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from God, are the just and natural consequences of unrepented iniquity. Such plagues have sometimes been experienced in this world, rather as a premonition of that “fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries.” Though we are not to suppose, that God will so abandon his real children, even in their wanderings from him, as finally to give them over to the kingdom of Satan, they may be called to experience very severe sufferings in consequence of their wicked conduct, and feel as though they were actually forsaken of God forever ;-and by their examples of wickedness, may be the means of bringing plagues upon their companions and posterity, which shall include the dreadful judgments of the eternal world.
Were I to speak of the temporal plagues of the masonic institution as being alluded to, in the text, I should say, from present appearances, that in connexion with its sins, some of which have been mentioned, as having appeared to public view, they appear to be, alienation, contention, division among the members, or a house most strikingly divided against itself, and an inevitable falling. It is devoutly to be hoped, that the Church may not be called to experience things like these, but I confess, that however some may differ from me in judgment, who are much wiser than myself, I am unable to see, from a long and close examination of the subject, any way by which, these
very plagues can be averted from the Church only by her unreserved coming out from that institution according to a command from heaven. I know that this represents the Church and its members as being in a peculiar and trying situation ; but certainly, not so apparently beyond remedy, and dangerous to individuals, as in the reformation, when it became necessary for it, to escape the plagues of heaven, to come out from the Romish Church.
In further urging reasons for a compliance with this command, on the part of the Church, I will here notice one fact, which must appear obvious to all who have examined this subject and its bearing upon the Church, and that is, such a general cessation of revivals of religion in our land, since the disclosures of the secrets and character of masonry.
Though there may be a few ex
ceptions, I think it will be admitted generally, by those who are familiar with these things, that in all our Churches where Freemasonry exists, and her character is examined by the brethren, they have seemed at once disqualified for any further special manifestation of the Divine Spirit, in the awakening and conversion of the impenitent among them. And is it not apparent, that the Church must sink, and continue to sink, until there shall be a deliverance effected from this melancholy evil? I am well aware of the responses of thousands of voices, where such a question as this may be asked, from those who yet think favorably of Freemasonry; and I shall not question but that multitudes of well meaning persons, who acknowledge and deplore the evil now before us, as much as ourselves, do honestly believe at the same time, that it is not masonry, but anti-masonry, which is the guilty cause. But certainly, if this must be taken for good logic, though revivals in many cases have been observed to be checked, so, soon as the masonic question began to be examined, or anti-masonry appeared there, so to speak; then surely it must be equally good reasoning, if there should be some of the most scandalous wickedness, secretly introduced into a Church, perhaps, ignorantly at first, by some of its well meaning members, and should for some time lie concealed, from the Church and the world, while the place might be experiencing a refreshing from the presence of the Lord, to say as before, after this wickedness and scandal shall be uncovered to all the people, if any of the Church shall protest against it, and refuse any fellowship for it, then these are the guilty individuals who have put a stop to the revival, if it shall cease, rather than others who might have introduced the scandal at first, and still persist in retaining and justifying it in the Church.
Must it not be agreed by all, that the Churches of our land, which have began to experience trouble from the subject of Freemasonry, cannot expect to enjoy the smiles of heaven again, until it can somehow be disposed of among them? Then how shall it be disposed of, but by a general withdrawing from the fellowship of the institution? Sure, it can no more be hushed up and forgotten, where it is, and the Churches thus be restored to peace,
than the earth can be stopped in her revolutions and the sun prohibited his shining. But a separation from the masonic institution, is practicable, and expedient, and in my opinion the only way which can be devised, whereby the church can here rest and be built up.
Again, shall not the express commands of heaven be regarded ? “ What concord hath Christ with Belial ? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols ? Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate saith the Lord." So in our text, " And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, come out of her, my people.”
ADDRESS OF THE WATERBURY ANTI-MASONIC
At a numerous meeting of Freemen opposed to the principles of Speculative Musonry, holden at the Meeting-house in Waterbury, Washington county, Vt. on the 27th of October, 1829, the Hon. Ezra BUTLER, Ex-Governor of Vermont, was chosen President, and CHARLES CALKINS and ELYMUS S. NEWCOMB, Secretaries. The following Address was submitted to the mueeting, and adopted.
Fellow CITIZENS,- In addressing you, we would freely and fearlessly express our views concerning Freemasonry--not for the purpose of creating prejudices in your minds against Freemasons, but to show you the nature and tendency of their institution. Our objections to Freemasonry are founded principally on the masonic oaths, such as have been revealed, and are not now denied by masons who adhere to the institution. On a fair construction of these oaths, the following conclusions are deducible :
“ It exercises jurisdiction over the persons and lives of its members.
“ It arrogates to itself the right of punishing its members for offences unknown to the laws of this or any other nation.
“ It requires the concealment of crime, and protects the guilty from punishment.
“ It encourages the commission of crime, by affording the guilty facilities of escape.
“ It affords opportunities for the corrupt and designing to form plans against the government, and the lives and characters of individuals.
“It destroys all principles of equity by bestowing its favors on its own members, to the exclusion of all others equally meritorious and deserving.
“ It creates odious aristocracies, by its obligations to support the interests of its members, in preference to others of equal qualifications.”
It requires a spirit of malevolence in its members, contrary to the precepts of the gospel.
An institution fraught with such principles as we find in Freemasonry, we cannot view with complacency. When all its doings are secret, it must excite the jealousy of a free people. Its members may resolve no evil, or it may resolve the overthrow of our liberties. Abroad, revolutions have been effected by Freemasonry, and they may be effected by it here as well as there ; for it is admitted that the principles of Freemasonry are the same the world over.
Then ought we not to be jealous of this institution, and more especially now, than formerly, as its shocking principles are fully revealed ? It is a knowledge of these principles that is calling forth the energies of the people in opposition to Freemasonry. In these principles the people can see nothing to approve, but much to
It is these principles which give an odious character to the institution.
Because Washington, Franklin, and other worthies have been members of it, it by no means follows that the institution is not corrupt : bad men have been members of a good institution--and good men have been drawn in to become members of a bad institution. While we venerate good men who have been, or are, nominally, Freemasons, we would fearlessly oppose the institution, and the doings of those men who are governed by its pernicious principles. Not that we expect by our exertions, suddenly to overthrow Freemasonry, which is so deeply rooted in our soil; but we hope to check its growth by exposing its deformities.
Very lately our attention has been called to an APPEAL
to the people, issued from the Grand Lodge of Vermont, and signed by 168 masons. In this appeal they say— “ Were we to remain silent, we should be guilty of inflicting no less an injury upon you than upon ourselves; for were we quietly to submit to the dispensation and dissemination of error, and suffer a political party to be built up on it, destructive of the liberties of the people, when we possess
power to expose the falsity of the representations, we should, to say the least, display an unwarrantable and reprehensible disregard for the safety of the free institutions under which we live.”
Here the appellants declare, that they have not only the power, but the disposition, to disclose the error, upon which anti-masons would build up a political party. Now what have they disclosed! They have told the people that they are guiltless in any manner of shedding human blood-guiltless in any manner of conspiring against the liberties or privileges of the people, or endeavoring to monopolize an unequal portion of those privileges to ourselves, or to abridge the rights of others-guiltless in any manner of impeding, retarding, or diverting the course of justice--guiltless in any manner of an intrusion into the three great departments of our government-guiltless in any manner of attempting to identify the subject with politics, or making the latter a subject of discussion or remark-guiltless in any manner of performing any act, immoral or irreligious—and guiltless in any manner of entertaining the remotest suspicion, that the life of a fellow being was subject to our control.” This appeal is signed by some of our most worthy citizens, and we never entertained the least suspicion, that they had been personally guilty of what they say they are guiltless. They are honorable men, and their word is to be taken, where there is no proof to the contrary. If they have been personally charged with committing the aforesaid crimes, we can view it in no other light than gross slander. We know that they have been charged with taking the masonic ouths, such as have been revealed to the public. To this charge they have not plead guiltless. From their silence on this subject, we have a right to infer, and do infer, that every mason has taken one or more of these oaths, according to the number of degrees to which he has advanced.