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MASONIC SERVICE.

, ♦ The annual Masonic service m celebration of the festival of St John took _ place yes'erday arternoon, having been -^ postpo- ed from the previous Sunday on A acoouat of rain. The weather was again j unfavorable, and the attendance was <»■ small. Members of the Somenet, St John's, and Thistle Lodges met at the y Masonic Hall and weat iv prooeesion to A St Stephen's Church, where Rev E. A- „-; Scott, the incumbent, conducted a special ~ service, aud preached tho following a e'oquent sermon from Genesis I„ 1 and ■-'■*. 26: '"'•■: "In the beginning God created the ■' , heavens and tha eartb. -w And God said let us make man In 001 A likeness and after our Image." | Brethren acd members of the order of 1 Freemasons, I do not forget that m addressing you tbla afternoon, I am addressings composite bodyiSome of yoa are mem* bers of Christian Churches and love to re- " gard yourselves as personal followers of the _J Head of the Church, and as suoh look "^ , ufcon the Ohuroh as a brotherhood exaell* 1 ing In dignity and Importance all other Abrotherhoods and socle iea whatsoever. ' There are some who, while acknowledging the title of Christian, yet have never en tered into any olose personal relations wltb Juan i Chris . There are others perhaps who onoe o«Ued tbem elves Christians, - and whose vfowa have undergone so great a change as to allow tbem to call them** selves ao no longer. There are others probably whose birth and early training have never led them to embraoe %~en ln name the Christian faith. Io speaking to you I oannot free myself from the consciousness Whose 1 am or Whom I serve. You do not expeo*. me to do so ; yoa would very rightly despise me .';.? If I did. But at the same tfme I shall not forget the respect which Is due to opinions X - - wbioh may dfff .t from my own, uor takt I hopa undue advantage of ihe privilege which you have conferred upon me tn asking me to preaoh to you. On two firevlous oooaslons I baye endeavored to cad back your thoughts to some of tha ' leading first principles upon whioh your \ great order is founded. Both m Indlvli duals and In societies there is a. continual neoasaity for reform Unless there Is some power within us praising us forward we are ever liable to go baok- We forget our first principles. The husband Some* times forgets the resolutions' whioh he made when he first led his wife to the altar. The business, man. often loses sight of those prlnolplea of Integrity and honor which he determined to follow out when he first- launohad ' his vessel upon the sea of oommeroe. > The young man too often loses sight 1 of those guiding lights of purity and virtue whioh he determined should preserve his soul frea from the contaminating Influences of the world. Even so Societies of men ai they spin their history from year to year, are by the nature of the ease In danger of losing sight of the principles; npon whioh they are .baaed, aud of becoming mere' unions for sooUl Intercourse or self Interest, objects, not m themselves unworthy perhaps, bufyet .■■ far below the true Ideal, ... ; I. On previous cooablous then we have '..- considered together certain of your leading principles, especially those of love and loyalty and pity. But there is something behind and beneath these. There may be and often is a morality without faith io God. But morality stands upon Gsi and without faith m Him would • sooner or later fall to tbe ground. i Be thankful therefore that yonr order 1 teaches you the Importance of faith la God as tha groat Arohlteot of the Unlveraa. It Is on this theme that I a would speak this afternoon. M»y He, who is the Insplrer of the soul as well as the Builder of the body give me words of wisdom and truth. , And Indeed, my brethren, yon may ba \ doing a vast service to the world if you boldly bear witness to this f .lth ot yours 0 aud oppose iv every way yon cau tha, ? atheistic dootrlne of evolution.. I say^ 2 the Atheistic dootrlne of evolutlon/i fo| ' evolution is not of necessity a h >istf d*^ 2 Indeed the thought of God ss au Arab!-* 2 feet suggests evolution. The Aiohlq teat lays sura hla foncdatlon: npon 0 that foundation arise pillars, waits, J 0 arch s. Upon theaa pillars, walls and q arches are wrought carved work, palutlogi, n delioate traoery lv wood and stone. Step 5 by step th) building advances, untilyon _ g have the glorious cathedral or temple, g meet for the worshippers of the eteroeU 1 r But behind a'l this gradually progressing * 5 work is the master-mind of tha Arobl- < q teot. j There is nothing m evolution whtoh J need shook the faith of the most humble ] servant of God. Evolution, . says sj j ' powerful and spiritual Amerioan writer, " admits of d fferent definitions but itt . some form it olalms to preside over all fcientlfic thought. It bids us beware of . regarding existing things as if they weri ■■ straok into being by saoqesslve blows bf j creative power. It maintains that, so m far as things can be observed and events fl followed, they are continuous aod form J i one order. It direots ue to traoe every- ' where processes of unfolding and growth, It declares that the. world is the fruit of ages and not the manufacture of a day. It accepts nothing as ready-made, bat searches for the modes of production by whioh all things have oome to pass." We, as believers In God, who m the> J beginning created the heaven aod tha earth, castscora upon the theory that m th 1 beginning dead matter beoame endowed with potency and energy, and that \ there has resulted from this by a -'meohauioal evolution " the glorious world m which we live; yea and man, with ail his • powers of spirit and mind. Reason rebels against this, faith at onoe disowns it. > Beason and faith both assert that every effeot must have a sufficient cause ; that if 1 here is a creation there must be a creator; that if there is an evolution, there must be art evolver. If science Beems to show us, as it does, that the world oame to its' present state step by step, by slow processes, by gradual advancements, by laws of gtowth and unfold Ing and development, I bow my head and worship Him who has chosen thia method of creation. If there isa mastermind behind the cathedral, Is there not, with aH reverence be it spoken a muster- - mind, a master-builder, a m.Bter-arohittMflH behind the universe. Whether create|^^^H six literal days or gradually through vSHH ages, the Heavens - declare the glory <^^fl > God and the firmament showeth __^^k handi work, day unto day uttereth speej^^H . night unto night sheweth knowledg^Hß there ib no speech nor language wher^H their voice ia not h^ard. May we hav^H 1 peace that will .each us to say from ounH hearts; I believe In the Gieat Archlteot of^H the universe, or id language still finer and|H fuller, I believe m God tbe Father tbo maker of heaven and earth. fl 11. But can ho stop here I Having gone fl bo far can we paase and go no further , E Can we be content with a creator of H heaven and e_r<h. fl Be not deceived with high-sounding fl phrases. Unless you believe In something fl more than an Architect of the universe, I your faith Is well-nigh valueless. What a'beut human nature, about mast, about yourself and myself. Are we bnt a mere part of creation or Is there indeed a great boundary Hoe separating ns from all other created things. Is God's relation.,., ship to us just what it is to all else, otiP are we bound to Him by oloser and nearer tleß. Tbe distinction between the temple and ths worshipper In the temple is vast. * That Is tbe distinction between man anl tbe world. Listen to the eternal words ( God said let us make man In our image and after out likeness. Batween man and the rest of or.ation tbe Bible assarts there la a great gqlf fixed, ftim/PiijM m

V li Grest Archlteot pWd In man a counterpart, or at least a reflexion of the divine powers. The Creator of tbe world la tbe Father of man. HU relation to us is close and intimate, endowed with nature Incomparably above tbat of mere «■■-«•■. there are placed upon ua respouslblllt es of whioh they know nothing. If the great Creator has made us hfs sons, we owe Him our entire and whole obedience. Unless your faith embraces this, I fear It It vain and worthless, for it cannot Influence life. Masonry, as I UDderetand It, does embraoe this— You love to think of the Eye which not only looks upon oreation but sees into the heart and soul of man. As we have stood aide by side at the grave, your words as well as mine have commended the departed spirit to tbe safe keeping of God. But while you admit the glorious truth, we know that lv many quarters It is denied. Lat me try then and show tbat the Fatherhood of God Is witnessed to, not only lb revelation bat m our own Inner experience. • For does not our own experience baer witness to such a aonahlp aa tha Bible revests to os \ No doubt It does. There la for Instance a certain creative power In uiaa which seems ar<fl so tion of God's Man oan adapt things, he oan take the rough material and work it up Into whatever it may please him, he oan hand the meta's to his will, he can form Ideas, and carry them out In wood or Iron. Once more there li the faoulty of thought Man pooden, he asks questions, be demands the reason of things. He rtfl.otsespeotally npon himself, asking whence he oame and whither he is going. These powers at onoe betoken likeness to God, hla separa, tion from tha animals. One mysterious f_ouU> he posseses m particular—l mean ooneolenoe, tbe sense of duty, whioh under tbe h fiienoe of ihe Spirit of God becomes ln the words of Christ "The Hunger and Thirst after righteousness. Did you ever think what a strange thing that men ever should so hunger, yet there are suoh m ever assembly — men who are grieved when tbey fall, bowed down with «egret when they have done wrong, bitterly conscious of deflections from duty, and who. yet are ever rising up to follow onoe more the Ideal of life which ii before them. Conscience— tbe sense of duty — what a powerful Incentive It is <o noble notions, strooger than the motlvs of self Interest or of pnblio praise. It waß the sense of doty whlob won the Battle of Trafalgar. "England," said Nelson, •■ expects every man to do bis duty." How great and fair waa the life of tbe good Bir H. Lawrence —It was beoause tbe thought of duty was ever before bim. Plaoe on my tomb said he when fatally wounded at Lockuow " Here lies Heny Lawrenoe who tried to do bis doty." Who does not recognise the sense of duty; who does not know the voice of eonsolenoe 1 How it upbraids os j bow it warns ua ? How ie pronouuoea againtt this action or that — now almost audibly It condemns this business practice, this malicious or unkindly deed, this habit of self-indulgence or extravaganoe— now it whispers m onr ear ''This Is the path; walk ja lo it./ And when wo have transgreised 9 gainst the volee of eonsolenoe, oan r/e net almost desoribe our feelings-— We are guilty not only against man, but against One higher thaD man. •? Against thee, thee only have I sinned" said David, after ; the crime against Uriah. It Is perhaps more than anything _!.s the voice of conscience, the sense of duty, which Is the witnass to ua that God is not only the C/eator, the Archlteot of the universe, but alio the Father of man. HI. May I remind you that times with* outnumber we bave forfeited our sonship. We bave forfeited our right to it by gross and repeated disobedience. There la a abort word which Includes disobedience ln Its meaning. It is a word which belongs to the world. It is found m every language, and therefore expresses something whioh belongs to man as man Tbat word la sin — where there Is the sense of duty, there must be tbe sense of sin, for who oan deny that be bas times without number turned his baok on duty and chosen that which conscience condemned. Nor must I hesitate to say that sin needs forgiveness. All religions have felt that need. AU have sought for forgiveness. By sacrifices, often cruel and terrible they have blindly sought to propitiate an angry God. Listen to those words of tbe Christian Apostle St John. To some of you they will be full of deepest meaning; to some perhaps ihey *ill oonvey no meaning at all ; others may find In them matter worth pondering upon. — "If we say we have no sin we deceive oorselve* and tbe troth is not m ns. If we confess our sine he is faithful and just to forgive as our sins and to cleanse us from ail unrighteousness." .and now, my brethren, a lew words In jsonoluslon. Yoor order la world wide and powerful. It oontains many illustrious names. All classes are represented lv It. Prinoes and peers seek admission to Its ranks. It may be feared. In some quarters It may be denounced. But It Is not au order to be despised for Ita 1-flaence is great. And therefore its responsibility. Never, bre'h/en, give the enemy the opportunity of ebarging it with an unfair or onworthy osa of ita power. Beware lest partiality to* those within yonr ranks should lead you. to deal with scant justice to those oatslde- What power you bave nse with josttoe and mercy to all. Value powerless than the opportunities which power gives yon of benefitting mankind. Do not think over much of the personal benefits which aoerne to you through being members of tbe order. Endeavor to exert a pure moral influence. Be on the side of thrift aud economy. Frown down upon that extravagance and undue luxury which tend to undermine both tbe morality and the honesty of a nation. Seek to -hun vioes, #uch aa drunkenness, and gambling and impurity which are so rife among üb. Love those things whioh are tree and boseet and pure ond lovely and worthy the praise of man. Love them and live them, io shall your order be honored by God and respected by man. Nor need 1 say that the success of every •ooiety of men depends upon the individual consistency of each member. Endeavor then after personal goodness «nd holiness, keep a keen eye upon your own Uvea and a firm hand upon jour own passions. Above all remember the Creator who is also our Father. The Great Architect built the universe gradually, step by step, room by room, . ohamber by chamber aa it were, until he 1 gazed npon His completed work and behold it was very good. Let ub humbly pray Bim that he will do the flame by us, ' that He will gradually surge ua from all evil, gradual'y lead us into all, so that by the grsce of His tioly Spirit, we may from day to day add to faith virtue and to virtue knowledge, and to knowledge temperance, and to temperance patience, and to patience Godliueßs, and to Godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness charity. My ideal of life iB m Jesos C/irist, who claimed himself the Way, tbe Truth and the Life, I can express no higher wish for myself aud yon that we may each be guided into the likeness of Him, whom I conceive to have been the perfect image and likeness of the Father. In conolosion the preacher thanked the Freemasons for tha compliment paid him by making him for the third time their almoner. Their practical manifestations of pity .might furnish warmth, clolhiDg, and nourishment to some who badly needed them. The offertory amounted to about £6, whiah the Bey Mr Scott will dispense to tb* siok «nd needy. tpproprUtt bj»« were long duriog tho

a- ' ' ■ service, several members of tha • rdei oooupying .eats m tbe oboir. Bro H, A. Gates offi'-iated as organist.

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http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AG18890701.2.16

Bibliographic details

MASONIC SERVICE., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2162, 1 July 1889

Word Count
2,786

MASONIC SERVICE. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2162, 1 July 1889

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