OUT OF THE PAST
The Speech of Count T---
At the Initiation of His Son into Masonry
I Congratulate you on your admission into the most ancient and perhaps the most respectable Society in the universe. To you the mysteries of Masonry are about to be revealed, and so bright a sun never shed its lustre on your eyes. In this awful moment, when prostrate at this holy altar, do you not shudder at every crime, and have you not confidence in every virtue? May this reflection inspire you with the noble sentiments; may you be penetrated with a religious abhorrence of every vice that degrades the dig nity of human nature; and may you feel the elevation of the soul which scorns a dishonourable action, and ever invites to the practice of piety and virtue!
These are the wishes of a father and a brother conjoined. Of you the greatest hopes are raised, let not our expectations be deceived. You are the son of a Mason who glories in the profession; and for your zeal and attachment, your silence and good conduct, your father has already pledged his honour.
You are now, as a member of this Illustrious Order, introduced a subject of a new country, whose extent is boundless. Pictures are open to your view, wherein true patriotism is exemplified in glaring colours, and a series of transactions recorded, which the rude hand of time can ever erase. The obligations which influenced the first Brutus and Manlius to sacrifice their children to the love of their country, are not more sacred than those which bind me to support the honour and reputation of this venerable Order.
This moment, my son, you owe to me a second birth; should your conduct in life correspond with the principles of Masonry, my remaining years will pass away with pleasure and satisfaction. Observe the great example of our ancient masters, peruse our history and our constitutions. The best, the most humane, the bravest, and most civilized of men have been our patrons. Though the vulgar are strangers to our words, the greatest geniuses have sprung from our Order. The most illustrious characters on earth have laid the foundation of their most amiable qualities in Masonry. The wisest of Princes planned our Institution, at raising a Temple to the eternal and Supreme Ruler of the Universe.
Swear, my son, that you will be a true and faithful Mason. Know from this moment that I centre the affection of a parent in the name of a brother and a friend. May your heart be susceptible of love and esteem, and may you burn with the same zeal your father possesses. Convince the world by your new alliance you are deserving our favours, and never forget the ties which bind you to honour and to justice. View not with indifference the extensive connections you have formed, but let universal Benevolence regulate your conduct. Exert your abilities in the service of your King and your Country, and deem the knowledge you have this day attained the happiest acquisition of your life.
Recall to memory the ceremony of your initiation; learn to bridle your tongue, and to govern your passions; and ere long you will have occasion to say "In becoming a Mason I truly became the Man; and while I breathe will never disgrace a jewel that kings may prize."
If I live, my son, to reap the fruits of this day's labour, my happiness will be complete. I will meet death without terror, close my eyes in peace, and expire, without a groan, in the arms of a virtuous and a worthy Freemason.