Page images

the murder of Morgan-it is written in blood. Perhaps you and your conscience rest easy under the one comment, but we cannot under the other. But on this point, there is a wide difference of opinion in the interpretation of those tremendous oaths, among your own brethren; the most of them understanding the penalties according to the legitimate construction of language While therefore there is the difference of opinion on this fundamental ar. ticle, among your brethren, and while you are still disposed to defend masonry in the gross, you cannot expect to feel satisfied with the continued existence of an institution which contains such provisions; for whenever a great occasion arises, the penalties are inflicted by some of your brethren, (the rest standing by,) and if the deed comes to light, nothing is more convenient than for you to say, that those executioners did not properly interpret their obligations, and still you go on and support the institution! An institution from which such outrages will proceed more or less frequently, as naturally as water runs down bill. Where are the men to be found who will support your institution ?

We reply, that they must never be found among the nuinber of those whom we may in future ordain to the work of the ministry. Now, sir, with all these facts and considerations before you, can you not possibly see any thing against the “intrinsic lawfulness" of such secret societies? But such is the strange infatuation of men on some questions and on particular occasions that possibly you will come out again and attempt to say some plausible things in favor of masonry in the gross—that the conduct of a great number of your brethren has fallen below their “avowed principles" and that we here only discover the abused principles of masonry, as in many instances we may notice the abused principles of Christianity-all this may pass off with the negligent and superficial as being very fine; though in our estimation, it is neither s lid nor safe. For you may grace the hilt of the dagger with as many sparkling diamonds as you please, but they do not blunt the point.

But masonry, like the responses of the heathen oracles, is on some points exceedingly indefinite and flexiblewith some it is a very mysterious thing indeed, and with

those who look upon it with a stupid and unsuspecting wonder, there is nothing which takes so happily as your fine eulogiums. coming from "a full heart.” It is so ancient, so venerable, such great names on the list of membership-so much like Christianity !! But when we ask, what man has it made wise ? what is the answer, but silent confusion? The general rule is this, that could the nature of this mysterious thing be known before hand, wise and good men would not have been juggled into it. On the unsuspecting, it has played off more tricks, and practised more impostures than any thing else excepting the church of Rome. See the simple, the wise and great ones of this world in their passage from one degree to another, hoping to catch something by and by, and sometimes thinking they were close to it--one more stepand then ! and what then ? why then, all this reminds us of the ludicrous chase of our childhood to catch the rainbow.

We have only to add here to the preceding remarks, on the “intrinsic lawfulness” of your institution, that if you permit the question to be decided by scriptural maxims, the decision will be against you. Every thing which is thus secret, does not meet with the approbation of the New Testament. The principle which induces any company to perpetual secrecy, must be selfish and corruptor it would not have received the direct denunciation of our Lord, who knew what was in man—and therefore renders the true reason for secrecy, when he said “ neither come they to the light, because their deeds are evil.” By order of the Consociation,*

JOHN TAYLOR, Moderator.

* Names of members of the Consociation.

Rev. John Taylor, Mendon; Rev. M*. Jones, Mendon; James Saxton, Mendon ; Rev. Wm. P. Kendrick, Shelby, Orleans Co.; Rev. Milton Huxly, Stafford, Genesee, Co.; Rev. Jabez Spicer, N. Penfield, Monroe Co.; Abel C. Ward, Bergen, Genesee Co.; Ezra (oon, Byron, Genesee Co.; Rev. Elihu Mason, Bergen, Genesee Co.; Rev. Herman Halsey, Bergen, Genesee Co.; Dea. Joseph Bloss, Brighton, Monroe Co.; Abijah Gould, Henrietta Monroe Co.; Theodore Ingersoll, Ogden, Monroe Co.; Rev. E Raymond, N. Bristol, Ontario Co.; Rev. Julius Steel, East Bloom field, Ontario Co.; Rev. John F. Bliss, Gainesville, Genesee Co.


Addressed to the Anti-masonic Convention, held at Dedham, Mass. January 1,

1828. By Benjumin Wuterhouse, M. D.* Being called to the unusual station of presiding over a large, deliberative assembly, the novelty of the situation calls, of course, for your indulgence.

As a retired man, I may not be exactly acquainted with the precise views, and predominant feelings of the numerous delegation here convened. I know, generally, that it has been occasioned by certain alarming events, which have roused the universal attention of one of the largest States in the Union; and that this agitation was excited by deeds of cruelty and bloodshed, instigated, it is said and believed, by a very numerous and

growing secret society of active and aspiring men, knit together by solemn vows, and unusual OATHs, with shocking penalties annexed, unknown to our laws, and repugnant to our feelings as men and Christians; and that this serious state of things has called us together, to look into the disorder; and if we cannot at once, devise and apply the remedy, to prevent, at least, its spreading. Let me promise, however, that the task is not an easy one, from the very nature of the disease; it being a pestilence that WALKETH IN DARKNESS."

My observations, at this time, must be of a general complexion, and not of a particular nature. It appears, from the earliest records of mankind, that there has existed in almost every country, little combinations of restless men, like what is now called masonry. In the Eighth chapter of the book of Ezekiel, (who lived 590 years before Christ,) you will find mentioned “about five and twenty men, in a secret recess,

with their backs towards the temple of the Lord, and their faces towards the east, worshipping the sun."

There was a combination of great influence and celebrity in Greece, that generally met at Athens, denominated

* B. Waterhouse, M. D. formerly Professor of the Theory and Practice of Physic in Harvard University; and Professor of Natural History in Brown University.

the Eleusinian Mystery, conducted with deep solemnity and secrecy. If any of the initiated revealed the secrets of it, it was thought unsafe to live in the same house with him, lest it should, by the wrath of the gods, be struck with lightning, and the wretch was put to death. Yet the sagacious Socrates, that wonder of his age, that light shining in a dark place, denounced that secret masonry of the Grecians, as impious towards Heaven, and mischievous towards the community at large, and it is well known that for this attack on their secret society, he was condemned to drink the fatal hemlock.

Men of a certain cast of mind are prone to wrap themselves up in a cloud of mystery, that they may more easily govern their fellow creatures : a striking instance of which may be seen in the history of the first Popes of Rome, who, during several hundred years, bound in chains the human understanding, till Martin Luther, and other reformers broke the spell, and freed the human mind from a degree of slavery and thraldom that is scarcely credible. Reason was confounded by mystery, image worship, awe, dread and ignorance; while the most degrading superstition, and priestly violence upheld, for ages, a debasing system of mental oppression.

If we recur to the oldest book we have, the Bible, we shall find that the Jewish system was made up chiefly of ceremonies, types, and figures, denoting intellectual things, and moral duties. This mode of teaching morality was, at that early period of the world, necessary-absolutely necessary—and why? because then, not one person in ten thousand, beside the priesthood, could read. The people were not then able to exhibit thoughts to the eye by means of writing, hence the necessity arose of teaching by signs and symbols, that when these struck the eye, they should raise corresponding ideas in the mind, and thus convey moral truths and duties by the sight and by the operation of tools, and mechanic instruments. This is the fulcrum on which rests and turns the first, and most fascinating part of masonic instruction, which, from its simplicity, and manifest adaptation, delights a young and uninformed mind, predisposed to wonder.

The pleasing analogy between things material and intellectual, strikes with admiration the imperfectly educat

ed mind; and Moses was permitted, if not enjoined to use it, in governing the six hundred thousand Jews whom he led out of Egypt : and modern masons have imitated the lighter parts of it. I say the lighter parts of it, for the Persian, if not the Egyptian mode of teaching the most weighty and important truths, was of a higher standard, and of a more sublime nature. This was the secret literature of the ancient kings, taught them in strict confidence by the Magi, or wise men of the east," who were the GRAND-MASTERS of the symbolical school. While modern masons make a structure or temple, the symbol or emblem of society, the Magi made the order, and government of the material world, a mirror or lookingglass for the political government of a state. In the highest grades, they took their emblems from what they knew of the solar system,—the sun, moon, and stars—the succession of day and night—the beautiful variation of the seasons, and their delightful consequences; in which the Sun, the eye and soul of this lower world, afforded them a glorious, and exhaustless emblem! It is worthy of notice that the Peruvians and Mexicans on this continent, have the same ideas interwoven with their religion.

But all this typical, or mechanical morality was swept away by CHRISTIANITY, which substituted intellect in its place. Instead of tangible and visible things, it made the Christian's heaven, not a material structure, the work of a slowly progressive architect, laying one hewn-stone upon another, (which the Bible forbids, *) but a "temple not made with hands," and therefore “ eternal."

We neither censure, nor deride those who are enraptured with a system that addresses itself, like the worship of images, to the eyesight. Yet we may, I hope, be allowed to express surprise and wonder, and even astonishment, that clergymen--ministers of the Christian protestant religion, should be so attached, as some are, to a system of ceremonies--forms-types--figures and instruments, and be aiding in getting up a sudden, theatrical contrivance, to effect amazement instead of exhibiting the inward man of the heart !- We larnent that any

Exodus, ch. xx. 25.

« PreviousContinue »