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need were, to bear his expenses home to his family. And not a few, yea, perhaps some who hear me, have experienced the beneficial results of such an institution.
Sixth. There is still another benefit which results to the family, rather than to the individual himself; I mean the allowance made to the widow, and the provision for her fatherless children. From the very nature of the case, this must depend upon the circumstances of the family, and consequently no determinate sum can be fixed upon. But there is, beside an allowance of thirty dollars at the time of the decease, a fund created especially for the relief of the indigent widow, and her dependent children. And many, many are the voices, throughout this wide domain, that are now sending forth notes of gratitude, for being thus rescued from suffering, and want, and the alms-house, and placed in situations where they may become a comfort to themselves and friends, and an honor to their country.
Thus, my friends, have I detailed to you, as briefly as I could, some of the benefits of this Institution, and some of the claims it has upon, or rather, I should say, some of the advantages it offers to our citizens, and especially the younger portion of them. And here I might leave my task. But my duty would be but partly discharged, did I not allude to a few of the objections made to the Society, and thus endeavor to remove some of the unfounded prejudices that may exist in the minds of some who are not members of the Order.
1. The first objection to which I shall allude, is, that it is a secret Society. This is true in one sense of the word, but not in the proper sense of the term. The existence of the Society is certainly not a secret, as its attendance here this day, and its operations from time to time, must show.Nor are the times and places of its meetings secret, as these are settled by the By-Laws, which all can have access to that desire, and are also frequently advertised in the papers. Nor are the objects of the Society secret, as these are detailed in the Constitution and By-Laws, and in hundreds of Discourses and Addresses in every part of the country. Nor are the names of the members, nor the names of the officers, secret, as the former appear frequently before you, wearing the badge of their membership, and the latter are annually published in the doings of the Society. What, then, is the extent of secrecy attaching to this Society? The existence and objects of the Society are known, its Constitution and By-Laws are public, the times and places of its meetings, and the names of its officers and members, are known. The only things, therefore, which are not known, are the mode of initiation, and the signs and tokens by which members recognize each other. And these are kept secret, simply because the security of the Order requires it. It must have some safeguard against imposition and fraud, and no other arrangement would answer the end so effectually, as this. The objections, therefore, against this Institution, as a secret Society are without foundation.
2. But, second, this objection often presents itself under a different form, and while it is granted that the view we have taken of the subject, is sustained by the testimony of all its members, still, it is claimed, that as they are members, and therefore interested, their testimony must be received with great allowance. To this principle no objection is made, but to the mode of its application we demur. The members all confess their interest
in this matter, and tell you just how, and how far, they are interested, and are quite willing you should make all due allowance. But the ground of complaint is, that men claiming to be candid and judicious, should, because the members are interested to a certain extent, pretend to believe, not, that they are incompetent witnesses, but that they are false witnesses; and that, although they have the assurance of the Constitution and ByLaws of the Society, and the unanimous declarations of multitudes of men of unimpeachable veracity, that it is most strictly a moral and benevolent Institution-men, I say, who pretend to believe, in direct contradiction of all this, that it is the reverse of what is pretended. Such persons we must regard as unreasonable in their opinions, as they are frequently abusive in their denunciations. They sin against the light and knowledge they have, or might have, and do their friends and neighbors the most cruel injustice. They deal with us precisely as the pagans of antiquity dealt with the primitive Christians.
3. A third objection that is sometimes made, is, that this Institution withdraws money from other benevolent objects, of a more general character, or having a more beneficial influence. To this we only reply,--the objection assumes that to be a fact, which we do not believe is true; one that never has been, and never can be proved. Besides, the duty of benevolence being constantly inculcated here at every step, the general principle must of necessity be benefitted.
4. Another objection is, that the funds of the Society are distributed only to its members. This is true in part, though not universally. But even when true, it results from our necessities, not our will. But is this a valid objection? Do not all mutual-aid associations do the same? Domen deposit money in a bank, unless they expect to receive it in return themselves? Now one may make a deposit of money in a bank, or he may join a mutual-aid society, that confines its operations to a single neighborhood or town; or he may get his life insured, or purchase an annuity thereon, and no one finds fault. Nay, men applaud his prudence. Why, then, may we not join a mutual-aid association, that is universal in its operations, and which inculcates brotherly love, and general benevolence along with it? If there are any preferences, they are in favor of the Order, whose claims we are now considering:
5. Another, and the last objection to which I shall allude, is, that it employs a large amount of time that ought to be devoted to something else. This objection may be true in some instances, though it is not so necessarily in any case. Indeed, there is no necessity that it ever should be true. But even were it true, to some extent, do not the benefits that may be derived, more than counterbalance the expenditure of time? Where can any good be obtained in this world, without expenditure? Who ever became rich without labor, or wise without study? Go visit the countingroom of the merchant, or the library of the student, and see whether they do not spend time, to gain their ends. Go the rounds of life; visit the clergyman's study, the lawyer's office, and follow the physician in his routine of duty, and see if any where in this world good can be procured without effort. If every thing else, then, costs time and money, can this Society be an exception? And is it reasonable to suppose that all the benefits we have enumerated, can be procured without labor and without cost? But it is said that it withdraws men from the bosoms of their families, and alienates the confidence of friends. That it takes the husband and the father from home occasionally, is true. But it never should do so, when he is needed there. It is one of the points upon which the members are charged at their initiation, that they are never to neglect their families or their business for the lodge room. If, therefore, any one does this, it is in violation of his duty as a member of this Society, as well as that of a husband or a father. Indeed, so well is the organization of this Society contrived, that it can never bring duty into conflict with duty.
So, also, if it ever alienates the confidence of friends, or sows the seeds of discord in families, it is because one is unreasonable, or another imprudent. This, I am aware, is a delicate, perhaps a difficult point. It is natural and proper that the wife should be the participant of all the husband's joys and sorrows, and the confidant of the husband's secrets; yet there are many things it is not proper for him to tell, even to his wife. That lawyer who should communicate the secrets of his clients, even to his wife, would violate the oath of his office. Or that physician, who should detail all the particulars of every case of all his patients, even to her, would be deemed unworthy the confidence of the public. And even there may be confessions made to the ear of a clergyman, by those who wish religious direction, or spiritual comfort and consolation, that it would be highly improper for him to mention to any one. So, too, it would be a violation of trust, for an agent or clerk to reveal to any one, under ordinary circumstances, the situation or condition of his employer's affairs.If, then, there are so many situations in life, where the wife does not expect to be made the confidant of facts within her husband's knowledge, because sound policy forbids it, may not sound policy also require of the husband, in this particular, that he shall not reveal to any one, not even to his wife, those things which the successful operation of the Society require should not be revealed? And is it not unreasonable to require that, in this instance, which would be yielded as a matter of course in a great variety of other cases? The wife knows, or may know, the object and principles of the Institution, the time, and object, and place of its meetings. Indeed, she may know all the husband knows, but the mode of initiation, and the tokens by which stranger members recognize each other -things which could be of no possible benefit to honest men, but which might enable rogues to practice fraud and imposition upon the Society.
The Society, be it remembered, is quite as much for the benefit of the wife and family, as for the husband himself. It is as much for her comfort, that her sick and suffering husband, and her darling little ones, should be provided for, as it is for his comfort to be attended to. And it is for her fatherless children, when the husband is cold in the grave, that the benefit and aid of the Institution are especially timely. It is then, that the voice of benevolence cheers her heart, and lightens her toil, and thus adds new sweetness and charms to the hum of voices about her.
But I will pause. Already I must have wearied your patience, and trespassed upon your good nature. But my apology must be my subject. It is no labored eulogy I have aimed to give you, but a plain, straight forward statement of facts and reasons, and I only ask that these may be candidly weighed, and impartially judged. The origin of this Society you know its objects and principles have been proclaimed its members are before you, known and seen of all who wish, and their acts in the face of the
world. Try these objects and principles by the most rigid rules of right, and by the highest and purest principles of benevolence, and if they stand the test, will you not say, as I may now say, EstO PERPETUA.
But I have a word of exhortation to the members of the Institution.And first, it becomes you to take heed to your ways, for you are watched. The fact that there is something not known to the public, causes many to watch you. Besides, the name of the Society is not calculated to commend it to popular favor. Men dread to be accounted odd; and many a man has fallen a victim to sin, rather than incur the suspicion of singularity. You are put, therefore, by your very name, upon your good behavior. See to it, then, that your life and conduct is in conformity with the principles you profess; so shall the world see, that your singularity consists in your “Friendship, Love, and Truth."
You owe it, too, to the Society of which you are a member, to do this. The principles you have been taught in its halls and lodge rooms, are those of the most inflexible virtue and the most expanded benevolence. It becomes you, then, as faithful members, to carry out those principles in your daily walk and conversation. Though you are bound more closely to the brethren than before, your duty to the rest of mankind is in no degree lessened. You owe them the same duties now as before, and are bound to them by the same ties as formerly. The tightening of one bond may not be permitted to loosen another. Nay, rather, it should bind us more closely to all. And what is done as a matter of right to one, should be done as a duty to all.
But, second, you owe it to God to do this. The principles upon which this Society are based, whether they have come down to us through a long line of unbroken tradition, or were copied immediately from His holy book, came originally from the same divine Being, and their obligation rests upon His Almighty word. We owe it, therefore, to Him, to carry out the principles of the Association. By these, the fall and sinfulness of man are set forth,—the punishment of sin and the rewards of virtue are presented, and men are reminded that their salvation comes alone from God. And your presence in this consecrated temple to-day, to offer the sacrifice of prayer and thanksgiving unto his Divine Majesty,—to confess your sins unto Him, and to pray for pardon and forgiveness,
are evidence of your acknowledgment of the truth of these principles. Remember, then, that
you are under an obligation higher, and holier, and weightier, than any bonds and ties that man can create, to obey the divine command. It was God that created and sustains us it was He that so framed all around us, that every thing should contribute to the happiness of a virtuous race of mortals. And it was He, too, when man had fallen from his high estate, that sent his Son to die, that we might live. And it was He, too, when sin had made this world a lazar-house for man—a charnel-house of all his hopes that raised, as it were, a portion of that veil which hides eternity from our view, and revealed to us the dreadful consequences of sin, and the glorious rewards of virtue. It was His word that enabled us to catch a glimpse of that gulf, which yawns in the pathway of our being,--that disclosed the fearful, rolling, fiery surges that lave the base of the precipice, over which we are every moment liable to plunge, -and it was that, too, that informed us of a celestial world, beyond and above, where gloom shall be exchanged for light, sorrow for joy, pain for happiness, hope for certain fruition, and
death itself for a life in the world to come. And though we are unable to do more than here and there to catch a glimpse, as from some distant mountain's top, and see here and there an opening glade, through the thick mists and murky clouds that hang around this lower world, these are sufficient to disclose to us a kingdom of most transcendent glories, and a world of indescribable beauty and grandeur.
Let me remind you, too, that these blessings must be secured here in this world of probation,—that now is the accepted time, dat now is the day of salvation. And surely I need not remind you how important it is, that it be done without delay. Though you may be now in the glory of your strength, though health may mantle on your brow, and vigor beat in every pulse, all before you is uncertain. Soon 't will be, that flash of fire, or wave of flood, or gripe of sword, or flight of dart, or ills of age, shall, in the twinkling of an eye, darken and destroy you. Then shall you lie down in the cold grave, silent and alone. Then no earthly brother's help can aught avail you. Then none but Him who made us sons of God, and who himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, can act a brother's part, or soothe a brother's woe. But if we put our trust in Him, even in that hour of conflict and dismay, we shall not want for a brother's aid.Though death may clasp the body, and conquer our clay, Jesus will bear our souls above, forever to dwell in the presence of Him, whose character is, and ever shall be, “FRIENDSHIP, Love, and Truth.”
THE LADY’S SLIPPER.
"Look, Harriet,” said Charles Percy to his sister, as he entered the room where she sat sewing, "see what a prize I have found."
“A lady's slipper. How odd to think of a lady losing her shoe." "Only see how small it is, and of what perfect shape."
“Yes, quite perfect. It was doubtless made by a great pains-taking shoemaker."
"That is nothing-don't you see it has been worn enough to become perfectly adapted to the foot?"
“So it has. Well, the owner must be a second Cinderella.”
"I wish," said he“ that I could get a sight of her face, that I might know if it is comparable with her foot."
"And what then?" "Why, I believe I should fall in love with her.” "I don't know how your wish can be gratified, unless you advertise the slipper.”
"That won't do. In the first place it is not worth advertising, and if it were, there is no lady who would choose to come forward to claim a lost shoe."