Mr. M'Clure's Sermon, AT THE INSTALLATION OF THE Morning-Star Lodge.



BY DAVID M'CLURE, A. M. Minister of the first Church in East-Windsor.



TO Capt. REUBEN CHAMPION, the MASTER, and to the BRETHREN of the MORNING-STAR LODGE. This Discourse is respectfully inscribed, by The AUTHOR.


A Sermon, &c.

Respectable friends and Brethren,
INVITED by you to speak on this occasion, permit me to call your greateful contemplations to dwell a few moments on the majesty and goodness of the supreme Lord and Architect of the universe. The pious admiration, expressed by that wise and ancient monarch Solomon, the builder of the Temple, at the great­ness and condescention of Jehovah, will be the theme of my discourse.
I KINGS, viii. 27.But will God indeed dwell on the earth! Be­hold the heaven, and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee: how much less this house which I have builded?

THIS is a sentence of that devout and so­lemn prayer, which Solomon addressed to the God of Israel, at the dedication of that magnificent edifice the Temple. It was the will of God, that a house of prayer should be erected in Jerusalem, and that Solomon, the wisest and [Page 6] wealthiest monarch of the east, should build it, and that it should exceed in splendor, any thing that the world had seen.

"Solomon built him a house. Howbeit the Most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands, as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth my footstool." God is not confined to place or bounds. The house was intended for the worshippers of Jehovah, in which to meet and present their religious homage. The mag­nificence of the building, which was one of the wonders of the world, was designed by the pious builders to bear a faint resemblance of the glory of the Being worshipped there.

The model of the house was given from hea­ven, and Israelites and Tyrians were the work­men. Hiram, king of Tyre, sent his skilful arch­itects from Tyere and Sidon, to work with the builders of Israel. The materials were prepared beforehand. The cedars were fashioned on Leb­anon, and the stones and marble hewed and pol­ished at the quarries. They were brought to­gether, and the building arose without the noise of axes or hammers. Lively emblem of the church of the redeemed, made up of Jews and Gentiles; a glorious building resting on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ, the chief corner stone. They are here prepared by the grace of the Redeemer, the sanctification of ordinances and of afflictions, and the operation of the divine Spirit, fashioning them in the strength and beauty of holiness, for that temple in the Lord, in the peaceful world above, where no jarring noise is heard. And lively [Page 7] image also of the church on earth, when the peaceful and benevolent spirit of the religion of Jesus, shall universally reign.

At the completion of this noble edifice, king Solomon, at the head of the congregation of Is­rael, addressed God in a most solemn prayer, em­ploring his favorable presence, and beseeching him to bless his worshippers there. And God was pleased to give them a pledge of his gracious acceptance, by a glorious light shining in the temple, between the golden cherubims, and by a dazzling cloud inveloping the edifice. No pious souls sincerely seek the favour of God in vain. How great was the joy and holy wonder of the king and the people, at this manifestation of the divine favor? Solomon could scarcely realize the condescention; that the high and holy Being who inhabits eternity, should thus favorably regard the prayer of his people, and by this token of his gracious presence, dwell with men. But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold the heaven, and the heaven of heavens, cannot contain thee! how much less this house which I have builded?

Two thoughts especially, strike the mind, on reading this sublime passage, this pious exclama­tion of the royal preacher,—the majesty of God, and his kindness to men. I will humbly attempt to raise my own and your devout contemplations to these great subjects—the majesty and immensity of Jehovah, the builder of the universe, and cre­ator of the ends of the earth, and his wonderful goodness and condescention to the wants and affairs of men; and to make such application of the [Page 8] subject, as may correspond to the purposes of our present assembling.

Every pious mind is struck with admiration at the immensity of God. For there can be no part of the universe or infinite space, but God is present there.

Our thoughts are capable of forming only ve­ry scanty conceptions of the immensity or om­nipresence of God. On entering on this great subject, I feel my insufficiency and nothingness; but to pursue it as far as we are able, will exalt God in our thoughts and serve to give us suitable apprehensions of ourselves. For who by search­ing can find out the majesty of God, or his in­finite immensity to perfection? Our existence and knowledge are limited, and beyond certain bounds we cannot extend. And all creatures with whom we are acquainted, are also finite and limited; and in our conceptions of the universe, we are ready to imagine that there must be some end to the creation, or to extended space. And also in our thoughts on the existence of God, we are inclined to limit his presence, and to con­ceive that it is local and circumscribed. We are unable to grasp immensity and infinitude. Our capacity of thought is finite and bounded, and we are therefore lost and drowned in the di­vine immensity. Such is the imperfection and scantiness of our knowledge.

So far as our eyes can see over the earth, and up to the stary heavens, we behold the wonder­ful effects of the Creator's skill, his power and goodness. The stars appear small by reason of [Page 9] their immense distance. It would be many ages before the swiftest eagle could reach the nearest of them. This earth on which we dwell is great, but how small a spot is it compared to the whole creation? Numerous stars are seen by the eye, and by the help of glasses are seen, stars greatly beyond them; and each, probably a sun to inhabited worlds of rational creatures, revolving around them.

Should the soul disengaged from the body, fly with swiftness to those distant worlds of light, it would no doubt, there see other systems and worlds of light on all sides, appearing as stars in the vast fields of the universe. Should it ex­tend its journey for millions of ages, through interminable space, it would see, with increasing wonder, works on works of the creator. Or should it reach the end of the works of Crea­tion, if any end there be, to created systems and worlds, would find itself within the universe of God, sustained and upheld by his omnipre­sence. Beyond the utmost bounds of creation, there still remains an unbounded infinite space, the work of the Almighty. In attempting to reach the limit or the end, the thoughts are lost, weary and confounded. Such is this immense universe, and infinite extended space. And God is present in all parts and places therein. His essential presence is here and there, and beyond the utmost extent to which our thoughts can reach. He is, says one, as a circle, whole cen­ter is every where, and his circumference no where. Whither, O Lord, shall I go from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, lo, thou art [Page 10] there: if I take the wings of the morning, and fly with the swiftness of the rays of light to the utmost bounds of the creation, even there will thy hand sustain me, and thy immensity surround me.

This amazing universe, the temple and resi­dence of the Deity, was brought into existance by an act of his almighty will. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." He spake and it was done. Man can fashion some curious work when he has materials and tools to work with. But who except a Deity, can call from nothing into being? Who but God could stretch out the heavens as an immense cur­tain, adorned with countless worlds of light, and give them their admirable beauty and order!

Fond atheist, could a giddy dance,
Of atoms lawless hurl'd,
Produce so regular, so fair,
So harmoniz'd a world!
A God! a God! Creation shouts,
A God! each insect cries;
He moulded in his palm the earth,
And hung it in the skies.

From the works of creation, we infer the im­mensity and omnipresence of God. As unbounded space and the created universe have God for their author, his essence must be necessarily infinite and unbounded. If there were any place, where God is not, it would imply imperfection, because his existance would then be limited and his in­finitude abridged.

[Page 11] It is also inferred from the providence of God, and his conservation of all things. Without his presence in all parts of the universe, sustain­ing, upholding and governing all, all things would rush to ruin, and to their primitive no­thingness. All things are full of God. O won­derous knowledge! The immensity of Jehovah is high, we cannot attain unto it. "Thy great­ness, O Lord is unsearchable. Great and mar­vellous are thy works, Lord God almighty, sought out by all them, who have pleasure in them."

The majesty and immensity of God are per­fections which fill our minds with awful reve­rence and solemn fear. It is his goodness, his kindness and condescention to men which ren­der all his perfections amiable, and which en­courage us to approach this high and holy being, our glorious Maker, with humble confidence and filial love.

His condescention to the wants and the affairs of men, impressed the mind of the king and con­gregation of Israel with holy wonder, admiration and joy. Let the goodness and condescention of our God to us, sirs, his needy and offending creatures, now and all times deeply affect our minds, and irresistably and sweetly impel us, to love and serve him for ever. "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget his benefits, for his mercy endureth forever." An ocean of benevo­lence exists in God. The streams flow over all creation. His infinite and amiable goodness appears in the creation of the universe. It is seen on earth▪ in all the favourable circumstan­ces, [Page 12] in which creatures are placed to obtain the happiness of which they are capable. "The eyes of all, O Lord, wait upon thee, and thou satisfiest the desires of every living thing." What a vast family of living creatures, besides man, wait on God, and are fed and clothed from the store-house of his bounty?

Thus God's infinite kindness appears in the creation of beings to possess happiness, and also in their constant preservation. "In God we live and move and have our being." His pre­sence pervades our essence and by his constant care, the spirits are preserved before him, and the souls which he has made.

To every nation and individual, he leaves not himself without a witness of his goodness, in sending rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, and all the bounties of his providence, filling their hearts with food and gladness.

And tho' men misuse and abuse the bounties of heaven, and spurn at the hand that is liberally extended to give, yet the goodness and the mer­cy of God follow them, all the days of their mor­tal life. Time would fail, should we dwell on the delightful theme of the goodness and the love of God to men, and the one half would remain untold.

I shall only remind you brethren, of that cap­ital gift of God to men, the gift of his Son to re­deem us. This is such an expression of love in the Deity, as fills holy angels with admiration [Page 13] and joy. In this was manifested the love of God, that he sent his Son into the world to re­deem us. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that God loved us. Hear, O heavens, and be astonished, O earth, with joyful surprise, at this wonderful and divine condescention; and let the glory be given to the highest, that thro' the blessed Mediator, there is peace on earth, and good will to men.

The same divine philanthropy is seen in the Son of God, by whom the father made all worlds, and who as to his divine nature is one with him, and whom neither heaven, nor the heaven of heavens can contain. Yet, wondrous condescen­tion! Behold him coming to dwell on earth,—veiling his glories in mortality,—conversing with us as a man converses with his friend,—guiding us by his example, his precepts and his spirit, through the duties and dangers of life, and point­ing us to the mansions of eternal life, glory and felicity in heaven.

Having now taken a summary though very imperfect view, of the immensity of Jehovah, and his kindness and condescension to men, we will conclude with a few REFLECTIONS.

1. Great, sirs, is the duty and unspeakable the advantages of having our minds habitually im­pressed, with the consciousness of a present God. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, behold­ing the evil and the good. He is the constant witness and will be the righteous judge of all thoughts and actions, and before his supreme tri­bunal [Page 14] our spirits must appear, to receive an eter­nal retribution.

We are wholly dependant on God for our be­ing, and for all the favorable circumstances of our state of trial for eternity; and for all that good and happiness which our immortal spirits hope for throughout the endless periods of our exist­ance. To whom then should we seek principal­ly to approve ourselves, but to him, in whose fa­vor is our immortal life?

2. We hence infer the necessity of our recon­ciliation with God; and that we secure in this our state of trial for eternity, an interest in his love and favor. His displeasure is more dreadful than the terrors of death, and his smiles diffuse im­mortal joy. Here we are surrounded with ob­jects of sense, and see God only in his works; but when our disembodied spirits shall be usher­ed into the world of spirits, our thoughts will then be filled with the immensity of God. There we shall see him, face to face. All other objects will be in a manner lost to us, and God be all in all. What will then be the condition of the soul that finds itself alone with God? How dreadful the terrors of his displeasure whose frowns can make a hell of misery.

Let the solemn consideration powerfully res­train from all sin, and impel us to all duty. Let us cultivate an habitual sense of the presence of God with us every where. It will be the safest and happiest means of guarding us from evil—of restraining the sallies of intemperate passions—of mortifying our love of forbidden pleasures, [Page 15] and crucifying every lust. It will sweetly per­suade to the cultivation of a meek, holy, and heavenly temper and conversation; to be holy as God is holy, and merciful as our Father in heaven is merciful.

3. He is most safe and happy who loves and pleases God. There can be no true love to God without an habitual desire to please him in all things. And to what higher blessedness can the soul aspire, than the friendship of the immense and eternal Jehovah, the greatest and best of be­ings. Secure of this the soul is safe in every pos­sible condition. It is the only cordial and sup­port in the most adverse and trying scenes of life. When the wicked are driven away in judgment as chaff before the destroying tempest, God remembers the righteous and comforts them in the midst of trouble. His favor makes sweet amends for the loss of all things. "Although the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vines, the labor of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat, the flocks shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herein in the stalls, yet, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation." And when they pass through the valley of the shad­ows of death they fear no evil, for God is with them.

The friendship of God, is the only source of immortal life and joy, through all eternal ages. This constitutes the happiness of angels and pi­ous departed spirits. To them God is all in all. They are absorbed in the immensity of his love.

[Page 16] 4. Let pious souls look up to God, and trust in his almighty goodness. For to them, he gives the tokens of his special favor. He meets them in the ways of his institution. He answered the pious prayer of Solomon and the congregation, at the temple, in divine condescention and kind­ness. He honors the house of prayer, and meets the faithful with celestial blessings. Happy are all his faithful servants who worship him in his earthly temple! In due time they will be admit­ted to the heaven of heavens, the sanctuary on high, where they will need not the light of the fun, to enlighten them, "for the glory of the Lord doth enlighten it and the Lamb is the light thereof."

5. From the divine example illustrated by the subject, we infer, that condescention, kindness and brotherly love, towards our fellow men, are duties which as men and christians, we ought dai­ly to put in practice. Is Jehovah, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, good and kind to men? Let men be glad to imitate the great example. "If God hath thus loved us, then ought we to love one another." Cultivate and cherish, sirs, the benevolent and friendly affec­tions. Let the love of God, and of the Lord Jesus Christ reign in your heart, and ye cannot fail to love your neighbour as yourself. And actuated by this genuine principle of christian benevolence, you will present an offering accept­able to God and useful to men. For God is love, and this is his commandment that ye love one another, as brethren of one family and travellers to the immortal inheritence.

[Page 17] Gentlemen of this ancient and honourable Society,

UNDER the impression of the sublime and glorious truths, of which some faint sketches have now been offered, permit me to address to you a few thoughts.

As the most excellent creature on earth, it has pleased our merciful Creator, to make man capable of the communications, the profits and pleasures of society. There is in man the princi­ples of justice, truth and benevolence; and a sense of accountableness to God, as the powerful motive to every moral and social virtue. In him are found the humane and friendly affections, the faculty of reason and speech, and skill in numberless useful inventions and arts.

Without society these faculties and acquisitions would be useless and man most unhappy. You have entered into a society where the obligations are special. Every laudable society is formed to promote the good of its members and the public happiness. In the estimation of mankind a society is honorable in proportion to this tendency. May you, gentlemen, ever act up to the charitable and beneficent design of your institution. Ever re­member that there can be no true greatness of character without goodness.

The real antiquity of your society, is great. It was honoured in the ages of Chivalry. Kings princes and priests have enroled their names among the fraternity. It is much to the credit of your institution, that your laws exclude from your social retreats all opposing debates on the politics of government, and on different systems [Page 18] of religion; and that it opens its friendly bosom, to receive as brethren, the worthy of all nations, languages and denominations. Your society is dispersed over Europe and America and extends into Asia. Multitudes of the fraternity, whom misfortunes had reduced, have been comforted, fed and clothed by its charity. Funds are col­lected for this purpose.

In captivity and distress in foreign climes, your laws encourage you to expect relief from the charity of Masons; and demand of you the same return; and to forget the enemy in the brother. These things are good and profit­able to men.

Illustrious characters in civil and military de­partments in modern times, are also found in your fraternities. May you dignify your society by a laudable and worthy example in all respects, and in all duty to God, to mankind and to one another. Permit me to call to your grateful re­collection, that kind providence of God, which allows you, with undisturbed quietness, to pur­sue your labours in these peaceful regions, while the nations of Europe are convulsed with dreadful wars. Deus hec otia fecit. *

How gloomy is the prospect on the other side of the atlantic, where kingdoms are desolated?

And discord and war their borders fiercely range,
And shake the nations and their rulers change,
By land and sea, their utmost rage employ,
Nor heav'n repairs, so fast as men destroy.

[Page 19] Let us thank, love and obey our God, the God of our fathers, for his distinguished favors. And may his redeemed people of these states, ce­lebrate his goodness forever!

The badges of your order, are very significant and happily designed. Imitate, brethren, the Sun, one of the bright emblems of your order, in the diffusion of goodness and useful knowledge all around you. He shines upon the evil and the good, and scatters joy and gladness wherever his light and warmth come. Observe the shin­ing stars, their regular revolutions and steadi­ness in their orbits. Be like them constant and persevering in all useful labours.

May this new society, be as the bright morn­ing-star, arising in this western hemisphere, res­plendant in goodness!

Take the compass of propriety of behaviour, and the square of rectitude in all your conversa­tion, the plum-line and level of unshaken justice, the sword of fortitude in duty, and the trowel of diligence in business, and daub not with untem­pered morter; but be ambitious to excel in eve­ly noble and useful labor. Let all your life be uniform in virtue and goodness, and like a finish­ed and well proportioned edifice.

Bear the hod of patience in the necessary la­bors and sufferings of life, and ascend the ladder of honorable promotion, and may you be worthy of a feat in Solomon's chair. Solomon, whom we celebrate for wisdom, and whom you claim as the ancient patron of your order. And let the [Page 20] white and fair aprons, be the true emblems of your innocency and purity of character, and fi­delity in all business.

Like the hive of industrious bees, may you ga­ther stores of knowledge and virtue from the wide fields of nature and revelation, and the fruits of your labours benefit others as well as yourselves. And in all the social intercourse of life may the naked heart be truly descriptive of your sincerity and brotherly love. Let your whole life be as a noble edifice, supported by the four comely pillars of virtue, benevolence, friendship and truth. Let wisdom and integrity be the base, and charity the pinnacle, and strength and beau­ty will adorn the structure.

These emblematic figures, respected friends, calling you to virtue, and the wise and diligent improvement of life, as a state of preparation for eternity, receive additional force from the shroud and the coffin, which terminate all earthly scenes, and remind you of the shortness of your abode on earth. May your remembrance live as the sprig of evergreen, when the grass growing over your grave, shall wave to the whispering winds. May you flourish in immortal bloom, and your names be found written in the book of life.

While you meet for the purposes of your insti­tution, suffer the preacher to remind you of the fading nature of earthly friendships and all sublu­nary joys.

Death will speedily dissolve the social ties which combine fraternal societies, and before the su­preme [Page 21] Architect of the universe and Judge of all, must you appear, to give account of all your labors of life; when every secret thing will be brought into judgment, and the actors receive the recompence of reward either of approbation or condemnation. And with you, sirs, will be assembled the whole brotherhood of mankind the children of Adam. For that solemn and august assembly, let it be your daily solicitude to prepare.

And as you profess yourselves, speculative Ma­sons, may you indeed be operative and practical christians, and be found of your judge in peace. Use this world as not abusing it; remembering that the fashion, the phantastic parade and noise of life passes away, and will speedily leave you in the solitude and darkness of the grave. May you meet with acceptance, with all the faithful and the chosen, Amen.

I will conclude, in a word addressed to this whole assembly. My fellow mortals, we are here in the morning of our existance and begin­ing our character and labors, for eternity. Of what importance is it, that we begin well? And that our hearts and lives, and all our ways be ap­proved by that high and holy and immense Being, under whose constant inspection we are, and to whom we must go. Scenes of infinite moment, await us, when the curtain of time shall drop, and unbounded eternity open upon our astonish­ed minds. "Set your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth.

"The cloud-capt towers, the gorgeous pala­ces, [Page 22] and this great world itself," will pass away as a vision of the night. Let us prepare for that kingdom that shall never be moved; looking for and hastening to the coming of the day of God, that through redeeming grace, we may be re­ceived into those mansions of light and holiness on high, which the blessed Redeemer prepares for his loving and obedient disciples.

Now unto him that is able to build us up into an holy temple in the Lord, and to give us an in­heritence among all them that are sanctified, be ascribed salvation, dominion and glory, through­out all ages.




Tune, God save America.
HAIL, brother Masons, hail!
Let friendship long prevail,
And bind us fast,
May harmony and peace,
Our happiness encrease,
And friendship never cease,
While life doth last.
Sincerity and love,
Descendants from above,
Our minds employ▪
Morality our pride,
And truth our constant guide,
With us are close allied,
And form our joy.
We on a level meet,
And ev'ry brother greet,
Skill'd in our art.
And when our labour's past,
The glass around we'll tost,
Then on the square at last,
Let us depart.
May wisdom be our care,
And virtue form the square,
By which we live;
That we at last may join,
The heavenly Lodge sublime,
Where Masons, perfect shine,
With GOD above.

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