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coast of New-England, from the bosom of the great Empire State, from the waters of the rolling Delaware and the beautiful Ohio, from the palmettos of the South, from the wild-flowers of the Prairies, the jewelled representatives of innumerable Lodges have come here to-day, to lay their hands upon the starting-point of that triple chain, which is every day lengthening, but which binds them all in one. But this very increase involves a great peril, even that of estimating our prosperity from our numerical force, rather than from our genuine accumulation of truth and virtue. We must beware of hasty growth-we must select our members. Let us not crowd indiscriminately into our ranks, all who will join—let us plead with none for their companionship. Let us commend our institution to the wise and good by a practical exhibition of its principles-let us shew by our lives that these principles are so strict and pure, that vice can hope for no indulgence, and will be shamed by the contrast. Depend upon it, this alone will secure our permanent welfare, and that true popularity which even the good may desire. To this end let us not set much value upon the outward pomp of regalia, or the bravery of crowded ranks. Let us not seek to uphold our institution by loud laudations, but by legitimate acts—let us not plead for it so much with declamation, as with the beautiful fruits of practical benevolence. Woman, whose heartfelt approbation is the sure seal of worth, will bless the cause that so closely imitates her spontaneous mercy, and these orphan children, whose very appearance is a great oration, shall plead our claims more eloquently than a gift of tongues. The good and the wise who may oppose our form, will approbate our spirit, and in the day of hostility and the event of violent attack, our institution shall find advocates in the reason and the consciences of men, which will decide for the right, the good, and the true.
One more word of caution. Let us not cling to forms, if we have any which the light and the spirit of the age may require to be changed. The only innovation which is to be dreaded by us, is that which overlooks the great principle upon which our Order was founded, and fixes its essential value in certain ceremonials. Let us fear nothing so much as this mistake. The spirit of the Order, its deep, elevated sentiment, let that be watched and guided like the Parsee's flame, immovable and inextinguishable.
My BRETHREN OF MARYLAND:- I have now about completed in my own way the task with the performance of which you have honored me. I repeat I have not spoken so much for the Order, as to its members. The seed, humble as it is, I have scattered in good faith, and with a loving purpose, into hearts that will bear it to many portions of our land. I wished to say
what I have said, and I could not take a better occasion to do so. Brethren, I congratulate you— I participate in your joy at the completion of your truly beautiful work. It is an ornament to your city, so worthy of such an ornament. It will afford a beautiful shrine for principles, excellent enough for any shrine. I am glad that of all the orders of architecture, you have selected the venerable, the glorious Gothic. It is a rich memento of the past, the crowded past, so eloquent with its memories. Every part of it is pregnant with thrilling associations. Its pillars remind us of old worshippers who bowed in simple faith among the forest oaks. Its niches are hallowed with ideal forms of martyrs. Its draperies hang like consecrated banners that have led true men to deeds of noble daring. It is a wise act thus to select the beautiful forms of the past to enshrine the living spirit of the present. Let us ever thus unite and preserve all that is good in the changing ages. Let its outward shape commend to us that old stability and sturdy worth that lived even in ruder times. And as the morning-sunbeams stream through the gorgeous coloring of its windows, and meet and mingle within in softened hues, so let the active energies and the fervid excitements of life there blend in gentle influences of peace and love. And as you often gaze upon yon structure, remember this-that temple, beautiful and solid as it is, must moulder beneath the influence of slow decay. There is a cycle of years that shall run longer than the oldest pyramids. The hills themselves must perish. The granite ribs of earth shall crumble. All things material must pass away. But goodness, truth, love, these are imperishable, and shall outlast the morning-stars.
My Brethren, let it be our chief work to cherish the spirit of truth and love. This alone shall be triumphant and lasting. This alone is true power. The banded legions of carnal might shall break and failthe steel-girt hosts of violence shall be swept away, and their bones lie scattered like drifted snow. But truth and love shall never die. They may be drowned awhile in the babbling discord of sin and falsehood, but they alone are the oracles of eternity, and shall be heard at the last. The spirit of truth and love! This is the spirit of our Order. Let it have full sway in our hearts. This too is the spirit of the age-the spirit of victory -the spirit of human regeneration. I feel it moving all around me. I hear it in the murmuring of the storm, and the roar of the mighty forest -I hear it in "the clank of armor giving note of preparation”-in the sound of trumpets calling to the march. I hear it in watchwords from prayerful lips on the summit of the mountains—I hear it in thundershouts from the long, long host that sweeps below. Thrones shall crumble before it. Shackles shall fall. Humanity shall come up from its degradation and its bondage, in its coronation robes. And when the old ages have past-the iron ages—the ages of the sword, the gibbet, and the chain —the ages of sorrow and sin; a new age shall dawn upon the nations, and refresh the hearts of earth's weary millions. And that shall be an age of FRIENDSHIP, LOVE AND TRUTH.
Here may wise hearts, in counsel strong,
Devise the generous plan,
And raise the fallen man!
The Harvest-field is wide--
Not always may abide!
Want is abroad! on every hand
Behold the virtuous poor!
And weep before our door!
Her own thin garment draws,
She pleads her wretched cause!
From busy streets, from fireless homes,
From cellars damp and low,
Goes up a sound of wo!
And from the hoary-head,
"In pity, give us bread!"
We hear you, 0, re wretched throng,
Your cries are not in vain;
To bid you live again!
To God we bend the knee-
As you by us shali be!
All the ceremonies in the Park having been closed, the procession was again formed at about 3 o'clock, and proceeded in the same order through the route prescribed, forming in line on the south side of Baltimore street, the head resting on Gay street. The whole line then counter-marched, the orphans' car, preceded by the barouches containing the members of the Grand Lodge of the United States, the Education Committee, &c., taking the right, in which order the procession reached the Hall.
The open space in front of the Hall had been filled with an anxious multitude, composed of both males and females, waiting to witness the ceremonies, for several hours, and when the procession arrived the street in front, as well as a great distance on either side of the Hall presented one dense mass of human beings. From the embattlements in front of the building were suspended five American Flags, and around the entrance, and over the railing was erected a large stage, with a rostrum in front. The members of the different Encampments were seated on the left of the rostrum, and the choir which had discoursed such sweet music during the previous part of the ceremonies were seated on the right, whilst on the rostrum was the G. Master, D. G. Master, G. Secretary, Master of Ceremonies, the Orator, and the reverend brethren about to officiate on the occasion, &c., in the centre of whom was seated the P. G. Sire Thomas Wildey, the Father of Odd Fellowship. Every thing being arranged they proceeded with the
CEREMONY OF DEDICATION. The Master of Ceremonies now invited the M. W. G. Sire of the United States to perform the ceremony of Dedication.
The G. Sire by three distinct raps with his Gavil commanded the attention of the Brethren, and directed the Master of Ceremonies to proclaim the object of the convocation.
The Master of Ceremonies— Most Worthy Grand Sire, I assure you it affords me the greatest gratification, and I experience the highest pleasure in complying with your wishes. This assembly of Brothers of the I. 0. of 0. F. is especially convened by the authority of the Most Worthy Grand Master of Maryland, for the purpose of dedicating this Hall to the charitable and humane objects of Odd-Fellowship.
G. Sire replied, Master of Ceremony you will please accept my acknowledgment for having expressed my will and pleasure.
Dedicatory Prayer, by Rev. Brother A. Case, D. D. G. Sire of South Carolina, which was eloquent, fervent, and impressive.
The G. Sire-Hear, Hear all men, by authority and in the name of the Grand Lodge of I. 0. O. F. of the State of Maryland, I dedicate this Hall to the Grand purpose of Odd-Fellowship, to disseminate Friendship, Love and Truth, and to diffuse Benevolence and Charity in their fullest extent to all its worthy members; and by this solemn act I hereby declare it duly dedicated. Worthy M. C. you will cause this dedication to be proclaimed to the rising, meridian, and setting sun.
M. of C.-Brother Grand Herald in the East you will please proclaim the Dedication.
G. H.-I will, Right Worthy Master of Ceremonies.
Hear, Hear, Hear, all men, by the authority, and in the name of the. Grand Lodge of I. O. of O. F., of the State of Maryland, I pronounce this Hall dedicated to the Grand purposes of Odd Fellowship, to disseminate Friendship, Love and Truth, and to diffuse Benevolence and Charity in their fullest extent to all its worthy members, and by this solemn act I hereby declare it duly Dedicated.
G. H.-Assistant Herald of the South issue the proclamation to the Meridian Sun.
First Assistant Herald.—Hear, all men, by the authority of the M. W. Grand Sire I proclaim this Hall duly dedicated to the purposes of OddFellowship, and the promulgating of the principles of Benevolence and Charity.
G. 7.—Assistant Herald of the West, issue the proclamation to the Setting Sun.
Second Assistant Herald.—Hear all men, by the authority of the M. Worthy Grand Sire, I proclaim this Hall duly dedicated to the purposes of Odd Fellowship, and the promulgating of the principles of Benevolence and Charity.
G. H.-Most Worthy Grand Sire, the proclamation has gone forth to the rising, meridian and setting sun, that wherever light shines the principles of Odd-Fellowship may be made known.
G. Sire-Brother Grand Herald, you have my approbation for having expressed my will and pleasure.
G. Sire—(Holding a vessel of pure water in his hand in the act of pouring it out)—I do proclaim in the name of a Friendship as pure as this water, this Hall solemnly dedicated to the practice of that ennobling virtue, which, uniting men as brothers, teaches them to sustain that relation at all times each to the other. In the name of a Love that delights in listening to a tale of sorrow that it may relieve it—that exults in every opportunity to wipe the tear from the weeping eye, and is ever found armed in the defence and protection of the Widow and Orphan, this Hall solemnly consecrated. In the name of Truth, devoid of guile and hypocrisy, which inculcates sincerity and plain dealing, that communicable attribute of Deity which most exalts the character of man on earth, this Hall solemnly consecrated.
M. of C. then gave the Honors of the Order, which consisted of three solemn claps of the hand, in which all the brethren present participated, making the air ring with the sound—which was kept up by repeated clapping for some moments after.
The Grand Secretary then read the record of the Dedication, which being concluded, the M. of C. then invited the M. W. G. Master and officers of the Grand Lodge solemnly to attest the same.
The following song, written for the occasion, by Wm. D. Baker, Esq., of Philadelphia, was then sung by the choir:
AIR—Days of Absence.
On the breeze are floating by ;
Raise to Heaven their suppliant cry.
Widow'd mothers, sad and weary,
Labor for their children dear;
Who those lone ones' cries shall hear?
Closer to your bosoms, mothers,
Press the babes that nestle there;
Dear ones, they shall be our care.
Helpless orphans, all forsaken,
Trembling, beg the world for bread;
Have not where to lay their head.
They are ours to guard and cherish;
Ours to save from want and woe;