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An Oration


Colored Masonic Fraternity of California,
San Francisco, June 23, 1865.


Religion and science have been the great controlling elements of civilization
and social progress they have been coeval with the history of man.

These grand patrons of human improvement, have aimed constantly to secure
the highest advantages to man, for living comforts, convenience, power,
influence, and happiness, attainable individually or socially.

Wherever, and whenever, in man's history, he has been shut off from the
moulding influence of those two great pioneers of human progress, he has
been the subject of a savage or barbarous condition of life.

Religion and science have moulded the manners, customs, and habits of all
nations of the earth. These great co-workers God hath ordained for the grand
and sublime work of developing the nature, laws , and powers of MIND and
MATTER, as displayed in the attributes of God, man, our planet, and its
kindred spheres.

Religion secures the development of the human conscience, the formation of
moral character, social manners, and the acknowledgment, adoration, and love
of a Supreme Being.

Science, religion's twin sister, investigates and appropriates to man's use,
all laws, with their substantives, that are found to subserve him in his
material state of being.

Of human science, we mean simply man's acquaintance with any distinct system
of relative laws, that control mind or matter, that can be subordinated to
human agency, so as to secure, uniformly, any given desired effect.

Religion modifies and regulates human mind and matter. Science modifies and
subordinates matter, animate and inanimate. Jointly, those two great
agencies control mind, spirit, and matter.

It was religion that inspired first the element of affection in the soul of
our primogenitorwith the feelings of adoration, devotion, love , and
obedience to his Creator, while science taught him the principles of
distinction and classification, as demonstrated in the classification of
animate creation correspondent with given qualities. When sin divested our
Federal head of their robe of moral innocency, and exposed them to guilt and
shame, science vested them with the first covering to shelter their naked
bodies from ignominy.

In the first act of sacred worship by righteous Abel, religion taught the
order of ritual, and science built his altar. Thus religion and science have
been coeval in controling or directing man's highest spiritual and temporal
interests, providing for the soul and body. Though these two great agencies
of human improvement have laid the foundation for all human institutions,
yet they have themselves been the object of the fostering and protecting
care of institutions.

In the earlier periods of the history of human society, religion and science
were embraced in important institutions, connectedly, for their protecting
care. In modern times it is not generally so. Church creeds and
ecclesiastical governments foster and protect religion, and science has the
fostering care of scholastic institutions. The first order of institutions
alluded to as the early patrons of those great principles, religion and
science, were common among the most ancient nations, as Thracians,
Egyptians, Greeks, Romans , and Phonictans. Those institutions were
established and conducted in the form of mystic associations, which, under
different modifications, have been perpetuated to the present time, and in
their most modern and enlightened form, constitute the association we are
called upon to address on the present occasion.

In addressing the brethren of the fraternity this evening, we shall make,
first, some allusion to the history of the mystic order of associations:

The first of these were known among the Egyptians, titled in history the
Egyptian Mysteries. They consisted in two orders, or degrees conferred by
initiatory ceremonies. The institution was established and dedicated to the
god Osiris and goddess Isis, the great teachers of Egyptian religion, laws,
arts, and sciences, as held by them.

The second order, known to authentic history, was the Orphean Mysteries,
established among the ancient Thracians of Europe. This order was
established and dedicated to the god Orpheus, (the son of the Thracian
River). He, it was said, to have inspired them with divinity, music, and
poetry. This institution had several degrees, conferred by initiatory

The third order were the Eleusinian Mysteries, established among the ancient
Greeks dedicated to the goddess Ceres. This order had several degrees,
conferred by initiatory ceremonies, upon males, females, and children, with
great solemnity. It celebrated Ceres, annually, at Elusis, as the goddess
that taught them the art of agriculture the holy doctrine that purified
the heart, and that expelled ignorance from the mind.

The fourth order was the Dionyac Architects, established among the
Phoenicians, known in history, at Tyre, in the days of King Hiram, and in
the time of Solomon, king of Israel. They were a regular organized
association of builders, having initiatory ceremonies of a religious
character, and having secret signs by which they were known to each other.

A band of these workmen, of this mystic association, was employed by Solomon
in building the great temple at Jerusalem, being the most scientific workmen
then living.

The Fifth Order brings us down to modern accounts of these mystic orders to
A.D. 700. As known to history in different parts of Europe, the Masonic
Order , consisting of different architectural corporations, existing under
the same general regulations, but recognized under different names in
different countries.

Those architectural associations were similar in their general constitutions
to those of Ancient Tyre, showing that probably their elementary principals
of architect descended from the Ancient Phoenicians. Those Masonic
Fraternities of the seventh century were known by different names. In Italy
they were titled "The Colages of Architects" in France, "The Free
Corporations," or "The Pontificial Brotherhood" in England and in Scotland,
they were called "Free Masons," because of their exclusive privileges as
corporate builders and thus the name of Free Mason has, in an operative
sense, come down to us.

We learn from history that Athelstane, the King of England, being a great
friend to Masonry, granted them, in the beginning of the tenth century, a
charter to hold their general assemblies in York City, in England, where
they met as early as A.D. 925, and in their regulations they there adopted
the Gothic Constitutions.

Subsequent to this in the twelfth century, Free Masonry penetrated into
Scotland, and erected the famous Abbey of Kilwinnig, which became the cradle
of Free Masonry in Scotland.

In the thirteenth century they appeared in Germany. They held their first
general convention at Strasburg, where they were engaged in the erection of
its splendid cathedral. In imitation of their English brethren they here
took the name of Free Masons, and took the obligation of obedience to the
laws and regulations of the society.

In the sixteenth century Masonry commenced to change its phase or form, from
operative and speculative, to the single feature of speculative, and
admitting men of science and learning and religion, regardless of operative

In 1717 the active lodges in London, in England, united together, and formed
the Grand Lodge of England, establishing fully the order under the new form
of Speculative Masonry.

Masonry then becoming speculative, taking its new modification of Free and
Accepted Masons, embracing a system of symbolism, it commenced rapidly to
spread throughout the world. In 1725, under its new form, it was introduced
into France in 1729, into Ireland in 1731, into Holland, Spain, and
Russia and in 1733, into Boston, in America and during the same century
into Africa and Asia. Thus Free Masonry has been established 'throughout the
world. Thus we have a brief historical outline of its original establishment
and progressive changes.

2d. We wish to trace the original and present design of those mystic
institutions. We find invariably among those of the ancient order, from the
Egyptian mysteries, four thousand years ago, down to A.D. 1717, those
institutions had for their main and grand design uniformly the advancement
of civilization, in the cultivation of religious principle, science, art,
and social fraternity

The Egyptian mysteries required a person of strict observance of their moral
and religious code to be admitted to membership, while the initiated were
required to cultivate and practice the various arts and sciences then
commonly known.

Such, also, was the case with the Mystic Phoenician Fraternity, reckoned
among the secret orders of ancient institutions. They held their members to
the strictest observances of important religious rule they had established,
while the members had to have certain scientific and architectural
attainments, and to cultivate them and it is clearly established that a
like design, characterized the Masonic order from the seventh to the
seventeenth century, A.D., when Masonry was established entirely in its
speculative form, which give a new phase to its design, which gives Free
Masonry, as its present design, the following grand objects: The cultivation
of revealed religion and morality, intellectual improvements, fraternal
friendship, and human beneficence

Whenever and wherever Masons ignore either of those great principles, he is
either ignorant of the design of the institution, or has only his own
selfish ends accomplish. "Religion, wisdom, fraternity, and beneficence are
the pillars of Masonry. To effect either of these, is to shake the
foundation of the association. The Mason who indulges in intemperance, or
vanity, or vice of any kind, is any enemy of the worst kind to the
institution, and no man ought to be tolerated as a member of the order who
is guilty of those evils.

It is clearly shown in the history of the institution, that whenever it
suffered declension, it was by the corruption of its membership, and the
perversion of its true design. A true Mason will cultivate Religion,
Intelligence, Fraternity, and Beneficence . The Whole system of its symbols,
emblems, and mottoes, point to those great human elements whenever it
abandons these principles, its dissolution is certain.

Let us, brethren, guard against moral corruption, against false insinuation
and selfish designs, and keep to the old landmarks. Let us remember that
Speculative Masonry is to develop man's higher nature it is to check his
passions, govern his spirit, cultivate his heart, and model his life.

3d. We come to notice some of the eminent patrons of Masonry, whose memory
its history cherishes. Such illustrious waymarks at the renowned Hebrew,
MOSES, the great representative of the legal economy of revealed religion .
His divine selection, wonderful preservation, grand commission, gracious
instruction, extensive education, superior genius, and religious devotion,
holy life and sublime death, should challenge the admiration, and, as far as
possible, secure the example of all masons.

Let us next glance at the memory of the master of the princes of Israel
(Solomon), in wisdom, in wealth, in peaceful alliance with all nations of
the earth. When he held the sceptre of Judea, his culture of Religion,
Morality, Intelligence, Fraternal Friendship, Beneficence, made him a Grand
Master of Masons. Let his example in these things make his memory a
practical example in our lives.

Next, let us cast our mind upon the sacred history of the great prophet (as
the forerunner of the Prince of Peace) JOHN THE BAPTIST, whose memory we
celebrate this day. His holy mission, his devotion to it his humble life,
his temperate habits, religious integrity to death itself, and his faithful
preaching, divinely commended, ought to be the pride and practice of every

But let us glance at the Masonic celebrities of more modern times, whose
characters we should not only celebrate, but develop in our lives. The
illustrious Lafayette, the glorious Washingtonthe immortal Lincoln. These
high votaries of masonry have hung an imperishable halo of glory around the
Masonic principles that as is as immortal as divinity itself. At this
moment, the immortal Lincoln's spirit stands amid the glory of immortality,
as the spectacle of admiring angels, who pour the chants of freedom upon his
ravished ears.

Brethren, let our memories be immortalized by the history of a pure life,
and good and great deeds, that, those that live after us, may call us
blessed, as Christians and Masons that the angels that shall guard the
monument that shall point to our last pillow of rest, may, without a blush
point the pensive wanderer, to our holy virtues, as a fadeless epitaph that
we may join in the last chorus of life, and sing

"All hail to the morning
That bids us rejoice,
The Temple's completed,
Exalt high each voice.
"The cap-stone is finish'd,
Our labors are o'er
The sound of the gavel
Shall hail us no more."
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