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PREFACE.

THE public are informed, that the following pages were originally prepared in separate addresses, only to be exhibited before Masons. That the author had not the most distant idea of their ever appearing in print. Not that he thought some publication, of a similar nature, might not be exceedingly important; but that it should come from one better able to do justice to a subject of so much pub lic interest.

The sentiments contained in this little book, have been exhibited before the Grand Chapter of this state, and the most of them in the same language they are now found. The arrangement in chapters, was to throw the work into the form of a regular system. This course was, therefore, adopted as the , most proper.

At the annual meeting of the Grand Chapter in February, 1816, the idea was suggested of preparing for the press, several Masonic addresses, which had been exhibited before that honorable body. On mature deliberation, the measure was thought expedient, and therefore adopted. Relying on the better discernment of respectable and well informed brethren, the work has been submitted. It is, therefore, presented to the public, not for its elegance of composition, but for its truth. The primary object was, to give a plain, yet concise description of Speculative Free Masonry

Some few repetitions will be found to occur in language and sentiment, which are to be ascribed to the original preparation in distinct addresses. It is, however, sincerely hoped, some good may result to community. It is contidently believed, the bro.

therhood will take occasion to improve on those gere neral ideas suggested in the work.—That community in general, will be inclined to think favorably of our Institution. We mean not to deceive. We mean to state facts, in relation to Speculative FreeMasonry. We have no doubt, but what you find in these

pages, would accord with your own views and feelings on the subject, should you unite with our Society, and fully understand its principles. We think we are not deceived as to the nature of those important instructions derived from the Institution.We know we are not. They are plain, and according to the common acceptation entertained, of moral fitness not only by the wise and prudent and discerning, but the more humble capacity. As we are your neighbours and friends, we wish to be your brethren. To love and cherish you as such, and discharge all those mutual and reciprocal acts of friendship, which subsist between, and are binding on, members of this Society. We wish to be fellow helpers with you, in promoting the general happiness and well being of mankind. Our charity is more extensive. We wish the whole world might become brethren of one common family, and discharge all those acts of kindness, resulting from such a relation.

These are privileges peculiar to our profession, and we desire they may be commensurate with human wants. Many of those privileges are restricted to members of our own society. This, we think, cannot be wrong in itself. It is according to the very nature of things. It is precisely what exists in every associated body of men, formed for

any

laudaa ble purpose whatever. In such bodies we expect to find privileges peculiar to their own members.

Nothing is intended by this work, but a plain, unadorned statement of Masonic principles. Nothing is designed to be construed unfavorably, as to the

sacred scriptures, or the churches of Christ, or any religious denomination. Nothing is designed to reflect, either on community in general, or individuals of that community.

The plain truth is, we, as Masons, do believe in the high importance and utility of the Institution, and are not only willing, but desire that others should be informed, as far as consistent, what those benefits are.

If, therefore, the public are pleased with us as citizens, as neighbors, as friends and connexions, why not esteem us as Masons ? If we are wholesome citizens, good neighbors, honest merchants and mechanics, or wise and prudent statesmen, why may we not be good and honest Masons? If our opinions in other matters, are esteemed equally sound with other men's, why should we be disbelieved in our opinions of Masonry ? Let the inquiry be made, whether it is in any way probable, that all Masons should have been deceived. Let us exercise charity towards each other, and be assured, neither our happiness, nor our friendship, nor our interest will, in the least, suffer by it.

THE AUTHOR

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CONTENTS.

Page.

13

Preliminaries.

CHAPTER I.

The great Outlines of Speculative Free-Mason-

ry.

21

CHAPTER II.

The ultimate End of the Material Creation, to

subserve the Moral World. The proper Ob--
ject of human Association, and the Origin of
various Societies.

38

CHAPTER III.

General Nature and Design of the Masonic In-

stitution.-Summary of Duties.—Principles
in the abstract.

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Modern Free-Masonry, Speculative and Reli-

gious.

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