« PreviousContinue »
another Cincinnatus (Titus Quintius) in the three hundred and seventy-fifth year of Rome (Liv. VI. 28, 29.) who followed the example of the former. At that period, when the private dissentions of the citizens raged with such violence, as superseded all attention to the public safety; the Prænestines, seizing the favourable opportunity, invaded the Roman territory; and, laying all waste before them, advanced to the Colline Gate, threatening the immediate destruction of the city. In this dreadful crisis, the second Cincinnatus, who had been one of the military tribunes, was called forth to the high office of Dictator. Such was the veneration of his character among his fellow citizens, and the dread of it among their enemies; that the voice of dissention immediately ceased among the former, and the latter fled with precipitation from the walls. He pursued and reduced them to peace, having first taken all their cities (nine in number) including Præneste itself; carrying back from thence in triumph the statue of Jupiter, which, as a monument of his virtues, was erected in the capitol, with the following inscription upon its pedestal, viz.
“ Jupiter atque divi omnes hoc dederunt, ut T. Quintius dictator oppida novem caperet."
But it was neither this monument of his country's gratitude, nor the exploits for which it was dedicated, that could have secured to him his principal eminence of renown. The monument hath yielded to the waste of years or barbaric rage; and his fame, as well as that of the elder Cincinnatus, would now, at most, have only been blended with theirs, who, for the sake of their country, have magnanimously subdued others; if each of them had not exhibited a more illustrious proof of magnanimity by subduing himself. For, although they might severally have held the Dictatorship six months, and thereby advanced their own fortune, their friends and dependents; yet having attained the glorious end for which they were invested with it, the former, as already mentioned, abdicated the same the sixteenth, and the latter the twentieth day; both retiring self-satisfied, amidst the applauses of their country, to enjoy the calm repose of private life.
The eloquent and judicious Rollin, speaking of the elder Cincinnatus, makes the following beautiful reflections: “ Me" thinks I see Poverty enter Rome in triumph with him. It * appears indeed clothed with purple, and with a pompous « equipage; but does not derive its lustre from them. It rather " adorns that pomp, and exalts the splendour of the purple. “ The Dictator will soon return to his field and his labour; but “ he will be neither less great nor less venerable, in his hum“ble poor cottage, than he is now upon his car of victory. “ What force, what power has Virtue! It lends its lustre to all “ that surrounds it, and imparts to every thing an irradiation of “ Glory and magnificence-Amidst the highest praises and “ blessings, the object of universal love and admiration, Quin“tius divested himself of the purple, and made haste to return " to his Oxen and his Plough-Is there any thing wanting to “ the glory of Quintius? Can the greatest riches*, the most su
perb palaces, the most sumptuous equipage, dispute pre-emi“ nence with the poor thatch and rustic furniture of our illus“ trious Husbandman! Do they leave behind them in the minds “ of those that behold them, the same sentiments, as the sim“ple relation of what regards Cincinnatus gives the reader? “ Can one, however prejudiced in favour of vanity and glare, 6 deny him esteem and admiration? There is then something “ truly great and noble in the character of this Roman. What “ a happiness is it for a State, a Province, a City, when they who “ have the administration of government approach, though at a “ distance, the sentiments which we admire in Quintius?-an “inflexible constancy for supporting good order and discipline, “ tempered with a mildness and candour proper for gaining the « affection of the people--a conduct uniform, and always guided " by reason, never by humour or caprice-a love of the public “ good, superior to all passions and prejudices--an universal u disinterestedness, which never departs from itself, &c.
Struck with an enthusiastic veneration for this part of Cincinnatus's character (and that of other Romans, such as Fabri
The following fine reflection of Livy, is the basis of Rollin's reflections on this subject.-Operæ pretium est audire, qui omnia præ Divitiis humana spernunt, neque honori magno locum, neque Virtuti putant esse, nisi ubi effuse afluant opes. Spes unica Imperii Populi Romani L. Quintius, trans Tiberim, contra eum ipsum Locum, ubi nunc Navalia sunt, quatuor Jugerum colebat Agrum, quæ Prata Quintia vocantur.
cius, who shewed themselves superior to all the temptations of wealth and power) our poet Thomson nobly contrasts the following beautiful lines, to the growing luxury and corruption of his day
In ancient times, the sacred Plough employ'd
SPRING, l. 59, &c.
Fabricius, mentioned above, could not be corrupted by an offer of one fourth of the kingdom of Pyrrhus, nor by all the gold of the Samnites; nobly answering—“ Romam aurum non habere, sed habentibus aurum Imperare." Hence Virgil stiles him-Fabricium paroo Potentem. The passage in Pitt's translation is
Who can the bold Fabricius' worth repeat,
The length of these remarks and quotations, it is hoped, will be excused. Models of ancient virtue are not improper for us; and whoever would have some of the most shining briefly placed before them, may find them brought together, and beautifully touched, in Thomson's Autumn, 439, to 529; compared with Virgil's Æn. VI. 803, to 846, beginning with Numa
« Call'd from his little barren field away
“ To pomp of Empire and the regal sway ;And concluding with Fabius
“ See where the Patriot shines, whose prudent care,
PREACHED BEFORE THE GRAND LODGE OF COMMUNICATION,
ON ST. JOHN BAPTIST'S DAY, JUNE 24, 1795, IN ST. PETER'S CAURCH, PHILADELPHIA.
ECCLESIASTES, ii. 21.
There is a Man, whose Labour is in Wisdom, and in Knows
ledge, and in Equity.*
THIS text addresses you, Brethren, in the language of our great master, Solomon, who, after a consummate investigation of the good and evil things under the Sun, and the final tendency of all the labours of man, places him whose labours are “ in Wisdom and Knowledge and Equity,” in the same illustrious point of view, as the man who discharges the whole duties of Humanity, by “fearing God and keeping His Commandments.”
The emphatical meaning of the word Man, as used by our master, Solomon, in the Philosophical and Masonic sense of this text, I need not explain in this splendid assembly of Masons. It is understood within the walls of the congregated Lodge, and
carried abroad into the world by every true Brother, in the Grand Lodge of the heart.
As such a Man, I would strive to acquit myself on this occasion. Forty years will this day have finished the long period, since I first addressed, from this pulpit, a Grand Communication of Brethren, with our great fellow-labourer, the venerable Franklin, at their head; and frequent have been the calls upon me for similar addresses, during the important æra that hath since succeeded.
It was with reluctance, therefore, that I engaged in this day's duty, knowing that I had little new to offer; and that little must be offered, with a great decay of former vigour, both of body and mind.
But the unanimous request of the Brotherhood operates as a command on me, once more to under. take what I trust they will accept as a final labour among them; squared by the Rules of Wisdom and Equity, and mensurated by the best Compass of my Knowledge; taking as a model not only the labours of Solomon, but of one greater than Solomon, so far as they can be imitated, namely, the Great Architect of the world; all whose labours are in the Infinite Perfection of Wisdom and Knowledge and Equity. For
“Before the foundations of this Terrestrial Lodge were laid-before the Almighty Fiat was pronounced-before the Sun, and the Moon, and the Stars appeared, as the beauty of Heaven, and an ornament giving light in the highest places of the Lord-Hethe great Architect-in his stupendous Wisdom and Knowledge and Equity and Love, breathing on the