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the Lord was FINISHED,” &c. iminediately upon which, as the history informs us, the people of Israel were assembled for the dedication of the building.
Having shown now, as I would hope, to the satisfaction of all who rely upon scripture testimony, and the exercise of reason, for evidence; that Solomon was alone, under God, a 'Grand Master,' or the builder of the temple; that Hiram king of Tyre, never left his kingdom to go and dwell at Jerusalem, to be a Grand Master in the building, forming a Master's lodge, &c; that Hiram “Abiff," was not a Grand Master at Jerusalem with Solomon in erecting the temple, and that he was never slain there before the finishing of his appropriate work, having lived to make an end of it, and see the temple completed ; What are we to think of the institution of Freemasonry ? the lectures of which tell us, that Hiram king of Tyre, and Hiram “ Abiff,” were Grand Masters with Solomon in building the temple; that they three constituted a Master's lodge assembling in the sanctum sanctorum, &c. and that Hiram “ Abiff,” was slain in the temple before its completion, while busily employed in the great work. And what shall we think of it too, when it professes in its lectures to have its origin in connexion with these reputed events, and to be founded upon them, while nearly the whole substance of the mysteries of the third degree, is a dialogue, in imitation of Hiram's assassination, &c.? Considering that the first three degrees of Freemasonry which were established, must be the corner stone, or foundation, on which all the latter degrees are built, would it be unreasonable for me now to ask ; On what then does the whole superstructure of Freemasonry rest but a base fabrication of wicked men, who in some dark and apostate age of the world, have risen up, united into a secret society, and darkly handed down their inventions, to flatter us to believe that their institution is good as having originated among wise and good men ; and being ignorant of the manner in which their false pretensions would be exposed; have told us, that it was established on certain specified facts and events, which, by looking at them carefully, and comparing them with our Bible, we find, never had existence? Was there ever an imposture of such magnitude as this, so generally palmed
upon mankind ?
And yet, here is the origin of the foundation of Speculative Freemasonry; and here is a portrait of the character of its founders and first principles.
THE ABUSE AND PERVERSION OF THE MASONIC IN
Extract from Rev. M. Thacher's Address before Mont gomery Lodge. The original design* of this institution appears to have been, to cherish the social virtues, enforce the principles of moral rectitude and equity between man and man, and to extend the hand of relief to indigence and distress. Viewed in this light, and so far as it is calculated to answer these designs, it may, and ought, to be considered no more nor less than a moral and charitable institution. So far as any society is combined to promote general interest, merely, it should be regarded merely as an object of utility ; so far as it enforces moral virtue, or upright external conduct, it may be considered as a moral society; and so far as it extends relief to others, it may be considered as an institution of charity. We will take, for example, a society for the promotion of useful knowledge
* It is here taken for granted, that this was the primary intention of the masonic society, because this is what masons have always avowed. Query. Would any class of men have instituted a secret society, to act merely as a moral and charitable institution ? But, suppose the original design of the masonic institution was merely what masons have avowed ; another important question arises, Is it possible for a secret society to exist, without becoming corrupt, and being turned into an engine of wickedness? Our Saviour declared to the Jewish high priest, “ I spake openly to the world ;-and in secret have I said nothing.” What would now be thought of the church, if she should close and “ tyle” her doors, impose obligations in secret, and place a perpetual seal upon the lips of her members ? Would it any longer be believed that her sole object is to promote the religion of the gospel ? Now if the church, which is the purest body on earth, could not and would not be trusted, as a secret society, who can blame conscientious and judicious men, for drawing the conclusion, that any secret society, of whatever description, is alto. geiher unnecessary, and cannot exist, without becoming an object of suspicion, if not an engine of wickedness.
in the Mechanic Arts. So far as this society tends to facilitate the theory and practice of mechanism, it may be valued for its utility. If its members enter into an agreement to shun certain known vices, and to practise certain known virtues, it may be considered as a moral society. If they go farther, and engage to appropriate a certain portion of their funds for the relief of indigent widows and orphans, it may then be regarded both as a moral and a charitable institution.
Considering Freemasonry, therefore, in its original design, as a moral, as well as charitable institution, one of the first abuses, of which we are called to take notice, is, THE
AND RETENTION OF UNPRINCIPLED MEMBERS. It is absurd to the last degree, not to say ridiculous, to think of advancing the cause of morality by immoral men. To any man who professes to take the Bible for his guide, to make himself an example to others, and to enforce the first principles of moral virtue, and who still appears to have no regard to his own moral conduct, we may, with propriety, address the language of the great apostle of the Gentiles :—"Thou, therefore, who teachest another, teachest thou not thyself? Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal ? Thou that sayest
man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law, dishonorest thou God ?" There cannot be a greater perversion of any moral institution, than to admit and retain those members, who counteract by their example what they profess to maintain by precept.
Freemasons often say, “ There are bad men in the Church, as well as in our institution.” This is true ; but the cases are not parallel. All persons, whether in the church or out, have opportunity to know on what principles members are received; and that these principles do not justify the admission and retention of bad men. But this cannot be known with respect to any secret society. Those, who do not belong to the masonic institution, have no opportunity to judge from principle, but merely from the declarations of its members; and nothing but such declarations can afford them any evi. dence, that the secret principles of Freemasonry do not justify the adinission and retention of just such men. The fact, therefore, that there are bad men in the church of Christ, while it militates nothing against the principles of the Christian religion, dnes and must, in regard to masonry, militate against the principles of the institution.
“ All things
It cannot be denied however, nor ought it to be concealed, if it could be, that the masonic fraternity have knowingly admitted, and willingly harbored in their community, just such members. Such an abuse as this, has, in many places, rendered the institution an anomaly and a caricature. There is no part of masonry more public, than that masons profess to take the Bible as their guide in moral conduct. This they have openly avowed, and reiterated, time out of mind. What a burlesque, then, must it be upon every principle of moral virtue, to see inen, and even those who stand high on the rolls of our Lodges, Chapters, and Encampments, conducting like libertines! When one of the primary precepts of Divine TRUTH requires us to deal justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God; what an incongruity for those, who profess to be guided by this "great light," to set at defiance every principle of honor, honesty, and compassion, and act as if there were no God to call them to account! When the Bible enjoins that “golden rule," that suinmary of the law and the prophets, whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them;" how inconsistent for those, who profess to receive its precepts as the rule of their faith and practice, to discover that sordid selfishness, in their intercourse with their fellow men, which characterizes not a few of the masonic fraternity! But these are facts, which candor cannot conceal, and which it would be impious to deny. How many, who have voluntarily bound themselves to the " mystic order," and who are owned and acknowledged as " free and accepted masons," are daily sending up oaths and curses “into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth,” in direct violation of that peremptory command, “ Swear not at all !" How many there are, also, of the same class of men, who are among the first in profanation of holy time, in direct defiance of that perpetual precept of the divine law, “ Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy!" It would, likewise, be the grossest selfadulation to evade, and the grossest imposition upon others to dispute, the affecting truth, that the Holy Bible has sometimes been borne in public by the hand already palsied with intemperance, and its sacred truths pronounced by the tongue already stiffened with the poisoned
chalice. If masons are disposed to shut their eyes upon such an abuse of a professed moral institution, it is not strange that others should be disposed to write upon the walls, and pillars, and furniture of their "temple," —
MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPH ARSIN."
Another abuse of Freemasonry, which grows directly out of the evil to which we have just attended, is, A PERVERSION OF THE INSTITUTION FROM ITS PRIMITIVE DESIGN. When corrupt men are admitted and retained in any society, especially in such numbers as to gain the ascendency, it is strange indeed if the original object of such community is pursued for any length of time, and still more strange if the institution is not rendered an engine of wickedness. What object can it be for immoral men to promote morality ? Or who can depend upon those, who are given to licentiousness, to relieve the distresses of the widow and orphan? They who pamper their own lusts, and are determined to pursue a course of sensual gratification, will generally make every thing bend, so far as possible, to facilitate the execution of their own selfish designs. This will account for many lodges, in different parts of our country, becoming nurseries of conviviality, and even of intemperance ; instead of asylums for the poor, the needy, and the afflicted. It has been said, with sarcastic severity, but with too much truth, that “ Freemasons boast of their moral and charitable institution ; but they expend more in pageantry and feasting, at one of their anniversary celebrations, than in all their acts of munificence during the year.” Now it is easy to see,
that any thing like this, is a perversion of the original design of the masonic association. We have seen that this design was, to foster the principles of moral virtue, and afford relief to the indigent. Every thing, therefore, which tends to counteract this grand and primary object, must necessarily tend to sap the whole foundation. It must, ton, be the grossest violation of every principle of the masonic institution, to make it an instrument of political intrigue, or of sectarian influence. It is impossible that this should be done, without removing the “ ancient landmarks,” and disregarding the strongest obligation of every member of the society. But, that such an unhallowed influence as this, has, from time to time, been