Masonry is an art useful and extensive. In every art there is a mystery,
which requires a progress of study and application to arrive at any degree
of perfection. Without much instruction, and more exercise, no man can be
skillful in any art; in like manner, without an assiduous application to
the carious subjects treated in the different lectures of masonry, no person
can be sufficiently acquainted with its true value.
From this remark it must not be inferred, that person who labour under the
disadvantage of a confined education, or whose sphere of life requires assiduous
attention to business or useful employment, are to be discouraged in the
endeavours to gain a knowledge of masonry. To qualify an individual to enjoy
the benefits of the society at large, or to partake of its privileges, it
is not absolutely necessary that he should be acquainted with all the intricate
parts of the science. These are only intended for persons who may have leisure
and opportunity to indulge such pursuits.
Some men may be more able than others, some more eminent, some more useful,
but all, in their different spheres, may prove advantageous to the community;
and our necessities, as well as our consciences, bind us to love one another.
To those, however, whose early years have been dedicated to literary pursuits,
or whose circumstances and situation in life render them independent, the
offices of a Lodge ought to be principally restricted. The industrious tradesman
proves himself a valuable member of society, and worthy of every honour that
we can confer; but the nature of every man's profession will not admit of
that leisure which is necessary to qualify him to become an expert Mason,
so as to discharge the official duties of a lodge with propriety. And it
must be admitted that those who accept offices and exercise authority in
a Lodge, ought to be men of superior prudence and genteel address, with all
the advantages of a tranquil, well cultivated mind, and retentive memory.
All men are not blessed with the same powers, nor have all men the same talents;
all men, therefore, are not equally qualified to govern. But he who wishes
to teach, must submit to learn; and no one is qualified to support the the
higher offices of a Lodge, until he has previously discharged the duties
of those which are subordinate, which require time and experience. All men
may rise by graduation, and merit and industry are the first steps to preferment.
Masonry is widely calculated to suit different ranks and degrees, as every
one, according to his station and ability, may be employed, and class with
his equal in every station. Founded upon the most, generous principles, no
disquietude appears among professor of the art; each class is happy in its
particular association, and when the whole meet in general convention, arrogance
and presumption appear not on the one hand, or diffidence and inability on
the other; but all unite in the same plan, to promote that endearing happiness
which constitutes the essence of civil society.