F. & A. M., BRIDGEPORT, CONN. FEB. 12, 1862;
BRIDGEPORT, CT., Feb. 13th, 1862.
REV. F. C. EWER:
Dear Sir and Brother,
The Committee of Arrangements for the Centennial Celebration of St. John's Lodge No. 3, F. & A. M., cannot consider their labors complete without requesting of you for publication a copy of the Oration delivered by you on the12th inst.
They desire that the truths so ably and eloquently set forth upon that occasion should have a wide circulation among the craft, and for that purpose urge a compliance with their wishes to publish the same in connection with a short account of the proceedings of the day.
Fraternally yours, in behalf of the Committee,
W. R. HIGBY, CHAUNCEY M. HATCH, JAMES L. GOULD.
BRIDGEPORT, Feb. 20th, 1862.
REV. F. C. EWER:
Dear Sir and Brother,
I take pleasure in enclosing to you herewith a copy of resolutions passed by St. John's Lodge No. 3, at its regular communication held Feb. 19th, 5862.
WM. H. LORD,
Resolved, That the thanks of this Lodge be extended to Rev. and Brother F. C. EWER, for his eloquent and convincing argument in favor of the true mission of Masonry, contained in his oration [3/4] delivered at our Centennial celebration. Feb. 12th, 5862, and for the kindness he exhibited towards this Lodge in devoting so much of his time and labor in preparing the exercises for the Lodge of Sorrow holden on that occasion. We shall never forget the debt of gratitude we owe him, and we trust we shall profit by his eloquent and masterly teaching.
Resolved, That we heartily endorse the action of our Committee of Arrangements in soliciting a copy of Brother Ewer's address for publication, and concur in the instructions of the General Committee to the Sub-Committee of Publication, in reference thereto, and that this Lodge endorses, continues and ratifies the appointment of said Committee of Publication.
NEW-YORK, Feb. 2lth, 1862.
I am in receipt of your letter of the 13th inst., requesting for publication a copy of the oration on the relationship between Masonry and Christianity, delivered on the occasion of the Centennial celebration of your Lodge.
I am also in receipt of the resolutions passed at the regular communication of your Lodge, held Feb. 19th, 5862, in reference to the same subject.
Permit me to express to you personally, and through, you to the Lodge, my high obligations for the kindly expressions which the letter and resolutions before me contain. In reply I have only to say that the oration is entirely at your disposal.
F. C. EWER
Messrs. W. R. HIGBY,
CHAUNCEY M. HATCH,
JAMES L. GOULD.
Committee of Arrangements.
Worshipful Master, Brethren, and Gentlemen and Ladies:
Whoever has stepped within the mystic circle of Masonry, and has heard its prayers, its hymns, its stately ritual--whoever has seen that which rests displayed upon its altar, and especially he whose privilege it hath been to witness the symbolic fire descending from heaven and filling the sanctuary, and to gaze upon that white stone that hath no name, needs no proof of the fact--needs but the statement, that Masonry is a religious institution. It is not merely an institution, into which the religious enters as one of many elements; but from foundation to pinnacle it is a structure devoted to sacred truth. The duties it enjoins are those of humility, piety and morality. The very business it transacts is earnest and grave. Before its altar and around its pavement Veneration rests upon the bended knee. In presence of its eastern throne, [5/6] Subordination stands uncovered. Humble Christians have not disdained to tread its courts, and upon its hoary walls the names of the illustrious are emblazoned. Masonry hath her foot upon earth, her brow in heaven.
Desirous, worshipful sir, now that the storm has passed, which not many years ago beat its waves about the base of Masonry in the vain endeavor to wash the granite away, and that the world are, to say the least, not disinclined to listen calmly to what alter all Masonry is--desirous I say of coming forth from that silence, in which while the storm lasted our Institution with becoming dignity clothed herself, and of explaining, so far as is permitted to me, the sublime meaning of Masonry;--mindful, moreover, of the proprieties of this place, itself a temple reared unto Truth and the Most High God, and prompted by that attention to fitness for which my position calls, being at once that of a Mason and a member of the Sacred Ministry, I have selected as a subject for this occasion, "The Relationship between Masonry and Christianity."
Of course as our Institution sits with closed, doors, the proof of the relationship which I may give cannot be so clear to the world, as it is calculated to be to the initiate. The allusions to our mysteries, which, under a due regard to our obligations I am permitted to make, will be ample for my purposes of proof so far as my brethren are concerned; but as they will be but allusions, they can only suggest phantoms to the world, having none other than an analogical resemblance to the facts as they are. Still, if I mistake not, my proofs will be all sufficient for my purpose even for non-Masons.
 One thing I may tell you. There are secrets of our order which may not be touched, as I conceive, even by allusion. But do not dream that there is therefore aught in them improper for the sincerest Christian to be endowed with. They are simply such as are necessary to any institution, one of whose designs it is, that its members may be able to recognize each other. There is, in addition, a secret which cannot be imparted by the true Mason to the world. He may indeed with all frankness, and with impunity, go forth and whisper it into the world's ear. But the world, though it listen never so intently, though he repeat it never so slowly, cannot catch it. By the channel of mouth and ear, it cannot pass from man to man. Tell me, can the Christian, when, by years of struggle and prayer and practice, his soul hath grown until at last it fills and fits the broad folds of the mantle of Christ-like charity--can the Christian when, in this condition, he hath freely forgiven an injury and dropped upon his knees in prayer for that very man who hath injured him--tell me! can he impart to another's breast, though he whisper it never so eagerly in his ear, a knowledge of the calm, the joy, that comes of, and dwells within himself, from the spirit of forgiveness? So too doth the Mason who hath faithfully and long lived by his obligations, bear a secret in his heart, which however much he may talk of it, the world cannot gain from him, and he cannot tell the world. It is the secret that comes of good-will to man. This is the secret of Masonry. Listen not then with curious ears for the forbidden! For the one I may not, and therefore shall not touch; the other I cannot tell you.
 But to our subject. Since the fall of man, there has been on earth a constant struggle between two opposite principles, viz.: the spirit of good, and the spirit of evil, The war has been conducted with varying fortune so far as single battles are concerned; but in the successive campaigns, with a strong, steady gain on the part of Him that led captivity captive. The enemy's cause has been managed on the part of Satan, not only with unflagging determination, but with unabated hope, and with consummate adroitness. All the ingenious enginery which the mind of a bad archangel could contrive, has been rolled on to the spiritual field. In the broad clay and at midnight, by stealth and by open assault, by intellectual weapons and by stimulants to the lust, by the torch, by the pen, by the marriage of church and state, by forcing the Roman Catholic Church to an extreme and by forcing the Reformation to extremes, by Feudal tyranny over thought and person, and by running freedom of speech and government into license, sometimes snatching our weapons, sometimes boldly wielding his own, sometimes firing our own mines beneath us, Satan has sagaciously and dexterously disputed every inch of ground he has had to yield.
But there is one piece of strategy in which he has been eminently successful, viz.: knowing the truth (for the very devils believe and tremble), he hath yet many times in the world's history counterfeited it, parodised it, and successfully palmed off his caricatures upon nations, upon whole races, and upon eras of time.
It is in the heart of man to believe in and worship [8/9] God. In the Adamic times, all mankind knew Him and bowed before Him; and that knowledge descended like a stream into the race from the patriarchal mountains. But, behold! as the stream of truth flowed on, how the subtle enemy widened and deepened and adulterated it, by the skillful introduction of side streamlets, which rushed, more and more numerous and polluting, from the classic ravines of heroic and fabulous time, until at last we find the river of religion rolling broad and placidly through the plains of polished Greece, still bearing within it some drops of truth which entered it from the far off patriarchal mountains, but so mingled with the baser waters of fable and imagination as scarcely, if at all, to be discernible. Go to Greece and to Rome at this period, and look around you! What had religion become? Stimulated by the wily enemy, Wit had conjured into being a thousand gods, each representing some power in nature, some passion in man; drugged by Satan, Imagination had slowly shaped a life and history for each; Genius had clothed each with a fair form, and Art had long since given to those forms a visible being in marble, upon which the mind of all could seize, and around which the superstitions of man could cluster and play. By dim antiquity and marvellous and long mystery had Satan availed at last to give an easy credulity to men, while in his hands polished taste had combined even with philosophy itself to weave the system into the social and political condition, and mingle it like tendrils almost ineradicably in the soil of mind. There was in this counterfeit religion the idea of a God to be [9/10] worshipped; but that God was sundered into fragments. There was in it the idea of a revelation from Heaven; but how caricatured in the paroxysms of Parnassus and the auguries of Rome! There was in it an idea of the atonement through blood; but how contorted as presented upon its horrid altars, and in its occasional sacrifice of a human being! Nay, there was even in it a memory of that day, so unlike all others, when Joshua commanded the sun to stand still on Gibeon, and the moon in the valley of Ajalon; but how transformed, in the legend of Phaeton, the reckless driver of the horses of the sun! There was in it a memory of the state of man in Paradise; but how scarcely to be recognized under the garb of the fabled golden age! How metamorphosed had the introduction of sin into the world become, in the heathen legend of Pandora and her box! There was in it, too, even a memory of Samson and Delilah; but how dimmed and changed in the purple lock of Nisus, king of Megara! The polytheism of Athens and Rome, with its Sybiline revelation, its vicarious altars, its traditions fallen from purity into legendary fictions, was a monstrous and horrible contortion of the truth. In it were a few drops of truth from Heaven, and whole seas of error, which, engineered by Satan, had subsequently tumbled into its channel from the grottos of man's imagination, and from the beetling rocks of his intellect.
Mohammedanism, with its God, and its caricature of the Bible, and its parody of Heaven, and its prophet, and its bloody zeal, in the place of quiet, earnest, peaceful perseverance; and its fatalism, in the place of Christian [10/11] trust in the Father, is another counterfeit religion, with which Satan has cheated nations and poisoned whole centuries. Buddhism, with its shocking distortion of the blessed Incarnation, with its ghastly fable, into which the prophecy had grown, that the seed of woman should bruise the serpent's head; Fetichism, with its degraded rites; Mormonism, wherein marriage is still marriage, but stripped of its grace, stripped of its love, drugged with jealousy and misery--wherein the sermon is still a sermon, but transformed into a double-headed monster of vulgarity and profanity; Zoroastianism, Pantheism, Confucianism, are all parodies--caricatures, into whose various shapes of deformity the busy, the exhaustless Spirit of Evil, who knew the truth, has from time to time transformed Christianity, parodised it, to capture and lead men astray.
Now Masonry is, as I have said, a religious institution. As such, it must teach one of three things, viz.: It must teach either, first, the truth; or, second, error; or, third, a parody, a contortion of the truth, which amounts substantially to error. As a religious institution, it must range itself either with the Spirit of Evil, to aid his cause, or with Him who was the incarnation of truth and light itself. Nay, it must be either the creation of God, and therefore under his protection; or the creature of Satan, the deceiver. There is no avoiding the dilemma, brethren, for Masonry is a religious institution, and cannot, therefore, be a structure of mere indifference in this respect.
Now there are not wanting those, not only among the [11/12] clergy but also among the laity, who regard Masonry as a counterfeit church, as the work of Satan--to use an expression which I have heard, as a "Devil-Church"--to draw men away from Christianity, and deceive them into the idea that they "need no other church," that they need no Saviour, but can secure their salvation in the way of nature. These men assert that, as a structure, Masonry was intended by Satan to resemble and take the place of the church, and that in the minds of many it does usurp its place. Fully awakened by sad experience to a knowledge of this wondrous strategy of Satan's which I have described, it is not strange that the friends of God our Saviour and the truth should be on the alert for a repetition in any form of the peculiar mode of attack; nor is it strange that, not understanding Masonry fully, they should put their mark of distrust upon and oppose her. Let us meet the objection frankly, and in the spirit which its importance and the social and intellectual standing of those who rear it demand.
At first, I confess, the objection seemed to me well put and fatal. I was but a tyro in Masonry. There was, too, at this time of my masonic experience, much in the ritual of Masonry which seemed to me frivolous and unworthy the serious mind. 1 remembered, however, that a mason had previously come to me with the words upon his lips, "Sir, I am a master of a lodge. I find that I cannot be a true Mason, and believe what it teaches, without going still further, and becoming a Christian, also; I come to you for baptism." And then, besides, there [12/13] were parts of the structure where there seemed to me to float shadowy, serious forms, but nothing distinct. These bade me pause, at least, in justice to themselves. I determined to leave the order under the influence of no rash judgment; to yield to it, rather, the common justice of a patient hearing. However it might be with others, it was for me, at least--knowing the objection, fatal, if true--to form a judgment with which I could go in peace before God.
As I tarried within, I found that Masonry began to open before me, as ever a profounder and profounder study. I consulted some of its great authors, and they gave me at last the clue with which I could thread its mazes; they placed in my hand the plummet with which, sailing out upon its ocean, I could sound in its depths; for the views which I shall soon present to you are by no means original discoveries of mine. I found that what, in the ritual of Masonry, had seemed to me frivolous was richly laden with meaning; the shadowy shapes came out of their mist. Until at last, impressed with awe at the wondrous harmony of all the parts of the structure, at its majesty as a whole, and at a certain reserved strength which I recognized in it, I felt that I stood within a structure reared on earth by no less than the hand of God. For God's constructive hand is not alone to be seen in the church; it is to be seen in governments, in machinery, in systems of thought, and in the organization of nations and civilizations. And, finally, I felt sure that if there were brethren in whose minds our beloved Masonry took the place of the church, that they [13/14] misconceived her great design; that they failed to recognize the thoughts that were within her as she spoke; that the fault was not hers, but theirs.
I say a certain quiet, reserved strength; for, worshipful sir, it seems to me there is nothing which possesses in a higher degree that calm unconcern, which springs (if I may so express it) from confidence in its own greatness and rightness, and under which it exhibits in no part or parcel of itself the faintest anxiety, if one--if hundreds of its very lovers misunderstand it, (sure of being at any rate eventually understood)--there is nothing, I say, within the range of my knowledge, at least, which possesses this peculiarity in a higher degree than Masonry, except the Bible. Like the Bible, it takes no pains to explain itself. If a brother skims upon its surface, not realizing what is beneath him, it is well. If a brother explores, it is still well. As Masonry stands before a man, full of deep meanings, full not merely of moral precepts but of revelations of sublimest truths--the mysteries of time, God, and eternity--she accompanies, as it were, all her teachings with these unanxious words: "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." I say, if a brother explores. You may sound the Atlantic, until you can display on paper a chart of its entire basin; but who has found and mapped out all the bottom of Masonry? On her sea we are all yet students.
What then is the relationship and what the difference between Masonry and the Church? I ask for no stretch of laborious thought on your part as I go on. I shall be very simple. I ask only for your sustained attention while I develop to you, first, the relationship.
 In time and in eternity there are mysteries. Need I hint of them. Imperfection here, looking to the attaining of perfection there. Death in life here. Life out of death there. The seemingly impossible adjustment of immortality with the opposite claims of that mortality, which "seems forever to involve the antagonistic idea of final annihilation and the ceasing to be." In time, in eternity, there are great mysteries. In the Godhead--in the triple co-in-dwelling of its Persons, whereby, to use St. Jerome's phrase, each is "the place of abode" of the other, "the Father," as saith the judicious Hooker, "in the Son, and the Son in Him, They both in the Spirit, and the Spirit in both of them; the Son in the Father as light in that light out of which it floweth without separation, the Father in the Son as light in that light which it causeth and leaveth not," whereby too, (bound together in one nature, yet discriminate by personal difference,) Each becomes an object of the highest contemplation and happiness to the other,--and in therefore the everlasting Sabbath of supremest bliss within Itself, arising from the mutual reflection from one person to another of knowledge and love,--(the Royal Arch Mason will understand what I mean,)--in the eternal divine self-contemplation which, as Plato testifies, this triple co-indwelling alone rendered possible, before the worlds were, when there was nothing external for Him to contemplate, rescuing God, (with reverence be it spoken,) from a condition of utter non-self-consciousness in that solitary past, in the Godhead there is the greatest, the highest mystery. What these mysteries are as mere facts, man [15/16] may know; though he, being finite, may never be able to compass and understand them.
Now Time is a Lodge. And as it has opened, it has imparted to man some of the mysteries. Life and Death is a Lodge. And as we pass its two degrees, it also imparts some of the mysteries. The Bible is a Lodge holding, within its great successive chambers of Genesis "Law and Prophets" and New Testament, mysteries, which are shown to him who treads those chambers. Our blessed Saviour went round, not only relieving the sick and comforting the afflicted, but teaching truth by dark sayings. And so Masonry is not merely a practical, but also an instructive Institution. In it, as in the Bible, as in the Church, as in our conscience, we hear of our duty, and learn the main lesson that that duty lies out in the world; but in it, too, as in the Bible, as in Jesus, as in the Church, we have displayed before us the great mysteries. Masonry is truth taught by symbols. It was organized not merely to impress the rules of moral duty upon its votaries, but to display also a knowledge of those self-same mysteries of time, of eternity, of God, which man most craves to know, which the rolling centuries, which the Bible, which Jesus, which Holy Church, and which the passage of death open and exhibit to him.
I have said that the Bible was a Lodge. It has its "three degrees." First, its Genesis; second, its Law and Prophets; third, its New Testament. I have said also that Time is a Lodge. Let us look at this. In Time, the world has seen three great periods, viz.: first, the Patriarchal; second, the Jewish; and third, the Christian. [16/17] The Patriarchal extended from Adam to Moses; the Jewish extended from Moses to Christ; and the third has extended from Christ to the present day. The middle dispensation, viz.: the Jewish, in all its rites, mediations, ceremonies, kingships, sacrifices and priesthood adumbrated--showed by shadows the great truth of a Shiloh and a redemption to come. It was itself, as a whole, a great prophecy of, opening the way to the last, the Christian dispensation. Take Christ out of Judaism and it all becomes meaningless. These three dispensations are the three great Masonic degrees, through which the race of man has advanced in the Lodge of Time. As the race hath advanced, so hath the Lodge opened to it more and more of light touching the mysteries. In the first or Patriarchal ages, reaching from Adam to Moses, there was little said of the mysteries of redemption and the resurrection, and of the internal being and structure of the Godhead, and of the Future. Its teachings were general. Its allusions, if any, to the mysteries, few and far between. When we come to the second dispensation, however,--the Jewish--we find it full of promises, full of shadows concerning the secrets, full of anticipations, marked by dim dawning, but no where by the clearly displayed light. But when we come to the Christian, promises are fulfilled, anticipations are satisfied, shadows vanish for substances. It seems then as though God had said "Let there be Light," and there was indeed light. With the Christian degree of Time, the mystery of redemption, the mystery of the resurrection, the mystery of an eternal life, the mystery of the Tri-unity, are all displayed; the fruition of knowledge has burst upon the world.
 The human race "was entered" into the Patriarchal times; with merely their general light of moral truth, but their general darkness touching the mysteries. Thence they were by the Great Architect and Worshipful Master of the universe "passed" to the Jewish times, with their fuller light, but still their adumbrations. And thence, calling for more light, they were by the same Hand "raised to the sublime" Christian dispensation, wherein all the arts, parts and points of the great truths were fully opened and imparted to them.
And so, as a poor blind candidate, I rapped at the door of Masonry, ignorant as was Adam in the Lodge of Time of what its mysteries might be, I was admitted. But as in Solomon's Temple, with first its Portico, second its Middle Chamber--its Holy Place, and third and last behind the veil its Sanctum Sanctorum--its inner, its secluded Holy of Holies, I was entered but into the Portico of Masonry--its outer degree--its Genesis--its Patriarchal dispensation. There was little here that satisfied the craving of man's heart. I saw the triple lights, greater and lesser. I saw the triple throne. I was taught how the worship of God consisted at first "of a few simple rites of devotion, and how religion was the practice of morality." Here I learned that my Lodge was the world, supported by the Wisdom, the Strength and the Beauty of Love that were in the Divine Original of all things. Here I learned the lessons of fortitude, prudence, temperance and justice. But as yet, like the Patriarchs of old, little of the great mysteries that were about me, giving me, as a sentient being, ever to pause in [18/19] uncertainty, the mysteries that Masonry preserves and exhibits in the amber of its symbolic rites and ceremonies.
I asked at length for more light. And the Worshipful Master "passed" me to the second degree. I now found myself, as it were, in the Middle Chamber of Time, surrounded by the second degree of light. But yet, like the Jews of old, under partial illumination only. As in the Jewish dispensation, as in the Law and Prophets, all around me seemed but to foreshow--to provoke desire--to allure; not to give what was wished, but to prophecy of what was coming. I was in the middle Chamber; there was then still another beyond. All was unsatisfactoriness; all was adumbration. Something was foreshadowed by the strange "plumb line." I had seen below the rough and the perfect ashler; the one reminding "of our rude and imperfect state by nature," the other "of that state of perfection at which we hope to arrive by our own endeavors and the blessing of God." This had pointed on like a prophecy; and now I found its answering correspondent; for here the celestial globe came out before me as a mate to this terrestrial on which I moved. It drew the thoughts to Heaven. But this too pointed on as though it were a prophecy. I was yet only in the "Holy Place." Was this all that Masonry had to tell? What of the mysteries? What of the plumb line? What more about this world and its rough ashler; the next and its perfection; and death? What of this study of symbolic architecture under which the perfect temple is to be formed, the temple fitted for the celestial [19/20] globe, its "Tuscan" solidity of will at the bottom, its "Doric" plainness and simplicity of character, its "Ionic" delicacy of love, its "Corinthian" richness of faith and piety, its "Composite" cluster of graces and knowledge? What was behind the veil? What was there in the Holy of Holies?
I asked for still more light; and I was "raised" at length to the "sublime degree of a Master Mason." The veil was lifted and I was in the Holy of Holies. The dim prophesies of the Jewish dispensation of the Fellow Craft degree were explained, as I was raised to the third, the last, the Christian dispensation of the Master's grade. I was raised to a more comprehensive view of the beauty of the system of Time, Death, Eternity and God. For in Him who was the Representative of mankind, the Epitome of man--in Him in whom our human nature stood summed up, I learned the struggle of man with his enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil; I learned man's struggle against the great enemy Death. Death before him wherever he goes, south, west or east. He may flee from it in one form; it will attack him in another. He may flee from it in a second; it will attack him in a third. Death by sin; death by the world; death by the devil. These jubilant three are his inexorable easy victors. I saw man too weak to stand successfully against them. I beheld him yield at last and fall. I beheld the yawning grave, as the common receptacle of us all. I was taught the lesson of the burial of mankind. I beheld the fraternal anxiety that you shall always find at the bedside, when hope for the continued existence among us of the [20/21] beloved is beginning to yield; and the disconsolate grief when the sad truth--"Dead--dead!" bursts upon us. History gives us in its Representative Man of Judea the lesson of life and death. Masonry gives us the self-same lesson. Before me in the silence was the great truth, how helpless we are--how the monster Death is the conqueror of us all. In the broad Lodge of the world there is not a single brother that can escape the pathway to the tomb. Here is no royal privileged class. Whither goeth one, thither must go each and all. By the graveside the cry of the human heart is--Is this the end? It lifts its universal voice in the lamentation--Is there no help? What shall come of death? Here is acacia--but is green memory all that shall live in the grave? Shall we--can we ever conquer the grave? Will it, can it open its marble jaws and yield us back alive? If so, how? What is this mystery of Time? More Light! Leave us not in this darkness, this grief, this silence!
The morning grew to mid-day. For I was taught that even in the grave the dead are not deserted. I beheld God seeking for his dead--south, west, north, and east--determined to have them again. But I was taught, too, how futile it is for us to put our trust in aught less than the Worshipful Master of the Universe, if we would hope to overcome the grave and rise again. Trial after trial might be made of the power of man--of angel--even of archangel, who sitteth next to the throne of God--but all in vain. The lesson of the Psalmist rose, that none "may deliver his brother; for it cost more to redeem their souls." For now at last the great truth, which all that [21/22] had gone before, in the patriarchal and the Jewish degrees of the world, and in the Apprentice and Fellow-Craft dispensations of Masonry, had prophesied, burst upon me, that the Worshipful Master of the Universe must himself descend from the throne to our aid, and by the strong grip of Judah's Lion, which alone can avail, raise mankind from the dust of death, and endow it with the sacred knowledge of the Trinity. "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" The mid-day light had burst. From that great mystery of time-how shall we be able to overcome this sin, and this death which is sweeping us all into the grave, which checks our plans in mid development, which cheats us of a finished work, and sows the earth with desolation and tears: from before this great mystery of time Masonry tears away the veil and gives her votaries to gaze fully upon it. The mode in which the grave is to be conquered is a sublime secret, the knowledge of which mankind has ever craved. The three dispensations of time--Patriarchal, Jewish, and Christian--slowly, gradually exposed it to man. The Bible, as it came down from Heaven, one book after another--first Genesis, then the Law and Prophets, then the New Testament--gradually and at last fully revealed it to him; Jesus revealed it to him; the church reveals it to him. And Masonry, in the magnificent march of its symbolism, falls into harmony with world, history, time, and church, in revealing the same sublime truth. Here are no counterfeits, no parodies, no caricatures, but sublimity itself.
And as Masonry thus teaches the great truth of Shiloh, [22/23] and our redemption from sin, and resurrection by and with Him; as it teaches us that He, the representative of mankind (into whom we may enter, one with whom we may each become), in being raised by the Father, raises also those who are thus epitomized in Him, and whom, by the strong grip of Judah's Lion, viz., the Incarnation, he hath grasped to himself; as, in fine, it teaches us that the Father can raise us in and with him, only by that strong grip of Judah's Lion, so, consistently with this heart truth of the Third Degree--a truth in which its solemn rites culminate at last, and around which all else of its ritual revolves subordinate--as, I say, its work is to teach this secret of time, how mankind can overcome sin and death, and rise, so Masonry provides, with great consistency, that none shall be buried by its rites who have not advanced to that solemn degree, wherein the mode may be learned. Well, indeed, might that master of a lodge have come to me and said, "Sir, I cannot be a true Mason, and know and believe what it teaches, without going on and becoming a Christian also. I come to be baptized. I must have not a temporary, but an eternal, union and identity with Jesus. Masonry shows me but a temporary union; Masonry but points me the way."
Nor are these the only mysteries taught by Masonry. These are mysteries of earth and time. But in the three mystic peers--Him of Jerusalem, Him of Tyre, and the mighty faithful One that every Mason loves, that suffered, died, and was raised again; in the mystic peers, holding in their triune breast secret divine knowledge which their [23/24] fellow-craft of the human race cannot know, there is taught us in Masonry, also, the great mystery of heaven and eternity--the everlasting Trinity of the Jehovah. Turn we where we will in Masonry, the Trinity is about us. It beams down on us from the lights; it gazes up at us from the altar; it guides us from the thrones; it is the pearl in the memory of the Master Mason; we rise at its very sound; we bend beneath its living arch; we join in it for agreement; we go to it, mutually to speak and hear of God; it is the diamond in the casket of the Royal Arch. Caricatures! Masonry is truth taught by symbols; and, brothers, were ever truths more grandly symbolized?
The higher you go in Masonry the more of Shiloh and Tri-unity do you behold, until, as you step from lodge to chapter, you step as it were from time to eternity. You behold there the finished work--the destined completion of the spiritual architecture of each good man--the finished work of humanity standing as a temple in heaven. You behold the mystery, that not in the Lodge of Time, but in the Chapter of Eternity, shall the human structure "come unto a perfect man, unto the stature of the fulness of Christ." You behold the lesson that, after Sin's untimely sundering of the Divine Architect from this not yet completed work, and alter the ruins into which the human temple has fallen, if a perfect structure is to exist at all, there must be a rebuilding--a recreation; nor can this be without Christ for a key-stone.
Masonry is full of Shiloh and of God. As the lodge has its three degrees, so has Masonry, as a whole, its [24/25] three graduated compartments, viz., Lodge, Chapter, and Encampment; in which, as you pass through them, Shiloh the Redeemer, Shiloh the Resurrection, Shiloh the truth and the light, dawn out fuller and fuller, until in Encampment Jesus Christ is visibly seen.
I am directed by my lodge to take for my guide the Holy Scriptures, and I find scarce anything but the great mysteries, of which He is the centre, running through both their Old and their New Testaments. I am pointed by my lodge to the symbolic parallel lines of St. John Baptist and St. John Evangelist, and the point between. Who were they? The one nought else but the forerunner, the other the follower and dearest friend of the Redeemer, the exemplifier of his teaching. The lesson of the life of the one was nought else than that of hope for, and the lesson of the life of the other was that of love for the same great Being. The one looked forward to, the other looked back upon, Christ. If you take that perfect point, that representative man, that Shiloh, whom we are to emulate, out from between the forerunner and the follower, which gives them their sole relevancy to each other in the symbolic figure, what do they become but utterly meaningless?
Below I heard of a plumb line. Who is the perfect man, "set in the midst of God's people Israel?" Who is that alone, erect and true one among the human race, that test by which all uprightness is to be tried, for the sake of whom God "will not pass by his Israel any more?"
Who is that white, that alone pure stone, save Him of [25/26] whom it was said that in Him was no spot or blemish? Who is He that was tried by the squares of the builders found wanting, cast out beyond the wall of Jerusalem found by other builders, taken up by them and made the head-stone of their corner, save Him of whom alone it was said, in God's prophecy, "What is this then that is written? The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner."
Who is that Present Master that, having served below, has alone ascended the East to rule above?
Who is that Most Excellent Master, up to whose perfect pattern we are all to grow? Who is He that alone hath finished His work on earth, that alone hath received His full recompense, that alone hath rested on the seventh day, after His finished work? Who is He that filled the latter house with a glory greater than that of the former?
Who is He that was lost on Earth below, but is found in Heaven above?
And so I find that Masonry is no plaything. In the gorgeous depths of its symbolism lie wondrous truths of time and God and Eternity, truths of priceless value to man. Without going into Theology, or Sectarianism, or Denominationalism, it thus teaches the great fundamental truths of the Bible, which is its treasure, which is its charter, which is its great light irradiating all its courts; the fundamental truths of Religion, of God and Shiloh, and the future life in that temple not made with hands eternal in the heavens. So too in the spirit of the great charter that rests upon its every altar, it enforces upon its children the practical duties set down in that charter. Thus does it take its place side by side with, the great [26/27] teacher Time in its developments, and the great teacher the Bible in its developments, and the great teacher the Church in its developments; all these sublime companions in their silent work under God combining to one and the same end.
Why, brothers, "Worshipful Master?" What is such a phrase but a piece of blasphemy, unless he that sits in the Eastern throne with the initial above Him is symbolic of the Great Father, Ruler, Architect? Your Lodge is the world; its ruler is God. How too can a man be justly called a Master of truth, unless he is endowed with the greatest of mysteries? Without these, he is but entered apprentice or mere Fellow Craft. What! a religious institution and pretend to give one light, and then cheat him after all out of the only light--the light for which the world craved for four thousand years, and by the attainment of which alone it was satisfied; in comparison with which all other information is darkness! The information which alone entitles, and which does indeed entitle the Master's grade to be called "The sublime degree of a Master Mason," treating as it does of the mysteries of Time, God and Eternity!
Such then is the relationship between Masonry and Christianity. A single word, for my hour is spent, on the difference between the two.
You may enact rules--rigid rules, and force a man to obey them. But no regulations closing about a man from the outside, will or can make a different creature of him. A man may abstain from doing wrong; nay, he may even perform many right acts, and yet in the heart may be by no means fair in God's eyes. To change the man you must [27/28] go within and change his heart. Masonry does not pretend to include within itself the means of grace, which alone avail to work, this change, nor the means of connection with Shiloh that rose from the dead. No where in her ritual do you hear the word Holy Ghost. She simply gives man information; information touching the mysteries, information touching a man's moral duties. Masonry works intellectually by means of its symbols; the Church spiritually by means of its symbols. Masonry works from without, the Church starts from within. The one brings words--the other the Spirit. The one brings law and bondage in the world, the other freedom in Christ Jesus. The one brings mere sayings, the other sacraments. The one gives not the needed union with Shiloh, the other gives that union. Masonry therefore interferes not with the great work of the Church. That great work is still necessary to be done though a man is a Mason; nay if a man be a true Mason, he should go on and allow that great work to be done in him. Masonry has to do with the mind and the conduct; the Church with the heart, which is the alone transformer of the whole man into a new being. Masonry therefore never can, nor does she any where pretend to take the place of the Church. Would you leave her strong, rear for her no false claims. Masonry! why she is the Church's handmaid! Nay she is the brunette twin-sister of the blonde bride of Christ. And they go forth through the world, not as enemies, but hand in hand, with the same Bible between them, with the same Shiloh within them, with the same God above them, on their common mission of good-will to man.
In order that due notice might be taken by St. John's Lodge No. 3, of the one hundredth anniversary of its organization which would fall on the 12th day of February, 1862, at a regular communication of the Lodge, held in the month of January, A. L. 5862, the following brethren were appointed as a
COMMITTEE OF ARRANGEMENTS.
WM. S. HANFORD, W. M.
C. M. HATCH, S. W. S. T. BARTLETT. J. W.
F. HAYDON, S. D. THOS. HUTCHINS, P. M.
JAMES L. GOULD, TREAS. W. H. LORD, SEC.
WM. R. HIGBY, A. W. WALLACE,
S. C. KINGMAN, R. W. GATES,
S. MORRIS, A. BURKE,
JAS. H. PORTER, ELI THOMPSON.
On the Anniversary the brethren, with invited guests, among whom were several officers of the M. W. Grand Lodge of the State of Conn., met in their Lodge Room, Sturdivant Place, at high noon.
After singing by the Lodge Quartette Club, and a prayer by the Rev. Bro. STIMSON, of Fairfield,
was formed at half past one P. M. under the direction of Bro. Dwight Morris, Chief Marshal of the day, consisting of Master Masons, Royal Arch Masons, Royal and Select Masters, together with the Orator of the day, invited guests, and the officers of the M. W. Grand Lodge, all under the escort of Hamilton Encampment No. 5, Knights Templars. The procession marched through the principal streets of the city to the Methodist Church, accompanied by the Wheeler & Wilson Brass Band. The fraternity occupied the body of the church, the officers of the Lodge and of the M. W. Grand Lodge being within the altar rail, the rest of the house being open to the public.
 THE EXERCISES AT THE CHURCH,
which was densely crowded, were as follows, viz:
1st. An anthem--by the choir.
2d Invocation by Rev. Bro. Chandler, of the East Bridgeport Methodist Church.
3d. Reading of the Holy Scriptures by the Rev. Bro. J. M. Willey, of S. John's Church, Bridgeport.
4th. A Hymn.
5th. The Oration, by the Rev. Bro. F. C. Ewer, of the city of New-York.
6th. The Old Hundreth Hymn.
7th. A Benediction by the Rev. Bro. A. M. Hopper, of the Baptist Church, Bridgeport.
The procession was then re-formed and returned to the Lodge Room, whence the brethren dispersed until half past five P. M. At the appointed time they reassembled, accompanied by many invited guests, and at six o'clock P. M.
THE LODGE OF SORROW
was held in memory of all the brethren of St. Johns Lodge No. 3, deceased during the first century of its existence. The room was draped in mourning for the occasion, and was crowded with members of the order, ladies and citizens, who had been invited to witness the ceremonial. The ritual was impressive and solemn. During the first section the idea of death was prominently brought out, appropriate lessons being read by the W. M. and Wardens responsively, and the lights in the room being at the same time extinguished one by one. Then followed a few remarks by the W. M. in allusion to the object of the ceremonies and to the deceased whom that night the Lodge were commemorating. This was followed by the chant "Man that is born of a woman hath but a few days," &c., a prayer and a hymn. During the second section of the ceremonial, the idea of the resurrection was brought out, the W. M. and Wardens repeating appropriate lessons responsively, and the lamps being relighted one by one. During the [31/32] third section the urn was borne on an appropriately draped bier in procession, and with the other customary rites the Lodge of Sorrow was closed, the ceremony having occupied nearly an hour and a half.
The brethren with their ladies and the other invited guests then proceeded to Franklin Hall for
Here six long tables were spread, and over four hundred persons, completely filling the hall, sat down to an inviting and bountiful repast. The divine blessing was invoked by the Rev. Bro. Stimpson, of Fairfield. In the language of one of the city press, "The company then proceeded to both 'labor and refreshment;' the one resulting in a thorough discussion of the merits of the good things provided, the other producing that state of good feeling and perfect satisfaction which should always accompany such social gatherings."
It may as well be stated here, that the absence of any more commodious place in our city, in which to seat and accommodate a larger number, prevented the giving out of invitations to members of the fraternity throughout the State and elsewhere, to attend this celebration. It also seemed for the best interests of this lodge to make the occasion and exercises eminently social among the brethren of St. John's Lodge, rather than to make an imposing public display of the fraternity. Hence, invitations were extended to none, but officers of the Grand Lodge, and a limited number of old and distinguished Masons.
It is to be regretted that the most excellent speech of Rev. Bro. D. P. Sanford, made in response to the fourth regular toast, could not be procured for publication. A sketch, compiled from the records of the lodge, is substituted in its place; also a legend, brought to light by Bro. Sanford, that doubtless will prove, interesting to the craft generally.
After the cloth was removed, the Glee Club sang the impressive song. "One Hundred Years Ago." The Worshipful Master, from the head of the centre table, then announced the following
 REGULAR TOASTS,
each toast being repeated by the Senior Warden, Bro. C. M. Hatch, at the other end of the hall:
1st. The Occasion: As the glory of the latter house exceeded that of the former, so may the century whose corner-stone is being laid this night, excel in every masonic virtue the century whose cap-stone we have this day celebrated.
Bro. Malcolm Mollan being called upon to respond, arose and read the following poem:
Swift Time his restless pinions plies,
And onward, onward still he flies,
Changing all nature's face the while
With winter's frown and summer's smile;
The works of art by man arranged,
By Time's relentless hand are changed;
Kingdoms and empires own his sway,
All passing, or have passed away.
But Masonry for ages past
Has stood the annihilating blast;
It flourishes in every clime,
And prospers 'neath the hand of time;
E'n persecution's fierce crusade
Was but a passing cloud or shade:
When misled fury half the world
Against our glorious structure hurled,
And strove to bend its upright form,
Freemasonry withstood the storm.
Like some proud rock, in ocean's bed,
That--rearing bold its lofty head
'Midst tempests' rage, midst lashing deep,
Aroused, indignant, from its sleep,
While wave on wave in awful siege
Beats round its adamantine ledge,
While thunders peal, and Earth and Heaven
Seem in the midnight tempest riven,--
Firm at its post, still lifts its light,
Till morning dawns, calm, clear and bright,
 Lifts high o'er ocean's dashing spray,
To point where lies the seaman's way:
So Masonry shall ever stand
A beacon light in every land;
From pole to pole, from East to West,
Its radiance ever manifest,
Its light down-beaming from above,
Its vital warmth fraternal love,
In wisdom, strength and beauty reared,
And by the great and good revered.
But ask you, why we eulogize
This secret art with mystic ties?
Or how it benefits mankind,
Or where its goodly fruits we find?
It teaches first, as well it can,
Man's duty to his fellow man.
Behold, our banner floats unfurled,--
Benevolence to all the world;
And Truth, that attribute divine,
Upon our crest is seen to shine;
Justice, our every step to guide,
While Friendship marches by our side;
And Charity moves in the train,
The weak or falling to sustain,
The worthy destitute relieve,
And due assistance kindly give;
Such is the march of Masonry.
Now mark it's great prosperity;
E'en in this little lodge, our own,
Just see how Masonry has grown.
Revert we now a hundred years;
What in the distant past appears?
An acorn planted in this soil,
Borne by a zealous few the toil,
And consecrated by the Power,
That sends the fertilizing shower.
A hundred springs their seeds have sown
A hundred summer's flowers blown,
A hundred harvests have been reaped,
A hundred winter's snows enheaped.
And has our little plant survived?
And to what state has it arrived?
 Behold, this great and spreading tree;
It's numerous branches here we see;
And round each faithful branch entwines
One of these fair and tender vines,
This scene to beautify and grace,
With many a fair and happy face,
And ever Ladies may you be
The warmest friends of Masonry.
Another hundred years, and where
Will we and Masonry appear?
Our glorious institution then
With our successors will remain;
And they will faithfully engage
To hand it down from age to age,
While we, our earthly labors o'er,
Shall join our brethren gone before.
May all assembled here to-night,
Be guided by the sacred light
To where we all shall meet again,
And still true Masonry retain.
Within that great, grand Lodge above,
Where all is harmony and love!
2d. "The M. W. Grand Lodge of the State of Connecticut: A worthy parent of a numerous progeny: May the latter, wherever dispersed, never falter in the path of virtue, while they can behold the ensign of the former."
Music--"Hail to the Chief." By the Band.
Response by the M. W. Grand Master, H. B. Ensign.
3d. "The memory of our illustrious brother, George Washington."
(Standing, and in silence)
Music--"Who would sever Freedom's Shrine?" By the Quartette Club.
4th. "The Founders of St. John's Lodge No. 3: Like the pioneers of the forest, those who have come after them enjoy the fruits of their labors."
Music--"Auld Lang Syne." By the Band.
Response by the Rev. Bro. D. P. Sanford.
 The following is a historical sketch of St. John's Lodge, No. 3, substituted in place of Bro. Sanford's speech, which could not be obtained:
"The first charter of St. John's Lodge No. 3, is dated February 12th, 1762, and granted for Fairfield county by the Provincial Grand Master of the State of New York, while these States were but colonies of the mother country. The first lodge was held within the town of Stratford, near the line of the town of Fairfield. Afterwards, Lodges were held at different places within the town of Fairfield and Stratford. The first lodge in Newfield (now Bridgeport), was held June 24th, 17S9. In 1792, the brethren in Newfield, still holding the old charter, proposed to unite under the jurisdiction of the Grand Lodge of the State of Connecticut, and their charter was registered accordingly in the office of the Grand Secretary. In October of the same year, a new charter was granted, with permission to hold the lodge at Fairfield or Newfield: the lodge voted to meet within the borough of Bridgeport, and did so until 1809, when the Grand Lodge ordered that in future it should be holden within one mile of the court-house in the town of Fairfield. In 1812, the lodge met at the house of Bro. Ephraim Knapp, and from that time it has continued to be held in Bridgeport.
"At the first communication of the lodge five brothers were present, viz.: Arnot Cannon, M. pro tem.; Joseph Knapp, S. W.; Isaac Young, J. W.; H. Hubbell, Treasurer; and I. Anderson, Secretary. It seems to have been an extraordinary lodge called to initiate David Wheeler and Woolcot Chauncey. They met at the house of Captain Samuel Wakelee, in Stratfield, on Monday, February 15th, 1762. The second communication was at the house of Richard Hubbell, also a case of emergency, to pass and raise Bro's Wheeler and Chauncey. The first regular (or proper) lodge was held at Mr. Hubbell's house, on Wednesday, February 24th, 1762. Up to July 14th of the same year, eight communications were held, when the first election of officers took place, Eleazer Hubbell being chosen Master. Thus the work began which has been going on through the past one hundred years until now. The bodies of those who laid the corner-stone of our temple have long since returned to mother [36/37] earth; but the fabric they helped to rear still remains and flourishes, to celebrate this anniversary, with nearly three hundred members. In examining the records of those early days (often beautifully written), one is struck with the uniformity that prevails: generally a simple brief record of such masonic proceeding as were proper to be written, with occasional allusions to matters of discipline, charity, taxes, refreshments, collections, disposition of the lodge funds, etc. Their communications seem to have been kept up with great regularity, though occasional omissions of several months occurred during the war of the Revolution. It is worthy of note, that no allusion is made in the records to either the Revolutionary war or that of 1812, Masonry having only to do with that which belongs to peace. In December, 1799, it was voted, 'That the members of the lodge wear suitable mourning upon the arm, during the pleasure of the lodge, in token of respect for the memory of the late M. W. Grand Master of the United States, George Washington.' A tender and delicate regard for the proprieties of funeral occasions so becoming in all men, especially Masons, is conspicuous in these early records. All brothers were required to walk in procession, properly clothed. The widow and needy, also, were not forgotten. The first appropriation made, was, to purchase a cow for a brother's widow; and often sums from ten to thirty dollars were voted to suffering members and to the widows of brethren. In July, 1794, it was voted, 'That a mourning ring be presented to the relict of our late worthy and respected brother, Wakeman Hubbell, deceased, as a token of the unabating friendship we retain for the memory of the deceased.' 'Also voted, That the thanks of the lodge and a pair of silk gloves be presented to the Rev. Mr. Stebbins, for his ingenious and pathetic address, occasioned by the melancholy fate of our respected brother.' (He was lost at sea.) This is one of very many instances where the clergy are kindly spoken of. They were often the recipients of substantial expressions of masonic regard, as they were often called upon to officiate for the lodge. Celebrations of the 24th June and 27th December, the two St. John's days, were very frequent; and some of the clergy were uniformly invited to preach, a [37/38] sermon--the Rev. Joseph Samson, Rev. Andrew Elliott, Rev. Mr. Sayer, Rev. Ashbel Baldwin, Rev. Mr. Marshall. Rev. Philo Shelton, and many others being named. Most of these men were ordained in the Church of England. Indeed, those sent out here as missionaries, as well as to other foreign countries, before leaving, were uniformly made Masons; it being deemed of too much importance to be neglected. This practice was also followed extensively in our own country, in the earlier days of missionary enterprise. Our ancient craftsmen knew the value of money, and made good use of it. Taxes, regular and special, were often imposed upon the brethren, to prevent a decrease in the funds of the lodge by their ordinary expenses, or by charity. And there is no record of any brother terming this practice unmasonic, as we sometimes hear among modern Masons. The surplus funds were generally loaned to members of the lodge, to be used in their business: one party having a sum for six months, when another would take it; and always by a vote of the lodge. The endorsement of a brother was deemed ample security; masonic character in those days receiving the highest confidence among their brethren. Masons were men of character and influence, and filled the first positions of society; and if any among them came short in masonic duty, quick and sure discipline followed--in this particular furnishing good masonic example for our imitation. In March, 1792, a committee appointed to recover certain property belonging to the lodge, mislaid in moving, reported the following as found: 'Fourteen drinking-glasses, one punch-spoon, one silver seal, three large wooden candlesticks (without brasses), and one old great-armchair (still in use in the lodge). Also there was missing, a pair of brass-handled andirons, carried off to Delaware by the son of a brother.' The glasses, spoon, and a punch-bowl, spoken of in another place, together with the duties of the Steward, certainly warrants the presumption that 'refreshments' with them was bona fide and substantial. But if we consider that on some occasions, in those days, it took a barrel of rum to raise a meeting-house, certainly a pint of toddy was not much to be used in raising a Mason. Whatever may have been their custom, Masonry has the honor of being the pioneer of temperance, and [38/39] the first to put a ban upon ardent spirits. Forty years ago, Grand Lodge of the State of Connecticut forbade, under heavy penalty, any lodge within its jurisdiction having spirituous liquors within their halls; which law is still enforced. Temperance is the first of the cardinal virtues taught by Masonry. A legend has come down to our day, through tradition, which gives a hitherto unwritten history of the candlesticks, brasses, andirons lost. As neither have ever been found, and the person who took them away has never returned, the legend is appended to this record in a note. [LEGEND.--Like one who carries buried in his heart the recollection of some great crime which haunts him from place to place, destroying his peace and allowing him no rest, so was it with an erring son of a Brother who removed from St. John's Lodge No. 3, in Connecticut, the brass tops of three large candlesticks, and a pair of brass andirons; taking them with him to the remote regions of Delaware. The memory of a deed so vile tortured him while awake, and haunted him while asleep; so that peace of mind was impossible. Neither could he take rest, but wandered from place to place, never daring to return to any spot that had known him before. Certain it is, that the land of his early days was never again visited by him, nor his filched property returned to its rightful owners. Many years had rolled by, and his sad crime had come to be but seldom in the minds of those he had wronged, when he was seen for a brief period in the western part of the State of New York, in company with one Morgan, who bargained with him for the old brass and the andirons that so long had been the torments of his life. The bargain made them friends, and they were ever after inseparable companions even to their tragical end, which is thus related by a Chief of the Senecas who witnessed the singular spectacle. In the early mists of morning, when standing upon the banks of the Niagara overlooking the whirlpool below the falls, his attention was arrested by what seemed in the dim distance two human figures struggling with that furious current in a strange-looking craft for such a voyage. Upon nearing him, it proved to be no other than a large iron kettle. One of these individuals was in a sitting posture, with a pair of andirons about his neck, while his companion was sculling the kettle with a crowbar. The Falls reached at last, the attempt was madly made to ascend them, which of course proved a failure, and the kettle, with its precious freight, went down in the terrible gulf that yawned beneath--down, down, how far we cannot tell; but from their own specific gravity, assisted by the old brass about them, and the andirons, it is supposed, nay believed, that they went down to that place where no good Mason will ever go.] In 1807, December 31st, [39/40] Matthew Curtis, the oldest living member of this lodge, was raised. March 3d, 1S08, Benjamin S. Smith, the oldest Past Master was raised. Both were present at the centennial celebration Bro. Smith carrying the great Light of Masonry. During the Anti-masonic crusade, the members of St. John's Lodge No. 3 had their full share of persecution; and many who were participators in those disgraceful transactions live to behold this day of our glory, and probably realize that the innocent object of their former bitter hatred will long survive them. It is proper that those who stood firm and faltered not, in those hours of dark trial, should have a place in the memories of those who come after them; and as we have many of them still with us, it is unnecessary to carry this record farther than to add their names; foremost among whom are:
"Living.--P. M., Thomas Hutchins; P. M., G. M. J. C. Black-man; P. M., William Lum; P. M., Charles Foote; P. M., Benj. S. Smith; Matthew Curtis, Eli Thompson, Gideon Thompson, Dr. William B. Nash, Joseph Seeley, and Sylvester May.
"Deceased.--Robert Simons, Joseph Backus, Enoch Foote, Ezekiel Hubbell, Thaddeus Hubbell, Samuel Simons, Captain Wm. Hanford, Richard Hyde, Samuel Stratton, Samuel Hodges, James Allen, and Samuel F. Hurd."
5th. Our Absent Brothers.
Music--"Sounds from Home." By the Band.
Bro. Dwight Morris, in answer to calls, arose in response, and spoke as follows, viz.:
ABSENT BROTHERS.--When I look upon this assembly--when I see the many happy faces here to-night, giving evidence that their lot has been cast in pleasant places, I cannot avoid reverting to the far, dim past. I turn to the memory of those absent brothers of one hundred years ago, who met for the first time to found this lodge. That first meeting presented no such brilliant scene as this. Those patriarchs of Masonry were not clad in broadcloth, as we are; their wives and daughters did not wear the silks and laces which you, my fair friends, have at your disposal. They were sheltered from cold and storm by good, old-fashioned homespun cloth, fashioned and framed by the busy fingers of the mothers of our race; for, unlike the lillies of the valley, the women of the past, did "toil and spin," Think not that I am finding [40/41] fault with the customs of the present: I make these allusions to recall the toils and trials of our fathers and mothers, and in recalling them, to honor them.
It has been remarked that he who plants a tree, or cultivates a vine, though he knows not who may sit under its shade, or enjoy its fruits, is nevertheless a public benefactor; because whatever adorns or enriches the earth is a public benefit. So in like manner those who provide a retreat, where for a season we may forget the strife and turmoil of daily life, where we may listen to and be strengthened in the practice of virtue, benefactors of their kind. To those absent brothers of the past, the founders of St. John's Lodge, therefore, our thanks are eminently due; for, like the pioneers of the forest, their labors are enjoyed by those who come after them, who cannot fail to remember, with gratitude, those who felled the timbers and squared the stones with which this temple has been erected.
It matters not, my friends, whether the institution of Masonry was coeval with the creation, as some claim; or whether, as I believe, it was instituted at the building of Solomon's Temple; we know that it has existed for centuries; that it has withstood the test of every age, the persecutions of fanaticism, and the reckless fury of the inquisition. Since its foundation empires have arisen, flourished and decayed; cities have been the busy marts of industry, the abiding places of thousands, and have passed away, and the grass covers them. Jerusalem is stripped of her splendor; Tyre and Sidon are overrun by the infidel; the temple is destroyed; the throne of Solomon, once the mightiest in the world, is passed away, its diadem is faded, its power forgotten, and yet, amid these and a thousand other desolations, Masonry still flourishes; still rears her temples; still finds worshipers to keep bright the fires upon her altars.
Allow me to refer to an absent brother, whose acquaintance I made, a few months since, in Jerusalem. I refer to Bro. Alfred Roberts, a man in the humble walks of life, who a few years since left this country for the purpose of circulating the Word of God among the inhabitants of Palestine. Without the assistance of any one, and unaided by any society, he worked his passage to Jerusalem; his only capital, a strong heart and vigorous arm, he for years devoted his energies to the work he had volunteered to carry on. He never solicited assistance, and never received any, while in health, for his own support. Such sums as were placed in his hands by travellers were devoted to the purchase of Bibles, which were given to those who were willing to accept and read them. While at Jerusalem, by his mild and unobtrusive manners, he gained the confidence of all classes; from the intolerant Musselman to the [41/42] oppressed Israelite. The amount of good effected by this humble man will never be known in this world; but may we not believe that at the great day of final account, this patient and meek follower of Him who suffered in sight of the Holy City, may reap the reward of those who are assured that "inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of them so have ye also done it to me."
My acquaintance with this excellent man, as before stated, occurred during a recent visit to Jerusalem. Having heard that a countryman was seriously ill, I visited him in his little apartment on Mount Zion. I found him suffering under a severe disease, confined to his bed, and hardly able to move without assistance; yet no murmur or complaint escaped his lips, but the aged sufferer appeared a perfect picture of contentment. The Monks of Terra Santa provided somewhat for his wants that is, he was not allowed to die of neglect or starvation; as some one of their number called in during each morning. For the remainder of the long, long day the dying man was entirely alone. I do not know that he had any relations j he never spoke to me of any, in the several interviews 1 had with him. His only thought seemed to be of the blessedness, the glory of dying in the Holy City, and sleeping beneath the shadow of Calvary. He died on the 25th of September last, and is laid to rest under a little knoll on the brow of the valley of Hinmon. He sleeps in goodly company; near him rest the Psalmist King of Israel, together with the Patriarchs of the olden time. Here rest those Roman soldiers, who conquered Jerusalem and destroyed the Temple. Here sleep hundreds of those grim old Crusaders, who made these everlasting hills, quake with the shock of arms, as they thundered about their walls, and rained their powerful blows for the possession of the Sepulchre of their ascended Lord. Here sleep myriads of pious pilgrims, who in all ages have wandered here to lie down for the last time, with their dim eyes closing in death, gazing lingeringly upon the sacred precinct of Moriah. But among the immense army of the good, the brave and the true, whose bodies line these rugged hills, there rests no purer or better man, than the humble Christian and true Mason, Alfred Roberts. Of this "absent brother" may it not with truth be said that though "absent from the body he is present with the Lord. "
6th. Our Orator: He has this day given us the most satisfactory evidence of his skill in the use of the implements of the Craft. May we all profit by his teaching and example.
Music.--"Entered Apprentice Ode." By Bro. P. M. William Lum.
 It is to be regretted that the response of the orator of the day cannot be inserted here. In explanation of the omission, the following letter from him is given:
NEW YORK, March 12, 1862.
Gentlemen of the Committee of Arrangements:
I regret to say that it is impossible for me to recall the remarks made in response to the toast, on the evening of your Centennial.
What I said was unpremeditated until a few moments before I rose, and it has all gone from me as quickly as it came. I might write out a speech for you, it is true; but such a production would not be that which you desire. I am sorry that the case stands thus, but see no help for it now.
F. C. EWER.
Messrs. W. R. HIGBY, CHAUNCEY M. HATCH,
and JAMES L. GOULD, Com.
Not she with treacherous lips her Saviour stung;
Not she denied him with unholy tongue.
She, when apostles shrank, 'mid danger brave;
Last at the Cross, and earliest at the grave.
Music--"Stabat Mater." By the Band.
Several fine volunteer toasts were given; among which was one to
"Bro. Robert Burns, the World's Poet."
It was very happily responded to by Rev. Bro. Hopper, of the Baptist church. We regret we have not room for a sketch of his remarks.
The following ancient toast was read during the evening:
"To Him who all things understood;
To Him who furnished stone and wood;
To Him who shed his precious blood,
Fulfilling every duty:
To each birth-night and each birth-morn
When these great architects were born--
Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty.
 We conclude with the following extract, from one of our dm papers, in reference to the occasion:
"May another century as it rolls around and completes its course find St. John's Lodge as flourishing as now; and though none who participated in the celebration yesterday will live to see the next Centennial, may their memories live in their posterity, and at another Lodge of Sorrow may the "mourning then be not without hope.'"
To all and every our Worshipful and Loving Brethren, we, GEORGE HARRISON, Esq., Provincial Grand Master of the Most Ancient and Honorable Society of Free and Accepted Masons in the Province of New York, in America, send Greeting:
KNOW YE, That reposing especial trust and confidence in our Worshipful and well-beloved Brother ELEAZER HUBBELL, we do hereby designate, constitute and appoint him, the said Eleazer Hubbell, to be Master of the St. John's Lodge, in the County of Fairfield, and in the Colony of Connecticut, by virtue of the power and authority vested in at by a deputation, bearing date in London, the ninth day of June, A.D. one thousand seven hundred and fifty-three, from the Right Worshipful John Roby, Baron of Carysford, in the County of Wicklow, in the Kingdom of Ireland, the then Grand Master of England appointing us Provincial Grand Master of the Province of New York.
And we do also authorize the said Eleazer Hubbell to make Masons, as also to do and execute all and every such other acts and things appertaining to the said office as usually have and ought to be done and executed by other Masons. He taking especial care that the members of his said Lodge do observe, perform and keep the rules, orders, regulations and instructions contained in our Constitution, and their own particular By-Laws; together with all such other rules, orders, regulations and instructions as shall be given us; and paying out of the first money he shall receive for initiation fees, to the Treasurer of the Society for the time being, at New York, three pounds three shillings sterling, to be by him remitted to the Treasurer of the Grand Lodge at London.
Given under our hand and seal of Masonry in the Provincial Grand Lodge, at the City of New York, the twelfth day of February, Anno Domini 1762, and year of Masonry 5762.
Provincial Grand Master.
The following are the names of the Brethren who have been elected to the office of Worshipful Master in St. John's Lodge No. 3, from its organization until the present time: