections pure and even, must be still mounting upwards, declarative of "glory to the Lord in the highest;" a glowing tenderness of sentiment and action must prevail, expressing abundant peace, and "good will towards men." "Let us not love in word, neither in tongue, merely; but in deed, and in truth." The courteous, graceful language of civility need not be discontinued; its Symbols and its Badges on suitable occasions may be used;----but let none of these speak what the heart doth not feel, or hold forth that goodness which the hand is a stranger to.
I proceed to the Second branch of the Apostle's charge--
"Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good."
This might, in first appearance, be taken as a distinct and separate precept--as tho', without any immediate reference to what preceded, it enjoined in the general, an utter detestation of all that is vicious; and an affectionate, unceasing adherence to "whatsoever things are true--venerable--just--lovely, and of good report: where there is any virtue and where there is any praise"--But I am induced to understand this part of the exhortation as properly connected with the former. The Apostle rather enlarged and varies his expression on the same topic, than enters upon a new one.
 Here, then, it is unnecessary to say much.
Reason and Common sense point out what a malignant aspect each unruly passion, and unhallowed work must have in regard to all the branches of Religion and Humanity, and show how invariably opposed they always are to the temper and the life of goodness:--And, thanks be to the enlightened, the venerable few of whatever clime or age,--whether they were Lawgivers, Prophets, Sages, Philosophers, Heroes, or worthy men in the more private walks of life, who, by what they have said, and what they have done; by their instructions, or their example, have discountenances eviland furthered the work of virtue and benevolence.
But to the system of instruction evangelical and heavenly, are we most of all indebted. Here the very Root of bitterness and corruption is characterised is struck at, as deeply inherent in the unrenewed mind; while all that is gracious, pure, peaceful, acceptable and consonant unto "the perfect Law of God," flows from a spiritual Birth, a celestial transformation.
In the meaning, therefore, and the power of this "more perfect way," would I exhort you, with the Apostle, to "abhor that which is evil, and cleave to that which is good."
1. Banish from your bosoms all hypocrisy.
2. Despise in every thing the cowardice of low, time-serving dissimulation.
3. Subdue, through the aid of grace, each turbulent desire, and unbecoming passion.
4. Shun pride, vain-glory, wrath, a narrow selfishness, imaginations that gender folly, and terminate in wickedness.
5. Hate a lying and a slanderous tongue, as it is hated by the true and living God.
6. Flee from such devices, and devisers, as would weaken the Rule of Piety, and Law of kindness.
7. Be neither principals, nor the Abettors in the works of darkness.
1. Let your delight be in Truth, yea, "Truth in the inward parts."
2. Whatever tends to glorify your Father which is in Heaven, and to benefit your fellow-men, pursue it.
 3. Be ye Labourers together, and Builders with God, in the beautiful temple of Virtue and Charity.---And this leads me to what I shall consider as the--
Third and last division of my text.
"Be kindly affections one to another, with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.
There is a delicacy and uncommon expressiveness in these words as they stand in the original: they not only convey a charge to the most tender, mutual exercise of brotherly affection, but they carry the idea of our delighting in this exercise. Besides, we are to "prevent each other in every office of respect"--or, "in giving honour," lead the way, and go before each other.
Gracious, benevolent heaven! what a prospect in favour of social intercourse, and social bliss, is opened by divine revelation, in the Gospel of Jesus!--As his redeemed people, we are confederated, and made one in Him, and with each other, not barely for a time, but for eternity.
Children of the same beneficent, almighty Father; sharers in the same original bounty, and in every other consequent advantage: participating in like circumstances, wants, and dangers--the mutual bond of fellowship between us, is extremely obvious: but what an increase of power doth this receive from evangelical considerations!
Uncertainties and doubts with regard to what we are, and what we expect to be---what our business is; and what our destination;--in what respects we may befriend each other; and what felicity this mutual friendship leads to;--these are done away: and we see each other adopted into the august Family of God; partakers equally in reconciliation and peace; traveling to the same eternal blessed home; and having a communion too in trials and dangers, that the fellowship in glory may be the brighter.
In such a noble view, can there be room for party and distinction? Shall differences, which, comparatively speaking, are but like "the dust in the balance," make us lose sight of, or in the least obscure, our Union as a Brotherhood in Christ? O no. It makes but little odds, who a man is, in respect of things exterior and circumstance: of what country, what denomination; what abilities; what station:--if he be a good man, it is enough; if he "feareth God, and worketh righteousness," we ask no more to entitle him to our tenderest affection.--And, even though a person may not be such as we could wish him to be; he is not beyond the power of grace and surely must not be looked upon as excluded from the bosom of our Charity.
 In a word--If we would wish to feel the most sincere delight; to find "the Feast of Reason, and the Flow of Soul,"--I might say, The Feast of Angels, and the Life of heaven; if we would have our thoughts exalted: our taste refined by the truest standard; our tempers moulded into the peaceful, the serene, the harmonious;--if we would approach still nearer and nearer to God, and his felicity, let us be what his inspiration so powerfully enjoins, with brotherly love, kindly affectioned one to another.
--Herewith remains connected the following beautiful clause--in honour preferring one another.
There is a parallel passage which I may recite, as farther explanatory of this.--"In lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves." This indeed is stooping, to rise with the greater dignity.
Here is fraternal love in its elegance--its grace--its very charm. There is genuine politeness, peradventure a little different from what the fashionable world useth. Courtesy, mutual condescension, a generosity of heart, a disinterestedness that "doth not behave itself unseemly, and seeketh not its own;"--these, with their innumerable decencies, are here intended: with them would we complete the Lesson of the Day.
In respect of Divine Worship, you have heard of paying it in the Beauty of holiness; there is also in regard to our treatment of one another, a Beauty of intercourse, of social friendship, of kind offices, that renders it peculiarly amiable.
Between none but the good, can real Love subsist; and it is certainly true, That "the better men are, the more they love one another." With such therefore, to give, and to receive, are in effect the same. "The warm wish flowing mutually from the heart"--the kind, the generous action being done on each side with a desire to please;--each friend, each brother is, as it were, another self: and by a sort of sympathy and sweet rebound,--the more benevolent and useful one is to others: the larger will be the sum of home-felt satisfaction. By pleasing, each one is himself more pleased; by giving preference, is himself preferred, and by conferring honour, becomes so much more honoured and honourable.
I have just presented you with the outlines of this subject; and leave you to fill up the draught, especially in your demeanour to give it symmetry, proportion, and propriety.
I shall address the remainder of this discourse more immediately to you, Gentlemen, the members of a most antient honourable [11/12] body, on whose account principally we are now convened. And, though I am not, in your peculiar acceptation, a pledged Brother; yet still, I am your Brother, and your Friend: and, what I say in that character, and for our Great and common MASTER's sake, you will hear with patience.
The matters we have been considering, you have attended to, and made application of, U trust, to your business. I designed you should. They concern you, and they concern us all.
Mean time, I have not yet to learn, that the principles which the text contains, are the very same, on which your Fraternity hath professedly been founded from the beginning; and according to which you have, with tremendous solemnity, engaged to square your conduct in every relation you sustain.
By some pre-eminent tied, I understand, you bind yourselves to "love as Brethren:" and "as you have opportunity, to do good unto all men" ties that are entirely consonant unto the law of Christian Freedom, and Christian Charity. Let them be remembered--lastingly remembered, and fulfilled.
The regard in which you hold this day, as commemorative of the sweet, the mild, seraphic disposition of St. John, the Evangelist, whose soul was Love; and "whom Jesus loved:"--the disciple who tells us, that "God is Love:" I say, this affectionate distinction seems not unsuitable; for, doth it not imply, that you venerate the temper of the Disciple, and of the Disciple's Master? Doth it not mean, that Love is the most prized Jewel on your Order; and kind actions the delightful BUSINESS OF YOUR CRAFT?
O may the Spirit of Love and of Power, and of a sound mind, plenteously endue you!
Need you to be told, that it is impossible you can bear any more than a nominal relation to the LODGE:--that you can be FREE and ACCEPTED indeed, unless your Love be "without dissimulation:" and this it can never be, until you are "transformed in the renewing of your minds," and have experimentally known, "What is the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God."
You may have taken some notices from and value yourselves upon, many celebrated Masters, and Brethren: beginning with the Birth of this grand Order of Things; and running down unto the modern day;----You may be skilful---many of you ------- in records, and deep in tradition; you may have crowded and emblazoned your roll with the names of Jabal and Enoch, and Shem and Hader, and Japhat, and Moses, and Joshua and Hiram, and Solomon, and Cyrus, and Formaster, and Pythagoras and Ptolomy, and Augustus, and Alfred, and Athelstan, and Edwin, and Pembroke, [12/13] and Ashmole, and Palladis, and Wren, and Chesterfield, and Franklin: and others beyond number----closing with the illustrious CINCINNATUS of our age a WASHINGTON---it all, in respect to you, can be but of small account, unless you are Masters of your Business, or striving so to be; unless you are made divine, accepted, and spiritually free: through Christ, the Rock of Ages, and the Lord of all.
It is said there are unspeakable words among you, "which it is not lawful for any mat to utter," except on a fit occasion, and in a proper place. Be it so: let the curious world inquire and--wonder. Endued with becoming prudence, you will consider, that there is "a time to keep silence, and a time to speak."
With either searching after, or officiously meddling with matters that to me do not belong,--may I not tell, however, by the way, what awful, majestic words, by you will be ever treated, at least with equal reverence? nay, more: with reverence preeminent--I mean the incommunicable names of the eternal I AM; "For the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his Name in vain."
A profound veneration for the Best and Mightiest Being, will richly adorn and strengthen all your doings.
The Secrecy distinguishing your Constitution, so much marveled at by some, and blamed by others, while you preserve inviolate and unprofaned its great utility,--at least, its inoffensiveness, you may display to all the world, if careful withal, that "your light do so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven;" for, it is said, that among other things, you possess the Skill of becoming good and perfect.
Most noble art and secret!--so will men of candour and consideration every where be satisfied, and "the tribe of scorners" be effectually reproved.
How please to think that the several Lodges, as parts of that magnificent one which comprehends the whole, are like so many Shrines in a well-proportioned Temple--all consecrated to Friendship, Innocence, and the Social virtues; that all is peace, good-humour, harmony, and mutual confidence within your walls; and though upon the Level, yea, "in honour you prefer one another."
 Really it cannot be otherwise, if you but pay a strict attention to your established usages and Rules; and if you are cautious (as you certainly ought to be) in the admission of your members; if only those be accepted who are gentlemen and true, men who have attained to self-command: and being free from evil passions, are free from self-reproach; or, at least, are striving, through the aid of heaven, after this mastery, and internal peace--men, who live not unto themselves, but as far as God enables them, promote the happiness of all.
In every respect, I trust, you will walk worthy of your calling; not merely avoiding censure, but deserving praise. Remembering the rapid flow of time, you will "mind your business," and not be slothful in it. You will be "fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." Your hearts and your hands will be liberally open for the relief of every Brother in distress. He that giveth will do it with simplicit; he that ruleth with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with chearfulness." A rational, a manly seriousness must discriminate you from the trifling; a strict sobriety and temperance exalt you above the vulgar.
Will you not also carry with you, and transfer into the various districts of Society at large, and thro' all the circumstances of private life, the same unexceptionable dispositions, heartily-kind wishes, and charitable deeds, that render your particular Societies so famed? I know you will. Do not your principles, dignified and hallowed by the worthiest authorities, require this? They do. The man who is truly good in one department, will be good in all; and a conscience irreproachable here, will be without reproach every where.
Expand the heavenly virtue of undissembled Love. Extend the Godlike occupation of doing good. Let not a neighbour--let not even one in human form, remain in want of that assistance which you can give. Cherish within your bosoms a universal tenderness--a generous, wide spreading sympathy, Friends to the poor, and patrons of the helpless. To reconcile differences; to promote harmony; to give support to lawful government, and to every useful "ordinance of man, for the Lord's sake;" to advance the common welfare be this your study and delight. Be gentle, condescending, mild--the Sons of Order, the Brethren of Peace, and Builders in the Temple of Concord.
Now, in the close of this address, I would be understood as speaking not only to you; but to the whole of this respectable Assembly.
How exalted, how Royal the Science of Love, and the Work of Charity. May none among you be deficient, or weary in either. There is a call at all times, but eminently at the present, for every humane sentiment, and liberal exertion of the soul; for all that can befriend and benefit individuals, and the public.
 Fellow-christians, and Fellow-citizens, connected with each other, and with millions in this vast, growing country! you should consider yourselves as one, in generous Communications, social offices, and religious Fellowship.
Kind Heaven! what a noble Line, what a Range of States do we see confederated in Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty; rising in importance, fame and happiness? Is not the bond of their firm Union, "Love without dissimulation?"
Our public dangers have not all passed over; and difficulties not a few remain yet to be conflicted with. A calm, intrepid patience, and general virtue should distinguish our day. Each individual should so behave as if the fate of all were dependent on the issue of his single conduct.
Thus far, indeed, hath beneficence from on high, and the arm of the Almighty been signally displayed for our protection.--"O People saved by the Lord, the Shield of thy help, and who is in the Sword of thy Excellency!"--Some grand scenes, and incomparably gracious are yet to open. I am inclined to think, the happy aera is not exceeding distant.
Look forward--and look around--Behold! The God of nations is as "a Wall of Fire on every side of us, and Himself the glory in the midst"--Long-wished for peace shall return and be established, and with her, every blessing. Numerous People, and Kingdoms, and the Mighty upon earth shall be our stedfast Friends; and Princes our Companions--A sweet equality obtaining every where among us, without infringing on a due subordination,--Freedom and Property secure;--Science and arts, and taste, encouraged and increasing;--Magnanimity, firmness, Honour and fidelity distinguishing the countless citizens;--Simplicity of manners, and unwearied industry prevailing, in the midst of Plenty scattered with unsparing hand;--
To crown the whole--The influence of the everlasting Gospel divinely illuminating every bosom, and kindling in them Love as well as Light--in the plenitude of grace, the wilderness blossoming as the rose:--every hill and mountain, and valley rejoicing; and all the land covered with Righteousness like the Garden of God--meanwhile, other States, and others still arising, in the same arrangement, and the same line of beauty------
--------Facies non omnibus una,
Nec diversa tamen" -------
Where Order in variety we see,
And where, tho' some things differ, all agree. Pope.
 So shall it be, for ages, and ages to come---till, probably,
"One tide of glory, one unclouded blaze,"
shall encircle the world--Then cometh the End, when "the great globe itself, yea, all which it inherit" shall give way to things eternal; and our HEAVENLY MASTER "shall delivered up the Kingdom to God the Father, that GOD MAY BE ALL IN ALL."
Now Glory, Praise, Dominion, and Majesty, be ascribed for ever and ever, by all on earth, and all in heaven, to the TRI-UNE GOD, Father, Son and Holy Ghost. AMEN!