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The Proposal of Candidates.
NQUESTIONABLY this is one of the most essential matters, in reference to Odd-Fellowship, that can be suggested; and we shall, therefore, speak plainly, though we trust not harshly, upon it. If we assert that much harm has
resulted from negligence or hastiness in this business, we trust that those who may have been to blame will take no offence, but that they will “make haste” to atone, in some measure, for the evil they have done,
by restraining others from following their example.
There was an old charge, (and an excellent one,) which Odd-Fellows heard very often, and which might still, with much propriety, be impressed on their minds. The spirit of Innovation has “flung" that good old sentence of advice, with some other good things, into the shade ; but we shall print it here, with the hope that some thousands of Odd-Fellows, now and hereafter, will read and ponder it. It is as follows:
“ Should you, at any time, propose a friend to become a member of this Order, see that he be such a man as wil! be likely to conform to the rules and precepts of Oddo Fellowship; for nothing is so painful to ire feelings of faithful Odd-Fellows as to see the requirements of the Institution trampled upon and profaned.”
With such an injunction as this impressed upon the mind, surely no Odd-Fellow could conscientiously be instrumental in bringing an unworthy person intn the fraternity. He would be careful to propose nu such character. It will not do to say that a bad man may be expelled, and that his admission, therefore, will produce no harm. For when a worthless character once gains access to a Lodge, and is enrolled among its members, although it is true we can always remove him from a place he is unfit to fill, yet, as every one has some friends, the cure, in this case, is at least as bad as the disease. How much better is it to be careful, and allow no such person to be even proposed! If a person heedlessly rush into danger, and break a limb, or engender a pestilential fever, his physician may restore him to health ; but how preferable to the physician would prevention have been! So, more mischief can be avoided, and more good effected, by employing our vigilance and caution in proposing candidates, than in healing the wounds caused by unworthy men after they have once entered our halls and been initiated into our mysteries. It is a lamentable fact, and one which has done us, as an Order, more harm than all the opposition of our enemies, that there have been bad men introduced among us. We cannot deny this fact, humiliating as it is, but we can surely prevent a repetition of occurrences so much to be deprecated.
We would not undertake to set up any particular standard or rule in this matter; but we would suggest that any brother who proposes for Odd-Fellows men whose characters are known to be bad, violates, as a member of our brotherhood, every principle of honor, and deserves himself expulsion from any Lodge which he thereby so deeply disgraces and injures. Scoffers, bigots, gamblers, drunkards, slanderers, liars, sensualists, misers, swindlers, men who abandon wives and children, men who “grind the faces of the poor”-should no more be admitted into an Odd-Fellows' Lodge than the thief or the murderer!
Every man who becomes a member of a Lodge, signs his name to a written or printed paper, in which occurs something like the following:
“ Any person not under twenty-one, nor over sixty years of age, of good morul character and industrious habits, and exempt from all infirmities which may prevent his gaining a livelihood for him. self and family, shall be eligible to membership in this Lodge. Brothers, before proposing a candidate for membership, must first ascertain if he is qualified according to the preceding conditions ; his name must then be submitted, and, at the time of making the proposition, the sum of blank dollars must be deposited with the Secretary; and in case the candidate should not come forward vithin eight weeks after being notified of his election, (unless prevented by sickness or absence from town,) he shall forfeit
the same, and it shall be paid over to the Widow and Orphans' Fund, and the proposition shall be void; but should he be rejected, the amount so paid shall be refunded. When a proposition for mem. bership has been made, the same shall be referred to a committee of three brothers, who shall report at the next regular meeting, when the candidate shall be balloted for; and if he receive an unfavorable vote, the same can in no case be reconsidered; provided, aiso, that a proposition, when once made, cannot be withdrawn. Every member, on being admitted into this Lodge, shall sign the Constitution and By-Laws thereof, agreeing to support the same, and pay all legal demands against him so long as he remains a member of this Lodge; he shall also furnish the Secretary with his residence, and, in case of removal, shall notify him within three weeks thereafter.”
This is what Odd-Fellows should consider carefully, in all its bearings, ere they propose any manno matter how great a friend he may be-to the Order!
The Discipline of Odd Fellowship.
UMAN nature is formed of a reterial so frail in texture, that, however plausible may be its tenor for a time-unless bound by an adamantine chain of resolution—temptation soon makes an inroad upon its territories, and wantonly destroys all its
barriers, all its good intentions. It cannot therefore be surprising that in a fraternity of two hundred thousand, let their designs be ever so pure, some means must be taken to excite a spirit of con
sistency among them, having for its object the perpetuity of the cause and the benefit of each individual. Every human institution provides against departures from the purpose and spirit of its establishment. We see the Society of Friends--a fraternity whose antipathy to form is proverbial, where it can in the slightest case be dispensed with—even chey have rules framed so as to protect its principles against the possibility of perversion. Every bill for the enclosure of a waste or the construction of a rail. way is marked by the suspicious prudence of man. kind in dealing with their brethren. Now in scarcely any other case is there so great danger of innovating as in the case of Odd-Fellowship-a tender plant in an ungenial soil. Hence our General Laws, hence our By-Laws: how they operate, the increasing pr38perity of the Order shows. To prevent a general decay, we must put forcible restrictions upon a lefaulter. We must have control somewhere. It is nothing but reasonable, therefore, that a government be formed, like that of the Grand Lodge of the United States, for the guidance of the whole, and the preserving a general and perpetual spirit of uniformity. If we are to remain a company of unflinching advocates in the cause of philanthropy, we must exact an unrelaxing discipline from all. The object to be kept in view is the purity of the Order, and the good of all who retard its interests by a base perversion of its principles. . Still we are to avoid all rashness, all hasty conclusions. Reproof should be administered where a disposition is shown to infringe upon a law, and that in a serious manner, “with great meekness and pity,” and with perfect impartiality. Admonition will often bring an erring brother to contrition. St. Paul treats admirably on this point, when writing to the church at Thessalonica : 3. Note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.” In every case of infraction, the object should be to “restore” an offender, rather than to punish or expel him. We Be", then, the necessity of not entirely abandoning those who err: they should be warned, and, if possible, convinced of their departure from rule, that they may be “ restored in the spirit of meekness." Persons are placed in a very delicate situation who incur the censure of a Lodge, and ought to feel and know the dishonor and danger that fall, not only upon themselves, but upon the Order in particular; for the prejudice of the world is strong, and many who “lie in wait for our halting" would rejoice at the prospect of our downfall.