With a view to the discussion and settlement of this question, it becomes primarily necessary to assert what Masonry is. At the present day, among, all enlightened members of the Fraternity, it has two meanings, under the style of Operative and Speculative Masonry. By the former it is, under its synonym, Geometry, made to conduce to man's temporal wants by furnishing shelters from the weather, and by the appliances of architectural symmetry, varied by the taste and talents of succeeding generations, has imprinted its existence in every country and clime where civilization prevails, by those magnificent structures which are the pride and admiration of every nation.
By Speculative Masonry, we mean Virttie in its most extended sense, as taught by the daily exercise of Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth, and which compels or requires the initiated to subdue the passions, act upon the square, keep a tongue of good report, maintain secrecy and practice charity. It is so intimately interwoven with religion as to lay its professors under the strongest obligation to pay to the Deity that rational and heart-emanating homage which at once constitutes their duty and happiness. Reasoning, then, on these acknowledged data, it will not be necessary to detain the reader with a long account of the Origin of Masonry. Certain it is, and must be, that when the first man was formed in the image of God, the 2 Principles of Masonry, as a Divine gift from Heaven were stamped upon his heart by the Great Architect of the Universe. 
 With this explanation of what Masonry is, we may be permitted to add the beautiful description of its origin by that greatly learned and truly zealous Brother, William Preston, of the Lodge of Antiquity in London, who says: From the commencement of the world, we may trace the foundation of Masonry. Ever since symmetry began, and harmony displayed her charms, our Order has had a being. During many ages, and in many different countries, it has flourished. No art, no science preceded it. In the dark periods of antiquity, when literature was in a low state, and the rude manners of our forefathers withheld from them that knowledge we now so amply share, Masonry diffused its influence. Thus science unveiled, arts arose, civilization took place, and the progress of knowledge and philosophy gradually dispelling the gloom of ignorance and barbarism. Government being settled, authority was given to laws, and the assemblies of the Fraternity acquired the patronage of the great and the good, while the tenets of the profession diffused unbounded ability. "Abstracting from the pure pleasures which arise from friendship, so wisely constituted as that which subsists among Masons, and which it is scarcely possible that any circumstance or occurrence can erase.
Masonry is a science confined to no particular country, but extends over the whole terrestrial globe. Wherever arts flourish, there it flourishes too. Add to this, that by secret and inviolable signs, carefully preserved among the Fraternity, it becomes an universal language. Hence many advantages are gained: The distant Chinese, the wild Arab and the American Savage will embrace a brother Briton, and will know, that beside the common ties of humanity, there is still a stronger obligation to induce him to kind and friendly offices. The spirit of the fulminating priest will be tamed; and a m1ioral brother, though of a different persuasion, engage his esteem; for mutual toleration in religious opinions is one of the most distinguishing and valuable characteristics of the Craft.
As all religions teach morality, if a brother be found to act the part of a truly honest man, his private speculative opinions are left to God and himself. Thus, through the influence of Masonry, which  is reconcilable to the best policy, all those disputes which embitter life, and sourer the tempers of men, are avoided, while the common good, the general object, is zealously pursued. "From this view of our system,; its utility must be sufficiently obvious.
The universal principles of the art unite,
in one indissoluble bond of affection, men of the most opposite
tenets, of the most distant countries, and of the most contradictory
opinions, so that in every nation a Mason will find a friend,
and in every clime a home. Such is the nature of our institution,
that in the Lodge, union is cemented by sincere attachment, and
pleasure is reciprocally calumniated in the cheerful observance
of every obliging office. Virtue, the grand object in view, mutinous
as the meridian sun, shines refulgent on the mind, enlivens the
heart, and heightens cool approbation into warm sympathy and cordial
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