PRINTED by ROBERTSONS, MILLS, AND HICKS.
THAT the Thanks of this LODGE be given to our Reverend Brother Doctor SEABURY, for his SERMON, delivered this Day, at St. PAUL'S Chapel, before this and the other LODGES of Free and Accepted ANCIENT MASONS, within the Vicinity of New-York, convened for the Celebration of the Festival of St. JOHN the Evangelist: And that Brothers JOSHUA WATSON, ARCHIBALD CUNNINGHAM, and JAMES CLARKE, be a Committee to request a Copy for the Press.
Extract from the Minutes,
To the Right Worshipful the Reverend WILLIAM WALTER, Provincial GRAND MASTER, and to the OFFICERS and BRETHREN of the GRAND and other LODGES of FREE and ACCEPTED ANCIENT MASONS, in NEW-YORK:
THE following SERMON, preached before them, and published at their Request, is most respectfully inscribed,
Affectionate Brother, and
Very humble Servant,
NEW-YORK, January 15, 1783.
Worthy and Honoured Friends and Brothers,
IT is with particular pleasure that I embrace the opportunity, which your kind invitation has given me, of addressing myself to you on this day; when the Members of your Society, in all parts of the world, meet together to recognize each other, and strengthen the bands of mutual love. Both as a minister of that Gospel which proclaimeth peace and good will to [7/8] mankind, and as one of the common brotherhood of men, I feel myself deeply interested in the honour, prosperity and happiness of every Society, whose object is the peace, order and welfare of the human species; and whose aim is the establishment and cultivation of unity, brotherly love and benevolence among its several branches.
I HAVE, therefore, chosen these words of the Holy Apostle which have been just read to you, for the subject of my discourse, as they will give me an opportunity of contributing my endeavours to promote the good purposes of your Society, and the true end of this day's solemnity; by explaining and enforcing the precepts and spirit of that Holy Religion which we profess, respecting brotherly love and benevolence.
 WHOEVER has studied this Religion, with that attention which its importance demands, will find that it furnishes mankind with the best philosophy, and most perfect institutions of life; containing not only the best system of moral duties that is extant, but, in truth, the only system that is really adapted to the nature and condition of man in this world; being exactly squared to his circumstances, and leveled to his capacity; laying the surest foundation for his happiness; tending to raise his powers and faculties to their highest perfection, to cement together the whole brotherhood of men, and build them p an office of love, supported by the two grand pillars of virtue and holiness, the light and strength of the world.
THE precepts of this Religion which enjoin love and charity, friendship and affection [9/10] among mankind, are very numerous; and are expressed in the strongest and plainest terms: And reason, as well as experience, evinces the necessity of these precepts, to procure and preserve the happiness of the human species.-Born in weakness and ignorance, entirely dependent upon the care and protection of others; how soon must man fall a prey to those numberless evils which surround him, did not the tenderness of love, and sympathy of affection prevent it? And as he grows up to more mature age, he still continues indebted to the same amiable principles for almost all his enjoyments. Bodily strength comes too late to protect him against injuries and accidents, and experience comes too late to point out the road to happiness. He must depend on the protection and instruction of others; and nothing but love and affection can excite others to afford this [10/11] protection, or give this instruction. And in his best estate, when bodily strength is perfected; when reason is come to maturity, and instruction and experience supply their utmost help, the greatest part of his happiness must arise from the affectionate and social tendencies of his nature.
MALICE and revenge and ill-nature carry their own punishment with them. They may, and probably will, vex and fret, and torment those persons against whom they are exerted: but they must torment the bosom that indulges them; and, while they prevail, render it incapable of any rational enjoyment. To have mentioned this matter is enough: It carries its own evidence along with it, and needs no elaborate proof to convince us of its truth. We know that ill-nature and malice make the subjects of them miserable in themselves, [11/12] and odious to all around them. And we know that the benign and social propensities of our nature give pleasure in the indulgence, and diffuse happiness wherever they are extended.
IN this view, then, as well as in all other views, the Christian Religion deserves our best regards. It teaches us to consider all mankind as one common brotherhood-the children of the same parent, and members of the same family-allied to each other by partaking of the same nature, and of the same necessities and infirmities: And it directs us to seek and promote their happiness by all the means that shall be in our power-to comfort the afflicted-to protect the weak-to relieve the oppressed-to support the indigent-to instruct the ignorant-to administer, in short, to the various necessities of mankind, as [12/13] God shall give us the ability and opportunity. It forbids all malevolent designs and intentions, as well as the open and avowed acts of malice; and it carries this principle of love and charity so high, as to require the forgiveness of injuries, and the suppression of even our just anger.
ALL the writers of the New Testament, however they may vary in the enumeration of the other virtues, and in the encomiums which they bestow upon them, are unanimous in giving this of brotherly-love the preference; making it pre-eminent in its station, in its influence and excellency above them all.
OUR Saviour declares that command of God, which enjoins us to love our neighbours as ourselves, to be equal to that great command which requires us to love [13/14] the Lord our God with all our hearts; and says, that on these two commandments, all the Law and the Prophets do hand: Thereby more than intimating to us, that the foundation of all moral precepts, lies in this love of God and man; and that nothing has any virtue or real excellency in it, but as it is deducible from, or may be referred to one or other of these principles.
ST. JAMES calls this law which commands the love of our neighbour, the Royal Law; thereby declaring its excellency and pre-eminence: And acquaints us that the whole train of social duties is completely fulfilled by fulfilling this law of loving our neighbours as ourselves.
ST. PAUL represents it as a debt which can never be paid, and declares, in expressions [14/15] similar to those of St. James, that the whole law, or obligation of duty, which one man owes to another, is fulfilled by observing this one saying, Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself. And in the conclusion of the epistle from which the text is taken, the strong sense he had of this duty returns upon his mind with such force, that he could not help mentioning it, though in very concise terms, Let brotherly love continue.
I HAVE thought it needless to take up your time in explaining what is meant by brotherly love. The feelings of your own hearts will do that better than the most elaborate description. Let us only remember that every man is our brother, being all the children of the same common parent, God Almighty, and the extent of the duty will be immediately perceived. [15/16] Only consider the common wants and necessities of this brotherhood-that their happiness can no otherwise be provided for, and the variety of evils to which they are exposed, no otherwise prevented than by loving one another, and the reasonableness of the duty will be clearly conspicuous. Only reflect, that to love one another-to delight in doing good to all-to cultivate the tender, benign and social propensities of our Creator, and the obligation to this duty will be strongly felt. Only recollect, that God hath declared him who hateth his brother to be a murderer, and that he must have his portion with apostate spirits-that HE himself is the essence of love; and that he who loves his brother resembles his Creator, and shall enjoy everlasting felicity with him, and the motives to the  practice of this duty will be too forcible for an ingenuous mind to resist.
HOW unhappy is it for the world that these considerations are not more attended to! How much of that misery which man endures, how many of those evils under which he constantly groans, might be prevented by cultivating this amiable, this divine quality! Look at the calamities tat overspread the earth-the evils of nature-sickness and accidents-storms and tempests-thunder and earthquakes, bear no proportion to those evils which the malevolent and baneful passions bring upon mankind. War alone hath done more mischief-hath destroyed more of the human race, than all of them together. How dreadful is the situation, when the brotherhood of men arm themselves for mutual destruction!
 AS far as war is necessary for the peace, order and security of nations-to give stability to government, and to enforce the laws of social life-to repel the bold aggressor, and humble the proud invader of the happiness of others; so far reason will justify, and the obligations of civil policy warrant its use.-Kings and Governors are the guardians of the rights and happiness of the people committed to their charge, and when other means fail, the sword must, in the present state of the world, vindicate their rights, and secure their happiness: This appears to be the undisguised dictate of nature.
BUT what apology shall we make for those who rush, needlessly and wantonly, into a state destructive of the human race; not to secure, but to confound the peace and order of the world; not to give stability to government, but to overturn it and [18/19] root up its foundation; not to vindicate the rights and ensure the happiness of men, but, regardless of both, pursuing the views of interest, or the dictates of ambition: May God give them repentance and a better mind!
TO mention this conduct is sufficient to expose its enormity; and I return with pleasure from such a theme, to the contemplation of that amiable quality of affection and benevolence, which first founded that brotherhood to which I have, this day, the honour of addressing myself; and which hath cemented it together, and built it up, an edifice of love, a temple of unity and concord. And may God bless and prosper all their endeavours to extend the blessings of peace, friendship and love through the heart!
YOU, my honoured friends, are engaged in cultivating that principle on which the [19/20] happiness of human nature must be built. The foundation was laid by God of nature, when he gave man those tender, social and benign feelings, which are his ornament and glory. To rear this fair fabrick to perfection-to finish it in beauty and splendor, was one end which the Son of God, the adorable Saviour of men, had in view, when he took our nature upon him: He went about doing good, cultivating the tender propensities of that nature which he had assumed, calling into action all the amities and charities of the human heart, enforcing them by his precepts, and confirming them by his example; making it the very mark and essential characteristic of his disciples, that they should love one another. To further this blessed disposition, and give its utmost efficacy, is your professed design: In this business you are workers together with God, [20/21] and fellow-labourers with Christ and his Apostles, and with all good men. Be not weary, then, in doing good, but let brotherly love continue, and abound in your whole conversation. Let truth and probity, affection and benevolence, distinguish your whole conduct, as men, as Christians, and as Masons.
THE evil propensities of wicked men will, it is true, rise up in opposition; and the malignant passions of human nature will counteract the benevolent design of your institution: But these, by their contrariety, will only add to the splendor of your glory, and make the virtue of your conduct the more conspicuous, while you strive earnestly to bring order and peace out of confusion and discord, and to make friendship and love triumphant over enmity and malice.
The prosperity of your Society will, I trust, be much promoted by the appointment [21/22] of a Grand-Master, and the establishment of a Grand-Lodge, in this city. As this was an institution much wanted to regulate and con-centre your beneficent views and exertions, I most heartily congratulate you on the success of your endeavours to accomplish so desireable an event. The character and qualifications of the Grand-Master are well known to you: His merit entitles him to your confidence; and you have every thing to expect from his ability and prudence. But, however great his exertions may be, there will remain much for others to do. Real worth alone will be attended with real honour and dignity: And it is prosperity of conduct only, that can give or secure respect and esteem to the Masonic fraternity.
ONE thing in particular requires your immediate attention. In order to reap the full [22/23] benefit of the institution of the Grand Lodge, some fund must be provided for its support. It has, therefore, been judged proper, that a voluntary contribution should be made, at this time, for that purpose. Every man's ability and disposition must direct him what to give. but when it is considered, that on this fund, there may be many future calls which benevolence and charity will excite you to relieve, I persuade myself, none will give grudgingly or of necessity, but with that chearful heart, which GOD loves and will ever regard. To his Grace and holy protection, I commend you. May he bless and prosper you in this world, and make you partakers of everlasting happiness in the world to come, through the mediation of his Son, JESUS CHRIST, our Saviour and Redeemer, AMEN.