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Having the principles of the masonic institution before them, the people can determine whether those principles are dangerous or salutary to a republican government. They can also judge, whether or not extra-judical oaths have a tendency to bind mankind to regard the oath of God, which is necessarily imposed by civil authority.
It must be acknowledged, that these are subjects of vital importance to this community; and it cannot be, that the people of these United States will pass them over, without a critical, thorough, and impartial examination. It cannot be, that the citizens of Boston, whose fathers were among the first to throw the gauntlet, and to “bid defiance to the gigantic greatness of the British power," can be indifferent to the welfare of our country. It cannot be, that the citizens of Boston, who have been nursed in the lap, and rocked in the Cradle,” of the American revolution, will refuse to investigate first principles, the suppression or prevalence of which may prove the salvation or destruction of our civil and religious liberties.
REASONS WHY THE CHURCH OF CHRIST SHOULD
Extract of a Sermon by Rev. Henry Jones, of Cabot, Vermont. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
It will not be expedient for me to say, that this voice from heaven must be considered, as uttered with special reference to the connexion of the church with the masonic institution as it now exists in this country, but rather it becomes me to fall in with the prevailing opinion of our commentators, that it was in view of another abomination, which has long had its principal seat in Italy, rather than in this part of the Zion of God. Still it is not the manner of the Divine Spirit, in his warnings to the people of God, to have exclusive reference to one evil, when there are others of a similar nature which
might be included in one, as well as to have separate warnings given against each of them. Therefore if the masonic institution, in its obligations and principles, be of that wicked and anti-christian character, which has now, for some time, been considered in fact the case, by many who have given the subject the most impartial investigation, the correctness of whose decision we are not prepared to disprove; most certainly, that Being who spake from heaven, saying, “Come out of her my people," having the same view of this institution from eternity, which he has at present, must have had allusion to this, as well as other evils and abominations, in which his people are ever entangled. On the present occasion, then, we may feel authorized to lay aside every other interpretation of this command, and treat upon it, as though it were spoken with exclusive reference to the present connexion of the church with the institution of Freemasonry. Taking this view of the subject, which I must feel authorized to do, the people of God, or church of Christ, as a body are called upon, as by a voice from heaven, to come out of this institution, in order to escape her sins and her plagues.
To illustrate this command I propose to show that the Church is at present so entangled, or in fellowship with this institution, as to render the command in the text to come out of it, suitable.
On this point, but little need be said; and it will not be necessary to show, that there has ever been any such thing as a formal act of the Church or any branch of it, acknowledging a communion or fellowship with Freemasonry. The connexion which exists at present, between the two institutions, has been accomplished by slow and imperceptible degrees, by the uniting of the members, each with the other, while the Church has continued till of late, to tolerate these connexions, with scarcely the least suspicion of treachery on the part of her pretended and accomplished friend, Freemasonry.
Although I have no knowledge but that ever since masonry has existed, it has been common for those connexions, more or less, to take place, I believe it to be quite a late thing, according to the recollection of the most aged, for any very large number of church members
to be connected with that institution, and more especially are we to consider it a late thing for any considerable number of the clergy to be connected with it. But during a few years past, in the growth of our Churches and increase of ministers, it seems that a large proportion, particularly of the clergy, by the remittance of the initiation fees generally, have been induced to join, so that, in New-England, I should not think it strange if among the various denominations, one fourth, or one third of their number have been drawn into the institution, while it is presumed, there is scarcely a Church to be found, if we except those of a very few denominations more careful than others in this thing, which has not in its connexion more or less of that fraternity, and perhaps, scarcely a lodge to be found without more or less of the members of the Church in its connexion. Whether the godly are willing or not, to acknowledge this relation, or fellowship for the masonic institution, there is certainly no way, at present, to evade the fact. Masonry has frequently displayed her banners, her splendid array, and glittering ornaments in the house of God, and many times she has claimed the holy Sabbath for this purpose on funeral occasions, while the Church has not only yielded up her rights to her demands, but has seemed to manifest unqualified approbation and complacency; in addition to which, many of the Church have put on the masonic badge and walked in the procession. More than this, many of our clergy have officiated and taken the lead in these masonic exhibitions, as it were, and in eulogizing the institution, thus manifesting, in the strongest and most public manner, their fellowship for its laws and principles. Then while so large a portion of Christian ministers and members of Churches, are thus fellowshipping that institution, and the Church knowingly fellowships them in doing it, is it not, on the part of the Church, a practical acknowledgment that the two institutions can
harmony and fellowship with each other? And how can this practical fellowship for the institution be separated from its corruptions and wickedness, which are now known to be attached to its character ? Then is not the Church in a dreadful bondage and entanglement, so connected with that institution, while her blessed laws
of discipline must be trodden under foot, to make way for the execution of masonic laws?
Many of the members of our Churches, who have recently become acquainted with these facts, are looking on, with the most bitter grief, because their brethren generally seem so backward to suspect any mischief from this source, that they cannot be persuaded to behold and turn away from such a deadly evil, justly feeling that, so long as the Church continue to fellowship Freemasonry, they must themselves be implicated in the anti-christian character of that institution. Can any one show, how this melancholy inference can justly be avoided ? while now there is quite a threatening aspect upon the face of this institution, speaking a language not difficult to be understood, that if the Church will not peaceably retain her in fellowship, she will array all her forces against the Church for its overthrow. This threatening aspect of the institution, from which I would exonerate the character of our masonic Christian brethren, seems to be, perhaps, the most important reason, why there is such an apparent trembling and reluctance to come forward, with many of our brethren in important stations, who appear to see the danger of the Church, and yet stand looking on, as though they were disinterested spectators; or waiting for a general alarm to be given, that all may act in concert, and with the greater safety. This being the situation of the Church, in regard to the masonic institution, how reasonable the command from heaven, out of her my people."-I pass now to urge some reasons for a compliance, on the part of the Church, with this important command of heaven. The first reason which I shall notice, for the
separation of the Church from the masonic institution, in addition to what may be considered as implied under my
former proposition, is that which is first mentioned in the text, “ That ye partake not of her sins," that is, that the Church, and its members may not be looked upon, and dealt with from heaven, as participating in the present manifested guilt of Freemasonry. We have already taken something of a view of the evil deeds of this institution as they have, of late, been exhibited, since its veil of darkness and secrecy have been so entirely removed.
Although there have been no small number of men, of moral and religious principles, who have been deceived by the alluring pretensions of that institution to become its members, who, by their goodly lives, have seemed to enstamp upon it outwardly, the appearance of a humane, moral, and almost a religious institution, yet, from its true character as it has exhibited itself of late, separate from what it has borrowed from the Church, and the character of good men who have been drawn into it, I should think we are safe in considering some of its legitimate fruits to be, falsehood, deception, pride, office, power, profanity, perjury, deism, defamation, murder and treason. Can the Church, living in fellowship with this institution, while such of its characteristics are exhibited to public view, prosper any better than Israel could, when defeated and slain before the inhabitants of Ai, merely because one of their number, Achan, had pilfered a wedge of gold and hid it, while this, no doubt, was a secret to Israel generally? Although it is often said, that the Church has never flourished more than within thirty years past, which is during the very period of the principal growth of Freemasonry in this couutry, as an argument to convince us, that they ought not now to be separated; the argument appears to me unsound, though it is, perhaps, as good as any other which could be produced for the same purpose.—The argument is evidently unsound, because, until a very short time past, the evil or anti-christian character of Freemasonry has been concealed, like a serpent in the grass, so that the Church has not had occasion to suspect but that its professions of humanity and benevolence, were hearty and sincere. Thus it appears, that “ God winked at her "ignorance," in her continuing so long to walk hand in hand with that institution, but now, since her true character is exposed, should the Church continue this fellowship, she must inevitably be a voluntary partaker in all the guilt which is proved against that institution.
A second reason which I would now urge for a compliance on the part of the Church, with the command to come out of the masonic institution, is that which is also contained in the text,
That ye receive not of her plagues.” Nothing, perhaps, is more sure, than that plagues sent