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erous freedom, and are filled with sublime impressions of Nature. But those efforts that make affection a cheat, and virtue a masque, and quench all pure and holy aspirations of the soul in the slime of sensuality, cannot live in the popular heart, and if they go down to future generations, will be transmitted because they are bound together with thoughts of genuine manliness, and energetic truth. How different this mockery from that delineation of the great Master of Fiction, which threw sun-light upon the dark heart of Mid-Lothian, and revealed to us, beneath the simple garb of a Scottish peasant girl, a virtue unbiased and incorruptible, that shrunk not from peril, that yielded not to affection, and shone as beautiful in the glitter of a court, as it did in its unsullied lustre amid the heather of its native home. We must feel assured that there is such a thing as Principle—that Virtue is absolute and everlasting. Else, nature itself reels beneath our feet, and all things become chaotic. Let the darkness envelope us, let the storm descend-so that the foundations of the universe are unmoved. As the thunder rolls down the sky, it may shake the very ground on which we stand. But the red glare of the lightning shall reveal to us the tall mountain peaks—the pillars of the earth-lifting their foreheads through the tempest and up to heaven, venerable and serene, as they did in the summer sun-shine, yesterday. Truth and Goodness are eternal, and he alone who writes for truth and goodness, shall have the eye and the heart of the people, through the ages.
And that Holy Book, that our infant minds are taught to read and that is clasped like a shield to the bosoms of the dying! Had it no Divine Sanctions, were it not impressed with super-human authority, it still would be cherished. No violence could rend it from its sanctuary, no sophistry could cheat us of its influence. It is so full of humanity-it is so pregnant with Truth-it is so intimate with our souls, in all their countless moods. By him who feels—who loves Principle and Virtue; even though he may disbelieve—the popularity of this Book will not be as. cribed to blind prejudice, or to thoughtless custom. The truths of Job are as undeniable as “the bands of Orion.” The emotions of the human heart can find no sweeter, or sublimer expression than the Poetry of David. Roman orator and Grecian poet, cannot chain the attention, or stir the soul, like him whom “ the common people heard gladly.”. Their themes are not so great-so full of mighty interest. The shivering oracles of Dodona are still, and the Sybil's leaves are shut forever; but the weary and sad, the bowed and the fearful, come spontaneously to drink the stream of Life that trickles down the Rock of Ages. Abana and Pharpar are not so fresh and sweet as that.
As with Literature, so is it with the deeds of individuals, or of communities, when we look back upon them in the light of history. It is Principle—the reputation of Truth and Goodness—that imparts renown to ordinary names, and makes of some common thing a cherished relic. It is because of this that the mention of certain men salutes the ear like a peal of music. How eloquent is yon voiceless shaft, if you only pronounce the name of Washington! Consecrated places of tħe earth, shrines of human pilgrimage, are significant because they are associated with some memory of true greatness. The wide field, the surf-beaten rock, the quaint fabric, the humble cottage, the simple grave—these become landmarks to the world, and glow in the mellow light of story, and are instinct with inspiration. We may pass them by as unnoticeable matters, but let us know the fact that here a martyr fell, that there testimony was borne for a mighty truth, that upon that spot a nation achieved its freedom, that yonder a good man was born, that beneath us some moral hero sleeps, and the object is quickly transformed to our eyes, and clothed with the grandeur of memorable recollection. Principle! —this gives to objects a different value, where the outward aspect may be the same. This constitutes the difference between the strand of Hastings and the rock of Plymouth-between the fields of Agincourt and Lexington. We look back, through the ages, to an armed group, watching by night in one of the rugged defiles of Greece. It is the evening preceding a memorable battle, and the star-light glimmers on a scanty cluster of spears, that stand there unmoving through the silent hours. Their foe awaits them, an ocean-host, that can overwhelm them with billows of steel. Dark treachery has woven its toils in their midst. An oracle has prophecied their certain death. Allies upon whom they relied have precipitately left them. Yet they are set to keep watch and ward for freedom-nor can any peril drive them back. They will die upon their shields. We know the issue. And it is not to the bloody extermination of that morrow -it is not to the crimson fight, it is not because of that sacrifice of men, “ rather crushed by numbers than slain by swords"—it is not to these, the desolation and the wo, that we render the homage of our admiration. But it is to the brave and uncompromising Principle. In this light that spirit, rude and stern as it was, which would not shrink from duty, rises to moral sublimity. Long above the graves of that devoted band, stood this memorial—"Go stranger, and tell the Spartans, that we obeyed the law-and lie here.” That memorial has crumbled into dust. Yet the principle to which it bore its testimony, has made Thermopyle a universal watch-word, and given to the undistinguished bones of those three hundred men, a name that cannot die.
Recently, I looked upon a production of one of our native artists“The Embarkation of the Pilgrims.” And as I gazed upon the beautiful delineation of the painter, my heart was thrilled with a presence loftier even than his triumphant art, but which that had re-created, and brought
Upon those faces that stood out from the canvass, in the softened light of devotion were mingled unbending courage and high resolve. There sat the feeble and devout matron, there knelt the old and pious minister, there reclined the demure child, there was uplifted the brow of beauty, there bent the iron man of war. But they were not as any other group. The presence of a mighty Principle was with themand every pictured form was eloquent. My spirit could have swept with them far over the broad sea, and caught their Psalms thundering above the howling storm, and heard their prayers amid the groaning pines," and the tread of their feet on the crackling ice, and the rustle of their garments in the winter blast, and could have seen their work amid the sifting snow, and felt how mighty is the truth that makes all circumstances royal whose feeblest missionaries are stronger than enrolled armies—whose uttered word thrills the world's deep heart like a trumpet—whose exilegraves become the foundations of unconquerable empires.
Nor would I forget your own cause for proud recollection. I would remember that here, by the waters of the rolling Chesapeake, there came
with your first colonists, into the primitive forests of your land, a noble spirit of christian freedom. Protestant as I am, I honor the principle that was manifested by a Catholic, a principle caught not from the peculiarities of any sect, but fresh from the lips of Christ. Here, the old bigotry of Europe was rebuked by the flourishing triumphs of peace and love-here, for the force of bloody proscription was substituted the mild charter of religious equality-and here, by practical demonstration, the world saw that the best security for the cherished faith of each is the recognition of the rights of conscience in all. And high as you may prize your growing city, sitting so queen-like above the waves—far as the white sails of your commerce may reach—successful as your industry may be, dauntless and generous as is your enterprise, you can have no nobler cause for pride, than that here was first practiced the great principle of Christian tolerance. And while I admire the names of Carver and Bradford, and Winslow and Standish-side by side with them, as also ennobled by principle-1 place the liberal and tolerant Calvert.
But we have quoted examples more than enough. It needs no illustration to convince you of the fact that principle—that truth and goodness —are alone esteemed; but the retrospection may serve to impress the fact upon you. I know that men often admire deeds that are blended with much evil, and characters that are even stained with crime. In the glory of some dazzling success—in the splendor of some intellectual achievement-we may forget the smoking ruin, and the gory slaughter, and the violated affections that follow the one, or the moral poison that lurks beneath the other. In the antique grandeur of some institutionin its association with venerable memories, we may overlook its noxious errors, and its abuse of power. And some may think that I should qualify my statement, by saying that there is the emotion of mere taste-that which we devote to the beautiful, abstracted from all other considerations. But I see no solid reason for such a qualification. I have been speaking of those things which are permanently cherished in the affections, and approved by the consciences of men. I alluded to the mistakes and the sycophancies of the hour, and then went on to speak of those themes that stand for universal and perpetual admiration. And these, I say, only do thus stand, because they have in them an element of truth and goodness -because they are based on principle. Nor is the admiration which men give to the victor in his triumphant career-or to genius in its mid-day splendor—or to the institution overgrown with the excresences of error nor is this admiration indiscriminate. The mind selects the object of its admiration. There is something even there, that abstracted from surrounding circumstances, is good and true, and this and this alone is respected—else it would not be respected. The evil in it is not approved, if it becomes wholly evil and useless, it will be cherished no longer, it will perish from the hearts of the race. As to the abstract beautiful which men admire and cherish for ages in works of art, if it is a mere object of taste, of course it comes not within the scope of those deeds and institutions, that have relation to the affections and are under the jurisdiction of conscience. But there is nothing truly beautiful that is not good. Poetry, although it may draw its aliment from debasing and sensual objects, cannot rise into its legitimate atmosphere, and exert its proper influence, until it etherealizes its subject, and extracts some good from its evil. The
sculptor may carve some group of wickedness; but if his work aspires to a triumph, it always elevates us by its tremendous moral. No people ever cherished in their romances the memory of a wicked man-no poet ever found delight in celebrating vice and crime, but in portraying manly virtues and noble deeds. The numbers that the bards struck from their ringing chords, numbers that spoke of martial deeds and war, did not stir the Norseman's soul by their association with slaughter and violence, but by their suggestions of generous heroism and devoted patriotism. Nothing, then, can be permanently esteemed—or truly cherished—that is not based on principle, on right, and good, and true principle. And even if my theory be false--even if the good is not permanently admired by men, even if virtue is often rejected unto the end—even if evil preserves its usurped dominion; this at least is true, that nothing is of real worth but principle-nothing is truly admired by good men, or approved of God, but that. The bad man carries with him the bitterness of his deeds, under all the shows of outward honor—the nation, the institution, that stands upon falsehood, or is but a mere form, encloses the seeds of dissolution, and with all its glittering trophies of pride and wealth and power, with all its boasted claims, must decline, and fall, and pass away.
I have dwelt long upon this general topic—too long it may be; yet in the conclusion which I shall now proceed to draw from it, it will, I trust, be found appropriate to the present occasion. In saying what I have said this day, my brethren of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, I have endeavored to speak to you, rather than for you. There is a time when every cause needs earnest defence, frequent exposition, and labored argument. I do not say that that time has gone by with our fraternity. Indeed, in many sections of our country, I know that it has not gone by; but that the bitterest prejudice exists in regard to it, and the curiosity which it excites is often as malignant as it is active. Yet these defensive efforts have been so frequently and so ably made, and are so accessible to the popular eye, that I have thought best to select another phase of the subject. In the history of every cause, it is likewise the case, that it arrives at a certain point when its danger is greater from internal errors, than from outward attacks; and the dominion which has been acquired by victorious conquest, needs to be administered by prudence, wisdom, and a liberal insight into its true ends and interests. I think that time has arrived, or is about arriving with us. And upon this point I would speak a word of caution, and bring the important truth that I have this day advocated, to bear. That truth is the supremacy of principle—the infinite value of the spirit of a cause above all its modes of organization, or its forms of action. And what is the great truth upon which we have based our institution? The truth of man's fraternity—and hence the obligation to fair-dealing, to watchful sympathy, and to the broadest benevolence. And this is the principle upon which we shall stand. We cannot fall, so long as we chiefly cling to that, and act upon it. Let the days of adversity lower around us—let the waves of popular prejudice beat against our walls—let the hand of reckless treachery tear aside the veils of our sanctuary-and let the world see what it is that we enshrine, and watch over. I shall not be ashamed of it, if we only keep it bright and pure. It is the flame of universal philanthropy. Yes, all things should be made subservient to the welfare and the efficacy of our sentiment. We may bring the decorations of taste, the beauty of art, the solemnity of mystery, the awe of secrecy, and entwine them as the embossed workor mould them as the gorgeous setting of our principles; but they are not the principles themselves. These principles are not external things, they are not forms, they are not mysteries ; they are simply-Friendship, Love and Truth. I declare to you, that if this institution acted upon no deeper foundation than secrecy-if it consisted only of certain tokens, of peculiar ceremonies, and of progressive degrees—however apt and beautiful these might be- I would abandon it, as hollow uselessness, or shallow nonsense. For, without a central truth, without a practical application, it would have no significance, and no cause for being. With this fact before us, suffer me briefly to suggest two or three things as a fitting echo to the last stroke of labor which this day completes yon beautiful edifice.
In the first place, let each of my brethren realise, what it is to be a true Odd-Fellow. "It is not merely to enter the Order, to pass through the degrees, to be prompt at Lodge meetings, to understand its work, or to become efficient in its legislative or pecuniary interests. These are well enough, and to those who would be useful in certain capacities, indispensable. Nor, again, is he of necessity a true Odd-Fellow who is loud in his praises of the institution, who is zealous in its defence, and who makes it the constant theme of his conversation. Indeed, I conceive that one may run to excess in this matter, and breed disgust, by the pertinacity with which he bends every subject to this single idea. There are other matters to be seen to beside those of Odd-Fellowship, and he is not true to the principles of which he boasts, who does not diligently attend to those other matters. There are many circumstances under which it is not at all necessary that the world should know that a man is an Odd Fellow. Let every thing have its place, and let Odd-Fellowship be carried out in the right way. Above all, he is not the true Odd-Fellow who confines his charities and sympathies to members of the Order. This practice would at once declare the institution to be a system of mere selfishness. But the true Odd-Fellow is he who imbibes the spirit that lies below all the forms and ceremonies of his Lodge-room-who detects the important principle, and adheres to that. Who goes forth with a fraternal sympathy into the world—and pursues with all, the great rule of doing as he would have all men do to him. Such a man needs no regalia. He will shine in crowds. He requires no pictured symbol of hand and heart. He uses his own. Let him diligently study to know the meaning of the mystic emblems that blaze around him. But let him not stop with a mere achievement of memory. Let all these emblems be interpreted in his one honest, faithful, loving life.
Again :-let us diligently labor for the true welfare of the Order. OddFellowship has grown with unexampled rapidity. It is represented in every quarter of the Union. Members are pressing into it from the right hand and the left. And it must be a glad sight to him who sits here today, with the proud title of the Founder of Odd Fellowship in America, it must be a glad sight for him to look back and mark the difference between the laying of the corner stone, and the noble temple that has risen thereon. Banners inscribed with his name, are floating on the breeze. Wide-spread thousands are asserting those principles " which nobody can deny.” From the consecrated soil of Virginia, from the rock-bound