A duty we owe to the community is to cultivate the principle of virtue, to lend holy serenity to the mind, and shed around a halo of light and glory to direct the steps of others in virtue, to happiness and greatness. The man who treads only in virtue’s ways, when every act is honest, acquires the confidence and friendship of others, thus benefiting others, and thus benefiting the community, which, also, the center of another circle, continues this influence to those that surround it, purifying the thought, emboldening the idea and elevating the man. How grand is the position Odd-Fellowship now occupies—a world of honesty in a world of deceit, with a character strictly virtuous and solely dependent upon its members for the perpetuity of that character.
It depends upon the brethren to be virtuous, upright, honest and benevolent, thus sustaining in its purity the noble reputation it now enjoys, which will continue a bright and shining star in the constellation until time shall be no more, when it will be perpetuated in the glorious light of eternity. Amid the wrecks of institutions and powerful interests that were a short time since thought to be impregnable against all assaults, the Independent Order of Odd-Fellows still maintains its vantage ground, and bears its banners proudly up. With its doors thrown so widely open to applicants for admission, composed as it is of nearly every shade of thought or educational influence, whether of sect or party, with all the infirmities incident to human nature, modifying by their weakness its true purposes, or retarding its advancement, its unity and moral force, its stability and progress are truly wonderful. Its bond of cohesion, so frail and yet so potent, is seemingly inexplicable. It is the recognition of the principles of brotherhood and fraternity, and the practice of their resultant virtues. To appreciate and practice is to attain strength. We are weak and frail. Odd-Fellowship is strong, and its principles are as eternal as the stars. The history of the past is little but a record of the domination of physical force. The law of might was the law of right. Violence and strife, outrages and wrong, have been for ages the common heritage of the race. Man has been the sport and victim of human passions, and notwithstanding the culture and the progress of the race, the earth yet resounds with the tread of armed combatants. Weary, sad-eyed toilers groan under the burden of war, countless millions are squandered upon the maintenance of non-producing, destructive hosts.
Widows and orphans, nay, the very angels in heaven, if they are permitted to look down upon us from their bright abodes in bliss, must mourn over the sad result of man’s semi-barbarism, and his worship of the world’s materialism. Long ere this mind should have been the controlling force in all nations claiming to be civilized. Pure intellect and its struggles, its aspirations for light and truth,