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alludes to the mystery in any part of the earth ; or to produce any medal, or manuscript, or monument, or well authenticated copy of any inscription upon any medal or monument, naming, or having allusion to Speculative Masonry, or Freemasonry, of a date earlier than the beginning of the 18th century, in any country on the face of the earth.-Anti Masonic Review.
THE PRETENSIONS OF FREEMASONRY TO AN ORIGIN
IN THE DAYS OF SOLOMON.
Extract from Lellers of Rev. Henry Jones. At a time like the present, when the institution of Freemasonry is undergoing the faithful scrutiny of the public, it seems to be of very great importance, that the question, so frequently asked, “ What is the origin of the Institution ?" should receive the answer which it demands, in order that an impartial and correct judgment may be more readily formed. If it originated with the people of God; and was patronized as a good and useful institution by many of the most eminent characters whose names are recorded in holy writ; at a time too, when they were enjoying the special guidance and approbation of the Most High ; a favorable judgment must be rendered of it, at least while in its native purity, though now so degenerated and perverted :-But if, on the other hand, this institution originated with men of corrupt principles, who have falsely founded it, on pretended important facts, which never existed ; then of course, considering also, its present deformed character, it must be condemned by the public, as a base and wicked fabrication, an insult upon community, and only worthy to be utterly expunged from all ranks of society. Each of these suppositions, for the origin of the institution, is considered correct, by the opposite parties who feel interested in the subject, and are exhibited by them, respectively, as proof of its merits, or demerits.
It is my design on this occasion to show, that its own claims to an origin at the building of the temple of Solo
mon, among wise and holy men, are unfounded, and that consequently, it must have had its origin since that time, among false and wicked men, so that those wise and holý men had no part nor lot in the matter.
It is well known to all the fraternity who have become somewhat familiar with the lectures of the first three degrees, that they do teach us, that Speculative, or Freemasonry, originated at the building of Solomon's temple, and that a large share of the mysteries of the institution are established on certain events, which are said to have transpired at that time and place. I shall not consider it necessary to repeat over those parts of the lectures to which I allude ; but for the benefit of some who may still be unacquainted with the subject, I would concisely bring into view some of the pretensions of masonry, as to its having its origin at the building of the temple with Solomon and others, which I am to endeavor to show, as being false.
Passing by much in the first and second degrees, which teaches the same, I shall confine my remarks to the third degree ; and would observe, First, that the lecture of this “ sublime degree, teaches us that Freemasonry was founded at the building of the temple, by these important circumstances, which it professes to record, viz. that there were employed in building it, three Grand Masters; Solomon king of Israel, Hirain king of Tyre, and Hiram "Abiff,” as he is designated in masonry, but in the scripture, Hiram the son of a widow, &c. who alone constituted the Master's lodge at that time, and who alone possessed the Master's secrets or word, holding their secret meetings in the sanctum sanctorum, or holy of holies of the temple. They are represented also, in this degree, as having agreed together, never to give the Master's word to any other person, unless they all three were together in doing it; so that, when Hiram “ Abiff” is represented in this degree, as being slain, before any of the craftsmen had received this secret word of the Masters', it could not afterwards be given, for want of the three Grand Masters together, and was, in consequence of this, for many years lost, having another word substituted in its stead.
Having brought forward these things as the pretended
matters of fact, on which the institution of Freemasonry professes to be founded; I would observe, that they bring with themselves no proof that they are matters of fact in reality, unless we are bound to consider them so proved by the bare assertion of an individual, who says that he was secretly told so, by a second person in the preceding generation, who in like manner, received his information from a third, and so on through fifty or an hundred generations, to go back to the days of Solomon : But no tribunal has ever been authorised to allow the least credit to a witness like this, on any important question between opposite parties.
Although it is often difficult to prove a negative in such a case as this; I am prepared to prove, unless I greatly mistake, that these inasonic pretensions to the origin of the institution at the building of the temple, are false; by showing from scripture history, that Hiram King of Tyre and Hiram “ Abiff” never were associated with Solomon as Grand Master in the building of the temple, so that they three, never constituted a Master's lodge there, assembling in the sanctum sanctorum for their secret meetings. Every one must know, who is acquainted with this history, 1 Kings, 2 Chron., that Solomon was Master alone, over all the work of the building, that he was especially endowed with wisdom from above to qualify himn to form so great a work, and that the Lord furnished him with particular directions, through the agency of David his father,* which was equal to a pattern of the building, and more than this, Hiram king of Tyre, as it seems from scripture and reason, never left his kingdom to go and dwell at Jerusalem, while the temple was building, as he only bartered with Solomon in a friendly manner, by furnishing timber for the temple, and sending his servants to cut and prepare it, &c. for which Solomon made satisfaction in wheat, barley, wine and oil ; with twenty cities. It is evident, also, beyond dispute, that Hiram “ Abiff” was not a Grand Master with Solornon in building the temple, and with him constituting a Master's lodge, meeting privately in the sanctum sanctorum, as the third degree represents; because
* 1 Chron. xxviii. 11, 12, 19.
he was employed only as a very skilful workman in metals, and because, he labored not on, or about the temple, but exclusively in casting the furniture, &c. for the temple, under the direction of Solomon, '“ In the plain of Jordan-in the clay ground between Succoth and Zarthan," or " Zeredathah.'
Again, the instructions of the third, or sublime” degree, give us to understand that Freemasonry originated with wise and good men, under the patronage of God, at the building of the temple, by its establishing the principal part of the mysteries of that degree on the pretended murder of Hiram 66 Abiff,” with the various circumstances in its connexion, while he was in the temple, before it was finished, at a time too, when he was daily employed in planning work for the craft, and overseeing them on the building. All who have taken the third degree, or have examined Morgan's book, may know, that there is a long secret dialogue or tragedy, to be acted out, by the members of the lodge whenever the degree is conferred, in imitation of the whole process, and all the circumstances, of the pretended murder of this Hiram, and that the candidate who takes the degree, must always represent Hiram, and experience a mock murder, two burials, &c.: But of Hiram’s being thus murdered in the temple, before its completion, masonry gives us no better evidence than what has been noticed in case of the other pretended facts, on which, not the least dependence can be placed, even if there were nothing to disprove it.
If such a horrible assassination as this is represented to be, of so important a character as Hiram was, had taken place under those circumstances, it is unaccountably strange, that the sacred writer, in recording the remarkable events connected with that great work, should pass over so important an event as this, in utter silence ; and strange too, that Josephus, who has given such a particular account of the building, workmen and circumstances of the temple, in his 8th Book, 2d and 3d Chapters, should not intimate a word of any such important transaction.
Although both Josephus and the scripture are entirely
* 1 Kings, vii. 46; and 2 Chron. iv. 17.
silent about any such murder of Hiram in the temple, before its completion ; the scripture on the other side of the question, is not silent, but it speaks out, and gives us to understand that he was not thus there murdered.
The first proof to be mentioned from scripture of this fact, is what has already been noticed, viz., that he never wrought as an overseer on the building of the temple, as I think we must conclude, from the consideration, of his being employed by Solomon only as a cunning workman, in casting the metallic vessels, furniture, &c. of the temple, " in the plain of Jordan,” at a place, not less than thirty or forty miles from Jerusalem, where the temple was built, as it appears by consulting sacred geography on the subject.
Another scripture testimony which is positive, against the pretended fact of Hiram’s being murdered in the temple before its completion, and before he had finished the work which had been assigned him, is that he was living when the temple was completed, and that he lived to finish all the work, which had lain upon his hands, for the use of the temple. The first passage which declares this, is 1 Kings, 7th Chap. 40th verse, And Hiram made the lavers and the shovels and the basons ; so Hiram MADE AN END of doing all the work that he made for king Solomon for the house of the Lord.”
Then, lest this plain text should be perverted, the same Chap. enumerates all the wonderful castings of Hiram, and in the last verse, which is in the same connexion, with Hiram's making an end
of all his work for king Solomon, it is said, “ So was ENDED all the work, that KING SOLOMON made for the house of the Lord.” Then according to the sacred writer, the very next thing was, the dedication of the temple by Solomon, as it is particularized in the next Chapter.
To set the fact of Hiram's being alive, at the finishing of the temple, still further beyond all doubt, the same testimony of it, is recorded again, in 2 Chron. 4th Chap.
And Huram [or Hiram] made the pots, and the shovels, and the basons. And Huran FINISHED the work that he was to make for king Solomon, for the house of God:" So it is said again, in the same connexion of the subject, in the first verse of the next Chap. “ Thus ull the work that Solomon made for the house of