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teacher of a spiritual religion should take up with the husk and shell instead of the meat ; or that he should ever mix the words of Christian worship with the jargon of masonry, since it is forbidden in the Bible to mix linen with woollen, or to plough with an oz and an ass !
But I forbear, lest we should be thought to tread on forbidden ground, and intermeddle with any one's religion, which is, with every individual, a sacred thing, while that of FREEMASONRY is, and ought to be open to the decent examination of any man, at this time of apprehension, and well grounded alarm for the safety of the citizen, and the free and righteous course of justice in judges and in jurymen.
Your aim, if I rightly comprehend it, is to induce each member of the mystical society in question, to think, so as to satisfy himself whether he has built his house on a sandy foundation, or upon a rock; and whether, in selecting his mental food, he has been sufficiently careful to strip off the husk, retaining only that part which constitutes solid and wholesome nutriment; and this sort of food is to be found in Christianity--a system purely intellectual, that has no need to have recourse to fright or to shocking oaths, which the New Testament positively forbids, and strictly enjoins to “ do violence to no man."
There are mysteries enough in the creation around us, without presumptuous, short-sighted men getting together, in the night, to contrive new ones, the tendency of which is to make straight things crooked, instead of making the crooked path of life straight.
The human faculties cannot comprehend many things in creation. In the vast frame of nature, some of its parts are placed so high up, that we cannot examine them, and must remain ignorant this side the eternal world. But it is not so with the affairs of men. In human society nothing ought to be mysterious to a wise man, seeing, by due care, pains and industry, he can understand every thing. Hence, every mystery between man and man, is “ a mystery of iniquity, whether it be in government, in the arts and sciences, or in teaching morality, or in illustrating religion,
* Deuter. ch. xxii, 10.
What then are we to think of a very widely spread association, planted, and watered by ample funds, in every village, town, city, and district of the United States, marshalled by numerous grades of officers, bearing royal, military, and hierophantical titles, the very cement and essence of which is secrecy ? --whose meetings are never held until the sun has sunk beneath the horizon, and the curtain of darkness shrouds the earth; and whose door is guarded by a drawn sword !--a system whose soul and substance is close concealments; a scheme, which, at every ascending round of the ladder, covers the aspirant with a thicker and darker veil of ambiguity, surrounding every thing with a fearful halo of mystery, generating solemn doubt, or imperfect satisfaction--just sufficient to create a thirst for more light and information ; and yet the encouragers of these gropers in the dark call this anxious progression—"going from west to east in search of light !
I conceive the object of this Convention to be, to discourage the growth and continuance of All secret societies whatever, without casting harsh reflections on any man, or holding up individuals to public odium. Your wish, I presume, is to entreat the fraternity of masons not to be led away by dark and delusive tradition; but to view the thing as it really is, by the steady light of philosophy and the Christian religion, and in a spirit worthy the present day, and the country we live in; and not mistake mystery for wisdom, and solemn professions for morality, or, in other words, darkness for light. Our ardent wish is to aid the hasty and unthinking in divesting their partial system of those enticing ceremonies, those fascinating figures, and captivating metaphors," which give to airy nothing a local habitation and a name."
To a moral people, situated and circumstanced as we are in these United States, all partiab illuminations are injurious The thing to be desired is—THE BRIGHT AND Shining Light of Truth, which may illuminate all things around it, and put an end to our conflict with shadows.
Let the lights of masonry continue burning, unmolested. But let the people outside their lodges be so informed and instructed, that the boasted lights of the fraternity
shall appear like candles in the day time. The period in which we live, the government we enjoy, and the country we inhabit, demand this homage to the human understanding.
One word more, and I am done.- We are all citizens of free States, in which every man has a right to think and to act without hindrance; and we are all disposed to guaranty to him this privilege, provided he do not stand an armed man in the avenue to Justice; and provided he attempt not to shelter himself behind Oaths and strange obligations, unknown to our laws : and, above all, provided he do not contaminate the sanctity of a verdict, the VERUM DICTUM of conscientious men.
ADDRESS OF REV. MOSES THACHER,
Before the Anti-masonic Meeting, in Faneuil Hull, on the evening of Sep
tember 8, 1829. MR. CHAIRMAN,—It has been stated, that the object of this meeting is, “ To investigate the secret principles of Freemasonry." The first question therefore, which demands our attention, appears to be this; ARE THE SECRET PRINCIPLES OF FREEMASONRY BEFORE THE PUBLIC? If the secret principles of Freemasonry are not before the public; then the interest, which lias been excited in the public mind, relative to this subject, is without foundation, the object of our meeting is chimerical, and we have no subject before us, either worthy, or capable of investigation.
The issue of the question, which I have stated, must turn upon these THREE POSITIONS: First, Can the secret principles of Freemasonry be communicated ?--Secondly, Is the evidence plenary ? ---Thirdly, Are the witnesses competent ?
In the first place, then, Can the secrets of Freemasonry be communicated ? That the secrets of Freemasonry can be communicated, is evident from the very fact that there are secrets. A secret always consists in something. To say that a secret consists in nothing which can be commu
nicated, is a contradiction in terms. If I impart anything to another with the injunction of secrecy, it necessarily implies, that what I have committed to him as a secret, can be revealed to a third person. Otherwise, why the injunction of secrecy? No man ever commits nothing to another, with the charge of secrecy. If then we admit, that there are secret principles belonging to the masonic institution, we must admit that those principles can be revealed. But, that there have been secret principles belonging to the masonic institution, has always been avowed by masons themselves; and they have professed to be under obligation to withhold those principles from all persons who are not received as members of the masonic society. This fact is also confirmed by the highest masonic authority. " The Book of Constitutions" for Massachusetts, compiled by Rev. Thaddeus Mason Harris, D. D., says, (p. 37,) “ The virtue indispensably necessary in masons, is Secrecy. This is the ground of their confidence, and the security of their trust. So great stress is laid upon it, that it is enforced under the strongest PENALTIES AND OBLIGATIONS !” Now it would be absurd in the extreme, to communicate anything to another as a secret, THE STRONGEST PENALTIES AND OBLIGATIONS," when, at, the same time, that thing could not be revealed to a third person. It is indisputable, then, that there are secret principles belonging to the masonic institution, and that those principles can be communicated.
In the second place, Is the evidence PLENARY, that the secret principles of Freemasonry are now before the public? If the fulness of evidence, is depending upon the number of witnesses, there can be no doubt that the evidence in their case is PLENARY. What evidence, then, have we, that the secret principles of the order have been divulged?
1. We have Prichard's “ Masonry Dissected," first published as early as 1730; and which professes to be a full and fair disclosure of the first three degrees, which were the whole of Freemasonry in existence at that time.
2. We have the disclosures contained in the publication entitled, “ Jachin and Boaz," which testifies substantially to the same things, with this difference, that the institution has become more complicated in its ceremonies, with additional clauses to its several obligations.
3. “ Illustrations of Masonry," by William Morgan. This publication, in diction, differs sufficiently from "Jachin and Boaz," to show that it is the genuine work of its reputed author; and yet confirms the testimony of the preceding, in such a manner that masons have said, " It is nothing but the old story newly vamped.'”
4. We have the explicit testimony of thirty-Eight SECEDING MASONs, at the first Le Roy Convention, who have averred, that Morgan's “ Illustrations” are substantially correct, and have also given a revelation of succeeding degrees, if I mistake not, up to fifteen.
5. We have the testimony of one HUNDRED TWENTY-NINE, some of whom had received at least twenty degrees, who signed the Anti-masonic Declaration of Independence, certified to the correctness of Morgan, and who also confirmed the revelation made by the Le Roy Convention.
6. We have the evidence of FIFTEEN of different degrees, in Genesee county, New York, who have given their affidavits before the civil magistrate, that the “ Illustrations of Masonry,” made by William Morgan, are substantially true.
7. The public have, by estimation, at least FIVE HUNDRED seceding masons of different degrees, and in different parts of our country, who have not only certified the same thing in respect to Morgan, but have also confirmed the disclosures made at Le Roy. In addition to these, they have perhaps not less than two THOUSAND, who have virtually testified the same thing, by withdrawing from the institution.
More than all this, we have THE KIDNAPPING AND MURDER OF WILLIAM MORGAN!! Here, the evidence is written in BLOOD. It is “ marked, cut, carved, stained and engraven,” by masons themselves, in crimson lines, too legibly to be obliterated; and too deeply impressed upon the mind of every free American citizen, ever to be forgotten. If Morgan has made no disclosures in the opinion of masons, detrimental to their institution, why was the village of Batavia filled with strangers, afterwards found to be Freemasons, passing and repassing,
high twelve at noon, till low twelve at night," assembling in conclave, and concerting measures for his