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the practice of Virtue, not so much for its own sake, as in obedience to the divine command; and in humble imitation of Jesus Christ, whose beneficence was extended to his most obdurate enemies; and who has promised everlasting happiness to all who follow his pure and holy example. If then to your faith you add the virtues of a good life; if you do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with your God, you have a protection against the fear of death, which nothing earthly can remove or take away; for you have the promise of scripture, that in this case, your latter end shall be in peace.' Death is divested of his sting; and as your pulse advances to its dying throb, you will serenely await the awful moment when the soul takes wing into the boundless and unexplored expanse; and in silent meditation you will reflect, I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous judge shall give me at that dart
q Psalm xxxvii. 87. t 2 Timothy iv. 7, 8.
ON THE THREE PILLARS, WISDOM, STRENGTH, AND BEAUTY.
The emblematical foundation of a Mason's Lodge is, Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty. These three noble Pillars give it a stability which no exertion of art or ingenuity can subvert, no force can overthrow. They were thus named in. allusion to the perfection with which our system has been endowed by the Almighty Architect; because without Wisdom to contrive, Strength to support, and Beauty to adorn, no structure can be perfect. And this is illustrated by a reference to the most splendid and awful images which can be presented to the human mind. The universe is the temple of the Deity whom we serve; Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty are about his Throne as Pillars of his works; for his wisdom is infinite, his strength is omnipotence, and his beauty shines forth through all his creation in symmetry and order. He hath stretched forth the heavens as a canopy, the earth he hath planted as his footstool; he hath crowned this superb temple with stars as with a diadem, and in his hand he extendeth the power and the glory; the sun and moon are messengers of his will, and all his laws are concord.' This universal harmony of nature and nature's works, emblematical of the peace and unity which subsists in a Mason's Lodge, is produced from the union of those sublime qualities by which our fabric is supported, Wisdom, Strength, and Beauty.
The first Pillars used by the primitive inhabitants of the earth, were merely trunks of trees, placed upright on stones to elevate them above the damp, and covered at the top with a flat stone to keep off the rain. On these the roofs of their huts were placed, covered with reeds and plaistered with clay to resist the effects of tempestuous weather. From such simple elements sprang the noble Orders of Architecture. ,But Pillars were not confined to this use alone. In primitive times they were appropriated to the purpose of perpetuating remarkable events; and were erected as monuments of gratitude to divine Providence for favours conferred, or for dangers avoided. By the idolatrous race who first seceded from the true worship of God, Pillars were dedicated to the Host of Heaven. Of this nature were the Pillars set up by Hypsouranios, and Ousous to Fire and Air before the Flood, which were termed j3atrvAta.f Osiris set up Pillars in commemoration of his conquests, on which were hieroglyphical inscriptions, importing the degree of resistance made by the inhabitants of those countries which he subdued. The ancient kings of Egypt followed this example, and usually engraved records of their conquests, power, and magnificense, on obelisks or pillars.* Sesostris, in his military progress through the nations he had vanquished, erected pillars, on which hieroglyphical inscriptions were engraven, accompanied by certain emblematical devices, expressive of the bravery or pusillanimity of the conquered people, f And, if Proclus may be believed, all extraordinary events, singular transactions, and new inventions, were recorded by the Egyptians on stone pillars. Hiram, king of Tyre, according to Menander, dedicated a pillar of gold to Jupiter, on the grand junction he had formed between Eurichorus anjd Tyre.J
* Hutch. Sp. of Mas. p. 93. t Sanch. in Euseb. de prep. evan. 1. i. c. 10.
This custom was also in use amongst the descendants of Seth and Shem; who erected Pillars to the honour of the true God, the creator and preserver of all things. Enoch erected two Pillars, in order to transmit his knowledge to posterity, by inscriptions engraven on such materials as were calculated to resist the element by which the world was to be destroyed. The Pillar of Jacob atBethel,§ was constructed to commemorate his most extraordinary vision and covenant with God. On this pillar he poured oil, whence arose the custom amongst the heathen of consecrating their idols by anointing them with oil. A similar monument was erected by the same patriarch at Galeed, to perpetuate the treaty of amity with his uncle Laban;* by Joshua at Gilgal, on his miraculous passage over the river Jordan ;f and by Samuel, between Mizpeh and Shen, on a remarkable defeat of the Philistines. J Absalom erected a Pillar in honour of himself which, as we are told by modern travellers, remains to this day; but Dr. Lloyd says that the passers by throw stones at it in detestation of his memory. And Solomon set up two Pillars at the entrance of the Porch of the Temple, to remind the Jews of their dependance upon God for every thing they possessed; evidenced by their escape from Egypt, and their miraculous wandering and preservation in the wilderness for a period of forty years.
* Diod. Strabo. &c, t Diod. Sic. 1. i. c. 4. t Ios. con. Apion. $ Genesis xxviii. 18.
It is needless to add that commemorative Columns were used by every nation qf the world; and never with more propriety and effect than in our own country at the present day.
The particular Pillars which are the subject of this Lecture, are emblematical of three great masonic characters, whose united abilities rendered an essential service to true religion, by the construction of a primitive Temple, then first dedicated to
* Genesis xxxi. 45. t Joshua iv. 20. t 1 Samuel vii. 12.
§ 2 Samuel xviii. 18.