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ments; and among his correspondents were men of such eminence and talents as well repaid his endeavours to entertain them. One of these, as we have before mentioned, was the justly-celebrated Dr. Franklin, originally a printer like Mr. Strahan, and his fellow-workman in early life in a printing-house in London, whose friendship and correspondence he continued to enjoy, notwithstanding the difference of their sentiments in political matters, which often afforded pleasantry, but never mixed any thing acrimonious in their letters, One of the latest he received from his illustrious and venerable friend, contained a humorous allegory of the state of politics in Britain, drawn from the profession of Printing, of which, though the Doctor had quitted the exercise, he had not forgotten the terms.
There are stations of acquired greatness which make men proud to recal the lowness of that from which they rose. The native eminence of Franklin's mind was above concealing the humbleness of his origin. Those only who possess no intrinsic elevation are afraid to sully the honours to which accident has raised them, by the recollection of that obscurity whence they sprung.
Of this recollection Mr. Strahan was rather proud than ashamed; and we have heard those who were disposed to censure him, blame it as a kind of ostentation in which he was weak enough to indulge. But surely “ 'tis to consider too curiously, to consider it so." There is a kind of reputation which we may laudably desire, and justly enjoy; and he who is sincere enough to forego the pride of ancestry and of birth, may, without much imputation of vanity, assume the merit of his own elevation.
In that elevation, he neither triumphed over the inferiority of those he had left below him, nor forgot the equality in which they had formerly stood. Of their inferiority he did not even remind them, by the ostentation of grandeur, or the parade of wealth. In his house there was none of that saucy train, none of that state or finery, with which the illiberal delight to confound and to dazzle those who may have formerly seen them in less enviable circumstances.
No man was more mindful of, or more solicitous to oblige, the acquaintance
" For these reasons, I humbly apprehend that he would be a very able and useful member. And I will venture to say, the employment would not be disagreeable to him; and knowing, as I do, his strong affection to the King, his ability to serve him in that capacity, and the extreme ardour with which I am convinced he would engage in that service, I must repeat, that I wish most heartily to see him in the House.
“ If you think this worthy of attention, you will be pleased to take a conyenient opportunity of mentioning it to Lord North. if his Lordship should - happily approve of it, I shall have the satisfaction of having been, in some degree, the humble instrument of doing my country, in my opinion, a very essential service. I know your good-nature, and your zeal for the public welfare, will plead my excuse for giving you this trouble. I am, with the greatest respect, Sir, " Your most obedient and humble servant,
" WILLIAM STRAHAN,"
or companions of his early days. The advice which his experience, or the assistance which his purse could afford, he was ready to communicate; and at his table in London every gentleman found an easy introduction, and every old acquaintance a cordial welcome. This was not merely a virtue of hospitality, or a duty of benevolence with him ; he felt it warmly as a sentiment: and a paper in “ The MIRROR,” of which Mr. Strahan was the author (the Letter from London in No. 94.), was, we are persuaded, a genuine picture of his feelings on the recollection of those scenes in which his youth had been spent, and of those companions with which it had been as'sociated.
Such of his friends as still survive him will read the above short account of his life with interest and with pleasure. For others it may not be altogether devoid of entertainment or of use. Living in times not the purest in the English annals, he escaped unsullied through the artifices of trade, and the corruption of politics. In him a strong natural sagacity, improved by an extensive knowledge of the world, served only to render respectable his unaffected simplicity of manners, and to make his Christian philanthropy more discerning and useful. The uninterrupted health and happiness which accompanied him for half a century in the capital, proves honesty to be the best policy, temperance the greatest luxury, and the essential duties of life its most agreeable amusement. If among the middling and busy ranks of mankind these memoirs can afford an encouragement to the industry of those who are beginning to climb into life, or furnish a lesson of moderation to those who have attained its height; if to the
first it may recommend honest industry and sober diligence; if to the latter it may suggest the ties of ancient fellowship and early connection, which the pride of wealth or of station loses as much dig, nity as it foregoes satisfaction by refusing to acknowledge; if it shall cheer one hour of despondency or discontent to the young; if it shall save one frown of disdain or of refusal to the unfortunate; the higher and more refined class of our readers will forgive the familiarity of the example, and consider, that it is not from the biography of heroes or of statesmen that instances can be drawn to prompt the conduct of the bulk of mankind, or to excite the useful though less splendid virtues of private and domestic life *.
For the ground-work of these Memoirs, and particularly for the moral applications which they contain, our readers are indebted to the elegant pen of Mr. MACKENZIE, author of THE MAN OF FEELING, &c. &c. &c.
THE GRAND LODGE OF THE MOST ANCIENT AND HONOURABLE FRATERNITY) OF FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONS
ACCORDING TO THE OLD CONSTITUTIONS, At CAMBERWELL CHURCH, on Tuesday the 24th Day of June 1789,
being tbe Anniversary of the Festival of Sr. John the BAPTIST,
BY COLIN MILNE, LL. D.
[Reprinted in this Magazine by the obliging permission of its elegant
and learned Author.]
ROMANS xiv. ver. 16.
Let not your good be evil spoken of. TT has ever been the practice of vulgar ignorance to abuse what it
could not comprehend; to assert that there must be faults where it had not the sagacity to discover excellence; and, if united with bigotry and power, to persecute with virulence, and extirpate without mercy:
Proceedings of this kind, however much to be lamented, excite not our surprize; they are exactly such as our reasonings on the nature of the human mind give us the justest ground to expect; and the daily experience of the world confirms the expectation. But when characters of a superior description, men of elevated understanding, extensive information, and liberal sentiments, adopt a similar plan of conduct, our astonishment is called forth ; we are lost in suppositions and conjectures; nor can easily render consistent a manly and tolerating spirit in some matters, with a mean, contracted, intolerant disposition in others.
I am led to this observation, at present, by reflecting on the illiberal restrictions to which our Ancient and Royal Craft has been lately subjected on several parts of the Continent, from the mistaken policy and unfounded suspicions of a prince, not more illustrious by his extent of dominion and weight of influence, than respectable for the general soundness of his views, and the wise decorums of an enlarged mind. In the following discourse, therefore, as far as with propriety it may be done in a mixed assembly, I shall endeavour, both in behalf of our injured Brethren in the Austrian dominions, and in defence of the Order itself, which hath often been unjustly attacked, to refute the calumnies which have been bestowed upon it in abundance, by evinVol. IV.
cing, that, from the admirable purity of its principles, the Institution to which we have the honour to belong is not merely innocent, but truly laudable ; that it tends, in the directest manner, to inspire its professors with the noblest conceptions of God, to render them obedient subjects to the powers that be, and observant of every virtue which endears men to the community ; of fidelity and justice; of industry and temperance; of fortitude and patience; of hospitality, brotherly kindness, and charity; that, in fine, it is a structure not more venerable on account of its antiquity, than sacred by the purposes to which it is applied; a structure founded upon piety, supported by the human, divine, and social virtues, and equally distinguished for beauty, sublimity, and strength. I am sensible that, in the prosecution of such an argument, nothing can be advanced that is not already well known to my Brethren of the Order. The review, however, may be so far useful, as, by reminding my hearers of the excellence of our Constitutions and maxims, I afford them an opportunity of enquiring whether they be Masons, as too many are Christians, in name and in profession only, or in deed and in truth.
1. I set out with remarking, that much of the abuse which is levelled at our Order, has originated in that inviolable secresy which its Constitutions enjoin, and we pledge ourselves to observe. But not to mention the strength which the virtue of secresy habitually practised confessedly imparts to the mind, and the praise which in other matters the person possessed of this rare qualification universally obtains; we have to urge in our defence, that, if concealment be a fault, it is a fault the odium of which Masonry refuses not to incur, since it has the honour of sharing it with some of the wisest institutions of antiquity. At a time when the world was immersed in the profoundest ignorance, consequently enslaved by the grossest superstition, and so far from being disposed for relishing the sublime doctrines of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, had they been then revealed to mankind, that it could not even receive the more obvious truths of natural religion; the few who, in this state of general debasement, had the advantage of a superior understanding, and were prompted to the exertion of its powers by a contemplative and enquiring turn of mind, formed themselves into societies for the improvement and diffusion of natural, moral, and religious knowledge. The rules for the government of these societies, and especially for the admission of members, were of the strictest nature, and inviolably observed. No person of mean talents, low manners, or known profligacy, could obtain a suffrage. The prohibition was universal,
" Hence, far hence, Oye profane!” The candidate whose manners and natural abilities were approved, underwent certain preparatory austerities, performed certain initiatory rites, and, above all, bound himself in the strongest manner to perpetual secresy: The initiated, amongst other points of doctrine, were instructed in the unity and perfections of God, the beauty and moral fitness of virtue, the arguments which render probable an hereafter, and the conjectures of human reason respecting the mode of
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future punishment and reward. So much, however, was concealment affected, that even these truths, sublime and important as they are, though sometimes more clearly revealed *, were much oftener covered with the veil of symbol, hieroglyphic, and allegory. hearers as are conversant in these subjects will readily recollect, that all the wisdom and learning of the ancient Egyptians, for his preeminence in which, Moses, the Jewish legislator, is commemorated in Scripture t, were conveyed in this mysterious and emblematical manner. From Egypt, the cradle of the Arts, symbolical science, of which Masonry is a distinguished branch, passed first into Greece, probably by the medium of the founder of Athens I, who was a native of Egypt, and afterwards into Italy by that of Pythagoras ,
* It appears from authentic monuments, that several of the ancient nations, the Egyptians in particular, occasionally expressed themselves in the clearest terms on the subject of the unity of God, as well as of other doctrines of natural relia gion. Plutarch mentions the following inscription on an Egyptian temple : “I am all that has been, is, and ever shall be ; no man has ever raised up the “ veil with which I am covered.” And this on a statue of Isis still remains : “ To thee, who, being one, art all things." The following ancient verses of Orpheus were recited by the Hieropbantes at the opening of the Eleusinian Mysteries : “ Walk in the path of justice; worship the sole Master of the Universe; “he is One; he is singly by himself; to him all beings owe their existence; "he acts in them, and by them; he sees all, and never was seen by mortal
eyes.” Apuleius, too, has preserved part of the initiatory prayer used by the priestesses of Isis : “ The celestial powers serve thee, the infernal regions owe & thee submission; the universe revolves in thine hand; thy feet trample upon " Tartarus; the planets answer thy voice; the seasons return at thy command; “the elements obey thee.” Sentiments of a similar nature frequently occur in those very ancient works, the Shasta, Vedam, and Ezour-vedam of the Indians, and the Zend and Sadder of the Persians. † Acts vii. ver. 22.
The introduction of the Egyptian Theology into Greece is ascribed by some writers to Orpheus the Argonaut; by others, with more probability, to a native Egyptian of an earlier period. Such was Cecrops, who founded Athens, which, before its dedication' to Minerva, was called Cecropia from its founder. His removal from Egypt into Attica Sir Isaac Newton has placed in the twelfth century before Christ. Other Chronologers place that event much higher, in the year of the world 2448, and upwards of 1500 years before our vulgar æra.
§ Pythagoras, the Samian, who was contemporary with Confucius, the Chinese philosopher, and with the second Zerdhust, or Zoroaster, the celebrated legislator of the Persians, after travelling in pursuit of knowledge into Egypt, Phænicia, Chaldæa, and India, and teaching a considerable time in Greece, settled in that part of Italy which was called Magna Grecia, from the Greek colonies with which it abounded, and became founder of a school of philosophy, which is well known by the name of the Italic School. Pythagoras taught at Crotona, Meta. pontum, and Tarentum, and flourished in the sixth century before Christ. It was this philosopher who, contemplating the harmony, proportion, and design, which prevail in the universe, first gave it the name of Koopos, that is, Order. The Go den Verses of Pythagoras, though they contain the sum of his doctrine, are supposed to have been written, not by himself, but by Epicharmus or Empedocles, who were both his disciples. Diogenes Laertius, lamblichus, and Porphyry, who have each written the life of Pythagoras, with much useful information have intermixed a variety of absurdities and falsehoods. The two last in particular, being bitter enemies to the Christians, invented a thousand legendary tales, with a view of inagnifying their hero, aud depreciating the Founder of Christi,